Monday, 31 December 2018


The picture above was produced by magic !  Or rather by Ruth (which is much the same thing) - She casts spells on this machine, and it usually obeys her (well, in the end it does). If I try the same thing, it sniggers, then  sneers at me, lays its ears back, digs its hooves in, and refuses to comply.  Anyway, Ruth arranged us  both in the undercroft, her fingers danced over the computer keyboard, and this is what it produced - as  I  said :- Magic!!!!  And no camera involved.


Been a nice, restful day. Tomorrow is the last day of the Christmas Season, and next year -2019 A.D.

                       We wish all our readers a Happy and Successful   NEW YEAR.

                                                Mike, Ann, and Family.

Sunday, 30 December 2018


Today  our son, Jonathan, who lives near Cambridge motored across and had  lunch with us; then stayed on till evening. He has recently changed jobs (head hunted for the  third time !)   He is a scientific type - can't  think who he gets it  from. He is on the right of the above picture.

I rather  like  the new arrangement whereby Christmas carries on until the New Year. Makes the  'Twelve Days of Christmas'more meaningful.

I wish all my readers a Very Happy  New Year.  'God Bless us every one' -Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol,  I think.

Warm Regards,   Mike  and  Ann.

Saturday, 29 December 2018


Above young lady is  junior Swedish grand-daughter.  Actually, and this  might simplify  matters, she is  our youngest grandchild.  She will be nineteen  this coming March. They do  grow up so  fast these days.  Thinking  about  it,   I'm  not  at all sure that is true. I mean, we married at twenty; and my mother, in 1941, married rather younger than that.

The photo above shows meself between the two Swedish grand daughters. I'm five foot ten inches tall, and I can quite see that these two dwarf me. They are very elegant, but I'm  not  sure  that  they are aware of that  fact. The tallest one is looking over my  shoulder  as I type, so I've just asked her if  she  agreed  with me about being aware of her elegance. She thought about that one, then said "All  that's needed Pa is self confidence, I think."  I like the answer - especially as they are both  quietly  self confident.

Friday, 28 December 2018


Attractive young lady shown in our kitchen above is senior Swedish grand- daughter. She is  studying  sciences at Uppsala University. It is lovely having the three of them staying  here for a while. They are all three of them more than pulling their weight.  

Above  is  the  Christmas cake that Ann made, and  that above young lady has decorated for us. The decoration was done in icing sugar, then painted. Very festive it looks too. Another piece of work that above grand daughter made  is the frock that she is wearing in the photo. She really is  a multi talented youngster. I'm  pleased to say they are (all three) staying on  until about a week into the New Year.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Pretend Christmas.

I think I'd  better describe what happened to our family over Christmas. First of all there  was that daft business with the drones over Gatwick, which  eventually allowed Ruth and her girls to get to England on Christmas Eve. In the meantime we had a 'pretend Christmas' at Sarah and Mikey's from the  pre Christmas Wednesday until Saturday. Good  fun it was  too. During that time we saw all our offspring at Sarah's save Liz, who'd gone back to Spain, and Ruth's family  who were still fighting imaginary (I think)  drones. We got home just before Christmas, and were joined by  Ruth et famille on Christmas Eve, after which Christmas proceeded as usual, and as planned.

Picture  above shows Ann and I  in Sarah's kitchen.  Been a prolonged and  very good Christmas.


Ruth is  directing and guiding me in publishing  photos  on  blog. Above is a photo  of Saint Mary's  Church, Aldham,  about two miles away from our home- less than that as the crow flies.  We worship here most Sundays.  The  Church is a mixture of periods from Saxon onwards, and as it stands on a mound that the 'experts'  tell us  used to support a pagan temple before this church was built, it's been a place of worship for a very long time.


This  is not quite a mystery  object, but  a set of shelves in our kitchen. On it are mounted twenty  four  pieces of pottery. Twenty- one of  them  were made in Staffordshire. Three of  them were made elsewhere. Can any  of  you  name the three, and tell me where they  were made.  I am not a ceramicist, but  I do  know the answer; As probably does Zoe, who is a ceramicist. 

P.s. But I've  had lots of time to find  out the answers!

Thursday, 20 December 2018


I have finally persuaded this ridiculous machine (a Windows 10) to accept a photograph. It is  a picture Ann designed and embroidered a good many years ago of the house she grew up in. The house is  in   Norfolk, on the  edge of the fens. When we were first married (in 1963) we rented the upper floor  of this house  from her father for  a couple of  years; then, some years later (in 1977, I think)  we bought the place from him, together with its Huge garden, and an acre or so of park land;  did it up (it needed a good deal doing to it), stayed there for ten years, and brought our family up there.


Ann's just had a 'phone call from Ruth. Ruth and her girls plan to spend Christmas with us, but, due to  dimboes playing silly  beggars with a 'drone' at Gatwich, have had to postpone their visit for a couple of days or so.  What said subtle humourists the silly beggars get out of it, only they in their total lack of wisdom, know. If I carry on on the subject of silly beggars,  I shall become heated.  More later, perhaps.

Thursday, 13 December 2018


                                         Above photo is of  great Grand daughter, Astrid, who, together with her mother, Amelia, and her grand mother, Sarah, came and had lunch with us  yesterday. Great Granny Anny had put on a gooseberry crumble for pudding. Astrid didn't really like gooseberries, and indeed these needed more muscovado sugar, so Granny had a think  and  provided a chocolate ice cream from the freezer, which (surprise) Astrid did like, so everyone was happy.

It has been a very sociable sort of a  week, and yesterday we went to our friends Jill and  Keith for lunch. Also  at lunch was our old friend David and his friend Michael - no not me, but another of the many Michaels born in the 30s/40s. Jill gave us a glorious venison casserole,  followed by   a  sticky toffee pudding, then a  cheese board, then tea/coffee. There used  to be  an old  saying that the way to  a man's heart is  through his  tummy - it's especially  true if you add the word 'old'  in  front  of  man.

Today we continued to socialise by meeting up (at  a garden centre in Needham Market) with fellow blogger Zoe, and her husband Tim. We  had a very good beef  pie, and  picked up the threads - it had been over a year since  we'd seen them.  I'd assumed we were 'going Dutch' , but  it turned out that  Tim  was a good deal nippier on his  feet than I am, and got to  the cashier an easy 'first' - with Horner an 'also ran' - though 'ran' was pushing it.   It was lovely catching up on all the news  with  them.
After they'd gone we had a look round the other shops on the same site, and  I  found a really nice  scarf that Ann loved, so I bought it as a Christmas present for her (not having  found one yet). Being called up  for supper, so Goodnight All.
P.s. Zoe - it  was really lovely  to see you both. Mustn't leave  it  so  long till next time.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018


Sarah, God bless 'er, motored over this morning  with her daughter Amelia, and Amelia's daughter , Astrid.So above  shows (left to right) Great Grandmother Ann, grandmother Sarah, great granddaughter, Astrid,  and granddaughter Amelia (Astrid's mother).  Above is a good photo of all four generations. At lunch, Ann gave us game casserole, followed by gooseberry  crumble.

P.s. When I  say 'a good photo' what I mean  is  that everyone is  smiling and looking as if  they're enjoying themselves.

Sunday, 9 December 2018


Above photo is of our friend John Cunningham restoring the very early (recently rediscovered) wall in our undercroft. John is the expert on early stone or brick walls in this area. He is invariable called in to repair church walls, and indeed any early stone/brick wall in need of attention (Highdale is full of these). He says he would date our below ground walls as being of 'dark ages' period, but says this would give a very fair amount of leeway. Anyway, he is making a very good job of ours, and not hurrying it. He is a man of very wide ranging interests, and I'm enjoying his company and conversation.

Thursday, 6 December 2018


Been an odd day. pottered this morning, changed into decent clobber about midday, then motored into Ipswich - to hospital - various check ups, mostly went well enough. At the end an Indian lady Surgeon, who I'd met before, came in (so I stood up- of course), she did the necessary examination and declared all was fairly well, and nothing further need be done, at present. Obviously I then thanked her for her time , helpfullness, and opinion; to which she replied "Ooh; I could take you home!", which, of course cheered me immensely, and was probably the best medicine she could have given!. _______________________________________________ Can't remember where the photo was taken, but it's typical of this area - South Suffolk. Good Night All.

Friday, 30 November 2018


Largely for the benefit and information of Crowbard, although some others of you may find it interesting.


Dear Crowbard, reference trip to London last Tuesday; I promised to send you pictures of this Spanish  'fulminate lock' pistol if I purchased it. Well I  haven't as yet purchased it, as it comes up next  Thursday, I think. But then the old grey matter stirred, and I remembered that the item was illustrated in the sale catalogue, and, so long as no one objects to a minor infringement of  the  copyright laws (and I'll bet there might be - no no , nobody could be  so small minded as that when I'm trying to spread  knowledge) therefore I've taken a photograph of the illustrations of the  pistol in the  catalogue,  which I  hope will give  you  a clearer idea of the pistol.

Warm regards, and love to  young Jude,  Mike  (and Ann).

Wednesday, 28 November 2018


Yesterday daughter Liz drove me to London, in order that I might  view  Sotheby's forthcoming Arms and  Armour  Sale, and Bonham's Arms and Armour sale.  It wasn't  really Sotheby's viewing day, but Ann 'phoned Thomas Delmar and arranged a 'private viewing'  for me; he is a  good chap! Grandson Matthew joined me there to help (which he did, bless  him), and after being offered,  accepted, and imbibed a cup of  tea, sat down to serious viewing. Must ask Tom what the tea was. It was delicious. Matt thought it was a red bush tea, but I drink that regularly, and I never had it so good as that!  Eventually left a telephone bid on one lot - a rare Spanish 'fulminate lock' pistol, dated 1821. Hope we get it, but shan't be heartbroken if we don't - v. spensive.  Had lunch at a nearby pub, then took a taxi over to Knight'sbridge, and viewed Bonham's Arms and  Armour  sale - massive - three major collections being broken up. Eventually  left  six (fairly optimistic) telephone bids.   Hope to  get one or  two of  them.  Then back  to Lizzie's old house (now occupied by  two  of her daughters and her  grandaughter), where  we had  tea and a  sandwich. At six thirty  p.m. Lizzy  drove us back to  Suffolk. Rained  all  the way, but we made reasonable time, getting  home at nine p.m.   Found the viewing rather more tiring than of yore, but managed reasonably well to survive it!  Very satisfying day. Slept well.

Saturday, 24 November 2018


Above photo  is  of youngest daughter, Lizzie. She is spending a week with us, and generally helping about the  place. She has  recently remarried, and now lives in Spain, on the south coast; so  popping over to England for  a week to look after the 'oldies' is quite an undertaking, and we are very grateful for her efforts.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018


Noticed this  in the car park beyond the   garden this  afternoon. Ann says it's  a sunflower, and (by a process of ellimination) I don't see what else it can be. It's about eighteen inches high, and  I do admire its optimism, however  misplaced.  I wish it well, but I  think we're going  to have a hard frost tonight -we'll see.

Monday, 19 November 2018


I remember, a few weeks ago in this blog, talking about guildhalls in Suffolk  Villages. I was comparing our  Guildhall, which is still in use, with Lavenham's Guildhall, and saying  how many Suffolk Villages have 'Guildhalls', 'Old Guildhalls', etc. usually  somewhere in the Village Centre. Often this occurs in a quite small village, and this  usually indicates that when the Guildhall was built, the quiet little village in which it now stands was a quite important town. The large, and obviously ancient, building to the left of centre in the above photo, is the  Old Guildhall in the  village of Monks Eleigh, about five miles or so from here. Monks Eleigh has a small river (the Brett, I think) running through it, a fine Church, a large old pub; and a shop, a general stores, which is run by local volunteers. And not much else. It's strange to think that five or six centuries ago it was a quite important, and probably prosperous town (a 'wool Town' in all probability). Somehow it  manages to give an impression of being a thriving little place still.

Sunday, 18 November 2018


Photos of figs taken two days ago. Finally  forced photos of  figs (note alliteration) onto blog entry.


Pleasant surprise in the  garden yesterday morning. Still working on a small lantern clock, and had got to the  stage of 'aging' several bits  of brass replacement parts (side doors etc.), in my forge and needed to leave them to cool for ten minutes or  so. So went and  dead headed the roses, then  tidied the fig tree.  This is  'espaliered'  on the side fence, and earlier in  the year I'd cut  it hard back, which it stood well,  and proceeded to grow dozens of tiny   figs (on second thoughts  not dozens but hundreds). These obviously weren't going to be edible this year, but given a reasonably mild winter should  have grown to edible size next summer.  Yesterday morning  I tidied the fig tree up for the winter, and found, to my surprise, several  good, ripe, figs!  To be exact seven figs, which we proved to be edible by  eating one or two of them each. Delicious -  ripe and sweet. Took photos of them on a plate, but the blog refused to cooperate and print the photo. I may  try again later today, but probably  shan't. Beneath a chap's dignity to remonstrate with a recalcitrant plateful of  uncooperative figs.

P.s. See Blog Entry for Sunday - for photos of figs.

Thursday, 15 November 2018


Ann and Sarah in the kitchen on Tuesday morning. Sarah  had motored over from  Milton  Keynes to spend the day with us, as she does on most Tuesdays  to keep  a watchful eye on 'the Oldies' these days. Our children have been  most  touchingly attentive  over these last few months, and  we are  well aware that  they have their own lives to lead, and their own work to do Sorry- made a muck of  this  one -  will try again later.


On Tuesday morning senior daughter, Sarah, motored over from Milton Keynes and spent the day  with us, as she has done every Tuesday for  a couple of months or so. All  our five youngsters have been visiting us regularly, lately, and it's lovely of  them all. I've not been too  well of late, which means that  things  have been heavy  for  Ann, so it's  been brilliant of the  brats to rally round  in this   manner -  eased things tremendously  for both   of   us.  Most Tuesdays Sarah coaches me in  the art of getting photos onto my blog, and I seem to spend the rest of the week forgetting these skills. When Ruth comes over (from the  North of   Sweden I'll  trouble you)  she too gives me lessons in the latest ideas on computer communicating. My skills in this field do seem to be improving somewhat.  See the two photos in this, my latest effusion in this  direction.  I'm quite pleased with them.

                                         Good Night All.

                                          Mike and  Ann.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018


Above are the two books I mentioned in my last. Found my old ration book and identity card in my  bureau. The  Ration Book dates from 1953/4. Rationing , on some  things, lasted until  the mid 1950s!

This chap/glove puppet was made by daughter Ruth at Stockholm  Art School / Uni.   Ruth is, as you  can see, quite an artist, or rather, quite a  good cartoonist.

Sunday, 11 November 2018


Went to Aldham Church  this morning rather early. Partly because it was  the Remembrance Day Service;  and partly because I was reading the  Old  Testament Lesson, and I  do like to have a quick pre service read of the lesson to refresh my memory. The reading - this  bit is for Crowbard as he likes to know these  things- was from the sixty  first chapter of Isaiah.  All went well through the service. Felt just a bit wobbly  towards the end of the  two minutes silence- slight balance  problems these days -  Ann noticed, and braced me up a bit - all then went well again. At the end of the service our organist John Smith (who does everything else as well (our new Rector has five parishes to serve- which means he gets to ours roughly  once a month). This means that john (who could give me about ten years or so) does most things at least three Sundays per month, and this Sunday at the end of  the  Service John announce that we would now, as per usual on Armistice Sunday, sing the National  Anthem, which is in the back of  our hymn books. John pointed this out and then said "It says omit verse two. But we're not going to this morning. We're  Jolly Well  Going to Sing it ALL."  which we did. Verse two is the one that goes  :-

Oh Lord our God  arise,
Scatter her enemies,
and make them fall.

Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks.
On Thee our hopes we fix.
God save us all.

John played the organ with great gusto. We all  sang all  three verses with similar gusto; and a jolly  good time was had by all.

I  thanked  John after the service  and said :- "As far as I can remember, John,  I haven't sung  ALL  three verses of the Anthem since I left School;   But I've often wanted to."  David, another parishioner, said something like "Politically it seemed a jolly  good and apt  time to  sing  that verse", and everyone in earshot agreed with  us......................So There!

Saturday, 10 November 2018


Autumn colours  at the  bottom of the garden. Taken earlier this week. Just got called upstairs for coffee.  Whilst drinking it I turned out a drawer in my  bureaux looking for a list I  made a while back.  I  didn't find  it, I'm afraid; but on the other  hand I DID find my Identity Card and Ration Book.  Can't think why I've  kept them so long, but there are some unused coupons in the ration book,  so in the event of   another war I should at least be able to claim some tea and sweeties, from my ration book??????

P.s. Although I  suppose the  price will  have gone up?

Tuesday, 6 November 2018


Will complete this blog entry on the  morrow if all goes well - might even do a short history of  the blunderbuss -  at  the moment  all  I  really need  is   me eight  hours. Goodnight All.

9.20 a.m. Wednesday.  A day or so ago I was looking at the  three blunderbusses (blunderbii ? no -  looks pretensious!) photographed above. Among collectors of weaponry these are usually  the  most popular, and, I think, probably  the most effective of muzzle loading guns. There are though, various  "urban myths" surrounding them.  The worst concerns the projectiles with which they  were loaded. It was not, despite the boys' comics, scrap iron and  broken  glass ; this would have resulted in (at best) badly damaged barrels, and (at worst) burst barrels and dead or wounded, users of  the weapon. It would have been loaded with a measured charge of black powder and fifteen or twenty lead pistol balls. This  would  have been sufficient to take out the most determined highwayman and his horse. Another 'urban myth' dating from the days of their use (and continuing today) is  that the  flared muzzle of the weapon encouraged the spread of the shot.  It has been shown by modern experiment that the flared muzzle has little or no influence on the spread of the projectiles. It does, however, have two advantages :-  one is that anyone looking into the business end of  a blunderbuss cannot really see whether the weapon is pointing accurately at him; and  the second is that  when reloading, a flared muzzle makes the job very much easier. When you think  that often these weapons were used from the higher rigging of a ship, or from the top of a careering,  swaying, stage coach, ease of reloading is an important consideration.  "Ah" do I  hear someone say ? "but it took  ages to reload them!  I have read this one in otherwise quite respectable publications, and it's tosh!   I have, in the dim and distant  past fired these weapons, and, when properly   equipped  (i.e. with a powder flask fitted with  a  proper  measuring device,  a  bag  of  lead pistol balls, and properly sized wads in a weskit pocket) I found meself able to reload  (steady  and careful)  in twenty seconds flat. Mark you, if  you're out with a flintlock sporting gun or fowling piece,   a surprising  amount of game can go over in twenty seconds.


Got to  go  out  to a funeral, so will try and write more  on the subject later.


Just got back.  Good Funeral,  as these things go.

Back to blunderbusses . From, I'm told 'donderbusche'  (thunder gun), although I  find  the English version of  that - blunderbuss - a perfectly expressive word.  Historically the weapon we recognise as a blunderbuss appears early in  the  second half of the sixteen hundreds, and had developed into the item we recognise as the weapon carried on stage coaches around the middle of  the seventeen hundreds.


Motored  over to Ely yesterday, and met up with Ann's three brothers and partners at the Fire Engine  House for lunch, which was quite up to the usual high standard of this  establishment. I had the 'partridge casserole' knowing that I'd get a complete partridge. Good young bird it was, too.  Ann had the haddock and said it was very good.   The staff made the usual offer of more vegetables, and meat. They are so welcoming it's  like having lunch with old friends, although as we've been lunching there for over fifty  years now, that's not surprising, I  suppose.  I do  wonder, though, if I aught to stop telling my blogger friends how good the place  is, in case you all  turn up there and we begin to find difficulty in getting a table. Only joking - we'd love to meet you all there!

Must knock off now, we're expecting vistors for coffee at any moment.

Friday, 2 November 2018


This evening I was working in  the  undercroft when I heard fireworks , called upstairs to Ann (who  had heard them as well) and we went upstairs to one  of the   spare bedrooms (in the front of the house) and got a very good view of  the  firework display which was taking place on the football  field, about two  hundred yards away across the river.  We do this  most years and got about twenty minutes display  of very good fireworks. We both enjoy fireworks very much (I think perhaps I enjoy them  even more than Ann does); my late mother-in-law used to say  that  "men never grow up!" I think she thought it one of the major parts  of  our  charm. She was a wise woman; she  and I  were  good friends.

Good Night All.


Ann in funerary subfuscs. And just to record another  frost  this morning - not quite as sharp as the one recorded earlier this week.  Got  to  go out (early Service) in a  min.  More later perhaps.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Wednesday 2.

Took Ruth to lunch at the  Red Rose at Lindsy. Had a decent  (ish) lunch : all three of  us  chose fish.  One other table occupied, which was helpful when, after lunch, we sang Happy  Birthday  to  Ruth. Before singing  I  had a word with  the occupants  of the  other table to make sure they  didn't  mind the dining room turning  a little raucous, and in fact they all four of  them joined in the singing  to Ruth, who made a neat little speech of acceptance and thanks.

  On the way home Ruth took the above photo of a very dark coloured peacock who appeared to be mounting guard over a flock of about twenty five guinea fowl, without  much enthusiasm being displayed on either side - still... a chap's got to  do his job, and his was mounting guard over the ladies, who weren't looking too keen on the  idea either.   One comes  across these  odd  little scenes occasionally in  the  depths of the countryside.


P.s. Should have said - first frost of the winter this morning. Real white one -didn't  last long - lovely morning thereafter.


Snapshot of  small 'alcove' in older part of wall of undercroft which contains (fake ) skull - Ruth bought this in 'kit form' when she was in her teens and studying biology. When she  left home some years later she had a clear out and threw the plastic skull out, and I , with her permission, recovered it and painted it - you must remember that I was an antique restorer at the  time- to look real and old. The stone is a Roman balista stone, and  the wooden wotsit to the  right  of the picture is a small balista that works well - it's a vicious little brute- made by your blogger a good many years ago to illustrate a point in a talk I was giving about the  history  of  guns. They  look a nice  little  grouping in their alcove.

P.s. Today is Ruth's umpty  third birthday, and we are about to take her out to lunch. More later perhaps.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018


Not  mystery objects. I'm practising putting photos (under Ruth's direction) onto the  Armoury blog. It seems to be working. The  two objects on  the  chair are both  horn cups (from the  Horner Collection !!!). They are the largest and the smallest from our collection.  When I retired as a dealer I said, I seem to remember, that I could see meself  turning into a collector instead, and I  think  that's  what I'm doing.

Monday, 29 October 2018


"An old joke set to rhyme". The penultimate line  should  read "for you mustn't get into the habit."


Above photo was taken a few days  ago, and is  of senior  daughter, Sarah, who spent last Tuesday, looking after her elderly  parents (us!!)

Above photo is of your blogger, arrayed for a funeral, see blog of last week.

Above picture shows Ann, our son Jonathan, who'd come over from near Cambridge where he lives,  yesterday, to  spend the day  with us, and Ruth, second daughter, who is spending a few days  with us,  and, at present, trying to teach me, once again, to use the computer (must try harder, Horner !!). Ruth is a professional teacher, and lives way up in the  North of Sweden with her two daughters. At least it feels like the far North of Sweden to me, but it looks like about half way up Sweden on a map. Must ask  Ruth. Just asked her and she says that 'Norrland' , the name of  the area where she lives, means the north of Sweden, and is  treated as being the  far north, but she is aware that it is only about  halfway up   a map  of Sweden.

Thursday, 25 October 2018



Pretty pictures- all taken within the last day or  so,  and none  having any relevance to what I  wish  to talk about :

We went to a funeral yesterday. Not someone we knew well -   a father of a friend - he was a year or  so older than I am, and we knew him to nod to.  So attending his funeral service was, if  we're honest about the matter, something of a  social duty. I'm sure  you'll all know  what I mean. Funerals have rather altered their nature over the last few years, certainly in small town life. I'm  glad to say that real funerals, i.e. family or friend funerals, haven't really  altered,  although the  details have rather.   I should think most blokes keep a black tie, a dark grey  suit,  a darker grey  top coat, and  a pair of black shoes in readiness for family funerals.  This outfit is  known as the subfuscs or the funeral rig. I also keep (and wore yesterday) for 'social funerals'  a navy blazer, grey flannels, black shoes, and a suitable tie (regimental or old school does well  enough- these work largely because no one ever remembers someone else's old school tie). I remember the  first time I  wore a school tie at a funeral, and an old friend of mine (ex cavalry and Royal Flying  Corps) looked at it and said "I didn't know  you  were a Desert Rat, Mike.", giving his own age away, as well as grossly exaggerating mine.

I suppose we get to an age when we find there are far too many  funerals per annum.  It hasn't been too bad this year, but  we had a really bad year about seven or eight years ago, when we had to attend about ten funerals in the first half of the  year. As the proverbial  Irish man is supposed to have said "There were people dying that  year who never had before." 

 I  should have said whilst on the subject of  funerary clobber, that  most of the ladies I know keep the feminine equivalent of dark and gloomy garb in  reserve for funerals. I know Ann does, and  I think our daughters do, as well. I somehow shouldn't think  the grand daughters do, though.  (Blow! if my  lady readers will excuse the  expression -this ridiculous machine has, once again, put itself into italic mode!!!)

Looking round  the  church yesterday I had a strong impression that nowhere near ALL the blokes attending were wearing black ties.  In fact they  seemed to  be  reserved  to people  of a similar vintage to the dear departed.   Do my readers agree with me that funerals are becoming far less formal than of yore?

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Tuesday, 23 October 2018


Got  young  Sarah here today. She's trying hard  to turn me   into  a  respectable  citizen who can  write letters on blog - with, of course-a  picture (photograph), and the above  shows  a corner of our  garden, with the sun shining through the fuchsias and things. 

Above is  a heavily repaired (will  come back  to  that in  a  moment) saltglaze jug. It is very Engllish, circa 1800, and at some stage has lost its handle.  This  has been replaced by a blacksmith made (or possibly a tinker or tinsmith made) tinned iron handle, which is well made, very strong, and stable, which (in turn) is supported by two iron rings, held apart by  four uprights, and the whole thing is soldered into place on the jug. All  to put back into service a jug that would have cost about sixpence to replace with a new one. What a  diference  to  our own set of  values !!!!

Above is a photograph of the newly discovered wall, of flint nodules, with brick and tile stringing. It appears to be of late romano british manufacture.  I think that Sarah is about to make tracks  back to the South Midlands, so must close down now. More later perhaps.

Friday, 19 October 2018


Spent a very pleasant day. Been trying  to sort out the blogger again. I mean by that, to sort out  how to put  photos on  this  blog. Our good friends  Margaret and John came to lunch. It was good  to see them, and, as always,  very relaxed. After lunch  John  tried  very hard to sort out how to put photos on this blog -  not  altogether  successfully, but he got  a lot nearer to success than I  have done lately. In fact, it's  largely due to John's advice that I think  I may  well  manage to put  yet another photo of the Morning Glory  flowers on this entry (Ipomea).  The fact that John was unable to conquer this machine made me feel a bit better about the matter; he  having been using computers regularly since the early  days of  computers.  Actually  I was using a computer a good deal in the  seventies, but that was when computers were largely memory banks, and  a  good deal simpler  than they are now.

I've been asked to restore a small,  London made, lantern timepiece alarm,  and, over  thelast few days, have been making  some  of  the  missing  parts. Very satisfying work, especially as the  clock owner stresses that there is no hurry about the matter - so at the moment it's proving an enjoyable, indeed rather a restful job.   Almost wooden hill time, so I wish  my readers  a very Good Night.

Friday, 12 October 2018


Here is a better photo of the pile  of  treen bowls refered to in my  previous blog  entry.  I hope this  will give a clearer  idea of  the  mystery  objects  I  was trying to describe. I'm beginning to  think that  the old adage about a  picture  being  worth  a thousand  words  is a load  of tarradiddle -  it is just that  a  picture is about a thousand times more  difficult to transfer to my screen.

Goodnight All.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018


Mystery Object. Usual Rules.

P.s. Tee Hee.

Friday, 5 October 2018


Must just record that I had a most pleasant surprise yesterday morning at breakfast time when Thomas Del Mar joined us. He had 'phoned Ann the previous day to ask if he could call, and Ann had decided that what her husband needed was a nice surprise - so had not told me. We've known Thomas a good many years ; he is in charge of what used to be known as Sotheby's Arms and Armour, and is now known as Thomas Del Mar, Ltd. Antique Arms, Armour and Militaria, London. I had just finished (earlier this week) cataloguing some forty items for him, so went and got it, and (as the poet said, and I'm misquoting him) 'just in time to save the stamp.' Spent a very happy half hour swapping news and views, discussing some recent additions to the collection, and I then had to rush off to the surgery for a routine blood test. Thomas too, had to push on so we said our goodbyes and a very social brekky was a good start to the day. I rather envy Thomas his extremely accurate memory - he reminded me that twenty years ago I'd helped catalogue the Albert Littler Collection - could hardly believe it was that long ago, but knowing Tom, I've no doubt he is right. Later in the day Sarah and Mikey came, and we spent a very good day with them. This morning, Sarah, Mikey, Ann, meself and grand daughter Freja, , motored over to the Suffolk Punch Trust, near Woodbridge, and spent a couple of hours or so pottering round looking at Suffolk Punch horses, Suffolk red poll cattle, and Shetland ponies. Got back here at about 4p.m. Then Sarah and Mikey, accompanied by grand daughter Freja, drove off to their South Midland home. Freja is going home to Sweden , via her cousins in London. She's stayed with us for about ten days, helping about the house, and more than pulling her weight !!! So now we're Darby and Joan again for a few days. Sounds good to me, although we've both thoroughly enjoyed having company for the last few days.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018


Great excitement here this morning (well, I got quite excited, anyway). Part of my cellar needed repairing (a few days ago I put my hand through the old plasterboard) and today our specialist in repairing old houses (who lives about three doors along from us) has come in to effect repairs. He was getting on with the job, and I was working hard playing Scrabble on my computer and being thoroughly thrashed by Z, a fellow blogger, when Cliff called me across to show me something interesting. He'd removed some of the damaged plasterboard and uncovered part of the very early stone wall. The other end of the cellar is of flint cobbles with very early brick stringing, plus some courses of tiling. I've been told (I think reliably) that the old tiles are probably Roman ( and also probably reused). He'd now uncovered another area of flint cobble, with brick and tile courses in it, abutting on the base of the Tudor chimney, and almost certainly earlier than the chimney. I've also taken photos of the newly discovered wall (discovered in both senses) and I hope the two of the photos accompanying this blog, give a good idea of the old walls. The problem is that our architectural experts are very 'expert' on early timber construction, but not nearly so good (or keen) on early stone/brick walls. I do hope that some of my readers will feel able to comment on these photos. Just after we moved here (about twelve years ago), Crowbard visited us and came up with the suggestion that the work on the end wall of the cellar appeared to be late Romano British, and one or two others have supported this view. I look forward to getting your opinions.

Monday, 1 October 2018

The photo of the garden I took this morning is to prove that we STILL have (in October!!!) Morning Glory in flower, as we have had since JUNE! so that it's been blooming during FIVE different months this year. I took the back view of the present resident granddaughter because I have always liked to see ladies with loooooong hair. It reminds me of an incident in the nineteen sixties when the mini skirts were (quite literally) at their height. An elderly Scottish friend of ours was having a moan about the matter :- "When I was a young man" he lamented,"all the lassies grew their hair until they could sit on it! and now they cannae sit on their skirts." On our way home from Sudbury last week, we took a back road, and I was able to take the above photo of a thatched cottage just the far side of Kersey, which I've always liked the look of.