Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A Happy find

A few months ago I dug up this piece of fabric from my stash.  It was part of a job lot of ten separate yards of fabric which I won on eBay a while back.  The whole ten yards came to £9 plus postage and anyone who does patchwork will tell you that is a bargain.


But the trouble is that it is only a bargain of you actually use it!  It had been sitting in my stash for probably two years.  And yet it is so pretty.

So I decided that some of it should become Easter cards.  I found some suitable blank cards again from my shameful stash and hey ho!  Voila!  I don't think you can see on the photograph but I have quilted round the flower with a metallic thread.


And I have decided to try English paper piecing some of the rest of the fabric to make some cushion covers.   I'll explain what English paper piecing is when I get started but for the moment let it suffice to say that it is the sort of patchwork I remember my mother doing when I was a little girl.  It is portable so I will be able to take it with me on days out.

But for the moment my joy is that two ladies in America have already received these cards and the rest (for UK recipients) are in the post tonight.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Brocklesby

It's not often I go to Brocklesby.  Apart from Carol Services, Harvest Festivals and the like the only services at Brocklesby are on the fifth Sunday of any month.  It stands in the grounds of Brocklesby Hall and it is a glorious church.

Opposite the stall where I sit for much of the service is this fantastic tomb.  It belongs to Sir William Pelham who died in 1629.  There he lies with his wife and fourteen of their children as well as three more who died in infancy.

Behind the priest's stall is another fine tomb, this one dating back to Elizabethan times.  The Sir William Pelham with a more modest sized family!

 Today the thoughts of the congregation were on another death as we first heard about Jesus's entry on a donkey on Palm Sunday, and then read a dramatised version of the Passion in which everyone took part.

Christ had only a humble tomb, and a borrowed one at that.  Both the Tudor and the Stuart Sir Williams are still tucked in their grand tombs.  Today we started on that special annual remembrance that no tomb could imprison Christ for ever

Saturday, 28 March 2015

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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Living in a parallel universe

I seem to be living in a parallel universe as far as money is concerned


When I was younger money was money was money.  It all seemed so simple.  I had my salary paid into the bank each month and then I spent most of it.  I chose what to buy.   I got a bit of “divi” if I shopped at the co-op or a few Green Shield stamps (anybody else remember those?) on petrol but that was about it.


Then marketing became so much more sophisticated and businesses wanted to know a lot more about how I spend my money so they give me a loyalty card which was scanned at the till when I paid for whatever I was buying.  It might be called a Clubcard, an Advantage Card or some other such thing but basically I was offered a small percentage back in return for information about how I spend my money.   I could then spend that in the same store. 


Then it became even more complicated.  I could get more than the face value of those loyalty points by exchanging them for specified goods which might be from the same store or not.  And I could collect loyalty points from other companies and add them onto my basic loyalty card. 
Today I have felt that I am indeed living in a financial parallel universe.  This morning I spent some considerable time sorting out a vegetable plant order from Thompson and Morgan to be paid for using Tesco vouchers.  And this evening I have been sorting things on my energy account (Eon) so that I get Tesco points on gas and electricity.  (I hasten to add that I check the prices of utilities regularly and the points do not form part of my calculations.)  

It would appear that this year my runner beans will be running on electricity.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Nineteenth Century Trundle Truck

My trundle truck is great!  It takes me places I would otherwise miss out on.  Today it took me to Normanby Park.  











While I was at Normanby I saw this wonderful donkey Bath chair which was made some time around 1860.

Bath chairs (named after the City of Bath) were nineteenth century invalid carriages allowing a disabled or sick person to be trundled around either pushed by a servant or, as in this case pulled by an animal.

My trundle truck is much more convenient - but it would be fun to have a donkey to look after me!

Friday, 20 March 2015

Cards for the Spring



I went to see Mandy aka Dunholme Crafter today http://dunholmecrafter.blogspot.co.uk/  Mandy is wonderful.  She let's us play with her lovely crafty toys and we come away with lovely crafty cards.  Here are today's creations.









Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Mother

My mum was a great reciter of poems.  On Sunday mornings while she was preparing lunch I never tired of hearing “The Owl and the Pussycat” and it’s still one of my favourite poems.  Auntie Hettie remembers going to bed as a child in the house I described as my Grandparents’ house and Mother (who was eight years older than her) sitting at her bedside and reciting "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes.  Journeys in the car were often enlivened by “Abou ben Adhem (may his tribe increase)” by Leigh Hunt.
Don't you just love those socks!

I received my love of words from my Mother.  She was quite a clever woman.  She went to Grammar School when she was only ten, having passed the Scholarship exam as it was then called, a whole year early.  She loved her time at Grammar School but once that was over she had to go out to work (no money for the further education of girls) and she became a clerk in the Civil Service.  In those days women had to resign from the Civil Service on marriage but a year later she was back at work as women were needed to release men to join the forces.  She finally gave up paid employment in 1943 when expecting my sister.

The rest of her life was spent being a homemaker and I think that at times she may have found that frustrating.  She wanted to train as a teacher but decided against it as my father had a very demanding job and needed her whole hearted support.

But she inspired me.  I think she would have made a pretty fair teacher and I want to finish with a poem she taught me to help me remember our Kings and Queens.  I’ve found five different versions of it on the web!

Willy Willy Harry Stee, 
Harry Dick John Harry three;
One two three Neds Richard two, 
Harry's Four Five Six then who? 
Edward's four five, Dick the bad, 
Harries (twain) Ned six (the lad); 
Mary Bessie James you ken, 
Then Charlie Charlie James again 
Will and Mary Anna Gloria 
Georges four Will four Victoria 
Edward seven next and then 
Came George the fifth in nineteen ten 
Ned the eigth soon abdicated 
Then George six was coronated 
After which Elizabeth 
And thats all folks until her death




Sunday, 15 March 2015

Mothering Sunday

Many years ago I went to church on Mothering Sunday.  (Note for non UK readers - we celebrate Mothering Sunday or Mothers' Day on the fourth Sunday in Lent.) I was at the time in my early thirties.  It was a lively church with a lot of families and the Mothers' Union used to make small posies for the children to give to their mothers.  At the end of the service the children would go to the front of the church and fetch a posy then go give said posy to their mum.  All very lovely.

Anyway, as always the Mothers' Union had made way too many posies so during the last hymn the vicar brought the remainder down from the altar and started to hand them out to the women, a joyful thing to do.  I took mine with a smile and a thank you and carried on singing All Things Bright and Beautiful with my customary enthusiasm.

But then the vicar came back to me, took the posy and said, "You're not a mother" and handed "my" posy to a more worthy recipient.  There was a gasp from others around me but the vicar, poor man, was deaf and he just carried on unaware of his gaffe.  I think it was probably forcibly pointed out to him afterwards by others!

Being childless has never been more than a passing sadness to me.  I've never known the great grief it is to women who have longed for children and been unable to conceive or to give birth to a healthy, living child.  I have never known the anguish of attending my own child's funeral.  I have never spent long, sleepless weeping nights worrying about a runaway offspring.

Yes, I know that I have never known worry and sleepless nights when my child is ill or frightened.  I have never had to sacrifice my own desires for the well-being of a son or daughter.  I was well mothered myself and I had a secure childhood and for that I am eternally grateful.

But in any church where I am officiating there will always be flowers for everyone,  women and if there are enough flowers, men as well (dads do a lot more hands-on parenting these days!) and there will always be prayers for women who, for whatever reason, find Mothering Sunday painful.


Friday, 13 March 2015

A small town in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire has a reputation for being very flat but I live on the Lincolnshire Wolds.  People have liked living here since the Romans set up their camp many hundreds of years ago but the heart of the present town is Georgian.  There are lots of lovely elegant Georgian and Victorian houses here. 


The Church of  St Peter and St Paul, Caistor
But before George 1 came to the throne or Victoria was even thought about, two public buildings were erected in Caistor which remain to this day. 

The first was the parish church which has an Anglo Saxon tower so it’s no Johnny-come-lately.  It’s not always snowy in Caistor but my cousin took this lovely photo.  Soon the church will be surrounded by lovely daffodils.

Just across the close from the church is the Grammar School  which dates from 1631.  Most of the buildings are rather more modern than this!  One of the school’s claims to fame is that Jordan Duckitt, one of the youth ambassadors who lit the Olympic flame in 2012 was a pupil here at the time.


And even more important – my mum was a pupil there long before that!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

A promise of loveliness to come


Today is glorious.  The forecast for the next few days isn’t glorious.  So, despite the stack of things waiting to be done, I went to Normanby Park.

I think the world and his wife was there.  Grandparents with excited children, photographers doing photo shoots, health walkers, dog walkers and me.  And everyone had a smile.  There is a real feeling that splendid things are around the corner.

Daffodils

Primroses

Hellebores

Pulmonaria
Daffodils and primroses, hellebores and pulmomaria are all showing their beauty.



Currants and gooseberries will soon be in leaf and the peach case is full of blossom.

Gooseberries

Currants
Peach case
Peach blossom
And even this splendid fellow seemed to be screeching at the top of his voice

SPRING IS ON ITS WAY!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Auntie Hettie

Throughout my childhood Auntie Hettie was always around.  She was my mother’s younger sister and she was always such fun to be with.  She was an infant school teacher and she just loved children.  She would take us to the seaside and she would take us to see Father Christmas.  Whatever was going on which was fun, Auntie Hettie was right there in it.

She didn’t marry until she was in her mid-thirties and then she had two children, Carrie and Garry.  Sadly she was widowed in her fifties and she missed her husband dreadfully.  However, she is a feisty lady so once again she built a new life for herself.  A few years ago  Carrie moved back in with her so Auntie Hettie has been able to stay in her own home.

And next month Auntie Hettie will be ninety.  What a day that will be!  She doesn’t read my blog so I can let you in on a small secret – there will be a party!  Carrie, Garry and I have seen to that.


And I now have the best excuse out to search though all my old photos and memorabilia to find everything I can about the life and times of Auntie Hettie.  What fun!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Trefoil Guild

I loved being a Brownie!  I was a keen Girl Guide and became a Queen’s Guide.  After that it was Rangers and finally I became a Guider (Guide Leader).  And I found it all wonderful.  
That's me on the left!

I enjoyed the games, the badges, the fun.  I relished the idea of being part of something.  When I became a leader I had a clear sense of giving something back.

But then I moved house, went to a new Guide county and although I tried to carry on, it just wasn’t the same and I gave the whole thing up.  That was thirty years ago.  (The picture was over fifty years ago!)


But now I’ve made contact with Guiding again, this time with the Trefoil Guild and I’m hoping that again I will delight in this aspect of my life.  Today I was at a small meeting at which we made some tote bags, next month a member will share some Thai cooking.  It feels good.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Croxton

Today I went to Croxton.  That makes me very unusual!  Not many people go to Croxton.  Even fewer live there.  In 2011 (the last census) 36 people lived there.

Croxton Church from the south
People do pass through Croxton but they don't realise it because it's a blink-and-you've-missed-it sort of place.  It's a couple of miles from Humberside International Airport and I'll bet you didn't realise that Humberside had an international airport!

Croxton Church from the north
Anyway, I digress.  Croxton has one of those lovely little churches which hide in most English villages.  And no-one from Croxton goes to it!  However, a lot of people from other places do go there as Croxton still has the old traditional service, so I'm not on my own.  


I feel immensely privileged that even in retirement I can lead the worship of God.
Yes, the wobbly picture is the one taken by me

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Kindness

As I have said on this blog before I am a bit short on close family as I have just one nephew and he lives in Belgium.  He and his wife are great but there is the North Sea between us.   There is no-one from whom I have any right to expect anything but being “mobility challenged” I have need of a lot.


And I receive so much kindness.  I have dear cousins, all who lead busy lives, and yet they come as soon as I call.  They’ve shovelled snow, fetched parcels from the post office, erected my Christmas tree and got me off the ground when I have fallen over.

I have wonderful friends who take me to places I couldn’t otherwise go to, change lightbulbs (I’m not safe on ladders), get stuff down from the loft, and are ready to do so much more if I will let them but I like to do as much as possible for myself.

The wonderful Jack (my gardener and friend) cleans both my car and the windows, has taken me for hospital appointments, fetched garden supplies and made my life easier.

And this week I have received extra kindness while I was away.  I went to a Days Inn (a budget hotel chain for those who don’t know) but the staff couldn’t have been more helpful.  I even managed to set off the disability alarm in my room by mistake but they were great.  Bags were carried, doors open, assistance given with my mobility scooter.  A letter to the manager is on its way!


Tennessee Williams in “A Streetcar Named Desire” gives Blanche the line, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers".  I depend on the kindness of all around me and almost always find it.  How about you?

Friday, 6 March 2015

Treated to lunch by a Teddy Bear

I’m really sorry that I haven’t been posting this week.  It’s not that I haven’t done things – quite the opposite.
Bobo The Magnificent

On Monday I took Bobo home and was rewarded by a joyful reunion between him and Alice, his human.  They had been apart for getting on for a year and they had a lot of news to catch up on.  Alice has become a granny whilst he was away!  After a while Bobo suggested very politely that he’d like a little time to himself to get used to being back home so he suggested that Alice and I should go out for lunch – his treat – so we went out and continued talking well into the afternoon.

On Tuesday I went to visit a cousin who is moving to France in the next few weeks.  I would find it both difficult and expensive to visit her once she has moved so this visit was very important to both of us.  Isn’t it amazing – the muscles in our tongues never seem to get tired no matter how much we talk!

Wednesday was Leicester.  I lived there for several years so have quite a few friends there but I was visiting one old friend who sadly has Parkinson’s disease and is finding life trying.  I stayed for an hour but didn’t want to overwhelm her.  I took a small album of photos of my home which I had made for her.  She’s never been here and is now unlikely to do so, so this seemed to go down well.  After that a visit to Leicester market, always a treat.  It’s the best market I know of and I bought some lovely fabric.

And then home.  It had been a delightful short break but home is wonderful!  I was shattered but yesterday I conducted a funeral and I’m catching up with everything.

Not the most exciting post I’ve ever written but I need to get blogging again!



Sunday, 1 March 2015

Bobo is going home

Long time readers of this blog may remember Bobo the Bear.  He usually lives with my friend Alice but for nearly a year he has been staying with me.

Bobo before
I first introduced him to you back in July.     He was in a very sorry state.  The trouble was that he had been loved too much and as a result his face had been loved flat and his eyes, mouth and most of his nose had disappeared.  One arm was falling off, one foot had disappeared and the other was in a precarious state.  The loving had been a little inconsistent as at some time someone had chopped off his head and it had been very crudely reattached using blue thread.
Bobo now


Over the last few months I have, with great difficulty, made him clothes (click on the Bobo label on the side bar and your will find the complications involved) and have given him a prosthetic foot.


Tomorrow I am visiting Alice and will be taking Bobo back home.