Tuesday, 31 July 2012

OYM Day 2–Shaping The Team

Story – Bart gets his sight back [Mark 10]

Craft – making board games. Sorry, no photos yet!


Our Chief Team Leader is not in a good shape right now – Bob’s been having shoulder problems, so this afternoon he had to go to Out Patients over at Hinckley for treatment. The Physio gave him some Deep Injections [don’t ask!] and instructed him to avoid strenuous activity and all lifting for a while.

So that’s no aerobics at Holiday Club, no general leaping about- and sadly, no motorbiking on holiday next week.

The Kindness Of Strangers

cellphone ground

Last Tuesday I heard my phone ringing- but got to it too late – “Missed call, Liz” – so I rang her back straightaway

[me] Hi Liz, sorry I missed your call just now

[male voice] Hello?

[me] Who is that, please?

[male voice] I am on my way home from work, and a load of cyclists went past – then I saw this phone in the road. So I rang ‘Mum’

[me] Thank you so much – that’s my daughter’s phone. She’s in London but I am in Leicester.

[male voice] No worries – can you tell her to ring her phone and then I can arrange to get it back to her?

Thank you, kind person, for bothering to do that. God bless you, wherever you are.

Monday, 30 July 2012

OYM Day 1–Making The Team

Story – Jesus calls his disciples

Craft – making sportspeople



A trio of great cyclists – Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, Lizzie Armitstead.

Below, a rower -  is this Heather Stanning?

And one very cheerful golfer – I think it is Rory McIlroy


Here’s a diver and a swimmer – Tom Daley and Rebecca Adlington – I love the way she is coming up out of the water, don’t you?



No idea why this footballer has three balls – unless two of the pompoms are his feet! Apparently it is meant to be David Beckham.Two children decided to make weightlifters – but with very different sets of weights – I think the one on the left is Zoe Smith, and on the right Peter Kirkbride



Is this pole vaulter Steven Lewis?

I am amazed by the creativity of the children producing these different sportspeople from a load of bottle tops and pipecleaners.

DSCF4253The youngest group were even more creative – using the CDs [intended to be the ‘mount’] as part of the model.

Well done to all the kids – and thanks to the staff too for helping. Altogether Day One has been remarkably successful and everyone appeared to be going home Very Happily.

On Your Marks…

  • Scripture Union provided the material we’re using
  • The banner is hanging at the front of the church
  • Genesis have supplied some great teeshirts
  • Church members have collected hundreds of cartons and CDs
  • Bob has installed all the new stage lights
  • Ann has done loads of administration
  • Betty and co have cut out thousands of silver leaves
  • Jan and co have sorted the week’s meals for Bob and myself
  • Hayley has prepared her Task Force [depsite her recent op]
  • Martin and Kim have come in specially to help post-op Hayley
  • Group Leaders have planned how to decorate their rooms
  • Parents have been booking in kids [right to the last minute!]
  • The bouncy castle man is all ready for Thursday night
  • David has installed a safety rail on the slope by the side door
  • Everyone is being incredibly helpful and co-operative
  • People all over the world have said they are praying [thanks]
  • I’ve got all the crafts and worksheets sorted for the week
  • and Bob has done almost everything else you can think of



So, by the grace of God, Holiday Bible Club begins this morning

On your marks…get set…go!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Sunshine Reflections

british bloghop

Just to say that I shall be joining Nicola, the sunshine girl for her BlogHop on Wednesday. Yes, I know this is a very busy week what with Holiday Bible Club and all – but I have to take a bit of time out to do some non-kid-related crafting or I shall explode!

Earth’s Vain Shadows Flee

Sadly NBC cut ‘Abide With me’ from their broadcast of the Olympics ceremony for viewers in the USA. I found this earlier clip of Emeli Sandé singing it though. What a voice!


Off to church soon for the last sermon in the Heaven and Hell Series.

last week’s tweet from Kirby Muxloe Free@kmfc123 said

This morning - a look at the surprising biblical material on eternal torment. And then Hell comes to an end next week! Join us 10:30

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Watch Out Helen Mirren!

Has Craig been ‘Corgi registered’?

She is 86, and frightfully busy – yet she still managed to find time to add this quirkily British contribution to the Opening Ceremony. Well done Ma’am! I don’t ‘do’ sport – but this was worth staying up for.

Having A Smashing Time

Here is a small glass dish – approximately 6” in diameter, divided into three equal sections.sweetdish

On Monday I saw one like this in a charity shop in Hinckley for just £1. “I have one identical to that at home” I thought “Do I need a matching pair?” Now I use mine quite a bit – particularly for salad veg when I want to keep the radishes and tomatoes apart [well you never know…] But I decided in the ongoing spirit of Not Adding To Clutter that one was quite enough.

So I came home sans dish – and then accidentally dropped something onto the original dish and smashed it! Typical. [the picture above is one for sale on Etsy in the USA. Not buying that]

Friday, 27 July 2012

Jeremy Drops Another Clanger!

The Twenty Twelve Scriptwriters couldn’t make it up!

Within minutes of the above clip being posted, we had the disco remix


I think that even non sports fans are in for an entertaining time!

The Flourishing Fig Tree

I have just picked my first fig of the summer from our tree


“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand. ~ Mother Teresa


Everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid;
For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken

[Micah 4;4]

Thursday, 26 July 2012


Always Be Clearing Declutter Everyday

Emptying the loft means I have been forced to sort through stuff. I have just thrown away folders containing Risk Assessment and Behaviour Policies from the school I worked in back in 1994 [the one near Belmarsh Maximum Security Prison!]

Tonight I shall watch the follow-up to the programme I saw earlier this year about Richard in Surrey. I do hope this chap has made progress since the earlier film!

I am not this bad!!!!

Dear Francesca

dear francescaOne of those serendipitous finds in the library – I picked this off the shelf in the cookbook section – it looked like a novel in size and shape, and my niece is called Francesca, so I was intrigued.

It is the story of two Italian families who settled in Edinburgh and how their love of good food became the focal point of their lives. The author is Mary Contini of the “Valvona & Crolla” family who run Edinburgh’s #1 Italian Deli.

You can read about Mary and her husband here in this Delicious Magazine Interview, and the deli website is here.

Why did I love this book? For a start, the food writing is up there with Nigel Slater’s, in that it made me salivate like Pavlov’s dogs. I am not sure that it is a good book to read when trying to lose weight – I just wanted to go and cook all these fabulous dishes laced with butter and olive oil and cream…

CrollaBut the other thing is the wonderful collection of anecdotes – all about these two amazing, loving, funny Italian Catholic families and their traditions [there is a family tree at the front of the book, so you can check which granny/auntie/nephew is being written about!!] So much of the stuff from the old country is transported into the Scottish environment- and it was fascinating to read.

I loved the story of the little boy sent down the mountain to buy his first proper shoes, to wear for his first Holy Communion. He did not return and they sent out search parties – to no avail. The worst was feared [bandits, wolves…?] but he returned home two days later, beaming, proudly wearing his new shoes. He had not realised he was supposed to cut the string which held them in a pair on the market stall- so had shuffled with tiny footsteps all the way home, sleeping under bushes at night, clutching his precious new footwear to his chest!

rigatoniOr the family name of ‘socks’ for rigatoni. So called because Nonna Marietta was always knitting socks for her beloved, who was away fighting in the trenches in WW1. As she got older, she kept knitting the socks but could no longer turn the heel- so had a backlog of long knitted tubes, ridged up the sides, awaiting someone else to turn the heels for her!

And in between the stories are the recipes – Mary has written this book for her daughter Francesca, to pass on the legacy of Italian family history and the family recipes. It is full of common sense and wit – and beautiful black and white photographs – most of them more than 50 years old. It is, as it says on the cover ‘a journey of recipes recounted with love’

I probably ought to mention the recipes in more detail – but there are so many, and I cannot decide which one. She does suggest buying Jus-Rol flaky pastry rather than bothering to make your own though – and always using Maldon Salt [which is from Essex]

When I checked out the V&C website, it was good to read that Francesca has just given birth to a baby boy – Alfonso James Mackie. One wonders if he will follow in the family foodie tradition!

This book was a lovely summer read – redolent with Italian Sunshine, and happy families. One to be enjoyed with a good cup of coffee or maybe a chilled glass of white wine. A pleasant discovery indeed!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Granny Knot

Yesterday I went over to see my friend Elisabeth – we have been friends for 30 years, and have many things in common. We sat under the tree in her beautiful garden for very civilised tea and cake. It was apple cake from the Archers’ Cookbook [we are both Ambridge Addicts] recipe here. I only had a small piece though!

DSCF4221Elisabeth is now a granny – can you believe it! her daughter Hannah [I remember Hannah being born!] now has a lovely daughter Phoebe.

When Hannah got married, a few years ago, Elisabeth bought a cream feathery fascinator to wear. She has kindly lent it to me for next month’s wedding [thanks] Collecting it was a good excuse for chat, cuppa and cake.


I’d taken my crochet with me, and intended to sit there working away on my current Granny Project. But the I realised that I’d made an error on one corner – so here’s Elisabeth pulling out the rows to get back to the error – whilst I sat in the other chair winding up the wool. I calculated that we had to dismantle 1000 stitches!

It didn’t matter – the conversation was good, the tea pot seemed bottomless, and the sun was shining. Friendship is a great thing!

However…I have just discovered that the fascinator does not look right at all now I have had my hair cut! Oh dear…

Not To Be Sneezed At!

On Monday Bob had to deliver a letter to the Registrar’s Office in Hinckley – so it was a good excuse to trawl the Charity Shops there [at least ten, I think!] The Mind Shop has a wonderful counter, shaped like a Vintage Mini. Can I take a photo? I asked. The manager agreed, then suggested that I pose behind it for a snap.

hinckley charity shops

In the various shops I spent around £5 – and came away with

  1. “The Usborne Book of Greek Myths for Young Children”. I could have done with that last term – the stories have been carefully retold without the ‘naughty bits’!
  2. A pack of note-cards with pebble designs to take to Cornerstones – I often need to send a card from there when on holiday, so it is useful to have some to hand – the pictures on these seem very apt.
  3. A bag of 16 hankies – including 4 colourful silk ones, 2 with the most delicate cross stitch embroidery [bottom left photo shows the reverse side- how neat is that?] and 1 with a cheerful dog print – as well as 5 large mansize mouchoirs and 4 with striped borders.

The Hinckley Handkerchief Hoard is inspiring me to all sorts of craft projects – but now they have been carefully pressed and wrapped loosely round a cardboard tube till I am ready to work with them.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Thank You!


The citation reads

Kirby Muxloe Free Church received an award for its role at the heart of the village in providing a range of well-attended community group activities for all ages in the village, including the Holiday Club for children and the Holiday at Home initiative for elderly residents.

Bob and I were privileged to attend the presentation ceremony last week at Beaumanor Hall, to received the plaque on behalf of KMFC


lady grettonAmong the sixty recipients, we noted that we appeared to be the only church to receive a plaque [although the Centre Project, which is an initiative of Central Baptist also received one for work with children]

Here’s the Lord Lieutenant [confusingly, she is a Lady – Lady Gretton] No other photos of the event available yet!

Boxing Clever

definition; To use inventive thinking above all other attributes in order to achieve an end goal.


I’ve acquired a sewing box. It is quite a poor state at the minute.

The handles from the top are missing.The chains were broken – but Bob fixed them immediately. One of the struts supporting the top sections has split, and must be repaired or replaced.

It is a home-made creation, and the wood which has been used is not of brilliant quality. But it opens up beautifully…




I’d very much like to refurbish it and put it to good use holding sewing notions. This will be an Autumnal Project for after the holidays. But I am totally confused by all the options open to me.

For a start, I cannot leave the wood in its current state I put a little polish on it [bottom picture] but it is clear that polish isn’t really going to improve the appearance very much.

So I am asking you wise and wonderful readers for your opinions.

  • should I give it a coat of varnish?
  • or should I paint it?
  • if so, what colour?
  • or should I cover it with decoupage of some sort?
  • should I paint the outside, but line the boxes with paper?
  • and what sort of handles?
  • metal ones – or pretty fabric/tape/ribbon/ leather straps?
  • should I ignore the existing holes and screw a knob to each lid?

Come on, friends – what would you do if this were your project?

All workable answers will be considered!


Monday, 23 July 2012

Ward Of Court

ward everardTHE TUDORS - Season 3wardkinggeorge

The death has been announced of the great actor Simon Ward. He had roles in Judge Hon Deed, The Tudors, and various films, plays and TV series – he played a Judge, a Bishop, a King – but for me he will always be “Young Winston”, in which he portrayed the early years of the British Politician. This man, born in Beckenham, the son of a car salesman was magnificent in his depiction of the man born in Blenheim Palace, the son of British nobility.


I couldn’t find any good Ward quotes – but here’s a Winston one…

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

RIP Simon – you gave a lot of pleasure throughout your acting career

Are You A Janeite Or A Jamesite ?

Jane Austen…or P D James ? …or both?

austenPD James 2

I am definitely not a Janeite – I know many friends who are, who think that every word that drips from Miss A’s pen is wonderful and witty. But her writing just doesn’t quite grab me like that. Apologies to any who are therefore deeply offended – but that’s how I am.

pdjames pemberley

Dame Phyllis, however, writes in a way which I really enjoy. So I was extremely interested to see this latest book displayed on the best-sellers-one-week-short-loan shelf at the Library.

You can read the Faber synopsis here 

I do not want to give any ‘spoilers, but will say I thought it was very well written.

No irritating cod-Regency language, but nonetheless comfortably set in the right style for the period.

Listen to PDJ reading an extract or two here.

She’s over 90 you know!

If you are fond of either author or both] then I suggest you borrow it from the Library. I think it’s good – I galloped through it in two days and now it is back in our local library!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Light Of My Life

folk night 03 12

Bob spent most of yesterday up a ladder. You remember this event, back in March? Our great friend Dave arranged this fund raiser so we could use the stage in our church hall more effectively.

Within weeks, Dave had died – before he saw his project come to fruition. But the lights are here now.

This was the scene midday Saturday, when I delivered Bob’s lunch – he’d already been working for three hours or so. Stage lighting has a language all its own – barn doors, Fresnels and [my favourite] gobos!



Lights here, and there, and dimmer units…


Thank you so much, Dave - we miss you – but I suspect that Holiday Club is going to be brilliant!

Wiggins Wins!

wiggins wins

Well done Bradley Wiggins!

Well done Chris Froome!

Well done Mark Cavendish!

Utterly utterly brilliant, in Diamond Jubilee Year, to have the Brits perform so brilliantly in the Tour de France.

[Oh and well done Lesley Garrett for turning up to sing the National Anthem in a great Union Flag outfit]


Helping Hands

Nigella has large "hands” for serving foods…


…and Jan our deacon has large “hands” for collecting leaves


But when her housegroup went round to help her sort out her garden, our ever resourceful Church Secretary, Paul, found a new use for them. The rain has been incredibly persistent!

Meanwhile Margaret kept watch for any fish trying to escape!

And others performed a strange dance with the garden netting

Then they relaxed with a well-earned cuppa

[thanks, Pete for taking the photos]