Thursday 31 October 2013


Mags asked ‘Who eats alligator chips?’ and I believe that in Norwich, the answer may be the Snapdragon.


The Norwich Snap Dragon appears to be a unique survivor in British tradition having made the transition from medieval guild play to become associated with the investment of a new mayor. It narrowly escaped the extinction , and avoided redundancy by taking a sabbatical of almost 150 years. [Above you see one in the Bridewell Museum, below, the one from the Castle Museum.]


The Snap Dragon is constructed to be carried by one man, by straps over his shoulders. The form is barrel-shaped, formed around a horizontal pole (head at one end, tail at the other) and two small wings conceal the man’s face. The man’s hands are left free to operate the head and hinged lower jaw (this makes a loud click when it shuts, hence ‘Snap’). Here’s a procession in the 1950’s


It is traditionally associated with the Norwich Guild of St.George, founded in 1389, and was paraded around the city on St. George’s Day. In 1471 George was to ride in the “procession and make a conflicte with the dragon and kepe his astate” on two days.

In 1537 “Bought for apparel of the George and Margaret, eight yards tawny, and four yards crimson velvet, to be in the custody of the alderman; so that St. Margaret, who is always painted with the dragon, as well as St. George, was always represented in the procession as well as he, and called the lady of the Gild.”

museum in mkt 1883

In 1558, during the Reformation, it was ordered “that there shall be neither George nor Margaret but that for pastime the Dragon to come and show himself as in other years.”

The office of Mayor was abolished by the Municipal Reform Act of 1835 so Snap was no longer required for official duty. Norwich acquired a Lord Mayor (a purely ceremonial post) in 1910 but it was not until around 1980 that a dragon re-appeared

castledrgon plaque

Dragons will be back on the streets of Norwich when the Dragon Festival returns between Monday 10 and Sunday 23 February 2014 due to popular demand.

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Just Whistle While You Work

What’s been happening on the sewing front lately?

snow white aprons1

You’ll just have to wait and see…

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star


Isn'’t this lovely? Yesterday, on our way back from Cornerstones, we stopped off in Fenland to meet a blogfriend. We had such a lovely time with Morgan and her family. Their half term project is making Christmas Decorations – and I feel very honoured to have been presented with one. I love the way that half the star is covered with sparkly gauze ribbon and the other half has been embroidered with more little stars.


We also received this pot of Courgette Chutney – which will be great with cold meats and cheese.

I have met quite a number of blogfriends [and some of their families] now – and I do have to say it has always been a positive experience- somehow you feel you know each other already and it is so easy to chat about the things that you share in common.

Thanks M and co for making us so welcome.

We came through the storm unscathed – Bob’s replacement fencing appeared to be standing up well to the weather when we left Norfolk. and got home safely. Liz ,Steph and their blokes had transport problems in London, but nothing worse. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who have suffered damage and disruption.

Monday 28 October 2013

As Seen In Norwich…

Firstly, two things I just had to photograph in Clas Ohlsen last week. I took this one, because I was intrigued by the idea of an Almond Grinder- only afterwards did I notice the Alligator Chipper Attachment behind it


Bob found this strange bit of plastic, with its wonderful description

“For pipes who fit outside the tube from the nozzle”


And two more from the Bridewell Museum – a bewigged gentleman from the Coffee House [I so love Museums where you can dress up!]


and a reminder that we have only 8 weeks to go


Half term is over – so it’s time to leave Cornerstones and head back to Kirby Muxloe now. We have had such a great week with the family.

Sunday 27 October 2013

Celtic Prayer Weave

celtic weaving

Into my life

I weave the love of God

Into my striving and my being

I weave the peace of God

Into the frayed edges of my life

I weave the crimson thread

of His forgiveness and strength

Into my stony heart

I weave His kindness

melting me into love

Into my darkness

I weave His light and life

Into my time

I weave His eternity

celtic weaving2

[poem by Julie Steadman-sorry I have no more details]

Saturday 26 October 2013

Mending And Making Do

Recent high winds did a fair bit of damage to our Cornerstones garden fence [thank you Alwyn, our neighbour, who phoned us at the time, and brother Adrian who did a temporary repair] Good weather on Thursday meant Bob was able to fix some new panels [when time, and budget permits, we hope to replace them all]

IMG_0957 IMG_0955 IMG_0956 Meanwhile Jon and Liz had arrived with some mending for me. Jon’s “Shutt Velo Rapide” cycling top had developed holes in the pocket. When he contacted them, they sent a strip of fabric for him to patch it with!




The strip was only 1” wide – so I ended up cutting it in half, and sewing the two bits together which I then fixed right across the base of the three pockets to give them all extra strength.

Meanwhile Liz had a jumper which arrived with the collar band unstitched. She contacted the company and they sent her a refund. And I mended the jumper [one of the threads sorted out earlier was a perfect match] It is almost invisible!


IMG_0952-001I was feeling very pleased with our mending skills till Friday, when Bob and I visited the Bridewell Museum in Norwich. It was excellent- great displays and very informative. I was particularly taken with “Spitfire Cottage” – a doll’s house built during WW2 by two teachers in Norwich.

IMG_0980IMG_0985   Look at the amazing detail – all made from scraps. The WC is a broken clay pipe, other tiny fittings made from cut up ping pong balls and plastic thimbles – slivers of wood, matchsticks and scraps of metal, fabric and paper have produced a wonderfully detailed piece. Even the books have tiny words on the covers, and are coloured in authentic ‘Penguin’ style!


The loo flushes! My parents had a bath rack like that IMG_0978

Notice the hand embroidered antimacassar on the back of the sofa and the woven rush footstool


See the tiny wooden rolling pin, and the roller towel on the wall  IMG_0982

The amazing electric fire with reflecting concave back – and the neatest doyley under the fruit bowl IMG_0981

That doll- barely ½” tall has a crocheted dress to wear.   IMG_0983

Such amazing detail. Hand woven, carved, knitted, sewn and crafted…

I am in awe of such meticulous workmanship! [should that be work-woman-ship?] The broom is less than 3” high. It is all a truly brilliant piece of work.

I do hope their exhibition raised lots of money – these two women had worked so hard to recreate a 1940’s home in meticulous detail. Many people are complaining about living in “21st Century Austerity Britain” – but it is a shame that the make-do-and-mend attitude of the War Years was forgotten so quickly by so many people, who opted to live in a throwaway society.  I love recycling, refurbishing, repurposing and redeeming those things which others are discarding.

Friday 25 October 2013

Kiss Me, Hardy!

October 21st was Trafalgar Day [and also Steph’s Birthday, which matters more to me] and of course, Horatio Nelson was a Norfolk chap. When we visited Lucy’s Tearooms in Burnham Market [just a mile or two from the Admiral’s birthplace] they were doing a special offer. “Nelson Slice, only 50p with any hot drink during ‘Trafalgar Week’” So of course we had to try one!

lucys IMG_0948

Here’s Bob with his Earl Grey** [and slice of lemon] agreeing with another customer that these slices do taste very good.


A Nelson Slice is basically a type of bread pudding.That’s bread pudding, not to be confused with bread-n-butter pudding. It is reputed to be an old Norfolk recipe [although the people of Portsmouth have also claimed it, due to the time Horatio spent there] Some people add a tot of rum, the naval connection – others says that the ‘Nelson’ bit is because the recipe has one of everything, like the great man [one eye, one arm…]

This recipe was very popular in WW2 because it was a good way of using up stale bread, and ingredients were adjusted using what was available. Although almost all recipes say ‘stale bread’ the waitress in Lucy’s told me they use the crumbs from yesterday’s scones. Scones of all sorts feature heavily on Lucy’s menu, so I guess they often have leftovers at the end of the day.


So Nelson says

“Kiss me, Hardy”

and the officer replies

“I’m not that hardy!”

Here’s one version of the recipe. I have yet to test it myself

Nelson Slices

  • 1 lb stale bread
  • 1 tbsp sultanas
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp orange marmalade
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • caster sugar
    1. Break bread into chunks, soak in water for one hour.
    2. Preheat oven to 200°C
    3. Drain water, squeezing out the excess. Put into a bowl
    4. Beat with a wooden spoon until there are no lumps.
    5. Stir in all other ingredients, beat well
    6. Butter a pie dish.Pour into the prepared pie dish
    7. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden and set
    8. Sprinkle with caster sugar when hot from the oven.
    9. Serve hot, with cream or custard, or allow to cool, cut into squares.

**Old joke –

Q -Why don’t Marxists drink Earl Grey Tea?

A -Because they believe proper tea is theft!

Thursday 24 October 2013

Following the Thread…

So satisfying to turn this hopeless tangle…


…into this lovely rainbow of usable lengths of embroidery silk.

IMG_0949 There were just a few paper bands round some skeins. I know the Anchor brand – but Don Maid is new to me. I think they were a haberdashery firm in the 1950s also producing knitting patterns - does anyone have any more information about this company?


Thank you for all the kind comments. We are taking it easy and resting lots – and very pleased to have Liz and Jon staying with us for the weekend.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Slow, Sew, Knit, Stitch, Snore!

As usual, Leicestershire’s Half Term does not seem to coincide with anyone else. Norfolk is next week, I am told that Scotland was last week – and I have no idea when N.I. get their Spring break!

IMG_0926 I had every intention of finishing off all sorts of little craft projects during this week at Cornerstones. I brought a huge bag of bits and pieces to work on.

But Bob’s Sleep Apnoea has recently reared its noisy head again, and so we are both ridiculously tired. We have decided to take things very gently and catch up on REST.


We ventured into Dereham briefly on Monday, for petrol and the Post Office, and called in at the most excellent town library – I borrowed a load of craft books . They also lend out magazines for a week, which I think is a brilliant idea. I wish our village library in Leics did that – they do not even stock proper daily newspapers anymore]

So I am doing some reading



One thing in my big green bag was a polybag of tangled embroidery silks [20p from a Scout Jumble Sale] and I have recycled the tube from the kitchen roll, cutting it into small rectangles, and will spend time untangling and winding these to make them usable! That’s about the limit of my crafting enthusiasm right now! It is a good task to do whilst watching TV and doesn’t take much brain power. I hope to pick up speed by the end of the week so I can take at least one finished project back with me. But even blogging is sapping my energies at the minute…zzz…

Tuesday 22 October 2013

I'm Gonna Learn How To Fly!

Do you remember the film “Fame” back in 1980? All those crazy legwarmers worn by Irene Cara and co as they danced…


I'm gonna live forever
I'm gonna learn how to fly--high!
I feel it comin' together
People will see me and cry.
I'm gonna make it to heaven
Light up the sky like a flame. Fame!
I'm gonna live forever
Baby, remember my name

My October knitting project has been legwarmers for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. People with CF are being encouraged to bounce regularly on a trampoline. This allows them to keep fit and healthy, while having great fun at the same time - it helps to clear mucus from the lungs, which can attract infection. With over 9,300 people in the UK suffering with cystic fibrosis, a condition which affects the lungs and digestive system, the active benefits of trampolining are being advertised as a top exercise.

Many children with CF have outdoor trampolines, and manufacturers “SuperTramp” have asked people to knit legwarmers to keep children's legs and ankles warm during the colder months.

CF legwarmers

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust, which was founded in 1964, has supported excellence in research and clinical care, as well as providing practical support and advice to people and their families.

Sue Piper, the trust's senior fundraising manager, said: "We know that families with children who have cystic fibrosis often use trampolines as a fun way to help them do their daily physio and we're delighted to be part of this wacky challenge to the nation's knitters."

Each week five babies are born with Cystic Fibrosis and two young lives are lost.

Trampolining really does help sufferers bounce back to health.


I have made five pairs. The pattern was very straightforward, and used chunky wool – so there is no chunky left in my stash now!

Only two months left now, of my Knit-Through-The-Stash-For Charity-Challenge and I have two more projects lined up.

Apart from one ball of pink wool [so that I could make three scarves for the July Cancer project] I haven’t bought any wool for these charity knits. So why is my stash still so large? I suspect I may have to keep going with the knitting into 2014. This site will help!


Monday 21 October 2013

Happy Birthday, Steph

To my wonderful, beautiful daughter – 29 today!

mark and steph sicily 2013

Wishing we could be with you – hoping your day is fabulous and fun


My resolve to ‘make no more bunting this side of Christmas’ has clearly weakened in the battle with maternal pride. 

Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises [and bunting]!

Sunday 20 October 2013

"What Now Am I Bid For This Old Violin?"


So finally, Wallace Hartley’s violin has been sold. The one he played as the Titanic sank – a gift from his fiancĂ©e Maria. Not a particularly valuable violin in terms of its original cost – but auctioned for the amazing sum of £900,000 because of its history.

titanic sinks

Regular readers will know I am fascinated by the Titanic – grandad’s cousin was a survivor. But as I listened to the BBC news yesterday afternoon, I was reminded of an old poem about the auction of a violin. It was written in 1921, and sounds rather quaint and old-fashioned to our modern ears. But my Dad knew this piece by heart and even now I can hear him saying it.

'Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.

"What am I bid, good people", he cried,
"Who starts the bidding for me?"
"One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?"
"Two dollars, who makes it three?"
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"

But, No,
From the room far back a grey bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "What now am I bid for this old violin?"
As he held it aloft with its' bow.

"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?"
"Two thousand, Who makes it three?"
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone", said he.

The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
"We just don't understand."
"What changed its' worth?"
Swift came the reply.
"The Touch of the Master’s Hand."

And many a man with life out of tune
All battered and scarred with sin
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going… and almost gone.

But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Master’s Hand.

Myra Brooks Welch

Saturday 19 October 2013

Be Prepared

Two beaches - on the left, Zafrana, Egypt, and on the right, Mablethorpe , Lincolnshire

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         mablethorpe-beach

I have visited neither of these, so cannot vouch for their accuracy. But today I am going to Mablethorpe to meet with a group of ladies to help them prepare for next year’s WWDP. I leave at 7am!


I have my CDs of music and meditation stuff, the Together in Prayer magazine, and samples of the props needed for the service next March. That includes lengths of sand coloured fabric [sand] blue fabric [River Nile] and green fabric [vegetation] Plus jugs for water, an Egyptian flag, an Ankh and some other bits.

[Not to mention laptop, data projector, and an extension lead]


You could always print off a flag from the Internet, but I purchased my ‘table flag’ online and the company kindly sent me a voucher against future purchases [and a little bag of Haribo sweets]


Bob says he thinks the Managing Director looks like a Transylvanian Funeral Director. I felt that was uncharacteristically uncharitable of him [and so I may not share my sweeties!]

For those of you who care not two hoots for WWDP Preparation Days, I will leave you with a Terry Pratchett Rebus involving one Egyptian artefact and a picture of Thursday night’s sausages!