Sunday, 30 August 2015

Mum The Poster Girl (89)

Three years ago I blogged about my surprise upon opening a copy of Which magazine to find a photo of my 86 year old mum in a feature on choosing car insurance click here. Now, at 89, she has gone one better and has been found on a street advertising hoarding in Murcia.

The gist of the advert is "The diet that isn't a diet". It's promoting the Mediterranean diet to the people of Murcia. In a bid to improve their health it's exhorting them to eat like their grandmother did. As Mum spent part of her childhood in a fish and chip shop and her favourite foods include cream and butter I'm not quite sure that she's the ideal role model but I think you will agree that, whatever diet she's been on, she's certainly looking very good. I hope that I've got plenty of her genes and not my poor Dad's who she has now outlived by almost twenty years.

Our busy summer has taken in more cultural stuff this week. On Thursday night we went to Snape Maltings for another of the summer proms. This time it was Beth Nielsen Chapman an American singer/songwriter. She performed for two hours with a very talented trio of young British musicians. We had read that she had written songs for a number of famous artistes but , until her final encore of the fabulous Beach Boy hit God Only Knows (which was composed by Brian Wilson), we were unfamiliar with all of the music. Her voice and style reminded me a little of Eva Cassidy and we enjoyed a string of easy listening - tending towards country style songs. Beth was a genial performer and her support were outstanding. We've got the Philharmonic Orchestra performing 60's music for our final Snape Prom tomorrow.

We had another trip to the excellent Ipswich Film Theatre earlier in the week. This week's film choice was the Spanish movie Marshland. Set in the 1980's in Isla Mayor, a remote Marshland region of Southern Spain. It's an atmospheric thriller about two enigmatic detectives attempting to solve the disappearance of two teenage girls. Magnificent arial shots of fascinating landscapes and scenes in extreme weather make it very artistic cinematographically and the story, against a background of poor farmworkers and the recent demise of General Franco, is an exciting whodunnit. It's certainly one to look out for.

Yesterday we visited our family in Kent and had a trip to a fete at Fort Amerhurst in Chatham. Today we went to the outdoor antiques markets in Beccles and Halewsorth. We've been meaning to get to these for a year or so but have been put off by bad weather on the last few occasions but today, though overcast, it stayed mild and dry and we enjoyed both markets. We didn't buy anything but had a good rummage around the thousands of items on offer.

No week would be complete without me having a few hours on the field with the detector. The BBC weather ap predicted a dry morning on Thursday so I drove down to a nearby farm and was in the middle of a field when the heavens burst and I was caught unprepared. To say I was soaked to the skin would be an understatement as I virtually poured myself into the driving seat ten minutes later and drove back home. The shower was relatively short and, after drying myself thoroughly and putting on a change of clothes, I was back on the field. The finds were not spectacular but, as always (at least to me) interesting.

Post Medieval Buckle Complete With Pin

The Usual Pistol And Musket Balls
A Post Medieval Spur Fragment

Solid Silver Spoon Handle Probably c1700

Lead Fragment. Could Be Modern But Could Also Possibly Be Saxon Brooch Fragment

Lead Fragment With King's Head (Poss Charles II)

Heavily Clipped Silver Half Groat Probably Henry VII

Sunday, 23 August 2015

A Load Of Detecting Rubbish ..... Or Is It?

Although they were only harvested a few weeks ago many of the fields that I search with my metal detector are already replanted with a new crop and out of bounds for another growing period. So it's been a case of making hay while the sun shines this week and I've got out for a few hours while there are some fields still available. 

There is certainly a lot of metal in the field I've been searching and I reckon I was digging signals up at the rate of about one every ninety seconds. This was what I tipped out of the finds bag when I got home.

This was what I weeded out as rubbish and you can see the remaining finds below. Whether or not these finds are also rubbish lies in the eye of the beholder - one man's trash is another's treasure.

Twenty plus buttons from Tudor period to 20th century.

Part Of A Post Medieval Croatal Bell 

Musket Or Pistol Balls

Bronze Vessel Fragment Possibly Medieval

Possible Lead Pilgrim's Badge Fragment

Unknown Lead 

More Thimbles

Probable Croatal Bell Fragment

Charles II Farthing

Medieval Jetton

Unknown Lead Artefact Possibly Phallic?

Medieval Silver Penny Monarch Uncertain Due To Heavy Clipping

Reverse Which Shows It To Have Been Minted In York

Dram "Apothecary's" Weight 

Lead Window Cames (For Holding Glass)

Good Commonwealth (Oliver Cromwell) Hammered Silver Half Groat c1649


Tiny Crude Buckle Possibly Early Medieval

Unidentified Coppers

19th Century Busk Fasteners

Early Buckle

Unidentified Fitting Probably Medieval

Medieval Pot Mend

I realise that these finds are not exactly on a par with the Staffordshire Hoard but all of them are interesting to me and show that the field has been in use for over a thousand years.

It was glorious on Market Hill here in Framlingham yesterday so we took full advantage and lingered for a while with a coffee and watched a very accomplished group of musicians busking for a cancer charity.

Today we joined friends for lunch at The Station. We ordered two of these enormous steaks to share - absolutely delicious.

This week is likely to be our last full week in Framlingham for a while as we will be heading to the caravan in Scotland for our granddaughter Melody's second birthday soon. It's incredible that she is going to be two. It seems no time at all since she was born. Before we go up north we've got a couple more concerts at Snape Proms to enjoy, a first visit to Beccles open air antiques market and, hopefully a trip to Ipswich Film Theatre to see Marshland.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

****ing Brilliant

No offence intended with the title to today's blog post but there's no other way to describe Robert Carlyle's directorial debut The Legend Of Barney Thomson which we saw at the wonderful Ipswich Film Theatre today. As liberally scattered with four letter words as any film you are ever likely to see, it's not for the audibly squeamish but if you enjoy black comedy of the highest order this is unmissable. Carlyle plays the eponymous hero, a fifty year old loner who has worked in a gents' hairdressing salon for twenty years. The barber's shop with its 1950's decor and faded Brylcreem posters took me back to my childhood as did Barney's haircutting repertoire "Short back and sides - or sides." Barney is no conversationalist and the waiting customers prefer to wait for another barber to finish rather than risk going under his razor (a very true observation - we used to watch with horror as one of our barbers made a train wreck of a friend's hair and would "just remember something we had to do" if we were next in line for his chair). 

Glasgow is under the shadow of a serial killer whose modus operandi involves sending dismembered bits of the victims to their loved ones. Ray Winstone, a cockney detective who moved to Glasgow years ago and remains a fish out of water, is set the task of bringing the killer to justice. Barney finds himself wrapped up in the investigations and the plot develops into a very dark, grotesque and extremely funny farce. There are fabulous performances from Carlyle, Emma Thompson, Ashley Jensen and Winstone and a brilliant cameo from Tom Courtney as the equally foul mouthed Chief Superintendent. You'll ****ing love it.

Carlyes' film wasn't our only cinema trip this week as we went to Cineworld on Tuesday to see The Man From U.N.C.L.E Guy Ritchie's latest offering. If you are familiar with and enjoyed Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes films you will like this. Having grown up watching the original TV Series I have to say that Arnie Hammer is nothing like David McCallum in the role of Ilya Kuryakin although Henry Cavill is a little closer to Robert Vaughn's original suave Napoleon Solo. The story is typical 60's cold war stuff with Russian agents, Checkpoint Charlie and nuclear warheads. It's beautifully shot and there's plenty of action, some fabulous period fashion and, for those who are old enough to have seen Vaughn and MacCallum. plenty of nods to the TV series. It's all hokum of course but, on the huge IMAX screen it's spectacular and hugely entertaining hokum.

We've also been watching a few movies on TV. Sky Movies is showing The Judge starring Guy Ritchie's Sherlock - Robert Downey Junior and co- starring Robert Duvall as his ageing father. It's a great opportunity for the charismatic Downey to showcase his acting skills and it's refreshing to see him grabbing the role with both hands and presenting a gripping and moving portrayal of a lawyer who returns to his home town for his mother's funeral after a very long absence and finds himself involved in defending his dying father (the local judge) against a hit and run charge. It's rare to see the actor in a role outside the action genre (even Sherlock relies on plenty of action) and it's good to see that he is much more than a one trick pony.

After one film about a dying patriarch we found another on Netflix. What We Did On Holiday comes from the same stable as TV's Outnumbered and there are plenty of similarities to that show, especially in the performances of the children. Billy Connolly is approaching his 75th birthday and a huge celebration party is being planned by his son Gavin (Ben Miller) at the palatial family home in the Scottish Highlands. Gavin's brother Doug (David Tennant) and his estranged wife Abi (Rosamund Pike) drive north from their London home with their three children determined not to let Granddad Gordie (Billy Connolly) know that they are living apart. Gordie is suffering from terminal cancer and chooses to spend the day of his party with his three grandchildren at his very favourite spot. It's a lovely film - very much in the mould of Bill Forsyth's great Scottish films like Gregory's Girl and Local Hero. As you would imagine Billy Connolly's Granddad is not your pipe and slippers type of granddad and his grandkids make sure that he goes out with a bang and not a whimper. With fabulous Scottish scenery and lots of cameos from famous Scottish actors, it's a very Scottish affair and tremendously enjoyable to boot.  

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

The Holiday Continues

Our staycation or holiday at "Argate" continues and has been buoyed up by some fabulous weather with temperatures heading over thirty degrees a couple of times. We've certainly made the most of it.

After a great afternoon entertaining friends on Saturday I decided to clear the cobwebs on Sunday morning and set out on a short bike ride on one of the cycle routes around Framlingham.  After the long slog to Walberswick last week I kept things a bit shorter this time and, after a brief detour to Leo's Deli for some doughnuts and pain au chocolate for later, I headed out into the surrounding countryside. The castle and mere looked glorious under a cloudless sky as I headed away from the town. For any local cyclists who have not tried it yet Suffolk Cycle Route 1 is an easy, picturesque and fairly traffic free route.

With the weather still glorious when I got home, we walked down to Framlingham to buy some ice creams and then went to eat them at the castle where there was a knights' tournament going on. 

With fine weather still prevailing on Monday we went to Snape Maltings to catch the short pleasure boat cruise along the River Alde. It was a very pleasant way to pass an hour and we learned quite a few facts from the old boy who lead the trip. I hadn't realised how narrow the actual navigable channel is and how, if we had simply headed in a straight line we would have ended up stranded on a mud bank. We had to follow a fairly convoluted route of posts.

At the furthest point on the trip we had this view of the lovely Iken church.

After disembarking we drove along to Orford for a sandwich at the tea shop on the beach.

Marion had a hair appointment yesterday so I had four or five hours out with the metal detector. Photos of the finds are at the bottom of the blog for those who are interested. When we got back we drove to Jimmy's Farm just outside Ipswich for a pre theatre dinner before walking into the woods for a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream by Red Rose Chain.

It was our second outing to their Theatre In The Forest. The meal, including some of Jimmy's speciality pork, was very enjoyable and the play was great fun. If you are a Shakespeare purist it might not be to your taste as, to entertain a family audience, the production veered off piste a few times with forays into pop music but if you enjoy a good laugh and an enchanting and magical woodland setting you'll certainly have a wonderful evening's entertainment from this young, lively and enthusiastic theatre group.

So, back to the detecting. It was a hard slog sweeping the detector across some very very thick stubble but I didn't come home empty handed. Here are some of the finds.

This is what I tipped out of the bag when I got home. I managed to dig up three pop drinks cans - a penalty you pay if you search a field within chucking distance of the road. Here's what I had when I had sorted through it.

I Think That This Is A Medieval Buckle Plate With Ring And Dot Decoration

A Silver Elizabethan Coin C1570
After My First With A Clear Head Of Elizabeth Last Week This One Also Has The Queen's Face Visible 
Unidentified Lead Item

Large Medieval Vessel Fragment

Pewter Fragment Embossed With Vine Leaves
Belt Studs Probably Late Medieval
I Believe This Is A Medieval Lozenge Shaped Brooch  But Have Not Found Another With The Lugs On The Face

Tudor Button And A Later Button

Dutch Coin Hollandia 1723
Tudor Rose Button Possibly 17th Century
Strap End Fragment
Mystery Lead Item

Bag Seal 
Early Buckle

Lead Hook Date Unknown

As you can see, I haven't been able to identify all the items fully this time. I'm off to Bury St Edmunds in a week or two to see the archaeologist who records the finds on the Portable Antiquities Scheme and I am sure that he will enlighten me.