Friday, 30 March 2012
Yesterday we motored over to our friends Colin and Christine's home near Stowmarket, where we had lunch and attended to their grandfather clock for them. We stopped on the way to take snapshots of these primroses along the dykesides. Lunch was a pork casserole. I've just had to consult Ann regarding the pudding, which she thinks is called an apple amber, which is an apple pudding with meringue on the top. After coffee I spent about an hour on their clock, and, I'm afraid, was unable to complete the job. All the work is done, but I will need to return with the correct clock weight before I can start it and set it in beat. Annoying, but can't win them all - well not always in one visit, but it's fairly rare that this happens.
We came home via Needham Market, and took photos. Above is a shop, with a long curved bow window. It's the longest eighteenth century bow window I know. Below is a beautifully carved corner post, supporting a dragon beam. I think it dates from the mid fourteen hundreds.
Home again, and took the below snapshot of my two anvils, outside the forge, with pansies growing over them in mainly earthenware troughs.
We had planned to drive over to the midlands today to spend the weekend with my brother and sister-in-law, but found that, due to the petrol delivery strike, we were unable to buy petrol either in our town or in Needham Market, so decided to call it off pro tem, till all's settled. Once again, and further to my 'phone call, my apologies Crowbard and Judy.
Thursday, 29 March 2012
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Yesterday we drove over to Capel St. Mary, and had tea with our friend Helga, who is just back from three weeks in Malta (she is a great globe trotter). She said that much as she enjoys travelling, the weather in Malta was a bit of a wash out, and it was no warmer than here. She she'd just made a cherry cake to go with our tea. She said it was made with sour cherries, but it didn't taste sour; in fact it was a very good cake.
When we drove home I asked Ann to set me down at the edge of the town as it was such a lovely day, and I wanted to take photoes for the blog and would walk home (only three hundred yards or so, if that). The above picture is where she dropped me and is of a blackthorn tree in full bloom. Should be full of sloes in a few months, but we normally pick sloes for sloe gin in the depths of the countryside. These being beside the road will probably taste of traffic fumes. Took the next two photos on the way home.
The above house is a lovely little ex-farmhouse, and rather a favourite of mine. It probably dates from mid Tudor times and hasn't been altered much.
The above Queen Ann house is the Old Manse. It lives behind high walls in isolated grandeur (well semi-grandeur- I'm sure its owners won't mind my saying) a few yards back from the road, and, of its period, is a lovely looking place. It's a couple of hundred yards from us and on the opposite side of the road.
Went to lip reading class this morning, and, for once in a way, felt that I was making progress. It's a surprisingly tiring exercise we all agree. Our teacher, who is also deaf, says that it's because of the sheer concentration necessary. As I think supper is about to be anounced, I'd better nip upstairs and make meself decent for it.
P.s. Just nipped downstairs again after supper and a quick game of scrabble. Supper was an excellent fish pie (with capers in it), followed by pears in red wine, left over from Saturday's dinner party - scrumptious.
Sunday, 25 March 2012
Today is Ann's birthday. Ann served at the mid day short communion service.Then home and had a quick sandwich and fruit lunch in the garden, as above. We then motored over to Bury St. Edmund's where we met up at the Angel hotel at 2.30ish with her three brothers and their two (surviving) wives.
We took tea in the lounge of the hotel. They provided a very decent tea for us with smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches, etc. The above photo shows Ann chatting to her oldest brother, Michael. The chocolate rose in her left hand is from a very decent chocolate cake provided by middle brother David
The above photo was taken (by a very obliging young waiter who seemed to know ALL about cameras- he used mine, David's and Mick's successively and successfully) in the front hall of the hotel just before we left. From left to right we are meself, youngest brother Tim, his wife Sue, birthday girl enthroned in the centre, Maureen (middle brother David's wife), David, and senior brother Michael. This evening, since we've been home, Ann has been 'phoning the daughters to thank them for cards etc. , and to tell them them what a lovely birthday she's had. Quite agree, been a lovely day.
Saturday, 24 March 2012
Scene across a Suffolk meadow.
Seen in a Suffolk lane.
Suffolk Church in its churchyard.
On Thursday we drove to Bury St. Edmund's and had lunch (and tea) with Ann's brother David and his wife Maureen. Later, on our way home, our usual route was closed for road repairs and we had to make a detour, entering the above village via an unusual route. The three photos are, of course, all of the same Church. It is the village church at Lavenham, which claims to have been, in medieval times the fourteenth most prosperous town in England. The claim is also made that the church tower is, at 141 feet high, the tallest village church tower in England. If you feel that the top of the tower has a rather unfinished look to it, you are right, as it is said that, in the early 1500s, someone ran out of time, money, and enthusiasm (probably not in that order) so that the church tower was never finished. It's a handsome great building though, isn't it?
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Been a long day. Wednesdays always are, as it's either a 7.30 early service, or it's a 7a.m. start for the fair at Long Melford. As it was a lovely bright day we had lunch in the garden. This was a mistake as there was a (mainly) North wind blowing, so that, although bright it was a rather cold day. Just before we gave up and went in again Ann said to me "The box hedge seems to be growing tiny scarlet flowers this year". We went over and examined the box hedge. There was a small plague of ladybirds on it - see top photo. You'll probably have to embiggen it.
The Army and Navy plant has been in full flower from mid February. I don't know what the proper name is, but it's called the Army and Navy from its habit of growing both red (well pink) and blue (well mauve) flowers on the same plant.
After lunch we walked into town. Ann to go to some sort of Mothers' Union beanfeast; meself to pick up a parcel from our local sorting office (it contained rather a handsome Scottish snuff mull, early 19th century that I'd purchased on email). On the way back I walked through our churchyard and took the below snapshots.
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Walked home from lipreading class this morning, and took the above photo of the house at the town end of our road. Between the front garden wall and the house heavily pollarded trees used to grow - looked well in summer, but it was found that the tree roots were damaging the house, so the trees were removed and the longest stemmed daffodils that could be found were planted in the front garden, and they now just peep over the garden wall, as you can see.
No, not really.......... after the trees were removed the house owners attached window boxes to the inside of the garden wall, and change the contents seasonally, so it now looks nearly as well as when the trees were there.
Monday, 19 March 2012
As you can probably tell from the subfusc clobber (clobber = clothing Lori) we went to a funeral today. It was a totally unexpected one - Mark, the oldest son of old friends of ours. We've know the family for about forty years. Colin, Mark's father, was the conductor of the male voice choir in which I sang for about thirty five years. Mark, who was forty six, died of a sudden and totally unexpected heart attack about ten days ago, leaving Margaret, his wife, and their two sons (in their late teens). His parents, Colin and Christine are retired teachers. Colin played the organ for today's service, and Christine took the service (She is a lay reader). Both Colin and Christine did their jobs totally professionally. I don't think, in their place, that I would have had the courage to even contemplate doing this. I was lost in admiration for both of them. After the service and the interment, in the graveyard, Matthew and Simon, Mark's younger brothers recognised us instantly, although we hadn't seen either of them for some years, and came over to speak to us. They've both moved out of the area. Mark lived in the same village as his parents, so that we've stayed in touch with him. Oh well - a sad day. Nuff said.
Saturday, 17 March 2012
Fist of all my apologies for not having blogged for a few days. Not because nothing has been happening. More because we've been very busy during this week. Took the above photo this morning. The above two goldfinches are, I think, the pair who've been breeding in our immediate area over the last few years. There were a dozen or so round the bird feeder this morning (mostly I suppose descendants of these two). They're pretty birds to watch. They sit on opposite sides of the bird feeder (which is full of niger seed - their favourite food) and peck away alternately like one of those victorian wooden toys with a wooden ball that swings below the toy so that the birds take turns to peck.
Our friend (and near neighbour) Patsy had organised a charity bazaar in St. Mary's Church, to open at ten. Ann had made and contibuted a big fruit cake to the bazaar. Ann got up early - well we both did- and made a large panful of mushroom soup, which, at Ann's request, I jazzed up with a glass of Amontilado sherry.
We went down to the church with my contributions to the bottle stall at nine, Ann helped set up the coffee and lunch area, then at ten we wandered round the stalls, bought raffle tickets, and did the usual things at these occasions. Drove home to pick up the hot soup, took it to Church in the slow cooker, so that Ann could help start serving lunches at twelve.
I bid you all a very good night's sleep.
Monday, 12 March 2012
Soppy ode to supper :- Of sausages we did a test
to see which would come first.
We find these Cumberland's the best -
The German ones are wurst.
(Not that we've eaten German sausages in some years - the last time was in Germany, but I've always found the actual sausages there to be very bland in comparison to ours).
Pudding was the above (and below) baked apple.
Ann's recipe :- One Bramley apple per person. Core the apples and cut the peel around the equator of the apple. Make up a mixture of butter, muscovado sugar, sultanas, and a little ginger preserve (or chopped chrystalised ginger), and stuff the apple core hole with the mixture. Bake at around 180 degrees for an hour in a tin or earthenware oven dish. Depending on the apple, it may need a little more sugar sprinkled thereon (i.e. adjust to taste as necessary). This is a real winter warmer of a pudding.
Friday, 9 March 2012
This morning we walked into town to cafe Church. I popped into the library on our way and Ann went to see our friend Eileen, who came out of hospital yesterday, having fallen and broken her pelvis. Sh'e been in hospital less than a week. Ann did a little shopping for her and one or two odd jobs. Eileen's problem at the moment is that she lives in a lovely Regency town house, which is on four floors and therefore not ideal for an elderly lady with a fractured pelvis. Still Hilary lives a few doors away from her and everyone is rallying round. On our way home we stopped off on the market place and bought a pork pie for lunch (little disappointing). We then went on to the flower stall where I often buy Ann flowers, but these too were not up to snuff (tulips and daffs fully open, everything a little tired, etc.). Then Ann spotted that he had a large area of primulas of all colours and she picked out five different ones (see photo above). I was charged £2.50p for the five, and as they are hardy and can be planted out when they've done flowering, I think they were good value for money. We're just off out to Cinema Club to see a film called Sunshine and Oranges. We read the book, it's about the children who were sent out to Australia a few years ago. The book was terrible, or at any rate the story was; but I thought it was a little one-sided. We never learned of anyone who'd done well or enjoyed the experience. I'll report back later (if worthwhile).
Thursday, 8 March 2012
Drove over to Ipswich this morning in our old car in order to take delivery of our new one (it's another Honda Jazz - our third). Decided on a red one when ordering - we've had two- no three- silvery grey cars in a row, so red makes a change, and anyway they're much easier to spot when parked on a large car park. Took the above photo of new car and Ann in the car park at the back of our bank. Drove down to Essex this afternoon to do some necessary shopping. Delay on the way home because an articulated lorry had jackknifed across the main Halstead to Sudbury road (NOT a very major road) which was blocked completely. In the end we had to divert through the back lanes to get home. New car was doing over fifty miles to the gallon when we got home, so I think we'll be pleased with it.
Good night All.
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
This morning went to lip reading classes. As always tiring but enjoyable. Priscilla bought along a bagful of snowdrop plants (some double, some single) for Ann, and as a thank you for fixing her grandfather clock a few days ago. She knew I hadn't intended charging her for it, but I told her the snowdrops made us all square anyway. Lovely sunny morning as I walked home, and took the above snapshot, the red brick building on the right is the town library (and a good one, too).
Last Friday morning, as I walked home from Cafe Church, stopped at the flower stall on the Market Place and purchased the above bunch of stocks for Ann. They look well and smell absolutely gorgeous. Must close now and get to bed. Got to hit the road at seven tomorrow morning for the Long Melford Antiques Fair.
Good night All.
Thursday, 1 March 2012
This afternoon my barber (Bill from Stowmarket) called and, after I'd made a pot of coffee for us, he gave me my monthly(ish) crop. Bill is a keen collector/student of early weaponry, so we've always plenty to talk about. His interests are slightly later than mine and he'd brought along an early percussion revolver to show me. In return I showed him an early (but incomplete) snaplock gun I've been working on lately (well - on and off) and picked his brain on restoration methods he uses. He asked me if I could spare him any piercing saw blades - he's run out - so I gave him a few. He then refused to accept payment for my haircut, which was very generous of him, so gave him a small bottle of last year's sloe gin for his wife, as I know she likes the stuff.
Moving on from weaponry, and the two items illustrated above are not weapons, but are quite interesting domestic instruments. It's always the way - I've not had one of these in stock for a couple of years, then acquired two of them in different places in the last week or so. They are both English and date from the eighteenth century. Any ideas ?????
P.s. Goodnight All.
Above snapshot is of a clock I've been working on most of this week, and put the finishing touches to, this morning. It's an English lantern clock by a London maker and dates from circa 1670/1680. It's now up, going, and keeping good time. In its way it's been a satisfying clock to work on.
Ann's out all day attending a course on Food Hygiene put on by the Luncheon Club for the elderly that she helps to run. I hope she doesn't take to heart what she learns - I like the way she cooks NOW. Talking of which I must knock off and make meself a sandwich or something for lunch. More later perhaps.