Friday 12 April 2024

Gone To Pot

The weather was lovely yesterday. I moved my broad beans [which had been hardening off in the mini-greenhouse into the raised bed. And the fuchsias went from the bathroom windowsill into the greenhouse - eventually destined for the front border under my bedroom window.

My fig tree is almost 20 years old- a gift from Liz for our Silver Wedding in 2004. In Kirby it lived in the conservatory and was covered in figs every summer. We moved it here when we went to Dorset, and it has not fruited since!

In the high winds, a piece of wood blew into the side of the plastic pot [now brittle with age] and seriously damaged it. Bob kindly bought me a new glazed, frostproof pot* as a birthday present.
I hope the new pot, and the sunny location beside the summerhouse will mean we might get fruit this year- there are a number of leaves beginning to show.
* It is a Woodlodge product, rejoicing in the rather ugly name of the Kok Knob Pot
On their final morning before returning to London, we looked after J&R. They enjoyed sitting in the summerhouse for elevenses with Grandad. It was really sunny and pleasant. 

JIGSAW GIVEAWAY- Heather, your name came out of the hat, please can you email me, and I will get the puzzle in the post to you.

Thursday 11 April 2024

Mysterious Makes...

Thank you everyone - for all the kind birthday wishes, and also for all your really helpful comments about dental implants. 
Feeling a bit "long in the tooth" ! 

Here's a teaser picture- lots of scraps of fabric, some cut into shape, and some stitched with fancy embroidery patterns on my new machine. 

Any guesses as to what I am creating here?

Wednesday 10 April 2024


Last week, I took Rosie to the Norfolk County Archives for a children's activity afternoon all about the Romans. Rosie has just studied this period in school so was very to keen to find out more. We began by being shown a table of genuine artefacts[do not touch these, children!] and replica pieces.[you can touch these things] Can anyone guess what this was used for? said the enthusiastic woman, waving a xylospongium at us. Rosie said it was a toilet brush for keeping your bum clean. The lady agreed, and said they all went to the loo together, and shared the same brush. The little blonde girl on the other side of me went very pale [obviously that topic hadn't been covered in her school]
Then we went into the big room, and two dozen children enjoyed making shields and helmets. Red, gold and black paint everywhere, and many determined young voices saying to accompanying adults "I've got this" "No, I don't need help" "I know what I am doing here" And the staff were relentlessly cheerful, and full of encouragement. It was a great afternoon, and all free. Rosie loved it, and I was pleased Liz had spotted the ad for the event online.
At the end, my little gladiator was asked to fill in an evaluation sheet. She wasn't sure what to put in the final box, so I suggested she could just write "Thank you, from Rosie" Which she did, and then, after some thought, added  aged VIII [eight] 
She explained, very seriously, that in roman numerals VIII = 8, but she'd put the word in brackets so that the woman would understand!
I told her that I would have to sign things Angela aged LXVIII
But as of today, I will be LXIX
As one old Roman said to the other, "it's that Annie Domino beginning to catch up with me"

Tuesday 9 April 2024

An Odd Sort Of A Week

It has been very wet and windy, the back lawn remains sodden and muddy - and yet on Saturday we spent all day on the beach at Wells. Jess was busy filling little cones with sand, and presenting us with 'ice creams'. She claimed they were strawberry, caramel, chocolate or pistachio flavour - then giggled when we 'tasted' them and found they were just sand.
It was one of those magical family days when we all had fun, and shared a picnic, and played games - then returned home for hot drinks and fruit loaf. And the weather was really pleasant -not too hot, nor too cold, and no rain.
The wind was getting stronger by the time we got to Cornerstones in the late afternoon. Patrick, my little Irish Airman on the garage, was whizzing round at top speed. We were not too troubled by Storm Kathleen - the garden chairs were blown about a bit. 
I was glad the summerhouse roof was secure.

The dentist's visit went well yesterday - he is very pleased with the way my lip has healed following the Scottish fall last May - he said I came through that really well all things considered. Furthermore, my gum has healed beautifully following the extraction of That Troublesome Tooth in January. The only question is now is "what do we do about the huge gap?" There are three options. 
  1. Live with it, and give up TicTacs [they get stuck in the space]
  2. Have a partial denture which will fit over adjacent teeth
  3. Have an implant
Pros and cons
  1. I am very conscious of the gap and food gets lodged there. No pros.
  2. I have two PDs already. Minimal discomfort to have them fitted. They are OK but have to come out at night [toothless crone mode, as Bob calls it] 
  3. As near as you can get to a 'real' tooth. Roshan assures me that the pain will be less than the discomfort of the extraction. And will last me 20 years or more. 
Cost implications 1- free, 2 - £450, 3- £2500
I am thinking it over and will tell him my decision next month when I go for my hygienist session. 
Do any of you have an implant tooth? Is it OK? Does it feel 'odd' in your mouth? It seems a huge amount of money to spend on my mouth. On the other hand, the dentist it will improve my chewing. I'd appreciate some tooth-reviews, please!
On Sunday, I was preaching and leading worship at Church, as the Minister was on holiday, Bob was preaching at another church, The service went well, apart from computer playing up., We sang the first two hymns a capella. But I was so busy first thing in the morning, thinking about the service, that I didn't really think properly about my outfit. I opted for a navy dress, navy tights, and navy shoes, with 'pearl' necklace and earrings. [Classic, understated style, I thought]
As I turned off the main road into the village where the chapel is, I suddenly realised I had no jacket, and no pocket - so nowhere to put the battery pack from the radio mic. I ended up threading the cable down the neck of my dress, and tucking the pack inside the waistband of my tights. 
Pastor Nick clearly has a larger head - the headset mic kept slipping, and at one point, I pushed it back into place, it caught on my hair, and my earring pinged off onto the carpet. 
But afterwards, over the coffee and chat, people seemed very appreciative - and I drove home. As I took my key out of the front door, I dropped it on the door mat. And realised I had been to church  wearing ODD SHOES! Nobody said anything, so I hope they didn't notice. [They were both navy, and the same heel height]

Bob thinks I probably should not be let out on my own...

Monday 8 April 2024

We Are Both On Edge

Or to be more precise, both doing the edging on our cross stitch pieces. I have borrowed Kirsten's photos because they have come out so much better than mine.

Each section will be edged in back stitch, using two strands of dark green thread. Then we will work out the border pattern. 
[If you want to find out the details of the 24 individual sections, click in the "cross stitch collaboration" in the labels list on the right] 
I'm trying not to be "on edge" this morning - we both have very early dental appointments.  But Roshan my dentist is definitely the best I've ever had - he is so reassuring, and puts me at my ease as soon as I sit down. [by the way, the phrase "set one's teeth on edge" comes from the Bible, Jeremiah ch 31]

Sunday 7 April 2024

I Just Want A Bit Of Peace!

It's Saturday, I’m wandering round picking up dirty washing

...towels on the bathroom floor, one sock on the stairs
A jumper in the dining room, [they have too many clothes]
Joe’s sitting on his bed, playing some noisy onscreen game,
    all explosions and gunfire, screams and cursing
“Turn it down” yells Hannah “I’m trying to revise.
    If I fail, and don’t get into Uni, I’ll murder you Joe”
In the kitchen Pete is glaring at the empty bread bin
“What can a man have for breakfast round here?”
I suggest cereal – but there’s no milk in the fridge
“Haven’t you done the shopping this week?” he grunts
I point out that Hannah is revising and eating mountains of toast.
    And Joe went out for an early run ...
        then drank a whole pint of milk when he got back.
I say that perhaps Pete could pop out to the shop,
I’m busy with the washing...he grabs his keys,
    pushes past me [no goodbye kiss]
        and slams the front door on his way out
I load up the coffee maker, then go upstairs to change the sheets
Joe knows what I will ask
    so he dives into the bathroom and locks the door.
My son’s room looks like a bomb’s hit it. Why can’t he help a bit?
Hannah acts like any intrusion will ruin her revision,
    and her whole future
“You just don’t understand Mum”
    [hang on, I went to Uni too, you know, years ago]
The front door opens
    “I’ve got milk!” sings out my now cheerful husband
Two teenagers race each other to the kitchen
    they somehow don’t notice me, coming downstairs,
    arms full of bedlinen, I’m nearly knocked over
I gather up the scattered pillowcases and duvet covers
By the time I get to the kitchen they all have coffee and toast
I hover in the doorway,
    hoping someone will pour me a mug of reviving caffeine
Nobody does, they are all talking at once,
    so I slam the laundry basket on the table
And I start yelling, and shouting and swearing at them
I tell them they are inconsiderate,
    I feel taken for granted, I’m sick of all of them
They stand open mouthed – never seen their Mum like this.
I grab Pete’s mug which he put down as I began my rant.
    “I’m taking this into the lounge...
        I JUST WANT A BIT OF PEACE!” And I walk out of the kitchen.
In the lounge I pick up the newspaper somebody’s left on the floor
The headlines scream out at me
Stupid warmongering men
    – why can’t they see the senselessness of fighting. Nobody wins.
I look at the pictures and I start to weep
    – women grabbing towels to staunch bleeding wounds
Mothers cradling tiny children dying of hunger.
    Nurses using rags for bandages
A grandmother with sad eyes,
    staring at her family home, now reduced to a bomb crater
Widows laying flowers at a row of graves
    each marked with a crude wooden cross
And I’m ashamed of myself, and I feel so impotent
  – THESE are the women who want a bit of peace
I go back into the kitchen and say sorry – Pete hugs me
I ask if the family will help me...
    I want to sort out some warm clothes for the Aid Centre
And perhaps the family could have a roast dinner together this evening?
    Joe volunteers to peel the spuds,
        Hannah is sick of revising, and offers to make an apple pie
Pete says nothing, he is busy loading the washing machine.
… I realise the atmosphere has changed,
 ...the kitchen feels warmer somehow
And that song we sang at school echoes in my brain
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me

A poem originally written

for the Ukrainian Aid Centre,
for Dereham Peace Day

©Angela Almond

Saturday 6 April 2024

Hot Soup For Cold Days

Bob was at The Shed, and I was with Liz and co. She made a tasty lentil and carrot soup for lunch. It was so comforting on a cold wet day. I decided to follow her example later in the week and made the Armenian Soup from my Cranks Cookbook. Last time I made this was at the start of lockdown, when I was working hard at 'recipes from my storecupboard' - because we were both in isolation at the time, and couldn't get to the shops.

Armenian Soup (from Cranks cookbook)

  • Red lentils, 50g
  • Dried apricots, 50g
  • Large potato 1
  • Vegetable stock 2 pt
  • Lemon juice (half a lemon)
  • Ground cumin 1 teaspoon
  • Parsley, chopped 3 teaspoons
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Place lentils and apricots in a  large saucepan. Roughly chop the
potato and add to the pan with remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool, then blend in a liquidizer goblet until smooth. Reheat to serving temperature and adjust seasoning to taste.

Delicious [although Liz's soup was a glorious orange colour, not a dismal khaki!]