Sunday, 29 July 2012


 Up early this morning (for a Sunday) and went to early service at 8a.m.  Then drove over to Risby Village Hall, where there was an antique fair. Purchased a couple of bits, one of which I'm tempted to keep.Then drove home via the lanes, taking snapshots (through the car windows mainly).  The above is of a cottage with (of course) a cottage garden.

Above photo  is of houses beside the village green at Hartest.

Lovely old house on a back road  between Hartest and Long Melford.


This is a snapshot of a house I've always admired, mainly because it continues to stand up at all, for there isn't a straight line or a right angle in it.

Snapshot of odd cloud formation taken through car windscreen. Ann says it looks as if an angel is diving head first  back into the clouds.

Friday, 27 July 2012


A week ago, on Friday the 20th July, I told the story of the thoroughly misguided dove, who has once again (for the sixth year in succession) nested on the wall of a house opposite to us. Yesterday morning (at about 8.30) I took the above photo of the two squabs, who seemed to me to be about ready to fly the nest. An hour later I again looked at the nest and saw that one of the squabs had flown (the one shown to the right of the picture I think).

This morning I again looked out and found the nest empty.  I am glad to be able to add that neither yesterday nor today was there any sign of squished squabs on the pavement, or street, below; so that it appears that the mama dove has, at last, successfully raised a brood!

Thursday, 26 July 2012


Motored across to Hertfordshire this morning and had lunch with our good friend Jenny in a small restaurant beside the river Nen.   After lunch went on and looked at the  two clocks, above and below illustrated. The long case was made in Bungay, by Daniel Dade around the year 1790. I had to replace the pulley, which meant resplicing the rope.

The above clock was made around 1740 - 1750 in North Oxfordshire by a member of the Gilkes family, who were well known Quaker clockmakers. Had to disentangle, then repair the chain, and set the clock in beat. Left them both in running order.


Stopped by the roadside a mile or so from Bury Saint Edmund's and took the above photo of a wheatfield, where harvest was just beginning.

 Been a long day, so am now about to knock off and 'seek the seclusion that a cabin grants'.
Goodnight All.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012


Today we motored down to Greensted juxta Ongar in Essex, together with our friend Heather who is interested in early building. The purpose of our journey was to add to our report on Stave Churches of a few weeks ago. This church is the only early stave church in England. The middle section of the above photo would have been the original church. This picture shows the South side of the church.

The above picture shows the north side of the church. The walls of this part are made of split oak treetrunks, with the round side outwards.

This shows the flat sides of the logs inside the church. They  have been adzed smooth.

If you can imagine the middle section of the church standing alone, and without the dormer windows or the porch, and probably thatched instead of tiled,  then you will have a fair idea of what the church looked like about a thousand years ago.
Been reading up on it on Google, and it  is the only surviving example of a 'Palisade Church', which is thought to be the forerunner, or at least a very early type, of the Stave Church, some of which we saw in Norway in June, and of which I've been writing in the blog this month.
I should have said earlier that it has been dendrochonologically (there's a word for you!) dated to between 998 and 1060 A.D.

Monday, 23 July 2012


Been a good, busy day today. Worked in workshop most of the morning. Tidied meself up at about a quarter to twelve o'clock, nicely in time to greet our friends Keith and Jill Pinn, who were coming to lunch with us. Keith brought with him the above pair of leather boots, which I think are Lappish/Sami. They were very well made (a fair while ago I think) and much repaired. I promised Keith I would try and find out from Lasse, Ruth, Tuva, and Freja if I am right about them.
I then made up a jug of Pimms (Pimms, tonic water, ice and fruit), it being a lovely sunny, summery day and we then got down to business. They, too are dealers, with a taste for treen and early metalware among other things (Keith wrote the definitive work on paktong/tutenag a few years ago), and a good deal of the recently liberated Scandinavian treen and metalware changed hands.
We gave them a light lunch of mushroom soup and bread (both made by Ann this morning), followed by a cheese board, and then coffee. At about 3.30p.m. they decided it was time to hit the road, Keith informing me that they'd driven over in the Rover (I didn't know he had a Rover), we went outside with them and they climbed into the vehicle illustrated below- the blue one- the red one is ours. It is a 1934 Rover open tourer, made here and exported to India in 1934. When the owner (an Indian Army Colonel) retired a year or so later, he and the Rover returned to England.

What a SOOOOPER vehicle to drive about in through the Suffolk lanes on a lovely summer day!!

Goodnight all.

Friday, 20 July 2012


Today's entry deals with events that started about six years ago, just after we'd moved here.  On the front of a  house on the opposite side of the road to us, a thoroughly misguided  collared  dove (a hen bird) decided to build a nest. It was built between a rainwater down pipe and an electrical junction box (as shown in the above picture), and right above the pavement on what can become a very busy street at times. She was unable to persuade a male bird to join her (largely, I think, because of the obvious unsuitability of the place from the point of view of hatching and raising a family); and, although she laid two eggs, nothing came of her efforts. The following year she did the same thing, adding to what remained of the previous year's nest, and got the same results. She did exactly the same thing for the next few years, eventually giving rise among our interested neighbours, to the saying "as daft as a dove", which  became current among us.

Earlier this year the house was repainted, and the remains of the old nest (by now looking very dilapidated) was removed completely. However, after we returned from our trip to Scandinavia, we saw that she had again started to build, and appeared to be quite convinced that the same spot was (against all the evidence) eminently suitable as a nesting site. The only difference  seemed to be that this year she had a male dove in tow (only occasionally though - he didn't appear to share her total confidence about the nesting site, and showed only a tepid interest in her) and anyway it was now much later in the year than doves usually start to nest. This afternoon I glanced at the nest, and saw TWO heads peering over the parapet. I went and got a pair of binoculars and was able to see two young doves (squabs I think is the correct term) in residence. I should think they were about ten days old. If you enlarge the above picture, you should be able to see the heads of the two youngsters.

And if you enlarge this above picture you can see the dove, having finally achieved her ambition of motherhood, feeding her youngsters.
It remains to be seen whether she will be able to get them safely away from the nest when the time comes. I will keep an eye on them and let you know.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


 Went to early service this morning, and read the first lesson. Took the above photo when we returned. The roses scrambling over our fence are our neighbour's, but they seem determined to come into our garden; can't think why, our side of the fence is north facing, so you'd think they'd be happier on their side. Still, they're very welcome.

This afternoon Ann went with the Mothers' Union on a visit to Copford Church in Essex. We went there last November (I think) and I showed some photographs of it then. So I gave Ann my camera and asked if she would take a few more photos of it for my blog. The Church was built about the year 1130, and the murals are of the same date. The one illustrated above is in the apse.

The bench ends in the choir stalls (above and below) are modern (i.e. 20th century), but of lovely workmanship.

I've spent today getting on in my workshop, and got several jobs done.  Ann got home at just after five o'clock, came in quietly, and rather sneakily took a photograph of me in me scruff (shown below).

Been a long day - we got up at six a.m. and as the clocks are now striking ten (p.m.), and Ann's just gone up, I'm going to join her.  Goodnight All.

Sunday, 15 July 2012


Today is Saint Swithin's Day, so took the above picture from our back bedroom window at seven a.m. to prove what a fine day it is, and remembering the old belief that ' if it rain upon Saint Swithin's Day.........'
Went to Sung Eucharist and we both sang in the Choir - went well. After a sandwich lunch it was such a fine afternoon that we decided to go out. Discussed matter and decided to drive into Ipswich and have a walk round the docks. 


Took the above photo from the dock,  of an oldish vessel - Dutch I think.

Took this photo a little further along the dock, of a couple of London sailing barges, although the nearest one was out of Harwich. Ann to right of picture.

Remembered a house I knew a good many years ago which backed onto the docks , found  it , spoke to the present occupant, and by his leave, took the above photo.

Above is a photo of the front of the same house (The old Neptune Inn).

Photo of a house about two doors along from the Neptune. It's dated 1636. I think a great many of the old houses which back onto Ipswich Docks were old Merchants' houses.  Drove home through a lovely summer afternoon - it's really good to see and feel the sun after the thoroughly WET/COLD  July we've been having


it still hasn't rained  here upon Saint Swithin's Day. So, with luck, we might now get a bit more summery a summer.

P.s. Perhaps I'd better just record (for Lori's information- the old saying may not be familiar to our colonial friends) that Saint Swithin, or more correctly Saint  Swithun, was made Bishop of Winchester in the year 852. The old saying is that  'if it rain upon Saint Swithun's day, it will rain on each of the next forty days.'  It's generally held that if it doesn't rain on Saint Swithin's day, the next forty days will be dry and sunny. I'm not superstitious of course, but let's just keep our fingers crossed.

Thursday, 12 July 2012


Yesterday (Wednesday) motored across to Hertfordshire to attend the funeral of our old friend Frank. I was down to read a lesson (John 14, v.1-6- for the benefit of Crowbard who likes to know these things), and I must say, in all modesty, that the reading went well......
 As I descended from the lectern however, I got down the first two steps without incident, missed the third step, tripped, staggered, recovered, and wound up six inches from the coffin (I thanked the Lord for those six inches though), managed to stop, said (quite loudly I'm afraid) "Sorry" to the coffin, but meant of course to Frank; after which the wretched man (me, I mean), feeling his position keenly, slunk back to me pew, embarrassed and a bit shaky.  Frank, as Jenny his widow said to me afterwards, would have enjoyed the whole sorry episode.
We went on to the interment, and eventually returned to the Church Rooms for tea and sandwiches.Knew a good many of the mourners, including Ann's middle brother David, and his wife Mo (Maureen).  Afterwards drove over to daughter Sarah's, had supper with them and spent the night there. Above Photo shows granddaughters Amelia and Lucy, daughter Sarah and son-in-law Mikey. Just being called up to supper now.  More later perhaps.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Tuesday 2.

 The following morning we left our hotel at Arvika, and motored down to Mellerud, where we called in at a couple of antique shops we know quite well, and did a fair amount of business. We eventually had lunch with Sten (one of the two dealers) at a little restaurant in the town centre which he frequents. He warned us of  major road works on the road to Gothenberg, and planned a better route for us down through Uddevala. We drove a long way south and eventually arrived at Tvaaker and the farmhouse bed and breakfast photographed above.

The following morning we drove down to Helsingborg, and took the ferry across to Helsingor in Denmark.
We drove across Zealand, and over the toll bridge onto Funen (the middle island of Denmark) where we spent the night at the B. and B. above.

 On Friday we drove across Funen and onto Jutland. Then across Jutland  to Esbjerg where we caught the evening ferry. The photo below I took from our cabin window with Denmark fast receding in the background.

The below two photos show Ann and I relaxing in our cabin.

We arrived at Harwich at twelve noon on Saturday (our time), and, pausing only for a bite of lunch at Mistley, arrived home at two  o'clock, and were greeted by a slightly unkempt, but very colourful, garden.

                                        A glorious holiday, but it felt good to be home (as always).

                 Normal Service will now be resumed.

Tuesday 1.

Still on our Norse Saga, although I think  I shall be able to finish it this evening. The creatures in the photo above are not sheep but a small herd of reindeer we drove past and through. Freja was quicker than I and got a lovely shot of a fine white reindeer stag.

Took the above shot too, through the nearside car window. It shows typical scenery that we drove through on our way back from Borgund to Fagernes, where we'd left Lasse, and stayed the night.

View of the sunset from the balcony of our 'apartment'  beside the river at fagernes.

In the morning we drove to Reinli, which we found (again  following Ruth and Lasse's car) by eventually turning off a mountainous road, and following a small, mainly single track, almost vertical,  road which zig-sagged uphill until we came to the very small village of Reinli, which is dominated by the church in the picture below.  

It is a lovely apsoidal church, which has a fascinating history. This time the curator/guide was a young woman who told us that this was the second Christian church on this site, having been built in the 1200s on the site of an earlier church from the 1000s, which was in turn, thought to have been built on the site of an even earlier pagan temple. I took the picture above the one of the church through one of the 'arrow slit' vertical apertures which can be seen in the church photo.

The curator pointed out the carving above and asked if we knew what it was? I thought it was a dragon, but one of the girls said "It's either Huginn or Munnin."   which didn't help me at all. The  curator though was pleased, and explained to me that these were the names of Odin's ravens. The curator's English was excellent; we discussed the virtues and longevity of timber buildings and when I told her there was one 'Stave Church' and many medieval timber framed buildings in East Anglia (in one of which we live) she said to us "You mind the shop for me. I'm going to England".  We eventually drove on to Gjovic (which is pronounced Yorvic - the old name for our York), had a belated, but good lunch there, then we split up, Ruth et allia driving North towards their home, which they reached the following day, and we drove South and East towards Arvica, where we passed the night. Want to show one or two more photos. Back in a minute.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Monday 2.

Above is a photo of the interior of Borgund Church, with a good many St. Andrew's crosses, which look good, but I should think they are also excellent braces in a tall timber building. The two glimpses of light high up are two of the 'porthole' type windows.

I think either Ruth or one of the girls spotted the bird graffiti above, and took this photo for me (it's worth enlarging).

Above photo shows the roof. The dragon finials were mostly replaced in 1738, but were exact copies of the originals.

This photo was taken by Tuva and shows Ruth, meself and Ann, with Freja in front of us.  Soon after this was taken we piled back into our car and drove back to Fagernes where we were staying, and where we had left Lasse with their car. The following morning we set off for Reinli Church, which is the last one we spent time at.
 Goodnight All.

Monday 1.

 All of the photos today are of Borgund Church. Above is the main doorway with Ann inside the church. There is an abundance of twelfth century woodcarving in and around this church, mostly of  the 'Celtic strapwork' type, although I do wonder if a better description might not be of the Nordic strapwork type. In view of the long drawn out discussion this might start, let's say of the interlacing strapwork type.

Another doorway with the posts surmounted by a pair of rather happy looking, though stylised lions. 

I climbed up the hill above the church a little way to take this one. It still has an oddly toy-like look to it. One or two points now about this church. The roof is of wooden shingles. The whole Church was heavily tarred to preserve it. The only windows in the church are a series of portholes high up near the roof. Their position corresponds to the clerestory in an English church, which leaves these churches rather dark inside, although some of them have had later windows inserted. This one is quite remarkably original, I'm told.
I've just thought of one or two more things I want to illustrate, so back in a minute.