Sunday, 30 September 2012


Yesterday, Saturday, we went to the Horkey in the evening. A horkey, as I'm sure you all know, is the old name (probably local dialect) for the harvest home. This one was held in Saint Mary's Church, with the centre of the nave cleared. It was a combination of a very good supper of mainly local produce (certainly locally prepared), dancing to  music produced by local musicians, and a display of Morris dancing by a local Morris Dancing team. Very local this latter, as it was all done by St. Mary's Church Members. This, I fear, is where I'm going to disappoint my readers, for I'm afraid I neglected to take my camera along. Oh dry the starting tear...... (G. and S. Rog)  for I'm going to suggest two other sources for details of a Suffolk Horkey :- one is a poem by the Suffolk poet, Robert Bloomfield, which although first published in 1806, gives  a pretty fair picture of a Suffolk Horkey. The second source of a picture of the Horkey is fellow blogger Wendy, who blogs as  and who DID remember to take her camera along yesterday evening!!!

Now for the two sepia Dagguerotypes I show today.  The first shows your blogger with three of  our daughters. They are Ruth, Lizzie, and Sarah (left to right).   The second shows one of them in her pram. Without giving dates, I wonder if any of the family can tell me which. It should be easy, as in my opinion she's changed remarkably little.

Good guessing.

P.s. I reopen this blog to report that I've just checked Wendy's blog, and she has also published a video of the best item of the evening, which shows six children performing a Shepherds' Hey in Saint Mary's Church yesterday evening,  which was  the highspot of a lovely evening.  As a favour to yourselves -You must see it.

Friday, 28 September 2012


Back among the archives. The above picture was taken about1967, when we were on our way to the seaside (vide buckets and spades), probably Walberswick. It shows daughters Sarah and Ruth, with meself, and Rupert (the car) in the background. I mentioned the car in reply to a comment by Rog a day or so ago. It is shown with the rear windscreen up and the boot open, giving access to the two dickey seats. I think we must have been waiting for our friend Marion and her  youngest. The front seat was a bench seat that held three in comfort, and four at a squash. The car is a 1947 Triumph 1800 Roadster. I say 'is' because I am glad to say that  it is still around, and can sometimes be seen taking the air on a fine summer day in the Wickham Market area.

The above photo shows Ann with Humphrey, our first English setter. He was a handsome, dignified dog who loved children. I have seen him lying in front of the fire with three of our youngsters sitting side by side on him, using him as a sofa; with his tail thumping like a metronome.  I think this one was taken a year or so later, probably in 1968.

 I feel that I'm taking a leaf out of Z's book with this one - 'dogs I have known, and loved'-, but I'm sure she won't mind.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Been a nice day, weather and everything else. This morning motored over to Thorpe Morieux to deliver a clock movement I've been working on, to friends. Putting clock movement back into case (it's a long case clock) with Hugh's assistance, when I realised that I'd not put the pendulum aboard. Ann and Penny then drove back to our home to pick up the pendulum, whilst Hugh and I worked on clock, then relaxed with G&Ts. When the ladies got back we completed the clock, set it in beat and started it. We then had what Penny calls a 'soupy lunch' with them. This consisted of home made soup and  bread,  followed by a very good cheese board (they'd just got back from France).  Drove home after lunch, and shortly afterwards the above flower arrangement was delivered by our local florist from all our children and grandchildren. Around five o'clock  our friends Brenda, Warren, and Helga  dropped in for tea, birthday cake, and to wish your blogger many happy returns of the day.  After they'd gone, we decided at around 7p.m. to walk into town and eat at a local pub which is trying to establish itself as a restaurant. Very good it was, too.
Must knock off now and clean a pair of shoes ready for tomorrow, which promises to be another fairly busy day.
Goodnight all.

Monday, 24 September 2012


Yesterday set out at about 8.45 a.m. and drove to London. Got to Lizzie's (youngest daughter's) home - just of Chiswick High Street- at about twenty to eleven. With grandson Matthew caught tube train to South Kensington, and viewed Christie's forthcoming Arms and Armour Sale. Spent three hours or so viewing, collected a bidding form, then went to nearby coffee bar and spent twenty minutes or so refreshing ourselves and filling in bidding form. Back to desk in Christie's where usual very helpful young lady made sure my filled in form was legible and made sense. Left eight bids (some optimistic, but within the pre sale estimates, some fairly realistic) so fingers crossed for the sale on Wednesday. Would normally have gone to the sale, but have long standing lunch engagement with friends, so couldn't. And anyway, this way I can't get over excited, have a brainstorm, and overbid on things. We'll see.
Then took tube back to Lizzie's, and eventually had supper with them. Left them at about 7.30,  and drove home. Traffic rather heavier than in the morning, but got home at about 9.40 p.m.
Busy day, but hopefully worthwhile.

P.s. Took above snapshot a couple of days ago, of a lane on the way into town. People we know in the house on the left of photo are busily expanding their garden along the edge of the lane, and very colourful it looks too, even this late in the year.

Saturday, 22 September 2012


This morning at just after 11 a.m. we got in the car and motored over to Cambridge. Ann had arranged a birthday celebration surprise (?) for me, and as it was her brother David's birthday yesterday Ann had invited David and his wife Jo along. We met up with the rest of the tribe, or at any rate those who could make it- eighteen of us in all, and went to the boat yard where Ann had arranged for two punts to pick us up, each complete with an undergrad armed with a quant pole to do the heavy work, and went for a boat ride along the backs on  the river Cam.

Snapshot of part of St. John's College covered with Virginia Creeper, which is colouring up nicely.

The above picture could be described (Ratty would certainly  have so described it) as 'simply messing about in boats'.

St. John's Bridge - the Bridge of Sighs. Actually, just after I'd taken this photo we had the only rather dramatic event of the day. Our gondolier's quant pole apparently stuck in the river bed, he tried to free it, the punt moved steadily forward until he was leaning over the back of the punt at a dangerous angle on his right leg, with his left leg stuck our behind him trying to balance himself. As we realised he had gone just  beyond the point of no return Ann and I (who were nearest to him) grabbed his left leg, and pulled him back into balance. He gave a desparate heave on the pole, we hung on grimly to his leg, the pole came free and all was well. He thanked us and explained that today was his first day as a punt 'taxi driver'.  He'll learn.

When we got back to the boatyard, we disembarked and walked the hundred yards or so to what used to be the Garden House Hotel (can't remember the new name) where Ann had booked us a large table for tea.

Above photo  shows ourselves and the tribe (our children and grandchildren, son in law Mikey, and David and Jo)  at tea, which was excellent.

This photo shows the same table and tribe from the other end of the table (Head Waiter most helpful and gladly took the photos above).  It really was an excellent day out, and its popularity can be judged by the fact that several of the younger members of the family asked if they could celebrate their next birthday on the Cam.

Goodnight all.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

More Wednesday.

Just as a footnote to my previous blog posting; today has been a lovely, bright, sunny day, but with a brisk  North wind blowing, so that in the sun it's fine, but otherwise a bit nippy. So the above pictured supper was very welcome. It was a beef stew made, Ann says, with braising steak. I would also suspect that it was made with a drop of dry sherry, a little muscovado sugar,  and a pinch of fivespice (among other things). Whatever (as my grandchildren say), it was just what the medicine man ordered, and was much appreciated.
Goodnight all.

Took the above three photos just to prove there's quite a lot of colour still in the garden. The top picture shows a clump of lobelia, which has surprised us with the depth of  its colour. I always think of  lobelia as little border plants with lovely blue flowers, but I am assured  that this handsome, tall, red flowered plant is a lobelia. Must get a few more of them.
The middle photo shows roses, which are still colourful, and better still, full of buds.
The picture above shows (right to left) pansies, Michaelmas daisies, fuchsia, and hibiscus.

The above picture shows my anvils outside the forge/ workshop.  Earlier in the week Ann had decided to paint the forge, using some special paint for the purpose that sister-in-law Judy had given us. I said to Ann:-  "When you want to paint behind the anvil give me a call. I'll take the smaller one off, and then I think the two of us just might be able to move the heavy one forward, so as to paint behind it. PLEASE don't try and move it on your own".   A while later Ann called down to my cellar to come and look at the forge. All had been completed and she'd made a lovely job of it.   "How did you paint behind the anvil ?" I asked her.
"Oh, I moved it forward on my own."
"Did you take the smaller anvil out first?" I asked.
"No. I forgot".
Women...........are remarkable, aren't they?

Monday, 17 September 2012


Spent pleasant day in workshop and forge. Cleaning up stuff (mainly pewter) ready for the October Long Melford Antique Fair. Spent time in the forge case hardening the steel from a tinder box, so that it's in working order. Played scrabble after supper - really good game - Ann beat me by TWO points.

Picture above is of a small Regency decanter that we bought last weekend.  We both rather like it and would quite like to keep it, but can't decide where to put it. I've decanted the  last of the 2009 sloe gin into it, and it looks rather well. Problem is that we live in quite a small house and don't want to overcrowd it. Oh well, any suggestions welcome.  In the meantime - Goodnight all.

Saturday, 15 September 2012


Last Thursday motored down to Wiltshire (to attend Shepton Mallett antique Fair). On way passed Silbury Hill, the largest man-made earth work in Europe. The base covers five acres of ground. It was built around five thousand years ago, which makes it much the same age as Stonehenge, and the Pyramids.
Above photo taken inside the house where we stayed shows one of the four crucks (oak beams) which supported the original house (it's been added on in all directions). These very early 'crucks' indicate that the house was built around the year 1300.
Above photo shows Robin, our host, feeding the dogs. Two are their own, and five are paying guests.
Above is the Bratton White Horse. It is not an ancient one; it was made in the late 1600s, and altered in the next two centuries. It was, however built on the site of an earlier White horse, supposed to have been commissioned by King Alfred the Great. Below is a photo of  Marlborough, where we stopped for coffee and Ann bought a blue woolly jumper.
Been having problems with the blog. Nea (Swedish daughter has been helping me out). If any of you has been bothered by pictures of a Swedish paddling pool on this blog in the last few minutes - my apologies. I shall now continue to speriment with foties - please bear with me. Being called up to supper. Will try and add more post- din-dins. Please remember that Mike is experimenting.

Monday, 10 September 2012


Not a good (in the sense of cheerful) day today.  On the twelfth of July this year we went to the funeral of our old friend Frank. His wife Jenny had, for the last six years nursed Frank, and worked very hard (she was a partner in her firm) to make sure that he had twenty four hour nursing (he was bedridden for the last few years of his life) at home.
Well today we went to Jenny's funeral at Biggleswade. She died of a cerebral haemorage a fortnight ago. The funeral was rather delayed as Jenny had donated her reusable body parts to the medicos for recycling. Although she was around twenty years younger than Frank, she survived him by less than two months. A century or so ago our ancestors would have said that she died of a broken heart, and I'm not sure that they would have been far wrong.

Sorry, I know this is a bit depressing, so now I'll go on to the three slightly more cheerful aspects of the day.
As we were driving across to Biggleswade we passed, on this side of Bury St. Edmund's, the small vehicle shown in the top picture. It looked like something out of Dr. Who, and we both thought it must contain some alien life form, but as we passed it, I could see that the young man lying almost horizontal inside it was, in fact, vaguely human. 

On our way home we decided to make a small detour and have a look at Bourn Post Mill. It is one of the oldest windmills in the country. It has the date 1636 carved on one of the internal beams but may be quite considerably earlier than this. It's a lovely little mill and well worth a visit.

The last snapshot is of supper this evening - cauliflower cheese made with ham,  and vegetables. Nursery/Comfort food, but we both felt the better for it. 

Goodnight all.

Sunday, 9 September 2012


Today Ann, her three brothers, and as many of their offspring as could make it, Got together for their annual lunch party. This was started when Ann's mother was still with us, and she (Grteat Gran) used to say that she hoped all her descendants would continue to do so after she was unable to join them. So far they have done so.

 The top picture shows an old, dead apple tree, with a rose tree growing up it that we passed on our way to the riverside pub at which we met.

The above picture (taken by granddaughter Beth) shows Ann and meself, with as many of our youngsters as could get there (Ruth and her two couldn't - they live in the North of Sweden), and Kerry and her two were unable to be with us (health reasons).

After the meal, whilst we were sitting at  the riverside outside the pub, granddaughter Lucy took the above snapshot and said "look Pa, our shoes are just the same". I pointed out that if she wears the same shoes for about fifteen years, has them soled and heeled twice in that time, and polishes them most days, then our shoes might look JUST the same. "I meant," says Lucy "that our shoes are just the same style".  I saw what she meant and said  that this  is probably because we both have such good taste. For once in a way, Lucy decided, without further discussion, to agree with me.  I do love Lucy. She is a sensible young party, with a sincere, and sometimes passionate, belief in her own point of view. She is perfectly willing to discuss this at length, provided you eventually agree with her.

Saturday, 8 September 2012


Yesterday we drove Judy into Bury Saint Edmund's 'bus station where she caught a 'bus back to Leicester. On Friday we had lunch at our favourite restaurant - The Swan Inn, in Monks Eleigh. Excellent lunch as always. After lunch we wandered round exploring the village. The next four photos were taken on the road that leads up from the Swan to the church.

Ann beside thatched cottage (converted from a barn, I think).
Judy in front of house in second picture with hanging baskets.

This last picture was a very pleasant surprise. The church is full of seventeenth/eighteenth century 'box' pews, and some re-used even earlier very narrow oak  pews. I was exploring the pews and panelling, and in a  dark corner I could see an oval area of very dark paintwork. Couldn't see what it was, though. So I set the flash on my camera, which produced the above picture of an eagle (I think). Style wise it appears to be probably of 16th century date. It is painted directly onto wood panelling. Early Churches can be full of surprises.

Thursday, 6 September 2012


I wonder if anyone can identify the spider above. Ann and sister in law Judy called me out to the garden to look at a white spider that was on a white rose. Judy was watching it this morning eating a fly, although it doesn't appear to have spun a web. I have never seen anything like it. It might be about an inch across the front legs. Judy hazarded the opinion that it might be a young Black Widow spider that is still in its bridal dress? Any serious suggestion would be welcomed. Both Rog and Crowbard are, of course, absolved from the serious bit. Although in the photograph the body appears to be a pale green, it looks nearer a white colour in fact.

Monday, 3 September 2012


Last Friday we motored over to the midlands to spend the weekend with Carl and Judy, and to bring Judy back to spend a few days with us in Suffolk. We stopped in the village of Reach, a few miles this side of Cambridge, and went to the village pub for lunch. Took the above photo from the pub garden across th village green.

The above photo is of the Devil's Dyke, which was thrown up a few years after the Romans left us, and as a defence against an early wave of Angles and Saxons (blooming opportunists those Angles and Saxons)..

Stopped and took the above photo through the car nearside window of the two Churches in the churchyard of Swaffham Prior, before driving on to Leicestershire.
Spent a very pleasant and restful weekend with Carl and Judy, then set out for home (bringing Judy with us) on Sunday (yesterday)  afternoon.

Arrived home yesterday  evening, and took above photo of roses round our kitchen window - glorious scent.

Spent this morning in my workshop preparing for Long Melford Antique Fair. Went well. This afternoon drove into the countryside to check how the sloes are doing. Above snapshot is of our usual sloeing area. Not very good news. Sloes not yet ripe, and very few of them. Unless we can find a better source of sloes things don't bode well for this year's supply of sloe gin.

These next two photoes are in the wrong order, I'm afraid. The second one shows Ann on the edge of the ford which we were showing Judy. Our senior granddaughters Sophie and Amelia used to love to play in the ford, paddle, get soaked and catch tiddlers. Two young boys (probably about 5 and 7) were catching tiddlers (not minnows, but probably very young brown trout) in the charge of their Grandmama, who was ensconced in a folding chair, on the footbridge next to the ford. The boys  were proud to show off some of their catch from the bucket in which they were being kept.

The above photo was taken from the car window, and shows the main highway between Ash Street and Semer, where we went to our favourite farm shop/tea shop to refresh ourselves with tea, before driving home and resuming (in my case) getting ready for Wednesday's fair.