Monday 30 September 2019

It's Just One Thing On Top Of Another

Last week was a bit tiring, so I was Very Sensible, and on some days, I had breakfast and then went back to bed for an hour or two and Rested Properly. This included dozing, and reading trivial bits of the news which usually pass me by. Like The Fashion Pages. I know that you, good readers, usually have your minds on higher things so I thought I'd summarise the AW trends for you [once I'd worked out that AW = Autumn/Winter as opposed to SS = Spring/Summer. Initially I was concerned that SS fashion was about Nazi Uniforms] The key word this year is LAYERING
Pieces here  and here explain it all. Basically, you wear one item on top of another. Here is one of the examples from the catwalk. Quite frankly I think this looks dreadful [the model doesn't look too happy about it either]
But do not worry if you haven't got a complete set of oversized garments in BS381C Roundel Blue, you can use clothes you already have [NB Bob does have can of paint in this colour, as it is the correct shade for restoring vintage Record Vices]
However, you can put together items you already have to get The Layered Look.  A jumper over a shirt, or a jacket over a shirt over a vest.
Forgive me for being dense, but isn't this what I've done for years? Especially when going into strange schools where I have no idea about the heating. Will it be hot or cold? Layers mean I can adjust my clothing for most comfort.
No Angela, you may have the correct combination, but you haven't mastered the details. You need to learn The French Tuck. I kid you not - the final part is to twist a bit of your jumper into your waistband.] Check out skinny jeans woman , left, and short trouser lady above.
I suspect I would end up looking like an untidy Year 4 pupil who had dressed in a hurry after the PE lesson!
I am just not cut out for this sort of thing. 
Layering has been popular for years on The Big Bang Theory
Here's Sheldon and Penny
Although I own a number of long- and short-sleeved tees I've only worn them once in Sheldon-style. [and that was at a public event in December when I wanted to keep warm, but also display my 'Love Ferndown' top]

Penny is much more stylish with her layered vests. Sometimes Penny looks so like my Steph it is uncanny, and I know Steph could really rock this style. She's definitely the Fashion Queen in this family.
The important thing to remember is this - by all means add layers, and definitely keep warm, but keep it in moderation. And gently remind your Friends to do the same. 
Be like Penny, not like Joey!

Sunday 29 September 2019

Come, You Thankful People, Come!

 Come, you thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home!
fruit and crops are gathered in
now, before the storms begin:
God our maker will provide
for our needs to be supplied;
come, with all his people, come,
raise the song of harvest home!
  All the world is God's own field,
harvests for his praise to yield;
wheat and weeds together sown
here for joy or sorrow grown:
first the blade and then the ear,
then the full corn shall appear-
Lord of harvest, grant that we
wholesome grain and pure may be.
 For the Lord our God shall come
and shall bring his harvest home;
He himself on that great day,
worthless things shall take away,
give his angels charge at last
in the fire the weeds to cast,
but the fruitful ears to store
in his care for evermore.

 Even so, Lord, quickly come-
bring your final harvest home!
gather all your people in
free from sorrow, free from sin,
there together purified,
ever thankful at your side-
come, with all your angels, come,
bring that glorious harvest home!**
A number of us were at church yesterday morning setting up for harvest thanksgiving today. There are still gaps in our display - more produce [fresh, tinned and packets] will arrive this morning, along with three more harvest loaves. These were made by our youth clubs on Friday, under the tutelage of a local baker.
We have two bright new posters from CPO on display too. As we worked, the musicians were practising - we will be singing some trad harvest stuff and some newer songs. [**this one written by Henry Alford in 1844]
 Following our usual pattern, after the service, the tins and packets go to the local Food Bank, and people take the fresh produce making a donation to our Harvest Appeal. We support something local and something global -  this year we're supporting BMS 'Conflict Survivors' 
It is good, and right,  to acknowledge just how blessed we are, to come with thanksgiving, and to share what we have with those in need.

Saturday 28 September 2019

Surprisingly Saintly Soup

So here's another Dorset Saint! Walking through Wimborne the other week, we saw posters celebrating "St Lioba, a Wimborne Saint". I looked her up when I got home. I'd not heard of her before- but she is incredibly well known in Germnay, with many churches named in her honour, and statues and stained glass windows all over the place.
Born around 710AD, the only child of extremely elderly parents, she was named Thrutgeba Lioba [Lioba = beloved] Like Hannah in the Bible, her mother Ebbe dedicated this miraculous baby to God - and Lioba entered the abbey at Wimborne and became a nun. She was incredibly gifted, and Abbess Tessa gave her every opportunity to study[ unusual for those days] and the young woman became a wise scholar, and was popular with everyone. 
Lioba wrote to her cousin Boniface to ask if she could share in his mission in Germany. Although 30 years his junior, he welcomed her, and trained her to be his deputy. When he was called to Rome, he put his monks hood upon her head, and declared her to be in charge in his absence. She was unique in being the only woman allowed to go into the monasteries and speak to the monks, and was respected by the whole community. I read that "She became a great friend of Queen Hildegarde, wife of Charlemagne, and frequented the court of King Pippin" [who? wasn't he in LOTR?!] Another writer has said "While not one of the more broadly known saints in today’s church, she is certainly a woman worthy of note... not afraid to read, study, and learn of “holy” topics, nor to share her insights with powerful men (not all of whom would have appreciated her position of leadership and equality in terms of education and influence). Yet she did not neglect the practical necessities of life in community or of the administration of large enterprises. She was well-loved, and respected by both ordinary folks and the powerful leaders.Not a bad role model for today"
As I said, she is much more well known in central Germany, especially in Tauberbishofsheim, where she lived. Many miracles were attributed to her, both before and after death. She died aged 72. Her relics have been relocated twice, and are now interred in Fulda Cathedral, near the tomb of her cousin Boniface.
The people celebrate her life each year on September 28th. Look at this determined child waving a banner! There is even a St Lioba Soup - but it looks a little rich for me - eggs, cream and cheese- plus beer and mushrooms!
St Lioba Beer and Mushroom  Soup
6 Tablespoons oil of choice
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
6 cans beer
1 bay leaf
2 eggs
4 Tablespoons heavy cream
Chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Gruyere cheese.
Pour the oil into a soup pot. Add the mushrooms and onions. Saute them lightly for a few minutes over low heat. Add the beer and bay leaf and raise the heat to medium. 
In the meantime, in a bowl beat and blend well the eggs and cream. Add 6 tablespoons hot soup to the egg mixture and blend thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the soup, mixing well. Add the chopped parsley, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Reheat the soup over medium heat and continue stirring for a few minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve the soup hot. Sprinkle some grated Gruyere cheese on top of each serving.Bring the soup to a boil, then simmer slowly for about 20 minutes.
Yield:4/6 serving, Prep :10 min Cooking:20 min Source:

Friday 27 September 2019

An Early European?

Being a Nonconformist, I am not as au fait with all the different saints as some of my friends. So I learn a lot from their blogs about these worthy people- Sue had a superb saintly post last week.
But this is St Boniface [672-754AD]. Now I only knew one thing about him - that he is credited with 'inventing' the Christmas tree. He is supposed to have found some pagans in Germany worshipping an oak tree. Horrified, he grabbed an axe and chopped it down, and a fir tree grew spontaneously on the spot. He told them this pointed to heaven, and that it was evergreen. So we should look to God, whose love is eternal. They gave up their pagan Winter Solstice Rituals, and started decorating their homes with fir trees at Christmas [and then Martin Luther came along 800 years later and added the candles!] 
But it seems there is much more to Boniface than that. He was born  to a noble family, and named Wynfrith [friend of peace] but became a Benedictine Monk, and changed his name - Boniface means 'good fate'. Then he felt called by God to cross the Channel and do missionary work. He visited the Pope in Rome, and then went to work in Germany, France, the Netherlands...Historian Norman Cantor says he was 'one of the truly outstanding creators of Europe - called the "Apostle of Germania", he was the chief reformer of the Frankish church, and the one who formed an alliance between the Papacy and the Carolingians'.
He was martyred in Holland- people came to attack him as he preached - he held up his large Bible and a sword pierced it, and he was fatally wounded [hence the picture above]
But I never realised that he was an Englishman, who started his training in a monastery at Nhutscelle - now called Nursling, just 25 miles north east of Ferndown - but was born 90 miles due west of here, in Crediton, Devon. 
This year, Devon County Council have been backing a proposal to make him the Patron Saint of Devon. This idea also includes making June 5th [date of hius martyrdom] the official "Devon Day"  
This has had mixed reactions from the councillors, but one said “He [Boniface] was a great humanitarian and a great European and I know whose side he would be on in the European elections. I think the points made are valid, but for historical reasons, it is important [for Devon] to have a patron saint as Cornwall does.”
I wondered if Dorset has a patron saint. It does! Here is St Wyte [aka St Candida, St Gwen or St Blanche - all names meaning 'white'] She is buried at Whitchurch Canonoricum near Bridport. Some records say she went off to Europe with Boniface as a missionary - but other say she was martyred in 830, which doesn't fit with his dates! To be honest, very little is known about her. She is believed to have been killed by marauding Danes. St Wyte has a special flag, and this was adopted as the Dorset Flag in 2008, following a poll among Dorset residents. Her Saint's Day is June 1st.
Wessex is clearly a hotbed of hagiography. Just wait till you see tomorrow's post!

Thursday 26 September 2019

To Donate - Or Not?

Another quote from Joshua Becker, rapidly becoming my favourite writer on the subject of minimalism.
I was very organised about my CS donations during Lent and up until Kids' Club. Since the summer holiday, I confess I've lapsed. 
I'm attempting to get back into good habits again, keeping a bag in the spare bedroom and adding to it whenever I realise I've got something I no longer need or use. I took a load of perfectly wearable, but unwanted, tops into Wimborne Hospice Shop yesterday. They were not blessing me and they could be blessing someone else. 
Unfortunately I also discovered this week that I will never be able to donate blood again. It appears that if you have ever suffered from Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome, you are precluded from any further donations [even if you recover] I'm a bit sad about that - but grateful I've managed to give away plenty of my B Negative Red Stuff during the last 45 years. I'm glad too that my daughters are regular donors. 
A good reminder to give what you can, when you can, because circumstances do change. 

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Treasuring The Past, Investing In The Future...

It's definitely archaeology week here in Blogland. Sue has a lovely post here. Some more about Dudsbury Camp. After obtaining a Heritage Lottery Grant, the Guides set about building their round house. They measured out the site, harvested wood from the trees, and erected the framework. The walls were woven, then daubed with clay. A roof structure was added and thatched. Every age group, from Rainbows [youngest] to Trefoil Guild [retired] took part. A clay bread oven was built inside the finished house, so food could be baked.
The site is beautiful during all seasons of the year - the aerial view in this collage shows Ann's field at the top, and the site runs down through the woods to the river, which winds along the bottom.
The guides make good use of the site, and it is very popular with groups who come to camp - the House and Chalet providing permanent facilities, plus a toilet block - as well as plenty of places to pitch a tent and build a campfire.
They have another hut [donated by a very wealthy family] which is used as a teaching/activity space. Dress up as a Celt, make a Celtic brooch - learn all about the history of Dorset...
And as well as the Guides, a much younger group comes here on weekdays. The Muddy Munchkins - a 'Forest Nursery'- have fun under the trees in the mud kitchen, hunting the gruffalo, sitting under a shelter to read stories...Rosie would love all this!
On Sunday at the Apple Fair, the manager, Kirsty, was providing activities for younger children. The display inside showed the activities and ethos of this group.
Eagle eyed readers will spot the Gruffalo in two pictures- the first taken at 12.30 - the second later in the afternoon, after the children had woven a boat for him and Mouse. Read more about Forest Nursery here. I was extremely impressed by what I saw.
So that was my first trip to the Dudsbury Hill Fort - I am sure it won't be the last. A place where ancient history is respected, and lessons are learned. A place where young people are given opportunities to grow and develop, in beautiful natural surroundings.  
This is a campsite - the brick buildings are all more than 70 years old and very basic in their contents [although I am happy to report loos, showers and kitchen facilities are  modern and efficient!] I think it is great that so many volunteers give their time and energy to help the younger generation. Passing on simple skills, cooking, foraging, working as a team, playing together, sharing stories and making music...

Those of us who have grown up through Girlguiding, Girls' and Boys' Brigade, Scouting and other such groups, owe a debt of gratitude to such generous people. And it is important that we pass such values on to future generations.

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Consider The Lilies [And The Roses]

On Sunday I took the service at a nearby chapel. The lovely people there gave me some flowers at the end of the service [thank you, friends]. Aren't they beautiful? I have displayed them in the gorgeous ruby vase which the family gave us for our Anniversary in August.
I cannot wait for the lilies to open out as well.
Lilies and roses are among my favourite flowers.
And one of my favourite paintings [owned by the nation and now on display in Tate Britain] is John Singer Sargent's "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose.
It is said to have been inspired when the artist took a boat trip down the Thames, one evening in 1885, and saw Chinese lanterns hanging among the trees. This lovely picture of the lights, and flowers, and the girls seems to encapsulate childish innocence and beauty.
Update; Here's a picture of the elegant "handkerchief" vase on its own, as requested by Kezzie. This picture doesn't quite do justice to the deep ruby colour of the glass. 

Monday 23 September 2019

Ancient History Is Just Round The Corner

Ferndown never ceases to surprise me. "Did you know there is an Iron Age Hill Fort less than 1½miles from this house?" said Bob, back in July. What? Where? I knew nothing of this! 
He explained that it is on a large area of land owned by Bournemouth Girlguiding [purchased in 1930, from Lord Wimborne] for use as a campsite.
The adjacent field was then donated to the Guides by its owner, Lt Col Drew, in memory of his daughter, Ann, who had died very young, and had been a Brownie.
Over 2500 years ago, it might have looked like this. Now there is just a replica "Round House", built by the Guides, in Ann's Field.
Our good friend Steve walks his dog on the footpath alongside the site, and has become friends with the Guiders- so he offered to help them organise an "Apple Fair" yesterday afternoon.Bob was doing the PA for the event [a small affair,  it didn't take a lot of work!] 
Here's "The House" - the original Guides' building on the site. We had a really interesting afternoon, and I found out all sorts of things from both recent and far distant history. Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, came along to the opening, back in 1931. 
I think the girls have wisely followed the advice she gave them, almost 90 years ago.
More about Dudsbury later...

Sunday 22 September 2019

You Too Can Make A Difference

Kezzie's recent post about her individual efforts to fight climate change and pollution, reminded me of a story I first came across almost thirty years ago. Written by the anthropologist Loren Eisley, I heard it in a very different context. But the truth embedded within it is important. I share it with you now...

Saturday 21 September 2019

A Raincoat For A Mackintosh!

Two great Scotsmen - on the left, Charles Macintosh, 1766-1843, on the right Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 1868-1928. The first, a chemist, who developed a waterproof fabric, sandwiching rubber between cotton to make a durable, useful product. He gave his name to the mac. [and the company that bears his name is still doing well]
The second is a great artist and designer. The great CRM collection was housed in the Glasgow School of Art - but most of it was destroyed in two devastating fires in 2014 & 2018.
However, there are plenty of other CRM creations throughout Scotland. One is Hill House, Helensburgh, Argyllshire. Built in 1904, it was revolutionary in its design.
Every part of the house - from the shape of the rooms, the furniture, wallpaper and shades, was planned by CRM 
However the innovative choice of building materials, has meant this century-old property has begun to deteriorate - the Portland cement rendering has allowed water to penetrate the sandstone, and much of the interior is suffering from problems related to damp. 
This infrared photo reveals the damp parts [blue] and drier [red] So what did the National Trust for Scotland decide to do? Using Macintosh's rubberised waterproofing was not an option - that would seal the moisture in. The building needed somehow to be shielded from Scotland's frequent showers, and enabled to dry out. There are 190 days of rain each year in Argyllshire.
The solution is this amazing semi-transparent chainmail structure. The 'box' is a steel frame weighing 165 tonnes, swathed in a chainmail mesh weighing 8.3 tonnes.
Inside are walkways so that visitors can see all parts of the house at different levels.
CRM built this as 'a house for the future' and NTS hopes this 'raincoat' will help preserve his vision. The box, costing £4.5M has been granted Muesum status. The project took 5 months top complete.There's a new Tearoom/visitor centre on site too.
But the summer has been relatively dry. They need to check the structure will live up to its promise and keep the house dry [the hope is that less than 13% of rainfall will penetrate] So - and this is what put the biggest smile on my face- next Saturday [28th] there is a free Douse The House Event. Members of the public can turn up with their water pistols- and they will be asked fire jets of water at the Box. What fun! what an inspired idea. 
I would love to be there and see it, wouldn't you?

Friday 20 September 2019

Bags One For Me!

I have reviewed Clare Youngs craft books before [Scandinavian stitching, Christmas Crafting, Paper Crafting, Book Art] I think she is an very gifted crafter- and more than that, an excellent teacher. Her books are always carefully written, well illustrated, full of helpful tips and diagrams. So I was really pleased to come across one of her books I had not read before in a Bournemouth Library last week.
This is her second book, in print for ten years now, so I'm surprised I've not found it before.  It's really 'on trend' because it contains 35 bags all designed to be crafted from recycled fabrics you have already - a winter coat, a silk scarf, an old blanket, a felted sweater, a tea towel, packaging, unwanted curtains, old shirts - plus a necklace, some buttons, and garment labels.
There are 5 sections - purses[ie what we Brits call handbags], shoulder bags, shoppers&totes, evening bags and kid's bags.
I am not sure which one I would like to make, but they have inspired me to consider producing a few bags from my Great Stash of fabrics.
I like the way she makes her bags personal by stitching a little tag into the side seam- either an embroider bit of tape, or a piece of ribbon or folded fabric. A little finishing touch to make it special.
This bag is made from packaging, sandwiched between plastic sheeting. It reminds me of the tote bag I was given when I went to the WWDP conference in Austria- that was plasticised coffee bags sewn together. Clare's books are clearly popular in other countries too. The English edition has the evening bag made from a silk scarf on the cover - but the German one features a patchwork weekend bag 
Yes- that does mean bag-lust! But I have too many bags already, I think I could only justify making some if I was planning to give them away!
For the inspiration it has given me, coupled with clear clear explanation of techniques, and suggestions for tweaking her designs, Clare definitely scores another *****