Thursday, 30 August 2012


Once again I'm a day or two behind on my blog entries. On Tuesday we motored up to Costessey (in Norfolk fashion this is pronounced 'Cossey', or if you're a real native of High Norfolk (as we Norfolk fen folk call this area) probably something like Caaahsey, to have lunch with friends of ours, who've recently moved into and renovated a bungalow there.  Took the above photo of a church tower beside the A140 road. It has an early (1722) clock with a single hand which I've always intended to stop at and investigate, but never seem to leave meself time to do so.

As we neared Norwich we realised that we were rather ahead of time though, and as Ann said that her blood-caffeine level was now dangerously low, we stopped at Dunstone Hall (photographed above), which is now a hotel/golf club/conference centre, and imbibed decent coffee, and generally refreshed ourselves. Then on to Cath and Derek's new home (which they've made an incredibly good job of - internally it's more like one wing   neatly cut off a stately home than the usual bungalow).   Cath put on her usual absolutely georgeous meal. Basically roast chicken, but this description nowhere near does it justice, and she and Ann swapped recipes, so that Ann can have a go at reproducing it at some stage. This was followed by a choice of pudding, local fruit, etc., then coffee and chat.
Set off for home at 3.30ish, and took the following four photos through the nearside car window en route.
The A140 is a straight road that goes through several old villages.

The last photo is of the Stonham Magpie with its sign built right above and across the main road. I only know of one other similar sign, in the east midlands, and that is not over a main road now (been bypassed) but over a village street. Bit of a wonder the old Magpie sign has survived.

Must go and get on with some work now; have plenty waiting to be done -  in fact the forge AND workshop call.

Sunday, 26 August 2012


Just spent part of a quiet Sunday afternoon reroping a thirty hour longcase clock by a Well known Suffolk clockmaker. Having knocked off for a few minutes, and, although probably not of general interest, I thought I'd show you the items I bought on Friday at the Southwold Antique Fair.  The brass item above is the snuff box with a combination clock built into the lid. It works well and would be a very effective deterrent to a snuff thief.  Below the brass snuff box is a padlock built inside two silver threepenny pieces. I've included a pound coin to give some indication of size. In the centre is the key I adapted to fit the lock on Saturday morning. The padlock is six tenths of an inch across, and two tenths of an inch thick; the surround of the lock is also of silver, I think. The iron key is just under an inch long.

Above shows the padlock and key (and the pound coin) in more detail.

Above photo shows the other side of the padlock. The young (or 'bun') head of  Queen Victoria is visible on the padlock, and the young head of our present Queen is  on the pound.

This photo shows Friday's complete haul :- brass combination lock snuff box,  copper snuff box made from two copper twopenny pieces (1797), and the small silver padlock again.

Saturday, 25 August 2012


Yesterday we were on the road just before 9a.m. and drove up to Southwold, on the Suffolk coast. We arrived in the town at about 10.30 a.m., picked up friend Jo, and took her with us to the annual Southwold antique fair about half a mile inland at St. Felix School.  Rather to my surprise I was able to buy three pieces of antique stock (two were snuff boxes, a brass one with a combination lock built into the lid of the box to prevent people pinching the snuff - a pun worthy of Rog -  and the other was made from an English copper twopenny piece, of 1797,  which screws apart to reveal the snuff compartment). The third piece I bought was a tiny silver padlock made from two silver threepenny pieces. The key is missing but I've probably got one of the right size and period in my workshop, which I could adapt to the padlock - we'll see.  Ann bought a piece of local amber on a silver chain (for one of the granddaughters eventually), whilst Joe bought herself a fine early Victorian brooch, gold with seed pearls, tiny emeralds, and amethysts. It's a good fair, although I was rather shocked at the prices being asked for clocks and early weapons - I must rethink the prices I've been asking lately. Still we'd got a good haul.
      We then went back into Southwold and had lunch at a very good fish restaurant there. Ann and Jo each had a fresh crab with salad and boiled new potatoes,  and I had haddock, chips and peas, with the locally brewed ale (Adnam's). After we'd left Joe (she said she'd walk home- had a little shopping to do in town) Ann and I drove over to Halesworth and called to see old friends of ours - Michael and Pat, who we've known since the early sixties, when we all a little younger than we are now.

After we'd left them we drove into the back lanes a few miles from Halesworth to find  a lovely, but derelict, farmhouse we'd seen on our last visit to the area. To our surprise it has been tidied up to some extent and is now being lived in again. It probably dates from the mid 1500s, and looks as if it has been very little altered- see above photograph. Suffolk buildings never cease to surprise (and please) me.

We got home just after six p.m  in time to grab a cuppa and go to the local cinema club. Can't remember the name of the film, but it was about Nelson Mandela and the South African Rugby team. Well worth seeing; but the rules of Rugby seem to have been changed rather since I was at school. Being called up to supper now - so will wish you all a very good night.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Yesterday was a lovely day. We were sitting in the garden having lunch, when to my right, hanging near the fence in the centre of her web, I spotted a very colourful spider (probably waiting for HER lunch). Ann passed me the camera, having just taken the above photo, and I then took the next photo, of the below colourful lady. Detail isn't very good, but if you enlarge the picture you'll get a better idea of her.

Goodnight every one.

Saturday, 18 August 2012


We walked into town yesterday morning past the above photoed lane. The lady of the house on the left has cultivated the areas outside her garden walls and made very pretty gardens of them.

The High Street, and indeed most of the Town centre has hanging baskets around the whole area. You'd think these would be provided by the Town Council, but they are in fact supplied, watered , and maintained by our local Chamber of Commerce (i.e. an association of  business men).

Above - more  baskets  hanging this time from the first jetty of our Guildhall.

After we'd had coffee in Saint Mary's, Hilary asked me to step into her garden (she lives near the Church) to look at her peach tree. She put it in about two years ago against the south facing  wall of her walled garden. It is now fruiting well (despite the weird summer we've been having), and she presented me with the above peaches from it.   I need hardly add that they were delicious.

Good night every one.

Friday, 17 August 2012


Yesterday evening we (that is - Ann, Hilary, Heather and meself) motored over to Rendlesham Forest, in Heather's car, to see the Red Rose's annual Shakespear production. It was King Lear this year. We got there reasonably early, and had our usual picnic.
The production was, as usual, excellent. The ending seemed decidedly odd, with the four survivors of the plot standing together and singing (very well, too) 'There'll be blue birds over the white cliffs of Dover............'.   Couldn't make much of that.
Ann has just come in and reminded me that Gloucester tries to chuck himself over the white cliffs of Dover towards the end of the play - so I suppose it has some sort of relevance.

Thursday, 16 August 2012


Left to right :- The Sage, Zoe, and Ann, taking tea in the garden; and before anyone comments that they've somehow got into the wrong blog let me explain. A couple of days ago Zoe told us that they were coming to a funeral 'in our neck of the woods', and as we were going to the same funeral Ann rang Zoe back to explain about the parking problems in our town centre, and to invite them to use our spare parking space. So, after the service, and after tea in the Guildhall Garden, we adjourned to our garden for yet more tea, which was when I took the above snapshot.  So you see, all now clear, and it's not Ebay getting in a muddle again.

 I must now whizz upstairs and get out of my properly subfusc funereal clobber (remember Lori - clobber= clothing), as we're going out this evening to the Theatre in the Forest - King Lear this year.

More later, if I'm still awake when we get back.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012


Yesterday bought Ann this  bunch of dramatic looking gladioli. Yesterday evening gave a dinner party for two couple of friends. With ourselves that made six - which fits (fairly snugly) round our dining table.

To early service this morning, read the first lesson. When we got home realised our hibiscus is in bloom. It's their third year in the garden and I think they're really starting to flower well (pale pink with a splash of red in the centre).

On the way home from town, took the above snap of roses over a neighbour's fence. A week ago I thought these roses had finished for the season, but they've decided to have another flowering.

Does anyone else have a job remembering what year it is ?  After lunch I bottled last year's harvest of the hedgerows - the above illustrated sloe gin. I always label it as 'Sloe Gin' and then the year they were picked. Having written and stuck on all twelve labels I realised I'd labelled it all as 'Sloe Gin, 2010', instead of 2011. Rather than waste all the labels I altered the date -looks a bit untidy, but I don't think it will alter the taste or put anyone off the stuff once it's in their glass!!!!!

Sunday, 12 August 2012


Been a full day so just a quick blog. Killed two birds with one stone - or one journey. Got up at quarter to seven and on the road just before 9a.m. Motored to London. Must once more admit that we were pleasantly astonished at the m.p.g. returned by our new Jazz. By the time we reached the M25 it was returning 62 m.p.g. and by the time we reached the North Circular road the figure was 64 m.p.g.   Must admit it dropped a bit after that. We went over Kew bridge and on to Twickenham were we called on Ian and Madeline (who blogs as Pixie Mum) -photographed above on their front doorstep, to return and install  a clock of Ian's that I'd been repairing. Returned clock to its case, wound it, and clock returned to its duties. They were pleased to have Ian's grandfather's clock going again. We then adjourned to their dining room, where Madeline provided tea, coffee, and quite delicious home made coconut slices.  Then drove on to Chiswick where we'd been invited to grandchildren Matthew's and Georgia's birthday party. Matt is nineteen today and Georgia was twenty one last Thursday.

Above photo is of Matthew (in centre of picture, wearing tie), with two of his friends Tony and Josh. An hour of so later the garden was quite crowded.

Just before we left Tony (above) very kindly took above photo of Matthew, meself, daughter Liz, Ann, and granddaughters Beth and Georgia.  We started home at about 5.15 p.m. and got home just after seven. Both journeys, as Ann said "quick and stress free".
Off to bed now (and ready for it). Goodnight all.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Friday 2.

As stated earlier, our friends John and Margaret came to lunch. John is pictured above, and Margaret below.
Should add that on the table in the foreground of the above picture is the cabinet pudding which Ann served (with cream) after the main course of roast pork. Followed the pudding with a cheese board, and eventually with coffee. Margaret and John are that great rarity RETIRED antique dealers (shakes head disapprovingly - in my view antique dealers shouldn't retire). Still, it seems to suit them.

                                         Goodnight All.

Friday 1.

Before walking into town this morning took the above photo of a plant in the garden. The colour of the flowers (which are about half an inch across) is a light sky blue, and the shape of each flower is like a miniature rose.  I don't know the name of it, but I'm sure one of my readers will know (either sister-in-law Judy, or friends Sue and David).

On my way home took the above snap of a hibiscus flower peeping over a neighbour's fence. I think it's called the Bluebird hibiscus, and at one stage it was the only hibiscus that could be relied on to be hardy enough to survive our climate (usually).  There are now several that can be grown outdoors here.

Coming home took this photo of our back garden gate with honeysuckle (Dutch one, with a lovely scent - although there's a wild honeysuckle growing in our back hedge, the scent of which beats this one hollow). I'm letting it grow through our wrought iron gate because the main  branch, that's now growing quite stout, acts as a return spring to the gate, but I may have to prune it before too long.

Should have said - walked into town to go to cafe Church and also to do a little shopping as we've friends John and Margaret coming to lunch. May make a further blog entry later if I remember to take photos at lunch.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


Been a fairly busy few days since I last blogged. Played scrabble at Hilary's this morning. This afternoon and evening I got on with some work. Fixed two clocks which were playing up. A Black Forest wall clock which (it turned out) had lost a 'stop' pin, and a lantern clock which needed the clutch spring retensioning. Both problems fairly easy to find and put right.  Which brings me to the photograph above, and demonstrates two of the drawbacks of being an 'Antiquarian Horologist' or ,less pretentiously, a 'clockie'. To explain the first drawback, I must go back twenty or more years. I sold the above clock to a friend. It is a single fusee timepiece, built around 1830 to 1840, a nice, satisfying, and reliable little clock. The drawback to selling anything of this sort to a friend, is that you're expected to keep it running forever (or as much of  forever as is allowed us).  I don't really mind this, as I usually get my expenses paid. Our friend who bought the clock died some few years ago, and I've had to put it right twice since then. The first time his son had overwound it (despite the stop work that all good fusee movements have to prevent this happening).  It took me a day to take the movement apart, put the problem right, and reassemble the clock.  This time his widow has dropped the clock off its shelf, and (this is the difficulty) I cannot, on a fairly quick examination, find what the problem is. It isn't any of the things you'd expect. It just declines to go for more than a couple of minutes. This means that I must strip the movement down completely, examine it carefully, and find the problem. I expect that one of the wheel teeth fairly high up in the train will be bent (or broken off - though I can't see one missing or out of alignment), or even just a pivot leaning sideways (sneaky little things these pivots- but I mustn't get too technical).  Either way, thoroughly time consuming to find and then put right.

Shouldn't winge though. Generally speaking I thoroughly enjoy what I do, and persuading a 'dead' clock to resume its duties is very satisfying.

Good night All.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Sunday 2.

Further to previous blog entry, walked to church. Took above photo of the Guildhall in churchyard. This year's hanging baskets are looking well.

 Above photo is of the west end of St. Mary's, with the Deanery Tower to the left. Joined the rest of the choir in the congregation (not robed - we are only required to sing as a choir on two Sundays of the month these days - so we sit together and at least sound like a choir if we don't look it). Good service.

Above is the Revd Joyce Willis,  who took the service. She is one of the associate Clergy of the Benefice. This appears to mean that, although she is retired, she still works away as hard as ever (for which we are truly thankful!). Joyce looked so well in her robes that I asked permish to take a snapshot of her after the service during 'coffee time'. She complied and she says she will look up my blog this evening. Hope she does - any comment she might make would be worth hearing.

Being called up to supper now, so will wish you all a good night.

Sunday 1.

Trying to catch up a bit with this last week. On Tuesday morning we walked into town, where, in the yard of the King's Head, a bloke in a van sells fish which he says he purchased earlier the same day off the trawler quay in Lowestoft, or sometimes from the sheds on the beach at Aldeburgh. Be that as it may, his fish are always very fresh. We purchased our Tuesday supper from him. Above are sardine fillets, roast vegetables, and broccoli. We also purchased the above illustrated samphire , pronounced samfer (well locally anyway). It's a form of edible seaweed, very tasty and said to be very healthy (it's mentioned by Shakespear). I  seem to have managed to steam up the lens of the camera whilst taking these two photos.

Below is a picture of Ann in the garden. She's about to set out for Church, and left well before I need to as she's serving/deaconing (not too sure which is the correct expression) this morning. As it's an eight/ten minute walk (depending how brisk I'm feeling) I'd better go and join her.  More later perhaps.

Friday, 3 August 2012


Just a quick blog to apologise for not having blogged all week. Been an unusually busy one though.

Took the above photo through the offside car window last Sunday (or rather Ann did). When we  looked at the photos that evening this one didn't seem very attractive, and we had to work out why this was so. The house is oak framed (probably fairly early Tudor) -chimneys look a bit strange and oddly placed; but we both thought that the real problem is that the house's surround of well raked gravel gives the place a clean, hyegenic, and rather sanitised look that is out of keeping for its period. Also, looking at the photo, the place is almost perfectly symmetric.  In fact the more I look at it the more it jars. Or am I being hyper- critical? Rather wish I hadn't inflicted it on the rest of you.  Your views would be welcome though. .

 Good night all.