Friday, 2 December 2016


Ruth drew this to celebrate my  fiftieth birthday (nearly a quarter of a century ago now). Can never decide if Ruth is an artist or a cartoonist. I  don't  think she  can either.

It's been a very busy week.  Spent  most of it  in London, viewing and bidding at auction.  Stayed at Lizzie's.  Lizzie's granddaughter, Elsa, is now just over two.  She speaks very  well. Her greeting on the morning of our departure was, "Good morning, Great Grandpa Horner."  She is slightly less formal with Ann, and greets her as Granny, or occasionally as Granny-Annie. Grandson Matthew assisted me at the auctions - Arms and Armour.  Eventually   bought nine lots, which is better than usual, so a fairly successful week. 

Just  been called upstairs to supper - light one I should think, as we had a lovely lunch with friends at Long Melford, then spen a pleasant afternoon with them.  Must go now. Regards to all - Mike.

Monday, 21 November 2016



Nearby lanes, taken a week or so ago.  Rather  less bocage now, I'm afraid.

We are a fairly artistic family, and we seem to have a good many draewingss and painting about the house to prove it. Above is a pencil drawing Ruth did of Jonathan, when we lived at Welney. As he is in his late forties now, Ruth must have done this about thirty five or forty years ago.

 The above cartoon was painted a few years ago by our local book dealer and cartoonist , Brian Haylock, and shows local housewives, cats, a fishmonger, and meself. He is in the habit of painting a picture for the local art exhibition every year. He always included a 'local worthy' and included meself that year. 

This is a photo of an 'anniversary clock'  I worked on a couple of  months ago. They are supposed to go for a year on a winding. I didn't wind it fully but it's been going (and keeping decent time) for a couple of months. I don't much like Victoriana, but I have to admire the efficiency of things like this.Sorry I haven't blogged for a while. I've been very busy (I'm glad to say) this last week, and I think this state of affairs may well continue up to Christmas. It's  an  odd thing but every year the 'season of Peace and Goodwill to  all men' seems to bring out the enthusiasm most blokes have for swords, guns, and weapons- 'toys for boys' as my late Mother-in-Law used to call them.

I'll do another blog entry  (D.V.) when I have a few spare minutes.

Warm Regards to All.


This morning we motored over to Horningsea  (just North of Cambridge) to meet up with Ann's three brothers and their partners for lunch at the Crown and punchbowl.  Excellent service - food perhaps not  quite so good as last time - in  fact after the meal, when the next get-together was being dicussed,  there seemed to be an inclination  to meet up at the  Fire Engine House at Ely again. I was glad to hear of this as there seems to me to be no possible comparison  between the two hostelries as to the  grub provided. I would be in favour of meeting at the fire Engine House three or four times a year, rather than once a month at  the Crown and Punchbowl. Ann and I were discussing  this on the  way home, and decided to cast our vote for the Fire Engine House, when the inevitable telephonic discussion on the matter takes place.   

With reference to the above three photos, the top  two are of a ford across a short cut near Lavenham, and the third one is just to show late autumn colours in Suffolk now.

Must get on with some work now, so will bid my listeners a very Good  Night.   

Saturday, 19 November 2016


This morning  we motored over to Martlesham, where an auction sale was being held. The auctioneer still sends me a 'freeby' catalogue, and I was able to buy a sword and the above 'gun'. I was going to make a mystery object of it, but it really is in rather a mess, so it seems hardly fair. I think what I'll  do is to effect the necessary restoration work , then make a mystery object of it. So - Watch this Space! 

Friday, 18 November 2016


Came downstairs this morning and found that Ann had left the above device to the left of the clock in the hall. It's a  very modern vacuum cleaner, and parked next to the grandfather clock, I think it gives a nice 'then and now'  feel  to  the  photo. Earlier this morning we walked into town (via the Market Place) to go to cafe church, both  of  which (Market Place and Church) act as the local gossip and news exchange. Had to be home by eleven as friends Brenda and Judy were calling at that time to take Ann off for a pub lunch, and to swap some more news/gossip.  I always think  of the three of them as a sort of female version of 'Last of  the  Summer Wine'.  I gave vent once to this idea to the three of them, and they all three rather liked it, but disagreed  slightly when they started to discuss which lady was which character!

Oh well, it's twelve-thirty  now, and I've been told to make meself a sandwich lunch from available bread, butter, ham and cheese. Given the availability of the ingredients, this should  be well within even my (fairly basic) culinary skills.

Regards, Mike.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Tuesday (yet again)

Took the above photograph earlier this week. All the above pistols are fitted with a snapping, spark producing lock.  This is not  the usual 'Mystery Object' contest,  but  can you tell me which one is the 'true flintlock' pistol?

P.s. I  should perhaps have  specified that I am using  the Torsten Lenk  definition of  'The Flintlock' (hope this helps).

Tuesday (again)

Pottering round the garden this afternoon, and spotted rather subtly coloured plant in  trough just outside the forge. Its leaf colours are pink, olive green, and cream; giving a very pleasant , mottled sort of  effect. Neither of us  can remember putting it in, or what it  is. If anyone knows what it  is, any information would be  gratefully received. 
Thanks in advance, and regards - Mike and  Ann.


Still desparately  trying to get this 'new' machine to  work. Above photo  shows a country lane near here a few days ago. The lower one shows Ann trying to take snapshots of our late roses yesterday afternoon.  Will  now  try to publish these.

 Lost two or three branches of rose trees, over the weekend,  so trimmed them and put them in water, which seems to have been successful- These are the ones Ann is arranging in the photograph. We popped round to take a bunch of  daffs to Sue and David. Sue checked my blog on her computer, and found it had published the above entry, so perhaps things are starting to work again. Hope so, anyway. Will  carry on trying.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Friday, 4 November 2016


Been a busy week. Long Melford Antique Fair on Wednesday. The first two hard, white frosts of the year on Wednesday and Thursday. Still feel that I am fighting my 'new' Windows 10 computer. The only thing it lets me do easily is buying on eBay. Took the above two photos on Wednesday morning about seven a.m. on the way to long Melford. I must say the trees this autumn have shown the best autumn colours I can remember. However, I do have a feeling that I might have said this of other years (?). In fact, to be quite honest, I think I may say this most years - but..... it is always true! It's a lovely time of year. Good night.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016


The above photographed house is, to my mind, one of the handsomest in Highdale. I have photographed and spoken of it before, I know; but this morning, I walked along to it (about two hundred yards from our home) and photographed the side furthest from the road (the back view, in other words), to reiterate my opinion that lovely old buildings are usually well worth a look at the back of them. The back of this one is not easily on view, but some parts of it are, and what there is, is shown in the first illustration. Although the date is shown as 1653, this is the date at which the latest major alterations (or perhaps decorations would be the better word) were done, as the building was obviously built around two hundred years before the date given, i.e. circa the mid 1400s. Being called up to lunch, so will write a bit more (D.V.) later. Back again after a good, light lunch. One last thing regarding the above house is that it has been divided into two homes, probably done when the property ceased to be an Inn. Should perhaps make it clear that all the above photographs show the same building.

Sunday, 23 October 2016


After Church this morning (Aldham Church) we decided to motor round the lanes on a slightly longer than usual way home so I could photograph some autumn colours in the trees along the way. Above you see the results. It has been (is being) a lovely autumn. I find meself nodding off over the machine, and as Ann has already gone upstairs for a quick nap - think I will join her. So more later (perhaps).

Friday, 21 October 2016


The photos on yesterday's blog entry were taken coming home from Sudbury, and were mainly taken through the car windscreen in villages on the way home. The one above was taken as we were motoring through Kersey. The variety of windows still displayed in this ancient building fascinates me. Good Night All.

Thursday, 20 October 2016


Been a good, active week so far. Yesterday evening I gave a talk to the Mothers' Union (and about half a dozen assorted husbands, and a grown up son) on the subject 'The History of base metalware', illustrated by a table topful of early objects, from the late Stone Age to the late eighteenth century. I usually do this on the principle that if a picture is worth a thousand words, then the actual, three dimensional object is worth at least a hundred pictures. There was a slight problem at first in that the Mothers' Union Secretary was labouring under the delusion that my subject should have been 'Precious metal ware'; so at the end of about forty minutes waffle on 'A History of base Metal Ware' I produced a very ornate, mid Victorian, silver drinking cup, for her special benefit, and in case that didn't satisfy her lust for 'precious metal ware', I hauled out my gold hunter watch and its gold chain from my weskit pocket, and added it to the silver cup. Also as usual, I introduced a 'question and answer' session at the end of the talk, in case I'd not covered everything or made all clear. As sometimes happens this session went on nearly as long as the talk itself (I'd been asked to make the talk somewhere about forty-five minutes long - I'm always a little surprised to find that it's easy enough to carry on for that time on an interesting subject). At the end of the lecture (and, as Ann is a member of the Mothers' Union - I'd not made a charge for the talk) the secretary presented me with a bottle of wine as a thank you, which was much appreciated. It's always a pleasure to talk to a captive audience on one's own subject. Today (Thursday) we've been over to Sudbury to do a little shopping - Ann found some plants she wanted for the garden on a plant stall (it's Market Day in Sudbury on a Thursday); and I took a weskit in to my Tailor. It has shrunk in my wardrobe over the last few years - I don't know what they do to wardrobes to cause this to happen, but I know it is a not unusual effect. Matthew, my tailor, thinks he can get the necessary repairs done. Must go and assist Ann with some cat feeding - not our cats -neighbours' cats- Two neighbours - three cats. May finish this later. P.S. Consider it finished now. Cats wouldn't co-operate, which is a bit ungrateful of them considering we'd gone there to feed them; you'd think it would be little enough gratitude to pose for a photy or so. Cats!!! humph!! Good night All.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


We spent last weekend with Sarah and Mikey, having received an invitation from Mikey's parents, Frank and Jane, to attend their Golden Wedding celebration meal at the Woburn Golf Club.The above photo shows meself after the meal and surrounded by glamorous granddaughers (Sophia, Amelia, and Lucy). It was a lovely 'do'.

Monday, 17 October 2016


Took this photo outside our home last week. The lorry shown bullying the small car was MASSIVE. There is a weight limit of seven and a half tons on this street. Almost all the houses in the street are Grade two listed. Whilst I was taking photographs Ann was trying to inform the Police of the difficulty with the lorry as traffic built up. Although Ann eventually managed to report the matter to the police, no police attended, and we were not given any further information by the police. Despite the weight limit having been applied around twenty years ago, it is flouted daily, and apparently with complete impunity!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Today we motored across to John and Margaret's house in a village a few miles north of here to have lunch with them. Got a panic call that their long case clock was playing up, so took my tool box with me. As soon as we got there, while Margaret made coffee, I had a look at the clock, applied a little clock oil appropriately and (this is the important part) set the clock in beat. Don't quite know how this had happened, but it is a thirty hour clock, therefore is wound every day. It should ideally be fastened to the wall, so that once set in beat it will not depart from it. I've already explained all this to John, but as he doesn't really want to fasten the clock to the wall (for various reasons) I don't mind going over occasionally and giving it remedial treatment, especially when one of Margaret's lunches is included in the arrangement. We have a reciprocal arrangement with them, when John checks out any minor computer problems. It seems to work very well, and is an arrangement of very long standing. Took the photos on the drive home, mainly in Bildeston. Some lovely old buildings there. It is now a mile away from the village church; according to local legend this is because the place was very badly hit by the black death in 1349, so that the village was eventually moved down to the river. Not sure about all that, except that the bit about the Black Death seems to be true enough. Must close and do a bit more work now; regards, Mike and Ann.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016


Couple of photies put in just to keep in practice. Played scrabble at Hilary's this morning. Two good games. Won the first. The second photo shows a toleware (japanned tinned iron) snuff box I bought on eBay a day or two ago. Cleaned up nicely with better detail showing than I expected. The legend on the box is 'Liberty to all men' which was a favourite anti slave trade slogan. A real piece of history. Certainly made and probably used in England. It is a fact that a good many English workmen solidly backed the emancipation of American slaves, feeling that although they were not very well off themselves, at least they were free men. Such an English workman probably carried, and used, the snuff box displayed above. Went to dentist this afternoon to have a filling seen to. He asked me if I thought an injection would be necessary. Suggested we try it first without one and see. So he did, and all was well. Good night All.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


Once again - corners of our tiny garden. The first one shows a small group of bonsaied, but native trees, they are a cotoneaster tree, a hawthorn tree, an ash tree (though there is some doubt as to the survival of this one) and a yew tree, which I have been training for about ten years now - this sounds as if I stand in front of it daily, cracking a whip and shouting "Down sir, get down" -but this is not how one trains bonsai trees. Number Two photo shows roses still in bloom in mid October. Can't remember the name of number three, but if I do, I'll insert it in a P.s., photo number four shows an olive tree in front of a fig tree, with red flowered plants around its base. Can't remember the name of the red flowered plant, either. Just remembered the name of the plant in photo number three - it's a hibiscus tree. Shan't have to reopen this entry for a P.S. now. On Saturday when son Jonathan was teaching me to use the new computer, we decided to bid on a few items so that we could check the bidding part of the computer, then, if any of the bids succeeded we could pay by Pay pal to check that the Paypal part is working too. Anyway, by this means, I purchased quite a nice little snuff box in painted tin (tole ware) with 'Liberty to All men' (an anti slavery slogan) on the lid, made about ten years either side of the year 1800, If you're reading this Jon, many thanks for your efforts. I really do feel that I'm back in business now. As this blog entry is now rather longer than I'd intended, I think I'd better close it and get on with some real work. Bye All.