Saturday, 20 July 2019

Love You To The Moon And Back

This is a phrase you often hear nowadays  - between couples, between children and their appears on greetings cards, coffee mugs, and is the title of a children's book [pub 2015] 
Many people will first have encountered the expression in Sam McBratney's book [pub 1994] "Guess how much I love you?"
As far as I can tell, the expression 'to the moon and back' has been around for decades - and NASA used it in the 1960s to describe their space program. The first use of a similar phrase incorporating 'love' seems to be in a play called "Nuts" from 1979 by US Playwright Tom Toper.

"When I was a little girl, I used to say to her, ‘I love you to the moon and down again and around the world and back again.’ And she used to say to me, ‘I love you to the sun and down again and around the stars and back again.’”
It started appearing on twitter about 10 years ago, and in 2014 Dolly Parton released a song entitled To The Moon And Back.
There will be loads of stuff in the media this weekend about it being half a century since the first moon-landing. And rightly so - it was an amazing achievement. 
I remember on the Sunday evening, after church, the youth group went to someone's home for coffee and chat - and we all stood out in the back garden and looked up and wondered. The next day [my Mum's 45th birthday] we heard that it had happened - two men had walked on the moon. 
Friends, I have to tell you that I too went to the moon and back the other Friday evening! There was a moon landing in Dorset!
The Dorset Moon Experience came to Bournemouth
Click on the link above to read more -but we visited this amazing inflatable lunar recreation in St Peter's Church one warm Friday evening.
Each centimetre of the internally lit sphere represents 5km of the lunar surface, a scale of 1:500,000. The free exhibition is travelling round the world [Northern Ireland next week, Mags!]
It was quite spectacular to see it shining brightly, suspended at the far end of the nave, as we walked into the church. Awesome...
As you can imagine, there were a lot of people taking photographs! Holding up the moon seemed to be one of the most popular pose.
And in case you are wondering, this is what the darkl side of the moon looks like...

As King David said in Psalm 8-
When I look at the sky, which you have made, at the moon and the stars, which you set in their places—what are human beings, that you think of them?

Friday, 19 July 2019

The Eagle Has Landed [In Norfolk]

Did you see the lunar eclipse on Tuesday? I was absolutely enthralled by the light, shadows and colours, there was a beautiful view from my bedroom window here in Dorset. This amazing picture was taken in nearby Mudeford [PAMedia/BBC] 
This is definitely a week for remembering the moon landing, and all that happened fifty years ago.
Earlier on Tuesday, I was in Norfolk - we'd made an overnight visit to Cornerstones in order to deliver a sofa and a bicycle, distribute invites to our Ruby Wedding Event, sort out The Patio Saga, and complete a few other tasks. Plus we got to go out for a meal on Monday evening with Adrian and Marion [Prezzo, Dereham - food very good, but service rather slow]
Someone in Swanton Morley obviously felt that the village needed reminding of the lunar celebrations - a tableau of Steven Spielberg filming Neil Armstrong had been set up on the roadside verge...
Against a green screen with earth and a couple of stars, Armstrong is stepping out towards the director. 
Clapperboard and megaphone to hand, with his knees knotted in a most uncomfortable way, the director is staring into the sunlight.
Armstrong [who appears to be pregnant and balancing precariously on a football] stretches out his hand as he steps onto the silvery lunar surface.
This is, as they say, quite "Normal for Norfolk"!

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Pasta For The Pastor?

I entered an online competition to win a trip for two to Tuscany. I went to Florence about 18 years ago with Steph when she was doing art A Level. It was fantastic, I loved it - the art, the food, the people... I thought it would be good to take Bob. But sadly I didn't win - however I was a runner-up. The company emailed me to ask for my address. 
A parcel came, addressed to Mrs Almond Angela
Inside was a note saying this was my prize, and I'd won a selection of foods to introduce me to the produce of Fattoria la Vialla. FLV is a group of family run farms in Tuscany
There was a catalogue of the products, full of lovely photos. Wines, cheeses, olives and oils, pastas... All organic, grown using traditional methods. 
No plastic - just card, paper, straw and natural string
There was a packet of spaghetti, a small jar of tomato sauce, a little bottle of oil, another of white wine and a small corkscrew. Enough to make a meal for one. 

There was also a DVD about a year on the Farm - with a note apologising for the "amateur quality". Yes it was clunky in parts, but it was sunny and cheerful [and rather long, after an hour I wondered if it had been made in real time] The family are clearly very proud of their produce.  I checked out their websiteit is equally enthusiastic.
What a lovely surprise - thank you FLV for my prize!

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Saving The Planet Through Crafting!

That is the motto of the Dorset Scrapstore- a charity which is 20 years old this year.
Notice the R-R-R, for "reduce, re-use, recycle" in their logo.
This place is truly an Aladdin's Cave.
We have a Church Membership card, and in recent weeks I have visited twice to pick up materials for our children's activities [once with Bob, and once with my friend Alison who runs a craft&coffee group at UCF]
The store is only a few miles up the road, in Poole. Members can fill a carrier bag for £4 or a binbag for £10, from the bins and  the 'freebie' shelves. There are other individually priced items [fabric on a roll, to buy by the metre - from as little as £1] Everything is beautifully laid out, and it is easy to look round.
Local companies donate unwanted stuff - so there were lots of brightly printed 'Lush' cardboard boxes available. I picked up some jingle bells and some 'DIY Xmas Crackers' [I know it is July, but they won't be there next week]  I got some fabric to make a cover for the PA box in the church hall, coloured card, pingpong balls, and a few other bits and pieces. Bob collected some lighting gel, and Alison chose some textured lino [she has an idea about embossing with it] I needed a few more shoelaces for my snakes- and ended up with a bag of100 lilac ribbons with aglet ends.
The staff are incredibly cheerful and seem ridiculously pleased when they can supply the item you need,or something similar. If you are in the Dorset area, you should check them out [schools, church groups, individuals can all apply for a membership card]
I just love the idea that things which otherwise would go to waste are being used for positive craft purposes.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Weights And Measures

The kids at school always love studying the Egyptians- especially all the stuff surrounding death. The bit where they pull your brain out through your nose** before you can be mummified, and that your heart is weighed against the feather of truth to see if you are worthy of the afterlife. [** I apologise if your child came home from school believing that they used a bent paperclip, cos that was what the Supply Teacher told them]
As our Kids' Club this year is all about Moses, we have a lot of Egyptian stuff going on. I've realised that my scales are very useful timesavers as I prepare and collate all the craft materials.
All the bottle tops had to be washed in the bath before Chris drilled them.
I needed to sort them into groups of approximately 300. I weighed 10, then 20 - and established that 300 bottle tops weigh around  1lb/450gm. It is much quicker to weigh them than count them individually.
I applied the same idea to the various cut-out shapes - and was very satisfied with the amount of time I saved. 

Last summer, I spotted an idea for a craft on the internet which I thought I could modify.
We are going to make Grumpy Pharaohs using a wooden fork, wool, pipecleaners  and coffee filters [most of supplies I had already in the Great Stash]
But it appears that Pixar have got there first with Forky in Toy Story 4 [I haven't seen it yet, so no spoilers please]
Oh well - the children who have seen the film will be used to the idea of a fork character.  and we are using wooden, not plastic forks here, so that seems to be a win-win situation.

Monday, 15 July 2019


Always pronounced in our family as "Spud-oo-lickay" - making it sound like a greek word [for jacket potatoes perhaps?]
 You know I cannot bear food waste - so a few months back, when I realised that some potatoes had somehow been left in the garage, and had "chitted" themselves, 
I couldn't bring myself to throw them in the food waste bin. So I put some compost in an old dustbin, and then planted the spuds. And I've been watering them [with rainwater from the butt, naturally] and then this weekend I harvested them. 
Here they are -  a whole bowlful, I carefully washed and dried them.
I have 2kg of very good potatoes- and they grew beautifully with next to no attention from me [other than watering] I checked out supermarket prices, and this lot would cost around £3.50/£4. Bargain! 

I have already used the smallest ones to make a potato salad with mayo and homegrown mint, and served some of the middle-sized ones boiled with butter. 
Any other suggestions for preparing these freebies?

Sunday, 14 July 2019

A Work In Progress

Crafters are very familiar with that expression - how's that jumper you were knitting? "Well it's a WIP - Work In Progress" [or sometimes UFO - UnFinished Object, or PhD - Project Half Done] But it applies to people too. We are all learning, growing - and hopefully becoming the people we ought to be.

Our Church has adopted a "Vision and Values" Statement which sets out what we believe, about God, and about our commitment to him, to each other, and to our world.
Here's our Vision Statement
To see the Kingdom of God built, in Ferndown and wherever we are, through each member as we grow together as disciples of Jesus. 
This is a shared goal – we work together to build God’s kingdom. And that’s also local – we are committed to the community in which God has placed us. But it is also an individual goal: we believe in preparing people to be effective representatives of God’s Kingdom wherever they are, and in whatever they are doing.
And then there are 11 Values - [you can read them here]
Over the last few weeks, Bob has been teaching about each of these in turn - tonight we will be considering Value 7 - "Work In Progress"
We are a people who acknowledge that we are not the finished article. We will remain humble, realising that in both success and defeat God is working through us for our good and always questioning how and why we are doing what we are doing. We will be gentle and understanding with those who struggle, acknowledging that none of us is accepted by God through our own merit. Faith is a lifelong journey, and while we travel together, we can each be at a different stage in that journey.

I find this so encouraging - I love the fact that we travel together, but each of us is at our own stage in the journey. I am grateful for God's grace that He is loving, accepting, and forgiving  - even when we go wrong. Sometimes when I am knitting or sewing, I make a mistake, and I have to unpick and re-do a section. Occasionally I spot a mistake that I made a few rows back, and there is even more unravelling and correcting and reknitting. Life is like that - there are mistakes which we can seek to correct promptly, and others which perhaps were made a long time ago, and we need the humility to acknowledge them. 
Sometimes the finished garment will carry evidence of a slip, even after we have done our best to rectify things. But that does not mean the garment is worthless, or unwearable. Our lives may carry the marks of previous bad times - but it does not mean we are worthless, or useless. We keep going on the journey...