Sunday, 28 April 2013


Yesterday (Saturday) we decided to motor over to Mistley for lunch. We called in at a Garden Centre on the way  (part of the grounds shown above) and bought three plants for the garden.

We then drove on to the dribbling swan (above). The sick (?) swan is of iron and looks rather Victorian.  The impressive terrace of cottages behind the swan backs on to Mistley Quay. We lunched in the warehouse looking building to the extreme left of the photo. It has a small restaurant on the upper floor, which looks out over the estuary to Suffolk. We had our usual good lunch there, but were told that the restaurant is going to close and move some miles south and west. This  distance will then probably be outside our lunch range. Pity.

Drove over to Flatford Mill, where we saw the above Bull nosed Morris. Talked to it's owner who had just driven it there to a rally. Ann wanted to include the owner in the photo, but being a chap (and therefore rather modest and retiring as we chaps tend to be) he declined gracefully, but said that we were very welcome to photograph the equipage, which we did.

Photographed the above Tudor farmhouse just the Essex side of the border.

Took the photo of a medieval manor house somewhere near East Bergholt, when it had just started to rain. A couple of miles later the rain had turned to SLEET. What a daft long winter and spring this has been.
Woke this morning to a hard white frost and a bright, clear blue, sky!!!!

                                           I wish  my readers   a very  Good Night.

Friday, 26 April 2013


Still got streaming cold; past the worst, but didn't go to Cafe Church this morning (didn't seem fair to spread germs). Stayed at home and got on with  restoration work to above 'mystery object', which was completed  later in the day. Its owner picked it up this evening. He was pleased to have it back in his collection.  Just to help with any guesses, it's two and a half foot long overall.

Good night all.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


To continue our sago of the jackdaws,  the above photo shows our garden waste bin full and crammed down with nothing but twigs put down one of our chimneys by a couple of jacdaws (as detailed in our last). Ann says that all of the twigs in the bin were collected from our fireplace, and it took the pair of them just over a week to deposit this little lot!

Above photo is of our two chimneys. The one to the left (minus a pot) is the one favoured as their ancestral home by the jackdaws.

And perching on the chimney with the pot is one of the two jackdaws. I personally think that they are directly descended from the criminally inclined Jackdaw of Rheims, who stole the Cardinal's ring, and caused a good deal of unpleasantness thereby. And very worthy descendants they are, too.

To more pleasant subjects - it's been our usual busy Wednesday. Started at six a.m. Ann Deaconed at early service. As I seem to have got a streaming cold, or a touch of hay-fever, I stayed in, and have been quite busy pottering about the workshop most of the day.

We're both ready for bed now - so Goodnight All.

Monday, 22 April 2013


This is going to be a blog entry largely about birds. I know that - looking at the photos- there isn't a bird in sight, but bear with me and we will come to the birds. All three pictures  were taken at the home of senior daughter Sarah, and her husband Mikey, with whom we have just spent a delightful, not to say festive, weekend . Before we set out for the South Midlands on Friday, we had to clear out our sitting room fireplace which was full of twigs. During the last week or so, a pair of matrimonially inclined and optimistic jackdaws have been regularly stuffing loads of twigs down one of our large, old (well Tudor, so they would be old- the last Tudor, Elizabeth, died in 1603) chimneys. This may seem strange behaviour, but any jackdaw will tell you it's a good idea, as, with any luck, sooner or later a twig will stick, crosswise, in the chimney, and then all the other twigs later deposited on top of the stuck twig will build up, and eventually form the basis of a decentish nest. This breed of  bird are thought to have been doing this since they started the habit by dropping twigs down cracks in the rocks to achieve the same purpose. We, however, do not require a chimney blocked with jackdaws' nests, so have been clearing the twigs away as fast as they've been deposited. We've also been discouraging the birds whenever we hear them on the chimney top, by beating (in the fireplace, and up the chimney) on an old biscuit tin with a wooden spoon, bursting paper bags in the chimney, ringing large handbells up the chimney, and eventually firing a percussion 'pepperbox' pistol up the chimney - not with a full charge, just the priming caps, but LOUD! All of these methods seemed only to work for a day or so, as the jackdaws (intelligent birds) soon work out that no real damage ensues, other than the nerves becoming a little frayed.
Right - back to photies:- the top one is of Sarah, our senior daughter  (centre, with her youngest daughter, Lucy, to the left of the photo, and her senior (musn't use the term 'oldest' for a lady) daughter, Sophie, to the right of the photo.

Above picture is of  Lucie and her granny.

This picture is of Sarah's youngest, Guy (now thirteen)  just off to a footer match against a school team from Bedford; which team, he later informed me, they 'troshed' ( a Norfolk term) by five goals to one. As I said above a lovely weekend.

This morning we motored home, stopping off half way, for a cuppa at Quy Mill. Back in the car, and before we got back to the road, I spotted my first two swallows of this year. Rather late in the year, but then everything is late this year.
Got home, and found the ground floor in a glorious mess:- one of the two jackdaws had got down the chimney, and (taking a charitable view of his activities) panicked! Vases,  flowers, dishes, all on the floor. Miraculously only one broken, and that one only a cracked Victorian blue and white bowl. It had been full of Victorian glass marbles which made the floor pretty hazardous for us. Unfortunately his panic appears to have spread to his bowels, and he'd left large deposits of jackdaw-guano all over the floor and chairbacks!!!  Unfortunately (probably fortunately for him) we've been totally unable to find the little brute, and can only assume that he eventually got back up the chimney. I know this seems improbably but the downstairs  curtains were drawn across, and for part of the morning the sun shines down the chimney and into the fireplace so he may have followed the light upwards. As I said, it's a large old chimney with several ledges on the sides so it's possible he made his escape that way. If he turns up anywhere indoors I'll let you know. I shall, of course, remonstrate with him regarding his conduct!!!!!  In fact, he might turn out to be another thing that becomes late this year.

Thursday, 18 April 2013


Been a fairly productive day. Spent the morning pottering in the workshop, the afternoon doing a little shopping, and this evening planning our usual visit to Scandinavia later this summer. Also found a little time to take the above snapshots of colourful corners of our garden. This sounds, I know, a fairly restful day, but has left me feeling what a cockney friend of mine would describe as 'absolutely cream crackered'. So, in view of this, and the hour - Goodnight All.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


Yesterday afternoon, we motored across to Sudbury, where Ann wanted to do some grocery shopping at the Waitrose grocery store (it's far to big to call it a grocery shop) . In fairness to her, before she gave herself this treat, we went to my tailor's for some socks and a tie that I'd ordered (red paisley pattern - the tie that is, not the socks). Ann then very kindly dropped me off at the canteen in Waitrose, where I sat at a window seat, had a cuppa, and caught up on the news in the newspapers so considerately supplied by the management. Then on the road again, but came home via the back roads and lanes. We drove via Boxford, where Ann took the above photo of the church, and I took the below snapshot of the village street.

Then on via Groton, where I took the below snapshot through a farmhouse/manor house gateway. To the right of the gateway are Primroses , of which the banks and dykesides are now full,

A mile or so further along, and in a field to the left of the road (and this is the point of today's blog entry) two big jack hares were disporting themselves, larking about, boxing,  racing in circles, and generally frolicking with each other. Hares seem to be pretty thin on the ground these days, and these were the first I'd seen this year, and behaving like 'mad March hares' are supposed to behave - except that this was the 15th April - have these lovely, daft, creatures no sense of tradition????   Oh well, everything is late this year, and they at least appeared to be trying to make up for lost time.

Good Night All.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Saturday 2.

The two photos are of the 'bonsaid' yew tree which I transplanted on Friday, and mentioned in Friday's blog entry.  The tree is about 9 inches high and about a foot across the foliage.

Saturday 1.

Been a nice morning. Woke early (6.30), saw it was a lovely, sunny morning, with a light mist, so nipped downstairs for my camera, then took the above photo from our back bedroom window, which looks North Eastward.

Since then, have done a certain amount of work in my workshop (major job going quite well). At 10 a.m. Bill, my barber, arrived to give me a (much needed) haircut. Bill is also a keen collector of guns, and he'd bought a recently acquired percussion rifle with him, to canvas my views and advice. Ann made coffee while we discussed the rifle (a beauty). A certain amount of business ensued and Bill left us just before noon. Been, as I said, a pleasant and productive morning. Being called up for lunch.

Friday, 12 April 2013


Had something of a freak rainstorm at about half past one this afternoon, and in about ten minutes the lower part of our garden was flooded.

We have recently given our sink garden to an old friend of ours, Audrey, who designed our small garden area for us a few  years ago. She is approaching her 90th and although still a keen gardener finds it increasingly difficult. Our old stone sink is mounted on short collumns so would be about waist high for her, and should help . Rather at Audrey's insistence we are keeping the miniature yew tree that I've been 'bonsai-ing' for around ten years, and which has lived in the old stone sink garden for the last two or three of them,  and Audrey also insisted on buying me a suitable container for it in exchange for the sink garden; so this afternoon we drove over to a small (in every sense) nursery near us, which sells only bonsais and associated goodies. We photographed the  above and below trees there. They  are both just under two feet tall.

Drove home, changed into me gardening scruff, and rehoused the mini yew.

Ann's just gone up the wooden hill, so I must go and join her in Bedfordshire.
Good night All.

Thursday, 11 April 2013


All the photographs were taken on our way home from Colchester yesterday. Above is a fairly typical south Suffolk cottage.

I've always liked the look of the house in the above picture. It's a fairly typical eighteenth century Georgian farmhouse. Well proportioned and confident if rather plain. I was slightly shocked to see that it's being extended by tacking a breeze block building onto one end of it. Shan't know till it's finished; but it already looks  as if the new bit is rather dominating the old. I'm surprised that planning permission was given.

View through a Suffolk gateway, into the courtyard of an old manor house/farmhouse.

Suffolk lane and countryside snapped when nearing home.

Splash of bright colour, proving it really is springtime at last.

Earlier this year we decided that as we're members of U3A we really aught to attend some of the lectures, so I talked to Sid, a friend of ours, who runs the antique collecting section. Last  Monday Sid 'phoned me and said "Mike, you know you said you'd like to attend the next session of the U3A Collectors'  Club? Well it's this Thursday.".  
"I remember, Sid. In fact I've got it in my diary. Who's speaking, and about what?"
"Well, I'm hoping you are Mike. I really do need someone to speak, and as you've got the date in your diary, I take it you're free that morning. Could you give us one of your talks about antiques?"
"Sid, you know I'm not supposed to be doing anything much at the moment. But, if you're desperate, how would it be if I brought half-a-dozen pieces along and waffled for awhile ?"  He was (desperate that is) to the point of collecting me, carrying the items, and transporting us to the next village where the talk was to be held.  Went well; the talk was given sitting down, and I waffled (as promised) for about forty minutes. I rather enjoyed it, and everyone else very kindly said they had.
P.S. U3A, in case anyone doesn't know - University of the Third Age- where  folk of an age to have retired try and continue to learn - usually from other retired folk who can pass on their own specialised knowledge.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


Been a heavy day (with an early start tomorrow) so a very brief blog entry :- on way home from Colchester via the back lanes, spotted this fellow in a field on our right. This area throws up the very occasional  BLACK cock pheasant. I read an explanation of this phenomena once - don't remember the details but the word 'melanin' came into it. This chap was a large, handsome cock bird,. It's a bit difficult to describe but  under the black it was possible to see the markings and colours of his full, breeding plumage. You'll probably get a better idea by enlarging the photo.

Good night all.

Monday, 8 April 2013


Had two things to do today. Ann had various things to do around Church this morning concerning the altar linen and the communion equipment (not sure that's the right term, but I'm sure you know what I mean). I went with her to take photographs, and because after Church duties were completed we intended to motor over to Bury St. Edmund's, where we'd been invited to a 'Cardiac Rehabilitation Education Exhibition'. May come back to that later. In the meantime - our Church.   Top photo is of the organ. The complete history is known. It was built by Father Smith in 1687 for a private house. In 1738 the organ was purchased for our church, and has remained in use there ever since. It has, of course, been restored and repaired, as necessary, a good many time over the centuries. It is said (and I remember saying it before in this blog) that the only original parts are now the case, and some of the larger pipes. It still gives a pretty good account of itself every Sunday!

The above stained glass window is made up of  remnants of original stained glass from around the church. The rondel to the left of centre near the top of window  commemorates Edward the VIth who came to the throne in 1547. Most of the other stained glass in the church is Victorian.

The oak bench above dates from the late 1400s/early 1500s.

It's now definitely  daffodil time. They're not all out yet, but a good many are, and they're a month later than last year (due to global warming or something!!!! IRONY in case anyone's wondering).

The vaulted roof of the vestry, which was tacked onto the north wall at the east end of the church, at a slightly odd angle, some time in the 1400s.

  I think I'll leave the account of my return visit to B.S.E. Hospital till tomorrow. It's been a busy day.

Good night all.

Friday, 5 April 2013


Yesterday afternoon we walked into town, went to the surgery, and talked to one of the younger doctors in the practice. Most helpful and informative bloke. Cheered us both up no end.  Explained what had happened to my heart, then (and this is the important bit) told me that if I continued to make progress at the rate I am doing, I should, in six months, be back in much the same condition as I was immediately before the heart attack, provided I didn't have another one. Given the drugs I am on, he said, that is not likely.  Should have liked something a bit more positive than 'not likely', but he came across as a thoroughly straightforward young man, so the whole thing was reassuring.  As I said to Ann when we got outside "That should knock this nonsense about me retiring on the head".  She agreed (a little reluctantly ?)

This morning we walked into town and through our market place, quite a lot of stalls this morning considering the weather is still so cold. Above  photo is of a warm clothes merchant (opportunist!). The next ones are all food merchants :- baker, butcher, two fishmongers, and a green grocer, below.

On our way into Cafe Church, we checked an area where there are large patches of wild violets in the grass. Been watching this area for a week or so, but this morning they were out (see below). They are a good month later than last year!

After coffee (decaff  in my case yuck ! bleeurr!), and as Ann had several things to do in the Church Office,  walked home.  I counted up after I got home, and I'd had to stop SEVEN times on the way home to reassure concerned people as to how well I am now - quite tiring, but nice to be able to remind meself what a caring, and friendly little town we live in.   Must stop now - being called upstairs to supper.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


This morning we motored to our surgery in order for me to produce about a fingerful of blood (as Mr. Hancock might have said) to check the warfarin is doing its job, then motored on to our favourite farm shop, where we adjourned to the coffee bar, bagged the table nearest to the fireplace and ordered a coffee for Ann and a pot of tea for meself.  When Ann had finished her coffee she went off with a trolley to buy fruit and vegetables, and left me to finish me pot of tea and peruse the paper I'd brought with me.  A while later Ann waved to me from the doorway to say she was ready to go, and as I was pulling me coat on a young lady from a table at the other side of the room began waving violently at me. She was probably (but only just) about three, and, as soon as I got an arm free and waved back, she resumed waving and smiling with renewed vigour (Ann said afterwards that she thought the child was quite convinced that I was Father Christmas enjoying my post Christmas relaxation, and that she thought it might be a good idea to propitiate the old man in view of the coming Next Christmas). The child's older sister (a rather proper young lady of perhaps six) looked a little disapproving of her sister's forwardness and reported the matter to their father. He didn't seem to mind too much, so I stopped at their table to pass the time of day with the young one, who proved to be a thoroughly sociable young person, and continued waving frantically at us until we were out of sight. Cheered us both up no end!
Not that either of us was miz, It's just that I do enjoy enthusiasm in young or old.

 Took something of a small detour on the way home as the sun was shining (very cold though, still) to take the above photo of a house I've always liked the look of , which overlooks our small river a few miles out of town.

The above photo is of the double daffs that friend Helga gave Ann for her birthday. They are lasting well, but because (being double, I suppose) they are very heavy headed, their stalks have started breaking in the middle; so Ann cut them down and put them in a Victorian jug, where they continue to look very well.

Goodnight All.

Monday, 1 April 2013


Above is a photo taken from our bedroom window looking towards our town centre, taken two days ago on the  morning of Holy Saturday,  and celebrating a bit of a traffic snarl up occasioned by some very minor road works. Will come back to this a bit later in this blog.

Been a quiet day today. Ann motored over to Ely, to meet up with her brothers for what we know as a 'sibling lunch'. Didn't really feel up to it, so sent my apologies and warm regards to all by Ann. She tells me a good time was had by all. Should record that Ann's three brothers insisted on paying Ann's share of the bill - very decent of them.     I spent the day pottering in my workshop, and spending a longish lunch hour, perusing today's  Telegraph in detail.

Ann got home around 5p.m., I made us a cuppa,  and Ann suggested that as it was a sunny (but cold)  afternoon, a short walk would do us both good.

This brings us back to the first paragraph of this blog entry. We walked down to the end of the town (which reminds me of James James Morrison Morrison Wetherby George Dupree) during which walk I took photoes of :-
the above fifteenth century weavers' cottages,

a snapshot of the above fine, seventeenth century, leaded windows,

the above house, which dates from the fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and has had alterations and additions in any of the centuries that I've missed. As I've frequently shown pictures of the many  other fine and early buildings in our street, I'll cur this short and go on to -

this  photo of the above handsome, half timbered Elizabethan style manor house (which is, in fact, a bit of a swizz, as it was built, on traditional lines, in the nineteen twenties).

The whole of the street is Grade Two listed, and is used regularly by very heavy traffic (see top picture). About twenty years ago a seven and a half ton weight limit was placed on the street, to try and avoid damage to the medieval houses (one of which we infest) crowded on either side of the street, and that weight limit is FLOUTED daily, and with complete impunity. We have seen articulated car transporters loaded with cars (to be accurate - this has happened twice, once with seven cars up, once with six cars. I took photographs of the first time, and gave them to the local police - with no effect) going through our narrow, historic, street. Our useless, uncaring, town council does NOTHING about the matter.  As I find the subject just a tad annoying I'm going to stop here (BLOOD PRESSURE, Michael!!!)

Good night All.