Saturday, 31 August 2013


As stated  (on Friday's blog I think) this has been a busy week. Thinking about it, Thursday was our best, and busiest, day. Had arranged to drive up to Southwold (see above photo) to sort out two recalcitrant clocks, which belong to friends Jon and Jo, and which had become thoroughly uncooperative of late. Just before we set out got an email from Jon, to the effect that if we had anything in stock in which he might be interested, would we take it along with us?  That raised a problem in my mind, in that Jon has  eclectic tastes, but when I thought about it, he also tends to buy the best available. So I took a few bits along with us. Stopped off at Yoxford (where there is a shop that you might find useful, Rog). Good call as I was able to buy several antique bits, and Ann found a patchwork quilt (another! that makes three we have). Then on to Southwold, Jon and Jo's, and tackled the clocks.  The first one took me about three minutes to find the problem,  and another five to correct matters. The second took about twenty minutes to rerope the clock, with Jon's assistance.  Despite being an emeritus Professor, in a discipline completely unrelated to horology, Jon does enjoy being a clocky's assistant occasionally - handing me the correct tools, etc, when needed. The four of us then went into the town centre to a restaurant that seems to specialise in local sea food, where Ann had a dressed crab, and I had Haddock and chips. Can't remember what John and Jo had, but we all had pudding then returned to their home for coffee (Red Bush tea in my case - the Chief Medical Adviser still frowns on coffee for the old man!!!) or perhaps it was decaff.    After that we returned to the subject of the bits I'd bought to show  Jon, and some business was done.  Left them about three thirty. I'd rather forgotten what a charming little town Southwold is. Known the place since the last war - my mother and I used to holiday there occasionally  (my father being away, 'somewhere in Europe', helping to decide the future of the planet, i.e. a soldier).
If you read this, Jonathon or Jo,  again our thanks for a lovely day. What a civilised way of doing business!

Made a small detour on the way home and took the above snapshot of  the market place and Church at  Wickham Market . Also had a quick look around an antique shop on the market place - few bits, but v. expensive - didn't buy.

Got home about five, and out again at 6.15 p.m. to pick up a couple of choir members, and take them to the home of  our Choir Mistress for a Choir Practice (much needed after the summer recess) ready for a wedding we will be singing at on Saturday (today, and it went well). After the practice Margaret, with the assistance of her sister Katherine, gave us a very pleasant supper. Finally home (after dropping off the other two choir members) after nine.    Slept WELL!

Hope to again now; usually do - sleep well, that is  -   Goodnight All.

Friday, 30 August 2013


Been a very busy week. Might come back to that. In the meantime above is a picture of our fruit bowl on the kitchen table. In the centre of the picture are two nicely ripe figs. They were delicious! They were picked, earlier in the week from the below fig tree in our garden. It is a Brown Turkey fig tree which I purchased from a local nursery man three summers ago. It was about nine inches high when I planted it.  The tree is shown, in the picture below (just left of centre). It is about five foot high now, and full of fruit. Mostly they should ripen next summer, but there are several more that are now big enough to be eaten, a bit later this summer. So far we have had four ripe fruit this week, and another two which I plan to pick tomorrow. Although most fig trees are free standing trees, it is perfectly possible (as can be seen) to  train them to a South facing fence/wall.

More (blog)  later if I can find time.

Monday, 26 August 2013


We have been spending the weekend with Sarah/Mikey and their family in the South Midlands. Motored over there on Friday, and on Saturday Sarah put on a magnificent lunch for us all, including Mikey's parents Frank and Jane, and his Aunt Sue and Uncle Geoffrey. The top photo is of most of the main course, but Sarah had also made her speciality dish of a sort of roast potatoes done with red peppers and a continental cheese (sorry- memory fails me here, but the memory of the dish is still on the palate - superb).

The above dish is of the choices of pudding at the same meal. All LISH!!!!!
 Don't quite know how that happened ?  The above photo (however 'dishy') is of granddaughter Lucy, sitting (for some reason known only to herself) on the sideboard/worktop. It's the picture above that that is of puddings. I would never dream of including a photo of any of my granddaughters among the puddings. Oh well, I'm sure most of  you can work it out.

The above photo was taken today, at lunchtime by Lucy. It is of grandson Guy, meself, and Ann.

This one is of Lucy, squatting on the sideboard. Must record that she and Guy are growing up nicely!

Above is a group photo taken today lunch time. Left to right - Ann, Sophie, Lucy, Mikey, Sarah, Amelia, and Guy.

This one was taken by Guy, and is in the same order as the previous photo, save with the absence of Guy to the right, and the presence of meself to the left.

About two hours after the above was taken Guy and Lucy did all the heavy work of loading the car for us, and we took our leave with all of them waving goodbye to us in the front garden. As Ann, who was driving, backed out onto the road she asked me if all was clear to do so. A young lady was carrying a glass tank with a large goldfish in it along the pavement towards us, so I replied  "Yes, except for a young lady carrying a goldfish".   Ann said "Oh, don't be silly", as wives will at their husbands' attempts at humour, and a moment later braked hard and shouted "There's a young lady carrying a goldfish in a glass tank. Why didn't you warn me?"    Sometimes I think that we chaps can't win.


Should add and emphasise that this odd incident did nothing to spoil a lovely weekend. Rather added a light note to our departure. The grandchildren seemed to be enjoying it, and probably know the young lady taking the goldfish for a walk. Takes all sorts!

Goodnight All.

Thursday, 22 August 2013


                                 MYSTERY OBJECT.

The object, of course, isn't in the least mysterious. It's a gun, with the gun lock showing. The object is for someone to be able to say what sort (very specifically) of gunlock this is. The country of manufacture and some idea of period would gain extra marks, or rather, kudos.

This next picture is of the same gun, showing the butt plate. The butt trap in the centre of the plate was missing, and this week I have been making (and engraving, en suite) the missing butt trap. The next part of the Mystery Object game is for you to tell me (again specifically) what the butt trap would have been made to contain.    
                   In fairness, I must warn you that this particular Mystery Object competition is
                                         AN ABSOLUTE STINKER.
I doubt that even Crowbard, on a good day, will be able to answer this one in the required detail.  Still, have a bash chaps (and, of course, chapesses).

Wednesday, 21 August 2013


Set out yesterday morning and motored over to Peterborough. Pulled into a gateway to a farm road a few miles from home, and took the above photograph. It shows a nice old farmhouse set in typical Suffolk scenery.

Took the above snapshot, through the nearside car window, on the  A14, whilst going  over a river near Saint Ives in Cambridgeshire. Minor miracle the photo came out alright.

Finally found (or rather the Satnav found) what we were looking for, the entrance to the Crematorium just outside Peterborough. As we had an hour to spare we motored on a few hundred yards and found the pub pictured above, where we had a very decent lunch - toad in the hole for two. This nicely took up the time available until we returned to the crematorium, well  in time for the funeral service of Ann's Mother's  cousin's husband Sid (actually he was rather closer than that, having been a good friend). Despite his age (he was 96), and although he'd had a leg amputated about two or three years ago, he remained a very active man, living on his own, and used to go from Wisbech down to Brighton (using public transport) to stay with his grandson fairly regularly.  A couple of weeks or so ago, his grandson decided to motor up to Wisbech, to take his grandfather by car to Brighton. That evening his grandson helped him to pack up ready for the journey. The following morning he went to his grandfather's room with a cup of tea for him, to find that his grandfather had died, very peacefully, during the night. A pretty good way to go, I think.

He was a lovely old man, very well read, and always good company,  who'd had an interesting Army career in the Second World War.  It doesn't seem long since we were finally beginning to appreciate the few remaining First World War veterans. Now the Second World War veterans seem to be falling thick and fast.

Visited daughter Kerry, and grandson Tom,  in their new home, on our way back.  Later on stopped off  at the Swann inn, at Monk's Eleigh, and had  supper (light, but just what we needed!) a few miles from home. Got home just before nine and, I'm glad to be able to report, crashed out shortly afterwards.

Sunday, 18 August 2013


Been a fairly busy weekend. Georgie and Andy stayed for lunch on Saturday, then gave us a hand setting up for Scrabble Club ( which  we were hosting yesterday). They (grandaughter Georgie and Andy that is, not the Scrabble Club) set off back for Derby (Andy's home) at about 1.30 in the afternoon (Georgie rang to say they'd got back safely just after four- having had an uneventful journey). It had been a real pleasure having them to stay.  Nine members of the Scrabble Club arrived at two p.m. which meant three tables of three players each.
The above photo shows three of the senior members,  (two nonagenarians and an octogenarian) - all three are excellent players. One of them played at County level a few years ago (and won). I think Scrabble helps keep the grey matter in good working order.  Theirs anyway, if not mine. Been a standard Sunday, but got a good deal of work done this afternoon. One item I've been working on may form a 'mystery object' later this week.
Ann's just gone up the wooden hill, so I'd better follow.    Good night All.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Friday 2.

Had to reopen today's blog entry to record that at about 7 p.m. we had a thunderstorm, followed by a very lovely rainbow. The above photo does not do it justice. It was a bright and complete double rainbow. What setting should I put my camera on to get better results with rainbows?  Suggestions welcome please.

Should also record that we played two four handed games of scrabble after supper, and that Andy won (very convincingly) the second game.

Good night, everyone.


Yesterday Granddaughter Georgie and her affianced, Andy, came to stay for a couple of days. Andy has not been to Suffolk before, so we are showing him our area. He comes from Derbyshire (which, too, is a lovely area) but he is quite impressed with Suffolk. Asked Georgie where she would like to see, yesterday afternoon, and she said that a few years ago, we'd taken her to Polstead, and since then she'd  read up on the Red Barn murder (Maria Marten, 1827), and could we have another look at it please? So we did a run round Polstead (the photo above shows the pool after which it is named (originally Poolstead); then on to  Kersey, which seems to be featuring  a good deal in this blog of late, and then on to Lavenham. The Guildhall at Lavenham (pictured below - with Ann, Georgie, and Andy  to the left of the photo) was built in the 1520s, so is a century or so later than our Guildhall here, but a very handsome, well preserved building.

The photo below is of Andy, Georgia and Ann, in much the same place as above, but facing the camera this time.

Played a four handed game of scrabble yesterday evening. Andy said he'd played the game, but was terribly out of practice. In the event he got out first and after we'd carefully counted up the score  there were only two points between he and I. A good, close, well fought  game.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Wednesday 2.

Drove over to Kersey this lunchtime and met up with Ruth and Tony. Ann and Ruth did their nursing training together between 1959 and 1963, at the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital. Ruth and Tony were 'courting' at that time, as were we.   They live in Northumberland. Ruth 'phoned a week or so ago and told Ann they were coming down to stay for a week in Southwold, where their daughter lives. They wanted to meet up for a pub lunch, so it seemed a good chance to recheck the Kersey Bell. We lunched there about ten days ago (see blog entry for 5th August). The teething problems I recorded then seem to have been sorted out, and we had a very pleasant lunch in the pub garden (as  recorded in above photo). After lunch we again had a quick look round Kersey  (see below two photos), then drove back here and and sat and chatted awhile over coffee, and enjoyed the sunshine in our garden. It was good to pick up the threads. Ruth has changed very little since their nursing training days. I don't think we blokes wear so well as you ladies.

Good night All.


Lovely sunny morning today. The garden is still busy with butterflies. Loads of peacocks about. Managed to get two in the above photo; both using our garden table as a landing strip.

The above photo shows Ann, and friend Leslie, who had supper with us on Monday, then, when we'd cleared, she joined us in a game of scrabble. Warned us she was very out of practice, but put up a pretty good game none the less. Came second. The  photo is shown particularly for the information of the gentleman in Australia.

The peacock s are brazen creatures (sorry Rog) who have no scruples about being photographed (as per top picture). We also have the very occasional small tortoiseshell butterfly who are (very properly), far more modest about being photographed. However, finally managed to get a snapshot of one, see above.
 Must push off now. Planning to meet friends for lunch, and have just been reminded of the time. More later perhaps.

Sunday, 11 August 2013


First of all my apologies for not having blogged for a few days. It's been a busy week - Long Melford on Wednesday, which was a good and successful antique fair. Sold quite a lot and also bought quite well, including rather a nice brass tinder box, which needs a little tidying up and should keep me busy for a few hours.  Since then it has been quite busy socially.Being high summer, we've all been busy giving lunches/dinners/teas,  in our gardens when possible, and the weather has been most obliging. The problem with that is that I feel I can't turn up for a meal with friends, carrying my camera; and if we're the hosts it's still a little awkward (even - not done) to say, in the course of a meal, "Hold it everyone and smile for the camera". I have done the latter occasionally, though, provided the guests are all old friends and know I keep a blog.

  One thing I think I must record is regarding the Saturday Telegraph Crossword Puzzle, which I do every week, usually with the help (swapping clues) of friend Sheila and senior daughter Sarah. The last few weeks' puzzles have been absolute stinkers and the three of us have had to make every effort to complete them. This week (probably following complaints to the Telegraph about the impossibility of their Prize Crossword, and corresponding threats to cancel the subscription unless matters improved) was a perfectly reasonable one, and I sailed through it in well under an hour.

Now for the photographs : the top one is of Ann admiring her handiwork in the garden (she spent an hour or two yesterday, whilst I was at Scrabble Club, tidying up the borders).  The lower one is of a small corner with one of those blue onion it - an allium (I think), and a montbretia.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013


The above painted inscription on top of the box reads (as near as I can make out)  "Kind friend (s?) be free and smoak with me" - so that the box is a small pocket box for pipe tobacco. If the inscription were not there many people would assume that the box is a snuff box, and  would reason that it is too small to be a tobacco box. The answer I usually give to this line of reasoning is that if you examine eighteenth century clay pipes they have very small bowls, so that a lesser quantity of tobacco would be needed per smoke (or 'smoak') than is usual today, and I think this box gives the definitive answer to this.

P.s. This type of toleware was made in Pontypool, and at one time was usually referred to as Pontypool ware.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013


Mystery object (and thoroughly boring it looks, too, like this). I received this item in the post this morning. The point of this toleware (japanned/painted sheet iron ware) is that the top of the container is painted with an inscription that makes the purpose of the container quite clear, which is why I show the base of the container above, and the inside of it below (I shall show a photograph of the top when someone guesses correctly, or when you've done guessing - whichever is the sooner).  It is just over three and a half inches long and just under  two and a half inches across. It was probably made between 1760 and 1780. What do you think it was made to contain - be specific please.

Monday, 5 August 2013


The garden this morning was absolutely abuzz with honey bees, bumble bees, and butterflies; all gathering pollen. Our garden was what Rog would probably call a hive of activity!  The above bumblebee was so deep in a flower that I was able to get quite close to him to take the above snapshot.

The parish magazine (last week) had an ad for the Kersey Bell, which is under new management (again) and is trying, quite hard, to drum up the lunch time trade. So we decided to give it a try, and drove over to Kersey just after mid day. I had a glass of Messrs Adnams' (usually) excellent bitter, which I passed over to Ann to try, whilst her lemonade was being poured. "It's a bit flat" was Ann's verdict. Quite agreed and not a good start to lunch. The ad in the Parish mag, and the board outside the pub both stressed the 'Home made on the premises' pies so Ann ordered a chicken, ham, and leek pie, and I ordered a  steak and Stilton pie.

We decided to eat in the garden, and sat at a  table, under one of the umbrellas pictured above. The pies were both excellent, but the vegetables not so good. The potatoes had been neither properly mashed nor left alone, and the carrots and peas were, at best, bland. The pies were hot, the vegetables not really. We decided to forgo pudding, and Ann ordered a black coffee, and I had tea (which came with the boiled, hot, milk, in a jug). So Ann had a little of the hot milk in her coffee, and I tried it in my tea. Never had tea with hot milk in it before; is this a new idea, does anyone know?    I think the Bell is having teething problems, so shall try it again. If it's the same next time - shan't bother again. Pity though, it's a lovely old place, and deserves better.

Had a quick wander round Kersey before coming home and took the above photo in the one 'back street' in the village.  It really is a handsome old place and was, of course, an important 'wool village' in its day. It has a cloth (kersey) named after it.

Since getting home I've been busy preparing for the antique fair at Long Melford this coming Wednesday. Haven't shown there since March, which means I am fairly well stocked. We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, 3 August 2013


Yesterday  at tea time we were having a cuppa in the garden, when I was able to take the above snapshot on the Buddleia of this superb butterfly; a Peacock, you will note, Rog.

This afternoon Scrabble Club met at Hilary's, and after our usual three games (won the first two - the third one was won by Phyllis, who scored a seven letter word near the end of the game, and eventually beat me by about ten points). After the games Hilary took us into her garden, where the  Above snapshot shows  Kevin, Ann, Hilary and Phyllis.
Hilary wanted to show us the below pictured  lily, which has sprung up this year, self seeded. As you can see, it's a lovely plant; it has  a glorious scent, and is full of buds. Can anyone tell me the name of it? Hilary would love to know; and do these things usually self seed ?

Friday, 2 August 2013


Don't know where this week has gone. On the other hand I do know where we've gone this week. To  London  mainly. Set out early on Tuesday morning and motored to London ( youngest daughter,Lizzie's as per usual). Picked up grandson Matthew, and to Bonham's in Knightsbridge, where we viewed Arms and Armour auction. Ann went off with Beth and they spent the afternoon shopping and window shopping. Back to Lizzie's and had evening meal with Georgie (and her betrothed, Andy), Matthew and Beth. Very pleasant. I think it was something that Matthew and Georgie had prepared earlier - they are all three very competent cooks. Lingered over meal until Lizzie came home from her work and had her meal, accompanied by the bottle of claret I'd taken with us. Lizzie and I finished the bottle between us. Andy then had to drive to Norfolk (he is a soldier, and had been recalled to his place of work, rather unexpectedly). Ann and I retired to our well earned rest at about 9.30, and crashed out very soon afterwards.
On Wednesday Matt and I returned to Bonham's and had reasonable success bidding. I'd a commission to bid for an English military flintlock pistol, and was, I'm afraid, eventually the under bidder. I bought however, three other lots, one of them a bargain (but work - long winter evenings stuff), and the other two lots nice items. Paid for, and collected the bought lots, and took a taxi back to Chiswick.  Again ate with the children. Had planned to drive home after the meal, but the children (must stop calling them that - Beth is eighteen, Matthew nearly twenty, and Georgie twenty two) pressed us so earnestly to spend the evening with them, then stay another night. We were both very tempted, so we said we'd wait till their mother got home, then decide. Lizzie got in at about nine p.m. and warmly seconded her offspring's hospitable suggestion, so we this time made an evening of it.    On Thursday morning  Matthew, as he'd promised,  got up early (for him) and did all the donkey work of loading the car. There were wireless warnings regarding the state of the North Circular, so we drove out on the A4/M4, round the M25, then to avoid roadworks, turned up the M11, turned off on the A120, and home via North Essex. Stopped off in Sudbury to buy necessary provisions, and got home about midday. Glad to be able to report ticker behaved impeccably all the time we were away.

This morning as we set out to walk to Cafe Church the sky was behaving in a manner that Ann said reminded her of making a meringue (all white folds) and looking very threatening and dramatic. Then there was a crash of thunder, and we decided to go in the car.  If you check the above photo's I'm sure you'll see what I mean.  Ann is now out helping to give the elderly of the town their monthly treat at the Ansell luncheon Club.  So I'm going to nip upstairs and make a cheese and pickle sandwich, and a cuppa, as a treat  for another of the elderly residents of the town (yes, good guess -  Moi).