Saturday 30 December 2017

Saturday, 30th December

The  pictures below all refer to the  Christmas just past and were mostly taken in or around our kitchen. The two Christmas trees were made by our two Swedish granddaughters (made in Sweden) The creature on the cake on the right is of a Grinch (no, nor do I, but at least I can keep up a pretence of knowing, and I suggest you all do  the same.

Christmas 2017

Tuesday 7 November 2017

Friday 20 October 2017

this a long overdue mystery object.

Where and when do  you  think  it  was made, and for  precisely what  purpose. No prizes and very  little kudos  awarded. 

Haven't heard from anyone yet. Is anyone  there?
Testing my old blog (which seems to be working). Please can anyone receiving this please reply so tha I can see if working.

Sunday 15 October 2017


GOod morning

Friday 8 September 2017

This  is  a  picture of an Italian crossbow  (  a birding bow) dating from the latish 1 6th  century.
Please acknowledge If received (Testing).
This is a new picture - last year's Ipomia   or  Morning Glory.  It was profuse.  This years at has flowered , but not  generously - about a dozen flowers -  so far. . I am using last years photograph to demonstrate the difference between last years flowering and this - which is not nearly  so  good. Could anyone who has received this  picture acknowledge  the fact  please.

Thursday 3 August 2017

Still trying -  birds and flowers.


Spot the  frog.  Variant on  Mystery object.

At the moment  this is now  working. It is a Mystery Object!  Yes really. I you examine the photograph  closely you  should  be able  to tell me  what the  object's purpose is, where it was made, and  the exact year it was made.   Good luck.

This  picture (if we  can publish it) is probably irrelevant.
No I  was wrong. It is relevant. It is a mystery  object, and  I f you  look really closely at the photo you should   be able to work out the purpose of the item, it's  exact size and the year it was made.
Please ignore all what  I have wrote today. Because it was all  tosh and tarrardiddle.


My good  friend, the local computer expert, is with me  this morning, and we are making a determined effort to make this *0%43=7 computer machine return to its duties. Please respon
I have East Anglia's senior computer expert present  with me, and  we are making determined efforts to break back into my blog .  Pay  attention now!  This  is a Mystery object. If you concentrate  hard you should  be able  to  tell me exactly what this  is  -  general  knowledge and reasoning come into this. You should be  able  to tell my what this is for, what  it  is made of, and the  year it was made.  If you are not sure, then spuffle (a  Norfolk term).  

Tuesday 4 July 2017


This little bundle of coloured fluff  has been haunting the garden, tamely scrounging for crumbs, for about a week now, and has almost NO  fear of humans at all.  He will come within a couple of feet of Ann or meself, provided he is convinced we are carrying edible offerings for him.

Sunday 2 July 2017


Took above photograph this morning, of a pair of  green finches.  Haven't seen many of these this spring, so it was good to see these two.


                                         Mystery Object.

Above item is blacksmith- made of  wrought iron. It was last used in the mid 1950s, and very effective it was, too. 

Can you tell me  when it was made, roughly  where, and for what exact purpose ?????

Thursday 22 June 2017


Mystery Object. What it is, and what it was made for are reasonably  obvious (but  please state the  obvious).  It is  to serve a specific purpose. When and  where was it made?  The  item  and  its  action are very rare - so much so that it has never (in my opinion) been satisfactorily named. Good guessing, especially  from  Crowbard, who has  seen the item a good many times over  the  last forty years or so.

Saturday 17 June 2017


Early this morning father  blackbird  is still feeding  his brood.


The two above photos show the annual  Blog Party held at Zoe's lovely home just over the border in Norfolk. It was, as always, a lovely party; this time with a strong element of a garden party, largely due to the  perfect weather.  I think there were about seventeen or  eighteen  of us (or as Zoe put  it -  slightly more select than usual -  or  smaller).  Whatever -  it  was, as always, great fun, and enjoyed by all. Zoe says it is the  SEVENTH Annual Blog  Party; and I say "Long may it continue".

                                         And  we all say :-   Many Thanks Zoe.

Friday 16 June 2017


View of the West front of Ely  Cathedral, and the old Bishop's Palace, Ely, taken last Monday, when  Ann, her three siblings and  their partners met up at the Old Fire Engine House, in Ely, for lunch. The lunch was as good as it always is at this establishment, and a good, sociable time was had by all.  A virtue of this establishment that I've  not  mentioned  before is that if we've  booked a  table, and (given the distances involved - turn up early, coffee is served (on the  house) until all the  others get there). It's these little touches, that all the older customers are aware of, that makes this such a popular house of refreshment. Should stress, too, that Ann and  I have been using this restaurant for somewhere between forty and fifty  years, and have invariably enjoyed it.  A lovely day out , as always.

Wednesday 14 June 2017


Just before breakfast this morning I went out to feed our remaining gold fish, and saw our very devoted father blackbird busy feeding two of  his  daughters.  Whizzed in , grabbed camera, and by sheer good luck was able to photograph all three of them. I  think  this must be the third brood he's raised this  year. The two young female birds are very well camouflaged, aren't  they?

Sunday 11 June 2017


By special request of Crowbard, here  are  a few more  photographs  of  our  garden. The first one was taken  outside my forge,  the   second one through  the kitchen  window, the third one  on  a  raised area near Ann's shed (containing mainly garden tools) . The  fourth one centres around an  urn (one of three or four).  The last photograph is of  the box edged (or hedged) rose bed (contains eight large rose bushes).

Hope this gives Crowbard a fair idea of our  cottage garden. It's nowhere near as formal a garden  as yours, Carl and Jude, but  it  gives us  a great deal of pleasure. The open garden day yesterday was much enjoyed by us, and I've every reason to  believe by  the  three hundred and ninety visitors that friend Hilary counted in and out.

Warm regards, Mike  and Ann.  

Saturday 10 June 2017


Today is  open day for  a good  many gardens in town  (including  ours). They vary  from two/three acre grand gardens along  the river down to tiny 'secret gardens' like ours (these are mostly small courtyard gardens attached to medieval houses/cottages).  Ann's  just nipped into town to get a few last minute groceries, and to pick up Hilary to help us - Hilary being a very knowledgeable gardener, and she also knows everybody (?) about town, which helps. 

The top picture shows the length of our little garden; and the lower picture  shows a few 'Bonsai' trees, which I enjoy growing, and which I  always think, by comparison, makes the garden appear  rather bigger than it is.
If you're anywhere near Highdale today do come and have a look at our gardens, id est, Ann's herb garden, our rose garden, the water garden (made from an old horse bucket), my  forge, et alia.

Thursday 8 June 2017


We went into  town this  morning in order to vote. In town we met a friend, and  stopped to have  a moan about the difficulty of  deciding who to vote for - who was the 'best of a bad lot' . I'm afraid that I was having a real moan about this. Our friend pointed out the one good point about our choice -
"Look on the bright side, Mike. At least this side of the water we don't have to  think about Trump as one of  the possibilities!"

Oddly enough I found this reflection really quite cheering.

Monday 5 June 2017


More corners of the Garden.


Delphiniums (delphinia ?) above.

French 'striped'  rambling rose. Something Pichard, I think (Might be Henri P...........) Must look it up.
It always looks to me very similar to the  old Rosa Mundi but with one or two minor improvements. Must go and do some work.

Have been busy repairing and restoring an old matchlock key pistol in any  spare time  this last  couple of days.  Probably a jailor's badge of office.

Sunday 4 June 2017


When we moved to Highdale - twenty some odd years ago, the above  illustrated house was a lovely, distinguished looking tumbledown wreck of  a place. It is, as you can see, a very early brick built house, just pre- Tudor, circa 1490 ish, I should think., and very conveniently located near the town centre.  After we'd been  here a few years it was up for sale, needing complete restoration, and, eventually, it sold. It was bought by a family who had a connexion with the town, and eventually all the work was done, and the new owners  moved in about three years ago.  It is now up for sale again; and before anyone asks, no we cannot afford to buy it, and don't   have  much  inclination to think  seriously about  doing so.  The asking price is  now about three times what our, much earlier, and probably more convenient home, could be expected to fetch; and anyway we like our own home very much. But isn't it odd how these things seem to go round, especially if   you have a good memory.

Thursday 1 June 2017


Bit of good news! Took a photo of   this  little chap yesterday evening. He is  a  very young goldfinch, but  good evidence  that the goldfinches have been breeding once  again in   the area. They really are the prettiest small, native,  wild birds in England, in my opinion.  

Wednesday 31 May 2017


Last week we spent an hour or two in Bury St. Edmund's, with friend  Hilary, who  knew  of  an
'Aquatic Centre' there. Hilary's  garden is  in Highdale  town centre and is much the same  size as ours (i.e. miniscule). However her garden pond is rather larger than ours. Ours is about  eighteen  inches across, and  is in fact, an old horse bucket sunk into the ground, and surrounded by stones. To cut  a  long story reasonably  short, we both  bought a water hyacinth and  some small goldfish. Hilary also bought a small electric powered fountain. The  young man in charge (knowledgeable and obliging young chap) gave us a 'special price' on five small goldfish, and  in  view of Hilary's rather  larger pond, she took  three of the fish and we took two. Portrait of  new residents above. They seem to be settling in quite well. We think  they add a bit of interest  to the garden, and I'm sure  the  Great grandchildren will love  them.   

Tuesday 30 May 2017


As life is  fairly quiet at the  moment, I am, once again, reduced to accompanying these blog entries with snapshots of  'corners of the  garden'. The top three are of roses (of which we have a good display this year), and the last one is  of the  fig tree which I've been 'espaliering' against the garden fence - with some success.  It is full of  half grown fruit at the  moment and looking good for 'high summer' produce. Hope so anyway - we both love  the  idea of  fresh, home grown fruit. The  fig tree is a 'Brown Turkey' which used to be thought of as the  only breed of fig tree that would produce figs reliably, and regularly, in our climate.  So far it's given us a few fine fruit every year since  I planted it four years ago. I think though, that later in the year I'm going to have to cut it hard back in order for it to remain properly espaliered. If I don't, I think  it   could well turn into a thug of a tree dominating its immediate surroundings. Oh well! We'll see later in the year. I rather fear that if I cut it back hard enough to keep it in its proper area, it could well retaliate by giving us very few fruit for a year or so. Should any of my readers be more  knowlegeable figologists than I am (which wouldn't be difficult) could you please give me any useful tips regarding keeping fig trees happy,  and in  their proper place.
Warm Regards to all.

P.s. Halfway through this blog entry the  machine decided to use only italics. Anyone know any cure for this aberration?