Saturday 31 December 2022

Reflections on 2022

If you didn't watch "The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse" and the accompanying documentary about the artist Charlie Mackesy, then you missed a treat. A reminder that we can find encouragement and friendship, love and strength, in the most unexpected places. Find the two programmes both on BBC i-player, or borrow the book. Beautiful artwork, and thoughtful words, to remind us about what really matters as this year ends.


Friday 30 December 2022

Come Back, Lady Bracknell!

There I was, reading an article online about Christmas leftovers, and it mentioned keeping your cooked meat in a hambag. "Sweetheart," I said to Bob"do you know anything about a ham bag"
You can guess his response! He immediately channelled his inner Dame Edith Evans

Neither of us had heard of this food storage item. But the clear implication was that this is the ideal way to preserve your Christmas ham. And it said you can buy one in Woolworths. 
We don't have Woolworths in the UK any more
...apparently this is Woolworths Australia*. These cotton bags, size 41 x 61 cm, made of cotton with a drawstring. They have these instructions printed on them -"
Keep your ham fresh and moist. Rinse bag in a mixture of 2 cups water, and 1 tbsp vinegar.Wring out bag, wipe ham with damp cloth. Rinse ham bag every 3 days to retain freshness."
Well who knew?
I love a Christmas ham, tasty with pickles, salads, cheese, breads etc for easy meals in the days after Christmas. But I never knew about the bag before.
In my youth [before we had a fridge] the ham lived in the pantry under a clean teatowel, and Dad would slice off pieces for meals, or snacks and sandwiches. I recognise that my friends in the Antipodes are celebrating Christmas in balmy summer weather. Do they still put this bagged ham in the fridge? or is this a way of keeping it fresh if stored on the countertop?
Whatever the answers, I felt a bag would be a better container than foil or clingfilm. But 41x61 is almost a pillowcase- I never have a ham that big! I sorted through my reserve tea-towels. No point in keeping my Kirby Muxloe Souvenir if I don't use it!. It took me less than 15 minutes to sew two side seams and a channel for the top, and thread some spare cotton tape through.

Voila! my hambag. We have eaten most of the ham - so I am using a stand-in for the photo above. I shall look out for any reduced hams in the coming days - but the bag will go into my linens drawer for use next Christmas if not before. 
You can buy hambags online - but at £12+ I think this is extortionate. My recycled teatowel solution should work fine.
Do you use, or have you ever used, a hambag?
*Woolworths Australia has nothing to do with Woolworths USA. Woolworths NZ have rebranded the stores as 'Countdown', and in Canada they are Foot Locker - Woolworths UK have all gone, and their place on the High Street has been taken over by Wilko 

Thursday 29 December 2022

Four Million?!? End Of Year Giveaway

I am struggling to get my head around this huge number. 
My blog has had over 4,000,000 hits since it began in March 2008.
Thank you so much, to all of you who follow Tracing Rainbows. Some have been here since the beginning, others are more recent followers. 
Your comments - publicly here, or privately via email, have been so kind and so encouraging. I thank you for them all. 
I don't know how many people are represented - but it has been great to make new friends, and especially to connect in person. 
As a Thank-you I am going to pack a giveaway parcel - please leave a comment BELOW before Tuesday 3rd January, and a name will pulled out of the hat then.[I'll be a bit busy over the weekend]
I cannot find any songs with "four million" in the title. Katie Melua had 9M bicycles in Beijing and PTBarnum had 1M dreams.
I don't know what your hopes and dreams are for the coming year - peace and love are very high on my list.

Wednesday 28 December 2022

A Range Of Meanings

I popped briefly into The Range to get a couple of washing up bowls - we have had a double sink in the kitchen for a year, and I really want a smart, matching pair of bowls. I did find them - but left without them, when I realised there were about 50 people in the queue and only two checkouts working! I was not prepared to wait that long...
However I did have a quick look at the Christmas decorations in the sale section. Just in case. But one item initially left me baffled - a bag of six "Christmas Sentiments" reduced to 45pBethere it says. 
That's not a word!
perhaps it should be Bet here[we sell lottery tickets]
or maybe Beth ‘ere[an Eastenders version of Little Women]
Bob says it is Be there[why would I want to be somewhere where they are no good at punctuation and grammar?] 
Mind you, I didn't realise till recently that many people in Wales actually call this store The ORaNGe, on the grounds that on the sign, it say 'The' and below it, the word 'Orange' starting with a capital O in an orange colour!
Perhaps these confused folk are connected with Welsh Max Boyce, whose catchphrase is "I was there!!" I suggest the company takes its 

Be theresigns to Cardiff, they might make more sales...

Tuesday 27 December 2022

Paint Your Wagon

 Liz suggested a pull along wagon would be useful for Jess to store books and toys. Bob looked at a number online, and decided to construct one himself in the Lathe Palace. He used a sheet of ply from his wood stash. He ordered wheels from Norfolk firm Hobbies and built the wagon. 

One end was painted with blackboard paint. The other end he cut her name from wooden letters. Two short lengths of broom handle were turned and painted red and green to make toggles for the cord. It is good and strong [I'd venture to suggest it is stronger than some we looked at online] 
I'm pleased to report that Jess loves her Christmas gift - especially when big sister Rosie tows her round in it. She climbs in and calls "Ready... Go!" 
Well done Grandad. 

Monday 26 December 2022

We're Not Crackers!

I decided against crackers - bought ones were either cheap, tacky and full of plastic, or they were eco friendly, stylish and pricey. Then as I was returning the library books on Friday I found an interesting book by the checkout point [I had to go into town - the mobile van has broken down, so Book-Mark didn't come on Thursday after all]

Zero Waste Christmas is full of lovely ideas,grouped in four themes- Skandi, Hot, Frosty and Retro, and is published by David&Charles, a reliable source of craft books. Rosie and I spent an hour or so on Friday afternoon making piñatica as an alternative to crackers.

Rosie knew about piñata - the popular Mexican hanging decoration, usually filled with sweets, which is hit with a stick till it breaks, spilling the contents. Piñatica are much smaller.  Based on an octahedron, and made of recycled card,trimmed with tissue paper. I drew out the template* with pencil, ruler and compasses. Here's what we made for the six of us to have at Christmas Lunch.

Ours are covered with random tissue shapes, not neat strips of fringing. She's only 6, and time was of the essence.

We inserted two chocolate coins and a joke into each little box before sealing it up, and tying on a label. Rosie provided the jokes, which I typed onto the computer and we cut into strips and concertina-ed into tiny squares. 

You can easily open the piñatica by squashing it flat, or by ripping apart one of the seams.

Here are Rosie's jokes

Who delivers presents to baby sharks at Christmas? 
Santa Jaws!

What do you get if you cross Santa with a duck?

A Christmas Quacker

What did the snowman eat for his lunch?
An Ice-burger

What did Mrs Claus say to Santa?
It looks like rain, dear
What do cats and dogs call Father Christmas?
Santa Paws

and her favourite, she says...
What is the best Christmas present in the world? 
A broken drum… you just can’t beat it

With time and effort, and without help from a child, I think I could make some very pretty table favours using this idea. I may blog some of the other ideas from this book, its full of fun stuff - and many could be adapted for non-Xmas events.
Meanwhile, in Manchester, Pirate George clutched his gold coins, muttering happily "My treasure!"... he didn't realise there was chocolate inside! How long before he finds out? 

*I realised later I could have logged into the D&D website and downloaded the template in minutes

Sunday 25 December 2022

Joy To The World!

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark, the herald angels sing
"Glory to the Newborn King"

Saturday 24 December 2022

A World Of Pure Imagination

 Steph said to George “Look- baby is an elf!” 

To which he replied “No, he's a pirate, on a boat."

Turning to his brother, he then demanded


Friday 23 December 2022

Deck The Halls

 Despite the drastic cull of decorations pre-retirement, we still seem to have plenty of stuff. Mostly red and green, gold and silver...with a few other colours thrown in.
Lights along the hall way,  my favourite card from Liz [in her student days] The big ceramic Joy and Peace signs.
I have had a lovely hand-made card [thank you, Judi] 
Our chandelier has festive baubles. The Elf is on the shelf, and the wooden nativity is ready for little children to play with. More bunting pegged on the kitchen blind, a Matryoshka nativity set, and a pair of fabulous pre-Raphaelite angels [my friends know me too well]

The fresh poinsettia, from a neighbour, looks glorious in the silver urn. The tree is dripping with ornaments. My jug of baubles is stylish on the dining table- and the Willow Tree plaque is so special.
The padded placemats come out for another year. The smaller cake has fewer decorations. Pauline's Angel guards the baby, and golden words of greeting are at the front. The candle at the back celebrates Jesus' birthday. The luxurious ribbon adds a sparkling finish.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed decorations or sent cards - each piece has a story, and brings memories of other years, other homes, and precious friends and family members. 
The past couple of Christmases have been very different for all of us. But the essential message is unchanged, 
Glad tidings of great joy 
peace on earth, 
goodwill to all people
A Saviour is born

Love came down at Christmas, star and angels gave the sign

Thursday 22 December 2022

A Poem For The King

 Six months ago. Bishops in the House of Lords sent an open letter to The Times, saying

"Many [refugees] are desperate people fleeing unspeakable horrors. Many are Iranians, Eritreans and Sudanese citizens, who have an asylum grant rate of at least 88 per cent. These are people Jesus had in mind as he said when we offer hospitality to a stranger, we do it for him. They are the vulnerable that the Old Testament calls us to value. We cannot offer asylum to everyone, but we must not outsource our ethical responsibilities, or discard international law — which protects the right to claim asylum.

We must end the evil trafficking; many churches are involved in fighting this evil. This needs global co-operation across every level of society. To reduce dangerous journeys to the UK we need safe routes: the church will continue to advocate for them. But deportations — and the potential forced return of asylum seekers to their home countries — are not the way. This immoral policy shames Britain."

Sadly the Government seems to take no notice. I actually heard a Tory MP being interviewed on Radio 4 this week, who complained "There are too many people preaching from pulpits at the moment" [excuse me, what else do you do with a pulpit? use it to store chutney, keep back copies of Gardeners' World, recycle it into a coffee table...]  The Rwanda plan is appalling

 A week ago, the annual Royal Carol Service was held at Westminster Abbey [Princesses Katherine and Charlotte both in magenta coats!] The King had a selected the following poem to be read by actress Dame Kristen Scott Thomas. It was written about 10 years ago by Anglican priest-poet, Malcolm Guite.
We think of him as safe beneath the steeple,
Or cosy in a crib 
beside the font,
But he is with a million displaced people
On the long road of weariness and want.
For even as we sing our final carol
His family is up and on that road,
Fleeing the wrath of someone else’s quarrel,
Glancing behind and shouldering their load.
Whilst Herod rages still from his dark tower
Christ clings to Mary, fingers tightly curled,
The lambs are slaughtered by the men of power,
And death squads spread their curse across the world.
But every Herod dies, and comes alone
To stand before the Lamb upon the throne.
If this is our King's choice of poem for this year's Royal Carols, I think his Mum would have been proud of him. And I look forward to his speech on Christmas Day!

Wednesday 21 December 2022

War, Peace, Pudding


When it's really cold, a hot pudding is a good idea. I found a recipe for "War and Peace Pudding" on Carolyn's blog, The1940s experiment

It required the simplest of ingredients and apparently was popular in Canada in WW2, and to this day, there are Canadians who serve this rather than a traditional Christmas pud .
I grated the potato and carrot, and mixed as per instructions. [I soaked my fruit in cold tea.]  But rather than steaming, I microwaved it for 7½minutes.
I turned out the pud, and stuck a Christmas sprig in the top to improve the appearance, and served a jug of custard alongside. Let's just say it was not what you'd call "light" textured. Bob did very well on my "guess the ingredients quiz". The pudding was very filling. 
"I think I'll keep the remaining portion and eat it when I want something worthy" I declared. "It won't keep till Lent" said Bob.
I tipped the leftover bit into a bowl - it actually bounced! "This WW2 recipe, was it developed by Barnes Wallis?" said Bob. 
It may have been quick and economical, and terribly popular with the Royal Canadian Mounties, but we may not have this one again!
Are you having a traditional Xmas pud?
Or do your family prefer some other dessert?

Tuesday 20 December 2022

Slaves To Fashion

This is the title of an exhibition currently on display at Norwich Castle. It is work by the Singh Twins of Liverpool, and came to Norwich from the Walker Art Gallery there. I went a fortnight ago and found it fascinating. The information sheet says
This exhibition by the Singh Twins explores hidden narratives of Empire, Colonialism, conflict, slavery and luxury lifestyle through the lens of India's historical textile trade and their relevance to modern day legacies and debates around ethical consumerism, racism and the politics of trade.  
[But please note that The Singh Twins: Slaves of Fashion contains imagery and language which reflects historic colonial attitudes. Due to the nature of the exhibition, there is some historic racist, xenophobic and otherwise offensive content, as well as contemporary depictions of torture and violence.]
It is mindblowing, in the brilliant use of art and technology, challenging and thought provoking as it shows how the Indian textile trade has, for centuries, been affected by colonialism and consumerism. And we are told not only of historical injustices, but more contemporary issues, where the livelihoods of ordinary people are affected by the greed, and demand for fast fashion across the world.
The sisters produced huge paintings, with 'fabric' themes - cotton, calico, muslin, chintz. indigo etc These artworks have incredible detail- historic characters, social problems, the demands of the fashion industry, the greed of the rich...
The colour, and the situations portrayed took my breath away. I took some photos, and talked at length with the knowledgeable Museum staff. We so easily take fabric for granted - and I say that as someone who loves the textures, and colours, and styles. Here are just some of my pictures. Do look at the brief video at the end of this post - and if you have the opportunity to see this exhibition I would recommend it. 

Evidence of Indian textile manufacture goes back to ancient times - according to folklore, Queen Hatshepsut sent cargo ships to Kerala
Cotton cloth was unknown in Europe in the 14th Century - but Sir John Mandeville, a renowned traveller, believed this amazing cloth was produced by lambs who grew on trees!.

Queen Isabella of Castille sent Columbus off in 1492 to the East Indies, she wanted the fabled silks and embroidered silks. Instead he found the Americas - but that brought much gold to Spain, which she used to buy these opulent fabrics.
Indigo Blue - a rich deep shade, with colour fast properties. The figure here is Mumtaz Mahal - whose husband built her memorial temple in Agra [ a centre for indigo production] She is wearing denim jeans- challenging the idea that indigo represents 20thC western values. Its origins are from 16thC India. This dye was once known as 'blue gold' Details on this panel show Nelson and Napoleon fighting over India, and [bottom right] an X-ray of the lungs of a young 20thC textile worker- destroyed because he worked sandblasting jeans without PPE

 In 1600, Elizabeth I gave the East India Company a Royal Charter. This started out as trade, but ended in conquest. The main character is Calico Jack, a pirate known for his bright waistcoats. the magpie on his shoulder shows theft, the morning glory flowers are symbols of deceit. At the bottom left we see a British silk weaver beating a woman for wearing imported calico. The weavers feared for their livelihoods - in 1701 the Calico Act banned the import of printed cotton cloth from India, in order to protect the British textile industry.
Kashmir in India was famed for fine shawls, made from the wool of mountain goats [cashmere, and pashmina] From 1770 on these became a status symbol for European women. It took a weaver over a year to make one shawl. 
European factories and mass production made them cheaper, it was possible for more women to wear them. This is a Russian woman, wearing a shawl inspired by the Indian ones. The red Norwich shawls were similarly developed.

This woman has a phulkari draped over her arm.This word means flower work, and describes a particular style of embroidery from the Punjab in Northern India. Girls often made one as part of their dowry. These became popular in Britain in Victorian times, draped as home furnishings. Demand for cheaper versions led to mass production. The Kiku Movement, a resistance group, promoted home-spun cloth as a way of undermining British Rule - many of the group were executed, The artwork shows also the partition of the Punjab in 1947

Until the 18thC, India produced finished cloth for export - but in the 19thC, raw cotton was shipped to the UK, where the textile mills of the North West became the textile hub of the Empire. Along the bottom of this panel are pictures of the Manchester Mills and city architecture, and a poor little mill girl, barefoot, and clutching her shawl - there were slaves here too - with no proper representation. See also Mahatma Gandhi [middle left] wearing his homespun loincloth

At the top of this picture are printed many words which have come into our language from the people ofIndia - 
Dungarees, Bandanna, Cummerbund, Gingham, Sash, Pyjamas, Guinea, Khaki, Chintz, Calico...
We cannot undo the past - but we can learn from it, acknowledge the damage done by previous generations, and do all we can to work for fairtrade, justice for workers, proper compensation after injury or loss, and efforts to ensure sustainable production methods.
It is wrong that people [whether in Leicester or or Lahore] are working in appalling conditions, for minimal pay, to produce cheap, fast fashion. 
This exhibition thrilled me, challenged me, and has made me think about my relationship to fabric. See what others have said...

Monday 19 December 2022

Put A Lid On It!

Here's an encouraging piece of news from Sainsbury's. You may have spotted that since 2019 they've been removing single-use plastic lids from their own brand ranges, so the top is just a piece of foil. sour cream, créme fraiche, cottage cheese, yogurt etc. And this Christmas, they're adding own-brand brandy butter to their topless treats.
That's OK if your large family [or small family with large appetite] will consume the lot at one meal...but what if [like me] you buy a big pot of créme fraiche to dollop on puddings or soups etc throughout the festive season?
I've been banging on about Moopops Lids since Liz told me about them 18 months ago. They are strong, washable, silicone lids and I use mine all the time [website here] These are excellent at keeping your pots covered and fresh. I was actually debating buying another pack...
But now Sainsbury's have announced that in March they will be selling their own such lids at £1.25 each. So I am waiting for them instead.
They say that the removal of the s/use lids will save 71 million pieces of plastic entering landfill each year [220 tonnes of plastic] and these changes to their festive range will keep over half a million lids out of landfill this Christmas.
You may have also have noticed that the supermarket has changed its slogan too - for years "Our values make us different" was their mantra. I quite liked that one, for all sorts of reasons. Then they brought in "live well for less" But in the last couple of years they have gone over to "Helping everyone eat better". Again, a phrase with layers of meaning. Everybody eating better encompasses
  • better nutrition, better quality food
  • better sustainability in production [and packaging]
  • better deals for the producers [FairTrade etc]
  • better value for the customer
Better for the consumer, the producer, the planet. [and I would imagine their shareholders too!] Stephen Fry* has been doing the voiceovers for their ads, so he's probably happy about this development.

*He lives in Norfolk. I know people who have seen him shopping in Swaffham Waitrose and Dereham Tesco - but I've never spotted him in the big Norwich Sainsbury's store. Perhaps he shops with Sainsbury's Online, and the other two outings were just 'top-ups'.

Sunday 18 December 2022

Advent 4

 As it was my turn recently to lead the prayers of intercession at Church, I looked again at the Christmas story, and realised the characters there 2000 years ago can inform our praying today...

Palestine was a land under occupation, Roman soldiers everywhere – we pray today for those caught up in war, especially for the people of Ukraine. Lord send your peace to those people

Mary and Joseph found no room at the inn – Lord we pray for all who are homeless, and will have nowhere safe to sleep tonight, many sheltering in shop doorways in this bitter cold weather. Bless Crisis, and other agencies working to help them. We remember especially this morning those made homeless by the explosion on Jersey yesterday – praying for the injured, and bereaved, and the emergencies services still dealing with the aftermath of that tragedy.

The shepherds out in the field were the least and lowest in society – we pray for all those who are marginalised, neglected or abused. For all those who feel alone and excluded, whether because of race, ability, education, or sexuality- Father help them to know that you love them, and may they hear the message of the Good News this Christmas, and know they have a place in your Kingdom

The wise men had power, financially and intellectually – we pray for our Government, and those in authority. Father grant them wisdom, grace and a desire for justice. Especially at this time of industrial action help them to find fair solutions and an equitable distribution of wealth in our nation.

King Herod was afraid that Jesus would usurp his power, and was eager to destroy him. We thank you for the faith of our late Queen and her acknowledgement of you as King of Kings. We pray for King Charles in his new role as our Monarch, that he too will live a life of faith and service.

Herod’s cruelty meant that the holy family had to flee to Egypt for safety, refugees from his persecution. We ask that you will be with all those seeking a safe place to live and raise their families. We pray that our government will implement a more caring policy to those in desperate need of sanctuary.

And finally we think of the babe in the manger. Lord bless all babies and children at this time. Of such is your Kingdom of Heaven. We pray for those little ones in our own families, we thank you for all the children who came into the chapel for parties and school Nativity plays last week – and we ask that you will help us to teach them your truths, that they may grow to know you as Saviour and Lord. And we pray for those bereaved families in Solihull, our hearts ache for them in this awful tragedy. Jesus, comfort all who mourn

We bring these prayers today 
in the name of the one who came down to earth from heaven, born to be our Saviour – through Jesus Christ, Amen

Saturday 17 December 2022

Seeing Red [Or Is It Pink?]

It's that time of year again - Pantone have released their latest Color-of-the-Year. Metaverse may have missed out on being word of the year but we have been presented with magentaverse by these experts in colour.
As usual, it comes with a description in rather florid language...
"Pantone’s Colour of the Year, Viva Magenta , vibrates with vim and vigour. It is a shade rooted in nature descending from the red family and expressive of a new signal of strength.  Viva Magenta , is brave and fearless, and a pulsating colour whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration, writing a new narrative.
It is powerful and empowering…a new animated red that revels in pure joy, encouraging experimentation and self-expression without restraint, an electrifying, and a boundaryless shade that is manifesting as a stand-out statement. Viva Magenta ,a welcomes anyone and everyone with the same verve for life and rebellious spirit. It is a colour that is audacious, full of wit and inclusive of all.
In this age of technology, we look to draw inspiration from nature and what is real.  Viva Magenta , inspired by the red of cochineal, one of the most precious dyes belonging to the natural dye family as well as one of the strongest and brightest the world has known. Rooted in the primordial, Viva Magenta reconnects us to original matter. Invoking the forces of nature,  Viva Magenta ,galvanizes our spirit, helping us to build our inner strength."

So that's vim, vigour and verve! 
Fashion and lifestyle magazines have been enthusiastic. I suspect the Princess of Wales had a heads up, appearing a few weeks before the announcement in head to toe magenta shades
I don't think I have any magenta furnishings, and certainly do not plan on getting any. Cochineal beetles are utterly beautiful [Peru is now the largest producer of the carmine dye, the insects live on cactus plants and have to be harvested by hand]
I have just realised that my phone cover is a deep pinky red like Princess Katherine's trouser suit. That's fine then , I am bang on trend and have not had to buy anything new!!
Will Viva Magenta be making an appearanc ein your home or wardrobe this season, do you think??

Friday 16 December 2022

Warm Words, Top Tips

When we were newlyweds, saving every penny we could to pay for Bob to train for ministry, we lived in a small flat. It was heated in three ways - a tiny gas fire, ridiculously expensive underfloor electric heating [we never used it], and by our neighbours around us [all of whom kept their flats Very Warm, which insulated ours] There was a sign over the gas fire saying "If you are cold, put on another jumper". This statement is still in use in the family. Warm clothes are important, they conserve body heat, they mean we use less energy heating our homes - and they help keep us warm and healthy.
I have some thermal tops and leggings which go under everyday clothes for extra warmth, and I frequently wear tights under trousers. [I did remember to wear footless tights on the Very Cold day of my Podiatrist's appointment. He does not have a changing room!]
I wear warm socks, and have knitted myself some thicker woolly ones
When I go out I have gloves [particularly fond of the fingerless 'milkman's gloves] which leave my fingertips free for texting and such. And hats [the Greta Thunberg Ear Flap one is especially warm]
But my favourite warm garment at the minute is a scarf- the weather scarf wrapped round [three times] as a cowl, the pashmina type shawl Steph gave me, my biker's "buff". I have concluded that if my neck is warm, my body usually feels warmer. Watching The Repair Shop [which is apparently a very draughty venue] I notice many of the presenters there with well wrapped necks. Is it to do with keeping the jugular vein insulated, so the blood to the brain is warmer?
Kirsten is doing an Advent-Knit-Along to make a lovely cowl.
I decided I couldn't manage that with all the other Christmas projects currently on hand, but it may get knitted up after Christmas!
Nightwear is warm pjs, and bedsocks - and in the evening, I often put on my dressing gown over my daytime clothes if we are sitting in front of the TV. And of course, there are plenty of blankets and throws in the lounge to snuggle under.
I'm definitely not a 'onesie woman' nor do I fancy a hooded blanket. And I don't do wild sea swimming [sorry Mags] so I won't be investing in an expensive DryRobe . I met a teenager wearing one recently, and asked where she swam - the reply was "I don't swim, but I thought the coat looked cool" My Skip Parka is proving very warm. And my biker boots grip well on icy paths.
What are your favourite winter clothes?
Have you had snow where you are?

Thursday 15 December 2022

Marvellous Meerkats

In the loft I have lots of Sylvanian Family stuff - a Romany caravan, stables, bakery, and a doll's house [non SF] and dozens of bits of furniture and accessories. And loads of animals- horses, elephants, cats, bears, etc. So I really don't need any more - there's plenty for Rosie to play with, and in time, maybe, Jess and the Manchester Boys. So I really should not have succumbed to the little box in a CS in Wymondham the other day.

They had three or four of these, new and unopened, for £3.50 each. So I bought one. When I got home, I checked the price, and discovered these were a limited edition, and quite valuable.

"Is it immoral to sell these on eBay?" I asked Bob.

I wrestled with my conscience for a few days, then finally advertised them. After eBay had deducted their fees [I've not used the site for ages, they seemed rather high] I had £20 in my pocket. So I gave some to charity [and bought a small box of Playmobil for Rosie in another CS]
I believe strongly in the Charity Shop system -
  • it benefits the charity [esp if the donor uses Gift-Aid]
  • it benefits the buyer [cheaper than 'new']
  • it benefits the donor [positive decluttering]
  • it benefits the community [fewer empty shops in High St]
  • it benefits the planet [recycling not landfill]

I know many CS shops are more discriminating nowadays - upper end garments, Boden, Phase Eight, Monsoon etc are priced higher than Primark and Peacocks stuff. And chinaware is often separated into 'everyday' 50p teaplates and mugs, and the posher Denby/Doulton stuff. 
My friend bought a £10 suit, and at the till said "It is worth more than that" and gave the assistant £20. Then he asked for a bag to put it in, and she said "I will have to charge you an extra 10p for that" - which seemed rather 'jobsworth' in view of his generosity!!
But is it OK to buy stuff cheap and sell it on at a profit? At a boot fair last summer, I saw a clothes rail where the garments still had their CS tags showing varying prices - but the sign said "All dresses £5". I suppose you could argue the seller had already paid the CS the money required by the charity, and she was taking a risk if she didn't sell enough of them to cover costs and make a profit. 
What do you think?