Tuesday 31 March 2009

Off the Cuff Remarks


There is something incredibly satisfying about taking 4 sweatshirts which have got extremely worn and chewed cuffs [why do children do that?] and using one of theIM003334m to make new cuffs for the other three.

Ten minutes on the overlocker, and they look as good as new.

And it is all very biblical - after all, as Matthew 9 reminds us "No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse." This was one old garment patching other old garments!

The Burden of Sin

Three days ago, my Sunday School class were continuing their study of Hebrews and the men and women of faith - and our need to 'lay aside every weight' and run the race set before etc. The book suggested getting the children to wear a heavy backpack and see the difference it made to their progress when they ran round the room.

At the After Church Coffee, people saw me with it and asked if I was going hiking - so I explained it was my Burden Of Sin.

IM003331 I loaded a bag with the suggested items- labels for Jealousy, Hatred, Disobedience, and Selfishness, a TV mag and a catalogue [to represent things that pull us away from God] and two dumb-bells labelled "SIN"

The lesson went well, the discussion was good and the activity was fun. But Sunday was busy and I was tired. I got home at lunchtime and dropped the bag in the hallway, just inside the front door.

IM003329 For three days I have ignored it, stepped round it, tripped on it, and stubbed my toe. I think it got in Bob's way too [not to mention our poor arthritic dog]

Finally, this morning I dealt with it, moved it, and took out the contents.

It was hindering my progress and yet I tried to pretend it wasn't there and avoided dealing with it. Excuses - I am in a hurry, I am too tired, I can do it tomorrow, it's a fairly small bag, I didn't hurt my toe that much, maybe Bob will sort it out when I am at school...

Well it is done now, and I feel much better [and can go off and do an afternoon's teaching knowing the dog won't trip over it in my absence]

What strikes me is this - we are all prone to treating our real Burden Of Sin in the same way. Avoiding dealing with it, making excuses [I'll do it tomorrow, it's only a small sin, I'll let the Pastor sort it out, it's his job...] Why don't we just run back to our loving Father and accept his grace and forgiveness? Everything feels so much better afterwards!

Jesus is seeking the wanderers yet;
Why do they roam?
Love only waits to forgive and forget;
Home, weary wanderers, home!
Wonderful love, wonderful love,
Dwells in the heart of the Father above

Monday 30 March 2009

Blog Birthday Bonanza


One Jester Hat


Full of names.

My totally unbiased other half pulled one out ...

And the Winner is ...


And the blog-giveaway-bag contains - one of the aprons I made with the girls at Sewing Club, a bookmark, a handknit dishcloth, a little bottle of shower gel and Fiona Castle's "Anthology of Joy". I know Gwen is a great home-maker, and also she is often called upon to provide "devotions" at one or other of the various groups to which she belongs - so I hope she will find all these things useful.

Thank you everyone who entered - sorry you couldn't all win! And thank you for all the lovely comments. Just explain why, when the entries came from Canada, France, USA, India and all over the UK, the winner was the one person who entered from my own village ??!!

This has been great fun

I shall have to do it again sometime.

Sunday 29 March 2009

A Sabbath Well Spent

Despite losing an hour's sleep with the clocks going back, and still feeling tired after yesterday, we have had a great Sunday.

The morning service went well, and the Choir which formed recently to sing some selected pieces at the services today really enhanced our worship with their music. I meant to take a camera and photograph them but forgot.

Among other things, they sang the beautiful spring carol "Now the Green Blade Rises"

Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many years has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

In the grave they laid Him, Love Whom we had slain,
Thinking that He’d never wake to life again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

Up He sprang at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain;
Up from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

When our hearts are saddened, grieving or in pain,
By Your touch You call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

jbutton We came home and watched the first Grand Prix of the season - well done Jenson Button, Brawn GP Team for coming 1st and 2nd - and then Lewis Hamilton unexpectedly 3rd. Great results there!

oxford crew 09

Then Oxford won the Boat Race.

I am not at all sporting - but these results today have made me Very Cheerful!

For dessert, I made Donna's Impossible Pie, which I stumbled across last week on her blog. It was another of those bizarre inverted jobs, where you cook it and then the top is firm with sauce underneath. We liked it [and shortly will eat the second half for supper!] but I think next time I make it, I shall reduce the sugar by about 30%

Impossible PieIM003317
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt
2 tablespoons melted butter

2 eggs
1 cup milk 1 cup coconut
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugar with flour, baking powder & salt. Add melted butter. Add 2 well beaten eggs and milk. Mix in coconut & vanilla. Pour into greased pie plate and cook in moderate oven [170'C] for 30 - 35 mins.

IM003318 It was truly very delicious! I had mixed it all before church and left it in the fridge. Then I popped it straight into the hot oven when I got home. Gwen's recent tip about soaking the coconut in the milk certainly added to the moistness [thanks Gwen!]

This evening's service included more choir pieces, and also communion. Bob preached on Psalm 51, and what it means to be truly sorry for our sin. He quoted Spurgeon "When we deal seriously with our sin, God deals graciously with us" and also John Newton "I know two things - I am a great sinner, and Christ is a great Saviour"

We ended with Cowper's hymn

O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!

Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
Of Jesus and His Word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.

Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn
And drove Thee from my breast.

The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.

So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.

The title for today's post is from a poem my Gran used to quote

"A Sabbath well spent, brings a week of content
And strength for the toils of the morrow;
But a Sabbath profaned, whate’er may be gained
Is a certain forerunner of sorrow."

Saturday 28 March 2009

Meeting and Greeting


This morning went Very Well! Our church hosted the Annual Meeting of the East Midlands Baptist Association. Becky Nicholls, the EMBA Administrator had worked incredibly hard to get everything planned thoroughly and it all came together brilliantly.

dianne tidball Dianne Tidball, our Regional Minister, led the day, and about 250 people came from near and far, to worship, and do business, and to listen to a great sermon from the Baptist Union president. Dr John Weaver.

As usual, the team at KMFC were fantastic! People were there from the crack of dawn to help prepare refreshments, organise PA, do the music, organise the carparking, greet the visitors...and all the other jobs that need to be sorted for such a day. Some had been there earlier in the week to set up microphones, arrange flowers etc.

john weaver

It was a good time of fellowship, and I am so pleased and proud to be part of a hard-working, loving church which can offer such gracious hospitality to visitors like this. We ended our meetings at 1.30pm, and quite a crowd stayed on to eat their sandwiches in the Church Hall, and continue chatting and renewing friendships. It was 2.30pm by the time Bob and I got away - and as I was a bit remiss in not preparing any sandwiches for him, I took Bob down to the local pub for lunch. That was fun too!

beckynicholls Then it was home to get all the stuff sorted out for tomorrow. We just remembered the clocks go forward tonight - so I will make a real effort to get to bed a little earlier. Here's a picture of Becky - looking a little less stressed than she did at 8.30 this morning!

And now I have just remembered it is Earth Hour so I shall have to go round the house and switch things off! But probably NOT Bob's PC or there will be no sermons tomorrow...

Friday 27 March 2009

Amos 7

coventry cathedral plumbline












Tomorrow I shall be busy as we host the East Midlands Baptist Day at KMFC, but my good friend Elisabeth is travelling to London, to take part in the "Put People First" March ahead of G20 summit. We've been reading Amos in our Quiet Times this week, and I was reminded again of the wonderful sculpture in Coventry Cathedral of God's plumbline hanging over the city.

Like Israel, we have deviated from God's standards, and we have allowed greed and selfishness to get in the way of justice and fairness.

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

I wish this WAS a joke, but I am afraid it isn't...

Catriona suggested it was time for more maths stuff - so here is one Bob shared with me yesterday...[He is SO romantic!]

maths exam


A logger sells a load of timber for £1000. His cost of production is 4/5 of the selling price. What is his profit?


A logger sells a load of timber for £1000. His cost of production is 4/5 of the selling price [£800]. What is his profit?


A logger sells a load of timber for £1000. His cost of production is £800. Did he make a profit?


A logger sells a load of timber for £1000. His cost of production is £800, his profit is £200.

Your assignment - Underline the number 200


A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is totally selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of £200.

What do you think of this way of making a living?

Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? There are no wrong answers, but if you are upset about the plight of the animals in question, counselling will be available.

Thursday 26 March 2009

A Whole Year Of Blogging!

It is utterly amazing to me that I began this blog a whole year ago - Saturday 29th March 2008. I have really enjoyed finding new friends all round the world - through the blog - and been astounded to discover that many of my old friends read it too! As my Lenten Activity this year has been "Giving Away, not Giving Up" I feel I should therefore do a proper Blog Giveaway. So over the weekend [in between my other activities] I shall be putting together a Goodie Bag of bits and pieces.

mystery gift If you would like to be included in this [and I will consider overseas friends as well as UK ones] then please leave a comment between now and midnight Sunday. I will then put all the names in a hat and ask my beloved to select one on Monday morning. I know drawing lots is not exactly a terribly spiritual method - but how else can a girl do this fairly??

David Coffey said he thought I must be a very disciplined person if I blogged regularly - but I think that once it becomes a habit, it isn't difficult to maintain. I am not that disciplined [if I was, I'd be exercising on the rowing machine more regularly] I haven't wanted to go on Facebook [I am not often found at exciting parties - and I am told Facebook is being over-run by 50-somethings anyway! ] or Twitter [I'm far too verbose!] so I shall just go on tracing the rainbows here, and celebrating God's Grace everyday.

A golden oldie to mark a blog-birthday then...

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Wednesday 25 March 2009

I Corinthians 10:31

Another busy day - part domestic [laundry, sewing, breadmaking] and part church stuff [pastoral visiting, Care Home Service, Sewing Club, Church meeting] And when will I learn to put on an apron when I am using bleach ? I splashed my teeshirt this morning [fortunately an old, cheap one, but annoying nonetheless]

IM003316 I had to get the Brasso out to polish my chalice before I went off to lead the Communion service. It is about 7" high, silver-plated, and I picked it up as it was rolling on the ground at the local tip many years ago "Can I have this?" I asked one of the staff, waving the tarnished object at him.

"Yeah, spose so..." There was another one nearby, so they came home and got cleaned up.

This one says "LGE WNRS DOMS 1978-79"

I have no idea what that means, or where they came from - or why they were discarded. But it makes a good size cup for small communion services at Care Homes!! I am not given to polishing my silver very often - but it is a satisfying task nonetheless, removing the tarnish and seeing the shine build up. I am sure my Mum had a book of Ladies meeting talks by Mary S Wood called "Polish Your Silver". MSW was the author of lots of books for Christian Women, with titles like "Sermon in the Kitchen" and "A Christian Girl's Problems". Mind you, my Dad used to say one of the biggest problems for Christian girls was that MSW wasn't a particularly good writer!

Bob - who seems snowed under with funerals lately, read this poem at a recent service. [I used to have it pinned up in the kitchen] It definitely fits my mood today

Lord of all pots and pans and things
Since I’ve no time to be
A saint by doing lovely things
Or watching late with Thee
Or dreaming in the sweet dawn light
Or storming Heaven’s gates,
Make me a saint by getting meals
And washing up the plates.

Although I must have Martha’s hands,
I have a Mary mind,
And when I black the boots and shoes,
Thy sandals, Lord, I find.
I think of how they trod the earth,
What time I scrub the floor:
Accept this meditation, Lord.
I haven’t time for more.

Warm all the kitchen with Thy love
And light it with Thy peace;
Forgive me all my worrying,
And make all grumbling cease.
Thou who didst love to give men food,
In room or by the sea,
Accept this service that I do–
I do it unto Thee

It is a poem written in 1928 by a 19 year old girl in domestic service in England.

Tuesday 24 March 2009

Wonder Woman

lovelace Today, as Bob's blog reminds us, is Ada Lovelace Day.

Daughter of the poet Lord Byron, she wrote the world's first computer programmes for Charles Babbage's 'analytical engine'

On this day, we are invited to celebrate our 'tech heroines'. It seems quite hard to find females involved in pioneer technology - most of the people I swap technology jokes with tend to be blokes! But I nominate Mrs Marion Gosling, my maths teacher at East Dereham High School For Girls [1966-1963] who really encouraged me, in both maths and physics. I have no photograph of her - but lots of brilliant memories. She not only managed to teach us the O level and A level curriculum [and S level, which was even harder] but also threw in loads of extra fun stuff about logic and circuits and switches. She believed it was perfectly OK for a woman's handbag to contain a screwdriver rather than a lipstick. We need more inspirational teachers like her.


I notice Bob hasn't named his modern tech heroine. I knew he wouldn't choose Carol Vorderman - but I quite thought he would make reference to this female. When I am out at my [low-tech] knitting group, I know he enjoys watching the [high-tech] Gadget Show with Suzi Perry!

The Future's Bright, The Future's Orange...

Lots of orange things around me today. On Saturday my friend Kate gave me some unwanted wool, including some orange acrylic yarn.Then on Sunday the primula plant I received at Church was a lovely orangey yellow colour.

IM003312 - Copy Tina's blog recently mentioned the Knit-A-Square website and so I decided to use the yarn to make some square for that good cause. They are happy to accept squares in wool or acrylic, and the instructions for producing and posting them are very clear.

It really didn't take very long on the 6mm needles to produce three 8" squares - in fact about an hour per square [got two done last night whilst enjoying Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox in 'Lewis' which I had recorded the night before]

lewis fox whately The other orange thing today was the coconut and orange cake I made this morning. From my ancient trusty Be-Ro book of course. The recipe suggests topping the cake with Orange Glace icing and toasted coconut, but I just left it plain.

The coconut in the mix means it keeps beautifully moist. Not that it will last long in the tin! I am in school for 2 days this week, so Bob will need a snack or two to keep him going.


200g S.R. flour

100g soft margarine

100g soft brown sugar

75g desiccated coconut

1 egg

3 tbsp milk

rind and juice of an orange

Preheat oven to 170°C. Combine all ingredients to make sponge in usual way. Bake in 7" cake tin for about 70 minutes. Cool briefly in tin, then turn out onto wire rack.

When I returned home yesterday at around 8pm, having taken Steph to the station, I was astounded by how many stars I could see. The night sky was truly beautiful, sparkling and twinkling stars against the inky blackness. Standing on our drive, and looking up, I could see Orion so clearly.


Orion is one of the few constellations I can confidently identify. We have been reading through Amos in our daily quiet time recently, and the other day read this passage...

He who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns blackness into dawn, and darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out over the face of the land—
the LORD is his name.

As we sing with the children at church

He made the stars to shine
He made the rolling sea
He made the mountains high
And He made me.
And this is why I love him:
For me He bled and died
The Lord of all creation
Became the crucified.

That telecommunications company may want us to believe the future is orange - but all I know is that my future is safe in His Hands!

Sunday 22 March 2009

Mothering, Morocco and Men!

IM003304 Off to Church very early to sort out the plants. Some years ago we decided that rather than give out bunches of flowers on Mothering Sunday, we would give a pot plant to every lady present [whether or not she was a mother] So we got 100 primulas. Last week, the children decorated white paper carrier bags.

IM003306 Janet had punched out lots of flowers [with the useful punch she purchased at the NEC last week] and the children stuck them on the bags, wrote a greeting and fixed on a pre-prepared label which read "These flowers come to you on Mothering Sunday with love from the children of Y4God, Kirby Muxloe Free Church"






The bags looked really good. We loaded them with plants and put them ready in the Hall for distribution.





IM003309 At the beginning of the service, during the first hymn, the children brought to the front all the baby stuff that had been collected for Dave Ford's next "Africa Aid" trip to the Maternity Hospital in Morocco. People had been very generous.


There were IM003310 literally hundreds of baby-wipes, bottles of baby lotion, cotton wool, baby clothes etc etc. Dave was really pleased.

The service was really good, then we came home for lunch.





Steph was in charge of that - she went into M&S yesterday after her train got in, and purchased the £15 feast. So we had a splendid roast chicken dinner. She declared the roast potatoes to be The Best IM003311 She Had Ever Cooked. I have to agree, they were absolutely fabulous [as was the rest of the meal]

After a relaxing afternoon, we had a marvellous evening service. Bob was preaching on Romans 15, and particularly the relevance of the Gospel for men. We actually had more men than women in the congregation too - which must be a rarity in any church, I would have thought! Ian gave a good plug for our new Men's Group too.

We sung one of my favourite golden oldies, one with a poignant story. In 1858, shortly after preaching at a hugely successful mission in Philadelphia, the evangelist and abolitionist Dudley Atkins Tyng visited a barn on his farm. Stretching out to pat a mule that was working a machine shelling corn, his sleeve caught in the cogs and tore off his arm. Hours later he was discovered, slowly bleeding to death. In his last moments, he whispered to one of his assistants, George Duffield "Tell them to stand up for Jesus." Duffield went home and wrote the hymn as a tribute, which he read out as part of his next sermon, which he preached to a large congregation of men.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus! ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss:
From vict’ry unto vict’ry, His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus! The trumpet call obey:
Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day;
Ye that are men now serve Him against unnumbered foes;
Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus! Stand in His strength alone,
The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own;
Put on the gospel armour, and watching unto prayer,
Where calls the voice of duty, be never wanting there.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus! the strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song;
To him that overcometh a crown of life shall be;
He with the King of glory shall reign eternally.

The version we were singing tonight altered verse 2, line 3 to 'Ye that are His now serve Him' but I persist in singing the original, as it was written as a challenge to the men!!

All in all a lovely Sunday, and so good to have Steph home for the weekend!

Friday 20 March 2009

Made With Love




I had a great day in school with some Year 4 children today. this afternoon we made cards for Mothering Sunday.They decorated hearts, then stuck them onto the front of cards to make pockets. In the pockets they put little concertina fans - which opened up to reveal coupons saying things like "This coupon is good for a hug and a kiss" and "This coupon is good for tidying my room" and "This coupon is good for walking the dog" The children were very inventive as they filled in their coupons.

jessica williamson

The Williamsons, our missionary family in Peru, have posted on their blog about the card which our Y4God [Sunday school] children made for Jessica's birthday

Cardmaking is so satisfying!


I ended up being in charge of Whole School Singing Practice this morning [which will amuse all those who have heard my tuneless little voice] so at Registration, I asked the class for their favourites. Two songs were requested with enthusiasm- and sung equally well when we got into the Hall.

I couldn't fault their choices- they were songs I am very fond of too..

Father God, I wonder how I managed to exist
Without the knowledge of Your parenthood and Your loving care
But now I am Your child
, I am adopted in Your family
And I can never be alone
'Cause Father God, You're there beside me
I will sing Your praises
I will sing Your praises
I will sing Your praises
Forever more

And with all the actions, and great gusto they sang

Our God is a great big God,
Our God is a great big God,
Our God is a great big God,
And He holds us in his hands.
He's higher than a sky scraper
and he's deeper than a submarine.
He's wider than the universe
and beyond my wildest dreams.
And He's known me and He's loved me
since before the world began.
How wonderful to be a part of God's amazing plan.
Our God is a great big God                                             
And He holds us in his hands.

Thursday 19 March 2009

A Very Present Help in Trouble


I decided eight bookmarks were not enough, so I made eight more. This time I used two different coloured backing pieces, trimmed the inner edge with my little deckle-edge guillotine, and stuck it together with Pritt.

This time it took 20 minutes to make them [so I'll forget doing fancy zigzags in future] I liked the Celtic Cross design and the verse from Psalm 46

I found myself humming "God is our strength and our refuge" to the tune of "The Dambusters March" as I worked.


IM003301 That left me rather sad, as I remembered that the man who developed the bouncing bomb, Barnes Wallis, was played in the Dambusters film by Sir Michael Redgrave - whose grand-daughter Natasha Richardson died last night following a skiing accident.

The Redgrave dynasty has contributed literally dozens of actors to the British stage and screen. Sir Michael and his actress wife Rachel Kempson were parents of Vanessa, Lynn and Corin - and grandparents to Natasha and Joely Richardson, and Jemma Redgrave - all excellent actors.

richardson&neeson Natasha leaves two young sons, and her husband, Liam Neeson. Right now, among all the roles that the family have played, the one that I keep remembering is Neeson's moving portrayal of a widowed father in "Love Actually" as he seeks to comfort his bereft boy. I feel sorry that now he is experiencing that role in real life. I pray that this family will find comfort and strength as they face this difficult time. The words of Psalm 46 have certainly been a help to me in times of stress and sadness...

God is our strength and refuge,
our present help in trouble;
and we therefore will not fear,
though the earth should change
Though mountains shake and tremble,
though swirling floods are raging,
God the Lord of hosts
   is with us evermore

There is a flowing river,
within God's holy city;
God is in the midst of her -
she shall not be moved
God's help is swiftly given,
thrones vanish at His presence -
God the Lord of hosts
   is with us evermore

Come, see the works of our Maker,
learn of His deeds all powerful;
wars will cease across the world
when he shatters the spear
Be still and know your Creator,
uplift Him in the nations -
God the Lord of hosts
   is with us evermore

Here's Some I Made Earlier..

image I wanted to produce something for the MacMillan Sale on Saturday, so I used one of the bookmark designs from the CD I got last week at the NEC.

I printed off 2 sheets [8 bookmarks] cut them out, and then attached them to slightly larger pieces of coloured paper.

The sewing machine was out, so instead of doing the normal thing and sticking them together with a Pritt stick, I zigzagged the 2 bits together - which gave a pretty pattern on the underside too.

Then I laminated them and put a ribbon through the bottom [the yellow ribbons came from a friend- she gave me a whole bundle of them, each one 12" long - I have no idea what their original purpose was!]

It took less than one hour to make 8 Easter bookmarks. What should I charge for them?


Wednesday 18 March 2009

Beside the Lake, Beneath the Trees...



Just back from the beautiful Wokefield Park Mansion House Hotel. This was a somewhat delayed Christmas present from daughter Liz. She won a 'spa package' in a competition and generously added to it, so the pair of us could go and be pampered for a day!

I drove down and collected her from the end of the Tube [Shepherd's Bush] yesterday and then we drove out to Reading. The 18th Century property is set in extensive grounds with a Golf Course and a lake, and lots of lovely trees.



On arrival we checked in, and then went in search of lunch. Not feeling too hungry, we decided on a snack in the bar. Is this place posh or what? They served my bacon roll with ketchup and brown sauce - but not in silly sachets, or squeezy bottles - oh no - the condiments came in individual bowls with spoons!



Having duly fortified ourselves we then checked out the whole establishment, and went to the Spa Centre for a session in the Jacuzzi and the sauna.

Back to the [extremely well appointed] room for shower and a rest - then into Reading itself, where Liz treated me to an evening meal at Giraffe in the Oracle Centre.

This was excellent [especially as you can print off 2-for-1 vouchers from their website at the minute. Liz is definitely my daughter when it comes to Thriftiness!]

Our waiter, Harrison, was enthusiasm personified...

IM003293 and the food was served promptly and tasted really good.

Liz had a pizza and I had a smoked salmon salad.

Then we shared the banana waffles.

The place was bright and spacious and the atmosphere was lovely. We sat by the window overlooking the canal [or is it a river? not sure...]


I like their slogan!

They gave us little plastic giraffes to take home [why?]

We drove back to Wokefield Park and settled in with a hot drink to watch CSI [the last one with William Petersen as Gil Grissom] and enjoy an evening of chatting, TV, reading [and dishcloth knitting!]

This morning, an ample breakfast was followed by our beauty treatments with a beautician called Steph. The thing about these back & body massages is that they leave you feeling wonderfully relaxed, and as if your spine is longer and you are 6" taller!






So here we are, just after our treatments!






We packed up, and drove out through the parkland


We passed all the golfers enjoying the lovely spring weather, and got onto the M4 and pootled back into London. We saw the lovely blue onion dome of the Russian Orthodox Church in Chiswick, sparkling in the sunshine.

orthodox church chiswick

We drove past the new Westfield Shopping Centre and agreed we have absolutely no desire to visit it. It looked dull and ugly.


I dropped Liz off at Shepherd's Bush Tube again, and programmed the SatNav for home. For reasons best known to itself, it brought me on a different route back, up through Wembley to the bottom of the M1. I was safely home by 3pm.

It was a lovely break, and I greatly enjoyed it - not least because I always value time spent with my children. It came just at the right moment too. After my fairly intense stint with the Year 3s, I needed a bit of TLC! Thank you Liz, for my lovely Christmas Gift.

I got home [to a wonderfully tidy kitchen - thanks Bob!] and found an email from Steph saying she would definitely be home on Saturday - so my cup truly runneth over!

There are daffodils in the front garden and buds on the fig tree, I have had my beauty treatment, and spring is here. Time for a bit from the Song of Solomon I think..

My lover spoke and said to me, "Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me."

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Poetic Justice



Supermarket trolley, Oh Supermarket trolley

Discarded and forgotten like an outdated song

Do you remember the time when,

Chrome-bright and jolly,

You danced like a dodgem

Through the fruit-weighing throng?

I know some would accuse me of sentimental folly

But I'm sad

To see the drowning

Of a supermarket trolley

Your mesh is enmeshed now with river weed and slime

And the letters on your handle

Are irreversibly smudged,

And though I could simply say

That you've fallen on hard times,

It gives me unexpected pleasure

To believe you're being judged

For all those times in some crowded aisle or other

When I pushed you one way

And your wheels

Went another...


My Lenten Gift for today is to give you a smile, by way of this poem from Gerard Kelly. Do check out his website, there is some great stuff there.