Friday 31 October 2008


It was me! I was in Borders and they had a big display of new books. I decided that there were rather too many on show by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross. So I..erm..rearranged them, and put a number of these two editions on top of them!

delia frugal This one is a re-issue of a book that the Blessed Saint Delia first brought out in 1976.

Back then it was a cheap'n'cheerful paperback -slightly more in keeping with it's title.

The other one jamie o ministrywas Jamie Oliver's latest offering.

After reading Bob's recent post I think I should perhaps put JO on my Conversion Prayer List. Imagine what a phenomenal evangelist he might be if he became a committed Christian! [His language would improve too]

Looking for something else on the kitchen bookshelf at home this morning,I found my copy oMoreWithLess_STf the More With Less Cookbook. [Apologies Liz, and Steph - as I had suspected one of you two of 'borrowing' it!]

The picture is the 25th Anniversary Edition - mine is one of the originals from 1978.

This book is written by a Mennonite, and has some lovely recipes in it. [Please pay no attention to Marge Simpson at this point, who once declared "Ooh, the Amish are so industrious, not like those shiftless Mennonites…"

Mennonites are, for the most part, peaceable, hardworking Christian folk who do a lot of good all round the world - and they have delicious food too. You would not find them broadcasting crude and insulting messages on Radio 2!

We Need A Sign

Having just read this post on Glen's Blog,I decided to make a sign for Bob's study door!image

Crafty moments

IM002915 Christmas presents and other craft stuff well under way.

Here's a 'teaser' shot of one of the baskets I have made.

I also spent some time one evening working on the button bracelets.IM002920 I am quite pleased with the three I have made so far. 19cm does seem the right diameter.

They are threaded on fine copper wire [from John Lewis Haberdashery] and then there is a fine cord elastic loop on the last button.

So you can undo them and fasten them on to your wrist - but there is just enough give in the elastic to pre-fasten it and slide it over your hand.

IM002921 Most of my buttons are really old, and many have been given to me - but some are salvaged from outgrown garments. The blue stars came from a pair of PJs Liz had [a Christmas gift from my Dad]  when she was about ten, and one of the green ones was from a cardigan she had when she was two [knitted by my friend Libby, whose husband Graham was at Spurgeons College with Bob. They are now pastoring in New Zealand] One of the pinky/purple ones was from a top I made in 1972 when I was in the sixth form! My friend Alison bought the Simplicity pattern and about five of us made up the top. It was really complicated, cut on the bias. It is such fun, going through the button tin and recalling the memories of good friends and good times!


The girls at Sewing Club are continuing to work hard to produce goods for their Charity Sale - but have realised that we cannot do it before Christmas, simply because they haven't produced enough stock yet. Here are three aprons and a peg bag!


These are all being produced from recycled vintage fabrics.

The pocket on the third apron is really cute - it was originally the edge of a sheet and has three gambolling sheep on it.

The bias binding on the pegbag was made with my lovely bias binding maker. A brilliant gadget which saves no end of money!

biasbinding1 It was a Christmas gift from Auntie Peggy when Liz was a toddler [so must be at least 25 years old] and you simply thread a strip of fabric through and iron it as it comes out, and voila! binding ready-to-use.

I have got two now, for standard and wider bindings.


They cost about £6 - but as there are no parts to go wrong and they are incredibly simple to use, they last for years.

I have got to move the machines and stuff now though - family coming to visit tomorrow, and I mustn't leave their Christmas gifts on show, and spoil the surprise!

Wednesday 29 October 2008

2 Corinthians 5:7

I went off early this morning to the I was due for an eye test in August but never got round to it - but Annie Domino is creeping up on me, and I felt my eyesight had changed a bit.

I was right - I DO need new glasses! Choosing frames is always difficult  - for a start, when I try them on, they do not have the correct lenses in - so I can't possibly see properly what they look like, then there is the cost of the wretched things. My current frames are called "Esther" [why? we know that the biblical heroine was beautiful, but it doesn't tell us she was myopic!] When I got them, they were half-price because they were about to be discontinued- apparently.Today, more than two years later, they still have them on sale [but at twice the price I paid] Can I have new lenses put in these old frames? The advice was yes, but it would cost nearly as much as new frames and obviously they are not as strong [Luke 5:36 etc]

sarah palin The helpful assistant pointed out a pair she thought would suit.I picked up an almost identical pair which seemed a lot cheaper. The cheaper ones did not include lens price, so in the end would cost more. It all got very complicated. Finally we found a frame that we both liked, and which was appropriate for my varifocal lenses, and titanium, so would be strong enough to withstand going on and off whilst I'm wearing my crash helmet.

"They are a bit 'Sarah Palin'" I said. "Who?" said the assistant. "You know, the woman who is standing as the Republican Candidate as Vice President barack obamaof the USA" She looked blankly at me [at least I think she did, I wasn't wearing my glasses] "I don't really follow politics and things"

"Look, the Democrat candidate is the black guy, Barack Obama, and she is the running-mate for the other one, McCain" "Oh - I thought they had elected the black guy already"

I was slightly gob-smacked. She genuinely thought that America had already got its first black president.

Bob teases me for listening to Radio 4 all the time and being a News Junkie - but I think it is important to keep in touch with world events. How else can we pray intelligently?

My Dad used to tell of a bloke at Bible College with him, who began his prayer with "Lord, as Thou hast read in tonight's Evening Standard.." - that's not quite what I mean!

My spectacles should be ready in about two weeks. And no they do not make me look like SP, a moose-shooting Republican, I prefer to think that they have more of the Tina Fey about them [smart and witty]

"Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely."


Let us continue to pray for all our friends in the States - that God will guide them as they vote for the new President, and that "In God We Trust" might be a reality, not just a motto on their currency.

Tuesday 28 October 2008

And They All Lived Happily Ever After













Busy getting ready for Friday Night's Alternative Halloween Party, on the Saints and Superheroes theme. I have decided not to go in costume - I have finally had to admit that I am just not tall enough to be Xena, Warrior Princess! The children are going to make mini-books. I've prepared one, which will print out on an A4 sheet, then with some nifty cutting and folding will end up as A7 size, about 7.3 x 10.5 cm. They love making these.

You can find a good tutorial about making these books here, on the Toymaker Site.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA           OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA







Last night's group were incredibly welcoming, and very apologetic that they were so few in number. It didn't bother me - I would rather have an appreciative audience of seven than a roomful of fidgetters!

Did supply for a year 1 class, and the literacy lesson was interesting. They are studying "Traditional Tales" and they had to decide who was the goodie and who the baddie in various stories. Some were not too hard to sort out [Fairy Godmother = Goodie, Troll in 3 Billy Goats Gruff = Baddie]

but what about these characters...

Goldilocks - she broke in to the property, stole food, and vandalised the place.

The Gingerbread Man - very proud and boastful.

Red Ridisnow white2ng Hood - disobeyed mother's instructions about taking shortcuts, and made rather personal remarks about Grandma's appearance.

Jack acted stupidly, disobeyed his mother's instructions regarding the sale of the cow, and then broke into the giant's home and stole things. And damaged the beanstalk.

The Seven Dwarfs [Dwarves?] shamelessly exploited a homeless orphan girl and made her their skivvy, cooking and cleaning all day.

Of course, the added complication to any of these is that today's child only knows the story via Walt Disney's Syrup-Laden Interpretation. And furthermore, as the 'traditional' family unit is less common now, is it helpful for stepmothers to be classed as 'wicked' and half-sisters as 'ugly'?

Disney's heroines all tend to be tall and slender. I realised long ago that I would always be short. Unless I find something to stand on - as the song says

Some day my plinth will come...

Monday 27 October 2008

Back to work

dianne tidball Yesterday afternoon was fun- we went over to Newbold Verdon Baptist Chapel for their 175th Anniversary Celebration service. Dianne, our Regional Minister, led the prayers, a lady called Gayle was baptised, and Bob Simpson, the pastor, preached. I only have a picture of Dianne, so here it is.

A joint Methodist/Baptist choir, made up of ladies from the village, sang.  Sylvia, who lived in NV, but belongs to KMFC had made and iced a splendid cake. It was a good Sunday on which to end our holiday. I do hope my friend C's baptismal service, just up the road, was as joyful.

Today I have been preparing for tonight's speaking engagement [God, Me and a Sewing Machine] and realising that so much of the stuff I sew is for other people, so my demonstration samples are somewhat limited. I can hardly take a pair of curtains and an ironing board cover to show them!

Charlie has been to the Vet, for claw clipping and general health check. The vet was very encouraging and prescribed painkillers to go along with his anti-inflammatories. She stressed he is getting older, so we should expect to notice a general slowing down. She asked if he had developed any strange habits which showed he was going senile "For instance, does he just stand and stare at the wall?" We said he didn't do that.

Is that a strange and senile habit, then? I mean, if I cannot remember something, I just stand and stare blankly for a while till it comes back to me. I think I have done that all my life. I am definitely now at the age where I believe in The Hereafter. I get upstairs and think "What am I here after?"

Bob has just directed me to the wonderfully intriguing entry in Wikipedia regarding Newbold Verdon, which I feel obliged to share with you.

"Newbold Verdon is a village in the county of Leicestershire, England. The first settlers in the 600s were Christian Anglo-Saxons, which named the site 'New Sodom' due to a Biblical misinterpretation. In the Domesday Book the settlement was called Niwebold."

But there is no sport of explanation as to why they thought it was the New Sodom!!

IM002510 Going away for a holiday is wonderful - but there is always so much to be done when you return [laundry to be done, mail to sort out, bills to be paid].

One thing to celebrate - I have finished knitting all the sea lettuce scarves I plan to give as Christmas gifts! If you missed my tutorial with Jennie's incredibly easy pattern, it is here

Friday's Alternative Halloween Event is looming up on me. I hope the numbers for that have picked up a little. Lots of crafty things to get prepared and photocopied for that.

Saturday 25 October 2008

Wonderful Wensleydale

We just had a lovely break in Yorkshire, courtesy of Sykes Cottages. I hope all their properties are as good as that - our cottage was wonderful. We arrived to find new laid eggs, milk, teabags, home-made marmalade and a tray of cakes waiting for us!

The weather was utterly appalling, and I didn't take that many photos due to the rain. But here are the ones we did manage to get between us.


We arrived in heavy rain on Monday.

Hills and sheep - the view from the kitchen window, out the back of the cottage [longe and kitchen upstairs, to give best views]


IM002882 Hills, sheep, hens and the Settle-Carlisle Railway line. The view from the lounge window at the front.Taken in a brief moment when the sun was shining!

IM002884 On Tuesday we went across to Windermere. Bob [the saint] thought I would like a trip to the Lakeland Flagship Store!

Here is the Lambrigg Wind Farm. I love these wind turbines, I think they are amazing and graceful constructions.

We got a few Christmassy bits and some baking bits in the shop, then decided toIM002886 eat our picnic in the park.

Here is a picture of Bob eating his pie from Greggs, sitting on the seat, while Charlie watches me suspiciously. What is not clear here is that it was actually raining when I took this photo. Five minuets later we dashed back to the car, because we were being pelted with hailstones!

IM002887 We drove on to Hawkshead, on a quest to find a pair of trousers to fit Bob. No joy - but I loved this display of baskets outside one of the shops.

IM002889 Poppi Red served wonderful tea [in mugs just like those in our Church Hall !]



IM002890 Bob's chocolate tiffin cake was flavoured with pieces of stem ginger. Gorgeous. William Wordsworth went to school in Hawkshead.

The grocer's shop had wonderful ornamental gourds on sale.

I had to take a picture, they were so attractive.

Do people ever eat them, or do they just put them in attractive bowls as decoration?

IM002891 On Wednesday, weather remained poor. We lunched in the cottage and then went to nearby Sedburgh, which calls itself "England's Book Town" [Hay on Wye is in Wales, after all]

We'd taken some unwanted paperbacks with us, and managed to sell them off - and promptly spent the money on more books!


IM002892 Bob enjoyed a wonderful cream scone in a tea shop - run by two Leicester ex-pats!

On the way back we saw a fabulous road sign.

Does "Red Squirrels Drive Slowly" mean

Red squirrels DO drive slowly, or that

Red squirrels SHOULD drive slowly?

I suspect it actually means HUMANS should drive slowly so they do not run over the red squirrels. Not that we saw any squirrels,red or grey!

Thursday we went to Richmond.


It was cold and windy.The Castle was interesting. During WWI, conscientious objectors were imprisoned there.The treatment meted out to these men by our government was utterly appalling.

The "Richmond Sixteen" were actually secretly shipped to the Front Line in France, where disobeying the order to fight could be punished by death. In the end, however, this was changed to 10 years penal servitude.

In the display area, were extracts from the graffiti the men had writtIM002895en on their cell walls. I found it very moving.

From the castle, it is possible to see out over the town. Richmond is an elegant Georgian Market Town.

Also you can see a long way in many directions, toward York, Catterick etc.

Bob took a number of photos till the camera batteries ran out!

Gayle, the lady in the Museum Shop,

 IM002897 recommended the Cross View Tea Rooms as a good place for lunch.

She was absolutely right there. We enjoyed a splendid Beef Daube with Parsnip Crisps and 4 different veg!

John Wycliffe, one of my IM002899heroes, may have ended his days in Leicestershire- but he started life up in Yorkshire.

Bob spotted the plaque on the wall, next to the Building Society.


Charlie's arthritis appears to be getting worse.

He fIM002900ound it hard to walk any distance, and spent most of the holiday sleeping in the car or in his bed at the foot of the stairs, by the front door of the cottage.

Fortunately he does not appear to be in any distress.

He is about fourteen now, a good age for a collie.

As we drove out of Richmond, things went rather pear-shaped. Near a sign to the Tan Hill Inn [Highest Pub in England, where Everest have fitted solar panels to the roof, the TV ad keeps telling us] it was raining really heavily and the wind was very strong...and the windscreen wiper snapped.

We had to detour to Darlington [50 miles from the cottage!] to the nearest Skoda Agent, to try and get a replacement. They said they would have it by 8.30am Saturday! We drove very slowly, in appalling conditions, sans wipers, all the way back to Hawes.

By the grace of God, and Bob's good driving, we got home safely, and spent Thursday night listening to the wind and rain and watching Rachel Allen baking Scones on satellite TV. I did lots of knitting!

On Friday the rain had stopped,so we drove into Hawes for a wander round, and home-made soup in the Bay Tree Cafe [I had carrot, leek and ginger, Bob had tomato and parsnip] The little river that runs through the town was full and fast-flowing.


IM002904 Saw a wonderful cottage door

"AD 1688 - God being with us, who can be against us?"

We had planned to visit the Wensleydale Creamery, but it was closed to the public, owing to a Private Tour.

Well, never mind, another time, perhaps!

Originally Wallace and Gromit's favourite cheese was Wensleydale only because it made Wallace's face look "nice and toothy".

wngwensleydale_sm As it turns out  the Wensleydale cheese factory was struggling at the time and almost went into bankruptcy. The success of Wallace And Gromit brought the factory back from the brink and they are currently a thriving dairy!



IM002906 I took the picture of the Triumph because it was a lovely bike - but I was sorry its owner had parked in one of the Disabled Spaces in the Car Park.

Such behaviour gets bikers a bad name.


We left at 7.15 this morning, as dawn was breaking. I realised I had not taken a picture of our beautiful little retreat. Here it is, in the early morning light.

We got to Darlington by 9 and the wipers were sorted out. Which was good, because it rained as we came down the M1. Lunch in IKEA, where IM002911things were all geared up with half-term entertainments.

The chicken skewers, with harissa and couscous  were delicious.

I managed to get a photo of a man who is actually taller than Bob!!!

IKEA has some nice Christmassy stuff on display. I bought more pickles.

We finally got home around 2.30pm. It has been a lovely restful break, despite terrible weather, and the car crisis.

I'm feeling very relaxed, and greatly blessed. And very grateful,

Grateful to Janice for recommending Sykes Cottages, to Alison and Andrew, the owners of the cottage, to Bob for doing all the difficult driving, and to our Heavenly Father who has been with us and blessed us and kept us safe.

Now it is back to the daily rowing machine,

back to the diet, and

back to the relentless busy-ness that will fill the two months from now till Christmas.

Oh, and back with the clocks!

All the way to Ohio

IM002878-1The teacher I covered for last week has been visiting her new granddaughter, Evie, in Ohio, so I embroidered a bib for her to take out there.

I'm quite pleased with the effect of the variegated thread.

I know very little about Ohio - although according to Wikipedia, the state motto is "With God All Things Are Possible" and the state beverage is tomato juice! Who decided that??


Here's another of my bibs on a beautiful little girl - I was so thrilled to receive this picture from her proud grandmother.

The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus said: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very centre of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.

Sunday 19 October 2008

We don't care a button, we don't care a fig...

Actually, I DO care about such things. Liz has sebuttonbracelet_lnt me some pictures from the Internet of Button Bracelets, so I am going to try and make some with supplies from The Great Stash.

I have looked at the various tutorials, and the general consensus appears to be 'use elastic and go for a 19cm diameter wrist measurement'

Some use beading wire, with just an elastic closure loop.I shall experiment, and photograph any successes! I refuse to pay £10 for something when I have the wherewithal to make it in the cupboard already.


The small figs on the tree have not got any larger - but they have got softer - Bob picked all the soft ones [and photographed them for me] and I have been eating them. They are as juicy and sweet as the larger ones I had a few weeks back.

I must stop acquiring polka-dot items - Bob has started referring to the kitchen as "Kidstonville"packet-clusters

Steph has been making helpful suggestions about what to eat at Baptist Cluster Breakfasts!

Her company does market research for TNS, so she is pro-Nestle. She's also pro-Tesco for the same reason!

Those of us who went to Heanor last week were pictured on page 2 of this week's Baptist Times - fame at last!

Church was interesting this morning - lots of folk away for half-term, but equally, a number of 'returners' who have moved away, were visiting for half-term.

I was out with my Sunday School class, so missed the sermon on Lust. I will read Bob's notes later [oh, the unexpected perks of being the Pastor's Wife!]

Bob's recording of this morning's Grand Prix didn't work, so he decided to use the ITV's "Catch-Up" facility. People were very good at Church in NOT saying who had won [we had left home for church before the race finished] I thought it was rather silly, therefore, that when you go to the relevant part of the ITV website, the 'still' is a picture of Lewis Hamilton shaking a bottle of champagne!Lewis-Hamilton-f1731e8f-5231-4ca2-bf04-6dd7ea5b8666









That just struck me as rather silly, if someone is avoiding discovering the result but wants to watch the race right through!

When we got home from church, there was a note through the door from the Police, saying our neighbours had been burgled last night, and had we seen or heard anything? We hadn't. I popped round with a bunch of flowers, and found my neighbour really upset. They had lost the TV, a laptop and various other items of value from inside the house - plus the thieves took the car keys and pinched the car from the drive. All whilst the family were asleep upstairs. Rather upsetting for them.

It was only 'stuff' and nobody had been injured - but I felt so sorry.

I shall take my most treasured earthly possessions [Bob, and Charlie The Dog] away with me to Yorkshire next week. If thieves do 'break in and steal' in my absence, the insurance company can sort it out later. Steve's talk about 'Treasures' last Sunday is still in my head.

The title of this afternoon's post is a quote from Edward Lear, to mark the end of a week's poetry with my class


They went to sea in a Sieve, they did,
  In a Sieve they went to sea:
In spite of all their friends could say,
On a winter's morn, on a stormy day,
  In a Sieve they went to sea!
And when the Sieve turned round and round,
And every one cried, 'You'll all be drowned!'
They called aloud, 'Our Sieve ain't big,
But we don't care a button! we don't care a fig!
  In a Sieve we'll go to sea!'
      Far and few, far and few,
            Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
            And they went to sea in a Sieve.

They sailed away in a Sieve, they did,
In a Sieve they sailed so fast,
  With only a beautiful pea-green veil
Tied with a riband by way of a sail,
  To a small tobacco-pipe mast;
And every one said, who saw them go,
'O won't they be soon upset, you know!
For the sky is dark, and the voyage is long,
And happen what may, it's extremely wrong
  In a Sieve to sail so fast!'
      Far and few, far and few,
            Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
            And they went to sea in a Sieve.

The water it soon came in, it did,
  The water it soon came in;
So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet
In a pinky paper all folded neat,
  And they fastened it down with a pin.
And they passed the night in a crockery-jar,
And each of them said, 'How wise we are!
Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long,
Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong,
  While round in our Sieve we spin!'
      Far and few, far and few,
            Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
            And they went to sea in a Sieve.

And all night long they sailed away;
  And when the sun went down,
They whistled and warbled a moony song
To the echoing sound of a coppery gong,
  In the shade of the mountains brown.
'O Timballo! How happy we are,
When we live in a Sieve and a crockery-jar,
And all night long in the moonlight pale,
We sail away with a pea-green sail,
  In the shade of the mountains brown!'
      Far and few, far and few,
            Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
            And they went to sea in a Sieve

They sailed to the Western Sea, they did,
  To a land all covered with trees,
And they bought an Owl, and a useful Cart,
And a pound of Rice, and a Cranberry Tart,
  And a hive of silvery Bees.
And they bought a Pig, and some green Jack-daws,
And a lovely Monkey with lollipop paws,
And forty bottles of Ring-Bo-Ree,
  And no end of Stilton Cheese.
      Far and few, far and few,
            Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
            And they went to sea in a Sieve.

And in twenty years they all came back,
  In twenty years or more,
And every one said, 'How tall they've grown!
For they've been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone,
  And the hills of the Chankly Bore!'
And they drank their health, and gave them a feast
Of dumplings made of beautiful yeast;
And every one said, 'If we only live,
We too will go to sea in a Sieve,---
  To the hills of the Chankly Bore!'
      Far and few, far and few,
            Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
            And they went to sea in a Sieve.









Last night, Bob located our holiday cottage on the map and said "If 'nowhere' has a 'middle' then that is where the cottage is!"

Saturday 18 October 2008

Blogpost Number Two Hundred


So I have changed the Bible Verse in the sidebar!