Sunday 30 September 2012

The Body Of Christ

We are working through a sermon series on ‘What is The Church'?’ and today we are considering ‘the Body Of Christ’ from 1 Corinthians 12. Bob’s away in the Lake District with the Men’s Group [so he is preaching in the open air, high upon a hillside, this morning!] and I am in the pulpit here. I shall be quoting from this poem by Teresa of Avila
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks with
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours
I wonder if any of last week’s visitors will come back again today?
All the pieces of the jigsaw are important

UPDATE- the service went very well – thank you everyone who was praying for us. Sophie announced they had raised over £600 yesterday, and even more was donated this morning!

Saturday 29 September 2012

The Tale Of A Tenner

At our recent Village Fun Day, somebody found a ten pound note on the grass. They took it to Bob at the Sound Tent, who announced this over the PA [Will the owners please queue up over here…]

But nobody claimed it!


So two weeks later, Bob held it up in church and asked for suggestions as to what to do with it. A number of people suggested Gwen should buy things for the Mizpah Orphanage, as she is visiting them in India this autumn - but young Sophie said if she had it, she’d buy materials to make things to sell at her Macmillan Coffee Event. So she was given the tenner. I went along this morning, and discovered that with the help of her Mum, Jo, she’d produced

…truffles, in cute little boxes


...candy cane mice [neatly packed in CD wallets]


..and among the vast display of stunning cakes


…some chocolate crispy cakes


There were lots of people there when I dropped in this morning, so I hope they made lots of money. Bob is away, but I bought him a crispy cake to enjoy tomorrow evening when he returns. [and in case you are wondering, he said that if anyone was upset that Gwen did not get the £10, then they should go and give her a donation themselves!]

Of Cabinets And Kings

michael ibsen DNA

This is Michael Ibsen and Turi King. She is a geneticist at the University of Leicester. He is a quietly spoken Canadian-born chap. He works as a cabinet maker in London [where his mother was born] and has been shown to be a descendant of Anne of York, sister of Richard III. Therefore he is giving Turi a DNA swab so she can check if the bones found in the Dig are a genetic match to the King!

Read more here on the BBC website. it will be a few months yet before the test results will be made known. Then [if it is the King] they will hold a belated funeral. I find it all Very Exciting!

Friday 28 September 2012

Supporting The Supporters


This weekend, hundreds of people will be hosting events in support of Macmillan Cancer Support. Do try and get along to one of these activities if you possibly can. It is a brilliant charity helping so many cancer sufferers and their families.  

My young friend Sophie from church is involved in a fund-raiser with her friend Emily and I promised to give her some things to sell. I’ve taken some lovely butterfly fabric which was in my stash, along with a collection of hotel toiletries given to me by a friend recently returned from holiday. And I made some bags…DSCF4638DSCF4637DSCF4641 

The bags contain an assortment - shower gel, soap, shampoo and body lotion.

Then I covered a cardboard box with some more of the fabric, loaded it with the bags and tucked a few silk flowers round the edge.DSCF4642

Hoping Sophie and Co will raise lots of money for the good cause – I know they have been working very hard to prepare for it too.

Last week, the Charities Aid Foundation said that young people are not giving as much as the older generation. I am thrilled by the number of children and teenagers that I know who are so generous with their time and resources to help others. They deserve all our encouragement!

Thursday 27 September 2012

May Each Day Be A Good Day…

RIP Andy Williams 1928-2012

…and Good Night

Doing The Lambeth Walk!

So very grateful not to be an Anglican this week!  The Crown Nominations Committee is meeting to decide on the next ABC [ArchBishop of Canterbury] The BBC has listed some front-runners


Auntie suggests these; the Bishops of York, London, Durham, Coventry and Norwich [and also Leicester, Bradford, Liverpool and Worcester]

I am making no comments because I really have no idea which one is the right person- but I pray that the Committee will be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit as they seek to find God’s servant for this incredibly difficult job.

And God bless the long-suffering spouse of the one who is elected – methinks her Christmas will be ruined this year!

Wednesday 26 September 2012

I’m Part Of The Ladybird Generation!

Morgan had a Giveaway recently – and I was privileged to be among the winners. The parcel arrived today – a lovely selection of little cookbooks. I shall enjoy reading through these at my leisure [Bob is away till Sunday night, and they will keep me occupied in his absence]


But I was really thrilled with the little postcard that was included with the package. Here is it – front and back



And I know I am part of the Ladybird Generation, because I have that very book on my bookshelf.It originally had a coloured paper dustjacket, but that was lost, years ago!


And inside, my Mum has written my name – with a collection of different coloured ballpoint pens!

How I loved this book – acquired in 1963, and made many of the items within it.

The ‘colourful whirr’ and the tin-can stilts, and the papier mache flowerpot holder, the wallpaper beads, miniature garden and potato prints were made over and over again. And then I made them with my younger brother, and Girls’ Brigade children, and my own children



I have lost count of the cotton wool snowmen I’ve churned out over the years – although my Mum insisted I used a cardboard tube, not a jam jar for his body [safer] and a screwed-up ball of newspaper to form the shape of his head [cheaper]. After all, I couldn’t possible waste a potato, and she was convinced it would shrivel and smell before the end of the Christmas season! I’m sure she was right.


I never did get to make a Wonderful Diver – we didn’t have any old fountain pens to cannibalise, they were all in regular use!


And this final one I did get to try [I think I bought the onion with my pocket money!] Mags, you might want to try this one with the boys. However, I think the technique I taught them last year with lemon juice is less tear-jerking!


So Morgan’s giveaway has given me lots of fresh inspiration for things to make in the kitchen – and lots of memories of things I used to make in years gone by! A Double Whammy! Thank you so much.

Station X


Did you watch The Bletchley Circle recently? I did – with great anticipation. Especially when it appeared that the chief protagonist had been recruited to Station X at BP from her job as a clerk in the Foreign Office. That is exactly what happened to MY MUM!

Unfortunately that is about the sum total of my knowledge of my mum’s wartime experience. She would not speak about it. At all. Ever. Not even to Dad.

But I did find this series a little irritating.

ration bookFor a start 1952 was the year the King died. We all know that – cos we have just celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. But what was said about the King’s Funeral, or the Coronation? Many things were still on ration – but they only had a brief allusion to that at the beginning of Episode One [and the family ate a HUGE piece of meat later on]

They had a dimmer switch in their dining room. Susan appeared to be knitting with bamboo needles [surely they are MUCH newer?] In fact I kept noticing anachronistic details which jarred with me. It rather spoiled the plot. I suppose I am being too picky – but people would be shouting from the rooftops if there were errors in the historical accuracies of Downton, or Parade’s End.

And then the last episode was so contrived, the behaviour of the four women seemed rather silly. If they were so intelligent that they were recruited to decode the Grand German War Schemes, would they really act in such ludicrous ways?

I do hope they don’t decide to make a follow-up series! Rant over.

Tuesday 25 September 2012


The summer-flower has run to seed,
And yellow is the woodland bough;
And every leaf of bush and weed
Is tipt with autumn’s pencil now.
And I do love the varied hue,
And I do love the browning plain;
And I do love each scene to view,
That’s mark’d with beauties of her reign


Beneath a yellow fading tree,
As red suns light thee, Autumn-morn,
In wildest rapture let me see
The sweets that most thy charms adorn.
O while my eye the landscape views,
What countless beauties are display’d;
What varied tints of nameless hues, —
Shades endless melting into shade.


The leaves forsake the willow grey,
And down the brook they whirl and wind;
So hopes and pleasures whirl away,
And leave old age and pain behind.
The thorns and briars, vermilion-hue,
Now full of hips and haws are seen;
If village-prophecies be true,
They prove that winter will be keen.

The verses are from John Clare’s poem “Autumn”, the flowers are the ones in Church at the Big Welcome on Sunday morning [I love their glorious autumnal hues] and the bottom picture [nothing autumnal at all] is one of the children in Church . She collected some of the jigsaw piece invitations and started to join them up along the pew. What was wonderful was seeing that other members of the congregation noticed, and slipped over during the hymns to give her even more pieces to join on!

We are past the Equinox now, and getting really autumnal weather round here these last few days!

Monday 24 September 2012

Almond Essentials

almond essence

I’ve just put in my latest order to Approved Foods. I do this every three months or so. I'm not alone in this – Morgan has just posted about her order, and Froogs has mentioned AF in a post this weekend too.

Froogs referred to making a Bakewell tart using some of the Almond Essence she got when AF was selling it ridiculously cheaply - £1 for a tray of 12 bottles. I did that too! It was de rigeur, with my surname. But I’m not using it up very fast

So, dear friends, can you tell me – what are your favourite recipes which require almond essence, please? I need inspiration here!

Sunday 23 September 2012

There IS Such A Thing As A Free Lunch!!


10.30am at Church this morning, followed by lunch. Much prayer, preparation and planning has been going on round here.

Hoping and praying that at least one of the fifty or so people, to whom I have given an invitation, will turn up!

Saturday 22 September 2012

Souper Douper!


Joining in with Karen’s “Souper Douper Linking Party” today.

I made a pot of this fabulous carrot soup yesterday as we were expecting guests for lunch, and it was cold and wet outside. It is adapted from my Crank’s recipe book, and I have been making it for years!


  • 1lb carrots chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 medium potato chopped
  • 2 pints stock
  • splash of oil
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp marmite **
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • salt and pepper
  1. Saute onion briefly in the oil in a large saucepan
  2. Add all other ingredients
  3. Bring to boil, stirring
  4. Simmer for 30 minutes [covered]
  5. Cool a little, and then liquidise in blender
  6. Reheat gently in pan to serve.

[**not sure if friends across the pond can get this. Do you have and sort of yeast extract over there? or perhaps Bovril?  I know that Antipodean friends can use Vegemite.]

Made to the quantities given above, you get a wonderfully rich, thick soup – more of a chowder than a broth. You can stretch it a little further by adding more stock, milk or water. Rich – but very economical. It works out cheaper than the ‘basics’ vegetable soups from the supermarkets – but tastes better than the ‘finest’ range!

tuscan loaf

I served it with Aldi’s Part-baked Tuscan loaf – 99p - which we all agreed had a fabulous taste and texture. A bit of a treat…but then we did  have company!

Looking forward to picking up other good soup recipes from Karen and co.

Grace Is Not Cheap

pastor schoder wasnt sure

Pastor Schober wasn't sure whether buying the new crucifix from IKEA was such a good idea after all

Catriona posted this cartoon earlier in the week. Behind the levity is plenty to think about. It reminded me of something my Grandmother said to me.

“If I had been the only sinner on earth, Jesus would still have come and died on the cross for me. But I would have been the one who had to hammer in the nails”

And Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in ‘The Cost of Discipleship’

“Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

Friday 21 September 2012

What A Corker!

definition; slang – meaning ‘that is a remarkably excellent thing or person’

Here is a group of thirteen corks, hot-glued together. It looks like some sort of stylish ornament – but it is completely functional


This creation was Bob’s brainwave. When I arrange the flowers in Church, I buy them early, trim their stems, then stand them in my deep flower buckets to condition them.


I have four of these buckets, and when not in use, I store them, stacked, in the garage. But they kept sticking together. Bob made me three of these cork separators – and I drop one in each bucket before putting the next bucket in on top.

Brilliant - the buckets stay separate, and the air circulates so they dry out and do not rust! Stylish, nifty and thrifty - what a corker!



Edwardians Everywhere


So Downton Abbey is back for another series.

In the interests of marital harmony, we watch Inspector George Gently ‘live’ whilst we eat supper after church on Sunday night, and I record DA for another time when Bob is busy. I am not too bothered, as I also think Martin Shaw is a great actor, and I can catch up with Hugh Bonneville later.

maggie smith downtonI really enjoy DA, it is mindless escapism, and just like “Upstairs Downstairs” used to be in its original incarnation in the 1970’s. Gorgeous costumes, lovely settings, good dialogue

And I adore Maggie Smith’s ascerbic lines – I think Julian Fellowes has very successfully crossed Oscar Wilde with Dorothy Parker for some brilliant ripostes and bon mots. No I am not 100% convinced of its historical veracity – but actually I don’t care – it is entertainment!

bencumb parades end

I know that Benedict Cumberbatch has been very scathing about Downton - fortunately Julian Fellowes has reacted most graciously to BC’s ‘atrocious’ comment [here] It is not really fair of people to compare DA with BC’s current offering of “Parade’s End” The latter is much more demanding- nay hard-going - to watch.

With DA you can nip out to go to the loo, or pop the kettle on, and not miss too much. With PE I find I have to concentrate on every scrap of plotline and dialogue. But I am utterly gripped by it. The story is about a civil servant, Christopher Tietjen [played by BC] and his wife Sylvia [Rebecca Hall]  I confess I have not read anything  by Ford Madox Ford [what a daft name – not his original moniker. At least Jerome Klapka Jerome was saddled with his title from birth] Therefore I do not know if the wonderful lines are from FMF or Tom Stoppard’s adaptation.


Tietjen's comparison of the noise on the Western Front to a "wet canvas being shaken out by a giant" is brilliantly evocative

– and I am still grinning about his wife’s description of her rival, the enthusiastic young suffragette Miss Wannop, as “that scrub-faced ladies champion of the Regular Bowel Movement”

And what a stellar cast- Rupert Everett, Rufus Sewell, Miranda Richardson, Geoffrey Palmer...

The final instalment is tonight [if you didn’t watch the first four, don’t bother with this, it will probably make no sense whatsoever] but thus far I have enjoyed it far more than I expected to.

The Paradise  2The BBC’s next costume drama will hit our screens next week – “The Paradise” – but that is set 30 years earlier in one of the first British department stores.

I suspect I shall probably appreciate ITV’s “Mr Selfridge” in the new year a little more. That is another piece set in the Edwardian era. More servants and shopping…

My grandmother was lady’s maid to Lady Gamage – wife of Lord Gamage of Gamage’s – the other big London Department store, situated in Holborn.


Allegedly it was Harry Gordon Selfridge who coined the phrases “Only X shopping days till Christmas” and “The Customer is Always Right”

I suspect I am watching too much TV at the minute! And when not ensconced in the Edwardian Era and WW1, I am stuck in WW2 and its aftermath [The Wartime Farm, and The Bletchley Circle]

wartime farmTheBletchleyCircle

What’s your current favourite TV series?