Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Tuesday, 11 September 2018


Another corner of the garden. The flowers illustrated are, mainly, Cyclamen, or, as a plant grower in this area used to write of them, handy-cycle-men. I inquired about these handy-cycle-men, and found that this was her version of Hardy Cyclamen. And then they say, 'normal for Norfolk', we are in Suffolk. You will notice how beautifully typed this is. I dictated it, to Lucy who typed it.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Wednesday. (2)

Of the two photos,the above one one shows Ann's middle brother, David, and his wife, Jo. Jo had rather a nasty fall a fortnight ago, which has left her with a 'lovely black eye' (the right one) and I have, I think, very cleverly posed her to hide her right eye. They motoredover yesterday, and spent the day with us. The first photograph shows our youngest daughter, Lizzie, Lizzie's youngest daughter Beth, and Ann. Lizzie and Beth came to us this morning, arriving nicely in time for breakfast. We all four motored over to Clacton to investigate a shopping trolley that Ann had seen advertised; examined, approved, and purchased one, then had lunch,at a very pleasant sea-front hotel, then motored home (in our car, but with Lizzie driving). Granddaughter Beth has been instructing me in the use of the computer; or, more exactly, how to insert photographs in blog entries. You'd think I'd know how by now, but I make the most of any assistance offered. I'm lost in admiration for Beth's computer skills; and she's very admiring about my spelling skills! Goodnight All.


With the assistance of granddaughter Beth I have at last managed to put a photograph on screen. It is as usual a corner of the garden. I hope this works. As you will have gathered I have been having the usual difficulties putting photographs on my blog. Here Goes!!!!

Saturday, 1 September 2018


I said a  few days ago that I  thought the  Morning  Glory   had  finished flowering. As you can see from above photy I was wrong. Not only that, but it  seems  to be  forming new buds.

Thursday, 30 August 2018


Yesterday we drove motored over to Bury  Saint Edmund's  to meet up  with  our (very) long term friends Alan  and Barbara. Barbara and Ann  were next door neighbours from birth (yes, really) in the  Norfolk  fens. Their fathers farmed adjacent farms.  Barbara and Alan married late in 1962, Ann  and I married early in 1963  - Beggar!!!! this machine has switched itself over to  writing in italics. Well, it will have to carry on doing  so until it can switch itself back to normal  service as I  don't know how to.  I rather suspect the machine does  know  how  to, but  it  isn't going  to tell me. Back to Barbara and Alan. When Alan retired  about fifteen  years  ago, they bought  a very nice mobile  home. Barbara had kept the village shop until then, but  they closed it, and turned it into part of their English home -  the idea being that they would spend all  winter in the mobile home exploring  the  warmer Southern Countries in Europe, then coming  home  to  East Anglia for the summer period.  They have been doing this  ever since, and we've been meeting up with them every year since then usually just  before they  head south again for  the   winter (I've an idea I've  told  you  all this before but bear with me). They take loads of photies  every winter, which Barbara turns into a winter travelogue/journal - and very  interesting  they  are  too. We had our annual lunch   in  Bury  Saint  Edmund's and  discussed Barbara and Alan's problem :- which is what to do with  the immediate future? WE are all four approaching the  four score years mark at much the same rate - and they both begin to  feel that driving several thousand miles South and back every winter on the wrong side of  the  road could become a suspicion wearing  at our age. I had   something of the the same decision to make  about a year ago about whether to retire from business or not, but my decision was  solved by my  Doctor very  strongly advising me to retire (and as he was very firmly  backed  up by Ann on  this  one,   the two of  them made my  mind up for  me).  In the end Barbara and Allan decided (pro tem) to make another journey  South this coming winter, which means we'll meet up as usual next year (as my late grandmother used to say "If spared"), and have the same discussion again then. Or as we more modern youngsters put it "God Willing".

P.s.  Now  I  must try and  beat this machine into resuming normal service, as opposed to itallics.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018


Above photograph shows senior daughter Sarah, and  her youngest offspring,  Guy. They motored  over here from the  south Midlands this  morning and  have been helping me ever since. Guy, who is  studying civil engineering, helped me restring  the Norfolk Crossbow I showed on this blog about a month ago. Sarah has been helping me  to try and make sense  of  this computer  -  with a good   deal  more  success than I usually have. 

Ann put on  a  delicious  summer lunch of salmon (with a dill and  cream sauce), peas, carrots , and  new  potatoes. Sarah, who is reading this  over my  right  shoulder,  is  saying "And that isn't doing it justice, either. It was delicious!" 

Above photo was taken by Sarah. It's been a  lovely visit. 

Monday, 27 August 2018


                                          Mystery Object!

The above photographed object is made of iron and steel, and is seven and a half inches long overall. Over the  years I  have seen four of these.  Ideas please.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Sunday 2.

The photo  of the   above  two pistols have something  in common (and  in other  ways are very different. This  is a sort of Mystery item entry. Ideas please ?


These are, I think, the very last few 'Morning  Glories  in bloom showing. It's  raining now, so  I shan't have to  water them this evening.  Been a fairly standard summer Sunday. After morning Service, home to lunch, then I've been pottering in the workshop most of  today doing odd jobs. Yesterday we drove up to Southwold and went to  an antique fair (freebie ticket from the Pinns, bless 'em)  - a good  fair, didn't find anything to buy, but sold a very complete little pocket tinder box to a dealer.  Good stuff seems  to  be  fairly think on the ground, and I have to keep reminding  meself that I've retired anyway, so  it doesn't matter.  Still having problems  with the  computer (mainly photos), but sometimes the machine seems very reluctant to publish anything, so don't  be toooo surprised if you  don't  manage to receive this.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018


Morning Glory (shown above) have been rather disappointing this year, considering what a lovely  summer it's been. I've been watering them regularly (i.e. most evenings), but there's  never been more than half a dozen, or so,  flowers at any one time. Now it appears to have completely finished flowering. Been trying to grow them most years over the last fifty - with varying success. This lovely year has, I think, finally convinced me that the game's  not worth  the  candle; but, if any one has any suggestions to help (serious ones, Rog and Crowbard) I'd be interested to hear them.


Reference the ancient buildings around our churchyard - the above pictured is of the Deanery Tower, which is easily the most modern, in that it was completed in 1495 A.D. and is thus of very early, if not quite 'pre', Tudor.;

Sunday, 12 August 2018


A week or so ago I published pictures of the Lavenham Guildhall,  which was built around the year 1520, and said that  our  guildhall here  in Highdale  was a couple of centuries earlier, or thereabouts, but not so well known as the Laveham one. Took the above  and below photoes  of  it  yesterday morning. It is double jettied as you can see, and I asked one of  our local 'experts' about  it a few years ago, and got  the  answer that we don't really know when it was built, but  that most of  it was standing  on the same spot around the year 1370! It  is still used as local government offices.  In fact a great many Suffolk villages still have large old buildings known as 'the Guildhall' at the centre of  the village. Mostly they are old 'wool towns'. They prospered until the mid 1300s. We had (in 1349 and 1350) two very bad years for the Black Death, after which the sheep  were moved across  to the Midlands, and our  Suffolk villages went into decline.   This  'potted history ' is  a  little  over simplified, but is  basicallly what happened here.  It has left us with some lovely old half timbered buildings in the middle of gloriously picturesque villages. I'm a Norfolk man by birth, but I've been exploring Suffolk all my adult  life, and it's never ceased to surprise and delight me.

Thursday, 9 August 2018


Been a busy day. Eye check at opticians this  morning. Then on to   lunch    at  the Red Rose pub at  Lindsey, to celebrate friend Barbara's birthday. Eaten there several times this year, and a very pleasant Suffolk  country pub it is, too. Reasonably  quiet; serving country food, not too expensive (by today's standards, anyway), and the staff are always quietly welcoming.  I had roast pork, with crackling, apple sauce,  and bubble  and squeak. Ann had mushroom risotto. We both had quite good puddings, too.  
Had tea with  neighbours, for whom I've recently  repaired  rather a nice,  mid Victorian mantle  clock (still  going well, I'm glad to say -  and keeping good time). As I've retired (as an horologist) I didn't charge them for doing the clock (about half an hours work, anyway) so she  insisted on giving us tea.

Should have said when I  mentioned Lindsey, that  both Lindsey and Kersey, a nearby neighbouring village, are now small villages, very pretty, but in  their day, both were famous enough wool producing towns to have a  woollen cloth named after them :- Lindsey and Kersey. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2018


Been struggling  to put  up pictures (without much success, as you'll have gathered), but  finally managed to  put up  above photo of one of  two hibiscus trees in the garden. Just been reading a comment from someone who calls himself  'How do we know', and is I think  a house guest of Zoe's. He's got  ideas about raising children, which I rather like - the ideas that is - haven't met the children, as yet, so I don't  know whether  I like  them or not (although I  usually do).  Got  five meself, plus eleven grandchildren, plus two great grand children, none of which  has put me off liking children- rather  the reverse, I  think.  The trick is - to listen to them, although  they quite like being told stories.
Having read this, I find I'm waffling; and as there's a T.V. programme about to start, which we want to watch, Will  close now, and wish you all  a  very  good night. 

P.s. Made a muck of that.  The  top picture is of greatgranddaughter Astrid, who is Amelia's daughter, Sarah's  granddaughter , and our (as stated )  great granddaughter. A few days before  they  came to see us, Astrid had  fallen onto a concrete path in her garden, and  knocked a front tooth out. To make sure that we appreciated the full horror of  the situation she had bought along  a photograph of  herself, taken shortly after the tragic incident occurred,  and lost no time in showing us it. As she is three and a half now I fear that this will mean she is likely to be 'gappy'  for the next three years or so.  She is a sociable little soul and spent most of the  day with Ann in the garden (where she carefully picked herbs to augment the lunch she helped Ann to make) found a new name for her great grandmother (Granny Annie) and then, perched on a  stool that was just the right height for her , helped Grannie  Annie in the kitchen. When she  left I presented her with the stool so she could help her Mummy in  the  kitchen. She is really  great fun, bless her.

Sunday, 5 August 2018


I  hope I'm wrong about  this, but I do  feel that we have serious problems on computers (probably in our area). Can't  seem to do anything with photographs. Going to try and send this commentary but without photos. Been trying on and off all evening to put messages out on the Armoury, without any success . Going to bed now, will try again ack Emma.
Good Night  All.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Tuesday 2.

Showed this year's hibiscus flowers (on two trees) yesterday taken by  flash after dark. Above  are the  same two trees taken  in  full  sunlight this  morning. When I  was a boy the only  hibiscus that could be  grown in this  country (or so we thought) was a mauve (ish) flowered tree called, if memory serves, Blue Bird. There are some lovely ones  to be had nowadays, including the  above white  flowered, reddish centred,  specimen, which looks lovely, and  flowers for some weeks from mid summer to the early autumn.



The Ipomias are giving their usual  glorious display, but have noticed  something a bit different about  this  year's flowers, though. The below  flower is  the  normal five lobed  (petalled  ?) flower, but the plants are  occasionally throwing  four lobed flowers, as shown in the upper picture. I've never noticed this before.  Can any of my readers suggest a cause for this?  The four lobed jobs are still lovely, but do look a little odd.

Motored over to have tea with friend Helga this afternoon.  She bust her right arm a few weeks ago, and is still  a little shaky, although the arm has healed well. She's  a  few  years older than we are, so I suppose Anno Domini could have something  to do with it.

Goodnight  All.

Monday, 30 July 2018


Just a corner of the garden, showing mainly  hibiscus, taken with flash about an hour ago.

Goodnight  all. Will try and blog better tomorrow.

P.s. See above entry for  Tuesday showing same view by  daylight (and  sunshine).

Thursday, 26 July 2018


Today was absolutely lovely weather wise, so we (that is Ann, meself and  granddaughter Beth) decided to  go to  Felixstowe and have a look at the North   Sea. Pausing only to  book  a table at the Orwell Hotel for three, at one pip  emma, we drove down the A14 (mostly ) to Felixstowe, and to the Orwell, where we partook of  a light (but very satisfying) luncheon. After lunch we drove to the seafront, strolled along the sands for about fifteen minutes,  then found a vacant seat and
 watched  the world go by - very restful.

I tried to take photographs for the delectation of my readers, but found the camera being totally  non cooperative. Handed the camera to granddaughter Beth, who found the  problem- I'd forgotten to replace the memory card after doing yesterday's blog. I must admit to being  not altogether high tech. However Beth, who is altogether Hi-tec, took these photos on her camera, then  when we got home, transferred them  to my blog.  By magic, I  suppose!  Being called upstairs for supper.  Goodnight All.

P.s. Reopen this to say that although the temperature  in the  garden was really uncomfortably high,this morning ; by the time  we got to the beach,  the temperature, although warm,  was not uncomfortably  so. It was much warmer a few miles  inland than at the seaside.


Wednesday, 25 July 2018


Been a busy day.
Ann had to go  into  Ipswich Hospital for  a check  up on  her eye operation. She was taken into  Ipswich by a  good friend  of ours, John Goldbourn.  Granddaughter Beth is staying with us for a few days, and made lunch. She made a chicken casserole;which I am shown   (above) adjusting with the addition of a  few chopped herbs from the garden, variegated sage, garden mint, chives, etc.

The above photo shows, from left to  right - Granddaughter Beth, great granddaughter Astrid, Great grandmother Ann, Astrid's Mama (granddaughter Amelia), and Amelia's Mama, senior daughter Sarah.

Granddaughter  Beth, at work preparing  lunch for us all in the kitchen. She's staying  a few days, looking  after the senior generation -us. The  youngsters have been  SO GOOD! over the last  few weeks. It really does restore the faith in human nature.

Saturday, 21 July 2018


I've  been working on the crossbow which I bought in Sotheby's  a week or  so  ago, and find that the maker's name is  inlaid in the top of the  stock in  silver (I think). The letter form in which it is done makes me think that the item is probably rather earlier than I'd thought (possibly seventeenth century          rather  than 18th). I've done most of the necessary mechanical work, but there's a good deal of --

for  want of a better word -- cosmetic work ....
.to be done  yet

Monday, 16 July 2018


Just come across  this photo taken ten days or  so ago. It shows part of  the family on the Cam,  with senior daughter Sarah demonstrating to the  gondolier just how she'd like  things  done!

No, not  really. He was teaching  Sarah how  to  quant. She did  quite well.

Sunday, 15 July 2018


Youngest daughter Lizzie stayed with us over the  weekend. Took the above photie of Ruth, Lizzie and Ann at teatime yesterday.  Asked them to  look langurous (even I wasn't sure about that word, so changed it to 'glamorous')......... and the above photie was the result of their efforts!!!!!!!!

Liz told me last night that she intended to hit the road this morning at 6.30 a.m. so got up at about five past six to see her off  and found her gone. Didn't want to go back to bed as I knew it would wake Ann (who rarely seems to sleep well), so have spent the  last hour and a half pottering about the computer.   This blog entry is the end  result of  said  potterings.
Must go and get dressed - I shoved on a workshop shirt, trousers and an old dressing gown to come down in --- it's  enough to  frighten the horses.

Have a good day.

Friday, 13 July 2018


Been a busy day. Early  service this morning. This afternoon Ruth ran me into the hardware shop in town to purchase a refill for the gas bottle I  use in the forge. Ruth spotted a french blue and white skirt she liked in another shop, so I bought it for  her. She has been so good - looking after her parents over the last two or three weeks - that it was a real pleasure to find something for her that I could see she really liked. As you can see from the picture above the skirt fitted her perfectly and really suits her. When senior daughter Sarah was sixteen she asked if  she  could  go  on a dress allowance rather than her pocket money. It's  a long story and I won't bore you with it; but eventually  I  used to teach all five of our children  that if  you are shopping and see a garment that you like, and it suits you, and you can afford it- buy it then and there. If you leave it  till you really need a garment, you will never find one that is perfect.  It's  the old  rule of  "Bag it when it's by."
Oh Dear!  The times I've been reminded of that fatherly counsel!!!!
We've got  our youngest daughter coming to  stay tomorrow -to help Ruth look after us I suppose.
Ann was very much in demand as a babysitter when our  childrens' families were young (actually we both were); but now two of them have grandchildren of their own to baby sit, so we both feel grateful and privileged that they can take time off from work and their grandchildren to look after the great grandparents when necessary.

Must go and  water the garden  before bed.
Goodnight All.

Thursday, 12 July 2018


 Spent today pottering about the workshop, then this evening the  girls, Ann and our daughter Ruth, decided to  go for  a walk along our river bank, over what claims to be the oldest bridge in England still in use for its original purpose, then back through the town to home.

 Took the  photos along the  river bank. Took  a few photos of ancient buildings on the way home,
but I think  I've shown you  most of  them.  Can't stay awake much longer, so - Goodnight All.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Wednesday 2.

Yesterday was the hundredth anniversary of  the  founding of the R.A.F.  so we drove out to a disused airfield a mile or  so from home to see the fly-past of aircraft towards London.  It gave us (and around forty or fifty other people  who'd  had the same idea) a good view of the  fly past.. We talked to  an elderly lady (even by our standards - she told us  she was 92) who wanted to know if any of us knew about her favourite aircraft she'd ever flown in -the Walrus?  Well of course I knew of the crate - it was a 'pusher' amphibious aircraft of (I think) the thirties.   She also told  us (she'd arrived by car - she'd driven herself) that her family didn't really approve  of her still driving, but she'd  consulted her doctor, who'd examined her, and then given his opinion that  she  was as safe a driver as she ever had been. I carefully did NOT give my  opinion that this remark could be  taken  two ways.  I think her family had shown great restraint by not  pointing  this  one  out - they must have spotted it, I'd think.

In the top picture I'm sitting on an old  shooting  stick I keep in the car, supported by walking sticks - nice and easy to get up from. In the second picture Ruth is holding   the  shooting stick. A pleasant morning's outing.


View of garden from one pane of  kitchen window.

Monday, 9 July 2018

The cross bow illustrated is the  next major job to  be  done. I purchased it last week in one of  the major London salerooms. It was made by J. Blancher of Attleborough.

Saturday, 7 July 2018


The crossbow  illustrated is my  next major restoration  job to  be done. I  purchased it last week  in one of  the major London auction rooms. It was made  by J. Blancher of  Attleborough (in Norfolk) probably in the mid / late 1600 -s ,and is  (in its way) rather  a  handsome weapon.

Since  then  I  have been studying Sir Ralph Payne - Gallwey's book  'The
Crossbow'. It was first published in 1903,  and  has (to my mind) never been bettered as  a text book on crossbows. There are four small  iron parts to be made, which will fix the bow firmly into the  stock , and two more slightly larger iron pieces that keep everything firmly in position. All are illustrated in Payne -Gallwey's book, and will have to be made to the correct sizes of the  vacant holes in the stock. In a repair job of  this  sort the holes that remain in the  stock, dictate accurately the  sizes of the missing parts. It should take a while (and keep me busy).  Must try and remember to take 'after' pictures to show when all's done -watch this  space.

Just been called  up for  lunch by Ruth.