Monday, 27 April 2015


 Quick blog entry. Above is a cottage garden gate on our way to Aldham Church. The garden, and area is full of primroses which will, in a week be past their best - so took a snap when I saw them.


The next three snaps show changes we have recently made to our front hall. Late last year we decided to give up our piano which took up most of the spare space in the hall.  Neither of us had played the piano in months, so hearing that a nephew (who is an organist in his pare time) was in need of a usable piano, we gave him it, and are told that they are very happy together. That brings us to the point of this entry which is - what to do with the spare space in the front hall.  We bought upstairs,  from my cellar,  this small dresser. It had belonged to Great Gran, and I'd been using it to display early metal ware . It now has some pewter bits and the remains of a Minton tea service (of  'Lady Amerst pattern'- I think I've got that right).  Given that it stands where an Edwardian upright piano stood, it's amazing how much bigger the swap has made the hall look.

The lady who has been framed above, is a Victorian 'pedlar doll'. We bought her when the children were small. They all loved her, and all joined in making small pieces of stock for her tray. She retained her tray, which in turn displays her 'Pedlar's Licence', still adhering to the backboard of the tray. I finally got round to making  - and installing her into- her frame. The frame is made to unhook, at the side when necessary, for Ann to tidy, or rearrange, the doll's stock. I aught to have opened the case  to take the photo -there'd have been less problem with reflections.

The last photo shows a small oak chest which, crowded our bedroom until recently. The chest is English, and dates from the late 1500s, or early 1600s.  It now stands in the hall, furthest away from the front door, and under the stairs.  These small alterations have made the hall look much more spacious and less crowded  than previously. It's much too easy to allow a room to become overcrowded. Think we've got it about right again now.

Friday, 24 April 2015


Dear nephew/Godson Edward, the above photo has nothing to do with the 1975 trip to Wales. I  think it was taken at a Christmas get together at Welney House, after we bought it from Pa.

This photo was taken on the front steps of the hotel on the seafront of Criccieth. This group is mainly Horners, but there are a couple of Claytons in the front row - Elizabeth and Rebeccah, and young Sam in the middle (thanks Ruth, well spotted).

The above photo and comment is, I hope, self explanatory. Suggest no one mentions it to Sarah. She will probably  attack instantly!!.

I have before me a piece of slate which we liberated from a slate mine in Blaenau Ffestiniog. The old miner who gave it to me, Hugh Parry Thomas, showed me how to engrave on it with a sharp pointed iron nail, and put his name on it.  The lettering on it now also reads :-

From Norfolk and from Lincolnshire,
O'er mountains and through vales,
thirteen Horners and Claytons came to take a look at Wales.

Unto Blaenau Ffestiniog
they came - this numerous tribe,
and pinched therefrom this slab of slate on which I now inscribe.


One last piece of news before I close - been feeling a bit grotty these last few days, and this morning Ann dragged me off to our doctor. He looks (honestly) like a thoroughly well intentioned gorrilla, and never pulls his punches. He did various tests and listened to my upper insides through his stethoscope, then said  "You've got a thoroughly nasty chest/lung infection". Then put me on a course of antibiotics, so please bear with me if I don't blog much for a while.

Thursday, 16 April 2015


Been a pleasantly busy week so far, but I've been snapping away whenever the chance presented itself, and got the odd printable photograph  ..... so here goes.... On Monday we motored over to Ely. Took the back lanes to Bury Saint Edmund's, got a bit lost, and came across the above thatched cottage, with a pond (surrounded by daffs) in front of it. A hefty chain link fence has been erected between the cottage and the pond, which seemed rather a pity until the thought came to me that the people in the cottage  had probably recently started a family and the fence had been raised to prevent the children falling in the pond. Nice to think, if so, that children were still being raised in such a pretty cottage!

Had coffee in the gardens most mornings, and realised that the tiny plants in with the bonsaied yew tree were again in flower- they match the size of the tree. The tree is less than a foot high, and the pink flower shown is about a quarter of an inch in diameter.

The small apple tree espaliered along the fence is once again in flower. It has a small, crisp red apple. Can't remember the name of it- something like a Winchester red ??? (but don't quote me).

Same tree again, but from a bit further away.

The above orchid has been in bloom since before Christmas, and is now showing new buds, whilst the old flowers are still blooming.  I grew up believing that to grow orchids needed a heated greenhouse as they were supposed to be very difficult, sensitive plants. No such thing though - they are as tough as old boots,  flower for months and  then start all over again.

Must knock off now - and  get on with the  loads of work waiting for me in the workshop.

Monday, 13 April 2015


With reference to the mystery object shown in the previous blog entry, the above and below picture shows the mystery object with the cover beside the brass nozzle (which has NO adjustment for the powder measure) open. This round opening in the top plate is to keep pistol balls in.  The object which Crowbard (and, I think, Roger) spotted as being a gunpowder flask. The point is that it is rather a specialised gunpowder flask which would have been cased up with a pair of duelling pistols. I did in fact spell 'dual purpose' as 'duel purpose', which was intended as a clue.

As Crowbard mentioned (but didn't really apply) there are double purpose and triple purpose powder flasks. This one is a triple purpose flask, with a nozzle to release, when the release lever is pressed, a set measure of gunpowder. The other hole in the top of the flask, when the cover is swivelled, contains spare pistol balls, if both the first exchange of shots is ineffective.

The third purpose of the flask, is shown below. If the base is unscrewed, a further space is revealed which would have held spare flints (or spare percussion caps after about 1820).

The object is English and would have been made around 1800 to 1820. It would have been carried in the duelling pistols' case, so that the seconds could have loaded, and if necessary,  reloaded the pistols with which the duel would have been fought to decide who of the two duelists was in the right (the one who was still upright at the end of the affair, of course). If I've not made anything clear I'm sure I can rely on one of you to inform me of the fact...... and then, if I disagree with you, we can settle the matter the traditional way - with a duel!

Saturday, 11 April 2015


I don't know if anyone else has noticed (or whether it's just in this area) but I don't think I've ever seen such a profusion of wild violets (or dog violets) as there is in this area this spring.  There  seem to be clumps of them springing up in all areas of the garden. They are a lovely flower with glorious scent. Last year we had another flush of them in October - not so profuse as in the spring, but it seemed an unusually late blooming.


The above item is this weeks 'mystery object'.  It will, I think be easy enough to guess what it is, but it has a very specific purpose, or use, or place; and it would be nice if you could also guess its place and date of manufacture as well.
P.s. I bought it late last week, and haven't cleaned it yet, but it's in good working order.

                                                   Good Night, All.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015


This morning we went to friends', John and Gloria, for coffee, simnel cake, etc. Also present were Hilary, and Ruth; and as we hadn't met up as a group since the last time we breakfasted together at Hollow Trees Farm shop restaurant, we had quite a bit of catching up to do.  Rather later in the day, having got home at about one thirty p.m., Ann and I decided to go out for a light lunch; so motored over to Kersey, and lunched at the Bell Inn (pictured above). Don't read this next bit Lori, but it was  such a lovely day, and the garden behind the Bell is such a sun trap, that we ate outside in the sun.

After said light lunch we had our usual walk around Kersey. The above photo was taken looking over the ford and up the hill (well it is quite a hill - or counts as one in Suffolk) towards the Church.

The above end cottage claims to date from the early 1300s, and looking at this end of it, quite probably does.

Around a corner in the back lane is this very tiny cottage - looks very small and cosy (probably quite poky inside, but looks lovely).

Eventually home, changed into scruff and both spent the rest of the day working - in the garden:- (Ann) and in the workshop:- (Mike). Both got quite a lot done, too.

Off to bed now - Goodnight everyone.

Monday, 6 April 2015


Been a busy day - working on a long case clock that was originally built in Stowmarket in about 1740.Single handed clock. I'm having to have a new 'scape wheel cut. I think I completed  most of the other work necessary on it today. Shan't know until the new wheel gets here. Took a few photos in the garden this morning. The primulae and auricular are still looking well - been in flower for a while now;

but not as long as the above purple hellebore. This one was showing colour at Christmas, and has been in full flower ever since (well over three months!!).

As I said above, been a busy day, and I'm about ready for bed,   so Good Night All.

Thursday, 2 April 2015


Today we were taken out to lunch by our good friend Sylvia. She took us to her favourite restaurant at Hall Farm, Stratford St. Mary, which started in business a few years ago as a farm shop, but is now best known for the restaurant. We had an excellent lunch, then decided to go for a stroll, and to admire the stock. They seem to specialise in various breeds of sheep ; some of them I think are probably cross breeds (you know what rams are like - a bit sheepish, but effective at their job).

Don't quite know what breed these are, but Mama seems to have got the colours of her offspring a bit wrong.

It was a lovely day, mild, and sunny in patches.

Then - "Oh look" says Ann, pointing across the meadow, down towards the stream at the bottom of it.
"It's a Nessie".
"I've never seen one of those in Suffolk!" says Sylvia.  We agreed. Neither had we.