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.