Tuesday, 30 June 2015


 I think that Crowbard and Rog have sorted out my problem regarding the folding blunderbuss for me. Above is a photo of the nearside of the blunderbuss with the belt hook showing. The belt hook looks (and works) like an enlarged fountain pen clip.

                                                   Picture 2.
This picture shows your blogger with the gun clipped to his belt, and folded so the whole weight hangs below the belt. I got a bit muddled when putting this blog entry together. Pictures four and  three go together, and show the gun, straight, hanging from my belt, then covered by my raincoat; the whole thing looking (and feeling) very bulky, with only the top button done up.
                                                   Picture 3.

                                                   Picture 4.
                                                   Picture 5.

Pictures two and five, showing the gun folded (2) and clipped to my belt; and then with the gun in the same position with my raincoat over it, completely buttoned.  It works well, and as Crowbard remarks, it only works  well when supported by the belt hook, and the gun folded.


                                                                 Thank you, gentlemen, it's always interesting to experiment with these devices, and find out how they were meant to work; during the (usually) short time that they are in my possession.


Monday, 29 June 2015


The blunderbuss illustrated above is one I bought last week. It is not, in one sense, a 'mystery object'. But there is one feature of it that I do not really understand.

And that is the fact that, as you can see, it fold in the middle. I have seen this feature before in Italian guns; but in the sixty years I have been collecting antique guns, this is the first gun with this feature that I have ever owned.

Here is a close-up of the wrist of the gun. The button on top of the wrist is pressed and the gun folds up like a Japanese Sumo wrestler struck smartly in the solar plexus by  a bigger rival.

This picture shows the other slightly unusual feature - the elliptical muzzle; but I can see the advantage of this:- if you are being charged by a straight line of criminally inclined miscreants, then the gun, instead of throwing the circle of bullets that a round muzzle would give,  presumably  would throw a longer horizontal pattern, and bring down more wrong-uns than the round muzzled gun.
However, I can see very little advantage to a folding butt, except possibly that of packing the gun away in a smaller space in times of peace?????
The gun was made around 1750 by P. Lorandi, probably in the Tosco Emilian area of Italy. A pair of pistols by this maker are preserved in the Stibbert Museum in Florence.

Any suggestions as to the advantages of this design would be welcome, although if Rog and Crowbard would restrain themselves to within  the bounds of possibility that might be a help- although - no, go to it chaps - I withdraw that last proviso. ALL suggestions fairly gratefully received.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Saturday (2).

Let's try again. This started on Thursday when Ann answered our 'phone and a Germanic sounding voice said , "Ann, Zis is Benjamin, und my grandfarser has asked me to England  to telephone, and tell you he there is, and may he come and you and Mike to visit?"  I don't think I can keep up this German accent, it too much like is to 'Allo 'Allo........ and not only that but it's catching, so I think I'd better to my standard English revert.  I must also go back forty years to the mid seventies when the male voice choir with which I sung basso profundo was asked to go and stay with the Detmold Police Choir in Germany, and with the assistance of the 'Blues and Royals' military band (who were then stationed in Detmold) give a series of concerts (I seem to remember that at the time this was to help, support, and generally encourage our entry into the Common Market).  Ann and I were billetted with Friedhelm, the above photographed gentleman, and his late wife Karen. He too sung basso profundo, but with a wider range than I ever had. To cut things short we took to each other, became firm friends, and have remained in contact ever since. As far as I'm concerned it was about the only good thing, so far, to have come out of the Common Market idea.

The above photo is of his present partner, Erika, His wife Karin having died some years ago.

Above is Ann in her usual corner.

The two of them turned up about one o'clock today, and we partook of a salad and cold meats lunch (but with hot boiled new potatoes, which always seems to me to turn a cold-meats lunch into a hot lunch) followed by fruit and then cheese.
We hadn't seen Friedhelm for  two or three years, so catching up using his eleven words of English, and my seven German words, took a long time, but was thoroughly enjoyable. Ann took the above photo just before they left at about four thirty. Isn't it odd that with some friends, even after a long gap, the threads can be picked up immediately in a very relaxed manner?

By the way (if any of my family are reading this) as he was leaving Friedhelm asked me to give his very warm regards to all of you, naming you all by name, and in order of seniority.  He really is a good chap.


This blog entry is really for the information of our friends Sue and David. In that the above pictured hydrangea shrub was given to us  (by Sue and David) on our fiftieth wedding anniversary two years ago. It's come through the last two winters looking fit and healthy and is now about to bloom again. Thank you Sue and David.

Another view of our garden looking summery.

 Meant to do a rather longer blog entry, but the machine is playing up a bit (it seems to be reluctant to take more than about four photos  for any one entry) so will come back a bit later and try it with the second half of today's entry.

Thursday, 25 June 2015


Been a busy week - so far. On Monday we motored to London, Stayed at youngest daughter, Lizzies. On Tuesday we viewed Sotheby's forthcoming Arms and Armour auction. On Wednesday we returned to Sotheby's auction room and bid (reasonably successfully). Took a taxi back to Lizzie's, supped with them, then loaded the car, and drove home. Good night's sleep, then at midday today we drove over to Bures. It's a pretty village on Suffolk's border with Essex.  It's an odd thing - hadn't been to Bures for some years, then had to go there last week to look at a poorly clock; then again this week to go to a funeral of a  friend of ours. He was a big, burly, cheerful, and very successful business man. He died unexpectedly a month or so before his sixtieth birthday.

Should leave that last sentence to speak for itself. Can't think of anything very deep and meaningful  to add - except that life can be very surprising - as can death.

                                 Good Night All.

P.s.    Should have said that the photos were taken at  Bures and Nayland.

Sunday, 21 June 2015


Snapshot of my full size anvil, with the smaller anvil slotted into it, and the miniature anvil form snuff box on top.

Snapshot of the anvil / snuff box on the small anvil.

Anvil shaped snuff box, with the lid half open.

Anvil snuff box with the lid fully open, showing the mirror inset inside the lid.

The mystery object is an iron snuff box (as worked out by Crowbard -well done!), with a mirror inset inside the lid. The point of that is that if you have just snuffed, you check the reflection of the whiskers, especially if they are white, for traces of snuff, which is brown, then wipe the whiskers clean.

The mystery object is, of course, a snuff box made in the shape of a blacksmith's anvil, most probably for (and possibly by) a blacksmith. It appears to be English, and is probably of  eighteenth century date.

Thanks for taking part.

Saturday, 20 June 2015


                                                              Mystery Object.
Been a very busy week, and have had no spare time for blogging. However, earlier in the week I purchased the small object in the two pictures. I took delivery of it this morning, and thought it would make a good Mystery Object. In the upper picture it is shown perched on top of my smaller anvil outside my potting shed/forge.

In the lower picture it is shown beside a fifty pence piece to give some idea of size. It is just over two inches long and just over an inch high. The  object of the exercise is to guess when and where it was made, and for what purpose. It does have, in fact, a quite specific purpose.

                                        Good guessing, and, of course, a Good Night to you all.

Monday, 15 June 2015


Above photo shows (once again) a corner of our garden. Today we motored over to Ely to have lunch with some of Ann's siblings and partners. And if any of my readers comment that this chap Horner seems to spend more of his working days socialising than in his workshop, then I'm afraid that I have to agree with you. Still............. nice to take it easy occasionally.

Before we left though I took this photo through our kitchen window, and if you look at the middle pane of glass you should be able to see a couple of goldfinches through it.

 In the above photo, taken just as we were beginning lunch, the chap in the middle is Ann's senior brother. In a few day's time he will be celebrating his eightieth birthday - they are a long lived family.

Got one of the waitresses (they are all very helpful and obliging ladies) to take the above photo of the six of us present; David (Ann's middle brother) and his wife Jo had to cry off this morning - their Granny-sitter let them down. The usual excellent meal at the Fire Engine House was enjoyed by all.

Took the above snap of the Cathedral from the front door of the restaurant, looking left.

One of the things I love about Ely is that, from the city centre, the surrounding countryside can be seen. Come to think of it the same thing can be said about Bury Saint Edmund's.
The party broke up just after three pip emma. Ann and I then combed the Waterside Antique Centre (the clue is in the name - it is down by the riverside). Found and purchased a couple of pieces.  Then motored home, arriving here at about six.

Will try and get some work done tomorrow morning. In the afternoon I've got to go and look at a poorly long case clock just over the Essex border. (I'm not sure if the clock is really poorly or if it's just swinging the lead to annoy its owner - we'll see).

Been a nice relaxed day - Goodnight All.

Friday, 12 June 2015


Yesterday at about ten thirty in the morning we set off and motored over to Bury Saint Edmund's to meet up (for lunch) with Ann's middle brother David and his wife Jo. The snap shot above is of Bildeston. There are lots of half timbered houses in Bildeston, and a nice Church about a mile out of the village.

As we approached Bury, and as we were running well ahead of time, we turned off towards a village we didn't remember exploring. It had a rather, over tidy,  well organised 'estate village' look to it. Not very interesting until we came to the above small building in the middle of the village street (?).
"What is it says Ann?"   "Not sure" says I, "but if it's what I think it is, there should be a small door in it".

We found the door in the other side of the building, so I felt justified in telling Ann I thought it was a well- head. It was built of Tudor (or just pre -Tudor) brick, probably in about 1480 to 1520, and would have been the superstructure to the village well. I know of another one in the North of Suffolk, probably slightly later, but not on show (it stands in the back garden of a row of cottages). I came across it around 1965, and at that time it was still in use to water the cottage gardens.

Took the above photo of  a 'striped rose' this evening. It is a Ferdinand Pichard.

Took the above photo at about eight this evening. I know I frequently show snapshots of 'a corner of the garden'  but I took this one to show how small our garden really is. I still find it surprising just how much can be made of a tiny area of garden.

Good Night Everyone, which sounds like Uncle Mac (and I don't think many of my readers will remember him - I can only just remember him meself). His 'catch phrase' was  "Goodnight Children........Everywhere."

Monday, 8 June 2015


Been a fairly busy day. We'd been invited to go and drink tea with an old friend of ours (a retired G.P.) who lives a few miles out of town. We found we were rather ahead of time, so I sat in the garden reading, while Ann took snapshots of the garden (you know, flowers and interesting objects by the wayside) while we waited. Then motored out to see Terry, who also sometimes lives in London, so we have to make the most of her when she returns to civilisation for a while. Nattered and generally caught up with the news until Midday.

Then motored on to Hollow Trees Farm Shop, did a little fruit and vegetable shopping there, and lunched in the restaurant. We both had hot roast pork sandwiches and salad, which turned out to be a very filling lunch.

Then on to Martlesham, where we stopped at a newish local auctioneer's (who'd been civil enough to send me a catalogue) to view a sale that takes place later this week. Left  bids on  five lots that we both fancied (fingers crossed on Wednesday and Thursday).
If lucky I might use at least one of them as 'Mystery Objects'.
Off to bed in a min, so-
Good Night dear readers.

Saturday, 6 June 2015


Earlier this week we had a request from our friend Hilary, to help her at 'the Secret Gardens of Highdale Open Day' ,which took place today. The above photo shows the front door of Hilary's House. Her garden is at the back of the house, a tiny, enclosed,  south facing, suntrap of a garden, and the only entrance is the front door shown in the photograph. This meant, of course that everyone who wanted to be shown Hilary's garden had to come in through the front door, and be shown through the house, through the conservatory, and out of the back door into the garden. The house dates from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, and all the joins have steps to the next period.

This was taken from the middle of Hilary's garden, and shows the back of her house. Herbs and flowers are grown in the centre of the garden,  and on the three brick walls facing West, South and East are fan trained peach, apricot, quince, fig, and apple trees; all very productive. My job was to welcome people in, then show them through the house and towards the garden. Then later to reverse this process. The one danger spot in the house is a place where two shallow (but well concealed) steps lurk. All went well for most of the day, but early this afternoon, when conducting a small (thank The Lord) middle aged lady towards the front door. I went first, and again warned her of the danger of the two steps. She thanked me kindly, then slipped off the top step, tripped on the lower step, and fell.............. and............... I CAUGHT her!!!
"Oh, well held, Sir " cried her husband, who was following. I rather agreed with him.
"Thank you", says Michael, "I think, if I can still catch like that, I'd better take up cricket again."

Warm regards to all my readers, and -
P.s. - between eleven a.m. and five p.m. two hundred and forty six people had viewed Hilary's Secret Garden!

Thursday, 4 June 2015


We don't seem to have stopped since getting home from Zoe's Blogmeet last Saturday. On Sunday morning we were on the road at 9a.m. and drove across to the midlands to spend a couple of days with my brother (who blogs as Crowbard) and his wife Judy. Spent the next couple of days generally nattering, meeting up with four generations of Carl and Judy's family (yes it was four generations, Crowbard - Olive, Carl and Judy, Jess and Paul, and their daughter Lottie) catching up with family news and generally putting the world to rights. I do hope the world feels some benefit from our efforts. On Tuesday morning, after breakfast, we motored home, and spent the rest of that day preparing for the Long Melford Antique Fair on Wednesday. Loaded the car and was on the road by seven ack emma. It was a good fair - didn't buy anything, though. Still, sold a good deal of stock, so must now start trying to find more goodies. Got two good Auctions coming up, one local (which we viewed this afternoon - some promising lots) and one Sotheby's so should find some decent goodies before the next Long Melford Fair. Hope so anyway.

Regards to all readers.