Saturday, 25 July 2015


This blog entry records the last of the Scandinavian holiday snaps. Above is a snapshot of the beach of the 'Swimming Lake' near Nea's farm house. This area of the beach seems to be covered with clover flowers, which, in the sand, give a rather pretty effect.

And, finally, the long journey home. Ruth drove us back across Sweden and Norway to Trondheim Airport. The girls came, too. Above snap shows Swedish mountainous area, with glimpses of snow towards the tops.

Fairly typical North west Swedish Church, with separate bell chamber.

Nea driving into Norway.  The  journey was fairly uneventful.

Thank you, Nea, Lasse, and family, for a lovely break in a lovely country. The time flew past.


Normal Service will now be resumed :-

This past week has been busy. Our good friend Hilary has had an eye operation. Ann ran her into hospital, stayed with her, and stayed overnight with her on her return home. At the same time I took a taxi, then a train into London, viewed Bonham's Arms and Armour auction then slept at Lizzie's. On Thursday, back to Bonham's  and bid (fairly successfully - seven lots). Then home by train, etc.  Got home about 9p.m.

      Yesterday (Friday) evening,  friends Hilary and Heather, came and had supper with us-thoroughly enjoyed the evening, ate early (6.30p.m. for seven) in view of Hilary's op. earlier in the week.  Party broke up about nine thirty p.m.  so an early night (much needed). Slept well.


Tuesday, 21 July 2015


To return to mid/North Sweden. The area where Nea lives is, in fact, about a hundred miles South of the arctic Circle. On a map it looks like North/Central Sweden, but is treated by the natives as being  in Northern Sweden. On the photo above is part of a lilac hedge near their farmhouse. We saw several of these, although lilac in full flower seemed strange to our eyes in mid July.

The picture above is taken from the top of what looks like a modern water tower. On top of it is a circular glazed area which contains a very good restaurant (we lunched here three days of our stay- and excellent grub it was, too). We had a window seat looking over the town, the lake, and the surrounding hills. The lake is huge -several miles long. According to local legend it contains 'the Great Lake monster' . He appears to be something like our 'Nessie'.  Animal activity was last observed in the waters of the lake about two years ago.

 Back at the farmhouse, our granddaughters and Nippa, the dog, soaking up the sunshine on the front porch.Should say the young lady on the right is now exactly the same height as I am (or slightly taller), whilst her sister, on the left, is an easy three inches taller than I am, i.e. about six foot two.

One day we drove out to 'the Swimming Lake'. It's a smaller lake (about two miles long) with a beach at one end. We didn't swim (the first year there we haven't, but it was tooooo cold). In a field near the lake I photographed these three cranes, large birds, about three feet high at the shoulder.

I think we're nearly at the end of the holiday snaps; one more blog entry should do it. Grit your teeth. Then it's back to the usual Suffolk scenery.
Hope you haven't been too bored,  Regards, Mike and Ann.

Monday, 20 July 2015


On our second day in Sweden we drove out to Nea's farm. The above photo shows the river (stream really) which flows about seventy yards from the farmhouse. As it had rained a good deal in the previous week the river was in spate. This little river supplies the water for their farmhouse and all the other houses in the village (all five of them). Good clean water it is too!

This one is of Nippa, the family dog. She is, as you can see, a pure bred Norbotten Spitz (or so I'm told). She is, I think the best natured and most intelligent dog I've ever known. She is now, though, eleven and a half years old. She is trained to the gun, and assists Nea's husband when he's out after elk.

Not sure if these are wild roses, although there are several banks of them in the area. For a 'single' rose they have a lovely scent.

The above small building was originally the calf shed. When Nea and husband bought the place, they turned it into a play house for their daughters, who at nearly eighteen and fifteen have rather grown out of it now. There are two swings from the cross bar (a pine tree trunk) in the two silver birch trees, and the swings are still in occasional use.

It is a lovely, peaceful part of the world.

Good night all.

Sunday, 19 July 2015


These two extra photographs are for the benefit of Crowbard and Rog (or indeed any of my readers who care to take a guess at last Friday's mystery object.

I think they will help to identify the object's primary purpose, although it is rather a rarity - not the sort of thing you'd expect to find at a car boot sale these days;  nor the sort of thing that any jack of all trades would use.

Hope this helps.
Regards, Mike and Ann.

Saturday, 18 July 2015


As you can see the above photo is of the first railway station out of Trondheim. It is called Hell, whichof cours, gives rise to all sorts of terrible puns, i.e 'We had to go through Hell to get to Trondheim'.........'It's a Hell of a long way to get to Trondheim'.........etc, etc,etc.  I do wish Rog or someone like him who's good at thinking of fresh puns would go to ..... NO, I must reword that ..... Oh well, I'm sure you know what I mean, Rog, although I'm not sure there are any new ones. I asked my youngest granddaughter (who is fifteen) about the name of the place, and she tells me that she thinks that in Norwegian it probably means a large, rocky shelf, presumably on which the village was built.

Above demonstrates the result of prolonged travelling, although I think ten minutes or so did her good. Ann is one of those fortunate people who can drop off for fifteen minutes, then wake refreshed. If I do that I tend to sleep soundly for an hour or more, then wake feeling worse than when I dropped off !

This was taken somewhere near the Swedish/Norwegian border. If you look at the upper part of the picture it shows that, even in July, it's possible to see snow in this area.

More to come - but probably tomorrow, although tomorrow looks like being a busy day. Good night - we'll see.


On the evening of  Wednesday the eighth of July we flew to Norway (Trondheim airport), and met up  with our daughter and her daughters. We slept at the Airport Hotel, then spent the next morning exploring the town of Trondheim. It's a nice old town (I think an old fishing port) and is an excellent place for pottering around. 

 On the small harbour is the above (and below) bronze statue. He is called 'The last Viking'. His present purpose seems to be to collect gull guano  on the end of his nose, and he appears to find this rather a depressing come down.

In the afternoon we caught the train from Trondheim to Ostersund in Sweden. The above  photo was taken from the train a mile or two from Trondheim, and is of the fjord. There is more to come, but the machine refuses to accept  more that three photos  at a time, so I am having to publish this in little bits.

Friday, 17 July 2015



Just  after midday today we arrived back in civilisation (well Suffolk anyway) after our trip to Sweden via Norway - Trondheim Airfield. The trip was organised by our second daughter (who blogs as Nea) and Ann. We stayed with Nea and her husband, her 15 and (very nearly) 18 year old daughters.  I have a lot of holiday snaps to foist on my readers eventually; but in the meantime here are some photos of an antique object I purchased whilst in Sweden. I think it will make a very decent MYSTERY OBJECT, in that I shall be pleasantly surprised if any of you can guess its correct (well - primary - purpose). It is made of wood (I think straight grained mahogany), and is just over ten and a half inches long. See if you can tell me its purpose, date and country of origin. In view of where I purchased it the country of origin should be Sweden, but even that is a little doubtful in that the only illustration I can find of a similar one states that it was made in England!

I will eventually publish more photoes to illustrate its purpose.  It is lovely to be home, and I wish you very happy guessing.
Warm regards  - Mike and Ann.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015


The garden gate, entwined with honeysuckle and columbine.

 Corners of the garden (as per heretofore).

Last year we put this blue-ish, spiky plant into the herb garden. It's doing very nicely thank you, but we can't remember what it is - or even if it's a herb. If anyone can assist identification we'd be grateful. In fact -all contributions (or suggestions) gratefully received.

Got a fairly hectic few days coming up, but will indulge in further bloggery as soon as we have time to spare.

Warm regards to all. Mike and Ann.

Sunday, 5 July 2015


Today, after morning service, we motored over to the Quy Mill Hotel in Cambridgeshire, To celebrate Ann's brother Mick's eightieth birthday, which occurs on this coming Tuesday. Mick had hired two large rooms and an area (with table and chairs)  of the river bank outside. Above you see a photo of Ann and meself about to dig in.

The photo above shows the birthday Boy dealing faithfully with a pork pie.
The rest of the photos show  the guests, about a hundred people, all family or old friends, and family friends. All are members of Norfolk families, largely Claytons, Eglingtons, and a handful of  Horners. All were having to recognise old friends, distant cousins not seen for years, having to remember their names, strike up a conversation (or continue one abandoned several decades ago) and make themselves heard over the hubbub of a hundred East Anglians (mainly Norfolk folk) all competing to be heard. As I am known to be deaf I didn't have to compete to be heard, so could get on with enjoying the grub and bubbly, although poor Ann had to field off the more determined enquiries, or gain my attention (usually by hacking my shins under the table) to answer questions. One of the more interesting ones was how old did a clock have to be to be worthy of the attention of an antiquarian horologist (i.e.  ME). We started off with the assertion that the clock which needed attention was of first world war date and therefore had to be a bona fide antique. I pooh-poohed  that one and fought the date backward to the Napoleonic wars, refusing to be interested in anything much after that date. I find it pays to be firm, especially with old acquaintances, and distant relations, who will then argue on much the same terms what is considered to be a reasonably fair fee within a family. This discussion was enjoyed by all, not least me.

Needless to say, a thoroughly good time was had by all of us. In the normal way of things this sort of family get-together-discussion and exchange of news, only takes place immediately after funerals, so it was good to enjoy each other's company at something as cheerful as an eightieth birthday celebration. I don't suppose anyone reads 'Tom Brown's Schooldays' nowadays, but I seem to remember, somewhere in the early chapters, Thomas Hughes describing how 'the old Browns' enjoyed  a good argumentative  discussion at just such a family get-together. People don't alter much over the centuries, do they?

                                    Good night all.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015


 I think that Crowbard and Rog have sorted out my problem regarding the folding blunderbuss for me. Above is a photo of the nearside of the blunderbuss with the belt hook showing. The belt hook looks (and works) like an enlarged fountain pen clip.

                                                   Picture 2.
This picture shows your blogger with the gun clipped to his belt, and folded so the whole weight hangs below the belt. I got a bit muddled when putting this blog entry together. Pictures four and  three go together, and show the gun, straight, hanging from my belt, then covered by my raincoat; the whole thing looking (and feeling) very bulky, with only the top button done up.
                                                   Picture 3.

                                                   Picture 4.
                                                   Picture 5.

Pictures two and five, showing the gun folded (2) and clipped to my belt; and then with the gun in the same position with my raincoat over it, completely buttoned.  It works well, and as Crowbard remarks, it only works  well when supported by the belt hook, and the gun folded.


                                                                 Thank you, gentlemen, it's always interesting to experiment with these devices, and find out how they were meant to work; during the (usually) short time that they are in my possession.


Monday, 29 June 2015


The blunderbuss illustrated above is one I bought last week. It is not, in one sense, a 'mystery object'. But there is one feature of it that I do not really understand.

And that is the fact that, as you can see, it fold in the middle. I have seen this feature before in Italian guns; but in the sixty years I have been collecting antique guns, this is the first gun with this feature that I have ever owned.

Here is a close-up of the wrist of the gun. The button on top of the wrist is pressed and the gun folds up like a Japanese Sumo wrestler struck smartly in the solar plexus by  a bigger rival.

This picture shows the other slightly unusual feature - the elliptical muzzle; but I can see the advantage of this:- if you are being charged by a straight line of criminally inclined miscreants, then the gun, instead of throwing the circle of bullets that a round muzzle would give,  presumably  would throw a longer horizontal pattern, and bring down more wrong-uns than the round muzzled gun.
However, I can see very little advantage to a folding butt, except possibly that of packing the gun away in a smaller space in times of peace?????
The gun was made around 1750 by P. Lorandi, probably in the Tosco Emilian area of Italy. A pair of pistols by this maker are preserved in the Stibbert Museum in Florence.

Any suggestions as to the advantages of this design would be welcome, although if Rog and Crowbard would restrain themselves to within  the bounds of possibility that might be a help- although - no, go to it chaps - I withdraw that last proviso. ALL suggestions fairly gratefully received.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Saturday (2).

Let's try again. This started on Thursday when Ann answered our 'phone and a Germanic sounding voice said , "Ann, Zis is Benjamin, und my grandfarser has asked me to England  to telephone, and tell you he there is, and may he come and you and Mike to visit?"  I don't think I can keep up this German accent, it too much like is to 'Allo 'Allo........ and not only that but it's catching, so I think I'd better to my standard English revert.  I must also go back forty years to the mid seventies when the male voice choir with which I sung basso profundo was asked to go and stay with the Detmold Police Choir in Germany, and with the assistance of the 'Blues and Royals' military band (who were then stationed in Detmold) give a series of concerts (I seem to remember that at the time this was to help, support, and generally encourage our entry into the Common Market).  Ann and I were billetted with Friedhelm, the above photographed gentleman, and his late wife Karen. He too sung basso profundo, but with a wider range than I ever had. To cut things short we took to each other, became firm friends, and have remained in contact ever since. As far as I'm concerned it was about the only good thing, so far, to have come out of the Common Market idea.

The above photo is of his present partner, Erika, His wife Karin having died some years ago.

Above is Ann in her usual corner.

The two of them turned up about one o'clock today, and we partook of a salad and cold meats lunch (but with hot boiled new potatoes, which always seems to me to turn a cold-meats lunch into a hot lunch) followed by fruit and then cheese.
We hadn't seen Friedhelm for  two or three years, so catching up using his eleven words of English, and my seven German words, took a long time, but was thoroughly enjoyable. Ann took the above photo just before they left at about four thirty. Isn't it odd that with some friends, even after a long gap, the threads can be picked up immediately in a very relaxed manner?

By the way (if any of my family are reading this) as he was leaving Friedhelm asked me to give his very warm regards to all of you, naming you all by name, and in order of seniority.  He really is a good chap.


This blog entry is really for the information of our friends Sue and David. In that the above pictured hydrangea shrub was given to us  (by Sue and David) on our fiftieth wedding anniversary two years ago. It's come through the last two winters looking fit and healthy and is now about to bloom again. Thank you Sue and David.

Another view of our garden looking summery.

 Meant to do a rather longer blog entry, but the machine is playing up a bit (it seems to be reluctant to take more than about four photos  for any one entry) so will come back a bit later and try it with the second half of today's entry.