Monday, 30 December 2013


Just realised that I haven't put up a  MYSTERY OBJECT of late; so here is one. It is made of brass and is three inches long. It has a double purpose. Please give the name of the object, where it was made, and BOTH purposes. I think it should be possible to work out the purposes from looking at both photographs carefully.  Hope so anyway.

Sunday, 29 December 2013


Last few snaps taken over Christmas. The above was drawn by youngest granddaughter  F......, who, at thirteen, is quite a good artist. I got her to sign it, explaining that when she is a famous artist, it will be more valuable if signed.  So she signed it, then gave me the picture!.

This is daughter Ruth, after her daughters had done some artwork to her hair style.

Above is granddaughter T.... making a spectacle of herself.

Above shows the two sisters playing with one of Santa's more popular stocking gifts (their bubble blowing sets). They even let me have a go!

 And this is a photograph taken in the garden, just before we ran them into Ipswich to catch the London train to go to Lizzie's. They fly from Gatwick tomorrow.


This morning we went to the ten a.m. Service at Kersey Church. It was a glorious day; indeed it has been a lovely Christmas season, weather wise, one of the best I can remember in recent years. After lunch it was such a lovely afternoon, that we decided to blow the cobwebs away by going for a long walk along our riverside. There was still frost in patches in the woods, but it was a bright and cheerful day, and we both felt better for our walk.

                                     Good Night All.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Thursday - Boxing Day continued.

Mike busy carving yesterday's roast beef into slices, as part of today's cold lunch.

Four grandaughters, Amelia, Lucy, Freja, and Tuva watching Grandpapa in action in the kitchen (must admit there's a certain rarity value in this). Amelia is holding the new  great Grandpup, Sheldon. Given that he is still a pup, he's remarkably well behaved and sociable. Not counting Sheldon, there were nineteen of us present.

 Above are ten of the nineteen enjoying a sherry before lunch in the drawing room.

Granddaughter Georgie  officially announced today, that in July she and Andy confidently  expect to add the first of a new generation to our family.   The last member of the family  to be a great grandfather (Mikey's Grandfather, Noel)  titled  himself  'Pa Magna' and as he is no longer around to enjoy that title I intend to assume it.  I know he wouldn't have minded.

By about five thirty every one (except of course Ruth and the girls) were on their way home. We've done most of the clearing away since then, and all's quiet again. Been a lovely Christmas - so far.

                                              Good night All.

Thursday - Boxing Day.

Very quick report on Christmas Day. We all (that is Ann, meself, Ruth, Tuva, and Freja)  went to the above Church for family Communion Service at ten a.m. A very nice service. Should perhaps report that Ruth, Tuva, and Freja went to Midnight Mass at Saint Mary's Church, Highdale, on Christmas Eve. Home, coffee, then I went and picked up friend Sylvia, who was having lunch with us. Got home in time to have a glass of sloe gin with Sylvia, then to kitchen to carve the beef.  Very good lunch!

After lunch to drawing room, where we opened presents and Sylvia had her first introduction to an Ipod (Tuva's) together with a first lesson from Tuva (see photo below). It always pleases me to see teenagers getting on well with their seniors, as happened here; although I think Sylvia would get on well with anyone.

We're all whizzing round preparing for a family invasion in an hour or so (well, bar me, that is; although I've been told that, once all the cooking's done, I can go and carve the rest of the beef, to be served cold today).

More later perhaps.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Tuesday - Christmas Eve.

Set out at a quarter to ten this morning, taking the above two photoes through the car window in Clare. Then motored on to Stotfold, where we met up with Ann's brother David  and his wife Jo. Had coffee with them . then we all four went on to Baldock where we met Liz (our youngest daughter) and her youngest daughter, Beth, who had driven up from London, bringing with them daughter Ruth and her daughters Tuva and Freja. Liz had collected the Swedish contingent from Gatwick yesterday evening. They'd spent the night with Liz, then  all journeyed up to Baldock where we met up, had lunch, then drove back  to Highdale  bringing Ruth, Tuva, and Freja with us. Got home a little after five.

Lovely Sunset over Suffolk , taken through the car window when we were nearly home. The girls have just gone up to bed. They were nearly asleep in their chairs. It's been quite a journey for them. Train, 'bus, then train from Northern Sweden to Trondheim, in Norway.  Flight from Norway to Gatwick. Last part of flight eventful - (awful weather). The pilot had to make two attempts at landing, the second fairly successful.  Ruth says that those passengers who were able gave the pilot a round of applause. "What were those who weren't able doing?" I asked.  "Oh, they were busy using the bags provided by the airline".

Then with Liz by car through a thoroughly windy rainstorm to Chiswick. Then, as detailed above, home today with Liz, then us. I think it could fairly be called an epic journey.

          Goodnight All.

Monday, 23 December 2013


It's a little after nine on Monday evening and we've just had a 'phone call from Lizzie to say that Ruth's plane   from Trondheim has landed safely at Gatwick.  I'm afraid there might now be a few days' gap in this blog, as things are going to be quite hectic here for a day or so.  Although I'll try and remember  to take lots of family photos to put in my post Christmas blog entry.

                                                 We wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Friday, 20 December 2013


Been a very active day, today. Ann was saying yesterday evening that she had quite a lot of 'last minute shopping' to do before Christmas, so I set the alarm clock at 6.30 a.m., and rather to my surprise it woke me up at that time. Usually, when I set the alarm, I wake up about five minutes before it's due to go off, then Switch it off, so it doesn't wake Ann. Anyhow this morning it DID wake us both at 6.30 a.m., so we got up, washed, dressed, breakfasted, and hit the road at about a quarter to eight. Then motored over to Sudbury, and to Waitrose's excellent shop.  And do you know? We'd got it right! The car park was about a third full, and the shop was reasonably quiet. We got everything we thought we'd need, and I even found some decentish wine which they occasionally have but more often haven't. By the time we'd paid for the goodies and loaded the car for the return journey it was just after half past eight and the shop and car park were hotting up nicely; so it was worth getting up that bit earlier.  Back to Highdale, went to Cafe Church for a coffee and a bacon buttie apiece. Coffee and bacon good, bread was white, pappy and a bit indigestible. I'm spoilt for bread - Ann always makes ours, and very good it is, too. Rest of the day a bit of a blur. Insurance company says we must get TWO estimates for repairing the  the house leak. So a local builder came and looked at the job this afternoon. Still not too sure what causes the house to leak when it rains hard. Still our old friend David is coming in the morning to look at it and give us the second estimate. In the meantime we've cleared the whole of that area, so that when it next rains, it will only entail mopping up (tiled floors in that area). Good many of my favourite paper backs spoilt beyond redemption, though. After supper said to Ann that I aught to do a blog entry, but hadn't any photies. Ann suggested that we take a quick one of ourselves in our working clobber. At her further suggestion took it in a mirror (full length one in the back bedroom, and as Ann said 'That way, you'll see us the right way round'.  Do you know, though; this selfie business is not as easy as you'd think. The above effort was the  NINTH snap I took.
Still, it'll have to do.
                         Been a long day and we've agreed to have an early night:
                         So - Goodnight All.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013


We have already sung at three carol services, the first at the above church last Sunday morning, and it made us feel quite 'Christmassy'. The service started with a team of handbell ringers, which I always enjoy. I don't know why it is that this form of music is so charming. It's very simple music, and  very restful. A small visiting choir (most of whom we know quite well) sung on their own several times during the service, but when the congregation and the choir sang the service came to life. The church, which as you can see is only a small one, was quite full, and the accoustics were good. We drove home, having been served sherry and mince pies, and  feeling that the Christmas season was well begun.  The above Church is about a mile and a half out of Highdale, and we have been attending services there this last few weeks.

The second Carol service was held this morning in the above building - the Row Chapel. It was build in the 1400s to serve the long row of Alms Houses behind it. The Alms houses have been rebuilt - notably in the 1870s, and the Row Chapel has been restored and repaired at various times, but remains basically the same.
The below photo shows the back view of the Row Chapel.

And the below photo shows the interior of the Chapel.

It was crowded for this morning's Carol Service. I would think that quite fifty people were packed in, all lustily singing seasonal songs, after which we were served mulled wine and mince pies.

The third Carol Service I mentioned was held this afternoon  in one of our 'Care Homes for the elderly', who appeared to appreciate it. We were served cups of tea half way through.

I am going to have to cut this short because we have sprung a leak. I don't mean that either Ann or I have sprung a leak. But the roof has - and it's raining. We've got a bloke coming to look at it, but it won't be for a day or so. In the meantime we are rushing about moving books. Thank The Lord I'm now officially allowed to lift and carry things.

Oh yes, and.....................................................God rest ye Merry Gentlefolk.

Monday, 16 December 2013


                                         Above - first batch of Ann's mince pies this Christmas.


And now for a bit of really good news :-

This afternoon we drove across to Ipswich where I was due for what I hope will be the final follow up appointment at Ipswich hospital regarding my heart attack in March. We met up with a Dr. Khan, a very well mannered young man, who explained everything very patiently and clearly. He did the usual tests, and advised me on the pills I shall have to take for the foreseeable future (which I think means the rest of me natural). Then, while I was rebuttoning me shirt, weskit, etc. he said :-
"I'm glad to be able to tell you that you're far too healthy to be in here, Mr. Horner", and gave me a clean bill of health.
Told you it was good news.

Good night All.

Thursday, 12 December 2013


Just had an email from our good friends (and fellow townsfolk) David and Sue. After about twelve years or so of trying to open a superstore here in Highdale, Tesco are finally pulling out. We have been fighting this for a good many years - I'll check that one with David - He'll know the exact figure. The usual tesco reaction after being refused is to leave it for a few months, then change the application details ( a little) and apply again; then we have to go through the sorry business again. The worst part  of it is  the site they wished to build on. It was grotesquely unsuitable. It would have ruined our river walk and meant the destruction of several allotments.
Thanks again David and Sue. It feels like a lovely, early, Christmas present.

Monday, 9 December 2013


Should have published the above photograph in yesterday's blog entry. It shows the reverse side of the 'mystery object'. I show it today to demonstrate to Crowbard that the object is no form of repousee work (that is, work hammered, or pushed up from the back). Hope this clarifies matters.

Sunday, 8 December 2013


Pictured above and below is this week's  MYSTERY OBJECT.
It measures just under three  inches by two and a half inches, and is made of metal. I'm not absolutely certain what its original purpose was, although I know of two possibilities. It was made into a brooch (probably in late Victorian times) for a lady, and Ann frequently uses it for that purpose on the lapel of a dark coat. There's a bit of a story about that, which I can't tell you now because it would give the game away somewhat.

I would like you to tell me please, when it was made, where it was made, and the material of which it was made; and possibly the name of the decorating technique, although I shall be pleasantly surprised if anyone gets that right. And perhaps you could give a guess as to its original purpose. Your ideas may corroborate my opinion as to the purpose.
                                               Over to you.

Thursday, 5 December 2013


First a confession :- I've just made a massive booboo and lost ALL the photographs I'd taken today. I haven't done such a ridiculous thing in two or three years, so I'm thoroughly annoyed with myself!!!  This blog is now going to have just three photoes, I'm afraid.
This blog entry is rather a long story and starts some months ago........ No, it doesn't. It starts in late 1978, when I'd made an iron clock hand - a copy of a long case clock hand of circa 1750. I was quite pleased with it, and when it was at the polished steel state (before I blued it) I showed it to Ann, who was very taken with it and said what a lovely pendant it would make. That started me thinking and I sat down and made the above clock hand in silver,  about two thirds of the size of the original , and gave it to Ann that Christmas.

Now comes the part that started some few months ago :-  Our senior daughter's harumptieth birthday was coming up------ I don't know why I'm making this so obscure, except that Sarah is a little shy of admitting her age, so I'll state plainly that on her birthday (which is today) I think she was rather expecting HALF a telegram of congratulations from Her Majesty.  Now to return to my part of the story - I asked Sarah what she would like as a birthday present, and she said that she'd always liked the clock hand pendant I'd made for her mother, and could I make one for her birthday? So  I purchased a slab of sheet silver from Ann's younger brother Tim (who is a silversmith), sufficient to make FIVE clock hand pendants (one for each of my daughters and one for son Jonathan's partner Jude, all of whom will, I trust, eventually achieve the age Sarah is celebrating today) and sat down and made the below photographed silver clock hand pendant for Sarah's special 'big Zero' birthday. We motored over to Ely, had lunch with Sarah and Mikey. Ann's middle brother David, and his wife Jo, joined us at the Fire Engine House, where we lunched, and I presented the below pendant to Sarah.

It was a lovely day out.

And it was reassuring to find  that the old skills still linger to some extent. This is the fifth one I have made:- Ann's, her mother's, sister in law Erica's,  sister in law Judy's, and now Sarah's. But it must be about thirty years since I made the last one - Judy's, although I did make a silver key pendant earlier this year for a friend's granddaughter's twenty first ( that was by way of practice for Sarah's clock hand!).
So - sorry about the lack of photies, but been a satisfying day.

Goodnight All.

P.s. Should perhaps place on record that from beginning to draw the pattern , to giving the finished item its final polish, took about a day and a half,  i.e. roughly  twelve hours.

Sunday, 1 December 2013


Been another busy day. Motored to London this morning. Then grandson Matt  and I viewed Sotheby's Arms and Armour sale, and  left half a dozen bids on. Then back to Lizzie's, again ate with them, then home about seven.

Took photo this morning through kitchen window. The above goldfinch, two of his this year's family, and a wood pigeon were breakfasting outside the window.