Monday 30 April 2012

The Thrill Of What You Already Have #4

The Thrill of What You Already Have

Oh dear – here we are on the last day of April and I have yet to post about TTOWYAH. Sorry!

Floss posted a picture of Aberdeen.

There have been some great posts already – and many seem clothing related.


Jane showed a picture of clothes in the same shades, Nana Gogo had a great story about her visit to see Barbra Streisand and the tee-shirt, and Floss herself said she loved “the purpley-blue colours and the two relaxed yet stylish day-trippers. My going away-outfit was a bit like their daywear!” And I suddenly remembered my going-away dress. This afternoon I went up into the loft, and dug it out of the ‘dressing up box’. Yes I still have one [well, actually, there are four boxes of costumes up there] even though the girls have grown up and moved out. There have been at least four occasions since Christmas when young friends have needed to borrow stuff!

Here’s my dress


It is looking a little the worse for wear, and one or two seams are coming unstitched [it is nearly 33 years old, after all]

But the whites and the blues of the voile and the plain blue lining reminded me of the pale bridge reflected in the water, and the blue sky above.

And I still have the original Style pattern which I used to make it. It is labelled “Ang, Dereham, April 79”.

I borrowed Mum’s sewing machine to make the dress.


I made three dresses from this pattern that year

  1. one in a deep blue floral cotton [unlined] with the little collar, but no flounce on the hem [the middle style]
  2. one in wine red corduroy in the style on the right, which I wore as a pinafore dress.
  3. the going-away dress, as the middle style but with a flounce.


Half an hour ago I tried on the dress again [for the first time in years] From the waist down it is absolutely fine. But my arms are not quite as slim as they were and the sleeves fit, but snugly. The main area of difference is the bust. When I got married I was a 31”AA size. [“Very flat, Norfolk” said Oscar Wilde]

Thirty years and two babies later, I would say that my cup runneth over! There is no way the zip will fasten above the waist now.

I had a black velvet blazer from M&S to wear with the dress[although my wedding day was warm and fine and it wasn’t needed] and on my feet I had my white patent four inch stiletto heels.

I may have grown up in Norfolk, but I was born in Essex, after all!

Cold Comfort

I defrosted the freezer on Saturday, and took the opportunity to photograph one of the drawers while it was empty! It is a mystery to me exactly why they make the fittings on many fridges and freezers so flimsy. Unless it is just that the extreme temperatures cause the plastic to become brittle? I don’t know. Does anyone else have problems with their freezer fittings?


My freezer has a drop down door for the top shelf, and two pull out baskets below.


Both baskets are wire framed with a solid plastic panel on the front. And both panels have cracked along the stress points at the side. This meant the fronts were loose, and things fell out.


Bob has drilled some holes, and fixed the panels more firmly to the mesh with cable ties. Everything is fine now – and the repair meant I did not need to buy new fronts for the freezer baskets. They cost £25 here – which seems a ridiculous price!

drawer front

Thanks Bob, you are a genius!

Sunday 29 April 2012

Between The Lines


My post about this last Saturday [following on from Foster Mummy’s post] generated lots of comments. I came across LBTL last year too, via Sue’s blog – and she’s collecting sponsorship on her blog. But I have decided that I am not going to participate in the exercise.

I am not knocking the idea – anything that a] encourages people to be aware of poverty and b] raises funds to help those in need is an idea worthy of consideration. But my reasons for opting out are these;

I think that the organisers of LBTL want to raise awareness by making people see how hard it is to live on a food budget of less than £1 a day , and also what little choice those people existing in poverty experience. Due to the lack of income from Supply Teaching this past year, I am already watching my spending very carefully. Therefore I already know that I can provide interesting and varied meals on an extremely tight budget.


For the LBTL challenge to really affect me, I think I would have to restrict myself to just rice and water for 5 days. Or maybe even fast. Right now I do not feel led to do either of those things.

Steph made the interesting point that many of the items featured on the suggested LBTL menu plans are from ‘basics’ ranges in the Supermarkets- and the stores often sell these as ‘loss leaders’ – below their real value, in order to generate other purchases. In which case you are getting more than £5 worth of food – so it isn’t a true picture. I am still pondering on that idea!

But nevertheless, I applaud my friends who are doing the LBTL challenge, and I am supporting them by publicising their efforts and praying for them [and sending off some sponsor money]

I shall be interested to see if LBTL is mentioned anywhere at the Baptist Assembly Meetings next weekend.

Looking forward to being there!

Words Of Inspiration?

Our main Post Office in Leicester is located in the basement of the W H Smith’s store. Earlier this week I was down there and noticed some intriguing new categories on the shelves displaying the books.


Do angels write much? I know there’s all those instructions to the angels in the book of Revelation. And that poem about Abou Ben Adhem which I had to learn at school was about an angel writing in a book of gold.

Maybe one should consult the World’s Leading Angel Expert?


No, I hadn’t heard of her either. I went to her website and decided she’s certainly found a cosy niche in the market for making pots of money. I also found this article which shed a little more light on her background, including her “PhD” and her “clairvoyance”.


Aren’t all Bibles inspirational, you ask? Well these ones have titles like ‘The Yoga Bible’ ‘The Crystal Bible’ ‘The Sacred Sex Bible’

I came away from the store feeling really sad. Sad that people are spending their money on literature which purports to inspire and give hope – but I believe that 99.9% of these books are distorting the truth written in the Bible. Isaiah 8:19 is quite clear on this

When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God?

Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?

I looked up the Isaiah passage in The Message [always an interesting exercise- even if not quite as accurate a translation] and found this

When people tell you, “Try out the fortune tellers. Consult the spiritualists. Why not tap into the spirit-world, get in touch with the dead?" Tell them, "No, we're going to study the Scriptures."

People who try the other ways get nowhere—a dead end! Frustrated and famished, they try one thing after another. When nothing works out they get angry, cursing first this god and then that one, looking this way and that, up, down, and sideways—and seeing nothing. A blank wall, an empty hole.
   They end up in the dark with nothing.

[btw I do believe in angels – but not as described in these books]

Saturday 28 April 2012

John 11:25


I have worked and worked all day. Completing the washing and ironing, cleaning and correspondence, and sermons and sewing…and even defrosting the freezer.

Steph’s scarlet flowers have suddenly faded- but I was given these lovely pink tulips earlier in the week and they have brightened my spirits a little today.

It has been good to have so much to busy myself with…


Bob and I both feel incredibly sad today – our dear friend Dave Ford died very suddenly on Thursday night.

I don’t want to write any more about Dave just now – but would ask that you remember his wife Julie and the family in your thoughts and prayers.

Dave was always so full of life, and full of the love of Jesus. He will be greatly missed.

Currently in CHAOS

That’s Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome.

I have last week’s laundry to iron and put away


This week’s washing to deal with


Beds to change and sheets to launder


Sunday night’s sermon to polish up, and a service to prepare


Some sewing tasks to finish [and a bib for another new baby]


A bag of school work to mark and sort out, lessons to prepare


Various bits of correspondence to deal with



And every carpet in the house needs a visit.

And I am determined to get it all done today.

And when it is all done, I am planning to do something fun. Carolyn has some great ‘walk’ suggestions here. But the weather here has not been very conducive to walking this week…

milne waterproof 3

Friday 27 April 2012

All Done In Less Than Three Weeks!

Having received this wool from my SIL in February, and kept it in the bag till we went to Cornerstones after Easter, I was determined to get the cardi made up promptly, and not have it hanging around!


The pattern was remarkably easy [even the picking up the collar stitches round the neckline worked better than I’d expected] and the single button – my antiqued Union Jack painted by Steph– worked superbly. The button colours went well with the yarn.

pattern 9202DSCF3643

No I am not going to pose with a feather in my hair! I like the ‘casual’ feel of this cardi, and I think it will be a good summer cover up with teeshirt and jeans. The yarn was lovely to knit with, and on the large needles, the project grew very fast.

Artist In Residence

Last weekend, following our family trip to the Bosworth Battlefield, we decided to take a trip into nearby Market Bosworth to do some window-shopping. I rarely purchase anything in MB, as all the shops are rather over-priced – but at least the parking is free!

But the heavens opened and instead of a leisurely stroll, we dived out of the rain into a couple of gift shops before hastening home.

union buttons

In one of the shops they had some cute enamel buttons with Union Flags on them. These were £1.50 each.

It occurred to me that one of these would look good on the cardi I’ve been knitting.

After all, in Jubilee Year why not have such a patriotic fastening? It will help me remember when I knitted the garment too. But £1.50?

DSCF3634A quick consultation in the shop with Bob and Steph, and when we got home, out came Bob’s tin of enamel paints [bought for Airfix Models] I’d forgotten the French word for enamel was email!DSCF3631 

Steph sat at the kitchen table with an encyclopaedia and a selection of buttons.

She painted four buttons, in differing sizes – three with holes, one with a shank on the back.

Then the next day, after she’d returned to London, I gave three of them a coat of clear varnish.

I stopped after three, because I realised that


the ‘clear’ varnish was actually slightly tinted.

My buttons are now ‘antiqued’! But they still looked extremely good.

Now to get the jumper finished!

Thanks Steph- you are much neater with a paintbrush than I am!

Thursday 26 April 2012

Wristwatches–And Psalm 31:15

You remember the defunct blue watch I got in Norfolk? Well, Rebecca at Clas Ohlsen Customer Services refunded the money within 48 hours of the parcel being posted. And I bought this pink one in Argos. I’m really pleased with it. It’s comfortable, clear and cheap!

co watch


I meant to post about this sooner and then forgot. What reminded me was a conversation with colleagues at school – people were speaking about the local woman who died during the London Marathon, and also another young man killed locally this week in a motorcycle accident. One person said she believed in Fate and when Your Time came, then you could do nothing to stop it. “What do you think, Ang? What would your husband say?” I was asked.

“I think I would agree with what it says in the Psalms – I believe my time is in God’s hands- and personally I cannot think of a safer place. He knows what tomorrow will bring, and I am trusting Him to sort it out.”

The Glory Of The Garden

Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing "Oh, how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade,
While better men than we go out and start their working lives
At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives

So wrote Kipling [full poem here] and he was right – a beautiful garden requires hard work and devotion. On holiday a couple of weeks ago we went with Liz and Jon to visit an amazing garden right in the centre of Norwich.

HenryTrevorThe Plantation Garden was started by Henry Trevor, a wealthy upholsterer and cabinet maker in 1856. He bought an old industrial site and spent time and money creating a fabulous garden.

He also founded the Norwich Horticultural Society. A keen Baptist Christian, he believed that encouraging townsfolk to plant gardens would ‘develop morality and religion’ in the community.

Sadly the garden became neglected and it was virtually abandoned after WW2. But in recent years the Garden Preservation Trust has been formed to restore these gardens to their former glory.

We enjoyed walking round, looking for wildlife, admiring the summerhouse, being impressed by the ‘follies’ and generally overwhelmed by the vistas.


I only took a few photographs – most of the time I was just squealing “Ooh look at this” and “Isn’t this lovely?” It cost £2 to go in, but annual family membership is only £12 for unlimited visits. Seems good value to me!



Liz said if she worked nearby in Norwich she would want to bring her packed lunch here each day, to sit and eat it in such beautiful surroundings.

Our England is a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.

Do look at the website [here] and read the full history '[here] There are lots more spectacular pictures and also plenty of details of opening times and events which happen throughout the year.  I am so impressed by the volunteers who work diligently to restore this fabulous hidden treasure.

I suspect the garden at Cornerstones is too small for me to create an elaborate stone folly in the corner. But a girl can dream, can’t she…?

Wednesday 25 April 2012

That Sinking Feeling

There was an amazing story on the BBC Website yesterday about a Chinese teenager walking down the street.


The pavement fell away beneath her and she plunged out of sight, initially being knocked unconscious.

A cab driver saw what happened, stopped his car, and went down into the hole to comfort her, and stay with her till rescue teams got them out. It is believed the hole was caused by subsidence due to underground water erosion.

What an awful experience for the girl – and what a great guy!

Blooming Brilliant!

Steph’s company [SABMiller] is based in Woking, and in the entrance of the building there is always a floral display. Many companies do this, I know – a florist delivers a fresh display every Monday, and the previous week’s flowers are binned.

One of Steph’s colleagues had the bright idea of auctioning the flowers for charity. Now, you have to remember these flowers are already a week old – so their life may be somewhat limited. The scheme started last week – it hasn’t really ‘taken off’ yet – but it was quite exciting to receive a bouquet from Steph as she got off the train last Friday night. [only costing her £2 – that’s my girl!]


As befits a formal display from large foyer, these are what you might call ‘architectural’ in style – two huge ‘Swiss Cheese Plant’ leaves, and some rather exotic blooms. I decided to display them simply in my tall metal flower bucket. I put a sachet of flower food in with them, and they are lasting well.

I think this is a really creative idea- the flowers are recycled, the charity benefits, and the blooms continue to bring joy and colour to people [instead of being binned whilst there is still life in them] Thanks Steph – and your colleague1

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Stating The Obvious


I just do not have a ‘sport mindset’.

I saw the sign and thought


when the Mercury Headline really refers to our local rugby team!


I Read Dirty Books!

I was fascinated by this article on the BBC website recently. Apparently, scientists have been measuring the dirt on the pages of medieval manuscripts, and can therefore deduce which pages were read most! Furthermore, as the majority of these ancient tomes were religious works, they can see which prayers were perhaps more important for the readers.

medieval prayerbook

Some intriguing extracts from the article…

One of the dirtiest pages in a selection of European religious books was a prayer to St Sebastian, who was often prayed to because his arrow-wounds - the cause of his martyrdom - looked like the bubonic plague. This indicated that the reader of the book was terrified of the plague and repeated the prayer to ward off the disease.

Pages which contained the prayers for the salvation of others were less dirty than those asking for salvation for oneself.

As well as demonstrating medieval people prayed for their own assistance, the analysis showed the pages of a prayer to be said in the small hours of the morning were only dirty for the first few pages. It has been suggested this shows most readers fell asleep at the same point.

Researchers have found [medieval  people] to have many characteristics still found in modern readers. They … feared illness, were selfish and often fell asleep while reading late at night.

be roI began wondering about my dirty books! Some of my cookbooks are very grubby in places – particularly the Christmas Cake page in my Good Housekeeping Book, and the ‘Easy Fruit Cake’ in my Be-Ro book.

I looked at my NIV Study Bible, and there is definitely a grubby section along the page edges where I flick through to find something- but no specifically soiled verses.

I do not use a Prayer Book, so couldn’t check that out. But I admit that if I cannot sleep, I often lie awake praying, and then doze off. Years ago, I’d feel guilty about that, but now I have decided God understands me completely, and generously grants me the rest I need even as I am telling Him about it!

I do remember in my student days, I had an RSV Bible, and Isaiah chapter 43 was stained with Marmite, and toast crumbs – because when I was feeling that life was tough, I’d frequently resort to tea, toast, and those comforting words!

I am not sure about the conclusion of the researchers that people were selfish becausethe prayers for the salvation of others were less dirty than those asking for salvation for oneself’. Maybe those ones for others had been said so often that they had been learned by heart?

Do you have any ‘dirty books’? [no rude answers, please!!]

And what will researchers of a future generation conclude when they look back at the iPads and Kindles of today?

Monday 23 April 2012

Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain

Did you learn that rainbow mnemonic too?


And that battle took place in 1485 just ten miles from Kirby.


Just a few years ago, a badge was found in the shape of a boar [Richard’s emblem] and historians revised their original ideas about the location of the Battle of Bosworth Field – so it is a few miles away from the fancy Heritage Centre – but still very close by.

Boar-badge of bosworhtsite

We went on Saturday morning with Steph and Mark and had an interesting time finding out about the battle, and how people lived in Mediaeval Times. Les Routiers De Rouen were holding a re-enactment, so we got to meet some fascinating characters. I always thought ‘routiers’ were French lorry drivers, but apparently that’s the old name for mercenaries!


This guy was a total fanatic and very proud to tell us all about his armour and weaponry.

The clothes were incredibly heavy, and under the metal armour men wore heavy quilted jackets as extra protection.

He delighted in explaining how one finished off the enemy, sticking daggers through the slits in their visors etc. Gruesome!


DSCF3619Next to him was a tent where a lady was displaying all the baked goods which would have been fed to the army.

I was rather concerned as the plate of tarts on the bench at the back appeared to be DSCF3620topped with cranberries. Surely, I said, cranberries are native to America, so the army at Bosworth would not have had them? I am not sure they were happy I said that!


This guy was a crossbow man, or was he a cross bowman?

I am not sure!

Their costumes were carefully made to be as authentic as possible.

There were some tents in another corner of the field and also an archery display.

Having spend ages with Les Routiers we went to look round the main part of the heritage centre, pausing briefly for Steph and Mark to DSCF3621pose in the stocks.

Inside there were excellent display panels, interactive sections, and informative videos. DSCF3624


We pulled levers, pressed buttons, watched videos and flipped boards to learn more about the battle and its place in our history.


DSCF3627The re-enactors were apparently Yorkists [the losing side] – but as Mark is a Lancastrian, we considered ourselves to be among the winners!

There was armour to dress up in.

We all had a go at the ‘pulling a longbow’ machine.

Mark won [just!] .DSCF3629

Edit – sorry, I’m informed that Bob and Steph scored the same as Mark. I came last [of course]

Here’s Richard III

Once a King, always a King…as they say!

Having seen all we could we then went into the coffee shop for a cuppa and shared Cornish Pasties.

I would definitely recommend the Battlefield Centre for a good family day out, especially warlike little boys. We encountered a Beaver Pack, and also a dozen children there to celebrate a Birthday Party [they had their own special talk from one of the soldiers, followed by party food and balloons in the cafe!] Website is here



One final comment – the correction on the display panel was already there when we arrived. None of us is responsible for changing less to fewer here!