Tuesday 31 December 2019

Cherishing The Good Moments

This Christmas hasn't been quite as planned - but it is important for me to remind myself that in amongst the sickness and sadness, there have been moments of real joy. Times when we have felt surrounded by love and care of friends and family. Moments when we have enjoyed the wonders of creation. Little things which make the days special. And often so good that we were too busy to take pictures. But here are a few

(1) Bob and Rosie looking at the fish at Urban Jungle, Norwich. A nursery/cafe where you eat lunch under huge plants and creepers, beside a pond full of carp - and outside wander among amazing vegetation. Sadly I have neither the space nor £600 to buy a massive olive tree(4), with its gnarled and twisting trunk.
Steph and Gaz brought Jeff & Jim the rabbits, and they played happily in the lounge for a few days.(3,5)
Boxing Day we drove out to Horsey to look at the hundreds of seals on the beach.(6,7)
On Christmas Eve, before the Midnight Carols, Bob and I shared a quiet Candlelit supper together.(2)The Holy Family (8) decorated the Christmas Cake as usual [the cake & icing taste much better than last year] And I hung up the seven family stockings down the Ferndown staircase (9) - then brought them over to Norfolk, where they were filled, and then unpacked on Christmas Afternoon. [next year I imagine that I shall have to make #8 for young Master Brotherton]
Rosie was very keen to paint her Paw Patrol Figure. These kits are always more complex than they appear, but Auntie Steph produced a set of better brushes. It took three of us, but "Sky" is just about recognisable! 
This has certainly been a roller coaster year - my illness in the Spring, a Summer of Ruby Celebrations, Bob's illness in October, the excitement of Steph's pregnancy, and the loss of 4 family members and a number of dear friends. (and I'm not even mentioning the mess that is British politics right now) 
But through it all, God has been with us, and I believe he will sustain us into this new decade. 
There's an old hymn which sums it up beautifully. 
"It's Jesus, the First and the Last, 
Whose Spirit shall guide us safe home
We'll praise him for all that is past
And trust him for all that's to come" 

Christmas Jigsaw just completed [thank you Mary for lending me another one from your collection] 

Monday 30 December 2019

Presents and Presentation

Now all the gifts have been delivered, I can show you how I used my WeRMemoryKeepers envelope punch board to make them look smart. I found a calculator online which gave me measurements so I could make boxes in the right size.
First up "Little gifts" - bars of Ritter Sport Chocolate. 

They look much better in a custom made box don't you think?
And the gifts I have been making are Waxwraps. I had a day when I strung string all round the kitchen cabinets and hung the wraps out to dry. 
There are 3 sizes of wrap in each pack. 
100% cotton fabric, 100% food grade beeswax, and a cardboard packet. I'm quite pleased with these [I hope the recipients are too] 

Sunday 29 December 2019

Keeping Focussed

In previous years I have chosen a Word Of The Year - like Shine, Hope, and More - something to challenge me, something to aim at.

This past year my #word365  has been FOCUS. I thought I would look back and see how this has worked out. I said back in January that focus had three meanings

  • the centre of our attention
  • the quality of clear vision [optical term]
  • the fixed point defining relationships [mathematical term]

I wanted to learn to better concentrate on the important task in front of me, to see clearly what I should be doing, and to recognise that in the changing world, my faith in Jesus should be my fixed point.
And how has it worked out? Well,nothing like in the way I expected.
On January 16th, I collapsed rather spectacularly in Sainsbury's - and subsequent tests [and boy, were there a lot of them] showed that I had Post-viral Fatigue Syndrome, and a serious Vitamin D deficiency.
I was forced to shift my focus from being busy, dashing here there and everywhere, and instead focus on getting well. Learning not so much to focus on my tasks, but focus on my self, and recognise when my body was telling me to slow down [or stop]
Focussing not on improving my juggling skills, but rather on learning to say NO and only working on one project at a time.
This has not been easy - and I am grateful to family and friends for bullying  encouraging me.
I am learning to focus on the things that really matter. The tasks which genuinely must get done - and the tasks which can be left [sometimes neglected for a long time - sometimes forgotten forever]
I know now that I'll never get back into the classroom as a Supply Teacher - but I still have opportunities to work with children and young people, and use my teaching gifts in other ways.
Then on October 9th, seven months after my health incident, Bob had a TIA, and it was his turn to spend a night in Bournemouth hospital, being monitored and checked and tested.
My focus shifted again - for a few weeks, he had to be my priority. As Bob learned to relax in the passenger seat, so I learned that I can drive [and park] a large automatic vehicle - after years driving tiny hatchbacks with gear changes. We are both learning to focus on better relaxation times, and better eating habits. Our church has grown in the past year, which is good - but it has meant a changing workload, and focus on our use of time has proved inmportant.
This years we've been with friends and family members as they too have been ill, and suffered bereavements. And we've watched others struggle with the problems of the benefits system, and intransigent officialdom - and tried to help them through it. We've seen our nation divided over bureaucracy, Boris and Brexit - and been saddened when those divisions have affected families and communities. It has reminded me of the need to focus on maintaining strong relationships, and the issues that unite, rather than divide us. 
And at the end of the year I suppose I have concluded that I should focus on "Living more simply, that others may simply live". 
I do have a word for 2020 - but you'll have to wait for another post to find out!
Do you have a #word365?

Saturday 28 December 2019

Left Holding The Baby

Rosie has been playing with dolls at Nursery, and so Liz suggested we might get one as her Christmas present. My First Baby Anna Bell [With sleeping eyes! ] Liz suggested a baby sling would be a helpful addition.
Rosie loves her. She carries the doll in two positions - facing her, or looking outwards. 
I used a simple pattern I found online [here
You simply cut and sew four straps - two long, two short. Then take a long thin rectangle. Pin the straps in place, fold up the lower half, and seam round [leaving a gap for turning.]
Turn out and sew up the gap. Done! 
The short steps tie round Rosie's waist. Dolly sits in place, top straps go over the shoulders, cross at the back and tie at the front. 
It was an easy job - you could make it even faster by using a handkerchief, some lengths of ribbon and four safety pins! 

Friday 27 December 2019

Bicycle [Brunch] Made For Two

A few weeks ago, we went over to Blandford one Tuesday morning. It was wet and windy, and apart from an amazing CS bargain [and also dropping off a box of items] not much to report. We went into the Yellow Bicycle Cafe for Brunch. Steve the owner/chef has won a number of awards for the great dishes he creates from local produce, and he has a great team working with him..
We both liked the look of "eggy homemade bread with homemade story pig pork chorizo, with crispy kale and spiced hollandaise" which won Steve the "Breakfast Chef of the Year" at the 2018 National Breakfast Awards, and a place on the NBA judging panel for 2019. Story Pig Pork is produced locally.
 The food was delicious. The bread was indeed eggy, but light and beautifully cooked. Bob [who doesn't usually like kale] ate all of his. And the little chorizo patties, although spicy, were not over-hot. The sauce came in a cute enamel cup.
As I paid, I asked Steve about his recipe. 
A week or so later, I was thinking about a light evening meal. I looked in the fridge, where there was a jug of egg yolks [I'd made the royal icing for the Christmas Cake the day before] In HFW's Love Your Leftovers, Hugh suggests adding a whole egg to a jug of yolks, for an extra creamy eggy bread. Then I remembered I had some merguez sausages in the freezer. These are spicy beef based sausages from North Africa. Bob bought them as part of a selection pack. I decided to have a go.
I took the meat out of the casings, rolled it into neat little patties and pan fried them. Meanwhile I made the eggy bread, and cooked some portions of frozen spinach [I had no kale] I whisked a little paprika and some chili sauce into mayo and put it into a small glass. There was also some salsa dip [I don't like that] in the fridge - so I put a dollop on the side of Bob's plate. 
Bob said it was a very good take on the original meal and he'd be happy to eat it again any time. I'd never really thought of serving eggy bread like this before. Thank you Steve for the inspiration.
The CS bargain was an IKEA 'Stockholm' Candelabra. This was designed some years ago by brother-and-sister team Knut and Marianne Hagburg. For 40 years they've been designing for the company, mostly furniture pieces - and this was a special, limited edition made a few years ago. I think it was around £50-£60. At the time we both admired it but regarded t as beyond our budget. 
Bob found it in a Blandford CS, upstairs in their Christmas room -rather dusty with wax in the cups. "How much?" I asked "There's no price on it. What would you pay, Ang?" I hesitated [I've recently consigned some cheap black metal candlesticks to the CS box, because I really don't like them that much] "A fiver - no more" [I knew he really liked it too] He went downstairs and asked the assistant. Who asked her colleague. "Would you pay £4.99?" she asked hesitantly. Done! and I put the penny change in the box on the counter. Then into a discount store where I said "I've always wanted to say this - but can I 'ave fork 'andles?" They were amused. And I then said I needed four more. With, or without candles, it is a lovely sculptural piece
It has pride of place on the dining table now.

Thursday 26 December 2019

Thank You

Thank you everyone for your kind words, your love, and your prayers. Sadly Bob's brother died yesterday morning. 
We're now at Cornerstones, and Rosie is filling the house with Christmas joy


An Italian word, meaning "to eat with joy, with no intention of stopping" and I picture a huge Italian family at Christmas, seated at a long run of tables, on mismatched chairs, people of all ages - babies through to white haired Nonnas - laughing and eating and drinking.
There are around 1000 of you every day, who read this blog, friends from all over the globe.
Maybe you have been able to enjoy a sense of sgargarozzare  this season, maybe not.
You may have eaten your Christmas meal with a host of family members or close friends
Or perhaps served up meals in church halls, hostels, or school halls, to the homeless, the hungry and the needy.
Or sat with a loved one who is too sick to appreciate all the festivities
Maybe you've been with just one other special person and had a quieter day
Perhaps this year has been tinged with a sadness, because someone precious is no longer at the table with you.
If you're in the Antipodes, lunch may have been on the beach - Canadian and Scandinavian readers will have dressed warmly and perhaps had to shift the snow from the path.
Perhaps you have been busy with work in the services - [the emergency services, the motorway services, the church services]
Or of a different faith, or none, perhaps Christmas isn't such a big deal.
Wherever you are, however you have spent your Christmas, I pray you will have had good food to eat, and had a day of joyful moments.
Thank you for reading Tracing Rainbows - I raise my glass to you, and echo Tiny Tim's Christmas Toast "God bless us, every one!"

Wednesday 25 December 2019

Come And Worship

...Christ The Newborn King 

[this charming wooden African nativity scene was from the display at Verwood URC's  Christmas Extravaganza] 

Tuesday 24 December 2019


Last night Bob drove up to Coventry, where his brother Frank is very ill in hospital. Please pray for the family. Thank you. 

Monday 23 December 2019

Eating A Christmas Pie #3

Today is Tom Bowcock's Eve. Maybe you've read the story of The Mousehole Cat? This is a brilliant retelling of an old legend, by author Antonio Barber, and illustrator Nicola Bayley.
The story goes like this - it was approaching Christmas and the weather was incredibly bad. The inhabitants of a little Cornish fishing village of Mousehole [pronounced Mowzel]  were really worried. The boats had been unable to go out for days because of the storms, and everyone was hungry, fish was their staple diet. They were cut off, by road and sea, and knew that unless a miracle happened they would starve.
On Christmas Eve, a brave fisherman called Tom Bowcock set out through the crashing waves to try and catch something - anything-to feed his family and friends.
He returned safely to the harbour with a huge catch. Seven sorts of fish... Pilchards and others. They made a huge pie, and to show that it really did contain fish, the heads and tails were left poking out. Everyone ate, and they were saved! 

Ever since then, people in Cornwall have remembered Tom's brave act, and it is tradition to eat Stargazey Pie just before Christmas.
It is served, to great acclain, in The Ship Inn which is the only pub in Mousehole. The name is obviously because of the fish gazing up at the stars.
Now the cynics will tell you it was a marketing stunt dreamt up by the landlord in the 1950s, not a Tudor story. But Dorothy Hartley, the great expert on the history of English food, wrote of this pie in 1952, and certainly the associated folksong dates back at least to the 1920s. And other naysayers will claim they weren't starving if they had Flour and butter for the pastry, and eggs and milk for the sauce. I don't much care - it's a great story!
Have you ever eaten Stargazey Pie? I haven't - it would be fun to try it sometime

Sunday 22 December 2019

Pause In Advent #4- Let The Children Come

I've spent the whole week 'pausing' [in between panicked dashes to the bathroom] but one afternoon, I persuaded Bob to climb into the freezing loft, and fetch down a large plastic box of "School resources - mostly RE". I'm never going to need all those worksheets again, they may as well be recycled. I sorted through them and ended up with one small folder of 'stuff worth keeping' But as I did it, I was remembering different schools, different churches - and the dozens of Nativity Plays I've been involved in down the years.
And I suddenly remembered one year...We were halfway through the Children's Nativity Service in Church. Lots of parents there, everything on the platform ready [manger, baby hidden beneath Mary's chair, props on the front pew ready to be collected] and all the children in their costumes. It was the carol before the main drama. I felt a tugging at my sleeve, and there was 'Joseph', in the obligatory dressing gown and tea-towel. 
The family had only joined our church that autumn - Dad was African-American, Mum was English and he was a bright lad. "Angela" he whispered anxiously - he had the sort of panicked look on his face that made me anxious too. Was it stage fright? Did he need the loo? Where would I find an instant understudy?
I knelt down in the pew so our faces were level. Around the congregation were gaily carolling. "Is there something wrong?" I asked gently
"Well, I just wondered, is it OK for me to be playing Joseph?"
"Of course it is- you'll be brilliant"
"But...but...before they've always made me be a Wise Man, because I'm black!"
I gave him a little hug
"Listen - Joseph, Mary - and Jesus too - had faces that were closer to the colour of your skin than to mine. So don't worry - you are absolutely the right person to play this part"
His eyes sparkled - "Jesus had skin a bit like mine then?"  
"Yep! He sure did!"
He played his part with confidence and joy.
And I was so happy for him.
And I sadly remembered all the children who have been typecast down the years - "He looks foreign, he can be a Wise Man" "She's such a pretty blonde, blue eyed child, Mary or one of the angels?" Short, plain brunette girls ended up being junior shepherds, or pages to the Magi. Unless you had a clear voice and could read well [and then they were almost always Narrators and often denied a costume. Believe me I've been there!]
Immanuel means God with us. There is a place for every child around the crib - and we have no right to put the less pretty ones at the back, or make the minority child the 'stranger'. Let the little ones come to me, for of such is the Kingdom of heaven

Saturday 21 December 2019

Eating A Christmas Pie #2

Well I've heard of 'rubber chicken' but a comment overheard in Lidl this week still has me giggling. There we were, idly looking into the desserts freezer, and Bob was trying to buy a cheesecake - and I was being firm and saying No!
I know he's half Belgian, I know he has loved Speculoos biscuits since childhood...but the Doctor did mention the weight thing. OK I admit, the whole idea of food has made me feel ill this week, so I wasn't really being fair. Perhaps I'll relent later. Maybe.
Anyway, alongside the Belgian dessert was an Italian one. 
"Ooh pass me one of those, love" said the woman to her husband "I really like those silicon tarts"
Lidl have quite a few silicon products in their Deluxe range - pasta sauce, marmalade, wines.
I notice they don't have silicon chips though!
[and I know a tart has no lid, so it isn't really a pie, but I'm not up to findingwitty titles today]

Friday 20 December 2019

Top Tips For Christmas [Recycled]

Long time readers will know that I usually post some Christmas tips. I completely forgot this year [see Tip #1] But there are plenty of worthy offerings out there. Like the Scrunch test for wrapping paper, the Squint test for tree lights, and avoiding the Sniff test for leftovers. I'm being eco-friendly and recycling a post from many years ago, with a few modifications
FIRST TIP - don't get a stomach bug the week before Christmas which knocks you out for 6 days [typing this from my sick bed] 
SECOND TIP – try to avoid inviting ‘professional’ cooks to share in your Christmas repast. If you are the mother of small children, and are having to host the ‘Family Dinner’ on 25th Dec, then your relations MUST understand that kitchen standards may slip a little, when there are little ones to be looked after! Delia Smith will not be dining with us this Christmas. I'm telling you in advance, so don't act surprised. Since Ms. Smith won't be coming, I've made a few small changes:

[1] Our path will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaria. After a trial run, it was decided that no matter how cleverly made, rows of flaming carrier bags do not have the desired welcoming effect.
[2] The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china or crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone will get a fork. Since this is Christmas, we will refrain from using the plastic Peter Rabbit plate and the Santa napkins from last Christmas.
[3] Our centrepiece will not be the tower of fresh fruit and flowers that I promised. Instead we will be displaying a hedgehog-like decoration hand-crafted from the finest construction paper. The artist assures me it is a turkey.
[4] We will be dining fashionably late. The children will entertain you while you wait. I'm sure they will be happy to share every choice comment I have made regarding Christmas, wise men and the turkey hotline. Please remember that most of these comments were made at 5:00 AM upon discovering that the turkey was still hard enough to cut diamonds. As accompaniment to the children's recital, I will play a recording of tribal drumming. If the children should mention that I don't own such a recording, or that tribal drumming sounds suspiciously like a frozen turkey in a tumble dryer, ignore them. They are lying.
[5] We toyed with the idea of ringing a dainty silver bell to announce the start of our feast. In the end, we chose to keep our traditional method. When the smoke alarm sounds, please gather around the table and sit where you like. In the spirit of harmony, we will ask the children to sit at a separate table. In a separate room. Next door.

[6] Now I know you have all seen pictures of one person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers. This will not be happening at our dinner. For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in a private ceremony. I stress "private" meaning:
Do not, under any circumstances, enter the kitchen to laugh at me.
Do not send small, unsuspecting children to check on my progress. I have an electric knife. The turkey is unarmed. It stands to reason that I will eventually win. When I do, we will eat.
[7] Before I forget, there is one last change. Instead of offering a choice between 12 different scrumptious desserts, we will be serving a Christmas pud from Lidl, garnished with whipped cream and small fingerprints. You will still have a choice: take it or leave it. 
Delia Smith will not be dining with us this Christmas. She probably won't come next year either. I am very thankful.

Thursday 19 December 2019

Card Sharp

My 'envelope punch board' has been working overtime recently, as I've been making boxes and packets for some of my gifts. But you always start with a square of card- so often I have narrow strips left over.
I kept putting these to one side - and then unexpectedly found a use for them last Thursday, when my fried Pam came round.
She works for CAP [Christians Against Poverty] and was preparing for a Christmas Meal which they were hosting for all their clients. 
"Oh, I've just remembered, I need an Icebreaker 'Table Game'" she said. I offered to help - it had to be something easy - for mixed ages and abilities. I suggested one I'd done with children - "What am I?"  You have a set of cards, with animals/birds/sea creatures on them. Each person has a card - and then the other people at the table ask questions [with yes/no answers] and try and guess what creature is on the card.

I began by quickly making a list of 50 creatures- farm animals [pig, cow...] minibeasts [ladybird, butterfly..] British wildlife [fox, hedgehog..] Jungle creatures [monkey, snake...] Sea creatures [shark, crab..] You get the idea. Then I cut up my strips into regular sized cards, and wrote a name on each. I made some little explanation slips, and bundled the cards into groups of 6. I made a little box using the punch board. The whole exercise took less than 45 minutes.
I was on a roll by then. I took some of my other strips, and using my triple-tag-punch, and a Fiskars corner snowflake punch, I made a whole box of gift tags, using up more of my strip trimmings.
I find it so incredibly satisfying to create something from the resources I already have, don't you?

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Eating A Christmas Pie #1

I'm continuing to sell things on Facebook Marketplace in dribs and drabs. After month [and four 'definite' buyers who backed out at the last minute] the old kitchen chairs went. The kitchen here is too small, and they were just cluttering up the bedrooms. When the fifth buyer got in touch, I said I'd drop the price by £5. She said she'd have to collect in two journeys, as the children would be in their car seats and the boot was very small. I offered to deliver - and she insisted on paying the original price. I was happy with £20.
Next up were my wineglasses. The last few times I've run my alco-free bar, there were glasses at the venues. So I advertised them. £10 for 54.Again, an immediate response, which came to nothing. Then a fortnight later another possible buyer. We arranged a date for collection. Then he had a genuine family crisis and couldn't come that day. "I do want them, I'll pay upfront..." I replied "no problem, family comes first, collect when you can, pay us then, and the box is labelled and waiting in our front porch."
Then we realised the buyer was the Pie Man. "My OH says you can pay in pies if you prefer"  Which is how I came to barter my glasses for some of Matt's delicious pies. He brought half a dozen assorted pies in a cool box. "These are worth more than a tenner" I said. But Matt said I'd been very obliging and I was to take them and tell my friends! 
So, dear friends, if you are near Bournemouth [I know some of you are, even if others are miles away] pop in a buy a pie or two. Details here
He wants the glasses because next year he's giving up the Pie Shop and opening a small seafood restaurant. I shall have to visit it and review it on the blog [I know at least one local reader who is pescatarian - maybe we can make up a foursome with our men? You know who you are!] Until then, go buy a pie while the shop is still open. Please mention the Wineglass Woman

Tuesday 17 December 2019

...Not Even A Mouse

In a week when the news hasn't been the most cheerful, this glorious little story about harvest mice crept in under the radar [as mice so often do] and I felt it deserved more attention.
The harvest mouse population in Britain has been rapidly dwindling for many years. This beautiful little creature, who makes a nest like a tennis ball, and is the only native British creature with a prehensile tail [capable of twisting and grasping- like a monkey's tail]
This is Britain's smallest's rodent, and in 2014, an enthusiastic, idealistic PhD student called Wendy Fail decided she wanted to reintroduce them to Northumberland. So she painstakingly bred 240 of them in captivity, and then released them gradually into the reedbeds of the East Chevington Nature Reserve. It was a long and complex process, and friends volunteered to help.She got her well-deserved PhD.
Harvest mice are preyed upon by cats, owls and kestrels - but the most devastating damage is done by farmers spraying their crops with pesticides. If they could only leave a wider margin unsprayed round the edges of their fields, it would make a significant difference.
But then, in 2009, a subsequent 'trap survey' revealed not one single mouse. Poor Wendy, she must have felt devastated. Then last month, one of her original team of volunteer helpers contacted her- workers on the Reserve had found two fresh, orb shaped nests.
Wendy was understandably ecstatic- this is clear evidence that the mice are still there. Sophie Webster of the Northumbrian Wildlife Trust said they are setting up new cameras, and 'live mammal traps' so they can attempt to evaluate the size of the population.
Wendy said "I'm not saying we've changed the world - but I hope that what we've done gives other people faith and hope that is is possible to conserve a much-loved species with a bit of hard work and determination."

What a great story - thank you Wendy 

Monday 16 December 2019

Send It To The Knacklers!

Two definitions
knacker ; a buyer of worn out animals or their carcasses, especially those not fit for domestic consumption
knackler ; a person capable of mending anything with anything. Said as a compliment [this term originates in Yorkshire] 
I knew the first expression [and the associated adjective, for feeling utterly exhausted] but not the second. But I learned it last week whilst watching The Repair Shop. If a series ever 'sparked joy' [and moist eyes] it is that one.
A lady came in with an item made by her grandfather, and it was fully restored - but she described Grandad as "A Knackler" Bob and I both thought it was a wonderful term. "You are a knackler" I told him.
Now we are both very fond of hats, and Bob's leather one was looking very dry and battered. Susie Fletcher, the leather worker on the programme often talks about 'feeding' leather to restore it to its original glory.
Bob looked on the Internet. You can buy the leather cream quite easily. He looked a little harder. You can make your own as well. Mix 1 part turpentine, [NOT TURPS SUBSTITUTE] 1 part boiled linseed oil, and 1 part melted beeswax. Allow to cool, and wait for 24 hours - it will become creamy. Apply with soft cloth and work into the leather. There was turps and oil in the garage, and I had some beeswax pellets [and a small screwtop jar] so Bob made some cream.
The hat is now restored and shiny again. Fixed using what we had in the house, and the only cost was a little time. Wonderful!
Bob is considerably better than he was ten weeks ago, and the TIA Clinic seemed very pleased with him when we visited last week [thank the Lord] The Hospital Car Park Machines were covered in notices of one sort and another. Including this one

Sunday 15 December 2019

Pause In Advent #3 - Advent/Ure

Today's Pause is taken [with permission, of course] from Bob's Blog on our church website. It was written earlier in the week, but he has said it better than I can...
"One thing I’m sure of in this time when a General Election coincides with the season of Advent. And that is that come Friday there [were] almost equal numbers of people who [were] delighted and disappointed by the result. It’s the way our system works – or fails to work.
This election season – and life in this country generally recently – has been marked by a level of division and vitriol which I have not seen before. We are deeply divided and seem to have lost respect for people we disagree with.
I’m not so naive as to believe that the outcome of the election will change that. We’ve employed weapons during this campaign that cannot now be forgotten about. But there is a challenge ahead of us.
Our adventure is to travel into a country where we must find ways of working with people we disagree with if we are to make life better for all – and especially for the poor, the powerless and the marginalised. As a follower of Jesus Christ I know that is what He wants for me.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27) 
So let’s use this Advent season to do just that: prepare ourselves for a new adventure in a very different world."
[thank you Bob - thank you too to Kezzie for her post today, with a lovely song, and FC with her amazing, true, story] 

Saturday 14 December 2019

Veggie Tables

Working hard Little-Waste-Christmas [realistically "Zero-Waste" is unlikely] also hoping for Little-Waist too. So when Bob had to take something along to a Bring&Share Lunch at the University this week, I suggested he take some crudités in one of my big Tupperware platters.

This platter comes  into its own every Christmas - it is easily transportable, and the rainbow wheel of colour looks enticing on a Buffet Table- especially when surrounded by a sea of golden brown samosas, sausage rolls, breaded chicken nuggets and other high fat canapés. The fresh, crisp veg, plus dips, were well received, but some still came home. As is often the case, there was far more food than necessary.
breaded chicken nuggets and other high fat canapés. The fresh, crisp veg, plus dips, were well received, but some still came home. As is often the case, there was far more food than necessary.I chopped up the veg, and made a 'minestrone' type soup, using some of my chicken stock, a diced and fried onion, and a handful of lentils and macaroni. A squeeze of tomato purée and a spoonful of paprika added colour and flavour. A simple supper which cost pence.
One year at our Open House I attempted a Christmas wreath of grapes, cherry tomatoes and cheese cubes nestling in a fragrant bed of rosemary sprigs, but I wasn't 100% happy with it - half of it was inedible greenery!
So I was quite intrigued to come across some alternative crudités platters on Pinterest this week. I am not sure I have the time or patience to arrange these. But they do look pretty!
The wreath top left is charming - but I am not sure if the sugar snap/mange tout peas would go down well. [aka Mangee Towts]
There's more cheese, olives and tomatoes in these cheese wreaths than mine, and less herbage.
The tree is lovely - but would be quite large I think. Shirley Conran famously said "Life is too short to stuff a mushroom" when discussing the time spent making canapés eating in a single bite. I am inclined to agree with her when it comes to these cucumber/ & carrot trees, and amazing little bugs and minibeasts.
But they are rather cute, you have to admit! You would need to be careful to remove the cocktail stick 'treetrunk' carefully. And I imagine the bugs might collapse en route from plate to mouth - not an elegant look!
Bob thinks that if we persist in calling these food items "Cruddites" then we should reverse the procedure, and refer to the 19th Century activitists in Leicester who opposed the Industrial Revolution as Ludités !
Other than bowls of salad, how do you serve fresh veg and fruit at your Christmas Buffets?