Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Snapshot of part of the garden taken yesterday evening.
Really writing this blog to say that, as we're going to be pretty busy for the next week or three, bloggery will be rather sparse during that time. But please continue to watch this space, in case I find time to publish a short blog during this time.
Meanwhile - our warm regards to all our readers,
Mike and Ann.
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
It is an old joke (with a grain of truth in it) that an English summer consists of three fine days and a thunderstorm! Well, we've had some lovely days lately, and the thermometer stands at eighty degrees today, but as you can see from the above photograph, a thunderstorm is hanging around now (and it feels close and thunderous). Yesterday Ann drove over to her mother's, stayed at Sue and Tim's overnight, will be with Gran again today, and (D.V.) home this evening. I've been pottering, doing oddjobs, of which there always seems to be plenty, and still are, so I'd better be getting on. I'd just stepped out for a breath of air, it being, as mentioned close and thundery, and couldn't resist taking snapshots of the garden. May blog more later.
Monday, 28 June 2010
Sunday, 27 June 2010
We motored to London this morning to Deliver to Lizzie her long awaited long case clock, pictured above with Lizzie and her son Matthew. Shortly after this was taken Lizzie ran Matthew and me round to auction rooms, where we viewed arms and armour auction. Arranged to telephone bid for seven lots. Lizzie picked us up at three o'clock and we returned to their home to watch the England v. Germany football match. Matthew had, at Lizzie's direction, made up a jug of Pimm's, which helped us bear up about the reults of the match. We were, as no doubt readers aware, thoroughly thrashed (4 - 1). The youngsters seemed rather down about this, and I wasn't particularly bothered, so I quoted a bit of doggerel that I jotted down during the 2006 world cup when the only subject of conversation seemed to be football -
My answer is always the same,
when approached by a footballing bore :-
"It matters not whether we'll win the next game,
just as long as we've won the last war."
I don't know that it helped or cheered up the youngsters, but I do think things have improved now that we're all patriotic about sport - so much cheaper and easier in all ways, than fighting wars. - not that it's entirely replaced them, I fear. After the match Lizzie put on an early supper. (don't read this next bit, Stig). She gave us chicken breasts wrapped in Parma ham, with new potatoes, and salads, followed by strawberries and raspberries, on a meringue, with cream - You can start reading again now, Stig. We set off homeward just before six, had a good run, and got home at 8.15 p.m. Been a good day. Good night all.
Saturday, 26 June 2010
Photo is of the sloe gin, resulting from last years crop of sloes, which I've been bottling this evening. Doesn't look much - nine half bottles of our favourite winter warmer, but it keeps us going, together with our youngsters, and two lots of their in-laws. We usually make rather more than we have this year, and lay some by. In fact I've still got a bottle and a half of 2006 sloe gin left, and some from every year since then. And it does improve with age. I was given the recipe I use by an old friend in Lavenham who made the best sloe gin I ever tasted. In fact now I think of it, I'm going upstairs now for a nightcap of the '06.
Friday, 25 June 2010
Cafe Church this morning, which incorporated a bring and buy stall and a raffle, at which Ann won the above prize, a bunch of roses. I think that's a lovely thing to donate as a raffle prize - garden produce.
This evening our good friends Brenda and Warren came to us for an early supper, and then we (all four) went on to our cinema club to see a film called 'with bells on -Morris' (or something like that), a film about Morris dancing. Odd film, but I think we all liked it in parts. Some nice scenic shots. Just got back from it. Bedtime now, though, so - goodnight all.
Thursday, 24 June 2010
This picture is just checking Crowbard's suggestion regarding cropping, of 2010.06.21. I think he may be right.
Drove into Ipswich this morning to try and put to rights the strike system of a grandfather clock. The strike is an over-sophisticated, but very elegant, developement of the rack strike, which has far too much that can go wrong with it as the clock ages. Stripped it down, and made two or three ajustments to it. Working well when we left, but not entirely confident that it will remain so. As an old 'clockie' I once knew used to say :- "any clock I fix stays fixed until I'm a mile or so up the road." Had light lunch in Ipswich and did some fairly successful shoe shopping, largely thanks to a delightful young French (from Lille) assistant. I could possibly have resisted her blandishments to buy, but when Ann was assisting the girl to persuade your blogger, he had no chance against the two of them. Choir practice this evening, then we spent half an hour or so stuffing protest leaflets, about the town's traffic problems, through letter boxes. Nearly bedtime now, so I bid you all a very good night.
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
I used to know this house well. A friend of ours lived there. He loved it but couldn't afford to do much to it, and it was more or less in its original condition then, completely unrestored. It became steadily more derelict until it was almost falling apart, and he eventually sold it. Since then it has had money spent on it and it now looks a distinguished and comfortable home. I don't know if there's a moral to this story, but I went past the place at the weekend and took this snap, and I certainly shan't be showing it to the ex-owner when I see him.
Early service this morning. We each read a lesson. Breakfast in Church then drove to Ely where I reroped a fine old oak cased, single handed, grandfather clock that I've been looking after for 30 odd years. Then on to a riverside pub between Ely and Cambridge where we had lunch with Ann's Mama, her (Ann's that is) three brothers and two of their wives. Good lunch. Gran is a marvel!. She is 101, had a heart attack ten days ago, stayed in hospital less than 24 hours, and is now up to a thirty mile car journey, and lunch with her family (which she insisted on paying for!). She seems to have totally recovered. Being called up for supper now. More later perhaps.
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Monday, 21 June 2010
Continuing our occasional 'window theme', this is a snap of our front hall taken from the drawing room.
We drove over to Bury St. Edmund's this morning to have the car serviced. Then did a little shopping, and went on to the Refectory (attached to the Cathedral) and had light lunch- note self discipline in not telling you what we ate, Stig.
Gosh, I'm an indulgent father to you! On which note- Goodnight all.
Sunday, 20 June 2010
Above is snapshot of Ann outside scrabble club. We climbed in to the car and motored up to Norwich to have dinner with friends Cath and Derek. Mutual friends Diana and Terry, also from Suffolk, were there when we arrived. The three couples meet up regularly. We have a good deal in common, and always pick up the threads very easily. Cath is a very good cook. We had the usual at this time of year- cold meats, a variety of salads, pickles, and new potatoes. This was followed by puddings - Cath had made a quite delicious apple and nut confection, which, because of the nuts, my chief medical adviser decided against on my behalf - I know it was delicious, though, because she allowed me a taste of hers, so I had a portion of a quite superb lemon cheesecake (also made by the fair Cath) with cream. There was also a glorious looking fresh fruit salad, to which nobody really did justice, and the cheeseboard met with the same fate. Derek said he didn't mind this at all because it meant that he was going to eat well for the next few days. Derek had opened a very nice Cabernet Sauvignon to go with the meal, but as, for various reasons, he and I were the only ones drinking it, we cleared the bottle between us. Derek loves (and writes) poetry. He says he can never remember any poetry, but he knows I usually can, especially when in my cups, so he tries to remember titles and subject matter, and encourages me to hold forth. I oblige, normally until Ann decides that everyone has had enough, and delicately hints at their poetic repletion by hoofing me one under the table. Last night I confined meself to giving them the middle verse of Sir Henry Newbolt's Vitae Lampada, a few chunks of Gunga Dinn, and a morsel of Matthew Prior. Derek wanted more, but I think Ann was probably right. It was, as far as I can remember, a lovely evening, and we got home about midnight. Ann, you'll be relieved to hear, drove.
Handsome old house glimpsed across a village green at Ash Street (unfortunate name) in the wilds of Suffolk.
It's been a hectic weekend. Friday started with our usual cafe church visit, followed almost immediately by the funeral of a friend of ours, Tricia, in the same church at midday. I'd prepared (sartorially) for this slightly awkward quick change from social to funereal, by going to church in flannels and a dark blazer, and a black tie in my pocket, so that a change of ties rendered me suitably dressed for the occasion. It was a sad funeral, in that, though she was in her eighties, Trish had retained a very good sharp mind (I regularly tried to help her with crosswords - she favoured the Saturday Telegraph's General knowledge one, and usually completed it). She had a short illness, and we'd visited her briefly on the afternoon of the night she died. Her daughter 'phoned Ann a day or so before the funeral to ask us to the lunch held in the garden of her home after the service. Twenty or so of her family and friends attended - we didn't stay long though, I always think post funeral gets together should be mainly family.
On Friday evening friends Hilary and Eileen came to supper. We gave them cold meats, salad, and new potatoes boiled with sprigs of garden mint, followed by rhubarb and ginger crumble with custard and/or cream, folowed by a cheese board and coffee. We then spent the rest of the evening playing two excellent games of scrabble. Hilary and Ann drew the first game, and Eileen won the second, both very close games.
On Saturday morning we motored over to Semer where I reinstalled the pendulum on a modern long case clock, which I'd been mending. I don't really like doing up modern clocks (I am after all an ANTIQUARIAN horologist - which refers, or should do, to the clocks being antique, rather than to the horologist being antique), but as I rather liked the lady owner of this clock, I'd agreed to do it up for her. Went well.
On Saturday afternoon I went to scrabble club and played the usual three games we manage to fit into two hours. The third game was a draw between Joice and meself. A draw is fairly unusual at scrabble, but that's two draws in two days. Ann met me outside the club at just after 4p.m. See our next thrrrrrrilling (sorry, just being ironic) instalment.
Thursday, 17 June 2010
Here we are, Stig, as promised. Photo of the scruffiest pet shop in East Anglia, though the interior could be lovely, not having been changed in around two centuries. I took the photoes last year, it looks as if the original Stig could be lurking in it. Sic transit gloria pet shop, although it doesn't much. Must knock off now. Goodnight all.
Sorry I had to cut the previous post short, but it was worthwhile. My dealer friend 'phoned to make an appointment for an hour hence, kept it and eventually purchased a fair selection of brass (mainly candlesticks) and pewter.
The photo above is for the benefit of my new commentor Stigofthedump, to see if she can identify it. It will require an effort of memory. To help, I will post a photo of the interior. Back in a minute.
Snapshot of our supper party. We really made the most of the evening sunshine. Eventually Diana made a tray of tea and coffee, and when we'd drunk it Michael said it was time to move into the house, where a quiz had been arranged. It was just beginning to get a little chilly, so we gladly complied. We drew lots for the two teams and the quiz begun. The first round was general knowlege - fairly simple questions, e.g. 'Where would you find three of the Monarchs illustrated wearing moustaches?'. The second round consisted of questions about our hosts and their family, and the answers, we discovered, could be found by examining our surroundings carefully (photoes, etc.) The third round was about their garden (or mini estate, as I thought it) which meant we all went outside again, and learned a good deal more about our surroundings. Over the three rounds the two teams' scores were very close, and the prize, a small box of good chocolates was opened and handed round to all. Altogether, it was an excellent summer evening's entertainment. Nobody walked home as we all packed into the three cars available and were home just after eleven. Got to knock off now. A dealer friend's on the 'phone wanting to talk brass and pewter. More later.
Yesterday evening we had a meal with friends. They live on the edge of the next village in a tiny, end terrace house, which they've extended and made very comfortable. They have a large garden, mostly at the side of their cottage, which looks out over open country to the front, with rising woodland, and meadows behind them. They've made a lovely job of their half acre or so of garden, so that it's mostlygrass and a few mature trees, with a small flower garden, immediately behind and adjoining the house. Ann, and two other ladies walked (about two miles) and I picked up another lady (and all their, and our, edible contributions to the feast) and drove over. We overtook the three walkers about half way there, and I stopped and offered them a lift, which they all spurned. I then offered them a race to Michael and Diana's, which offer they (rightly) ignored. All the food (salads, cold meats, quiches, puddings, etc.) was arranged very attractively on the kitchen table, and we were requested (and complied readily with the request) to take a plate and help ourselves. We then took the food outside to a table laid ready in the garden. Michael had made up jugs of Pimms, and we sat down ten to the table. A perfect summer evening meal was had by all.
Ann took the above photo of your blogger leaning on the garden gate in the evening sunshine. See our next installment.
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Took the above photo this morning. Baby blackbird, waiting for its father (to theleft of the picture, and at present being run off his feet) to feed it. Please ignore my rude and derogatory remarks in yesterday's blog about long case clock. Came down this morning just after six (early service on Wednesday's) and found the clock had been going well all night. Spent the rest of this morning, and some of this afternoon, putting the strike train on the clock to rights. Hope to finish the job tomorrow. We are now on our way out to have a meal with friends. I was telling granddaughter Lucy a few moments ago that the last time we ate with these friends, we ended up (about a dozen of us) playing rounders (a gentle form of baseball, Lori) on their meadow. It's probably too cold an evening for that tonight (though it's nice and sunny- wind's in the North), but we'll see. Shan't be in till late, so I'll wish you all a very good night now.
Warm regards, Mike and Ann.
P.s. If you read my comments, you'll find there's a new one on yesterday's blog by Stigofthedump (which is the nom de plume of our eldest daughter).