Sunday 31 January 2010

He Restores My Soul

honey lemon We are surviving [just] - both of us with sore throats and stuffy noses, coughing and sneezing. But between us we got through the morning service - very conscious of, and grateful for the prayer support of friends.

Hot lemon and honey drink is wonderful stuff!

Tonight is our annual Rededication Service, and here is one of the prayers we will be using.

I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.

Saturday 30 January 2010

Faith, Folk and Clarity

Does anyone else remember the songbook with that title from the 1960's? It summed up yesterday evening anyway - it was the Annual Folk Evening for our friend Dave Ford, who does mission work through 'Africa Aid', and Bob was the Sound Guy [he is so Very Sound!] in charge of the PA for the evening.

A crowd of us arrived early to set up the Village Hall at Quorn [that is the village, not the meat substitute]



It was a great help having Jonny there helping lift the heavy stuff, and assist with all the cables. Dave's golden curtain, combined with Bob's new LED Parcan lights and haze machine made a fabulous backdrop


Unfortunately it was all a little too reflective for me to manage any good photographs!

As in previous years the quality of music was superb with performers from 17 - 70. We were all very impressed with young Sam Rodwell, who is studying to be a classical guitarist. He is incredibly gifted


The evening ended with a whole crowd of the musicians on stage performing "Drunken Sailor" and much raucous joining in from the audience.


The usual suspects [Dangerous Dogs, and Eric The Turtle, et al] performed with enthusiasm - great entertainment all round.

What is it about folk musicians though? [I wonder if Floss has noticed this] So many of them are either all and beanpole like, or short and bearded.

I was going to say 'and all the females have long hair which they toss artistically as they sing, a la Maddy Prior' until the "Average Folk Band" got up to sing. These are my friends from church, often found leading worship at KMFC on a Sunday - but Gwen and Linda had come in disguise, wearing amazing nylon  'page-boy' wigs!

Sadly my attempt at taking a picture did not come out at all because of all the gold reflections, and Gwen took the wig off later as it was itching. But she reminded me of someone, and I just could not think who it was. This morning I remembered. It was Anita Manning, the Scottish 'Antiques Expert' from BBC 'Bargain Hunt'. So, especially for Elizabeth in India - last night your Mum looked strangely like this...

anita_manning_bargain hunt

[but without the old clock]

Dave had a heart attack just after Christmas, and asked me to interview him during the evening so he could tell people about it - and how it hasn't stopped him wanting to serve God and go and help others. So I did as requested and held a mic in front of him [memo to Kirsty Young, I think your job on Desert Island Discs is quite safe!]

AFB sung a favourite hymn to an old American folk tune and it was absolutely superb

1. Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.
2. Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.
3. O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

[btw - to raise an Ebenezer' is an OT term, meaning to set up a marker/memorial signifying 'God has helped us this far and He won't let us down in future either']

Dave said we raised around a thousand pounds for the charity - really pleased about that, makes all the hard work well worth it.

At the end of the evening lots of people helped with clearing up - but it was still around 2am before we got to bed. This morning Bob's cough/sore throat is much worse. So the sound guy is the silent guy now. Not a good state for him to be in before a busy Sunday.

Friday 29 January 2010

Wilt Thou Take This Woman?

wedding rings

Conversation at school yesterday

Me; Right, that's all for now. Any questions?

Pupil #1; [whispering to friend] Go on, you ask her

Me; Ask me what?

Pupil #2; [embarrassed] Miss - she says [indicating Pupil #3] that your husband married her Dad!

Me; Yes, that's right. he married her Mum too. And he married me.

Pupil #4; Are they gay or something?

Pupil #3; [very indignantly] NO THEY ARE NOT!!

Pupil #1; I don't understand this. Is it bigamy then? I explained what Bob's line of work was, and how he had indeed married her parents, and many other people to each other - but married me as his wife, for life! [Decided against throwing in the extra fact that my dad married me, as he was a Pastor too]

Much giggling as they left the classroom. Then they went and told their class teacher, who is new in school, and was also confused at first till she got the full explanation.

Life is never dull round here!

Thursday 28 January 2010

Prayers For Peru

cusco floods

cusco floods 2

The BBC News has reported on the floods in Peru, and tourists stranded at Machu Pichu [click here] but all these visitors will soon be rescued and taken home. Please spare a thought, and prayer, for those Peruvian families whose homes have been destroyed, and their livestock and livelihoods washed away.

More details on the Williamson's Blog [click here]

My problems with the double glazing are quite trivial in comparison.

Get it Taped

Isn't it strange how things developed in Wartime can end up being modified to be useful in Peacetime? Also somehow sad that often it is atrocity that is the mother of invention. These musings brought about because Rufflette curtain tape...


...was developed from the khaki cartridge belts of WW1

cartridge belt

George French, a Manchester Manufacturer had a brainwave and converted his machinery from making tapes to hold ammunition into tapes to hold curtain hooks.

rufflette 3

rufflette2 I have been thinking about curtains quite a bit today, as we have to put up some new tracks, and I will have to re-make the lounge curtains quite soon.

Yes folks, 15 days after the work began [and over EIGHT weeks since I had originally expected what was deemed "A Three-Day Job" to be completed] the work on the double glazing is finally finished and the dust-sheets have gone.

Wednesday 27 January 2010

Does It Have Wings?

jobs & ipad


So Steve Jobs and Apple have finally launched their iPad.

I shall wait and see what the other techies say about it, before it goes on my Christmas List [although my initial reaction is 'I think I would prefer this to a Kindle']

But my main question is - why that name?



They obviously didn't have a woman as Consumer Insights Manager!

[CIM is the title of Steph's new job, btw]

Words And Pictures

I just came across this great story about Guy Shield, an artist in Australia. He carefully prepared a series of seven pictures - it took him about a year to plan the project and then a fortnight of actual drawing and painting.

As you can see, they are all fairly unremarkable street scenes - although many feature signs or graffiti. I like the style of his work.



jp3 jp4 jp5



jp unfolded

He took them with him when he and his girlfriend Lizzie went on holiday to Bali.

[It was Lizzie's birthday]

Then he cut and folded them, and joined them, concertina like, and draped them across the bed in the hotel room.

Then he suggested to Lizzie that she should fold them up into a bridge like structure.

With a little help, she did...


And the message was revealed - will you marry me? 


You'll be glad to hear she said 'Yes' and last Saturday's post was ...


How romantic - may they have many happy years together!

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Crisis In Cusco

I know that many of you have been praying for, and sending generous gifts to help the disaster stricken nation of Haiti - and that's important - but I want to share with you this message we have just received from our link missionaries in Peru.

It is the rainy season there, and things are bad where they are...

peru floods

“Dear praying friends, please pray for the region of Cusco. The Urubamba river has flooded, bridges have collapsed and there are terrible mudslides. Many homes made of adobe (mud and straw) have been washed away; some people have died in the mudslides, others have lost their homes and livelihoods. Today the Cusco region was declared a state of emergency for the next 60 days. Some of our missionary colleagues living in the countryside have experienced terrible damage to their property. We in the city are only experiencing minor annoyances with travel disruption and water shortages but we urge you to pray for those who are so badly affected and the response that the Baptist convention and other churches will make to reach out to those suffering.

Thankyou, Scott and Anjanette Williamson”

[more information here and here]

Monday 25 January 2010

This Little Light Of Mine

I was sorting out some candles, and found this box in the garage ...


...ordinary white ones, which will fit into many of my various candlesticks. I  honestly do not know where they came from - there are eight of the original twelve in the box.

Most have been used a few times [I think I replaced them with red ones, one Xmas, and put these back in the box]

For the first time, I looked more carefully at the end of the box


They were packed in May 1955! These candles are almost as old as I am! I checked out Candle-lite, and they are still going [Thomas Emery began the company in 1840, but it was not known as Candle-Lite till 1953] They are still good candles, and burn cleanly.

I love candles - I blame Mum and Dad, who didn't! Somehow they picked up a habit [at Theological College in Glasgow, I suspect] of muttering "No Popery" whenever they saw a lighted candle.

superwoman newer In my perverse and rebellious way, I have therefore taken to having candles all over the place [observing Elf&Saty**, obviously] Shirley Conran's book "Superwoman" - which came out in 1975, when I was a student, recommended serving dinner by candlelight, especially if your cooking wasn't all that good.

I have followed this suggestion for a number of years. Bob soon got wise to it though, and realised 'candlelit dinner' didn't often mean 'romantic', but more likely 'this will hide the burnt bits'!!

pot pourri n.b. If you hear Bob muttering 'No Popery' he is probably saying 'no Pot Pourri' as the stuff makes him sneeze violently!

**A pupil of mine once wrote in an essay that everything had been banned now "cos of the Elf and Saty people"

Sunday 24 January 2010

Stand Up, Pray Up, Shut Up!

john newton

I am leading the service tonight, and as we are still in our church Month Of Prayer, Bob is going to mention some great "Praying Christians" in the sermon. I thought I'd check out the writers of the hymns he has chosen, and if they said anything on prayer. Found this fabulous quote from John Newton, with which I concur!

"The chief fault of some good prayers is, that they are too long; not that I think we should pray by the clock, and limit ourselves precisely to a certain number of minutes; but it is better of the two, that the hearers should wish the prayer had been longer, than spend half the time in wishing it was over."

Overflowing With God's Love

The Sunday School lesson today was about Paul and Silas on their missionary journey to Macedonia etc. Part of the emphasis was about being together as a church and how we can do more if we are together and God works in us.

Visual aid - plastic model of a volcano, some vinegar, and some bicarbonate of soda. This was such fun we did it four times!

Basic equipment


Put a teaspoonful of bicarb in the top, then spoon vinegar onto that




The bicarb represents the Christians meeting together, and the vinegar represents God pouring his Holy Spirit on us. When these mix, there is a reaction.

So God fills us with love and enthusiasm and we spill out of church and spread God's love all around.

On another note...

After church, we have coffee - served in mugs like this

poppy mugs

We have about a hundred mugs,  a parting gift from our former student pastor, Dave, and his wife Lesley.

They are ideal for after church coffee when you are walking around chatting to people [no saucer to worry about]


But for other events [like the Ladies' Fellowship] we use the older Woods Ware green Beryl cups and saucers like this [mostly green but we have a few random blue 'Iris', and yellow 'Jasmine' ones too] The saucer gives somewhere to rest a teaspoon, and a biscuit!


It is my belief that there must be hundreds of these in church cupboards up and down the land.When I go and speak at Ladies meetings, my tea usually arrives in one of these cups.


And isn't it fascinating that many China-Search sites list them for sale at around £2 an item, as "Retro, 1940s vintage crockery"!! It appears, my friends, that they are coming back into fashion again.

I found this on one site

Woods discontinued the production of the Beryl range in recent years. Beryl had been manufactured for many years and is often recognised in television period dramas set in the 1960's and 70's. Items have now become quite difficult to find it good condition (perhaps the TV companies have got them all). Purchase your missing Beryl items** while we still have some in stock.

The person who wrote that obviously hasn't been to church in a while! Do you have green Beryl cups at your church, I wonder?

[**That company wanted ELEVEN POUNDS for a cup and saucer. Maybe we should increase the church contents insurance!]

Saturday 23 January 2010

Beguiling - and Durable

Just read that the actress Jean Simmons has died. The Washington Post describes this gifted performer as "beguiling and durable", which seems to sum her up very well. Here she is as "Young Bess"


She was an incredibly hardworking actress, making around eighty films, in a career spanning 65 years. I looked at the list and realised just how many of them I can remember. She acted alongside many great actors and was married to Stewart Granger for ten years.

Her films include...

gantry Caesar and Cleopatra, Great Expectations, Hamlet, Black Narcissus, The Blue Lagoon [1940s]

Androcles and the Lion, The Robe, Young Bess, Guys and Dolls, The Big Country [1950s]

Elmer Gantry, Spartacus, The Grass Is Greener [1960s]

Thorn Birds, They Do It With Mirrors,Great Expectations [1980s]

How To Make An American Quilt [1990s]

[She did lots of very diverse TV appearances too - Perry Mason, Star Trek, Murder She Wrote, Xena Warrior Princess...]

In the first Great Expectations, she played young Estella - in the later remake, she was the elderly Miss Havisham.  In The Blue Lagoon [the original - not the Brooke Shields remake] Jean played the 'adult' Emmeline, the 'child' Emmeline being played by Susan Stranks [who later presented 'Magpie', and married the actor Robin Ray]

Not sure which of these is my favourite film

...but I am am fond of "Guys and Dolls" where she plays Sergeant Sarah from the Save-A-Soul Mission.

The music is great - even if Sarah is not exactly brilliant as an evangelist!

Her "historical" pictures were enjoyable, [who can forget Kirk Douglas, and everyone saying "I am Spartacus"?!]

All good "Ironing Films" when I have a heap of laundry to tackle.

I mentioned to Bob that Jean Simmons was dead.

He said "The guitarist?"

gene simmons As if I would know anything about Gene Simmons from Kiss!

"Does he make films that I can iron to?"

"No, darling- but he does play heavy metal!"

Friday 22 January 2010

Frugal Friday

I finally went to the supermarket to do a Big Shop this morning - having been delaying for as long as I could, and eating up odd Christmas leftovers from the freezers. I'd carefully prepared a list beforehand, and I was generally very pleased with the stuff I put into the trolley. I like the convenience of the sainsburys Sainsbury's Self-Scan System, not least because it gives me a running total as I go round the store, so I know what I am spending. In fact, it is better than that, because the money off' stuff is not deducted till the end, so I know that the real total is less than the one showing.

There were loads of things on offer, and I was being very careful not to buy things simply because they were reduced. But one thing [which was on my list] mystified me.

loorimblock Sainsbury's Liquid Rim Loo Cleaner.

These were £1.44 each.

Or £1 for two!

I thought I must have misread it - I asked another shopper what she thought it said. She agreed.

WHO in their right mind would buy only ONE if TWO were cheaper? I slung two in the trolley.

I noticed the refills were on offer as well. £2.04 for a twinpack, or £3 for two. I was halfway towards putting a couple of packs in the trolley as well when I did some calculations...

Two complete things for £1 - that is 50p each. Two twinpacks of refills for £3 - that is 75p each. So it is cheaper to buy the complete units than faff about putting refills in.

Similarly with the loo-rolls - on the 18roll pack, it was labelled "Bigger pack, better value" - but the 12roll pack [this month 16 for price of 12] actually worked out almost 16% cheaper.

laughing cow 

I buy mostly Sainsbury's 'own-brand' goods, and a lot of it is from their 'basics' range. But sometimes that isn't the best value. Today the Laughing Cow Cheese Triangles were way cheaper than Sainsburys own.


  "La Vache Qui Rit" is a French company, and I had never come across their products till I went to Bob's parents in the 1970s - his mum used to bring them back from Belgium. The website is fun - not at all cheesy ! [here]

ccherry yogurt

I was very pleased to discover large pots of cherry yogurt on sale again. That is just about our favourite flavour, and it is an economical way to buy it.

Sainsbury's own brand tea, coffee and sugar is Fairtrade, as are many of their flowers, fruit and veg. And much of the meat is sourced from farms where the animals are properly cared for. I am grateful for the fact that we can buy good quality food at low prices- but I am concerned about some aspects of supermarket shopping...

- the 'BOGOF's and three-for-two offers that encourage us to buy much more than we need, and then food goes to waste

- the multipacks of crisps/ sweets/chocolate bars which contribute to our nation's obesity.

- the ridiculously low priced alcohol, which cannot possibly help people to be responsible about their drinking habits.

These things do not help people to shop sensibly!

On the subject of alcohol, isn't it madness that an alcohol-free Red Bull drink costs £1.50 in some pubs - but they reduce the price to 89p if you have a shot of vodka in it! [see here]

...anyway, my trolley was full and at the checkout I discovered I had to have a Total Re-scan - but it didn't take too long, and all was well. There was an assistant on hand to help me with re-packing everything. My various coupons and offers resulted in the final bill being 12% less than that initially shown on the scanner so I was Very Happy.

All is packed away in cupboards, fridge and freezer.

Now to plan some intelligent menus for the next few weeks!

Where Do I Begin...

LoveStory poster 

Erich Segal, who wrote the book and screen play for 'Love Story' has just died. I always thought catchphrase "Love means never having to say you're sorry" was a bit odd. I think it's meant to mean "Because I love you, I'll automatically forgive you, you don't need to be sorry/apologise" - but that isn't right, in my book. Repentance and forgiveness go together, surely?


It was cold, and I needed some 'comfort food', so last night I got out the Atora, and made a sausage casserole with dumplings. I love my dumplings soft and soggy like my Mum used to make. Bob prefers them crispy and crusty on top, like his Mum used to make.

suet dumplings

So, for his sake, I cook them without a lid on the dish, so they cook up with a golden brown crust.

As Bob pointed out...

... Love means never having to say 'they're soggy' !

Thursday 21 January 2010

Silver and Gold

Isn't it funny how one day you can feel so tired- and the next you can work just as hard, if not harder, but come home on a real high? People made so many kind comments yesterday after my 'exhausted' post - thanks friends, today I am much brighter.

greens jewellers

After school, I went into the City, to Greens Jewellers in Churchgate. Steph has a beautiful silver bracelet, but its safety chain has a magnetic catch. Last week, it came undone and fell off [fortunately in her bedroom] She was anxious not to lose it.

I asked in Greens last week, and they said "Bring it in" so I collected it from Steph on Sunday night. This afternoon, I took it in, and they fixed it in minutes [whilst I walked to the cash machine] with a more reliable catch - for a very good price. This isn't the first time we have used this shop - and it won't be the last. So lovely to get good, prompt, personal service!

On the subject of jewellery, I notice that the OFT is checking out those companies that offer cash-for-gold. Some are apparently slightly dodgy. You don't say!!

I have no unwanted gold [In fact I just have my wedding and engagement rings and some gold fillings - all of which I plan on keeping] but I do know why that advert that is so weird - that man never blinks.

Scientist's Joke -

Q; "How do you greet a goldsmith? "

A; " Ey, You!"