Thursday, 24 March 2011


Took the above photo on our walk a couple of days ago. It shows the blackthorn trees full of blossom, so unless we get late frosts (which is still, I'm afraid, quite possible) it should be a good year for sloe picking (and sloe gin) later on.

By the way, as the next few days are likely to be very busy, there probably won't be much in the way of bloggery from me for a day or three, but I'll try and find time to take photies.

Warm regards to you all, Mike.
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Wednesday, 23 March 2011


Early service this morning. Friends John and Margaret to lunch. John (a retired dealer- but dabbles) bought with him a fairly rare British N.C.O's sword, circa 1820 - 30, in a scabbard, which I purchased. Ann gave us roast pork with apple sauce, spiced red cabbage, potatoes and carrots, followed by pears in red wine and/or apple crumble, a cheese board and coffee. I opened a bottle of Neirsteiner, of which :- Ann declined, John stuck to one glass (driving), so Margaret and I finished it between us.

This afternoon (about 5p.m.), the temperature being 60 degrees, Ann and I went for a walk down Tinker's Lane, along the river bank, and back through the town. Above snapshot shows the river, part of Deanery Lodge gardens beyond, and St. Mary's Church. Must do some work now.
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Tuesday, 22 March 2011


Went for a walk this afternoon (the temperature being 63 degrees), up over the area of heath(?)land at the back of us. The gorse was in bright bloom. Does anyone know the old saying "When the gorse is not in bloom............." I wonder?

There were daffs in full bloom everywhere, so I took this snap of forsythia and wallflowers to make a change.

Oh well, back to the daffs, but aren't they a picture ? No wonder Wordsworth got all het up over them.
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Monday, 21 March 2011


First day of spring, and looks like it!!! Patches of colour springing up all over the garden.
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Sunday, 20 March 2011


Been a good busy weekend. Choir practice on Saturday morning at Choirmistress Margaret's home, after which she provided the choir with a light lunch (her description). Quiche, sausages, etc. Then on to Scrabble club, usual three games. Saturday evening into town in car, picked up Eileen, then on to friend Heather's for dinner. Six of us, and Heather had put on her usual superb meal. Above snapshots show the two of us ready to go out. Today, after morning service, stayed on for coffee in Church, then on to lunch with Jackie and Martin. Fellow guest was Inga Lill, originally Swedish, married an English man, ex Diplomatic Service. She's been widowed for some years. Ann had to make her excuses just before three p.m. as she was serving at an afternoon service. I stayed on (lingering over coffee) for another hour, as did Inga Lill. Walked home, then changed into scruff, and pottered in workshop till supper. Ann's just gone up to bed, and I'm ready to follow. Wish you all a very good night.
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Thursday, 17 March 2011


This morning we motored about fifteen miles or so to have lunch with our friend Penny. Before lunch I had to attend to the clock below, whose strike had got out of kilter with the clock hand (note single hand). Took about three minutes to restore it to its proper duties. Generally speaking it's a very good and reliable clock. The movement is dated 1711, which, come to think of it, makes it exactly three hundred years old.

For lunch Penny gave us fricaseed chicken on a bed of rice, and opened a bottle of a very good Tokay (or tokai, or tokaje, etc.) to go with it. It also went well with the cheese board. Penny then made a pot of coffee, and we lingered for a while, until I thought I really ought to get stuck into the long case clock illustrated above, which needed reroping. I put a new rope on this clock about three years ago, but this is now slipping, so I replaced it with a very slightly thicker rope, which seemed to do the trick. The problem is that there are now only three sizes of clock rope obtainable, and one of these three has to be made to fit all sizes of rope driven clocks, which can be frustrating at times, especially as (if the rope is tight in the pulleys) it is advisable to make as fine a splice as is compatable with the strength of the join. I've told Penny that she'll probably have to ask us to lunch again in eighteen months or so, if and when the splice starts to weaken. She seemed to view this dread prospect with equanimity, so that's alright. Bedtime looms once again, so I bid you all a very goodnight.
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Wednesday, 16 March 2011


This morning to early service, at which Ann served/deaconed (not sure which is correct, or the most correct- both are used). Later drove over to friend Terry's, took above photo of primroses growing on the dykeside giving on to her garden. Talking of giving, Terry has given Ann the below pictured kitchen sink in which she (Terry) has been growing alpines for some years. As we've such a tiny garden it's a lovely gift to use as a sort of raised bed for tinies (among which will be the small yew tree in a pot in front of the kitchen sink. I've been 'bonsai-ing' (if that's a good word) this tree for seven or eight (or ten) years now, which probably constitutes an offence of cruelty to trees. Still it looks healthy and hearty). Had coffee and cake with Terry then reafixed a cut glass 'dangly' which had come off her Victorian table lamp. Bent wire job, but not obviously so.
This afternoon Ann went out to a Mothers' Union 'Cat Hanging' in the Guildhall. Ann's father always used that word to describe any sort of get together or 'do', the function of which he was not sure, so that 'some cat hanging' could mean anything from the Parochial Church Council to a protest meeting. Good useful word. Not sure of its origin though I seem to remember a poem about a Scottish Church cat that had sinned in some way and been hung. Very vague though.
Must stop waffling and get on with some work now. I wish you all a good night. Mike.

Reopen this blog to tell of incident during breakfast, when Ann spotted three very unusual small birds on the bird feeder. They were mostly green and yellow with black above and below the beak. Beautifully marked, somewhere between a greenfinch and a goldfinch (but without the red). Couldn't get to the camera in time, but when I checked the book they were, by a process of elimination, siskins. We'd never seen one before, but book states they are becoming more common along the east coast.

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Tuesday, 15 March 2011


Set off at eight a.m. and motored to Bury St. Edmund's Where Ann had an eye test at the Hospital. Then ran the car round to our garage to have its first ever M.O.T. (three year test, Lori). Lunch at the Refectory. Back to garage. Car had passed M.o.T. with flying colours, so then had a job getting away from car salesman, who, of course wanted to sell us another car. Above photo is of the Norman Campanile at Bury St. Ed's.
On the way home stopped off at Monk's Eleigh Post Office/Shop to post granddaughter Lucy's birthday present. She'll be thirteen on Thursday. The village shop/Post Office closed about three years ago, so the villagers got together, rented a suitable building, funded it as a shop/P.O. and take turns to staff it. It's a great little shop, and well worth a visit. The two photoes below are of cottages in Monks Eleigh, and the one with the telephone kiosk is almost opposite the new P.O./shop. Got home about threeish, changed into me scruff, and have been working in the workshop (and forge) since then- with quick break for tea, then scrabble. Time for bed now, so - Goodnight All.

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Sunday, 13 March 2011


Above is a photo of your blogger in a quiet corner of Lincoln, taken on Friday morning.

Lori, I took this one through the car windscreen, yesterday morning on our way home, as I thought you might be interested to see a photo of the original Boston (not the one near you). The incredible Church Tower in the middle of the photo is of Boston Stump, which is a landmark for many miles around, and can in fact be seen clearly from Norfolk, on the South side of the Wash. In my opinion (apart from this tower, and an unusual five sailed windmill) this Boston is a down at heels, grubby, and rather boring little town. Having explored both Bostons, I much prefer the New World one. Sorry to be disloyal, fellow Brits, but I'm afraid it's true. More later perhaps (depending on how busy I am) - Mike.
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Saturday, 12 March 2011

Saturday 2.

The above photo is of houses, mainly eighteenth century, within the Cathedral Close.

The next two pictures are of a stone arch within the nave of the Cathedral. It is mainly published for the benefit of Crowbard, who has an interest in Green men (or Jack in the Green, etc. etc.). This arch is started at the bottom left by Jack (next picture), and the complete arch is in the picture below. I think it's the most complex, and largest Green Man I've seen.

The next photo is of the central tower of the Cathedral. In 1360 a very tall spire was added, and for two hundred years, until the spire fell, in 1564, it was the tallest building IN THE WORLD (so there!!!!).

Been a very long day today - so -Good night all.
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Saturday 1.

Been away in Lincolnshire for a few days, mainly to wish a cousin a happy eightieth birthday. These photoes are all of different aspects of Lincoln Cathedral. The top one is taken from Steep Hill. The Second one is of Ann standing just inside the Cathedral Gateway. The third one is taken looking out of the Cathedral Gateway.

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Monday, 7 March 2011

Monday 2.

Just reopened this blog to record that half an hour after we got home Ann called me upstairs to partake of the above 'scratch supper that she'd just knocked up'. It consisted of two Lincolnshire sausages, red peppers and tomato, cabbage, new potatoes, and pickled red cabbage, followed by rice pudding and jam. Women are wonderful, thank God. And thank God I'm a bloke, so I can fully appreciate them.

P.s. After I'd taken the above photo, I meant to switch the camera off, but pressed the wrong button first, inadvertently taking the below photo, which is a bit abstract, but I rather liked it, so here it is.

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Monday 1.

Last week I blogged very little, not because nothing much was happening, but because we were very busy.
This morning drove into Ipswich to try and sort out an eight day grandfather - not sure if I've solved the problem, hope so, but time will tell (tee hee). Then on to Woodbridge, where we did some shopping, and looked over a new(ish) antique centre - didn't buy anything for stock, but found Ann a nice birthday present, then had a light lunch in a new restaurant (to us, anyway) in the old waiting room of the Railway Station- it was very good, everything very fresh, and the ham carved off the bone.
Also in Woodbridge took the above photo of the Bell and Steelyard pub. The device clinging to the pub is the steelyard, which is an ancient form of weighbridge (or the equivalent thereof). It was used to weigh empty wagons, then again when laden to check the load; and on one celebrated occasion was used to weigh a circus elephant. I've seen a photograph of this, it was done in the eighteen-nineties, and the elephant (who was lifted with a band round his waist) looks a thoroughly disgruntled old tusker- drawing attention to a chap's weight in public - not done.

Drove on to Framlingham. Some green haze along the hedges, took this picture through the car window of a weeping willow (salix lachrimosa blubcakeii) coming nicely into leaf. These trees are always the first to start showing leaf.
Then on to Framlingham. Photo of Framlingham castle below. Message to Crowbard and Stig of the Dump (both of whom are aware of our business there):it was, I'm afraid about half way between a total washout and a dead loss - definitely a NO-NO. For various reasons.
After Framlingham drove back to Yoxford, where I managed to buy half a dozen pewter plates and some brass. Then home via Stowmarket. A good, full, busy day.
Goodnight all.

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Friday, 4 March 2011


I enjoy my work - dealing in, and occasionally restoring, mechanical antiques. Mainly clocks and guns, but sometimes other things. If you study the above photo I'm sure most of you will say:- "Ah, a fairly bog standard chamber candlestick, English, and of the early 19th century". A few of the more erudite of my readers will probably add:- "And how very nice to see one complete with its ejector, its snuffer and its wick trimmers". And, of course you will all be correct; and at this point I must congratulate myself on having such a knowledgeable and perceptive bunch of readers. I couldn't have described the thing better meself. The above chamber candlestick is one I sold some time ago to an American couple (fellow dealers), and recently I was asked if I could repair a similar (but lesser) complete chamberstick. As I had an hour or so to spare this afternoon, I started on it. One of the many minor problems to be put right on it is that the projecting brass hook on the snuffer was broken with the spike part missing, but with enough left for me to make an exact (but complete) copy. I removed what was left of the original hook, then sorted out a piece of scrap brass of the right age and colour ( I hoard spare metal for replacement purposes). I then made the replacement hook to the correct size, and filed up the hole on the snuffer to give a close fit. I was well pleased with the work. I then took the two parts out to my forge, and lead soldered them together. I heated the work on the outside, then applied the lead solder to the inside of the snuffer, so that no lead showed on the outside. Again the work went well, and I was well pleased with my invisible mend, until I took the snuffer back inside and attempted to attach the snuffer to the candlestick, when I was quite surprised to find that I'd soldered the hook on upside down (curses, curses !!!!!).

Well, it took a couple of minutes to reapply heat to remove the hook, and a few minutes more to clean the work and solder the hook back in its correct position. It was still an 'invisible mend', so not a bad afternoon's work, but lessons to be learned - don't get overconfident, and keep your wits about you at all times, etc., etc. The last time I made a booboo anything like that was thirty years ago or so. It was on a clock, and I've not repeated that one I'm glad to report. Still - constant vigilance Michael. Being called upstairs to supper. Must tell Ann about it - or perhaps not- she might want me to retire again - she does sometimes.
Anyhow, Goodnight All.

P.s. In my view antique dealers should not retire, but, as they age, should become steadily more in keeping with their stock.

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