Tuesday, 30 August 2011


Thought you might like to see the smallsword (in every sense) I bought at Southwold on Friday. Just given it a light clean up. Sorry the detail (engraving on the blade, etc.) doesn't show, but it gives some idea.
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Monday, 29 August 2011

Monday 2.

On Sunday Jonathan, our son, his partner Jude, and her daughter Tia, spent the day with us. Finally remembered to take a snapshot of them at teatime (above).  A very pleasant day.

Saw kingfisher  at the above ford  this morning (just a flash of metallic blue along the river) - Magic. Also, a little later in the day, we followed a greenwoodpecker along a narrow lane. As it flew along, we had a view of its back, which, as it went in and out of the dappled sunshine, seemed to flicker from green to gold. Again a magical few moments.

This morning (as per previous blog entry) we went out to pick blackberries - didn't find many - about enough for a decent pie, but we did find (rather to our surprise) that the sloes appeared to be ready for picking, so picked them instead. The photo above (the first of the two) is of the approach to a ford across a very minor road quite near home. Fifteen years ago or so it was the favourite spot in the world for two of our granddaughters; they caught tiddlers in the river, paddled, and were expected to get thoroughly soaked (and usually did). They loved it. They are now in their twenties, and probably far too sophisticated for such simple pleasures (mem. must ask them).
 The next photo is of a small Suffolk farmhouse of late medieval date (probably late 1400s but could be earlier) and partly moated. It always surprises me how many farmhouses/ manor houses in rural Suffolk are (or obviously have been) moated or partially  moated. Often the moat is not well fitted to the house, and I think the answer might be that they are the second dwelling on the site, and if the first one was of a similar age to the present one, that would take us back to a period when our marauding Scandinavian neighbours had to be kept an eye on, or out for -- if you see what I mean.

Ye blasted oak (if my lady readers will excuse such language).

Good night, dear readers.
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Monday 1.

Been out picking sloes, and, to a lesser extent, blackberries this morning. Best sloe crop I've seen for years - hanging like grapes.Picked enough to keep us in sloe gin for another year or so. Whilst out we took the photoes at Bildeston Church. Anone care to guess what they are ?

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Friday, 26 August 2011


Been a good, busy, day. Drove up to Southwold and went to Antique fair at St. Felix School (we'd been sent a freebie ticket in the post). Met up with friends Jonathan and Jo. Pottered round the fair for an hour or so, meeting a good many friends and aquaintances. Only bought one item, a very nice quality smallsword, of about 1740. A deadly little weapon, and made for a boy of about eight. You see them in those eighteenth century family portraits, showing the family in front of the family seat, with the children dressed as miniature adults, and the small boys carrying proportionately miniature smallswords as everyday items of dress. Haven't had one for some years, so pleased to find it. Then went to Jonathan and Jo's (they live in Southwold) and had lunch with them. Tenderloin of pork with vegetables, followed by fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries and blueberries- with cream). After lunch cleared dining table, put a towel on top of it, and on top of that took apart a clock that has been playing up. It is a small, mid eighteenth century timepiece alarm, which needed cleaning, a little poking about, and cajoling into better behaviour. Did the job with the able assistance of Jonathan, who, although he is an academic (a professor), is  a rather good  assistant for a  workman to have (hands me the screws and pins when needed, and points out the fact when I've forgotten to put a part back in - usually).

Above is the clock when reassembled (rather to Jonathan's surprise) and going well (to Jonathan's delight). Had a cuppa to celebrate our success, then left and drove up to the seaside. Ann always loves a look at the sea.

Called in on our old friends, Pat and Doc, on the way home. Arrived home about seven p.m. after (as I think I said at the start of this blogentry - that's rather a good word- should have been two words though) a full and rewarding day.

Goodnight All.
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Thursday, 25 August 2011


I've always had an ambition, when playing scrabble, to score 500 points (or over), and this evening I thought I might achieve my ambition. In the event I scored 499. Frustrating, what? Still, joint score of over eight hundred.

Took the above photo of a very fine old Suffolk Manor House last Thursday, somewhere between Nedging and Naughton.

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Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wednesday 2.

As we've just had a particularly good supper, thought I'd reopen this blog to show you. Above is rainbow trout baked in foil with parsley and butter, sweet potatoes with nutmeg, boiled potatoes, and cauliflower in a cheese sauce. Followed by creme brulee.

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Wednesday 1.

Up just after six  this morning and went to early service. Read a lesson apiece. Home and took below photo of a hibiscus in garden. Don't kow the name of it. but it's a very pretty one. A few years ago it was said that the only hardy hibiscus that would grow in this country was the 'Blue bird'. There seems to be all sort of hibiscii (?) here now.
In fact the two intertwined hibiscii below grow in my neighbour's garden. One is a 'Blue bird' and the other is a pink one with darker centres.

Spent the rest of the day pottering in my workshop. Got a good deal done. Took the below photo in the garden at tea time (4.30ish Lori) just to show that the lupins are having a second flowering.

Been a long day, and I'm about ready for my bed. So - Goodnight, dear readers (if any).
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Monday, 22 August 2011


This morning, just after ten a.m., we decided that as it was a lovely day we'd go for a walk across the fields by the footpaths. We walked out of town and across to the next village, where we took a back lane down to the watermill, which hasn't been in use for some years and is beginning to look a bit down at heels.

We walked from the milll across a footbridge, and then on to the village after that, where we know there is a decent pub. It was about 11. 30 by then, and we were glad to see the pub, as we were in need of liquid refreshment. As we approached it we realised it looked a bit quiet, and found the front door was locked. Just then the landlord drove into the yard of the pub, and Ann hailed him- "are you closed?"
"I'm afraid so". Then he recognised us "You've walked a long way. I should think you need a drink. Hold on, I'll unlock the place". We walked round to the back door with him, he opened up, and served us. I offered him a £20 note in payment. "Sorry, I can't change that. And as I'm not really open, I don't want to unlock the till. Tell you what. Next time you're this way, pop in and pay me then. I'd be obliged if you would. I've got an old clock on the wall of my home that will only go if it's hung a bit sideways, and I'd like you to have a look at it."
"Well," says I, "I think it'll just need setting in beat, and I think that'll take me about two minutes". "Alright", says Steve, the landlord "If that's all that needs doing, will you do it for the price of the drinks?"
"Of course I will. And if it is only a two minute job, that will mean that my rate of pay should be about £90 per hour." Which would be, of course, more than I've ever earned in my life.

Now you can see why I like life in the country. You'd not get that level of service from a pub in a large town.
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Saturday, 20 August 2011

Saturday 3.

Anyone know what this is please? It looks like something between a sow thistle and a triffid, although the white flowers have a touch of the convolvulus or bindweed about them. It's self sown and the flowers (which are rather handsome) only seem to last a day. I'm sure David and Sue or sister-in-law Judy will know. Should we remove itbefore it seeds?
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Saturday 2.

The above two pictures are of a part of Ringshall Church (a few miles away from us) that I find very interesting. If you look just to the right of the centre of the top  photo you will see the end of one of the beams protruding from the wall, with a large oak peg shoved through it from below and securing the beam to the wall. The photo below shows the same beam inside the church. Both ends of all the cross beams go through the church walls and are secured in the same manner, which is used in the few surviving examples of late medieval furniture. If you now look again at the top picture you will see that the roof of the church was replaced and lowered, probably late in the 1400s. The walls of the nave are noticeably leaning outward, this is fairly common, quite deliberate, and is thought to have been done to give, from the outside, the impression that the church is taller than it is. I've just had to nip upstairs and ask Ann the correct name for this- it's called an optical illusion. The odd way of securing the beam ends also prevents the walls from leaning out any further. It's an early method of doing what was done in later centuries by putting an iron bar across the inside of a building, and through both opposite  outside walls, threading both ends of the bar outside the building, then putting on a large, usually round, pierced iron plate against the wall, heating the bar to expand it, and then screwing a huge iron nut up to the plate at both ends of the bar.
As far as I'm aware this is the only example of an ancient stone building being held together with large (about four to five feet long) wooden pegs, and is therefore unique. I'd be interested to know if any of my readers know otherwise. If you do please give me details.

P.s. I know I said I was going to blog about churches and this is only one church, but I've probably exhausted the attention span of my readers (and who could blame them) so I'll keep the others for when I next need photoes for a blog subject .
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Saturday 1.

Just been out to breakfast at our favourite farm shop, Hollowtrees at Semer (to give them a buckshee- free Lori- and well deserved bit of advertising). Seemed that everyone we met there was someone we know. Our waitress was the granddaughter of friends, earning a bit during the school hols, and good for her. Then we met our choirmaster. "Hello Michael" says Ann, "Come for breakfast?"
"No" replies Michael, in his usual cheery way (irony) "Birdseed", and gallops off to find some. Then we meet up with a retired choirmaster, finally get to our table, are served, and before we can pick up a fork it's "Hello, you two, how are you ?" from Prim, the lady pictured above, whose long case clock I fixed a year or so ago. I think her full name is Primrose, which rather suits her. We assure Prim that we are both well, then enquire after her and the clock's health - She's well, and it's ticking over nicely- and we eventually are allowed to get on with our breakfast, which is, as usual there, excellent. Should add, in case Steve or Liz read this, that I've stuck to my resolution, and had the half full English breakfast this time, which was plenty. Stopped on way out to purchase some flowers for Milly, with whom we're going to supper this evening. Must close this blog entry and get on with the one I'd meant to write, which is about local churches. Don't go away.
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Friday, 19 August 2011


Went to cafe Church this morning, and whilst there restocked the book stall, with books we'd been recently given. Talked to Robert about the books I'd taken in. After retiring as a teacher, Robert became a bookseller, and advises on values of books contributed to the stall. Lovely, sunny day today, after a miserably overcast, and rainy day yesterday, so took the opportunity of having lunch in the garden, when Ann took the above snapshot.

A coouple of months ago or so, when godson/nephew Ed and his wife Jo weekended with us, they gave Ann the above pot of plants. It contains a dark blue lobelia, a red and white fuchsia, and a yellow flowered plant, and has been a real joy all summer; so I've taken the above photo to show Ed and Jo that it's much appreciated.  By the way, Ed, we wish you many happy returns of tomorrow.
Yesterday had a drive round the area in the afternoon and took photos of churches. Had intended to do longish blog on them, but owing to a thoroughly awkward (in the sense of difficult to complete) game of scrabble that took up more of this evening than we'd intended, have run out of time, so will probably do another blog ack emma (in the morning Lori). I wish you all a very Good night.
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Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Up at 6.15 a.m. and to early service at 7.30.. Breakfast in Church, then unloaded some books we'd collected yesterday for the book stall. Walked round to Post Office sorting office and picked up a parcel; a small copper tinder box - needs a good deal doing to it. Above photo is of part of our garden, where, as it's a nice, sunny but fresh  August day, we had lunch.  As you can see, it's still showing a good deal of colour.

This afternoon Eileen and Hilary came to us for a scrabble tea. Played two games of scrabble first, then had tea. We gave them ham sandwiches (with a little mustard). Ann had baked some scones, served still warm with butter and raspberry jam. Then Ann's fruit cake, followed by apple and plum fool made with some of Brenda's Victoria plums. Back to drawing room for a third game of scrabble. Lovely afternoon, enjoyed by all.
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Monday, 15 August 2011


This morning our friend Helga (who is from Germany originally, married an Englishman, and has lived in England for a great many years) called in for coffee, together with her her sista Ingeborg and Ingeborg's two long term foster children, Felix (fourteen) and Angelique (twelve). The children were bright, intelligent, youngsters, who seemed to be pleased to be able to practice their English on us (as well they might be, as their English is excellent). They were also refreshingly good mannered children. The three of them have been staying with Helga, and will fly home tomorrow (they live in the old East Germany area).

The snapshot above is of dahlias that grew from a corm that friend Brenda gave to Ann for her birthday last March. They've done well.
Must do a bit of work now. More blog later perhaps.
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Saturday, 13 August 2011


Motored into London today to go to grandson Matthew's eighteenth birthday party. Took above snapshot just after lunch. It shows, from left to right, Matthew, his mother Liz, his sister Beth, Jude (our son Jonathan's partner), Ann, and son Jonathan. We weren't at all sure what to give Matthew. When Ann asked him what he wanted he said  "Surprise me, Granny". Asked Liz and she reminded me that a year or so ago I'd given him some old weskits of mine (mainly yellow tattersall check ones) which had shrunk in the wardrobe (as so often happens) and she said he would love a watch and chain to wear with them, so dug out and gave him a silver hunter watch (hallmarked 1884) that had belonged to his great - great- great - grandfather. Ann contributed a good silver albert from her collection of chains to go with it. The watch had been given me, in a moribund state and heavily oxidised, by an old aunt  a good many years ago. I eventually cleaned and put it into working order, and it's a good time keeper. He was delighted with it. Lizzie had put on an excellent cold collation lunch, which we all enjoyed. Matthew's having a party for his friends (of his own age) this evening. Hope both Matthew and the watch survive it in decent working order.

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Friday, 12 August 2011


Been a fairly restful day. Took above photo this morning through kitchen window and cobweb (outside). To cafe Church this morning. Generally swapped local news with friends.

Spent most of rest of today pottering in workshop. Been a rather grey, dull day, weatherwise. After supper we were playing scrabble in the kitchen and realised that the sky to the north east was stormy, but to the west clouds were lifting and lighting up the colours in the garden so took above snapshot of garden in evening light. Should perhaps have concentrated on the game as the final score was :- Ann 351 points, Mike 349 points. Good night everyone.
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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Wednesday 2.

Just taken photo of clock dial by William Batt of Petersfield (in Hampshire I think) that I was working on this morning. It's a single handed clock as you can see (yes, you can- there are only four divisions between the hours -so not minute divisions but quarter hour divisions - so no minute hand). I now wish I'd thought to take a 'before' picture - the dial was covered in old, darkened lacquer, and was almost black.

To return to subject of plums, we picked about six pounds of them, and this evening Ann prepared, stoned,  and stewed them, so we should have a few plum crumbles and pies this winter.
Going up to bed now - Goodnight, oh pen pals.
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Wednesday 1.

Went for a walk yesterday evening. Above picture taken at about nine in the evening, and shows Ann leaning on the parapet of Toppesfield Bridge, which is claimed to be the earliest bridge in Suffolk still in regular use, although I think this might be debatable.

Went to early service this morning (Ann was 'deaconing') and took the above snapshot of about a quarter of our garden when we set out at just after seven a.m. Spent the rest of this morning cleaning and resilvering the ten inch square dial of a small thiry hour long case clock. This afternoon got a call from friends of long standing Brenda and Warren to say that they have a glut of Victoria plums and would we go over and have a cuppa with them and help ourselves to some of said plums. Drove over to them and had cuppa and cakes. Their youngest granddaughter Hannah was with them. Hadn't seen her for a year or so, and she is now six and quite charming despite (or perhaps at least partly because of) lacking her two upper front teeth, which she told us her mummy had pulled out. After tea showed her my trick with a handkerchief mouse (which jumps and then runs up my sleeve). This had its usual success with a six year old. It was shown me when I was about that age by a great uncle who lived in Southwold, and he also showed me (some years later, though) how to perform this magic. It is (apart from the usual purpose) my reason for always carrying a red spotted snuff handkerchief. I digress. We then went outside and picked plums, willingly and ably assisted by Hannah. Back in a mo. Just thought of something.
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