Thursday, 22 June 2017

Toilet Humour

Way back in the last millennium when I was young, my Dad and I would sometimes go to lunch in The Lamb Inn, in Norwich. I haven't been back there for years, we really should check it out sometime. 
I remember three things about it - one was the food was excellent, the second was that the prices were good, and the third was the ladies' loo.
Or more specifically, the passage that led to the ladies' loo.
You had to go through an archway, and as it was quite low, there was a sign above it to warn you.

Dad and I were always amused by it. A choice between birds - or an instruction, depending on whether it is read as two nouns or two verbs.
We've seen this sign on other low doorways since - but it's always The Lamb which comes back to mind.
Earlier this week, Bob was assembling some sandwiches for lunch, and I said there were some jars of paté in the cupboard.
He put them down on the worktop and declared "Duck Or Grouse?"
I was greatly amused- but pointed out that the choice was "Duck or Quail" [but again, it was a  noun/verb thing so the joke still worked]

Later on in the day we went out for a quick meal at a local pub which had been recommended to us. We'd both been busy and felt we needed some space.

It was very good [here, if you're interested] and the chicken and bacon 'supersalad' was excellent [I do like edamame beans]
But the decor was the sort where there are chalkboards everywhere bearing quirky sayings and bromides[such a bizarre term -full definition here]
When I went to the ladies' loo in this pub, I just had to take out my camera for this sign...

...the staff clearly follow their own advice - look at the sign stapled below! 
In other news -
I am not coping well in this heat.

  •  I tried to make a cooling fruit smoothie using my stickblender, and splattered myself and the kitchen with blackcurrant-and-banana milk. [now struggling to get purple stains out of my best white bra]
  • I explained to someone that we knew all the volunteer staff who worked at our Church Holiday Club, and that they had all been PAT tested.[I meant to say they had DBS Certificates, but it came out wrong]
  • I unloaded all my shopping, but left a pack of butter behind in the car. Fortunately Bob spotted it while it was still soft, before it turned to liquid gold.[He is wonderful]

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Bobblehead Jig

 It sounds like it ought to be a dance, but it isn't. It's a special bit of kit Bob made for me over the weekend.

This piece of wood has a circular slot in the top, to hold an Actimel bottle, and a tiny pilot hole in the side, so you can drill a hole in the neck of the bottle.
Eight summers ago, I blogged about the little bobblehead men we made at the Kirby Holiday Club. Then they were representing the Wise Men, who nodded sagely [the original idea came from Steph, who had made King Solomon bobbleheads with a Sunday School Class]
This year, they will be models of Jonah,who shook his head and said "No!" when God said "Go to Nineveh and preach"
I could not remember how I had made the holes last time, so Bob kindly produced the jig which meant I could drill over a hundred bottles in less than an hour, using the cordless DeWalt drill.
I stuck the compressed paper balls on the springs with a dab of glue from the hot glue gun. [Bob said that the balls on springs looked suspiciously like something from a Sex Ed. Lesson. Very rude, I said] 
I made one example of Jonah - but all the others can wait to be assembled at the Kids Club in a few week's time. A bag of cloaks and robes and headdresses are all cut out, ready to be stuck on.
When I set the ends of the springs into the Plaster of Paris, I pushed each head down into the neck of the bottle to hold things steady till it set. They will be popped up later, and I shall push the pipecleaners through.
I've found a picture of the 2009 Wise Men - it will be interesting to compare them with this year's creations...

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Looking Through The Round Window...

I loved watching anything featuring the genius Brian Cant. Whether it was in Play School, and then later, PlayAway - or listening to his voice as he told all the wonderful stories of Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley...
He died yesterday, aged 83, having been suffering from Parkinson's Disease for a number of years. I always admired his skill at communicating with children - his imagination, his lovely voice, his twinkling eyes and warm smile. The children watching felt he was their trusted friend.
Brian Cant once said that the one thing he wanted children to take away from his work was "that I made them laugh, I made them feel happy".
In 2010, he was presented with a special Children's Bafta. On receiving this award, Cant said: "One of the main rules of those Play School days was that we should play to the camera as though we were talking to one child, in whatever circumstance.

"It could be somebody in a tower block, a nice semi-detached somewhere, or a Royal palace. You had to phrase everything so, whoever was watching it, they felt you were talking to them."
Brian's father-in-law was actor Tony Britton, and his sister-in-law  is presenter Fern Britton. Brian's son Richard is an actor [you might have seen him as the eccentric undertaker Dennis Rainbird in Midsomer Murders] All entertainers - but I think Brian was the best of them. RIP Brian Cant 1933-2017
In a week when we have seen the British Fire Service at its best, and I honour their bravery, sensitivity and consummate professionalism displayed in Kensington, it seems appropriate to finish this post with Brian's most famous performance. I am sure this will be his lasting legacy. It's a good reminder to teach our children, from their earliest years that these are members of our society who deserve our respect. 

Monday, 19 June 2017

Consider The Lilies...

Do you ever buy fresh flowers? for yourself, for a gift - or like me, do you take a turn on the flower rota at church? Here's something which may have passed you by - today is the start of British Flowers Week.

Just like with food, people are increasingly demanding more locally grown flowers to celebrate the seasons, and support British growers. Often scented, British flowers have a natural charm, beauty and just-picked freshness that make them the florist’s favourite.
Up until the 1970s, the only flowers you saw came from flower farmers in Britain. Today, most of the flowers in our shops will have been grown by large scale  growers, routed through the Dutch auctions. BFW is aiming to change this. 
Not only do British flowers usually have a superior scent to imported blooms, they will be fresher and last longer. Minimum distance means maximum vase life. When they are at their seasonal high, quality goes up and price comes down, making them good value for money.
British flowers and foliage show the seasons to the best.[free downloadable seasons chart here] Buy what’s looking good in peak season rather than what’s looking OK all year round. Question the provenance and seek out 'locally grown' for flowers as well as for food. Support local industry, keep farms happy, encourage wildlife and biodiversity. It’s an ethical movement we can all get behind.
BFW is the week-long celebration of British-grown cut flowers and foliage that aims to bring British flowers back into British homes. The brainchild of the team at New Covent Garden Flower Market, where British flowers have been traded for centuries, BFW runs from today until next weekend, uniting growers, florists and wholesalers across the country. Find out more here. 
Look how the flowers grow in the fields: they do not work or make clothes for themselves.  But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Father's Love

We discovered on Tuesday that Corfe Castle - built by the King as one of the Royal Palaces - had one quite unusual feature- a carving of "The Pelican In Piety" high up on one wall of the keep. This type of carving has been quite common down the centuries- but usually only on churches and cathedrals - to find it in a castle is extremely uncommon - the King must have particularly wanted to declare his Christian faith.
It is said that naturalists of old, observing that the pelican had a crimson stain on the tip of its beak, reported that it was accustomed to feed its young with the blood flowing from its breast, which it tore for the purpose. In this belief the Early Christians adopted the pelican as a symbol of Christ, who brought us redemption through His blood, which was willingly shed for His children.
In the stonemason's area, we found two carvings of the pelican - one a corner piece, similar to the original - the other a roundel, showing the pelican pecking her breast to shed blood to feed her young.
I have been thinking about the pelican imagery all week - and the idea of the self-sacrifice of a loving parent in order to give life to the children.
Today is Father's Day - and many people will be remembering their Dads, and being grateful to them for their love and care. 
Not every child has had a good experience with their earthly father, sadly. Some children have been cruelly treated, others abandoned, others bereaved - and some have grown up never even knowing who their father is.
But God, the creator, is the perfect model of Fatherhood, showing unconditional love to his children. This lovely song by Stuart Townend reminds me of that...

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss -
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.
Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life -
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart -
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Busy Bee

Rosie is fond of sorting things out, or more specifically, emptying things out but not putting them back again. This is, I suspect, genetic. On Monday, I emptied out the bookcases on the landing, moved them checked for carpet beetles [none!] and then replaced the bookcases against the wall - but have yet to replace all the books on the shelves. 
Meanwhile Bob put all the DVDs and CDs into plastic boxes on the coffee table in the lounge, so we could check underneath their storage units - and the boxes are still there.
Liz is relatively laid back about Rosie's emptying activities- clearing the laundry basket, pulling LPs and books off the shelf etc. But Rosie's latest project is not so good - she has become inordinately fond of finding Jon's wallet and emptying the contents of that onto the floor. But Bank Cards, driving licence, Work ID Card etc are too important for her to play with. Please could Grandma supply a spare wallet?
Of course I could - and I loaded it with a few expired gift cards and business cards, plus a picture of the family. No, I didn't put any money in it! I hope Rosie likes having her own wallet and leaves her Dad's alone now!
Isn't the little bee backpack cute?

Friday, 16 June 2017

Weep With Me

In the week after the Manchester bomb, the Irish Band, Rend Collective, sought to write something to express their feelings. Since they wrote this song, we have seen still more violence on London Bridge, and the horrifying tragedy at the Grenfell Tower.
They said "Can worship and suffering co-exist? Can pain and praise inhabit the same space? Can we sing that God is good when life is not? When there are more questions than answers? The Bible says a resounding Yes! : these songs are called laments and they make up a massive portion of the Psalms." Here is "Weep With Me" - a lament from Rend...

Weep with me,
Lord, will you weep with me?
I don’t need answers
All I need is to know you care for me
Hear my plea – are you even listening?
Lord, I will wrestle with your heart  
...but I won’t let you go
You know I believe, help my unbelief
Yet I will praise you, yet I will sing of your name
Here in the shadows, I’ll light up an offering of praise
What was true in the light is still true in the dark
You’re good and you’re kind and you care for this heart
Lord, I believe that you weep with me
Part the seas Lord, make a way for me
Here in the midst of my lament, I have faith
Yes, I still believe that you love me
Your plans are to prosper me
You’re working everything for good
…even when I can’t see
You know I believe, my unbelief
Yet I will praise you, yet I will sing of your name
Here in the shadows, I’ll light up an offering of praise
What was true in the light still true in the dark
You’re good and you’re kind and you care for this heart
Lord, I believe that you weep with me
I believe that you care, I love you Lord
You hear the cries of the oppressed and the heart-broken
Turn my lament into a love song, transform me
Turn my lament into an anthem, I need you now
Turn my lament into a love song, raise it up
Turn my lament into an anthem, yet I will praise you

Yet I will sing of your name
Lord, I believe that you weep with me