Thursday, 20 October 2016

Family Visits And A Late Ruby Wedding Celebration

After having all the grandchildren together for the very first time two weeks ago, things seemed extremely quiet for a few days. 

Paul, Catherine and Teddy were back in Rochester.

And Sarah, Duncan, Rose and Melody were in France meeting their favourite Disney characters at Disneyland Paris. They had a fabulous break and came back to Framlingham on Friday evening for a weekend stopover before catching the train back to Scotland.

Our dining room table is rarely full so it was good to be able to cook an excellent beef joint from Hall Farm butchers in Framlingham for Sunday dinner. I took the family back to Ipswich Station on Monday morning and all was quiet again. It will be some time before the house is filled with the noise of children - millions of grandparents are in the same boat nowadays as families are spread across the country (and the world). At least we've got Skype.

With the family safely back in Scotland it was time to catch up on a bit of gardening. After feeding and top dressing the lawn last autumn it was almost perfect this summer so we've scarified, forked and fed it again. The last touch was the top dressing. We brushed fifteen bags of it into the front and back lawns and are looking forward to more lush green grass next summer. It was supplied by a company called Pitchcare - highly recommended.

Last night we went up to Framlingham College for another of FramSoc's regular talks. Documentary makers Min Clough and Todd Austin recently moved from London to Suffolk where they now operate their independent documentary production company Bohemia Films. They treated us to a fascinating evening of insights into the world of documentary making and included plenty of clips from their work including their BAFTA winning Lager, Mum and Me (above). It was a brilliant event that captivated the audience who bombarded the couple with question after question until MC Tony Lawrence had to call a halt to proceedings while hands were still raised, pointing out that Min and Todd had an early appointment in London in the morning.

We've not had a holiday this year (I know that every day's a holiday when you're retired) so we're changing that and are heading up north to Ullswater this weekend for a week in an award winning self catering house. This is the view we are looking forward to enjoying. Six of our friends are joining us at the weekend for a belated celebration of our Ruby Anniversary. They're leaving on Sunday and early in the week so we'll be rattling around for a few days. Ullswater should be beautiful at this time of year.

This week's detecting news. I finally took the huge boxful of lead that I've accumulated over the years to a scrap metal merchant. There was over 31 kilos and they paid me £33 for it. I didn't find a great deal this week but did find a fairly rare coin (see below)

This silver penny was minted in Calais c1430. The monarch is Henry VI (Another flattering medieval portrait).

I found two more Charles I Rose Farthings

I find scores of buttons. Most are of little interest but I liked this one. It reads FRAMINGHAM LOYAL VOLUNTEERS CHURCH AND KING. In  a blog in June 2014 I mentioned another find of  one of these buttons from this group of home guard militia which was established in Fram in 1798. This one is in much better condition with more of the tinning intact.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Together For The Very First Time

With our son and daughter living at the opposite ends of the country. opportunities to get together are few and far between. The last attempt at a family meet up was thwarted when granddaughter Melody caught chicken pox when she last visited us. Consequently our grandson Teddy reached thirteen months old without meeting his aunty and Scottish cousins. 

All that was set to change last Saturday. Sarah and family were stopping over in Framlingham en route to a holiday at Disneyland Paris and Paul and family planned to drive to Suffolk to join us at the Framlingham Sausage Festival. What could go wrong? We couldn't be thwarted again, could we? Oh yes we could. Our poor daughter-in-law had an encounter with a dodgy grating and damaged her foot leaving her unable to drive. We didn't want Sarah and family to go another year without meeting the latest addition so at five o'clock on Saturday morning I was on the road to Rochester to pick up non-driver Paul along with his two children. Four hours later we were back in Fram and ready for the Sausage fest. 

The weather didn't smile on the event but the kids enjoyed the display of animals put on by Easton Farm park.

After a walk around the castle area and tasting a couple of sausages the kids had a great time at a magic show at The Crown by Steff and Nonsense who performed  a perfect act for small children. 

After the magic, it was time to look around Market Hill. It seems that Teddy is extremely musical. He was fascinated by the folk group and caught the eyes of many passers by with his impromptu dancing. 

At this stage the festival got a bit much for Melody so we headed back home for some playtime and the opportunity for the four cousins to get to know each other.

The sun finally shone and the girls had a lovely time running around the garden. Sadly for us, it was all over too quickly and at six o'clock it was time for me to hit the road again and drive back to Kent. We're glad that they had the chance to meet up. They got on with each other like a house on fire. Hopefully it won't be another thirteen months before we get the chance to all be together again.

After the marathon four hundred mile drive on Saturday, thanks to Abelio Greater Anglia's lack of Sunday train service to London, I drove Sarah, Duncan and the two girls to London on Sunday afternoon. That journey was even longer than the trip to Kent as the final five miles to King's Cross seemed to last forever.

The house was very quiet on Monday but we've had another busy week. We managed eight exercise classes at Fram Leisure and a great night at Fram Soc book club where we discussed the unusual and darkly comic The Portable Veblem. It was a lively discussion and  the book was a popular choice. We've got the family coming back from Disneyland tonight so we've killed the fatted calf (bought a big rib of beef from Hall Farm butchers) and are looking forward to a slightly less hectic weekend in Framlingham before they leave for Scotland on Monday.

While we were at the sausage festival, Marion's iPhone suddenly went on the blink and the screen looked like this. By coincidence the weekly About Fram newsletter carried an ad for mobile phone repairs so we contacted Louie of Rapid Repairs on Saturday. He ordered a new screen immediately and by Wednesday the phone was back up and running. Louie came to the house to do the repair and charged a very modest £35. Highly recommended.

No week would be complete without a few hours out with the metal detector. You can stop reading now if it's not of interest but here's what turned up this week.

There is no shortage of signals where I am searching but there is a heck of a lot of scrap

An Edward III penny

A cut half penny of Henry III struck by Ricard in London


Two Charles I Rose Farthings. One pierced to use as a pendant.

A Nice Post Medieval Silvered Bukle c1600-1700

Henry III Penny Sadly Misstruck

A Good Cloth Worker's Seal

A Medieval Box For A Set Of Nested Weights

A Medieval Horse Harness Pendant

A Large Lead Pot Mend With Part Of The Terracotta Pot Still Attached (Is that the worker's thumb print?)

Some More Bits And Pieces

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Another Wonderful Slice Of Life

Photo from The Chronicle website

I'll soon have run out of superlatives for Slice Of Life, our local promoter of comedy and performing arts. They've brought so many great acts to Framlingham over the last few years and on Tuesday we headed up to the youth centre for yet another wonderful evening of comedy (tinged with a touch of sadness). This time we were treated to a combination of comedy, poetry, improvisation and music from Ian McMillan and Luke Carver Goss.

The evening started with a selection of hilarious notices that Ian has collected from libraries, village halls and other venues on his travels around Britain before moving into some short poetry readings accompanied by Luke Carver Goss' haunting accordion and guitar playing. I mentioned a touch of sadness above as two of the poems sung by Luke (with choruses from the audience) had real poignancy. I was greatly touched by Ian's Song of Stanage Edge about his relationship with his father and his poem He Finished Up Down Nine Clog Pit about the harsh realities of a working life. We finished both halves of the evening with some daft improvisation involving poems made up on he hoof by Ian - one about cheese, Casanova and a toilet and the other about Spadge's great grandfather Spidge swinging from the rafters. Totally mad but hugely enjoyable.

After the fun of Tuesday it was time for another 5.30 start with a drive down to Rochester to help out with a bit of babysitting. It was another glorious day so I had another play with the iPhone camera.

The imposing keep of Rochester castle with the cathedral silhouetted against the castle walls.

A panoramic shot of both medieval masterpieces together.

Experimenting with light and shade

We had a great day looking after our little grandson who was perfect.

Just like his sister, he loved kicking autumn leaves in the park

It was my 63rd birthday on Thursday. I had a very enjoyable and relaxing day.

No prizes for guessing which of the cards was from my son and which was from my daughter.

As usual I had some time out detecting. I don't think there will be too many opportunities to get out soon as the farmers are busy drilling the fields with next year's crops but maybe I'll manage two or three more outings. This week's finds were limited but there were still a couple of interesting bits and pieces. 

Nicely decorated clog claso

Unknown mount. Looks Victorian.

Nice French Dolphin Jetton. The dolphin ('dauphin') was the traditional badge of the Counts of Alban, Dauphins of Viennois c1373-1415

Good medieval coin weight for a gold noble. Dates to c14-c15

Sunday, 25 September 2016

A National Treasure In London And Some Possible Treasure In Framlingham

We've had a relatively quiet week this week. After the long walks and bike rides we did the week before, we've taken things a bit easier and the only strenuous effort has been our regular classes at Fram Leisure where we are getting through seven or eight classes between Monday and Friday.

On Thursday we headed down to London.

We had tickets for the David Hockney portraits at the Royal Academy in Piccadilly.

The show still has a few weeks to run and it's well worth making a visit. The eighty-two colourful portraits are of the artist's friends and colleagues and, although most of them were unknown to us, the works are so full of personality that by the end of the exhibition it felt as if we had an idea of what sort of person each one was. We may, of course, be wide of the mark but Hockney's ability to convey this character makes the exhibition so fascinating. 

I made the most of the trip to London and had one of my occasional shopping sprees. There is a menswear shop in Framlingham now (and it's very good) but you can't really beat a visit to Selfridges. If you go, try the small tapas and wine bar in the basement (Harry Gordon's). We go whenever we're in London and it's great for a break from shopping.

I managed to stock up on essentials like underwear, shirts and t-shirts plus some posh swimming trunks.  

And some new footwear. The Tod's shoes are the comfiest I've ever owned whereas the fabulous blue pair of Doc Martens are agony at the moment. I'm following all the advice on the internet on how to break them in. Seems that it takes an average of a month before the blisters subside.

I said at the start of this blog that we hadn't had too much strenuous effort this week but when I wrote that I was forgetting about Friday. I couldn't have worn the DM's. We had two tons of topsoil delivered. Our soil is heavy clay and although we've been adding compost for three and a half years it's still quite heavy. So we decided that, after adding a ton of soil earlier in the year, another two tons would do the trick.

Four hours later and we'd shifted the lot. Marion then worked for another two hours digging it all into the borders.

Time to switch off now for those who couldn't care less what I've been finding with the detector. I had a couple of trips out this week while Marion was at yoga and visiting the Aldeburgh Food Festival. Here's what I found.

The joys of detecting within chucking distance of a road. Why do so many motorists think it's okay?

More lead to add to the lead box. 
A good complete bag seal from around 1600
A medieval penny

A fragment of a post medieval silver coin used as a pendant

John Capon Grocer of Framlingham's 1653 farthing

Reverse showing Framlingham Castle gates

Henry III silver penny

A medieval strap end spacer (whatever that is I hear you say)

Late medieval buckle

Hallmarked silver pocket watch engraved EH Smith 1901
Don't think I'll get it back working
Medieval vessel mend
This week's bullets and musket balls
Buttons and a few coins
What a pity. This fragment of gilded silver brooch is possibly early and likely to be classed as Treasure. I tried hard but couldn't find the rest which has probably been ground to pieces by the plough