Sunday 21 April 2024

Think Before You Speak...

I am a bit late posting the April calendar picture. A good reminder for all of us who write blogs. Perhaps I shouldn't have ranted quite so much recently!

Saturday 20 April 2024

Catching The Post

A little bit of a moan. On Thursday, a card arrived stating that there was a package, at Dereham Parcels Office, and I needed to pay £1.50. I could either 

  1. pay and collect in person [providing evidence of name and address] 
  2. pay online and have it delivered,
  3. put stamps to £1.50 on the card, post it, and parcel would be delivered.
  4. ignore it
I decided against 4 [it might be a birthday present]

I have stamps, and was about to choose option 3, when I realised the address on the card was wrong - not Corner stones,  but Corner House,  and it said Road not Close.
What about Option 2 - no this is no good, as the online form asked me to 'fill in the address as on the card' - which was wrong [and no postcode either] and the identification number had not been filled in. So it's option 1. 
"I will go in to the sorting office this afternoon or Friday" I said to Bob. Except there were three possible options for the opening times listed online. I rang our lovely village postmistress. "I'm sorry, I can't tell you, Angela" she apologised. "They have sent me two different sets of times - they either open at 8 or 9, and close at  either 10 or 12"
I went at 9.30 Friday figuring that way I might get in.
And yes the office was open.
I passed the card through the slot. The woman didn't ask for any identification. She found the "This is too thick and too heavy- you should have more stamps on this" I politely pointed out I was not the sender, but the recipient, and gave her the cash. "Could I just say, I had real problems finding out your opening times. How do you know when the office is open?" "Its 8-10 weekdays, 8-12 Saturdays" "Yes, but how does anyone know that?" and she actually said "Well I know because I work here, and also there's a sign on the wall" "But online, you have three sets of times listed online, and when I rang my village post office, I was told they had been sent two different lists" "That's not my fault" "I am not saying it is, but can you ask somebody higher up to sort it out, please?"
When I got outside, I looked at the envelope - the person who sent it had written my address correctly, legibly and  included the postcode. Whoever filled in the card at the Sorting Office hadn't even bothered to get those address details correct. Oh well, at least I got my birthday gift, eventually.
My daffs outside are coming to an end, and the wind blew this one over - I picked it, trimmed the stalk and stuck it in a bottle to brighten the kitchen. Four small blooms on one stalk. It is a variety called "Cheerfulness"- I decided to adopt this attitude rather than be grumpy all day. 
And life gradually got much better as the day progressed! The rain stopped, the sun came out, and I went into Norwich and met lots of lovely people.

Friday 19 April 2024

More People "Ort" To Do It!

 Elizabeth David the celebrated food writer wrote that a good cook does not have leftovers. I disagree completely! Leftovers are not a sign of failure. Let me explain why I think her assertion is incorrect... 

If you are catering for a family, or a number of guests, portion control can be difficult. Maybe one extra person will turn up, or maybe someone else will be particularly hungry. It is important to have enough for everyone at the table - and therefore sometimes there will be leftovers. 
If your oven is on, it is a good idea to cook as much as you can, to get maximum benefit from the energy you are paying for - so that may mean cooking food for a later meal. 
We had guests for lunch yesterday. I wanted to provide a meal where they could pick and choose how much to eat. I served jacket potatoes, salads, cheeses and cold meats. And I cooked extra spuds. 

So yes, we have leftovers in the fridge. We each ate a spud, with butter, on Thursday night, and we will be eating up salads and cold meats for a day or two. [I may add rice or bread as our carbs.] And these meals are produced with minimal energy.
As much as I can, I double up on cooking to get Planned Leftovers. 
If I'm boiling spuds, I'll keep a few back from the mash or whatever, and they get sautéed with Saturday's breakfast, or diced into a soul or salad. An extra cooked sausage or two makes a great sausage sandwich, or gets sliced and folded into pasta. Less waste, money saved, we all benefit. 
The old English word "Orts" meant a meal made with leftovers - I think it's time we revived this word. Forget Ms David's snobbish attitude - and fight food waste! 
What is your favourite orts meal, made from leftovers? 

Thursday 18 April 2024

A Get Well Gift

Bob came home on Monday with a gift - he had been in Wymondham, and popped in a Charity Shop - where he found a book he thought I would like. I have blogged about the Quaker Tapestry before. Check out the website here. The Centre in Kendal sells embroidery kits. This book is a guide to the stitching, with a particular emphasis on the Quaker Stitch.

One Sunday in 1981, a twelve year old boy called Jonathan Stocks asked why he had to just do colouring with the younger children on a Sunday at the Quaker Meeting, Wasn't there something more interesting?  From this, Ann Wynn-Wilson developed the idea of the Quaker Tapestry. A piece [similar in idea to the Bayeux Tapestry 900 years before] work as a collaborative project, to tell the story of the Quakers, their faith, their history, their deeds... It took 15 years to produce, with 77 panels, and around 4000 people involved. Now you can see in on display in Kendal. Cumbria. It is a wonderful piece in a beautiful location.
The fabric used is a woollen fabric with a random warp producing a low key stripe. The weave and stripe provided a guide to keep lettering and buildings vertical. It is backed with calico, which carries the design for the picture and wording on the front.

Quaker Stitch was developed especially for the tapestry and is now recognised by the Royal School of Needlework
Quakers have always promoted gender equality- and one kit features a bicycling woman! My book shows how to recreate this piece, and personalise it.
There is also information [and an alphabet guide] for stitching your own words!
I have had such fun reading through this book, and I suspect some of the ideas may make their way into Collaborative Project #3. 
I have learned too, that the word crewel comes from the ancient word describing the curl of the staple of the wool. Crewel wool has a long staple, which is fine and can be strongly twisted.
I love this book!
Thank you Bob! And thanks too to everyone else who has posted kind Get Well Comments - my sore throat is improving [but I am grateful not to have any preaching commitments this weekend!]
This book gets a *****rating from me! 
I think it is wonderful too that the Quakers refer to themselves as The Society Of Friends. 

Wednesday 17 April 2024

A Lot Of Hoo-ha

 According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, hoo-ha  means "Too much interest or discussion about something that is not important. Synonyms; commotion, disturbance, kerfuffle" There's plenty of hooha in the sporting world right now.
Those who know me well will be aware that I am not in any sense a sport sort of person - I don't support any football teams, or watch sport on TV. I cheer Steph and Gaz from the sidelines when they are running. That's about it.
 My only competitive game is Scrabble. And don't get me started on the 'new' version announced last week. All I can say is words fail me!
This summer the Olympic Games will happen in Paris
The French team revealed their outfits recently, designed by Stephane Ashpool, the guy behind the popular Pigalle streetwear brand. I quite like it, well thought out, using the tricolor as its overall motif - and clever twists [check out the link above - I like the fencing kit - all white apart from the tricolor mask]
We've yet to see the Team GB uniform - but there was some hooha when they revealed the new flag. There has already been so much fuss about the pink and purple that they have had to agree that the team themselves will have the traditional red-white-and-blue flags.
But if you really want kerfuffle, take a look at the outfits designed by Nike for Team USA
For starters, these are all different colours, there's no cohesiveness about them. Then [you can't see this here] the script on them is apparently very close to the despised comic sans. But worst of all, the kit appears to many to be extremely sexist in design.

Nike have said "On the apparel side, why it's a game changer for us, is that because we've now been able to take athletic insights, along with data, and use that algorithm to create something that allows us to get to a level of specificity, fidelity and accuracy that we've never been able to do before"
For track and field events, men get to wear shorts, but female athletes have a sleeveless one piece which is high cut and extremely revealing round their ..lower regions [in the US often referred to as the hooha]
There has been an incredible amount of backlash. These garments have been declared totally unfit for purpose. Many sportswomen have said they would feel unable to run, do long jump, or high jump, or walk - basically, they feel any movement might trigger an embarrassing "wardrobe malfunction". Not to mention chafing and general discomfort. 
One suggested that they might like to get EuropeanWax to be the team sponsor. Others have questioned where they got their "Athletic insights" saying "men just need to worry about their athletic performance, women have to worry about chafing...and getting a bikini wax. Definitely equal opportunities, huh!"
Nike is worth $138 billion, they surely are aware of the impact of this design. These garments imply sexism and incompetence. Girls are twice as likely as boys to drop out of sports by the age of 14. Dealing with body mage and self-esteem issues is very hard, without being expected to wear such revealing, uncomfortable outfits. Nike have got this one very wrong!
Let's hope someone at Team GB is taking note, and when the British kit is announced later this month, it is a little more appropriate. This is meant to be world class sport, not a throwback to the days of Baywatch [toned down porn]
When the first modern day Olympians said "Faster, Higher, Stronger" the second word did not refer to the cut of the garments!!

Tuesday 16 April 2024

Follow The Yellow Brick Road


In "The Wizard Of Oz" Dorothy skips along and finally gets to the Emerald City and finds the Wizard. On her journey, she meets the Munchkins. 

In the book [pub 1900] Frank L Baum describes these people as the same height as Dorothy, and dressed all in blue, their favourite colour. Hollywood ignored these details when they made the film.

We were asked at Craft Group to contribute some cakes or savouries on Sunday [the event raised over £500 towards the upkeep of the Village Hall] 

On Saturday afternoon I stood in the kitchen wondering what to make. I decided fairy cakes are easily manageable. I got out my 1996 Dairy Book, and spotted a recipe I have never made before - Munchkin Cakes. It only needed one egg, and I had all other other ingredients, [apart from crystallised Orange and Lemon slices.] So I set to and made a batch.


  • 100g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • grated rind and juice of ½ orange
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 100ml fresh milk
  • 75g apricot jam
  • 75g plain chocolate, melted
  • crystallised citrus slices to garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 170º
  2. Melt butter and sugar over low hear for 2 mins, stir occasionally 
  3. Add egg and orange rind, beat well, 
  4. Fold in flour, gradually add milk and orange juice
  5. Spoon into 16 paper cases [2tbsp per case]
  6. Bake for 25 mins till risen and golden brown
  7. When cool, scoop out centre, place tsp jam in hollow.
  8. Replace lid, ice wirth melted chocolate
  9. Decorate with orange or lemon slice.
I grated the rind with the microplane and stirred it through the mix. Having no slices, I put gold stars on each cake. The cakes were fairly uniform [wouldn't win BakeOff though] 
I kept back the wonkiest pair for us to sample later,
Conclusion - they taste just like Jaffa Cakes!
I may make these again, when my little Munchkins from London or Manchester come to visit.

Monday 15 April 2024

Well Run Steph

Time, four hours forty eight minutes. That's two minutes faster than 2015! And yesterday was Gaz and Steph's wedding anniversary too. 
I was so busy at the Repair Cafe yesterday I never took pictures! But here are some taken when we were setting up. We displayed things we had recycled/up cycled. I took my dining chair, and a Memory Bear [kindly lent by Amanda] Bob had a great time promoting the Shed Project. 
I've developed a really sore throat, and can barely speak this morning. So Monday will be a Quiet Sabbath  Rest Day. Thank you all for the lovely comments yesterday. 
2. 5 K from the end of the Marathon, Gaz and the boys were there to cheer Steph on. I'm sure it was a great encouragement 


Sunday 14 April 2024

Running, Repairs


In 2015, Steph ran the London Marathon. Today, nine years and two babies later, she will be running the Manchester Marathon. We are so proud of her.
I would have loved to have gone to support her today - but we had already committed to being at the annual Repair Café here in Norfolk.  I will report tomorrow on both events!

Saturday 13 April 2024


It's the beginning of April - so I did my wardrobe sort. The bag of summer clothes came down from the loft, and everything from the wardrobe and the bags was put on the bed. All the hangers went into a laundry basket. 

Then I did a ruthless sort of all the clothes. The large box and the bag on top were filled with garments I won't wear again. They have gone to the Charity Shop.
Ones that were too small, or I didn't actually like, or I had duplicates of. Steph gave me some black trousers, which fit me better than the ones I already had. No point in having the spares.
I really did get rid of a lot of stuff this time. And all the things which went back into the wardrobe were hung with hooks 'the wrong way round'. When I wear a garment, it is replaced with the hook the right way - so come October, I will know which garments just never got worn. 
I think that I am not quite sticking to the 'rule of 5' idea [explained here]  as Steph gave me a dress and a coat as well, when we visited Manchester. and Liz passed on a dress last week. But I have definitely got rid of more than I have gained [a jacket and three dresses, as well as a two skirts and some tops]
But I like doing the summer/winter swap - I find things I had forgotten about. I actually wore sandals this week for the first time in months.
It feels good to have the wardrobe tidy and organised.
Do you sort your wardrobe on a regular basis? 
I should probably sort out my shoes next, if only to avoid any more oddness. Did you see 'Beyond Paradise' last night? He was wearing ODD SHOES - I was definitely ahead of the curve there!

Friday 12 April 2024

Gone To Pot

The weather was lovely yesterday. I moved my broad beans [which had been hardening off in the mini-greenhouse into the raised bed. And the fuchsias went from the bathroom windowsill into the greenhouse - eventually destined for the front border under my bedroom window.

My fig tree is almost 20 years old- a gift from Liz for our Silver Wedding in 2004. In Kirby it lived in the conservatory and was covered in figs every summer. We moved it here when we went to Dorset, and it has not fruited since!

In the high winds, a piece of wood blew into the side of the plastic pot [now brittle with age] and seriously damaged it. Bob kindly bought me a new glazed, frostproof pot* as a birthday present.
I hope the new pot, and the sunny location beside the summerhouse will mean we might get fruit this year- there are a number of leaves beginning to show.
* It is a Woodlodge product, rejoicing in the rather ugly name of the Kok Knob Pot
On their final morning before returning to London, we looked after J&R. They enjoyed sitting in the summerhouse for elevenses with Grandad. It was really sunny and pleasant. 

JIGSAW GIVEAWAY- Heather, your name came out of the hat, please can you email me, and I will get the puzzle in the post to you.

Thursday 11 April 2024

Mysterious Makes...

Thank you everyone - for all the kind birthday wishes, and also for all your really helpful comments about dental implants. 
Feeling a bit "long in the tooth" ! 

Here's a teaser picture- lots of scraps of fabric, some cut into shape, and some stitched with fancy embroidery patterns on my new machine. 

Any guesses as to what I am creating here?

Wednesday 10 April 2024


Last week, I took Rosie to the Norfolk County Archives for a children's activity afternoon all about the Romans. Rosie has just studied this period in school so was very to keen to find out more. We began by being shown a table of genuine artefacts[do not touch these, children!] and replica pieces.[you can touch these things] Can anyone guess what this was used for? said the enthusiastic woman, waving a xylospongium at us. Rosie said it was a toilet brush for keeping your bum clean. The lady agreed, and said they all went to the loo together, and shared the same brush. The little blonde girl on the other side of me went very pale [obviously that topic hadn't been covered in her school]
Then we went into the big room, and two dozen children enjoyed making shields and helmets. Red, gold and black paint everywhere, and many determined young voices saying to accompanying adults "I've got this" "No, I don't need help" "I know what I am doing here" And the staff were relentlessly cheerful, and full of encouragement. It was a great afternoon, and all free. Rosie loved it, and I was pleased Liz had spotted the ad for the event online.
At the end, my little gladiator was asked to fill in an evaluation sheet. She wasn't sure what to put in the final box, so I suggested she could just write "Thank you, from Rosie" Which she did, and then, after some thought, added  aged VIII [eight] 
She explained, very seriously, that in roman numerals VIII = 8, but she'd put the word in brackets so that the woman would understand!
I told her that I would have to sign things Angela aged LXVIII
But as of today, I will be LXIX
As one old Roman said to the other, "it's that Annie Domino beginning to catch up with me"

Tuesday 9 April 2024

An Odd Sort Of A Week

It has been very wet and windy, the back lawn remains sodden and muddy - and yet on Saturday we spent all day on the beach at Wells. Jess was busy filling little cones with sand, and presenting us with 'ice creams'. She claimed they were strawberry, caramel, chocolate or pistachio flavour - then giggled when we 'tasted' them and found they were just sand.
It was one of those magical family days when we all had fun, and shared a picnic, and played games - then returned home for hot drinks and fruit loaf. And the weather was really pleasant -not too hot, nor too cold, and no rain.
The wind was getting stronger by the time we got to Cornerstones in the late afternoon. Patrick, my little Irish Airman on the garage, was whizzing round at top speed. We were not too troubled by Storm Kathleen - the garden chairs were blown about a bit. 
I was glad the summerhouse roof was secure.

The dentist's visit went well yesterday - he is very pleased with the way my lip has healed following the Scottish fall last May - he said I came through that really well all things considered. Furthermore, my gum has healed beautifully following the extraction of That Troublesome Tooth in January. The only question is now is "what do we do about the huge gap?" There are three options. 
  1. Live with it, and give up TicTacs [they get stuck in the space]
  2. Have a partial denture which will fit over adjacent teeth
  3. Have an implant
Pros and cons
  1. I am very conscious of the gap and food gets lodged there. No pros.
  2. I have two PDs already. Minimal discomfort to have them fitted. They are OK but have to come out at night [toothless crone mode, as Bob calls it] 
  3. As near as you can get to a 'real' tooth. Roshan assures me that the pain will be less than the discomfort of the extraction. And will last me 20 years or more. 
Cost implications 1- free, 2 - £450, 3- £2500
I am thinking it over and will tell him my decision next month when I go for my hygienist session. 
Do any of you have an implant tooth? Is it OK? Does it feel 'odd' in your mouth? It seems a huge amount of money to spend on my mouth. On the other hand, the dentist it will improve my chewing. I'd appreciate some tooth-reviews, please!
On Sunday, I was preaching and leading worship at Church, as the Minister was on holiday, Bob was preaching at another church, The service went well, apart from computer playing up., We sang the first two hymns a capella. But I was so busy first thing in the morning, thinking about the service, that I didn't really think properly about my outfit. I opted for a navy dress, navy tights, and navy shoes, with 'pearl' necklace and earrings. [Classic, understated style, I thought]
As I turned off the main road into the village where the chapel is, I suddenly realised I had no jacket, and no pocket - so nowhere to put the battery pack from the radio mic. I ended up threading the cable down the neck of my dress, and tucking the pack inside the waistband of my tights. 
Pastor Nick clearly has a larger head - the headset mic kept slipping, and at one point, I pushed it back into place, it caught on my hair, and my earring pinged off onto the carpet. 
But afterwards, over the coffee and chat, people seemed very appreciative - and I drove home. As I took my key out of the front door, I dropped it on the door mat. And realised I had been to church  wearing ODD SHOES! Nobody said anything, so I hope they didn't notice. [They were both navy, and the same heel height]

Bob thinks I probably should not be let out on my own...

Monday 8 April 2024

We Are Both On Edge

Or to be more precise, both doing the edging on our cross stitch pieces. I have borrowed Kirsten's photos because they have come out so much better than mine.

Each section will be edged in back stitch, using two strands of dark green thread. Then we will work out the border pattern. 
[If you want to find out the details of the 24 individual sections, click in the "cross stitch collaboration" in the labels list on the right] 
I'm trying not to be "on edge" this morning - we both have very early dental appointments.  But Roshan my dentist is definitely the best I've ever had - he is so reassuring, and puts me at my ease as soon as I sit down. [by the way, the phrase "set one's teeth on edge" comes from the Bible, Jeremiah ch 31]

Sunday 7 April 2024

I Just Want A Bit Of Peace!

It's Saturday, I’m wandering round picking up dirty washing

...towels on the bathroom floor, one sock on the stairs
A jumper in the dining room, [they have too many clothes]
Joe’s sitting on his bed, playing some noisy onscreen game,
    all explosions and gunfire, screams and cursing
“Turn it down” yells Hannah “I’m trying to revise.
    If I fail, and don’t get into Uni, I’ll murder you Joe”
In the kitchen Pete is glaring at the empty bread bin
“What can a man have for breakfast round here?”
I suggest cereal – but there’s no milk in the fridge
“Haven’t you done the shopping this week?” he grunts
I point out that Hannah is revising and eating mountains of toast.
    And Joe went out for an early run ...
        then drank a whole pint of milk when he got back.
I say that perhaps Pete could pop out to the shop,
I’m busy with the washing...he grabs his keys,
    pushes past me [no goodbye kiss]
        and slams the front door on his way out
I load up the coffee maker, then go upstairs to change the sheets
Joe knows what I will ask
    so he dives into the bathroom and locks the door.
My son’s room looks like a bomb’s hit it. Why can’t he help a bit?
Hannah acts like any intrusion will ruin her revision,
    and her whole future
“You just don’t understand Mum”
    [hang on, I went to Uni too, you know, years ago]
The front door opens
    “I’ve got milk!” sings out my now cheerful husband
Two teenagers race each other to the kitchen
    they somehow don’t notice me, coming downstairs,
    arms full of bedlinen, I’m nearly knocked over
I gather up the scattered pillowcases and duvet covers
By the time I get to the kitchen they all have coffee and toast
I hover in the doorway,
    hoping someone will pour me a mug of reviving caffeine
Nobody does, they are all talking at once,
    so I slam the laundry basket on the table
And I start yelling, and shouting and swearing at them
I tell them they are inconsiderate,
    I feel taken for granted, I’m sick of all of them
They stand open mouthed – never seen their Mum like this.
I grab Pete’s mug which he put down as I began my rant.
    “I’m taking this into the lounge...
        I JUST WANT A BIT OF PEACE!” And I walk out of the kitchen.
In the lounge I pick up the newspaper somebody’s left on the floor
The headlines scream out at me
Stupid warmongering men
    – why can’t they see the senselessness of fighting. Nobody wins.
I look at the pictures and I start to weep
    – women grabbing towels to staunch bleeding wounds
Mothers cradling tiny children dying of hunger.
    Nurses using rags for bandages
A grandmother with sad eyes,
    staring at her family home, now reduced to a bomb crater
Widows laying flowers at a row of graves
    each marked with a crude wooden cross
And I’m ashamed of myself, and I feel so impotent
  – THESE are the women who want a bit of peace
I go back into the kitchen and say sorry – Pete hugs me
I ask if the family will help me...
    I want to sort out some warm clothes for the Aid Centre
And perhaps the family could have a roast dinner together this evening?
    Joe volunteers to peel the spuds,
        Hannah is sick of revising, and offers to make an apple pie
Pete says nothing, he is busy loading the washing machine.
… I realise the atmosphere has changed,
 ...the kitchen feels warmer somehow
And that song we sang at school echoes in my brain
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me

A poem originally written

for the Ukrainian Aid Centre,
for Dereham Peace Day

©Angela Almond

Saturday 6 April 2024

Hot Soup For Cold Days

Bob was at The Shed, and I was with Liz and co. She made a tasty lentil and carrot soup for lunch. It was so comforting on a cold wet day. I decided to follow her example later in the week and made the Armenian Soup from my Cranks Cookbook. Last time I made this was at the start of lockdown, when I was working hard at 'recipes from my storecupboard' - because we were both in isolation at the time, and couldn't get to the shops.

Armenian Soup (from Cranks cookbook)

  • Red lentils, 50g
  • Dried apricots, 50g
  • Large potato 1
  • Vegetable stock 2 pt
  • Lemon juice (half a lemon)
  • Ground cumin 1 teaspoon
  • Parsley, chopped 3 teaspoons
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Place lentils and apricots in a  large saucepan. Roughly chop the
potato and add to the pan with remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool, then blend in a liquidizer goblet until smooth. Reheat to serving temperature and adjust seasoning to taste.

Delicious [although Liz's soup was a glorious orange colour, not a dismal khaki!]

Friday 5 April 2024

Easter Exchange

We were both a little late posting our cross stitch parcels - K's parcel arrived on Thursday morning, and I immediately WhatsApped Kirsten to say I'd got it safely. Hers arrived an hour or so later. These were the last sections of ur Aida rectangle to be stitched, and discussions are ongoing about Finishing Off. I as thrilled with the little Easter Garden K had produced - using Star Eyelet stitch in various sizes, and Sarah Homfray variegated threads. Lots of flowers and surrounded by green grass. One part of the variegated green was very pale, so K cut that out, and used it to edge the section neatly. You don't notice it immediately, but it gives a beautiful definition to the shape.
My 'flat gifts' from Kirsten were two packets of seeds. A herb [hyssop - much mentioned in the Bible] and a flower [antirrhinums aka snapdragons] Also included were three skeins of thread for stitching our borders.
My Easter Piece was also an attempt to cover the fabric with stitches. I love playing Scrabble, and doing crosswords so I decided to make up a word grid using as many Easter words as I could to fill the section.
I began by planning a grid with pencil and paper. I made a word list. I started with Hallelujah, then tried to put Jesus down from the J, but couldn't get that to work - eventually this was the chart I came up with. Just three colours of thread. J,E,A and S on the top line encroach into the border space, but I think I've got away with it!
Now to outline every section with 2 strands of green, in backstitch,. "Soporific TV Stitching" was K's description.
Will we get it done by the end of the month? and how will we finally complete the outer border? [no, we don't yet have the answer to that question either!]

Thursday 4 April 2024

London Pride

 I love London. There is always something new to discover, somewhere fresh to visit - alongside the comforting familiarity of well loved favourite places. My friend Lynn posted a picture of a London Jigsaw she'd just completed. It is based on the A-Z map. "I can see the street where my family live!" I said. Lynn is preparing to move house, and decluttering. She kindly sent me the puzzle.
I'm usually a 500piece puzzler
But this was too good to ignore.
The streets were very small, and the printing minuscule on some sections. I got out the Bug Viewer I use with the grandchildren. It magnified the pieces beautifully. I began on Good Friday morning, and worked on the green felt mat. That meant I could easily roll up the puzzle whenever we needed the dining table.
A few slight problems . Firstly,it was a while before I realised the picture on the box was slightly misleading. The A-Z logo in the corner was smaller, so more stuff showed in the Edgware section. And in the top right, there was no badge saying "1000 pieces" And then there was Marylebone. One section of road was missing three letters from the middle of the word. I checked and checked - but could not find the piece.
Over the weekend, I worked on the jigsaw, and Liz and Bob added pieces as they walked past. At 9pm Monday evening [after watching the various quizzes. Well done UCL for getting to the Univ Challenge finals] I returned to the dining table. Things were looking good. "I am not going to bed till this is finished!" I said. Bob had a programme to watch, then he came to help me.
Bob solved the MARY---ONE problem, ... he finally realised the damaged piece (had it fallen in a mug of coffee, or been licked by the cat?) was the one which fitted, but the letters were no longer visible.
We kept going and finished at 11.50pm! I took a photo and we had a final cuppa and went to bed.
So satisfying to have it completed! 
Lynn's intended destination for this puzzle was a charity shop - and I said I'd make sure it got there in the end. Lynn has been a good friend for decades, she has great faith, a generous heart, and a wonderful sense of humour. She is arranging this move while her husband is in hospital [where he has been for over a year] I am praying for her, for resilience and strength, and for her husband, continued healing. 
Is there anyone out there who would like to have a go at this puzzle and then pass it on to a CS?
Please comment on THIS POST by Saturday, including the words LONDON JIGSAW, and I will pull the winner's name out on Sunday. But you must agree do it promptly, and to pass on the jigsaw to a CS after completion. It is not to sit useless in a cupboard.
The Easter weekend marked the 16th birthday of Tracing Rainbows.
Nearly 7000 posts, almost 50,000 comments...and soon it will pass 5 million hits. Can you believe it ? I can't!
But more importantly, dozens of friends I didn't know back in 2008. Thank you everyone who takes the time to read my ramblings. God bless you all.

Wednesday 3 April 2024

This Ole House...

We bought Cornerstones fifteen years ago - and got the keys in April 2009. Bob dreamed of a hexagonal summerhouse for the garden, and in autumn 2012 we found one  - a display model, at a ridiculously low price. It was delivered, in sections, on a pallet, and stored in the garage all winter. Summer 2013, we put it it up [with help from my old friend Christine]. We painted the walls green, and Bob made windbreak panels for three walls, which Steph decorated with fantastic beach-scene murals. But we had not laid the foundations that well, and by last summer we admitted the base needed replacing and there were some parts of the structure which needed repair.  "Ain't had time to fix the shingles, ain't had time to fix the floor" as George Clooney's auntie used to sing. Also, we needed new fencing, and the structure was in the way of that work. Our good friend Peter came one cold wet Saturday to help us dismantle it. You can see how bad the base is in the fourth picture.
The guys replaced the fence, then relaid the summerhouse base. Here is the new oil tank being delivered in November - you can see the new base, with proper edging. Bob spent a lot of time repairing dodgy beams. He and I put up the walls by ourselves, and managed to get the six roof beams up. But realised I wasn't really tall enough and anyway this needed three pairs of hands. Jon and Liz came to the rescue - and yesterday eleven of the twelve roof panels were replaced. We will need to go into our neighbours' garden to fix the final section.
Very soon we will have everything sorted- and have power and lighting laid on [so I can even take my sewing machine out there!]

We hope that once all the work is done, it will last a good few more years. This ole house holds too many memories to be demolished just yet!

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Here Comes The Sun!

 Despite going to bed late, and losing a hour for BST, we still were out of bed before 5.15am. We loaded the car with coffee, mugs and PA gear and drove off to the Parish Church.
We joined with Rev Rachel the vicar, nine other friends and a dog, to celebrate the Resurrection. It was a fantastic experience to watch the sun come up, and shout "He is risen indeed!"

It's a long time since I've attended an Easter Sunrise Event. It was truly moving.
And sharing bacon rolls and hot coffee afterwards was good fun too!
Then after a couple of hours at home, [I listened to the Archbishop of Canterbury on Radio 4) we went to our own church for the Easter Service.
We came home and Liz, Jon and the girls arrived for lunch. 
Somewhere round 4pm I fell asleep!
Easter Sunday was wonderful - but we took Monday really gently in an attempt to regain our energy.
I do hope you had a great weekend too