Sunday, 28 February 2010



The photo is of a meal taken a few days ago. On the plate is cold roast chicken, a jacket potato, and salad. The chutney on the chicken is (I think) green tomato chutney made by Ann late last autumn. I know the chutney doesn't look green. It isn't but it's made from green tomatoes, and is a good way of using up tomatoes that, at the end of the season, are unlikely to ripen.
Sung in St. Mary's choir this morning. Ann was serving. After lunch Ann drove across to Wisbech to see her mother, who has just had a bit of a fall. She had rather too many cushions on the seat of the windsor arm chair in which she sits to look out of her window, slid down the cushions, off the edge of the chair, and bumped onto the floor on her bottom; the account of the the whole performance reminding me irresistibly of the performance given some years ago in the winter olympics by the English entrant, 'Eddie The Eagle'. Gran said she wasn't really hurt, but couldn't get up again until a neighbour popped in to see her, found her sitting on the floor, called an ambulance (which Gran really didn't want) but they came and helped her up. I suppose any fall in your hundred and second year is potentially serious, although Gran doesn't seem to think so. Ann plans to sleep at her brother Tim's, spend tomorrow with Gran, then return late tomorrow afternoon. She's just 'phoned me and told me that she had to make two diversions between Bildeston and Bury St. Edmund's because of flash flooding in the lanes. Not surprised, had torrential rain most of last night. Strongly advised coming home via the main roads tomorrow. Must knock off now and make meself (or find meself) some supper. Goodnight all.
Just checked this blog, and reopened it on finding there is no chutney on chicken. Must have taken photo before applying chutney to chicken (which I distinctly remember doing). All clear now, I hope.
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Friday, 26 February 2010



Photo of a handsome (but anonymous) English lantern clock taken in my undercroft just before Christmas.

This morning we went to the coffee morning in Saint Mary's. It was really crowded. Everyone seemed very pleased to see me, and all said the same :- "How very nice to see you out and about, Mike", chatted for a while, then said "Now don't overdo it. Take it easy". Sat next to the best scrabble player in town, who is suffering from vertigo and low blood pressure, and is letting it get her down a bit (understandably). Then (in turn) a couple of blokes, both of whom have had health problems recently, came and swapped hospital horror stories. After that I was greeted by our choir mistress, who asked how I was and I decided to change the script a bit, and said "I'm fine Margaret, bit shaky , though." She surprised me by replying, "Oh good! Shows you're human." Not sure what she meant but I found it rather a refreshing change. Half an hour later, just as I was leaving a friend galloped in, said how nice it was to see me, then told me I must take it nice and easy. He noticed I had clenched my fists and had the grace to ask me what was the matter. I said "This is very unfortunate John, but I'd just made a bargain with myself that I was going to deck the next bloke who told me to take it easy! and it seems a shame to start a brawl in Church". He didn't seem worried (knew he was safe, I suppose, as he's smaller than me, though younger). "Oh well," he said, "I don't suppose you meant it ?" "well, I rather think I did" I said, "but as you varied the formula a bit and said 'NICE and easy' we can make a loophole of that, and not start anything". I suppose I should have said "Step outside and say that". Bit hackneyed though, and as I've said, he's younger than I am, so perhaps it's as well I didn't think of it, and we were able to part laughing at ourselves.
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Thursday, 25 February 2010



Photo of a cottage out at Monk's Eleigh (a few miles from home) taken about ten days ago.

Computer's been playing up rather badly, so, on good friend Sue's advice, 'phoned a young local computer whizz, who came out this afternoon (turns out he only lives a few hundred yards from here). After he put the machine through its paces fairly thoroughly, he pronounced that it definitely needs a new 'modem' (nodded intelligently at this point- well I hope it looked intelligent!!) and also it is still suffering from the after effects of last week's virus. He then worked on the computer, found ways round the virus damage, and we ordered the new modem, which he should put in about ten days hence. At the same time he will give the machine a thorough overhaul, and assures me that the machine will then be as good as (or rather better than) new. A very pleasant young man who appears confident in his skills (without being in the least brash) and who, indeed, inspired confidence in me.
So - many thanks, Sue; you always know someone who can be relied upon to help. It is becoming a favourite remark of ours when in doubt about anything :- "We must ask Sue. She'll know".
Ann has gone to choir practice, partly because she always gives a lift into St. Mary's to our senior choir member. And as I've promised not to overdo it whilst she's out (and ideed I've only unloaded the dish washer, put stuff away and reloaded it) I think I'm going to grab what's left of an early night. Goodnight all.
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Wednesday, 24 February 2010



Spent this morning repairing, then cleaning, two pair of brass candlesticks, one late Georgian, one Victorian. After lunch kipped (slept, Lori) for an hour. When I awoke, we walked into town via the lane by our river, which (see above photo) is still in spate, but has now fallen by about three foot. In town Ann called to see a recently bereaved old friend, then went on to the bank, whilst I called in at our public library to return books (and take two more out). Walked home and arrived feeling knackered (rather rude word meaning fatigued, Lori). Been slacking in an armchair since then, I'm afraid. Ann's going out to our Lent discussion group. I really don't feel much like it (told you I feel like slacking today) so we're having an early supper, and in fact going upstairs now, to partake thereof. Cheers, all.
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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Still Tuesday.


In the end we didn't go out to lunch. A glance out of a back window (see above - nasty sleety, bitter cold, weather), and Ann's reitterated opinion that she 'didn't want me overdoing things on my first day out of hospital' decided us to stay by the fire. Being called to supper now. Goodnight all.
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Got home yesterday, reasonably sound in wind and limb, and found Ann had bought me the above roses to welcome me home (which was a lovely thought). Today is our forty seventh wedding anniversary. As I'm feeling relaxed but not awfully energetic, I don't know if we're doing anything to celebrate, although I've suggested lunch out somewhere. Will probably let you know later if we are. Cheers, Mike.
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Monday, 22 February 2010

Hi Everyone,
Mike has been discharged from hospital and is feeling pretty chipper to be home again.
I thought this might be an appropriate picture for a replumbed chorister; it's the famed 'SINGING FOUNTAIN' at Marianske Lazne in the Czech Repuplic.

The Creaky KidBruv.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Plumbing maintenance.

Hi Everybody, just a quick note from KidBruv to let you know Mike has undergone successful plumbing maintenance but is likely to be in hospital for another five to seven days. Thank you for your prayers and good wishes, I expect he will be open for business again shortly.
Cheers for now,

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Thursday 3.


The above photo is for purposes of comparison, and shows the same tinder box with, fore and aft, a more standard sized flint and steel. This blog is (I think) the last for today, and possibly for a day or so, as tomorrow I go into hospital for a plumbing repair to me private insides. Should be back in a day or three. Till then - God Bless you all. Warm regards, Mike.
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Thursday 2.


Same tinder box taken apart to show the working parts. The taper candlestick consists of the damper (used to dowse the glowing tinder after the small taper has eventually been lit) pushed into the reversed box lid to make a tiny taper candlestick of it, the flint, and the fire steel. The repair I had to do was to the damper/taperstick, which had been dropped and (I think) trodden on at some stage, so that it was badly misshapen and one rivet had gone. All's well now though. This tinder box would have been made for a lady. It is the sort of thing that Jane Austen's character, Catherine Moreland, must have wished she had had with her during the most terrifying part of her thrilling adventure at Northanger Abbey.
More later.
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Thursday 1.


The above picture is, as promised, a photo of the second smallest tinder box I've seen. The smallest I gave to Nea some years ago. In my next blog entry I will show more detailed pictures of the device.
In the meantime I have been reading a tribute in fellow blogger Four Dinners's blog, to his wife Carol. It's rather moving, and reminded me of an entry I made in the back of my diary earlier this year, after a family chat in which 'advantages' were being discussed. It's not nearly as fulsome a tribute as 4Ds gave, but here it is :-

I have had three great advantages granted to me in life :-
I was given a scholarship to a good school.
I was granted a post graduate diploma in Antiquarian Horology at West Dean College.
And the greatest advantage I have had in my life, is that a gentlewoman agreed to share it.
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Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Wednesday 3.


Saw the above grotesque in a church we popped into this morning on our way to lunch. Including it mainly to ask Crowbard (who has an interest in such matters) if he thinks it is a type of 'green man'?
Been doing a job this evening that I'd been rather dreading; and (like many dreaded jobs) sailed through it without problems. It was a repair to one of the smallest pocket tinder boxes I've ever seen. If I remember tomorrow, I'll take a snapshot of it and show you. In the meantime - Goodnight all.
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Wednesday 2.


Had lunch in this place about two hours ago. Been past it a good many times, but last Sunday Eileen (who's judgement in these matters can be trusted) recommended it as an eating place. So we motored over and tried it. It is a real English pub with a bar at one end, a dining room at the other, and a large, cheerful landlord who runs between them and serves both without apparent efford. There is a fire in both rooms (also tended by the landlord). We were assured by said landlord that the food is made and cooked on the premises and it is excellent! We were served good, plain, unfussy, well cooked, English fare; and plenty of it. We had a portion of steak and ale pie and and a helping of shepherds pie, with vegetables, and washed down with I.P.A. bitter, and a bitter shandy (as Ann was driving). We also had pudding- chocolate and raspberry pie, and lemon meringue pie. The whole meal (drinks and a tip included) cast us eighteen pounds (£18) and left us well satisfied. It's a pleasure to find a place like that. Must remember to thank Eileen for the tip.
Really must go and do some work now. More blog later perhaps.
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Wednesday 1.


One of the nicest pieces of English furniture I have seen in a long time. The faces half way up the chest front look out at us across five or six centuries.
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Tuesday, 16 February 2010



Above photo is of a house a mile or so from the moated manor I showed yeserday. This one is in the process of being completely done up. I think it will be a nice home, but the bedrooms will always be a little cramped. Spent most of today in the workshop, but went to a 'pancake party' at 6p.m. it being Shrove Tuesday. It was a bit like an old fashioned 'at home'' with people expected to drop in anytime between 6p.m. and nine p.m. Our host was hard at it making pancakes, his granddaughter gave us a plate and a glass as we went in, he'd deposit a newly made pancake on your plate, then you'd wander into the dining room and help yourself to a savoury or sweet filling for the pancake, find a seat (sometimes difficult) devour the pancake, chat for a while, then wander back for another. We had to leave just after seven as Ann had to get to a P.C.C. meeting (Parochial Church Council, Lori, though you probably use the same abbreviation ??). As I think most of the P.C.C. were at the pancake party I don't know why they bothered to adjourn to the Deanery. And as I'm not expecting Ann home till about 10, and as I've got an early start tomorrow, I think I'm going to adjourn to me bed. Goodnight all.
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Monday, 15 February 2010

More Monday.


And a third ditto. Again - Goodnight.
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Still Monday.


Another view of moated manor.
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Drove over to Wisbech today to visit Ann's mother. On a back road, about ten miles from home, came across a moated Suffolk Manor house I have always admired, and saw that repair work was being done on the roof. Parked in convenient gateway, and was fortunate enough to come across the lady of the manor, who stopped to chat. She told me that it was an awkward time of year to do repairs to a thatched roof, as this could not be done when raining, but it was necessary, so had to be done in dry spells. She also said that maintenance of medieval properties was never ending. I sympathised as we live in property of equal age, but much smaller (glad to say). Told her it was a painting the Severn Bridge job - complete the job then start again. When we parted I asked if I might photograph the house, and she gave me permission to snap away to my heart's content. Nice of her but not really necessary - generally speaking if anything is on public display, anyone may photograph it; but very civil of her, and I took her at her word. Not sure that I don't mean the Forth Bridge ???? Or the fifth (sorry, schoolboy jest, I know). On to Gran's. Ran out of the sunshine and into snow beyond Bury St. Edmund's. Stopped in Ely to look round antique centre, but found nothing for me, although proprietor kindly showed me superb pin fire sporting gun, which was not for sale, but he wanted information re date of piece, which I gladly gave (circa 1860). Had lunch with Gran (which we'd taken with us), and as snow getting worse, left at around 3.45 p.m.
Ran out of snow in about three miles, and then had good run home, via Mildenhall. Saw two heron and a barn owl on way, and arrived home just before 6 p.m. Been pottering in workshop since then. Done two jobs, both for completion (i.e. final cleaning) in morning.
Goodnight all.
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Sunday, 14 February 2010

Still Sunday.


Doris and Eileen, after tea.
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Been a very sociable weekend. Yesterday went to a birthday luncheon party at Hilary's (she being the birthday girl). It was great fun. As she had over twenty guests, Hilary had hired the local caterers Ros and Simon, who gave us shepherds pie, followed by trifle, then a cheeseboard and coffee, all excellent of its kind. In the evening we entertained our friends David and Allison from Bury st. Edmund's. We gave them loin of pork, done in a cider and creme fresh sauce, with vegetables. Pudding was a dried fruit and jelly recipe made with gelatine. It was from the Delia Smith 'Frugal' recipe book, and again was excellent.
The above photo is of Ann snoozing with her feet up, just before today's scrabble tea, to whom we'd invited Eileen and Doris, both neighbours (and friends of ours). Doris lives nearly opposite us, and Eileen near the Church, in the town centre. Eileen came in with a bunch of red carnations and said to me "It's St. Valentine's day, Mike, here's a Valentine present". I, of course, gave her a kiss, then when Ann came into the hall, I went down on one knee, handed her the carnations as a Valentine present from me, and collected another kiss. "How nice", said Eileen, "Now you've both had a Valentine present". We had two games of scrabble, then tea, sandwiches, cake, and scones. We then had another good game of scrabble. Ann won the first game, and I won the next two (we're very inconsiderate hosts - winning like that !!!!). Our guests went home at ten to seven, and both said they'd had a lovely afternoon. So had we.
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Saturday, 13 February 2010

Saturday 2.


And the above picture shows the 'downside' of the Tattingstone Wonder, It is, of course, a Georgian folly. The tower has only three sides. But it is a very interesting demonstration of the views and psychology of our ancestors. Got guests coming for supper, And I think they're here, so - Goodnight all.
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Saturday 1.

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Took above picture last Sunday. It is of a building known locally as the Tattingstone Wonder. In 1790 it consisted of two labourers' cottages ( the left two thirds of the present building). The local landowner (Squire White) considered that these two cottages rather spoiled 'the perspective' from his family mansion, so he built a third cottage (at the right hand end of the building) and then had the three disguised as an ancient church, which rather improved and romanticised the view from his home. Bear with me and I'll try and show you the other side of this building, which has fairly recently been made into one fairly decent sized home.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Still Friday.


Above picture is one of Lavenham (nearby small market town) I took last summer. Just spent this evening on the blower to Crowbard re putting the computer to rights, and I think normal service will now be resumed. Been a busy day. Coffee and croissants in St. Mary's this morning, sociable as ever. Ann went off to Brenda's to have a felting session, this being all the rage at present in 'handicraft' circles. This afternoon my friend (and barber) Bill called, we had coffee, and he then purchased a flintlock holster pistol to restore, a pewter oil bottle from a gun case, and two pistol flasks. Ann came home whilst Bill was here, so joined us in a coffee. After Bill left we went out to Jill's with a box of tools (not needed as it happened) to look at two clocks which had gone on strike after room decoration. Both were out of beat, and took (between them) approximately five minutes to fix. Home, supper (a Spanish ommelette- that word always looks wrong, however spelt), then, as stated, a long telephone session with Crowbard, regarding computer's sickness - don't know what I'd do without him - quite definitely the brains in our generation as far as electronics are concerned. Bedtime now I think, and I'm right ready for it. So - Goodnight all.
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This is still by way of being an experiment. Above photo is of Sussex a few days ago. My apologies for not issueing any blogs lately. I have had a virus- I must reword that - I am in my usual robust good health. My computer has had a virus. I'm going to publish this now to give Crowbard some idea of what's happening. May be back later.
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Test blog umpty-three.....

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Where's Mike gorn?

Looks like its working from Leicester,the three comments I (Crowbard) made are sitting in the moderation area - I've just published the four comments from Mike's other regular viewers which were awaiting moderation.
Mike placed the last two brief blogs inviting comment and seems to have disappeared.
The two previous virus related blogs were placed by Crowbard at Mike's behest.
Clearly he has de-virusified his 'pooter and nipped out to celebrate.
Thanks for all your support, I'm sure Mike will be blogging again in no time!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Wednesday 2.

Well, that one seems to be working. Please could anyone who reads this make some kind of response, so that I know it's working ? Thanks.


This is and experiment to see if I can now resume blogging.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Virus Warning

This column has been temporarily suspended while virus removal is proceeding.
Please be alert for any sign of "Live PC Care" a virulent and invasive adware virus purporting to provide anti-virus protection while it is in fact highly disruptive malware.

All loving Blessings to all Mike's readers.

Saturday, 6 February 2010



The above photo is of this evening's supper- pheasant casserole with mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, red cabbage, cabbage, and carrots. It was, if anything, even better than last night's (in my experience stews and casseroles are always better the second day). We were sorry that you didn't turn up, Lori; the loss was entirely ours, but in another sense it wasn't, because we ate your helping, anyway. Kidding aside, if ever you two do get over to this side of the pond, we'd love to see you.
Warm regards, Mike and Ann.
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Friday, 5 February 2010



Been a pleasantly busy day again. Went to St. Mary's for our Friday coffee and croisant. The girl in charge of the coffee pot has developed the continental habit of going round the tables topping up the coffee cups - very civil of her, and indeed a very civilised habit. Nattered with friends for about an hour, then Ann had to go off to the Ansell Club to help provide a monthly hot lunch to the elderly of our town. Very popular it is, too. As I was leaving I was buttonholed by the lady who runs the card and new bookstall in St. Mary's. I should explain that one of my weekly duties now is running the newly organised second hand book stall. This is an idea we've pinched from Lavenham Church. Like them we get a good many tourists looking round the Church, and as there isn't much for tourists to do of an evening in rural Suffolk, they all buy second hand books to read. Lavenham has been raking it in, so we've climbed on the band wagon, and your blogger is (nominally at least) in charge. The problem is that the lady in charge of the new books and card stall was concerned that, as the money all goes into a huge, primitive medieval chest (via a slot cut in the lid) how would we know which money was for new books and which for second hand books? As the proceeds are all for the Church, I really didn't see that it matters. In the end it was decided that hers was to be in little envelopes (provided by the Church) and mine was to go in, unwrapped and in cash - which meant that I had to come home and type out a new notice, giving the relevant instructions to the book hungry tourists. I did this on the computer, and was, once again, astonished at what can be done on these machines.
I haven't yet told you what the above photo is, and I'm sure that Lori, at least, is anxiously waiting to know. Last Wednesday at Long Melford, I was given, by our friend Jill (who features on a photo on this blog, at lunch with us on Thursday 21st January) a brace of pheasants. Jill does not shoot, but regularly (together with her two cocker spaniels) goes beating for her local shoot, and is paid in kind. Most winters she gives us a few pheasants, bless her. These were shot last Saturday so are just nicely ripe (according to modern ideas - in the past I'd have hung them a day or so longer). Yesterday afternoon Ann casseroled a young hen pheasant in our slow cooker, and I had every intention of illustrating this evening's meal. However I forgot until we'd eaten it, so I took a photo of the half empty casserole dish, and what you are seeing is, in all probability, tomorrow's supper.
Goodnight all.
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