Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Wednesday 4.

The above two photoes are of Copford churchyard (last ones I'll be publishing of this Church you'll be glad to hear, although if you're in East Anglia it's well worth a visit: if you do visit it remember to make sure you have a pound coin with you. It's a dark little church, and the first thing to do is find the electricity metre at the West end and insert a £1. It works like an old fashioned gas meter :- you insert the coin, turn a key until the pound drops, and then the lights all come on for about ten minutes).

 Early service this morning, did a little shopping in town, then home, played with computer and tidied up workshop. David and Wendy had lunch with us. Wendy (who blogs as Wendy Whitecat) teaches computer skills at U3A. Before and after lunch Wendy sat with me at the computer and tried to get over my difficulties with illustrating blog. I think and hope I learned quite a lot. 
Ann gave us leek and potato soup, which she'd just made, followed by a cheese board, then coffee. I'd opened a bottle of Cote de Rhone (which we plan to finish with our supper when Ann calls me up to it). A very pleasant light lunch. Given my lesson in computer usage which preceded and followed lunch, I suppose it might be called a 'theme lunch'.   Being called up to supper now. More later perhaps. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Wednesday 3.

Outside of Copford Church (Ann in front of it). Note small bell tower at left end of Church (containing three bells). See Wednesday 1 for photo of oak supports for the bell cage/ tower.

Wednesday 2.

Still trying/experimenting. Works, but there are still two of each photo - I'm being heavy handed somewhere. These two showing very good modern oak bench  ends in the same Church, proving that good craftsmanship is still around. Charming things aren't they?

Wednesday 1.

Still experimenting with pictures and how to publish them. This (or rather these - sorry that there are  two of them - boyish enthusiasm on my part I'm afraid) showing the West end of Copford Church, and clearly (I hope) showing the early twelfth century lower part, and the 14th century upper part- looking like huge oak scaffolding supporting the 'new' roof, and the small bell cage or tower.   Hope this works.

Monday, 28 November 2011


Yesterday we hit the road at 9a.m. and drove to London. Stopped  at Braintree for petrol, etc., and got to daughter Liz's at 11.30 a.m. - good easy run. Picked up grandson Matt and we took tube to South Kensington, and a taxi to Bonham's at Knightbridge. Spent the next couple of hours viewing their forthcoming Arms and Armour auction. Adjourned to nearby coffee house, bagged the last vacant table, ordered coffee, then discussed what we'd seen, what I wanted to buy, and what I could afford to pay for it. Met Paul, an Arms dealer from the West country who I  hadn't seen for some years. Pleasantly surprised to see each other. We are of much the same vintage and Paul was a little surprised that I've not retired. I made my stock answer to this one and told him that antique dealers don't retire, we just become steadily more in keeping with our stock. He thought about this, then agreed. When Matt and I returned to Bonham's we found they were due to close in five minutes, so we hadn't time to leave bids. We then walked back to South Kensington Tube station and returned to Chiswick. Liz had asked me to move her grandfather clock,and I'd bought the necessary tools with me so Matt and I did the job, he doing most of the donkey work at my direction. I then set the clock up, screwed it to the wall, put it in beat, and set it going. Then downstairs and had supper with Liz, Georgia, Beth and Matt; Ann having bought supper with us.  We hit the road at 7.15p.m. and were home by 9.15p.m. (good journey, we didn't exceed the speed limit once, but made very good time).
 'Phoned Bonhams this morning and left eight bids on (all,  bar one, were fairly optimistic bids from my point of view - one was realistic). We'll see how the sale goes on Wednesday.
  Spent the rest of today pottering in the workshop. Pleasantly tired from yesterday but didn't feel the need for a zizz this afternoon - well didn't succumb to it anyway. Going to have to now, though.  Goodnight all.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Another photo of the inside of Copford Church, this time showing the very Byzantine lower half of the church, and above it the 'new' roof that was put up sometime in the 14th/15th century. Bit patched together but a very interesting building.

You'll have probably gathered that I'm still having problems with illustrating my blog, Picasa having now shut down altogether. I'm told that there's also some difficulty commenting on my blog these days (?) probably from the same source. I'll continue to try though.

Went to lip reading class this morning. Our teacher Jill discussed Robin Hood (as an exercise in lip reading) then tried to link him with the Green Man (Jack in the green), which I found an interesting idea, although the Green Man is, of course a much earlier legend than Robin Hood. It's amazing how many English churches, and indeed Cathedrals have depictions of the Green Man in them.  Been doing odd jobs in the workshop since then. Work has been going well.  Bedtime now I think - early start in the morning.  Goodnight.

Thursday, 17 November 2011


Same rose, turned and cropped. Let's see if this will work (still having problems).
Posted by Picasa


above photo is of  timepiece alarm I purchased on Ebay, and which arrived yesterday. It is, as you can see, a single handed timepiece (four divisions between the hours) with an alarm setting disk in the dial centre - to be set to the tail of the single hand). The clock is smaller than the photo makes it appear (eight inch square dial).This is the 'before' photo. Needs work and will keep me busy during some of the coming long winter evenings.

 Rosebud in the garden - on its side- forgot to turn it. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Wednesday 3.

Still practicing. I think the above sign 'Queue in both lanes' is one of the soppiest in East Anglia !  I've tried, but my car isn't wide enough.

The above cottage looks as if it's grown there.Posted by Picasa

Crumbs!!! I think I've got it licked.

Wednesday 2.

Still experimentting. Ann and Ruth at Hollow Trees Garden centre last summer.

Pa, Tuva, Freja, and Ann at same location.

This DOES seem to be working.
 Pat, I'll try and email you and tell you how I'm doing it. It's a long way round, though. But it seems to work.

Must get on with some real  work now.Posted by Picasa

Wednesday 1.

Still trying to make Picasa work (still not very successfully) This photo was taken back in the early summer.

I think I must title it Granny and Nanny.

Been a good busy day. Started early.  Ann deaconed at early service. I read a lesson. Breakfast, then round to Post Office sorting office, and picked up a clock I purchased on Ebay last week. Good quick service. Did a little shopping, then home, sandwich lunch, quick Zizz (nap Lori), then been pottering in workshop and trying to make Picasa work. Will have to try and remember what I did that time.Posted by Picasa

Monday, 14 November 2011

Monday Evening.

With the assistance of Crowbard, I have, as you can see, been trying again, and have finally managed to put a photo on screen. It is the inside of a Church, heavily Byzantine in character, and built (or completed) in the year 1130. It is not somewhere in Eastern Europe as you might imagine it to be, but a mile or so South and East of Colchester, and is the village church of Copford. A good deal of the paintings have been 'refreshed' in Victorian and modern times. A surprising survival though.

I shall keep trying to blog from time to time, but shall be glad when(or if) Picasa ever resumes duty.

Monday 1.

This is an experiment to see if Picasa has now returned to its duties. This is a photograph of sister-in-law Judy, who stayed with us last week. As Judy is a rather shy person and doesn't really like having her photograph taken (one has to sneak up on her and snap her before she is aware of your intentions) this is a rare portrait. 
Changing the subject, Neil's attentions to this $%&*"!! ungrateful machine seem to have failed. Neil is our computer engineer. There seem s to be a major fault on the Picasa publishing process. Even publishing photoes direct from 'my pictures' seems to be getting more difficult. Therefore please do not expect more blog entries from this source until conditions improve. I will continue to comment on my friends' blogs occasionally.   Goodbye pro tem. I've enjoyed it.
My warm regards to you all -- Mike.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 13 November 2011


Today I purchased, on Ebay, a small antique English wall clock, and that set me thinking about purchasing at auction. The only drawback to purchasing on Ebay is that, generally speaking, there is no opportunity to actually examine the item before bidding. Providing that the item is well illustated, that isn't really the problem it appears. The major benefit of buying on Ebay is that the price at which the hammer falls is the price that the buyer will pay (there is, of course, a charge for posting/delivering the item, but this is usually quite a fair price).
Now follows my main winge about buying at the major auction rooms. People think (and are encouraged to do so by mindless TV programmes on the subject) that the price at which the hammer falls is the price that the buyer will pay. This is not so; there is usually a 'buyer's premium' of around twenty per cent on top of the hammer price, and V.A.T. on that, so that the buyer will be paying around twenty five per cent more that the price he has bid. Let's suppose that you have purchased at auction a rather nice, country made, long case clock, and the hammer falls to your bid of £1,000. When you go to the accounts office your bill will come to around £1,250.  That's not all, though. The seller of the clock  will be charged an auctioneer's fee of around fifteen per cent of the hammer price. So that of the £1,250 that has actually changed hands the seller will eventually (and it can take a matter of several weeks) receive the auctioneer's cheque for £850 !!!!!  This, of course, means that the major auctioneer takes around forty per cent of the clock's value,  for catalogueing and selling the item. This seems to me to be a quite exorbitant fee for doing very little.  Add to this the cost of travelling to London,  staying there overnight between the viewing day and the sale day, and you will see that a good deal of the gilt has been rubbed off the gingerbread for most dealers.
Finished my winge about auctioneers, but I'm sure that you will see why purchasing items on Ebay (always providing you know what you're doing) seems an attractive alternative.  Sometimes though Ebay can have daft rules - I knew of a case recently where a 16th century carved bone KNIFE  HANDLE was up for sale on Ebay (and your blogger was bidding for it - it was a tiny work of art in its own right) when the Ebay authorities realised the description contained the word 'KNIFE' and insisted that the carved handle be withdrawn from sale immediately.  I have long held that the term common sense is the most misused one in the language, in that it is far from common these days.

Oh well, winge now definitely over. Tomorrow my computer engineer is going to try and induce Picasa to insert photographs again. If successful you'll no longer have to put up with unillustrated, long, verbose, diatribes like this evening's.  My thanks to anyone who's read to the end of this evening's blog entry, and I wish all of you a very Good Night.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Photo of Ann liberating a seedpod from a hollyhock in full flower earlier this week. Lovely dark red flowers. Does anyone know if hollyhocks breed true from seed? 
Today we motored over to Littleport in Cambridgeshire and 'fixed' a nice early long case clock (circa 1690).
Had lunch with Ann's eldest brother. Been up since before 6 a.m. (early service) so now plan a quick supper and an early night.  Goodnight everyone.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011


Friends Eileen and Heather came to tea today. Ann gave them egg and cress sandwiches, ham sandwiches, scones with butter and blackcurrant jam, pork pie, and lemon drizzle cake. Very pleasant light meal. Earlier today they'd been to look round a Church just over the border in Essex with quite superb medieval wall paintings. Must have a look at it soon.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, 7 November 2011

Monday 4.

Machine refused to accept last two attempted blog entries. Been a thoroughly busy, hectic, and enjoyable weekend - till now.
Please bear with my feeble attempts to keep this blog on the road.

And, of course, I wish you all a very Good Night.

Monday 3.

This photo also taken this morning in Olney. This house appears to be a mid georgian one, but is in fact earlier, as the plaque in the front wall shows. If you look at the line of rather newer stonework above the plaque, you can see where the house has been 'modernised' a long time ago.

I am managing to publish blog entries, but by a slow and laborious method allowing one photo per entry. Must 'phone engineer and arrange visit - later this week possibly.
Posted by Picasa

Monday 2.

Taken at 10.30 a.m. in Olney in Buckinghamshire. Morning was miz and drizzly, but doesn't this rosebush brighten things up?
Posted by Picasa

Monday 1.

Still trying hard to publish illustrated blog. Let's see if this works. Photo is of grandchildren Lucy and Guy in school uniform. Taken this morning.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, 4 November 2011

Friday 2.

Reopen this blog to report that all three of us (sister in law Judy has been staying with us for a few days) have been sitting upstairs at one of the front bedroom windows enjoying a firework display going on at the playing fields just across the river. It has been going on for nearly twenty minutes and was quite spectacular. I have enjoyed watching fireworks since I was a boy, and indeed they seem to get better every year. We all three agreed that this one was the best we'd ever seen. Absolutely magical.

Remember! Remember! the fifth of November.

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.

I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason

Should ever be Forgott.

Again - Goodnight to you all.


Apologies to my readers for absence. I am still having problems. Picasa determined not to publish pictures, so have been fighting (largely, I fear, unsuccessfully) to find a way round this. Still trying. Next week my engineer is going to try and pinpoint problem. In the meantime will try and publish picture of odd little folly of a cottage a few miles from here , which has rounded ends. Don't know why.  But feel that if the designer of that cottage  were around today he would probably be working for Picasa.