Thursday, 26 February 2015


Been a fairly busy day today. This morning I was cleaning,  preparing, and labeling some metal ware and treen that we shall be showing at Long Melford antique fair next Wednesday. Lunch, quick zizz, then got stuck into the above and below illustrated dial clock (fusee). It had problems on both the mainspring setting up ratchet, and on the winding stopwork, both these jobs necessitated stripping the movement down completely, locating the problems, repairing the problems, then putting the clock back together. All of this took until our evening meal, so that just before seven p.m., I hung the clock on my workshop wall, wound and started it, and it's been running ever since (and keeping reasonable time). It was made by Charles Smith Burgess, who worked in Tavern Street in Ipswich, in circa 1850. He was born in 1807 and died in 1886. The clock is rather smaller than is usual. An English fusee wall clock usually has a twelve inch dial. This one has an eight inch dial. It's an attractive little wall clock.

At about seven, Ann called me upstairs to her sewing room, as she wanted me to try on something she'd made. I've been trying to find a good, stout work apron lately, with a total lack of success. Ann succeeded in finding some calico she'd had by her for years, and had made me a work apron from it, which I am modelling in the picture below. It's a good, solid, job of work, and I'm very pleased with it; learned something , too.  Looked up the word calico, and found that it's a sort of solidly well woven cotton twill, and named after the town  - Calicutt (Calcutta, as we called it) - whence we originally bought the stuff.

I think this particular pinny should last me a good many years.

Good night All.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015


Above is today's lunch - pheasant casserole (with mashed potatoes, mashed celeriac and carrots). We had the bird roast for Sunday lunch, and Ann made soup for supper this evening with the last of the bird. The odd thing is that Ann bought the bird on Saturday from our butcher. In the dim and distant I'd have shot the bird. During the last few years friends who still shoot would give us the occasional brace. Since then, we've one friend who beats, and was paid in kind so let us have a brace or so every winter.  This one Ann,as I say, bought from our butcher, and at Sunday lunch time I found (rather to my surprise) that the bird was perfectly hung. Given the fairly cold weather at the weekend, I would judge it to have been hung in an outhouse for six to eight days, which is nicely enough to make it taste pleasantly 'gamey' without being at all 'over the top'. I must make a point sometime this week, of popping into the butcher's shop and congratulating him on his skills.

This afternoon we both had a quick 'nap' in our bedroom. When I woke, I found the weather was sunny with a dramatically stormy backdrop to the north. Took the above photo looking north from one of our bedroom windows along our street  towards Highdale High Street.

Still got one or two jobs to be done in my workshop before I retire to bed. In the meantime I wish all my readers a good night's sleep.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Saturday (2)

Today's been much as usual (for a Saturday). Spent this morning pottering in the workshop (meself) and in the garden (Ann). After lunch tidied meself up and went to Scrabble Club. Three good games, enlivened by the organiser (a lady in her mid eighties) collapsing when we were setting up. She seemed to go down joint by joint, so I was able to get to her before she actually hit the deck. lowered her to the floor, and made her stay there for a couple of minutes whilst she got her breath back. One of the other scrabblers (of much the same vintage) helped me hoist her to her feet, and lower her into a chair. This sort of thing has happened several times before, and she seemed to be suffering no ill effects.
 Ann did a little grocery, fruit, and flower shopping, whilst I was scrabbling. The bunch of red roses shown above Ann purchased to celebrate our fifty-second Wedding anniversary on Monday. My job really, I suppose, but Ann thought of it, and got to it first.

The above photo is of hellebores, which Ann brought in from our garden. They seem to diplay best floating, as here, in a bowl of water.

The above is cheating a bit. It's the same bunch of roses as is shown in picture number one, but this time it is displayed in one of the front windows.

Another hellebore, this time on the dining table. The garden is already showing the odd splash of colour in it.
I think this might be an early night, so I wish you all a very good one.

P.s. Ann says that although they are the same roses, the bright red ones in the kitchen are the real colour of these flowers.


Hello Crowbard. Here is a further illustration of the last mystery object, showing the lock of a wheel lock gun. Given your adjustment of a guess at the date of the item (I would personally have guessed it to have been made between 1680 and 1720) I think you have scored 100%. Well done!  It is a beautifully decorated item and handles well - in other words once you've mastered the trick of not shouldering the weapon, but pressing the cheek piece under the right cheek bone, it 'comes up' perfectly. There is, as you can now see, a 'set' trigger, and every piece of metal on the item is well engraved.

Thursday, 19 February 2015


                                         Mystery Object.

This is only  really a 'mystery object' in that the above two photos are of an important part of the mystery object. The details of the engraving, though, should be enough to give some of my readers a pretty good idea of when and where the object was made. I think most of you will spot at once the purpose of the object. Give it a try anyway.

Spent this morning showing a prospective buyer my stock of antique weaponry. I usually have a pretty good idea if any business will result; but this morning's customer gave me no idea whether he will or won't. We'll see.
This afternoon we took a clock movement,  which I'd repaired,  back to friends of ours in Lavenham. After I'd reinstalled the movement (a Suffolk made long case clock) into its case, set it in beat and started it, they told me that a lantern clock (another old friend of mine) had developed a fault. This time did 'kitchen table surgery' on the clock. We then had coffee and home made flapjack with them for a while, to see that both clocks were running (which they were). Then looked at (and advised on) a 'Grande Sonnerie' Carriage clock, and an Edwardian bracket clock. Got home just after five. Being called up to supper now, so - Goodnight All.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015


More family snapshots taken during our weekend with senior daughter Sarah. We came home yesterday (Monday). Stopped off in Ely, gave  the Waterside Antique Centre a thorough once-over and purchased half a dozen bits of pewter, then on to the Fire Engine house for lunch with Ann's brothers and their partners.  Home about four p.m.  Spent today mostly in the workshop - got quite a lot done.

                                       Good Night All.

Monday, 16 February 2015


Spent the weekend with daughter Sarah , her husband Mikey, and family. Above picture shows two of our granddaughters, Lucie and Sophie.

This one again shows Sophie  pointing (how rude, and what a bad example!) at her niece (our younger Great Granddaughter) Astrid.

Above shows meself comforting Astrid, after her shock at being pointed at by her usually,  virtuous and well behaved,  Aunt Sophie.  Will try and put up more photies and information about our weekend away - tomorrow. In the meantime............................Goodnight All.

Friday, 13 February 2015


Halfway through a busy morning, with the prospect of a busy weekend coming up, I'd knocked off for a minute or two when Ann popped in and took the above snap of meself  relaxing. Good thing she did or I might have dozed off. Probably shan't have time to blog over the weekend so wish you all a very pleasant one.

Regards, Mike and Ann.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015


 As requested by Crowbard, a  further series of photographs of the English stonebow shown yesterday. The first photo shows the stonebow with the foresight erect (on the left of the picture). This would have had a horsehair tied across the fork, with a lead bead halfway across the horse hair. The bead could be slid to left or right to adjust for a cross wind. The rearsight is also now upright just over halfway along the bow stock. There are three holes arranged vertically in the rearsight to adjust elevation for distance.

In the above photo I am depressing the spanning lever which usually lies in  a slot cut in the top of the stock.

In the above photo the spanning lever is drawn about halfway back. When the lever is pushed fully down it clicks into the stock and locks into position.

A lead ball (or a round stone) is pushed into the leather pouch.  The weapon is very carefully thought out. As the string is drawn back the leather pouch tightens onto the ball, so there is no danger of it falling out before use.  When the trigger is pulled the string is released, and, as it moves forward the leather pouch releases its grip on the ball, which is released and shoots to its target. You will notice that I don't use the word 'fired' which is only properly  used to describe a firearm being discharged.

Above is a close up of the lead ball used to give some idea of scale. It is a twelve bore ball (which means that with the correct bullet mould  twelve such balls can be cast from a pound of lead to fit a twelve bore gun 'rowling', as a seventeenth century writer puts it.

Hope this helps, Crowbard. If I've still got the weapon when we next visit the Midlands (and I think it likely- it fills a space on the wall)  I'll bring it with me to make things absolutely clear (but no popping it off to see if you can hit an elder brother running. The crossbow, and the elder brother have both retired - well semi, anyway, with regard to the latter).

Tuesday, 10 February 2015


On December the 7th, 2014, I used the above stone bow as a 'Mystery Object'.  Yesterday, just before we set out for Hollowtrees farm for lunch, Bill, my barber, called in to return the stone bow which he had restrung. He'd made a thoroughly good job of it, and was of the opinion that it is probably now usable, but I think it's a bit fragile for that, so I'm afraid I disappointed him. He wouldn't accept any sort of payment for doing the job, so I gave him a bottle of 2012 sloe gin, as I know that both he and his wife have a taste for the stuff.  Isn't it  good to have friends like that?

I do think it looks better for being complete.

Monday, 9 February 2015


Been a mildly eventful day today (and it's only half past two in the afternoon now). This morning a friend came to see me and picked up three clocks, etc. for entry into a new auction he's going  to  start  in Stowmarket. We've known him since he was a porter at Bonhams, in Knight'sbridge. After we'd loaded the goodies onto his van, he had a coffee with us, and eventually got round to what I suspect was the real business of the day. In the course of conversation he told us what he considered was going up and down in the antique business. One of the things he considered was going up steadily is arms and armour. He then went on to tell me of the difficulty he's having in finding 'experts' as cataloguers and valuers. I told him that I am (I think) still registered as 'an expert witness' as far as guns (and their age) is concerned.  "Do you want the job ?" he asked, "it'll be a while until it's properly set up". Well, it was one of those "it's been a while since........." situations, but came as a pleasant surprise. Soon after that we set out along the lanes to Hollow Trees Farm for lunch. It was on the drive there that I took the above three photos (all within half a mile of each other).

At Hollow Trees we both ordered ham, eggs, and chips for lunch, and the second 'it's been a while since......' situation occurred. Ann had asked for a bottle of H.P. sauce to go with our lunch, and whilst pouring the sauce, managed to drop the bottle, which, in turn,  managed to shed a large splosh of the stuff on the floor. Ann went off to find our waitress, asked for a cloth, and apologised for the mishap. The waitress came and wiped up the mess, and said to Ann's stream of apologies, "Please don't worry about it, Mrs. Horner. Not everyone would have come and told me about it."  "No", says I "The sensible ones would have sat around the sauce splosh, dipping their chips in it."    "Oh you !", said the waitress, and burst into a fit of giggles at the very idea; and that was the second time today an 'it's been a while since' moment occurred - I mean it's been a while since a waitress said "Oh you !" to me and burst into a fit of giggles.
Makes me wonder what the rest of the day will have to offer. If it's anything near the standard of those two, I'll reopen this blog and insert it.

Thursday, 5 February 2015


Been a good, busy week so far. On Monday Ann's older brother Michael, and his friend,  Erika (photographed above with Ann) came and had lunch with us. It was good to get to know Erika a little better, and the time flew past.

Erika (who's  a very well behaved  young lady) gave Ann the roses and tulips in the above photo, and then admired our home.  I think she enjoyed her first visit. Hope so, anyway, she certainly appeared to. They left about four p.m.

I spent Tuesday preparing for the Antique Fair at Long Melford on Wednesday, which was as good as it usually is. It was surprisingly well attended for an antique fair held on a cold day in February. Fellow blogger Rog  from Norfolk turned up and found something to buy, as did I (well two things actually - one of them stock, and one of them a probable keepie - may eventually use it as a mystery object).

Spent today pottering about the town doing necessary things. Nipped out to Hollow Trees farm shop for fruit and vegetables, and eventually had lunch there. Back in town we met Sylvia also pottering - doing her shopping. Yesterday was her ninety first birthday - she does well.

Time for an early (ish) night I think - feeling yesterday's exertions a bit, so I wish you all a very
Good Night.

Monday, 2 February 2015


We've been more or less house bound for the last few days due to the usual winter allergies (wonder if that's where the word lurgies come from ?), which is why there has been a shortage of blog entries of late. This evening I was flicking back through the photos taken last year for inclusion in the blog, and come across these (I think you may have seen them before - my apologies, but I think they're worthy of repetition). The top one is of Great Granddaughter Elsa, who was born early in July.

The one above is again of Elsa with her Great Grandmother.

This one was taken early in December, when another Great Granddaughter, Astrid was born. Elsa and Astrid are second cousins to each other. The above photo shows four generations. From the left and going clockwise they are :- Amelia, Ann, Sarah, and Astrid.

I will try and get out and about and take a few more blogworthy photos in the future.


                                  Good Night, everyone.