Author Archives: Z

The Sage changes direction Part 4

There were only 38 lots in all, sold over the three sales, but there were some lovely pieces. Here are the conditions of sale/bid forms for the sealed bid auctions.

  1. Each item is to be put up for sale subject to a reserve price.
  2. Subject to 1., the highest bid for each item shall be the purchaser thereof.
  3. Each item is believed to be described correctly, but no warranty is given and the prospective purchaser is deemed to buy with the full knowledge as to correctness; faults and condition of each item.
  4. In the event of two bids or more being of equal value for the same item, the first bid envelope returned or postmarked the earlier date stamp will be the successful bid; closing date will be ***.
  5. If any dispute arises as to the highest bid, the Auctioneer shall have absolute power and discretion to determine the dispute, and his decision shall be final.
  6. On all items over £300, the successful bid price will be scaled down to £20 above the underbid, similarly upon all items under £300 to £10 above the underbid, in both cases subject to the bid complying to 1. above.
  7. All bids must be returned on this form and the enclosed marked envelope only.
  8. Prospective purchasers may limit their overall bidding by clearly marking on the bid form their total limit, and stating their first choice onwards.
  9. The purchasers will be notified from the *next day* and the successful bid process only will be disclosed to all other parties.
  10. The purchaser shall be asked to pay the full purchase money and, if unable to collect, to bear all other costs of postage etc.

The pieces of china were photographed and those who applied to bid could view them at the shop.  Here’s the descriptions of the china (I haven’t bothered to type in all the measurements, though they’re there, but I have occasionally clarified the description)  and I’ve put the successful bid price after  –

June 1982

  1. Butterboat – £50
  2. Sparrowbeak jug “Good Cross Chapel” print – £190
  3. Mug inscribed “Trifle from Lowestoft” – £1100 (my friend bought this piece, his tendered price was £1111, so he gauged it well)
  4. Bleeding bowl – £135
  5. 4″ vase, bulbous top – £145
  6. Scallop shell dish -£135
  7. Egg cup (runny glaze) – £210
  8. Bottle shaped vase – £400
  9. Egg cup (crisp decoration) – £290
  10. Scallop shell dish, early – £440
  11. Sauceboat – £70
  12. Sauceboat, Golfers pattern, Bow – not sold (the only declared non-Lowestoft piece in the sale)
  13. Chelsea ewer shaped cream boat – £110
  14. Vase – £145
  15. Tea bowl and saucer, Hughes moulded pattern – £160

I wish to limit my overall bidding to £     and I have marked my first choice onwards.

NAME and ADDRESS……………………………………………………

November 1982

  1. Pair dishes, transfer printed – £100 (there isn’t a picture of these and I’m not sure what they were)
  2. Teapot, 4 1/2″ high – not sold (this is a lovely little pot, I don’t know if the reserve was too high)
  3. Wedding bowl inscribed “John and Ann Glasspool, Blundstone, 1772″, transfer printed after sporting painting by A.F. Desportes. 9 1/2” diameter – £1520 (a huge price for a unique piece)
  4. Chamber candlestick, relief moulded – £800
  5. Octagonal tea caddy, 3 3/8″ high – £125
  6. Pair of Lowestoft Swans – £880 
  7. Eye bath, incurving rim – £440
  8. Sauceboat – did not meet reserve
  9. Miniature teapot, 3 1/4″ high – £200

June 1983

  1. Pair of Egg Cups – £400
  2. Leaf dish with relief moulding – £370
  3. Pair of child’s plates – £375
  4. Large octagonal dish £495
  5. Polychrome rectangular tea caddy £221
  6. Pair of knife rests as exhibited Ipswich 1957 – £135 (there was a fine exhibition at Ipswich museum to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the opening of the factory.  I still get exhibition catalogues entered into the sale sometimes and, if a piece has an exhibition label on it, it has an extra appeal.)
  7. Pair of small butter boats – £185
  8. Octagonal tea caddy – £220
  9. Polychrome teapot inscribed “Mifs Rachel Ives Drake, Iany 29, ages 6 years” as exhibited Ipswich 1957 – did not meet reserve, highest bid £1451 (Iany is abbreviated from January, I don’t know what occasion was being commemorated.  The family name of the owner was Drake, I don’t know if Rachel had been an ancestor of his)
  10. Bowl – did not meet reserve
  11. Polychrome mug, inscribed ‘JLB” – £190
  12. Polychrome teapot and matching sparrowbeak jug – £430
  13. Pair of shallow dishes – £185
  14. Two handled loving cup – £105 (this seems a low price but David was of the opinion that it was Bow rather than Lowestoft)

As I said, the envelopes were opened in the presence of our church minister.  Russell put in a bid or two himself – I think that’s where our chamber stick came from.  We used to put a candle in and light it sometimes.  It’s a chamber stick (bed chamber, that is) rather than a candlestick because it has a carrying handle at the side and a bowl surrounding the candlestick part, so that any dripping wax wouldn’t fall on the person carrying it upstairs to bed.  Hard to imagine the pitch dark there must have been on a moonless winter night, when all you had to guide you upstairs was a candle.  I expect you’d have lit another few once you were in your bedroom, so that you could see to wash and undress. If you could afford the luxury, perhaps you’d have a fire, which would give light as well as warmth, though I should think that was unusual unless someone were ill.

Tea caddies were small and the opening at the top was only about an inch wide.  Tea was expensive and the lady of the house kept it, it wouldn’t have been stored in the kitchen.  Teabowls were small and the saucers were deep, one tipped the tea into the saucer to drink – apparently, this always seems peculiar to me.  By the end of the 18th century, this was becoming old fashioned and rather unsophisticated and cups with handles were being made.  Coffee cups always did have a handle, though and, when you bought a china service, the saucers would be used with either.

These auctions were a great success and it made Russell start to think about getting back into auctioneering, which he loved.  There were other concerns on our minds that summer of 1983, though, as his father became very ill and, in August, died.

The Sage changes direction, part 3

David agreed to buy back Russell’s part in the business, over an agreed period.  I can’t remember how long, but it was all agreed amicably.  And Russell opened up a small antique shop opposite the saleroom.  The difference between that and the other shops in town was that he sold on commission only.  He’d been an auctioneer for so long, there was no question of him buying for the cheapest price and selling for the dearest.  As in the auction house, he agreed the minimum price that the vendor would accept, he’d put a price on the object and, when it sold, he’d pay out, having deducted an agreed commission.  He was always acting for the vendor and just took his cut.

He took with him one of the clerical staff from the business, because they’d always got on very well and she was ready for a change.  He didn’t have to be in the shop all the time, as a result, it certainly wouldn’t have suited him.  He went when he made an appointment with a client, buyer or seller, and probably spent about three days a week there.  He specialised in pictures, but also had furniture, china and decorative objects – he was never in direct competition with the auctioneer and would tell a client if he thought something was more suited to auction.  He never fell out with David over it, there was room for both businesses.

As time went on, he became more drawn to Lowestoft china, though.  He had a particular client, who’d been a china collector for many years, he was very fond of.  He went to visit him and his wife quite often – they lived in a little cottage a few miles away and it had never had any home improvements for decades.  Once, trying to see the china in a cabinet in a dark corner more clearly, he tipped the overhead light and it blew the fuses.  He mended the fuse, switched back on, and only then realised that the wires were old, cracked and brittle and he’d been quite lucky not to electrocute himself.  He used to take Weeza to visit his clients sometimes, to give me a chance to rest in the afternoon with baby Al, and he always told the tale of how fascinated she was with this old man’s long, white beard.

Eventually, the old man died, his wife moved out into a smaller place and it was decided to sell the china collection.  Some pieces were fabulous and hadn’t been on the market for decades.  It could have been done as a special exhibition, but in the end it was decided to hold an auction, with a difference.  Potential buyers were invited to submit their maximum bids in sealed envelopes.  On a given day, Russell would open the envelopes (in the presence of an independent witness: our vicar) and the highest bid would win – at one bid above the next … think eBay.  You don’t have to pay your top bid unless it only just beats the next one.  The auction was held in three stages, June 1992, November 1992 and June 1993.

My business colleague David has given me a copy of the sales particulars, which I was very grateful for because I didn’t have them.  I’ll write it all down tomorrow.

When I started writing, it was because of the snow.  I had no idea it would bring forth all this.  Blogging, hey.  I might well end up the last ‘personal’ blogger standing.  I have no focus, no theme.  I might write about what I’ve been doing today, something I’m interested in, something I remember, I often sit down here and don’t know.  But, to quote the late John Ebdon, if you have been, thanks for listening.

The Sage changes direction, part 2

Having had a query about the need for secrecy regarding John’s help with valuations, I’ll explain further.  It wasn’t a problem as far as Russell was concerned, but John’s fellow dealers would have been angry with him for spoiling their game.  There was a lot of pressure to join in the Knock and to get the goods for as little as possible.  If it had been known, the auctions might have been boycotted for a few months and John would certainly have lost some friendships at the least.  And, more simply, John and Russell rather enjoyed outwitting those dodgy dealers – the Knock may have been illegal but it was pretty near impossible to prove it was happening.

The other point was, however, that there wasn’t as much beautiful antique furniture coming their way.  The Victorian and 20th century stuff was saleable – “brown furniture” has been unfashionable now for a good couple of decades, but it wasn’t then – but it didn’t interest Russell so much.  He also realised that, with an increasing interest in more obscure and ethnic items, there was more scope to get things wrong.  He was interested, knowledgeable and experienced, and also willing to ask someone else if he wasn’t sure – he was still learning to the end of his life, until the few last weeks when he was too exhausted by illness – but he was aware that being a provincial auctioneer was becoming less straightforward.  The firm had a monthly auction and I’m sorry to say that I’ve forgotten which day it was.  I have a feeling it was the third Thursday.  They also had periodic property auctions (we bought our Lowestoft house at one in 1976) and an estate agency, which also acted as a letting agency, and had several office staff, a property negotiator and a full-time saleroom porter plus several hired for the auction itself.  About twice a year, they had a high-quality auction with fine paintings, jewellery, furniture etc, but it was getting so that these special sales weren’t enough to please him.

I’ll pause for another anecdote that few people have ever been told.  They had a very fine sale, which had had a lot of publicity.  Of course they welcomed that, but Russell was uneasy.  I’m fairly sure he had heard nothing specific but he had a suspicion…and he decided to spend the night at the saleroom.  I think that there was a shotgun coming up for auction – I can’t remember how that worked back in the 70s, a licence certainly would have been needed, but anyway, it was there.  It could have been an air rifle, I suppose.  Anyway, sometime after midnight, he heard some sounds at the door downstairs – the auction house itself was on the first floor.  He went to get the gun, loaded it and stood at the top of the stairs.  As the robbers broke through, he switched the light on and stood in plain view, gun aimed, and invited them to come on up…..

It was one of the most exciting and hilarious moments of his life.  He phoned me, full of glee, to say what had happened.  I suppose he called the police, but there was no publicity and the sale went ahead later the same day – the thought of the awfulness if the staff  turned up a few hours later and the place had been ransacked doesn’t bear thinking about.  As it was, the miscreants scarpered in panic, while the Sage laughed theatrically (yes, I got the full played-out account).  He hadn’t seen who it was, the light was behind him, and he never knew (he had his suspicions who was behind it, but it was pretty unlikely that person was there) and he didn’t much care.  The tale would have spread behind the scenes and it never happened again.

All the same, it was yet another factor and he decided he wanted to change direction somewhat.  He talked it over with me and then had a discussion with his partner David.


The Sage changes direction, part 1

There was a bit more to Russell leaving his auctioneering business than just wanting to spend more time with us.  There were two other factors.

One was that he wasn’t getting on so well with his business partner.  They worked well together to start with, but then the other guy left his wife for another woman.  Russell was very sorry for the wife, whom he liked very much, and he didn’t like the other woman and he lost some respect for his partner too, because of how it happened.  I don’t know details, it was a long time ago and it’s not my business – but she became more involved in the firm and Russell found that hard to take.

The other thing was the nature of the auctioneering business, in a couple of respects.  When Russell had done his training in London and got his first job in Ipswich, antique furniture tended to be mostly Georgian.  Victorian and Edwardian, not so much and later again simply wasn’t thought of as antique.  Times changed and Russell started to realise that dealers were sometimes getting away with paying less than they should.

You may know about “the knock.”  It’s not legal, but it can be hard to prove and it happens.  A group of dealers get together and agree that they won’t bid against each other,  the lots will be bought as cheaply as possible and, afterwards, they’ll hold their own private auction and share out the goods between them.  If the reserve for an item is at about the sum it’s worth, they’ll get a limited profit but if the vendor doesn’t have a reserve or the auctioneer hasn’t advised well enough, they will make a financial killing.  I should make it clear – if you and I went to an auction together and you admired one item and I said, I’m glad you told me you were going to bid because I like it too, but I won’t bid against it: even if you reciprocated on another lot, or if you sold one part of the lot to me, there’s nothing illegal about that.  It’s the organised nature of it and the private auction afterwards that isn’t lawful.

Russell realised that he and his partner didn’t know enough about good 20th century furniture, which was very saleable back then.  I’ve kept quiet about it all these years, but there’s no need to be any more – he and a fairly local dealer came to an arrangement.  The dealer came along and told Russell what pieces should fetch, Russell adjusted the reserves accordingly, the pieces sold for more money and the dealer was given a small commission.  Russell learned the ropes and was able to advise vendors more accurately in future.

Russell said that he soon found how it worked.  Joe Bloggs from the junk shop started the bidding.  When it got to a price that Joe wasn’t comfortable with, Mary Middle would carry on.  Once Oliver Posh got involved, he knew that he was getting near the right price, for a good piece.  Of course, there were sometimes private buyers bidding and it was interesting to watch that too.  Sometimes, the dealers would back off, but if they felt that the bidder was throwing his weight around a bit, they’d have fun.  They’d run the bidding up to more than the piece was worth and then land him with a big bill – of course, the risk was that he’d stop before them and they’d be landed with it.

I suspect things are rather more transparent now.  This was before the days of published estimates, for a start (though they can be wildly inaccurate and annoy me somewhat).  Anyway, he and his dealer friend John were never found out, though the dealers obviously realised the game was up somewhat and probably thought that the Sage had just done his research.

The Knock didn’t always go smoothly.  We heard once that two dealers fell out and one chased the other down the street, brandishing a big knife of the machete persuasion.

Russell really loved antiques, though and, whilst interested to find out more about the value of relatively modern stuff, it wasn’t what he was so interested in selling.  And I’ll have to leave you with another cliffhanger, because it’s time to go and cook dinner.  Tomorrow (or whenevs), darlings

Defenestration of tradition

It’s Mothering Sunday today – not Mothers’ Day, as it is in other countries, because here we use the day of the traditional religious festival; but actually we treat it as Mothers’ Day, even in church.  Not that we had any children in the church.  I’m afraid our village church has rather given up.  Things that take place at the school go well, but parents won’t usually come down to the church any more.  That’s the way it is: this is a statement, not a comment.

There was quite a big congregation all the same, because there was going to be a service for the interment of ashes afterwards.  The family of the woman who died were welcomed and most of them came for Communion, though none of them knew any of the hymns.  Again, just a statement.  I chatted afterwards with the minister – we agreed that traditional services and, especially, hymns, are likely to vanish in most churches in the next few years.  They aren’t sung in schools any more and ‘worship songs” have taken over in Sunday schools and so on.  Even at weddings and funerals, many people want to choose their secular music – we left the church at our wedding to a recording of Tim’s music from his professional days (which I asked him for).  And I chose a song to be played on a wind-up gramophone at Russell’s funeral.

It so happened today that one of the hymns was played at Russell’s funeral and another at my and Tim’s wedding, not that they were chosen by me (and I didn’t mention it to the chap that did choose them). It’s all right, actually.



Very simple and straightforward.  I use a Thermos flask nowadays and, once it’s made, decant it into a couple of jam jars.

I’ve found that the best thing to do is to use whole (full fat) milk; a pint plus a third to a half of another pint, including the cream.  Rinse a saucepan, because using a wet pan helps to stop it sticking, and bring the milk to the boil.  Take it off the heat and let it cool down to 120ºF/49ºC.  You can put the pan in a bowl of iced water, but I don’t usually bother.  While the milk is heating, I pour some hot water into the Thermos, leave it for a few moments and pour it out again, just so it isn’t cold when I put the milk in.

Once the milk has cooled down to the right temperature, I put a spoonful of yoghurt into the Thermos and add a little of the milk, stir it (using the handle of the wooden spoon) and then add the rest of the milk, in two or three lots, stirring as I go.  Then I put the lid on the flask and leave it for at least 6 hours.

If I’ve used enough creamy milk, then I can pour it into the jars and it’ll be perfect.  If I’ve been a bit short and had to use some skimmed milk, then there’s some visible whey.  In that case, I just tip it carefully into a sieve (over a bowl, to be on the safe side) and discard the surplus whey (or soak it in bread for the chickens).  In that case, you’ll get a bit less yoghurt and it might have a slightly granular texture, but it’ll taste the same.

I suspect it’d be fabulous with Jersey milk or a carton of single cream, but I haven’t tried.  Every few batches, you need to start with a spoonful of bought yoghurt.

I tried, once, just to heat the milk up to the required temperature, rather than boiling it and letting it cool.  It didn’t work.  It just didn’t turn to yoghurt.  I don’t know the chemistry, but boiling it makes the difference.

Z is happy

Young Pugsley is home from hospital, a day or two earlier than expected as his blood tests have come back clear and he’s no longer on antibiotics.  I went over to see him before lunch and he was putting together some Lego I’d sent him a week ago, to cheer him up as he was feeling poorly then (little did we know…).

That wasn’t the only reason in fact, it was also because I am, presently, in an expansive mood, having finally – the date having been put off twice by a malevolent government and the years of contributions upped almost at the last, so that I had to pay several thousand pounds extra to get my full whack – reached pension age.  Having talked to various friends, one who’s 4 months older than I am got hers a year and a half younger; and one who’s 3 weeks older got hers 4 months younger.  Most people younger than me will have to wait until they’re at least 65 though.  All the same, it’s a time to celebrate and has taken away completely my rather negative attitude to longevity.  I am going to spend it all with great pleasure, or give it to charity, and not save a penny of it for my old age, because I’ve reached old age.  Splendid.

One change that’s been brought about by the snowy weather is that I’ve started to make bread again.  I did throughout the year after Russell died and a bit more, but I’d got out of the way of it again, apart from regular batches of naan bread, which is very easy and freezes well.  I prefer it to the shop-bought stuff.  Although the local shops have had bread when I’ve been there, deliveries have been erratic and I reckoned I might just as well leave it for others.  It’s very little trouble and I’ll probably keep it up.  By the way, I’ve finally discovered the way to make yoghurt that doesn’t give off surplus whey – just a spot more top of the milk.  I use a pint of whole milk plus the top of another pint, about a third of the bottle (we’ve never given up the milkman) and it comes out perfect.  Without that little extra cream, I used to drain off a fair bit of whey.  There’s a local farm that sells Jersey milk – I mean, of course, milk from their own Jersey cows – and I think that would be lovely.  It’s raw milk, as is Johnny’s farm milk: we’re very lucky to have brilliant dairy farmers around here.  So many dairy farms have given up, it’s tough to make a profit nowadays, but those who find a niche at the right time can still be successful.

We’ve never gone so long without eggs this winter, but at last two chickens (i’ve only got four girls now) are laying.  The big black hen has been very good for the last couple of weeks and the big brown hen is laying most days too now.  Once Rose’s chickens start laying and one of the flock goes broody, I’ll put a few eggs under her.  I’d really like to get up to a dozen or so again, and I really don’t want our lovely strain of bantams to die out, after all this time.  They’re nice natured and long lived, and I rather love them.

If I also mention that the catalogue for my next auction is online, I think I’m up to date with news.  Here you go, darlings.

Snowday – Part 2

The thing is about blogging, or writing on social media in any way, I can put down anything I want about myself, but not about others.  So I’ll just say that one of my grandchildren has been very ill with a perforated appendix and now, though still in hospital, is much better.  The crisis is past but we’re all still feeling a bit fragile.  I didn’t feel like blogging during that period, though, so apologies for disappearing without a word.

The snow is also over, though a surprising amount still lingers.  When it turned to rain, there was some local flooding and even now, after several days without frost, there are great heaps by some of the roads where either the snow drifted or it was pushed by snow ploughs.  I never did complete my snowman, it was so bitterly cold that playing in the snow wasn’t fun at all.

Back to the time I referred to in the previous post – it must have been between 1976 and 1979, Weeza and Al were small children.  The Sage’s office had closed between Christmas and New Year and then, over the New Year, a great deal of snow fell.  Where we lived at the time, there was a private road leading up to the church – I don’t mean that people were not allowed down it, just that it was unadopted by the Council, though it was tarmac’ed (I wonder how you spell that? – too lazy to look it up), and it filled with a few feet of snow.  We couldn’t get the car out and Lowestoft had ground to a halt, pretty well, anyway.  Russell had to take the whole of the next week off work and most offices just shut down.

We had a fabulous week.  Toddler Al and little girl Weeza thought it was all great fun.  We gave them rides on the sledge and walked down to the village shop, with them on the sledge, to do our shopping.  We built snowmen, threw snowballs and went for walks along the snowy beach.  We were sorry when the weather warmed up, the snow turned to slush and life returned to normal.

Russell had never taken so much time off work before since the children had been born and it was rather a revelation to him.  He’d been a bachelor of nearly 37 when we married, was always a hands-on daddy but I was very much in charge of organising family life and most of the fun and games.  I was still in my mid-twenties at that time, pretty young myself and, having had a loving but not at all child-centred upbringing, was very keen to do with my children the things that my parents had been totally uninterested in doing with me.  Childish fun was really important to me – in fact, I still don’t want to forget about that.  I don’t mind growing old but I don’t want to forget the feeling of being young.

So this brilliantly enjoyable time off from his everyday working life had a lasting effect.  He spent less time in the office and more with us – it was his own business and it was up to him how he organised his days, as long as the work was done.  And, by 1979 – there were various factors but one of them was enjoying his children while they were young – he’d decided to sell his half of the business back to his partner and choose a less lucrative but more family-centred way of making his living.

I’ll tell you about that next time.  Which will probably be tomorrow 🙂

Snowday part 1

There was a lot more snow overnight and Eloise cat was not at all pleased.  She kept asking to go out (she’s reluctant to use the cat flap nowadays, we think because she doesn’t want to run into Chip, the second next-door cat) and then hovering on the threshold and coming back in again.  Eventually, I showed her the litter tray and she showed an interest; later she went back to it and I heard her rustling around and she used it, to extremely smelly effect.  I have no evidence that she’s had a wee all day, though – but cats can last ages when they want to and I know she’s been drinking, so I’m not concerned.

The wind hadn’t blown the snow into drifts, luckily, but there wasn’t a place in the Dutch barn where the cats could feed in the dry.  They came to be fed in the morning and were glad of food, and I put a bowl of water for them too, but they were nowhere to be seen this afternoon.  I suspect they’re holed up in the big barn, where it’ll be dry and where the mice will be sheltering too.  Most of the hen run also had a generous sprinkling where snow had blown in, even in some of the back half where the sides are covered over; it’s usually dry in there as the tin roof comes well over at the edges.  I’ve been out several times with fresh water, it’s frozen within a couple of hours.  The chooks have sat on their perches when they haven’t been feeding, except for the good girl who laid me an egg.  I’ve taken out a couple of old sheets and arranged them as a windbreak, it felt a lot better in there afterwards: strong winds are forecast for the next couple of days and they’ll need a bit more shelter.  It’s -5º now and isn’t set to go above freezing for a while.

I accidentally got into a discussion yesterday on Facebook with a couple of chaps who had the usual line about people being wimps and wusses nowadays, and children should have to go to school every day, regardless of the weather because back in the winter of 1963 all schools kept going throughout the awful winter.  All I’d done was explain, as a point of information, that sometimes the reason a school closes is because the bus companies phone the Head to say they won’t run a service that day because of the weather, or will come early to pick the children up.  It was the usual tedious thing from people who think they’re proving something by clogging up the roads when the police ask that unnecessary journeys aren’t taken, and that children having a snow day is a waste of taxpayer’s money – a specific point made.  The happiness I’ve seen from pictures of families, out sledging and building snowmen, and staying safe off the roads (the other pictures on social media are mostly of stuck vehicles, even on main roads), is far more worthwhile than a day at school, I’m quite convinced.  It’s not that we have this weather very often.  Of course, sometimes schools are shut when the forecast bad weather doesn’t happen, and some Headteachers are so risk-adverse it’s absurd, like the one who’s forbidden all his pupils to touch snow at all in case they’re tempted to have fun in it, hurt someone and he’s the one sued (he was more concerned about the latter point than the non-existent injury), but it’s certainly not reasonable travelling weather today.  Son-in-law Phil set off on his bike as usual, had to come back because it wasn’t possible to bike and took the car, as Weeza was looking after the children – Sledging! Snowmen! Brilliant, happy family fun! – took as long to get there in the car as it would have on his bike … and the boss shut the office two hours later as the weather was so bad.  But he kept his machismo and Good Employee brownie points and got some work done.

What I meant to write about was a similar sort of snowfall, when Weeza and Al were little and we lived in Lo’toft, a few years before Ro was born.  But I’ve rather run out of the self-allocated space I’m inclined to use for a blog post.  It changed the Sage’s attitude to his job, and thereby rather changed our lives.  Tomorrow, darlings.


It’s a bit boring at the Zedary

When we’d all assumed that snow had passed us by again this winter, the weather changed for the colder.  Here, we’ve got a few inches, nothing spectacular, but there are lots of reports of accidents on the roads.  I suppose that people just aren’t used to driving in bad weather any more.

LT is away this week, but he kindly got in plenty of wood and coal for me, because I went down with one of those vague winter bugs last week that is taking a while to get over and I haven’t a lot of energy.  I slept a lot and ate very little, that’s about all there is to be said about it.  Eloise cat and I are having a few quiet days now, which is actually rather boring.  I’ve watched daytime TV two days running – I’m going to start enjoying it if I don’t watch out.  LT may return to a different sort of wife, who sits with the remote to hand and insists on having the television on at all times.

Those outdoor cats are becoming fussy, or else the quality of cat food is going down badly.  Either Rose or I buy supermarket own-brand for them – I get Co op, she gets Tesco or Sainsbury’s.  A few months ago, I had a feeling that the Co op recipe had changed, it looked more sloppy and less meaty – and the cats didn’t like it.  They tolerated the sort in jelly for a while, but then didn’t want to eat that either.  They liked Whiskas though, as well they might.  LT bought some Waitrose brand but they turned their noses up at that.  Now, they aren’t eating Tesco either.

They can forget it, I’m not buying Whiskas for them.  Eloise cat rather likes the Tesco and I’m not giving them her usual expensive brand either.  They can just have dried food and I’m not being bullied.  Though I shouldn’t forget that I’d said I wasn’t ever going to feed them at all, and gave way on that within days.  At least one of the chickens has started laying again – the big black one is laying an egg most days, which is rather useful because the two things I’m best at eating at present are poached eggs and Lionel RichTea biscuits.  I’m such an egg snob, I only eat them poached if they’re freshly laid by our own chickens.