Sunday 27 September 2015


Been a good, hectic, weekend; but I think I must leave Friday (which was, incidentally, my birthday) out, and start on Saturday, which, as per the photo above, started with brekky at Hollow Trees farm shop Restaurant, with five of our friends. The usual excellent,tradional breakfast was held. Then, after we'd run the two foremost females (or, to put it more politely - the two ladies nearest the camera) back to Highdale, we got back in the car and motored over to Cambridge, and had our annual quant along the Cam in a pair of punts with as many of our descendants as could make it.

Above are the two punts, with, central to the picture, senior daughter, Sarah and her mate, Mikey.

Passing, above photo, King's College Chapel to prove it ( where we were, I mean).

Then back to the Double Tree Hotel, as it's now called, to a long table where a mini version of tea at the Ritz was laid out for us. Above shows Ann with our youngest descendant, Great Granddaughter Astrid.

Above photo shows second youngest descendant, Elsa, feeding bits of egg and cress sandwich to her slightly younger second cousin Astrid. A very responsible position, being a senior second cousin.

And finally your blogger Pa Magna Mike, with his two Great Granddaughters, Astrid and Elsa; which names trip off the pen nicely, I think.  Yesterday was a Great Day, set in the middle of a GREAT WEEKEND!!!!!

Off now, for a mid afternoon Zizz, or Kip.

Cheers and Regards, Mike.

Wednesday 23 September 2015


Been a pleasant day - part social, part business. A few weeks ago at an antique fair just outside Southwold, we ran into a couple of old (dealer) friends with whom we'd rather lost touch. It turned out to be that they'd retired (which is, in my opinion, something an antique dealer should never do) moved to France for seven years  (always unwise), realised their mistake, and returned to England, having lost a good deal of money on the house they'd bought in France.  Today (at their warm invitation) we went to have lunch at them in their cottage in a village near Saxmundham. As we were running rather ahead of time, we stopped off in Saxmundham and pottered .   It was market day (half a dozen or so stalls), then back to the car and on to Bryan and Margaret's home. Margaret is a good cook, and gave us chicken in red wine, various vegetables (including creamed celeriac. She gave Ann the recipe for this - lovely), a simple but delicious pudding, mainly raspberries and cream.  A cheese board. Then coffee, which we lingered over, and generally caught up on all the news. We then had a walk round the garden, which Bryan is redesigning, and has already made a great difference to. We left about three o'clock, and drove on to the home of Anthony and Jenny, and their four sons; going via the small town of Debenham, where I took the above three snapshots through the car windscreen.   Anthony is a very good and reliable furniture restorer. When I need a complex job doing in wood, I turn the item over to Anthony. I had two jobs for him. Before we got there, found a stall at a farm gate, and was able to buy Jenny a bunch of fresh flowers. When Jonathan and I had done discussing the two jobs (I'd drawn both of them out with measurements) we adjourned to the sitting room, where Jenny served tea and a lemoncake. The boys eventually came home from school, greeted and shook hands with us. They are a very polite family, and the boys behaviour made me realise that the modern world is, perhaps, not quite such an unmannerly place as it sometimes seems. We left them for the homeward drive at about four thirty, the boys queuing up to shake hands again. Reassuring, I think.

This last photo I took whilst travelling South down the A140 road at Stonham.  During the great days of coaching a great many of the Inns along the main coaching routes had the Inn sign built to hang high enough over the road, so that stage coaches and farm wagons could drive underneath them. Two hundred years ago there were hundreds of these Inn signs hanging over our main roads.  Now there are, I think, about three left. The most well known one is the Stonham Magpie, pictured above.

                                    Good Night, everyone.

P.s.  I should perhaps add that the boys are fourteen and  twelve years old. The youngest boys, the twins, are nine.

Tuesday 22 September 2015


We were given this superb bunch of gladioli a few days ago. They are lasting very well. I do like gladioli; and find them disappointing in only one way - they look as if they should be gloriously scented, but there is no scent to them.

Took this snapshot of Ann this morning just before we walked into town. Ann is wearing her new winter raincoat. Don't yet know if it will keep her dry, but it will keep her well camouflaged in the garden.


These two photoes are this week's   MYSTERY OBJECTS.  I purchased (on ebay)  a lot composed of several  interesting brass items. I think these two are interesting, if only because I have no idea what they are, so any suggestions gratefully received. Crowbard and Rog :- good interesting suggestions if you please, but do try and stay within the realms of possibility.  They are cast, hand finished, six inches long, and consist of a pierced heart shape, surmounted by an anchor (I think that shape, with a rope round the anchor, is properly known as a fouled anchor). Can anyone tell me what they are for, or to what they should be attached.                                                                            Thank you.

                                  As usual, I wish all my readers a very good night's sleep.

Saturday 19 September 2015


We have recently joined the Round Tower Society, and saw in their publication that our Chairman was to give a talk today on the round towered Church at Ramsholt on the River Deben, near Woodbridge. So although we'd got an engagement for two thirty this afternoon at a welcoming Service for the new Minister at Highdale U.R.C., we decided that we could fit them both in. When we told our friend Hilary about our planned visit to Ramsholt Church, her reaction was interesting:-
"Don't bother about the Church", she said, "But do go the Ramsholt Arms Pub". Now this was so unexpected a suggestion from the widow of a Canon of the Anglican Church that we pulled her leg a little. Hilary is one of those rare people who can laugh at her own foibles, so in the end she amended her suggestion to - "Well, the Church is an interesting little place, so do go and see it, but you really must go and have a drink at the pub. It's a lovely place in a glorious  location".

The top picture shows the round towered church, with the River Deben in the background.

The above picture shows a close up of the Church Tower. It is a very unusual round tower with three buttresses. This gives it an odd optical illusion of being an oval towered church (which apparently it is, but only by being a matter of a few inches out of true round).
The inside of the church has a complete set of box pews, with a 'double decker' pulpit to match.

When we walked down to the village, we found that the village was holding a 'Heritage day'. I find that last sentence is a bit misleading, as the village consists of the Church, the Pub, and possibly the odd far flung cottage/farmhouse.

Above is the pub mentioned by Hilary, and we eventually sat in front of the pub, looking across the River Deben, and enjoying a coffee. The food smells coming from the pub kitchen, were so temptingly savoury that we decided we must come back soon and have lunch there (mem.-
 must ask Hilary to come with us - she'd love it).

The above sailing barge (Melissa) was tied up to the dock, and offering rides to all and sundry as part of the  'Heritage Day'. A handsome old lady she is, too.

Above is our view as we sat outside the pub with our coffee. Nos Resurgam (we hope). It was a lovely morning and we got back to Highdale just nicely in time for a bite of lunch and this afternoon's beanfeast .

Goodnight to all my readers.

Thursday 17 September 2015


Been a busy week, I'm glad to say, although I always find when I'm busy that I tend not to keep as up to date with the blog as I'd like.  This lunch time however I managed to take a couple of  decent photies of a goldfinch. Should have been two goldfinches, but this chap's father, who, conscientious chap, was still feeding his offspring a few seconds before I took this; is also a wily old bird, and camera shy. Still,  managed to get the two photoes above. The goldfinch, in my opinion, is the prettiest of all our small birds.  I'm sorry to say that I've seen them being sold as cage birds (and very small cages they were in, too) in Malta, seven or eight years ago.

Nearly bed time, so I wish you all a very good night.
Warm Regards, Mike and Ann.

Saturday 12 September 2015


This is the answer to this week's Mystery Object, shown in the previous blog entry. Rog states what the object appears to be. Crowbard states what the object actually is, i.e. a snuff box.  It was made somewhere towards the end of the eighteenth century, in England, and probably by a cabinet maker who would have used such a plane daily, and decided to make himself a snuffbox along the same lines. To open the box, the 'horn' has to be pulled upwards to remove it, and then the lid is slid forward to expose the snuff. It is an attractive little box, and was part of the Belinda Gentle Collection, until it was auctioned on 14th September, 2005 by Dreweatt Neate.

P.s. Rog - when an antique dealer (or an Antiquarian Horologist) shows you an object and asks you to guess its purpose, it is always as well to give your genuine opinion on the object - but it is also as well to add "But, of course it might well be a snuff box."      This will make your answer the correct one  about sixty five per cent of the time.

Regards, Mike.

Thursday 10 September 2015


                                          Mystery Object

This week's mystery object is a fraction over three inches long overall and is made of several exotic hardwoods.   Can you give your opinion on what the purpose of this object is, and when and where was it made.

Wednesday 9 September 2015


This morning we motored across to Wisbech, to hand the books in to our accountant, Elizabeth, who, over the last few decades has become a personal friend. Spent half an hour or so catching up on all the gossip, then on to a pub just outside Wisbech where we met old school friend Roy, his wife Janet, and family friend Phoebe. Lingered over lunch there, then eventually on to Phoebe's home, where we all  had tea.

Party finally  broke up about five, Phoebe presented us with several pounds of home grown raspberries, for Ann to make into Raspberry vinegar, which Phoebe still makes, according to a recipe of Ann's Mother's, and also a bag of  runner beans. Arrived home about seven.

Should have said that all the photographs today were taken on the outward journey in Thetford Chase, just the far side of Brandon. They are all part of an avenue of hornbeams. The one photographed above is Ann's favourite tree - a huge, old, hornbeam.


Good Night All.

Monday 7 September 2015


Been away this last weekend. On Friday we motored over to the Milton Keynes area to stay the weekend with Senior daughter,Sarah, her husband Mikey, and their family. Photo above shows your blogger, grandson Guy, granddaughter Lucy, and Ann.

Above is senior Granddaughter, Sophie.

This photo (above)  shows four generations of ladies. Sophie, Ann, Sarah, her daughter Amelia, her (Amelia's) daughter, Astrid, and Lucy.

Above photo shows Pa Magna (your blogger), and his junior Great Granddaughter, Astrid.
 If she could talk she'd be saying -"Don't point Pa. It's rude."

Pa Magna, Astrid, and Great Granny Ann.

 The above photo was taken at about eight ack Emma today, and shows Guy in School uniform, ready for the off.
At about ten this morning, we set off for our drive home, calling in on the way to visit Ann's middle brother, David,  and his wife Maureen. We had lunch with them in Baldock, a pretty little town. May well show photies taken there in a future episode. In the meantime being called upstairs for cuppa - so will wish you all a very good evening..................................................

Warm Regards, Mike and Ann.

Wednesday 2 September 2015


A week or so ago Rog announced he was going to do a series on interesting churches in his area of Norfolk.So I thought I'd do the same for our area of Suffolk. Decided I'd start with the little round towered Church at which we usually worship, illustrated above. The round tower is the oldest part of the church and is reputed to have been built as a place where people took refuge from marauding Danes, raidng along the nearby River Brett.

We've been going there regularly for the past couple of years, so I thought I knew the church fairly well, but a couple of Sundays ago (after Service) I started looking closely at the pews, which are a mixture of old and new, and I found something I'd not noticed before. Carved into the back of one of the pews, above a fairly simple area of linenfold carving was the date photographed above - 1537.  I talked to the church organist, who told me that in 1933 the pews were getting a bit shaky, so were repaired, but it was decided to use all the parts of the old timber that were capable of being reused.  It seemed that a good deal of the carving which dates from early Tudor days was in reasonably good condition, and the above date tied in fairly well with that bit of word-of-mouth folk history. It's good to have the two dates almost exactly four centuries apart, although the older parts of the pews seem to me to be of two totally different styles. I think a bit more research is called for.

Near the front of the church (which is also near where we usually sit) are the two rather jolly little faces carved on a bench end illustrated above.  The tower is believed to date from the tenth century, the major part of the nave appears to date (from the evidence of a decorated crown post) to the first part of the fourteenth century.  And I seem to remember showing on this blog a stone, in the nave, decorated with celtic strapwork that appears to date from the eighth/ninth century.  All of which seems to be a promising start  from a small Suffolk Church. Must have a good poke around others in the area.

Been a long day to day - got up at 5.45 a.m. to go to the Long Melford antique fair; and as we've got an early start tomorrow- plumber attending to a leak in the boiler, we're going to try and get a reasonably early night.

Goodnight All.