Wednesday, 29 July 2015
Sue, over at Frugal In Suffolk, mentioned this as being one of her recent library books, and it looked interested so I ordered it from our library. I did wonder if it would be a cut-and-paste lightweight affair, with a picture of Mrs Sew-and-Sew and reproductions of all the ‘make do and mend’ leaflets. But I was delighted to find it was not that at all!
This excellent book by Suzanne Griffith is proper history, interesting facts, well presented, beautifully illustrated, and cleverly and thoughtfully set out. Well worth the read – even if you are not a stitcher yourself. Ms Griffiths treats the word ‘stitch’ as an abstract noun, as a virtue like courage, fortitude, faith, or thrift. She argues that ‘stitch’ was an essential part of the ammunition which helped Britain win WW2.
Yes, the cheery Mrs S&S does appear, along with diagrams showing how to turn hubby’s suit into outfits for the children – but the book has so much more than that. The book begins with the Kindertransport- German Jewish children brought to the UK and safety between 1938 and 1940– and how their mothers sewed precious small things for them to carry. Toys, scarves etc…or they gave them mementoes- granny’s sampler, a monogrammed hankie…and afterwards, these children said that all that remained of their family heritage was that tiny piece of stitching – because everything else had been burnt at Auschwitz or Belsen. I have to admit that this first chapter was so moving, I had to stop and recover before I could read any more!
But the book says so much about the power of stitch in wartime. The women who sewed the ‘Blimps’ and the parachutes, the men in POW camps secretly stitching clothes for their escape attempts, the wedding dresses made from bed sheets, and the curtains from flour sacks, the thriftiness, and other clever recycling of one fabric item into another. Clemmie Churchill adopting a ‘turban headscarf’ as her signature style, in recognition of the girls working in the factories. The sheer determination of the British people not to let wartime restrictions remove the joy from life – finding bits of ric-rac trim, and skeins of embroidery thread in order to add brightness to plain, dull dresses, or make hand-me-downs that little bit more special for the recipient.
I have genuinely loved reading this book – and learned so much from it. I am thrilled that so many younger women in their 20s and 30s are currently taking up knitting, crochet and needlework – and hope this trend continues. ‘Stitch’ can bring so much pleasure, both in the creation, and in wearing the end result. Developing craft skills, sharing them, using them to redeem rags and remnants – all this is good. This book reminds us of an important time in our history, and the fact that many of the men, women and children in WW2 really were Stitching For Victory. Definitely I would rate this *****
[thanks Sue, for your original blogpost!]
Tuesday, 28 July 2015
I have tried and tried to be a gardener – and failed miserably down the years. Each summer I seem to buy a packet or two of vegetable seeds, and usually have very little success [THIS was the pathetic crop from 2009’s efforts] But arriving in Ferndown and finding a raised bed just beside the patio, I thought I really should make one more effort. So I planted out all the remaining seeds which had been accumulating in a tin in the garage in Kirby for many years. I labelled each row very neatly [but got the carrot and beetroot rows mixed up – not a good start]
Ever frugal, I have made a couple of batches of radish leaf pesto. It isn’t a particularly original idea – here is a recipe from the internet. Unlike the usual recipes, I changed mine to suit.
I had some walnuts which needed using up [the end of an inexpensive bag from Lidl] so they replaced the pine nuts. The radish leaves stood in for the basil – and as I cannot digest cheese, I missed out the Parmesan [but stirred grated cheddar into Bob’s portion] Mine was not too bitter- I notice some US recipes add sugar. Other recipes also add lemon juice to keep the colour green and fresh- I prefer to make small quantities and use it promptly. I stirred mine in to some freshly drained penne along with a tbsp of crème fraiche. It was creamy and delicious.
My friend Peter says there is an awful lot about food on this blog. I checked the categories stats – and he is absolutely right- food comes second to family, just beating crafts, friends and faith. I shall have to work on that!
Does anyone else have any recipes for pesto-made-without-basil ? I do know that some people use almonds instead of pine-nuts.
Monday, 27 July 2015
After an utterly appallingly wet day on Friday, Saturday was brilliantly sunny. Bob was at church by 8am to help demolish the back wall, opening up the worship area. The new chairs arrived – and it was all very exciting. Then at midday we were back again, setting up for the Family Fun Day
Here is the Splat-the-Rat which we made together [he did the tube, I did the rat] and the Story Tent. I should have photographed it with the floor cushions in, it looked very inviting!
The children really enjoyed soaking the staff with sponges and water pistols, and people really took it in good part. We noticed that the faces at the lower apertures got much wetter than those at the top. Here’s Miriam taking a picture of 3 wet teenagers.
There was lots to do – inside craft activities, outside circus skills [buy a set of juggling bags, 50p!] giant jenga, temporary tattoos, balls-in-buckets, horseshoe-toss, hook-a-duck, nerf-shooting cans…and of course, an inflatable.
Miriam and I felt it was important this should be thoroughly tested before the children arrived. So we did this…it was fun!
It was hot and sunny and loads of people came, children, parents, grandparents… I was too busy chatting, and telling stories, to take photos once the event started. It went really well.
Many of the indoor games were built by Neil. I was incredibly impressed by the trebuchet. In two parts [the trebuchet itself, and the castle target] You line up the engine, load it with a yellow leather ball, and fire it. If it hits one of the castle towers, they fall over and reveal a prize underneath. Fabulous fun! Lots of people bought sets of juggling bags to take home and practise.
Two views of the chapel – the wall which came down this morning was the original back wall – the new space is the part with the white roof. The lower picture is from the new area looking up to the front – you can clearly see where the new floor meets the old green carpet – and the stacks of chairs on either side.
Everyone has worked hard and pulled together as a team –not just this week at Kids Club, but generally as we have gone through the disruption of the building work. It is so exciting to realise we have been at Ferndown just six months – and seen this project go from a set of plans to an actual building. Interior redecoration and new PA yet to get sorted – but so fantastic to have been part of all this. Praying now that more people come in - to fill the new seats, and to find out more about Jesus.
Sunday, 26 July 2015
I got in the car and we were about to leave for church in heavy rain, when Bob noticed the side passage was flooded. So he cleared the drain blockage before we left.
The service itself was great, lots of children and parents. We sat on the New Chairs! And the teens did a fabulous drama.
Now to have lunch, load the car [in the rain!] and after church this evening, the long drive up to Cornerstones. I cannot wait – but they have issued a yellow weather alert – just where we are travelling!!
We are very fond of fruit cake in this family. Christmas Cake, Wedding Cake [picture shows Bob trimming Steph & Mark’s Cake before I put the marzipan on] and the Holiday Fruit Cake. For years, just before our self-catering holidays, I have made a fruit cake to take with us in a tin.
For speed and convenience, the HFC is done with a Be-Ro Recipe [here] in a loaf tin, but Christmas and Weddings come from the Good Housekeeping Cookbook.
The important thing is that all my family fruit cakes must contain plenty of fruit – raisins, sultanas, cherries, currants [and sometimes nuts – especially almonds] but no dried peel [cos Bob dislikes it] Every mouthful should be bursting with fruit and flavour.
It occurred to me that there are some Bible passages like that, where verse after verse contains rich nuggets of truth. Not just in the Psalms, but in the words of the prophets, the epistles, and the gospels too. Currently [currantly?] I am being nourished by Isaiah 43.
The UCF verse for the year is verse 19 [left]
But recently, a number of dear friends have been enduring all sorts of difficulties, and I have been encouraging them to hang on to these lovely promises at the start of the chapter.
The chapter begins with this amazing reminder that we should not be afraid- God knows us by name, and we are His.
Verse 4 reminds us how precious we are to God, and verse 13 tells us that nothing can separate us from Him.
Verse 10 challenges me as it confirms my calling to be a witness to his love.
The whole chapter is full of verses to encourage, comfort and challenge – bursting with grace and goodness. As rich and dense as the best fruit cake!
Have you got a favourite “Fruitcake Chapter”?
Saturday, 25 July 2015
Our teenagers were fantastic again in the drama – the continuing saga of DillyDally’s Circus. Bob made some custard pies for them, which were thrown with enthusiasm – but poor Rhys struggled to hear his cues due to foam in his ears!!
This afternoon is the Family Fun Day and BBQ – let us hope for sunshine and a good attendance.
Friday, 24 July 2015
Kids Club Day 2 was all about Daniel. So we decorated flowerpots to be lions. We did a similar thing two years ago at KMFC. On the left, you will see the sort of lions we made then. This year at UCF we had a slightly different lion[below], with concertina paper ‘arms’ and ‘legs’ . The cookery group made lion waffles [waffle bases from Lidl]
We sang Boing!!! which is a great kids song by Dave Godfrey and was always very popular at KMFC. Bob and I cycled to church again. It is very weird to pedal up the cycle path following your husband, when he is wearing a top hat and ringmaster’s red coat, with the tails flying out in the wind behind him! Goodness only knows what the local people must think of the new Pastor.
KMFC are doing ‘Banana Island’ next week – I am sure they will have a fabulous time too. Best wishes to all of you doing Holiday Bible Clubs/Vacation Bible Schools/etc this summer. It is incredibly hard work – but really rewarding.
Thursday, 23 July 2015
That is the theme for Kids’ Club at church this summer. Miriam, our Youth Leader has planned and prepared everything – it is fun just to be part of the team, and not have all the responsibilities we’ve had in previous years. But we have given thought to what we are wearing
The church has been decorated to look like the inside of a circus tent [this is definitely The Year Of The Bunting]
The programme runs a little differently here – the children get to do a variety of different activities and crafts each day and they take their crafts home when they leave. Today’s story was Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Activities included learning circus skills, making a windmill, building a bonfire [edible!] and doing the worksheet.
I think we had around 90 children. It felt like more!!! The children are divided into three teams – and at the end of the morning, the leaders of the team which has won most points have to play Pass-the-Water-Bomb. The kids love that!
The teenagers have their own programme in the evening. Day One went well – we have two more to go, and then Saturday is the Family Fun Event & BBQ, and Sunday is the Kids Club Service. And then off to Cornerstones for a fortnight [and not having to get up early]