Sunday, 19 January 2020

Peace That Passes Understanding

This hymn has been a favourite in my family for as long as I can remember. My Grandfather sang it in the choir, my Dad taught me the story...If you want to know more, watch this video

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Leave Of Absence

Mi casa es su casa - my house is your house. This little Willow Tree figure has stood on the shelf at Cornerstones for 10 years now. A treasured Christmas gift from Liz in 2009. She recognised just how much it meant to me, after a lifetime living in church houses or rented properties, to have somewhere to call my own. This little bungalow has been a place for rest, relaxation and re-creation. Somewhere we have been able to share with friends and family. We are constantly grateful to God for this lovely place. 
And for the next few days it will be our 'bolt-hole'. The church in Ferndown graciously suggested [insisted?] that Bob take proper compassionate leave following Frank's funeral. So this is where we will be, quietly 'restoring our souls'. Please don't be surprised if I am not posting as much as usual. I am so grateful for the love of the people at UCF as well as the sympathy and support of so many friends around the globe. 
Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Friday, 17 January 2020

Saying Goodbye

We're travelling up to the Midlands today for the funeral of Bob's brother Frank, who died on Christmas morning. Frank was a kind, witty, generous, gifted person. In May, we called on him and Barbara as we returned from our Baptist Conference in Telford. Bob's sister Denise and her husband were visiting. It was such a lovely afternoon and the three siblings had time together, to relax and talk. This afternoon we will all be together again, along with other family members and old friends, to say goodbye. RIP Frank - you were greatly loved and will be greatly missed

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Then And Now

A couple of weeks ago, as we entered the new decade, people on Facebook were posting pictures of themselves back in January 2010 and now in January 2020, and commenting on all the life changes which had happened to them in those ten years.
Someone asked me if I was planning to do it - and I said that really I should begin with January 2009 - because in the past eleven years things have changed significantly for us...
We went back to visit Norfolk for a New Year Party arranged by Marian my SIL.I remember little of the event - but I know I chatted to a friendly conveyancing solicitor called Joy, who told me she helped people buy houses - and I said "I probably will never need your services" Then a week or two later, Bob suddenly said "We should buy somewhere to live in retirement" [and I did need Joy after all]
In the eleven years, we have done exactly that - we got the keys to Cornerstones in Norfolk on 19th April 2009, with an 11 year mortgage due to finish in May 2020. 
Then we were living in Leicestershire, happily involved with a village chapel where we had been since 1995 - but five years ago we moved to Dorset and now equally busy with a friendly, growing church here.
Then, back in 2009, I belonged to a fortnightly knitting group - we met in the Borders Bookshop [now sadly closed] I was doing lots of supply teaching, running a sewing club, lay preaching all over the place and generally pretty busy. I made play costumes every summer, and nativity costumes every Christmas. I organised Holiday Club Crafts every July, and told tales in my Story Tent at the Village Fun Day. I happily climbed on the pillion of Bob's huge Honda.We had a collie cross rescue dog called Charlie - and Liz had a cat called Monty. Both girls were living and working in London
Now we have a beautiful granddaughter, and a grandson due in April. Liz remains in London, with Jon [and Rosie] but Steph moved to Manchester in 2017, where she met and married Gary. Three nieces have married, and I'm a great aunt twice over. The family grows...
Now I'm not doing any supply teaching, nor involved in sewing or knitting clubs [but I do go along to Craft'n'Coffee once a month at church]  I'm still preaching - and still churning out play costumes - and now making Memory Bears [so far I have made 4, and I have 3 on order] I am still doing KIds Club Crafts and the Story Tent- but for the past five years I've been involved in Christmas Tree Festivals too. The motorbike was sold, and now there is a large lathe in the garage.Sadly Charlie and Monty are no longer with us - but Steph and Gaz have two rabbits, Jeff and Jim. 
If you had asked me at that party, where I thought I would be now, this would honestly be beyond my wildest dreams. Still happily supporting Bob's ministry [but annoyed at the Government for moving the pension threshold. I am a WASPI Woman] 
But to find ourselves the owners of a property - having paid off the mortgage two years early [despite my drop in income since moving to Ferndown]  that is unbelievable.
And blessed with two wonderful daughters [and their men] of whom we are incredibly proud, and being grandparents as well, with 40 years of marriage behind us. It's all amazing. Life was pretty good back then - but I can truly say it is just as wonderful now. God has been very gracious to us - as the Psalmist says "The lines have fallen in pleasant places for me"
I suppose I ought to post those comparison pictures. Here's the pair of us then arriving at that New Year's party December 31st 2008 - and now here's me about to go out to a party on January 11th 2020. 

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

One Year On

It is just a year ago since my spectacular collapse in Sainsburys [explained here] At the time I underwent a battery of tests- and the conclusion was that I had Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome and Vitamin D deficiency. It sounds awful - but could have been so much worse. I'm happy to report that one year on, I am genuinely feeling so much better than I was back then, thank the Lord.
Which is a good thing, considering all the other things which have happened.
I am grateful for our brilliant NHS, and grateful for two loving and supportive families - my biological family and my church family. And grateful for lovely positive comments from friends - both near at hand, and on the blog. So many people have helped, encouraged, and  gently bullied me into looking after myself properly. And things are looking much brighter than they did a year ago. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

A Very Odd Half Hour

I didn't sleep well on Friday night - and on Saturday morning I really didn't want to get up early [most days I am in the kitchen just before 7 making a cuppa] Bob made the tea at 7.30ish, and said he would bring me breakfast in bed a bit later. At 8.45, I was enjoying my coffee, OJ and pain au raisin, and doing the crossword when my phone pinged. The lady who was taking the magazine stash saying "I'm just on my way over"
I decided that I didn't need to rush to dress - after all, I was just going to open the door, say 'there is the box of magazines' and she would take them and leave. So I could do that in my dressing gown, and return to bed and my puzzle. Well - it didn't turn out that way. The doorbell rang, and I went downstairs.
"Hi, I'm Angela " 
"I'm Julie, I have that exact same Cotton Traders Dressing Gown" 
"Sorry, bad night- not got dressed yet. Here are the magazines! I am so glad to pass them on to you rather than just recycle them"
"Brilliant - I love Martha Stewart! Thank you so much!" She turned to leave
And this is when things went weird.
A petrol blue Skoda Kodiaq, identical to ours, was driving up the road, quite slowly. Suddenly it braked and Julie dropped the box of magazines and ran past our car to the kerb, shouting something.
A dog had run across from the road opposite, and gone under the car. The driver got out "What's happened? We felt a bump underneath so I braked"
Julie explained that she had seen the dog had actually run between the front and back wheels, and rolled over under the vehicle. It crept out slowly onto the kerb, shaking, and visibly distressed. Julie knelt down and comforted it. 
The passenger got out- she was concerned too. "Where did it come from?" Julie said"over there" and stressed that the driver had not run into the animal. We looked to see if anyone in the road opposite was missing a dog. The dog had no collar or identification.
The lady explained that 40 years ago they lived in our house- long before the Church purchased it . They were driving past en route to visit an old friend, and slowed down to look. They saw we had the identical car and were on the point of stopping when they felt the bang.
I was chatting to her, Julie was attending to the dog, and the driver called out to a man opposite [walking towards us and chatting on his phone] "Is this your dog?" 
The guy finished his chat and came across and said it was. Somewhere in all this Bob came outside [in his dressing gown] and got into conversation with the driver. Who, it turns out, sings in a choir with one of our church members.
The dog was shaking, and peed all over Julie's hand as she tried to calm him. "I was on the phone and the car door was open and he jumped out" said the owner. "Is your car OK?" he went to the front with the driver to inspect the damage, and was told the dog had not been hit by the car, he had run underneath it. "Come on boy" said the owner, and seemed to expect the quivering dog to get up and follow him. Somehow Julie ended up helping him over the road, and I suspect she gave the owner a talking to!
Bob and I stayed chatting to the driver and his wife, about the house, Jim-next-door, the male voice choir and other stuff. They went off to the old friend, Julie came back and picked up her magazines, said goodbye and drove off...and I went back to bed and finished the crossword. 
All's well that ends well...but it was a very odd half hour

Monday, 13 January 2020

Goodbye To All The Simple Things

I finally bit the bullet - I bundled up fifty craft/homekeeping magazines [The Simple Things, Martha Stewart Living, Country Living and a vast assortment of crafty and Christmassy publications] and posted them on a local fb group as FREE to a good home. Within 5 minutes, I'd had a message from a woman who wanted them all.
There is nothing in these magazines which merits them taking up bookshelf space. I could have put them straight into recycling, but that seemed a bit wasteful. 
I have enjoyed reading them - but all those recipes and projects are never going to be created in this house. I did make the Mollie Makes Mug Cosy for my niece, but I'm never going to recreate Martha's Alpine Village in cardboard and glitter for my Christmas Mantlepiece. And I can always find recipes on the internet if I have a sudden urge to boil pierogi, or ice a bundt cake. 
And the whole activity took less than 40 minutes, and definitely sparked joy!
In other news, I have just sold my first item on Etsy - my lovely Welsh Wool Cape. I was very fond of it, but I'm on a mission to raise funds towards new spectacles. I haven't worn the cape in the past year, so it is on its way to a young lady in France who declared herself "obsessed with owning a welsh woool cape"