Friday 31 May 2013

The Co-operative – Good For Giggles!

DSCF5542They have just refurbished our local Co-op. Today the staff are dressed as escapees from St Trinians. Even the manager dressed up! They are fundraising for a disabled children's charity today too. Hope they raise lots.

All very cheerful, and lots of free samples to taste. I like the new layout of the store – it has the same area, but feels much less cramped. I do like the Co-op.


Best Foot Forward

This is Sara from the Get Walking Campaign


I met her in the Supermarket on Wednesday. She was trying to persuade people to walk more and drive less – but sadly they all sped past her with their laden trolleys, back to their cars. I watched this as I stood in the queue to pay, and decided I should at least stop and have a brief chat, if only to encourage her a little bit.


We talked about the need to get more exercise, the fact that our Church has a “Walking In Good Company” Group which meets monthly, and how to persuade parents and schoolchildren that walking to school is preferable to jumping in the car at the last minute!

I came away with a little brown carrier full of information and a free pedometer. I gave Sara the details of our group [she is trying to get information about all the walking groups in the county] and promised her I would blog about the campaign. Check out the website as it is a national initiative, not just Leicestershire.


According to the information she gave me “A brisk 20 minute walk covering 1 mile will burn up 100 calories, which is equivalent to one chocolate digestive biscuit” I am hoping that the five minute uphill cycle-ride to the church burned up the calories in one fig roll, which is what I ate at yesterday’s Coffee Drop In!

I am sure I walked more when my children were younger [we only had one car, and I usually walked the girls to school each day] and later when we had Charlie, there was the dog-walking thing. But I am not really the sort of person who does much “walking as a leisure activity” Before the knee problems, I was really enjoying running – but my current exercise of choice seems to be cycling. I have my daughters to thank for that – they have definitely encouraged me into the saddle! I do hope Sara gets some takers though – she was so enthusiastic about her cause.

Thursday 30 May 2013

A Man Of Infinite-Resource-And-Sagacity

Don’t you just love that description [it is the description of the Mariner, in the Kipling story ‘How the Whale got his throat’] Sagacity means wisdom – and a wise man is often called a sage.

more sage

We have planted some sage [the herb, not the wise man] at Cornerstones, and discovered on Monday that it is flourishing.

Bob pruned it, and I brought back a bunch of leaves to try and dry them.

Sage is particularly good in pork dishes.


I was surprised to find the bush covered in flowers too.

I have stripped the leaves and laid them on a tray to dry, but put the flowers in a little terracotta pot.

They do not have much fragrance, but I like to see them on the windowsill

They remind me that sagacity - wisdom is an important quality.

James 1:5 tells us If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Bobbin About

Isn’t this the sweetest little seat/storage unit for a sewing room?

bobbin stool

I found it on the website of Martin Bjornson, a Swedish designer. bobbin2

Bobbin’s lid and bottom are made of solid beechwood, the pipe of heavy board. It’s upholstered with corduroy and will be available in eleven different colours. It measures H: 44 cm Ø: 36 cm. Shortly you’ll be able to order it from Estimated price €375 / $500. [so I shan’t be buying one!]

The Delightful Deauville

We collected the new bike on Saturday and already I have done 250 miles on the pillion. My thoughts so far…

First of all – how do you pronounce the name of the bike? I thought it was the DOEville [as in the French resort near Honfleur]  but our vendors called it the DeVILLE [as in Cruella and the 101 Dalmatians] Can anyone advise me, please?


Then there is the helmet issue – after 150 minutes in a crash helmet, my new short hair is unbelievably flat and straight – who needs GHDs when they have a skid-lid?

ghd pinknitro helmet

I am fairly comfortable on the pillion- but really miss the backrest [Bob is sorting that one out for me] I am managing to climb up and bend my knee without too much difficulty. [thank you Mr Darcy!]

nonconformist biker chick

The ride is not quite as smooth as on the Pan – mainly because this is a 2-cylinder, that was a 4-cylinder machine. This means that there is noticeably more vibration, particularly at higher speeds. I am hoping this works to my advantage. Maybe it will have a ‘Slendertone’ effect, and deal with the excess flab on my thighs and other places!


We left Cornerstones very early on Tuesday morning, in sunshine. Then as we got to the edge of the county and crossed the Great Ouse by Kings Lynn, it became rather cold and very wet. Halfway home, we stopped for a welcome hot chocolate, but I was very glad to be back in Kirby and a warm dry house.

Most important of all, Bob is happy and comfortable riding the new bike. I wouldn’t dream of going on the back if I was not 100% certain that he was a safe and steady driver. I have much to be thankful for.

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Rev Up Again!


After the accident back in February, we have taken our time in deciding what to do about replacing the motorbike. Full marks to Carole Nash Bike insurance, who paid up so promptly, with a fair ‘write-off’ price. We both loved the Pan European, but felt we ought to look for a newer bike – and as we didn’t have any extra money to put into the pot, we have been looking at the Honda Deauville. Last Saturday we collected this little beauty.

This model is a slightly smaller version of the Pan. This one has been pre-loved after by a biker from Nottingham - with a wife who is very slightly shorter than I am. I figured if she could climb onto the pillion then I could too!

So thank you to Paul and Helen, for selling us the bike, and to CNBI for the insurance money, and to everyone for their encouragement and good wishes over the last twelve weeks. Especially to Graham, our good friend and fellow Biking Baptist Minister, who even said that Bob could always have a ride on his Moto Guzzi sometime, if a replacement wasn’t forthcoming. That’s real friendship!!

I have to admit, I do like the red colour!

Monday 27 May 2013

We Are Mowing….

For the second Monday in a row, Bob has been doing some serious gardening [I just faff about on the sidelines doing lighter tasks] Last week Wimbledon, this week at Cornerstones. It is a lovely sunny bank holiday here. Apparently the bulbs I planted produced a very pretty display after Easter, say the neighbours – even if we never got to enjoy them.


The Crab Apple Tree, won by Liz in a competition 4 years ago is really beginning to show signs of life now, and is about two feet tall.

The grass has been mown at back, front and side, and our neighbour Alwyn kindly allowed us to put cuttings in her garden bin, once we had filled our own. We have also dealt with the weeds, and harvested our first home-grown rhubarb.

We have also written three new verses to the hymn “We are marching in the light of God” [so now I shall not be able to sing this with a straight face if Bob chooses it on a Sunday]

  • We are mulching…
  • We are mowing…
  • We are weeding…

We zipped into Dereham after lunch to pick up more milk, as we are expecting visitors later. I was intrigued by a sign in the woolshop


I have heard of Messy Church,, but whatever is “CarBootChurch”?

Can someone enlighten me, please?

Now I am going to sit and enjoy a cup of tea and a magazine.

It is a Bank Holiday, after all!

Happy Birthday, Liz!

barcelona 048


I cannot take in the fact that it is thirty one years since you were born!

Wish we could be with you today – it was so lovely to see you last week when we were London

Have a brilliant day – enjoy the Bank Holiday

We are so proud of all that you are and all that you have achieved.

Sunday 26 May 2013

A Man Sent From God, His Name Was John


This picture – taken around 1937, shows an elderly clergyman. Born the seventh of ten children, in a poor Scottish family in Forfarshire, he heard the evangelists Moody and Sankey preaching in Glasgow. He dreamed of one day being a Baptist preacher, like Mr Spurgeon. And so John went to London, trained at Spurgeon’s College, and became a pastor when he was just 23

In his first year of ministry, in August 1878, a dreadful boating disaster on the Thames [the loss of the Princess Alice** pleasure steamer] claimed 650 lives. The Captain’s widow was one of John’s church members- she asked him to conduct the funeral. This young pastor stood before three hundred freshly dug graves, and prayed for the right words of comfort and hope. From that day on, his tiny chapel was inadequate to hold the crowds who came to hear him preach of God’s love. [**if you watched ‘Ripper Street’ you may remember part of the plot being that the policeman’s daughter was lost in the accident]

The chapel was demolished and a huge Baptist Tabernacle was built, which had seating for 2000. For sixty years John was pastor, through the end of the Victorian era, the First World War and into the 1930s. He was president of The Baptist Union in 1904. In 1907 he was conferred with the degree of Doctor of Divinity by a Texan university and in 1919 was awarded the MBE for his services to troops stationed at the barracks near his church during WW1.

He was loved and respected by all – wealthy businessmen and politicians[ including Lloyd George], senior churchmen of all denominations, and many Jewish Rabbis, as well as by the soldiers and the ordinary people in his community. They all considered him a friend. Along with his devoted wife, he worked tirelessly to improve the conditions of those who lived and worked around his church. Thousands came to the celebrations of his Diamond Jubilee in 1937, marking his record sixty years as minister in the same church – the programme of Special Events lasted over a fortnight.

When he died, just before the outbreak of WW2, the local council renamed one of the major streets in his honour. He had not just served his church – but all the local people, setting up programmes of social care, and showing God’s love to anyone and everyone who needed it. There are very few Baptist ministers who have streets named after them – but this man made it his life’s work to bring the Light of Life and Hope to the place where God had sent him. Despite the squalor and poverty he found there, he never sought to move on to a richer, easier pastorate [or to return to his family home in Scotland]

Why have I written all this Baptist history today? – simply because I have thought so much about this man this week. You see, the street they renamed for this gentle man of God is in Woolwich – it is John Wilson Street. That street which has been pictured on TV and in newspapers all round the world in the last few days. Just before his death, John Wilson said “I may be a Scotsman, but I love Woolwich with all my heart” – if John were alive now, his heart would be breaking to hear of the brutal murder of the young soldier Lee Rigby, and of the mindless backlash against Muslim groups.

135 years ago, following another tragedy in Woolwich, John prayed for the right words of comfort and hope – may God give those words now to all men and women of faith, as they seek to find peace.

Saturday 25 May 2013

One Man Went To Mow!

I should have taken more pictures – particularly of the ‘before’ category. Steph and Mark had a very overgrown back garden – the gate to the passage behind the houses was inaccessible, the shed was densely covered with ivy, and the grass was so long. Oh, and the decking was rather filthy.


There’s definitely a shed under here!


Whilst I was at my WWDP Committee in Tunbridge Wells, Bob was busy working with saw, loppers, shredder, mower, and power washer.


The shredder is about twenty years old – it was my Dad’s


Now the grass is cut short, the ivy has been cut back, the magnolia tree pruned, and the patio has been jet-washed. Still lots of stuff to be shredded…but definitely a significant improvement.

Well done Bob!

In Tunbridge Wells- But NOT Disgusted!

This week I attended a Women’s Day Of Prayer National Committee – held in Kent [usually we meet in London] We worked hard all day, there is lots of business to sort out [and I used to think WWDP was all about just one day in March!] Our venue was the church next door to WWDPHQ. During the lunch break, Nicci gave some of us a guided tour of the HQ, which was newly refurbished a couple of years ago [and won a civic award!]


It is an attractive, tall, thin building – originally a milkman lived here [and kept his horse and cart on the ground floor] then it housed a printing business

Now it is the HQ of our organisation


In this compact complex, the ground floor houses the print room, [Margeurite’s domain] a kitchenette, WC and small storage area

First floor – Mary and Nicci’s workstations [Here’s Nicci!]


Top floor is for storage [and a table and chairs for small meetings]Wisely, a small electric lift has been installed so that heavy boxes of books can be transported between floors safely. Nicci stressed it was not a passenger lift!


The three office staff work very hard all year round ensuring that all the mailings go out on time, and everything runs smoothly. You can read more about the WWDP Office here.

I found these pictures of the building both before and during refurbishment- quite a change I think! I am glad our intrepid trio have more spacious working conditions now.

wwdphq before

building work

Friday 24 May 2013

Half Term Is Here, Hallelujah!


And yet another Barnaby Bear has been dressed and provided with a travelling bag. He is ready for his Half Term Holiday, even if I’m not!

I brought him home last night and made his sweatshirt. He belongs to the class I taught yesterday afternoon. I was due to teach ‘hockey skills’ to these 7 year olds – but we had to dash back inside because of a hailstorm. In May!!!!

[friends who have known me a long time will remember that I have loathed hockey all my life. I consider the hailstorm was probably Divine Providence!]

Cedars Of …Wimbledon!

We had a lovely meal with Steph on Monday evening, at a Lebanese restaurant in Wimbledon, just round the corner from her house


The decor was attractive, the food was delicious [and reasonably priced] and we really enjoyed relaxing together

cedars lebanon wimbledon

I particularly enjoyed the Moutabel Dip, and the Fattoush Salad – Bob liked the Falafels and the Basturma Beef [Sliced fillet of cured beef in spices, pastrami] Steph recommended the Hummus Kawarma Dip [Hummus topped with fried spiced lamb cubes and pine kernels] and the Makanek Sausages [Little spicy Lebanese lamb and pine kernel sausages fried and seasoned with garlic and lemon juice]


Meals where you have a whole selection of small plates like this are super, because you can have a small taste of everything! We finished with Lebanese coffee and a plate of Baklava Pastries.

For once I remembered to take the picture of our dishes before we started eating [which is why there is just one small strip of basturma on my plate!]

Thursday 23 May 2013

Fleece And Flowers

Two more projects finished by my pupils this week. Another one from this book

fabric 101 sew a metre

My student didn’t like the bear’s expression [and we decided stitching was better than ‘safety eyes’ for a small child] so she designed her own face. We used a narrow zigzag stitch. She drew the design on the back of the fabric and stitched from the wrong side. Here’s the one in the book, and the one we made…


My other student stitched a cushion for her bedroom [I forgot to photograph the pretty red and pink ‘strip&flip’ patchwork back]


No sewing lessons next week- it is half-term!

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Signs And Wonders

He takes the signs down


He puts the sign up


He hammers the signs in


She wonders how many people will come?

Worried About Carrots?

Just been reading this splendid library book.shoestring book


The young and talented Sophie Wright has some excellent recipes. She has some sensible ideas – and one recipe I have already tried is “Carrot Cookies”

She acknowledges this is a Wartime Classic which uses up the ‘slightly floppy carrots hanging about in the bottom of the fridge’

However, Sophie brings it bang up to date by giving a recipe which is made in minutes in a food processor. As usual I ignored the size instruction and used my 1” ice cream scoop to make smaller biscuits. Doubling her quantities gave me fifty neat little biscuits.

Carrot Cookies – Prep 10 minutes, cook 12 minutes plus cooling.

  • 85g butter
  • 130g sugar
  • 130 g plain flour
  • ½tsp baking powder
  • 2 small carrots [or 1 large] peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Out butter and sugar in food processor, and cream till pale and fluffy. Add flour and baking powder. Add grated carrot and cinnamon, and blend again. If mixture looks dry add 1 tbsp water
  2. Divide mixture into balls, about 3cm in circumference. Put these on baking tray lined with greaseproof. Bake 0-12 minutes until golden brown.

I think I over processed my mixture, as my cookies didn’t have the golden shreds of carrot hers did. But they still tasted good!

Cook on a Shoestring biscuitsDSCF5500

I am giving away some of every batch of cookies I bake these days. If we eat them all ourselves, Bob and I will put on too much weight.

Mae West never worried about diets or carrots though…

mae west

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Some Food For Thought

Meal with Jesus.indd

I have just finished reading this book, which was a birthday present. It is by Tim Chester and published by IVP

The blurb says

Meals have always been important across societies and cultures - a time for friends and families to come together. An important part of relationships, meals are vital to our social health. Or as author Tim Chester puts it, Food connects.

Tim argues that meals are also deeply theological - an important part of Christian fellowship and mission. He observes that Luke's Gospel is full of stories of Jesus at meals. And these meals represent something bigger… Moving from New Testament times to today, the author applies biblical truth to challenge our contemporary understandings of hospitality. He urges sacrificial giving and loving around the table, helping readers consider how meals can be about serving others and sharing the grace of Christ.

The book’s six chapters set out Chester’s argument thus

  • Meals as Enacted Grace: Luke 5
  • Meals as Enacted Community: Luke 7
  • Meals as Enacted Hope: Luke 9
  • Meals as Enacted Mission: Luke 14
  • Meals as Enacted Salvation: Luke 22
  • Meals as Enacted Promise: Luke 24

It is clearly rooted in Scripture, and but Chester also quotes from a diverse range of other authors [and he illustrates his points wonderfully using film references too] I don’t think he has said anything particularly ‘new’ – but do I like the way he has brought together a ‘theology of mealtime’. I have read it once, in two sittings – but now want to go back and re-read it more slowly, savouring each mouthful, digesting it properly.

At the end of Christian Aid Week, when I have also been thinking about the IF campaign, and those who go to bed hungry each night, it has been a useful exercise to consider my own attitude to food. And to remember to be truly grateful for every plateful. 

I would recommend this book because it is a challenging read –but you don’t need a theology degree to understand it! *****

Thank you, Mags and family for this great gift!

Monday 20 May 2013

Hobo For Hombolo!

Heather’s son Matthew is off again to Hombolo, in Tanzania [see here] with Leprosy Mission Northern Ireland. In January I made a blanket which he could take out there. Heather said that they really wanted to take gifts for the women, as well as the babies and children. I thought about this, and came up with an idea…

IM002503I used the bag pattern which we did at Sewing Club 5 years ago [tutorial here] but this time I modified it. Before sewing the lining and outer together, I put some pleats along the top. It gives the bag a much better shape.

This style, I have discovered, is called a Hobo Bag. I made eight for Hombolo as part of my Monthly Charity Stashbusting Exercise. Thank you to Joyce and Rhiannon at Sewing Club who helped me finish off the last three.

hombolo bags

They are both lightweight and strong. The picture at the bottom right shows how tidily you can fold and stack them – so they have packed easily into a jiffybag [for me to post to Heather in Blefast then Matthew to take in his case to Africa] I think my favourites were the last two I made


The left one is ‘half and half’ – because I couldn’t decide whether to put the floral or the plain as the lining, so paired them. The right one is a particularly favourite print from my stash.

I do hope that the African girls enjoy these!

leprosy mission NI

Two other people have put in requests for me to knit for their charities, so I have ideas for June and July, and I am sorting out the wool for them, and for my August project [an appeal I spotted in a local free newspaper] Not sure how many items I will make over the summer. Holiday Club keeps me pretty busy, and also I find it hard to knit when it is hot.

Oh hang on – I think I may have missed the hot and balmy summer weather – wasn’t that Tuesday last week!!!