Tuesday 31 March 2015

Flagging? Sort of…

Flagging : weakening, tiring, declining, waning, giving up,failing, sinking, decreasing, slowing down,deteriorating, wilting, ebbing, wearing, fading, faltering

That’s definitely how I was yesterday – but today I am much better, thank you [so many kind comments from you lovely people out there!] I can report that this morning the condemned pair ate a hearty breakfast [Bob made some porridge, a true comfort food in my book] Then he went off to see Steph [wedding stuff] and then on to his sister [Very Late delivery of Christmas presents]


And he left me – still flagging – but in a completely different sense. I have been cutting out fabric all day to make the wedding bunting. I started the day with a heap of fabrics [selected from The Great Stash last year by Steph and Mark] and ended with a trug of triangles. On Saturday I had told Elaine that I’d got one set of Laura Ashley curtains which were too small to fit any of my windows, but I was reluctant to discard them. She suggested incorporating them into the bunting. An inspired idea – the green/brown/gold print fits beautifully with the “Woodland” theme of the wedding. The triangles will be double sided. I shall start sewing up tomorrow.


Not A Womble In Sight!

stampThe fox who longed for grapes, beholds with pain
The tempting clusters were too high to gain;
Grieved in his heart he forced a careless smile,
And cried,‘They’re sharp and hardly worth my while!’

On Saturday we zipped up to London in order to meet up with Steph and, more importantly, to meet Mark’s parents, Martin and Elaine, for the first time. We had a great time – they are lovely people [not surprisingly, after all, Mark is such a great guy] It was super to be able to meet them before The Wedding in June.


We travelled to Wimbledon Common [home of the Wombles] and had lunch in a pub called “The Fox and grapes”. Lots of atmosphere, and phenomenal light fittings! We talked about the Pub’s name and Aesop’s fable. And of course we walked about weddings and families and did that dreadful parent thing of recounting childhood incidents!


P1000949The food was excellent – two of us had Ras-El-Hanout Chicken, two had the Moule Et Frites, and others had Shepherd’s Pie and Fish&Chips [I never photographed those two plates]


We really had a pleasant time chatting together – but all too soon Bob and I had to leave and get back on to the motorway. The exceedingly cheerful waiter obliged us by taking pictures of this Family Meal


I do hope we can share meals again in future!

Monday 30 March 2015

No Kings In Our Car Park–Just Wise Men!

What a crazy day! Bob and I have been quite unwell since the early hours of the morning – we suspect the Pork Pie we shared for supper last night. Many nocturnal trips to the bathroom … very grateful that the toe-stubbing button has been moved! I have spent the whole day floating around the house giddily in my white nightie, looking like Miss Havisham - trying to do things, then admitting defeat and going back to bed. He went to his meeting this morning, but then came home and cancelled the rest of the day’s commitments. I am hopeful we’ll be back to full strength tomorrow.

The building work at church has continued apace. Here is progress since Thursday [thanks Kerry for today’s two pictures!]

building 2015 29 03

Leicester continues to make the most of the opportunities for clever advertising. Here’s one with a Shakespearian Twist


Frozen? No, Melted!


3am, Leics – wake up, need the loo. Tiptoe confidently in the dark to and from the ensuite, Bob sleeps on, all is well. 3am, Ferndown – wake up, need the loo. Tiptoe round the bed in the dark –arms outstretched like a somnambulist, unsure of bearings in our new home. Almost at bedroom door, stub toe, try not to squeal in pain. Hop to loo and back. Bob is woken. This happens more than once*.


The problem? a large black rubber doorstop right in the middle of the carpet. It didn’t need to be so far out, in a place where I seem to constantly bang against it. So Bob unscrewed it and moved it back nearer the wall. But this left a large dent in the carpet.

The pictures below show the old and new positions – and the dent


I have no idea how long that circle of carpet has been flattened, but I do know how to restore the carpet. With an ice cube! I put the cube over the dent and left it for twenty four hours. Once it has melted away and the carpet is dry, I vacuumed the pile. Job done!


*I should probably cut down my late night liquid intake!

Sunday 29 March 2015

2015 PIL–Thanks Everyone!

A Pause in Lent Floss

Thank you to everyone who has contributed or commented to the PIL this year. It has been great to read through people’s posts, and the thoughtful remarks which others have added to them. I know that many others have been reading, but without commenting.

Usually I would not single out any for particular comment, but two posts which I read this morning before church have really resonated with me today. Fiona’s piece on Kintsukuroi was especially encouraging, reminding us of the grace of God as He makes us beautiful for Him. And Gary’s piece was truly inspired – comparing the arrival of a dead King in Leicester last Sunday, with our remembrance of the the living Saviour entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. [Picture below of palms being waved at UCF this morning]


Thank you one and all – not forgetting Floss who started this blog-tradition! May you each be truly blessed as now we enter Holy Week.

Pause In Lent #6- Waiting, Wanting, Working

A Pause in Lent Floss
I was thinking for ages about this last PIL for the year. Two weeks ago, every woman at Dereham Baptist Church was given a primula in a pot at the end of the Mothering Sunday service. Mine had no flowers, just leaves. I suspect the child distributing to my row didn’t recognise me, and so played safe and gave the colourful ones to ‘regulars’
P1000937“No flowers on mine” I muttered. Christine kindly offered to swap hers, but her sister Margaret pointed out the tiny buds lurking beneath the foliage. “Just wait” she said “You’ll have flowers soon” And now I do. Perhaps I should write a PIL about “Waiting on God”, I thought.
Stone carvings around and over the chimney-piece with the coat of arms of William Bankes (sable, a cross engrailed ermine, between four fleur-de-lys or), quartered with those of Wynne and Brune, and with the family motto 'Velle Quod Vult Deus' (Desire wha
Then we visited Kingston Lacy, built and owned by the Bankes family, whose motto is velle quod vult Deus – to want what God wants . So then I considered “Wanting God’s Will”
you gotta move
Finally Chris Evans ended his breakfast show on Friday with studio guest Tom Jones singing the old Spiritual “You Gotta Move” –
And that reminded me that when the Lord gets things ready, then I have to get move on, and start “Working for God”
You got to move, child, you got to move,
But when the Lord gets ready, you got to move
You may be high, you may be low
You may be rich, child, you may be poor
But when the Lord gets ready, you've got to move
Waiting, Wanting, Working
I just can’t decide – it’s the last PIL, so I shall go for all three!!

Saturday 28 March 2015

Surprise, Surprise!

P1000863You remember that strange knitting I posted about on Monday?

Mags and others suggested it might be a sailor collar. Wrong!


P1000869It isn’t a shawl collar either. It took me less than a week on my circular needles to create this rather weirdly shaped piece of knitting. Look at where the cast on and cast off edges are.


P1000943Turn it upside down, and flip the top edge down and the bottom corners in – and surprise, surprise, it becomes a baby jacket. I am still marvelling at this genius piece of knitting engineering!

Here’s the finished item, with the buttons and shoulder seams sewn.


I did have enough red wool in the Great Stash to have knitted it all in one colour, but I decided to do the stripes in order to give myself a better understanding of how the pattern comes together. Its called the BSJ – Baby Surprise Jacket – and was designed by the doyenne of USA Handknitting, the great Elizabeth Zimmerman.

I bought the pattern in I Knit London two weeks ago. I had seen it on the Internet but was reluctant to shell out £9 without knowing exactly what I was paying for. The pattern book contains ABC sizes [Adult, Baby, Child] and extra instructions for adding hoods, collars, and making the jacket longer. As I shall definitely be doing this one again, I think I will get my money’s worth from it.


There are loads of bsj examples on the net. I found these 3 – one with a collar, one with contrast crochet edging and one with a hood – lots of ideas for making variations on a theme. Stripes are optional!


Has anyone else out there made a BSJ?

… and if so, how did you customise yours?

Friday 27 March 2015


more seeds

A while back I bought a bag of ‘cereal topping’ on offer in Lidl. A mixture of “nutritious milled linseed, cranberries, blueberries etc.” I wondered if I could use it in ways other than sprinkling on my porridge or yogurt, and found one or two muesli bar recipes. I adapted these and made my own bars. It used up the honey at the bottom of the jar, and some leftover dried fruits too.

  • 175g butter
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 120g demerara sugar
  • 3tbsp honey
  • 250 porridge oats
  • 2tbsp plain flour
  • 150g mixed dried fruit [I used sultanas, apricots, cranberries]
  • 50g mixed seeds
  1. Heat the oven to 160ºC [fan] Line a baking tray [27 x19cm] with parchment paper
  2. Melt the first four ingredients gently in a large pan
  3. Mix the next four together, then tip into pan and stir well till all is evenly coated.
  4. Turn into turn, flatten out evenly, bake for 20 minutes, until golden at the edges, but slightly soft in the centre. Leave too cool in tin- mark into 15 bars whilst still warm.
  5. If you like, warm 1tbsp honey and brush over surface of the bars in  the tin as they cool. Leave for 5 minutes, turn out, and cut into bars.

The amount of honey/sugar/butter seems a little high. I may tweak this a bit next time  [I realise you need a certain amount to make the dry ingredients stick together. I have stored mine in an airtight container. I wrapped some in parchment for our Wimborne Picnic.

honey muesli bars

Bob declared them to be very good, and he admired the professional wrapping. Therefore I have decided to rename these home-made muesli bars Show-Offs, to remind me of the ingredients –

Sugar, Honey, Orange zest, Warm butter,

Oats, Fruit, Flour, Seeds.

Thursday 26 March 2015

Wimborne Wanderings [Part Three] **

On Tuesday we went to Wimborne early,for a coffee in the Coffee Saloon – then on to nearby National Trust property, Kingston Lacy.

P1000881 I went here more than 20 years ago with Liz and Steph [we were on holiday, and Bob stayed behind at the caravan for some reason] I loved KL, and was determined to visit again one day, and take him with me. We walked round the beautiful grounds for an hour or so before our guided tour inside.

So many lovely flowers- in every season there are things to see. We’d missed the best of the snowdrops – kind friends offered to take us to see them a few weeks back, but we were just too busy then [next year perhaps…]The strange green sentry boxes are covers round the garden urns, to protect them from frost through the winter. These will be coming off soon, the guide told us.kingston lacy-003

The men and women tending the plants were all working so hard- but seemed willing to stop and talk to visitors with questions about the plants. This is part of the Japanese Garden

kingston lacy-001

Mags- you’d have loved the Camellia Walk!

kingston lacy

At the end of the Kitchen Garden was a little man with a van – and a refreshment hut. He says his [refurbished] Citroen is 50 years old!

kingston lacy-002

This picture is a cloche-up of the rhubarb bed!


The Egyptian Obelisk was interesting. As we watched the members of the school trip running towards it, we heard one teacher say

“Children, this is not a climbing frame, it’s an artefact!”

I may copy out that wonderful quote, and stick it up on the fridge. It may possibly become a Family Saying. I am still chuckling about it.P1000905

We had misunderstood the NT Handbook, which said that on Mondays and Tuesdays there were tours. In fact on these days you can only visit selected parts of the house on a guided tour. The rest of the week you can go to many more of the rooms. I will go again on another day and take lots more interior photos. The weather was turning chilly.We bade farewell to the armillary sundial and the shepherd’s hut, and returned to sit in the car and eat our picnic lunch. All this beauty less than eight miles from our new home!

kingston lacy-004

**other Dorset Destinations ARE available!

Wednesday 25 March 2015

More Digging Up Of The Car Park


The Building Inspector says our trenches must be deeper. So the digging goes on – but the church activities are still happening despite the car park excavations. No dead kings found yet!


I just love this sign from Leicester!


Soap Opera

Do you use liquid soap in a pump dispenser- or do you prefer solid bars? There are apparently five reasons why bars are still popular, according to recent studies.


  1. Tradition  - bars of soap have been around for 3000 years [obviously not the same bars, you know what I mean]
  2. Luxury – plastic bottles don’t feel very glamorous, but bars can be wrapped in tissue, be embedded with rose petals, can nestle in the drawer and perfume your lingerie, and tied up with ribbons they can be elegant gifts.
  3. The feeling of cleanliness – the physical act of scrubbing away dirt in the shower leaves you feeling truly refreshed.
  4. Ecology and economy- less packaging is better for the planet.And furthermore, 60% of the cost of your liquid soap is paying for the plastic bottle and the squirty pump.
  5. Bottles are fiddly – initially you have to manage the unscrewing of the pump, and in operation you need one hand to pump and the other to catch the liquid as it squirts out. You can hold a bar of soap and turn it round and make a lather one-handed [I proved that last week, whilst in a splint!]

I think I would add a 6th reason – I am not sure about the excess use of ‘anti-bacterial’ chemicals. If you wash your hands properly with bar soap, they will be clean. I realised when we were packing to move that I had lots of bars of soap squirrelled away – and so decided we would use them up before buying any more bottles. I have put the small ones in a dish on the windowsill in the downstairs loo [the one beside the kitchen!] and larger ones in Steph’s Ceramic Sheep [made in Technology at school years ago] in the bathroom.


Very Old Joke – there were two bars of soap in the bathroom. The first one said “Can I stroke your palm, Olive?” and the other replied “Not on your life, boy!”



So – how do YOU lather up – liquid or bars?

Tuesday 24 March 2015

The Pastor Visits The Trenches

What’s going on down this’ ole then?


We stopped by UCF this afternoon and saw that lots more work had been done today. The ladies arriving for Slimming World seemed confused having to drive in the ‘out’ gate of the car park!

kingston lacy-005