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? 

Sunday, 28 May 2017


Spent a  morning earlier this  week rebuilding last year's runner bean obelisks(hope that's the right  word). All  that is  needed for two of them are two square (that's important) terra cotta flower pots as bases, eight (four each) six foot bamboo poles, a wooden cross piece to spring the bamboo poles apart, and some green garden string to bind the four poles together at the top. Very easy to make, and when the beans are full of beans (if you see what I mean) they give a good supply of vegetables all summer and into the autumn; and they also look well when they are full of scarlet flowers in summer. Must try and remember to take photos of them when the beans are flowering. I'm told that runner beans were grown for the  flowers long before their value as a vegetable was realised (?). Don't know  if anyone can confirm that?

P.s.Fill the two terra cotta pots to within an inch or so of the top with multi  purpose compost the Head Gardener ( a.k.a Ann) tells me.  This is called 'missing the obvious' and I  am frequently  guilty of  it.  

Friday, 26 May 2017


Took this  photo of an 'inverted' rainbow (dead centre of picture) over our garden, yesterday. I  do remember that  the  last one of  these I spotted Crowbard was able to tell us all about  - over to  you Brother Crowbard.

Thursday, 25 May 2017


With reference to the clock dial I was writing about yesterday, the point  is  that if the  'minute divisions' between the hour numerals are examined carefully, it will be  found that  there are four  of them between each hour numeral and the  next, and this is because the divisions are NOT minute divisions but quarter hour divisions, and this in turn indicates that the clock was originally  a 'single  hander' rather than having an hour and a minute  hand.  It is surprising how quickly the  eyes get used to a single handed clock dial, and how easy it is to judge the time accurately with only an hour hand.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Wednesday 3.

Ref previous  blog  entry - wasn't very pleased with the  photograph of  Sweet  Cecily (don't think Cecily  would  have been either) so here's a rather better picture of the lady.

Wednesday 2.

This is  a  photograph of  Ann's  herb garden. The white flowered plant to the centre right of the  photo is (in my opinion) one of the most useful herbs in the garden (bar possibly mint). It is  Sweet Cecily. If chopped and mixed with rhubarb, and cooked, the  mixture  needs very little sugar to make it palatable. Our good friends Jonathan and Jo came to lunch today, had rhubarb and Sweet Cecily as a pudding, and were astonished at what a good mix this is. The Sweet Cecily, when first gathered (and before cooking) has a not unpleasant liquorice scent and flavour, which doesn't seem to survive cooking, but sweetens rhubarb most pleasantly. Don't know   why it's  not more  widely known and used. 


I've been working  on  the above illustrated clock for the last day or so. As you can see if you examine the dial carefully, this clock started life as a single handed clock.  Any ideas as to how we can KNOW this?  (Equivalent of a MYSTERY OBJECT, but simple enough when you think about it). 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Tuesday 3.

With regard to the previous blog entry (Tuesday 2) here is the  photo I took this  morning  of  a male blackbird, who  is  nesting in the vicinity and a young female bird, who is  one  of his first brood this year, and who is  now  helping to feed what is the second brood of this year.  We are putting out mealworms for their main course, and dried currants for their pudding. Father and daughter are now working very hard scavenging for the present brood. It is, I think, not  at all an  unusual arrangement for members of the first brood to work hard feeding the second brood. Interesting though!

Tuesday (2)

The chap above is now busy raising his SECOND brood  this year. He is being assisted (in gathering food for the brood) by a young female from the first brood -  I think I got  a  shot of the  two of them them this morning; whilst the hen  bird is presumably sitting on  the eggs.

Aquilegia, or, if you're of  Norfolk origin, Granny's  Bonnets. 


Finally managed  to make  some sort  of   'break-through'  - been fighting this  machine for about  a  fortnight- then this morning it decided  to cooperate to some extent, so I seized the moment, and, pausing only to  insert of couple of foties  that were handy,  I leapt into action and  inserted this blog entry. Hope all goes well.  Feels good  to  be back (I hope) in communication with my readers. Warm regards anyway! - Here goes.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017


The above  two  photographs are rather fuller ones of yesterdayday's 'Mystery object', which were taken from a rather different angle. It is, of  course, an English coaching blunderbuss with a spring bayonet along the top of the barrel. It was made by J.Wright, of  Weymouth, circa 1790 to 1810. I've  always liked the engraving round the muzzle, Fly or Dye; in that, if you're close enough  to  read it, then you've  already lost the  choice it gives .

Monday, 8 May 2017


                                            Mystery Object.

                                  What is it? Where was it made? And When?

Saturday, 6 May 2017


The garden is beginning to  look quite festive with  the aquilegia (or Granny's nightcaps, or granny's bonnets as we call them  in Suffolk and Norfolk) now  bursting into bloom.  They are  of  all  sorts  of  colours and quite a variety of shapes.

Having  developed the top picture I found that there was a bumble bee in the bottom right of the picture, so I enlarged him  for  the above  picture. He was very active and  industrious.

We also seem to have quite a collection of bonsai (or potentially  bonsai) trees taking up the space on the garden tea table. They are not 'bought' trees, but raised from tiny seedlings  we've found.  The  yew  tree at the back has taken me around ten years to raise. Mostly they  are native trees, so they live outside all  year round.  I  must find  somewhere permanent (preferably  at eye  level, more or less)  for them. Shelves on a fence or wall ?

Suggestions would be welcome (remembering  that it  is  a very  small garden).

Friday, 5 May 2017


On Thursday we motored over to a small  village a few miles away   to look at a 'Banjo' barometer which needed work - so much so that the visit turned out to be somewhere between a complete washout and a dead loss. However we  made a detour on the  way home (as is our wont - in this case  won't go straight home) and  went to look  at a village church in Little  Waldingfield. This  is  one of those strange places - common enough in Suffolk- where Little waldingfield is now a much larger village than Great Waldingfield.    I  should  perhaps explain that the top picture is of three early buildings which appear to constitute a small, early, industrial estate. The one to  the right of  centre obviously having  started out as a  roadside forge.

The next three pictures are of Little Waldingfield Church, and its contents. The Church is a beautifully proportioned, mainly 14th/15th century (?) building.  The font is probably of  much the same date, and although the figures on it have been ( literally) defaced during the Civil War, the font can quite clearly be seen to have been a lovely piece of work in its day. The oak chest in the fourth  picture is a very fine piece of work, also dating from the 14th/15th  century, and English. 

I know I've said this, or something  like it, a good many times before, but I'm still amazed at the number of village churches we have in East Anglia,  all  of them  with a good number of  interesting,  or indeed fascinating, contents.

Good Night All.

Thursday, 4 May 2017


Photographs of cottages and  farmhouses by the roadside, taken through the car windscreen whilst motoring home from Stowmarket yesterday. One of them managed to get its photie took twice, though.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017


                             Mystery Object.

The  above object (in the  antique trade, anyway) is known  by a certain name.  Can you     give me that  name, and  when and where the object was made ?


Been a busy day. Drove over to  Long  Melford this  morning and went to the monthly  antique fair (as customers this time). Successful  visit.  Motored home via Stowmarket (where I had to collect a blunderbuss) and also via a downpour (much needed). When home had a nap (also much needed) and have been pottering around the workshop since.

Ready for a more solid and elongated nap now - so Goodnight All.