Thursday, 22 June 2017

Toilet Humour

Way back in the last millennium when I was young, my Dad and I would sometimes go to lunch in The Lamb Inn, in Norwich. I haven't been back there for years, we really should check it out sometime. 
I remember three things about it - one was the food was excellent, the second was that the prices were good, and the third was the ladies' loo.
Or more specifically, the passage that led to the ladies' loo.
You had to go through an archway, and as it was quite low, there was a sign above it to warn you.

Dad and I were always amused by it. A choice between birds - or an instruction, depending on whether it is read as two nouns or two verbs.
We've seen this sign on other low doorways since - but it's always The Lamb which comes back to mind.
Earlier this week, Bob was assembling some sandwiches for lunch, and I said there were some jars of paté in the cupboard.
He put them down on the worktop and declared "Duck Or Grouse?"
I was greatly amused- but pointed out that the choice was "Duck or Quail" [but again, it was a  noun/verb thing so the joke still worked]

Later on in the day we went out for a quick meal at a local pub which had been recommended to us. We'd both been busy and felt we needed some space.

It was very good [here, if you're interested] and the chicken and bacon 'supersalad' was excellent [I do like edamame beans]
But the decor was the sort where there are chalkboards everywhere bearing quirky sayings and bromides[such a bizarre term -full definition here]
When I went to the ladies' loo in this pub, I just had to take out my camera for this sign...

...the staff clearly follow their own advice - look at the sign stapled below! 
In other news -
I am not coping well in this heat.

  •  I tried to make a cooling fruit smoothie using my stickblender, and splattered myself and the kitchen with blackcurrant-and-banana milk. [now struggling to get purple stains out of my best white bra]
  • I explained to someone that we knew all the volunteer staff who worked at our Church Holiday Club, and that they had all been PAT tested.[I meant to say they had DBS Certificates, but it came out wrong]
  • I unloaded all my shopping, but left a pack of butter behind in the car. Fortunately Bob spotted it while it was still soft, before it turned to liquid gold.[He is wonderful]

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Bobblehead Jig

 It sounds like it ought to be a dance, but it isn't. It's a special bit of kit Bob made for me over the weekend.

This piece of wood has a circular slot in the top, to hold an Actimel bottle, and a tiny pilot hole in the side, so you can drill a hole in the neck of the bottle.
Eight summers ago, I blogged about the little bobblehead men we made at the Kirby Holiday Club. Then they were representing the Wise Men, who nodded sagely [the original idea came from Steph, who had made King Solomon bobbleheads with a Sunday School Class]
This year, they will be models of Jonah,who shook his head and said "No!" when God said "Go to Nineveh and preach"
I could not remember how I had made the holes last time, so Bob kindly produced the jig which meant I could drill over a hundred bottles in less than an hour, using the cordless DeWalt drill.
I stuck the compressed paper balls on the springs with a dab of glue from the hot glue gun. [Bob said that the balls on springs looked suspiciously like something from a Sex Ed. Lesson. Very rude, I said] 
I made one example of Jonah - but all the others can wait to be assembled at the Kids Club in a few week's time. A bag of cloaks and robes and headdresses are all cut out, ready to be stuck on.
When I set the ends of the springs into the Plaster of Paris, I pushed each head down into the neck of the bottle to hold things steady till it set. They will be popped up later, and I shall push the pipecleaners through.
I've found a picture of the 2009 Wise Men - it will be interesting to compare them with this year's creations...

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Looking Through The Round Window...

I loved watching anything featuring the genius Brian Cant. Whether it was in Play School, and then later, PlayAway - or listening to his voice as he told all the wonderful stories of Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley...
He died yesterday, aged 83, having been suffering from Parkinson's Disease for a number of years. I always admired his skill at communicating with children - his imagination, his lovely voice, his twinkling eyes and warm smile. The children watching felt he was their trusted friend.
Brian Cant once said that the one thing he wanted children to take away from his work was "that I made them laugh, I made them feel happy".
In 2010, he was presented with a special Children's Bafta. On receiving this award, Cant said: "One of the main rules of those Play School days was that we should play to the camera as though we were talking to one child, in whatever circumstance.

"It could be somebody in a tower block, a nice semi-detached somewhere, or a Royal palace. You had to phrase everything so, whoever was watching it, they felt you were talking to them."
Brian's father-in-law was actor Tony Britton, and his sister-in-law  is presenter Fern Britton. Brian's son Richard is an actor [you might have seen him as the eccentric undertaker Dennis Rainbird in Midsomer Murders] All entertainers - but I think Brian was the best of them. RIP Brian Cant 1933-2017
In a week when we have seen the British Fire Service at its best, and I honour their bravery, sensitivity and consummate professionalism displayed in Kensington, it seems appropriate to finish this post with Brian's most famous performance. I am sure this will be his lasting legacy. It's a good reminder to teach our children, from their earliest years that these are members of our society who deserve our respect. 

Monday, 19 June 2017

Consider The Lilies...

Do you ever buy fresh flowers? for yourself, for a gift - or like me, do you take a turn on the flower rota at church? Here's something which may have passed you by - today is the start of British Flowers Week.

Just like with food, people are increasingly demanding more locally grown flowers to celebrate the seasons, and support British growers. Often scented, British flowers have a natural charm, beauty and just-picked freshness that make them the florist’s favourite.
Up until the 1970s, the only flowers you saw came from flower farmers in Britain. Today, most of the flowers in our shops will have been grown by large scale  growers, routed through the Dutch auctions. BFW is aiming to change this. 
Not only do British flowers usually have a superior scent to imported blooms, they will be fresher and last longer. Minimum distance means maximum vase life. When they are at their seasonal high, quality goes up and price comes down, making them good value for money.
British flowers and foliage show the seasons to the best.[free downloadable seasons chart here] Buy what’s looking good in peak season rather than what’s looking OK all year round. Question the provenance and seek out 'locally grown' for flowers as well as for food. Support local industry, keep farms happy, encourage wildlife and biodiversity. It’s an ethical movement we can all get behind.
BFW is the week-long celebration of British-grown cut flowers and foliage that aims to bring British flowers back into British homes. The brainchild of the team at New Covent Garden Flower Market, where British flowers have been traded for centuries, BFW runs from today until next weekend, uniting growers, florists and wholesalers across the country. Find out more here. 
Look how the flowers grow in the fields: they do not work or make clothes for themselves.  But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Father's Love

We discovered on Tuesday that Corfe Castle - built by the King as one of the Royal Palaces - had one quite unusual feature- a carving of "The Pelican In Piety" high up on one wall of the keep. This type of carving has been quite common down the centuries- but usually only on churches and cathedrals - to find it in a castle is extremely uncommon - the King must have particularly wanted to declare his Christian faith.
It is said that naturalists of old, observing that the pelican had a crimson stain on the tip of its beak, reported that it was accustomed to feed its young with the blood flowing from its breast, which it tore for the purpose. In this belief the Early Christians adopted the pelican as a symbol of Christ, who brought us redemption through His blood, which was willingly shed for His children.
In the stonemason's area, we found two carvings of the pelican - one a corner piece, similar to the original - the other a roundel, showing the pelican pecking her breast to shed blood to feed her young.
I have been thinking about the pelican imagery all week - and the idea of the self-sacrifice of a loving parent in order to give life to the children.
Today is Father's Day - and many people will be remembering their Dads, and being grateful to them for their love and care. 
Not every child has had a good experience with their earthly father, sadly. Some children have been cruelly treated, others abandoned, others bereaved - and some have grown up never even knowing who their father is.
But God, the creator, is the perfect model of Fatherhood, showing unconditional love to his children. This lovely song by Stuart Townend reminds me of that...

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss -
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.
Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life -
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart -
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Busy Bee

Rosie is fond of sorting things out, or more specifically, emptying things out but not putting them back again. This is, I suspect, genetic. On Monday, I emptied out the bookcases on the landing, moved them checked for carpet beetles [none!] and then replaced the bookcases against the wall - but have yet to replace all the books on the shelves. 
Meanwhile Bob put all the DVDs and CDs into plastic boxes on the coffee table in the lounge, so we could check underneath their storage units - and the boxes are still there.
Liz is relatively laid back about Rosie's emptying activities- clearing the laundry basket, pulling LPs and books off the shelf etc. But Rosie's latest project is not so good - she has become inordinately fond of finding Jon's wallet and emptying the contents of that onto the floor. But Bank Cards, driving licence, Work ID Card etc are too important for her to play with. Please could Grandma supply a spare wallet?
Of course I could - and I loaded it with a few expired gift cards and business cards, plus a picture of the family. No, I didn't put any money in it! I hope Rosie likes having her own wallet and leaves her Dad's alone now!
Isn't the little bee backpack cute?

Friday, 16 June 2017

Weep With Me

In the week after the Manchester bomb, the Irish Band, Rend Collective, sought to write something to express their feelings. Since they wrote this song, we have seen still more violence on London Bridge, and the horrifying tragedy at the Grenfell Tower.
They said "Can worship and suffering co-exist? Can pain and praise inhabit the same space? Can we sing that God is good when life is not? When there are more questions than answers? The Bible says a resounding Yes! : these songs are called laments and they make up a massive portion of the Psalms." Here is "Weep With Me" - a lament from Rend...

Weep with me,
Lord, will you weep with me?
I don’t need answers
All I need is to know you care for me
Hear my plea – are you even listening?
Lord, I will wrestle with your heart  
...but I won’t let you go
You know I believe, help my unbelief
Yet I will praise you, yet I will sing of your name
Here in the shadows, I’ll light up an offering of praise
What was true in the light is still true in the dark
You’re good and you’re kind and you care for this heart
Lord, I believe that you weep with me
Part the seas Lord, make a way for me
Here in the midst of my lament, I have faith
Yes, I still believe that you love me
Your plans are to prosper me
You’re working everything for good
…even when I can’t see
You know I believe, my unbelief
Yet I will praise you, yet I will sing of your name
Here in the shadows, I’ll light up an offering of praise
What was true in the light still true in the dark
You’re good and you’re kind and you care for this heart
Lord, I believe that you weep with me
I believe that you care, I love you Lord
You hear the cries of the oppressed and the heart-broken
Turn my lament into a love song, transform me
Turn my lament into an anthem, I need you now
Turn my lament into a love song, raise it up
Turn my lament into an anthem, yet I will praise you

Yet I will sing of your name
Lord, I believe that you weep with me

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Objets Trouvés

There have been a number of 'found objects' round here in the past week. Looking for something else entirely, whilst in the loft, I unearthed three items connected with Liz.
From 1986,the little smocked dress I made her. It has a Peter Pan Collar, and sash ties at the back - and rows of smocking in pastel colours.
I am sure Princess Charlotte has got one like this. But I can't quite see Rosie wearing her Mum's old frock when she is 4.
Underneath is the rather large navy blue PE Bag which Liz had to have for grammar school in 1993. The size was specified, and the girl's name had to be embroidered in large letters along the front, together with a regular nametape [top left]
Look at these two examples of my remarkably neat stitching!
If blogs had been around back then, I am sure these would have featured. Look at the little circles over the i's! Liz opted out of being called 'Lizzie' soon after that - and we moved to Leicester where the bag was no longer needed for the comprehensive school she went to.
The final item is a little scrapbook from 2005, when Liz was 23. I had been co-ordinating a huge World Conference for Baptist Women In Leadership in Birmingham, and it had been a gruelling summer. Liz wisely said I needed to get away and generously took me to Budapest for a 4 day Citybreak. It was utterly fabulous, and I shall never forget all that we saw and did. Finding this little book brought back all those happy memories.

The remaining Objets Trouvés this week have not been as interesting. Sunday evening, just before church, I moved a basket and discovered these. No they are not grains of rice, they are carpet moths. And they are HORRID. They eat holes in woollen carpets. Monday was spent in clearing all the furniture from the lounge into the garden, and checking every corner and bit of skirting board and applying the eradicator. And the carpet in the hall [and pantry cupboard and understairs cupboard] and clearing and moving all the bookshelves on the landing.
It is not as bad as it might have been, but still nasty. 
Batch One of treatment came from Robert Dyas, where the assistant said they kept selling out, these moths are very prevalent right now. Batch Two was all of Wilko's stock - and the lady in there said they keep selling out too. I understand that The Stately Homes Of England generally are suffering, as these grubs munch away on antique woollen carpets.

But carpet moths are just little annoyances, and will soon get sorted. So many people in London lost everything yesterday.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Saving Mrs Bankes

No, nothing to do with Mary Poppins, and the Emma Thompson/Tom Hanks film. I suppose it ought to be Lady, not Mrs - for today's post is about a very brave woman who lived 350 years ago. 
Lady Mary Bankes was married to Sir John Bankes- he was Lord Chief Justice at the time of King Charles I. They had 10 children, and Sir John decided to buy a castle in Dorset for them to live in. 
Corfe Castle had been around for nearly 1000 years- the property of the Kings. William the Conqueror started the building. 

Henry I kept his brother Robert as a prisoner in the keep. 800 years ago, King John incarcerated his french niece Princess Eleanor of Brittany - but Henry III and Edward I made lots of home improvements. The Castle was in constant use, and needed a lot of staff - so at the foot of the hill, a little village grew up, providing workers- and the village had a church, and important residents such as a coroner.
But in 1572, Queen Elizabeth sold the Castle to one of her favourites - Sir Christopher Hatton, her Lord Chancellor. And then The Bankes Family took over in 1635. Lord John was loyal to the King, and whilst he was fighting in Oxford, in 1643 during the Civil War, Parliamentary troops besieged the castle. Lady Mary managed to hold out for 6 weeks - but then her husband died, and yet again, Cromwell's men attacked. 
Then again the troops attacked. This time there were treacherous men already inside the Castle, who enabled the Roundheads to capture the stronghold. Lady Mary was allowed to leave - but Cromwell subsequently ordered the demolition of the building. Which proved rather hard- it had been built for Kings, and built strong, to withstand attack. Much of the building remains to this day. Now owned by the National Trust, it was our destination yesterday. 
Parking in the NT carpark at the foot of the hill, a gentle 7 minute walk through dappled woodlands brings you up to the entrance. It was so beautiful, the light through the leaves, sparkling on the stream...

And once at the top, you go through the lower gatehouse and walk up to the castle itself.
This is the official photo from the NT website
There's an area showing stonemason's and blacksmith tools, and a model trebuchet. As usual, plenty for all the tourists and school parties to read and to learn.

We climbed up to the ruined keep - still so very impressive - and tried to imagine what it was like when it was an intact, working building. 
In earlier years, kings and queens dining, and dancing, and duelling - princes and princesses imprisoned, and ordinary men and women serving, and cooking, and gardening, and keeping things going.
And then Lady Mary, listening to the cannon outside, feeling the solid walls starting to shake, wondering if their food supplies would last out. Praying for deliverance.
You can see for miles from the castle walls, or through the arrow slits. The huge pieces of masonry left on the side of the hill where they fell during the onslaught are called 'tumbles' - there are 74 massive pieces [and the sheep and cattle graze peacefully around them now!]
Nowadays, you can look down and hear the toot-toot! as the steam loco pulls into Corfe Castle Station
Hard to imagine on a lovely summer's day that 375 years ago men and women were fighting for their lives, defending their beliefs, and protecting their families here.
After the Civil War, the Bankes family built a new home at Kingston Lacey, a beautiful mansion which is even closer to our home, which we love to visit.
In 1982, the Bankes Family passed the ownership of the castle to the National Trust.
Bob and I enjoyed our day - but I would warn you that there is a fair bit of walking and climbing. And do beware of enthusiastic school parties, and Saga Groups brandishing their Nordic Walking Poles. I was nearly impaled by a NWP as I came out of the loo!

Bob has taken even more pictures- perhaps I'll get the opportunity to post them here later. It was a much needed day off for us, after a busy, and rather fraught few days.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Shelf Life

Carson Davis Brown is an American artist. His latest exhibition is a comment on capitalism. He says "Consumption on a global level is not a sustainable practice. Think of the resources we use so we can have 18 flavours of wheat thins- it's overwhelming"
CDB took the idea of the traditional Amish Quilt- a bed spread sewn from simple, regular patterns - and combined it with the vast choices available to the shopper in the average American Supermarket. Allegedly there are about 40,000 different items for sale! Furthermore, in large branches of Walmart, you can also take in a photograph and in their 'personalised gifts' section, they will print it onto a bedspread for you [similar to what Asda does over here with photos on birthday cakes- only larger, and inedible]
So, CDB arranged products on shelves, in a various patterns, photographed them, played around with the colours, and had them printed into bedspreads.
This one is red Coca Cola, disposable partyware, and red/white/blue packs of ziploc bags. Note the plates making circular patterns in the corners.
Here we have lilac and lavender laundry products - but the colour is much more subdued on the quilt. The bright green corner bottles have disappeared into the design.
Blue and white water bottles - some shelves only partly filled to create patterns with the shadows.
Ketchup and sauces - but again the bright reds and vivid yellows have been subdued - note how the sloping arrangement of packets produces a diamond design.
Cereals- golden and royal blue - but toned right down
Packets of biscuits in tricolor colours - and again a diamond design. I think this arrangement works very well.
More cereal packets - on their ends to make vivid primary coloured rectangles, with a bright multicoloured border. On the quilt, those colours are much more washed out.

I think his idea is very clever, and appreciate the time taken to arrange the packets into pleasing patterns. Personally I would not want one of these on my bed. Maybe such a design, utilising coffee packets would make a fun rug for a cafe. 
But the project does highlight how utterly spoilt we are for choice. When I was in Albania, my friend Merita told me that under the old regime, it was often the case that in any one year there was only one style of dress in the shops, in perhaps 3 colours. And only one sort of coffee. That's if there was any coffee at all.
And nobody would have dreamed of photographing the shelf, and then spending the equivalent of £50 having it printed on a personalised bedspread!

Monday, 12 June 2017

Mind Your Own Beeswax!

This is supposedly a 1920's corruption of the original phrase 'Mind your own business'. I don't for a minute believe the theory that it was coined by American women making their candles. I did however come across this little ditty which fits well with the rest of today's post.
Mind your own beeswax, eat your own fish
And don't poke your nose into my little dish!
In my efforts to reduce waste, I have been increasingly bothered about clingfilm. It is so useful for wrapping and covering food -but it is a single use item. If I wrap sandwiches for a picnic or cover a dish of food in the fridge, I don't wash and re-use the wrap. Then I came across reusable wraps - marketed under various names [here, here and here] These are piece of 100% cotton, impregnated with beeswax [and sometimes added oils - almond, jojoba or coconut usually] 
This is a really ancient idea- the Dutch have wrapped their cheese in similar impregnated cloths for centuries. Once you wrap a sandwich or piece of produce - or cover a bowl - you simply hold it in place briefly and the warmth of your hands cause the wax to soften and cling to itself. This makes a fine, airtight wrap - and when you unwrap the cloth, you just wipe it with cool water[and a little detergent if needed] and then the cloth is ready for re-use. Here's one of the ads
The whole idea seemed excellent, and I decided it would be worth getting some. But you know me - I am a lifelong spendthrift - why should I fork out £15 for three bits of fabric, which may, or may not, be all their are cracked up to be? So I dug about on the net, and found various tutorials for making your own. I had plenty of suitable pieces of cotton [recently sorted out] So I splashed out £2.89 on 4 sticks of beeswax. 
The tutorials suggest three methods for melting the wax/impregnating the cotton
1; melt wax and oils in a pan, pour it into a shallow baking tray, immerse your cotton, let it soak, then let it drip dry [all a bit messy, and I didn't feel the need for added oils]
2; put sheet on a baking tray, grate wax over it, melt in the oven, bring out, hang up to dry.
3; put sheet of cotton on a large piece of foil or parchment paper, grate wax over it, place second piece of paper on top. Iron with cool iron to melt wax, hang to dry.
I decided #3 look simplest. 
Important tips from these tutorials - parchment beats foil, because you can see through to where the wax is melting, and nudge it with iron or add more grated was as needed, and second tip DO NOT use your ironing board - the wax is bound to seep out or splash, and you will be cursing the wax forever when it spreads to shirts etc as you do your normal ironing.

  1. My wax and cotton. 
  2. Grated wax [one youtube video said her husband's coffee grinder was brilliant for grating. Bob was horrified- and anyway this was easier to clean]
  3. I cut my cotton with pinking shears to prevent fraying.
  4. And sprinkled the gratings onto the sheets.

I made a 15" square, a 12" square, a 10" square, two dinner-plate sized circles and a 7" circle. These sizes were mentioned on various sites - and also fitted my random pieces of fabric.
If you look closely, you can see the melted wax close to the iron - but the unmelted area is still opaque.
A bit of string strung from cupboard door handles made an impromptu drying line. These are dry within a couple of minutes!
Here's a small piece of cheese, neatly wrapped for the fridge.
A tiny dish of tomatoes covered by my smallest circle. One site advocates the use of an elastic band on bowls . I folded my wraps neatly and put them in a little rack. I think I'll probably sew a fabric bag to hold them in a drawer [clean and dustfree] and pop in a few bands made of sewing elastic too. 
Btw, I ironed on an old folded bathtowel on the worktop [iron on One-Dot coolest setting] and yes, wax did seep and get onto the towel and the worktop, even though I tried hard to contain it!
I did like the ease with which I wrapped the cheese. I cannot think of a rhyme for tomato. The kitchen smelt pleasantly of warm beeswax for a while -  like the fragrance of a calm convent. I'll let you know how we get on with sandwiches and larger bowls...
Mind your own beeswax, eat your own fish
And don't poke your nose into my little dish!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Father, Forgive Me...

So many of my friends have joined me over recent weeks in quoting the words of the prophet Micah... 
He has shown you O Man, what is good,
and what does the Lord require of you,
but to act justly,
and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.  

...but I was particularly challenged on Thursday morning to read the prayer written by my friend Jim up in Scotland. It is all too easy sometimes to bang on about what the Old Testament prophet said, and how we expect our politicians to behave - and to ignore our own responsibilities in the matter. With Jim's permission, I'm reproducing his prayer here

God of goodness, justice and mercy,
We shouldn't need to ask what is required of us.
Is injustice so hard to see, so easy to live with?
Has the absence of mercy become tolerable?
Is humility a step too far for our pride?

Forgive us for tolerating the slippage
from your requirement to our convenience;
the slippage from justice to injustice,
from mercy to couldn't care-lessness,
from humility to self-protective pride.

Show us again what is good,
how to act justly, love mercy,
and walk humbly with our God.


Saturday, 10 June 2017

Cutting Remarks

I didn't have a Useless Gadget of the month in May. I was going to mention the Muggi, which is a strange plastic tray - like the ones full of flowerpots outside the garden centre. It is designed to help you carry 4 mugs without spilling.
I thought it looked ugly, would probably need two hands to carry it, took up too much space in the cupboard, and the indentations were too small to fit some of my mugs. To many cons, not enough pros for me.
However, I decided that some people really would benefit from this one. It was originally designed for people on boats, where you may need to carry four drinks up on deck. You don't want them sliding on a tray, you do want a free hand to grab the rail if the boat yaws [I think yaw is the word I mean] Then disabled groups found they were very useful for people with limited mobility, in wheelchairs, or suffering from arthritis or Parkinson's.
So actually, although I currently have no use for a Muggi myself, I am not putting it into my useless list. I acknowledge it may have a genuine use and purpose for some other folk.
But for June, on the other hand, I present you with the Clever Cutter.
 A knife and chopping board combined, with a scissor action.
This seems beyond silliness to me. Why not use a knife and a board?
For a start, you can only cut things which will fit onto the clever cutter board.
So no big potatoes, butternut squashes, or large red peppers.

Yes, you can chop 'straight into the pan or onto the plate' - but what about the end of the cucumber, carrot or spring onion? You may want that to go into a bin or stockpot.
The ad says 'slice and dice' - but as I understand it, dicing requires two sets of perpendicular cuts - you'd find it hard and fiddly to do that.
A knife and a board is much better - you can wash the separate parts properly, you can sharpen the blade when you need to, you can manipulate the knife to cut larger or smaller pieces.
This costs upwards of £9 depending on where you purchase it. 
I could never bring myself to buy something advertised as 'just like using a scissor' anyway. One uses a pair of scissors. That's plural. It should only be used in the singular as an adjective for the word action - "The figure skater moved his legs in a scissor action" "This post-hole-borer works with a scissor action"
We were enjoying a cup of tea in The Range the other week, and they were showing ads on the TV screen for the various products they sell. There were kinky extending curly garden hoses, depilators which could make Bryan Blessed look like Matt Lucas, frying pans which never stick even when women like me regularly burn the sausages, strange graters which remove hard skin from heels, but will probably work on a block of Parmesan too... and then they kept repeating this 'clever cutter' ad. In the end, Bob had to tell me off, for my continual ranting about the pointlessness of them all!

Friday, 9 June 2017

This Child Loves Children

Well done Lauren Child for being named as the new Children's Laureate.
As well as her wonderful Charlie and Lola stuff, and her fresh, contemporary illustrations of the classic Pippi Longstocking [is PL really over 70 years old??!!] Lauren has produced many other books, served as the Unesco Artist for Peace, spoken out against Library Closures, and comes across as a genuine, caring woman

She is a truly gifted writer and illustrator. Check out her beautifully designed website here.

Quotes from Lauren
 "You have to listen to people first and hear what they have to say, and particularly children who don't usually have much of a voice, in order to understand what they have to cope with"

“Another problem is the fact there are so few Asian and black children on the covers of picture books and on screen. They're not present enough. And if they don't feel they're represented in a book, or a film, or a TV programme, then how can they feel an equal part of society?
"That really is important. I see it more and more because I have a daughter adopted from Mongolia and we're watching all kinds of programmes and the characters are mainly white Caucasian. It's that look - it's very often long blonde hair, blue eyes. She's not seeing herself. And very often, if you do see a child, it's about an issue. It's not about just being a child."

 "There are many children who don't have access to books and they don't have access to books in their schools because a lot of schools don't have libraries. If we value literacy as much as we say we do and as much as we should, then children need that opportunity. So I worry about the haves and have-nots and giving children the opportunity to try things out.

I hope Rosie will have plenty of these books in her library - our family is big on both cycling and recycling!  
I think LC is going to do a great job in this new role, and I wish her well. 


Please can somebody send a copy of this one to POTUS - I think he can manage to read the long words [nothing as obscure as covfefe]