Monday, 24 February 2014


This morning had to motor over to Sudbury to have my ears tested (yet again). Stopped and shopped in Waitrose on the way. Once again, even more powerful hearing aids are on order. They'll probably help for a while.  Drove back via the back lanes , taking photos through the car windows on the way. Pretty thatched cottage above, Pleasant village manor house below.  This has had a fine Georgian facade nailed onto a timbered , earlier house (probably Tudor). If you look to the right of  the house, the end of a small, white, mediaeval house is visible, at right angles to the road.  A lot of our earlier houses (including the one in which we live) seem almost organic in the way they've grown and developed.

Village back street scene of various periods below.

We really are spoiled for lovely old houses in Suffolk.

A mile or two further on we stopped for lunch at our favourite farm shop. The hot dish today was beuf  Bourginon (sorry - never could spell  in French) , so we each had a dish, so generously served that Ann could not finish hers (and as I was quite replete - could not assist). Quite delicious.

                                           Good night All.

Saturday, 22 February 2014


 Yesterday morning dropped in Cafe Church at Saint Mary's, and saw that the usual area (at this time of year - or - most years a little later than this) was covered in wild violets -above.
Went to Scrabble Club this afternoon, and on the way there, as it was a lovely day, took the above and below photos of cottages on our street. Three excellent games with Hilary and Kevin.  Hilary has injured her right hand (small bone broken the medicos seem to think) putting up a folding table last week. As she's having problems preparing and cutting up food we asked her to supper again.  
Ann had bought for the weekend a nice 'free range chicken', which, to make sure it was cooked in time Ann had 'spatchcocked', that is - had split it down the breastbone,  flattened it out, and cooked it face down. It worked as it usually does, and the bird was very well cooked. The only problem was when I carved it, as, although I'd turned it onto its back, everything still  seemed the wrong way round. Didn't matter in the end, as it was so well cooked it absolutely fell apart, so I didn't have to bother about nice even slices, and anyway, in view of Hilary's difficulties, I cut it up for her on her plate. I'd opened a bottle of Piesporter (which was a little sweeter than I'd expected) but 'went well' enough with the bird. Ann had made a fruit pie, after which I made a pot of coffee at the end of the meal. We then sat round the table and nattered till just after nine, when Ann ran Hilary home. A lovely meal and a good evening.

                                               Good Night All.

Thursday, 20 February 2014


Set out at nine a.m. this morning to motor to Wisbech (planned - and managed - to kill four birds with one stone). In Wisbech called on Elizabeth, our long term accountant (and personal friend). Picked up books, signed papers, etc., then swapped usual family news and generally picked up the threads. Then on to the Blacksmith's Arms, on outskirts of Wisbech, and met up with old school friend Roy, and his wife Janet. Had lunch with them, nattered until just after two p.m., then back in car and drove over to King's Lynn, entering by town's South gate, pictured above. This ancient gate was originally built in the 1300s, although the ashlar stone cladding was only added in 1530.  Into town centre where we picked up two English military swords I had seen, and left a bid on, about two weeks ago.  Then met up and had coffee with Ann's younger brother Tim and his wife Sue.
 Took above photo (over a garden wall) of this rosebud - a real survivor - left over from last summer, and still looking very pretty.
 Timbered building dating from the 1400s, near to the sword picking up point -sorry Rog, bad pun  not  nearly up to your standard, I'm afraid.
Left town again by the old South Gate, shown above, but from other side, and as it would originally have  looked before stone cladding was added in 1530.  The white building to the right of it is a nice example of rather grim Norfolk humour (as a Norfolk man I am allowed to be rude about my county). The name of the inn was 'the honest lawyer'  and until a few years ago the Inn bore a very fine painted sign on the wall nearest to the camera. The sign showed a very properly gowned and wigged lawyer carrying his head under his arm. The inference being, of course, that the only honest lawyer is a dead one.  I really don't know why - even when the Inn had closed - the old sign should have been removed. It could have remained with the building  renamed 'Honest Lawyer House'; although I don't suppose any lawyer would have bought it, or assisted in selling it   with that name on the house. What a humourless, straitlaced lot we are nowadays.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


 Having said in yesterday's blog entry that eight kinds of flower were in bloom in our patch of garden, I went out this morning, recounted them............and I was wrong! There are in fact NINE sorts of flower in bloom. I had missed the above perrywinkle!
 Above is a tiny daff, which is showing colour.
 Above and below are crocii.

Above and below are two hellebore. These flowers invariably hang their heads in a shy manner, and to get the full effect of them, you have to take them by the neck (gently!!!) and turn them face up - a very two handed job of photography.
Just to set the record straight.........

                                              Good Night.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014


 Had to nip into town this morning, but apart from that been a very relaxed day (spent mainly in the workshop). However, the sight of these irises in flower in the garden this morning made me count how many different kinds of  flower are in bloom at the moment; and there are EIGHT !  They are :- snowdrops, crocii, daffodils, hellebore, irises, pansies, primula (of four different colours), and Army and Navy plant.  Pretty good for mid February. In fact, I think spring is more or less imminent.
Above is a snapshot of the school playing fields beyond our garden, and  car park.

And this is what I was working on today. I've shown one before as a mystery object, it is a chamber candlestick complete with dowser and snuffers. It is an unusually early type, English, and dating from circa 1750 to 1780. Had to do quite a lot of restoration on it - it was falling apart.
Ann has just informed me that I have four minutes to get upstairs, cleaned up, and ready for supper;
                                                                   So, Goodnight All.

P.s.  Must reopen this to report that supper was well worth the gallop.

P.p.s. Consisting, as it did, of a hearty beef casserole, followed by apple and figgy fool.

Monday, 17 February 2014


It's been a lovely day. Twice, so far this year, we've planned to go to Sarah's, and each time, due to the weather and our leaky back hall, we've had to cry off. This morning (applying the well known principal of Mahomed and the Mountain) Sarah and her two youngsters, Lucy and Guy, accompanied by Ruby and Mango, set of at 6.15 a.m. and drove over to us, arriving at about 8.15a.m.  Ann had prepared for them what the hotels call 'a full English breakfast' which we all enjoyed (and lingered over). Above photo shows Ann, Ruby, and Lucy, enjoying each other's company after breakfast, in the drawing room.

Above shows Sarah and Mango taken at the same time and in the same room.

 Guy,Lucy, and Sarah. The time flew and at 1.30p.m. Ann reminded me that we'd planned to take them to lunch at our favourite farm shop. We all piled into Sarah's car, and drove out to Hollowtrees, where we lunched. Ann had a pannini with bacon, Brie, and cranberries, Sarah had a sausage sandwich and salad, and the children and I  shared a large dish of tachos, with toasted Cheddar, tomato sauce (not the bottled sort) and red peppers   (I'd not tried this dish before - rather liked it- and found it surprisingly filling).   Ann and Sarah had water to drink, Lucy and Guy had Coca Cola, of different sorts, and I had a ginger beer, which I found went very well with the tachos  ( I should perhaps explain, for clarity, that these turned out to be a sort of coarse textured and  spicy, potato (?) crisp).

After lunch, which (like breakfast) we rather lingered over, we decided that a long walk around the farm would freshen us up. Above photo (taken by Lucy) shows meself and Guy on a thoroughly muddy farm track, which they'd made slightly more navigable, by placing logs crosswise along the worst of the path. As you can see, a tree had come down in the recent gales, and it always surprises me to see what a small root system supports an adult tree, which, in this case was a good forty foot high, or rather - long - now. Got home just before five, when Lucy and Sarah spent a good deal of time putting a slight problem to rights on my computer for me, then set off for the South Midlands just before six. As I said, it has been a lovely day, and thanks again, Sarah, Lucy, and Guy for coming all that way.

Friday, 14 February 2014


Yesterday was a full day. Had to walk to the surgery in the morning to have a blood sample taken. Then at twelve noon we went to the dining room of our Town Hall, where Hilary was holding her birthday lunch  party. It was a big 'Zero' birthday. In fact Hilary was holding a birthday party to celebrate achieving four score years.  Hilary hired the dining room to seat around fifty of us, and Ros and Simon Cook (very aptly named, too) were catering. Simon had laid on a vast cauldron of cottage pie, with a good dish of vegetables at each table. Solid 'comfort food' followed by a choice of puddings, all excellent (I'm told - I stuck to just one - a chocolate roulade with cream) then tea/coffee. A meal to be lingered over, which we all did. The party broke up at about three o'clock.

In the evening we went out to supper at Jordain and Sue's new house. Sue has always wanted a dining room, so that she can entertain friends.The new home is rather larger than their previous one and Sue now has her wish. Sue told us that we were her very first first dinner guests, which we took as a great compliment, especially as our hosts are in their twenties and we are in our seventies- isn't it nice when different age groups can mingle happily?. She is an excellent cook and produced a chicken dish (a sort of slightly piquant casserole) with red peppers and one or two other vegetables in it. It had rather a 'sweet and sour taste' to it, and was excellent. She'd made an apricot flapjack as a pudding, which was also very tasty.  We were allowed to play with their daughter Summer before the meal, and afterwards before she was taken up to bed. She's now five months old, and is an absolute little charmer.

     Altogether a very pleasant and satisfying day.

P.s. The house photographed above dates from about 1480, and belongs to our friend Jane, who, like us, is at present having trouble with a leaking roof, and is having to live with correctly placed buckets all the time.

Monday, 10 February 2014


 Motored over to Ely this morning for Ann's sibling lunch. Also to celebrate Phoebe's 80th birthday. Should explain that Phoebe is the lady second from the left in the above photo, and  a family connexion of Ann's. Should also explain perhaps that Phoebe's birthday was last week, and also that it turned out that Phoebe was eighty last year, so we celebrated her eighty first birthday instead. Usual excellent lunch at (commercial coming up here) the Fire Engine House.
 On our way home on the A14 with Ann driving I tried photographing fairly dramatic cloud formations - with limited success, above and below.

Then we spotted a water spout (?) above.
 Possibly a tornado (????) above.

NO!!! It turned out to be the steam cloud from the Bury Saint Edmund's Sugar Beet Factory (above).


                                                          And Good Night.


Saturday, 8 February 2014


This morning - being a nice morning (at first) with sunny intervals, we pottered about the garden, taken snaps of hellebore (above) and snowdrops (below).

A bit later Ann walked into town, and I went down to my workshop. When Ann got home she had to go upstairs to change as there had been a sudden, very heavy rainstorm, and she was  SOAKED! She also said the river was up nearly as high as she'd ever seen it.  So, after lunch, and after Scrabble Club, we motored a mile or so out of town and took the below two photos.
Our little River Brett, instead of being about four or five yards wide, had swollen to two or three hundred yards in width across the water meadows.

Took the below photograph on our way home, entering  Highdale from the East (sorry David-  South - East -looked at a map).

What weird weather we're having. Our side hall, and occasionally the kitchen is still leaking. We've had buckets under the main leaks, and piles of books in the front hall, since before Christmas. Our friend David, a builder specialising in early properties, says he can do nothing until the weather is drier.   Oh well - the joys of living in a grade two listed building !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Still, we keep telling each other that things are much worse for some of the people  in the West Country.

Thursday, 6 February 2014


This week's       MYSTERY OBJECT. Although there's very little mystery about it.  I'm sure that any real ceramicist would tell you that it has almost NO monetary value, because of the damage. Perhaps Z and Russell would confirm (or deny ?) that last sentence ?   However, in my view, it has great value from the social history point of view. Perhaps my readers could tell me what it is, when it was made and where, what has happened to it,  what has been done to it, and by whom (I don't mean their name, of course,  just their occupation- two possibles here).

P.s. It stands just on  seven inches high.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014


Above is a snapshot of our friend Audrey. All the photos today were taken this morning in the Row Chapel.

Above are Audrey and our friend Sylvia. The unusual thing about these two ladies is that they share a birthday, and a birth year. In other words (and this will give the point of today's blog) they were both born on the fourth of February, 1924, so that today is their ninetieth birthday. They have been friends for a good many years.

Above shows the birthday girls with the Rev. Janice, discussing the hymns they would like sung at the morning service today.

After the service the above birthday cake was cut and served with a decentish claret and/or coffee for those who would be driving.

This afternoon we (that is about thirty of us) attended an at home given by Sylvia.  Great fun it was, too. The elderly have usually learned how to enjoy themselves!

Sunday, 2 February 2014


I seem to have become a bit lazy last week with regard to blogging.  Point is I spent the first part of the week catching up on restoration work - cleared a good deal of it; and then the second part of the week  seemed to be filled  up with socialising - so a good, busy week. In fact the socialising carried on into the weekend,  as we met up with Sir Bruin and his lady, Liz, on Saturday morning, and went out to our favourite Farm Shop for breakfast with them. Then came back here for coffee, and a potter round the workshop. Then yesterday afternoon to Scrabble Club, where Hilary was on excellent form and won the first two games. 

This morning to Church at a small village a couple of miles from us, and decided to make a detour on our return journey and took all today's photos. Above is a lovely old farmhouse near the aforementioned Church.

 Above is a nearby pond which looked pretty good for early February.
 Don't quite know why I took the above photo, except that I liked the arrangement for conserving rainwater on this cottage.
 Took this snap of the road ahead to prove that Suffolk ISN'T all that flat.
Ann pulled into the roadside so I could take this snap of snowdrops beside the road.
Suffolk farmhouse behind its  thin winter hedge.
A rather handsome Farmhouse I've always liked the look of. There's no symmetry about this one; it looks as if it 'just growed' - like Topsy. I think a lot of old houses have a look of having grown into their surroundings.
Now I really must get on with some work. I hammered out this blog entry while some glue dried. It should be quite dry now so I can get on with sawing out some thin brass sheet, with which I can replace missing inlay on a Black Forest, Regency style clock-dial surround. Actually - just been called upstairs as a cuppa is waiting for me, which will give the glued sheet brass a bit more time to dry.