You Provide The Dialogue


Fulbeck Hall (Mary Fry in doorway)

In February 1993 Jessica attended a class in porcelain restoration at Fulbeck Hall in Grantham. This was the home of her friend, Mary Fry. Mary stands in the doorway of the house. The tutor was Anna Hackett, a mutual friend. I fear that the negatives of these images have been permanently lost, so today’s scans are of the colour prints.

Items for repair

Decorative plates, cups,

Porcelain class item for repair

and delicate dishes all needed the expert attention,

Repair kit

of those able to handle these materials.


The expression of this Japanese gentleman appears to have frozen when he lost his hand.

Jessica painting ceramic 1Jessica painting ceramic 2

With the use of a mounted magnifying glass, Jessica painted an elaborate rococo piece.

Jessica examining tile

Here she examines a small chip.

Anna Hackett at work 1

Anna selects a brush with which to touch up a large blue and white jug.

Anna Hackett at work 3Anna Hackett at work 4

 I am not sure what she is doing with this tool.

Ceramic student 1

Another student shares a joke;

Anna Hackett at work 5

Anna Hackett at work 6Anna Hackett at work 7

Anna turns her careful attention to a beautifully painted urn;

Broken ceramic dog

then came a rather perplexing challenge

Anna Hackett, Mary Fry, and broken ceramic dog

which gave rise to a forgotten conversation.

Mary Fry and broken ceramic dog

Can you provide the dialogue between Anna and Mary?

The opening photograph of Fulbeck Hall is one of a set I produced for Mary’s promotional brochure. I will feature the rest tomorrow.

This evening we dined on highly spiced marinaded spare ribs, wild rice and peas, and spring rolls. I drank Mendoza Parra Alta malbec 2017.



Tales From The Window Sills

During our honeymoon in March 1968, Jackie and I were intrigued by a deserted house in Ockley. We wandered around inside and wondered if it were for sale, but decided we couldn’t afford it. It would, we thought, have been just our kind of project. Now, nearly half a century later, we find ourselves on a similar adventure. Although not previously unoccupied, our current home has probably required just as much work.

The two interchangeable pictures I put up today are both from colour slides taken in that house. As is my wont, I photographed them in situ on the wall, so the reflections and locations form parts  of the images.

The two old shoes lying on the newspaper were exactly as I found them. Whose were the footwear? A previous owner? Someone who had sheltered there? We will never know. IKEA did not come to the UK until 1987, so the shelves alongside the photo on the wall of the downstairs loo were probably unknown to the mystery owner of the worn down heel. There is no window in the little room, so photographs made there always contain a light hanging from the ceiling and glowing over the subject in the corner.

As can be seen through its kitchen window, the garden of that old house was as beset by brambles as is ours now. Had someone enjoyed a meal on the dusty plate? Was it the owner of the shoes? We didn’t look inside the box, but were there any rotten eggs inside it? Had the contents filled the plate? How had they been cooked? Who now knows?

I framed today’s picture to show a reflection of our own windowsill which, until recently, had also featured brambles, and, quite fortuitously, my shot included the far end of the ledge containing Jackie’s maternal grandparents’ wedding photograph behind a family heirloom. Mr and Mrs O’Connell, the dapper Edwardian groom and his beautiful wife, stand behind a glass dome containing the bride’s bouquet and tiara which Jackie now treasures.
After working on these images, I walked along Hordle Lane and left into Stopples Lane to deliver a cheque to Abre Electrical.

Dog roses now adorn the hedgerows.
Adjacent to Apple Court Garden I noticed a horse box being filled with logs, and heard the sound of a chainsaw. I wandered into the garden and spoke to the logger. He was clearing trees for his neighbour. The quid pro quo was that he disposed of the brushwood and kept the logs for his own wood-burning stove. He showed me a pile of ashes that was all that was left of the branches of four trees from yesterday. He also said that any wood could be burnt in the stove.

This is pretty much what I had been thinking of doing with our cuttings pile.

Whilst I was out, Jackie made an excellent start on clearing the right hand corner of our front drive. Apart from freeing the shrubs from each other and from brambles, this now enables her to have a clearer view when driving onto Christchurch Road.
My lady spent the afternoon completing her preparation of a superb evening meal for us and for her sisters Helen and Shelly and brother in law Bill. We enjoyed a pleasant evening together over Jackie’s blissful beef casserole (recipe) meal followed by tangy apple and gooseberry crumble and custard. Various wines and sparkling water were imbibed and a toast drunk in Cava in celebration of the recent arrival of Helen and Bill’s grandson William (to be known, like his grandfather, as Billy).