Sunday, 25 August 2019

Dereham Baptist Church, 25th August 1979

We look so young and in love - and we hadn't a clue about what the future would hold. The past forty years have been amazing - full of love, life and laughter- as well as tears, heartache and pain - better, worse , richer, poorer, sickness, and health.
When Bob was at Theological College I came across these words by a brave, wise German. They have become very special to me over the years.

"Your home will be a pastor’s home. From it, light and strength will have to go out into many other homes. The pastor undertakes a life of special discipline. The husband must bear alone much that belongs to his ministry, since the ministry is his and must, for the sake of God, be a silent one. So his love for his wife must be all the greater, and he must be all the more concerned to share with her what he may. And as a result the wife will be able to lighten the husband’s burden all the more, stand by his side, give him help. As fallible human beings, how can they live and work in Christ’s community if they do not persevere in constant prayer and forgiveness, if they do not help each other to live as Christians? The right beginning and daily practice are very important indeed.
From the first day of your wedding till the last the rule must be: ‘Welcome one another… for the glory of God’. That is God’s word for your marriage. Thank Him for it; thank Him for leading you thus far; ask Him to establish your marriage, to confirm it, sanctify it, and preserve it. So your marriage will be ‘for the praise of His glory’. Amen."
[from "A wedding sermon from a prison cell" written in 1943 by Dietrich Bonhoeffer]

Thank you, Bob, for these forty years of serving God together.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Celebration Pictures- Part 1

Here are some pictures from last Saturday - some I took, some from Steph, and some from my bro in law Kevin. Unfortunately we were so busy having fun that I didn't really get any pictures of the three dozen and more guests who were there!
Steph finished the artwork on the summerhouse panels.
Bob and Gary put up gazebos and strung bunting everywhere.
My best friend Chris came over for two hours to help make sandwiches.
Everything was looking really good. We made temporary tables with stacked coolboxes, and workmates, disguised under tablecloths. Steph, Gaz and Bob had a moment's calm before the visitors arrived.
I was pleased with the cake - and the little daisy decorations [I got a set of punches from Lakeland in Norwich]
I prepared the scones on Thursday and froze them unbaked - so they could be freshly cooked on the day - I used a small cutter [they are in the Pyrex dish with glass lid in the centre of the table] Clingfilm and net 'food umbrellas' were in use because of the alarming number of fruit flies buzzing about.
It was so wonderful to have Bob's bro and sis with us - they enjoyed looking at the Wedding Album, and commenting on how we have changed in the past 40 years. Such an event is also a bittersweet reminder of those nearest and dearest no longer with us.
We took the cake outside to slice it. The icing was much softer than that on our actual wedding cake. That had been made by 6th form students at the school where I worked as part of their A Level Cookery. But they'd iced it in early June. By August 25th, the icing was set like concrete!!
My bro-in-law Kevin took a picture of the 11 of us who were at Dereham Baptist Church for our wedding back in '79. In fact, 25% of Saturday's guests were part of the original crowd.
From left to right
My brother Adrian, Bob's sister Denise.
Sister in law Barbara
Christine - my best friend for over 45 yrs.
Bob's brother Frank
Freda and Bob - dear friends, who were the youth leaders at DBC in my teens
Janette and Colin - old friends from Norfolk, Colin was my first Head of Dept when I began teaching - and their daughter was one of our bridesmaids.

Perhaps we should have got a picture taken in the opposite direction, of all our 'newer' friends taking photos.
We're so grateful to all those who came and made the day so special. Except possibly Archie - the little dog from next door, who rushed into the lounge and snatched Rosie's cupcake as she was about to eat it. I suspect that story is going to be told and retold many times!
Our children gave us a lovely red glass vase, and flowers, and on Sunday we were presented with a bouquet at Foulsham Chapel. These survived the journey back to Dorset - and when I took this picture on Thursday we'd already received a couple of dozen cards.
It is tomorrow which is The Actual Anniversary Day - but I'm going to make this celebration last as long as I can.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Looking For A Woman Called Blanche

Does anyone name their daughter 'Blanche' anymore? I can only think of Ms Dubois in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and the one who was in the Golden Girls [Blanche Devereaux] But they were both fictional - and both Blanche D. I did suggest to Bob we should call our daughter Blanche D, and then she'd be Blanche D Almond. But wisely he ignored this idea.
I was just pondering on the dearth of Blanches while I was in the kitchen blanching beans this week. Generous friends and family members, who are keen gardeners, have shared their bounty with me in recent days- and I know we cannot eat all this veg before it gets past its prime. So I have been preparing an assortment of fruit and veg for the freezer.
According to the US National Center for Home Food Preservation, based in the University of Georgia, "Blanching (scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time) is a must for almost all vegetables to be frozen. It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavour, colour and texture. Blanching cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the colour and helps retard loss of vitamins." Their website has helpful charts of times for preparing various vegetables. 
Once the kitchen tasks were done, I checked up on the name Blanche- it was first registered in the US in the 1880s,  but interestingly, Blanche Ingram appears in the UK in the Bronte novel Jane Eyre [pub 1847]. Clyde Barrow [of 'Bonnie and Clyde' fame] had a sister called Blanche Barrow. The name peaked around 1910 - but next to nobody used it after WW2. Like Lettice, it is one of those names which has drifted into obscurity.
We spent the day in Cromer on Monday, the weather was changeable- one minute ice creams on the prom, then we sat and had a fish&chip lunch. Then there was a massive thunderstorm. Rosie put on her waterproof suit. And then the sun came out again so we went to the play area. 
Another child on the slide with her was called Sylvia. Liz and I both did a double-take when we heard Mum call to her. My cousin Sylvia has just died- she was in her mid 70s. Sylvia was very popular for babies born between 1930 and 1950 -all the Sylvias I know are a decade older than me. But the name is in the top 100 in Spain and Italy, so maybe we will hear it here more in future.
Angela is another name which is 'past its peak' in the UK - a popular choice between 1940 and 1970 - but I understand it is still in the top 100 in Canada for baby girls. Two of our deacons at Church are called Angela - it can get confusing sometimes when the three of us are together!
Is your name unusual? or are there lots of you sharing the same moniker? Have you modified/changed your name to make it more personal?
[Oh, and moniker is nothing to do with Monica, but is believed to be a corruption of the Irish word ainm, simply meaning 'name', which came over to London with itinerant workers in the mid 19th century]

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Back To Normal?

Coming back from summer holiday is always... interesting. We have a fairly set routine: empty the car, put any perishables away promptly, switch on hot water [and heating if necessary] then sit down together with a cup of tea and the Post Mountain - 95% of which is usually irrelevant, the remainder either renewal notices or "proper" communications from family and friends.My car tax and breakdown cover run out at the end of August so I always know I'll have them to pay.
Then over the next couple of days I sort and unpack. The complication is that we always go away the instant that Holiday Club finishes. So I've come back to a dining table covered with felt pens and glue sticks, left over frogs, pipe cleaners and corks. And my enthusiasm for them has waned a little. I work away slowly, sorting and packing so all is ready for next year. 
Because we've "self-catered" for a fortnight, there is always leftover food. So lots of salads to eat, with all sorts of random ingredients. Plus this year, after the party, I froze a container of leftover sandwiches, and another of fairy cakes. Lots of easy meals to look forward to. 
But there have been a few hiccups. Yesterday morning Bob couldn't find the clean clothes he wanted. There was plenty of fresh laundry, but I'd put the basket down in the wrong place before we left. Perhaps when I'm packing, I should leave two complete, clean outfits on the bed, all ready for us on our return. 
The other issue was money; the day we left, we stopped at the motorway services for a snack and Bob said "I think my wallet is still on the dressing table. We decided we could manage with my cards and cash, and didn't want to add 140 miles to the journey by going back to Dorset. All was OK on holiday 
On our return, he went straight upstairs and it wasn't there where he thought he'd left it... After checking the house thoroughly we went outside - the wallet had been in my car all along! Fortunately it had not been taken. All's well that ends well. 
I wrote just three holiday postcards - but forgot to post them. I hope the recipients do not scrutinise the postmarks too carefully, as they didn't get into a letterbox until the journey home, when we stopped at the M11 Stansted Services. 
At least with this sort of holiday I know the airline won't lose my luggage,and I don't need a passport or foreign currency. It was wonderful to be away - but its lovely to be home again. 

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Who Is Annie Domino?

I will never forget the time that I was out with my Dad and we met a lady from the church. It was about the time my brother was born, so that would mean Dad was 37 and I was 7. Dad made some remark about "Is this your day off?" And she laughed and said "I was 60 last week. Every day's a day off now. I've just retired, and I'm a pensioner. Annie Domino has finally caught up with me." 
Afterwards I asked Dad "Who is the Annie Domino lady who has caught her. Has she done something wrong?" 
Dad laughed and explained it was a joke. People measured dates by BC, before Christ and AD, Anno Domini. She was saying she was getting old, and time was catching up with her - but she'd changed the Latin phrase to make it sound like a person. [this was prior to the politically correct BCE/CE they use now] 
I couldn't sleep on Monday night, my brain going over all the things I've been doing this holiday , and the stuff I have to do in the next few weeks. I started doing mental arithmetic... In 600 days from now [if I'm still around] Annie Domino will catch up with me too

  1. I shall celebrate my 66th birthday 
  2. I shall collect my Old Age Pension 
  3. I shall collect my Free Bus Pass
  4. ...and maybe discover more "Seniors' Benefits"

I'm a WASPI Woman - born in 1955, I've had three official letters telling me I'd get my pension at 60, then 65, and now 66. Really hoping they do not move the goalposts again! But I'm determined to use my 600 days productively, even if I don't get to teach in a classroom again. 
In other news, Rosie has announced that one of her aims in life is to grow up to be taller than Grandma Angela. I suspect she will achieve this one easily! 

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Forty Fantastic Years And One Amazing Weekend

Saturday's party went incredibly well. Our actual anniversary is next Sunday but it was wonderful to celebrate back in Norfolk where we got married.
Today our holiday is over and we're leaving Cornerstones again. Once I get all the photos which were taken at the weekend, I will do a proper post. But here's Steph's pic of us slicing the cake...

Monday, 19 August 2019

Cutting Corners

Steph arrived for the weekend bring a new top she'd bought greatly reduced in a sale [that's my girl!] She's a real Gym-Bunny and the strappy style showed off her toned arms and shoulders beautifully. However, the "handkerchief hem" was not so satisfactory.
"I look as if I've tucked a big table napkin at my neck" she said. This was indeed true. Steph wanted me to somehow straighten the bottom edge.
We measured the length, and I cut it straight, made a narrow casing and put a tie through. It was still too baggy.
The final step was to sew the side seams, and we ended up with a simple but flattering top.
And a load of cut-corners