Saturday 31 August 2019

It's Here Again

This year, Zero-Waste-Week runs from Monday - Friday, 2nd-6th September. No, I still don't know why it is only 5 days long - and I have just realised I first blogged about ZWW in 2012.
Rachelle made a decision to change her lifestyle after almost losing everything in 2004. She was on holiday with her husband and baby daughter in Boscastle, Cornwall, and they were caught in flash floods. She stood, clutching the baby as the waters rose round them, and she was separated from her husband. They were rescued - but she realised that global warming was not a future possibility but a present reality. She was determined to be part of the solution.
Check out the ZWW website for more details. 
Last year I emptied all the bins in the house on the Sunday evening, so I could measure what was thrown away to landfill over the 5 days. I managed to get everything into a 250ml jar [plus a small jiffy bag containing some broken glass] and calculate it would take 8 years to fill my green wheelie bin if every week was that good. But I suspect it was rather unreal - packaged food is still an issue, and post still comes in plastic wrappers. 
Country Living magazine [my Christmas gift from SIL] has been banging on about Zero Waste, and have at last changed their wrapping so my copy now arrives in a recyclable paper wrap.
This year, the ZWW suggestion is doing a 'waste audit' to consider what you throw away and how you could change your behaviour to lessen the waste. There is a downloadable sheet to help with the process.
I have printed out my chart, which has four columns
Item/Why am I throwing it away?/Where will it end up?/Improvement
Last week we took both water bottles, and coffee mugs with us to Wales. But found that we could not get our mugs under the drink dispenser - we had to use one of the paper cups supplied to collect the coffee which we then decanted. Bob's cold drink at the services came in a plastic cup, with lid [and a paper straw] I now have three disposable cups, rinsed out, and standing on the window sill. I cannot bear to use them just the once. Full marks to the National Trust for our bottles of drink which came with glasses.This audit will help me think about what is recyclable and what isn't. I bought my loose veg in the supermarket on Thursday, and weighed them, then dropped them straight into my cotton bag - and I stuck the price label onto the back of my shopping list and scanned it. 
I shall let you know how things have gone at the end of the week.
I realised mid week that this blog now has had TWO AND A HALF MILLION HITS in 11½ years. I am astounded. Thank you for continuing to read and for posting the kind comments.

Friday 30 August 2019

Angela's Airbed Adventures Part Two

Off again, we drove out to the coast and up from Barmouth to Harlech. Stop 4 Here we walked on the steepest street in the world, and looked round the outside of the castle [we didn't want to wait 2 hours till it opened] Had a chat with the affable shopowner - including a discussion of the "Hovis Hill" - like many people, he thought it was in Yorkshire, didn't realise it was in Dorset!
The statue commemorates the sad story of Branwen and Bendigeidfran. We set the SatNav for another Welsh Castle, and proceeded inland, stopping for breakfast on the way. The scenery was amazing - Sunday afternoon the Welsh valleys, Monday morning Snowdonia.
Stop 4 - arriving in Dolgellau at 8.55 we walked briefly around the town until the cafe opened. Bob scored his meal 7½ out of 10!
Stop 5 - Powis Castle, a lovely National Trust estate with glorious gardens.
These were planned by the countess, Violet Lane-Fox [one of this crowd] a hundred years ago. The gardens were beautiful, the views amazing. 
Currently the NT exhibit round the house is featuring the evacuee girls [sent from the Welsh School in London] in WW2. 
Photographs inside were not allowed in most rooms. But I did manage a [legit] picture of a Robert Clive jug [there were a number of these on display] Robert Clive lived at Powis and there is a massive collection of Indian artefacts. The exhibit explains that some were purchased whilst he was in India, but many were pillaged and stolen from the Indian people.  I am not convinced about "Clive for Ever" - but I do feel "Huzza!!" is an underused exclamation nowadays, and intend to bring it into conversation more often. Bob took a series of pictures as I skipped happily down the steps to climb into another of those mega-deckchairs
Overall we found Powis disappointing, The WW2 thing rather got in the way of the actual house and its wonderful portraits. Furthermore, there were not the usual "This is what's in this room" sheets to help you find out stuff, and when we then asked questions of the guides, they replied apologetically that they didn't know. And then returned to their script about the schoolgirls. 
The portraits date back to Tudor times- and one showed a lady with some embroidery. There was a list of portraits which one carried from room to room, and this said the embroidery was on view in the house. But none of the guides knew where, and I never did find it! But it was fun, and after a reviving cold drink, we drove down into Welshpool Stop 6 for a wander. This is a typical small town, called Pool until 1835, then it changed its name to Welshpool because people kept confusing it with Poole in Dorset. The two places appear to have very little in common - other than a good range of Charity Shops! I bought a salad in the large Tesco, and we sat and ate lunch in the carpark.
On to Stop 7- Shrewsbury, I wanted to visit the Abbey [Cadfael and all that] But we found the car park we'd chosen was a long walk from the Abbey- and we arrived at 4.15 to discover it had closed at 4pm. There were some splendid half-timbered buildings to look at. It was Incredibly Hot, and Bob was feeling tired.
We went back to the car, and decided we had done enough adventuring - so we drove home to Dorset. Stop 8 was Strensham Services, where we enjoyed excellent meatballs in Leon, and Stop 9 was a petrol station outside Salisbury, where we got milk and snacks in the M&S food section.
We were home by 9.30 having had a fabulous time. I can't believe quite how much we saw and did in such a short time. I was glad to be home and sleep on a regular mattress again. Somehow lying on an airbed makes me feel seasick! But it was way cheaper than any sort of B&B!
Thankyou Bob for an Anniversary to remember. 

Thursday 29 August 2019

Adventures On An Airbed

And what an adventure it was- here's our route. We left Ferndown at 2pm Sunday, and got home again at 9.30pm Monday night. We had nine stops en route.
Stop 1 - A brief "Tea&Wee" stop just before we left |England to cross the Severn Bridge. Aware of the appalling motorway services by the bridge [they are, I've been] we chose instead to enjoy a more civilised National Trust Cuppa.
Dyrham Park is just beyond Bath, before joining the motorway. We only saw the tea room and the loo - but may go back another time. The tea room is decorated with designs from the house's Delftware collection. This house has been used for many films & TV programmes [including Remains of The Day, and Crimson Field] The free shuttle bus takes you from the car park down the long drive to the house, with lovely views of the grounds, and the beautiful deer. The place was heaving with visitors on a sunny Bank Holiday Weekend. Quickly back on the road, over the bridge- and into the Land of Song & Bilingual Road Signs...
On to Stop 2 Merthyr Tydfil - our Anniversary Dinner was in Frankie And Benny's. I enjoyed my steak. Then we drove on to find an overnight stop. Up the A470, to somewhere south of Rhayader. We'd already filled our coffee mugs with hot drinks at a petrol station. So we pulled up in a layby around 9.45pm. It was hot, and we'd decided teeshirts and pants would be adequate nightwear. Had drink, cleaned teeth, etc and then climbed into back of car. Due to Bob's height and one end of the airbed being unsupported for 6", we had decided to sleep with our feet towards the front, heads under the back window. I had a torch and phone my side, Bob locked the car and hung the keys on a hook beside him.[he had to cancel the 'don't lock yourself' out mechanism first]  We settled to sleep. And then WHEE!WHEE!WHEE! The alarm went off - he hadn't cancel 'internal movement detector'. He had to climb out of the car, get into the driver's seat and do that thing. Back into bed. "Now I need to pee" he said. I giggled whilst he clambered out again, and then returned a minute or two later. Lights off, doors locked, we settled down."NOW we can sleep" I said. WHEE!WHEE!WHEE! It appears that the car has a default setting - if you unlock/relock the doors the monitoring thing resets. 
During all this, I had been monitoring the traffic - A car or large lorry would hurtle pass every two minutes or so, even though it was well past 10pm. We both climbed over the wobbly mattress and got into the front of the car, and drove a further ten miles to a quieter layby which was more secluded and properly 'off-road'. 
Stop 3 We finally fell asleep, waking next morning around 6 - the airbed had leaked a little, and our hips and shoulders were touching the car floor. We dressed, ate a biscuit and shared a milk drink. Bob's two priorities were  "Breakfast, and A Welsh Castle"...

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Celebration Pictures- Part 2

We were told that there would be a bring-and-share lunch after Church on Sunday. We hadn't quite reckoned on the scale of it! Our friends at church were utterly amazing, helping us celebrate our Anniversary. At the start of the service, we were presented with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. The worship group had been practising for days and the music was glorious. [it is usually good, but this was really special]
Afterwards, we went through to the church hall, where there was an absolute banquet laid out - Steve, one of our deacons, had been Project Manager for the event [with his wonderful wife Carol] A great choice of food - plus our happiness was toasted [in sparkling red grape juice] - and there was yet another cake. We received a large card, signed by dozens of friends.
It was quite overwhelming to be surrounded by so much love. At least two visitors to the morning service were invited to join the feast, and spoke of the wonderful welcome they'd received. 
Yes I wore my red dress again, and yes there was, of course, more cake - decorated by my friend Jill, and served on a pink, heart shaped board. Thank you, my dear kind friends 
I must post one final celebration picture. Despite the "We aren't going to give each other gifts" Bob decided to buy me something anyway. Gorgeous ruby and silver "day and night" ear-rings. He gave them to me in Norfolk, knowing I would be wearing my ruby dress. I love them!

Tuesday 27 August 2019

That's My Girl!"

When I got my wedding album down from the loft, an envelope of other photos fell out. One was me, with Liz in Brighton, August 1984 [it is written neatly in Mum's handwriting on the back] I was very pregnant with Steph - but Liz looks so much like Rosie does now. 35 years later, Bob took a-picture of me, this time with Rosie, in Norfolk. 

Monday 26 August 2019

Where Am I?

We got back from holiday only a few days ago. But we realised that after Sunday Morning at Church, Bob will be free until Wednesday [today is a Bank Holiday, Tuesday is his day off] Two and a half unplanned days of freedom.
And although we gave away almost all our camping gear last month, we kept two sleeping bags and a double airbed. The airbed will fit into the back of the Skoda. I've packed very little - just clean undies, teeshirts and toothbrushes, and the car is ready to go. So I'm writing this post on Saturday evening not knowing where I will wake up this morning [but hoping it's inside the car, not outside in the field]. The forty-year-adventure continues...

Sunday 25 August 2019

Dereham Baptist Church, 25th August 1979

We look so young and in love - and we hadn't a clue about what the future would hold. The past forty years have been amazing - full of love, life and laughter- as well as tears, heartache and pain - better, worse , richer, poorer, sickness, and health.
When Bob was at Theological College I came across these words by a brave, wise German. They have become very special to me over the years.

"Your home will be a pastor’s home. From it, light and strength will have to go out into many other homes. The pastor undertakes a life of special discipline. The husband must bear alone much that belongs to his ministry, since the ministry is his and must, for the sake of God, be a silent one. So his love for his wife must be all the greater, and he must be all the more concerned to share with her what he may. And as a result the wife will be able to lighten the husband’s burden all the more, stand by his side, give him help. As fallible human beings, how can they live and work in Christ’s community if they do not persevere in constant prayer and forgiveness, if they do not help each other to live as Christians? The right beginning and daily practice are very important indeed.
From the first day of your wedding till the last the rule must be: ‘Welcome one another… for the glory of God’. That is God’s word for your marriage. Thank Him for it; thank Him for leading you thus far; ask Him to establish your marriage, to confirm it, sanctify it, and preserve it. So your marriage will be ‘for the praise of His glory’. Amen."
[from "A wedding sermon from a prison cell" written in 1943 by Dietrich Bonhoeffer]

Thank you, Bob, for these forty years of serving God together.

Saturday 24 August 2019

Celebration Pictures- Part 1

Here are some pictures from last Saturday - some I took, some from Steph, and some from my bro in law Kevin. Unfortunately we were so busy having fun that I didn't really get any pictures of the three dozen and more guests who were there!
Steph finished the artwork on the summerhouse panels.
Bob and Gary put up gazebos and strung bunting everywhere.
My best friend Chris came over for two hours to help make sandwiches.
Everything was looking really good. We made temporary tables with stacked coolboxes, and workmates, disguised under tablecloths. Steph, Gaz and Bob had a moment's calm before the visitors arrived.
I was pleased with the cake - and the little daisy decorations [I got a set of punches from Lakeland in Norwich]
I prepared the scones on Thursday and froze them unbaked - so they could be freshly cooked on the day - I used a small cutter [they are in the Pyrex dish with glass lid in the centre of the table] Clingfilm and net 'food umbrellas' were in use because of the alarming number of fruit flies buzzing about.
It was so wonderful to have Bob's bro and sis with us - they enjoyed looking at the Wedding Album, and commenting on how we have changed in the past 40 years. Such an event is also a bittersweet reminder of those nearest and dearest no longer with us.
We took the cake outside to slice it. The icing was much softer than that on our actual wedding cake. That had been made by 6th form students at the school where I worked as part of their A Level Cookery. But they'd iced it in early June. By August 25th, the icing was set like concrete!!
My bro-in-law Kevin took a picture of the 11 of us who were at Dereham Baptist Church for our wedding back in '79. In fact, 25% of Saturday's guests were part of the original crowd.
From left to right
My brother Adrian, Bob's sister Denise.
Sister in law Barbara
Christine - my best friend for over 45 yrs.
Bob's brother Frank
Freda and Bob - dear friends, who were the youth leaders at DBC in my teens
Janette and Colin - old friends from Norfolk, Colin was my first Head of Dept when I began teaching - and their daughter was one of our bridesmaids.

Perhaps we should have got a picture taken in the opposite direction, of all our 'newer' friends taking photos.
We're so grateful to all those who came and made the day so special. Except possibly Archie - the little dog from next door, who rushed into the lounge and snatched Rosie's cupcake as she was about to eat it. I suspect that story is going to be told and retold many times!
Our children gave us a lovely red glass vase, and flowers, and on Sunday we were presented with a bouquet at Foulsham Chapel. These survived the journey back to Dorset - and when I took this picture on Thursday we'd already received a couple of dozen cards.
It is tomorrow which is The Actual Anniversary Day - but I'm going to make this celebration last as long as I can.

Friday 23 August 2019

Looking For A Woman Called Blanche

Does anyone name their daughter 'Blanche' anymore? I can only think of Ms Dubois in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and the one who was in the Golden Girls [Blanche Devereaux] But they were both fictional - and both Blanche D. I did suggest to Bob we should call our daughter Blanche D, and then she'd be Blanche D Almond. But wisely he ignored this idea.
I was just pondering on the dearth of Blanches while I was in the kitchen blanching beans this week. Generous friends and family members, who are keen gardeners, have shared their bounty with me in recent days- and I know we cannot eat all this veg before it gets past its prime. So I have been preparing an assortment of fruit and veg for the freezer.
According to the US National Center for Home Food Preservation, based in the University of Georgia, "Blanching (scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time) is a must for almost all vegetables to be frozen. It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavour, colour and texture. Blanching cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the colour and helps retard loss of vitamins." Their website has helpful charts of times for preparing various vegetables. 
Once the kitchen tasks were done, I checked up on the name Blanche- it was first registered in the US in the 1880s,  but interestingly, Blanche Ingram appears in the UK in the Bronte novel Jane Eyre [pub 1847]. Clyde Barrow [of 'Bonnie and Clyde' fame] had a sister called Blanche Barrow. The name peaked around 1910 - but next to nobody used it after WW2. Like Lettice, it is one of those names which has drifted into obscurity.
We spent the day in Cromer on Monday, the weather was changeable- one minute ice creams on the prom, then we sat and had a fish&chip lunch. Then there was a massive thunderstorm. Rosie put on her waterproof suit. And then the sun came out again so we went to the play area. 
Another child on the slide with her was called Sylvia. Liz and I both did a double-take when we heard Mum call to her. My cousin Sylvia has just died- she was in her mid 70s. Sylvia was very popular for babies born between 1930 and 1950 -all the Sylvias I know are a decade older than me. But the name is in the top 100 in Spain and Italy, so maybe we will hear it here more in future.
Angela is another name which is 'past its peak' in the UK - a popular choice between 1940 and 1970 - but I understand it is still in the top 100 in Canada for baby girls. Two of our deacons at Church are called Angela - it can get confusing sometimes when the three of us are together!
Is your name unusual? or are there lots of you sharing the same moniker? Have you modified/changed your name to make it more personal?
[Oh, and moniker is nothing to do with Monica, but is believed to be a corruption of the Irish word ainm, simply meaning 'name', which came over to London with itinerant workers in the mid 19th century]

Thursday 22 August 2019

Back To Normal?

Coming back from summer holiday is always... interesting. We have a fairly set routine: empty the car, put any perishables away promptly, switch on hot water [and heating if necessary] then sit down together with a cup of tea and the Post Mountain - 95% of which is usually irrelevant, the remainder either renewal notices or "proper" communications from family and friends.My car tax and breakdown cover run out at the end of August so I always know I'll have them to pay.
Then over the next couple of days I sort and unpack. The complication is that we always go away the instant that Holiday Club finishes. So I've come back to a dining table covered with felt pens and glue sticks, left over frogs, pipe cleaners and corks. And my enthusiasm for them has waned a little. I work away slowly, sorting and packing so all is ready for next year. 
Because we've "self-catered" for a fortnight, there is always leftover food. So lots of salads to eat, with all sorts of random ingredients. Plus this year, after the party, I froze a container of leftover sandwiches, and another of fairy cakes. Lots of easy meals to look forward to. 
But there have been a few hiccups. Yesterday morning Bob couldn't find the clean clothes he wanted. There was plenty of fresh laundry, but I'd put the basket down in the wrong place before we left. Perhaps when I'm packing, I should leave two complete, clean outfits on the bed, all ready for us on our return. 
The other issue was money; the day we left, we stopped at the motorway services for a snack and Bob said "I think my wallet is still on the dressing table. We decided we could manage with my cards and cash, and didn't want to add 140 miles to the journey by going back to Dorset. All was OK on holiday 
On our return, he went straight upstairs and it wasn't there where he thought he'd left it... After checking the house thoroughly we went outside - the wallet had been in my car all along! Fortunately it had not been taken. All's well that ends well. 
I wrote just three holiday postcards - but forgot to post them. I hope the recipients do not scrutinise the postmarks too carefully, as they didn't get into a letterbox until the journey home, when we stopped at the M11 Stansted Services. 
At least with this sort of holiday I know the airline won't lose my luggage,and I don't need a passport or foreign currency. It was wonderful to be away - but its lovely to be home again. 

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Who Is Annie Domino?

I will never forget the time that I was out with my Dad and we met a lady from the church. It was about the time my brother was born, so that would mean Dad was 37 and I was 7. Dad made some remark about "Is this your day off?" And she laughed and said "I was 60 last week. Every day's a day off now. I've just retired, and I'm a pensioner. Annie Domino has finally caught up with me." 
Afterwards I asked Dad "Who is the Annie Domino lady who has caught her. Has she done something wrong?" 
Dad laughed and explained it was a joke. People measured dates by BC, before Christ and AD, Anno Domini. She was saying she was getting old, and time was catching up with her - but she'd changed the Latin phrase to make it sound like a person. [this was prior to the politically correct BCE/CE they use now] 
I couldn't sleep on Monday night, my brain going over all the things I've been doing this holiday , and the stuff I have to do in the next few weeks. I started doing mental arithmetic... In 600 days from now [if I'm still around] Annie Domino will catch up with me too

  1. I shall celebrate my 66th birthday 
  2. I shall collect my Old Age Pension 
  3. I shall collect my Free Bus Pass
  4. ...and maybe discover more "Seniors' Benefits"

I'm a WASPI Woman - born in 1955, I've had three official letters telling me I'd get my pension at 60, then 65, and now 66. Really hoping they do not move the goalposts again! But I'm determined to use my 600 days productively, even if I don't get to teach in a classroom again. 
In other news, Rosie has announced that one of her aims in life is to grow up to be taller than Grandma Angela. I suspect she will achieve this one easily! 

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Forty Fantastic Years And One Amazing Weekend

Saturday's party went incredibly well. Our actual anniversary is next Sunday but it was wonderful to celebrate back in Norfolk where we got married.
Today our holiday is over and we're leaving Cornerstones again. Once I get all the photos which were taken at the weekend, I will do a proper post. But here's Steph's pic of us slicing the cake...

Monday 19 August 2019

Cutting Corners

Steph arrived for the weekend bring a new top she'd bought greatly reduced in a sale [that's my girl!] She's a real Gym-Bunny and the strappy style showed off her toned arms and shoulders beautifully. However, the "handkerchief hem" was not so satisfactory.
"I look as if I've tucked a big table napkin at my neck" she said. This was indeed true. Steph wanted me to somehow straighten the bottom edge.
We measured the length, and I cut it straight, made a narrow casing and put a tie through. It was still too baggy.
The final step was to sew the side seams, and we ended up with a simple but flattering top.
And a load of cut-corners

Sunday 18 August 2019

He Sitteth Between The Cherubim

If you read Dorothy Sayers "Nine Tailors" mystery, you will recognise this quote from Psalm 99, a significant clue for sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey, involving the carvings high in the nave of a Fenland Church. When medieval craftspeople built our churches and cathedrals, to the glory of God, they added details at every level - even in places where they could not be seen by the regular worshippers.
In 2016, a Canon from Norwich Cathedral was in Rome, looking at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with his wife. He realised that he wanted people to be able to view the roof bosses of his home church. He originally considered bringing a ferris wheel, but that proved impossible. So the idea of a helter skelter at the end of the nave was discussed. And here it is
Despite a lot of negative comments, it has proved very popular [I couldn't get a ticket to ride] The Cathedral staff want people to understand that as well as the opportunity to see the ceiling in a different way, it is also providing space for different ways to look at life and faith.
There is lots to see and do [see here]
Bob and I were impressed by the number of volunteers who were there to explain things, talk to visitors, and engage in conversations not just about history and architecture, but also about life and faith.
Yes, it would have been fun to climb the steps and stop at the top and study the ancient carvings more closely. I would have enjoyed sitting on a little coconut mat, and hurtling down the spiral path, screaming with glee.
But I was unable to do that. 
The great thing is that in a spiritual sense, we are unable to climb up to God - so he graciously came down to us, through the Incarnation. The joy of a brief helter-skelter ride does not compare with the lifelong joy of a relationship with Jesus.
Well done Canon Andy Bryant for an innovative way of helping to share the good news. 

Saturday 17 August 2019

I Think We're Ready!

Send out invitations
Borrow crockery from the local chapel
Make cakes
Slice the sandwiches
Clean and tidy everywhere
Cut the grass
Find a man to lay the patio
Scrounge a couple more gazebos
Hang the bunting
Remember to change into clean dress
Await guests 
Hope for sunshine
Relax and enjoy... 

Friday 16 August 2019


Warning: I am about to rant! We purchased Cornerstones in 2009, and by the grace of God we paid off the mortgage early and it is ours now! [maybe in retirement I'll write a book about all that] Our bungalow is towards the end of a little close, and there is a footpath which leads back to the main road. It is only a short walk through there to the bus stop, postbox, and the doctors surgery/pharmacy.
In ten years we've got to know the folk in the neighbouring 10 bungalows. They've been very kind, watching our place when it's unoccupied. They let us know when the fence blew over, when the binmen's lorry knocked down the wall, when the security light malfunctioned etc. They've all had an invite to our party tomorrow. 
Most of them were already retired when we first came, and are now quite elderly. Many walk with zimmer frames and sticks, one is currently struggling post-op with crutches. The youngest school-age resident of the close is learning to operate her electric wheelchair. All of these folk with disabilities on the opposite side of the close. 
We don't really know the people whose bungalows line the little footpath. They have a block of garages behind their properties, and there's a turning circle at the end of the close, where they can park. But the residents there seem to change frequently, and they have lots of cars. Our immediate neighbours have just moved out. They could not cope with the current parking issues, frequently finding their car was blocked in when they needed to get to work. 
But what has saddened me this week is one specific vehicle
Every day this Skoda has parked on the pavement, blocking the path. I've watched my friends being forced to cross the road in order to get past the obstruction. As you can see, there is a clear parking space at the end where he could go. 
The lady whose home is behind that fence has asked him to move, but to no avail. The cash-strapped council are apparently not good at enforcing regulations.
I suspect a polite note under the screen would be just ignored and discarded.But it does seem to be a very un-neighbourly attitude. I like these cards which they have up in the North West, we could do with some here! 
I know we have too many cars in the UK , I know parking is difficult - but please remember those with mobility issues, the visually impaired, and those pushing baby buggies. They need safe pavement space! 

Thursday 15 August 2019

Bits And Bobs

It's proving to be a wonderfully relaxing holiday, thus far. We realised that trying to re-lay the patio by ourselves, immediately after Kids' Club was a bad idea, so decided to bite the bullet and pay someone else to do it for us.
We asked an old friend who lives in the village and he suggested father&son team Brian&Matt, who laid his patio. They were efficient and friendly and did the job well, for a fair price. We only needed slabs in the area where the old decking had been - in the long term we hope to rebuild the old garage, so didn't want to spend out on replacing everything.
On Tuesday we cleaned the old slabs and washed the grubby guttering. With our Ruby Wedding Anniversary Tea Party on Saturday we need things looking shipshape.

I've been working on my Holiday Jigsaw, a lovely picture of Amsterdam with beautiful reflections in the water. It's only 500 pieces this time, smaller than my last effort [Waterloo Station]
Some time ago I was given a toiletries gift set. I've used the bath foam and body lotion [both very pleasant] , but there was also a flower sponge in the box. I finally got it out this week. It was rubbish! Not very absorbent, not pleasant on my skin...But I snipped the string holding it together, and now have a roll of creamy craft foam, one metre long, 9cm wide. I use this stuff for all sorts of craft projects, so it won't get wasted.
We've both enjoyed just pottering at our own pace - Bob made some lovely bread at the weekend, and we've done lots of reading. 
But the weekend will be busy... I'm just hoping that the sun shines

Wednesday 14 August 2019

Let The Little Children Come To Me

When I was a small child, aged about 6, we occasionally had a visitor at church who intrigued me. A boy of about 12, who came to visit his grandparents regularly. But he always wore a long blue buttoned dress. Weird, I thought. Mum explained he was a boarder at Christ's Hospital School and that was his uniform. I had so many questions - Why the odd name? [it is a very old Christian School, and "hospital" meant hospitality/accommodation rather than place of sickness] Why the odd clothes? [they've had the same uniform for hundreds of years] Is he specially clever? [I don't know - but many famous and clever people have been pupils there] Is his family very rich? [yes - but lots of the children there are from poor families, and they have been given free places] I wanted to go and talk to him, ask him all my questions - but every time he visited church, his Gran [probably wisely] whisked him away. He in his dress, she in her fur coat - they drove smartly off in the Bentley before I could begin my interrogation.
I'd forgotten all about him until my trip to London. As we strolled round the City on a sunny Sunday afternoon, Liz took me to Christchurch Greyfriars Garden [she knows most of the hidden gardens, and frequently takes Rosie] We looked at plants, and birds, beetles and butterflies - and then found this statue
Erected two years ago, it marks cthe 350 years [1552—1902] that the school was on that site [it is now in Sussex] Read more here and here
On the back is a poem by Coleridge [former alumnus] Rosie has none of her Gran's childhood inhibitions. She climbed up and chatted to the children, held their brazen hands, inspected their clothes and whispered into their ears. 
A lovely sculpture in a beautiful place...