Sunday 31 January 2016

Hot Story, Cool Music!

We are going through the book of Daniel on Sunday mornings at church. Last week we watched this video [Bob had to edit it, to make it shorter - this is the full version] Hope you enjoy it as much as our congregation did!
A bit of 'barbershop' singing certainly livens up the service

Saturday 30 January 2016

If At First You Don't Succeed...

So, two years ago, I took on the 52 Projects Challenge
The idea came from a couple of blogs I was following at the time - one now defunct, the other still going
The idea was that you made a list of 52 projects you hoped to complete during 2014 - then did them!

If you click on the categories list on my sidebar you will see my attempts. The problem was that other things seemed to get in the way, and somewhere in the autumn, I lost the list! I did not manage the things - but I did get other things done. 
I have decided the approach was wrong - instead of berating myself for what I did not achieve, it would be better to stop at the end of each month and make a collage of stuff I had produced, and was pleased with.  And I would not make the list in advance, that way I would be doomed to fail. So here is January's picture 

  1. my latest dress from the 'Market' Pattern
  2. my recovered ottoman
  3. the baby hat and bootees made for a friend's newborn
  4. a striped baby cardigan

The cardi is using up some wool Liz bought and didn't get on with. I added a third colour and used that Sirdar book again to knit this one. It is in a larger size - knitting the newborn sizes may be quicker, but babies do grow so fast it is more sense to do bigger stuff.

Friday 29 January 2016

Take A Deep Breath

Occasionally I get emails from people who invite me to promote their cause on my blog. I almost always politely decline. I prefer to speak about things I have come across myself, and want to share, rather than take someone else's word for it. However I recently heard from someone, and after going into it further, I felt I could share her story.
Ten years ago, a young mother in the United States, Heather Von St James, was diagnosed with mesothelioma. This is a cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Her father had worked with asbestos, and as a child, she used to put on his coat - and so innocently inhaled the lethal fibres. Heather was told she probably had a year or so to live- and certainly would not see her baby daughter Lily grow up. Heather opted for radical surgery, and had her left lung completely removed. Here is Heather, her husband Cam, and daughter Lily now

You can read Heather's story here and watch her inspirational video here. Heather contacted me because she thought I would help her share her story. A meso diagnosis is a frightening thing - and she wanted to pass on her hope to others. When she asked me, she didn't know how much this would resonate with me. In my own family, there has been a lot of lung disease, of different types - I have lost relations to emphysema, lung cancer, sarcoidosis and mesothelioma. As a young child, I was taken to visit an Uncle who was breathing in a scary 'Iron Lung' [these were very common in the 50's and 60's, particularly for polio sufferers] and at the end of her life, my Mum had to take her oxygen cylinder around with her. So yes, I have watched those I love struggle to breathe, and felt powerless to help them. I was glad to read the story of Heather's life.  
She does a lot for the Mesothelioma Cancer Allliance in the USA, encouraging and helping others. In this country we have MESO UK. Both these websites offer information and support for Meso sufferers and their families.
But Heather particularly asked me to mention February 2nd - this date is celebrated every year by Heather and friends as "Lung Leavin' Day" as it is the anniversary of her op.  Heather throws a party and invites friends to write their fears and worries on a plate and throw it into the bonfire. 

This year will be the tenth anniversary of her surgery - a real cause for celebration. If you want to join in, then you can go to this interactive page and smash a 'virtual' plate. 
There are no easy answers- Heather is wise enough to know that. Not everyone who comes near asbestos will get meso - and not everyone who gets it will recover as she has done. But she does believe that having faith, and sharing a positive attitude and not giving up at the first hurdle is important. This special day is her way of helping others get through the tough times in their lives. I am glad for her, for Cam and for Lily, that they have had these ten years of happy family life which was thought impossible back in 2005. So I am passing on their story.
So cheer with Heather, let go of worries, chuck a plate on a real or virtual bonfire... if you feel it is appropriate, chuck some cash at a Meso Charity too.

And don't forget what it says in 1 Peter 5 

Throw all your anxiety onto God, because He cares about you.

Thursday 28 January 2016

Bottomz Up! [DIY Wipz]

Having a pack of baby wipes around is useful at times- my favourites are Mamia from Aldi [at first I misread it, and thought they said Narnia so that's what I call them now] 

But Liz being both thrifty and concerned about recycling decided that she wanted to check out re-usable ones before the baby arrives. 
There are loads of these on the market - basically a plastic box, containing washable cloths, with a moistening solution - and in deluxe sets, a second box for soiled cloths.

But they cost a lot of money - some over £30 a set. So we set about making our own for less than a fiver.

You need a pack of 10 IKEA washcloths [£3] and two plastic storage containers, with clip lids, about 16cm square. these were 2 for a quid in the £ shop]
Cut the cloths in half and hem the cut sides. You now have a stack of 20 cloths.

With a sharpie, mark lid AND base of the two boxes to show 'clean' and 'dirty'  [I did smiley/sad faces] Job done!

Well - almost - you do need to moisten them. Some people like to keep a spray bottle of solution by the changing table, and mist baby's bum as the nappy is changed [I am sure I would end up squirting the wriggling child in the eye] 

But most pour the solution in the box to keep the cloths moist and ready for use. There are lots of recipes for solution out there on the internet - the most common seems to be

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp baby bath/shampoo
  • 1 tsp baby oil
  • 10 drops of essential oil [tea tree or eucalyptus]
Shake this vigorously, then pour over your stack of cloths in the box, to saturate them. 
We decided to use half-size facecloths because a lot of the time, a smaller cloth would do - and you can always use two if really necessary. Folded once, these rectangles fit neatly into the box. 

I know this is perverse, as I am a real pedant about spelling usually, but on shopping lists, I almost always spell wipz [like beanz] with a 'z'. And sox, chox, and bix get an 'x' [my Mum did that too - it must be hereditary]

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Not So Fast!

Last weekend, I stopped at the Motorway Services, and looked briefly at the magazines in WHS [then picked up a free one in Waitrose] It being January, they are selling the February editions. I have never quite understood that system, but they all do it. Here are some covers
All of them carry features about getting fit, getting healthy, losing weight etc. I appreciate that this is all part of the 'New Year, New You' thing. But I am beginning to question this idea.
The thing is, January in my house at least, is the hardest time to thing about diets and weight loss. I ate sensibly over Christmas [most of the time] and did not put on any weight. But part of that was because I did not pig out on the lovely foodie gifts we received.

But we did eat some of them up - fancy biscuits and sweets were enjoyed as desserts, posh jams spread on breakfast toast and croissants. That meant some of the Christmas food I had got in the freezer was untouched.  So in January, we are eating up the Christmas leftovers which remain in the freezer. 
This means there is no way I am planning to diet this month. On Saturday I used the two packs of frozen pastry, and some apples from a friend to make a batch of apple pies
These have gone into the freezer [apart from the tarte tatin which we ate straightaway] and I also baked that fish-ful of halva whilst the oven was hot. It is a soft, sweet peanut/sesame dessert, rather pleasant in small portions.

Two weeks from today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. I may choose to fast from fancy puds then. But for the remainder of January, I am planning to enjoy the pies and pastries. And of course, the Grand Manse Pancake Party will be happen on Shrove Tuesday. 
But don't expect courgetti, Dukan Diets and green kale smoothies round here anytime soon!

Tuesday 26 January 2016

In Which Angela Spies A Heffalump

Forty years ago a huge housing complex was built in Elephant and Castle - the Heygate Estate. Typical bleak Corbusian architecture of the period - lots of flats with long walkways at each level, it was frequently used by film-makers. It was forever popping up in 'Spooks'. I cannot tell you how often I recorded that programme, and then stopped the recording when I thought I saw Liz, Jon or Steph walking past the tube station as a spy ran the other way - but it was never them. A few years ago, police were called when hundreds of bullet casings were found on the Heygate. They turned out to be blanks fired for a scene in The Veteran, starring British actor Brian Cox!
But now that has all gone. The last residents were moved out, and building has begun on the new "Elephant Park" [please, no puns about nearby Trunk Roads, thank you] although they are also calling the central area 'Trafalgar Place' I understand

I wish I didn't feel that some local people lost homes who cannot afford to live in the new dwellings, and that socially it isn't the best thing. Right now it is just a huge building site
The artist's impression below shows 'London's largest new park for 70 years' - we wait and see!

I presume this sign indicates how they are going to get all the mature trees into place

Inevitably the presence of so many boarded up areas has attracted artwork- this one [about 3 metres high] being the most recent to appear. The eyes seem to follow you round the site!
The ads for the new apartments show lots of bright young things shopping at East Street Market down the road, and riding their bicycles in the sunshine. Sadly they don't show the very heavy traffic hurtling round the Elephant roundabout just a few yards away. We must just wait and see how it all turns out...

Monday 25 January 2016

Bean There, Done That!

One of the delights of a visit to Liz is the opportunity to go shopping at Oli's Foodstore in the Walworth Road. This exotic Turkish emporium never closes. Even when there were riots happening on the Walworth Road, Jon tells me they simply stood a huge bouncer outside and operated a one customer in, one out policy!
In celebration of the Year of the Pulses, I stocked up on red lentils, split peas, chickpeas and white beans - plus pine-nuts, cinnamon sticks, tapioca and ground coriander - all way cheaper than I have found down here. Also a strange little pottery fish-dish containing halva. It was reduced to 99p. Apart from Oli's great prices, I love the colourful packaging - much more fun than a stack of orange and white 'basics' tins. 

Liz and I enjoyed a breakfast at Leon on Thursday - using two of the vouchers I won over Christmas. She had "porridge of the Gods" [with chocolate and banana] and a chocolatey drink. I had "smoked salmon, spinach, dill yogurt and poached egg on a lightly toasted muffin" [sans oeuf] and drank a ridiculously healthy, but surprisingly tasty carrot, apple and ginger juice. Thanks Leon!

On Monday evening, we  enjoyed Hugh F-W's 'chicken thighs with lentil and rosemary' - Liz made a huge casserole, and then served some, and froze some portions. It came from the current Waitrose Magazine. I picked up a copy at the Motorway Services on the way home - so plan to try this one out on Bob. Expect a review soon. 

Sunday 24 January 2016

Known Unto God

I have been reading some interesting stuff this week about Rudyard Kipling. His poem 'If' was the winner in a poll some year's back for 'The Nation's Favourite Poem' [ dedicated to his son Jack]- but he wrote so much more than that. His lovely home at Batemans in Sussex is now owned by the National Trust, and I spent a lovely day there about 25 years ago, when the roses were blooming.
Kipling lived from 1865 to 1936 - and was already a world famous writer before Victoria died. In 1907, he became the youngest ever Nobel Laureate for Literature - and holds that record to this day. But in 1915 everything changed for him, when his son John [known in the family as Jack] died in WW1 aged just 18. Rudyard never recovered from this loss, and his writing, and attitudes changed. Sadly his son's body was not recovered - Kipling went to his own grave not knowing the whereabouts of his son's remains. But despite his own personal grief, he threw himself into the work of the War Graves Commission. He insisted that all headstones should be identical in size, whatever the rank of the soldier interred beneath. He was the one who suggested the Biblical text "Their name liveth for evermore" be inscribed, and also that on the gravestones of those unidentified, it should say "Known unto God" 
In 1990 the WGC changed the inscription on the headstone of one such grave in St Mary's ADS Cemetery, Loos, France - as they believed it genuinely contained the body of Jack Kipling. It became a place of pilgrimage for many Kipling readers, despite a book being published which claimed to show the WGC had got it wrong. For 25 years, there has been controversy over this decision. The WGC has always refused an exhumation - it is not their policy to disturb the remains of the fallen except in very exceptional cases.

But news has come this week of fresh evidence.  The BBC magazine contains an article about this, and two researchers now feel this definitely is Jack's grave. 
Kipling died never knowing where his son was laid to rest- he wrote a poem in memory of his son.
In 1997, David Haig wrote a play entitled "My Boy Jack" about Rudyard and his son. It was filmed for the BBC, with Daniel Radcliffe as Jack, and Haig himself playing his father. Here is a clip from the film where he recites his verses
These days we talk a lot about 'closure' - being able to accept things, and to move on. I don't believe Rudyard ever truly found that. But I think that his work for the WGC, and especially for the Tomb of The Unknown Warrior must have been a real help to so many other bereaved families. The Tomb in Westminster Abbey was the first such in the world [both the Queen Mother, and Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge, laid their wedding bouquets there] 
In 1993, Paul Keating, PM of Australia, suggested the wording on their nation's Tomb should be altered to read He is one of them, and he is all of us. Public outcry demanded it remain unchanged. I think the people were right. We may not be sure of the identity of the person who died for their country and is buried in that grave, but we can be sure that they are Known Unto God

Saturday 23 January 2016

Home Again!

I have had a wonderful time in London with Liz [and Jon]. We have been to fascinating places, eaten great food, and talked non stop about books, babies, bedding, Boris, bridges, baking, and a billion things not beginning with B. I've helped with housework, and put my sewing machine to good use, and done some knitting - and then yesterday I drove back to Dorset. It took ages. There is something slightly irritating about sitting in a traffic jam on the M25 listening to Sally Traffic on Radio 2 telling you there is a traffic jam on the M25!! So today I am taking things easy. 

Friday 22 January 2016

Putting Pen To Paper

 Two unexpected gifts came my way recently – they are the loveliest sort, out of the blue like that. The first from my good friend Carole, back in Kirby Muxloe, a copy of a new book. This was written by Vivien,[pictured] who was her bridesmaid [back in 1964, I think it was!] 

Vivien now lives ‘across the pond’  - but she and I have become friends via this blog, and we sometimes email each other.

Vivien’s book is about her experiences as a new bride out in Africa. I shall review the book when I have read it properly. She hopes to sell a few copies here in the UK, as the profits are all going to charity. She wants her gift of writing to be a blessing to others.

The second gift was a fountain pen – my friend Peter was having a sort out of stationery stuff, and found an excess of Parker Pens – so kindly passed one on to me [along with spare cartridges] It is so lovely to hold and to write with.
A short text is good in an emergency, an email is useful for passing on more information, a postcard with a picture is lovely, a letter printed from a PC is legible but always feels businesslike 

– but nothing beats a couple of sheets of decent notepaper, covered in flowing script, expressing affection love and concern.

Thank you Carole, and Vivien and Peter for your generosity [I may even write you proper thank you letters sometime!]

Thursday 21 January 2016

How Do You Like Your Eggs In The Morning?

...I like mine with a kiss!
or so the old song goes, played most days on Chris Evans Breakfast Show. Not everyone is blessed with someone to share breakfast with, to greet them each morning as they start their day. But today is National Hugging Day, celebrated around the world. It seems that it has been going on since 1986 - but I only found this out yesterday [I read it in the free Asda Magazine] 
So go out there and hug someone, or two or three...just for the sake of it. And if you happen to be near United Church, Ferndown, please give Bob a big hug for me, I have been away in London for 4 days now!!

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Threads Of Conversation

First it was hygge (pronounced hue-gah) the Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, everyday things more meaningful, beautiful or special. Whether it is lingering over a cup of carefully made coffee or chai tea, sharing a cosy evening at home with friends or the simple act of lighting a candle with every meal. Some refer to hygge as an “art of creating intimacy” (either with yourself, friends and your home). While there’s no one English word to describe hygge, several can be used interchangeably to describe the idea of hygge such as cosiness, charm, happiness, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness.

Now the Swedes want us to learn the word syjunta – which means "coming together to enjoy craft and creativity" [usually with good food] For over 150 years, this word has signified groups of people [mostly, but not exclusively, women] coming together to socialise and to enjoy making things together. I agree that syjunta is a little more elegant sounding than stitch’n’bitch, but I am intrigued that recentlyvarious internet sites are suggesting this is a new idea in the UK. For as long as I can remember, people have sat round knitting, or sewing, or working at other crafts – and often making things for the benefit of others outside the group.
My Mum started such a group back in the 60’s. Many of her friends were a little tired of Tupperware Parties – they liked the social side of it, but really didn’t want to buy any more plastic boxes. So she started an evening group which met regularly to knit children’s clothes which were sent out to missionary friends working in Africa. They called themselves “The Missionary Knitters”[a sad lack of imagination, I always felt] Nowadays I go to a monthly Coffee’n’Craft morning which meets in our Church Hall. I have made lots of new friends there – and learned a few new craft techniques too.
But whatever your group calls itself – syjunta, stitch’n’bitch or Missionary Knitters – it is definitely a great thing to be a part of. In these cold winter days, it is lovely to meet up with others, and take time for relaxing conversation and creativity. A real act of hygge.

Do you belong to such a group? 
What do you enjoy most about it?

Monday 18 January 2016

Buildings InSpectre

We finally got around to seeing James Bond in 'Spectre' last week. Screen F, Tower Park, Poole has just four rows of seats. It was about 60% full, and apart from one young woman with a huge ice cream, I suspect we were the youngest present [and we both qualify as seniors now]

We both enjoyed it, typical Bond [better than Quantum of Solace we thought, and in many ways better than Skyfall]  One quote made us both chuckle
Madeleine Swann: Why, given every other possible option, does a man choose the life of a paid assassin? 
James Bond: Well, it was that or the priesthood
I am rather glad that my man was chosen for the latter career, I don't like guns or killing [although I do think men look good in well fitting suits]
"Q" [Ben Wishaw] is developing into a better character - although it will be hard for anyone to fill Desmond Llewellyn's shoes [I think BW is proving better than John Cleese]
A few plot twists were a little contrived [as usual] but on the whole it was at least ****
One aspect of Bond [and films generally] that we both enjoy is spotting film locations we recognise. Much nudging goes on if it is a place we ourselves have actually visited. Bob is especially smug if it is Rome or Moscow [I have not been to these cities, but he has]
Spectre has quite a few London locations - and also Blenheim Palace is used at one point [pretending to be Rome]. You can find a list of locations here, and the Telegraph had this article a few years back showing many places I recognised, and some of which I had visited [like Brent Cross Shoppers' Car Park - where more than a dozen BMWs were written off in the filming!] If you are a real geek, you can even buy a book to check out all the London locations. 
A spot frequently used by film makers and TV programmes, is the colonnade by the National Maritime Museum. That often appears up on both the big and the small screen. The NMM, the Queen's House next door, and the Royal Naval Chapel across the road are among of my most favourite London places- and the Royal Observatory up on the hill behind in Greenwich Park, and the Cutty Sark up the road, and the amazing footbridge under the Thames. I am spending this week in London, staying with Liz and attending WWDP committee, but I don't think I'll doing much location spotting. Maybe I will manage a morning visiting Greenwich if there is time...

Have you visited any places which were used in films ? Or ever seen the cameras actually shooting?

Sunday 17 January 2016

Crackpot Theology?

This seems to me to be a good picture of the way God loves us - however broken and damaged we are, He does not discard us, but rather He remakes us into something glorious and beautiful. I love listening to peoples stories of how God has restored them.

Saturday 16 January 2016

Keeping My Finger On The Pulse


I try and keep up to date, but I admit that I am rather behind with this news item - did you know that the United Nations* has declared this "The International Year of Pulses"?? No, me neither- but thanks to blogfriend Gill [that British Woman] in Canada, I feel fully informed about this one.
“Much work needs to be done to end hunger and provide food security and nutrition for all. One concrete, promising opportunity lies with pulses. Let us join forces to raise awareness of the benefits of pulses,” said the Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon. “Despite strong evidence of the health and nutritional benefits of pulses, their consumption of pulses remains low in many developing and developed countries. The International Year can help overcome this lack of knowledge,”

Further, he also said that pulses impact the environment positively due to their nitrogen-fixing properties, which increase soil fertility. The UN chief also called for collaborative commitment and concrete action by all relevant actors within the UN system, farmers’ organizations, civil society and the private sector, to make the International Year of Pulses 2016 a success.
I love beans, and lentils, and chickpeas - so I shall make every effort to participate in this one!
I suspect that Gill knew about it because Canada is one of the world's top pulse producers [who knew that?] and so they are making a big deal of it over there.
What is your favourite pulse recipe?
What have you BEAN cooking recently?
*It seems they originally declared this back in 2013. Not very loudly [imho]

Friday 15 January 2016

Not Lost In Translation

I so rarely seem to watch any TV in ‘Real Time’ anymore- everything is recorded to be watched later. Currently I am following three different series which are all European and subtitled. I am no linguist, and can manage a bit of French – but I do need to read what is on the screen [so cannot sew at the same time, which is a bit frustrating for a multi-tasker like me] Channel 4 is focussing on Euro drama this spring – moving south from the Scandiwegian woolly jumpered police towards the chic French and brusque Germans. BBC4 stays in sunny southern Italy.  At least BBC1 returns to Dougie Henshall in Shetland tonight [fortunately no subtitles needed for that]
Deutschland 83 – Channel 4 - is a very clever German espionage drama, set 33 years ago in the Reagan/Stasi era. Martin Rauch is an East German army officer, recruited to work as a spy in West Germany. He clearly didn’t have to learn a new language to move from East to West, but he does have to learn the tiny differences in vocabulary that had developed over the four decades since the war. 

While West Germans shopped at Supermarkts, East Germans went to the Kaufhalle. He’s not a very good spy, and his efforts seem very naïve and ill-considered at times, yet you somehow want him to succeed against the West [which is us!] The sense of period is evoked brilliantly [I remember the early 80s quite clearly] and use of contemporary news footage and background music adds to that. There was a clip from Reaga’s ‘Evil Empire’ speech, where he quotes CSLewis, who wrote that the greatest evil is ordered "by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice". I am avoiding all spoilers, I don’t know how this one will work out, but I am enjoying it!

Spin [les hommes de l’ombre] – again from Channel 4 – is a French political thriller. It’s a sort of ‘House of Cards’ meets ‘Borgen’. One of the main actors is Grégory Fitoussi, who I thought was brilliant in ‘Spiral’ last year. Bob found it tedious, and gave up early on. So I am catching up in the evenings when he is upstairs working in his study. It has seemed slow and you do need to concentrate but I think the plot is beginning to come together. 

Young Montelbano on BBC4 – this is a different kettle of fish completely. A lot of fish, in fact – this detective series is set in sunny Sicily and as well as policing, Salvo, the hero, really enjoys his food. It is a prequel to the original stories of Andrea Camilleri, and has been skilfully cast. You can really believe the characters are the younger selves of those we got to know in the programmes about the older Montelbano. 

The mannerisms, and language traits are all there. It’s like an Italian Midsomer, but with a much lower body count, and much higher calorie count.

Do you watch any of these Euro-dramas? Or do you think it is too hard to concentrate on the subtitles? And can anyone explain why Bob insists we have the sound at 'normal' volume, even though we have no idea what we are hearing?

Thursday 14 January 2016

Sweet Talking

Here are just a few random tips I've picked up in recent weeks about sweet things used in cooking. I know everyone is supposed to be cutting back and we need to watch the hidden sugar in our drinks, but if you are baking cakes and desserts, you do need to use a little!

  • Golden Syrup & Black Treacle - if you need to measure a spoonful of this, then oil the spoon with a little vegetable oil first and the syrup will slip off much more easily
  • Crystallised Honey - many people advise heating the jar of honey in a pan of boiling water, or zapping it in the microwave. This will render the honey runny again - but it is likely to re-crystallise on cooling. You will get better results if you use the microwave on defrost setting, and give it 20 second blasts until it goes liquid. I did this a few weeks ago and my honey remains golden and liquid.
  • Soft Brown Sugar - this often goes into hard clumps. Some books recommend keeping a slice of apple in the jar. Personally I have never been happy with that one. But I have had success with a couple of large marshmallows working well to keep the sugar soft.
Finally a World War 2 recipe which I have yet to try, but seems such fun I thought I would share it. Parsley Honey

5 oz. parsley (stalks and all) roughly chopped
1½ pints of water
1 lb. sugar
½ tsp. lemon juice
Using a large saucepan, add washed parsley to the pan then add 1½ pints of water.
Simmer the liquid until it has reduced to a pint of liquid [around 30 minutes] . Now strain that liquid into a jug then return just the strained juice back to the pan. Add 1 lb. of sugar and stir until thoroughly dissolved. Add ½tsp lemon juice
Bring to the boil, then simmer until the liquid looks like the consistency of honey.
Remove from heat, allow to cool, then pour into hot, sterilised jars.
Pooh always liked a little something at eleven o'clock in the morning, and he was very glad to see Rabbit getting out the plates and mugs; and when Rabbit said, "Honey or condensed milk with your bread?" he was so excited that he said, "Both," and then, so as not to seem greedy, he added, "But don't bother about the bread, please."

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Ottoman Empire

Five years ago I posted about my little ottoman. I have had it in since my student days in Oxford. It was £5 in the North Hinksey Bedding Shop Autumn Sale. I had to carry it all the way back to college, with the help of a friend, because they would not deliver anything costing less than £20! I used it as extra seating, book storage, and a coffee table. It was covered in 1970's pink and orange printed plastic.
Then when I got married, I covered it in brown fabric to match our brown and orange lounge [it was still the 1970's] Briefly it did duty as a toybox, with the lid covered in a red alphabet print [long since removed and turned into a sewing machine cover] It got rather faded and dirty.
When we moved to Kirby Muxloe, green dralon curtains made matching covers for the ottoman, and the bedroom stool. In 2011, I turned it into a shoe storage unit by putting two of those hanging shoe bags inside. At the time I mentioned I need to recover it.

This week I stripped it back to its original plastic, using a staple remover and a pair of pliers. here are the three different covers.
I'd found some striped ticking for £1.50 in a bin outside a curtain shop in Salisbury before Christmas. And then I unpicked a large piece of blue denim which had originally  been a Shepherd's Costume in the Nativity Box in the loft. The Black and Decker Powershot was fished out again, and voila, a chic new shoe store! [that is not a stain, just a damp patch where I was over zealous with the steam iron - it has dried out now]

This should do me a few more years I think - not bad for £1.50