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

Friday, 16 September 2016

Last Of The Summer Snaps

The best thing about the latest smart phones is that you're never without a camera. Perhaps the iPhone is not quite as good as the Nikon SLR but the emphasis is really on the "quite" and the benefits of having a multifunctional camera in your pocket all the time far outweigh the advantages of the SLR's slight edge on quality - not to mention the inconvenience of carrying around a camera case and spare lenses. I wouldn't carry a camera bag on a trip to Framlingham for a drink but the light was so good on Wednesday afternoon that, having treated ourselves to a glass of wine and a pint of lager at The Crown, we decided to have a stroll around the castle to take some photos. 

It was five-thirty on a mid September evening but the heat and light were so intense that we could have been in the grounds of a Tuscan castle rather than one in Suffolk. 

I took snaps using the standard phone features.

And the panoramic facility.

I'm pleased with the results.

With weather forecasts also constantly in our pockets courtesy of the phone, we decided to make the most of Thursday as it looked like it might be the last of the summer. We drove to Walberswick where we treated ourselves to an excellent cappuccino and pain au chocolat at the Black Dog deli before walking along the beach to Dunwich.

Half a mile down the beach and we had it to ourselves.

I wished that I had brought a swimming costume as dipping a toe into the waves showed the water to be easily warm enough for a swim. 

After an hour at the beach in Dunwich enjoying a picnic and a reading the newspaper, it was time to walk back to Walberswick. We chose the inland bridlepath and stopped for a cool drink at the Dingle Hill Tearoom before completing the walk. It would be hard to match the walk along the sands but the stroll through the woods was equally enjoyable with great views, plenty of wildlife and some cool shade from a very intense sun in the woods before heading into the wetland area with its abundance of birds. The round trip covered about six miles in total and, with plenty of watering holes and toilet facilities half way round whichever way you walk it, it's highly recommended.

The water near this old wind pump was teeming with fish.

Of course, no week would be complete without a bit of metal detecting and I had a few hours out while Marion was at yoga.

This farthing trade token was issued by Philip Thorne (a grocer) of Sibton. It is interesting as Thorne was the only Sibton tradesman to issue tokens.

This week's hammered silver coins were both a bit grotty. The first is an Edward penny (probably Edward iv) and the other is a Scottish cut half penny.

As I write, it has started to rain. The garden needs it and we needed some bad weather to give us time to catch up on the housework. We've done virtually every room so, time for some more sunshine now, please.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Back To An Indian Summer

We drove back from Scotland on Sunday. It was a good run and, with no hold ups, we managed to complete the journey in under eight hours. 

We had a very relaxing fortnight in St Andrews.

As you can see from this photo, we didn't have quite the weather that was being enjoyed back in Suffolk but it was mostly dry and very pleasant. Unfortunately our cycling was curtailed after somebody stepped out in front of Marion causing her to jam on her brakes, going over the handlebars and falling off her bike which was quite badly damaged. Fortunately Marion only suffered minor cuts and bruises and the accident only happened a short distance from the cycle repair shop so we were able to get it fixed but not, unfortunately, in time to do any more cycling while we were there.

The big event of our stay was granddaughter Melody's third birthday party. Sarah, as always, put on a lovely themed party for loads of kids. This time the theme was Super Barbie and we had a garden full of children in super hero capes.

It's always good to see our daughter Sarah. We miss her down here in East Anglia but we'll be seeing her again in a few weeks.

Little Melody with her cake

Sarah's Super Barbie cake

Marion with the birthday girl

Sarah trying out some Yoga moves with Rose in her new garden studio
We returned to Framlingham and an Indian summer and spent Monday getting on top of the garden which was badly in need of water. After a day's gardening it was time to get back into the exercise routine so we went to Fram Leisure for a HIIT class and a Pilates class. Followed by Body Blitz and Pure Core classes this morning we were ready to get on our bikes and take advantage of the sultry conditions.

We cycled to Orford via Snape Maltings for a coffee. It was a glorious day and the heat at Orford was stifling.

An Orford View

And another

It was so hot that, instead of sitting in the castle grounds for our picnic we decided to eat in this little shelter on the quayside.

Regular readers will remember that I found a super gold coin before we left Suffolk. Our local jeweller straightened out a bend in it for me and it's now as good as new. It's a lovely coin and quite valuable - estimated by a coin dealer friend at between £700 and £800. I'm off to see the landowner soon to give her the good news.

Henry VI Quarter Noble

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Another Postcard From St Andrews

We're back in St Andrews for a couple of weeks visiting the family. It's been a very relaxing week and we've had some fairly decent weather so far. It hasn't quite been the temperature we've had Framlingham for the last month but it's still been warm enough to go without coats.

We've been to Alanhill Strawberry Farm a couple of times.

It's got a great little playground. Melody loves it.

She's really growing up and will be three in a few days

She misses her big sister Rose who is now at school

We've visited our favourite St Andrews spots - the harbour

I've photographed this view loads of times but I always love it

A rare photo of me

We visited MUSA (Museum Of University Of St Andrews) on Friday. There's a beautiful view from the terrace.

After MUSA we spent an hour at The Botanical Gardens

They've got a fabulous butterfly house now. (Quite impressed with the iPhone photo quality)

Rose is home schooled on Fridays so it was great to see her.

Today they visited us at the caravan and played with some of their mum's old toys and a house made by my dad for Sarah when she was little

Of course I've done a bit of detecting. With acres and acres of fields with views like this it's a detecting paradise

And I even found a couple of bits. A Medieval heraldic pendant and a Henry III half penny

A Henry III penny
Minted by Nicole in London
King John penny 
Minted by Iohan B in Canterbury

I did find another medieval silver penny but somehow managed to lose it in the field. Duh! I'll have to go back and try and find it. We've got another week in St Andrews and look forward to seeing more of the family