Monday, 28 February 2011
Early start this morning for 8.30 a.m. appointment at my dentist's. She did three fillings, no anaesthetic, and very little discomfort, and I was out by about ten past nine. Been pottering since then, to be ready for Long Melford on Wednesday. At about mid-day our friend Val called with the above begonia as a wedding anniversary present. Anniversary was last week and Val has called several times since then, but as we were busy last week, and then weekended in the midlands, today was the first time she'd found us in. She came in and had a coffee with us, and a long natter. I don't know how she fits in as much as she does, but then she's twenty years younger than we are. This afternoon knocked off for a twenty minute zizz which turned into an hour and a half's sleep. Been working hard since then, but feel there's not much to show for it. Bed time now though and I wish a very good night to all my readers.
Sunday, 27 February 2011
Ann playing with newish (17 weeks old) Great Niece Lottie.
are all gifts of a year or so ago from Judy's garden (I should, I suppose, say from Carl and Judy's garden ) but I'm sure Carl will forgive me saying that Judy
is the gardener of the partnership - garden designed and executed by her, although he does the heavy work - chopping trees down, filling in ponds, etc.
And lastly I must show you the proud grandparents, Judy and Carl, playing with Lottie (Charlotte really but she's become Lottie and it seems to suit her).
Once again, Judy and Carl, thankyou very much for a very enjoyable and completely relaxing weekend.
Love, Ann and Mike.
P.s. I didn't sleep at all in the car on the way home, Judy, so there!!! It took us just over two hours (including a stop for petrol).
Thursday, 24 February 2011
Below, after our morning coffee, Ann reading the daily paper in the garden.
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Today is our forty-eighth wedding anniversary. We've been out for an evening meal at our favourite eating place, the Swan at.......... no, I don't think I'll tell you- you'll all go there to eat, and then the next time we want to reserve a table there, they'll be fully booked. We've just had an excellent meal there; it was fairly busy for the Swan- four tables occupied - nine customers during the evening. Normally the landlord cooks and the landlady doubles as waitress and barmaid, but this evening they'd taken on a waitress (nice girl), obviously victims of their own success ! Now feeling pleasantly replete, and ready for me bed. So - Goodnight all. God bless you.
Tuesday, 22 February 2011
This morning I was in Church doing a bit of tidying up and restocking to the second hand book stall. Ann (who'd been doing a little shopping) met me, and as we walked through the churchyard on our way home, Ann spotted the above wild violets in flower on the South side of the Church. They are the first we've seen this year and are well ahead of their usual time of flowering. Is this a good sign of an early spring ? I do hope so.
Monday, 21 February 2011
We drove into Ipswich this morning to deliver and set up a very fine and confident North Country Grandfather clock (mid eighteenth century) I've been working on since just before Christmas (well, off and on). Once in situ we set it in beat, and it seemed happy. On the way home we made a detour to have a look at Sproughton Water Mill. It's been surrounded by scaffolding for some years now and becoming steadily more derelict. Recently a friend in the Spoughton area told us that work had finally been started on it, and so it has. It would have been a shame to see it collapse into its own mill stream, as seemed probable at one stage.
Took below photo of one of the hellebore plants this afternoon. The other one is a dusky red. The old name for them is Christmas Roses, although it's fairly unusual to see it in flower at Christmas. They're making a nice show at present, together with various other plants that are just beginning to flower.
Got a thirty-hour Norfolk longcase (by Samuel Buxton of Diss) waiting to be reroped, so, if you'll excuse me, I must go and get on.
Sunday, 20 February 2011
Thursday, 17 February 2011
This evening's supper - gammon steak with roast vegetables. To the left of it is a sauceboat of 'a mild pepper sauce to go with the gammon' - I quote it's creator, Ann. They went well together. For pudding we shared an apple pie that Phoebe had given us on Tuesday to bring home with us. I would have realised that Ann's mother had taught Phoebe to cook even if I hadn't previously known it - it was a superb apple pie, eaten with custard and cream. After supper we played a game of scrabble which Ann won by an easy fifty points. Since then I've consoled meself with a small scotch and water and am now about ready for bed. I wish you all a very good night.
Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Yesterday we motored across to Little port in Cambridgeshire to Ann's brother Michael's home, where we stopped, took photoes on front doorstep (top picture), changed me tie to a black one, got into Mick's car and went on six or seven miles north to Welney.
Went to the village Church for the funeral of an old family friend, Margaret Wilson. Got there early, and found ourselves a pew about halfway along the Church. A few minutes later a small family occupied the pew in front of us, one of them being a very elderly lady. Mick knew them better than we did (though if you grow up in a village you know the family faces) and introduced us, upon which the old lady shook my hand and said "Hello Michael. I went to school with your mother", then told me it would soon have been my mother's birthday, and how old she would have been, had she lived longer. For the benefit of Crowbard, the old lady was Linda, the last surviving daughter of Ernie Smith. After the service we walked across to the Lamb and Flag for a quick drink, and in the corridor met a very large and dignified old lady (built rather on the lines of the Albert Hall, and apparently of much the same vintage). She had a handsome, well chiselled face, and looked thoroughly distinguished. She, too, said "Hello Michael", then in the same breath "you and I used to play in the fields together when we were younger". This left me in something of a dilemma, as I'd no idea who she was, and the next few minutes took all my diplomatic skills to reply to her remark, and find out who she was, without revealing too clearly my complete non-recognition of her identity. I got there, though; and then remembered her very well (she was in fact some three or four years younger than I, and presumably still is). I challenge Crowbard to identify the lady on my description of her, always remembering that being nearer to her in age, he probably knew her rather better than I did. It was a strange sort of day. On leaving the pub I ran into another old friend (a bloke this time) who was an old school friend I hadn't seen in fifty odd years. I did recognise him, but only because I'd been talking to his daughter a bit earlier, She'd told me who she was, and who's daughter she was, then admitted to having had a bit of a pash for our son Jonathon when they were at junior school in the village; when I saw her next she was with her father. (Must remember to pull Jonathan's leg about this when I next see him). Then on to Phoebe's at Outwell for a very traditional tea (bless her). Back to Mick's, changed ties again, and out to supper at an Indian restaurant that he often frequents. Returned to his home, where we spent the night.
This morning in two cars to Bury St. Edmund's where we met up with Ann's other two brothers and their wives. To the refectory where we lunched (see above photo taken outside the Refectory). We then split up and strolled about Bury doing a little light shopping, and then met up again at three p.m. at the Angel Inn, shown in photo below, where we ordered a pot of tea for all of us, and Tim explained final details of Gran's small estate. Finally broke up the tea party just before five, and got back to our own home at sixish. Both feeling pleasantly tired, but have enjoyed what feels like a couple of days off. Feel as if I'm now typing like a light machine gun to fit whole, rather peculiar two days, in.
Monday, 14 February 2011
Yesterday afternoon we picked up a neighbour, Doris, drove to the top of our town, and picked up another friend, Julia, then drove back to Hilary's house, near the Church, where we'd all been invited to Hilary's birthday/scrabble tea. Hilary had got together two tables of four each (family, friends, and neighbours) in adjoining rooms. We had two good games before tea. We could hear peals of laughter from the next room (mainly, I think Eileen and Ann admiring each other's inventive spelling). We congratulated ourselves on being at the quiet and well behaved table (sour grapes of course). Tea was at the dining table, and consisted of sandwiches, biscuits, a sponge cake, and a fine birthdayday cake, which turned out to be one of the cakes Ann had made for the pre Christmas bazaar. Hilary, I remembered, had 'reserved' one of these. She'd kept it, and rearranged the decoration so that it was now a birthday cake (and a jolly good one ,too). Hilary said -"As it was one of Ann's cakes, I knew it would keep till my birthday." After tea we had another game of scrabble, then ran the ladies (and ourselves) home, getting in just before seven. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.
This evening, for supper, Ann made a 'five spice' beef casserole, followed by the above pudding. It smelled delicious, and when I asked what it was, Ann said "Well, it's almost a Queen's pudding, except I haven't put a meringue top to it". "What's it called ?" I asked. "I should think it's a Queen Ann's pudding", says Ann. I think the name might stick.
Good night All.
Saturday, 12 February 2011
Yesterday we went in the morning to cafe church, and enjoyed our usual coffee and croissant. Then Ann went off to do her weekly cleaning stint in the Church, and I spent about an hour cleaning, tidying, and getting out fresh books for the book stall/reading area. On the way home took the above snap of a corner of the Churchyard with snowdrops and aconites. In the evening we walked to the Cinema club in the Ansell Centre and saw a film called Ghost Writer. Not a bad film, but a bit cheerless, and moral seems to be- never trust ANY politician. Rather stating the obvious I think.
Wednesday, 9 February 2011
The below photo shows our guests, who live fairly near us (well, within a mile of us). The couple on the left and right of the picture are John and Maude, and the couple in the centre of the picture are Gloria and John. When Maude and John first moved into our town four or five years ago and we were introduced I remarked to Maude on what a nice unusual name Maude is these days, Maude replied -"Well, it's easy to remember because everyone used to have an Aunt Maude, and I'm everyone's Aunt Maude". I'm not always good at remembering names but after that I've always remembered hers. She's a quiet lady with a lovely, dry, sense of humour. Gloria and John have a daughter and grandchildren in Norway, and as we have a daughter and grandchildren in Sweden, it gives us a common interest. Both Johns are very widely travelled in Europe, so had plenty to talk about, and I think I can safely say that a very good time was had by all.
Tuesday, 8 February 2011
The next photo shows the playing field of the local junior school taken from our back bedroom window by Ann earlier this evening - and a fine evening it was too. This is only going to be a short blog I'm afraid, as we've an early start tomorrow - 7.30 a.m. service, I'm 'Deaconing' and Ann's reading both lessons. We're also giving two couple of friends lunch tomorrow, so it'll be a busy morning. Goodnight All.
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Just before setting out to Church this morning Ann got a panic 'phone call from one of our churchwardens asking her if she would 'serve and administer' at this morning's Eucharist. Ann agreed, of course, which meant a quick gallop to Church for us, instead of the relaxed stroll we had planned. Still , it meant I had plenty of time to buy some stamps, post a letter, and get to the choir practice. We'd been invited to lunch at a friend's house near the Church (the house to the left of the above photo) so after the service we strolled round to above house (where our friend Hilary, who lives in the same street, was a fellow guest) and joined them in a pre lunch sherry. The main course of lunch was a very traditional roast beef with yorkshire pudding and all the usual vegetables. For the pudding course our hostess had made a very fine apple and pear crumble, and as she was serving it she handed Ann a plastic tub from the freezer labelled chocolate icecream, and asked Ann to open it saying "I think this will go rather well with the pudding". "I don't think it will, dear." says Ann. "Oh, why not?" says our hostess. "Because there's a hand written label on the lid saying Curried Parsnip Soup", says Ann. Our hostess then remembered making the soup and re using the ice cream tub to store it. I'm afraid we pulled her leg mercilessly over it. However , she produced a jug of cream from her fridge which made a better combination with her excellent fruit crumble. We wondered what would have happened if Ann hadn't spotted the label. I think, if our hostess hadn't tried any of the 'chocolate ice cream' the three guests would have eaten it without making any comment. I hope we would anyway, although it would have tested our stiff upper lips to the limit.
You will notice that I have carefully refrained from using our hostess's name to avoid any possibility of embarassing her.
We then had coffee in the drawing room where we also played two very well faught games of scrabble. Altogether a very pleasant lunch and afternoon. I'm afraid it will be long remembered as theday of the peculiar pudding. Eventually walked home at about four thirty, and on the way home took the below photo of a lovely sunset. Must go and do some work now, so will bid you all a rather early- Goodnight.
Saturday, 5 February 2011
Took this photo of a vast Tudor (or pre Tudor) barn a fortnight ago when out walking with Ed, Jo, and Darcy. Looking at this one I can quite understand why people want to convert them to homes and live in them; though of all the converted ones we've been shown, we've only seen two that we'd quite like to live in.
Today has been the usual Saturday, spent this morning pottering in the workshop, then after lunch to Scrabble Club for my usual three games. Barbara (our organiser) asked if I'd mind not playing at my usual table, as we have a new lady who is learning the game, and she didn't want her eaten alive by some of our more voracious players. Started out as a three handed game, when someone came in late, so we took a quick average of the three scores, awarded the latecomer the average and dealt her in. The newcomer really was just learning the game, but with a little occasional help aquitted herself quite well. I think she'll make a good player.
Ann walked to meet me out of the scrabble club, so home and a cuppa. Had another go at the Telegraph Prize Crossword. In case Stig of the Dump is reading this, if you've completed the bottom right hand corner, please give me ring as I've still two to do in that area. Swapsies perhaps (?). This week's crossword has been rather easier than the three preceding weeks, so I hope they've changed the previous setter for something human!!!!!!!!! More later perhaps.
Thursday, 3 February 2011
Been a good, busy day today. Spent most of it finishing off the above quaker clock. I've been working on it for some weeks (on and off), but now it's up and going. It was made about two hundred and fifty years ago, and is one of a small group of fairly primitive clocks made (as the name suggests) by Quaker clock makers. The dials had no engraved decoration (something to do with graven images I should think), and they were made as simple wall clocks, although one very occasionally turns up in a (usually very plain) wooden long case- made a few years after the clock, it's thought, when the owner could afford to have a case made for it. The earlier ones were usually anonymous, it's said because the Quakers felt that it was a vanity to put their name to a clock. This clock was made (in all likelihood) in North Oxfordshire, most probably by a member of the Gilkes family. They are simple little clocks, and not of great value, but they do look well hanging from a beam in a cottage or small farmhouse. This one now has a replacement minute hand (made by your blogger).
I suppose you're all wondering about the (slightly Christmassy) cake in the first photo. It's a bit of a story, but a friend of ours spent Christmas in hospital (on a life support machine part of the time). She's now home and making progress, but when Ann visited her the other day she said that the one thing she'd really missed out on over Christmas was having no Christmas cake. So Ann made her a belated one and I decorated it this morning. Ann took it to her this afternoon, and she was very pleasantly surprised. And pleased.
Tuesday, 1 February 2011
As you can see daffs are in the shops again. Bought these for Ann about a fortnight ago. They were in bud then. Took three or four days to come out, and they'll collape and die any day now, but for around ten days they've looked lovely and the scent has been superb. Got our friend Liz Alport staying over (Long Melford tomorrow), and she's taking us out for a meal shortly, to our local Indian restaurant. It's housed in some lovely old (15th century) weavers' cottages, and is called, very aptly Weavers' Spice. Will let you know if it's good or not. We have used it once before soon after it opened, when it did an 'eat all you want' Sunday Lunch. It was not very good then. I suspect it was using up all the leftovers from the previous week. But various friends have told us since then how good it is, so we thought we would give it another whirl, and have booked a table at Liz's request.