Sunday, 26 March 2017

Pause In Lent #4 - Being The Light

Yesterday morning I was sitting in bed enjoying the day's first cup of tea [thanks Bob] when I looked across to the black trousers hanging over the chair. 
There was a line of bright light. I described it as an oval, Bob said it was a rectangle with rounded ends. In fact it was a whole line of overlapping circles [think Audi logo] 
It was created by the sunlight shining through the slit in the curtains. But that slit isn't a perfectly rounded shape. How does that happen? In the 4th Century BC, Aristotle asked how it was that light passing through quadrilateral holes, like woven fabric, produced circles not rectangles. 

As a child I looked at the light streaming through the leaves on the trees and asked my Dad the same question. Why can I see lots of little circles? Dad explained that these were solar images, and it was all about the way the light creates a diffraction pattern. Each little circle is an image of the sun. He told me about pinhole cameras, and why we can safely observe an eclipse by holding one piece of card with a tiny hole in the middle and looking at the image of the sun produced on the second card below it. [full explanation here
As I looked at the bright light yesterday, I remembered my early physics lessons from Dad, and then thought about my responsibility as a Christian to be the light in this dark world. My life should shine for Jesus. There are many times when I am not a good reflection of God's image. But that doesn't mean I should give up.[And Y realise how much brighter the light when I am alongside my church family, and we shine together] Matthew 5:16 says Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven

May His beauty rest upon me, as I seek to make Him known
So that all may look to JESUS, seeing him alone.




Saturday, 25 March 2017

Home, Sweet Home

In the middle of all the bad news stories this week, here's something good to pass on. Back in 2010, on one of our visits to London, Liz took Bob and me to the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton. [That's East London, not too far from Moorfields Eye Hospital]
This is the 'Museum of the Home' Very cleverly laid out, in a row of old 18thC Almshouses, you walk from one end to the other, seeing eleven different 'domestic' room scenes. Then you can visit the café and the shop, and sit outside in the beautiful gardens [also laid out in different historical settings]. 

The very comprehensive website is here.
However, the Museum have been concerned for some time that they need to upgrade their facilities, in a carefully planned way - adding more study space, a better-laid out café etc. and open up the treasures to a wider audience.

They've just announced that the "Unlocking The Geffrye" Project has obtained almost all the funding needed. The Museum will close at the start of 2018, for around 18 months, and re-open in Autumn 2019.
The visitor space will be increased by 75%, a really significant change. The original architects for this scheme had their somewhat controversial plans refused by Hackney Council in 2013, but now architects Wright&Wright have come up with some more acceptable ideas. Look at these
This new development will benefit the local community and help retain the Museum as an asset for all visitors, for many years to come.
I look forward to visiting again in 2020, ten years after my original trip, just to see how it looks! But maybe I will manage another peek before then, who knows?
The Geffrye Museum is about domestic home life - unlike so many National Trust properties. NT houses often have the upstairs/downstairs feel about them - Lords and Ladies and their elegant rooms, contrasted with the basic bedrooms of manservants and maids. At the Geffrye, you get to see the 'ordinary' rooms, where people lived, worked, ate and slept. 
Thank you to everyone who read my post about the Whitechapel Foundry and signed the petition. I know lots of you have done this, and shared it in your corner of social media. In a bad week,let's focus on some good stuff...Some words from the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4 
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. 




Friday, 24 March 2017

Going Crackers About Easter

Years ago, with time to waste waiting for a train I wandered round WHSmiths at the station, and idly looked through their display of Easter cards. "Oh! These are no good, they're all religious" said the woman next to me. "But I'm celebrating the resurrection of Jesus!What do you celebrate at Easter then?" I said [Perhaps a little too brightly] Poor woman scuttled off towards the platform!! 
I thought of her this week, when I read in various places that "Easter is the new Christmas". 
Carole Middleton, MIL to a future Defender of the Faith, advises chocolate eggs and mini meringues, and bunny hop races in your bunting-hung garden. 



Krispy Kreme have a special range of Easter themed donuts, including the Lucky Strawberry Ladybug. 
Meanwhile, another company has brought out a Cheester Egg, for those who dislike chocolate. £14 for this egg - or more if you get the whole hamper.

Waitrose report an increase in 'the demand for Easter Crackers' [people go into Waitrose and demand them?] It's a bit crazy if you ask me. My children enjoyed a few  Easter Eggs, and we had a Treasure Hunt round the house and garden involving dreadful doggerel clues with rhyming couplets. 
"The next egg is a little higher
It's on top of the____________"
[ tumble dryer, deep fat fire, electric wire, funeral pyre, bicycle tyre, Cathedral spire...] 
But the main reason for celebrating Easter was, and is, the joy of the resurrection and the New Life and hope which Jesus brings. 
I loathe the fact that the Christian season has been hijacked for commercial gain. I am sorry that Good Friday is just another working day for so many people. But I suppose the upside is that I have an opportunity to share my faith with people. 
[BTW if you ARE planning to post any Easter cards, Christian-themed or otherwise] buy your stamps NOW as they go up in price at the Weekend! 


Thursday, 23 March 2017

An In-Convenience Truth

I was at Waterloo Station yesterday morning, about to return home after 2 days of WWDP intense committee stuff. I needed the loo [ the WaterLooLoo?] but remembered that you have to pay. Dived into WHSmith and bought a chocolate bar. Made my way to the stairs

First Sign - Oh bother, I thought it was 20p. And I have one 20p coin, and no 10p coins,. Maybe someone downstairs will have change.


Second Sign - That's irritating - they want 30p but admit that there is a fault with their loos.
I continued down the stairs.
The fault? the turnstiles have broken 


- so there is no barrier needing 30p, ladies can move in and out quite freely.
Third Sign Well, I hope the engineer takes her time in arriving, and I happily accept the apologies of the Station Manager!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Pictures, Picnics, Paddling And A Postbox

Our Tuesdays have been crazily busy lately - I am in London this week for WWDP - but last Tuesday Bob and I had a whole day off together. We packed it full of enjoyable activities.
In the morning we went to The Pictures, following Steph's recommendation, to see The Lego Batman Movie. We got 'Senior' tickets, and took in a bag of cheap sweets and thermal mugs of coffee, in order to keep our costs down.
We really enjoyed it. The film had loads of references to other films and earlier incarnations of the caped crusader. We both watched the B&W Adam West TV Batman in the 60s and chuckled at some of links there.
Clearly aiming at audiences both sides of the pond, there were "English Robots" [aka Daleks] in evidence.
I think this will appeal to all ages - so if your kids or grandkids are pestering you to take them, then do go. I am sure you will have fun too *****
After the cinema, we drove on into Bournemouth and parked up on the East Cliff near the Red Arrows Memorial. The area remains fenced off, following the huge cliff fall last April. We walked down to the Russell Cotes Museum, and ate our picnic lunch sitting in the garden near the grotto. We first visited RCM in September 2015, and have always intended to go again.
 Bob was keen to look at the current exhibition "Meeting Modernism"  and I wanted to look at the drawings by Violet, Countess of Rutland. When we lived in Leicestershire, the "Kathleen Rutland Home for the Blind" was just up the road from where we lived. Violet was Kathleen's mother-in-law. She belonged to a group of aristocratic intellectuals who called themselves "The Souls" and drew portraits of many of them.
We spent a couple of hours looking at these two special exhibitions and generally enjoying looking at many of the other paintings and sculptures on display in this lovely house.
At one point I looked out of a bedroom window down to the beach below - it was a cool spring day and a little breezy.One or two people were walking on the sands.
RCM has loads of pictures and sculptures of bathers - not surprising given its location.
I thought these two, with mothers persuading their sons to have a paddle in the sea were great.
One is holding her son as he gingerly steps in the water [he's naked and she's in a diaphanous robe] The other, on the left, has her son in her arms- he looks a little more anxious. 
On closer inspection, she appeared more modest, wearing a finely knitted swimming costume. I have always believed knitted costumes are OK as long as they never get wet [at which point they sag uncontrollably]

I also looked at Dante Gabriel Rossetti's 'Venus Verticordia' [Venus, the turner of hearts] This is an oil painting - but the artist subsequently painted it again as a watercolour. The watercolour sold at Sotheby's in December 2014 for £2.8 million pounds!![Unlike Bob, I am fond of the Pre Raphaelites]
We walked back to the car, and I saw a lovely bed of golden spring daffodils, planted up with purple hyacinths and gold and purple pansies at their feet. Such lovely colours together.
The motto of Bournemouth Borough Council [I was confused by all the 'BBC' signs when we first moved] is Pulchritudo et Salubritas, which means 'beauty and health'.
The crest was on the street sign just beside the daffodils. 
I had to take a picture of the Victorian Pillar Box - one of the 'Penfold' design. There aren't many genuine Penfolds still in use!
Then after such a lovely day out, we returned home for a pleasant evening in with TV and a curry. 
There are more bulbs blossoming in our garden. These daffs are "Narcissus Sunny Girlfriend". Bob's sister and her husband gave them to us for Christmas- all planted up in the tub. There are 2 other sorts of bulbs in there as well - it will be exciting to see which ones bloom next.
Fine Art is wonderful - but the design and colours of nature are even more stunning.










Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Manchester "T" Cosy

One of Steph's early comments about her new company was that she loved the fact that the team drank plenty of tea during the working day. However, they did not have a teacosy. So she volunteered me to provide one [well, not many Mums can say their they have had teacosies exhibited in Norwich Cathedral] Things sort of spiralled out of hand - Tangible Branding is a consumer research company specialising in improving brand performance through discovering insight, making connections and generating ideas. 
 
They thought they'd like one with a 'Manchester' theme. That ruled out a simple knitted one. Unfortunately the office teapot is not a regular round Brown Betty, but the 'coupe' shape. So here's what I came up with...
The brief—to make a tea cosy for the team at Tangible Branding. This was to fit the existing white china teapot, which is not the traditional round ‘brown betty’ shape.
The cosy should have a ‘Manchester theme’. I decided to avoid football, music and TV links, and consider instead the architecture of the city.
1; because of the shape of the pot, I opted for a cuboid cosy—this reflects the idea of bricks and building
2; my base colour is grey—to reflect the rain for which Manchester is famous, but more importantly, the steely determination of the industrialists and entrepreneurs who built this city.
 3; I chose 7 landmarks, recognisable by their silhouette—the Town Hall, the City Library, Beetham Tower, Urbis, IWM North, the Hulme Arch, and the Lowry Millennium Bridge. These were created in felt with machine stitched embellishments. These were then handstitched to the base.

4; Then I picked 8 streets—Deansgate [of course!] Corporation Street, Canal Street, Quay Street, Albert Square, King Street, Piccadilly and Exchange Square. These names were embroidered on evenweave linen and attached to the base.
5; The top was decorated with a spiral of machine stitching—which leads into [or maybe out from?] the centre– where there is a button with the Tangible logo.
6; Finally the cosy fastens underneath the handle with a button and loop closure. Again I stitched a T for tangible
I stitched a label with all the details, and put that on the inside. And then I posted off their Manchester T cosy

[I have to say thankyou to Bob, who provided lots of encouragement during the process - including the name]



Monday, 20 March 2017

Steaming Mad

How do you clean your microwave oven? Mine is cleaned on a fairly regular basis, when my culinary creations become creMations. Bob says there is a particular distressed sound I make when I open the door to find the custard/beans/milk/porridge has boiled over! Mind you, he managed to explode an egg in there in January. 
After rinsing the plate and wiping off the displaced food, I usually boil a pyrex jug of water so that the steam lifts off the grime. I add a little acid in the form of a squeeze of lemon, splash of vinegar, or some citrus halves. Quick easy, and fairly inexpensive.
But here's my Pointless Gadget of the Month - an Angry Mama, aka Steaming Stella [apologies to all Mamas and Stellas out there- I did not choose the name]

You fill her with water and vinegar, and she will steam clean your microwave oven.
Prices vary from £2 to £10. You can choose other colours, but they are all female. 
This gadget is just so wrong from so many points of view!


Sunday, 19 March 2017

Pause In Lent #3 - Walking By Faith

It's funny how things in life connect up sometimes. When I was away in Albania, I missed the local Churches Together Songs Of Praise Evening [held at UCF, well attended, fantastic tea, superb singing, by all accounts] So I never met Father Dylan James, the new priest at the RC Church. He'd asked for "The Footprints Hymn" to be sung. We knew the poem [which I continue to credit as 'anon' because three different women have claimed that they wrote it] but not a hymn.  Some research unearthed this piece, written by a Rob Atkins, Baptist Minister from Wales [who trained just after Bob, at Spurgeons College] Rob wrote it while sitting on a sand dune on holiday in Bordeaux. The hymn fits the tune of Londonderry Air. 

A number of people here have since said how much they liked this piece, so here it is...

Upon the shore, I walked with Him at even
And I looked back upon the path we’d trod
And in the sand I traced our way at even
And I was glad I’d walked through life with God:
For side by side we’d journeyed through together
All through the world’s wide wilderness of care
And side by side we’d journeyed through to even:
Safe at His side the Lord my God had brought me here.

But in my joy I caught a strain of sadness
To give me pause when thinking of my way
For on the shore I saw He’d left me lonely
When I had most the need of Him to stay:
When I was tired He’d left me worn and wandering,
He’d left me lone when I was fighting fears,
He’d let me tread the steepest slopes in solitude
Before He came back to my side to dry my tears.

But then the Lord drew near to me in comfort
And in His tenderness He made it plain
That in the times when dread and darkness threatened
He was my shield and shelter from the pain:
For on His shoulders He was gently bearing
And on His shoulders I from harm was free:
The single trace of footprints of the Master,
The single trace of footprints shows He carried me.

So on the shore I walk with Him at even;
I face the latter days of life secure,
For if my pilgrimage reserves me sorrow
The footprints show that He is strong and sure:
If I am near the gates of heaven weary,
No longer strong enough to stride alone
The footprints show that He is there to carry me:
The footprints show the Lord my God will bear me home.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Going Like The Clappers

The Gentle Author has just published an update about the campaign to save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry [read it here]  There is an online petition organised by the East End Preservation Society [click here to sign] I hope this succeeds very quickly, as the auction of machinery is scheduled for the end of the month.
btw, nobody is quite sure if going like the clappers refers to the 'tongues' of the bells, but it seemed to me like a good title for this post.

Home In The Daytime - But No Home At Night...

In a recent blog post I mentioned my newly re-covered ironing board. My blogfriend Frugally Challenged asked what became of the remainder of the circular tablecloth which I had used for the previous cover. 
There was a small amount left, so yesterday afternoon I made another doll's dress for 'Lucy'. I cut it very carefully to make use of the curved hem and the border print. 
I think it has worked well.
I'm making clothes for two American Girl Dolls now, so I also produced two little tops using a piece of striped shirting fabric someone gave me. They have elasticated necklines and cuffs, and fasten down the back with Velcro.
I have been incredibly busy with a rather special sewing project recently, so spending an afternoon with the Sewing machine was a pleasant diversion. 
Last night was something completely different altogether. 
Our youth group at church have been thinking about the problems of refugees and they did a [short] charity sponsored walk round the area in the early evening. When they got back to the church car park, it was quite dark. They found a refugee lying huddled in a sleeping bag, under a tarpaulin strung between two trees. They had the chance to ask questions and discuss how it must feel.
I was playing the part of the refugee, and dressed in my brother's ancient NHS donkey jacket, my SILs 1980s dungarees [normally worn for painting] and an old long blonde wig. I wasn't recognised [except by a couple of very bright teenagers who know me quite well] 
Bob's photos taken in the dark didn't come out very satisfactorily. Interestingly I walked to church through the town. I noticed people looked at me, but if I caught their eye, then they immediately looked away. I sat down at a bus stop, and the woman at the other end of the seat [who had been looking all round at things before I got there] turned away and moved up to the other end of the bench. That didn't feel pleasant.
Once at the church, I was so tired I actually fell asleep lying on the ground. So when the kids came back, and stood round shining their torches and whispering, I was genuinely startled.
If I could feel uneasy over just a short time like that, in the town where I live, and in the grounds of my own church, what must it be like for genuine refugees wandering alone in search of safety and shelter?



Friday, 17 March 2017

Check Your Tension

Last week there was a pile of knitting patterns at my craft group, and a box for charitable donations. All women's and children's clothes, except for this one. After buying it, I realised that it was for 12" dolls, not 18". And for 3ply,  not DK. 
was going to recalculate the pattern, multiplying everything by 1.5 to get the correct size. Then I had a thought. I checked the pattern for the tension  details. 
32 Stitches to 4" for 3ply. I knew that on 4mm needles with DK, 32 stitches measures 6". That's 1.5 times. So I knitted the party dress pattern using thicker wool and larger needles, adjusting length by a factor of 1.5. It worked beautifully. The leaflet suggested edging the neckline with a row of double crochet .  I did all the edges with a random yarn. The tie belt and buttons on the back look good too.    





I have never tried knitting a pattern with different sized needles and yarn before, but this has worked really well. I Perhaps I'll have a go at the little coat next! 





Thursday, 16 March 2017

Super Swedish Semlor

About 18 months ago, Liz took me to the ScandiKitchen in Great Titchfield Street. We had a lovely light lunch and I enjoyed looking at the goodies on sale in the shop. I just picked up the March 2017 Edition of the Waitrose Magazine, and there was a picture of Bronte Aurell, food writer and co-founder of ScandiKitchen. In Sweden they like food in a seasonal pattern [there's a season for saffron buns, and also for fermented herring. I shall skip that one!]
She said in her article that Lent is the season for Semlor. These cardamom buns with whipped cream and marzipan are a huge tradition in Sweden and other parts of Scandinavia. Traditionally associated with Shrove Tuesday, they are now enjoyed from January until Easter. You can freeze the unfilled buns, but once filled, they should be eaten on the same day. 
Prep time: 1 hour, plus proving and cooling. Cooking time:10-15 minutes
Makes: 10 large of 15 small buns
Ingredients
·         75g very soft unsalted butter
·         250ml whole milk
·         2 x 7g sachets dried active yeast
·         50g caster sugar
·         1 egg, beaten
·         400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
·         ½ tsp fine salt
·         ½ tsp baking powder
·         30 cardamom pods – shake out seeds and grind them finely [1tsp]
·         vegetable oil, for kneading and greasing
 Filling
·         150g marzipan
·         150ml fresh custard
·         300ml whipping cream
·         2-3tbsp icing sugar
·         ½ tsp vanilla extract
·         icing sugar, for dusting
Method
1. Warm the milk gently, add the yeast, 1tsp sugar,and stir. Cover with cling film and leave 15 minutes to activate [it should bubble up slightly]
2. In a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook add milk,sugar and yeast to the bowl. Mix flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and cardamom in a separate bowl. Add half the dry mix to the yeast mixture then beat in the softened butter  and half the egg [reserve the remainder of the egg]. Add remnaining flour mix and beat for 5 minutes until the dough comes away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.  Cover bowl with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size – 40-100 minutes.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead again for a 2-3 minutes. Divide and shape the dough into 10 uniform balls [or 15 for small ones], then space well apart on a parchment-lined baking tray. Cover with clean dry teatowel. Leave to rise for another 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 200˚/fan 170˚/gas 6. Gently brush each bun with reserved beaten egg and bake for 8-12 minutes, until a rich brown colour and baked through; keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly. Remove from the oven and immediately cover with a clean, slightly damp tea towel to prevent the buns from forming a crust.
5. When the buns are completely cool, cut a ‘lid’ off each one (about ¼ of the way from the top). Scoop out about 1/3 of the inside of each bun and tear into a bowl. Add the custard, grate in the marzipan. The mixture should be spoonable, not too runny. 
6. Spoon the filling back into the buns. Whip the cream with 2tbsp sugar and vanilla until just firm, then use a piping bag – fitted with a star nozzle if you have one – to pipe it into all the buns. Put the lids back on and dust lightly with remaining icing sugar. 
Above is the picture from the magazine. Here on the right you see my attempt.  I was rather pleased with them. I made half the quantity and divided it into 8. However I did end up with leftover custard. Next time I think only I'd use one third of the quantity. The cardamom flavour was really different, and we both enjoyed these.
I'd definitely make them again.
If this sport of thing matters to you, then one of my small buns contains about 225 calories!


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Put The Kettle On!

Cups of tea are constantly appearing here. It keeps me going - the poet William Cowper called it 'the cup that cheers but does not inebriate'. Tea comes from the plant Camellia Sinensis - Sinensis means 'from China', and Camellia is from Georg Kamel. He was a Moravian born Jesuit lay brother, pharmacist, and missionary to the Philippines, and Linnaeus [who classified plants] chose this name in 1753 to honour Kamel's contribution to botany. We have a Camellia Bush in our back garden- currently covered in fantastic pink blossoms
This variety here in Dorset is probably Camellia Williamsii or Camellia Japonica -not the variety which provides the tea!!
This week I listened to Dan Saladino on BBC's Food Programme, talking about tea. It was the second of his two programmes on the subject [links here and hereHe spoke about Justin Rowlatt's report on the Tea Industry which JP prepared for the BBC in the summer of 2015 - which highlighted the appalling conditions suffered by many workers in the tea industry. Read JR's follow up report here.
The good thing is that, following the BBC reports, the owners of the plantations have speeded up their plans to repair and improve the living conditions for the workers, and put more money into this work. But it is still far from encouraging. McLeod Russell India and Tata [same as the steel company] are the two main owners involved in all this. The tea they supply goes to Twining, PG, Liptons and Tetley. 
Although they have Rainforest Alliance Certification [so the frogs etc are looked after] they sadly fall short on their provisions for the human beings who maintain and pick the tea crops.
So what can be done? The answer is not to stop drinking tea ...Campaigners argue that tea is just too cheap and the big brands need to pay fairer prices to plantations so they in turn can afford decent wages and conditions for workers. Tea plantations have traditionally restricted union membership, and sometimes ban NGOs from operating on their estates. They want that to change so workers can know their rights and be able to articulate their demands clearly and effectively. Campaigners believe tea lovers can help too, by using their voice and influence to keep companies honest. They want consumers to tell tea companies that conditions of the workers matter to them, and to challenge their favourite brand about what it is doing to ensure that its employees have decent homes and enough money to buy nutritious food. 
Most of the time** at home we drink Sainsbury's Red Label - a Fairtrade blended tea. I am very happy with the efforts made by this supermarket to ensure conditions for the workers are good. 
This blend is sourced from Fairtrade smallholder farmers’ co-operatives in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and South India. 
It also came top in a taste test by Edward Bramah [of the Museum of Tea and Coffee in London] 

90% of us in the UK use teabags now - but I still prefer to make my tea in a teapot [with a teacosy]
** Bob is fond of Earl Grey, and I like Redbush [I like to use RB teabags when I brew myself some sweet spiced Chai] - but these tend to be occasional treats.
Do you drink tea? or are you committed to coffee? - would you be prepared to pay a little more for your favourite brand in order to benefit the workers on the plantation that produces it? 




Tuesday, 14 March 2017

From Pillar To Post, And Feeling Blue

Nobody is quite sure about the origin of the phrase "from pillar to post" -there are at least three theories
  1. It was originally 'from post to pillory' - 14th century punishments being the whipping post and then the pillory. But there's no recorded evidence of the phrase that way round
  2. Real [or Royal] tennis involved a court which had posts and pillars.
  3. It is a corruption of the Spanish phrase 'from Herod to Pilate' relating to the trial of Jesus before his crucifixion.
This latest train of thought was sparked by two people discussing post boxes - aka pillarboxes. One was a local guy wondering on Facebook how an estate built in the 1960s had a George V post box [answer - Royal Mail reuses old boxes, so this one was relocated there after the estate was built]
The second pillarbox conversation was with Steph, on the subject of blue pillarboxes
It seems that when Air Mail first became popular, there were actually blue pillarboxes in selected locations throughout the UK so that people could separate surface mail from the flimsy blue missives.
By 1936, there were 139 such boxes in London, and 174 in the provinces. But they only lasted nine years on the streets. Now, I understand, there are only two blue boxes left in mainland Britain*. One is very near Steph's office in Manchester- and bizarrely the second is near her company's other office in Windsor.
The one on the left is outside Manchester's Museum of Industry and Science. It is still in use as a regular box - the right hand one is outside Windsor Castle, but the aperture is blocked and it is just a display piece! The right hand one is the more accurate 1930s colour. [The Manchester one isn't a genuine Air Mail box, just a repainted 1930s red one, sadly!]

When I visit Steph, I hope to get to visit the M of I & S, and learn more about the history of her new city.
Steph is greatly enjoying her job, working in brand and strategy development [more about that another time] 
Did you know that of the world's top 100 brands, 33% have logos which are blue?
I discovered that fact in a tweet from her new company [which has an orange logo]
There are a number of gold pillarboxes now, where towns have celebrated local Olympians. Some of the early boxes were green [*I believe there maybe blue boxes still in use in the Channel Islands and there's one on the Isle of Wight]

Do you have any interesting postboxes/pillarboxes near you?