Friday, 16 March 2018

Hi Mandy!

It was one of my favourite days of the month today - I went to Mandy's aka Dunholme Crafter.  I came home with four cards having had a lovely morning chatting and doing some papercraft.  

So, here you are

With a little bit of luck Mandy has found this post with the greatest of ease as, just for once, I was able to show my appreciation for the things she teaches me by showing her a couple of things on her computer.

Hi Mandy

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Some of my best friends are books

I no longer hoard books.  I used to - big time.  When I left school I trained as a librarian so in my work I handled as many books as anyone could want.  Then I changed course and after the odd experiment in the job market I became a parson some years later, a profession famed for bookishness.  That was when hoarding really took hold but I used my skills of book classification and cataloguing and had well ordered book shelves. All was well.  Vicarages have studies and mine was definitely book-lined.

But then came retirement and most of the books just had to go.  Unless I wanted every room in my bungalow to be dominated by volumes on theology, horticulture, cookery, needle arts and anything else which had ever taken my fancy, I had to rationalise.  

One big help in this was my Kindle.  As far as possible I no longer buy fiction in anything other than digital form.  I now enjoy many titles as audiobooks to be listened to as I do other things.  T'interweb became my main source of information on many subjects and my book buying was cut back.

 I still buy some books.  Three or four years ago I bought this one, "Small pleasures: little things that make life living"  published by The National Trust.  It consists of essays written by a variety of people.  Here one can read Adam Hart-Davis on the satisfaction of working with wood, Prue Leith on the pleasure of a hot bath, Roy Hattersley on grooming a dog, and a huge variety of other authors on litter picking, reading aloud, playing the piano or whatever else gives pleasure to life.

The real joy of this book is not what is in it but what isn't in it.  It has spurred me on to look at the simple things which give me pleasure.   It's a long time since I wrote about the little sources of joy I find in my everyday life.

Watch this space

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Time Runs

It's a really good year for milestone birthdays and anniversaries.  I'm wholeheartedly in favour of a special celebration every ten years.  I did a "Project 60" in the run up to my last "special birthday" and, although I've still got nearly four years before the first digit of my age changes again, I've started to think about Project 70.

But this post isn't supposed to be about me.  It's about my wonderful friends who have Golden Wedding Anniversaries or Very Special Birthdays this year.  Just before I was ill I went to a wonderful ninetieth birthday party for the mother of an old school friend.  She had a whale of a time.  I didn't give her a birthday present as I knew she would be inundated with flowers but instead I told her that some time before she is 91 she will get an Unbirthday Present.  She thought it was a wonderful idea!

I made the same promise to my friend Doreen who was eighty last month.  Sadly I wasn't feeling well enough to go to her birthday bash but sometime before she's 81 she will receive a bouquet on a day when she's least expecting it.  She loves the fact that she will have flowers at an odd time of the year and I have given her the gift of anticipation.

When I was a child my family celebrated each of my birthdays with a party,  cake and a lot of special fuss but these days milestone birthdays seem to come round as quickly as each birthday did before I was a teenager.  I want to finish this post with a poem by Henry Twells, a Victorian vicar.  He knew all about how time varies her speed.

Time's Paces

When as a child I laughed and wept, 
Time Crept 
 When as a youth I waxed more bold, 
Time Strolled 
 When I became a full-grown man 
Time Ran 
 When older still I daily grew, 
Time Flew 
 Soon I shall find, in passing on, 
Time Gone 
 O Christ, wilt thou have saved me then? 

Wednesday, 7 March 2018


I think I rather underestimated how much my cold knocked me back.  I am having real difficulty in getting back to a reasonable active lifestyle.  The steps are even more babyish than I had thought they would be.

I am managing a little though.  On Monday I went to Brigg, mainly to replenish the supplies of bird food.  There seems be to very little interest in the poppy seed hearts, Niger seeds or mixed seeds which I put out but the local birds can't get enough of the mealyworms and fat with insects in it.  This sort of cheep food isn't cheap food by any means but I'm having such entertainment that I'll pay.  The winds last week meant that mealyworms blew from the table but I melted some waste fat from the kitchen and mixed the worms with that and they then stayed on the table until fetched by the birds.

The Ancholme at Brigg
Brigg was lovely as always.  It's a trundle truck users dream.  Everyone gets free parking for two hours in Brigg but there is no limit for Blue Badge holders.  Once parked I can get the TT out of the car and trundle to my heart's content as the whole shopping area is fully pedestrianised and there is a path down by the river which means I can soon be out of the town and watching birds in the countryside and on the water.
Stixwould signal box and the canal beyond
Yesterday I went to talk to my spiritual counsellor.  Henry sees his clients in a converted signalbox at an old railway station near a canal.  It's a lovely comfortable room but one of the best things about it is that the bird watching is great.  It's rather nice to be able to break off from the conversation when something interesting is happening outside.  Yesterday there were egrets visible from the signal box and I watched a moorhen who I think was prospecting for somewhere to build her nest.

I'm no twitcher but there is something very special about seeing nature going about her business.