Sunday, 30 June 2013

Summer Suns Are Glowing

Do you remember this old hymn?

Summer suns are glowing
over land and sea,
happy light is flowing,
bountiful and free.
Everything rejoices
in the mellow rays,
all earth's thousand voices
swell the psalm of praise.

It would have been a good one to sing today [but if you’d chosen it in advance, and then it rained you might feel silly] But today the sun is bright and shining. the Worship Group led our morning service, on the theme of Joy. We sang The Tortoise Song, aka “Jesus put this song into our hearts – it’s a song of joy no-one can take away”


My kids named it that many years ago, because of vv 2 & 3 [Jesus taught us how to be a family, Jesus taught us how to live in harmony] Ian played his banjo for some songs, , which was definitely joyful, and Sarah’s flute piece during the offering was fabulous.


Before church, I made some little chicken pies, which were round, golden and sunlike [I shall say more about these another time]


I turned my pastry scraps into initial ‘C’s [for ‘chicken’] in case I forgot the contents. It hasn’t quite worked – but I plan on eating them up quite quickly anyway, before they get forgotten in the freezer.

Coming home from church, we found some of our young neighbours had set up a stall by their front gate, selling cupcakes and homemade jewellery in aid of the RSPCA. Bob went on home to get my purse, as neither of us had any cash**, and on his return I bought 2 cakes*** for our afternoon tea and a bracelet. It was good to stand and chat with the children whilst I waited for him.



**I don’t usually take money to church with me – apart from my offering envelope.

***I am not expecting these cakes to be GBBO standard – but on principle, I feel it is very important to support and encourage young people who are doing Good Things For Others like this. Don’t you?

Grace, Mercy, Peace

great guitar playing!

Grace - gracious love
Reaching out to take me as I am,
Accepting - expecting I will do the best I can
Caring - you cover me, clothed in Your own righteousness I am
Exactly - What You've made me, by grace I have found favour in the Lamb
Cover me - cover me - cover me.
Mercy - made free to me
Eternal life, a gift that has no end.
Receiving - believing in the mercy You extend.
Cover me - you cover me, clothed in Your own righteousness I stand
Your mercy - has made me a part of Your salvation army band.
Heart to God, Hand to Man
Saved to Serve, Salvation Army Band
Peaceful sleep
Enjoyed by those whose eyes find rest in you.
Adoring - the glory of Your presence is in view.
Cover me - you cover me, clothed in Your own righteousness I stand
Eternally - You made me a part of Your salvation army band.
Cover me - cover me - cover me.
Heart to God, Hand to Man
Saved to Serve, Salvation Army Band

Saturday, 29 June 2013

This Weekend…

I shall not be at any of these events…


..altho I have a number of friends and family members who will be there. I hope the weather is kind and they have loads of fun.

I shall be probably

  • helping Bob set up PA gear for the fete at our village school
  • going to a Centenary Tea Party at a school where I once taught
  • going to church – including Sunday Night’s Special Praise Event
  • watching Rend Collective on Songs Of Praise Sunday night
  • and doing lots of ironing in front of the TV and some knitting

What are your weekend plans?

Friday, 28 June 2013

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Robsongreen - Mondegreen

I thought the lady on the BBC said that Flora Robson was doing really well at Wimbledon. Which confused me, as the wonderful actress who starred in “Fire Over England” as Queen Elizabeth 1 died nearly forty years ago! But she said Laura Robson

Flora Robson in Fire Ove rEnglandlaura robson

I mustn’t confuse Robson Green and Bobby Robson either

robson green

bobby robson

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Small Beer

I never drink beer, I really can’t stand the stuff – but I do like the shape of some of the bottles it comes in!


The bottle on the left originally held St Stephanus, a Belgian ‘Abbey’ beer, first made in 1295, and distributed in the UK by SABMiller


The beer is produced in the Van Steenberge brewery in Ertvelde, which is still linked to the local monastery and its order of monks.

The bottle on the right comes from the Meantime Brewery in Greenwich, where the chief executive, Nick, is a former work colleague of Steph at SABMiller.

You’ll be glad to know that the liquid in the bottles is just water – I hate to think what would happen if I put my flowers in beer [and I suspect Steph would be cross with me for misuse of her company’s products]

Incidentally, the term ‘small beer’ which now means trifling matters, of no importance, was a term used in medieval England for weak beer, which contained very little alcohol. St Stephanus is definitely not small beer, being 9% ABV, more than twice the 4.1% of the Meantime Ale!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


DSCF1006DSCF1017I bought a green winter coat, a Dannimac, in the Leicester branch of Fenwicks, during Autumn 1997. It served me well for fourteen winters. Then in January 2011, I realised it was getting very worn in places, and gave it an overhaul [before/after pictures above, and details here] I rebound the worn cuffs and mended some of the rips. But it has really got to the end of its useful life. There are some extremely worn patches in the outer fabric, the lining has become very thin, and shredded in places, and there are some much mended tears on the back. It feels thin, and is no longer really warm. I can’t wear it any more – and I have already got a new coat for next winter from John Lewis Sale.

DSCF5622What to do? It is far too worn to pass on to a charity shop – but I cannot bear to throw it away. I’ve got this sentimental attachment too, because my Dad was with me when I got it, and it was our last shopping trip together. I have recently thought of a use for the fabric. So I dismantled the coat, and discovered a white interlining which was weirdly disintegrating.


Above you see the heap of thin, worn out fabric. The coat has a double layer over the chest and upper back area, and the fabric under that was in quite good condition, as was the hood. So here is what I have salvaged from the garment


  • the hood
  • three largish pieces of green woollen cloth from the coat
  • two strips of green corduroy from the button bands
  • two good pieces of un-worn lining from the sleeves
  • the drawstring cord from the hood
  • the long metal zip from the front
  • a short nylon zip from the inner pocket
  • 8 [original] green buttons from front and cuffs
  • 2 [replacement] buttons from the back
  • a green and a red button from the 2011 brooch
  • a few clear buttons and a random safety pin.

All this has packed neatly into a small poly-bag, to be stored until I have time to implement my project. I shall offer the remaining rags to Bob as he may have a use for them.

Nobody can say I haven’t had my money’s worth from this coat!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Following On From This Morning’s Post…

Thank you Kathryn for showing me this [we really have such wonderful deacons at KMFC]

Good Looking!

I really must book an eye test – I put it off last autumn because of the prohibitive cost of the lenses. My brother is shortly to undergo treatment for cataracts, so I think I should get my peppers checked. [is this a hereditary condition? neither of our parents suffered with them, although both wore glasses] He didn’t know he had a problem till his eye test, but it appears that nowadays they can spot cataracts much earlier. It is good to deal with them sooner rather than later.

Last Tuesday, I saw a pupil* in the coolest frames – but sadly they do not make them for adults, or I would definitely want these..


He had the green/grey ones, but I think the red/silver are more ‘me’


Which reminds me, why don’t Lego produce ads like this anymore?

lego ad girl

*just realised the unintentional pun there – my pupil had two pupils behind his fab frames!

Sunday, 23 June 2013


100945-82I am familiar with the word ‘moonlighting’ – having a second job in the evening, to supplement one’s income, and I admire those diligent people who work so hard both day and night. I recognise that many have no choice.

But I recently came across the word ‘dawnlighting’ – that has a slightly different meaning. This is not about paid employment.

Dawnlighting is when you get up an hour or two earlier than the rest of the household in order to get extra tasks completed. These can be

  • exercise- going for a run, walking the dog, using a rowing machine, doing some yoga
  • household tasks – finishing the ironing, sorting finances and paying bills, making some bread, thinning out seedlings
  • crafts – finishing some stitching, knitting a few more rows, making some cards, hooking another Granny Square
  • writing – a letter, a blogpost, the next chapter of The Novel
  • reading – the end of the library book, a Bible Commentary, last week’s Sunday Supplement, the 2012 Man Booker Prize*


The idea is that having begun your day with such positive activity, you get a real sense of achievement which inspires you through the day with a sense of purpose. As day is breaking, you are beginning a new time of creativity.

I am a fairly early riser anyway – and Bob works late into the night [why do so many larks seem to end up married to owls?] which means I very rarely get a full eight hours under the duvet, so I am not inclined to make a habit of dawnlighting.

BUT as I thought about it, I remembered something that happened when I was a very young child. I was staying at my grandparents and Nana and I were sharing the double bed in the back bedroom. I woke very early to hear the birds singing outside. “What is it Nana?” I asked. She explained it was the Dawn Chorus – and that every day, as the sun comes up, all the birds sing. She maintained they were praising God for another new day [and who was I to argue with that?] “Angela, if you are woken by the Dawn Chorus, and you do not have to get up for a while, but you cannot get back to sleep, then you should use the time to talk to God too” she told me. She suggested thanking God for a new day, praying for friends with problems, and asking for God’s help to do my best in the day ahead.

And so that’s been my practice for many years now**. I confess that often I drift back to sleep again and am awoken later by the alarm – but always find the quiet time of meditation a blessing and help.

woman_sleeping alarm

* Hilary Mantel- Bring Up The Bodies. It is waiting on the bookshelf till my holiday in August

** For the sake of Bob and others nearby, I pray silently, I do not attempt to sing along with the birds!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Arts And Crafts

We took a brief break from Holiday Club planning and sermon writing to pop over to Market Bosworth after lunch to see their summer festival. My friend Jacquie had told me about this on Thursday , and said there would be some splendid quilts on display.


We saw the Town Crier, and a fun bicycle in the Market Square, then went across to the Art Exhibition in Dixie Grammar School


First we walked round the schools displays.

I was particularly taken with this lovely display of butterflies produced from old vinyl LPs. They had been cut to shape with woodworking tools and coloured in with pencil crayons. But overall I preferred the children’s artwork at Ashby last Saturday.DSCF5632

The adult artwork was stunning – all sorts of media used, oils, watercolours, acrylic, collage, textiles…these two [Tenby Harbour and Kirby Muxloe Castle] were described as textile pieces involving collage, painting and stitching. Quite intricate, both smaller than A4 in size. I really liked them


Outside at the Charity Book Sale [where we both resisted the urge to buy more books!] we met Jacquie and had a chat. Then Bob and I walked up to the Church Hall to the Quilt Show. I loved this Orla Kiely style cushion


But my favourite quilt was this large piece in red/cream/navy.


DSCF5636The cakes were mouth-wateringly delicious and only £1 for a huge slice [I had a piece of chocolate Malteser sponge] and all proceeds going to GOSH. We walked back to the car past the Forge, with its thought-provoking sign. I am not sure I have ever hugged a blacksmith!

The Floral Studio was looking very pretty. Then home again


The festival runs till July 5th, with various different events – if you are in the vicinity you might like to visit. Details on website here

It’s Play Time!

9am Thursday – clothes rail empty


9.40 – tabard for King Richard


10.45 – two jackets for guards


11.45 – outfit for Little John, and labels for the cab drivers waistcoats and caps [no idea why there are taxis in this production. Should it be TAXES do you think?]


After lunch – the Sheriff of Nottingham’s robe. And yes, some of these do look familiar [see here] Some of the 2009 Robin Hood Costumes have mysteriously disappeared from the Props Cupboard at school – hence the rush to re-create these. All delivered to school by the end of the day.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Bungalow 66


This is the name of the place where I work, teaching sewing, on a Wednesday morning. The scheme was officially ‘opened’ last week – and we have been in the paper [here] and on the local TV news [here]

I am finding the work very fulfilling – and the staff and students are great. People work well together, and the atmosphere is super.

On the left, my manager, modelling one of the aprons which a student had just finished sewing up! Below – the opening ceremony



Boxing Day


Around 20% of our books were left over after the Sale the other Saturday. Some have gone to the housing scheme next door to the chapel, for their Summer Fayre. Some have gone to the local Hospice, and will be sold through their charity shops throughout the county. And the remainder are going to Christian Aid. CA have a brilliant scheme whereby they send you the boxes, and then come and collect them – free! All the details are here. Bob and I worked very late at church on Tuesday night to pack about 400 tomes into 12 large boxes ready for collection by the courier.

Much better that the leftovers should go promptly to help others than sit around collecting dust and becoming unsaleable. I should say that CA are quite specific about what they can accept [must be non-fiction, good condition, with ISBN, and relatively new] but the Hospice were quite happy to take all our leftover pink-jacketed chick-lit, and black-covered crime and thriller stuff!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Pedal Power

I just love this new Halfords ad…

…I am sure I have taught that determined little girl who wins the ice cream [or does she just remind me of my daughter when younger?]

I Don’t Do Basketwork!

In the great dictionary of educational jargon, I have just learned a new term…basketwork


A colleague explained to me last week that it refers to activities done by pupils [particularly towards the end of term, or on a Friday afternoon] when the children do not work in their books, but just do stuff on paper – and at the end of the week, the paper just “goes in the basket” [this must be a very old expression, these days, you would have to put it in the recycling bin!]

Like my friend, I abhor this idea. There are times when children must work on paper and not in regular exercise books – but I do not see why that output should be undervalued.

So as my recent stint of supply teaching involved a topic on 'Shelters’ – and how to build a good shelter, I decided we would make mini-books about shelters. On my first day we had been working on our seaside collage, and mid afternoon there was a terrific thunderstorm. End of day story was therefore the wise and foolish builders [one built his house on the beach and there was a thunderstorm!]  That was the first mini-book, mostly involving picturtes.

The second involved shelters round the world – brick houses, stone castles, ice igloos, buffalo-hide tepees, log cabins, adobe huts, and more. That needed the children to research the topic, and source pictures in books.

The final mini-book related to the traditional tale of the Three Little Pigs, who used different materials to build their shelters, only one of which was wind and wolf-proof. There was a lot more writing involved in this one. The work made a great display


The children were proud of what they had produced, and will be able to take them home at the end of term. No basketwork here!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Refugee Week

I am sorry I have got halfway through this week without knowing anything about it – but thanks to my friend Elisabeth, I am more clued up now. You can find out more here. And as a person who loves history, and knowing more about ‘people who have made a positive difference’ I really love this poster

refugee week

So as you sit there in your M&S clothes, eating your fish’n’chips, watching your ‘Les Mis’ DVD, just give a thought to their origins.

“I was a stranger and you took me in…”

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Horses Sweat…

…gentlemen perspire, and ladies merely glow is a phrase believed to have originated from Victorian etiquette guides. Certainly Japanese researchers discovered a few years ago that men on average start perspiring much more quickly than women and then twice as much when they are in the middle of exercising.

The scientists at Osaka University found that men lost twice as much moisture per square inch of forehead, chest, back, forearm and thigh at any one time. Also they discovered that men are more efficient at sweating and that women required a much higher body temperature before they started losing moisture.

victorian gym

But I was fascinated this week to see an advert on TV for a man’s deodorant which proclaimed the latest product was designed to protect the shirt on his back through the use of ‘anti-cardboard effect technology’ I had to go off to the PC and research this. It seems that this product is “formulated to avoid the deposits responsible for the stiffening of fabrics after washing, drying and ironing.”

I am not aware that such a problem has been afflicting my laundry basket. Bob has certainly never complained in the past 30 years about this issue [he is always very appreciative of having clean, ironed shirts when he needs them] Sorry L’O***l, I suspect my spouse will continue to buy the budget stuff which he likes. It works and has a pleasant fragrance, so why spend three times as much?

A random thought –  starch produces ‘the deposits responsible for the stiffening of fabrics’ – so if I put a can of this new deo spray on the shelf next to a can of spray starch, would they jump apart like two magnets repelling each other??


What will the ad-men try to sell us next, I wonder?