Thursday 31 March 2016


Been having the kitchen decorated this last three days. Job finished this morning. This afternoon we motored over to our friend Helga's house for a birthday tea party. Helga is German by origin but has lived in England for the last sixty years or so. Her (and our) friend Rosemarie is staying with Helga, and today was Rosemarie's birthday. The above photo is (left to right) Helga, Joan, Rosemarie and Ann. A very good time was had by all.

After a most stimulating German tea we motored home, driving into a magnificent sunset (above and below).

I think I've quoted this before, but it's worth repeating :-

From quiet homes and first beginning,
Out to the undiscovered ends,
There's nothing worth the work of winning,
Save laughter, and the love of friends.


Ain't that the truth ?

Sunday 27 March 2016


I think I must start off by saying that last week was a very busy one. Among a good many other things we attended two funerals, and these three photos were taken on our way to the second one (Thursday), which was held at Rumburgh which is in the North of Suffolk, up near Zoe. We stopped off at Bramfield to take photies of the Church, but I'd forgotten that opposite the Church was one of the longest crinkle-crankle walls I know, see photo above. The idea is that a wall built like this is a very strong, stable and long lasting wall!

The Church is quite a small church, and as you can see, thatched, as are a good many churches in North Suffolk. It has a round tower, which is also fairly common in this area, but Bramfield is unique in that the church was built well away from the round tower, as you can see.

This is a photograph of the nave of the Church. It is a quite small church (I think I've already said that), and has a quite superb rood screen, as well as several very interesting monuments, most of which I've photographed and may use en blog sometime.

Stopped off at Halesworth for lunch, then on to find Rumburgh Church, where our old friend Pat's funeral was to take place. She was an 'old' friend in that we've known her for fifty years or so. Even then she was very deaf (a result of childhood illness).  In fact, as she got older, she became profoundly deaf; but she was one of the best lip readers I've ever known. The real problem was that a few years ago she went blind as well. She remained though, and almost unbelievably,   invariably cheerful, pleased to see friends, and great fun. I can't describe her better than in a phrase someone used at the funeral :- "Whatever the weather, when Pat smiled the sun came out".

After tea and buns in the village hall, back in the car and fought our way back through the Saints, I know this area reasonably well, but I can still very easily get lost in the Saints (Zoe, who lives a few miles North, will know what I mean) then to the A143, the A140, and home.

It always seems to be quite a problem when blog keeping to know which bits to put down, and which large tracts to leave out. Still, I've got some lovely photos from last week that I can use up when I'm short of pictures.

Good Night, every one.


Saturday 26 March 2016


The above three photos are not a public blog message, but a private piece of information for junior brother-in-law, if everyone else could kindly look away.

You can all look up now. Wish you all a Happy Easter. I think the above photos and message are a jolly good way of getting information to Tim. Hope it works.

P.s. Don't forget to put the clocks an hour forward tonight.

Warm regards to all.

Friday 25 March 2016


With reference to the previous Blog Entry (mainly about the Fire Engine House Restaurant in Ely) this morning a friend of ours (Phoebe) sent us the above newspaper cutting. It reported that the day before our visit, a car ran into the front of the Fire Engine House, and badly damaged it. Fortunately nobody was hurt, but it's nice to report that last Monday, the day following the road accident, the place was open for trade as usual. No mention was made of the incident the day that we were there, and I like to think that that's the spirit that won the Empire - don't make a fuss about things - just bash on regardless.

Tuesday 22 March 2016


Yesterday Ann had arranged a sibling day for ourselves, her three brothers and their partners, meeting at the Fire Engine House in Ely.  Took the above photo in our garden before we set out, then got in the car and motored over to Ely. A pleasant uneventful journey, and we arrived in plenty of time for me to go and have a poke round the Waterside Antique Centre. Worthwhile as I purchased four pieces of stock. Met an old friend and decided we just had time to go and have a coffee with her (she lives on the Quay at Ely, very near the Antique centre). Picked up all the family news (ours and hers) then back into Ely to the Fire Engine House.

The routine is that a table is booked a few weeks beforehand, then we  congregate in the above Bar Parlour (see photo) until all the others arrive, the staff bring in menus which we study, and place our orders while we wait. When everyone has arrived and placed their orders, and when our table is ready, a member of staff comes in and tells us, then we all troupe through into the dining room, and the meal is soon served. It sounds a bit long winded but it works well. We linger over the meal and all the family news is swapped. The meal usually starts about one o'clock, and ends a bit after three o'clock. The staff treats us like old friends (and vice versa) and a pleasant time is had by all. The food always consists of very largely locally grown produce, and is invariably very good, provided you are fond of country fare, cooked on the premises. Second helpings of vegetables are always offered, and sometimes second helpings of meat.  In my opinion (and we've been going there for forty odd years) it is the best restaurant in East Anglia, and I don't know why I'm telling you this, as you'll probably try to race me to it next time.   Long may the place continue to thrive, say I.

Saturday 19 March 2016


Answer to Wednesday's mystery object. Crowbard is right in his answer that the object is a tobacco pipe tamper. The above photograph shows the position of use in a small, 17th century clay pipe. It is a good (but not tight) fit in the pipe.

This photo is the same but includes a 19th century 'churchwarden' clay pipe. The tamper could have been used in  this pipe, but it would be a loose fit.

I should perhaps have mentioned that the tamper is made of very pale (Georgian) brass. It dates, in my opinion, from  the eighteenth century, although in his book -'Paktong, the Chinese alloy in Europe' the author, my friend Keith Pinn, stresses the difficulty of dating these tiny artifacts made in paktong or pale brass, but states that they were mainly made from  the eighteenth century up to the mid nineteenth century.

Wednesday 16 March 2016


The two above photos are of this week's mystery object. I've included a fifty pence coin to give some idea of size, although it is two and a half inches long. When and where was it made, and what is its purpose?  It has a quite specific one. I bought it this morning in a junk shop in the town centre.

Monday 14 March 2016


a small mystery has just solved itself, as mysteries tend to do, if we have patience and a good memory.  On 16th and 18th February, this year, I was puzzled by a bird that I eventually decided must be a siskin (unusual in that they tend to travel in small groups). Just after lunch today the same bird turned up, this time with her boyfriend in tow,  I was able to take a couple of snapshots of them (above and below), and they were revealed to be a young female and a male siskin, beautiful birds both of them, and obliging enough to sit still while I photographed them.

A few minutes later a goldfinch took over the feeding place, and he too allowed me to take his photo, shown below. Very satisfying, and proving once again the truth of one of my favourite old sayings, that everything comes to he who waits.

Sunday 13 March 2016


Motored over to the Quy Mill Hotel this early afternoon to have lunch with Sarah, Mikey, and their family. Their third (and youngest daughter) Lucy will be eighteen this week, and we were taking her birthday presents from us to her. The main one is illustrated above. It is a lady's workbox (needlework that is) that has been in Ann's family ( and in regular use there since 1847). It is, as you can see, a rosewood box, with a good deal of mother o' pearl inlay.

Inside the lid is a flap with a note stuck inside the lid of the box :- "Mary Sophia Beales from her truly sincere and very affectionate John Peck, Jun.". They married in Cambridge in 1847.

The above photograph shows Lucy opening her present in the hotel lounge. She has a great interest in family history, and already has several oddments from different branches of her ancestry (a tea caddy, silver thimble, etc.  I have been able to write her out a full history of the work box thanks to the fact that the first recipient's father-in -law, the first John Peck, kept a diary from 1814 to 1851 (which was the year he died). In 1995 Wisbech Museum (which John Peck helped to set up, and which holds the original diary) decided to print a number of copies of the diary, and presented one of them to Ann's late mother, who was Lucy's Great Grandmother, and John Peck's great granddaughter. Before Great Gran died in 2010 (at the age of 102) she left the diary in my care, for the use of any of her family who needed to do research on the family history. As Lucy seems to be fascinated by family history, and indeed takes a great interest it it, I decided it was time that a younger member took over the care of the diary, and gave it to her as part of her 'coming of age present'.    Just after we got home she 'phoned us (in tears, the young blub-cake!) to say how much she appreciates the two presents.

Photograph of the two of us, in the Quy Mill dining room, taken by Lucy.

Got home about half past six. Been a lovely day - but tiring.   Good night everyone.

Thursday 3 March 2016


Last week, whilst pottering around the Norfolk coast, we stopped off at the one 'real' antique shop in Holt, and purchased (among a few other bits - pewter, brass, treen, etc.) the above, lidless, blue and white tea pot. It was Chinese, and dated from the reign of the Emperor Qianlong, who reigned there from 1736 to 1795. It was lidless, so not expensive.  I asked Ann what she wanted it for, it being rather outside our usual sort of antique item, and she said "to put flowers in".  Often, when she does this (i.e. puts flowers in something not designed for this purpose) it works very well, visually that is; and looking at the above picture, I'm sure you'll agree that this is so in this case.

This afternoon, we motored over to Stowmarket to view an auction sale, and on the way there we stopped and took the above photograph of a very small thatched cottage that has just had the roof ridge rethatched - looks well, doesn't it ?  One of the things in Saturday's auction is a vast 'gentleman's ordinary' penny-farthing bicycle. I've always had a yen to ride one of these, and despite the auctioneer's cordial invitation to 'try it' decided that I'd left it tooooo late. The leap from the 'step' to the saddle was just too much. The auctioneer, who is less than half my age (and an old aquaintance) told me he felt just the same, and has yet to summon up the courage to 'have a go on it'. Oh well 'Faint heart never yet won fair lady' -- although with all my daughters, grand daughters and great granddaughters, I don't really need any more 'fair ladies' - or, come to think of it, penny farthing bicycles.