Thursday, 31 January 2013


In response to Crowbard's comment/request the other day, today's blog is largely about my work (or play, whichever way you look at it).
  I was asked a while back to have a look at the above wall clock. It was made around the year 1695 by William Speakman of London, who was, at about the time the clock was made, Master of the Clockmakers' Company. He was born about 1637, apprenticed in 1654, and died in 1717. After a minimum amount of attention (mainly 'setting in beat') the clock is going, keeping quite acceptable time and striking the hours on a silvery sounding bell (i.e.'ding'y sounding).  Would't it be something to think that a clock you'd made would be still performing its duties three centuries later (and looking as if it will be still doing so for a good many years yet) ?

The above four items (not counting the stool on which they are displayed) represent  today's work. The top three are snuff boxes and the lower one a small powder flask (probably a priming flask). The two oblong boxes at the top just needed a good clean and overhaul.  The shoe snuffbox  and the priming flask, however, both needed some repair, restoration, and a good clean - invisible mending in other words. The shoe snuff (before anyone asks the usual question) is probably the oldest of the four, with a conservative dating of around 1760.  All of it quite satisfying work - well I enjoy doing it, and shall carry on doing it as long as my eyes and hands are good.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013


This morning went to lip-reading class. I got permission from Jill, our teacher, and took a couple of photoes of the class. They both came out thoroughly fuzzy, so I haven't used them. Instead, I've just been into the garden and taken the above snapshot of snowdrops (using flash). At least they show that spring is on its way.

 I had every intention of doing a blog entry about lip reading. It is perhaps just as well that I'm not going to as this blog might turn into a whinge about how annoying deafness can be!
After lunch spent most of the rest of today doing odd jobs in the workshop; mainly been doing up a bog standard (ordinary, Lori) Spanish miquelet flintlock pistol. Must get into the habit of taking 'before and after' photos. Might do an 'after' one when the job is done.  When  we'd eaten this evening (fish pie) followed by leftover trifle from our lunch party yesterday, we had a game of scrabble - close run thing it was, too, as the Duke of Wellington said of Waterloo, although he used rather more soldierly language, I'm afraid.

Any way, as Ann's just gone up the wooden hill, I suppose I'd better close this blog entry and follow her up. So.. Goodnight All.

Sunday, 27 January 2013


Been a lovely day weatherwise (and every otherwise as well). Motored over to an antique fair at Risby this morning, through bright sunshine -wish I'd taken the camera- I must get used to ALWAYS taking it with us - it remained on the kitchen table this morning. Awful lot of water about, especially as the snow has all thawed over the last twenty four hours. Didn't find anything to purchase at the antique fair, and couldn't hang about as we were having lunch with Heather at twelve thirty. Hilary was there, as was Margaret - a lady we know to nod to, but hadn't really met before. We both liked her. Heather gave us roast chicken in an orange sauce - sounds an odd mix I know, but worked very well, followed by a French apple tart with cream. When I say French, it was made by Heather and had thin slices of eating apple on top arranged in patterns. We then lingered over coffee. I sat with me back to the window, so I could see (and therefore hear)
everybody, and didn't have to go "Eh ????" much at all. Caught up on all the town news. Got home about
five p.m.
Put the picture up mainly because I forgot (as I confessed earlier) to take the camera out this morning. The very antique gun is one on which I have been doing a certain amount of restoration work over the last few weeks. I also had to make a couple of parts that were missing.  It is now with it's owner, who was pleased to have it back, now complete,  and in better condition generally.

Good Night All.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

P.s. to Wednesday.

P.s. Here is the photo of our fireside which inexplicably vanished from yesterday's blog entry. Gremlins or pixels or something in the works. My late father would have blamed the French. I asked him why once, and he said that whatever the problem was he ALWAYS blamed the French. He explained that that is what they are there for.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013


Been a pleasant day. At 7a.m. we walked to church where Ann was deaconing at early service. At midday we drove through icy Suffolk countryside (shown above) to Monks Eleigh where we went to our favourite tavern for lunch, and to finalise arrangements about our family lunch there to celebrate our golden wedding anniversary next month (cries of astonishment that we are old enough to have a fifty year anniversary would be much appreciated at this point).

On the way home we called (by arrangement) on friend Sylvia for tea.  When we got home we found a note from our postman that two parcels had been left at the sorting office. Whizzed back into town to sorting office in time to retrieve two parcels containing antique items (both early candlesticks needing some slight repair for stock) purchased on e bay.

This evening we had our usual game of scrabble..........

by our fireside (see below). Or rather - see tomorrow's blog entry.
Been a pleasant day (as stated) but a long one -  So : Goodnight All.


P.s. Don't know about anyone else, but since he 'went dark', I do miss that entertaining idiot  Four Dinners's caustic comments.

Monday, 21 January 2013


Came downstairs first this morning and found that about four inches of snow had fallen during  the night. It was snowing when we went upstairs last night (lots of it, but with tiny flakes).
 Put the kettle on then went outside with the camera and took photos of the garden under snow.

Above is of the small herb garden - rosemary in the centre. Ann had snipped it back in early autumn and hung bunches up to dry for the winter. It's still a big healthy plant though.

Milkman had been, so took the two pints in, back to kitchen, made tea, took Ann up a cup, then took below  picture of school playing fields  from back bedroom window.  Spent the rest of the day in workshop - catching up on odd jobs. When I last looked out, it was raining, so, despite a silly remark on front page of Telegraph that we may be in for a 'Little Ice Age', I don't think the snowy conditions  will last long. In fact, apart from the cold spell of the last few days, I say again that so far, it's been a mild winter.

Thursday, 17 January 2013


This morning on the front page of the Telegraph was a news item headed 'Horsemeat in burgers for years', and next to it a cartoon by Matt, illustrated above, in which Matt had quite surpassed  himself as a humourist, although I, as a father, couldn't quite believe any father could be such a meanie as the one in the cartoon.

 A couple of hours later we motored out to our favourite farm shop in order to stock up against the coming bad weather which has been forecast. We planned to buy vegetables at the farmshop, have lunch there, then go and have a look at a new supermarket which has recently opened on the outskirts of town. The farm shop  butchery was displaying the below notice which was, I think, having a dig at the new supermarket.  Ah well, competition is good for business,  I suppose.

Monday, 14 January 2013


Today has been a cold, raw, and eventually snowy day. We drove across to Ely for a 'sibling lunch' with Ann's brothers and wives at the Fire Engine House. To go back to the subject of this blog, in contrast to today's weather, last Wednesday was a lovely, cold, but bright and sunny day, and after lunch Ann suggested, that as I'd come to a 'natural break' in the job I was doing in the workshop, how about driving over to Dedham (just over the border in Essex), pottering round, taking photoes, and eventually having a cuppa, in one of the many teahouses there.  We both thought this would be a good idea on a sunny January day, as in spring, summer and autumn, the whole of the Dedham Vale is chocker (full Lori) with tourists. Now I don't  begrudge 'furriners' their look at our lovely countryside, but in fact, it was really nice to have 'Constable's Country' to ourselves for an afternoon. The top house pictured has a lovely facade, which is dated 1735, but which I should think was added to a rather earlier building at that date (look along the side of the house, and I think you'll see what I mean).

 The above is a very handsome later Georgian house of about 1750, I should think.

Above is a row of medieval/Tudor buildings.

More of the same, with the Church in the background, and below, in a side lane, is a fine timber framed building, probably dating from the 1400s.   We took a good many more photos, but I think they'll come in handy to illustrate another 'rainy day' blog.

Goodnight All.

Saturday, 12 January 2013


Today, as we were going to the Mothers' Union Annual Lunch at the usual venue, the Stoke by Nayland Golf Club Restaurant, Ann decided to get dressed up in her best and brightest clobber (clothing Lori).

And, on reflection.......

So did I.

Well worth it too! We shared a table with John and Gloria, Hilary, Sylvia,  and Ruth. We were given our usual solidly good lunch. Choice of beef or Turkey; and, as Parson Woodford recorded of a similar occasion:-  "Excellent beef it was, too".  Ann had turkey, and said it was pretty good. Ann said the pudding was a little disappointing after the main course, so I was glad I'd had the cheese board. The wine, too, was unadventurous, but thoroughly enjoyable. It reminded me of a verse -can't think who wrote it- I'll look it up if I remember. It went :-  If it be true as I do think,  there are five reasons why we drink :-  Good wine, a friend, or being dry, or lest we should be by and by, or.... any other reason why.

Good night all.

Friday, 11 January 2013


Just got home from Cafe Church, where three of us, Sheila , Robert, and meself, tackled (and completed) today's Telegraph crossword puzzle. Took us just under half an hour.

 On arriving home found that our first snowdrop (pictured above) is now in bloom in the garden.   Having come indoors, found that one of Ann's houseplants is also in full flower (in a victorian breakfast cup - which seems to suit it). We neither of us  know what the plant is, but it's a little splash of colour in the kitchen, so I've illustrated it below.

P.s.Reopen this to say that I've just checked back a couple of blog entries and find that the plant also appears in the first photo in Monday's blog entry (shows how unobservant I can be - apparently it's been flowering there for some weeks!!!)

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


Above photo is of this evening's supper. It consists of 'leftovers' from yesterday's lunch which featured in yesterday's blog entry. It is a pheasant casserole with creamed potatoes, cabbage, red cabbage, and, on the left of the plate, a dab of redcurrant jelly (which always goes well with game). Like any stew/casserole it seemed to have (if anything) improved overnight.

This morning went to lipreading classes  - the first since last June, as our teacher Jill, has been off duty,  and very poorly. All is now well however, and it was good to see her looking a bit more herself. We were all rather out of practice. You'd think lip reading is like riding a bicycle - once learned never forgotten: well, it hadn't been forgotten, especially as most of us in the class would be more or less incommunicado without it, but it does seem to be a 'cumulative' thing that has to be constantly practiced and polished. It was good to see Jill back, and to get a bit of practice in.

Monday, 7 January 2013


Entertained six friends at  a  lunch party  today. We'd originally planned for four guests until yesterday morning in Church when  we spotted that two old friends, Liz and Richard, who we hadn't seen for a year or so,  were present. A few years ago Liz was a Curate here, one of the best we've ever had, and her husband farmed. He spent most of his time in France, where they now both live, although they keep a small flat (a pied a terre I think the correct expression is) in Ipswich.   After the service we cornered them and asked them to today's lunch, which they accepted. As Ann said to me afterwards: as she'd planned to make a pheasant casserole, just adding another bird to it would give us a quite sufficient lunch.  Top photo shows our dining table set for lunch (one of my jobs - plus sorting wines- and nipping into town for last minute bits).  We have a spare top for the table which clips onto the table and gives us about four inches more width and eight or nine inches more length, and which has been on the table since Boxing Day.

Above snapshot shows friends Colin (now very deaf, I'm afraid, as indeed am I; so we sat and bellowed at each other fairly satisfactorily), his wife Christine (who bust a leg recently, but is still hopping about very gamely), ex-curate Liz, and Jackie.  Below picture shows, to right, Richard, Liz's husband, and Martin, Jackie's husband.
Ann gave us pheasant casserole, vegetable bake (parsnips, onion, beetroot, and carrots; the beetroot baked separately, to avoid colouring the  rest bright red), creamed potatoes (which job I did, blokes having a bit more weight and muscle for bashing spuds), accompanied by a Cote de Rone.
This was followed by bread and butter pudding, made from the remains of a pannetonne left over from Christmas, with cream.  Then a fairly varied cheeseboard accompanied by a decentish port.  Ended the meal with coffee. We all had  a good deal of catching up to do, so spent unhurried time chatting  between courses. Party finally broke up about a quarter past four, which is about right for a winter lunch party, I think.

We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch party, as indeed, I hope and believe, did our guests.  A very pleasant day.

Thursday, 3 January 2013


After a fairly busy day yesterday at Long Melford, had a quiet, restful sort of day today. In the morning we walked into town, went to bank, shopped, then stopped for a coffee at the coffee house on the High Street known locally as  ' Crabtrees', although that refers to two or three owners back - still, Suffolk folk are creatures of habit generally. Took above photo through a window of the coffee room at the back of the shop.

Ann then went off to do some more shopping, and I made my way home via the Church yard and round by the river. Above snapshot is of early Tudor (c. 1490 - 1520) brick building near the Church.

I think I've shown this bench end in the church before. It's the legend of the wolf guarding St. Edmund's head. I show it in some detail as it is a  600 year old joke - the wolf is in priest's clothing of the period, and probably refers to (or may even be the origin of) the saying about 'a wolf in sheep's clothing'.

 The river is still  high. The above snapshot is of the weir that gives onto the old millstream (the watermill burned down    in the late sixties.

 Group of Aylesbury ducks on the river.  Then  crossed the river by the footbridge, walked up Tinker's Lane, and home. Lunch, changed into me scruff, then spent the rest of the day pottering in me workshop. As I said - been a nice, restful day.
Goodnight all.