Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Blooming Marvellous!

I got up early on Friday, hoping to get called in for teaching. No call came.
By 8.15 I decided all the schools must be doing Royal Wedding Events, and wouldn't need supply staff. So Bob went to work on his bike, and I took the car to Wimborne Market. A whole trolley load of fruit and veg at excellent prices- without any plastic bags needed. Stall holders were quite happy to put stuff into my cotton bags [although I did have to accept a recyclable punnet for my strawberries]
Then I went into Wimborne itself - and spotted the Library was open. For the whole of May they are running the "Blooming Marvellous" exhibition. This has been travelling round the Bournemouth and Dorset libraries for a while - an amazing collection of knitted and crocheted flowers, plants and animals. Well worth a visit if you can - the detail is amazing. I couldn't resist adding suitable Librarian Captions to the pictures. Click on them for a larger view

Monday, 21 May 2018

Forget Me Not

Today marks the start of Dementia Action Week, organised by the Alzheimer's Society [details here] Their logo is a Forget-me-not flower
In recent years, I've met more and more people who suffer with this condition, and their amazing carers. 
Once a month, a group of us take a worship service in a local dementia care home. I am always so moved when we sing an old hymn, or say the Lord's Prayer, to see people who seem quite unaware of their surroundings suddenly start mumbling the words with us. Verses learned by heart so many years ago surface again, and bring comfort and peace of mind for a few moments 
This year the AS theme is "Small Actions, Big Impact" - simple ideas and deeds which can make a huge difference.
Do take a moment to look at the website. 
When we lived in London, I remember meeting a recently bereaved friend and saying "I was sorry to hear you lost your Mum on Friday" She replied "Thank you Angela, but I really lost my Mum a few years ago"
Alzheimer's is a cruel disease affecting the whole family. If there are little things that we can do to help those affected, then we certainly should  Suggestions include
  • Will you talk to people? 
  • Will you make the time to listen? 
  • Will you ask if you can help if someone looks confused? 
  • Will you be there for carers and lived ones too? 
  • Will you ask questions and learn about dementia? 
  • Will you carry on inviting people out? 
  • Will you be patient? 

Sunday, 20 May 2018

A Friend In Need...

Today is the Feast of Pentecost - when Christians remember God's gift of his Holy Spirit, the birth of the Church , the family of God's people.[read the story here]
Something that has really been important for me in recent weeks is the fact that God doesn't send us out alone - we have a faith-family. Friends who care for us and help us - and for whom we should be caring too.
I know I have spoken about Paul's words in Galatians before "Help carry one another's burdens, and so fulfill Christ's law"
I love Annie Valloton's picture, showing this line of people, each with their own burden, but each helping to carry the load of the one in front.
But what has struck me just lately is that sometimes people struggle on, and are unwilling to be helped, or to share their troubles with anyone else. Maybe they do not want o appear weak, maybe they do not want to be a nuisance, maybe they are embarrassed to admit they have a problem...whatever the reason, they bottle it up and persevere alone, and in silence. I saw this great label on a large box in B&Q this week.
There is no need to cope by yourself "Do not carry alone" Is a wonderful instruction.
There is always someone willing to help.
And God is always there too - even if you don't 'do church' you can always try praying [check out the helpful Try Praying website!]

Saturday, 19 May 2018

A Right Royal Soap Opera

I'm rather old-fashioned, I like 'real' soap. Most of my family prefer a pump dispense with the liquid stuff in it. That's fine, I have those by the sinks for them to use. But honestly I prefer the 'hard stuff'! But bars of soap need a dish, so they can drain and dry properly. 
Our little downstairs loo in the Manse has a minuscule basin [set surprisingly low on the wall - fine for me, not terribly comfortable for taller folk]
There's a little place on the edge of the basin just big enough for a miniature 'hotel/guest soap' but nowhere for the liquid soap to stand. Bob's fitted a neat glass shelf. My soap dispenser stands there, tidily.
Then I saw a rather grubby soap dish for 50p in a CS. A bit of 'Royal' china which is actually useful! My DIL gave me a lovely egg-shaped cake of soap which fits beautifully.
Only after I cleaned up the dish and put it into the cloakroom, did I research the Buckingham Palace online gift shop...

Style your bathroom with chinaware and bathing essentials inspired by objects and works of art on display at official royal residences. Made entirely by hand by our skilled artisans in Stoke-on-Trent using traditional methods unchanged for over 250 years, using English fine bone china, highly regarded around the world for its whiteness, fineness and delicacy. Finished with 22 carat gold. £29.00 [P&P £4.95]

Before you ask, no I will not be spending a further £40 to acquire the matching hand towel and toothbrush mug.
I pray that Harry and Meghan, plus their families and friends, have a truly happy day - and a strong and lasting marriage. I admire these young people for inviting their 'special people', and not the 'State Officials' to the event, and even more, for their decision to ask for financial gifts to charity and not wedding gifts for themselves. I hope that this raises a significant amount to help others.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Amo, Amas, Amattress

Poor Bob! The demise of the Skoda a month ago means he has been shoe-horning himself into my little Aygo rather a lot lately. Long journeys are particularly comfortable. He has been suffering quite a bit with backache [a brief aside - the Latin word for backache is lumbago but that's quite unconnected with the word for lead, which is plumbago ]
We've been planning on replacing our 13 year old mattresses for some time, but deferred the idea till we'd sorted out a car and I'd had more teaching. 
But on Tuesday we were in IKEA and I suggested we had a look in the bedding department anyway. The plan was to replace our two side-by-side mattresses with just one. They didn't have any of the correct size in stock.
We meandered round the store, and I picked up a pack of baby bibs to embroider. At £3 for three, this is a bargain.
Then we found the two light fitments we need for the Futility Room project - reduced to just £1 each!
Finally we got to the checkouts, and diverted to the bargain area.
And there was our mattress- the exact one, the right size- greatly reduced as it was a display model.
Even with the delivery charge [we just couldn't fit it in the Aygo!] it was less than 70% of the usual cost. What a bargain! Of course I had to buy a couple of bottom sheets to fit - but they were reduced too.

I'm hoping that a decent mattress will go some way to easing the backache. 
I did make one tiny mistake- I was wearing a yellow teeshirt and a navy gilet on Tuesday, and I got mistaken for a member of IKEA staff!

Very happy to report that our total spend for the day still came to less than we had expected to pay for a replacement mattress [including the bag of mini Daim bars]

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Bee Blessed

My friend ended his email with the words “Be blessed, be a blessing”. Still thinking about the importance of this week, I realised that I am truly bee-blessed.
  • I light candles at the dinner table, 
  • and the furniture gleams because of the polish I’ve used on that table. 
  • I waxed some thread before sewing the buttons back on my winter coat
  • I spread honey on my toast. 
  • And the glowing red apples in my fruit bowl only grew because a bee pollinated the blossom on the tree.

So I wrote a prayer about being bee-blessed

Father God, 
you made these tiny creatures, as part of your wonderful creation, 
and they are a blessing to me, 
and we need them if humans are to survive on our planet. 
Scientists have studied their colonies 
and are still learning more about them 
  • the way they serve their queen, 
  • the way they work in the hive, 
  • their construction of the beautiful hexagonal waxen cells, 
  • all the properties of their honey to nourish and to heal, 
  • their amazing flying dances which tell other bees where to find the nectar,

Help me to learn from the bees – 
  • to serve you, my King, 
  • to work alongside my brothers and sisters, 
  • to build your Kingdom, 
  • to feed the hungry, 
  • and to help others to find your love.

As I am bee-blessed, so may I be a blessing


Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Two Bees Or Not Two Bees

Apologies for the awful pun, but tomorrow marks the start of the 2018 British Bee Count. Sunday will be World Bee Day. I have already discovered that you have to be careful how you tell people about this. This is not promotion of global sanitaryware [World Bidet] It is about our little buzzing friends. I am mentioning it in advance for two reasons- so that you know, and can promote it too, and also because Sunday is also Pentecost, and that's a very significant day in the Christian Calendar. 
But back to the bees...
The country of Slovenia regards itself as the 'Cradle of World Beekeeping' This land of lush mixed forests, colourful meadows of flowers, a clean environment, hard-working people has many, many, bees. Not only that but 1 in 200 people have their own hives! They make diverse products from the honey - special honey chocolate, honey pastry and honey beers and brandies. 
The old records testify that beekeeping was already known by the immigrant Slavs in the 6th century. At the time of Maria Theresa, Slovenian beekeepers were highly renowned, and as the first teacher of beekeeping, the Slovenian Anton Janša, [1734-1773]who is considered the founder of modern apiculture, established himself in Vienna. He studied bees, and visited all the crowned heads of Europe, to encourage them and to teach different nations the skills in maintaining happy, healthy, productive bee colonies. The people of Slovenia regard May 20th, Anton's birthday, as a national holiday. But why should we make this a world event? This is their argument...
In addition to being one of the major pollinators, thus ensuring food and food security, sustainable agriculture and biodiversity, bees significantly contribute to the mitigation of climate change and environmental conservation. In the long-term, the protection of bees and the beekeeping sector can help reduce poverty and hunger, as well as preserve a healthy environment and biodiversity. Scientific studies have proven that bees have become increasingly endangered.  It is only through joint efforts that we can ensure the protection of bees and their habitats.
The Slovenians petitioned the UN and now May 20th has been recognised - humans cannot survive without bees! Here in Britain we too understand the value of bees.  Since 1900, Britain has lost 13 species of bee, and a further 35 species are under threat of extinction. Tomorrow is the start of the Great British Bee Count organised by Friends of the Earth. Details here. Will you join me and bee buzzy busy in this cause?