Monday, 22 December 2014
Yesterday (Sunday) Ann surprised me by producing for lunch the above Swedish dish from a recipe that Ruth gave us a while ago. It's called Jannson's Delight. It is very light, tasty, and filling. The ingreediments are :- potatoes, onions, anchovies, and cream. It was served with fennel and carrots. Spent the rest of the day in the workshop repairing a small (probably child size) brass tinder box and contents (flint, steel, and damper).
Had to nip over to Sudbury this morning to pick up a jacket and a pair of trousers. Bought them a few days ago, but they both needed slight alteration. Tailor Matthew made his usual good job of them. On the way back called in at the cobbler's to pick up a pair of shoes he'd repaired. This afternoon friends Hilary, John and Milly, came to tea. Ann gave them Egg and cress sandwiches, cheese scones, orange cake, and chocolate and orange cake. Wish I'd taken photos - SORRY. Discussed Highdale's recent history, news, and general health and well being over tea.
Good night all.
Sunday, 21 December 2014
The above photograph, on which you are no doubt pondering, and wondering what's going on here? was taken yesterday morning and shows various Highdale characters about to sing Christmas carols in the Co-op for charitable purposes. We were well supported by a section of the Salvation Army brass band as usual. We do this every year on the Saturday morning before Christmas, and usually the said charitable purposes do quite well out of it. I must admit though, that those of us who perform also do quite well out of it, as the employees and management of the Co-op press hot mince pies upon us, and very welcome they are, too.
One other minor incident I'd like to report, that happened yesterday evening. Our youngest daughter telephoned us to ask if we had anything planned for New Year's Eve. She knows perfectly well that we tend to have an early night on New Years Eve to try and get a bit of sleep in before the Church Bells and Fireworks wake us up at midnight welcoming the New Year in. We reminded her of this, and she said that was all to the good as we would be free to babysit our Great Granddaughter Elsa, so everyone else could go out and welcome in the New Year. We agreed to this and both felt more than a little chuffed to be asked. If any other Great Grandparents are reading this, it just goes to show that if you hang around long enough, you may well still come in useful for baby-sitting purposes.
I take this opportunity to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.
Saturday, 20 December 2014
This is the answer to yesterday's Mystery Object:- It is a skewer holder, which is, as you can see, what we still use it for. According to E.H.Pinto's book 'Treen and other wooden Byegones' it would have been made to hold beechwood skewers. It is Welsh and two other similar ones are illustrated in Pinto's book. All were made in the eighteenth century. There are, as Crowbard points out, a good many Welsh treen spoon holders, but these are much bigger than the rarer skewer holder. This one is, as I said, just over 6 inches tall. Any further questions or comments would be welcome, and I shall try and answer them.
Thursday, 18 December 2014
Couldn't think of a mystery object, then realised there was a rather good one about a yard away from me in the kitchen. So all three photographs are of today's MYSTERY OBJECT. It is hewn from a solid block of walnut. Quite crudely made, probably with only a knife (and, I should think, a hand drill to drill the holes in the flat section towards the top. The item is just over six inches tall.
The back view, which does show what a lovely piece of well figured wood was used. Can you tell me please, what service(in your opinion), the item was meant to serve, when, and where (be specific) it was made. I think some of you will be able to name the generic term for wooden objects of this type, as they are very collectable. Ann and I bought this object about thirty five years ago at an antique fair just outside Peterborough. It cost us three pounds, and as we both liked it, we decided we could afford to keep it, and have done.
One large (and I hope) helpful hint :- Pinto (where two similar ones are illustrated).
Good night all.
Monday, 15 December 2014
Been a busyish day. Last week sister-in-law Jude told Ann how very good she always found shopping at the Aldi store in Oadby(?), so Ann decided to shop at the Aldi in Sudbury today. Told her I'd like to complete a job I was doing in the workshop this morning, so we decided on Sudbury in the afternoon. Made something of a 'pig's ear' of the workshop job at first (wonder by the way where that expression comes from - sounds like rhyming slang, or possibly it's simply a pig's ear as opposed to the silk purse from the other saying about them). Anyway at the second attempt the job went well, so had a quick lunch then motored over to Sudbury. The top photo shows a fairly dramatic sky as we approached Sudders. Went to Aldi's. Ann was a little dissapointed she said, although she bought quite a bit of Christmas stuff, and I bought some wine which, if it comes up to the label, we will enjoy (well, I will anyway).
Parked on the Market Place, where I took the above photo of a dramatic Sudbury sunset, and went into my tailors where I bought a tie, well that's what I went in for, found and bought; but then Matthew (my tailor) and Ann, ganged up on me, and, rather to my surprise found meself purchasing a new check sports jacket for, Ann says, next winter. It will be no ill store, I suppose, but I do feel I should have been more strong minded, and left a new jacket until next winter when I quite see that I might well need one. Both Ann and Matthew assured me that it will be even more money then, so I've saved a good deal by buying it now. Not sure about the logic of that, but the motto seems to be 'avoid tailors' shops until you need something'.
Good night all.
P.s It's a nice jacket though.
Sunday, 14 December 2014
First of all, my apologies for my delay in writing up my blog. We seem to have been very busy during the last week. On Wednesday last we motored across to the midlands to stay for a couple of days with Crowbard and sister -in-law Judy, which was, as always, very relaxing. On Thursday evening we called on niece Jessica, by request, as Jess's daughter is now nearly four and has lots of stuff which they asked us to take over to our granddaughter Amelia's new baby, Astrid. I do like the way all the cousins swap goodies as their children grow. Very civilised. We returned home on Friday, stopping off at Wisbech to pick up the books from our accountant. We paused to take the above picture of Ann's Childhood home, Welney House, which is about a mile north of Welney. It also became the childhood home of our children, in that when Ann's parents decided to move into a bungalow in Wisbech, we bought the above home (plus a couple of acres of lawn and garden) from them. This would have been in 1977, I think, so our children spent most of their teenage years there. Very happy years they were, too.
Being called upstairs to supper.
Will try and write up the blog a bit more frequently, in future.
Sunday, 7 December 2014
This last week was an extremely busy one, with the Long Melford antiques fair on Wednesday. So busy that I can't remember much of it. However the two photographs here are of one of the items I purchased at Bonhams, on the Wednesday of the week before, and I think it will make rather a good
It's not quite as easy as it looks, and I shall be pleasantly surprised if anyone can give me the proper name for the item (there are at least three), the country of origin, and the date it was made, within about twenty years. The top picture shows it with all the parts folded away. The lower one shows it with various bits unhooked, so they can be seen. One part of the item is missing.
Good guessing, and Good Night.
Tuesday, 2 December 2014
On Sunday afternoon, just after 3p.m., our senior daughter, Sarah, telephoned to tell us that our second great-granddaughter, Astrid, had been born half an hour or so earlier. Yesterday, Monday, we got in the car and motored over to Milton Keynes, to make Astrid's acquaintance. The above photo shows, from the right, and going anti clockwise, Great Granddaughter, Astrid, being held by her grandmother, our senior daughter, Sarah; her Great Grandmother Ann, looking over Sarah's Shoulder; and her mother, Amelia, our Granddaughter.
This again shows Astrid; this time being examined by her Great Grandfather, your blogger Mike, to make quite sure that she, the new arrival, is quite up to the required standard (which she most certainly is). I think that when we're looking back on this year, 2014, it will be remembered as ' the year of the Great Granddaughters'.
Must close, being called up to lunch by Ann.
Friday, 28 November 2014
Above picture shows the other (or off) side of yesterday's mystery object. I must say that Rog gets the answer absolutely right when he says 'very good Crowbard', in that Crowbard's first comment is completely correct. I could hardly have bettered his description (including the area of Italy) meself. I think I would have gone for the latter year of the dates to which he attributes the pistol, but this is a quibble. Full marks young Horner, and again full marks Peacock for spotting that fact.
Thursday, 27 November 2014
Been, so far, a very busy week. On Tuesday we motored to London in the morning. Parked at Liz's, then by tube to Bonham's in Knightsbridge where we viewed their Arms and Armour sale - very large one -596 lots! Back to Liz's where Georgia and her partner, Andy, had made dinner. On Wednesday returned to Bonham's and bid. Got eight lots (scattered over a long day). Paid for these, then Andy helped pack them, and I left him in charge of doing so, whilst I went and got a taxi for our return with goodies to Chiswick. Again supped and slept at Liz's (shades of Parson Woodford ? Probably, just been rereading him). Do other bloggers find that their reading matter is then reflected in the style of their blog a little?). This morning to Sotheby's Arms and Armour sale, which will not be held until next Wednesday, but Thomas Delmar, their Arms and Armour Director, and a good friend, had suggested that we had a private viewing of the bits that interested us. Left one (fairly optimistic bid). Then back to Liz's, sandwich and coffee, bless her, then drove home.
Photo above is not really a mystery object, as it is obviously a pistol, but perhaps some of you would care to guess its lock type, age, date, and country of origin?
Good night all.
Monday, 24 November 2014
One last shot of Great Granddaughter Elsa for the time being (I promise). She will lie quietly kicking her legs in the air, then suddenly appears to realise that a foot is threatening to kick her in the teeth. She will then examine it carefully, giving it every possible test, the final one being the taste test. She then appears to accept that all is well, and that she is not being threatened by some foreign foot, and settles down to sucking her socks/ toes in a thoroughly contented fashion.
The rest of this week looks like being thoroughly busy, so it may be a day or two before my next blog entry. We'll see.
In the meantime, Good Bless you All.
P.s. Having closed this blog entry, I remembered that I really started this entry to record that we had our first frost last night. Then I'm afraid I started waffling on about other things and forgot the whole object of the exercise. You will tell me if you ever notice that I'm getting a little vague and forgetful, won't you? I quote P.G.Wodehouse's character, Lord Emsworth.
Saturday, 22 November 2014
Yesterday evening our granddaughter Georgia, her partner Andy, and their daughter (our great-granddaughter ) Elsa Elizabeth Gumley, arrived to spend the weekend with us. Actually they arrived rather late, due to delays on the M4, the M25, and the A12 roads. It sounds a nightmarish journey, but it's lovely to have them here. Their daughter Elsa, is an absolute delight to have about the place. She is a happy, contented baby, with a smile like the rising sun. Said smile is easily activated, and she is musically appreciative even of her great Grandfather's singing. After lunch today I was able to sing her to sleep with all the basso profundo songs I was able to dredge up from memory ('rocked in the cradle of the deep', a 17th century German drinking song-'Within the Cellar's cool Domain', 'Forty Years on', etc.)
Photo above taken before breakfast, showing Elsa entertaining (or being entertained by) two gentlemen.
Again above photo shows Elsa playing with her great Grandmother.
Three different generations of young ladies, Ann, Elsa, and Georgia.
This one taken towards the end of a one man smoking concert, minutes after which the audience (Elsa), went to sleep. My Grandfather, Elsa's great-great-great Grandfather was the possessor of a rumbling basso profundo voice that you could feel rather than hear,and he always used to say that most small babies could be easily pacified by a deep male voice, and that he'd yet to meet the tiny baby that he couldn't sing to sleep. I wouldn't go quite as far as that, but (far more often than not) I can usually sing little ones to sleep. That aside, it is being a lovely weekend, although we're all thinking about granddaughter Amelia, who's baby is about to put in an appearance either today, or in the next few days. Look forward to meeting her (and yes, this being a scientific age - we DO know). She'll be a second cousin to Elsa, and I do hope they'll grow up knowing each other. There's a lot to be said for family.
Thursday, 20 November 2014
Here is the answer to yesterday's 'mystery object'. It is an adjustable candle stand, made in England, a very few years either side of the year 1800. It's purpose is to enable its owner to read small print by candle light, by raising or lowering the candle flame so as to be as near the page as is safely possible.
And here is a photo showing your blogger reading a rather small printed version of Tom Brown's Schooldays, and demonstrating how the candle stand would have been used.
It was sold to me as being a lace maker's lamp stand. A lace maker's lamp is a footed glass sphere that, when filled with water, became a quite effective magnifying glass. However, my home village finally got the electricity in 1950, so that I do know about reading by candle light, and the adjustable candle stand made reading by candle light a much easier proposition. It probably would have made lacemaking easier of a winter evening, but I think the major purpose would have been to assist in reading after dark.
Wednesday, 19 November 2014
Last Saturday morning, in Beccles, I bought the above 'Mystery Item'. It is six inches across the top and seven and a half inches high. It appears to be made of fairly straight grained walnut (I think).
What do you think is its purpose, and where and when was it made.
Tuesday, 18 November 2014
Fairly busy day yesterday. Picked up Hilary in town and drove over to Layham, where we went to a coffee morning with friends. After lunch Ann and I motored over to a village the far side of Stowmarket. As you can see patchy weather - sunshine and cloud, and with lovely autumn colours still.
The clock we were going to fix is one I sold to friend David about fifteen years ago. It is pictured below. It is a very pleasant country made clock. It was made in the north of England in about 1740. The really nice thing about the clock is its size. It stands an inch or so UNDER six foot, and is nicely proportioned in that the dial is ten inches square, instead of the more usual foot square. The problem was that the clock rope had broken (which isn't surprising after fifteen years) but I found that it had broken at the splice, and as the rope was otherwise in good enough condition, I simply re-spliced it, which took about half an hour, which left nicely time for tea and cake with David, and an exchange of news.
It doesn't show on the photo but the silvered chapter ring is becoming a bit patchy and David would like it re-silvered . Wish he'd said; I'd have taken the necessary kit for the job and done it in situ. Still, as he said - it gives us a good reason for going again (probably soon after Christmas). He's a good chap; was widowed about ten years ago, and seems to be coping extremely well on his own (bakes his own bread, etc. and the house is immaculate). I think he was glad to sit and chat, though. Must be a fairly lonely life for a sociable bloke. It wouldn't suit me, and I hope I never have to put that to the test.
Good Night All.
Saturday, 15 November 2014
It's all right; don't panic. You ARE in the right blog. It's just that on Friday morning we drove up to Yagnub, pausing at one or two of the few remaining antique shops in the area to do a little buying. We then called (by prior arrangement) on Z, had coffee with her and young Roses, then took Z for lunch to a Pub that she'd recommended . I'm a great believer in 'local knowledge' -this one was good! We puzzled for a while over the hand written blackboard of 'specials' for lunch, and found a problem. One of the items said, ( or so one of us thought) 'Fish pie with cherry topping'. Another possible reading of the item was 'Fish pie with cheery topping' (I rather thought though, that if I were a fish who'd been put in a pie, I would find it difficult to feel cheery about it) but Z, being local I suppose, read it as fish pie with cheesy topping. We all ordered a portion of the fish pie, and Of course Z had been right about it. Very good it was, too. Not quite up to one of Ann's fish pies (it lacked that 'je ne sais quois' that a small handful of capers in the ingreediments gives it ) but it was nonetheless a very decent fish pie, and enjoyed by all three of us, as was the bread and butter pudding that followed it. Then back to Z's for more coffee and chat. We eventually took our leave of Z, and explored the two antique shops in Yagnub, successfully -in that we bought a couple of pieces.
Then on to the B & B establishment (pictured above) where we'd arranged to spend the night. A lovely old place it is, too. Our hostess told us that it was built in 1575.
The above picture shows our bedchamber. The two rounded items in the foreground show our bedheads - Ann said the bed was 'Queen Size' - which gives a fair idea of the size of the bedroom. Had a very substantial breakfast this morning in the oak panelled dining room, which set me up nicely for the morning. Then on to Beccles, where we did a bit more antique hunting (and a bit more buying, I'm glad to say), then on to Halesworth, where we'd invited our old friends, Pat and Doc, to take a pub lunch with us. Doc had booked us a table next to the fire at the Triple Plea, a pub just outside Halesworth which I'd not seen for some years, and I remembered it as being a very basic beer house. It has been enlarged slightly, as has the menu, and they gave us a quite decent lunch. Then back to Doc and Pat's home, and drank coffee, whilst Doc explained where we could find three new antique shops in town. Found the shops, but not the promised antiques, as they didn't have anything that qualified as 'antique' as far as I'm concerned. Still, it was good to see Doc and Pat again, it's been a few years since we've got together.
Then drove home via the A12. The weather was misty and indeed threatened fog most of the way. A few miles north of Ipswich the skies became very threatening as the sun went down, and as you can see in the above snapshot, it looked quite dramatic for a while. Still, we reached home in the dry at about 5.30 p.m., feeling that we'd had a very sociable (and reasonably successful -business wise) weekend.
Wednesday, 12 November 2014
The other day our car supplier (who is very solicitous about his products) wrote to us to say that it was time our motor had its usual annual service, and an appointment had been made (if convenient). We therefore motored into Bury Saint Edmund's this morning to the garage. It was, as you can see a lovely sunny morning, with threatening clouds hovering in the West. The garage (which has a very well equipped waiting room) supplied us with seats, and coffee, whilst the car was serviced, which took an hour. When we'd paid the bill, a couple of the salesmen kept us talking about new , improved models (have an idea we'll soon be getting letters making offers that they hope we can't refuse- still we've had this car for three years come spring, so we'll see???). We set off back home, having decided to call in at Hollow Trees for lunch. A mile or so our side of Lavenham, there was the tail end of the storm we'd seen earlier, with rain, but the sun was shining under the clouds, so that it looked like rainbow weather (and it's been a lovely autumn for rainbows this year), and to our left we soon saw a magnificent single rainbow. The road was too busy to stop, so I asked Ann to pull into the next lane off to the left, which meant that we eventually pulled into Brent Eleigh, which lies nicely off the main road. By this time the rainbow had faded a good deal, but I eventually took the below two shots of it. The first was in the village, and the next one was just outside it. At its best it was a lovely fiery rainbow, but I'm afraid the photos just show the tail end of it.
Went, as planned, into Hollow Trees for lunch. We both had a large baked potato, Ann's with a tuna fish filling, mine with a turkey curry filling. Both very substantial. As we left one of the waitresses told us that she was leaving - Fresh fields and Pastures New. She's a nice chatty girl (big eyed - always reminded me of a cheerful Bambi). Still it was nice that she'd told us, so we could thank her for past services (which were invariably quick and cheerful) and say our goodbyes. Then home, and spent the rest of the day in the workshop (well, bar a quick post-prandial zizz, I'm afraid).
Wooden Hill time now - so Goodnight All.
Thursday, 6 November 2014
We had a good, busy day, yesterday, at the Long Melford Antique Fair. This morning Ann ran me into the town, dropped me off at the Library, and I continued on foot to the Bank. After various odd errands I walked home - the pretty way- taking photos en route. The above picture (left to right) shows our ancient Guildhall, the Deanery Tower, and Saint Mary's Church.
Above is a closer look at the Guildhall. We're not really sure when it was built, but I was once told by one of our architectural historians that it was standing on its present site in the year 1386.
The above photo was taken through the Guildhall garden hedge, and the now roofless building was once the Guildhall kitchen. The structure to the left of the picture was once a large fireplace where the cooking was done for the guildhall. By the time the hot dishes had been rushed into the guildhall, along the passages and up the stairs to the banquet hall, I wouldn't think anyone was in much danger of burning their lips on the hot food.
Then along the river, over Toppesfield Bridge (above) then up Tinker's Lane, and Home. Noticed several thoroughly unseasonable plants in flower this morning, including dog violets and poppies. Been a lovely year weather wise, and it's trying hard to pretend it's still summer really.
Must do some work now towards stocking up for the December Long Melford Antique Fair, although I've got two repaired and restored antique clocks to deliver and set up in the meantime. It's good to feel busy. I don't think retirement will ever suit me.
Monday, 3 November 2014
This morning we motored over to Ely to have lunch, as per usual with Ann's brothers. I took the above photo about half a mile from Ely because it always seems to me that from this position it is difficult to believe that a CITY nestles at the foot of this Cathedral. Drove down to the Waterside Antique Centre, where I purchased a rather nice piece of pewter.
Took the above photo of the Cathedral from outside the hostelry at which we usually lunch - the Old Fire Engine House.
Above is the snug in the Fire Engine house just after the fire had been lit. This is where we usually wait for everyone to arrive, and the staff serves us buckshee (meaning free, Lori; and from an Anglo/Indian word backsheesh used by beggars) coffee, until everyone has arrived and we're ready to order.
I'd ordered partridge casserole (pictured above) partly because I like partridge, and partly because I know that their partridge casserole consists of whole partridges, which are served whole bird per order. Which reminds me of one other peculiarity of this restaurant - towards the end of the main course the waitress will come in and ask if we'd like anything more - vegetables, meat, or whatever. Ann's brother David tested this a while ago. He'd had roast beef, and he asked for a little more when it was offered, and got three more solid slices! I'm not sure that this wasn't a challenge on the part of the staff, and to help David keep face I helped with the extra beef (Gosh, I've been a good brother-in-law to that young man!) Don't know what they'd do if I asked for a little more partridge. I've never dared because I think that they'd probably oblige with another whole bird, and I'm not sure I'd be able to cope with that these days. Having said which I'm being called up for supper (which I trust will be a light one).
P.s. Poached egg on toast - Perfect!
Sunday, 2 November 2014
Been a busy-ish Sunday. Gave a friend of ours a lift into Aldham Church. He has been recently widowed and has, also recently, given up driving - for reasons connected with this Anno Domini stuff they keep dishing out. Read the first lesson, from Revelation. Pouring with rain when we got home, and drove Robert to his door - we'd all taken brollies. Then home, and the above lunch. Since we returned from Sweden we've started eating midday, with a light meal in the evening - seems to suit us. The above photoed meal consists of chicken thighs, in egg coated with sage and apple, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, cabbage and mashed potatoes, with (top left) yellow pepper, roasted with blue cheese, breadcrumbs and chopped herbs inside. Followed by apple sponge pudding with, of course, custard, then coffee followed by a quick zizz for both of us. Been in the workshop since wakening, getting ready for Long Melford.
P.s. Should have said - that was a glorious lunch!!!!