Sunday, 30 August 2015

Ten Weeks Ago!

Time flies- but at last I have some of Steph and Mark’s official wedding pictures- here’s just a few of them. I just have to post this shot of the groom’s fantastic shoes – the soles were bright green!


The bride being met outside the church by her Pastor [who’s also her Dad] The happy couple walking down the aisle after the ceremony. Standing outside the church [more bunting!] Cutting the cake with the Great Sword!

from facebook2

The guys [Mark’s brother and best friend were the two Best Men] and the gals [friend Lucy, sister Liz, cousin Lucy, SIl Emma]. Arriving at church in Uncle Adrian’s MG. Making their vows. The Church Bible – 1 Corinthians 13. Everybody outside KMFC

from facebook1

The first dance – two lovely young people, blissfully happy, and in so much love with each other. A wonderful day full of happy memories.


Saturday, 29 August 2015

Wellington’s In Need Of Rubber Gloves!

apsley houseFrequently when driving through London, I go down the side of Hyde Park and round past “Number One London” Apsley House, for many years the home of the Dukes of Wellington.

They say it was called No. 1 because when built in the 1770s, it was the first house passed by the folk coming from the countryside through the tollgates at Knightsbridge

Wellington-ArchIn the middle of the busy traffic island opposite, stands this arch, designed by Decimus Burton, known as the Wellington Arch [or sometimes Constitution Arch, or Green Park Arch] It was first built around 1830, on a spot nearby, then moved in 1882 to accommodate traffic flow.

The idea of two monuments to commemorate victory in the Napoleonic Wars had been conceived by George IV [the other being the Marble Arch] But Burton’s design exceeded the budget, so initially the arch was just that – with nothing on top of it. Then the nation decided that something should be done to acknowledge the part played by Wellington in the whole Napoleonic affair.


In 1846 – whilst the Duke was still very much alive, a bronze statue of him astride his horse Copenhagen was placed on the top [the arch being especially strengthened to bear the 40 ton weight] But C. had died, so couldn’t be a model – and people objected that the horse was all wrong! Also the statue was out of proportion to the arch beneath.

Petitions were written and sent to the Queen and to the government. Decimus Burton hated it. The Iron Duke himself had to see it out of his window every day – but Queen Victoria insisted it stay, and so it did [for W’s lifetime] but then when the arch was repositioned [30 years after his death] the equestrian statue did not go back on top. The Prince of Wales wanted to have a Quadriga  - a four wheeled winged chariot there. This had been on Burton’s original design. Finally, in 1912, once the Prince had become King Edward VII, the dream was realised. [The horse statue was given to the Army, and is now outside the Garrison Church in Aldershot.]

quadriga - front

Here is the winged Goddess of Victory [aka NIke] the model for the quadriga driver was the young son of Herbert Stern, the businessman who gave the King the money for the statue. 

In 2000, the Quadriga was in serious need of restoration - the bronze casting was supported by its original, complex steel and iron armature, which had corroded badly. Some parts of the structure were being distorted and weakened by rust. A London Conservation Company carried out extensive cleaning and repair work.

nike sloganBut now English Heritage have decided Nike needs a clean up again. Such projects don’t come cheap! So they have sought sponsorship. Now you’d have thought this lot would help – but no!

cifcreamThe cleaning is being underwritten by Cif – who were formerly called Jif, back in the day. In fact, they are planning to work with English Heritage to clean and restore many of our national monuments. For each bottle of Cif purchased in Tesco this month, 25p will go towards the clean-up. I don’t think Cif are actually using their products on the bronze!

cif shine

“Cif is committed to restoring the beauty of our surroundings, so we’re always looking for people and organisations that share our values to help us do it. Like Cif, English Heritage is dedicated to conserving and restoring our environment for the benefit of this, and future, generations.”

Cleaning will start in January 2016. I shall have a look when I am driving round the roundabout! I think ‘Quadriga’ would make a good name for a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Do You Obey Rule 163?

Click HERE to watch this video. Please drive carefully!
Until we get the sort of separate cycle lanes provided in the Netherlands, we all need to be more careful of how we drive our cars past the people of bicycles. And please don't tell me "but Motorists pay Road Tax, cyclists don't" That is INCORRECT. In fact, all taxpayers finance the roads, what motorists pay is Vehicle Excise Duty. And anyway, that response does not excuse dangerous and bad driving!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

They’ve Seen The Signs In Leicestershire…


The council put up helpful signs to point people in the right direction!

error in coalville 08 15

This sign in Coalville is the latest county council gaffe. Oh, no, sorry, that should read CoalVILE. Get it right, County Hall!!

coalvile 08 15


The Old Soldiers of the RADA are all lining up to appear in the new Dad's Army film - due for release in February 2016. Toby Jones as Captain Mainwaring, Bill Nighy as Sergeant Wilson, Michael Gambon as Private Godfrey, Tom Courtenay as Lance Corporal Jack “Don’t Panic” Jones some younger talent - The Inbetweeners’ Blake Harrison as Private Pike, and Catherine Zeta-Jones providing the glamorous female interest [mind you, she is approaching 50 now, and has been on stage for almost 35 years] 
I have very mixed feelings about the film. I grew up watching the original programmes with my family, and I love watching repeats on TV, and listening to the excellent radio broadcasts on BBC Radio 4 Extra. Furthermore, I am a little miffed with the town of Bridlington where the film was made, who are planning to 'twin' with Warmington-on-Sea, because Thetford in Norfolk has been the true home of Dad's Army since 1968, as any fule kno. But there we are, times have changed...As long as the script is of the calibre of the original Perry/Croft ones, with such a stellar cast***, they certainly ought to be able to produce a fine film.
*** For what it's worth, I am not that keen on Bill Nighy [although I did get to teach his great-niece for a whole term once] but I will happily watch anything with Tom Courtenay in it.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The Measure Of The Man

We try to limit our spending on anniversary gifts – but also to find something which the other will enjoy. When I found this little item in a CS recently, I knew it was just the sort of quirky gizmo which Bob would have fun with. It came in a neat wooden presentation case. I was intrigued, and after much discussion with James [the helpful assistant in the Trussell Trust Shop] and the pair of us squinting through the sights and wiggling the little lever, I handed over my dosh, and then came home to research it further.



It is a circumferentor, or surveyor's compass – that is, an instrument used in surveying to measure horizontal angles. Although it was superseded by the theodolite in the early 19th century, ‘Stanley’ of London continued to make them. 


According to the instructions, “Practice with this compass will help a person develop the ability to visualize lines and planes in three-dimensional space. On the cover of this compass there is a Natural Sine Scale for calculations of different readings during a survey.

Under the cover is a mirror used for taking reflecting readings from the dial. The compass is composed of a magnetic needle that is balanced on a pin so that the needle can rotate easily and becomes aligned with the magnetic field lines at the location of measurement.”


“The ability to visualize lines and planes in three-dimensional space” does remind me rather of the phrase Time And Relative Dimension In Space. Well, WHO would have thought it? [next anniversary, should I get Bob a sonic screwdriver and knit him a long scarf?]

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Thirty Six Fantastic Years!

A man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honour her husband.  [Ephesians 5]

Summer 1979

wedding 1979

Summer 2015

4 of us at wedding

Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today

Happy Anniversary, Bob – so grateful for all that we have shared together in the years past, looking forward to all that lies ahead…

Monday, 24 August 2015

Throw In The Towel

As Douglas Adams said, in Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy…

“A towel, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have…You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”

There have been times when I have needed a towel and been unprepared – like the summer of 2011, when 4 of us stripped to our underwear and had an impromptu swim at a Norfolk beach. We ended up having to share just one towel – Marion’s dog-drying-towel!ang liz swimjon mark swim

I have decided that as we are near the sea so much more these days, it would make sense for us to keep a towel in each of our cars. So I took one of my kitchen roller towels apart [I don’t have a roller here] and rehemmed the two sections. Then I made neat little bags from a remnant of curtain material. And here they are – ready to go.


If you want to make a similar bag, first fold and roll up your towel tightly and measure the length and circumference. Add 2” to each measurement.  Mine was 10”x10”, I cut a square of fabric 12”x 12”.

Fold in half, right sides together and sew the long side seam. Flatten, so the seam runs up the centre, and sew across the bottom. If you want a square base, then sew across each corner. Hem the top edge. Turn inside out and attach hanging loop. Roll up your towel, push it in – and head for the beach!