Sunday, 30 December 2012
Christmas seems to have gone on and on this year. It started with a pre Christmas supper at Brenda and Warren's on the Friday before Christmas, and ended yesterday morning with a breakfast at Hollow Trees farm Shop for five of us:- Ann and I , Hilary, Gloria and John.
The day after Boxing Day (Thursday) our friend Audrey had open house for about twenty people and provided 'drinks and nibbles' - and pretty solid nibbles they were too - mainly leftover Christmas fare I should think - excellent.
The next day, Friday, Hilary had an 'At Home' and absolutely excelled herself, providing drinks, mince pies, then a very good, hot, lunch (Hilary described it as a 'light lunch' which didn't do it justice). Lunch went on till just after three, when the party started to break up. Ann and I had been helping to ferry some of the older guests to and fro, and, while this was going on, Hilary hissed at us to come back when we'd done ferrying, and we'd have a three handed game of scrabble to end the party. We accepted and Ann won the first game and I the second. I told Hilary I was lost in admiration of her sense of duty as a hostess in letting her guests win, at which she burst out laughing, and confessed she'd had rotten hands in both games.
Today, after morning service (which was a fiasco- don't ask) then lunch, we motored across to Risby, where there is an Antique Centre, at which I purchased a rather nice pewter quart measure. The top picture is of a wayside cottage on our route. The next two are of a farmhouse and barn, on Risby village green. As I said before (I think) - Been a lovely Christmas.
Good night All.
Thursday, 27 December 2012
All the photos were taken yesterday (Boxing Day). Two of our children were unable to make it; Ruth and her two girls, who live in Sweden and come home every other Christmas, and Kerry, who lives in March and had laryingitis, which meant that her two, Laura and Tom, didn't make it either. Our other three turned up, with their families, and granddaughter Amelia brought along (by invitation) her boyfriend/partner Marcus, so that we were sixteen in all (eighteen counting Ruby and Mango -Sarah's two spaniels). It was a lovely day; the table was laden with a buffet of Christmas leftovers mainly, and we spread ourselves over the ground floor to eat. I always like the way our grandchildren enjoy getting together with their cousins and swapping all the news.
Generally speaking (and not, I think, really by design) the youngsters sat round the kitchen/ dining room, and we 'grown ups' sat around the fire in the sitting room. The above photo was taken when I'd popped into the kitchen to replenish me plate, but was then called upon to answer a question about a previous Christmas, so sat down and did a bit of catching up myself.
The below picture was taken at tea time, when all the youngsters crowded into the sitting room to watch Granny cut up the Christmas cake.
This room is known variously as:- the sitting room, the drawing room, or the parlour (it was the bar-parlour we're told, when this place was an Inn).
By 6 o'clock, in view of the weather, driving rain, with some sleet, the family had headed homeward to, respectively, Wolverhampton, London, and Milton Keynes. Ann and I then sat by the fire ostensibly to read the books that son Jon had given us for Christmas, but in reality we sat and dozed, until the 'phone started ringing to tell us they were home safely.
It has been a lovely Christmas.
Tuesday, 25 December 2012
Went to 9a.m. Eucharist Service, during which heavy rain fell on Church roof with a noise like thunder. A couple sitting opposite to us in the choir stalls, told us on the way home (they live near us, so we were giving them a lift) that during the worst of the rain, it was coming THROUGH the roof onto them. Mem. must tell one of the churchwardens of this, so they can look for possible roof leakages. Got home and at ten fifteen the sun was out and the above pictured rainbow was showing (rather better than the picture indicates)over our garden. I don't ever remember seeing a rainbow on Christmas Day.
A friend of ours, Sylvia, came to lunch with us, and Ann surpassed herself with traditional Christmas fare, with, I'm glad to say, the exception of brussell sprouts, which is, I think, the one foodstuff I thoroughly dislike.
Took Sylvia home at a little after four p.m. In the evening the two of us played a game of scrabble. "How sad!" I seem to hear the grandchildren saying, "Poor old Granny and Pa; reduced to playing scrabble on Christmas Day" There are two answers to that. One is that we'll be seeing a good many of the grandchildren tomorrow, which we're both looking forward to. And the other answer is that if you look at the photo of our game, you will see something very unusual about it. Any serious scrabblers will spot instantly that ALL the triple word scores were used; and that's something else I can't remember seeing before.
Sunday, 23 December 2012
My apologies for not doing much in the way of bloggery this last week. It's not that there's nothing to report - rather the opposite, been an incredibly busy and social week. This afternoon we drove over to Bury St. Edmund's via Lavenham (see above snap through car windscreen).
Once in Bury went to the Angel Hotel where we met up with Ann's middle brother David (below snapshot is of Ann and David, taken in our usual alcove off the hotel lounge) and had tea. Half way through tea old friends Clive and Jill, who we hadn't seen for a few years, walked into the hotel lounge. They joined us at our table for a natter but couldn't persuade them to take tea with us, as they were meeting up with friends there. Still, had nicely time to pick up the threads before their friends arrived.
At 5.20ish walked across to the Cathedral for the carol service at six. Got seats towards the back of the cathedral, and listened to the service and joined in the singing of some of the carols. Their choir is magnificent, and it was a lovely service.
Got home a little after eight. Well past nine now, and I think I'm about ready to hit the sack.
Photo is of this year's Christmas cake. Made by Ann. She says it's a boiled (and baked I should add) fruit cake with chrystalised ginger , marzipaned, then iced, then turned over to me for decoration which I've just finished - different theme this year. Must cut this short, we're due at Church for short communion at mid day, at which Ann is serving, so must whizz off and change ready for it. More later, I hope.
Thursday, 20 December 2012
Took the two photies this morning just before we set off in the car. Drove into town to pick up Hilary, then motored over to a village about four miles out to attend a funeral. Thoroughly wet day. We all thought we might have problems in the lanes with flooding, but apart from splashing through an inch or so of water occasionally, got there safe and reasonably dry. Sue, whose funeral it was, and Ian her husband, live just off the High street of our town, but for the last year or so have worshipped at the village Church where Sue was buried today. Knew Sue reasonably well, Ian not so well, but as sometimes happens at funerals, learned more about Sue than we'd previously known, and ended up wishing we'd taken the trouble to get to know them better whilst Sue was still with us. But there, half of that regret can still be remedied! The lovely, plain little mediaeval Church was packed, and after the service Sue was interred in the small churchyard, with the rain still pouring down. Umbrellas everywhere. Ann and I had taken one each, and Hilary, and friend John shared the two umbrellas with us, which was about average. After the interment we all adjourned to the pub in the next village, where tea/coffee, sandwiches, etc, were served. Just before we left we chatted to Ian and learned why he and Sue worshipped in a small church a few miles from home. I learned a good deal today, one way and another. We must think about applying it now.
Sunday, 16 December 2012
Went up to supper about an hour ago, and found Ann had provided roast partridge (a favourite of mine). Sat down and started to dismember my bird (as above) and realised I had not photographed it. So seized the camera and remedied my error as seen. Partridge is one of the better game birds, and has the added advantage of size - one bird is just the right amount per person to my mind.
The pudding that followed was mince pie and custard, as shown below. Can't think of a better winter evening meal.
After the meal we had a game of scrabble at which I was thoroughly hammered, and didn't mind a bit in view of that supper.
Good night all.
Saturday, 15 December 2012
Been a quiet day. Above photo is of eggs Ann buys at a farm gate a couple of miles up the road. Lovely colour. When I was a boy I was always told that brown eggs are the best, being more nutritious. In Sweden breakfast eggs are invariably chalky white, and we were told that this is because white eggs are far more nutritious!!!!!! I wonder who starts these things?
Took the above photo of frozen silver birches on a river bank on Thursday at Nordelph (this is -or used to be- pronounced Nardle by the natives- it's in Norfolk, of which I'm a native).
Above is the clock I've been working on this week. It's an old acquaintance. It fell off the shelf where it lives (in Cambridgeshire) and sustained several minor, and one major, injury, which I've been attending to. It's now up and ticking, but I'm not altogether satisfied with it. We'll see. It's an anonymous, country made, English Regency bracket timepiece; i.e. it only shows the time on its dial - no strike work (but it has a fusee movement) . Built around 1830.
Scents of lamb and rosemary are drifting downstairs, so I'd better drift upstairs and make meself presentable for supper.
Thursday, 13 December 2012
This morning we motored across to Wisbech to see our accountant, and then to have a pub lunch with an old schoolmate and his wife. It was a gloriously sunny, but a very cold and frosty morning (really healthy weather), and as Ann was driving, I got a bit trigger happy with the camera and took the above four shots whilst driving through the Chase- Thetford Chase that is- although we went through Brandon rather than Thetford. Some places looked very wintry, then a mile further on, absolutely spring like. Got to Wisbech at about eleven fifteen, where Elizabeth (who has kept me on the straight and narrow with regard to book keeping for well over thirty years now) went through last years accounts with me. She's up to all the best wheezes with regard to keeping the taxman happy (and no one wants to give that poor chap more work than is absolutely necessary) whilst making sure that Michael is obeying all the rules. I took her a bunch of early daffs (yes, yes, I know I shall be paying her for her expertise, but these small gestures of gallantry ease the wheels of business - and we both like Elizabeth - she, in turn, does more than the call of duty demands, bless her). Left Elizabeth at around twelve thirty and drove round to the Blacksmith's Arms at Elm, where we met up with Roy and Janet. The place has been given a facelift and a new chef, and the differences are rather marked. While we were reading the menu Janet asked of a chicken dish "What does chargrilled mean?" and Ann replied "Burnt, I think." Which wasn't too far out. It seemed to mean that the chicken was cooked (probably boiled Ann said, who tried the dish) then branded on a grill. Generally the food was solid and satisfying. Nursery food, but welcome on a cold day. We left them at half past two (we left early to try and get home in daylight). Didn't succeed, but it didn't matter too much as the weather was milder and clearer than it had been for a day or so.
The below picture is of a building just outside Downham Market that has fascinated me since I first saw it as a boy, when it was in use as a barn. It is a mediaeval manor house, and is now not in use at all, which is rather a pity. It was built as a home, and should still be one. Ann's just gone up to bed after a busy day , and I feel every inclination to call it a day meself. So shall follow her up. Goodnight all.
P.s. to Crowbard.
Roy (who always asks after you) sends his kind regards.
Monday, 10 December 2012
Quick blog, really for the attention of Rog and Catherine (but especially the latter).
In view of your interest in cutlery, could you please identify the above second hand instruments which we have been reduced to using of late?
P.s. I do know what these are (more or less), and we haven't really been using them, well only the lower three, as cheese knives, etc., but thought you might be interested in seeing them.
Regards, Mike and Ann.
Sunday, 9 December 2012
Last Thursday night our friend Hilary's freezer packed up during the night and the contents started to thaw. Ann met her on Friday morning, and Hilary told Ann about the problem and gave her a couple of pork chops. Ann, of course wanted to pay her for them but Hilary said she couldn't possibly take anything for them as a week or so previously our butcher had a 'buy one, get one free' offer on pork chops, so Hilary had bought four of them at those rates, and these were the two free ones.
We had them for supper this evening, mine being pictured above. It is at the top of the picture covered in apple and onion sauce, and accompanied by mashed potatoes, boiled celery, carrots, and red cabbage. They were delicious. There is another happy ending to the story. Hilary went to our Electrical Goods shop, where they very kindly lent her another freezer whilst hers is being repaired. Both Hilary and Ann are retired nurses, one having been a Matron, and the other a Senior Ward Sister, and they both agreed that it doesn't do to refreeze some things, and "You can't be too careful with pork !"
Thursday, 6 December 2012
We walked into town this morning on various errands, and took the three photos on the way back. The above is of the King's Head, which has become almost completely a restaurant (albeit a quite good one) over the last few years.
Above is a snapshot of the George, which has remained a popular public house, although I believe bar meals are served. The pub sign ( worth enlarging) is a fairly spirited rendering of a portrait of his late Majesty King George the second- in half armour . I could quote you several derogatory rhymes about him (George the first was always reckoned vile - but viler George the second) but he does carry the distinction of being the last English King to have personally led his troops into battle (Dettingen, if memory serves - I must look it up). The building itself, of course, predates George's reign by about three centuries.
The snapshot below illustrates the character of our town. Often one of us will say "I'll just nip into town. Shan't be long", knowing that it is impossible to 'just nip into town' without meeting friends who will want to stop, chat, and exchange the town news and gossip; and this, of course, always takes longer than expected. The group in the doorway below are Ann, and our friends John and Milly, sheltering from the cold in a doorway whilst chattering happily. It's a lovely town. We've been here now for eighteen years, which is the longest we've lived anywhere, and I can quite see why.
Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Got up early this morning to go to Long Melford Antique Fair. When we were dressed and ready to start loading the car, we looked out and found that it was snowing heavily- the first snow of the winter. It had frozen slightly during the night, but the snow now falling (and settling) was composed of large, wet, clinging flakes. There was only an inch or so, but it had clung to everything, grass, trees, lawns and roads! Took the above photo, at just after seven a.m., through the nearside windscreen with Ann driving. Difficult to take a good photo in the dark from a moving car, but it gives some idea of the weather conditions.
Took the below photo fifteen minutes later, and well on our way to Long Melford.
When we got to the Fair and compared notes with some of the other dealers, we found that weather conditions varied considerably about our area. I think ours was about the worst hit area in East Anglia, although, listening to the wireless in the car, road conditions were bad in the Lowestoft area and on the A12 road, as far south as Chelmsford.
Had a pretty good fair. Bought well, and indeed sold fairly well, too (no pun intended Rog). Our good friends Derek and Cathie came in at about midday and relieved us so that we were able to go off and have a bite of lunch. Later on during the afternoon, a couple who I'd spoken to a month ago, brought in a bagful of goodies, and I was able to buy two antique pistols and a good gunpowder flask from them.
Later in the afternoon Graham, the fair organiser, announced that in view of the weather conditions the fair would close at 3 p.m.
After we'd packed up, and were driving home around the outskirts of Sudbury at about 3. 20 p.m., there was a lovely sunset, and I was able, through the offside car window, to get the below snapshot of the sun just about to sink below the horizon.
Sunday, 2 December 2012
Today, after church, Ann suggested we drive over to a couple of antique fairs about five miles from us. For once in a way I was slightly doubtful about this as we'd not been able to buy much at these two fairs of late. But, I was wrong. We bought half a dozen pieces, two of which I've illustrated here. The carved oak figure nearest to the camera (a caryatid- I hope I've spelled that right), is English, and of the early sixteen hundreds It is a 'keepy', i.e. for us. In our back hall prior to this afternoon there was the far carved figure and the framed embroidery - looked a bit lopsided, and the figure we've just bought balances thing nicely. It was just inside the door of the fair - waiting for us.
The weapon shown above is the second thing we bought today. It is a smallsword, probably English, and of the very early 1700s. It's in a bit of a mess, and needs a good clean up- so this photo is the 'before' picture. When cleaned I'll show the 'before' and 'after ' photos - if I remember.
Good Night All.