Wednesday 30 May 2012


Been a busy day. Two funerals. Before that, though, attended early service at seven thirty a.m. Saw a green woodpecker in the Churchyard, with the sun on his back. Lovely colours.  Then at midday Arthur's funeral. Arthur, who was in his early nineties, for some time attended the same lip reading class as I did. Then four or five years ago he started attending the scrabble club as a beginner. Despite being a learner and despite his increasing deafness, he steadily improved his game, and became a very respectable player. Five of us from scrabble club attended his funeral.
Then at three this afternoon our friend Eileen's funeral was held at Saint Mary's Church. The Church was packed. Friend Hilary took the Service and Eileen's son Peter gave the eulogy. It was a very moving service. She was much loved.

We took the above photo of Billingford Church last Saturday morning on our way up to Z's blogmeet.

                                                                    Goodnight All.

Monday 28 May 2012


I mentioned a few days ago how well the aquilegia are doing this year. Their folk-name, certainly in East Anglia, is either Granny's bonnets or Granny's night caps. They are one of Ann's favourite flowers, and I can quite see why. They come in an almost infinite variety of colours and shapes. Our friends, Sue and David, who live at the other end of our town have a superb collection of them, and I look forward to seeing them in a few days time, when we go to a ninetieth birthday party of a mutual friend that they are hosting.

Changing the subject a bit; at the weekend I purchased the below illustrated snuff box. It is just over two inches wide across the lid, is English, and it dates from around the year 1800 - 1820. The seller told me that the beautifully  turned disk inset into the lid is of ebony. It isn't.
Would anyone care to have a guess at what the substance is?  I know because I had a very fine one through my hands a good many  years ago, and had to research it. They are rather rare. I think this is the fourth one I've ever had. Have a bash. And before you ask, Rog or Crowbard, there are no prizes, just the kudos of showing off your knowledge.
The answer is unexpected but interesting; well, I think so anyway.

Good night All.

Sunday 27 May 2012


Just had a very full weekend. On Saturday morning drove up to Zoe's home village (blogs as 'Z'), where a blogmeet was going to be held. As we arrived early and I wanted to take a photo or so of the church we went there first. At the church gate we met the Sage (Z's helpmeet) who told us that a steam wagon was about to arrive. Hung around and were rewarded when the above beauty turned up on its way to a local 'Aquatic Centre'.  In the picture it  was reversing along a narrow lane as the driver said this was the easy way.

Photoed above stained glass window in the church. The prayer obviously met with Divine Approval, and was granted (hence our Diamond Jubilee this year).

Then on to Zoe and Russell's lovely home, and a quite superb lunch. Above snapshot shows (left to right) Zoe, Catherine (Rog's wife) and Ann (my wife); and it also gives a pretty good idea of Z's home. At last year's similar do it struck me that meeting people who you know only from their blogs was very much like meeting characters from books you know well and like. I said something like that to Z's friend Roses and she said that yes, on the whole, most bloggers give a pretty honest impression of themselves. We were shown round the house and introduced to Bobby, a leopard, who met his end in unarmed hand to hand combat with an ancestor of  Z (N.B. obviously not a family with whom a fight might safely be picked). Got to know Rog and his  wife Catherine a good deal better this year, and also was introduced to Z's charming sister Wink. In the midst of the festivities Christopher telephoned from the South of France (the hedonist!) to wish all at the party well. It was nice to be able to renew our acquaintance with Steve and Liz (a pair of very civilised 'bykies')  and to be introduced to Z's grandson, a charming young gentleman of some nine months (a little past his best of course - I always claim that the first six months is easily the best - but he made up for that by spending some ten minutes or so with me without showing any signs of fear or dismay - in fact we got on together like two matlows on shore leave, as Wodehouse so poetically puts it). I know I'm waffling on, and shall have to stop shortly as I've been summoned upstairs to a spot of supper; but what I'm really trying to do is to thank both Z and the Sage for their very generous hospitality - A day to be remembered - 'photographically lined on the tablets of the mind when a yesterday has faded from its page'. You will probably have worked out that wine was flowing freely and that I have not, as yet, completely recovered from its effect.

Good night all.

Thursday 24 May 2012


Above snapshot is of old schoolfellows, Roy Beeston, Mike your blogger, and Richard Smart.

 Below is a snapshot of our partners, Pam, Janet, and Ann.

Been a busy day. Set out just before 9 a.m. and motored to Wisbech to take the books to Elizabeth, our accountant. Got there at 11 a.m. and spent a pleasant hour chatting to her. Then on to the Blacksmith's Arms at Elm, where we met up with our daughter Kerry and our old friends Roy and Janet. After lunch back in car to Roy and Janet's house to drink tea and meet up with old schoolmate Richard, who I hadn't seen since the late 1950s. Spent pleasant hour chatting, raking up old adventures, and remembering how Richard and I had spoiled the Coronation Celebrations in our village on June the 2nd, 1953. Left our friends at 3.15 p.m. and arrived home just after five. Now about to go out to 'drinks and nibbles party' a few doors away to assist neighbour to celebrate a big ZERO birthday.
More later perhaps.

Wednesday 23 May 2012


Read lesson at early service this morning  (for Crowbard's information last few verses of Acts 20- which seem to indicate that someone loved Paul). Left Church rather earlier that usual as I was booked to go and do running repairs to a long case clock of my aquaintance. As we left Church I saw a notice that I thought I must take a photo of later.  Forgot to mention above photo of our garden which has the best crop of Grannie's nightcaps we've ever had (aquilegia for pedants).

Such a good crop of them that Ann's picked some for the house.

 After fixing clock (job was fairly easy to do, but took me a while to spot- clocks cut you down to size; when you think you know everything that can go wrong with them, they come up with something new just to confound you) got home about mid day. Picked up camera and walked back to Church. In the churchyard I saw a couple of youngsters making the most of the sunshine and partaking of a lunch of fish and chips on the grass. Provided that they dispose of  the wrappings tidily I don't see how anyone could object. Nice to see the churchyard being used and enjoyed.

Above is the notice I mentioned earlier. It refers to a practice I wrote about a few weeks ago regarding the youngsters of the town who ride their bicycles and scooters up and down the nave of the church, and bans the practice. But according to the notice it only bans 'young people' from doing this. So I think I'll take advantage of the Dean's kindly offer, dust my old bike off, and take exercise by pedalling up and down the aisles for a while. That'll teach him to observe the rules against 'ageism'.   'YOUNG PEOPLE' indeed!

Sunday 20 May 2012


Guy's last photo above. Should perhaps record that we three blokes, Guy, his father Mikey, and grandfather, your blogger, all had a go on a stall that was selling high tech catapults. Didn't disgrace meself, but both the younger men did better. However restored me reputation at the stand of the local archery club, although the other two did rather better there than they had last year.

After Scrabble club, locked up, returned the key to its usual holder, and walked home - nearly five in the afternoon. Found Ann and Lucy were busy making the evening meal, which was a game casserole (mainly frozen pheasants). Lucy and Guy were a little doubtful about pheasants, never having tried them before, but found they both liked pheasant, so that was alright.

Above photo shows Lucy and Sarah halfway through the meal. On the table before them is a Queen of puddings which Ann and Lucy had made. In fact Lucy had made the meringue entirely on her own, she having learned to make meringue previously. It turned out well .....
and this is the remains of the pudding after the six of us had dealt faithfully with it.

This morning we slacked about drinking coffee, and eventually partook of a late breakfast/early lunch, which consisted almost entirely of cold meats, pork pie (Gloucester Old Spot pork-free range, which I'd bought on   Friday morning - our market place), and leftovers. Sarah, Mikey and family eventually hit the road just after one p.m.    It has been a lovely weekend.


 Passed a display of elderly stationary engines, most of which were running. When I was a boy most farms and small holdings had a more or less decrepit item of this sort in the barn, and some of these work-horses could occasionally be coaxed into doing the odd job about the place. Preferred real horses though - generally more reliable.

We usually have a wander round the flower tent, and did so this year. Bit smaller than usual we thought.

The above horse and rider both appeared to be thoroughly enjoying  themselves.

Sarah's two seemed to think they'd found their mother exactly the car she should buy, and although Sarah rather agreed with them, she eventually decided it was a year too early.

The above character and I stopped to compliment each other on our whiskers, but I really had to give him best with regard to sheer acreage. Perhaps the show should hold a small topiary section next year.

These two set off in fine style,

Then had a slight disagreement about how far the walk was going to be. The young lady eventually won.

At this point (1.45 p.m.) I had to leave the show and go and unlock the room for our weekly scrabble club, so I handed over the camera to Guy and he took the next few photies.

Suffolk Punch (or most of it- but it gives a pretty good idea of the weight and traction of punches - and the leader is having to trot to keep up).

Being called up for a cuppa now- more in a minute.


On Friday evening senior daughter Sarah, her husband Mikey, and their two youngest offspring, Lucy and Guy (plus the cocker spaniels, Ruby and Mango), arrived around eight p.m. this being the weekend of our Annual Agricultural Show, which they like to attend. Ann had prepared an evening meal of baked salmon (see above photo) and cetera.

Above (left to right) shows Sarah, Mango and Lucy.

Above snapshot is of Lucy, Guy, Mikey and Ann.

Mikey brought Ann the roses in centre of above photo of flowers received by Ann during last few days.

Above photo, taken before breakfast on Saturday morning, shows grandson Guy mucking about with trick arrow left here at Christmas by his Swedish cousins.

Then to showground where our first stop was at a display of  falconry - hunting birds, owls, falcons, hawks, and so on. The bird in the foreground is a European Eagle Owl, the female of which is, the owner told us, quite capable of taking a fully grown dog fox! (the female owl being rather bigger than the male).

Surprising number of dogs (with their owners) attended the show this year. I was rather taken with the above lurcher, which are  usually, I find,  rather intelligent dogs.

The things you see when you're out without a gun!  
End of first episode. More in a minute when I've loaded more pictures.

Wednesday 16 May 2012


This coming weekend our oldest daughter Sarah, her husband Mikey, and their two younger offspring, Lucy and Guy, will be spending the weekend with us to attend our annual Agricultural Show on Saturday. Last week a good deal of discussion was going on as to whether the show would take place this year, as the meadow that acts as our showground was more or less awash. It was finally decided last weekend to go ahead with the show, but it will be a welly boots job. In view of our family (or part of it) weekending with us Ann has been baking like mad, mainly cakes, and this morning I took the above snap of her beaming approvingly at a Bakewell tart she had just removed from the oven.
Must close now as we're off to attend a lecture at our Town Hall on the history of Polstead - the village we walked round last week.

Tuesday 15 May 2012


This morning walked into town and attended lip reading class. Think  it went well. When walking home stopped about a hundred yards from home and took above snapshot looking along Tinker's Lane.

      There'd been a heavy shower this morning and on arriving home found the last two parrot tulips lying flat along the ground looking like dead snakes, so cut them off and took them in to Ann who put them in water (as per below photo). I don't know if parrot tulip is the correct name (probably Macaw Tulip is nearer), but don't they look dramatic/exotic?

Wish you all a very Good Night.

Sunday 13 May 2012


Rather a sad post. This morning friend Hilary 'phoned to say that our mutual friend Eileen died late last night. This was not unexpected, but still something of a shock. We played scrabble regularly as a foursome (Hilary, Eileen, Ann and meself). Eileen also played bridge. Indeed she played a good many games - tennis until she was  into her eighties, and golf until a few months ago.  Eileen had one habit at scrabble which has entered the language of our town. She would occasionally put down a highly unlikely word, and when we all objected that there was 'no such word' would reply 'Well, there aught to be!'  Then when the word was checked it would turn out (about nine times out of ten) that there jolly well was such a word, and that Eileen had made a pretty good score with  it. This became known as 'doing an Eileen',  and eventually meant taking any long shot or   outside chance which then succeeded,  became known as 'doing an Eileen'. She was a sunny natured lady who thoroughly enjoyed life, and will be much missed.

Saturday 12 May 2012


 Today we went to Cambridge, were shown round St. John's College (above), took tea there, and attended Evensong in the college Chapel. It's a bit of a story,  but our Church, St. Mary's, has a connexion with St. John's College, Cambridge. It's a solid enough connection (not tenuous) but a bit complicated, so won't bore you with it; but the point is that members of St. Mary's Church are occasionally asked to visit (Ann went last year), and their Choir eventually returns the visit (planned for later this year).
 Above shows Ann in a doorway between squares. The college was founded in 1511, and a good deal enlarged since then.
The young gentlemen marching across this square were part of the choir that sang to us later.
 Took above photo of the river Cam from the bridge of sighs.
Took this photo of the bridge of sighs from the next bridge along.

Photo of St. John's College backs.

Got home around nine p.m. Off to bed now.
Good night all.

Wednesday 9 May 2012


One last photo I meant to have included in my account of Monday's walk is the above. Taken in the tiny back-lane about halfway between the cottage with the pegged end beam and the footbridge over the river Box. It shows the stump of a long dead tree (probably an oak) which now has a good many vertical splits in the timber.  Into these splits someone has been inserting  feathers. Can't think why. Any suggestions gratefully received (preferably sensible ones Crowbard and Rog).  On second thoughts - might be more fun without that proviso.
Goodnight All.

Tuesday 8 May 2012


This is really a quick photographic record of yesterday's walk around Polstead. As you can see from above snapshot there are loads of bluebells in blossom in this area.  We parked near the Church, and then walked across the meadows and down towards the water mill.
Above is a photo of the watermill gardens.
 Above is the watermill with your blogger doing the polite.
Walked along the lane beside the mill and up towards the top of a small hill, with this cottage beside the road.
As we passed the cottage I saw that it was made with the unusual feature of the main beam protruding through the cottage wall and pinned into position outside with a small oak beam. I now know of a church, and three cottages made on this principle (and a good deal of early furniture).
Given directions by a lady in the cottage garden, so turned off up an unmade lane. Winding path, and the above footbridge.
Uphill again, and passed the above huge old oak tree. Hollow, and now nothing much left but the shell of a fine tree. But the few branches at the top were just coming into new green leaf. Doesn't all life struggle hard to carry on living?
 Above is, I think, a badger's back door in the bank. Shortly after this we came to a made up road, turned right (with fingers crossed) and walked steadily downhill.
We'd turned the right way and came down to one of the large pools after which Polstead is named (Poolstead in Anglo Saxon days). Couple of blokes fishing therein and one of them showed us his catch - about fifty or seventy small coarse fish.  Turned right up the path to the church.  We thought about four miles. Took us just over an hour and a half. Then car and home.

Good night All.