Tuesday 30 June 2015

Sew Long Ago!

Rupert Annual 1958 inside origamiSomeone at Saturday’s Craft Event asked me how long I had been doing crafts.

I said I couldn't remember I time when I hadn’t made things. I was sewing and knitting before my brother was born [he arrived when I was 7½] and I loved doing the origami models from my Rupert Annual [which came every Christmas]

Then I wondered what was the oldest piece of my own craftwork which I still have. I think it must be this little fabric box, which I made at school in 1967. It is about 6” across and 2” high.


We had to design a box in two colours [many of my friends opted for the yellow/green colourway, because they were supporters of Norwich City FC] and we were allowed a third thread colour. I chose red/blue, with black. I had been to a few theatres, and was very taken with the tragedy/comedy masks, so based my design on that. We had stitch the lid, make the box, line it with cream fabric, make a tassel and then put everything together. I gave the finished box to my Mum, and it was on her dressing table for the next 34 years, she kept her necklaces in it. After she died, Dad gave it back to me. Looking at it now, I cannot believe how neat my blanket stitching was back then, or how straight that central seam.

What is the oldest piece of craftwork you still have? Is it from your school days? Do you still practise that particular craft?

Monday 29 June 2015

Our Crafty Coffee Morning

One weekend I am busy with bunting and cakes …and the next, I am busy with bunting and cakes…[next weekend may be different, who knows?] Our Crafty Coffee Morning for Christian Aid went incredibly well – over £200 raised, and great fun had by all. The crafts included cake decorating, card making, parchment craft, crochet, nylon flowers, box-making, kusudama flowers, knitting, punching, stamping…and we had good tea, coffee and cakes to fortify us through the morning [thank you Steve and others in the kitchen] Well done Alison for being the Chief Organiser behind this worthwhile event. The Hall was absolutely buzzing with people enjoying themselves creating lovely little things. We charged £5 a head entry fee – all craft materials and refreshments were donated. People could visit as many different craft tables as they wanted.

xn aid crafty coffee

As well as demonstrating the kusudama flowers, I made a Pergamano Parchment Owl card and a little nylon flower [notice my amazing pink gel thumbnail – special treat for MOB last week! Thank you to Heather and Luise for teaching me two new crafts today!



Sunday 28 June 2015

The Second Wedding Hymn

Chosen because it fits so well with the woodland theme of the day!


O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder, Consider all the works Thy Hands have made; I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art.

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.


P1010579And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing; Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in; That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin.

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation, And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart. Then I shall bow, in humble adoration, And there proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!


Saturday 27 June 2015

“They’re Christians, They’ll Bring Casseroles!”

…so said Liz back in March, when I was marooned in Cornerstones because of my wrist injury. But she’s right, we do have a responsibility to give practical love and support as well as spiritual comfort. The epistle of James reminds us
Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and don't have enough to eat. What good is there in your saying to them, “God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!”—if you don't give them the necessities of life? So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead.
Providing for the needs of others has been an important principle since Jesus sorted out the wine at Cana and the bread on the hillside. I have been thinking about this a lot recently. I have concluded we’re called to help globally, locally and personally.
Globally Christian Aid Week has come and gone – but the work lasts all year. Today we are hosting a Crafty Coffee Morning at Church.
The money we raise will help people on the other side of the world, who we may never meet – but it is still important for us to show love and support where we can.
Locallythere may be people in our local community we can help – particularly if nobody else does. Bob and I recently watched “The Overnighters”  Someone reviewed it on their blog a few weeks back, so I checked it out [thank you – I am so sorry, I cannot remember which blog it was!] It is a documentary about a community in North Dakota which had been overwhelmed by an influx of men and women seeking work in the new ‘fracking industry’ and how the pastor of the local church responded  [Interesting reviews here] The film won awards at The Sundance Film Festival, and it is very thought provoking. Not going to post any ‘spoilers’- but the Pastor’s Wife is an absolute Saint, and maybe all pastors-in-training should watch it.
shepherds pie in foil
Personally when friends go  through a testing patch, whether good or bad [illness, new baby, bereavement, moving house] then a casserole, shepherd’s pie, or fruitcake can prove a real blessing – especially when words may seem trite or unhelpful.
And I thank God for the thoughtful people who put those casseroles and pies in foil dishes with instructions [so that the recipient can freeze it to cook later, and doesn’t need to worry about returning precious plates or Pyrex] …and those who also supply a carton of custard to serve with their apple crumble. I am praying that one particular home back in Leicestershire is going to be especially blessed in the next few weeks with such signs of love.
shelter for those who have lost their homes
support for those who have lost their dignity
some special meals for children who’ve just lost their Mum
All of these are part of the work of God’s Kingdom.
My friends, what good is it for one of you to say that you have faith if your actions do not prove it? 

update - thrilled to hear that my friends have been supplied with meals in these past few days - I always knew the good folk at KMFC would be there to help!

Friday 26 June 2015

Sword Play

Original plan – no wedding ‘cake’ but lots of ‘cakes’. I sorted out all my tiered stands and glass cakeplates [which I’ve been collecting from CS for years] Then discussion arose about the Japanese Officer’s Sword, which Bob’s Dad brought back from WW2. Mark asked if I could make a wedding cake to cut with it [you can’t really slice a cupcake with a 3foot sword, can you?] He seemed to think that as my Christmas cakes are OK, that it would be a walk in the park! I made the cakes, Bob trimmed them, I put on the Almond Paste. Then Jill came and taught me how to put on the icing, and make ivy leaves [to fit in with the woodland theme] I only met Jill in January, and she willingly gave up her time to teach me this new skill – insisting that I could do it, it was to be ‘all my own work’ Steph provided a Sylvanian Couple – I sewed their wedding outfits. Mark went to Jane’s Trains in Tooting [where else?] to get the trees.the day and after

At the Reception, the cake stood on a side table with the other beautiful cakes. Thank you everyone who brought these, Kate, Marion, and others – especially Barbara for having a spare ‘emergency cake’ in case we ran out, and also thoughtfully for bringing fresh flowers which were bestrewn around the table, adding to the ‘nature’ atmosphere]

Then Bob carried the cake to the Top Table, and Steph and Mark had enormous fun slicing it. Many photos taken of the swordplay.  Frank promptly retrieved the sword and stowed it away safely afterwards. We certainly didn’t want any Midsomer Murders type accidents.

the day and after-001

the day and after-002

And afterwards, sections of the bottom tier went back to Liverpool, and Dorset – and I spent Monday preparing parcels for friends and family who had to miss the ceremony. Many thanks to all who helped with this great moment in The Day.

Thursday 25 June 2015

Goodbye Dawn…


This morning my friend Dawn died in the Leicester Royal Infirmary, after a long, courageous fight against cancer. I will always remember her smile, her love, her faith, her great sense of humour – and I will treasure this picture of her with her beloved Lee, at our Farewell Party in January.

Loving wife, brilliant mother, caring daughter, gifted teacher, true friend – Dawn will be greatly missed by so many people. I am so glad I was able to spend time with you last Thursday evening – and that on Saturday you had your birthday celebration with your family.

Thoughts and prayers especially with Lee and the boys, and the rest of your family right now. May God comfort them and surround them with His love and peace.

RIP Dawn Taylor 20.06.1970 – 25.06.2015

They Stooped To Conkers

rncf badgeIn 1914, in the middle of Holton Heath, a few miles inland from Poole, the Navy built a massive ordnance factory, under the instruction of the First Lord of the Admiralty – Winston Churchill. The site had been chosen carefully – sparsely populated, a remote backward of Poole Harbour – but with a railway line passing close by.
A new station halt-  ‘Holton Heath’ was built to serve the factory. They produced gun cotton, acetone, cordite, and many other chemicals necessary for warfare. The workers had to wear moccasins or rubber overshoes, so that their feet didn’t create any sparks. Cordite was an important propellant used in explosive devices- but acetone was required in its production. This was distilled from fermented maize – but there was not sufficient maize in the UK during WW1 to provide enough acetone. In 1917, scientists [working at a gin distillery in Bromley] discovered that horse chestnuts could be processed in a similar way.
conkersWhen the school at nearby Corfe Mullen was closed, due to an outbreak of whooping cough, all the fitter pupils were sent out to collect conkers for the factory. Paid 1/3d per bushel, the children loved this work – even if they had no idea why they were collecting conkers for the navy!
On June 23rd, 1931, there was a massive explosion at the factory. It’s just a few miles from where I am sitting now. People in Ferndown would have heard the boom. 10 workers were killed, and people up to 2 miles away were knocked over by the blast. Over the years, a total of 20 died in explosions. Much of the time this was kept hush-hush, people did not know about the work going on. Churchill did not want the enemy to discover the location of the munitions plant.
But this week, 84 years after The Great Explosion, finally a proper memorial has been unveiled. I drove out to the site on Wednesday morning, and stood in silence reading the names. A gentleman parked his Toyota next to mine and came and stood beside me. He said his mother had worked at the factory in the War, and in the 1960s when much of the site became an industrial estate, he came and worked at the nearby Decca Record factory. “We used to go exploring in our lunch hour, and see what we could find of the old place, closed in 1957” he told me. He told me where I should go to find some of the original buildings, and the railway halt. “I anted to come and see the Memorial” he said “because of the people who lost their lives for their country” We chatted a little and I thanked him for telling me so much – then I too went exploring.
The original site covered a huge area of land – and many of the old buildings can still be glimpsed through the fences and barbed wire – some of the offices still in use, others falling into ruin. I found the railway halt at the end of the site.
royal naval cordite factory
I found myself wondering what happened to the widows and children – were they provided for? It was not wartime – so did they have any entitlements to pensions? What about treatment for the injured? there was no NHS back then. And did any of the little local boys who collected conkers in 1917 grow up to work in the factory up the road- and were they among the fatalities in the 1931 blast?  I continue to be fascinated by history – and to be appalled by war.

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Guest Post

I am very rarely a Hotel Guest. Our holidays are all spent in Cornerstones these days – and if I do have to stay somewhere overnight, I am usually able to b&b with family or friends. But this last weekend was different. Thursday night I was able to stop with my old friend Elisabeth– which was utterly wonderful. There is a famous photograph [which I cannot track down] of Queen Elizabeth and her mother, after a royal wedding, sitting on a sofa in Buck House, eating scrambled eggs on toast. Elisabeth and I did that 2 nights before the wedding [no, not in BH, in Leicester] Thank you dear friend, for helping me chill out before all the excitement.
But Friday and Saturday, we were guests at the Premier Inn, Leicester Forest East, with 3 adjacent rooms – Liz and Jon, Bob and me, Steph and Lucy [bridesmaid]
Some important information if you are a guest.
lenny beard-001
Lenny Henry [aka Sir Lenworth] probably has a beard because when they refurbished, they completely forgot to install any shaver points! Fortunately they have plug-in adaptors to lend to fathers-of-the-bride who may get 5 o’clock shadow.
pj & tiara-001
It is perfectly ok for the bride to swan around all morning in her gorgeous silk pyjamas wearing her wedding tiara – but should she wish to get a drink from the vending machine  she must take her room key!
Steph managed to get herself locked out! Then I was in the shower and realised I had no hair conditioner. I asked Bob to go and borrow some from next door [where Steph & all 4 bridesmaids were getting ready] He got locked out, and was banging on our door to get back in. I was still in the shower, and didn’t hear him knocking for ages!
If you have no alarm clock, it is fine to use the alarm on your mobile phone instead. But when it rings and wakes you up at 5am Sunday, don’t try saying ‘hello?’ because there is nobody on the other end, it is just the alarm!!
But I must say that the PI staff were fantastically helpful, and we were well looked after. When we were leaving for the church, the receptionist said “Would you like me to pop into your rooms and top up the tea and coffee supplies again, for when you get back late tonight?” Which was very thoughtful.
When we tiptoed in at 1am Sunday, the receptionist on night duty enquired “How was the wedding? did it all go ok?” – and he was still bright and cheerful when we tiptoed out again at 5.15am to go and clear up the Hall.
When Liz, Jon, Bob and I returned at 10am, after our clear-up, to get our [pre-ordered] breakfast, they fitted in Adrian, Marion and Lucy at an adjacent table [they were not PI guests], so we could all eat together – even though they had quite a lot of extra families there [it was Fathers’ Day]
But it was good fun – and all added to the happiness of our weekend. Thank you Premier Inn for putting up with us up!

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Let Them Eat Cake!

There will be lots of photos when I am back in Dorset and properly unpacked - but we are taking 36 hours at Cornerstones to recover from all the excitement. 
Here's Gary, Fiona and the young Waiting Staff, all from Kirby Muxloe Free Church who did so much to make the reception really special. I cannot thank them enough. Fiona has been a friend since Bob married her [and her husband Steve!] nearly 20 years ago. Gary has been friends for a very long time too. And I remember each of the three teenagers being born! They served the food so graciously, and impressed everyone with their attitude. Gary has blogged about it here
But not everybody could be invited to the reception - and I have to thank those folk at KMFC who made and served the cupcakes and cordials immediately after the ceremony to everyone who had been at the church. It gave us a chance to chat - and made it easier for Gemma the photographer, to organise her pictures.
And for the good friends who couldn't be there at all, I have followed the ancient tradition of sending a slice of wedding cake. I spent Monday morning slicing, wrapping, [and delivering to some Norfolk friends]

I suspect the Wedding Euphoria is going to last for a while longer.

Monday 22 June 2015

Meanwhile, Back In Ferndown

Bob Bracken, our local jockey, [who I met inside Tesco foyer in May] had a brilliant day racing in York on June 13th. He raised over £7000 for Macmillan Nurses, and sends thanks all those who supported him.

Meanwhile, my friend Carina, who I meet regularly outside the store, selling the Big Issue, will be at her pitch on Wednesday for the last time for a while. 
She is a lovely lady, always smiling -and her baby is due to be born [by C-section] on July 13th. She sells the BI because her husband is unwell and cannot work. I am hoping that lots of people go and see her on Wednesday and buy all her papers, as she will be unable to be there once the baby is born. Whenever I stop and chat, she asks about my family, and how things are going at the church. She does not complain, even though her life is hard - but she talks about God's love and His goodness, and His blessings. I shall miss seeing her!

Sunday 21 June 2015

So Much To Be Thankful For...

It's 10pm Sunday, and I am just about to curl up in bed at Cornerstones after the most incredibly wonderful weekend. Very little sleep [preparing village hall late Friday & early Saturday, and then back at 5.15am today to get everything cleared before the Karate Club arrived] plus lots of driving - Dorset to Leics to Norfolk. And in the middle of it all THE WEDDING.
More pictures will follow - this is from someone's fb page [thank you] Thank you to all who did so much to make the day fantastic - families, friends, churches...
And thank you everybody who sent such lovely comments. The rain held off for the photographs.
Most of all, we thank God for all His goodness - may He go with Steph and Mark, showering them with blessings in their new life together

The First Wedding Hymn

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Saturday 20 June 2015

Kirby Muxloe Free Church. 3.30pm

If you are anywhere near KMFC, please come along to the service, it should be truly wonderful. 

Friday 19 June 2015

Flower Power

Steph has chosen to have silk flowers for bouquets and boutonnieres That's useful for lots of reasons -they last longer; they will not wilt if it gets hot; the right colours can be chosen; they can be prepared beforehand without last minute panic; much less expensive than using a professional florist; and Mark found some sweet little green rosebuds for the men's boutonnieres to go with the cream roses.

Notice that I am copying Martha Stewart here, and saying boutonnieres as opposed to buttonholes or corsages. Buttonhole sounds like part of a garment, too ordinary, and the word corsage always reminds me of cortege, too sad. I have pinned these onto a sheet of corrugated card with their pearl headed pins, ready to distribute later. 

There will be plenty of fresh flowers in the church and at the reception though! Sorting those out will be my main task today.

Thursday 18 June 2015


We went into Bournemouth on Tuesday morning. Bob needed to visit Keith Jones Christian Bookshop to pick up some bits and pieces. As we walked from the car park down the hill, we saw the tethered balloon floating above the Lower Gardens near the pier. It goes up to about 500 feet above the town.They've had a balloon there for years - it used to be called "The Bournemouth Eye" - but seems to have changed its name since London got a very different sort of eye!
Bob got the things he needed, then we had a little wander round a few shops, and a cup of coffee for elevenses.
Beales department store is changing hands and having a massive sale. "Up to 70% off" So I naturally felt obliged to check out the haberdashery department. Neither of us was particularly impressed by the 'reductions' And some of the fabric seemed to have got very sulky about the whole affair, and was refusing to participate! What a strange way of describing things!

Wednesday 17 June 2015

NOT My MOB Outfit!

No. I really couldn't bring myself to wear this. The grammar is incorrect [even if I am happy with the sentiment]
Not sure about the blonde hair with purple tips either.

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Handsome Prints

Everything is just about ready [I think] I continue to be overwhelmed by people's kindness, encouragement and offers of help for Saturday. Fresh ink cartridges arrived at the weekend, and we've printed the orders of service, menus, place names and table labels. One pack of 250 sheets of Kraft paper has provided all we needed for those things, plus the little bags of sweets. The wedding theme is woodlands, so the brown paper has a lovely rustic feel. Steph and Mark designed the order of service, with the tree on the front. Every table at the reception has a 'tree' name on barbecue skewer. They will be standing in beer bottles - the bride does work for SAB Miller after all! The place markers will each be fixed to a pine cone with a pearl headed pin. And my little wooden label stands [made by Bob years ago for my school display table] have been brought into use to hold the menus. The printing all looks quite professional, if I say it myself. [no comic sans anywhere]

I have tried on my complete outfit and all is well there [despite recent weight gain] - I even remembered to include a spare pair of tights! Tomorrow I am getting my hair and nails done. Bob's suit has been dry-cleaned, and he has been presented with his official green tie [to match all the other significant gents at the ceremony- except for Mark who has an even finer piece of neckwear, I am told] 
I am so looking forward to the weekend. I really must get myself under control - I have been bouncing round like a three year old in the week before Christmas. Only four more sleeps!!!

Monday 15 June 2015

This Is Dorset, Not Wonderland!

Alice did not have a problem - her food was clearly labelled with an invitation for her to partake of it. My poor husband has the opposite to contend with - some of the food in this house is clearly labelled- with a warning for him not to eat it. Bob loves peanut butter. To be fair, he is not keen on jam or Marmite, PB is his spread of choice when it comes to toast, or a crust found lurking in the breadbin.
This weekend, Lidl had their own PB half price- a significant saving. We both prefer it to the Smart Price/Everyday Value brands from other supermarkets, which contain twice as much oil. So I decided to stock up. But I really didn't want any binging [should that be spelt bingeing?] So I labelled the jars - they must not be opened before the date on the top! Am I being carefully thrifty, or downright mean, do you think? And what strategies do other people use to prevent family members overeating the bulk buys?

Sunday 14 June 2015

Love Your Neighbour As Yourself

There's been much discussion at UCF in the past week, after one of Bob's sermons, when he quoted Maya Angelou
"I don't trust people who don't love themselves and tell me 'I love you'...There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked man offers you a shirt"

For obvious family reasons, love is a big topic round here right now. I thought this was a clever banner... click on it to see the Bible references under each phrase

Saturday 13 June 2015

Jenny's Rule

Many, many years ago, when I started work as a Supply Teacher, two days a week, I used to get things ready the night before [clothes, bag, packed lunch] Then the following morning I'd sit and wait for the phone to ring. And more often than not, it never did ring. I complained to my friend Jenny that I'd really wanted some work, and there wasn't any. I felt my day was wasted. Jenny wisely said that if I found myself with a 'spare' day, that instead of complaining, I should find a purposeful task and just apply myself to that for a day.
I applied for a job recently [not in teaching, but with a local charity] and the info said that interviews would be on June 11th. So I kept the 11th free [and the day before, so I could prepare any necessary presentations or whatever]
I didn't even get shortlisted for interview! 
I was a little deflated at first, then decided the right job will come along at the right time. And I applied Jenny's Rule, and found myself a project to fill the blank days in my diary. I helped out a friend by recovering the chairs she has in her conservatory. 
They were very faded, and the fabric was splitting in some places. I took out the zips from the original covers, made a paper pattern - and sewed them up. It was a challenging project, but I had lots of fun doing it.I covered some large flat buttons from the stash which helped to pull the 'back' cushions into shape.
That is so easy - just draw a circle twice the diameter of the original button [I used a jam jar lid] and then sew a circle of running stitches close to the edge and pop the button inside and pull it tight. 
I have not had the opportunity to do any school teaching since I got here - but there have already been countless opportunities to use my sewing skills to help other people. And that has been lovely. The book of Ecclesiastes reminds us
Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange
For the hard work of staying alive.
Make the most of each one!
Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!

Friday 12 June 2015

Minions At Mealtime

In a few weeks, the new Minions film will be released. Some young people I know are going to be extremely excited by this. I was interested to find a recipe on The Crazy Kitchen Blog for Minion Sweetcorn Fritters. So I made some for Bob [well why not?]

Mine are not quite as round and beautiful as Helen's - and I only had black olives so could not make my 'goggles' in two shades like hers. 
Also I didn't have any buttermilk or garlic granules. I skipped the garlic, and improvised with a mixture of half milk/half natural yogurt, which worked fine. The turmeric really makes them golden.
I served them with salad, sliced ham, and a bowl of ketchup for dipping [and a bottle of chili sauce for Bob, who likes more spice than I do]  Thanks Helen for this one!

  • 165g can drained Green Giant sweetcorn 
  • 75ml buttermilk
  • 50g plain flour
  • pinch of garlic granules
  • pinch of turmeric (to give them the great yellow colour)
  • olive oil
  • black & green olives

  1. Mix the sweetcorn, buttermilk, flour, garlic & turmeric together until well combined
  2. Heat a little olive oil in a pan
  3. Spoon some of the batter into the pan, ensuring it's as round as you can make it [you should get between 6 and 8 fritters, depending how big you make them!]
  4. Add some rings of green olive & strips of black olive for the goggles
  5. Cook for a few minutes over a low heat before carefully flipping over and cooking the other side (making sure that the olives don't move out of place) - cooking over a low heat will ensure that they cook through without browning too much & ruining the great yellow colour [THIS IS IMPORTANT!]
  6. Serve warm or cold with ketchup or sweet chili sauce on the side for dipping. 

Thursday 11 June 2015

What Have The Belgians Ever Done For Us?

Loads actually, but this week the Belgian nation has made me extremely happy because they are minting a coin to commemorate Waterloo. Not the fantastic 1974 Abba song, 

nor yet the railway station in London [currently displaying a load of prehistoric monsters to advertise the next Jurassic film, out on Friday]
no, this is a coin to mark the Battle of Waterloo, 18th June 1815. You may remember this from history - British troops, led by Wellington [he of the boot] defeated the French army, led by Napoleon [not tonight, Josephine] The battle was fought just 9 miles south of Brussels. I have been to the site with Bob.
When we went to the Waterloo Visitor Centre in 2007, I was incredibly disappointed. For one thing, Bob has raved since his childhood about 'the chip vans in the car park at Waterloo' - where he allegedly ate the best frites et mayonnaise ever! There were no chip vans on the day I arrived on the pillion of the Honda.
The second thing -there was nothing in the Gift Shop [apart from one measly postcard] which celebrated Wellington's Victory. It was all about Napoleon. The Visitors' Book was full of comments from many disgruntled Brits. Where is our General? I thought the English won, not the French? Give us some Wellie! Far too much Boney!
The French clearly don't like to be reminded that Napoleon lost this one. So when the Belgians minted a load of coins earlier this year to commemorate this incredibly significant battle, fought on Belgian soil, the French complained, and 180,000 €2 had to be scrapped. So the plucky little Belgians have fought back - and under some obscure EU ruling, which allows eurozone countries to produce a special coin if it is an irregular denomination, they have created a €2.5 commemorative. Johan Van Overtveldt, Belgian Finance minister, said the aim was not to anger the French or revive old quarrels - but because there has been no battle in recent history as important as Waterloo, or one that captures the imagination in the same way.
We won. Get over it, France. It's not as if the coin mentions the score. If the English can live with the result of 1066, surely you can manage this one!