Sunday, 8 October 2017

A Quick Update

One "thing" is conspicuous by his absence from my Blog.  The mighty Jack.

I am missing Jack's help very much.  I have been very lucky and have found someone to help me with the garden and some DIY but Jack and I have been friends for many, many years and despite what he tells you about what a dictatorial bully I am, I let him do (more or less) what he likes in the garden.  The front garden is referred to as Jack's garden!!

However, I am not missing Jack's friendship for the simple reason that I have visited the great man every few weeks.  I went this week and I can promise you that he is as cheeky as ever.  He is waiting for knee surgery but is still the same old Jack.  He and Mrs Jack now have a Shih tzu called Millie who is keeping both of them on their toes.  His own garden looks immaculate and Mrs Jack keeps him in order as well.  They enjoy their caravan at Mablethorpe and they have a son and a daughter as well as three grandchildren to keep them busy.

In his absence I have planted three hebes in "his" garden.  He loathes hebes but I didn't know that until I had planted them.  However, he now has a very definite reason to come back and get me back in order.  

I know he will read this so - "Look after yourself, Jack.  The garden and the blog are both missing you".  

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Today is the day you meet a unicorn

Now there's lucky for you.  Unicorns are known to bring good luck so today is definitely your lucky day.  

I met this chap at the WI (Women's Institute) on Thursday.  He is wooden and was a little plain when I met him so I decorated him using pyrography (pokerwork).  It was my first shot at this craft but I was very well supervised!

I don't think I'll be doing any more so he's come on my blog to see if he can find any friends.  Any takers?

Sunday, 1 October 2017


Hopscotch was an odd one.  It was a game which adults could remember from their own childhood and so it was approved of - but not at our school!  The problem was we weren't allowed to chalk on the playground and hopscotch needs markings.  

These days most playgrounds have painted hopscotch pitches.  I found this one at the Eden Project when I was in Cornwall.  This isn't quite the same as "our" layout but there are many variations.  The idea was to throw a beanbag (or whatever!) into the first square and then hop over it and continue down the pitch and back again.  On the way back you stopped at square two, picked up the beanbag, hopped into square one and home.  You then threw the beanbag into square two and repeated the hopping, this time hopping over square two and so on.  The people awaiting their turn watched with eagle eyes and woe betide a hopper who put a toe where no toe should be or if the beanbag didn't land cleanly within its proper square as that was instantly the end of the "go".  To overbalance was the end of respectability and a cue for pitying or contemptuous remarks.

No-one stopped us from chalking on pavements so it was a good game after school.  I remember it especially in the long summer holidays.  I actually preferred playing alone as the wait for one's turn could otherwise be very long!

Thursday, 28 September 2017

One for the girls

Collecting conkers was not (to use a phrase unheard in the fifties) gender specific but playing conkers was much more a boys' thing.  
Image result for girl skipping fifties

Skipping was for the girls. Every girl had a rope, either a fancy one with painted wooden handles or more likely a piece of worn out washing line.   We would skip on our own at home but in the playground it was generally a group thing.  We had loads of skipping rhymes.  They had to be short so no-one would have to wait too long for their turn.  One of my favourites was

Mary drank some marmalade
Mary drank some pop
Mary drank some other things
That made her stomach flop.
Whoops went the marmalade!
Whoops went the pop!
Whoops went the other things
That made her stomach flop!

That one was accompanied by an enthusiastic pretence at throwing up.

Being the rope turner was never popular so it became a sort of forfeit if you "missed a link" or made any other mistake.

Skipping ropes also made the walk home more fun too.  We would all run home turning our ropes as we ran.  Happy days

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Season of , , , ?

September (and maybe even more October) is a great time for musing and remembering.  The nights are drawing in and although I no longer have a real fire I do sometimes light candles and the gentle light is more conducive for looking into the past than trying to organise the present.

September was back to school.  I loved school - well until I was about seventeen then I wasn't so keen.  Primary school was wonderful, lessons were exciting, learning came naturally.

Apart from lessons though there was playtime and at this time of the year conkers were the game of choice.  I've been told that conkers aren't looked on with quite the same favour now as they were in my childhood but the fifties were a great time to be a kid.  I was never much good at playing conkers but I loved collecting them.  Those wonderful shiny "nuts" ready to be prised out of their spiny coating.  They were just the right size for keeping in your pocket or clutching in your hand.  Mention that something is chestnut coloured and it's conkers (horse chestnuts) rather than sweet chestnuts which come into my mind.

Everybody had their own theories about the best way to harden a conker.  Some soaked them in vinegar, others burnished them with shoe polish.  We had a Rayburn in the kitchen and Mother would put my offerings in the slow bottom oven.

I've really enjoyed writing this post.  I shall have a smile on my face all day!

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Mooc-ing around

I love Moocs!   Moocs are Massive Open Online Courses and you can find them at Futurelearn and Coursera.  They are free courses offered by top universities all over the world.  There's no written work just discussion forums to allow participants to engage with each other on line.  

I've done several including
You and your money - offered by the Open University
Strategies for successful aging offered by Trinity College Dublin
Exploring anatomy offered by the University of Leeds
Researching your family tree, offered by the University of Strathclyde
Maths puzzles offered by the Weizman Institute
and quite a lot more.

Not all are on offer at the same time so you need to check regularly.

Today I have started a course about the weather.  It's being offered by the University of Exeter and I'm not sure if it's offered internationally although most Futurelearn courses are  but the examples in this one seem to be all British. It promises to teach about the weather with regard to walkers, photographers and gardeners so it should prove interesting and IT'S FREE!!!

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Treasure hunting

Many years ago, when I was still training for the ministry, one of my teachers said something like, "God has given the church a huge treasure to care for but he hasn't entrusted the whole of his treasure to any one part of his church,  Each part needs to look at the others to see more and more of his treasure."

When I retired I decided that I wanted to go treasure hunting: I wanted to look beyond my own denomination, to worship with other Christians.  I didn't want to go to special services but to ordinary Sunday worship.  

For a long time that couldn't happen.  God still wanted me for proclaiming the good news as a leader,  However, when the congregations where I had been leading worship got their own vicar I  again looked forward to treasure hunting.

And today I was able to worship with our local independent church.  I have many friends there (they have wonderful Ladies Lunches!) so I was made most welcome.  There I enjoyed the vigour of the worship and the informality of the atmosphere.  Today was cafe church so I also enjoyed a generous slice of carrot cake!  

And I came away feeling refreshed and thankful again that God has given his church such a rich treasure.