Saturday, 10 April 2021

I'll Get My Kicks On Route 66!

Nat King Cole sang

If you ever plan to motor west,
Travel my way, take the highway that is best.
Get your kicks on route sixty-six.

Well, I am planning to motor east very shortly, and I shall be going M27,M3,M25,M11...not quite so lyrical. But today, I hit the ripe old age of sixty-six. The next stage of the adventure. I've tried to apply for my Bus Pass, but I need to be in Norfolk before that can be sorted out. 

All tips for freebies/perks/concessions available to women reaching State Pension Age will be gratefully accepted!  Thank you

Friday, 9 April 2021



It has been a strange day, I woke very early and worked away at the final packing tasks. Listening to the radio as I prepared lunch, I suddenly heard the National Anthem interrupting a programme about Africa. Then turning on my tablet, I realised Blogger hadn't published this morning's post. 

I hadn't expected one of my final tasks here at UCF to be recording a prayer for the Queen to be included in Sunday's YouTube service. 

Whether Royalist or Republican, one cannot deny that to lose a much loved husband after a long and happy marriage is hard. My thoughts and prayers are with the Queen, and with all who mourn. 

Wessex Is Wonderful!

Jane - who lives not far from here, but we have never actually managed to meet 'in person' said that she hoped that during our six years in Dorset we had managed to get out and see the fantastic countryside. Yes, thank you Jane, we have...

I have loved all the National Trust locations - Kingston Lacy, which I first visited in 1987, and I longed to revisit, has been a special place, and just less than 8 miles away. I shall miss the gardens there. We never did make a second trip to Brownsea Island...

The various churches and cathedrals have been amazing - just into Wiltshire, Salisbury is a brilliant city [don't be put off by Russian agents] and always worth a visit 

There are some great Museums too - I loved seeing Dippy Dinosaur in Dorchester! And the Russell Cotes Museum on the Clifftop at Bournemouth [I shall never forget the scuplture of Jael with her tentpeg]

And all those pastoral views which remind me of Hardy Novels, transporting us to the days when Tess, Bathsheba, and others swished their long skirts through the mud of his fictional 'Wessex'

And the rolling hills leading down to the sea - Swanage, built on the fortunes of Portland Stone, Chesil Beach, The Cobb at Lyme Regis, the "chines" in Bournemouth - Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door...

If you have never visited, this is a brilliant county for a holiday - lots of different things to see and do. Like Norfolk, Dorset has no motorways - and similarly it does feel just a little behind the rest of the country sometimes - but it has been a great county to live in. I shall miss it so much [altho I shall miss seeing my friends even more]

One final picture - from our walk on Easter Sunday, through the trees on Poor Common. This fantastic site is just a few hundred yards from The Manse.

We have been so privileged to live here, among good people, in glorious surroundings - the sea to the south, the countryside to the west and north and the sprawling conurbation that is Bournemouth to the east. 

Jane tells me she has family in Norfolk - so maybe, when all these covid restrictions are behind us, we may eventually get to meet up there sometime! 

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Captured By The Fuzz

Here's another interesting Art Story to come out of lockdown...Did you ever have Fuzzy Felt as a child [do your children or grandchildren still play with it?] 

Lucy Morrow, an artist from Nottinghamshire, started playing around with an old FF set when she was recovering from surgery.

She began recreating scenes from films and TV shows, and great works of art. Her husband suggested posting online, and things have really taken off.

Her Instagram site is called Captured By The Fuzz, and you can find her animated creations on YouTube too. Here she is recreating George and Zippy from Rainbow

Here's Florence and co at the Magic Roundabout
Maria, extolling the Sound Of Music

Cary Grant avoiding the cropduster with the machine-gun in North By NorthWest

And for the more cultured among you, Van Gogh's Starry Night

What a talented lady - and all with just a box or two of simple felt shapes!
Read the full story, and watch a brief BBC video here. Buy her greetings cards here. Thanks for sharing some much needed smiles, Lucy 
UPDATE.  Bless was unaware of FF, so I checked its history... Fuzzy Felt is a popular British toy, invented by an American woman called Lois Allan. She went to Paris to study art, then married a Brit in the 1920s and moved to the UK. During WW2 they had a business making felt gaskets for tanks, and she saw that the children of the women who worked for them had fun playing with the scraps.  Postwar, Lois developed this into a toy and FF was first marketed in 1950. 

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Retired, Re-tyred, Re-fired

As more things are packed, two rooms are stacked with boxes, and other rooms becoming strangely empty. My office-  the little front bedroom, feels bizarre. The single bed went to a local charity months ago. We've sold the desk unit, and moved out the other bits and pieces. For some months I have been using a stacking chair from church, and my lovely Captain's chair has gone to Cornerstones. The rickety metal garden table [which we'd decided to leave behind in the shed] has come inside. So this is my workstation now
I think the dents in the carpet will gradually recover. Bob's office is almost empty now - but he kept the green screen curtain up until all the recording work was finished. 
The last couple of years have seen a few health problems for the pair of us, and we could do with some R&R. 

A couple of people have remarked recently that when we arrived 6 years ago we "hit the ground running" and we haven't stopped since. I'm hoping that as we are retired, we also get re-tyred. I reckon we are both definitely due for a retread! Another friend, Rev Lynne, an Anglican priest, says that she is praying that we will be re-fired with fresh energy and enthusiasm from the Holy Spirit, as God leads us into new areas of service.
Isn't this the most beautiful handmade card? Sent from blogfriend Judi in Canada, it ticks all the right boxes - I love the industrious bee, and the shining golden details. And yes "Celebrate every moment" is a great motto. Thank you Judi, I'll treasure this, and your thoughtful personal greeting inside. It arrived with a proper handwritten letter too - what a treat.

Retired, re-tyred, re-fired, the adventure continues...

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Start Where You Are

 Use What You Have...Do What You Can...

As I've been reading books with "Libby" over the weekend I have come across this quote, [from the late, great Arthur Ashe] in a surprising number of places. I'm a fast reader, and books with lots of pictures take even less time. But these words have cropped up in books on Minimalism, Sustainability, and Frugality. These are my three favourite non-fiction reading topics at the minute.

On Easter Monday I decided to put things into practice. The day began with Bob discovering the small hole in his pjs had turned into a massive split down the side of the back seam. All other nightwear is packed or already in Norfolk. I got out the machine and made a patch from the pocket. Sorry, Patrick and Esme, I didn't pattern-match! These pjs are so thin that we'd already decided they would be chucked**.  But I used what I had to salvage the situation just for a few days.

I went through the food stocks - and made 2 beef&butterbean bakes [topped with squash&spud mustard mash] plus two apple&date galettes, two pasties, and most of the remaining veg plus lentils produced 3 days worth of soups.  Now I can pack a few more kitchen items [stick blender, potato masher etc]

I know many of the books tell you to 'eat out or live on takeaways' during the week you are moving - but the former is currently impossible, and the latter would not be my choice. Especially since I discovered that I packed all but one pair of chopsticks- and we can hardly share one stick each.

**This past year - and especially the last month, I have been wearing the same clothes - day in, day out. Many are stained, thin, frayed...and I have been mending and darning - but I have consciously decided to "wear them out". They are not good enough to pass on to a charity shop, they're unsuitable for rags, and sadly, most are non compostable. 

Liz made the suggestion that at the end of the pandemic, one should have a "Viking Funeral" - and ceremonially burn all these garments which have come to the end of their lives after much honourable service.  I quite like the idea- but not sure that I want to waste the wood needed for the longboat - or that the council would like such a spectacle happening on Bournemouth Beach!

Monday, 5 April 2021

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

I shall so miss the generosity of the people here at United Church Ferndown. Early on Saturday, Lasantha drove round picking up bags of groceries from church members to take to Hope For Food  

Here's his car boot being unloaded- and there were more bags on the back seats too. 

Bob and I went down to church midmorning, where Steve and daughter Sharon were working in the kitchen.

Jill, Geoff and Nadia arrived to help pack and bag up dinners - and Bob and I passed them on to the distributors. All very covid safe, [ in one door, out the other] and very efficient. 

Over 40 lunches distributed to people who were on their own - unable to be with families on this holiday weekend. Some had received lunches at Christmas, others were new on the 'Home Alone' list.

Chicken breast, wrapped in bacon, with roast potatoes, cabbage, green beans and carrots- plus gravy. 

Followed by pie and cream. And each of our guests also had an Easter card and a chocolate egg with their delivery.

I am glad that the last 'in person' activity I shall be involved in at the church here is such a practical, loving project. It sums up so much of what the fellowship has been about - caring for other people in a generous and practical way.

We all worked very hard and it was remarkably efficient. The drivers waited patiently, on socially distanced chairs, to collect their insulated bags 

- then took them to the recipients like reliable Deliveroo Drivers! I know that these good people will go on loving and caring long after we've gone.

I love this shot of Bob surveying the tables of dessert boxes! I wonder what he was thinking? 

I hope your Easter weekend was as special as it could be, given the circumstances. I applaud everyone who has made special efforts to help others this past weekend. Thank you!

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Be Thankful!

Thank you Dave Walker for another brilliant cartoon

Easter Morning Prayer


Lord it has been so hard

In the past year we have witnessed suffering and death on a scale few of us have ever known before. We have seen people growing greedy and rich, profiting from this pandemic - whilst others have lost homes, livelihoods, loved ones- and their hopes and dreams have been shattered

We have seen the worst of humanity, and the best

Lies, excuses, selfishness – but also inspiration, encouragement and sacrifice

Despair – and hope

We remember that week two thousand years ago – when the disciples went from hearing joyful hallelujahs, to bitter cries of “Crucify him”, seeing cheering crowds, then watching the one they loved suffering and dying – feeling that everything was being taken away from them, the sky went dark – and they lost all hope.

Lord it was so hard for them too

But then it was Easter Sunday – and everything changed

Your Son rose again – and they knew that they had hope for evermore.

They knew that death was conquered, that sins were forgiven, that Jesus had brought love, and joy and peace beyond all human understanding. In the power of your Spirit, they went back into their world, to start building your kingdom

This Easter morning, give us faith and courage to live in the light of that resurrection, and to go back into our struggling, suffering world, speaking with your words of life and love. forgiveness and hope. Teach us what it means to be Easter people –

Help us to love you as Mary did

Worship you as Thomas did

Serve you as Peter did

And may our hearts burn within us, like the Emmaus disciples, and give us their energy to run back to share the good news with our friends and neighbours – that Jesus is alive, and there is hope.

We pray in the name of our risen Saviour- Amen

Easter Celebration from UCF HERE