Friday, 26 April 2019

Decking And Dancing

Last year, we realised the decking at Cornerstones was beginning to collapse. We measured it, and worked out both the cost of replacement, and a timetable for doing the work.
Because we're planning on having a Ruby Wedding celebration in August, we knew there was a date by which we needed it sorted. 
On Tuesday morning  Bob started removing the planks. This was very revealing.. 
He discovered that they'd been laid wrongly, with insufficient support posts underneath - and a high proportion of the wood was rotten. The dismantling had not come a moment too soon.
Jon arrived to help do the work, and we were so grateful for that.
We were speculating on the cost of taking the scrap wood to the tip, when Jon said "Do any of your neighbours have a wood burning stove?" 
Brilliant idea - two neighbours were very pleased to relieve us of the timber, rotten though it was.
Once everything had gone, we looked again at the garden and decided we didn't really need decking. We would be just as happy with more slabs. So now we are working out the next stage of the project. But that won't get underway till the summer.
Meanwhile Rosie had her own little construction project inside the lounge, building a lego tower. She is so bright and cheerful, but at that stage where everything is questioned. "Grandma, why is....?"  "Mummy, what's that?" etc. We're all resisting the urge to respond with "Because I say so!"
Liz, Rosie and I went to Morrisons to buy some lunch. They have toddler trollies. Rosie enjoyed that - and dancing to the instore muzak. All the decking work was done by lunchtime and Bob mowed the lawn so we could play Crazy Golf. With this young lady around, it certainly was crazy! 

Thursday, 25 April 2019

How Does Your Garden Grow?

That's a rather personal question, isn't it? For some it gives an opportunity to rave about this year's stunning display of penstemon, for others a moaning session about slugs eating the hostas, but others take the opportunity to offer a bag of tomatoes or courgettes from their unexpectedly good harvest*...and some of us mutter about being busy/under the weather/a bit lazy.
But in my own little way I've made slight progress on the horticultural front this year. Parsley and dill from the trough in the front bed continue to garnish our meals. Bob said he wasn't that keen on the Rocket, but he still politely eats it when I sneak it into the salad bowl.
I've moved on from cress-on-a-flannel. I 'm now working on peas-in-a-pot** T hese are some pea shoots I've been growing on the kitchen windowsill. They're Terribly Trendy 
More importantly, they're ridiculously easy to grow.T hey are growing in two paper cups inside my big enamel mug. I bought that 15 years ago in Boston on our Silver Wedding Holiday. I think it cost 1$. I t is way too big for drinks, but great for this purpose.
I see that if you want to spend a lot, monthly window sill herbs are available mail order now (Here)
*these friends are always so generous - I'm making Rhubarb Windows this week, using produce from a kind church member.
**Oops! That sounds a bit like a Marie Lloyd song

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

I Agree...

Get your own poster, and find out more about iFixit by clicking here

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Today's A Tardis Tuesday

On my birthday, the postman delivered an interesting parcel. It came from my blogfriend Kezzie. No, not a birthday present, but a sewing challenge [which is a lovely gift in itself, as far as I am concerned] I declared that I would set aside a Sewing Day, and then began looking at the contents. If you read Kezzie's blog, you will know she a fan of Dr Who, and cosplay. She does 'Tardis Tuesday' - and often goes to work dressed in one of her Clara Oswald outfits.
Cosplay is incredibly popular, and fortunately many of COs outfits are from ordinary shops, not specially made by the BBC costume department. Four years ago, I helped Kezzie out with a Dr Who shirt, which needed ??? on the collar. My embroidery machine made short work of that project.
This time, more of a challenge - two plain tops needing collars made of a pleated fabric, one dress needing a collar, a skirt needing a scalloped hem and a jumper which had a floral trim which needed removing [not part of the cosplay]
Kezzie helpfully sent photos of what it should all look like. I went and dug out 2 books which have notes on attaching collars - one from the 1980s and the other from the 1930s.
These helped me work out how to make the collars. I measured and cut paper patterns. Kezzie had found a top in a CS whichwas made of the exact same pleated navy fabric [mercifully non fray, so hems not needed]
Top tip When attaching non-stretch collars to a T shirt neckline, it is important to leave a small gap to enable the wearer to get it over their head!
Top tip If you have to make a dress collar in a matching fabric, consider shortening sleeves or hem, to provide the fabric, or sew across the top of a pocket, and remove the inner 'bag'. Kezzie is tall, so I couldn't use the hem, and the pockets were not quite big enough - but the sleeves were elbow length.  I unpicked the hems and took 4" off. This was enough to make the top of the collars, I lined them with the floral fabric I'd just removed from the jumper.
I have really enjoyed this challenge for Clara/Kezzie - she'll be able to have lots of Tardis Tuesdays next term.

Monday, 22 April 2019

It's A Miracle!

That phrase isn't one you often see as a headline in the Guardian. But there it was on Saturday. One of the most wonderful news stories to come out of a sad week. 
On one of the roofs of Notre Dame Cathedral there are a row of beehives [rooftop apiary is a big thing in Paris]  each one home to 60,000 bees
Nicolas Géant, the Cathedral Beekeeper, has confirmed that the bees have survived the fire, and the hives are OK.
The firefighters would not let him go up to check, but aerial photos taken the morning after the fire showed the hives intact.
It appears that although the high temperatures would have posed some risk, the carbon dioxide in the smoke would have simply intoxicated them and sent them to sleep.
It is indeed a miracle - 180,000 hardworking little creatures slept through it all, then woke up next day and got on with their work. 
Yesterday's lovely photo of bees buzzing round a gargoyle is further encouragement to Monsieur ant and to us all [taken by Beeopic Apiculture, the French Urban Beekeeping Company]
I love bees- I planted my 'Get Buzzing' seeds on Friday afternoon. Don't forget World Bee Day coming up on May 20th.
Here's the Bee Blessed Prayer which I wrote last year
...Father God, 
you made these tiny creatures, 
as part of your wonderful creation, 
and they are a blessing to me, and we need them if humans are to survive on our planet. 
Scientists have studied their colonies and are still learning more about them -
the way they serve their queen, 
the way they work in the hive, 
building the beautiful hexagonal waxen cells, 
all the properties of their honey to nourish and to heal, 
and their amazing flying dances 
which tell other bees where to find the nectar,
...Help me to learn from the bees –  
to serve you, my King, 
to work alongside my brothers and sisters, 
to build your Kingdom, 
to feed the hungry, 
and to help others to find your love.
...As I am bee-blessed, so may I be a blessing

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Hallelujah! Christ Is Risen

The last of the eight Stanley Spencer paintings - entitled "Morning Rising"

Saturday, 20 April 2019

The Scorpion

The penultimate of Spencer's "Christ In The Wilderness" pictures is this one- The Scorpion.

Scorpions are feared the world over, for their venomous sting. They are mentioned a few times in Scripture.
In Deuteronomy 8 the Israelites were reminded of their amazing deliverance from Egypt...
Be sure that you do not become proud and forget the Lord your God who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves. He led you through that vast and terrifying desert where there were poisonous snakes and scorpions. In that dry and waterless land he made water flow out of solid rock for you. In the desert he gave you manna to eat, food that your ancestors had never eaten. He sent hardships on you to test you, so that in the end he could bless you with good things. 

In Luke 11, Jesus assures his hearers that if they, bad as they are, care for their children - so how much more will their heavenly Father care...
Would any of you who are fathers give your son a snake when he asks for fish? Or would you give him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?

And yet - in this picture, Jesus calmly holds the scorpion in his hand without fear. He knows that the creature could give him a fatal sting, but he is not afraid - he is in complete control of the situation. 

Today is 'Holy Saturday' - traditionally the day when Christians remember that Jesus was crucified, died, and was sealed in the tomb. Paul, in I Corinthians 15 writes about the sting of death...
Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.