Tuesday, 31 October 2017

A Grand Time With The Grandkids

Another two weeks have passed without a post on the blog. Have I lost my enthusiasm for blogging or is life simply so hectic that it's difficult to find time to write it? Definitely the latter as the weeks continue to flash by in a blur. Last week we enjoyed one of our year's highlights when we took two of our grandchildren, Teddy and Catherine, to Legoland in Windsor for two days. But more of that later.

Prior to Legoland we enjoyed another excellent day out with FramSoc who organised a trip to the Jockey Club and the Palace Museum in Newmarket. A dozen or so members enjoyed a light lunch before a guided tour of the museum.

After the museum we visited the stable yards where retired racehorses are looked after and prepared for a life outside racing.

We aren't particularly interested in horse racing but the museum has a fantastic collection of sporting art including masterpieces by Stubbs, Munnings and many more.

We both liked the more naive art which features heavily in the collection.

We weren't familiar with Frankel before our visit but we certainly are now. 

After the museum tour we enjoyed an exclusive champagne afternoon tea in the private rooms of The Jockey Club before an excellent tour of the club given by William Gittus managing director of Jockey Club Estates who has close ties with Framlingham College.It was extremely interesting to learn the history of The Jockey Club - we went thinking it was simply a club for jockeys but soon realised that it is anything but.

And so to Legoland. We took Catherine last October and she enjoyed herself so much that she wanted to return. We couldn't leave her little brother at home so the four of us drove to Windsor last Wednesday. 

Catherine is very musical and loves to dance so seized the opportunity to have a stage to herself.

Despite a park full of rides, both grandchildren were very happy to play in the hotel reception area which has an abundance of Lego bricks and kept them amused for ages.

We were blessed with fair weather on Wednesday and filled the day with rides, a show and an hour in the hotel swimming pool. Catherine chose to dine in the all-you-can-eat buffet and ended up with a dinner comprising, salami, two small roast potatoes, pasta, rice, sweetcorn and two tiny slices of pizza. That sounds a lot but she only put very small portions on her plate. It amused me to see that, despite a massive variety on offer, she went for pasta, rice and potatoes. 

The children loved meeting the Lego people and, after dancing The Time Warp with the hotel entertainers it was upstairs for a very late bedtime.

Thursday was drizzly but we enjoyed a few more rides, some shopping and snacks before the drive back via the notorious M25.

I was thrilled with the card that Catherine made for me when she got home (Marion had one with an equally lovely sentiment).

We're starting to think that we've moved to a crime hotbed - this was our big local news story last week.

We've missed out on lots of films this year so, now that the weather is getting colder and the nights are drawing in, we've started to put that right with some cinema visits.

Marion loved The Death Of Stalin. It was brilliantly acted and had an excellent script but I struggled to laugh at what was basically a true story of a heinous murderous regime. 

Despite the extremely sad subject matter, Breathe was a lovely film. It tells the true story of Robin Cavendish who was paralysed by polio in 1958 when he was twenty-eight but survived for over thirty years and spent his life campaigning for people with disabilities. He was portrayed by Andrew Garfield as a man who loved life and would never let his disability defeat him. A joyous film that could easily have been mawkish but managed to avoid being so even in the tear-jerking finale. 

Rather than a tear-jerker, today's film Thor Ragnarok, was a seat jerker as we tried out Cineworld's 4DX screening. We couldn't have picked a better film to be thrown around in and found ourselves rocking and shaking to this amazing Marvel superhero all action movie. It's great fun with plenty of humour, spectacular 3D effects and incredible CGI. We switched off the water effects in our seats but still experienced the vast majority of special effects. Will we try it again? For the right film - yes.

On Saturday evening it was time for another Slice of Life Comedy night up at Thomas Mills High School where we were entertained by three comics and MC Rob Coleman. It was a fun packed event and Spadge and his team deserve a lot of credit for continuing to bring live acts to our small town.

Now's the time that I tell you what I've been finding with the detector. I've had a few outings but not a great deal has turned up. 

Medieval Cut Half Penny Probably Edward I c1272

Medieval strap fitting

Mystery object

Medieval annular brooch

Post medieval jar knob

Farthing James I c1613-20
Part of a crotal bell and an unidentified lead ball.
Post medieval buckle c1600-1700
Jaws harp (sometimes called Jews harp) Post medieval

Monday, 16 October 2017

Some Welcome Autumn Sun In Framlingham

Greetings from the Costa Del Suffolk where we've been drinking lots of coffee outside The Dancing Goat enjoying the unseasonal sunshine. Marion spent ages putting all her summer clothes away for the winter last week but has had to dig them all out again as temperatures have soared back into the twenties.

You really can't beat autumn sunshine and we took full advantage of it yesterday with a glorious walk from Snape Maltings (more coffee) to the romantic Iken church. It's a hauntingly beautiful spot standing on a promontory in the reed beds. St Botolph chose to live there in the seventh century and I doubt that it has changed greatly since then.

The area is a haven for nature and we could not have had a more perfect day for a couple of hours of walking.

It lacks the spectacle of the Cumbrian and Yorkshire fells but Suffolk has its own innate beauty and when you get to retirement age the lack of gradients in these landscapes are very welcome. 

There was not a cloud all day - fabulous.

We did a bit more walking last week when we went to Rochester for a couple of days babysitting. There's a small park called The Vines which has a long avenue of trees as its focal point. It was impressive to see how sympathetically the people who manage The Vines  handled a tree that needed to be felled.

We had a bit of a surprise last week when a squirrel hopped past the kitchen and made for the lawn where he (or she) started to dig to bury a nut or acorn it was carrying.

Here's another local lawn. I was amazed to see this huge clump of fungi which sprang up virtually overnight.

I'm sure that I could get away with telling you that this latest addition to our small art collection was bought from a posh gallery in Snape of Aldeburgh. In truth it came from an exhibition of artworks by pupils of our local comprehensive Thomas Mills. We were hugely impressed by the show put on by Nikki Sholl and hear that it (deservedly) raised a huge amount towards new equipment for the school's art department.

Now it's time for an update on how my detecting has been going for the last week or two so navigate away now if you are not interested. After the excitement of the valuable Henry I penny last month it's been quieter recently but I never go home empty handed and, although I've said "not much" when Marion's asked what I've found, there have been some interesting bits and pieces. Here they are.

One session's finds including almost twenty buttons, some furniture fittings, a couple of musket balls, a 17th century trade token, a French? military badge, a good post medieval shoe buckle, a post medieval clothing fastener, a couple of Charles I farthings, a lead seal, a tiny medieval nesting weight and a post medieval mount (with leather still attached).

Here are some more finds from the past week.

Early bag seal.


Small Tudor period spectacle buckle

Huge lead pot mend with pot still attached

Not certain but I think that this is a fragment of a medieval lead annular brooch
A trade farthing issued by Thomas Soley grocer of Mendlesham in 1663

Over three hundred years old and made of precious metal, this is officially "Treasure" and has to be reported to the coroner. It's a tiny early post medieval silver clothing fastener.

I said tiny. For scale, that's my little finger nail.

Mystery lead artefact. Looks like a bird swallowing something.

Another Tudor period dress hook or clothing fastener. This one is a lot bigger.

Silver James I half groat from c1619

Unidentified silver hammered coin - possibly Henry VII

I've been playing around with the detector set up and, as a result, been finding some pretty deep signals.

I had to chuckle after spending a long time digging this very deep hole to find a bottle cap at the bottom.

Especially as it seemed to be offering me some advice.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Much Ado About Nothing

It was my birthday last week (64 if you're asking) and, to celebrate, we headed to London (via car and tube thanks to Greater Anglia's marvellous weekend service - I know the works will bring huge improvements but travelling to London by bus is nobody's idea of fun). After an excellent pre-theatre dinner at The Swan, we went to see the highly acclaimed Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare's Globe. 

And was all that acclaim plus the five star reviews justified? We would say, resoundingly, yes. Despite constant rain soaking the standing audience (and some of the cast) the show was a ray of sunshine - a colourful spectacular of comedy, music and dance. We loved it. 

Matthew Needham stole the show as a loveable Benedick. I'm surprised that (apart from a few appearances on Casualty) he's not a regular in film or TV as his comic timing and interaction with the audience were just perfect. The whole cast was excellent and it was a joyous evening.

Before we went to London we found time on a rainy Friday afternoon to catch Goodbye Christopher Robin at The Riverside in Woodbridge. This is a beautifully shot film filled with glorious olde England with leafy sun dappled glades and elegant 1920s costumes. It portrayed the somewhat sad childhood of AA Milne's son Christopher Robin who was exploited by his parents to sell books and, apparently, ended up hating his parents - there must be some truth in this as he has not taken any money from the vast success of Winnie The Pooh. The film implies that he felt that the stories were written for him and were not for sale. I'm glad that they were published as I (and Marion) love the books but it's sad to think that our enjoyment was an intrusion on an unhappy boy's childhood.  

After a night in London we went to the British Film Institute where they are running a Stephen King season. I had to laugh at the Carrie themed Ladies toilets door.

We went to see Lawrence of Arabia (all four hours of it). It's a great film and fully deserving of all those awards. Of course, today, nobody would dream of blacking up Anthony Quinn and Alec Guinness to play the leading Arab roles but, that apart, it really is a masterpiece of cinematography with Peter O'Toole simply perfect in the title role. 

Still trying to come up with a witty caption to this gibbet near to The Clink Museum on the South Bank. 

Gerald Clements paid us another visit last week and painted my office. We decided to go through all the books and have a clear out - heavy work.

Marion's out at the moment at her Suffolk Angry Women's meeting. She looks good in her T-shirt but Nasty Woman? I certainly don't think so.