Monday, 25 June 2007


Yesterday, Sunday, went to London. Set out at 9.15am, Ann drove; A12, M25, A1, North circular, then to Lizzie's (youngest daughter), just off Chiswick High Street. Sandwich lunch, then Lizzie ran grandson Matthew(now nearly 14) and I round to Olympia where we viewed Sotheby's arms and armour sale. Saw Thomas Delmar, and was able to thank him for freebie catalogues. Matt (bless him) carried briefcase, and found me the lot numbers in catalogue, usually well before I asked for them. Afternoon thoroughly enjoyed by both of us. Left a few (thoroughly optimistic) bids on so fingers crossed. Sale is on Tuesday but can't get to it as I've an appointment at cardiology unit at Ipswich. Wanted to change appointment in order to go to auction sale, but Ann, Sarah, and Lizzie heavily agin this course of action (no sense of priority some people). When we were ready to return Matt used mobile 'phone to Lizzie, who picked us up a few minutes later and we returned to Lizzies, where we had a very pleasant supper with them, and were home by about 8.30. Lovely day out. Today in workshop most of morning then changed for lunch and into lip reading class at 1.30pm. Last class of year. Took in a box of Ann's apricot flapjack. Somebody else had brought a cake, John Bloomfield a bottle, and we made rather a party of it. Jill (our instructor) had devized various lipreading quizzes which were fun, so it was a very instructive, as well as pleasant, afternoon. As it was a showery afternoon Ann picked me up in the car, and said that John Rye had called and left the vestry clock (a vast and dusty, early Victorian English fusee timepiece by a local maker) on our kitchen table for me to have a look at, with a view to having it going again. That will keep me going for a day or two. Still, good to feel busy. Goodnight all.

Friday, 22 June 2007


Work went well in workshop this morning. I'd been avoiding starting a job for a week or so because I couldn't see what the problem was. Got started on job, almost immediately spotted problem, and (rather to my surprise) remedied it first go. I think. No recurrence after ten hours. Time will tell. Got changed. Had lunch. One or two jobs to do in town, then off to see friend Terry (Theresa) who wants to thin out goods and chattels in her remote cottage in Suffolk countryside, and needed advice. Also had repaired lock and found key to her antique writing box and had to whack and screw lock back into place. Went well. Advice given. Accepted graciously(though I expect she will have 'listened very nicely, then gone out and done precisely - what she pleased'). After which we wandered round Terry's large, and very well kept, garden for a while, and had tea with her. As we were about to come away Terry said 'there's something else I want you to look at' and took us upstairs. She had laid out about a dozen items that she had already decided to part with, and wanted us to choose one of them 'as a small thank you present for all your help'. As she was quite insistant on the point we eventually chose a thick pottery tile that I thought was Persian , but Terry told me was Indian. It is about nine inches square, has a narrow blue border, and a white background with blue and turquoise flowers on. Terry used it as a teapot stand, and we've both always liked it. Very kind of her. After we left we took a pretty route home, and eventually found ourselves at Lindsey Church, which we explored. Pretty little building with all the once carved oak worn and scrubbed to a sort of silvery grey/ off white. Lindsey is a small parish with a few farms and cottages. It has a Church, and St. James' chapel, but no real village. Yet it was once an important enough wool growing area to have a woollen cloth (linsey) named after it. Suffolk is a lovely area (and I speak as a Norfolk man); it has no dramatic scenery, small hills, and many very pretty villages that know they were once market towns, and behave as if they still are. We never tire of exploring it, and it can still give us pleasant surprises. Drove home via Kersey (another village with a cloth named after it). Had last night's casserole hotted up for supper. Don't know why anything of the stew family always tastes even better the next day, but they always do and so did this one. Good night.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

midsummer day.

Spent an hour or so in the workshop this morning, then changed for an early lunch and off to St.Mary's for a lunchtime concert at 1.10 pm. given by our organist, and choirmistress. Michael started off by giving us an Australian Christmas suite by Robert Ampt. This he explained, wasn't as peculiar as it sounded (although actually the music did sound peculiar - but that's only my opinion) because although he was playing Christmas music at midsummer, in Australia Christmas IS at midsummer. Wasn't too certain about this piece of reasoning, but we sat through the organ recital, then Margaret sang - lots of lovely traditional stuff- O Waley, Waley, The foggy dew (this has to be sung at Suffolk concerts - I've sung it myself often- because it's a Suffolk folk song), then Drink to me only, a Cradle song, Purcell's Hark the echoing air, and others. Lovely stuff, and very well sung. Then they gave us a Piano and organ arrangement of Handel's organ concerto, which also went down well. The whole thing overran by about fifteen minutes but nobody minded that. After that we walked back with Hilary to her home, and had two good games of scrabble with her followed by a cup of tea and cherry scones. Got home about five- a very pleasant afternoon. Hilary wants to publish John's autobiography (her late husband) but some of his family isn't too keen. Can't think why not. He always told a good story. She dumped it on my lap before going off to make tea. Had a necessarily very quick flip through it and some lovely stuff in it. It brought dear old John's story telling gifts vividly back to life, and I can't think why his family are agin it being published. After supper took a short walk. Lovely midsummer evening. People out walking. Young lads along the river fishing, probably after pike I think. Home and soon to bed. Goodnight.

Sunday, 10 June 2007


Been a good week generally. Went to an 85th birthday party at our local coffee bar on Monday morning. Great fun. Coral ( the birthday girl) is a very bright old lady, a botanical illustrator and a keen cross word puzzler. We found we knew most of the other guests. The invitation was for coffee and nibbles, 10.30 to 12 noon. The nibbles were of such good quality (and quantity, plus a birthday cake) that when the birthday party broke up at about 1.30 pm. we decided that in fact we had had a pretty good lunch. Afternoon not so good, because I went to dentist to fix a broken, but complete, tooth. He pinned it back in situ but said if, or rather when, it went again, he would have to crown it. On Wednesday attended antique fair at Long Melford. Collected a small oak chest Ann had bought from Thor Schotte a few days previously. Thursday a musical day. Lunchtime concert in Church given by our town orchestra, very good stuff, and well played. Then in the evening we motored across to Newmarket, had supper at six pm with the Littlejohns, then the four of us went on to Swaffham Bullbeck to see a performance of H.M.S. Pinafore in a barn. Quite up to their usual very high standards, and the scenery was so good that it would have been easy to imagine it was sung on the maindeck of a man of war. Orchestra, if anything, even better than usual. Took the Littlejohns back to Newmarket where Sandy pressed us 'to come in and join them in a drop of something'. Regretfully declined on the grounds that it had already been a very long day, and anyway one of us would have to drive home. Altogether a very enjoyable evening. Got home just after 11 pm. Slept well. Saturday David finished off our new garden (pro tem- more to be done when potting shed is ready for instalation). He stayed on nearly two hours longer than usual, wouldn't take anything extra for it, so I gave him a bottle of home made sloe gin. Scrabble as usual in afternoon. This afternoon 19 'hidden gardens' in our town were thrown open to the public for the benefit of the church. Managed to walk round about half of them. All lovely; some I'd never susected the existence of; ranging from tiny (some even smaller than ours) to a couple of acres or so. Picked up lots of ideas for our new garden. Mild evening so had supper in the garden. And so to bed.

Friday, 1 June 2007


When we got home yesterday evening found there were two cards on the doormat telling me I had parcels awaiting collection at the postal sorting office. I always find the thought of parcels exciting (childhood memories of Christmas, birthdays, etc., I suppose), so immediately after breakfast (first things first, chaps), I went into town to collect parcels. Parked car just round corner from sorting office. Yes, I know I should have walked into town, I usually do, but reasoned that I did not know how big these two parcels would be to carry home. My reasoning was proved correct as it happened because there were not two parcels awaiting me, but three, all of a fair size. I found that by piling parcels in left hand and holding them down with my chin, stick in right hand, I could make fair progress until nearly back to car park when I spotted a twenty pence piece on pavement in front of me. "Ah! Michael's lucky day" I hear you murmur. Well, no actually as the next few minutes were quite eventful. I hooked my stick over my left wrist to free up my right hand to gather in unexpected riches, and by bending knees lowered myself pavementward. As I reached the twenty pence piece my stick reached the ground, unhooked itself and fell off. "I'll get it," said total but helpful stranger (much my vintage but altogether bendier) and did so. He handed me the stick. I retained my presence of mind I'm glad to say and pocketed the twenty pence piece thus freeing up my right hand and enabling me to repossess the stick. Where I went wrong at this point was to raise my chin from the top parcel in order to thank helpful stranger for his assistance, as this caused top parcel to fall to the pavement whence it bounced into the road, hotly pursued by self and still helpful stranger, this in turn causing majority of our High Street traffic to brake sharply in efforts to avoid bouncing parcel, helpful stranger and self. Glad to report their efforts (and ours) eventually totally successful. When we regained pavement helpful stranger, myself, and first two motorists (coming from different directions) were helpless with laughter, and(this is the moral of the story ):- I was still twenty pence ahead of the game. Goodnight.