Tuesday 31 January 2023

Facets Of Fassett

It is three weeks since I popped down to London to see Liz and the girls and visit the Kaffe Fassett Exhibition. I confess I didn't really know what to expect - but the show was simply a collection of artworks inspired by Kaffe's amazing coloured fabric collections. And I think the thing that intrigued me most was the use of brightly printed fabrics in the patchworks.
People had taken his prints and made some astounding pieces...
Here's the poster outside, based on the Tumbling Blocks banner hanging down the staircase wall inside.

The collage below shows how people have used 'fussy cutting' to select specific pattern motifs, plus overlays of net, and contrast stitching to achieve different effects.
This one is based on the traditional "Baltimore Album " quilts of tyhe mid 19th century. Each block features an applique design of flowers or animals
Birds Of Paradise is procduce din a similar way - see how the stitcher has made use of the prints in the birds' plumage, and animal skins
Look at this detail
The quilts with triangles, suns and planets had a much more contemporary feel

The "Tusker Bull" elephant was pieced with different fabrics, then overstitched with fine black threads to give the impression of the creases in the hide
The artist also produced a zebra and a rather angry looking rooster! [2017 was "The Year of the Rooster" - very popular as the word for 'rooster' in Chinese sounds like the one for 'home']

As well as trad quilting [like the=is wedding ring quilt] there were also some tapestry cushions
But my favourite piece by far was a reinterpretation of a much older artwork. In 1515, the German artist Albrecht Durer [he of 'The praying Hands'] produced an engraving of a rhinocerous. Despite the fact he'd never seen one!
In 2005, I visited Budapest with Liz and there was a Durer exhibition in the National Gallery.
We saw the original rhino piece - and here in London, 18 years later, together we saw the rhino reinterpreted in KF's fabrics. 
It felt really special to see the rhino, and remember that wonderful holiday, and celebrate again the privilege of being mother-and-daughter together having fun!

I bought a couple of notebooks in the gift shop[for recording my next collaboration with Kirsten] then we went and found lunch.

Thanks Liz, for suggesting this!

Monday 30 January 2023

Just A Soupçon

When I was a child, if a person was offered some food, and replied "Just a soupçon", I thought they were saying "Just a soupspoon". I've been reading a book recently [almost finished, will review it very soon] set mostly in the 40s and 50s. 
Back then the upper classes with their own cooks, [and aspiring persons who could not afford a personal chef] often dropped French food phrases into the conversation, or used the French names for food. 
Like Margo Leadbetter who never made a small stew, but always "une petite daube"
I was thinking about this the other day when we had soup for lunch. Soupe du jour! I announced. Bob said it tasted good, and asked what was in it. I didn't think fast enough, or I'd have said "It's mulligatawny"*- but I fessed up "it's last night's leftover curry, thinned down with stock, and liquidised". 

A couple of days later I did the same with the previous day's ragu sauce. I have decided henceforth that when I make my soup from leftovers rather than  soupe du jour, I shall call it soupe d'hier. It sounds much more posh than "yesterday's liquidised leftovers" 

*Mulligatawny soup came to Britain over 200 years ago - it is a curry soup, and its name means "pepper-water". 

Sunday 29 January 2023

I Almost Forgot

 What were you doing on Friday Evening? It was only when I switched on the radio in the afternoon, that I was reminded that it was Holocaust Memorial Day - and that across the world, people would be placing lighted candles in their window to acknowledge and remember all those lost in acts of genocide. I was able to find a candle and place it on my kitchen windowsill.

Holocaust Memorial Day encourages remembrance in a world scarred by genocide. The international day on 27 January to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi persecution of other groups, and during more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. 

27 January marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. The Holocaust threatened the fabric of civilisation, and genocide must still be resisted every day. Our world often feels fragile and vulnerable and we cannot be complacent. Even in the UK, prejudice and the language of hatred must be challenged by us all.

I don't know how many people passed my house in the evening, or if any of them noticed the candle, and wondered about it. The theme for this year was "Ordinary People" - 

ordinary people were persecuted, 
Kamal, a survivor from Bosnia says People may think that they have nothing to do with my story. But what happened to me, could happen to them – to people like yourself. It may sound too hard to believe but this doesn’t happen to strangers who live far away. I’m just an ordinary person. These terrible things can happen to people like us.

ordinary people were the perpetrators,
Jean-Louis, a survivor of the genocide in Rwanda spoke about the involvement of those he knew in the killing - When the killing started, to be honest, everyone was involved. Our neighbours, friends, but we didn’t know the killings were to the extent of what happened.

and ordinary people were the rescuers.
at the start of WW2 Nicholas Winton was a young stockbroker, who enabled 669 children to escape from Czechoslovakia. He said afterwards Why are you making such a big deal out of it? I just helped a little; I was in the right place at the right time.

and sadly, so often, ordinary people have been bystanders
Forgive us, Lord, that we have so easily forgotten. Help us Lord, to work for peace for all peoples. Teach us to love our neighbours . For every 'ordinary' person is your child, and all life is precious.

The King made a statement on Friday [in full here] including these words
In learning from the horrors of the Holocaust and the genocides which followed, we can all recommit to the vital principles of freedom of conscience, generosity of spirit, and care for others that are the surest defences of hope.
Amen to that.

Saturday 28 January 2023

For Brooke

I have mentioned Brooke, my young neighbour, before. She has a serious, life-limiting condition, AT. But "serious" isn't a word you'd apply to this happy, teenager.

She and her Mum, Justine, have worked really hard to raise awareness of this rare condition, [full name Ataxia-Telangectasia] and to raise funds for further research into finding a cure. 
Earlier this week I was chatting to Justine, who was really excited that the  A-T Society is going to be featured on the BBC tomorrow. And Brooke's friend Brae will be interviewed. 
Justine asked me to tell my friends, and ask them to watch if they can, to find out more about A-T. 
So here are the details - Lifeline, BBC1, 1.55pm Sunday. Please watch it if you can- thankyou
If more people collaborate in this, maybe in the future, A-T will not be incurable 

Friday 27 January 2023

A Word In Your Ear

I am genuinely overwhelmed with gratitude for all the comments on Wednesday's post about vertigo.
So many of you have shared your own experiences, and tips on managing the condition, and the benefits of the different exercises  UPDATE -please note that FD has now added her link to useful exercises at the bottom of the comments 
This is when The Blog shows its worth - having friends out there who will sympathise, and support each other through difficult moments. Such friendships are very precious
Because of some nasty trolls, I removed the 'automatic' feature of the comments section - and I am sorry that has made it harder for some people to share their kind words. But I do try to check throughout the day and respond.  When people [such as Val yesterday] take the trouble to write a very full, informative comment, it is important to acknowledge their thoughtfulness.

It has been a strange week - we had set aside three clear days to do some redecorating, and various things got in the way of that [not just my health issues] .I was relegated to sitting on the floor priming the skirting boards. It seemed unwise for me to stand on the work platform and attempt anything high - the potential damage which could be caused by a small dizzy woman falling over with a pot of paint did not bear thinking about!
Preparation is half the battle- we took down the Rogues Gallery of family photos, and emptied and cleared the little bookshelf, and rolled up the runner, first thing Monday morning. All that created a cloud of dust for Bob to sweep up. And here's the dining area before we started.
The doors are mismatched, and the door surrounds, skirting boards and loft hatch have been unfinished wood since at least 2008 [we bought this place in 2009]
I'm hoping that now my vertigo is subsiding, I will be able to help Bob complete the work by Saturday night. He has been working doubly hard.
But thank you again, everybody, for your genuine concern!

Thursday 26 January 2023

A Little Cottage, With Roses Round The Door...

Does your home have a name, or a number? In 1765 an Act of Parliament decreed that all new properties should have a number  and a street name, for better identification. We live in #4, but have named our home Cornerstones. It is a fairly ordinary 1970s bungalow. 

I read that there are more than 11,000 properties named "Rose Cottage" in the UK [even more are named Orchard Cottage or Meadow Cottage] During the pandemic, when people in lockdown sought to escape from the things going on around them, the idea of 'cottagecore' was developed. A sort of dreamy escapism, where home was sanctuary, and people could adopt a slower, simpler way of life.
It is a nostalgic, romanticised version of life of rural England, where everyone lives off the land, and women float around in floral frocks. The kitchen is full of home baking, whilst freshly laundered linens waft on the breeze as they hang on the washing line, and baskets of new laid eggs and shiny red apples are displayed on the dresser. Homespun and home made, plus Arts&Crafts furnishings are the key.
Hand stitched cotton quilts, and folded woollen blankets are ready in the bedroom to provide winter warmth, and buzzing bees and bright butterflies are seen in the [weed-free!] garden. Everything is warm and welcoming and soft. The emphasis is on layering. 
No minimalism here - just prepare to be enveloped in cosiness!
I wonder how you feel about this style? Cottagecore has had an astonishing 12.5 billion views on TikTok [but not me, I've never ever looked at TikTok!]
What aspects of it do I like
  • obviously, I'm very happy with the idea of life in a pretty country village [but poor street lighting and only one bus an hour can be frustrating]
  • I like my Kilner jars full of 'pantry staples' [but think using them in the freezer is a daft idea]
  • I love my William Morris curtains [but much A&C furniture is too large, dark and heavy for a small bungalow]
  • I'm grateful for my garden and the flowers, and fresh veg [but acknowledge that its hard work keeping it tidy and productive]
  • I'm definitely all for hand made, hand stitched, hand crafted and home baked
On the other hand, I appreciate many of the advantages of modern technology, and whilst I acknowledge that some of greatgrandmama's herbal remedies were of benefit, modern pharmacology has saved many lives. And nowadays solar panels on the roof are more useful than thatch. I'm glad I do not have to get up early and 'lay the fires', or carry jugs of water from the kitchen to the bathroom for washing.
Are you into 'cottagecore'? 
or do you prefer a minimalist approach?
Either way, it is the love and care that makes somewhere 'home' isn't it?

And thank you everyone for your kind words yesterday regarding the Vertigo. It is clearly a much more common problem than I realised, and all the suggestions were really helpful!

Wednesday 25 January 2023

Spinning Out Of Control

I do enjoy a Jimmy Stewart film [but I think Tom Hanks has taken over his role as Hollywood's genuine Mr Nice Guy] Do you remember this one?
I woke up last Friday morning and as I tried to get out of bed, the world started spinning. It was really alarming, I'd not experienced anything like this before. The giddiness passed off eventually, and certainly by 10am I felt 'normal' again. Same thing happened Saturday - Bob checked my blood pressure, nothing out of the ordinary there.
Perhaps my blood sugar is low? I ate a hearty breakfast. Sunday it happened again, but fortunately to a much lesser degree and I was fine by the time I needed to be running the children's activity at church.
If it happens tomorrow, I shall ring the GP, I said. Then I vaguely remembered Fat Dormouse mentioning vertigo on her blog a few weeks back. It all sounded very familiar. Monday I was Very Giddy again - but the GP gave me an appointment for 3pm. It seems that I have BPPV
The good news is that the tablets seem to be working well and since taking them I have not had any more giddiness. GP hopes it is  temporary thing - I have to take the tablets daily, in decreasing doses, and see what happens.
"It is not uncommon past the age of 60" I was told. Oh the joys of getting old!!

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Well, Bless My Sole!

In the recent saga of the Walking Boots, Sue reminded me to hang on to the laces of the old ones. She's right - new laces are costly. But there is always a dilemma with old shoes - what do I do with them? Clothes with a reasonable amount of wear can go to the CS. If very worn, I might salvage buttons, zips and some fabric. And the leftovers can go into Bob's workshop rag bag. But shoes? I wear mine till there is no wear left in them. Having removed the laces, is landfill the only option?
I checked out "recycling old shoes" online. There are some amazingly creative people out there...

Some of these are just a little too quirky for me. That brown pair with eyes and mouths are rather disturbing. The duck is fun, as is the welly-dog. Four are glorified flowerpots [I keep my plants in Royal mugs!] The baby shoe pincushion is cute, and useful [but I don't need any more pincushions]
I would like to find a good way of recycling shoes though - it would surely help to reduce my carbon footprint! 

Monday 23 January 2023

My Money's On This One

If you have access to Netflix, then do try and watch Bank Of Dave, [released last week]

The film calls itself "a true(ish) story" and so it is. Dave Fishwick was a guy in Burnley who'd made his fortune selling minibuses. An ordinary bloke, supporting his local football team, and listening to Def Leppard. He was amazingly generous and constantly lending money to local people, and giving money to charity. He wanted to start a "community bank" which would help create jobs,  enable people to improve their businesses and much more. But the Financial Regulators don't make it easy.
All of that is completely true. The film is [loosely] based on fact- and the wonderful Rory Kinnear plays Dave. few extra [fictional] characters are thrown in to help the story; a London lawyer and a young doctor [Dave's niece] provide the romance, and there's a top banker [Hugh Bonneviille] being brilliantly evil. Sean Dyche [Manager of Burnley FC] and Def Leppard [yes, really] make cameo appearances. 
Dave insisted the film was shot in Burnley, and premiered there [not in London] Here's the real Dave plus Rory. 
It's a fun, feelgood film where goodness and generosity outshine the greed and self-aggrandisement of the "Fat Cats" and the locals collaborate to make good things come to pass. 
Please watch it if you can. Dave's deservedly popular in his home town - he began all this after the financial crash of 2008— but still continues to care for his community. One school reported that they recently asked him to help with the cost of an industrial sized toaster for their breakfast club. He quickly supplied not only the appliance , but also the cash for a year's worth of food!
I'd rate this one *****

Sunday 22 January 2023

At The End Of A Busy Week...

... I find it helpful to remember this verse 
[it's our church 'Text for the Year'] 

Saturday 21 January 2023

Flower Power

In my student days, "flower power" was a popular theme. The American beat poet Alan Ginsberg coined the phrase, to re[resent a way of transforming anti-war protests [esp. re Vietnam] into peaceful affirmative spectacles. Later on it became a generalised term - for hippies, and the counter-culture of psychedelic drugs, and social permissiveness. 

This was the time when Kaffe Fassett was growing up in California and this is reflected in his bright, colourful artwork. [which reminds me, I have yet to sort my photos and post about my trip to his exhibition last week] I certainly did not do the drugs, or permissive hippie lifestyle. But I was definitely anti-war and keen on flowers! I wore floaty floral frocks, and pinned flowers in my hair as I swanned around campus. Blu-tac was new on the market, and we stuck posters on our walls [often bought from Athena] One popular poster was a version of this 
But is this a wise proverb? and is it still relevant today?
I always had my doubts about it. I understood the principle....however... We should not 'live by bread alone' - life has a spiritual dimension too[ see Matthew 4;4]
 And it is important to appreciate the beauty around us, to stop and smell the roses etc.
But for many people there are other questions to be answered
  • if I have two pennies today, should I spend one on bread, and keep the other in case I cannot buy bread tomorrow?
  • if I have two pennies should I spend one on food for my family, and the other on fuel? and will 1p buy enough bread, anyway. Heating or eating?
  • if I have the luxury of two pennies, should I be sharing my blessings with those who do not even have one?
  • and whilst the loaf will give me energy and health, and keep me alive, how long will the flowers last? 
January is traditionally the month of New Year Resolutions, New Habits, Losing Weight, Getting Fit, Saving Money... aiming to be a better person than one was last year.
Lots of bloggers are talking about the changes they are implementing. I am not knocking them at all - and I admire their honesty in sharing their endeavours. I think Carolyn is utterly brilliant in the way she has taken on a huge challenge this year - do check her blog sometime.
But I haven't felt any desire personally to take on any NYR just yet.
  • I would like to lose weight - but I am going to eat up the Christmas Hamper goodies first
  • I would like like to up my fitness levels- the arrival of the new boots should help with that [but I am being careful about frozen, slippery paths]
  • I would like to do some volunteering in the community - but the application which went in weeks ago is still being processed [exceedingly slowly]
  • I would like to redecorate the dining area and the hallway - but that is waiting for a week when Bob is less busy [with his Parish Councillor responsibilities etc] so we can work on it together.
And when the decorating is done, I am considering adding a new piece of artwork. Which brings me full circle to the Chinese proverb - and to Gill's comment on yesterday's post . "Love the bird, don't love the price though!" How much are we prepared to pay for art, for luxury, for the things which ultimately are non-essentials? 
I've watched the recent programme about the redevelopment of Claridges Hotel in London. Mainly because I am interested in the actual construction techniques [mining five new subterranean levels underneath and adding yet more storeys on the roof]  but I find the wealth of the clients utterly obscene. Who pays £100K for a night in the new penthouse suite? It would cost the pair of us £1400+ to stay just for tonight in an 'ordinary' room!
I do not have a consistent or coherent answer to the 'can I buy some art?' question. Yes the bird is 'just' 5 pieces of recycled cutlery - but on the other hand, it represents hours of skilled craftwork, and if it is how the creator makes their living, then maybe £65 is not an excessive cost. 
Somebody, back in 1953, paid a lot of money for that Wedgwood Coronation Mug. Did it bring them 70 years of joy? Or was it just put in a china cabinet with other 'treasures'? I am determined that this year I will be more mindful of my possessions, and continue to pass on the items which I do not need, and no longer have a space where they can be appreciated. The mug only cost me £3 and I will use it. 
And after last year's foray into learning to grow vegetables, I shall try and grow more flowers this year. Thank you to those kind people who gave me seeds & Garden Tokens for Christmas [I can spend both my pennies on bread therefore!]

Friday 20 January 2023

Any Old Iron?

I think this video is a bit weird- Kermit and friends singing the old Cockney song. I cannot believe that the children watching the Muppet Show made much sense of this. How could they understand that napper = head, tile = hat, and Darby Kell = belly?

However, the folk of Diss certainly know how to make good use of old iron and other metals. I did not take many photos on Wednesday [too cold to remove my gloves!] but here are three I did snap.
At the front of Gilling's Yard, robots and rockets created from scrap metal. 
This one with the weapon was tall and fearsome. 
Further round was Del Boy Trotter's Yellow Robin Reliant on top of a ten foot pole, also the tail fin of a small light aircraft!
Bob spent £20 on a piece of heavy metal to use as an anvil
If you go into the centre of Diss, you will find some lovely galleries - one of which specialises in artworks made from recycled materials. 
I thought this bird fashioned from old cutlery was quite charming [sadly that gallery was closed, so I could not go inside and see what else they had on display]

It is amazing what can be created with four spoons, a knife and two forks!
Have you come across any good examples of recycled metals?

Thursday 19 January 2023

God Save The Queen!

It's OK, I know we have a King now...but yesterday Bob and I had a day out in Diss and visited an establishment which sells old tools/militaria/army surplus/catering supplies/ etc etc etc. Gillings of Diss brands itself as "East Anglia's biggest Aladdin's Cave" and it certainly is. Bob had two items on his 'wishlist' - and the retail price of the cheaper item [Maun parallel pliers] was £28. We came away with those [new and unused], and three other items - for a total cost of £30. Result! I found a Coronation Mug from 1953. Well - more  of a tankard really, it is way bigger than your average mug. 
It measures 4½" high - and holds well over a pint, and was designed by Robert Guyatt. As you see, the design incorporates the Lion and the Unicorn, the Crown, and" 1953“- inside the gold rimmed mug are the words "God Save the Queen" 
According to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, [who own a mug just like this] "Richard Gerald Talbot Guyatt CBE (1914-2007) began his career as a freelance graphic designer with posters for Shell-Mex and BP and book illustrations. At the Royal College of Art, where he was a professor from 1948 and later rector, he led the introduction of education in graphic design and influenced subsequent expansion into typography, illustration, printmaking, photography, film and television design.

From 1952-55 and 1967-70 Guyatt was consultant designer to Wedgwood and this commemorative mug for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 was the first of his Wedgwood designs to be put into large scale production. The company had revived the use of engraved designs in the mid 1930s – a mode of decoration which allowed the artist’s own work and ‘hand-writing’ to be reproduced in a factory setting, and well suited to Guyatt’s style. He also designed Wedgwood commemorative mugs for the Prince of Wales's Investiture in 1969 and several royal weddings. Guyatt’s other commissions included stamps, the WH Smith logo and packaging for Anchor butter.

I found the mug at the rear of a dingy shed, at the back of a shelf of plain white china. It was exceedingly grubby, and I took it to the bloke and asked how much. He looked at me and said "Three Quid?" "OK that's fine" I said [I'd been prepared for anything up to £10 for a mug this size!] It is very mid-century in design, reminiscent of the artwork of the 1951 Festival of Britain. I like it. 

Checking online, I see that optimists are advertising them for sale at prices between £30 and £300, and one recently sold at auction for £360. I shall keep mine and put a pot plant in it.

Following the incident with the Sylvanian Meerkats last month, I spotted some in a CS in Diss - but now priced at £15 for a box [previously £3:50] They had six sets on the shelf. But I wonder if they will sell at that price in the CS, where all the other toys are £5 or less?

Wednesday 18 January 2023

All Roads Lead To...

... well, it isn't Rome anyway. Among those leading out of this village, a number go to the nearby tiny village of Hoe [it's mentioned in the Domesday Book] In case you ever need to go there from Swanton Morley, try one of these roads
Over Christmas, we loved Jess continually saying HoHo! But this is definitely a case of Hoe, Hoe, Hoe! 
I go to Hoe once a fortnight for my craft group. It's called "Something Snappy". I thought that it might have once been some sort of Camera Club. But no, when it started, they couldn't think of a name. Apparently somebody suggested that Hoe Craft Club was dull, and the should call it something snappy. So they did. 
The group meets in the Parish Hall, set in the corner of the churchyard, next to Hoe Hall. This is the largest property in the village, some parts dating back to the 17thC. I took this photo on Monday after my group. The wall of the churchyard goes round the corner. The church on the right just out of shot, the little Parish Hall is on the left - and behind you can see Hoe Hall.
I was standing in the middle of the T junction to take the photo. But by the time you get to the junction, you're not on Hoe Road any more. This was the sign behind me. Yes, whichever of the three routes you take, you will be on Hall Road! 
Normal for Norfolk, as they say...
HoHo as Jess says... 

Tuesday 17 January 2023

How Do You Solve A Problem? Ask Maria!

Well, this is pretty impressive customer service. On Saturday I blogged about my leaking boots, and the fact that on Friday I had emailed the company. Yesterday - within 72 hours of my email [and it was the weekend too] Maria from Customer Issues at Mountain Warehouse was in touch. They don't have any of the boots in navy at present, but will replace them with a pair in the grey colour if I'm OK with that. Yes, I'm happy! 
Thank you again for all the advice, especially about National Trust discounts. I'm considering getting a second pair to "alternate" wearings, as suggested. But Very happy with MWs response. 

Thank you Maria and Co

Update Tuesday 1:45pm. Excellent!!

Monday 16 January 2023

On A Roll

We are still enjoying Christmas food here - some "just in case" stuff from the freezer [because with all the family here, I didn't know how much we would eat, and I didn't want to interrupt family time popping to the shops] and also we were given two lovely hampers of food. Edible Christmas gifts are always appreciated!
I don't really go in for buying "Christmas themed" foodstuffs [turkey'n'stuffing crisps etc] although a stollen, and a panettone are seasonal treats. But post Christmas, there are often festive items in the yellow sticker section. Bob was pleased to find a pot of Waitrose brandy butter reduced to 35p - we served it with a hot fruit pie.  [I don't really like BB - I prefer cream or custard with a Christmas pud] But the best bargain was in Lidl. 
In Lidl I found part-baked rolls, 70% off - just 29p for a pack. I bought two. I'm really not fussed that they are arranged in a Christmas tree shape, and they are best before mid-Feb, so well in date. 
They will be great to accompany all the home made soup I plan to make with my frozen turkey [and ham] stock.
Last Saturday I did my first proper gardening of the year. The raised bed is properly weeded, topped up with compost and covered with card.
I unearthed some previously undiscovered crops - just a few small leeks, potatoes and carrots, plus a handful of spinach leaves. 
Nothing gets wasted. I made two bowls of soup and served them with amazing rainbow bagels I'd brought back from Borough Market.
But the next time we have soup, there will be Xmas tree rolls on the side.
THANK YOU to everyone who made such useful comments and gave helpful advice about the Boots. I will keep you posted on my progress, when something is afoot.

Sunday 15 January 2023

Gold, Frankincense And Myrrh

Yes, I know Epiphany Sunday was last week, but since then I have been thinking a lot about the Wise Men - their names and their gifts
.Matthew chapter 2 tells us about the Magi but gives no names, and does not specify the number – just that there were three gifts. There are various traditions about their names The common Western tradition has identified them as Caspar, Melchior & Balthazar. One popular legend has portrayed Caspar as a king of India, Melchior as a king of Persia, and Balthazar as a king of Arabia.
In the East, however, other names appear. Many Syrian Christians call them Larvandad, Gushnasaph, & Hormisdas. Ethiopians name them Hor, Karsudan, & Basanater, Armenians call them Kagpha, Badadakharida, & Badalilma.
The Western tradition of their names seems to have derived from a Greek manuscript most likely composed about the year 500 in Alexandria, Egypt, and translated into Latin. A second Greek document [also translated into Latin but presumed to be of Irish origin - which is bizarre!] from the eighth century, continues that tradition.
Kirsten's December stitching for the Postcard project was this lovely curvy Christmas tree. She cleverly adapted it from this pattern. And below it added 
Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar in 2023.
but also a prayer
that is "May Christ bless this house"

And their gifts - well, I read this really sad story on the BBC website. It appears that there is currently a gold rush in Somalia - in the very place with the frankincense and myrrh trees grow. The gold rush which began around five years ago has led to the uprooting of frankincense and myrrh trees, some centuries old. "Gold-miners have swarmed into the mountains," says Hassan Ali Dirie who works for the Candlelight environmental organisation. "They cut down all the plants when they clear areas for mining. They damage the roots of the trees when they dig for gold. They block crucial waterways with their plastic bottles and other rubbish," he said. "Day by day, they are ensuring the slow death of these ancient trees. The first to go are the myrrh trees, which are uprooted when the diggers clear the land for surface mining, frankincense trees grow on rocks and last a little longer. Communities are being ruined by greed. Read it for yourself, and see how western greed has destroyed an ancient way of life. So very, very sad. Whatever their names were, I am sure those 'wise men' in Bethlehem would not have wanted this destruction. And neither would the Baby they came to worship.