Tuesday 31 May 2011

Abba, Ikea, And Now Another Swedish Plug…

Clas Ohlson. Who? Clas Ohlson

No we had never heard of him ether- but today we were meandering round the Chapelfield Shopping Mall in Norwich and found a shop of that name. It somehow felt comfortingly familiar – and very Swedish. The helpful assistant explained that not only was CO a Swedish company [website here]but also their store layout was planned by the same guy who designs the layout of IKEA stores.


We spent ages in there – looking at their phenomenal range of goods [kitchen, garden, electrical, office, bathroom, storage, sport, crafts…] Bob even said “Some of this is better than Maplin!” [wow!]

They’ve been around in Scandinavia for 93 years, but only just reached Britain, apparently. They have a useful [free] catalogue which is produced annually. There was a lovely display of previous cover designs in the store which I just had to photograph




plugI bought a much-needed new red sink plug for £1.29 and Bob got a cordless drill [which was a little more expensive than that] and we both decided this is a store we will definitely return to.

giraffeWe had lunch in Giraffe. I had been to their Reading branch with Liz two years ago. It was Bob’s first taste of their excellent – deliciously healthy - menu.

We took advantage of the lunchtime meal deal and I had Chicken Waldorf Salad, he had Quesadillas with Chicken and Falafels.

There was a phenomenal hailstorm as we ate lunch, then we wandered back to get the Park’n’Ride bus, calling in at a few charity shops on the way. I did get the bargain I was particularly hunting for – but cannot tell you about that just yet!

Back to Cornerstones, and we did a few jobs round the bungalow, and now we are planning a relaxing evening! If you are on your Half Term Break, I hope you are having fun too.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway

Oh – one other picture, taken yesterday on our walk with A&M. This wall plaque amused Marion and me.


Norfolk is such a historic county you know!

Strike A Light!

If I said “Bryant and May” you might think of these

B&M matches

cooks matches

but actually there’s another “Bryant and May” around.

Knowing that I liked…

  • anything about London, especially historical stuff
  • word-play and puns
  • detective mysteries
  • Radio 4 especially the comedy/quiz programmes

…my friend Andy has just lent me these

full-dark-housewater room

…and they really do tick all those boxes. They are the first two novels in the B&M series by Christopher Fowler [who apparently “lives in London with an incredibly unmotivated cat”]They are certainly very different as far as detective mysteries go.

B&M head up “The Peculiar Crimes Unit” – set up before WW2, to solve bizarre unsolved crimes. Their HQ is, not surprisingly, in Mornington Crescent. These two push the envelope of eccentricity to the point where Hercules Poirot and Adrian Monk seem utterly normal, well-balanced individuals!

I was initially confused – Andy lent me both books at the same time, and the first one apparently begins with the death of Bryant – but it all works out tidily [ish] in the end. Fowler is an erudite author, and I had to concentrate hard not to miss some of the plot details, and subtle suggestions and nuances. Consequently I have taken a while to read them, as I couldn’t concentrate properly when I was tired. But I have enjoyed their quirkiness – and look forward to reading some more of the series.

10 second house77 clocksoff the rails

on the loosevic vanisheswhite corridor

I would suggest that you begin with Full Dark House though- I think that is essential for ‘setting the scene’ Their female sidekick is called Janice Longbright. Not sure if the B&M cook’s matches seemed long and bright to CF and that gave him an idea for her surname. At least he didn’t call her Phossy Jaw!

Monday 30 May 2011

A Touch Of Paradise

We arrived at Cornerstones around 10pm last night. Twelve hours later, we were in the local parish church looking at the flower festival – entitled “A Touch Of Paradise”. The flowers were beautifully arranged- here are just a few of my pictures…DSCF1632 DSCF1638

Ring the Bells of Heaven, and Songs Of Praise






The Village School’s Rainforest – with full explanations alongside.


Messing About On The River [I had to put this in specially for you, Mags!] complete with a copy of Wind In The Willows on top of the picnic basket. Some arrangements were done by members of the local Flower Guild- some by complete amateurs – like this cradle and christening gown at the base of the font


A Picture Paints A Thousand Words [this is for you, Lynn, I know how much you appreciate painting]


For Elizabethd, and Gwen – the music



The Pew-Ends were particularly sweet, under the title “All Things Bright And Beautiful” They all had little creatures nestling among the blooms – this one with a bunny and ladybird[ladybug] made me think of you, PomPom

The altar was spectacular, on the theme of Resurrection, with identical circular arrangements on either side.


I wish you could all have been there – it was beautiful, and the perfume in the church was amazing

We spent the rest of the day with Adrian and Marion – but ate our picnic tea in their lounge, in view of the rain!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway. Thanks everyone who has commented so far – and I am sorry Blogger is still being weird!

A Vision For A God-Shaped Church





Here are the three banners made by the girls at Sewing Club. I think they speak for themselves.

We used lots of sparkly lycra scraps – if I were a better photographer, you’d see how particularly splendid these flames look!

One useful tip for banner-makers - always put a channel at the bottom of your banner and insert a short dowel rod. It makes the banner hang so much better, and really improves the look of things.

I’ve cropped my pictures so you can’t see that [or the fact they are hanging over the lounge door- I took these pics before they went to be hung in the Church]

Sunday 29 May 2011

This Is The Day

Out preaching this morning, and the church have asked me to focus on Acts 2. And when the day of Pentecost was come…

Pentecost is the third great festival of the Christian year, along with Christmas and Easter. But Christmas and Easter are not mentioned by name in Scripture. Why is Pentecost? Answer, because the Jews already had a festival called Pentecost.


Its other name is Shavuot – and it marks fifty days from the Feast of Passover. You can read the instructions in Deuteronomy 16. 


It is a time when Jews mark two things – God’s provision of food, and so they bring the firstfruits of the harvest, and also God’s giving of the Law, the Torah, to Moses on Mount Sinai.

As I’ve studied the passages in Scripture, I have been increasingly amazed by the amazing parallels between the journey of the Israelites [Old Covenant] and the life and work of Jesus and the Church [New Covenant]

On the night he was betrayed, Jesus took bread, and – celebrated Passover with his disciples. Fifty days later, at the Jewish Pentecost, the gift of God’s Holy Spirit was given to the Church.

God gave the Israelites in Exodus both food to eat, and the Law to empower them to live rightly. Through his Holy Spirit we bear fruit in our lives, and are empowered to live lives proclaiming the Gospel.

robeFruit and Gifts – the robes of the priests serving in the tabernacle and Temple were embroidered with pomegranates and bells. A sign of provision, a sound of declaration.

The more I have studied, the more interested I have become [I kept rushing downstairs, interrupting Bob to tell him stuff I’d found out. He was too gracious to tell me when it was things he has known for years!] I was reading some information from a Jewish library about celebrating Shavuot, which said this

Shavuot is also sometimes known as Pentecost, because it falls on the 50th day. The counting reminds us of the important connection between Passover and Shavuot: Passover freed us physically from bondage, but the giving of the Torah on Shavuot redeemed us spiritually from our bondage to idolatry and immorality.

It is noteworthy that the holiday is called the time of the giving of the Torah, rather than the time of the receiving of the Torah. The sages point out that we are constantly in the process of receiving the Torah - that we receive it every day, but it was first given at this time. Thus it is the giving, not the receiving, that made the holiday significant.


What struck me was that as Christians, we remember at Pentecost the giving of God’s Holy Spirit, but we do well to listen to the other part of the Jewish instruction. “The sages point out that we are constantly in the process of receiving the Torah, that we receive it every day. Ephesians 5:18 reminds us to ‘be filled with the Spirit’ and that isn’t a once off experience, but rather a constant, daily receiving of His Grace and Power.

This is the day when the Spirit came,

we will rejoice and be glad in it

Saturday 28 May 2011

1.5K Anniversary Giveaway

1500 posts

I cannot believe it. How I do ramble on! 1500 posts and I have just hit 80 followers too. So that definitely calls for a Blog Giveaway. Please leave a comment on this post before midnight Monday 5th June. And please say which bits of the blog you like best [so I can tailor the giveaway to suit the winner!]

Thank you everyone who reads and responds – it’s great knowing there are so many friends out there.

Taking Silk

painterly topI rather like the ‘painterly top’ in the current Boden catalogue. Made of silk, it has a pretty scoop neck with pleating detail and short sleeves. “You can always rely on silk to elevate an outfit” says the website.

But it is also a stonking £59!!!

I thought a splash of silk would look good under my [incredibly smart] navy ‘preaching suit’

prima magazine may 2011

My SIL gave me a subscription to Prima magazine at Christmas- and that comes with a free pattern every month. The May issue included one for a shift dress – with little sleeves and pleating detail at the neckline.

And I had a large square remnant of silk which someone gave me last year [“I thought you could do something with it, Ang”]

So I made a top last night. DSCF1623 

I kept the pleating and topstitching at the neckline, but completely omitted the vertical darts at the front and back [and shortened it to hip length] That way I was able to make it without fastenings, so it drops over my head and drapes beautifully.DSCF1617

I tried it on with my suit last night and it looks fine. So that’s my ‘elevated’ outfit sorted for tomorrow. It took every scrap of the remnant! And it took less than two hours start to finish. If I wasn’t so busy with other stuff, I’d be tempted to find another remnant in The Stash and make myself a second top, I think! Thank you Prima magazine!

Happy Birthday, Amnesty!


"I wish, on this 50th anniversary of Amnesty International, that its work will continue to be so successful, that there will no longer be any need for such an organisation."
A 50th birthday message from Aung San Suu Kyi – and I echo the sentiments of that great lady.

amnesty founder peter benenson

Peter Benenson, founder of Amnesty

Friday 27 May 2011

Pretty In Pink

At Sewing Club on Wednesday, the last two sets of pjs were finished[apologies to the girls, who have been expecting to see the pictures for a couple of days now!]


K opted to embellish her vest with a little yoyo on the shoulder strap [her own idea, and I think it works brilliantly] and R appliqued a butterfly. The polka dot fabric was the underside of an IKEA quilt – and the butterfly was from the brightly printed top-side. Both girls were pleased with their projects- and we had a modelling session!

The rest of us worked hard on a special project for the church – a set of three banners to go with the current “God-shaped vision” sermon series. Expect to see pictures of these shortly, once I’ve finished the final details [hoping to have them hung up in KMFC by Sunday] We had some fabulous fabrics to work with – a colleague who makes costumes for her daughter’s dance school gave me a huge bag of remnants. For speed, we also got through rather a lot of Bondaweb.


I love this stuff – and buy it by the metre from Button Boutique in Leicester.

Happy Birthday Liz

Have a wonderful day, daughter!

liz 2

I am so proud of you – and particularly all your achievements in recent months at Battersea and The Brooke. God bless you always.

Thursday 26 May 2011

Dying For Some Marmite

vintage poster

Tom Clark, writing in The Guardian this week about the Marmite ban, refers back to an article he wrote five years ago. He quotes a DANISH PERSON on the subject of this wondrous spread. I have tracked down the chap’s name. One Alexander Benckendorff of Aarhus, Denmark, said

I LUV Marmite. I luv Marmite, I want to be buried in a Marmite jar. I luv Marmite, I luv Marmite, I luv Marmite, O God, I luv Marmite.

What is this poor chap to do now?


I must check with my missionary friends about the availability of Marmite in Peru, as Paddington is obviously keen on the stuff as well!

Double Vision

ChangandEng siamese twins

This month marks the bicentennial of the birth of the first conjoined twins to be called “Siamese twins”. Chang and Eng (Bunker)  were born in a small village in Thailand in 1811. The boys were joined at the side of the chest by cartilage, they also had fused livers. By stretching the cartilage as they grew older, the boys were able to easily stand side by side.

In modern times separation would be easy but in the early nineteenth century this was beyond the skills of the doctors. The twins were discovered by a Scottish merchant, Robert Hunter, who arranged for them to leave Thailand(Siam) and travel the world in a ‘freak show’ Later they toured with the famous P.T. Barnum.

They became quite wealthy and settled in North Carolina. They became US citizens and adopted the surname Bunker.  They married two local sisters, Adelaide and Sarah Anne Yates. The couples set up home together initially but eventually maintained two separate homes spending three days at each in a continuing cycle. Between them the twins fathered 21 children, Chang(10) and Eng(11). In 1874 Chang contracted and subsequently died from a severe chest infection, refusing medical help(separation) Eng died some three hours after his brother. Their descendants hold regular Family Reunions

biddenden maids

There had been famous conjoined twins before this – like the Biddenden Maids from the village of that name down in Kent. Records are quite sketchy before the 18th century – some say they were born in 1100, others in the mid 16th century.  What is certain is the Biddenden Bequest – every Easter, food was distributed to the poor of the village in their name.

science museum twinsIt was paid for by the rent from a  plot of land called “The Bread And Cheese Land”. The custom continues to this day – and the Science Museum in London has a display case containing a broadsheet about the twins and some samples of the cakes [imprinted with their image]

I think the generous ladies of Kent sound rather more pleasant than the brothers in Carolina – but maybe that is a false impression.

How complicated their lives must have been! Having a sibling is one thing, to have a twin is another  - but to be actually physically joined for life is quite beyond my comprehension.