Saturday, 22 February 2020

It's A Wrap!

Or so they say when they finish filming.I'm afraid I never got to see Little Women - there was too much going on in January and I never got round to finding someone to come with me. Which is a shame for lots of reasons, not least because I really wanted to see the wraps [ie shawls] which were worn by the actresses. They were made in the UK just 3½ miles from Cornerstones!
Jenn Mohahan of the Fibre Workshop in the village of Elsing produced around seven pieces for the film - 400 hours of knitting! Here she is with Beth's shawl [and she's wearing Jo's shawl]
Jenn has also knitted items for the films Churchill and 2017.
Wool is part of Norfolk's history - and Jenn champions the "Norfolk Horn" - a hardy little black faced breed brought to the county by the Saxons, around 420 AD. Numbers declined in the 1960s,almost to extinction, but now it is recognised as a rare breed - and there are 79 flocks.
Jenn runs workshops, on processing the yarn and dyeing it - maybe in a few years time I shall be able go to one [it's near enough to cycle]
What a lovely story - and there's a further twist ...
Jenn made a copy of Beth's shawl. She raffled it off for "Barefoot College and the Solar Mamas" - an amazing charity which works in 1300 villages in 80 countries worldwide to empower women. She hoped to raise £250 to help train women to produce energy, reduce carbon emissions and bring lihght, employment and self-reliant solutions for their communities. Her Raffle raised a whopping £4118. 74.
I haven't seen the film yet - but I'm thrilled to realise that there is a connection to my corner of Norfolk. Jenn's determination is helping to maintain a Rare Breed, and her generosity has blessed women across the world. 
That is an inspiring story.

Friday, 21 February 2020

I Thought Back Then It Was Comedy...

...But Now It Seems Like Fortune Telling
Do you realise that it is forty years this week since "Yes Minister" first hit our TV screens? [and many of you reading this were not even born then] We lost Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne sometime ago. Derek Fowlds died just last month. "The Thick Of It" by Armando Janucci is today's answer to YM [personally I find TTOI just a little too sweary - even if it has got Roger Allam** in it] But somehow the antics of Whitehall seemed such fun back in the 80s, and Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn wrote such witty scripts. 

I enjoyed the programme - and the sequel, Yes Prime Minister, so much! Now I look with despair on the antics in Downing Street.

** I have watched many episodes of "Sarah and Duck" [on CBeebies] with Rosie, just for the pleasure of listening to RA's voice.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Let There Be Light...

Hours later, and I'm still awed by the fabulous Sarum Lights which we watched in Salisbury on Tuesday Evening. To mark 800 years of the Cathedral, a fabulous son-et-lumiĆ©re event, facilitated by Lux Muralis, is showing for five nights this week [weather permitting] I saw an ad somewhere last week, and booked tickets online- only £5 each, and worth every penny.
We arrived at 7, and watched the display on the West Front then were efficiently whisked inside, out of the wind and rain.
The queue was sent round a circuit of the cloisters. This kept us moving, and also meant the hundreds in the line could better shelter from the elements as they waited their turn to go into the cathedral and walk down the nave.

The lights were awesome, my pictures do not do justice to the event. The music was lovely, and the displays gave a sense of history, and the passage of time - from Creation, through the Middle Ages to the present day. Architecture, art, science all represented.

Bob and I stood and marvelled at the beauty of light and sound...In one of the side chapels, was a beautiful altarpiece, and also a chance to write a prayer on a leaf shape. I decided to copy part of the prayer I'd written for last Sunday's service. The guide said I could take it home, or hand it in at the chapel on the other side, and it would become part of a larger display. When I got there, I was told to place it on the altar, and it would be collected later. My leaf-prayer was bathed in pink light!
We left by the cloisters again, looking at the important truths in which we as Christians believe - and reminded that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end of our faith.

Then back across the Market Square to catch a bus to the Park&Ride Carpark. Earlier in the day, the market had been in full swing, with brightly coloured stalls, traders and customers everywhere. It was strange to see it deserted but lit up - with the lights reflecting in all the puddles.
What a fantastic evening! I drove back - and found one section where our carriageway was coned off, and there were traffic lights. Since we'd left at midday, one side of the road had become quite flooded. Not a fun journey. But I am so glad we went, and grateful to all those Cathedral Volunteers who stood outside directing the crowds so cheerfully
Watch the official video to get a better impression of the Sarum Lights...

It was indeed a 'family friendly' event. Norwich had a light show last weekend too - "LoveLight". BBC report here. If you really want to see someone utterly awestruck by the glory of it all, here's Rosie in Norwich, totally enraptured...

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

One Step At A Time...

Two authors are adjacent on our bookshelf- Milne and Mitchell. Not one's immediate choices in terms of Health and Safety Literature. However, in one, we find the dreadful story of Scarlett O Hara falling downstairs, in the other, there is poor Edward Bear [aka Winnie] suffering as he descends behind his owner.
Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn't. 

Having got my new slippers, I realise that my old ones were getting a little too loose [as well as holey] Stair safety is very important. Not just for vulnerable people [children, pregnant Mums, people carrying things, the infirm and the elderly] but for every person [and teddy bear] As Sue as wisely pointed out, Cornerstones is a bungalow - which is a good thing if you are approaching retirement. I won't have to worry about fitting a Stairlift when I am 75! 
The British Woodworking Federation have produced this poster to remind us all about Stair Safety, based on the acronym S T A I R S. 
Read it, and stay safe, my friends!
But you do have to wonder about the designers of this New York Subway Station. Watch it and wince!
Fortunately the guy who made the film posted it on Social Media, and the staircase was fixed very quickly - presumably before anyone was able to sue for broken ankles or worse.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

A Right Royal Rabbit Hole

You hear something on the radio, and it interests you, then a couple of days later someone blogs about it, and you decide you really should look this up, but you get sidetracked..and before you know it, you have fallen down the rabbit hole, and you end up discovering stuff you had not been looking for, and forgetting quite where it all began...
It began with Radio 4's Kitchen Cabinet.
The programme came from Bakewell, and there was much discussion about the difference between Bakewell Tart and Bakewell Pudding. Explanation here
On Saturday, Jean, a Derbyshire lass, posted all about the same topic- here is her splendid looking tart. She says that her Mum often made one for Sunday tea, and used her BeRo book. That sent me scurrying to check out my well used, stained 1982 copy.
You will notice that there are added comments- so many of the great ladies I have met at Church Teas use this little book. Gwen Toon - in Kirby Muxloe -advises soaking the milk before you make the Coconut and Orange Cake, and Betty [Dudman] of Ferndown added 1tsp vanilla to the Easy Fruit Cake. I think I put [Dudman] in brackets because there are so many ladies called Betty on Church Tea Rotas across the country! 
Then I started wondering, where did the name Be-Ro come from? It appears that Thomas Bell started a company producing flour, baking powder etc 150 years ago in Longhorsley near Newcastle. 
He called his brand "Bell's Royal". But there was confusion with another brand, so he shortened it to Be-Ro [and you thought Su-Bo, SamCam, J-Lo etc was a new idea]
And here is the other brand. Royal is owned now by Kraft foods. The distinctive tin has a Droste Effect recursive design.
The red tin shows a smaller picture of the red tin showing a smaller picture of the red tin, showing a smaller picture of the red tin...
In fact, if you stare at it for too long, it is just like falling down a right royal rabbit-hole. 
For £2.99 you can still buy a copy of the BeRo cookbook [here] now in its 41st edition. You can read the Royal Cookbook free online, at Project Gutenburg [here] This is an Americn Book. It does not include British delights like Bakewell Tart or Toad in the Hole - but you can find recipes for Penuche and Albuminized Orange, whatever they are!

Monday, 17 February 2020

Fine - But Frugal - Dining

I decided to push the boat out and make a fancy meal for Valentine's Day. It's ages since I went over to Wimborne Market early on a Friday. Having fortified myself with a bowl of porridge, I loaded my Trusty Trolley, and 2 large bags of CS donations and set off. I met Peter, Steve and Mike, three very good friends from church, also buying their veg. I declined their kind invitation to join them for breakfast in Wimborne. 
I bought lots of lovely fresh veg at good prices, and a ham hock from the New Forest Farm Stall. Then into Waitrose for a few more bits. I sat down with my free coffee, and had a pleasant chat with another lady of similar age and height [we were both struggling to clamber onto the barstools!] Off to drop off - but not buy anything - at the CS. Then home... 
Valentine's Menu
Smoked Mackerel Pate 
with Rye Crispbread & Red Pepper Garnish
Slow Roast Ham Hock, 
with Roasted Root Vegetable Melange
Gravy & Apple Sauce
Gu Zillionaires Cheesecake 
with Fresh Cherries
Coffee & Chocolates 
Nero D'Avola Sicilian Red Wine 
The meal was almost all homemade, I did buy the Finn Crispbread, and the Gu puddings [and Bob's favourite wine] but I made everything else from scratch. The veg mix [thank you Peter for the celeriac idea] was celeriac, sweet potato and squash.
I added a heart garnish to the starter and stuck paper hearts on the after-dinner chocs. And lit the candles in my new candelabra. It was all very romantic, and very well received. The cost of the ingredients of the food we actually ate [not counting the 50%of the meat left for other meals etc] came to just TEN POUNDS for the two of us. A very happy Valentine's day

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Lent Inspirations for 2020

We are barely 2 weeks from Shrove Tuesday, and the beginning of Lent. The first Sunday of Lent will be March 1st. Since 2010, I have been doing some sort of "Pause in Lent" - a tradition started my my friend Floss in France. 

The idea is to take some time to reflect, either in a specifically Christian way or just in a more general 'spring-time, new-life' manner, on what this season means to us. You can share with us what you have been thinking about, what you have been doing at home or at church, what you have been reading or experiencing, and what your hopes or prayers are. The first Sunday of Lent is March 1st and Easter Sunday is April 12th. 
If you would like to join in, please leave a comment on this post. Please feel free to take the picture above and to make a link back to this blog, where I will make a list of all the participants and link to their blogs in my sidebar. I am looking forward to joining up with you all!
So please join with us to post when you can [no obligations, no guilt] on Sundays or Mondays between now and then. [You can sign up to be a reader, even if you are not posting] Maybe your thoughts will inspire others 
I've changed the picture for this Leap Year, to reflect my #word365, inspire because I was particularly taken with the image of a snowdrop threaded through the palm cross.