Friday 31 January 2020

Today I Am Sad

I make no secret of the fact that I voted to remain in Europe. I am incredibly sad that today marks the end of an important relationship. 
I genuinely believe our nation will be the poorer for this decision - and mainland Europe also.
I was looking at the words for goodbye in different European languages - they seem to fall into two groups. The first commends the other to God - Adieu, Adios, Adeus...even our own Goodbye is a contraction of God-be-with-ye. And the second looks to a time of being together again Auf weidersehen, Au revoir, La revedere. May God be with us at this parting of the ways - and until we are united again.

Thursday 30 January 2020

Going Off The Boil

 At the end of the kettle debacle on Sunday, Bob said "We have a camping kettle in the garage" but I pointed out we had decluttered that over the summer, when we passed on all camping stuff to a friend at Church.
But I still have my huge church kettle. It holds 14 pints and will boil enough for 50 cups of tea. It appeared in the school play in 2018, when the Giant's wife carried it - but it is not really serving any useful purpose. It needs to go.
It has gone into my Etsy shop, along with my Big Brown Vicar's Wife Enamel Teapot [NB the teapot is big and brown, not the vicar or his wife]I am not sure if either of these will sell. 
There are similar ones there - and I have priced mine slightly lower. After the excitement of five sales in the first week, everything has 'gone off the boil' a bit. I hope things will pick up again soon.
Do you sell on eBay or Etsy? and are you making mega-bucks?

Wednesday 29 January 2020

Letting Off Steam

It isn't just me, is it? Please tell me that your kettles do not last as long as they used to either. 
The kettle we had when we first married in 1979 lasted us almost 20 years. In 2009 when we got Cornerstones, our Leicester kettle had just broken. We purchased two identical kettles. Then we moved here in 2015, and two years later [end of January 2017] our kettle here died. Summer 2019 we had to replace the Cornerstones kettle. In both cases it was a fault with the lid. It wouldn't stay shut and therefore the water took ages to boil. And Bob couldn't fix it.*
Now the Dorset kettle is kaput - this time it's the on-off switch which has snapped. Silly little plastic fittings which break and cannot be replaced. That is only three years of use. Am I being unreasonable expecting it to last longer? The standard guarantee seems to be 2 years.**
On Sunday when disaster struck, I went into proper WW2 mode. I boiled a saucepan of water on the hob, filled the teapot, then poured the leftover into a thermos flask for later. I have a reasonable kettle at Cornerstones [and also a cheap £5 Tesco basics in the cupboard there too] so I'll collect one of them in February. I am not buying another kettle this month. We've had enough unexpected expenditure already this year.
I've temporarily borrowed a spare kettle from the church kitchen - an elderly Russell Hobbs. It boils OK but the automatic switch-off is broken. You have to make sure you keep an eye on it and turn it off promptly or it will boil dry. 
Why can't things be made better? Or at least made so they can be repaired? 
My SIL has just bought herself a new Pfaff sewing machine. Her old one [from the mid 1970s] was declared "beyond economic repair". After more than forty years, she wasn't complaining. She was able to pass the old one on to Tools With A Mission [here] who will spend time fixing it, so it can be used to bless others. 
*he did a brilliant job fixing my steam iron just before Christmas though. That was bought in 2008. I hope it will keep going for a few more years yet. 
**mine have lasted 19 yrs, 11 yrs, 8yrs and 3 yrs. Not a good progression.

Tuesday 28 January 2020

Kung Hei Fat Choi

Did you celebrate Chinese New Year in any way? Unlike previous years I didn't "push the junk out" - but I found my little red Chinese Character badge in the drawer [it says "love"] and wore it on my jumper. I also picked up a Chinese-meal-in-a-box reduced to a fiver for our meal tonight.
Rosie and family live in London, so they went to Chinatown to watch all the floats, and eat some biscuits.
Rosie also went to a craft workshop, and made an amazing owl costume. Then put it on to surprise her sleeping parents on Monday morning!
Tu-whit Tu-whoo!
and Kung Hei Fat Choi

Monday 27 January 2020

The Unvarnished Truth

I thought I knew all about people trafficking. I heard someone speak about it once, and they gave out keys to remind us to pray about the people caught up in it. 

I turned my key into an earring. People ask about it, and that's a good reminder to me to pray. But I don't meet the victims, do I? 
I mean, aren't these people picking brussels sprouts in freezing field in Lincolnshire, watched over by cruel gangmasters.
Or maybe involved in cannabis cultivation in disused warehouses somewhere near Manchester
And those trapped in the sex-trade, kept prisoner in seedy brothels in Bristol or London or Liverpool...
And then I read an article in the Guardian last week about the true cost of a manicure.  I have only had two professional manicures in my entire life. Once on holiday in Spain, nearly twenty years ago - and the second was just after I came here, in a beauty salon in Ferndown. It was for a special event - and cost me around £25. ["an arm and a leg" - for 10 fancy fingernails]
Most Beauty Salons in the UK charge that sort of price - but in recent years, there have been dozens of smaller "Nail Bars" popping up in High Streets in towns across the land. And you can nip out in your lunch hour from work, and get a quick set of acrylic/gel nails done for a tenner, cash, no appointment needed. In, out, job done, back to the office...
And the girl attending to you is clearly foreign, smiles, but doesn't say much - and certainly doesn't engage you in the usual salon chit-chat [going on holiday then? doing anything special this weekend? do you fancy a different colour this time? how are the grandchildren?....] She looks tired, but you wonder if she was "out on the town herself last night, she's young and perhaps a little shy round people.
She's quite possibly one of the many young women [probably from somewhere like Vietnam] who has been trafficked to the UK, and forced into this trade.
I was really distressed when I read the article. Ferndown has 3 Salons, all upmarket, with chatty, experienced staff,dealing mostly with the more affluent ladies [those trendy grannies with blue or maybe pink tips to their hair, and dresses from "East" or "Phase Eight" - but not me!] 
But I know that as I have driven through London I have passed these smaller Nail Bars nestling between Cash Converters, and the One-Stop. 
Because they are quicker, and cheaper, and accessible, they have become very popular. But many [not all] of them are a front for the traffickers. And the girls working there are afraid, and intimidated by the managing staff, and unable to seek help...
The Stop The Traffik website has a very helpful page about this. I'm glad that Southwark [the borough where Liz lives] is taking a very pro-active attitude towards this awful issue. But in many cities there just aren't enough enforcement officers available, and a serious shortage of interpreters [as the Guardian points out] to enable these terrified young women to get the help they need. 
This may have little or no relevance to you if you are down a quiet lane in Suffolk, or in a cottage in Cornwall, or watching your country being devastated by bush fires - but I am flagging it up anyway, just in case someone following my blog can make a difference. 
You may be reading this, and realising that you pass such a place on your daily commute, or that when you admired a work colleague's nails, she told you how inexpensive it was at that 'little place on the High Street, with the charming Asian girls'. Please, if you suspect something dodgy, check out the Stop The Traffik webpage, and then alert the authorities.
 If my daughter was taken away to another country and we lost contact, and I suspected she had been trafficked, I'd be praying every night for somebody to help her. 
Wouldn't you?

Sunday 26 January 2020

Just To Inspire You...

There's been a lot of discussion of the Royal Family of late in the media. I'm not getting involved in that here. I respect the Queen, I believe her reign displays dignity and duty, underpinned by her strong faith. 
Years ago, I read that a special service was being planned [I think it was VE Day 50th commemoration in 1995, but I cannot locate evidence] and they asked Prince Philip for his favourite Bible passage. Below are the words he chose. They are from Paul's letter to the church in Philippi [maybe being Greek himself, this really resonated with the Prince!] Whatever you faith you do [or don't] profess, these are wise words worth sharing. Something positive to think about when we are being bombarded with fake news, unkind words, and general bad stuff.

Saturday 25 January 2020

Taking The Temperature

Outside Cold:
Dark, damp, dank
Dreary, drizzly, dreich
Dismal, dreadful

Inside Cold:
Sniffly, snuffly, sneezy, snotty
Shivering limbs, sore throat

But also Heat

A steaming mug of goodness
Hot in my shivering hands
Soothing my sore throat
Golden honey, shiny lemons, 
Bright turmeric, zingy ginger

A beaming smile from my soulmate

And a vase of sunny yellow daffodils 
Sent by a dear friend far away

..and above all,
the warmth of knowing I am loved
which makes everything feel better

It's just a cold, and it will pass

Friday 24 January 2020

We Will Never Surrender!

January 24th 1965, fifty five years ago today, saw the death of Sir Winston Spencer Churchill, arguably one of the greatest statesmen of British politics in the 20th century. A week later, there was a state funeral. Tens of thousands came to London to watch the cortege travel to St Paul's Cathedral- and hundreds of thousands more watched the event on TV. We sat in front of our little black and white set all morning, with Mum and Dad reminiscing about WW2 [my brother was 3, I don't think he was that interested]
Churchill was an interesting character, born in the splendour of Blenheim Palace, he became a soldier, a War Correspondent and then an MP. He served in many positions in government; Chancellor of the Exchequer, First Lord of the Admiralty and of course, Prime Minister. During the war, he worked from the Cabinet War Rooms, deep underground in the heart of Whitehall. For over 40 years, he enjoyed a beautiful family home at Chartwell in Kent. 
I remember the funeral vividly - Richard Dimbleby [father of David & Jonathan] did the BBC commentary. After the service in the Cathedral, the coffin was placed on a barge, and taken down the Thames to Waterloo Station.
All the cranes alongside the water at the docks suddenly lowered their jibs in tribute as the barge glided past. It truly was an awesome sight.
Then by train, in a specially built van, the coffin travelled to Bladon Churchyard, Oxfordshire, where he was finally laid to rest close to his childhood home of Blenheim. I'm too young to remember Churchill as a wise and witty man, an inspiring orator, and influential politician - but that day, watching the funeral, I realised what an amazing impact he had had on our nation, especially during the dark days of Hitler. Fans of "The Crown" will know he has been portrayed as a loyal supporter and true friend to our Queen.
The cranes have all gone now - but I sometimes think of them as I walk along by the river in London. I've visited Blenheim, and Chartwell, and the Cabinet War Rooms too [the railway carriage is here in Dorset now, owned by The Swanage Railway]
If you are old enough to have watched it, what are your memories of Churchill's Funeral?
[my other memory is walking to the chippie afterwards- Mum hadn't prepared any lunch, so Dad and I were sent to fetch some. The queue was round the block, with other people doing the same thing!]

Thursday 23 January 2020

Check Your Change!

My grandfather [who died 4 years before I was born, sadly] worked for some years at the Royal Mint. He was involved in the making of the Maundy Money. I wonder what he would have thought of the recent fashion of producing quite so many commemorative coins each year? The Royal Mail 2020 commemorative set includes five special pieces;
£5 to mark the 200th anniversary of the death of George III
£2 to mark 400 years since the Mayflower Pilgrims set sail
£2 to mark 100 years since Agatha Christie published her first novel [The Mysterious affair at Styles}
£2 to mark 75 years since VE Day [Victory in Europe]
and 50p to mark Team GB going to represent us at the Tokyo Olympics
The Mayflower Coin honours the faith-driven men and women who set sail across the Atlantic 400 years ago - for many US citizens, a special part of the history of their nation. The coin shows the little boat breasting the waves.
Independence was not achieved for another 150 years, during the reign of George III. He's popularly remembered for his madness, and his son's Regency period - but he was a deeply patriotic and intellectual man. He was Britain's longest serving King - with many changes during his reign - including the defeat of Napoleon. He lived for many years in Kew Palace, alongside the Royal Gardens. The coin is suitably regal.
Agatha Christie - dubbed 'the Queen of Crime' - churned out dozens of crime novels [66 plus 14 short story collections] Her coin has the classic weapons [poison, dagger, gun...and pen] portrayed on an incomplete jigsaw- the last piece emblazoned with a question mark.
For those who remember it, VE Day was a wonderful celebration - Peace in Europe at last, after the horrors of WWII. The coin shows celebrating crowds and the word Victory.
The Olympic Coin has the 5 rings, plus icons of many different sports. Lots of fun to be had identifying all these!
If you wish to own a "Proof coin set" - containing these five cons, plus our eight regular coins, you can obtain this for $£155 direct from the Royal Mint. That seems quite a lot of money - but check your purses, pockets and piggybanks. You may have a 2009 Kew Gardens fifty-pence piece lurking there.
This one coin is so rare, it is reckoned to be worth almost £200 now! And yes, I do know there is another 50p due to be released on January 31st. 
I shall not be celebrating that one. If I find any in my change, I will be donating them promptly to the Trussell Trust.

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Sweet Charity

Chatting about this blog on Sunday evening with the family. My brother remarked that he wished I'd type "Charity Shop" in full, and not abbreviate to CS. He'd misread it and though I was involved in forensic pathology. Apologies to any other readers who've also been confused. But I do spend a lot of time in these places - and at least three family members volunteer. Lately I have been donating far more than purchasing.
It seems the Marie Kondo Effect means that others are also dropping off carrier bags. I thought I'd share my top tips for making donations.

  1. Is it clean? That may seem obvious - but the item cannot go into the shop if it's dusty or soiled. It's unfair to expect unpaid volunteers to spend time washing your wineglasses, or scrubbing a stain from your shirt.
  2. Is it intact? When I helped Jim-next-door clear his home two years ago, some of the glasses had cracks, and plates had chips which he was unaware of. You need to sort and discard, before donating.
  3. Is it empty? Check the pockets. I'll never forget Steph's delight when her outgrown winter coat was about to go into the bag and she found a forgotten ten pound note in the pocket.
    And do flick through books and shake them - I often use cards or photos as bookmarks. Years ago I bought a book in a charity shop and it contained two postcards which belonged to Sir Julian Huxley
  4. Is it saleable? Who do you imagine will want to buy the cheap plastic toy which came with your child's Happy Meal? Or the tangle of embroidery threads in a bag with a half finished cross stitch sampler? Or a kitchen gadget with a crucial part missing or snapped?
  5. Is this the right place? If you have a load of old towels then take them to an "animal rescue“ charity shop.
    Dog owners or the animal sanctuary will appreciate them. If you are donating dozens of books, go to a dedicated charity bookshop, who can sort and sell efficiently, rather than than swamp the limited shelfspace of the small shop on the corner [Oxfam have a number of bookshops. Leicester's LOROS Hospice bookshop is excellent. Other charity bookshops are available] Old magazines get dog eared and don't really raise much money for the space they take up. Donate them to a waiting room, freecycle or recycle them. Local knitting groups will often take bags of wool to knit for charity.
  6. Is it the right season? All the volunteers I know tell me the biggest problem is space. Some charity shops still operate like a Scout Jumble Sale. "Pile 'em high, sell' em cheap" Most these days have well ordered rails, books shelved alphabetically, and crockery displayed by colour.
    And space to walk round [Sue Ryder shop, Fakenham, well done] But out the back, the little elves are busily sorting and stacking and steam-cleaning. They will not thank you for bringing in a Christmas tree and 200 baubles in July, nor yet shorts and summer frocks in January. My Xmas-dex-donations are in a labelled box in my loft, and will go to the Trussell Trust in early November.
  7. Should this just go straight in the bin? Perhaps - but it is right to consider carefully how we dispose of stuff we no longer need. The landfill bin ought to be the last resort. If items are in good condition but maybe not saleable, consider other places who would like donations. Take things to bits and recycle the parts. Worn and damaged clothes and linens can go into Charity Textile Recycling Bins [such as the ones maintained by Dorset Air Ambulance]
Charity Shops do a lot of good stuff - raising funds for good causes, keeping things out of landfill, brightening up the High Street, providing purposeful employment [paid and unpaid] for hundreds of people. Thank you to all my friends who work hard in the CS and I hope this post will inspire others to visit, donate, buy and maybe even volunteer. Here's a song from the musical Sweet Charity... 

Tuesday 21 January 2020

Cold Comforts

Monday didn't work out as planned. Out of nowhere, Bob developed a dreadful streaming cold on Sunday evening. By bedtime he was sneezing, and generally unwell. He slept sitting upright in the armchair. 
Well, he sort of slept. Liz suggested Jack Monroe's "Make-me-better-mug" and sent a link to the recipe. I needed fresh lemons and ginger, but I already had honey and turmeric in the cupboard. 
I drove into Dereham, and first went into Boots. The pharmacist was helpful, but said Bob's medication means he cannot take Cold&Flu remedies, just Paracetamol.  And inhale Olbas Oil. 
So off to the Co-op... That was confusing. The shelf was labelled "Bag of fresh lemons £1:50, two bags for £1:50“ So I put two bags in my basket. I couldn't see fresh ginger, so I asked. They sell it in stupid little plastic packets. [that's my fancy Norfolk honey from prizewinning local bee keeper Trevor Nash - but in the end I used up the remains of some Lidl runny stuff] 
At the checkout, the cheery assistant said they're pricing was silly " We should just put BOGOF on the lemons. " and agreed the plastic bags were an unnecessary addition. I drove home and made up a delicious jugful of the drink. It's a glorious sunshine yellow colour. 
Bob dozed in front of the TV all day and I did my jigsaw.
All plans to go into Norwich for a romantic dinner for two were abandoned. But at least we were able to be quiet and rest, in a lovely warm home. Today we return to Dorset... 
It's only a cold!

Monday 20 January 2020

Greenanuary?! What On Earth Is That About?

Yes it is a singularly ugly word. But the idea behind it is a good one. "Sustainable Dorset" is attempting to help locals make better lifestyle choices in order to help sustain earth-existence. 
The Green Living Project is enabling groups to come together to learn about what can be done to combat climate change, reduce our carbon footprints, cut wastage, fight pollution, and generally improve things.
My good friends Meg and Chris Brockway*, from Christchurch Baptist feel strongly as I do about our stewardship of Creation. In the autumn, they held a Green Fair, and last week, Meg hosted the first meeting of the Green Living Project Course at CBC. [*in the photo, Rev Chris is on the left, and Meg is smiling on the right]
It was a brilliant  session. We will be meeting fortnightly to learn more - and I shall definitely be blogging about what I have learned. 
What on earth are YOU doing this month about sustainability?

Sunday 19 January 2020

Peace That Passes Understanding

This hymn has been a favourite in my family for as long as I can remember. My Grandfather sang it in the choir, my Dad taught me the story...If you want to know more, watch this video

Saturday 18 January 2020

Leave Of Absence

Mi casa es su casa - my house is your house. This little Willow Tree figure has stood on the shelf at Cornerstones for 10 years now. A treasured Christmas gift from Liz in 2009. She recognised just how much it meant to me, after a lifetime living in church houses or rented properties, to have somewhere to call my own. This little bungalow has been a place for rest, relaxation and re-creation. Somewhere we have been able to share with friends and family. We are constantly grateful to God for this lovely place. 
And for the next few days it will be our 'bolt-hole'. The church in Ferndown graciously suggested [insisted?] that Bob take proper compassionate leave following Frank's funeral. So this is where we will be, quietly 'restoring our souls'. Please don't be surprised if I am not posting as much as usual. I am so grateful for the love of the people at UCF as well as the sympathy and support of so many friends around the globe. 
Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Friday 17 January 2020

Saying Goodbye

We're travelling up to the Midlands today for the funeral of Bob's brother Frank, who died on Christmas morning. Frank was a kind, witty, generous, gifted person. In May, we called on him and Barbara as we returned from our Baptist Conference in Telford. Bob's sister Denise and her husband were visiting. It was such a lovely afternoon and the three siblings had time together, to relax and talk. This afternoon we will all be together again, along with other family members and old friends, to say goodbye. RIP Frank - you were greatly loved and will be greatly missed

Thursday 16 January 2020

Then And Now

A couple of weeks ago, as we entered the new decade, people on Facebook were posting pictures of themselves back in January 2010 and now in January 2020, and commenting on all the life changes which had happened to them in those ten years.
Someone asked me if I was planning to do it - and I said that really I should begin with January 2009 - because in the past eleven years things have changed significantly for us...
We went back to visit Norfolk for a New Year Party arranged by Marian my SIL.I remember little of the event - but I know I chatted to a friendly conveyancing solicitor called Joy, who told me she helped people buy houses - and I said "I probably will never need your services" Then a week or two later, Bob suddenly said "We should buy somewhere to live in retirement" [and I did need Joy after all]
In the eleven years, we have done exactly that - we got the keys to Cornerstones in Norfolk on 19th April 2009, with an 11 year mortgage due to finish in May 2020. 
Then we were living in Leicestershire, happily involved with a village chapel where we had been since 1995 - but five years ago we moved to Dorset and now equally busy with a friendly, growing church here.
Then, back in 2009, I belonged to a fortnightly knitting group - we met in the Borders Bookshop [now sadly closed] I was doing lots of supply teaching, running a sewing club, lay preaching all over the place and generally pretty busy. I made play costumes every summer, and nativity costumes every Christmas. I organised Holiday Club Crafts every July, and told tales in my Story Tent at the Village Fun Day. I happily climbed on the pillion of Bob's huge Honda.We had a collie cross rescue dog called Charlie - and Liz had a cat called Monty. Both girls were living and working in London
Now we have a beautiful granddaughter, and a grandson due in April. Liz remains in London, with Jon [and Rosie] but Steph moved to Manchester in 2017, where she met and married Gary. Three nieces have married, and I'm a great aunt twice over. The family grows...
Now I'm not doing any supply teaching, nor involved in sewing or knitting clubs [but I do go along to Craft'n'Coffee once a month at church]  I'm still preaching - and still churning out play costumes - and now making Memory Bears [so far I have made 4, and I have 3 on order] I am still doing KIds Club Crafts and the Story Tent- but for the past five years I've been involved in Christmas Tree Festivals too. The motorbike was sold, and now there is a large lathe in the garage.Sadly Charlie and Monty are no longer with us - but Steph and Gaz have two rabbits, Jeff and Jim. 
If you had asked me at that party, where I thought I would be now, this would honestly be beyond my wildest dreams. Still happily supporting Bob's ministry [but annoyed at the Government for moving the pension threshold. I am a WASPI Woman] 
But to find ourselves the owners of a property - having paid off the mortgage two years early [despite my drop in income since moving to Ferndown]  that is unbelievable.
And blessed with two wonderful daughters [and their men] of whom we are incredibly proud, and being grandparents as well, with 40 years of marriage behind us. It's all amazing. Life was pretty good back then - but I can truly say it is just as wonderful now. God has been very gracious to us - as the Psalmist says "The lines have fallen in pleasant places for me"
I suppose I ought to post those comparison pictures. Here's the pair of us then arriving at that New Year's party December 31st 2008 - and now here's me about to go out to a party on January 11th 2020. 

Wednesday 15 January 2020

One Year On

It is just a year ago since my spectacular collapse in Sainsburys [explained here] At the time I underwent a battery of tests- and the conclusion was that I had Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome and Vitamin D deficiency. It sounds awful - but could have been so much worse. I'm happy to report that one year on, I am genuinely feeling so much better than I was back then, thank the Lord.
Which is a good thing, considering all the other things which have happened.
I am grateful for our brilliant NHS, and grateful for two loving and supportive families - my biological family and my church family. And grateful for lovely positive comments from friends - both near at hand, and on the blog. So many people have helped, encouraged, and  gently bullied me into looking after myself properly. And things are looking much brighter than they did a year ago. Hallelujah!

Tuesday 14 January 2020

A Very Odd Half Hour

I didn't sleep well on Friday night - and on Saturday morning I really didn't want to get up early [most days I am in the kitchen just before 7 making a cuppa] Bob made the tea at 7.30ish, and said he would bring me breakfast in bed a bit later. At 8.45, I was enjoying my coffee, OJ and pain au raisin, and doing the crossword when my phone pinged. The lady who was taking the magazine stash saying "I'm just on my way over"
I decided that I didn't need to rush to dress - after all, I was just going to open the door, say 'there is the box of magazines' and she would take them and leave. So I could do that in my dressing gown, and return to bed and my puzzle. Well - it didn't turn out that way. The doorbell rang, and I went downstairs.
"Hi, I'm Angela " 
"I'm Julie, I have that exact same Cotton Traders Dressing Gown" 
"Sorry, bad night- not got dressed yet. Here are the magazines! I am so glad to pass them on to you rather than just recycle them"
"Brilliant - I love Martha Stewart! Thank you so much!" She turned to leave
And this is when things went weird.
A petrol blue Skoda Kodiaq, identical to ours, was driving up the road, quite slowly. Suddenly it braked and Julie dropped the box of magazines and ran past our car to the kerb, shouting something.
A dog had run across from the road opposite, and gone under the car. The driver got out "What's happened? We felt a bump underneath so I braked"
Julie explained that she had seen the dog had actually run between the front and back wheels, and rolled over under the vehicle. It crept out slowly onto the kerb, shaking, and visibly distressed. Julie knelt down and comforted it. 
The passenger got out- she was concerned too. "Where did it come from?" Julie said"over there" and stressed that the driver had not run into the animal. We looked to see if anyone in the road opposite was missing a dog. The dog had no collar or identification.
The lady explained that 40 years ago they lived in our house- long before the Church purchased it . They were driving past en route to visit an old friend, and slowed down to look. They saw we had the identical car and were on the point of stopping when they felt the bang.
I was chatting to her, Julie was attending to the dog, and the driver called out to a man opposite [walking towards us and chatting on his phone] "Is this your dog?" 
The guy finished his chat and came across and said it was. Somewhere in all this Bob came outside [in his dressing gown] and got into conversation with the driver. Who, it turns out, sings in a choir with one of our church members.
The dog was shaking, and peed all over Julie's hand as she tried to calm him. "I was on the phone and the car door was open and he jumped out" said the owner. "Is your car OK?" he went to the front with the driver to inspect the damage, and was told the dog had not been hit by the car, he had run underneath it. "Come on boy" said the owner, and seemed to expect the quivering dog to get up and follow him. Somehow Julie ended up helping him over the road, and I suspect she gave the owner a talking to!
Bob and I stayed chatting to the driver and his wife, about the house, Jim-next-door, the male voice choir and other stuff. They went off to the old friend, Julie came back and picked up her magazines, said goodbye and drove off...and I went back to bed and finished the crossword. 
All's well that ends well...but it was a very odd half hour

Monday 13 January 2020

Goodbye To All The Simple Things

I finally bit the bullet - I bundled up fifty craft/homekeeping magazines [The Simple Things, Martha Stewart Living, Country Living and a vast assortment of crafty and Christmassy publications] and posted them on a local fb group as FREE to a good home. Within 5 minutes, I'd had a message from a woman who wanted them all.
There is nothing in these magazines which merits them taking up bookshelf space. I could have put them straight into recycling, but that seemed a bit wasteful. 
I have enjoyed reading them - but all those recipes and projects are never going to be created in this house. I did make the Mollie Makes Mug Cosy for my niece, but I'm never going to recreate Martha's Alpine Village in cardboard and glitter for my Christmas Mantlepiece. And I can always find recipes on the internet if I have a sudden urge to boil pierogi, or ice a bundt cake. 
And the whole activity took less than 40 minutes, and definitely sparked joy!
In other news, I have just sold my first item on Etsy - my lovely Welsh Wool Cape. I was very fond of it, but I'm on a mission to raise funds towards new spectacles. I haven't worn the cape in the past year, so it is on its way to a young lady in France who declared herself "obsessed with owning a welsh woool cape"

Sunday 12 January 2020

2020 Word For The Year

One Sunday in November I was walking down the corridor after church chatting to someone. We reached the hall [and the queue for coffee] I looked back and saw we had lots of people coming behind us. "Excuse me" I said "something I must do" - and I went off to the cupboard to get out more chairs. A minute or so later, I realised the other person was also getting chairs from the cupboard and putting them round tables. "Has she got you doing a job?" laughed a friend. "Well, not exactly. She didn't ask me. I just sort of found myself doing it". Whereupon my friend said "That happens if you hang around with Angela. You find yourself involved in doing all sorts of unexpected things" And they both laughed.
And then a few days later there was a chalkboard on the wall in the coffee shop which caught my eye. And I realised that was what I should have for my word for the week year. #word365 for 202 = inspire**
  1. Fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something
  2. Breathe in -  inhale.
Middle English enspire, from Latin inspirare to ‘breathe or blow into'. The word was originally used of a divine being, in the sense ‘impart a truth or idea to someone’.

[1] This year I would like to be the sort of person who inspires other people to do good things. Not by preaching at them, or ordering them about - but by being the sort of person whose good habits 'rub off' onto other people. 
To help people feel that they can do it. [the Michelle Obama thing again - "are you good enough? yes you are"]
To show by quiet example that there is a better way [like Kezzie and her diligent recycling]
To defuse a negative conversation by throwing in a positive comment, or diverting the topic towards something worthwhile [whatsoever things are lovely...]
[2] And also, I want to inspire God's Holy Spirit - to be filled with his love, joy, peace and hope.
 With His grace, I hope that in this coming year I will inspire others to do greater things than they, or I , thought possible 
[** this is a Leap Year, so technically it should be #word366!]