Tuesday 31 October 2023

Tiny Hedgehog, Large Rabbit, And Marvellous Mouse House

There were two or three shops I wanted to visit in Norwich, so early on Monday morning we set off - planning to start with breakfast and then shop. The weather was dry and sunny. First stop - the Cherry Leaf coffee house in St Giles. Neither of us had been there before. My original plan had been The Waffle House, but that didn't open till 10, and we didn't want to wait an hour.

It was very quiet, we had a good chat with our waitress. Unfortunately the baker doesn't deliver croissants on a Monday, so I had a bacon roll- and Bob had 'Posh' breakfast [poached eggs, on spinach on toast]

We then walked round to M&S - stopping at the Wood Green Charity Shop. I bought a Jane Greenoff Sampler book for £1. It hasd a lovely photo of the Catherine Archer Redwork Bristol sampler at the front, and useful pages at the back for charting, and recording personal projects. In the middle, tips, techniques, examples and ideas. I can see this book becoming very useful

M&S was singularly disappointing - I wanted to check out their LED candles, which a couple of people had recommended to me. I found an assistant who did not know, She went off to check.  No, they didn't have any, you need to get them online. She suggested I should buy them in Thorns, as she does - I said I'd got some M&S loyalty vouchers and Thorns won't take them as payment! 
Then up the hill to John Lewis. I went off to get Bob's present [his birthday on Saturday] and he went to look round electronics&tech. We had a pot of tea, and shared a scone. The JL Christmas decorations section was bigger and brighter [but no LED candles] They had a little 6 piece Christmas Matryoshka set, like the one Liz got me a few years back
Look carefully- there are only FIVE figures. Where has the baby gone? 
That's not right, said the woman next to me. 
Indeed not, I replied, after all, Jesus is the Reason for the Season
I was a little sad that so many of JL decorations appeared to be imported from China
The little pinecone hedgehog with the sisal bristly face and front was cute [Rosie would like it] was £9. In 2016 Wilko sold the identical one for £1 - you can buy this from A****n for £20. I speculated as to whether I could make one from a cone and a couple of old toothbrushes...
The lady next to me said "All these decorations cost around £8, how much does it cost to do this whole tree, do you think?" I think she was shocked when I said I thought you'd need around 200 pieces, so that's £1500 or thereabouts! Neither of us purchased anything.
Bob and I walked back to the car [he bought my Christmas present on the way - not a surprise, but I'm asking him to keep it till December]
Jarrolds windows were bright and colourful - with a one metre tall Sylvanian Rabbit dressed as Mary Christmas/Mother Christmas or whatever you call her

Home for a late lunch and then working on my latest project, which will be revealed later in the week. 
Before I forget, top marks to The Mouse House in Lincoln for good customer service. I'd ordered a gift for my SIL in London, as her birthday was last week. She went to move her bins out, after all that rain - and discovered a very soggy parcel pushed behind them. She realised it was cheese [and a box of damp crackers!] and just about deciphered the company name - but there was no legible delivery note/gift card etc, just soaking paper. She rang them, and they managed to find the order on their books. The assistant said it was from us, and also that it had been dispatched via Royal Mail over a week before - so if it had been on the ground in the rain all that time it was not safe to eat. A replacement parcel was sent immediately, and she has received it now. Thank you Mouse House. 

Monday 30 October 2023

Cupboard Love

Years ago, before I understood this horticulture business, I was given a Christmas cactus.  It lived in the conservatory in Kirby Muxloe, and for a number of years it bloomed beautifully during the festive season. Then it didn't anymore. And one year it went brown and crispy [my fault entirely]
A couple of years ago, Liz gave me a cactus which produced leaves, but nothing else. However, I spotted an article about "helping your Christmas cactus to bloom" It advocated keeping the plant in the dark for around 14 hours each day, and in the light for about 10 [yes, that adds up to 24!] The article said within 6-8 weeks, you should have blooms. The plant is properly named a schlumbergera. 
So I am trying! When I get up, I put the cactus on the bedroom windowsill, and in the late afternoon I return it to the space in the wardrobe.
I've been doing this for just over a week, and I'm really excited by the appearance of the tiny pink buds. I do hope this works!
Acanthochronology is the name for the study of the growth of cactus spines over time. I guess an acanthochronologist somewhere worked out the patterns of light/dark times needed to produce blooms. I thank them for their efforts.
I'm currently giving the plant a little water each Friday. Is that enough? And should I be feeding it? if so with what? [I have bottles of tomato feed, and orchid feed to hand]

Sunday 29 October 2023

The Beauty Of Thy Peace

 All that stitching of Rosie's Mildred costume, and the "Strive" badge reminded me of a favourite hymn. It's been an 'earworm' for meall week. Posting this especially for one of my blogfriends who is away on a much needed weekend break [you know who you are!]
Drop thy still dews of quietness, till all our strivings cease
Take from our souls the strain and stress
And let our ordered lives
Confess the beauty of thy peace

Saturday 28 October 2023

Mildred And The Ballerina

 One happy little girl at her final fitting session on Wednesday. Jess wanted to dress up too and chose an outfit from Grandma's Box of Costumes. She said Ballerina, I thought Miss Havisham. Then the pair of them sat down to watch Room On The Broom!
The party dress was made for Liz about 35 years ago, using a free pattern from Prima magazine and £2 of fabric. Lots of children have dressed up in it since. 
Just a reminder to UK readers
Don't forget to put your clocks back tonight

Friday 27 October 2023

Lighting Up Time

Monday Night's Special Outing was to BeWILDerwood. This is an amazing forest-cum-adventure playground close to Wroxham, in the Norfolk Broads. Rosie has been for daytime visits a few times - but always during the day. She was very excited about an evening trip. She seemed concerned Bob and I had never visited - so explained [at length] what it was about. There are mysterious creatures inhabiting in the trees [Twiggles] and other little ones living on the ground [Boggles] and also in the water there are Crocklebogs. And lots of places for children to climb and jump and swing...We arrived 15 minutes late for our slot, due to our rather interrupted journey, but Laura at the entrance was very kind - and suggested Liz could contact them to discuss rebooking the 3 tickets we could not use. "Go through the gate, and you'll discover how to create your lantern. 
A wizardy guy sent us to collect our kits. and we stapled the card frame together  and dropped the glowing green lights inside. Then hung the lantern on a stick. [this was all provided as part of our ticket - not an extra cost] We set off along the path.Once a year. on this night only there appears somewhere in these wood, a pool of enchanted fish
The trees were lit in amazing colours. Some families had come dressed up. Bob and Rosie stared up at the tall pink trees. Then we came across Witch Hazel - a cheerful old woman in her little cottage. She chatted to the children and told them what to expect. 
The puppetry was brilliant- and Rosie and other kids really engaged with her conversation, calling out responses etc. The majority of children were under 11 - and I liked that it was not 'spooky scary, horror' stuff - but all about not being frightened and fearful - but being strong, and looking at the lights and colours. We are with friends and families and we do not need to be afraid.

There were lots of tiny 'villages' and 'camps' under the trees. And regular stops for puppetry and entertainment. As we sat in the benches, we learned the special song "Splash, splash, splash" Splish, splish, splish! Look at me I'm a Fearless Fish!"

By the Spider's Web, in a treehouse was a bat puppet. He was telling jokes, and encouraged the children to tell him theirs. Rosie called out cheerfully "What's got a bottom at the top?" He didn't know "Your legs!" she told him. People chuckled. Unfortunately the bat puppeteer said he didn't get it so she explained it to him. "Your bottom, where your poo comes out, is at the top of your legs!" Everybody was laughing -except possibly BatGuy. [No, she did not hear that joke from me or Bob]
We stopped at the rest area, and had splendid, huge, hot dogs - proper, long sausages with onions and sauces. And not over expensive. We had a flask of hot chocolate and biscuits in our bag too. [Immaculate toilets!]
We finished our break and started walking towards the end of the trail. Sadly, my picture of the fishes didn't come out [ I hope this link may work. Rosie and I trotted through the tree tunnel [too low for Bob and other large Boggles] and checked out the Gift Shop. Rosie declared most of it was a waste of money [£20 for a witches cloak and hat!] but we did take a picture of a Fairy Door. Our lanterns were still glowing when we got back to the car. The journey home was much faster and easier! But we were Very Late back to Mummy and Daddy. 

Was it worth it? Yes I think it was. Everything was very well thought out - the atmosphere was so cheerful. Lots of laughing children, happy families, and a well designed trail which kept the children interested and eager to spot things and find the next bit of the adventure. The Rest Area was well laid out, plenty of seats and tables- and rubbish bins.Packaging was all recyclable, and gentle reminders about litter and taking care of nature. We were in the Overflow Car Park. and I would have liked a few signs to help us locate our parking area in the dark. 
But other than that, definitely a ***** outing. 
Phone signal was good, so Rosie was able to phone home from the Rest Area and tell her parents all was good.
There is a Bewilderwood in Cheshire as well as Norfolk. It was a lovely evening, not too cold, and fortunately not raining at all.
Rosie wants to take us back again in the warmer weather, in daylight. I think I'm up for that!

Thursday 26 October 2023

Coming Clean...For Less Than Half A Crown!

We all piled into the Skoda on Monday Evening for a special outing. A few miles down the road we encountered a minor RTA - which meant Bob had to reverse some distance up the narrow country lane.  The guy directing us said they did not need help. There was no room to pass - or to turn round - and we needed to get out of the way before the emergency services arrived. Back on the road again, and poor Jess was very sick. Having taken her and parents home, Bob and I began the journey again with just Rosie [avoiding the RTA road - although we did hear sirens] The three of us did have a good outing, in the end.
On Tuesday, we had to clean the inside of the car. "What do we have for cleaning carpets?" said Bob. I had tidied up all the cleaning stuff last week - and discovered I had a lot of carpet cleaning materials. Down the years, I have had reason to clean a lot of carpets it seems. Both here at Cornerstones, in Kirby and Ferndown.
We did discover on Tuesday afternoon, that the Little Scrubber has died completely. The LS was a freebie when we got the Vax Rapide around 25 years ago. The VR packed up in Dorset after 19 years, so I cannot complain that the LS has stopped working.
However the 1001 Troubleshooter Spray, combined with the Dr Beckmann Carpet Stain Remover [useful built in brush] seem to have done the necessary in getting the stains and smell out of the car carpets and upholstery.
We only have two rooms with carpets here - everywhere else is tiles and laminates, with rugs. So I do not think I need to invest in another Vax. I must ask around at church if anyone wants an [unopened] bottle of Vax shampoo! Do you remember this ad ?
And if you are really old, like me, what about this one?
How do you clean carpets? 
Or do you just have hard floors and rugs?

Wednesday 25 October 2023

To Strive [And Not To Yield]

"Strive" is the motto of Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches in the series of books by Jill Murphy. I'm not really into witches myself, but the heroine [Mildred Hubble] is more like Blyton's  Darrell Rivers at Malory Towers, but with a cat and a broomstick [and better written imho] Rosie loves them.
Rosie has a party to go to at the end of the month, and needs a costume. She told me she wants to be Mildred and has got the cat sorted out! So on Friday I visited the charity shops in Dereham and came home with all I needed [total spend £9:50]  The family arrived on Saturday. Unfortunately Jess was not too well - so Rosie had a sleepover with us Sunday night, and we spent Monday working on the costume.
I did  not have any striped ribbon, so set Rosie up to colour black stripes on a wide pale grey ribbon, using a fabric pen. We then ironed that to fix the colour. Although the TV Witch has a cloak with a collar, I decided to make one with a hood [using half a black sheet and a red curtain from my stash] I made it reversible [see yesterday's picture of Jess, modelling it!]. You never know when you will need a red cloak.
The M&S pinafore dress [RSPCA] was a little big, and the straps had D ring adjustment. So fiddly* - I swapped them out for dungaree clips and buttons from my stash. The hat was £1 [PACT], and I made a Strive badge from felt, and a slightly larger one to appliqué to the tunic. The over the knee socks [Cancer Research] and the tie [EACH] and I was almost there. I found a white school shirt in Poundland sale for £1. I made a red sash too.
I know I spent more time than I needed, making this. Rosie would have been happy with a plain hat, and a simple black cloak. But her holiday has been a bit thwarted as activities had to be curtailed whilst Jess was sick. And I wanted to encourage Rosie, she had a good half term report at Parents' Evening.
But the costume is done and dusted - and can go into the dressing up bag afterwards. * I loathe D rings on garments - they often slip and sag. I'm not sure it is fair to expect children to manage them. 
I have shown Rio how to twist the wire edge of the hat into a figure eight then fold in half. The hat is then flat and can be slipped into a small square bag. But Abracadabra! when you get it out, it pings magically back into shape. Much easier to transport to the party if it is a windy day.

Tuesday 24 October 2023

Lost For Words

Yesterday's post about beans generated so many interesting comments. Thank you. 
My decision to take things slowly on Friday was definitely a good one. The last three days have been utterly crazy. All sorts of unexpected events. I'm writing this late on Monday night - and unable to marshal my thoughts into a coherent blog post. Jess has been here, dressing up again... Auditioning for a Scottish Widows ad this time, I think
Tomorrow I will try to write a proper post! We are fine, just in need of some breathing space. 

Monday 23 October 2023

A Million Housewives Every Day...


According to their data, Heinz now sell 1.5 million cans daily, worldwide. This pantry staple has been on our shelves since 1948. And now, as they celebrate 75 years of providing these delicious, nutritious legumes enrobed in tomatoey gloop, the Heinz company have engaged an "Etiquette Expert", William Hanson, to tell us how to enjoy them properly. 
Mr H says white farmhouse-style bread is the best option for the simple meal -“When having beans on toast, don’t drown your toast with beans, this is not your local lido,” he states. “A good butter – unsalted, of course, because we’re not heathens – will ensure it keeps its crisp crunch.” Also he says the can should be stored upside down at about 18C and shaken for five seconds before opening to ensure an “even beans to sauce distribution”.
Beans should then be warmed for 3-4min in a stainless steel pan to preserve their “iconic taste” and – heaven forfend – never boiled. The optimum temperature is 64C for instant eating, and 75C if you need time to “finalise your toast”. “Boiling can cause the sauce to split, ruining the colour and flavour.”
  1. Place two slices of a white farmhouse loaf in toaster.
  2. Store can upside down, and shake for 5 seconds before use to ensure even beans to sauce distribution.
  3. Warm beans on the hob for 3-4min, stirring constantly. Do not boil the Beanz.
  4. Spread your butter evenly on the toast up to the crust.
  5. Place toast on a plate. Pour on beans
  6. (optional) Grate cheese on hot beans and let it melt for 2min.
My thoughts:
  1. I use whatever bread is to hand
  2. This seems to make sense - especially if you're only using half the can at a time
  3. I usually use the microwave!
  4. Unsalted?!? I use regular butter, or marg
  5. Obviously
  6. Bob might, I don't like cheese.
The thoughts of others:
Yotam, Delia and Nigella make their own from dried haricot beans [more money and time than I have]
Jamie uses all sorts of beans [haricot, cannellini,butter etc] to make various tyoes of baked bnz
Jack Monroe drains hers, she can't stand the orange sauce.
Mary Berry puts hers in a ChipChip Cassoulet -chipolatas, chipotle, and bnz
and Nigel Slater admits to eating them cold from the tin, late at night. [Wot, no toast?]
So thank you, Mr Hansonbut I think we all have our own favourite way of using them - keep your unsalted butter and precise temperatures. I have to admit that I am not in the 1.5 million buying Heinz I usually buy supermarket own brand, often the basic economy one [and maybe zhuzh them up occasionally with a squeeze of ketchup or splash of worcestershire sauce]

The slogan was dreamed up over a pint in s London pub in 1967.

 "We knew we'd won, when within three months, we could have a poster that didn't even mention the brand"

Whose bnz do you buy? and how do you prepare them?

Sunday 22 October 2023

Remember The Children...

 ...And continue to pray for peace.

[I cannot find out whose artwork it is, some have said Banksy, but I don't believe it is his]

Saturday 21 October 2023

Many Happy Returns, Steph!

 What a year it has been - last October Jacob was a few weeks old, and now look at him
George is so much bigger too and well settled at Nursery. You had a great time on Maternity leave, doing all the things that were impossible during George's first few months during lockdown.
The two boys clearly adore each other [most of the time] with you and Gaz as loving parents they are in such a happy family. You've got back into running, and completed a 10K in excellent time in May. And now you are fully back at work - as MD of your company. That's a mind-blowing thought.
We hope you have a wonderful birthday and look forward to seeing you in December. Thanks for all the love and joy you bring

Friday 20 October 2023

The King's Speech

The King's Grandfather [George VI] was apparently fond of advising people to "Sit down whenever you can" 

Many schools will break up for Half Term this afternoon. So today I'm taking things easy and building up my strength before the arrival of two very active young ladies from London. I'm sure they will keep me busy for a few days. 

Thursday 19 October 2023

On The Shelf With Jamie

He's back, bish-bash-bosh, with his cheery cooking and family anecdotes, to brighten up Monday evenings [ot Tuesdays, if you like the BBC2 quiz night, so record him for later] We watched the first of Jamie Oliver's new Five Ingredients series.
The premise is that you don't need a great long list of ingredients to turn out easy, tasty, family meals - and you can use the simplest humble items [he loves the word 'humble'] But tnh, I was a little disappointed by this week's offering. 
It is sponsored by Tesco,. so naturally their products are showcased. That's OK - but his Fig Tart - which looks splendid and allegedly serves 8 [doesn't that look like six possible portions to you?] works out at £8.50 for the ingredients. 
We did like the look of his Lemon Tzatziki Chicken - however we were none too sure about his 'genius hack' to get the "crispiest chicken ever, even without a rotisserie oven"
What Jamie did was to prepare the veg etc in a roasting tray and put that on the lowest shelf, and suspend his chicken legs over the tray by squeezing them through the bars of the upper shelf, which held them in place as they cooked.
But look at that shelf - and the gap between the bars- about 2cm. Here is a picture of an oven shelf like mine - with 4cm gaps
An ordinary chicken leg is too slim to be gripped by this shelf. So I couldn't do this trick. I checked my neighbour's shelf [4 cm gap] Furthermore, most 'regular' ovens have this sort of shelf.
If you want a narrow gauge shelf like Jamie has, you need to own an upmarket, costly oven like Gaggenhau or Neff. 
I suppose you might buy a Gaggenhau shelf  which would fit your oven. I suggested to Bob that I could knot the legs onto a length of butcher's twine, like a necklace, and dangle them through the wider slots - but we both felt this was too much faff. [Neff or Faff - you choose!]

And the third recipe was sweet pea pasta. None of the pretty flowers, just frozen peas, pasta, spring onions, cheese, and potatoes [yes, two carbs - his 'double denim' recipe] It's cheesy pasta with peas, Jamie! 
Most of us have been throwing together something like this for years, we do not need a recipe. 
And yes orecchiette pasta does look pretty, but it is the most expensive of the Tesco pasta shapes. [Even if the potatoes cooked with it are 'very humble']
I will watch again next week, and hope Jamie comes up with some recipes which I could replicate within my budget, using my ordinary Belling Oven!

Apparently this show aired in Australia last month - and Jamie's chicken hack left the presenters of their morning show "Sunrise" both 'shocked' and 'mindblown' !!

Wednesday 18 October 2023

Holes, Homekeeping, and Hats

I had lost 2 rolls of bin bags - and I could not find them anywhere. I decided that I would have to completely clear out the double cupboard under the kitchen sink. No, they weren't there. But I did notice my tin of wood cleaning materials had slipped down into the hole in the shelf where the pipes go.

I recalled an incident in Norwich, 35 years ago, when a bus fell down a hole! It got on the ITV news. I think I would have been very nervous if I had been on that bus. 

I've walked down the road many times since but fortunately it has not happened again!
I carried on searching,and I did find the bags eventually- under the sink in the Futility Room. Both the cupboards got cleared out properly and tidied, and Bob was very pleased to see positive decluttering happening.
I took a couple of things up into the loft and found two things I hadn't seen since we retired - my favourite red baseball cap, and the crazy Scandi fleece hat from the CS in Salisbury. They were in the bottom of the hatbox full of my Dressing Up Hats [I thought that Jess might want to wear the Witch Hat next week] Why haven't I looked for them in there before?
In summer I like a baseball hat to keep the sun off my face. In colder weather, I like to wear a hat to keep my head warm. 
I think Autumn is definitely here - Bob has stopped wearing his shorts, and actually put a scarf round his neck when we went out yesterday evening. And my bedsocks are in use too.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Go With The Flow!

Dereham has a new coffeeshop -the Flow Craft Café in Norwich Street, between the health shop and the hairdressers!
It opened yesterday and I called in at midday to check it out. Nina, the crafting enthusiast who is the owner and manager, was really welcoming.
We talked about our mutual love of crafting, and she asked me which crafts I was particularly interested in [I gave her the short list...]She's hoping to make this a cosy place where people can come for a chat, and a coffee, and do crafts - with various workshops available during the day and in the evening. She's worked hard at the coffee-shop side of things.
We chatted briefly and she returned to the serving area. A lady beckoned me over. "I heard you say you do knitting, can you help me with this scarf?"  and indicated the wool and needles in front of her. Fortunately I was able to sort her query. 
I was pleased to see some children's activities on the side. Kids can easily get bored when Mums are chatting!

There's a great variety of baked goods on offer [or you can just have a round of toast!] My teacake was excellent! 
I shared a table with someone else who had also come in to check the place out, and it was lovely to chat about crafts with another enthusiast. I hope we will meet up in there again sometime.
There are three workshops coming up - wreath-making, card-making and a Hallowe'en Children's session. Can you see the kusudama flowers on the shelf? 

I'd taken them in as a welcome gift for Nina, and offered to run a workshop for Nina sometime. Is it really eight years since I ran one of these in Dereham?
I really hope this venture takes off- Nina and her family have obviously worked incredibly hard to redecorate and equip the premises.
It is close to the town centre [and free carparks] and has a lot of potential.
I wish Nina and her team every success in the coming days.

I meant to ask about the logo but I forgot. I think it is a rhino.
But why??
Do you have craft cafés where you are?


Monday 16 October 2023

We Are Not Made Of Sugar, Grandma!

Said Rosie, when I muttered about the heavy rain on a trip to the coast last year. Her Mum helpfully gave me the Dutch version "Jij bent niet van suiker gemaakt" - and I try to remind myself of this when it starts to rain, and I'm tempted to get in the car instead of on my bicycle for a quick trip to the Village Shop. Then of course the Norwegians say this little rhyming couplet
there's no
dårlig vær, 
[bad weather] 
dårlig klær! 
[bad clothes]

I have been thinking about this a lot recently.
I did my seasonal wardrobe sort - and then October brought us some very unseasonal weather. Bob has been outside in his shorts, and I've been cycling wearing a teeshirt and no jacket or jumper. I did get caught out one day wearing sandals and came home with rain-sodden cold feet. I am very fond of dressing in layers, so I can add one or peel one off, depending on the temperature 
Then I found another Norwegian word-  friluftsliv - this means "free-air life" and the term was coined by playwright Henrik Ibsen in 1859, to convey a spiritual connection with nature. This 'getting outside in the fresh air is good for your soul' concept is huge in Norway - check out the  Visit Norway website which lists loads of activities, and shares fascinating facts
  • 90% of Norwegians say that friluftsliv is important to them - 
  • Friluftsliv has its own law, Friluftsloven, which includes the right to roam
  • Norway has several outdoor kindergartens [friluftsbarnehager], where the children spend 80 per cent of the time outdoors. [we are getting more 'forest nursery schools' in the UK now]
  • Many Norwegians look for an active partner, and it’s not unusual to go hiking or cycling on the first date.
  • In Norway, there are government-sponsored “libraries” where you can borrow outdoor gear.
  • In Norway, you can take a bachelor’s degree in friluftsliv.

I had friends in Dorset who were into the Japanese idea of shinrin yoku - forest bathing - an ancient practice of being calm and relaxing among the trees. But this is much more than that. 
I am trying to get outside in the fresh air every day if I can. Maybe just a walk to the medical centre to collect our pills [oh, the joys of old age!] or a cycle ride to the village post office. But some days maybe just a walk around the garden, pulling out the odd weeds, saying encouraging words to the walking onions or perhaps having breakfast or a midmorning cuppa sitting outside [if it is not too wet or windy] It ups my body's supply of Vitamin D, and lifts my spirits. Scientists have shown that exposure to morning sunlight helps reset our circadian rhythms and benefits our night time sleep patterns. 
So I WILL wrap my weather scarf round my neck, put on a warm coat and good footwear, and sally forth into the fresh air for a brief while, EVERY day. Even if what I really want is to do my knitting in front of the TV, with a mug of tea beside me.

I'm not sure what the weather was like outside Tate Britain on Saturday - but one member of my family was certainly making sure she had the right clothes for the occasion. [Maybe she wants to audition for Cabaret, or Wicked!]

Are you a fresh air fanatic, or do you prefer warm and cosy?

Sunday 15 October 2023

More Than One Day In March...

I knew that each year.the annual Day of Prayer Service in March was planned by the Christian women of a different nation. During my time on the National Committee, I learned that the country was asked 7 years beforehand, and given their theme by the international HQ. They had to have their service prepared at least 3 years in advance of the day, so it could be translated and distributed round the world. Often that theme proved to be timely and challenging once the set year arrived. The upcoming 2024 service was prepared under lockdown conditions - by women from Palestine. 
A month or so ago, I was sent materials for next year's service. The theme will be based on Ephesians 4: 1-3 "I beg you...bear with one another in love" The picture on the cover of the service booklet is of three Palestinian women sitting together under an olive tree. 

The Palestinian Christian women who wrote this worship service have invited the world to pray for peace, justice and freedom of religion and freedom of movement. Their prayers specifically call us to pray with women, refugees, persons experiencing homelessness, and all who are sick, dying and grieving. They also call us to confess to our collective role in causing the climate crisis, and to commit to repairing what we have destroyed. Finally, they call us, the global church, to be united in treating all with justice and love.   
In the light of the awful things happening in Palestine/Israel right now, the WDP International Committee has issued a statement
The World Day of Prayer is not just one day, and especially in this time of extreme violence, we call for prayer now, and in the days to come. Sitting with the discomfort of this moment is essential as we listen to the cries of the world and the call of God.   
As a Christian women’s prayer movement, we join with our siblings of all faiths, especially Jews and Muslims. We caution against the use of gender-based violence, all too common in times of war. We call for the protection of all children, noting that half of the 2.2 million inhabitants of Gaza are under the age of 18.  
 We long for the dawn of a new day for the peoples of Israel and Palestine. We believe that God is always at work, and always moving us towards love, justice and peace. We pray with all of our siblings in Israel and Palestine for a just and lasting peace. We hope that our worldwide community, divided as it is, will recognize that we are all connected, and that we must all take responsibility for the circumstances in the Holy Land. We must never give up on a commitment to peace, justice, and dignity for all the people living in the land. 
WDP International also published this prayer. I share it with you now. 
God of Peace and Justice, 
We cry out to you with broken hearts and deep anguish for what is unfolding in Israel and Palestine. It is difficult to find the words to express the weight of this moment. We rest on your Spirit, who intercedes with sighs too deep for words. We ask that you heal every wound, and you give us wisdom for how to stop this cycle of violence. We pray especially for women and children, who are particularly vulnerable in times of war. 
Move our world quickly towards peace and justice - Amen

Saturday 14 October 2023

One Life

I have posted before about Sir Nicholas Winton - an ordinary young man in his twenties, visitng Poland in the 1930s. He saw what was happening - and organised trains to carry refugee Jewish children to safety in the UK. He was a London stockbroker, son of a German Jewish family. Hundreds of children owed their lives to this brave man - whose deeds remained almost unknown for almost half a century. Then many of us saw him on the Esther Rantzen 'That's Life' programme in 1988. He was properly thanked for his actions. [Sir Nicholas died in 2015] I cannot watch this brief video without weeping
I was very pleased to discover yesterday that they have finally made a film about this good man - Antony Hopkins plays the older Winton, Johnny Flynn takes the part of the young man. Helena Bonham Carter plays his mother, and Jonathan Pryce also stars. A stellar cast indeed. The Winton family have said how pleased they are with the film.   'I felt as though my father was in the room' said his son.The film will be in cinemas from January 1st. I've told Bob I am determined to go [with some clean hankies in my bag] Here is the newly released trailer for "One Life"

He often quoted a phrase from the Jewish Talmud... 
To save one life is to save the world entire

Friday 13 October 2023

Heads And Tails!

 IMPORTANT - the cross stitch parcel arrived safely with Kirsten yesterday. Much rejoicing all round!

Moving swiftly on- the other exciting news of the day [a cheery item, much needed as the world is so full of sadness right now] The Royal Mint has just revealed the designs for the new King Charles Coinage. Reflecting the King's love of the natural world, there will be wildlife with heads - and tails - on our coinage.[btw heads is properly called obverse, tails is reverse]
1p: A hazel dormouse, which has seen its population halve since 2007
2p: A red squirrel, which is expected to blend into the colour of the copper coin
5p: An oak tree leaf, signifying its role as a rich habitat for biodiversity in woodland areas and an association with monarchy of the past
10p: The capercaillie - the world's largest grouse - found in a small part of Scotland and threatened with extinction again!
20p: A puffin
50p: The Atlantic salmon, which is at threat from river pollution and habitat loss
£1: Bees
£2: National flowers - a rose for England, a daffodil for Wales, a thistle for Scotland and a shamrock for Northern Ireland
My thoughts
Apart from loving the idea of nature on the coinage, these seem great choices to me.
The dormouse is a beloved character from Alice in Wonderland
I was privileged to see red squirrels on Brownsea Island, when I visited with my dear friends Peter and Jenny a few years ago.
King Charles II hid in the Royal Oak in 1651
Capercaillies are a favourite of the King [he mentions them in his children's book The Old Man of Lochnagar] - the name means 'horse of the woods'
Puffins are just so cute!
Atlantic salmon have such an amazing life journey
---and bees are definitely a favourite insect for me [pollinators, symbol of Manchester, all those biblical references to bees and honey]
And the multinational bouquet is fitting for our largest coin.
Three interlocking Cs feature on the coins, representing the third King Charles, and taking its inspiration from the cypher of Charles IIl
Round the edge of the new £2 is inscribed "In servitio omnium", which means: "In the service of all". This phrase was chosen by the new King Charles - part of his speech in September last year, following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth .
These coins will come into circulation at the end of the year.
Rebecca Morgan, director at the Royal Mint says that although use of coinage has declined in recent years "We know a large proportion of the population is heavily dependent on coinage. And it is tradition to mark the coming to the throne of a new monarch with new coinage"
I'm old enough to remember pre decimal currency - and my grandad, [who was a Church Treasurer at one point ] talking to me about the two 'natural' things on the coinage then
We had the wonderful twelve sided 3d - threepence [or 'thrupence] with the thrift plant growing upon it. I was taught the word dodecahedron, and the virtue of thrift 
And the little Jenny Wren on the ¼d farthing [fourthing] Luke chapter 12 v 6. "Five sparrows sold for two farthings - but not one is forgotten before God. Fear not, for you are of more value than many sparrows"
I can think of four little children who are going to get a lot of lessons about our natural world from Grandma when they are given holiday spending money next year! 
What do you think of these designs? 
Do you have a favourite?
How and when do you use coinage these days?