Saturday 31 May 2008

Pressing Onwards!


The ironing board was looking rather sorry IM002532 for itself - because the old iron kept overheating, it developed a scorch patch.

The new iron has clear instructions NOT to rest on metal - so for a few weeks, I have had a towel wrapped round the Iron Rest in case I forgot. Today Bob removed the Rest, and I recovered the board with a remnant of pretty Sanderson fabric which was lurking in the loft. I turned the old cover over, to get the padding, and sewed a channel which I threaded with a drawstring tape.

So splendid new looking board - at no cost. All I need to do now is finish the ironing!

Matthew 5:16


In 2007, the town of Rugby was a 'Silver Gilt' Award winner in the Britain in Bloom competition.

As you drive into the town you pass a sign [suitably rugby-ball shaped] welcoming you to Rugby, and informing you that it is where that game was invented. Fixed underneath that sign is a second notice about the B-in-B competition. Except that currently you cannot read what it says - it is completely overgrown by weeds! This struck us as rather ironic when we went past it yesterday.

icthus It's a bit like having a fish badge on your car, and then driving badly. Or wearing a cross in your lapel and then being rude to shop assistants. The signs and symbols must be backed up by the actions, or our witness is worthless.

Friday 30 May 2008

Hands to work, and hearts to God

forgetmenot Isn't it weird how ideas connect sometimes? As it was half=-term, we popped down to Rugby to have lunch with family in Rugby. My brother in law Frank cooked us an excellent Indian meal - chicken curry, aloo sag, dhal, rice, raita etc. Their garden is looking beautiful at the moment, wish I had taken my camera with me. Barbara also showed us a lovely piece of inlaid marble they brought back from their holiday in India.

I came back home and was reading Dawn's blog when I came aspurgeoncross this great Spurgeon quote:

A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and  were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not in marble.

Forget-me-nots and marble! Added to that, the background music playing on her blog at the minute is the old Shaker Hymn "Tis the Gift to be simple" - which we were talking about over lunch, and will be singing on Sunday!

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come round right

'Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say,

'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me",
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll alhandsheartsl live together with a love that is real.

I know a lot of the Shaker theology is, um, very shaky - but many of their principles are sound ones. They have some good aphorisms...

It is not the outside riches but the inside ones that produce happiness.

All that you do, do with your might, things done by halves are never done right.

He who knows not what it is to labour knows not what it is to enjoy.

Forgiveness is as valuable to the one who forgives as to the one forgiven.

Never forget the kindness which others do for you.

Thursday 29 May 2008

How does your garden grow?

IM002527 After a few days of dismal weather, today has been beautiful, and a group of us were able to go to the Barnsdale Gardens for the KMFC Friends And Neighbours Annual Outing.

The gardens were started by the late Geoff Hamilton, of Gardeners' World - they are a living memorial to the skills of this lovely man.

After a splendid lunch in the Coffee Shop - IM002521 we started our leisurely stroll round the gardens. I took lots of pictures of the group over lunch.

The grounds are laid out in a series of linked gardens - and there is plenty to inspire, and encourage [and also perhaps dishearten those of us who have trouble growing cress on a flaIM002522nnel!]

I was fortunate to be walking round with Irene and Mary, whose plant knowledge is phenomenal, and knew all the names of things.

I was particularly taken with tIM002523he Ornamental Kitchen Garden, where the veg plots were laid out in a a neat pattern of triangles and rectangles, round gravel paths, so everything was easily accessible - and looked delicious!

TIM002524he Japanese Garden was very tranquil and peaceful - but probably no good for those of us who have dogs.

There was a great display of rhododendrons too. Rhododendron means 'red tree' - I remember that from Bobs' Greek studies.

Here are the only two pictures IM002528of flowers which I took - for reasons I won't go into, my photography session was curtailed.







I did get a splendid picture of Brian in an Arbour though! Rather like a Papal throne, I thought.

It was a lovely day, and we all enjoyed seeing the flowers. They were beautiful in form and colour.What a IM002526Great Creator God we have!

Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!

I was very impressed by the staff - the gardener in the Allotment Garden answered questions so knowledgeably and patiently. They were also brilliant when one of our party was overcome by the heat, and could not have been more helpful.

I'd like to go back to Barnsdale again - there was so much to see, and appreciate.

God waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work. He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.

Wednesday 28 May 2008

Those little grey cells have been busy

Whilst busy sewing last night and this morning, I listened to two BBC7 'Paulo Baldi' detective stories. Which has left me thinking about detectives in books/TV/Radio. My friend Nick has rightly commented that there is a preponderance of dysfunctional characters with monosyllabic names on the box [Morse, House, Shark, Monk, Hack ...] but I realised last night that there is also a plethora of religious sleuths.

cadfael Baldi is a Franciscan priest, as is Father William Baskerville [Name of the Rose, Eco] Cadfael is a Benedictine Monk, Father Brown is a Catholic Priest, and I was beginning to think they were all Catholics till I came across this list. Most of these seem to be from the US though. The 'Rabbi' series by Harry Kemelmann is great, and I have read most of them - they give a good insight into the life of modern day practising Jews in the States. I am intrigued by the idea of Lady Lupin Hastings, the Vicar's Wife! I shall have to try and get that from the library.

Why the connection between the priesthood and detection? Is it that priests are supposed to have a better understanding of sin than other mortals, so can spot the murderer? Or is the discipline of study,contemplation and sermon preparation some sort of suitable brain-training for developing powers of logic and deduction necessary for sleuthing? Or does their pastoral manner mean that people open up to them, and say more in conversation than they might otherwise, thus revealing clues?barnaby

I guess that for the authors, the celibate priesthood is useful - you don't have to work out the details of the spouse! Most TV police detectives seem to have had failed relationships/marriages [consider Frost, Rebus, Morse, Tennison, Lynley, Dalgliesh - they even killed off Mrs Lewis.] Barnaby, Wexford and Wycliffe seem to be the exceptions - but their wives arewexford always portrayed as longsuffering angels who put up with their husbands being called away from any and every family event for work related reasons. 

Isn't there room for a Baptist-Minister-Sleuth? [with a longsuffering wife already used to phonecalls at mealtimes, and pastoral emergencies during the Christmas family gathering...] Trouble is, our architecture doesn't usually include towers [did he jump or was he pushed?] multi-roomed Victorian parsonages, cavernous crypts, or sinister yew-lined churchyards.

Trouble is, writers seem to opt for RC or C of E settings, because they think they know what goes on in those churches - they are less sure of themselves when they stray into Nonconformist Territory. I also listened today to "Hut 33" today, a comedy set in Bletchley Park.[My Mum was a Codebreaker there in WW2] It was a fairly feeble programme, and I didn't find it particularly funny - and got poirotannoyed that they confused Quakers with Methodists at one point.

Famous Belgians in the detective business - Hercule Poirot was born in Spa, and Georges Simenon who wrote the Maigret books was born in Liege.

That's it then - a Baptist Minister, living in a little village, whose mother was Belgian, married to a woman whose mother was a codebreaker! But I would hope that whatever commandments our church members might be breaking, murder is not on the list!

Poop! Poop!

 poop poop I have had a great time sewing play costumes this week. My school are doing "Wind in the Willows" [which celebrates its centenary this year!] and I have been working on an outfit for Mr Toad.

The script notes suggested a garish jacket, with plus fours, so I got some appropriate vulgar green/red/gold check from Dunelm and made a suit, with a waistcoat.IM002517   IM002513










IM002514 IM002515








I was particularly pleased with the waistcoat - which has not photographed well on the hanger! I used my machine to do fancy feather stitch round the edge instead of plain top-stitching. Also I used the automatic buttonhole feature on my machine for the first time. This is dead clever - you put the button in the slot at the back of the special presser foot - and it sews a buttonhole exactly the right size! These are cute vintage buttons from one of my tins.


I made the suit by adapting Simplicity Pyjama Pattern 6076 - which is a 1973 vintage one given to me by my friend Hilda. Alarmingly, it is for "Teen size 16" - although the measurements correspond to those of the 10 year old who is playing Mr Toad. Children are definitely getting larger!simplicity6382 Here is a picture of the 1983 re-issue of the pattern [did 16 years olds play with yoyos back then?]

I used view 1, and omitted the pocket from the jacket. I added iron-on interfacing to the collar and front facing to stiffen. The trousers I shortened by 10" then cut bands 17" x 3" which I folded and hemmed, then gathered bottom of trousers into these, to make the plus-fours. I put elastic in the waist and sewed up the flies! I put hanging loops in the waistband. It took me about 4 hours to make jacket and trousers, and a further hour to do the waistcoat.

The waistcoat was from Style pattern 2424 [1978] I do not have a picture of that. I cut the pattern out twice in the same sheeting fabric, and then used one to line the other. IM002520 Mr Toad should wear a white shirt, bow tie and dark hose. Haven't yet worked out his hat - probably a floppy butcher boy type hat with vintage driving goggles, like the picture at the top of this post.

I am amazed that people are selling Vintage Paper Patterns all over the internet. My pyjama pattern originally cost 40p and now can be purchased for £5. This means I have got hundreds of pounds worth of vintage patterns!  But then, as I am still using them, I do not plan on selling them.

Next week, I will have to give some thought to hedgehogs!

Tuesday 27 May 2008

News from the Home Front

IM002512 Well I am not sure this Wartime Rations experiment is going to continue. Bob's half Belgian - so considers that salad always needs dressing - and olive oil and mayonnaise certainly weren't on the menu back in 1942. I did relent over salad dressing - but NOT over the request for butter on the potatoes!

The dessert may look relatively OK in the picture [elegantly sliced strawberries always help] but the Coffee Cream had a rather springy, gelatinous quality which we both found off-putting. Back to yogurt tomorrow, I think.

But should I be worried about what Bob will eat this year on our summer holiday? After all, as John Donne said "No mayonnaise in Ireland" !

We'll eat again

Watched Giles Coren and Sue Perkins surviving on War Time Rations, corenwith all the stuff you would expect from such a


Potato Pete, and jokes about snoek, and 'mock' foods of all kinds. Why did she have to look SO grubby all the time, though? Surely their soap wasn't rationed that much!

The doctors concluded at the end of the week that the pair of them were actually healthier - and that Brits ended the War as a generally fairly healthy nation [that's the ones who didn't lose their lives because of it, of course] The Wartime diet was low in fat and sugar, high in fibre, and generally Good For You. Perhaps, Bob said, WE should live on rations for a week?

This was perhaps not a wise comment, from the man who put this book in my Christmas stocking!victory It is a collection of all the government wartime food information pamphlets. I plan to try out some of these nourishing recipes over the next few days. It's also probably not wise of me to blog about it - we have some very generous church members here, and if they suspect I am not looking after the Pastor properly, they may turn up with clothing coupons and Woolton Pie for him on Sunday!

I think I would find it hard to manage on just the basic rations of the 1940's. So much of our regular everyday food wasn't dreamed of then - well, certainly not by 'ordinary' families. Yogurt, sweetcorn, red peppers, croissants, muesli - things I buy every month. 

When they refurbished and re-opened the Cabinet War Rooms a few years back, Marguerite Patten gave a lecture on Wartime Food. vcook patten Liz and Steph arranged tickets and the three of us had a fabulous evening. MP was almost ninety then - but she stood for an hour and a half and gave a really entertaining lecture. Her book is also full of wonderful recipes.

My friend Marie commented that my lack of gardening ability might cause a problem regarding the supply of vegetables - but I think that I would just have to barter skills  [I will sew you a winter coat from your old blankets, and knit your socks, in exchange for onions and tomatoes from your garden...]

The key principles seem to be 'plan ahead, use what you have, and avoid any waste' - which is generally my kitchen strategy anyway. So tonight's meal involves individual ham and egg flans [using left over scraps from the ham joint we had at the weekend] boiled potatoes, and salad, followed by 'coffee creams' [made with coffee left over from breakfast] All the books extol the virtue of salad, and the extra vitamins which you gain by not cooking veg, but eating them raw.

According to my book, the rations [which did vary throughout the War] were approximately these [for one person for one week]

bacon/ham - 100gvictory

meat - to the value of 1s 2d [6p!]

butter & cheese - 50g of each

margarine and cooking fat  - 100g of each

milk - 3 pints, plus one tin 'National Dried' per month

sugar - 225g

preserves - 450g every 2 months

eggs - 1 per week plus equiv 3 dried eggs

tea - 50g [those aged 70+ got an extra tea allowance!]

sweets - 90g per week

PLUS 16 food points - to exchange for 1 can meat/fish, or 900g dried fruit, or 3.6kg split peas/pulses etc

vegetables and fruit were not on ration - assuming you could find them in the shops [dig for victory, grow your own!]

This doesn't seem like very much food to me. I think I really do take the stuff in the fridge, freezer and cupboard for granted sometimes. The habit of saying 'Grace' before meals is a good one - it means I am constantly reminded of God's Grace in providing my daily bread - and my responsibility to be a good steward of the world's food resources.

Sunday 25 May 2008

Make or Break Time

I have been thinking a lot about habits. In yesterday's paper, there was a review of a beauty product which 'guaranteed results if used daily for 8 weeks'. The reviewer ended by saying 'Does it work? I will tell you in 49 days' By 12th July, I imagine most of us will ceased to care - that is assuming the writer remembered to apply the product diligently each day. In many of the articles I have read about "Organising your home and decluttering" [and believe me, I have literally dozens of these articles stashed away, which rather defeats the object] they tell you that "It takes 21 days to make a habit". Apparently research has shown that if you do something every day for 3 weeks, it becomes a habit and after that it is easy to maintain.

Is this true? When Bob was in London on Sabbatical, I got up every tunturi day and went on the rowing machine before breakfast, and again in the evening. But he was only away 19 days - then a holiday, and Easter and an operation got in the way and I haven't rowed since!

But other habits are easy to maintain - cleaning my teeth for instance, I cannot get through a day without doing that a few times. And daily Bible reading - admittedly some days I spend longer doing it than others, but if I miss a day, I soon know about it [and I suspect the people round me may notice a difference too] Both of those are daily habits my mother taught me. When I was a child, she supervised me - then once she knew I could do these things by myself, she made sure I had a toothbrush, and Scripture Union notes, and trusted me to get on by myself.

What I haven't worked out, is this - if it takes twenty-one days to chapel inside make a habit, how long to break one? Along with hundreds of other churches, we are about to re-do our Church Constitution. Our efficient Administrator, Gillian, prepared an envelope for every member [well, one per family]. These were given out to all members at the church meeting on Wednesday. Today, the remainder were set out on a table and more went after the morning service. I looked at some of the names, and thought about members who don't come any more. I appreciate that there are housebound folk, and many of them listen to the services on CD, and friends will deliver their envelopes- but what about the others - people who could come but don't.

What happened? If your habit is being in worship, with God's people every Sunday, how do you get from that, to not going at all? There's stuff in the Baptist Times lately about "Back to Church Sunday" and I just want to know why they stopped going in the first place. Was it something they did - or something we did? ['we' being those of us still there in the pew each week]

Did "Going To Church" mean something different for them - and is that our fault for giving the wrong idea? What is my main aim when I go to worship on a Sunday? And how do I get across the fact that I believe there is a real difference between "Going To Church" and "Being Church" - but that one is inextricably linked with the other?

Sunday Worship is part of the essential framework that underpins my week. If I cannot be there for some reason, I get to Wednesday or Thursday and don't know what day it is! And much as I love seeing friends, and catching up on news, and cuddling the babies, and drinking the coffee, and Kathy bestowing strawberry tarts and all of that, the key thing MUST be the time set apart for prayer and praise and reflection on the Word - time with GOD, in the company of His People.

florence Years ago, Steph and I were holidaying in Florence. On the Sunday morning, we went to the service in a little chapel near the Ponte Vecchio. We didn't understand the hymns, or the prayers [well, we knew when we got to the Paternoster!] or the sermon [but we found 1 Peter 2:2, which was the preacher's text - and we knew what latte was!!] yet I was so conscious of the presence of God and really valued the opportunity to share in worship.

How can I communicate the special-ness of that to other people? and help them want to share in it too?

She made some tarts...

IM002511 My friend Kathy kindly made me half a dozen strawberry tarts, because my brother and family were coming. Plans changed - they can't come, but Kathy's splendid tarts have proved consolation! Kathy used to be a pastry cook for Brucciani's in Leicester. You can tell she has the professional touch!

Saturday 24 May 2008

I Cant Believe It!

Amazing trivia gleaned from the Midsomer Murders Weekend on ITV3 - that the character of the Undertaker, Dennis Rainbird, is played by ricardcant Richard Cant - whose father is the Ultimate Children's Presenter Brian Cant brian cant- and his Auntie is Fern Britton. She is married to the celebrity Chef Phil

Vifern brittonckery. This is all far too complicated for me. I wish they would bring back Camberwick Green and Trumpton - much more intelligent than all that Iggle-Piggle stuff!

Is this family seeking to take over TV in a very subtle way, by operating under a selection of surnames?phil vickery

At least you know where you are with the Dimblebys and the Attenboroughs!

Even more confusing is that Rainbird [and his mother] got killed off in the Pilot Episode in 1997 - but was brought back as his cousin in a subsequent episode in 2006. And in that episode his mother was played by Elizabeth Spriggsspriggs again. As far as I can tell, she isn't related to any other luvvie - but she also plays Aunt Agatha to Hugh Laurie's Bertie Wooster.

Unrelated news - Leicester City's manager Ian Holloway has parted from the Club ['by mutual consent'] as their fortunes continue to fall. I trust they won't regard their unanswered prayers as a reason to part company with the Club Chaplain too - watch out Bruce!

Friday 23 May 2008

Lettuce Play

sea lettuce

Here is a picture of "Sea Lettuce" - Ulva lactuca- The delicate fronds are only 40 microns (two cells) thick. A small green alga with a broad, crumpled frond that is tough, translucent and membranous, it is attached to rock via a small holdfast. I think it is quite lovely.

My friend Jennie came to the Borders Knit Group in the autumn wearing a lovely frilly scarf based on this wavy, rippling plant. I made one for myself and have worn it lots, and it always gets compliments. So I decided to make some more as gifts.

The pattern is incredibly simpleIM002510, and I have just finished my fourth. Three shown here, as one went to sister-in-law Marion for her birthday. They look really attractive when worn, only take 2 balls of yarn - and if you plan to give them as a gift, you can roll them up prettily so they really do look lettuce-like! The recommended yarn is Twilleys 'Freedom Spirit' [which is what the orangey brown unrolled scarf is in] but the other two were both some Phildar DK I had in my stash.

100g DK wool, pair of 4mm needles [or a 4mm circular needle, which I use because it all rolls up neatly and fits in my handbag, and also because if I am knitting in the car, I feel safer with a shorter flexible needle] The pattern comes out as a strip with one side a strip of plain knitting, and the other half has a frill to it. Jennie's pattern had a bobble bit to the edging - but I missed that out, because it looked lumpy when I knitted it!


100g DK wool, 4mm needles [UK size 7]

Cast on 20stitches.

Row 1-4 knit

Row 5 Knit 9 stitches, turn work, knit back 9 Stitches

Row 6 Knit 6 stitches, turn work, knit back 6 stitches

Row 7 Knit 3 stitches, turn work, knit back 3 stitches.

Repeat till yarn almost used up, cast off.

That's it!!

If you live in Leicester, you can buy the Twilley's Yarn in Button Boutique.

Thursday 22 May 2008

Waited nearly twenty years for this film!

Bob spent most of his 'day off' at work,  harrisonfordwith a funeral, so took a bit of relaxation time today. We used up two more of my freebie cinema tickets to go and see "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls". Last time I saw a film on the day of its UK release was 'Titanic' ten years ago.

Don't want to spoil the plot for anyone reading this, but here are a few observations;

Pleased to see 3 out of 7 top names on credits were Brits [John Hurt, Ray Winstone, Jim Broadbent] and there was passing reference to previous characters played by Brits [Sean Connery, Denholm Elliott]                        

Very clever comedic references to previous Indy films - fun to see them sending themselves up [appalling grammar there, but I am struggling with position of preposition]

Good special effects, although plot generally  rather thin.

Clergyman at the end bore a passing resemblance to Steve Chalke...bizarre, that!

Despite HF being well into his 60's now, Spielberg is clearly leaving open the possibility of a sequel [Indiana Jones and the Atomic Stairlift, IJ and the Golden Zimmer Frame, IJ and the Bus Pass of Hope...]

Conclusion, if you liked the first three films [and the first three Star Wars films] and you are a middleaged woman with a thing about motorbikes, and grey haired men with fedoras and leather jackets, you will probably enjoy this one too!

Tuesday 20 May 2008

Diamond Geezer

Bob and I were recently given a token - which we spenneil diamondt on the new Neil Diamond Album "Home before Dark". Bob has already blogged about Pretty Amazing Grace, so I won't repeat all that. Sat down after lunch today and watched a little of the Radio 2 concert which is on TV. Well Mr Diamond certainly doesn't have any problems with the G-word!

Matthew 18:6

Hybrid embryos, abortion limits, supportive parenting, saviour siblings. 200,000 abortions in Britain in 2006. My heart is aching today. Graham Kendrick put it in better words than I can

Who can sound the depths of sorrow
In the Father heart of God
For the children we've rejected
For the lives so deeply scarred?
And each light that we've extinguished
Has brought darkness to our land
Upon our nation, upon our nation
Have mercy, Lord

We have scorned the truth you gave us
We have bowed to other lords
We have sacrificed the children
On the altars of our gods
O let truth again shine on us
Let your holy fear descend
Upon our nation, upon our nation
Have mercy, Lord

Who can stand before your anger?
Who can face your piercing eyes?
For you love the weak and helpless
And you hear the victims' cries
Yes, you are a God of justice
And your judgement surely comes
Upon our nation, upon our nation
Have mercy, Lord

Who will stand against the violence?
Who will comfort those who mourn?
In an age of cruel rejection
Who will build for love a home?
Come and shake us into action
Come and melt our hearts of stone
Upon your people, upon your people
Have mercy, Lord

Who can sound the depths of mercy
In the Father heart of God?
For there is a Man of sorrows
Who for sinners shed his blood
He can heal the wounds of nations
He can wash the guilty clean
Because of Jesus, because of Jesus
Have mercy, Lord


Monday 19 May 2008

I believe in aliens...

Having sat down before church yesterday, to write about our values making us different, I was greatly encouraged by the sermon which was on the theme of the way in which Jesus was an alien and a stranger, and how that meant he spoke, and acted, differently from the people around Him. And the implications of that for us.

notepad As usual, I took notes, because that helps me remember - but it must have been a good sermon, because even without reference to the notes, bits of it have kept coming back to me over the last 24 hours or so.

I am constantly being reminded that if we [as a body] are to be "The Church in Our Community" that means that I, [as an individual] must be "A Christian in My Community" And currently I am struggling with one particular issue. It's the G-word...

Last week, a colleague at school asked why I worked part-time. All the usual comments [You qualified 30 years ago, heaps of experience, if you went full time you could earn loads more, etc] and "What do you do the rest of the week?" So I muttered about the home, and the family, and Bob, and "I do a fair bit of Church-stuff" - and the discussion sort of petered out.G

Ever since, I have wondered if I should have said "God-stuff"? Would that have opened up the discussion to a deeper level, or would she have been embarrassed/thought I was even stranger than she does already/what? Do I sometimes use the word "Church" when I ought to be saying "God"?

Furthermore, isn't the stuff I am doing at school, endeavouring to be the best teacher I can, part of my 'God-stuff' too?

And will my attempts to share Jesus with people be seriously hindered if I keep making them feel uncomfortable?

People seem relatively comfortable when I mention 'faith' [it's somehow 'softer' and less threatening than the word 'religion'] No doubt somebody out there in the blogosphere has already posted a treatise on using the F-word though!


indy It's a quote from the trailer for the new Indiana Jones film, which comes out THIS THURSDAY!!! And being a part-time teacher and a Harrison Ford film, I am quite excited.

The review in this morning's paper was surprisingly positive.

I know that Indy films are full of cliches and stereotypes - but I still find them brilliant. They are also wonderful sources of sermon illustrations. We watched "IJ and the Last Crusade" on TV last night. I've known a number of preachers use that clip towards the end, when Indy takes the Step of Faith and walks out across the chasm - but for me there is a more telling moment a little before that. Useful for sermons on evangelism.

Indy has rescued his father from the German tank, but remains on the tank himself, as it hurtles towards the cliff edge. It goes over and plunges to the bottom [Whoomph!] Dad [played by Sean Connery] stands there, at the top of the cliff, distraught. "My son, he's gone. I hadn't told him everything. If I only had five more minutes..."

Of course, in the film, Harrison Ford is OK [his hat survives too] and all is well. But those few moments when Sean Connery is utterly bereft get me every time. If you love someone that much, what haven't you told them yet? That you love them - or even more important  - that Jesus loves them and He died for them. You just can't guarantee that you will get another five minutes.

Pause for Thought...

indarjitsingh Just listening to Indarjit Singh on the Radio, doing a "thought" on Johnnie Walker's programme. He was referring to some recent scientist who said that because of the general focus on our use of plastic bags, we are losing sight of the bigger ecological issues. Singh went on to talk about a company he once worked in. At the weekly team meeting, little time was spent on Major Issues, but discussion got very animated when they came to discuss changing the tea trolley for a vending machine. He said that it was often like that in faith groups - he has found himself with people in heated debate about ritual and singing, while major things about belief and the way we live get sidelined.

Two thoughts - what is the Sikh equivalent of the question "Must we sing 'these are the Days of Elijah' again?",

and second, we have a Church meeting this week - let's pray our words are all helpful, about things that really matter as we seek to build the Kingdom.

Sunday 18 May 2008

I want one of those!

js values Liz sent me an email regarding Sainsbury's new ' 1% fat ' milk, so I spent a bit of time looking at their website. I am quite pro-Sainsbury's [and anti-Tesco!] -some of my earliest memories of shopping involve going with Mum to Sainsbury's in Bishop's Stortford, when there was still sawdust on the floor, and an avuncular gentleman behind the huge and terrifying bacon slicer. If it wasn't for the fact that people would get confused and think I was an evangelist for Sainsbury's, I'd love one of their banners to hang outside the church. At Housegroup the other week we were talking about how our lifestyle should show we are Christians. The slogan Our Values Make Us Different ought to belong to the church, not the supermarket!

Saturday 17 May 2008

They don't write 'em like they used to

I have just emptied the bath - one large carrier bag of probably unusable bottle tops - and 904 [yes, I counted!] useful ones. Initially began humming Cole Porter lyrics...

You're the top! You're the Coliseum.
You're the top! You're the Louvre Museum. anythinggoes
You're a melody from a symphony by Strauss
You're a Bendel bonnet, A Shakespeare's sonnet,
You're Mickey Mouse.

You're the Nile, You're the Tower of Pisa,
You're the smile on the Mona Lisa
I'm a worthless check, a total wreck, a flop,
But if, baby, I'm the bottom you're the top!
You're the top! You're Mahatma Gandhi.
You're the top! You're Napoleon Brandy.
You're the purple light of a summer night in Spain,
You're the National Gallery, You're Garbo's salary,
You're cellophane.

You're sublime, You're a turkey dinner,
You're the time, of a Derby winner
I'm a toy balloon that’s fated soon to pop
But if, baby, I'm the bottom, You're the top!

This has to be the ultimate "List Song" - and it's fascinating to see what was considered 'tops' in the 1930's. The song was written for the musical ['Anything Goes' in 1934.] Then, moving on, twenty years, I started singing stuff from "Gentlemen prefer Blondes" [1953]because that was on TV this afternoon. Marilyn Monroe is streets better than Jane Russell, in my opinion.monroe

A kiss on the hand may be quite continental
But diamonds are a girl's best friend
A kiss may be grand but it won't pay the rental
On your humble flat, or help you at the automat
Men grow cold as girls grow old
And we all lose our charms in the end
But square-cut or pear-shaped
These rocks don't lose their shape
Diamonds are a girl's best friend

Time rolls on and youth is gone
And you can't straighten up when you bend
But stiff back or stiff knees
You stand straight at Tiffany's
Diamonds... Diamonds...- I don't mean rhinestones -
But Diamonds, Ahepburnre A Girl's Best Friends

Kneeling beside the bath, counting out nearly a thousand bottle tops is enough to give anyone stiff back and stiff knees! Will someone please take me to Tiffany's? For Breakfast, perhaps [but that was 1961, with Audrey Hepburn]

Questions still unanswered - what is a Bendel Bonnet, and who was Audrey's Huckleberry friend?