Thursday, 29 November 2012


Just had a very busy two days. On Tuesday morning at nine a.m. we set off and motored to London. Drove to youngest daughter Lizzie's home, parked the car in her spare parking space, grabbed a sandwich and coffee, then underground trained and taxied to Bonham's auction rooms in Knightsbridge, where we viewed the Arms and Armour auction. Taxied and tubed back to Lizzies, where Ann, with the assistance of granddaughter Beth, prepared the evening meal (a lasagna) that Liz had left ready for us. I took a short walk to Chiswick High street, where I purchased some roses for Lizzie, and some pudding for all of us. Back to Lizzie's where I opened the bottle of wine that I'd brought with us (and popped into the fridge when we arrived). When the rest got in (grandchildren Georgie and Matthew, and, a little later, Lizzie) got home we ate, and a very pleasant, relaxed meal it was. Crashed out a bit before ten, and we both slept well.

The following morning  (Wednesday) Ann and I took a number  27 'bus to The Arms and Armour section of Sotheby's who have an auction taking place next week. It wasn't really open for viewing, but I'd 'phoned Thomas (their Arms and Armour bloke- and an old friend) on Monday, and he was as obliging as he invariably is and suggested that we pop in for a quick private viewing. Well worth it, too, and we left a few bids on some interesting lots. It saved me a trip to London next week. Then by taxi back to Bonham's, where I was nicely in time to bid for the few lots I was interested in during the morning sale. Successfully for two of them. Granddaughter  Laura turned up, as arranged at about twelve thirty and, when the morning part of the sale finished we adjourned to a pub just up from Bonham's where I bought us lunch. Should explain that Laura has just moved to London, starts her new job next week, and is exploring London in the meantime, and thoroughly enjoying it. The above photo is of Ann and Laura in said pub.  After lunch Ann and Laura pottered off to explore the shops in Knightsbridge (mainly Harrod's I think). I went back into Bonham's for the afternoon session of the sale, and purchased three more lots. It was for me, in some ways, the ideal sale- of the five lots I purchased three are ready (after a quick clean and brush up) for resale, one needs a bit more research doing on it, and some tidying up, and the other one is a badly restored but interesting miquelet flintlock pistol which will keep me busy doing some acceptable re-restoration during some of the coming winter evenings.

Ann and Laura rejoined me at about four o'clock, and we  paid for, collected, and wrapped  the goodies, before Laura left to return to her flat. We treated ourselves to a taxi back to Lizzie's, where Ann (again with Beth's assistance) prepared one of her famous (well  famous in our family anyway!!) fish pies. We eventually hit the road home just after seven, had a good, clear run, and got home just after nine - and slept like logs.

I've spent a busy  morning not doing much in the workshop, and Ann has just called down the cellar steps that she thinks an afternoon nap would be no bad thing. Quite agree so just off to join her. 'Bye.

The following morning

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Sunday 3.

Just practising to make sure that I can manage to reduce the number of pixels (?)  required in the photoes for the machine to accept it. Took this photo of Ipswich Docks last July.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Sunday 2.

Last entry (you'll be glad to hear) about the problem I've been having with photographs for the blog. Ruth told me that the problem stemmed from there being too many pixies in the camera. Well, I have to believe in magic to cope with the whole thing (modern communication methods that is) but pixies!  On the other hand I do remember ex R.A.F. men of WWII vintage who, if anything went wrong with their aircraft would blame "Gremlins in the works".  But pixies! No. I think that Ruth (dear child) is extending one of her ancestor's nether limbs. Still, she has succeeded in getting my blog back on the road, and in working order, so I really am very grateful, and I don't grudge her her bit of fun.

Pixies indeed!!!!!

I asked Ann, and she said yes, she'd heard of the pixies in the photographs. They're there to put the little tiny dots in, of which the photoes are made up.  Perhaps Ruth's been pulling her mother's leg too?

Sunday 1.

The series of untitled posts I put up yesterday (with the assistance of daughter Ruth, who has managed to sort out the problems I was having with illustrating this blog) were all experimental. The one below was taken in Ruth's town in Sweden. The snapshot above is of the set of shelves in our kitchen/diner. The two plates on the lower shelf are Japanese, I'm told - but  I'm no ceramicist, I'm afraid. All the other pieces of pottery are from Staffordshire - bar one. I wonder if you'd care to guess (or tell me) which one is not Staffordshire?

Testing site


I'm sorry that I've not been sending blog entries of late. The problem is that the machinery has started refusing to store photographs since last Wednesday. I seem to have persuaded it to publish the above photo, but it is now sulking again and refusing to cough up any more photos. Nea is busy working on the problem, so fingers crossed pro tem. More later hopefully.

Monday, 19 November 2012


Spent the weekend near Milton Keynes with senior daughter, Sarah, her husband Mikey, and family. Took the above photo of a favourite riverside cottage in Bedfordshire, on our way over, at about midday on Saturday morning.

Stopped off at a pub in Great Barford for a sandwich lunch (in view of Sarah's reputation as a hostess, and in full expectation of a good dinner in the evening -later fully realised).  Like many English villages the Great Barford pub is, as you can see, right next door to the Church.

Above photo is of Ruby (left) and Sarah, enjoying a cuddle.

Took the above photo, on Sunday afternoon, when all her family was at home (Sarah's older two daughters having left home). They are, from left to right, Guy, Amelia, Mikey, Sarah, Lucy, and Sophie. Sarah had  put on her usual superb lunch. Sophie, and Amelia, with their respective partners left in the evening. We, that is Ann, meself, Sarah, and Mikey then sat down to a game of scrabble(Guy keeping score, and Lucy advising generally). I record this as the game had a very dramatic ending. Sarah had been leading in a very close game. She ended the game by going out on a seven letter word onto a triple, which scored 78 points. She scored another 52 points from the letters held by the other three of us, and which altered a score line of 107 to me, 76 to Ann, 111 to Mikey and 132 to Sarah, into a final score line of 93 to me, 58 to Ann, 91 to Mikey, and 262 to Sarah. A REMARKABLE effort!!!!!

Took above photo this morning in Sarah's kitchen, with Guy and Lucy, in school uniform and about to go off to school.

Took the below  photo this morning, really for the benefit of Crowbard, who commented on the use of shells as spandrels on long case clock dials. This one has the bog standard spandrels of cabbage roses, but it does have a large seashell in the arch. It was made by John Massey of Fakenham in Norfolk, who died in 1809. 
As I am sure most of my readers are aware, the battle of Trafalgar, at which Nelson, the 'Norfolk Hero' lost his life, took place on 21st October, 1805, and for some years thereafter maritime motifs were much used on Norfolk clock dials. 
 Being called upstairs for supper now, so - Goodnight All.
P.s. Reopen this blog entry to insert what I should have stressed before - it's been a really lovely, and very enjoyable, weekend.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Tuesday 2.

The above are photographs of the lantern clock I have been working on (well - on and off) for the last week or so. It was made, as you can see, by Richard Weller of Eastborn (sic.) who lived from 1693 to 1765. It is a fine country clock of its period (it was built around 1730), having an hour hand only (four divisions between the hours on the chapter ring) and now appears to be going happily, although I must admit it presented me with a problem that I'd not come across before -well not to that extent, anyway. The spikes in the two pulleys (both going train and striking train) had rusted and in three cases had sheered off completely. Of the twelve spikes I have had to replace six, plus do various other odd jobs to avoid further potential problems. All very time consuming but very satisfying. I really do think that English lantern clocks are my favourite type of clock.
Good night All.

Tuesday 1.

Spent most of the morning in the workshop, working on a lantern clock (will come back to that later), then, at about midday Ann announced that she was going to drive over to our favourite farm shop to buy vegetables, and would I like to go too, as there would be potatoes to carry. We motored over, purchased the vegetables, loaded them into the car, and as it was now nearly one o'clock, decided to have a bite of lunch in the shop restaurant. Had curried turkey, lingered over it, then decided to motor home via the pretty route, which we did, Ann driving and meself snapping away via the windscreen, to give an idea of how lovely  Suffolk can look on a fine November day. Fairly typical Suffolk back lanes in above and below photographs.

Tributary of the River Brett shown below. Actually it's an old mill stream, that comes from, then returns to, the Brett.

Fields lying fallow in below snapshot with autumnal woods in the background.

Back in a min with photos of the clock I've been working on this week.

Saturday, 10 November 2012


Had the above clock brought to us earlier in the week by an old acquaintance. The clock was very vaguely familiar, too.
  "It's been playing up a bit this last week or two" says the owner, "So I thought I'd let you have a look at it and see what can be done, as I bought it from you."
"Did you? When was that?"
"Oh, thirty some odd years ago, and it's not keeping quite as good time this last week or so as it used."
"Well, it's  out of  its guarantee by now. Still, I'll gladly have a look at it and see what can be done."
 Richard was perfectly happy with this and left it with me to 'see what can be done to improve matters.'

 Yesterday we motored over to friends Margaret and John, partly to deliver an antique pistol of John's that I've been tidying up, and partly to have lunch with them. Took the above photo on our way to them. They are settling well into their new home, a modern bungalow in a large garden in the depths of Suffolk. They love it there and told us how lovely and quiet it is. Prior to the move they lived for many years in a medieval house on the main street of a Suffolk Market town, so I imagine that life is a good deal quieter in the new home. Not that I'd describe Lavenham, where they used to live, as a roaring metropolis!
After an excellent lunch we relaxed in their large sitting room, and caught up on their family news for an hour or so. Was very impressed with the efficiency of a wood burning stove they've just installed.
Left them at about half past three, and took the below photos of Suffolk houses on our way home. The machine seems to have lost one or two of them, still that means I've a photo or so in reserve for my next blog entry (if I can find them).


Today has been  my usual Saturday - a friend of ours, Audrey, designed the lay out of our small garden for us some six years ago, and finally came to have a look at it and drink coffee with us this morning. She was pleased  to see the garden. I think it is beginning to look as she had envisaged it when she designed it for us. I sort of understand her delay. It probably takes at least six years for a garden to start looking as you intended.
Played scrabble this afternoon with the usual foursome at scrabble club. Won one game, and Phylis (who was really in mid-season form) won the other three games. Been a nice relaxing day.
Goodnight All.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


Went to the monthly antique fair at Long Melford today. For once in a way we didn't buy anything for stock there, but Ann found, and bought, a patchwork quilt from the stall of a friend of ours, who has a shop in Southwold.   I didn't really get a chance to look at it until we got home. We then spread it out on the floor of the sitting room, where I took the above photograph of it. The colours are quite.... muted, I suppose the right word is. Subtle anyway. Ann says she doesn't think it's antique, but that it was probably made quite a while ago using  a sewing machine, although the quilting at the back was hand sewn. She also thinks that it's not been much used, if at all. It's obvious that a great deal of thought and work has gone  into it. Ann says she's going to put it on the bed in the front spare bedroom. We both think it will look well in there.

Goodnight All.

Monday, 5 November 2012


Today we killed several birds with one stone. We set off from home at about 10 a.m., with, rather unusually, me driving, and Ann in the passenger seat photographing the colours of a lovely November day as we went along. The above photo Ann  said was to show the autumn colours of the roadside trees and shrubs, but it also shows some of my  own autumnal colouring, I'm afraid.

We were lucky enough, having arrived in Ely, to find a vacant parking place, with a  view of the Cathedral, right opposite the Fire Engine House, where we were to meet Ann's brothers and their partners, and have lunch.

And photographed above is the Fire Engine house, where we lingered over an excellent lunch, and spent a couple of hours catching up on the family news.
After lunch I delivered the painted clock dial which I've just restored, to its owner (who was pleased with it). Then we motored a few miles further to deliver, install, and set in beat, the clock I illustrated in the previous blog entry.

The above and below photograph show the clock set up and going at five to four this afternoon.

We had a cup of tea with the owner, then motored back to Ely and combed the Waterside Antique centre with some small success (two purchases, nothing exciting, but will make a decent contribution towards the petrol cost).
Eventually arrived home at about seven o'clock, with a feeling of a well spent, and  very pleasant day.

Good night all.

Saturday, 3 November 2012


Last Saturday (today week) I went down with a crashing cold. Ann dosed me with various nursing nostrums. I varied these with my own version of a cold treatment - hot toddy (or rather fairly regular hot toddies). This consists of equal quantities of scotch and  water, with a good squeeze of lemon juice and honey to taste, the whole to be heated in a saucepan until simmering, then taken internally. This doesn't cure the cold in any way; it just makes the patient feel a bit more cheerful about things. A couple of days later Ann went down with the same problem (I mean a bad cold, not the hot toddies-they're not a problem). We battened down hatches and stayed in for the duration of the colds. This enabled me to get on in the workshop with various jobs, and I've generally caught up with work. The above illustrated long case movement was made in London around the year 1680. As this was rather an experimental period for English horology, the whole movement is a bit non-standard, and I was having to proceed very carefully, and I must admit that I've been taking me time over it.. However, it's now behaving nicely, and is ready to be returned to its home and be put back into its case (walnut, of course). It will be worth your while enlarging the above photo- the details of the dial are exquisite.

The first time we went outside was on Wednesday, when Ann grabbed the camera and rushed out to take the above snapshot of a stormy sky, with the westering sun shining from under the clouds onto the trees.

Above taken from one of the back bedroom windows a few minutes later.

Yesterday evening we'd just settled down to a game of scrabble, when there was a sound like a fusilade of shots being fired somewhere  slightly westward of our home. We (rightly) assumed someone was celebrating Guy Fawke's night a bit early, so went upstairs and watched from the front, spare bedroom window, where we got a grandstand view of the fireworks being let off about fifty yards away or so, in one of the gardens opposite. It was a LOVELY  display which went on for fifteen or twenty minutes. When it was all over, I raised the window sash and bellowed our thanks towards our incendiarally  (?) inclined neighbours. Rather to my surprise, this started a chorus of "Thank You"s and "Hear! Hear!"s from a few other neighbours, on either side of, and opposite to,  us. We'd all had an excellent entertainment, and it was good to express (and to hear) the appreciation of, our gratitude for it.

Just being called upstairs for a cuppa. More later perhaps.