Monday, 30 September 2013


I want to go back to last Thursday's blog entry - 26th Sptember. Started off with a foggy morning with fog hung cobwebs all over the gate and car.  This was on Tuesday morning

At about 2 in the afternoon, a few miles from home, travelling west, we pulled in at a cottage garden that often has flowers for sale. I t had them last Tuesday, and we stopped and purchased a couple of bunches for Judy. The flowers are in buckets, buyers help themselves and put the required amount (£1 a bunch) in a jam jar with a slot cut in the lid.  On Thursday afternoon, on our way home, we stopped at the same cottage and bought (and paid for) two more bunches for Ann - and took photoes.

The thing that begins to puzzle me a bit are the notices on a board beside the flowers. These are changed regularly,  but invariably accuse someone of stealing the vendor's flowers! The one above is fairly bland, compared to others, some of which are quite vituperative. What puzzles me is whether the vendor is telling the truth, and someone is actually stealing the flowers (i.e. not putting money in the jamjar); whether the vendor has some sort of persecution complex that some one is stealing his flowers; or whether the vendor simply puts these notices up deliberately  to discourage any would be flower thieves, although I would have thought this might be counter-productive- in that that some of the notices are unpleasant enough to put off perfectly honest potential buyers.  I'd value my readers' thoughts on this one.

Saturday, 28 September 2013


Been a nice quiet day. This afternoon we motored over to Sudbury, partly because Ann needed to do a bit of shopping there, and partly because my tailor 'phoned me yesterday to say that  (a) a linen jacket he's been altering for me is ready for collection, (b) a tie I'd ordered was in, and (c) he'd got a couple of weskits (waistcoats Lori) he thought I'd like to have a look at. He's a good chap, young Matthew; I knew his grandfather a good many years ago, so off we went. We noticed that autumn colouring is increasing  (vide above photograph).

Above photo is of a very handsome, early house, in the village of Newton Green. I think the part projecting from the front, centre, of the building is perhaps rather later than the rest of the building, but it makes for a very harmonious whole.  Got to Matthew's shop - pleased with the jacket, bought the tie (a red, paisley pattern, bow), also bought the two weskits, one yellow, one green. I've an old green, moleskin weskit that I've spent the last three or five winters wearing, and Ann says it really isn't quite respectable now, so she was pleased to hear about the new one. Also bought (hope my lady readers will forgive my mentioning so delicate a matter) a pair of braces. I've said that young Matthew  is a good chap - should  mention here that he's also a good salesman.  Still, he also sells pretty good clobber, and is very obliging.  Walked  round to Waitrose's Store where Ann had been shopping, helped her load car, we drove home, and I spent the rest of the afternoon tidying my workshop.  Just being summoned upstairs for supper.

Thursday, 26 September 2013


On Tuesday morning we got up and found  fog had descended during the night. I took the above photo of our garden gate where the fog had collected on the cobwebs giving a rather  pleasant effect. We packed the car, and  had breakfast; after which I went to Lip reading class and Ann went to a harvest festival service in the Row Chapel. This took us through to about half past twelve, and  finding the fog was lifting and giving way to a rather pleasant (and eventually sunny) morning, we set off for the Midlands where we'd arranged to spend a couple of days with brother Crowbard and his wife Judy. Given the time of day we'd finally set out, we stopped a few miles up the road and had lunch at the restaurant at our favourite farm shop. On again and arrived at Crowbard and Judy's home at about four thirty.

The following morning Ann, Judy, and I motored into Leicester and went to the old Guildhall, pictured above, with Ann and Judy on the right of the picture, and the Cathedral on the left.

The real purpose of my visit to the Guildhall (although the place is well worth a visit anyway) was to have a look at the above clock, which is a copy of the clock which used to be on the South Wall of All Saints' Church in Leicester.

The above two figures are of the 'Quarter Jacks' which used to strike the quarter hours. They stood in an alcove above the clock. The nasty part of this story is that in 1981 or 1982 (I forget which) someone sawed the figures off at the ankles - and stole them. They have never been recovered. But the above copies have been made and placed above the copy of the clock.

The above fireplace is in the Mayor's Parlour in the Guildhall. We then had a quick look round the Cathedral. Both the Guildhall, and the Cathedral,  staff seemed to have no real interest in anything save the fact that the body of his late Majesty, King Richard the Third, has recently been discovered (in every sense) in Leicester, near the Cathedral. In fact the Cathedral stands about two hundred yards from the place where the body was found, and a site has already been decided  in the Cathedral where the body will be re interred (if permission is granted to bury him in the Cathedral). I suppose it seems reasonable.

Above is a shot of a small corner of Crowbard and Judy's garden. I'm sure Crowbard will not mind my mentioning that Judy is the keen gardener. I'm sorry to have to report that the bronzed young lady kneeling at the front of the photo is not a family member.

Sorry - the above two photos  seem to have repeated themselves.
The above photo has no relationship to C. & J's garden. It is a snapshot of a garden centre we visited this morning. I think I must knock off now and mount the wooden hill. Been a long day and my eyes and fingers are starting to play tricks on me.   Good night all.

Friday, 20 September 2013


As I told you in Wednesday's  blog entry,  I purchased, last Sunday  part of a very large  collection of pewter. The above  items are  two of the pieces I purchased.

                                        They are this weeks MYSTERY ITEMS.

The one on the left (in some ways a very rare item indeed to have survived) is just under four and a half inches high and just under six inches across the upper rim/ brim. The one on the right is probably too easy to guess. It is just under six and a half inches high (to the top of the rather unusual barrel shaped knop.  They are both (as stated) of pewter, and both English. Their purpose and date please ?   As a clue the one on the left is probably slightly the earlier of the two, but they are of much the same period.   Good guessing.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013


Walked into town this morning. Took the above photo along a lane about two hundred yards from home, nice country scene, but traces of autumnal colouring just beginning to show.

Just at the mouth of the same lane is the above house. This window is onto the lane, and another window onto our street. The two guardians  in the window usually bark at us (with their tales wagging) from one or other of the windows.

Pleasantly muted colours in a corner of the garden.  On Sunday (last Sunday that is) we had lunch (a superb one it was, too) with friends of ours, David and Alison,  in Bury Saint Edmund's. They are in the throes of downsizing, and, as a   result of this, I eventually  bought from David (who rebuilt one of our chimneys earlier this year) part of his pewter collection, which he is also having to downsize. It was mostly snuffboxes, measures and so on; but one or two bits were more unusual, and I think I'll use one of them as my next 'Mystery  Object' later in the week. Being called upstairs now for a very welcome cuppa.

Saturday, 14 September 2013


Two or three highlights of this week. Above is the start of a game of scrabble we played earlier this week. I kicked off with 'squared' for 102 points, and Ann followed that with 'swarms' for 30 points. After that the game calmed down a bit.

This afternoon I set out to walk into town to Scrabble Club, and realised that my neighbour's passion vine was again flowering....... well 'passionately' is the only word for it.

Above is the 'after' picture of the clock dial I illustrated as a 'before' picture on Wednesday. It is by William Feltham, who worked in Harleston from 1830 to 1858, and in Stowmarket from 1839 to 1875. The town name on the dial was rather a surprise. It came up as S.Harleston (previously unrecorded in the clock books), and I wonder if this was to distinguish it from the Norfolk Harleston. Possibly the 'S' is short for South Harleston or alternatively for Suffolk Harleston.
 It was made at a period when Sir Walter Scott's Waverley Novels were all the rage, and an odd form of Regency 'Gothicke' lettering was in fashion on clock dials like this.
 Another interesting point is that Mr. Feltham has scratched details of repairs and cleanings to the clock, on the back of the clock dial. The first entry records that Wm. Feltham, Stowmarket, added a minute hand to the clock in October of 1845.

I do find old clocks fascinating.

Friday, 13 September 2013


This is the Mystery Object with the lid removed. It is, of course, a wall hanging tinder box. As Kippy (a new commenter to this blog)  and Crowbard spotted, it is Welsh. Kippy also got the date and purpose right, although I'd have judged it to be a little earlier (circa 1790 to 1820), and knew that it was for storing matches and possibly tapers.  Maggie and Crowbard also got the purpose roughly right.  I show it as I purchased it - with a large fire steel, which had been made from an old file, and a couple of chunks of flint (one very well worn and chipped, the other with sharp edges which strike a nice spark from the steel despite the steel being very worn) inside it. I think the top compartment would originally have held all the fire making kit, i.e. flint, steel, tinder, and sulphur splints. The lower compartment would have been the 'hearth', and is fire blackened inside, and indeed still smells faintly of wood smoke.

I am guessing that Kippy is either a dealer in, or a collector of, early treen items (?)  in view of  his exact and detailed knowledge of this item.  And, of course, if I were awarding points for the most entertaining and unlikely suggestions regarding these mystery items, Rog  gets an honourable mention, as always.

Thursday, 12 September 2013


Been a busy day. Motored over to Sudbury this morning to pick up my new linen jacket. Found it a very good fit generally but (as my tailor, Matthew, pointed out) just a bit long in the sleeves. We both agreed with him and commissioned the necessary alteration. He will let me know when it's ready. Paid him anyway, then motored on to Bury Saint Edmund's where we met with Ann's middle brother David and his Wife, Jo. Been a while since we'd met Jo. Jo looks after her mother, who lives in a 'granny flat' attached to their home. Gladys, her mother is now over ninety and Jo has been unable to attend many of the  family gets together lately, so we spent a lot of time over lunch picking up the threads. After lunch the two ladies went off to comb the charity shops in Bury (they both love doing this), whilst David and I went off to the blokes' shops. I needed to buy a shirt or so, and possibly a tie (David has excellent taste in ties, so felt glad of his advice and support) . Shirts no problem, but no acceptable ties forthcoming. Offered a good many ties, wearing which, I'd have preferred not to be seen dead in a ditch . Hid my distaste at these ghastly  items (not wanting to hurt the vendors' feelings).   Oh well, not a desperate necessity, and anyway, I think I'm beginning to sound a bit like Bertie Wooster; and this would be misleading, as I think I've very little in common with the gentleman.


We now come to this weeks  MYSTERY ITEM illustrated above.  I purchased it last week at Long Melford. It is made of oak. It is eleven and a half inches high overall. The lid is at the front and slides upward and is then removed  to get at the box's contents. Inside the box is divided into two compartments; the lower one is two and a half inches high, and the upper one is four and a half inches high. The box is made to serve a quite specific purpose. Please would you guess when it was made, its purpose, and where it was made. Please be specific about this. Anyone who gets its country of origin right will acquire much kudos about this.

Being called up to supper, so must now cease waffling, and nip up stairs for sustenance.

P.s. Well worth the nip! An has made some delicious tea bread, and this was served toasted with  scrambled egg. This, in turn, had a little grated cheddar on top, slapped under the grill to toast and brown the cheese. Absolutely DELICIOUS.    The way to an old man's heart is definitely via his tummy.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


Last Friday I bought a nice, country, oak cased, thirty hour  long case clock. It was in dreadful condition, and filthy. I'd taken the dial off, and washed it, in preparation for restoration, when I remembered that some months ago I'd shown on this blog one I'd just restored, and someone (I think it was Rog) said I aught to have taken a 'before' photo as well. So this time I took one. I don't know if you can see that, well below the dial centre and just above the six, there are very faint traces of writing. Having washed it, I put on an extra pair of specs, lamped the dial, and could just make out that the clock was made by Feltham, of Harleston. This was William Feltham of Stowmarket and  of Harleston. Presumable the one near Stowmarket.

The above photo shows the oak clase of the clock standing in our middle hall. Ann wonders if our house is becoming a bit overclocked for some tastes, but I pointed out that it probably wouldn't be here long, and anyway, grandfather clocks are like ties - a chap can't have too many of them to choose from.

I've included (above) for those who are interested in these matters a photo of the clock movement taken at two minutes to five o'clock this afternoon (as you can see). If some clever clogs says "Ah, but how do we know that it wasn't  taken at five o'clock this morning ?"  I reply  "Can you imagine Horner getting up that early to take photos of clocks for your benefit?" , although, actually I was up at 6.15 this morning.    The more horologically erudite among you may well be thinking "What a nice, late 18th century, posted frame, thirty hour movement.", and I quite agree with you. What a discerning bunch of readers I have.  By the way, on Friday evening, I set the clock up, put the weight and pendulum back on, started the clock, and it has been going ever since, and keeping very good time. I do like country made grandfathers (especially as I'm one meself).

Sunday, 8 September 2013


Today had been declared a 'Clayton Day', i.e. Ann and her three brothers, their partners, and all available offspring get together for a meal, at, this time, Quy Mill. Took the above snapshot before setting off to show  there's still quite a lot of colour in the garden although we're well into September - and lots of buds still on the rose bushes.  Got to Quy about midday, having ordered a room for lunch at 12.30.  Nicely time for a drink, and to renew acquaintances.

Above snapshot taken in the mill grounds, and demonstrates the whole party, except of course the photographer (Ann's older brother). Well over thirty of us, I think; fourteen of whom were Horners or ex Horners, or Horner grandchildren (if you see what I mean).

This one was taken by a sneaky granddaughter after lunch. Ann had come to tell me something, so I pulled her down onto my good knee so I could hear her, when the flash went off and this was taken. A little undignified, I'm afraid, but, as you can see from the group behind us, all the grandchildren seemed to find it funny.  Oh well - a good time was had by all.

Got home a little after five, and at six we had to attend a short service, and then a retirement party for our local U.R.C. Minister and his wife, which was held in the Roman Catholic Church  (we're an ecumenical  lot here in Highdale - I'm glad to say). Good do, but we were starting to wilt a little by then, so left reasonably early, and I'm about to grab what's left of an early night, Ann  having already  gone up to bed.
Good Night All.

Friday, 6 September 2013


Answer to yesterday's Mystery object. I think Crowbard said that if I'd put up a photo of the underside of the candlesticks he might get nearer, and how right he was. Had Pat transposed the last two figures of her suggested date of 1890 she'd have been spot on. As it was, Nea got the nearest date with 1817 - well done Daughter.  These candlesticks were made to commemorate the fiftieth year of the reign of King George the third. They are very rare. These are only the second pair I've ever had through my hands. An exactly similar pair is illustrated in Roderick Butler's book on marked domestic base metalware. In fact this pair and his appear to have come from the same moulds.

Thursday, 5 September 2013


Bought this pair of English brass candlesticks at Wednesday's Long Melford Antique Fair. I also bought another four items, two of which are very interesting (one may well feature as a future 'mystery object' on this blog). In the meantime this pair of not particularly good looking brass candlesticks are this week's
                                       MYSTERY OBJECT.

They are seven and a half inches high, and in reasonably good condition for their age. The object of this  is to guess what their age is. They are quite old. I think it might be quite fun to guess the year of their manufacture. Nearest one wins. No arguing with the umpire and no bad nuts returned.

Went to a memorial service at noon today for a fellow townsman and a friend.  He died very unexpectedly about ten days or so ago. He was, I think, one of the most cheerful and sociable people I've ever known. It was always a pleasure to meet up and exchange local news. He was an acknowledged wine expert,and a few years ago invented and marketed a board game about wines and spirits which sold very well in  the Christmas season. He will be much missed here in Highdale.

Going back to the mystery object you will see the point of the exercise when  all is revealed.

Would like to record one nice little incident yesterday. The oldest  of the boys next door (who is twelve) helped us to load the car for Long Melford - as the medicine man still forbids me to do any lifting. When we got home in the early evening, the same chap trotted out and did all the heavy work of unloading the car and carried the goodies in for us; I thanked him for his efforts, slipped him a fiver,  and asked him if he'd like to provide the same service for the next Long Melford Fair ?  The nice incident is that later in the evening he put a note through our door. In very neat handwriting it said :-   Dear Mike and Ann, Thank you so much for the  £5 that you gave me for helping  you today.  I look forward to doing it again. From Tom.

I thought that very civil of him, and, in view of  the bad press that today's youngsters sometimes get, it was VERY reassuring.

Good night all.

Monday, 2 September 2013


Moral tale coming up here; at least I think there's a moral in it somewhere.  'If you can meet with triumph or disaster' stuff.  Some time ago Ann spent a lot of time knitting a fairly complicated jumper for herself. When done, she was very pleased with the jumper, which was her size, her colour, and 'hung well' on her.  Then she washed the jumper and (you've probably guessed) - it shrunk-very evenly - it looked like felt rather than a knitted item, though it might have fitted a two year old. Then a friend of ours saw it - Joyce, who is very good indeed with her needle, and indeed at most handicrafts. She asked Ann if she could "take it and see what she could do with it".   Ann handed it over, but wasn't very optimistic about the matter, as she really couldn't see that  anything  could be done to improve matters.   Then, a few days ago, Joyce handed Ann the above and below photographed very stylish handbag and purse, which she'd made from the shrunken jumper.  She'd turned a disaster into a real triumph.   Well done Joyce, and many thanks. It cheered Ann up no end.
P.s. The silvery item on the purse in the top picture is a twenty pence piece, which I've left in the photo to give some idea of size. In fact Joyce put it in the purse because of the old superstition that you never give anyone an empty purse- although I would think Joyce is the least superstitious of women, being a semi retired C.of E. Minister.