Tuesday, 25 February 2020

The Toothache Queen

On Saturday afternoon I developed slight toothache. By Sunday morning, during church, it had developed to a raging pain [Bob knew something was up, I wasn't singing the hymns with my usual enthusiasm] and I took some strong painkillers. It got no better so Monday, as we left Cornerstones I rang the dentist and got an emergency appointment for 8am Tuesday. The dentist  X-rayed, and thought it might be a cracked filling, but couldn't see it, her senior colleague was called in. He thinks there may be a problem with the root... So I have a 45 minute appointment booked with him for Friday, when he may have to extract the tooth. 
The pain comes and goes, with varying degrees of intensity - I feel like the Queen in that wonderful Chess Set from the Isle of Lewis.
I'm trying to avoid the pills, so Bob is being brilliant at distracting me with mental challenges.
When I mentioned the Queen, he posed me this question...
"If you were redecorating 'The San' in a Girls' Boarding School what pieces of artwork would you put on display?"
Now this left me wondering - when Bob was much younger, did he actually read those "girls' books", which I am sure were on his sister's shelf - Malory Towers, The Chalet School, Angela Brazil et al? Should I be surprised? after all, I read Biggles, Nevil Shute and John Buchan - previously labelled "boys' fiction" in the school libraries. However, it was a good question. I came up with three artworks [as well as the Toothache Queen] to represent 'female malaise'
Mariana, by John Everett Millais. One of the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, this picture is always referred to as "Backache Woman" in this house. Many teenage girls [my younger self included] found the P-Rs deeply romantic
The Lady Of Shalott by John William Waterhouse [another P-R chap] just for that line from Tennyson's poem "The curse has come upon me!" said whenever we were trying to claim we were too ill for hockey due to monthly cramps.
Munch's The Scream might seem a little drastic - but teenage girls occasionally tend to be drama queens. [Art historians now believe that the violent, blazing red and orange sky was actually inspired by the volcanic eruption of Krakatoa ten years before Edvard did this painting. The atmosphere, even far away in Norway, was filled with flaming ash and debris]
So, what art would YOU put in The Sanatorium to encourage those "clever gels" to get out of bed and return to their jolly hockey sticks? And which books should go on the bedside cupboard?
[I should stress, I never went to a Boarding School myself, I just read the stories - but I did loathe hockey]

Gone With The Wind

Each February Bob has a "Reading and Reflection" break, when he can get away briefly, to study, pray and prepare for the year ahead [particularly to plan all the Easter stuff for church] So we get away to Cornerstones and he shuts himself in one room and I do other stuff **[finish jigsaws, knit, odd jobs etc]
However our weekend away as been a little more complicated because of recent storms. Gary was here overnight last Monday, as he had a business meeting in East Anglia, and he'd reported on the State Of The Fences, and had a chat with our neighbour. Sadly things have got worse since.
At the side, the little gate has come away, and the fence panel by the bins is coming loose.
At the back, the whole fence between the garage and summerhouse was adrift, and the roof over the bbq and smoker had blown right off. Fortunately it landed on the patio and had not caused any damage in its flight.
We spent part of Saturday removing dodgy disintegrating panels and posts, and stacking them on the patio. 
There's a small wire fence between us and next door - so even though the panels have gone, Archie the dog will not be able to get into our garden. 
But there is a lot of fencing bedding to be repaired. 
Maintenance of a property when you live 200 miles away is neither straightforward nor cheap. Bob 
So some of my weekend has been spent going through cupboards and decluttering - I'm planning a Saturday Yard Sale when we get back to Dorset to raise some cash towards the Fencing Fund [Boot Fairs are usually on Sundays, so I don't do them]
The Etsy shop is ticking over - I've just sold the big kettle. By Easter I should have raised the money for my new glasses. 
**I had one very interesting outing, which will get its own blog post later. 

Monday, 24 February 2020

Birthday Girl

Rosie is four today. She continues to bring so much happiness to us all. Being grandparents is such a privilege. Happy Birthday, darling child - God bless you today and always 

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Lord In Your Mercy...

...Hear Our Prayer
Last Sunday, I said the "Prayers of Intercession" at Church. It is an important part of Sunday Worship for me, that we look outside the walls of the building and pray for the world around. I used part of the beginning of it on my prayer leaf in Salisbury. Here are the words from the end of that prayer. 
Lord Jesus
we have prayed about the storms
 - your words calmed the winds and the waves
we have prayed for the sick
 - you healed the deaf, the blind and the lame
we have prayed for the sad and bereaved
 - you stood weeping with Martha and Mary at the tomb of Lazarus
we have prayed for the homeless and the refugees
 - you had no home of your own, and as a baby, you and your parents were refugees fleeing persecution
Lord Jesus
You truly understand our prayers because you are the God Incarnate, who walked this earth and experienced suffering. We rejoice that you are the Risen and Powerful Saviour, who brings hope and joy and love - and peace beyond all human understanding.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer
Don't forget to comment if you are joining us for Lent Inspirations, starting next weekend.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

It's A Wrap!

Or so they say when they finish filming.I'm afraid I never got to see Little Women - there was too much going on in January and I never got round to finding someone to come with me. Which is a shame for lots of reasons, not least because I really wanted to see the wraps [ie shawls] which were worn by the actresses. They were made in the UK just 3½ miles from Cornerstones!
Jenn Mohahan of the Fibre Workshop in the village of Elsing produced around seven pieces for the film - 400 hours of knitting! Here she is with Beth's shawl [and she's wearing Jo's shawl]
Jenn has also knitted items for the films Churchill and 2017.
Wool is part of Norfolk's history - and Jenn champions the "Norfolk Horn" - a hardy little black faced breed brought to the county by the Saxons, around 420 AD. Numbers declined in the 1960s,almost to extinction, but now it is recognised as a rare breed - and there are 79 flocks.
Jenn runs workshops, on processing the yarn and dyeing it - maybe in a few years time I shall be able go to one [it's near enough to cycle]
What a lovely story - and there's a further twist ...
Jenn made a copy of Beth's shawl. She raffled it off for "Barefoot College and the Solar Mamas" - an amazing charity which works in 1300 villages in 80 countries worldwide to empower women. She hoped to raise £250 to help train women to produce energy, reduce carbon emissions and bring lihght, employment and self-reliant solutions for their communities. Her Raffle raised a whopping £4118. 74.
I haven't seen the film yet - but I'm thrilled to realise that there is a connection to my corner of Norfolk. Jenn's determination is helping to maintain a Rare Breed, and her generosity has blessed women across the world. 
That is an inspiring story.

Friday, 21 February 2020

I Thought Back Then It Was Comedy...

...But Now It Seems Like Fortune Telling
Do you realise that it is forty years this week since "Yes Minister" first hit our TV screens? [and many of you reading this were not even born then] We lost Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne sometime ago. Derek Fowlds died just last month. "The Thick Of It" by Armando Janucci is today's answer to YM [personally I find TTOI just a little too sweary - even if it has got Roger Allam** in it] But somehow the antics of Whitehall seemed such fun back in the 80s, and Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn wrote such witty scripts. 

I enjoyed the programme - and the sequel, Yes Prime Minister, so much! Now I look with despair on the antics in Downing Street.

** I have watched many episodes of "Sarah and Duck" [on CBeebies] with Rosie, just for the pleasure of listening to RA's voice.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Let There Be Light...

Hours later, and I'm still awed by the fabulous Sarum Lights which we watched in Salisbury on Tuesday Evening. To mark 800 years of the Cathedral, a fabulous son-et-lumiĆ©re event, facilitated by Lux Muralis, is showing for five nights this week [weather permitting] I saw an ad somewhere last week, and booked tickets online- only £5 each, and worth every penny.
We arrived at 7, and watched the display on the West Front then were efficiently whisked inside, out of the wind and rain.
The queue was sent round a circuit of the cloisters. This kept us moving, and also meant the hundreds in the line could better shelter from the elements as they waited their turn to go into the cathedral and walk down the nave.

The lights were awesome, my pictures do not do justice to the event. The music was lovely, and the displays gave a sense of history, and the passage of time - from Creation, through the Middle Ages to the present day. Architecture, art, science all represented.

Bob and I stood and marvelled at the beauty of light and sound...In one of the side chapels, was a beautiful altarpiece, and also a chance to write a prayer on a leaf shape. I decided to copy part of the prayer I'd written for last Sunday's service. The guide said I could take it home, or hand it in at the chapel on the other side, and it would become part of a larger display. When I got there, I was told to place it on the altar, and it would be collected later. My leaf-prayer was bathed in pink light!
We left by the cloisters again, looking at the important truths in which we as Christians believe - and reminded that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end of our faith.

Then back across the Market Square to catch a bus to the Park&Ride Carpark. Earlier in the day, the market had been in full swing, with brightly coloured stalls, traders and customers everywhere. It was strange to see it deserted but lit up - with the lights reflecting in all the puddles.
What a fantastic evening! I drove back - and found one section where our carriageway was coned off, and there were traffic lights. Since we'd left at midday, one side of the road had become quite flooded. Not a fun journey. But I am so glad we went, and grateful to all those Cathedral Volunteers who stood outside directing the crowds so cheerfully
Watch the official video to get a better impression of the Sarum Lights...

It was indeed a 'family friendly' event. Norwich had a light show last weekend too - "LoveLight". BBC report here. If you really want to see someone utterly awestruck by the glory of it all, here's Rosie in Norwich, totally enraptured...

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

One Step At A Time...

Two authors are adjacent on our bookshelf- Milne and Mitchell. Not one's immediate choices in terms of Health and Safety Literature. However, in one, we find the dreadful story of Scarlett O Hara falling downstairs, in the other, there is poor Edward Bear [aka Winnie] suffering as he descends behind his owner.
Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn't. 

Having got my new slippers, I realise that my old ones were getting a little too loose [as well as holey] Stair safety is very important. Not just for vulnerable people [children, pregnant Mums, people carrying things, the infirm and the elderly] but for every person [and teddy bear] As Sue as wisely pointed out, Cornerstones is a bungalow - which is a good thing if you are approaching retirement. I won't have to worry about fitting a Stairlift when I am 75! 
The British Woodworking Federation have produced this poster to remind us all about Stair Safety, based on the acronym S T A I R S. 
Read it, and stay safe, my friends!
But you do have to wonder about the designers of this New York Subway Station. Watch it and wince!
Fortunately the guy who made the film posted it on Social Media, and the staircase was fixed very quickly - presumably before anyone was able to sue for broken ankles or worse.