Friday, 28 August 2015


Yesterday (Thursday) turned into a fairly busy day. Ann was on the rota to clean Aldham Church; so in the morning she motored over there while I got on with some work in the workshop. The weather was quite cold and threatening rain.  However, after lunch, the rain stopped, the sun came out and we decided it might be a good idea to take advantage of the improved weather to go out and try and find sloes for our winter tipple - sloe gin. Instead of going to our usual meadow straight away, we took a detour to a country back lane we'd not tried before and were lucky enough to find a hundred yards or so of sloe hedge laden with the blue berries. We picked probably about three and a half pounds of sloes, then went on to our usual sloe site across a meadow with a footpath, and again struck lucky with sloes.

Then on to a ford across the River Brett (above). Not so lucky there, but decided we'd picked enough.

By this time the sky was looking a bit threatening again (see photo of harvested field above - doesn't it look autumnal?)   Back into the car, and drove home. Stopped at a water mill tea shop on way, had tea and toasted tea cake, with butter and honey.

Then home, taking yet another photo of my favourite tree on way.

In the evening sorted through all the sloes, picking out stalks, etc.  Weighed them, washed them, and found we'd picked just over five pounds of sloes, which we usually find about sufficient for our needs. Put the sloes in plaggy bags in the freezer, until we're ready to bottle them.

                                                Today (having been given a freebie ticket to an antique fair at Southwold) we motored up there and poked round the fair. Bought one item, and sold three items to  collector friends we'd met (by appointment). Had lunch with friends at the White Hart at Blythburgh on the way home. Food excellent, service not so good. I believe it's changed hands recently - so teething problems  possibly. Home about five pip emma.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015


                                                This week's  Mystery Object.

I purchased the above photographed object in Sweden in July.  I've just looked it up in Pinto, who states that we did use similar objects in this country, mainly in the Norfolk fen area. Being a native, and never having seen one before, this surprised me.  The dealer from whom I bought it was dealing mainly in treen (i.e. wooden items)  and was sporting enough to warn me that the item would have been one of a set of four when in use. The item is of very little value - the price tag on it equated to about one pound, fifty pence, and I think he threw it in as a makeweight in the end, as I'd bought  a few nice bits  from him.  I've included a foot ruler in the photos to give some idea of size.

                                 See what you can make of it.
                                 Good guessing.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015


I can't remember if I've told you of this before, but today's blog concerns our annual get-together with Barbara and her husband Alan.  Barbara and Ann were (and are) great friends. As children they were next-door neighbours . As their fathers had neighbouring farms in the Norfolk fens, this meant they lived half a mile apart -  I lived about a mile North of them. Ann and Barbara also shared a birthday, the twenty fifth of March, which appropriately is Lady Day.

In the seventies a lot of people used to talk of eventually retiring, and then doing adventurous things -buying a Range Rover, and driving overland to India, or buying a mobile home and driving round the world...............
Barbara and Alan were the only ones of our acquaintance who actually kept to their plans for adventure. They   saved hard, then when Alan eventually retired (I think about sixteen years ago) they purchased a good mobile home, the predecessor of  the one above; and every October since then they have packed the mobile home and headed South for the winter. I think the furthest South they've been has been Morocco, but ever since they retired they've wintered in or around the Mediteranian area.   They usually come back around April time, and spend spring, summer, and early Autumn at home; and during this period we've always managed, every year, to get together and catch up on all the family news.

This morning we motored over to Ely, met up at the Fire Engine House,  had lunch together, then pottered around Ely, teaing at a tea shop next door to the Riverside Antique Centre (they let me explore the place before tea - I  was able to purchase a rather nice piece of pewter). We finally said our cheerios, and "see you next year!"s at a bit after five, having driven them out to where they'd parked their mobile home. Got home just before seven.

Been a lovely, restful day - it's always easy to pick up the threads with old friends.

Good night everyone.

Saturday, 22 August 2015


Above photo shows (I think 'Little Hall' to the right) on Lavenham Market Place. Ann in the centre foreground. Should say that all three photos shown today were taken in Lavenham Market Place on Thursday.

Above is the Guildhall in Lavenham. It dates from circa 1520, which makes the Guildhall here, in Highdale, a goodish hundred and fifty years older, but ours has been added to and altered over the centuries, while Lavenham's is all of a lump - 1520.

Shops on Lavenham Market Place. All three photoes are taken from the Market Place. It is said (with some truth, I think) that if you stand on Lavenham Market Place and look all round you, every building you can see was standing there at the time of the Wars of the Roses.


I really started today's blog entry to record the fact that today we've picked and eaten the first two ripe figs this year from our garden. Delicious they were, too.

Friday, 21 August 2015


Had an enjoyable and eventful day yesterday. Motored over to Lavenham in the morning, and had coffee with friends of ours who live in  Lavenham and who collect pewter. The point of this is that Jill always spends time with us at the Long Melford Antique Fair, and as this is usually a very busy fair, I have to keep dashing/drifting off to attend to other customers' needs. Jill has therefore suggested (at the last two or three Long Melford Fairs ) that we visit them at their home in Lavenham, where we can natter uninterruptedly over coffee. Which we did; and very pleasant it was, too. 


We then went on to call on Penny and Hugh, who also live in Lavenham, and  where we were to have lunch with them and fix a lantern clock which has been playing up a bit lately. Before and after lunch (which was, as always, excellent), I did the necessary repairs to the lantern clock, aided and abetted by Hugh. They were having a very busy day, with various things slotted in. In fact they'd booked too much into the day, and had just decided that they really couldn't fit in their plans for the evening, and would we like the tickets for the concert they'd been planning to attend, and now found it impossible to do so?   We'd nothing planned for the evening so Hugh, before we left, found the tickets and programme for the concert, and presented them to us.  

The photo above is of the River Alde, and was taken...............

near  to the Snape Concert Hall, photographed above. The Concert  we'd earlier been given tickets for, took place in the Concert Hall, and was by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.  The first half was given over to music by Robert Schumann, and the second half by Richard Strauss.  It was a quite unforgettable performance, and to try and describe it further would be 'to gild refined gold, or paint the lily'.
          Thank you Penny and Hugh.
          It was glorious music, and a lovely evening..

          We've decided that we must get out more of an evening, and imbibe a bit more more music than we've been doing lately.


Wednesday, 19 August 2015


All three of today's photos are of Hibiscus trees.  The two above are rather taking over their corner of the garden, and I'd been thinking of taking out the one nearest the garden shed (especially if it could be transplanted - friends of ours would like it - if it could be done). Today our 'jobbing gardener' gave us a couple of hours 'tidying up' and I picked his brains over the hibiscus. He didn't think much of the chances of transplantation, but suggested that 'a bit later in the year' I try and 'shape them to the area' rather than taking one out. Well, he's the expert, so that was decided upon. But it gave me the chance to make a Roglike jest or funny." I shan't take too much out of the tops of the trees" , I told him "Or our hibiscus will become a  lowbiscus."  He rather liked it!


The above plant is still a hibiscus - Hibiscus Bluebird, and years ago it was considered the only hibiscus that could stand up to the British climate. So much for climate change. This one grows in our neighbour's garden.

Tomorrow looks like being a busy day - coffee with friends - lunch with other friends- and a lantern clock I've always liked,  to have  minor (I hope) surgery on, to be done in situ.    Oh well. We'll see.

                                                            Goodnight All.

Friday, 14 August 2015


The rather handsome old building above is the White Hart coaching Inn in Highdale. It is at the opposite end of town to us, and  has recently changed hands, having been taken over by friends of ours, Ros and Simon Cook, who, as their surname suggests, are professional caterers. Having taken it over, they have spent the last month or so having it tidied up and redecorated inside and out. Must say they've had a lovely job made of it.  We were taken there today for lunch by Hilary, as, and I quote : - "A small 'thank you' for all the time Ann spent looking after me" - when Hilary had an eye operation done at the local hospital in Ipswich in July.  We know that Simon makes rather a speciality of fish, so Ann and Hilary both had lemon sole (I think), and I had a fillet of turbot, followed by excellent puddings, I suspect of Ros' making. Altogether - a very good  lunch.

The room above is now the main restaurant.

This room is the front bar.  I like the fact that they haven't gone all 'olde worlde' in their decoration of the place. It is obviously an ancient building, but is not smothered with Birmingham made horse brasses. It should do well. We're rather spoiled here for goodish eating places, but I think this one is going to be an asset to the town - and to the area.


                                           Hope they do well. They deserve to.

                                                                 Goodnight All.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015


A week or so ago we got a panic call from granddaughter Georgie in London, asking if one or both of us could baby-sit great grand daughter Elsa. Georgie is back at work full time, and her baby sitting rota had one blank day on the list. Ann said she would go, and as (a) I've been to London twice in the last six weeks and managed to spend some time with the young lady (Elsa that is), and also, as a direct result of my London visits, I have a good deal of work waiting in the workshop for my attention, I decided not to go with her. So this afternoon I motored over to Manningtree Railway Station, and saw Ann onto her train (see next three photos).

Immediately after  lunch, which consisted (mainly) of  a very good lamb casserole, Ann showed me that she'd left me a full fridge, so I shan't even have to cook while she's gone. Since getting home at about half past two, I've been very busy in the workshop, and by the time Ann returns I should be pretty well up to date.  Hope she enjoys her stay - I'm sure Elsa will. She's thirteen months old now, fairly mobile , and very socially inclined - good company in fact.


Good night All.

P.s. Ann 'phoned to say that she'd arrived safely, after an uneventful journey, bar a minor 'bus accident in London, in which no one was hurt except a wing mirror! All the passengers then had to  change onto another 'bus. Ann says it only added a few minutes to the journey. It's a good way to see London - from the top of a 'bus.

Monday, 10 August 2015


First of all, my apologies for not having blogged for over a week.  No excuses, except that I have been thoroughly busy during that time. However, I have found time to take the odd photie, so here are one or two of them. I know I've often shown the more usual views of our ancient Guildhall, whose origins are lost in the mists of iniquity, but here is a view taken of the back of the guildhall, with its cobbled courtyard/carpark.

Since the Luncheon Club was started, to give the 'old dears' of our town, a very reasonably priced monthly lunch, Ann has worked hard for it, and indeed, run it for the last few years.  However, last March, having achieved her harumpety-fifth birthday, Ann decided to retire. The committee, having decided that we must both now have achieved the status of 'old dears',  invited us to attend the future lunches as deserving participants, which we have done since then.  I took the above photo last Friday; It shows, on the right our friend Hilary, who has just had surgery on her right eye, and is feeling it a bit.  On her right is Gwen, who at ninety nine, is till enjoying- and is full of - life.

Last Friday friends John and Milly had supper with us, and gave Ann the above pot plant. It is very pretty, but I'm afraid I've forgotten its name. I'm sure one (or more) of you will know, and remind me.

Must stop and do some work now. Last Wednesday, at Long Melford, I purchased a Black Forest wall clock, which I've repaired, and it's now keeping decent time.  At the moment I'm in the middle of a French flintlock pistol - it's now in good working order, but still needs a little cosmetic work and a good clean.

Will try and be more conscientous(not sure of the spelling of that last word) - so will call it better behaved blog-wise.
Regards to all, Mike.

Saturday, 1 August 2015


Been a pleasantly sociable weekend. Yesterday evening friend Zoe drove over from North Suffolk, dined with us and slept here. Ann gave us duck casserole (I opened a bottle of gewurztraminer, which despite pedants who will say that this is a wine for game, 'went' quite well with the duck).  Ann followed this with a lovely trifle, then with a cheese board, followed by coffee. Lingered over the meal, then to bed at about ten thirty.

At nine this morning we were joined by bloggers Sir Bruin and the Small Bear , so that above and below we show photos of East Anglian Bloggers.

Then on to Hollowtrees Farm Shop Restaurant, where we all enjoyed their celebrated farmhouse breakfast. The party broke up about Mid day.

At 2 p.m. to Scrabble Club for my weekly three games. Ann went shopping with friend Sue. Whilst we were finishing our third game, Ann and Sue came in and  washed up the tea things. Then on to Sue and David's where we drank more tea and caught up on all the news. Sue showed us a fine pottery urn of Amherst pattern, which she knows we (sort of) collect. They are retired dealers (if any antique dealers can ever be said to have completely retired), and after a while we purchased the urn from them, and we are trying it in different places about the house, although I think it will eventually occupy the first home that Ann suggested, which is in the centre of the front window of the house, where it really does look well. Must take a photo of it.
Must also knock off now, I think, and do a bit of work. Still got a good deal of cleaning and labelling to get ready for next week's Long Melford Fair.

Regards to all my readers - Mike.