Sunday 28 February 2010

Quails And Wotsits

The  lesson in the book for Sunday School was a bit complicated, and I was not sure how many children I would get, or how long we would have in our groups.

We were focusing on the Children of Israel grumbling to Moses about how conditions in Egypt were better than in the desert.

So I prepared a sheet and laminated it [made 3 of these so it was more of a competition between them]


There are of course some deliberate wrong answers - and the manna and quails are what they did eat in the wilderness. As I do not have a picture of manna - but the word means "What Is It?" I think a pack of Wotsits is a reasonable illustration here

[for non-UK blogfriends, Wotsits are a cheesy potato snack made by Walkers, called Cheetos in the US I believe]

The children got most of the right answers - but were surprised that they didn''t have potatoes in Egypt - but did have leeks!

A Pause In Lent #2

A Pause in Lent Floss 

"Churches Together" in our village have decided that during Lent, we will have joint house groups. There are various groups on different days at different venues meeting for five sessions [and then for the sixth we will all come together for a fish'n'chip supper!]

We are looking at one of the York Courses "When I survey...Christ's cross and ours" by John Pridmore. I shan't comment on the studies yet [we have only had one session so far] but I want to share this...

The contributors to the course include John Bell of the Iona Community, and General Sir Richard Dannatt who was, until recently, in charge of the British Army.

richard dannatt

The General is wonderfully down to earth, and we all agreed that he sounds as if he communicates very well with his soldiers, of whatever rank.

john bell

John Bell has written some great hymns, and is a regular contributor to "Thought For The Day" on Radio 4.

Since we did our study on Tuesday, the words of one of John's hymns has been going round and round in my head. I have found it really challenging - the reminder that Christ cares for all the people of our world - and we are called to care too.

Christ's is the world in which we move.
Christ's are the folk we're summoned to love,
Christ's is the voice which calls us to care,
and Christ is the One who meets us here.

To the lost Christ shows his face;
to the unloved He gives His embrace;
to those who cry in pain or disgrace,
Christ, makes, with His friends, a touching place

Feel for the people we most avoid.
Strange or bereaved or never employed;
Feel for the women, and feel for the men
who fear that their living is all in vain.

Feel for the parents who lost their child,
feel for the women whom men have defiled.
Feel for the baby for whom there's no breast,
and feel for the weary who find no rest.

Feel for the lives by life confused.
Riddled with doubt, in loving abused;
Feel for the lonely heart, conscious of sin,
which longs to be pure but fears to begin.

To the lost Christ shows his face;
to the unloved He gives His embrace;
to those who cry in pain or disgrace,
Christ, makes, with His friends, a touching place

It is all very well for me to be 'giving away' during Lent - but it must be in a spirit of love and compassion - not just as an exercise in self-discipline.

lent event

Saturday 27 February 2010

The Busy Bee Goes Off Her Trolley

image Into town, bright and early, on the Park'n'Ride, to buy some silk flowers [more on that at a future date] and a few other bits and pieces.

Yet again, I took my wonderful, and trustworthy "Molly-Trolley" with me.

I have had this for years, and it is so useful for Market Shopping. I spent ages choosing the design - it had to have two wheels, a folding frame[so it could go in the car easily] a 'parking bar' at the front [not a spike of any sort] and a handle sufficiently high for a tall husband to manipulate comfortably. Pulling the trolley is much easier than carrying heavy bags!

Now and then, I wonder if I should make a more colourful cover for the bag - but I never seem to get round to it!

image Back in November, I went to the M&S Penny Bazaar, and among my goodies, got a little money box. I have been using this [very diligently] to store coupons. Whenever I go shopping, I check the contents - and today got £10-worth of food for £4.45! I am careful though, not to buy things I wouldn't get anyway - and 30p off a 'premium' product is hardly a saving if the 'regular' one is still cheaper.

Home again, to sort out some Sunday School stuff for Mothering Sunday, and then after lunch, sewing costumes for the next school production. Twelve tiny bumblebees have fly around the stage for about half a minute - so this wasn't to be a major project. We had some plain black tops already, so I just sewed strips of golden florist's ribbon round them to make bee-like stripes.


They will have little headbands with antennae to wear, and should buzz around quite happily.

Bob is wondering if we should move to Belgium, following a recent news report about the fortunate residents in the town of Mouscron. They are being given pairs of chickens, to keep in their gardens. the aim is that this will reduce household waste!

hen The owners are supposed to feed the chickens food scraps - and then will benefit from the fresh eggs! Owners must also sign a declaration that they will not actually eat the chickens for at least two years.

Mouscron is near Lille, in the province of Hainault [This has always confused me, I thought H was near my birthplace, Romford, in Essex]

Now back to the sewing machine - or maybe I ought to do the ironing first...

Thursday 25 February 2010

Don't Count your Chickens!


Aren't these wonderful? Woolly jumpers knitted by people in Somerset to keep ex-battery-hens warm because they do not have enough feathers of their own.

The hens live at the Little Hen Rescue Centre, near Norwich, not too far from Cornerstones...

hen rescue

...which is run by Jo Eglen [yes, that really is her name]

Read about the Centre here and the knitters here

[actually, I think the BBC must be short of news, as they ran very similar stories in March 2009 and April 2008]

When I retire to Norfolk, I should like to keep chickens.

As they say in France, "an oeuf is as good as a feast"

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Please Check Your Child's Homework!

My friend Elisabeth sent me this picture and accompanying story.

I have tried to check its veracity - and failed, but it made me smile, so I am sharing it with you, whilst the weather is still bad!


b&q momma

This picture was submitted as homework by a small girl. After it was marked and the girl brought it home, she returned to school the next day with the following note:
Dear Ms. Davis,
I want to be very clear on my child's illustration. It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage as a stripper. I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the aftermath of the recent snow/sleet. This picture is of me selling a shovel.
Mrs. Harrington


Angela's Research Notes- depending on where on the internet you read this, the teacher's/mother's names vary enormously, and the shop is either B&Q or Home Depot [they don't have B&Q in the States, and those are green dollar bills!] So I seriously suspect this is a made up story, and it is at least 15 months old. [but still amusing]

However if you are a parent, just remember to always check your child's homework is done, and done properly!

Last month, I set a piece of homework where each question had a word in bold print, and the child was asked to underline the synonyms e.g. EMPTY void  vacant seat bucket

One child [not the most hardworking in the group] had left the last question unfinished.

INDUSTRIOUS diligent inactive busy sluggish

When I asked about this, she said "Mum said we don't know what industrious means, Miss"

I'd already noticed that!!!!

Tuesday 23 February 2010

Still Snowing

snoglobe Did you have a snow-globe when you were a child? [maybe you still have one now]

The utter fascination of shaking it up, and watching all the flakes slowly circling and settling ...

...and then doing it all over again!

Right now, I feel like I am living inside a snow-globe.


Outside the window, the white stuff is swirling round again, and I wonder if spring will ever come to this neck of the woods. It is hard to believe that only three days ago I was walking through London in the bright sunshine with my daughters, feeling warm!

When I got in from school [just as the snow was starting to fall] Bob announced "Just popping down the church, shan't be long!" and left. That was ages ago. I am sure he has been delayed for good reason. if he is not home by meal-time, I shall call for dog-sleds and Inuit search parties!!

us snowflake stamp, that is his key in the door.Time for a cup of tea I think!

Monday 22 February 2010

A Capital Weekend

This is a ridiculously long post. Make yourself a cuppa, and get a biscuit or two before you start reading!

I got home at 5.15pm last night, [just in time to go out again to church] following an absolutely brilliant weekend in London with Liz.

She had planned all sorts of great activities, and we enjoyed ourselves enormously.

I arrived at her place at 2.30pm, after a fraught journey [roadworks and minor crunches causing many traffic holdups en route] and she made me a light lunch [mushrooms and rocket on toast] and a cake



I am sure this ought to remind me of something!

[It is the last item from the F&M hamper she won in the Waterstones Comp at Christmas]

then we set off to walk to the British Museum to see this...


brit museum staffordshire hoard

The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest collection of Anglo Saxon gold ever unearthed. The Museum is open late on Fridays and we figured it would be better once the school parties/coach trips were out of the way!

We walked past the Octavia Hill Red Cross Gardens and Almshouses



As well as the blue plaque there was a great mosaic and the original plaque re-sited







We walked on, past these houses for the poor towards those of the rich - on the way passing the Cross Bones Graveyard.

I first learned of this place a few weeks ago [watching Songs of Praise]


In medieval times, the Bishop of Winchester licensed prostitute to work in this area of Southwark [so they were nicknamed 'Winchester Geese'] but of course, when they died, they were not allowed to be buried in consecrated ground. Hence this graveyard, which then became a general space for burying paupers. It was deemed full, closed in 1853, and largely forgotten, until recent excavations by the railways unearthed thousands of bones. You can read about it here. Now Friends of Crossbones are seeking to preserve the site, as a 'memorial to the outcast dead'

DSCF1207 Apparently, when the site was just a railway excavation, litter was thrown over the gates- but now there is a plaque, and ribbons and ephemera tied to the gates, the site is treated with much more respect.


I found the whole thing very moving, and thought again about the work done by people like Lauren Bethel, who show such love and concern for workers in the 21st century Sex Industry.





Here lay your flowers

Your book of hours

Your fingers, thuumbs

Your 'Miss your Mum's

Here hang your hopes,

Your dreams

your Might Have Beens

Your locks

your keys

Your mysteries



Many of the ribbons bear the names of poor people buried there


We passed the house of Richard Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor Of London


I think Boris Johnson should send someone round to clean Dick's windows though!


We meandered on, and stumbled across a great little shop near Russell Square selling rubber stamps/craft punches etc

blade rubber

blade_rubber I think I need to check out their website[Blade Rubber] when I have a moment.

They had an extremely comprehensive selection of goods.

I could easily have spent a lot of money on crafting supplies. But I was extremely restrained and bought...nothing!


So finally we got to the Museum - only to discover that the Staffordshire Hoard part closed at 5pm! It doesn't mention that on the posters. Liz and I felt a little miffed about that - but had a good wander round anyway.

I felt a little more knowledgeable about the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian Empires this time [due to Bob's recent evening sermons from the OT] and we reminisced about a school trip in 1994, when I was a 'Mum-Helper' and we looked at the Elgin Marbles together with her teacher Mrs Tonya Kelsey [Liz was horse-mad even then!]

The Swimming Reindeer exhibit was fantastic and we marvelled at the detail of the exquisite carving


We had a good discussion about why it was made. I believe that if we are made in the image of a Creator God, then creativity is innate in us - and we too get pleasure from creating things.

All this history and intellectual debate made us hungry - so off to Tas for a Turkish Dinner. Lovely pictures here.


Saturday was designated "Ministry Of Food" at the Imperial War Museum

IWM It was well laid out, lots of stuff about the Land Army, Digging For Victory, Potato Pete etc.

I was a little disappointed that there didn't seem to be a picture of my heroine of WW2 food, Margeurite Patten, altho she was on the audio guide [along with Jane Fearnley Whittingstall. Those F-Ws are getting rather ubiquitous, I fear]


DSCF1217 DSCF1216

Woolton Pie was there - and some mugs of solid plastic tea. [I tried to put my finger in to see if they were hot!]


We had a cuppa and shared a slice of beetroot and cocoa cake in the cafe



See the stew and rabbit pies all lined up!

Liz and I were utterly horrified by families who had just been round the exhibition [all about saving waste, the value of food etc etc] and then let their spoilt kids leave food [whole scones!] untouched on their plates, only for it to be thrown into the bin. Had they not learned anything??

Just so Bob did not feel left out, we sent him a photo pf the Brough Superior owned by Lawrence of Arabia, which is on loan to the IWM


We went on to Waterloo and met up with Steph and Mark for salad in Pain Quotidienne. We first discovered PQ in Brussels 10 years ago

Acer Image

After all that, we meandered home and chilled out with CSI on TV. Jon eventually got home [his train had broken down outside Melton Mowbray] - we were pleased he was home safely

Sunday morning, I telephoned Bob- to discover KM was blanketed in snow [we just had rain in London]

The three of us we went up to Elephant and Castle for a delicious, amazingly inexpensive lunch in Mamuska, a newly opened Polish diner.


Oh sorry, you probably don't speak Polish! Try this instead [click on the picture to see it larger]


Here's Jon and Liz ordering from 'the lovely lady at the counter' [no idea who guy at table is!]


We ate potato pancakes, bigos [meat stew] dumplings, cucumber and sour cream salad...and Jon's refreshing fruit drink had raspberries and strawberries in it



Unbelievably filling, tasty food - at around £5 each

When we came out, we noticed one of the shops has been taken over by artists preparing for this summer's elephant parade




Liz - ever the ambassador for Southwark Council- said "It is for charity - if you are putting it on the blog mention the website clearly" yes dear! Click on the link below for full details

elephant family

After all that, I got in the car and drove home. The M1 was happily much less clogged going northwards.

Weekend over. Thanks Liz [and Jon and Steph and Mark] It was lovely to see you all and I had a tremendous time.

Sunday 21 February 2010

A Pause In Lent #1

A Pause in Lent Floss

If you read the blog by Floss [here] you can check out the other people taking part in this.

The aim is just to spend a quiet moment during the weekends of Lent to reflect on what it is all about.

So here is my Lent Post #1...


I am a Nonconformist through and through, and I remember at school being vaguely amused by Catholic friends who 'gave up chocolate' for Lent and declared themselves more spiritual than those of us who continued to enjoy the stuff. But it is a good discipline to focus our thoughts for the 6 weeks up till Easter.

Floss says in a recent post "For me I think the key word has got to be 'repentance', which means no more than 'turning'. It's about taking time to look at your life and the direction it's going in. Not happy with that direction? Turn! As a Christian I feel that the direction I always need to be moving in is towards Jesus."

I would agree wholeheartedly with that.

ambridge On Ash Wednesday, as we drove along the A47 from Cornerstones back to Leicestershire, I was talking with Bob about this. "Giving up" is OK, if there is something that you feel would make a difference. I do not eat that many sweets, and having committed to doing these Lenten Blogs, I cannot now give up blogging!

I did wonder about giving up listening to The Archers, but the current storyline is so sad, and I want to hear how the Vicar Of Ambridge gets through his Lent Challenge too...

What about giving away? asked Bob. You could throw away 10 things every day! We were just finishing our picnic in the car at this point, and I was counting a piece of clingfilm, paper napkin, yogurt pot... No - that would hardly count as a constructive focus for my thoughts.


For the FORTY days of Lent, EVERY day I WILL give ONE thing away for a GOOD purpose. It can be from the following list

  • something I am fond of, which I pass on to someone else as a gift
  • something I have no longer any use for which can go to a Charity Shop
  • something which is no use to me, or another as it is, but can be usefully recycled.
  • something I've made [including greetings cards], which can be a gift for someone else
  • if I get to bedtime and have NOT fulfilled this, then I will put £1 aside to be given to a good cause at Easter.

I am not going to list these things on my blog on a daily basis, I don't think that would be right - but maybe at the end of Lent I will share some of the things that have made a difference.

I want to be truly thoughtful about this - not take the easy route and write out a cheque for £40 on Easter Sunday!

lent event