Sunday, 31 August 2014

Matthew 6:25-34

These last few days, I have seen that bullfinch in the garden again. In a week full of unexpected hassles, it has served as a good reminder to me of John Newton’s old hymn.

bullfinch m filmore

The birds, without barn or storehouse, are fed;
from them let us learn to trust God for our bread.
This one thing secures us, whatever betide,
The scripture assures us, the Lord will provide.

No strength of our own, or goodness we claim;
Yet since we have known the Saviour's great name,
In this our strong tower for safety we hide;
The Lord is our power, the Lord will provide.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Rust In Peace



It is just two months since my little blue Matiz clocked up 50,000 miles. At the time I was driving along happily, going through the village past the church. But since then…

  • the clutch had to be replaced,
  • then the clutch cable snapped,
  • then the speedo cable came adrift,
  • then one brake light failed,
  • then something got noisily stuck in an airvent
  • then it refused to go into reverse,
  • then there was a problem with the gearbox mountings…

… I got home from school yesterday [having been given a lift by a kind colleague] and Bob called me to sit down in the lounge. The news from the garage was not good – having fixed the mountings, they found that the gearbox is completely defunct and the car is ‘beyond economic repair’

That’s it then! We went over to the garage and paid for the first bit of gearbox work, and Bob drove it back to the village. Our drive is sloping- there is no way we could get it on and off again easily.

So currently the vehicle is ‘lying in state’ in the church car park.

We had hoped to get to next April before this happened [I will get a small lump sum on my birthday which we’d earmarked for car replacement] this deterioration has been remarkably rapid over the summer.

It’s only a car. But I shall certainly miss it!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Family And Feasting

This year, our summer holiday seemed to be one long celebration of lots of different wonderful things –

  1. we are exactly halfway through our mortgage [something I never believed would happen when we took it on in 2009]
  2. Bob and I celebrated 35 years of marriage
  3. Steph and Mark are engaged
  4. we were able to spend lots of quality time with my brother and his family, our children and their partners, my best friend Christine, and our Cornerstones neighbours

So we celebrated- and we feasted. Boy, did we feast [despite that, I only put on 2lbs in weight] Look at all these wonderful meals


Row 1; The smoked pulled pork – for the BBQ, and then in the pie Row 2; lovely Sunday lunch at Darby’s [salmon, prawns, pie, f&c] Row 3; Jon’s smoked chickens with salad, Boston baked beans etc Row 4; Pancakes at The Albatros, moules et frites on our anniversary

family and food-002

Bob’s barbecue, Bob and Jon sorting out the smoker, Marion and Steph with Adrian’s barbecue. What is is about men and fire?

Finally, family members – at Hunstanton, at the Swaffham Festival, at family barbecues. What a glorious summer* we enjoyed together!

august 2014

*it did get a bit damp and windy at the Festival – which is why Bob his under his hood. Mostly the weather was good, you can tell that by the wearing of shorts and the paddling in the sea!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Better Late Than Never…

Finally, some photos of Megamakers week

Dress Up Day – inventors, scientists and robots…


Group Displays


Busy people


And the busiest of the lot – the man who led the sessions, played the guitar, acted in the drama, swept up plums, jet-washed the barbecue, encouraged everybody, fetched the fish’n’chips, built a megamachine – and even cleaned up the boys’ toilets…


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Journeying Mercies

I know that God has been around, listening to our prayers, for a long, long time [since time immemorial, and before that…] but why is it that we Christians often feel the need to address the Almighty using phraseology which might have felt comfortable to Thomas More, or John Bunyan or William Wilberforce – but let’s be honest, sounds dead weird to 21st century ears???

For instance “Journeying mercies” – I have lost count of the times I have heard somebody praying for a friend who is about to travel somewhere, and beseeches the Lord to grant them journeying mercies. I know I have said it myself. Sorry, Lord what was I thinking? What on earth does that phrase mean?


At 2am Tuesday morning, I was praying, rather more simply ‘Lord get us back home to Kirby Muxloe safely’ The A47 is a long, and tedious road sometimes, with long stretches where there is nowhere to overtake safely, and a lot of roadworks and resurfacing going on right now. Bob was travelling on the bike, I was in the [non-reversing] Daewoo



There are plans to improve this route. But it is a long way from Cornerstones to Kirby and I knew I would need to stop halfway. But nowhere which required reversing!!! Bob and I agreed to meet up at the Guyhirn Sex Shop, as the car park is huge and I could turn a complete circle there.

I should explain that the GSS has changed in character – years ago it was a Little Chef – we used to stop there when the girls were much younger, on journeys home from my parents. Then it closed and re-opened as an adult store. We never visited it in those days!

shop then

But it didn’t do much trade- and closed down – then re-opened again in a more useful format. “The Coffee Tree Experience” It is right next door to a petrol station.

shop now

So after breakfast [and more prayers] I left just before 8.30am, with Bob [I thought] close behind. The car was going OK – although 1st gear was getting difficult to engage. I fully expected Bob to overtake me along the route, but he didn’t. I pulled into the [empty]car park, drove round in a circle and parked facing the exit – across two marked spaces. I went in, apologised for my strange parking, and ordered a coffee. The girl was very sympathetic to my car plight. A couple of minutes later, Bob pulled up outside. He came in, removing his helmet- and he looked a little pale.

“Do you have your phone with you?” “Err – no , I’ve left it on the passenger seat. Why?” Just after I had left, Bob realised I had got his wallet and purse in my bag. He tried to ring me, but there was no signal. The bike indicated he had used all the fuel in the main tank – and he needed to switch to the reserve tank.

The question Bob could not answer was this -  How far will the bike go on the reserve tank?

He could not stop and refuel, as he had no means of payment! and he could not contact me to arrange to meet up. He decided he would just have to drive as economically as he could and hope he got most of the way to our pre-arranged rendezvous.

The answer to the question is exactly 50 miles

Which is the exact distance from Cornerstones to the Coffee Tree Experience- as he came across the junction and started indicating for the left turn into the car park, he ran out of fuel and coasted into a parking space! How amazing is that!

DSCF5523Bob came into the coffee shop, explained what had happened, reclaimed his wallet then pushed his bike over to the garage forecourt and filled both tanks! We were safely together again in Kirby by 11.30.

Prayers for safe journey answered. Having unloaded the car I drove gingerly round to the garage, who rang later and said they could fix it but it was a gearbox issue and they had to wait for the parts. Bob still thinks the clutch is at fault [the guy in the Norfolk garage said that too] We will just have to wait and see…

Right now I am grateful we are back safe and sound – and I guess God did show mercy to both of us on our journey along the A47.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Cute Boots

zoe book

I bought this book about ten years ago, and I have used it a lot to make bootees as gifts for friends with new babies.

I put it in my bag along with some needles and spare yarn, and whilst at Cornerstones tried a pattern I’d not done before. Jester Boots!



Very happy with finished result. Easier than I thought to make. I substituted Pompoms for Zoe’s Bells on the toes. I have got some little bells at home – but I felt that pompoms were just as much fun, and softer too.

I made the pompoms using the fork method [see here] holding a strand of red and of white wool together, and winding round 30 times.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Happy Anniversary

bob bike 35 years today since I married Bob. Mariella Frostrup said on Radio 2 last week that ‘No one man can be everything a girl needs’ – I beg to differ. In my marriage, my man has been all these and more…

bob funday audio-wizard, actor, artist, Alpha-leader, breadmaker, breadwinner, biker, builder, brother, chef, counsellor, carpenter, coffee-snob, designer, driver, dog-walker, evangelist, encourager, engineer, father, friend, guitarist, giver, helper, homeowner, husband, inspirer, intercessor, immerser, IT guru,  jester, jazz-lover, knife-sharpener, lover, leader, listener, minister, musician, mechanic, neighbour, nature-lover, organiser, orator, pastor, physicist, preacher, Queen’s-bobxword tieCollege-Alumnus, radio-presenter, recycler, raconteur, runner, soul-mate, smoker[ food not fags] spendthrift [reformed], teacher,  trailblazer, thinker, tea-maker, tie-wearer, uncle, upcycler, vendor, venturer, valentine, waiter, witness, worship-leader, Xword solver, youth-leader, zipper-upper, zealot

In fact, everything from A to Z

Bob brings me love, peace and joy every day of my life and I thank God for him.

Happy Anniversary, darling xx

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Going Forward…

IMG_2921 I really don’t like this expression, which seems to occur so often in conversation lately.

But I have been stuck with it this holiday. In fact, going forward has been de rigeur

Having paid all that money for the clutch to be replaced on my elderly Matiz, recently, it has not been a good experience to realise that it is still not working right. 99% of the time, the car will not go into reverse gear, and sometimes the other gears are rather dodgy too. Bob drove it carefully into the local garage here in Norfolk, who confirmed it was the clutch at fault, but recommended we took it back to the garage who did the original work [“We could fix it but it would cost you a lot of money. They ought to put it right”]

So on the days without Steph, Mark, Liz or Jon with us, we have used the motorbike or bicycle to get places. When we have needed to use the car, we have found places where car park spaces can be driven into, and then driven out again without the need for reversing! It has been a real challenge, I have to say! The car has lived on the road outside, and not been reversed into the drive in case it gets stuck there. We have phoned the garage and told them we are taking the car in on Tuesday! Bob has been doing almost all the driving - but I shall have to do the journey back alone as he will be on the motorbike – no stopping halfway for a coffee then!

I plan to drive down the A47 singing to myself- probably this old hymn will be on my playlist

“Forward!” be our watchword, steps and voices joined;
Seek the things before us, not a look behind;
Burns the fiery pillar at our army’s head;
Who shall dream of shrinking, by our Captain led?
Forward through the desert, through the toil and fight;
Heaven’s Kingdom waits us, forward into light.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

No Place Like Dome

orig We had a brilliant trip out to Langham Dome this week. In my childhood, it was this odd concrete building on the edge of a field north of Fakenham.

My Dad said it was “something to do with the War” but he wasn’t really sure. Now, thanks to determined efforts by local people, it has been refurbished and opened to the public.IMG_2891

Here is the dome now – painted and surrounded by picnic benches and information panels – and a car park

IMG_2881There is a memorial to all those who served at the airfield, and also a fascinating set of information panels about the messenger pigeons, and those awarded the PDSA Dickin medal. It is easy to forget that animals helped in the war effort! But the main point of the dome was that it was there to train RAF personnel to shoot down enemy aircraft

IMG_2883IMG_2882 IMG_2884   diagram of projector  The dome trainer was originally conceived when Henry Christian Stevens, watched a Pathe newsreel in the late 1930s and saw Stuka planes dive bombing civilians during the Spanish civil war. He developed a projection system - the dome trainer – which provided a safe and realistic space for Anti-Aircraft gunners to hone their craft.It projected a film onto the curved surface of the domes walls with a mocked up gunnery emplacement in the centre of the room. Stevens created the first example of what we now know as Virtual Reality technology! Now you can visit the Dome and as you sit at the picnic benches outside, there are opportunities to learn more, play games, and design your own equipment all printed on the tables! This was clearly set up with an eye to school visits. I was extremely impressed by the information outside- and would happily take a school party to see the place.

IMG_2887IMG_2888 IMG_2889 IMG_2890 

Once inside, we could see the strange quilted paper that insulated the cold concrete structure, and all round the walls were more informative displays.





Videos explaining how the ‘dome trainer’ had been used in WW2 were projected on the wall [narrated by local Norfolk celeb, Stephen Fry, of course] Then there was an opportunity to try out the system and shoot down an enemy plane yourself


Bob certainly enjoyed that – there were sound effects too! Langham Dome is well worth a visit, but if you plan to go, do check out the website first – they are not open every day [and closed Saturdays] Around 43 of these domes were built in the British Isles during WW2 – but most have been demolished now – only 5 left. There’s  one near Mags, in Limavady at Aghanloo [You couldn’t make these names up!!]

Friday, 22 August 2014

A Stitch In Time

I treated myself to two new books this holiday – from Charity Shops, naturally – and pleased with the £3 I spent. Both are books about the history of needlework. The first is a 1970’s retro classic

needleworker's dictionary

Pamela Clabburn was “Keeper of Social History” at Norwich Museum until the mid 70s – and this book is a real treasury of information for anybody interested in needlework, with 2000 alphabetically arranged entries, covering the most important stitches, history of needlework and textiles worldwide, materials, techniques and tools, people who have influenced the genre, and lists some of the places and museums where collections can be seen. I have already spent quite a bit of time flicking through the pages muttering random words to myself [fustian, barme-clothe, tabby-weave, thummel, bewpers…]

sew retro The second is much newer – published in 2010 – and this one is by an American author, Judith Ketteler. This book was in pristine condition – the pocket at the back holding the pattern sheets has never been unsealed! The book documents the history of the sewing revolution from 1800 until today.

Do check the book out here and here. Admittedly the book is written from a USA perspective – so the pictures and characters mentioned are mostly [but not all] from across the pond. But it is enormous fun


The projects are good fun too – I like this 1920’s Flapper Apron.

flapper apronI feel much more knowledgeable about sewing now, even after a fairly quick read of these two purchases. I mentioned on Wednesday that September is “The Month of the Guitar” – but it seems that in 1982, Ronald Reagan declared September to be “National Sewing Month” in the USA, in recognition of the importance of Home Sewing to the American people. Who knew?

I have borrowed some craftbooks from Dereham Library too – which have pattern sheets at the back. What is the etiquette about these? Having borrowed the book, I cannot actually use the pattern, because if I cut it out to my size, that means the next person [larger or smaller] may be unable to use it.

I suppose that if I really  wanted to make up a garment from the library book, I should have to either trace the pattern onto fresh paper, or go out and buy my own copy of the book!

Oh, one final thing – that teaser photo from Wednesday



It’s our new sink plunger!

It is very different from the black rubber, wooden handled one we have in Leicester – but remarkably sturdy and efficient.

I think it looks like a school bell, and I keep swinging it and saying “Playtime’s over, back to work, children!”

We bought it in Machine Mart.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

√-1 2³ Σ π


… and it was delicious!**

I saw somebody wearing a teeshirt like this at Norwich Station on Monday – I quite fancy one myself, being a maths nerd






Bob’s amazing filing cabinet smoker produced a wonderful piece of meat, which he turned into pulled pork for our Neighbourhood Barbecue at the weekend. Then he took the leftover meat


He put in some mussels [on offer in Aldi] to give added flavour, and then made some beautiful shortcrust pastry.

This is truly a pie to be proud of. It tasted fabulous!



*The square root of minus one is imaginary , represented by the letter i. Two cubed is 8. In maths, the Greek letter Sigma represents a sum. Finally, Pi. Don't make me explain pi!