Sunday, 31 March 2013


-NEW - Easter Subway Art teal (approx. 8x10)

[thank you Willow for graphic, and Rend for joyful song]

Saturday, 30 March 2013

A Good Reason To “Shell Out”

One of our Lent ‘Soup Kitchen’ speakers talked about the Trussell Trust and their foodbanks. I am grateful to Shoestring [blog here] for alerting me to this campaign – thanks for that ‘heads-up’!


Find out more here. I had intended buying Bob one of these…

real egg

…but the supermarket had sold out [which is good!] so I have suggested that as neither of us need the calorific chocolate, the Trussell Eggs Campaign is better stewardship of our resources!

Pope Hope

aquinasIt is said that the the­o­lo­gian Thomas Aquin­as once called on Pope Inno­cent II when the lat­ter was count­ing out a large sum of mo­ney. The Pope re­marked,

You see, Tho­mas, the church can no long­er say, Silver and gold have I none.”

Aquin­as re­plied, “True, ho­ly fa­ther, but nei­ther can she now say, Rise and walk.”

It strikes me that the decisions by Pope Francis to eschew the fancy red papal shoes, and to live in a smaller, simpler Vatican apartment suggests that this new Pontiff is serious about his commitment to getting back to the important issues. I hope this continues. Pray that he will be given strength on this path.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Good Friday 2013


When I survey the wondrous cross
Where the young Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?


His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

I love this hymn – as far as I know, these are the original words that Watts wrote. The second line, referring to “the young Prince” reminds me that Jesus was only 33 – and I think of the young men I know in their early thirties. How Mary’s heart must have been broken as she watched her young son die such a cruel death.

The fourth verse is frequently omitted from hymn books these days – but again, it challenges me, and reminds me of Jesus’ words

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

and the words of Paul

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

May Good Friday be a day of blessing for you, wherever you are.


Thursday, 28 March 2013


Yesterday I heard on the radio that David Miliband is stepping down as an MP to go and work in the USA. Three years ago, I blogged during the leadership contest that I thought that DM looked suspiciously like Barbie’s Boyfriend Ken Carson

david millibandken carson [barbie chap]

Aha! I thought, he is going Stateside to do promotional tours for Mattel. But now I understand he is going to work for “International Rescue” – which leaves me wondering. Of all the Tracy brothers,he looks most like Virgil I think! [same nose, similar chins]

david milibandvirgil tracy

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Leaping Lizards!

Full marks to the Brabantia Customer Service Dept [and Kevin A. in particular] My ‘whirligig’ [Rotary Dryer] was definitely on its last leg – we brought it here from London and it must be over twenty years old. Charlie the dog thought it was a tree, and his frequent application of uric acid had corroded the pole to the point where the bottom section was eaten away and had to be removed. The dryer was only ¾of its original height.

dryerTwo summers ago we debated replacement. But thought the price of ‘decent’ dryers was prohibitive [too many Cornerstones bills] Last summer we studied the market again, and settled on the one we wanted [Brabantia Lift-O-Matic] If you must buy something like that new, then buy to last. Then last week I saw that the cash’n’carry had a seriously significant reduction on the price of the BLOM. I bought it.

DSCF5312I brought it home, and Bob bashed the soil spear into the ground with his trusty mallet, and up went the dryer. Lovely. But the cover had a long split – which went right through on both sides. The Website not only had facilities for email – but also for photos. I sent off my email and photo on Thursday afternoon. Within an hour, Kevin had emailed a reply.

He said that a replacement cover would be with me within a few days- but he apologised that it may not be a green one.


On Monday afternoon, my new cover arrived – pale blue and printed with a lizard design. How cool is that?! So full marks to this company for excellent service. All I need now is the sort of weather which is appropriate for pegging out my washing! Thanks Kevin


Tuesday, 26 March 2013



Not sure how that happened- I found lots of lovely comments in my inbox – and manage to delete them all by mistake! Sorry. If they included your kind words, please do not be offended by their non appearance. Feel free to try again!

Fishing For Compliments

salmon fishing

Having been lent the DVD of Salmon Fishing to watch whilst convalescing [review here] it was very thoughtful of Lesley [who blogs at Calmly Creative] to lend me her copy of the book.

I got a bit sidetracked- and have only just managed to read it [and return it] but I did feel it deserved a proper review.

I know that books which are a collection of letters are called ‘epistolary’ – but this one is all sorts of documents.

Does that make it ‘documentary’ – or is it still ‘epistolary’? [No doubt Liz or someone will be glad to put me right here!]

Major differences

The film is sweet, and feelgood, and [if I remember correctly] happens in chronological order. The book does not hide the less pleasant side of life, and the documents are sometimes out of sequence.

The film has the two romantic leads- DrJones and Harriet, of a similar age – in the book, there is clearly a greater age difference. The PM’s spokesman in the film is played [brilliantly] by Kristin Scott Thomas- but in the book, this character is a bloke.

The film ends with a hopeful nod to ‘happy-ever-after’ – the book is much more open-ended, and leaves you with more unanswered questions [but I didn’t feel that was a bad thing]


I really enjoyed the book – but I am glad I saw the film first. Had it been the other way round, I might have felt frustrated at the changes [even though they were, in many cases, quite reasonable in order to make the film understandable] The book says a lot more about belief and faith, and the thought processes of the people involved. I would certainly recommend it.

Thank you Lesley for lending it to me -  definitely *****

Monday, 25 March 2013

London’s Burning!

cuming museum fire 25 03 13

Breaking news- the lovely Cuming Museum on the Walworth Road in South London is on fire. Liz just phoned to alert me to this – because it is on the corner of the road where she lives. She cycled home from work, just to check that all was well at the flat. Happy to report everything fine at her home, and Monty the Cat is alive and well.

Video here. Southwark Council have issued a statement

“It is too early to say what the cause of the fire is and how long services from that building will be suspended for. It does not appear at this time that surrounding buildings or any residential properties have been affected but we will continue to monitor the situation very closely and continue to assist the emergency services where we can. Whilst our first concern is for the safety of residents and our staff, we are also worried about possible damage to the museum’s collection.”

This is a great museum and I have enjoyed visiting it with Liz- I am so glad nobody was injured, but I know they have some valuable artefacts there [and part of the building is the well-stocked public library] – and fire, smoke and water can do an awful lot of damage, especially to books and documents.

The Cuming Museum is one of London’s true treasures, containing any number of unusual exhibits, such as artefacts from Captain Cook’s voyages, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s hair, protective amulets, mummified wheat from ancient Egypt, a Zulu fly-whisk and a piece of cake from Edward VII’s wedding.


Looks like a pretty intense blaze to me [Liz just reported yet another fire engine - going the wrong way down their one-way street!]


Bag Ladies [Part Two]

Some teenage girls like to use floral prints and “pretty” fabrics for their sewing projects. For others, it has to be ‘camo’ and ‘skulls’ But whatever they choose to sew with, I am glad they are enjoying learning the new skills, and that they are pleased with the results.

bags etc sharnai

I am also glad that term has ended and it is the Easter Holidays!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Pause In Lent 2013 #6

A Pause in Lent Floss

There’s a passage in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, where the people of Narnia lament that it is

“Always winter, but never Christmas”


I took these pictures of our back garden on Saturday morning, when it was snowing – the snow kept falling all day – and I thought

“It seems to be always winter, but never Easter!”


Then I was looking at the Patchwork book I had borrowed from the library and found something which cause me to ponder some more.


This book was originally written in Norwegian. This Christmas apron pictures a little Chad-like snowman peeping over a wall [if you don’t know who Chad is, check him out here]

He is asking “og jula varer helt til påske?” which can be translated as

“and Christmas lasts until Easter?”

I thought this was a fascinating question

At Christmas, we celebrated the joy of Incarnation – that Jesus left the glory of heaven to be born as a man, and walk this earth for 33 years. Over the last 3 months, Bob has been preaching a series of sermons using the words of Jesus from the Gospels. He has challenged us with the question “What if Jesus really meant what He said? – How would that shape our life as part of his Kingdom?”  These sermons have really helped me focus on the idea of the way Jesus spoke and lived as he shared our humanity – and how that should impact the way that I speak and live.

But now we move into Holy Week – remembering the end of Jesus’ time of earth – and next Sunday will be Easter, celebrating salvation, resurrection, grace…Christmas Incarnation Joy is wonderful – but even that joy is eclipsed by the joy of Easter.

I was looking at Easter Cards in a shop once, when the woman next to me complained that too many of them were ‘religious’

“I am celebrating Jesus is alive” I said “What are you celebrating at Easter, then?” [she looked embarrassed and scuttled away…]

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!


In the absence of any children [my own, or those of my friends] I have built my own snowgirl, all by myself

She is tall and slim, and stylishly chic with a woollen scarf and beret. She looks French, and alarmingly cold.

I shall call her Br-br-brigitte!

And last week’s Red Nose came in useful!

The snow continues to fall – all very pretty, but I feel for those who have been caught out by this spell of bad weather.[including some teaching colleagues who had planned to fly to the sunshine from East Midlands Airport today – and can’t]

Bible Bashers

After the bike incident on 28th February, Bob seemed OK, apart from a graze on his knee. Then a few days later, he announced there was a strange lump. There followed some gentle reminders, warm encouragement – no I admit, it became full blown wifely nagging of the Proverbs 27 water torture variety. Eventually I went with him to the Urgent Care Walk In Clinic in Loughborough – where the nurse declared it to be a ganglion, and not to worry. “The traditional treatment is to wallop them hard with a Family Bible” she said.


These things often go away of their own accord, we were told. We went home.

Meanwhile the date for my appointment came through for the Hand Clinic in Loughborough

I’d been having a problem which got put on the back burner due the cartilage op.

I had a lump come up on the side of my right thumb. It was getting larger and larger [like Nanny McPhee’s warts] and I was quite self-conscious about it. The GP referred me to the Hospital. Then I banged my hand, and the lump disappeared. Then came back again.


So this week we went back to Loughborough and the Doctor said “Oh, that’s a ganglion” so I asked if I should bash it with the Family Bible? She said she thought not. Did it bother me? I said I was very aware of it, especially when counting on my fingers with pupils.

And it keeps catching on scissors when I am teaching sewing. The Dr said she could remove it, with local anaesthetic, day surgery, and it would be very quick. But the side of my thumb would forever be numb where nerves were cut, I would have a scar, and there was no guarantee the lump wouldn’t come back again anyway. And this would not be in Hinckley, or Leicester, or Loughborough – but inexplicably in the Royal Derby Infirmary [that’s in another county]

Conclusion; there seems little point having it removed if it may return [its the result of an arthritic thumb joint] and anyway it has subsided again today.

Next week I have to go to Hinckley Hospital for my post-knee-op check up.

Hands, Knees…but definitely NOT attending the Bumpsadaisy Clinic!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Divorced, Beheaded, Or Fired?!

Sometimes I worry about the up and coming generations – a recent survey [by Premier Inns] of 2000 British students aged 11-16 has shown that some think that among his wives, Henry VIII included Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Delia Smith and Jerry Hall 


teens think sugar PMSome suggested that Alan Sugar, Rod Stewart and Bruce Forsyth served as Prime Ministers during WW2.

And one hundred of those questioned thought that last Summer’s Olympic Games were held in Paris.

Oh dear – whatever next??!!

[They probably think Rowan Atkinson is the ABC too]

Bag Ladies

A tutorial for the little bags made by one of my pupils this week.


We filled the bags with rice, and made sure there were no holes in the seams. Then made a simple little tote bag to hold them [with the name of the young recipient attached, using Bondaweb]


These bags are soft and safe – non toxic – and also ideal for anyone who wants to learn to juggle! In previous years I have made them in sets of 3 and included juggling instructions to sell at Charity events


Thursday, 21 March 2013

Crimp Criteria


When I reached Liz and Jon’s flat on Monday night, they were working away in the kitchen. Jon had been curing yet more bacon, and Liz had been preparing pasties. These were cooling on the rack.

“Is there a difference in the fillings?” I asked – but she assured me she had just been practising different crimping techniques [and generously offered me a pasty to eat on the train home- thanks!]

The PGI status [protected geographical indication] granted to the Cornish pasty by the EU states that to be labelled a CP, it must be D shaped and crimped to the side, not to the top – which has apparently annoyed some Cornish folk who say either is acceptable. Clearly Liz made her pies miles away from the West Country and does not claim any CP authenticity. But they taste good nonetheless.

I usually make mine D-shaped and seal with fork-tines [like the ones on the left] Paul Hollywood says “D-shaped and twenty crimps”

How do you seal your pasties?

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Tyger, Tyger Burning Bright…

DSCF5307Going through St Pancras Station, to and from my WWDP committee, yesterday, I saw these enthusiastic girls collecting to Save The Tiger. Having made a donation, I asked if I could take photos of their Tiger


This magnificent sculpture is made from over 300 recycled plastic milk bottles! My dreams of turning lemonade bottles into blossoms seem quite manageable in comparison to this magnificent creation!


Thank you girls for your cheerful demeanour – station concourses are not the warmest places to spend your day [even with a tiger hat on]

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Cookies From Cornwall

A huge thankyou to ElisabethD of Cornish Cream who posted a really easy recipe last week. Do click on the link to find out more. I made some on Saturday evening…but was short of sultanas. Instead I chopped some dried apricots into small pieces and swapped the vanilla essence for almond.

e's biscuitsDSCF5305

I got about three dozen biscuits from the quantities given, and they taste lovely. I have packed some away in airtight boxes in the freezer, but we did enjoy a few over the weekend with a cuppa.

Home made biscuits taste infinitely nicer than the dusty packet ones, and they work out cheaper. It took me around half an hour to make this batch [and next time I plan to make double quantities]

The only downside is the calories in them…

Monday, 18 March 2013

Blossom Where You’re Planted!

On Saturday I went to the Annual Greenlight Festival at De Montfort University, and met a lovely lady called Iona who was exhibiting her eco-art work in the Gallery Section of the Festival




These colourful flowers are made from old drinks bottles, which have been cut and painted.

I was really interested in these, because I saw some similar ones last August when I was in the Museum in Belfast with My Mate Mags.

I had a good chat with Iona about how to do this with kids [potential Holiday Club Craft here!]

These blossoms [below] are the Irish ones…


Sunday, 17 March 2013

A Pause In Lent 2013 #5

Floss asked if the picture she uses to head up these Pauses ‘works’ for those of us involved in this annual blogfest. I confess I had never really questioned her choice of ‘logo’. It looked vaguely Celtic to me, and knowing her Scottish links I assumed it was something from ‘the North’ I was actually quite wrong!

A Pause in Lent Floss

It is actually part of a larger carving from the Lintel of the Abbey at St Genis des Fontaines in the Pyrenees. [Floss and family went there on holiday a few years back] I did some research…

The piece I read said that the carving represents "Christ in Majesty" - and I sort of imagine Jesus holding up his hand and saying "Whoa there, girl, stop a minute and think about the Important Stuff" which is how I have always interpreted a Pause In Lent. So yeah, Floss, it works for me.
As long as the other side of the wall has a carving of Jesus grinning, and saying "See, I said it would all work out OK in the end, if you just trusted me!"

This week has been incredibly busy for Bob and myself, with lots of friends in our fellowship going through complicated times. We have both been quite exhausted at the end of each day. But it has been really wonderful to watch the other friends who have rallied round, giving love and support, and I am grateful for their care and concern for brothers and sisters in need.

The lines from Jane’s meditation that have stuck with me are these

Fast from facts that depress; Feast on verities that lift.

Fast from lethargy; Feast on enthusiasm.

[some friends may spot a completely unintentional pun there]

There is a world of difference between exhaustion and lethargy. Exhaustion comes at the end of a day of purposeful busy-ness, when you collapse into bed, longing for sleep. Lethargy is at the beginning of the day, when you cannot face getting out of bed and getting on with life – that is the time to feast on enthusiasm!


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Sew Superb!

fabric 101 sew a metre

fabric 101 sew a metre

This is the book Liz gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago. It is full of great projects. You see the bag shown on the front cover? Well one of my pupils has just made this [after only four sessions with a sewing machine!] We were both excited!


My photo is of the ‘other’ side of the bag- which is why the button placement is reversed. I would recommend this book for both accomplished and novice needleworkers. It is well written, and the instructions are easy to follow. And it’s a great Stash Buster too!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Every Dog Has His Day

My “2013  - Use Up The Stash” campaign charity knitting project for March was inspired by a local woolshop, ‘Twinkles

twinkles craft shop


They are asking people to knit Dog Coats for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. The sale of the Sirdar pattern raises funds, and I understand the coats will be sold on as well, in support of BDCH.


The pattern uses DK yarn, and has three sizes. It is a simple basket weave texture, with a garter stitch edging, and a turn back collar. I’ve made five so far


DSCF5296pattern 5792

staffie twoThis is not the first time I have knitted for Battersea – I made the mice in July 2011, and a Staffie at Christmas that year, for Liz


liz at battersea

The BDCH website says Battersea Dogs & Cats Home was founded in 1860 by Mrs Mary Tealby. Cats began to be accepted in 1883. Many of its staff and animals served in the World Wars.  In a world where things are constantly changing the organisation stands for altruism and simplicity, old fashioned values that represent a welcome constant in people's lives.

[and my Liz is a weekend volunteer there!]

Projects for 2013

leprosymission NEWsailors society

bdch logo

January – Leprosy Mission

February – Sailors’ Society

March – Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

And remember “Every dog has his day – but a dog with no tail has a weak end”