Tuesday 31 August 2021

Saving Thyme

 Adrian and Marion came for an evening meal, and Bob volunteered to do the cooking. 

We started off very retro, with Delia Smith's Boeuf Bourguignon,accompanied by her Potatoes BoulangĂ©res with rosemary  and tenderstem broccoli. 

Dessert was a Terrine of Summer Fruits . Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries - set in a jelly, in a loaf tin, easy to cut into slices and serve, and spectacular to look at. We had creme fraiche to spoon over.

All good fun, in great company, with good conversation. 

But we had a lot of fresh thyme left - so I decided to freeze it in ice cubes. The flavour is better with frozen than dried, I think. But could I find my ice cube trays anywhere? Where have they gone? 

In the end I gave up searching, and used the only ice tray which I could find. So now I have a dozen frozen herby fishes in my freezer! One fish is the equivalent of a teaspoonful of thyme leaves.[I am resisting the urge to make too many puns- "right plaice, right thyme" "adding a dab of flavour" etc]

Monday 30 August 2021

Maggie May [Or May Not] Be The One...

Rosie told Jolly about his second date in advance, and Jolly thought she sounded fun and couldn't wait to meet her. [actually I think Rosie was swayed by the red curly hair, and the pink blouse, she loves pink!]

Maggie, 60 – loves folk music and 60s pop. She dresses in floaty skirts, ethnic waistcoats, cheesecloth shirts . Maggie has wayward pre-Raphaelite curls [once red, now flecked with grey. Fanatical about crafts, always has a bit of knitting or crochet on the go, makes blankets for the homeless, jumpers for babies in Africa, and woolly hats for merchant seaman. 

Maggie goes to Glastonbury Festival every year, and also organises a group from her church to go to the Greenbelt Christian Arts festival. She plays the guitar badly and cannot sing in tune. She gave Jolly a lovely handknit scarf, just like the one she gave Father Dylan at the Christmas Night Mass. 

’s had lots of ‘gentleman friends’ – but never found one she could settle down with. When she met Jolly, she took him to a barbecue at a friend’s house. The flowers were beautiful, the food was outstanding – and there was cheerful folk music coming from the guys under the gazebo. 
Jolly enjoyed her taste in music, and her happy-go-lucky approach - but he did wonder if she was a little too free-spirited to settle down with him

The scarf was lovely - but maybe she would want to knit him crazy multicoloured jumpers too. Jolly is a very conservative dresser. He was not sure if, even after years in a postman's uniform, he wanted to change to a wild and wacky wardrobe.

Maggie certainly made the evening fun - and persuaded Jolly to try the vegetarian bbq alternatives [he'd never tasted hummus before] What a creative, artistic woman!

Sunday 29 August 2021

Families In Flight

flight - can mean the action of flying, or the action of fleeing.

Steph and co have just returned from a much-postponed holiday. Their flight was delayed, and the airport seems pretty empty as George plays with his Dad. My grandson has clearly mastered the art of being vertical, confidently walking and running now. 

It is hard not to contrast this happy little family with those at the airport in Kabul. On Wednesday we drove past RAF Marham - there was a "friends and family day" happening, and we saw some fighter jets and also a large transport plane fly past us [missed the Red Arrows though] 

I did wonder why a large transport plane was doing an airshow in Norfolk, when there were people [who had worked for the British Army] waiting desperately for a plane to rescue them from the Taliban. But we must hope and pray that the people who have promised us that "they will move heaven and earth to rescue them" keep their words.

Steph, George and Gaz are in Manchester. Liz, Jon and the girls are in London. And we two are back to 'doing our own thing'. The weather has turned cooler this week, and the children are talking about going back to school. In France this is the week of RentrĂ©e - the end of the holidays, the beginning of term.

I found this meditation on a Jesuit website, I thought it appropriate for this time...

  • Make time to reflect and be thankful for what is ending.  Be grateful for what was learned and what was accomplished.
  • Make time to celebrate the new beginning and what we have to look forward to.
  • Recognize there are things about endings and beginnings that we do not control. Act on what we can control, but recognize and move on from what we can’t control.
  • Pause to reflect and refresh.  The pace, chaos, and emotion of change can be stressful; make time to take care of ourselves and each other.
  • Be grateful for what we have and for those around us with whom we share these changes.
  • Remain optimistic and hopeful for what is yet to come and the new relationships that new beginnings may bring.
  • And finally, take time to remember that God is with us through all the events of our lives, and that these endings and beginnings are no different.

Saturday 28 August 2021


Last Sunday we got back from Dorset at 1.45pm. I decided then and there to make a cake.  A good move - Liz, Jon and the girls called in for a cuppa. I used Rachel Allen's Butter-Free Sponge from her "Bake!" book. 

I had no cream or fresh fruit, so I substituted a tub of creamy raspberry Kvarg yogurt and a few 'fruits of the forest' thawed from a bag in the freezer. 

·         3 eggs, separated
·         225g (8oz) caster sugar
·         90ml (3fl oz) water
·         150g (5oz) plain flour
·         1tsp baking powder
·         2 tsp icing sugar, for dusting
·         250ml fresh cream and fresh fruit of your choice [or Kvarg]


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter and flour the sides of two 20cm (8in) diameter sandwich tins and line the bases with greaseproof paper.

Place the yolks and sugar in an electric food mixer and beat for 2 minutes. Pour in the water and whisk for approximately 10 minutes or until the mixture is firm and creamy. Sift the flour and baking powder and fold in gently with a metal spoon or spatula.

In a separate, spotlessly clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks, then fold them into the flour mixture very gently, again using a metal spoon or spatula. 

Divide the mixture between the two prepared tins, smooth the surface and bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until just set in the centre. 

Remove the cakes from the tins by loosening the edges and allow to cool on a wire rack, then sandwich with the whipped cream and fruit. 

Dust with icing sugar before serving. [10 slices]

It was very successful and delicious with a cup of tea

Friday 27 August 2021

Jolly Meets Jill

Jolly The Postman, having recently retired, feels he is at last in a position to settle down and find a wife. His long and busy career with Royal Mail has meant long, unsociable hours, especially around Christmas-time. In the last few years, age has crept up on him, and when he gets home at the end of the day he is often exhausted and a teeny bit grumpy. He has been going to bed without having a proper meal, or with indigestion from rapidly eaten take-away food. A settled, balanced diet would be a good idea.

But now his time is his own, and he can enjoy the freedom of planning his days [and meals]  better. He wants find a companion to share his life - so PomPom has arranged for him to travel the globe in search of Mrs Write [excuse the pun, but he has spent his life surrounded by written communications] I found three women here who were interested in meeting him. The first is Jill...
Jill 58, is a cheerful widow, and extremely thrifty. “Make do and Mend” is her motto. She did an expert repair when Jolly’s suitcase split. She drives a little Toyota – but usually goes places on her bike. Her favourite clothes are jeans and slogan teeshirts during the week, and pretty dresses on Sunday [she teaches Sunday school] Her hair is blonde. Jill is a keen environmentalist and recycles and reuses everything she can. 

In "Normal Times" Jill is on the rota for the Lunch Club Cooking at her chapel - but that is currently closed for the pandemic. 

A wedding tea was happening on the day they met up, so she showed Jolly the church kitchen, and the tables set out for tea. Jolly had never seen so many fancy teapots! Jolly liked her Jill's caring nature, and her generous spirit. She seemed a very hard-worker.

Jill invited Jolly to share a home-cooked lunch in her little cottage. She showed him her little garden, where she grows lots of produce as well as colourful flowers. They had fresh bread, vegetable soup, and blackberry crumble [made with foraged blackberries] 

Jill is short, round and cuddly, and very loving. She made Jolly feel warm and happy inside. They enjoyed talking about their favourite books and programmes [they both like detective stories – and TV crime series set in Scandinavia] Jill also talked about her grandchildren- Jolly liked the idea of belonging to a bigger family, and having everyone over for tea - especially if Jill made Victoria Sponge cakes 

This was Jolly's first date. A special thank you to Steph, who has painted the women's portraits for me.

Thursday 26 August 2021

Just Good Friends

Jolly, The Postman, has certainly been getting out and about. Rosie has really taken to him, and asked that he accompany us on our days out. I would like to stress at this point, she is not one of his 'dates' They are just good friends. Apart from the obvious age discrepancy, she wears him out. She has held him in her hand as we travel in the car, and told him all sorts of facts about cheetahs, and when we went to meet up with her great-aunt at the Garden Centre, Jolly was invited too.

Mum and Marion and sleeping Jess were in the outdoor eating area - whilst Rosie and I explored the adventure playground. I think Jolly found Ro's enthusiasm for the slides, the rope walkways and the climbing equipment all a little bit much. But they remain good friends...

Wednesday 25 August 2021

The Answer is 42

According to Douglas Adams, in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything is 42.

Today, on this day, it is certainly my answer too. Forty two years ago, 25th August 1979, my Dad [who was also minister of the church]  asked me the question "Will you love him, and keep him, honour and cherish him ... from this day forward, until death do you part?" - and I said "I will"

I have never regretted making that vow - and I am truly grateful that we have such a long and happy marriage. Thank you Bob for our life together, and for our daughters, and for all that we have shared together in a life of faith and service for God.

Grow old along with me - the best is yet to be...

Happy Anniversary Bob!

Tuesday 24 August 2021

God Bless The Bride, God Save The Queen!

We went back to Ferndown on Saturday for the wedding of our friends Ruth and Rohan. The bride looked radiant in a simple gown which she had designed and her aunt had made for her. 

Her Dad Alan walked down the aisle with her. Groom Rohan was resplendent in his suit and grey topper. Bob was [as always on such occasions] dressed in his grey suit. It was slightly strange seeing him at the front of UCF again, taking the service. The 30 or so guests were distanced

Rohan is in the Army, and very patriotic- the invitations were printed with a Union Flag decoration, there was matching bunting round the room at the reception. We even sang God save the Queen!

Rowan is very fond of different teas, and  dreams of opening a Proper Tea Shop one day. So that was the theme of the reception - tiered stands with sandwiches, scones, cakes etc [thank you Pandora's Bakery, West Moors] and PB also provided the cake. Three different flavoured layers - and "naked" style frosting.
Kezzie asked what I'd be wearing. I wore a red floral print "Great Plains" dress, with a swirly skirt- and topped it with a fine red lacy bolero [I think thats called a waterfall front] Tights and heels felt strangely unfamiliar! Bob's tie co-ordinated with my outfit, which was good! [I sneaked in another guest, tucked in my bag - but his pictures will come later]

Monday 23 August 2021

Hop, Skip and Jump

The skip arrived at the weekend [I have given up all hope of an apple crop this year - my little tree is surrounded by heaps of earth, and only 5 of the original 28 apples remain on the branches!] I was very impressed by the skill of the delivery driver. He negotiated turning his vehicle in the parking chaos at the end of the close, and despite the car parked opposite, was able to position his truck and deposit the skip in exactly the right place.

As I watched him lowering the skip into place, I suddenly remembered a family holiday back in the 1980s. We were going to see Bob's father near Canterbury, and Bob had been telling the girls what things they should be looking out for en route. As we neared our destination, a voice piped up from the back of the car "Daddy, you said we'd see skips growing in the fields - but I haven't seen any yet!" - I guess when you are 5, hop and skip are interchangeable words!

Am I the only person who was in her 30s before realising that  jumpsuits were so named because they were worn by parachutists?

Sunday 22 August 2021

For Afghanistan


with thanks to Grace Pengelly Beckett of Cambridge, 
who wrote this earlier in the week

Saturday 21 August 2021

Is This Hogwarts?

Don't worry, Jolly the Postman is having a good time. Three 'dates' have been set up for him, and he has also been entertained [a lot] by Rosie. Last week he accompanied her to her swimming lesson, and while she was splashing about, I took him round to the front of the school buildings. This does look like something out of Harry Potter, don't you think?

Steph has kindly done some artwork for me - and she posted it in the special blue postbox in Manchester. Thank you Steph

We are away this weekend - I shall tuck Jolly in my luggage and maybe take some more photos then.

Friday 20 August 2021

Not Tonight Josephine...


I love French Patisserie - I could spend hours looking at the display of cakes and pastries in shops like Patisserie Valerie. Rows of beautiful, identical tartlets, embellished with perfect raspberries, neat rows of piping. Whorls of cream, chocolate shapes, snowy dusting of icing sugar... Sweet pate sable, crisp choux, soft mousse fillings... 

My mouth is watering just thinking about these delights [and my waistline is getting larger] 

In the weird world of synchronicity, patisserie was in my thoughts for two different reasons on the same day recently. 

I was talking to a friend whose son was working reduced hours during lockdown, and got interested in the GBBO. He decided to master various different baking skills. She was telling me that when they visited recently, he had been making mille-feuilles.

Mille-feuilles means one thousand leaves and refers to the three layers of thin, light puff pastry, sandwiched together with cream and jam, and iced with a 'feather' pattern. People argue about the origins - but these have been around since the 16th century, and the name first appeared in an English cookbook, written by a Frenchman. The name is correctly pronounced meel-foy although many English supermarkets and bakeries just call this a cream slice or a custard slice.

Later that evening I was reading my library book. "B is for Burglar". The second of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone's mysteries. I collected the whole series- then got rid of them, but the library here has plenty so I thought I'd re-read them. She refers to her landlord, a retired pastry chef baking "Napoleons". I just could not remember what they were, so I looked them up. And discovered they are basically* the same as mille-feuilles.

Of course I then fell down a rabbit-hole of patisserie research. Why that name? It appears that nobody really knows. There are three theories

  1. That feathered design on the icing looks like a row of capital Ns
  2. This was Bonaparte's favourite cake
  3. It was first baked by an Italian chef in Naples,**who called it a Napoletano in honour of his city. The French named it Napolitain, and then it was Anglicised to Napoleon.
Personally I find none of these particularly convincing explanations! 
What do you think?
Whatever they are called, they are certainly delicious. 

* Napoleons have a layer of almond paste in them
**Further evidence for the Naples theory comes from the fact that although the ancient Romans didn’t have pastry as French chefs know it today, but they did have layered desserts made with thin cakes or sheets folded together with honey and cream or soft cheese. Called placenta [ugh!], this elegant dessert was the most distant forerunner of the modern napoleon. It also has ties to another nation’s most famous sweet export, Greek baklava, but unlike the other Mediterranean treat, the Roman version always involved a creamy filling instead of or alongside chopped nuts.

Thursday 19 August 2021

The Milk Of Human Kindness

"Who said that?" I asked Bob at breakfast "It's either the Bible of Shakespeare" was his prompt response*. We had a bottle of milk on the table at the time. I know, it ought to be in a jug - but this was a rather special bottle.

Halfway between Cornerstones and Rosie's Cottage is Dann's Farm. We love their delicious home made ice cream, and they have a dispensing machine where you can buy farm fresh, pasteurised cows milk [whole not skimmed] It costs £1 to buy a reusable bottle, and £1 a litre for the milk. 
OK I know that costs more than buying a similar quantity in a plastic bottle in the supermarket - but it is a lovely treat - and the bottle will be recycled many times. 
And the farmers are getting a fair price for the product. Ticking all the ethical and eco-boxes!

We have semi-skimmed for our tea, for baking, and for making milkshakes- but on cereal this has a creamier taste. In the winter, our go-to cereal is porridge, so I always have oats on hand [I use them a lot in baking too] but in order to offer a choice, I usually have just one other box of cereal on the go [multigrain hoops, malties, miniwheats, granola....] For some time now, I've kept these two cereals in large Hornsea biscuit jars which I found cheap in a CS.

But you can guarantee that if I want some oats, I pick up the other jar first, and vice versa. I have therefore labelled the jars in the most accurate way I can!

*He quickly clarified his response with "Is it from Macbeth?" - clearly he hasn't forgotten all that he studied for O level English Lit.

Wednesday 18 August 2021

Three Years BC

i just found some pictures of August three years ago. The Go-go trail in Norwich that summer was hares. I went with Liz and Rosie, who was just 2½ years old. 
Rosie loved the hares - especially the leverets which were just the right size for her. And she coloured in her picture at the activity area inside the Forum. How fast she has grown!
And how different life was then...no masks,  no drippy sanitiser dispensers, no 'social distancing'... That was Life BC (before covid) 
But we are getting there, slowly. There is light at the end of the tunnel. We just need to remind ourselves that it has been a long tunnel, and the view as we emerge will be rather different in some ways.
The Internet has been a true blessing for me - enabling me to keep in touch with friends and family when physical visits have been impossible. Zoom meetings, YouTube Church Services, WhatsApp bedtime stories and chatty emails will never equate to a proper hug, singing a hymn together, and sharing a cuppa, or snuggling on the sofa with a storybook. But these technologies can be a real help, especially if you're feeling isolated.
Just as Rosie has grown "in wisdom and stature" [to quote the Good Book] I hope we've all grown in compassion and understanding towards one another. 
Have a good day, and if the school summer holidays mean that you have extra Grandparent Duties [or other family responsibilities] may you have all the energy you need, and time to relax afterwards. 
[Don't forget, if you ever feel like a chat "off blog" click on my complete profile in the sidebar, which will take you to an email link.] 

Tuesday 17 August 2021

Frock Stars!

The Hundred Day Dress Challenge This keeps popping up all over the internet at the minute. The challenge is this - could you wear the same dress for one hundred days in a row? The company Wool& think you can do so in one of their dresses. In fact if you buy one, wear it for 100 days and send them 100 pictures to prove it, they will send you a voucher for 50% off another one!

How does this work? well the main thing is the fabric- it is a lightweight merino wool jersey. The great property of merino is that it does not hold odours- and if you hang up it to air each evening when you take it off, it will be fresh as a daisy next morning. It also launders easily - you can quickly spot treat any spills, and [allegedly] wash it and hang it to dry overnight. The other factor is the choice of simple styles- swing, fit'n'flare, simple shifts and tank-styles which are easy to accessorise. But the first style in the range,  'Rowena' remains the #1 choice.

Here is one of the dresses as shown in a Daily Mail article  . Five different looks for smart, casual or business
Over a shirt, under a denim jacket with plimsolls, with heels, over trousers, with floppy hat and sandals

This woman wore tops over the dress, making it look like a skirt - or a skirt over the dress making it look like a top - and even tucked it in trousers for a bike ride.

I do like the idea in principle - - the fabric is breathable, temperature regulating, anti pilling, odour resistant and uv protecting - it is naturally soft, machine-washable and the dress has pockets! What's not to like?

I do agree with Emma Beddington in the Guardian article - for women of my age, with short, dumpy legs, tights would be a must. We are not all blessed with long slim legs like the Duchess of Cambridge!

Bizarrely, a number of articles I have read [eg this guest post on Joshua Becker's blog] say that spouses, husbands, friends and work colleagues didn't even notice they were in the same dress for 14 weeks. [Thank you Bob, for taking time to see what I wear, frequently complimenting me on my clothes- I am confident you would spot the repetition] 

Here's a woman priest/Chaplain from Boston Mass doing her challenge. This struck me as a little unusual - many of the Anglican/Episcopalian priests I've encountered lately [both male and female] have been doing all they can to get away from the "black shirt with white clerical collar" image!

Whilst I would quite like one of these [style Rowena, size M, Marine blue, available in the UK from September/October] I am not sure I want to shell out £130. I have never spent that much on a dress in my entire life.  I would then feel compelled to do the challenge - but that would mean wearing the dress under my red Supergran work overalls, whilst laying garden paths, and probably frequently sponging off evidence of baby-sick or toddler-sticky-fingers! And what about sitting on a sandy beach at Cromer? 

I have a beautiful newly built wardrobe, with enough clothes to last me for years. I shall wear them until they are beyond use, and reconsider the challenge then. I realised on Friday that I was wearing a favourite t-shirt bought at Spring Harvest in 1995 - which still looks good, and on Sunday wore a pretty cotton summer dress at least 10 years old. And they still spark joy.

I appreciate the Steve Jobs Black Teeshirt Philosophy "If I always wear black teeshirt and jeans, I do not waste time thinking about what to wear each day" - but it strikes me that these 100-day women are still spending time debating how to accessorise, to make the dress look 'different'. I think it is a bit of a Rich Girl's Game. 
I do believe in slow fashion, make-do-and-mend, charity shop, hand-me-down and 2nd hand recycling. I understand that fewer clothes, made better with natural fibres, and lasting longer are better for the planet.  I am attending a wedding on Saturday - but [like Kezzie] I shall wear a dress I already own. 
But I am afraid that the 100-day garment might end up as 'just another dress' in my wardrobe - I wouldn't get rid of all the others currently hanging there. 

None of the bloggers I follow regularly has mentioned doing this challenge [I don't think I can count the guest post on JBs minimalism blog] 

Would you consider it?

Would it be practical for your lifestyle?

Do you think the pandemic has impacted on your daily choice of clothing?

Monday 16 August 2021

Saturday Sitting In The Sun

On Friday we got all the boxes down from the loft and  sorted out our stuff for the Yard Sale. Saturday we were up early [the builders arrived early too, to do brick laying]

It was gloriously sunny. The goods were spread out on lots of tables - plus my hanging rack had a few garments, bedspreads, curtains etc.
I put out a stool with hand sanitiser [quite a few people used that]
The table on the right of Bob was "Freebies" - but we had a donations pot there for the A-T Society. I knew Justine would be busy preparing for Sunday's Garden Party, and not able to sell any goods herself.
There were not many punters.The general feeling was that the event had not been well publicised [apparently it only went onto local Social Media groups the day before] plus, inexplicably they were holding a Boot Fair at the Village Hall the next day.
So... we finished the day having made just £4.70 - and we also had £4.50 in the A-T pot. We packed up all the stuff which we still considered saleable, drove into town, and found three Charity Shops in Dereham willing to accept it.
Bob was very good and did not buy the cement mixer on sale round the corner. They are great fun but honestly we have no justification for owning one. 
We had some very interesting conversations though [mostly about what they builders were doing]
Four hours sitting in the sunshine was extremely pleasant, and it feels good to have cleared some of our surplus possessions.
But it is surprising how tired one feels at the end of such an event.

Sunday 15 August 2021

Starry, Starry Night

The man came and poured concrete in the trench round the garage base. Bob's been out with his tape measure diligently checking all the measurements [we need the base to be a certain distance from the boundaries to meet planning regs, and exactly the right size for the prefabricated garage] I found myself thinking of those verses in Job 38

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone—
While the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels shouted for joy? 
And that got me thinking about stars - and I remembered this was the week of the Perseids meteor shower. I woke up at 4am to go to the loo, and decided that as I was up and out of bed, I might as well have a look outside. Psalm 8, in The Message version, puts things into perspective
I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
    your handmade sky-jewellery,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
    Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
    Why take a second look our way?  

It was a bit chilly outside - I watched a couple of meteors shooting across the sky, then crept back into bed, feeling very excited.
Sometimes I find the magnificence of God's Creation utterly overwhelming - as did the prophet Amos
He who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns midnight into dawn and darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land— the Lord is his name
Our little building project is tiny in comparison to the Cosmos. Yet the One who created all that cares about each individual. He hears my prayers - even on the darkest night - he hears, he answers, and he is forever faithful. For that I am truly grateful. 
[photo from the Eastern Daily Press, showing the Perseids over Norfolk this week]

Saturday 14 August 2021

Happy Families

 I found another box of photos as I was sorting out stuff for today's Village Yard Sale.

Here's my Mum in November 1984 holding a newborn Steph [screaming her head off!]  can see some similarities between baby Steph and baby Jess. 

And yet another pair of photos of Rosie and Liz [or is it Liz and Rosie?] both aged 5½

Steph sent me pictures of George at nursery, doing practical science - he is staring so intently up the pipe, waiting for the ball to roll down! And here he is doing a self portrait [he has the hair colour and paint smock colour just right!
Steph is the artist in the family, I hope her son has inherited her gift. My friend Carolyn said that when you have grand-children, it is like 'falling in love all over again' I get what she means. Rosie, George, and now Jessica bring so much joy. I could never have imagined this before. 
I did find one old photo that brought back happy memories. It was 1978 - we were newly engaged and one evening we went for a walk in the park. I decided to have a go on the swing . I love swings, and there were no children around. I was full of love and joy, hope and dreams for the future...[but how is it that my legs appear not only slimmer, but longer too?]