Saturday, 30 January 2010
Senior daughter Sarah (and Ruby) on her front doorstep this morning. After breakfast Mikey took Guy to a football match in which Guy (10) was playing, and the rest of us went into Milton Keynes to do some shopping. Then back to Sarah's, had coffee and Sarah and I got on with the Telegraph 'Prize' crossword. When Mikey and Guy returned they both looked a bit sheepish and, after questioning, admitted that they didn't quite know which team had won. Guy's team had scored the most goals, but the match had been abandoned after a punch up involving two of the fathers and the referee!!!!. Sounds fun; rather wished I'd gone to the match with the blokes! With Mikey's assistance finished the crossword, then had lunch (grilled sausages and a hot potato dish involving herbs, potatoes and creme fraish - very good). Followed by a choice of puddings. I had an Eccles cake (pastry containing dried fruit and spice, Lori). Then drove home, arriving about 4.30 p.m. Been a good, slightly hectic, break. Good night all.
Luxurious bed at B&B, which proved very comfortable (both of us slept well). Went to further antiques centre, and bought brass doorknocker -for us- not business. Then drove down to Sussex to pick up two bronze swivel cannon that I purchased a few weeks ago. Took friend Jim out to lunch at local pub. Very good food. Top end of the 'pub grub' market. Then on road and drove to Sarah's, Roads not too bad but much congestion on M25, junctions 13 to 16. Then up the M1, arriving at Sarah's about 6 p.m. on Friday. Lovely to see them all.
Stopped off in Berkshire. Went to an Antique shop (regular source of supply for us when in that area) and bought some pewter and brassware. Went on to very pleasant 'Bed and Breakfast' establishment. Had nice large room with en suite bathroom. Above photo is of blogger relaxing in corner of bedroom.
On Thursday last went and did my two hours shift of Church minding/office work in St. Mary's Church. Ann drove into town at 11.30 a.m., picked me up, and we set out on our journey down to Sussex. Stopped a few miles from home to take the above picture. A field was being ploughed and a flock of seagulls were busy on the new ploughed land to see if anything edible turned up. Stopped at the junction of the A12 and the M25 (about one p.m.) for a sandwich and a cup of (flasked)tea.
Ann's calling me to supper, so more later.
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
On our way home there was a lovely sunset. We stopped to buy a few vegetable and eggs at our local farm shop, and came out to find the sunset had intensified, so stopped again a few hundred yards further on (near a local dewpond) to take photoes, one of which is illustrated above. Got home about five - still more or less daylight. Evening are just beginning to pull out. Goodnight all.
Today we motored into Bury St. Edmund's, where we had new brake linings put on the car. Then we drove into the town and met David and Jo. Above photo is of the Abbey Gate on Angel Hill (the two small figures on the right of the photo are Ann and Jo). We then walked over to the Cathedral Refectory for lunch. This is a self-service restaurant, which has excellent tradional food. The four of us got a table laid for five, but this was alright because, just before we started eating, David, our ex Dean came in. He got himself a sandwich, and we waved to him to come and join us, which he was glad to do, especially as the restaurant was now filling up. Introductions were made, and all the local news was exchanged. The two Davids got on very well. Just as David (Dean) was leaving Pam (who lives just round the corner from us) came in, and looked round the now crowded restaurant for a vacant seat. David stopped to greet her, then pointed out the now spare seat at our table, so we waved Pam over to join us. This time (brother in law) David and Pam got on very well, they both being confirmed globe trotters. Altogether a very sociable lunch, and rather confirming Lori Skoog's repeated criticism of us as 'social butterflies' !!! (only kidding, Lori. I know it's not really a criticism). After lunch Ann and Jo went off shopping, so Dave and I pottered round the town for a bit, and eventually went to the Angel Hotel (where we'd arranged to meet the ladies when they'd done shopping). Went into the main lounge there and met our fellow townsfolk Bob and Liz (who'd been entertaining their family there) just vacating a table near the fireplace (began to feel that the world and his wife were spending the day in Bury St. Edmund's). Dave and I appropriated the table and a sofa then sat and chatted to Bob for a while. After Bob rejoined his family, we ordered a pot of tea, and relaxed in front of the log fire (which the waiter replenished with logs when he brought the tea tray in). The ladies arrived about twenty minutes later, so we ordered more tea, then drowsed and chatted in front of the log fire for a while, before heading for home. More in a min - so don't go away.
Monday, 25 January 2010
As you can see from the above photo, today we went to a funeral. It was the funeral of an old friend, Arthur Runnacles. An old friend in every sense - he was ninety two. I knew him because, for the thirty five years that I sang with a male voice choir, Arthur was the piano accompanist to the choir. Although really a church organist, he was a superb accompanist. He had an impish sense of fun, and would occasionally deliberately play the wrong introduction to a piece of music we were about to sing, then at the the last moment change seamlessly to the correct piece and lead us, provided the conductor had kept up with him, into the right song. Seven years ago our choir was invited to take part in a series of concerts in Gothenburg (in Sweden) and Arthur, despite then being eighty-five years old, very sportingly accompanied us. At one concert the organ loft was at the top of a vertical ladder, and Arthur scrambled up it like a squirrel. Before the second world war Arthur besides being the church organist also kept the village Post Office. When war was declared he enlisted and saw action all over the place, including driving a tank in North Africa. After the war he went back to being the village Postman (and Postmaster) for the rest of his working life. He and Jean were approaching their sixty eighth wedding anniversay. He was, in every sense, a gentle man. About fifteen members of his old choir turned up at the funeral to give him a rousing send off, and afterwards a lady churchgoer said to me how lovely it was to hear so many robust male voices increasing and deepening the usual volume of the hymns. It was a pleasure, and a privilege, to have known him.
Sunday, 24 January 2010
Thursday, 21 January 2010
When I got home at around twelve thirty p.m. I found the table was laid for four, and Ann told me that our friends (and fellow dealers) Keith and Jill had 'phoned and were coming to lunch. Ann had nipped into town and purchased mushrooms. She then made chicken and mushroom soup, using some of yesterday's left-over roast chicken, followed by cheddar and stilton cheese and biscuits. We then had coffee and the last of the Christmas cake. Ann said it was only a 'scratch' lunch, but we all thought it was a very good one. Jill and Keith are exhibiting at a good antique fair next week, and felt they were a little short of stock, so after lunch we withdrew to the withdrawing room, and business resulted, in that they purchased (between them) four snuff boxes and a nice (complete) brass tinder box. Altogether a very pleasant and civilised Way of doing business.
Must go. I'm being called to supper.
The above photo of part of my healthy breakfast this morning is to encourage friend 4Ds in his dietting. The above healthy breakfast was (Ann says) along the lines of the Atkins Diet, and was complemented by a cup of redbush tea and an apple and an orange. 'Very restrained, Michael', I'm sure all my readers will be murmuring. After breakfast walked to St. Mary's where I was doing my weekly two hour stint of Church minding. Fairly busy two hours for once in a way. We've been having problems with the clock bell which is mounted externally, on the steeple. This bell, one of the earliest bells still in use in the country (cast around 1280) has lately developed a distressing habit of going 'g-donk' instead of going boi-oi-oi-oing, as it should. Two horological workmen turned up unannounced and asked for the tower key. A few moments clock-talk (as between fellow antiquarian horologists) soon convinced me that they were the genuine article, and they got on with climbing up to the clock bell on a series of ladders they had bought with them, whilst I got on with locating the tower key (which is not kept in the Church for 'security reasons'). When I'd managed to telephonically locate the Churchwarden (who was underneath his car, which was now in pieces) and he'd tidied himself up, and caught a 'bus into town, I went outside and bellowed the glad tidings up the steeple to the workmen, that the key was on its way. They came down and told me that they'd located and identified the problem with the bell. It turns out that the trouble lies with the pigeons who live in and around the bell. They are foolish birds and never get used to the fact that the bell is going to strike. Or so it seems, in that when it strikes they all say "Coo!!!" simultaneously and very loudly, and fly out of the bell in unison and astonishment. It also transpires that during their many years of residence in and around the bell, they have clogged it up with potential building materials and, of course, pigeon pooh. All of which has interfered unfavourably with the bell's resonance. They (the workmen not the pigeons) were very glad to see the Churchwarden and the tower key. When I left, just after midday, work was progressing favourably on the bell. More blog to follow shortly.
Sunday, 17 January 2010
Still life of bowl of fruit.
Been a pretty good weekend. Yesterday - scrabble club in afternoon- won first game, four of us playing. Lost next two games, one of them very close indeed, less than twenty points between the four of us, whoever got out first was obviously going to win, and it was Phyllis. She is, I think, our best player in the club. Yesterday evening we had a New Year Party in St. Mary's Church. We had a shared meal -everyone brought something - and it was a very good spread of (mainly) home made foodstuffs -very good indeed. Entertainment provided before and after the meal, all done by church members. Some very good singing, 'Lily Marleine' by one of our choir sopranoes, a Comic version of the Yellow Idol to the North of Katmandu (Ann's Grandfather's old solar topee was borrowed for this), a series of jokes (many of them of serious antiquarian interest) was told by one of our Churchwardens, etc. etc., Oh yes, and I'd been called upon to recite Marriott Edgar's 'Albert and the Lion', which I did rather Stanley Holloway style. I brought this on myself last summer(or perhaps the one before that) by reciting it (extempore, if that's the word) late one evening at a garden party, when I was somewhere between a quarter and a third sloshed. Still it couldn't have been too bad then, for a repeat performance to be requested for last night's party. It went quite well.
Today has been a lovely, sunny day (temperature around forty degrees Fahrenheit). Made a nice change.
I've just read this and decided that (for the benefit of any colonial readers- whom I hope I shan't shock) I probably ought to define the word 'sloshed'. It equates to kaylied (not sure of the spelling for that) or half seas over. Or, to put it another way it indicates that my intake of liquid refreshment had been done 'not wisely, but too well'. Hope that clarifies the matter. Goodnight all.
Friday, 15 January 2010
Re film 'Last Chance Harvey':- Ann loved it and I quite enjoyed it. Some lovely shots of London at its best. Fairly straightforward plot. Oh, and a neat little unexpected sub plot involving heroine's dotty mother and Polish neighbour.
Pleasant evening out. Our film club has rather taken off. Must have been about two hundred people there tonight. Place was almost full.
Pleasant evening out. Our film club has rather taken off. Must have been about two hundred people there tonight. Place was almost full.
Been a nice sociable day so far. Walked into town for coffee and croissants in st. Mary's. This idea has really taken off. Coffee area crowded. On way home stopped in Market place and bought a loaf of French bread from a young French vendor. Not a full grown Frog, but well out of his tadpolehood. He said he'd baked the bread last night, and it was tomato, olive, and cheese flavoured. It was two and a half times the price of an ordinary loaf. Ann normally makes our bread,but as we were running out of time, and had friends coming to lunch, we decided that the French loaf was a good idea. Ann then walked into town to buy spinach to make soup for lunch, and I walked home to lay table, etc. Friends Brenda and Warren arrived at midday (as did another friend Hamish, to drop off wall clock whose pendulum needs rebuilding). Spinach soup was, as always, first class; But French bread was disappointing, both texture and taste being rather bland (Ann's is infinitely better). Gave them a bottle of Neisteiner to go with it. Then a cheese board; mainly the last of the Christmas cheeses. Then a cherry pie and custard (of which only Warren and meself partook). Then coffee. The above photo (which I only remembered to take when lunch was over) shows Warren and Brenda, and the remains of lunch.
After this we adjourned to the drawing room and sat round the fire till just after 3p.m. Have known Brenda and Warren since all our children were young, so conversation is easy and general.
This evening we plan to go to the Cinema Club and see a film called (I think) Last Chance Harvey. Will probably report back if it's any good, and even more probably if it's not.
Thursday, 14 January 2010
Last Monday when friends Rodney and Ann came to lunch, Rodney bought my Ann these daffodils (then in bud). They are coming out nicely now and the scent is lovely. A real breath of spring. I know it's too early to be saying that, but they're a nice reminder that it's on its way.
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
The above photo is of a clock movement I recently restored. The major problem was that a few years ago someone had liberally sprayed the innards with something like a penetrating oil, which had of course, then hardened into a sticky overall surface, which was impeding the clock movement badly. I had to strip the whole movement down to its individual parts, clean the lot and reassemble (plus doing a good deal of adjustment to the movement). I'm glad to report that it's now ticking away, striking the hours and telling the time and date. The maker of this clock (his name's in the arch of the dial) lived about twenty miles from here, and died in 1754 at the age of 88. Wouldn't it be good to make things that would still be ticking away two or three centuries after you had ceased to?
Monday, 11 January 2010
Above photo shows puddings. The one to the left is an apple and mincemeat pie. To its right is a traditional rice pudding (by special request of Rodney, whose favourite pudding it is, and who is shown in the background, smiling and presumably drooling in anticipation of said rice pudding). There is also a jug of cream in the photo which we had with the puddings. After this we had a cheese board consisting of various cheeses all left over from Christmas. There was some Stilton that was particularly good, being perfectly ripe. We then had coffee, during the consumption of which Ann and I (Rodney's Ann, not mine), completed the Daily Telegraph's last Saturday's Prize crossword puzzle between us. I do enjoy lingering over a meal. After they'd gone, Ann and I cleared up, and had a cup of tea. Now I must get on with some work. I have a half repaired grandfather clock awaiting my attention.
P.s. Heard from Lasse this morning that Ruth and the girls arrived home safely at about seven a.m. then went on to their respective schools. So all's well on the North -East front. Cheers All.
Friends Rodney and Ann had a light lunch with us today. They live a couple of miles from us in the next village. We gave them a starter of a small camembert cheese baked with cranberries, a main course of a kedgeree made with smoked haddock and cod; and a bottle of a white Bergundy, a Montagny with which I was not familiar (having been given it) but Rodney, who knows wines, being a retired vintner, had a look at the bottle before I opened it, and pronounced it to be a good one, which indeed it proved to be.
Above photo is of our dining table part laid for lunch.
See next blog for puddings, etc.
Sunday, 10 January 2010
The above photo is of the main road into Harwich on Friday afternoon. Yesterday I measured the snow here in several places and came up with an average depth of just over six inches. However it thawed all last night and has continued to do so today. The temperature is around 36 degrees F (weather wise I can only think in Fahrenheit) so perhaps the wintry spell may be near its end. Hope so anyway.
Friday, 8 January 2010
This is a photo of Freja, Tuva, and Ruth about to enter the Ferry Terminal (and look at that sky - more snow coming, we all thought). We had a good trip back, getting home just after 3 p.m. I should add that we stuck to the major roads each way (although it was at least twice the distance) because only the major roads have been gritted and many of the back roads are in a treacherous condition. So now we are Darby and Joan again, rather missing the youngsters, and we both find the house very quiet. Oh well. It's been a lovely 'Festive Season', a nice long Christmas.
Just been outside to check the temperature - it's 28 degrees Fahrenheit, and it's been snowing again. I think an early night would be in order, and perhaps hot water bottles ? Goodnight all.
Ruth and the girls spent this morning rushing round frantically packing up ready for their return to Sweden. After a quick lunch (just after twelve) consisting of a nourishing beef stew, with creamed potatoes, carrots, peas and leeks. This was followed by a pear sponge pudding with custard. We then loaded their luggage into the car, all climbed in, and drove to the Harwich Ferry terminal. Despite the snowy conditions (see above photo) the roads weren't too bad, and we made good time. We set out much earlier than we need have done, largely because Ruth wanted to be sure that Ann and meself could drive home in daylight. Given the weather conditions I could quite see her point; once the sun went down the roads would quickly become icy, and more snow was expected (and came). More blog in a moment.
Thursday, 7 January 2010
Had a heavy day yesterday - set off to Long Melford (antique fair) at 7a.m. Did fair - set off home at 1 p.m. because of bad weather and bad roads - then taught granddaughter Tuva the game of scrabble in the evening. As a result of heavy day yesterday overslept this morning (can't remember the last time I did that) and awoke at 8.40 a.m. this morning. Which meant that I had to scramble to get to Church by 10 a.m. to do my weekly stint of two hours manning the church. On my way took the above photo of our Deanery Tower. It was completed in 1495 (the tower- not taking the photo). Very quiet in Church. Owing to the snow only the Dean and our organist looked in. Just before noon Ann, Ruth, and the girls arrived and I took them out to lunch in town. Home at about 2.30, then pottered in the workshop, and on the computer. Light supper of cold meats, etc., then a four handed game of scrabble - Ann, Ruth, meself, and Tuva. Good close game. Shan't tell you who won, modesty forbids, and it wasn't by many points anyway. Everyone has just pottered off upstairs to bed. I've just nipped downstairs to the workshop- ostensibly to log off the computer - in reality to write a quick blog. Which I've just done - so - Goodnight all.
Monday, 4 January 2010
Photo of the gable end of a house at the far end of our High Street, the main beam of which is carved with the date 1649, the year that we topped Charles I.
Been a pleasant day. Ann's middle brother, David, and his wife Jo, drove over and had lunch with us. It was good to see them, and they were glad to be able to see Ruth and the girls before they go back. Just after they'd left, our good friend David Parker 'phoned to say he was home from hospital (remission for good conduct, probably). It was good news anyway; he's been having a rough time lately. Ann's just gone up to bed, so I must climb the wooden hill, too. Goodnight all.