Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Mange Tout

mange tout

Mange tout  =  eat all. I cannot remember the last time I ate any of these sweet little peas in their pods. My late friend Lynn was in M&S once, and heard a lady asking the assistant for them. Except she said

“Do you have any of those man-ghee towts?” We’ve called them that ever since! But the principal ‘eat all’ is a good one. I am following Sue’s September challenge [here] and intending to eat up the reserves.

Following the car debacle, I intend to see just how long I can go this month without buying any food. Anticipating the budget restraints, I brought back some non perishable stuff from the Cornerstones cupboard. I got some salad veg [reduced!] and milk on Saturday. A friend gave me some lovely beans on Sunday from her garden – I shall prep them, and freeze them in 2-portion packs.

Over lunch on Sunday, I said to Bob

“You know that conversation we sometimes have, where I say ‘the budget is tight, expect some rather bizarre meals this month’ and you say ‘How will I know things are any different from normal?’. Well, imagine that conversation has just happened!’”

Bob smiled at me, indulgently. He is a very patient man. And he knows there are always Alka Seltzers and Gavison in the bathroom!

Monday, 1 September 2014

More Scandi Drama

crimes of passion 1

Did anyone else watch the latest BBC4 Eurocrime offering to hit our screens this weekend? “Crimes of Passion” is another Scandinavian offering, set in the 1950s.

The series based on Maria Lang’s crime novels is set in the magic beauty of Bergslagen, a genuinely Swedish environment – and the period clothes and furnishings are beautifully done.

The blurb says “In six episodes, we meet Puck and Einar [aka Eje] Bure along with police superintendent Christer Wijk in their quest to catch the killer. The murderer is always “one of us” and the murder plots are crimes of passion. Each episode is a classic whodunnit where we follow the lives and fortunes of interesting characters in an exciting thriller filled with love, sex, intrigue, betrayal, secrets, lies, and death.”

I wasn’t too sure – I found it all to be quite slow moving – there were lots of gaps between the – subtitled – Swedish dialogue [this proved useful as I was trying to hem something whilst watching!] The body count was high. Episode 1 was in classic Christie style – houseparty on an island, a murder, and the only boat to the mainland is out of action. But the main protagonist, Puck was an interesting character.

I shall watch the rest of the series before I make up my mind.

IMG_2953No bodies or murder in my other Scandinavian literatuire this week. I have been reading stories from this book to my new class. The five year olds are loving it.

Mrs. Pepperpot, is a little old lady who lives in a cottage in the Norwegian countryside together with her husband.  has a secret - she occasionally shrinks to the size of a pepperpot!

However, she always manages to cope with the tricky situations that she finds herself in, at least partially thanks to the fact that upon shrinking she also gains the ability to understand and talk to all animals. Alf Proysen began writing these stories 60 years ago [in Norwegian, she is called Teskjekjerringa, the teaspoon lady]


It occurred to me whilst on holiday that my new class may not know what a pepperpot is, so I picked up this little wooden gen for 50p in a CS in Norfolk. It is just the right size to pass round the class and be held in little hands.

I was telling one of the stories on Thursday when a colleague came into the classroom. Afterwards she made a brilliant suggestion

“You should dress up your pepperpot to look like Mrs P” she said.

You know me – that was far too good an idea to ignore. So I set to work. I began with a circle of pink fabric which I hemmed and put elastic round the edge. This covered the top of the pot, to make the head, rather like a mob cap. Then I made a simple dress, opening all down the back – and stitched that to the bottom of the head. I sewed arms to the dress, and ribbon ties.  embroidered a face onto the head and sewed on some brown wool to make hair – including a little bun on the back. It is very easy to slip Mrs Pepperpot on and off the wooden form.


Here’s a view from below, showing the head ‘hole’


Her cheeks are a little bit hamster-like! But the overall effect is just about right.

Next week’s stories will have an added dimension. The five minutes of story at the end of the day is such a lovely time with the class.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Matthew 6:25-34

These last few days, I have seen that bullfinch in the garden again. In a week full of unexpected hassles, it has served as a good reminder to me of John Newton’s old hymn.

bullfinch m filmore

The birds, without barn or storehouse, are fed;
from them let us learn to trust God for our bread.
This one thing secures us, whatever betide,
The scripture assures us, the Lord will provide.

No strength of our own, or goodness we claim;
Yet since we have known the Saviour's great name,
In this our strong tower for safety we hide;
The Lord is our power, the Lord will provide.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Rust In Peace



It is just two months since my little blue Matiz clocked up 50,000 miles. At the time I was driving along happily, going through the village past the church. But since then…

  • the clutch had to be replaced,
  • then the clutch cable snapped,
  • then the speedo cable came adrift,
  • then one brake light failed,
  • then something got noisily stuck in an airvent
  • then it refused to go into reverse,
  • then there was a problem with the gearbox mountings…

… I got home from school yesterday [having been given a lift by a kind colleague] and Bob called me to sit down in the lounge. The news from the garage was not good – having fixed the mountings, they found that the gearbox is completely defunct and the car is ‘beyond economic repair’

That’s it then! We went over to the garage and paid for the first bit of gearbox work, and Bob drove it back to the village. Our drive is sloping- there is no way we could get it on and off again easily.

So currently the vehicle is ‘lying in state’ in the church car park.

We had hoped to get to next April before this happened [I will get a small lump sum on my birthday which we’d earmarked for car replacement] this deterioration has been remarkably rapid over the summer.

It’s only a car. But I shall certainly miss it!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Family And Feasting

This year, our summer holiday seemed to be one long celebration of lots of different wonderful things –

  1. we are exactly halfway through our mortgage [something I never believed would happen when we took it on in 2009]
  2. Bob and I celebrated 35 years of marriage
  3. Steph and Mark are engaged
  4. we were able to spend lots of quality time with my brother and his family, our children and their partners, my best friend Christine, and our Cornerstones neighbours

So we celebrated- and we feasted. Boy, did we feast [despite that, I only put on 2lbs in weight] Look at all these wonderful meals


Row 1; The smoked pulled pork – for the BBQ, and then in the pie Row 2; lovely Sunday lunch at Darby’s [salmon, prawns, pie, f&c] Row 3; Jon’s smoked chickens with salad, Boston baked beans etc Row 4; Pancakes at The Albatros, moules et frites on our anniversary

family and food-002

Bob’s barbecue, Bob and Jon sorting out the smoker, Marion and Steph with Adrian’s barbecue. What is is about men and fire?

Finally, family members – at Hunstanton, at the Swaffham Festival, at family barbecues. What a glorious summer* we enjoyed together!

august 2014

*it did get a bit damp and windy at the Festival – which is why Bob his under his hood. Mostly the weather was good, you can tell that by the wearing of shorts and the paddling in the sea!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Better Late Than Never…

Finally, some photos of Megamakers week

Dress Up Day – inventors, scientists and robots…


Group Displays


Busy people


And the busiest of the lot – the man who led the sessions, played the guitar, acted in the drama, swept up plums, jet-washed the barbecue, encouraged everybody, fetched the fish’n’chips, built a megamachine – and even cleaned up the boys’ toilets…


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Journeying Mercies

I know that God has been around, listening to our prayers, for a long, long time [since time immemorial, and before that…] but why is it that we Christians often feel the need to address the Almighty using phraseology which might have felt comfortable to Thomas More, or John Bunyan or William Wilberforce – but let’s be honest, sounds dead weird to 21st century ears???

For instance “Journeying mercies” – I have lost count of the times I have heard somebody praying for a friend who is about to travel somewhere, and beseeches the Lord to grant them journeying mercies. I know I have said it myself. Sorry, Lord what was I thinking? What on earth does that phrase mean?


At 2am Tuesday morning, I was praying, rather more simply ‘Lord get us back home to Kirby Muxloe safely’ The A47 is a long, and tedious road sometimes, with long stretches where there is nowhere to overtake safely, and a lot of roadworks and resurfacing going on right now. Bob was travelling on the bike, I was in the [non-reversing] Daewoo



There are plans to improve this route. But it is a long way from Cornerstones to Kirby and I knew I would need to stop halfway. But nowhere which required reversing!!! Bob and I agreed to meet up at the Guyhirn Sex Shop, as the car park is huge and I could turn a complete circle there.

I should explain that the GSS has changed in character – years ago it was a Little Chef – we used to stop there when the girls were much younger, on journeys home from my parents. Then it closed and re-opened as an adult store. We never visited it in those days!

shop then

But it didn’t do much trade- and closed down – then re-opened again in a more useful format. “The Coffee Tree Experience” It is right next door to a petrol station.

shop now

So after breakfast [and more prayers] I left just before 8.30am, with Bob [I thought] close behind. The car was going OK – although 1st gear was getting difficult to engage. I fully expected Bob to overtake me along the route, but he didn’t. I pulled into the [empty]car park, drove round in a circle and parked facing the exit – across two marked spaces. I went in, apologised for my strange parking, and ordered a coffee. The girl was very sympathetic to my car plight. A couple of minutes later, Bob pulled up outside. He came in, removing his helmet- and he looked a little pale.

“Do you have your phone with you?” “Err – no , I’ve left it on the passenger seat. Why?” Just after I had left, Bob realised I had got his wallet and purse in my bag. He tried to ring me, but there was no signal. The bike indicated he had used all the fuel in the main tank – and he needed to switch to the reserve tank.

The question Bob could not answer was this -  How far will the bike go on the reserve tank?

He could not stop and refuel, as he had no means of payment! and he could not contact me to arrange to meet up. He decided he would just have to drive as economically as he could and hope he got most of the way to our pre-arranged rendezvous.

The answer to the question is exactly 50 miles

Which is the exact distance from Cornerstones to the Coffee Tree Experience- as he came across the junction and started indicating for the left turn into the car park, he ran out of fuel and coasted into a parking space! How amazing is that!

DSCF5523Bob came into the coffee shop, explained what had happened, reclaimed his wallet then pushed his bike over to the garage forecourt and filled both tanks! We were safely together again in Kirby by 11.30.

Prayers for safe journey answered. Having unloaded the car I drove gingerly round to the garage, who rang later and said they could fix it but it was a gearbox issue and they had to wait for the parts. Bob still thinks the clutch is at fault [the guy in the Norfolk garage said that too] We will just have to wait and see…

Right now I am grateful we are back safe and sound – and I guess God did show mercy to both of us on our journey along the A47.