Sunday 30 April 2023

King Of Kings

As a child, I was taken to the Tower of London, and saw the Crown Jewels. Amazing, glittering, beautifully made- gold and silver and precious stones. It was a breathtaking sight. Most of these items remain in their untouchable, bullet-proof, burglar-proof cases ...until some are removed for the Coronation. I understood about crowns, but the Orb fascinated me. My Dad explained it was a symbol of Godly power. A cross above a globe, it represents ‘Christ’s dominion over the world’, and the Monarch is God’s representative on Earth.
The bands of jewels dividing it up into three sections represent the three continents known in medieval times. Mounted with clusters of emeralds, rubies and sapphires surrounded by rose-cut diamonds, and single rows of pearls.  
A cross on the top is set with with rose-cut diamonds, with a sapphire in the centre on one side and an emerald on the other, and with pearls at the angles and at the end of each arm. This piece of the regalia was designed and made by Sir Robert Vyner for King Charles II in 1661, and cost over £1000 [the whole collection, commissioned by the King cost £12K] 

During the coronation service, the Orb is placed in the right hand of the monarch as he is invested with the symbols of sovereignty. The Archbishop of Canterbury will say : “Receive this orb set under the cross, and remember that the whole world is subject to the Power and Empire of Christ our Redeemer.” It is then placed on the altar before the moment of crowning.
The coronation is essentially a religious ceremony - a reminder to the new monarch that he too is subject to the Sovereignty of Almighty God, before whom all are equal.


Saturday 29 April 2023

Sixty Years In The Making...

When I was eight years old, I had an autograph book. My Dad signed it, and wrote "Revelation 2;10 - Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life". My Nana was fond of quoting Luke 9:23 "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me". My Mum, given to memorable aphorisms, often declared "No cross, no crown"

Fast forward to the 1970s, when I read the biography of George Mueller, a German evangelist whose life spanned the 19th century [1805 -1898] Thus guy achieved so much, including founding the Ashley Down Orphanage in Bristol, where over 10,000 children were cared for. He ensured that when they left, each child was equipped to find work - and that included teaching them to sew - making beautiful redwork samplers. 

About 20 years ago, when my friend Marjorie died, her son gave me all her embroidery threads, including a small box containing a few red coton-à-broder skeins. This is not stranded like my usual floss. Until now, I'd not stitched with it, but I got it out when we began the CCC to delineate the twelve sections on the canvas.

And I remembered the Bristol Redwork, and the words of my family, and thought I should do something appropriate with the red thread. I recalled an article in Country Living where somebody had bought a piece of Victorian embroidery, and thought it said Not NoW, until somebody explained it was actually a rebus -  No Cross, No Crown.

Not now is a phrase popular with Grandson George [who will be three next week]  So I decided that I would produce a redwork piece for this phrase. April began with Good Friday,and May begins with a coronation, so cross and crown are very topical.

Kirsten's told me her April stitching has just under 2000 stitches. Mine has a quarter of that number. But it took me most of the past month to design and execute the piece [not counting the sixty years I have been thinking about it!]

Friday 28 April 2023

Bobby's Girl

 I was very fond of this song back in the sixties. I didn't know anyone called Bobby [or Bob] back then. But I did like the tune. It's been my earworm this week, because I've visited the Bobbi Brown beauty counter in Jarrolds for a makeover.
Liz had one recently, and she and Steph encouraged me to book one. I opted for the 20 minute session called "Get ready in 5 minutes". These sessions are free, and at the end, you are given a list of products used. The consultant was very enthusiastic,  and asked what make up I usually wear on a daily basis. I don't - it tends to be Sundays and special events.
She clearly saw me as a challenge, and a teaching opportunity! But it was all great fun. She took her time, working in one side of my face then encouraging me to copy the makeup on the other. For the first time in years I had reasonable eyebrows. And she took a photo for me to send to the girls. Thanks Sarah! 
45 minutes later I was on my way to meet Bob with my list in my hand. I had not expected to be perched on the high stool that long - but she had no other appointments [or potential customers browsing the products] so seemed happy to take her time. When I got home I checked her list - it would cost over £200 to get all the products! And it would definitely take me way longer than five minutes to do the make up. But it was fun, and I felt quite glamorous for the rest of the day! 
What do you think? 

Thursday 27 April 2023

Simply The Vest...

I really appreciate having so many blogfriends 'across the pond' - but as George Bernard Shaw once said, we are 'two nations divided by a common language'. Take the simple phrase

A man in vest and pants, with chips
Here in the UK, we would think of this guy**..
but over in the USA, people might think of this one...
[Gary is now fronting an ad campaign for Next - another company from his home city of Leicester]
Personally I like the term "waistcoat", even though "vest" was the original term used by King Charles II in October 1666 when he actually decreed it to be the correct fashion for men's dress.

Between us, Bob and I have a number of these garments. I've made/acquired a few over the years, and hung on to them because they are very useful for play costumes. Bob has a couple which came with suits, and a few 'posh' ones which liven up a dull outfit.
This week I bought a couple of cheap Union Jacks in the supermarket, and made new fronts for old vests, to provide us with a pair of patriotic waistcoats to wear at the street party.
I am also making one for the guy who is 'Town Crier' for the afternoon. His will look like Bob's vest. Being mean, I've made my waistcoat from the trimmings - it is still red, white and blue.
It's a shame that Gary's suit costs £450, I think Bob would look pretty good in this blue one.

[** I'm sorry that the guy in his underwear is Homer who is American, but I couldn't find an acceptable picture of a half-dressed Brit!. I'm not apologising for the picture of Gary] 


Wednesday 26 April 2023

Knock!Knock! Who's There? Arabella

Arabella Who? Arabella Fontay. 
That's a really old joke, and probably not understood by anyone under the age of 55. But I remembered it yesterday when I heard that Harry Belafonte had died.

He was a really popular singer in the 50s and 60s. My father was very fond of the man and his music - Harry was born in Harlem, New York in 1927, the son of poor Caribbean immigrants. As well as being a singer, he was also an activist, working against racism and poverty, for all his life.A great friend of both Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, he spoke out on behalf of the marginalised, the oppressed and the impoverished. He was not afraid to criticise the American Presidents, whether Democrat or Republican. He was a Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef
He popularised the calypso style - and many of his songs were about life in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Perhaps the most famous is the Banana Boat song [Day-O] - with the call and response sections
But he had other songs too  - the crazy "Jump In The Line" and the nostalgic "Island in the Sun"

But the Belafonte song I love the best is one which we sing every Christmas, one which reflects Harry's lifelong Christian faith 
Oprah Winfrey's tribute yesterday described him as "a trailblazer and hero to us all" saying "Thank you for your music, your artistry, your activism, your fight for civil rights and justice. Your being here on Earth has blessed us all."
RIP Harry  Belafonte 1927-2023

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Game Of Thrones

I sewed up a couple of crowns using scrap fabric, broken necklaces- and some leftover red and gold Christmas ribbons. Child size, too small for Bob!

And an old plastic school chair was transformed into a throne, using a can of gold paint, and a discarded silver coaster [decorated with Sharpies] This completes the props for the photoshoot!

Monday 24 April 2023

Where Are The Moaning Minnies?

This is an electrically powered air raid siren from WW2, nicknamed the Moaning Minnie. They were sited on top of tall buildings and could be heard up to 25 miles away.
This is the "Tangent" portable hand-cranked siren, made over 80 years ago by Gents of Leicester [this company is still going, making fire alarms now] This was used in situations where there was no power supply. 
My parents and grandparents were used to hearing these sirens during the Blitz. A high proportion of the rooftop sirens remained in place for 50 years after the end of the war, and I understand that most were in working order. Simple, but effective technology. 
However it was decided they were no longer useful and almost all were removed by the turn of the Millennium. 
Yesterday we had the trial of a National Alarm signal, to be sent to everyone's phone at 3pm.
That was the theory. 
My phone made a noise at 3.02 and again ten minutes later. Bob's was silent throughout. Steph and Gary in Manchester had nothing on their personal phones, but both work phones got the message. A friend told me her mobile alerted her, but her husband's did not make a sound. [We are aware of the fact that mobile reception is very poor in Norfolk.]
The World Snooker Championship was disrupted, and Welsh speakers had an unintelligible message on their phones. People on the 3 network didn't get a message at all. 
It all seems a bit of a fiasco if you ask me. Perhaps we should have kept the Moaning Minnies. 
Were you alarmed? Or undisturbed? 


Sunday 23 April 2023

Thank You For The World So Sweet...

 My calendar picture for this month

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says "In everything, give thanks" - and it is indeed a good principle. People who practise gratitude tend to be happier, and more positive about things - and live life more abundantly [see John 10:10]
When I was a child, a popular grace-before-meals was 
Thank you for the world so sweet, thank you for the food we eat
Thank you for the birds that sing, thank you God for everything
The world is not as sweet as it was 60 years ago - we have done so much damage to our planet. This weekend, Extinction Rebellion is organising The Big One - a peaceful protest in London, about climate change and pollution and unwillingness of governments and multinationals to change their policies. ER declared in January that all its protests now on will be safe and not cause harm, and they wish to work together with other groups concerned with climate action. To that end, A Rocha, Baptist World Mission, the Quakers, Christian Climate Action and others are heavily involved in this weekend's demonstrations. This thing is a collaborative effort. As a Christian, I found this article very challenging. The 'Big One' demo began with an ecumenical act of worship on Friday morning. This is part of the opening prayer.

Creator God, we bow before you and acknowledge you as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We marvel as we look into the heavens and consider the work of your fingers, the moon and stars. And we are in awe that You brought into being humanity with responsibility as stewards over creation. Lord we humbly seek your forgiveness but also your wisdom and courage , … for we see that our actions and our behaviour is all too often anything but honouring you, we realise that our use of finite resources are having dire consequences for our neighbours … and for our future generations, as the earth continues to warm as a consequence of our actions. Lord have mercy on us....Help us Lord to be brave and responsive to that which is being revealed to us.

Loving Creator God, we pray for you to continue to raise up a generation of leaders in this and other nations with the courage to take responsibility for our rapidly changing climate, and the part we have played in it. We intercede for all our politicians and leaders - especially here in Westminster - cause them to act in the best interests of all nations today, …and in the future, in order to avoid further catastrophic changes….We pray and ask that oceans of justice may flow.

May there be a genuine outpouring of love that leads to righteous action as we seek to honour your calling to care for creation and to see your earth again flourish. We know that this can be so as you stir us from just thinking and singing, and ask you move increasing numbers into action. For you have shown us, what is good - that we should indeed act justly and to love mercy - and to walk humbly with your God.  We make these prayers in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour - the Light and Hope of the World.

Let us truly display gratitude for the beauty of creation, and the blessings of loving friends and family - but let us also live that out in the way we care for our world and for one another.

Saturday 22 April 2023

More Murder Mysteries

Over the Easter break, we watched two murder mysteries on TV. The first was "Magpie Murders", and the second "Why didn't they ask Evans?"
MM, based on a story by Anthony Horowitz, starred Lesley Manville and Tim McMullan [he played the assistant in Foyle's War- another AH creation - alongside Michael Kitchen and Honeysuckle Weeks]
The plot involves the death of an author, Alan Conway [Conleth Hill]. Manville plays Susan Ryeland, his editor. She refuses to accept it is suicide. Conway had just finished his latest whodunit - but the manuscript sent to Susan has the final chapter missing.
Concentrate here... McMullan plays Atticus Pünd, Conway's absurdly named detective. The storyline is in two parts - the actual Ryland's [contemporary] search for the truth, and fictional Pünd's [1950s] solution to another death. Because Conway based his characters on the locals in his little Suffolk village, many of the actors play two roles, then and now [the village copper and vicar, Pünd's sidekick/Conways PA, etc] I found that a little bit disconcerting. It was like Midsomer interspersed with Miss Marple. 
It was cleverly contrived - and Horowitz pays homage to many of the classic fictional detectives [and the fact that in the end Conan Doyle did not like writing the Holmes stories, and Conway hated Pünd] The Suffolk locations were lovely. Pünd 'appears' to Ryeland to help her solve the mysteries. Finally all is solved, ends tied up as neatly as a bow on a birthday present.
But I can only give it 4 out of 5 - 
  • firstly, we were both really irritated that in the 1950s section they had the "dumpy" milk bottle on the table. This was not introduced until 1980 - in the 50s bottles were taller with a slender neck. 
  • two characters were talking mysteriously about "the secret which they could not divulge" - but towards the end, it became clear that the person who started the conversation did not even know that secret existed!
  • the answer lies in Conway's use of word play, and the final novel gives the last clue to his conundrum. I think Horowitz has forgotten that aficionados of Morse and Christie [like me] are often crossword fanatics too. Had Conway been a real author, the guardian review would have pointed things out after the 4th novel if not before.
[nb, you usually get a murder of crows. The collective noun for magpies can be mischief, tribe, gulp, or conventicle]
The second piece we enjoyed was a reworking of Agatha Christie's "Why didn't they ask Evans?" written, directed, and starring the gifted Hugh Laurie. This was very well done and studded with stars. Having just watched Magpie Murders, it was odd seeing the opening scene included Conleth Hill - this time playing an avuncular doctor, not a crabby author. Lucy Poynton[Frankie] and Will Poulter[Bobby] were a superb pairing as the two amateur sleuths, Emma Thompson and Jim Broadbent played Frankie's eccentric parents [we could have done with them in a few more scenes though, they are so good together] This Christie does not include Poirot or Marple, giving a little more freedom for interpretation - and Laurie deftly pictures the between-the-wars-1930s-England with clever dialogue. He uses wit and wisdom, and there are subtle nods to the authors of that period [like Wodehouse and Waugh] 
Billy finds a dying man at the bottom of the cliff, and he and his old friend Frankie then seek to find out more about him, and why he died.
Laurie himself plays a doctor, and there were also appearances from Miles Jupp, Paul Whitehouse, Alistair Petrie, Morwenna Banks and other well known actors.
Even if you know the original story, this is well worth watching. 
HL has done really well with this one, I think even Mrs Christie would approve - definitely
[Agatha did not want her books made into films, in the first movie, there were many errors - not least one of the corpses getting up and walking off set mid-scene!]
Have you seen any good whodunits/police dramas lately?

Friday 21 April 2023

A Right Royal Rave-Up

Plans are going well for the Coronation Street Party, we had another committee meeting before Easter.

"How do we let people know the event has started?" somebody asked "We could get someone with a loud voice to shout out" another replied. Why not have a Town-Crier type person to ring the bell and declare the proceedings started?" I suggested "I have a suitable bell and a loud voice" It was felt that it ought to be a man, and I was asked if I'd mind lending my bell to somebody else. I decided it would not be helpful to argue that there are plenty of female town criers. 
At the next meeting, we were told that the person in question would do the honours, provided he could borrow the bell beforehand to practice! So my bell has been delivered. 
People thought we should have a banner in the village to let people know which day it was happening - but funds are so low it was not possible to have one made. I offered to produce a simple one like we'd had outside the church for the Pancake Party and Holiday Club. More spray painting in the garage...
I did wonder if we could have one of those cut-out stand-in things so children could be the King and Queen and have their photo taken. But they are rather expensive. Then I asked Bob if he could provide a bit of wood with two holes, and we could paint our own figures. That wasn't cheap either. Final solution - two cloaks, a regal gown and a fancy embroidered waistcoat. They can dress up and get a parent to take a picture.
Thank you Liz for the discarded silver grey duvet cover, and Marion for the trimmings from the gold and voile curtains. I covered an old waistcoat with crimson taffeta and trimmed it with some embroidered upholstery fabric from the Stash. Here they are.
As with all such outfits, they are generously sized and adjustable. The cloaks were made using the Cat Cape pattern [lengthened]and they are reversible. The King's Waistcoat is loose fitting, no fastenings.
The dress has velcro down the back, and will slip on easily over other clothes. Using the sash the dress can be cinched in for slimmer children, and the skirt can be hitched up  to shorten it. These should fit children anywhere between 4 and 10. 
Crowns are still in production, as is the throne...


Thursday 20 April 2023

Three Blinds, Nice!

The middle of April is full of significant anniversaries for me - my birthday, my baptism [1969] getting the keys to Cornerstones [2009] finishing the mortgage early [2018] and retirement [2021] It is amazing to think this place has been ours for 14 years. 
One day I will write down the whole story. When we bought it, the property had been repossessed, and was in the hands of agents. The previous owners had put on an extension, and the building work was complete, but not the finer details.This is a bungalow on a corner plot. Every window had cheap blinds. These have gradually disintegrated, mechanisms have failed, and their plastic parts have gone brittle, so we have replaced most of them as funds allow.
Ten years ago I cut off the faded section of the orange bathroom blind - but still didn't really like it. Last year we redecorated the kitchen and I got my smart blue blackout blind, and the back bedroom got a grey blackout blind [useful to make the room dark when grandchildren are sleeping in there] This month I have put all my John Lewis gift vouchers together and purchased three blinds. These are again from John Lewis, but they are daylight blinds. 
One has gone in the bathroom - and it is so much more pleasant in there now. We have privacy, but we also have light. The two for our bedroom hang side by side in the big front window - again allowing us to have privacy, but also light during the daytime [the curtains in there are JL lined blackout ones, so we can have darkness when we want]
My bathroom plants are happy too! I can really recommend JL blinds. They are very good quality fabric, with efficient mechanisms and neat fittings. 

Their "everyday" range comes in with very competitive prices. Our only complaint ? The fitting instruction sheet is utterly incomprehensible to both of us [and we consider ourselves flatpack ninjas, when it comes to self-assembly products] 
Home ownership is both a blessing and a responsibility. We are conscious that money should be spent wisely, and try to make necessary replacements with the 'buy it well, and buy it once' principle where we can. Unlike most people, we have had the opportunity to spent twelve years preparing to move in!
I just wish I could think of a reasonable way to recycle vertical blinds - I hate sending stuff to landfill. Any suggestions?

Wednesday 19 April 2023

My Green And Yellow County

 As I drove across to my craft session on Tuesday, I was very aware of the signs of spring all around me. And especially the colours of fresh green and sunshine yellow everywhere. 
Daffodils on the verges
Dandelions in the grass
Tiny paler primroses
Oilseed rape in the fields
Later in the year there will be mustard [this is the Sandringham estate]

Our county is a riot of green and yellow - it is even the colour of the Norwich City* Football Strip. They are nicknamed "The Canaries", not just for the colours, but because canary breeding has been a popular pastime here for centuries. Many Belgian and Dutch people settled in Norwich over 350 years ago- refugees** fleeing religious persecution, imprisonment and death in their homelands. 
Norwich became their City Of Sanctuary, Known as "The Strangers" many were weavers, whose little yellow songbirds kept them company during their long hours working at the loom. At one point, almost one third of the population of Norwich were people from the Low Countries. Their contribution to the life and prosperity of this county cannot be measured.
NCFC has the oldest football club song still in regular use - Dating back to Victorian times, "On the ball, City" is sung before each game.

Kick it off, throw it in, have a little scrimmage,
Keep it low, a splendid rush, bravo, win or die;
On the ball, City, never mind the danger,
Steady on, now’s your chance,
Hurrah! We’ve scored a goal. 
City! City! City!

Do you connect the place where you live with a particular colour?
* Norwich City FC is owned by National Treasure Delia Smith [although she herself lives in Suffolk]
** they came in little boats across the North Sea, without proper passports or identification papers. And were welcomed and supported. How times have changed.

Tuesday 18 April 2023

Steak My Knife On It

Just occasionally we have steak - it's way cheaper to buy it and cook at home than go out to a fancy restaurant. We like the ones from Aldi, good value British meat. But our regular table knives aren't much good at cutting it.
So we splashed out on a set of four steak knives from Pro Cook. They came in a cardboard box and sleeve "Eradicating plastic packaging where possible" But eighteen months down the line, the box has split, and the cardboard sleeve flaps about, even with elastic bands round it. 
I made a simple roll using a spare tea towel.
It took most of Saturday morning. I used the length of the towel, and the pocket for the blades is double thickness- plus I stitched an extra strip inside the bottom for added protection for those sharp points.[Three rows of zigzag stitching too]  The top flap folds down over the handles, then it rolls up and ties.
This roll will slip neatly into the sideboard drawer, keeping knives together and protecting fingers. And whenever I use them, I shall think of Jim, our Ferndown neighbour, who passed on this pretty, vintage teatowel. I am on a roll!

Monday 17 April 2023

Short And Sweet

The death was announced last week of fashion designer Mary Quant. She was 93.  But in my head, Mary Quant will always be about 35. As I entered my teens, her styles were the thing to wear. My family didn't have a lot of spare money for clothes, and I remember that I was frequently given clothes from another girl at church, who was very stylish. She passed on a dress just like this**. I had that haircut too. I was short and slim, and miniskirts made me feel much taller!
I had a white lacy blouse, and a purple miniskirt similar to the first picture. It had a glossy, wide purple PVC belt. And I wore beige PVC boots
I had a lovely cream and navy colour block shift, with matching coat which I wore to a cousin's wedding in 1967. I began dressmaking when I was 11. These simple shifts were so easy, and took a minimal amount of fabric, and I could run up a miniskirt with half a yard of cloth. 
Mary wanted female clothes to involve fun, and freedom from post-war austerity - and not be the domain of the french couturier fashion houses. Her young dolly-bird followers definitely did not want to dress like their mothers. 
**My parents were incredibly tolerant, and even when my minis were only 12" long, they were OK with them, as long as my briefs were not on show. And Mum preferred skirts to trousers But Mum didn't really like that black dress - it reminded her of the poor girls at her school from the Orphanage, who only wore black clothes. This is probably why I had lots of navy stuff instead.
Looking at my wardrobe today, I can see I still love the simple shapes and shorter skirts - and my hair is still cut in a bob. I owe all that to Mary, with her iconic daisy logo. Thank you Mary!
Did you have a Mary Quant style miniskirt in your youth?
Would you wear one now?

Sunday 16 April 2023

An Unexpected Blessing From A TV Show

We really enjoy NCIS [Naval Criminal Investigation Service] and have been watching the spin off show, NCIS Hawai'i. The other week, we saw an episode involving an officer who had left the US Navy to become a monk. At the end of the story, the monk asked an NCIS agent, who was struggling with difficult issues in his life, if he would allow him to say a prayer of blessing over him. I have searched around, and I think it was this one from the Franciscan tradition. I found it quite challenging, and share it with you today...

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.


Saturday 15 April 2023

What I Did In The Holidays

As a child, I used to hate it, during the first week of term, when the teacher gave us a sheet of paper and told us to write an essay about our holiday activities. As a Supply Teacher, I recognised that many staff used it as a useful way of keeping the class occupied while they sorted out other things!
The first week of her holiday, Rosie stayed with us, whilst Mum and Dad were at work - then we were all together for a week or so. The Manchester family had a long Easter Weekend break with their other grandparents and cousins. A good time was had by all.
George was riding, driving, and visiting all sorts of places

We went with Rosie and family to the ten-pin bowling place on the edge of Norwich. For the first time ever I beat Bob [we were playing with the side rails up though] 
We picnicked on a very quiet Holkham Beach on quite a blustery day.

The grandchildren really did enjoy themselves, and wore their parents out with their enthusiasm for life [and ice cream] That's Jacob,  cheerful as ever, with his other grandad.
All the family enjoy visiting NT properties, and often take packed lunches. So this cartoon amused us greatly

Roll on the May Half Term!

Friday 14 April 2023

Happy Anniversary, Gaz And Steph

Five years today! Congratulations. You've both achieved so much since you got married. Steph now a directory of the company and Gaz moved onwards and upwards as an insurance broker. And of course, parents to the gorgeous George and joyful Jacob. We're so proud, and grateful. [Wishing Manchester was a little nearer, but grateful for the extra time retirement gives us to travel]
Have a wonderful anniversary - God bless you today and in the years ahead 

Thursday 13 April 2023

I've Had My Chips!

Oops! Bob has done two stints at the Hospice this week - and on Tuesday he went off in my little Toyota, leaving me to a day of sewing. 

When he got home, he told me that on the way, a large stone flew up and chipped the windscreen.The total chipped area is almost as big as a 2p piece. Since Tuesday, a rather long crack has appeared going diagonally across it.

Fortunately it doesn't obstruct the driver's vision. But it is large enough to merit a full screen replacement. I have to say I was very impressed with A-plan, our Insurance brokers, who dealt with it all very efficiently, and the car will be going into Norwich soon to be fixed.

There is a £100 excess charge - but compared to paying the total cost [upwards of £450] I feel that is not too bad. And nobody was hurt. Steph and family had a puncture over the Easter Weekend, and she was pleased with the excellent service they received from Green Flag Breakdown.

Car and household insurance policies are regular feature of our budget. After two floods, two burglaries and innumerable vehicular claims, I can honestly say the premiums have been worth it. I haven't travelled a lot, but again, I have been grateful that I've had costs reimbursed after problems [eg when I was ill in August and had to delay my trip to Manchester by two days] My son in law Gary is an insurance broker - and I know he agrees with me! Car accidents and domestic crises are not pleasant - but it is reassuring to know that we are covered. 

Wednesday 12 April 2023

Whatever Do They Mean?

It must be my advanced age - I am genuinely finding it hard to work out what some signs and labels mean these days. Look at this one
Liz sent a picture of her tissue packet. "A blanket for your nose" I have had three years of pandemic-related-mask-wearing, feeling that my nose is trapped under a blanket. Is that really a selling point for tissues?Lactose-free goods, gluten-free, meat-free goods are fine, but why morning-free? Is it a misprint for mourning-free? 
After all, Peter Robinson had a store in Oxford Street in the 1840s called the 'Family and General Mourning Warehouse', which sold nothing but black armbands, black plumes for horses, veils etc - this is the exact opposite. Or maybe it is for people who hate getting up early?
Nebulous means 'hazy' either [scientific] 'in the form of a cloud' or [conceptual] 'ill-defined'. If you spent £15 on these hazy products, you will get a free gift and a free bag! I checked out this product. It is, apparently, a "Kid's lifestyle brand" introducing girls to "the calming practice of meditation, whilst encouraging creativity and self-esteem." [also involves lots of single use pink plastic and mysterious 'calming putty'] No, Rosie, Grandma will not be buying this stuff!
We saw this van in the Garden Centre Car Park. Bob was quite taken with the concept of a "used Grandfather". Here he is in this role, lifting Jess up for me to take a picture in the National Trust Easter frame 

Tuesday 11 April 2023

Fit For Purpose?

Thank you for all the kind messages yesterday, I had a lovely day
This time last year, I was trying to be very positive about my health in retirement - as our retirement date was the same week as my birthday, it was a good time to mark my progress. 
April 21-22; step count 11K paces per day, and total distance walked 1400miles or thereabouts. Weight on leaving Dorset 163lb, and I had got that down to 147lbs. My BMI last birthday was 29.6 [obese] I set myself some challenging targets for 22-23.
Walk 12k paces per day, and try and lose more weight.
But things went a little awry - my painful verruca, occasional housemaid's knee and Bob's gout meant our intentions to go for a good walk together every day went out the window, And some periods where we were busy and stressed meant eating patterns went a bit awry.
April 22-23; step count 11.3K paces [better than before, but nowhere near 12K] and weight went back up to 163lbs at Xmas. I have tried to reduce calories, and that is back to 150lbs now - but I am still trying to get down to 10 stone [140lbs]

I am not going to set myself unrealistic challenges - but Semlor Buns have to be an occasional treat not a weekly occurrence.
Do you have any good motivational tips? [Please don't suggest getting a dog to walk, that's not going to happen!]