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Friday, 30 December 2016

How was it for me?

Not a bad year!  I don't think I've done much but I've had a great time doing it!

 The garden was beautiful.  Thank you, Jack!

I had a lovely break in Brugge.  Thank you, my dear nephew and your wife.

I made some gorgeous cards.  Thank you, Mandy.

And through this blog I've made and maintained some lovely friendships.  Thank you, one and all.

Have a great 2017.  

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Home alone

Just before Christmas I can single-handedly raise the stress levels of an awful lot of people.  Now let’s be clear on this, they are nice, kind loving people, but there’s an awful lot of them.

I am one of the most blessed people alive.  I get an incredible number of invitations to go to other people’s homes on Christmas Day.  Cousins, friends, church members, fellow church leaders, all invite me to join them but I just won’t budge.  I prefer to be home alone.

Christmas is a very special day.  It starts like a Sunday morning here.  I get up and have a leisurely cup of coffee whilst I check in with the Almighty, then I dress and it’s off to church.  I think I’d be missed if I didn’t go as I’m the gal who leads the service and Christmas is one of those days when I feel more than usually blessed to be able to do so.  The congregation is extra happy and I get a generous number of hugs and often gifts of wine or baked gifts.  Yummy. 

On the way home I call to see Auntie Hettie (who has just been to chapel) and I have a coffee and a natter there but from then on it’s a solitary day. 

I come home and maybe unwrap a present before I go for a snooze but it’s a day for pleasing myself.  When I get up I gradually open my presents but take time to enjoy each one, especially the homemade ones.  My meal can be at any time (this year it was in the evening) and can be anything.  This year I had a turkey roast with pigs in blankets, stuffing balls, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, spinach, bread sauce and gravy with some rather nice cranberry sauce which had arrived in my stocking.  I decided to keep the pud for another day.  During the day I listen to the radio or an audiobook, watch TV, read or do puzzles.

And I am truly blessed.  I know that if I changed my mind and wanted company I could go to any number of houses and a place would quickly be prepared for me at the table.  I am blessed in that everyone who invites me would truly make me welcome but respects my desire to stay at home.

In all I am blessed for the love which Christ showed in coming to earth is shown in my family and circle of friends.  I hope that you too have been blessed this Christmas.

Monday, 26 December 2016

It wouldn't be Christmas without a post from Jack!

Hi Everyone

I’m back from Malta with a nice tan and it’s got round to that time of the year again – Christmas.  Christmas isn’t a good time for me.  My mum died around this time nineteen years ago.  Also in December 63 years ago the good Lord called my sister to join him.  She was only fifteen years old and it devastated my parents.  Christmas wasn’t the same after that.  I like to spend time on my own and I get rather emotional as well, but I am getting better.  This year I am wearing Christmas jumpers so I think at last I am getting better.

On arrival at my friend’s house I could sense something was wrong.  We had a chat over a cup of tea.  It turned out she was a bit out of sorts and so tired.  Vicars have a hard time of it this time of year but I hope my visit cheered her up.

I put up the outside tree and planted some plants I’d got her for Christmas then did a few more bits and bobs outside and then while she had a rest I did my bit on the kitchen.  After about an hour and a quarter the kitchen was sparkling clean including the floor.  Then I assembled an oil heater so she can sit in the conservatory.  Next I hoovered through the house.  Then after I’d sorted the sitting room I got two more Christmas trees out of the garage, put them into position, and brought in the decorations for her to trim the tree but before that DINNER!!!  Today’s menu was baked spuds with sweetcorn and grated cheese with butter on as well.  I hope I’m not making your mouth water!  Surprise, surprise – no mistakes today.

She knew I had to go before 2pm as my wife was going to see “Frozen on Ice” as part of her Christmas present from our daughter so I just daren’t be late.  My eldest granddaughter Louise, who also helps my friend when I am in Malta, was driving them all to the show and they were taking my younger granddaughter too.  Due to circumstances we didn’t meet this granddaughter until she was 2½ years old.  She was very shy at first but soon she would meet me before I got out of my car, grab my hand and take me up and down the street telling everybody, “Look, I’ve got a grandad!  I’ve got a grandad”.  I’m the only grandad my two granddaughters have.  It is   such a great feeling to be held in such high esteem. 

Christmas is all about giving – well someone on my family is going to be very happy.  It’s nothing to do with money and it’s nothing edible.  You’ve all heard of the twelve days of Christmas?   I’m going to write twelve words on a card to someone and I know they will be so happy when they see it. 

Rambler, I hope you get your knee done. I think I am heading down that path as well.  The doc has said that am too young (at nearly 74!) to have it done.  Good luck with yours.

To all the good folk who follow this blog (and I mean you as well, Vicar) I hope you all have a happy Christmas and a great 2017.

To everyone wherever you are, whatever you do, wherever you go, may the good Lord be at your side always.

My best wishes, Jack

PS, see you in the New Year, Vicar, and thanks very much for everything.

Jack came just before Christmas and sent this post soon after so I'm a bit late posting it.  Sorry, Jack but I hope Christmas was good for you too.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Stable times

I love Nativity sets and I love chocolate-free Advent Calendars.  When I see the two combined I'm a lost cause.

Early in the year I saw some lovely sets and I bought them for lots of children and one very big child.  Me.  Each day I can open a new window and find another piece towards my stable.  Day 1 was the stable itself but since then I've found two trees and a sheep.  

Thursday, 1 December 2016


Bible SocietyI love Advent!  I love this period of waiting for Christmas.  I'm old enough to take the commercialism with a shovelful of salt and enjoy quite a lot of the razzamatazz without being bothered by it.  Advent is a time of reflection and thinking, thinking about the birth of Christ but also of the people whom he came to save.  I have known and loved many people throughout my life and I have in my turn been loved and I thank God.

I was delighted to find that The Bible Society has devised an Advent Challenge for us all to join in.  Today's challenge is centered on the story which we know as the Good Samaritan.  There are three actions to choose from. 

Talk to, or give some food to, someone sleeping rough
Help a stranger pack their shopping or load it into their car
Offer to shop for someone who can’t get out.

I don't think there is anyone sleeping rough in Caistor, I'm the person for whom others offer to shop and I doubt if anyone would be too happy at the thought of a lady on a mobility scooter packing their car so at first glance I feel a bit limited on this one.  However, I shall sort out some tins for the food bank and I shall make sure I include a couple of cans of salmon,  Many years ago I delivered a food parcel to an elderly lady and included a small Christmas cake and an even smaller home-made Christmas pudding but it was the tin of salmon which excited her most.  That would be a treat for some time in the future when the offers of special Christmas meals had come to an end and January and February could seem a little joyless.  Thank you, Edna, for teaching me that.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Cheering Pudsey

Move over, Paddington.  Pudsey is top of the pops this week.  He's on a 470 mile rickshaw trip from Jedburgh to London.  

UK readers know exactly what I'm talking about.  Pudsey is the figurehead of Children in Need, the BBC's annual campaign to raise money for (surprise, surprise) children in need.  Some is spent in the UK, some overseas but since 1980 it has raised £600 million through its annual campaign.  For several years now Pudsey has been transported around the country courtesy of young cyclists who have themselves been helped by the charity and who cycle power the rickshaw as others collect from the crowd.  The "Grand Finale" will be on Friday with a telethon when the money rolls in.

Anyway, today Pudsey came to Caistor and it would have been rude not to welcome him.  The town turned out in force.  

Big Pudsey came first and I have to say, he's a bit of a poser.  He had competition from a panda who is the mascot of our local running club.  Panda rarely meets a bear of his own size in Caistor so it was a treat for him.  

Soon the shout went up - the rickshaw was on its way!  A young lad called Ross was powering the bike while little Pudsey reclined in the back.    There's an incredibly large support crew but Ross was the star in Caistor.  He got loudly cheered (we'd been primed as to his name)  but all too soon the circus moved on, the crowd dispersed and this resident came home glad she'd sat in the cold and cheered.  

Friday, 4 November 2016


It's not often I get a letter with this on the back nowadays.

Even then it's not often I would share the contents of such an envelope on this blog.

But it was a letter from Jack and he wants to communicate with all of you.  So "SWALK" may be for me, but it's just to sweet-talk me so he can get onto my blog.

Hi Everyone!
Yesterday I went to one of my favourite places!  Yes, it was to see the vicar.  I was later than usual because I had been for an eye test.  I was amazed to be told that my eyes hadn't changed in my last three visits - what good news!  Anyway, as usual a Haddon Hall pot of tea was on the tray and as we drank plans were made for the day.

It was decided that I would go to see Auntie Hettie first as the vicar had guests coming around 10.30 so off I went.  I would be back for dinner.  Auntie Hettie hadn't been too well  for a day or two but she perked up when I went into her room to say hello.  I always take Hettie a book to look at.  The one today was about old country cottages which I know she will enjoy.  Carrie, her daughter (who looks after her mum) told me what needed doing.  To look after someone full time takes a lot of doing so a big well done to Carrie and all other carers doing the same thing. I take my hat off to you.

I've been doing the garden for them for a few months now.  I've already made a patio where Hettie can sit when she is well enough.  I fixed the garage door so Carrie can open it unaided.  We put her guinea pig cages in it for the winter and then, after pruning the roses, it was a cuppa in the kitchen for me.

The garden is very large so I will be going for a while yet.  It's near a small road and lots of people walk by and I have a lot of banter with them when they are  passing.  Dinner time was approaching so I went back to the vicar's.

Just before dinner I started to take out a shrub in "my" part of the garden.  It had outstayed its welcome!  What a hard job it was!  It had got around an old tree stump with its roots entangled in it.  I lost a lot of sweat doing this before I was shouted in for dinner.  We had gammon, baked potato, broad beans, carrots, sweet corn, broccoli and (best of all) onion sauce which she had made.  Just one thing spoilt it - my first bite into the broccoli just about broke my teeth.  I didn't like to tell her it was frozen so I said it was a little cold.  Dinner wouldn't be the same if everything was perfect.

After emptying the fountain, digging out the rest of the shrub, planting some hyacinths, moving some boxes into the kitchen, moving the hanging basket stand and the bird table, and moving some of the many pots and tubs with flowers in so the vicar could admire them from the house during the winter it was 3.30pm, time I was going home to my wife who is suffering with her back at the moment.

I must tell you all before the vicar does - I am going to Malta for a month to get some sunshine.  I'll still be thinking of you all.

Rambler Hope your mojo is back.  we've now got a shi tzu - she's a bundle of joy.

Mamas Mercantile   Thank you for your kind words.  I'm often around Mablethorpe and Skeggy so watch out for me.

Sam  Good luck with your hockey team.

For everyone  Remember "A friend is one of the nicest things you can have and one of the loveiest things you can be."  


Sunday, 23 October 2016

No more locusts

The reading in church this morning was one of my favourite passages from the Old Testament.  It's from the Book of Joel and it includes the promise, "I will restore to you the years which the locust has eaten"

Seven years ago I took early retirement because of ill health.  I had loved my job but two years of caring for my mum (she had to cope with the amputation of a leg and then the gradual loss of her health leading eventually to dementia and death) had taken their toll on me and I was more than stressed out and no longer coping.  Early retirement was both a relief and a devastation.  I felt, as they say, that I was on the scrap heap with little more to give.

The first couple of years of retirement weren't easy either.  My sister (whom I'd cared for through cancer ten years earlier) became terminally ill so once again I became a carer.  Early retirement was a time of very limited income as only about half my pensions were payable at that time.  

Gradually things improved.  My income is now comfortable.  My home is a peaceful place where I can relax.  I'm no longer "the vicar" but I have a regular congregation whom I love and which appreciates me.

And today I am sixty five, the age at which I would have expected to retire anyway.  I cannot remember ever being happier than I am now.  The locusts munch no more.

God is indeed good

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Have a go at making cards!

I love making cards!  Christmas is a wonderful time for me and I've already got my cards made for this year but I was asked to lead a small group at our local Trefoil Guild so that they too could have a go.  I decided that I would make some cards using minimum of specialised kit and a maximum of stuff that people might have already.  
Surround the aperture with double sided tape
I explained about dividing A4 card (I suggest using 200gsm to 300gsm for those who like to know these things) but for aperture cards it's easier to buy blanks.  Anyway, here are my notes for my first couple of cards.  
Open the card out and on the inside frame the shape with double sided sticky tape.    Lay your first ribbon or piece of lace across the card making sure it sticks to the tape at both ends.  Carry on laying pieces of ribbon working out from the middle.  It's OK to overlap but NO GAPS!  When you have covered all the aperture turn the card over to admire your work.

Now put a row of double sided tape all around the middle section of the card but before you peel off the tape backing check which way the card will need to be folded.  When you are sure, peel off the tape back and stick the card together.  (I realise I have laboured this point but I have come to grief before today!)  As you can see the lace which I put in first is top of the heap.

If you are an accomplished card maker chances are you have stamps or dies or some other clever way of adding a greeting.  Maybe you have wonderful handwriting.  For lesser mortals like myself peel offs are a wonderful invention and usually cost well under £1 per sheet.  They can be stuck over blemishes and as far as I am concerned that makes them brilliant value.  The easiest way to apply a peel off greeting is to lift it from the sheet using a piece of masking tape from which most of the tackiness has been removed by sticking it to your arm or tee shirt.  Press it firmly to the greeting and lift carefully.  Still on the tape put it carefully on to the card and then peel away the tape.  I've added a few stars (without using tape) to cover the marks on my card.  

This is a variation on the same technique.  This blank is from my stash and is very shiny.  Here I have backed the leaves with green ribbon and have used some greetings ribbon across the bauble but the red design across the bauble is made up of folded paper.  I've used tiny peel offs for the holly berries.  I didn't have any dots so I used gold stars with red middles.  I could have used tiny buttons or red sequins but I wanted to use stuff from the stash.  Coming up to Christmas there will be lots of red and green around (magazine features? wrapping paper?) so it's not necessary to buy anything specially.

Very special note for Mandy in case she reads this.  Sorry about the peel offs.  I know you hate them.

Monday, 10 October 2016

You'll never believe what my tortoise does!

I've just realised that I haven't written about my recent attempts at paper engineering so here goes.

This is an Archimedes Screw.  Unlike "real" Archimedes Screws it won't lift water as it is made of card and acetate but it will lift salt.  Very slowly and with a lot of salt not getting to the top but it will lift salt.
This Merry Go Round will indeed go around merrily.  It is wind powered the wind being supplied by blowing hard on the vanes at the top.  
But the tortoise.  Ah the tortoise.  When the handle is turned the tortoise types very slowly with one hand and scratches his head with the other.  Reminds me of someone who lives in my house.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Feeling happy

I almost headed this post feeling smug but that would be to tempt fate!  I've got all my Christmas cards made and the envelopes addressed.  

I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas cards.  I love writing each one as I remember friends, some of whom I've known for over half a century.  I try and write a little on each one, enquiring after children or grandchildren.  Many have a "do you remember?" flavour.  For my extended family I enclose a copy of an old photograph from my collection.  There are people to whom I want to say a few words of thanks for the kindness they show me and Christmas is a special time to do this, in addition to thanks after each kindness,

And then cards will be received.  These too will bring love and memories.  I no longer display all my cards but rather put them into a pretty basket to be kept near my chair.  Again and again over the Christmas period I will find a letter or a card from that basket and re-read it.  Sometimes I may even phone the sender.  E mails are great - but the sight of handwriting and the sound of a well-remembered voice is even better.

But it is a love/hate relationship which I have with Christmas cards.  Whilst I love writing each card it is the sheer volume of the whole job which is overwhelming.  The cards are now made, the envelopes addressed and the cards themselves will be written in late November.  I'm hoping I've sorted things so that the love part comes out tops!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

He came!

I hope you enjoyed reading Jack's post yesterday.  It's very unusual for him to be as polite as that about me so I've read it several times.

He had a very busy day as he started to get the garden ready for winter.  He cleared away quite a lot of summer stuff and planted the winter vegetables.  We've now got white and purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflowers, Brussels sprouts, leeks and broad beans in the raised bed.

The last of the runner beans have found their way to my freezer and the final tomatoes can ripen in the conservatory.  A few pink fir apples (potatoes) are in the bucket and I've put the remaining golden beetroot in the saucepan.  

These sweet peas are all that remain of my summer display.  If you are wondering about the bit of foil next to them I will tell you before Jack does.  It fell into the soup.  What he won't tell you is that I served it to me, not him.  He'll have to miss out on the sympathy vote this time

Monday, 19 September 2016

I'm blushing!

Jack writes.

Hi everyone, it's about time I did another post.  Time seems to fly past very quickly when you are over 70.  
A likely lad!

Most of you know I'm away at my caravan on the east coast for two weeks out of three.  When I'm at home I try to get around everyone who I help so I can keep them happy.  My good friend the vicar always likes to be first in the queue, which she should be as she's done so much and been so kind to me and all my family and if putting her first makes her happy then so be it.  Not only is she kind to me but she's kind to other people as well.  She's not only big in stature, she must have a big heart as well. Once again, Vicar, I must be going soft in the head.  I'm saying good things about you.  (She deserves it really.)

On my last  visit the whirlwind (which is me) turned into a hurricane and I did a lot of work for her and her Auntie Hettie.  At dinnertime I was rewarded with sausages, new spuds and string beans of which I got most of the string.  Her cooking is getting better - she only burnt the sausages on one side.

I'm keeping this post short but will do a longer one next time.

Chickpea, if you move to Lincolnshire I'll be your Jack: if you don't good luck and I hope you find a local Jack very soon.  Ask the Boss Upstairs for help on this one.  Same thing applies to Rambler as well.

I hope you are all enjoying the summer.  I look forward to your comments.  Be good and God bless.

Love, Jack

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Guerrilla Gardening

Some people are truly lovely. 

St Helena's Church is a charming building in the middle of a quiet Lincolnshire village and that village is rightly proud of its church.  Somebody is more than proud.  Somebody decided to make it even better.  Somebody planted a row of sunflowers.

Whoever you are "somebody" - thank you!  You put a huge smile on my face!

Friday, 16 September 2016

A Hundred Sleeps

Art deco
That's how long it is to Christmas.  

But it's 28 sleeps since I last went to Mandy to make cards so today was the day.  Just three cards.  But a very lot of talking!

The art deco background of the first one is die cut so there is interesting texture there.  The photo doesn't show the lovely sparkly papers I used either.  Shame about that.

Using sparkly pastes
The second one uses sparkly paste which is spread through a stencil. It's not one of my favourite techniques but again it produces interesting textures.
Framed poinsettias

Mandy had a lovely die which formed the frame on the third one and I wanted to have a go with it.  The background paper within the frame has "Merry Christmas" in a small font.  I then used another die to create the poinsettias.  I'm rather pleased with that one.

Thursday, 15 September 2016


I met up with Alice, an old school friend today.  Our friendship goes back fifty years and is still great.

We had a lovely chatty lunch and then a walk around Newark.  It's a delightful old town on the banks of the River Trent.  King John died there in 1216 but the castle where he died still stands overlooking the river.  The town now has the National Civil War Centre and I keep promising myself a trip there but today was too lovely to stay indoors.  The Civil War was fought 1642 to 1646 so a few more months before I get to visit can't make much difference.

Good to know that the dogs aren't ignored

There were still things to look at.  Alice and I had our giggles when we saw these notices.  

and even better to know that all those years ago the soldiers had their Brownies!

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Something blue

A few weeks ago I baptised a lovely little baby called Freddie and today when I returned from a few days away this card was waiting on the door mat.  It was from Freddie's mum thanking me for the care I take in such things and also thanking me for their wedding which I conducted four years ago.  Things like that warm my heart and make me rejoice that I am a (retired) vicar.

Seventy six years ago as this week my parents were married.  I know I've shared this photo before but I love it.  Things like that make me rejoice that I come from a loving family and had a secure childhood.

Yesterday I went to the wedding of a cousin's son.  I had to drive six hours each way to get there and I am now shattered.  However I just had to share with you this view of the bride's blue socks worn with her sparkly trainers.  Things like that just make me rejoice!!!!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Willingly to school (1)

I loved school!  I started sixty years ago this week and can still remember how excited I was.

I went to Priory Lane Infants School which was about half a mile from where I lived.  I can't remember what I wore that first day but I can remember that I couldn't get there fast enough.  We had been to put my name down a few weeks earlier and I had had a tantalising glimpse of children doing wonderful things and now I was going to be one of those privileged children.

I was in Miss Higgins class.  As we walked through the door Miss Higgins was marking registers and giving out name badges with one hand and hanging on to a screaming child with the other.  I couldn't wait to get rid of Mummy's hand and start playing with all those wonderful toys and couldn't really work out why anyone didn't want to be there.

Then half way through the morning I was given a bottle of milk and a straw.  I'd never drunk milk from a bottle before so this was another wonder of my new life.

As twelve o'clock drew near Miss Higgins and her helpers divided the children into two groups, putting one group into coats ready to go home for lunch while the rest were shepherded to the dining room for school dinner.  I was assigned to the first group and off I went. 

Mummy was very surprised to see me.  She'd ordered and paid for school dinners for me.  So together we walked back to school.  There was a bit of a flap on when we got there as somebody had done a head count and realised that they were one head short.

Can you imagine the hullabaloo there would be today if a four year old child nipped off home unnoticed?

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Hopes fulfilled

My hopes for August looked modest when I wrote them down.  Have a picnic at Normanby.  Sit on my swing and smell not just the roses but the lavender and the sweet peas.  Really only the picnic looked like any sort of activity: basically I was planning idleness!

And my hopes were richly fulfilled!  My swing is a wonderful place to sit.  I can hear the birds on nearby open land.  I can smell the flowers in my own lovely garden.  I can enjoy the tinkling water of my tiny fountain.  And as  I sit or swing I can knit or sew or prepare vegetables for the freezer.  Best of all I can just sit and think.  

By the end of this month periods sitting on the swing will be short as autumn takes hold.  My sweet peas are already a thing of the past and soon Jack will be pulling out the summer annuals and planting pansies and wallflowers ready for the winter.  

And I will be spending my time indoors, still knitting and sewing, still thinking but now enjoying audiobooks rather than birdsong.  I've ordered a new chair for myself and it will get well used.

My hopes for September?  Well, I'm off to South Wales for a family wedding and I may just meander back visiting a few friends on the way.  I need to crack on with making Christmas cards and also get a wriggle on as far as presents are concerned.  

No hurry though.  A woman who doesn't get around to thinking about a new month until the third day of that month can never be said to be in a hurry!

Friday, 2 September 2016

Three wheels on my wagon

Well, life is never dull.

Our local vicar is on his hols at the moment so yours truly volunteered to take the midweek communion last night.  I decided to go really early to give myself time to admire various gardens on the way.  It was a lovely warm evening and I was really enjoying the ride.

Until there was a thump.  And a grating noise.  And one of the front wheels of my trundle truck went off down the hill leaving me and the rest of the truck to watch it.

Don't worry, I was more surprised than hurt.  Someone was walking by and she helped me to get it out of everyone's way.  Someone else went to a nearby house and asked the very kind gentleman to help.  He took me home and I fetched my car which has a ramp so I could get the TT in without too much difficulty.

And I still got to church on time!

P S New scooter arriving Tuesday.  

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Ah! Life is sweet!

My favourite recliner chair is now working properly.

My garden is free of weeds.

I have a bucket of newly dug potatoes.

The garden chair I bought three weeks ago is now assembled (and very nice),

The runner beans are in the freezer.

The vegetable bed is ready for winter planting.

Just in case you hadn't guessed - Jack's been.

Monday, 29 August 2016

One of my favourite guests

I do like entertaining!  Opening my home to others is an enormous pleasure.  One of my favourite guests has been this last weekend and another is coming tomorrow.

My weekend guest was my little friend Jeanie, a sweet little girl of nine.  She's absolutely no bother.  She brings her own meals packed up and even brings a bed when she comes for a sleepover.  We rather enjoy having a cuddle in my chair and she has a little of her chocolate as a special treat.

Tomorrow's guest is male and considerably more gifted in years.  He's not here for a sleepover and we won't be having a cuddle.   He'll have me running around like crazy and the visit will be anything but restful.  Still, I think Jack will enjoy the sausages and the vegetables from the garden.

And each in their own way will be a very special guest

Friday, 19 August 2016

The third Friday in the month

Once a month I go to Mandy's to make cards.  It's always a great morning out.  Mandy teaches us to make some wonderful cards and it's a good natter time.

I thought this card was rather good and when the two front flaps are opened it would be good for writing one of those short notes which can make such a difference.  
This one  also has an unusually shaped front made by folding back part of the card blank.

Something completely different here.  Lots of broken lines - a lacy edge to the die-cut orange frame and flowers and leaves which overflow the frame.  (Note the plate of biscuits in the background - essential for card making.  Honest.)

And finally my favourite of the four.  This was the most complicated to make.  The aperture was die-cut into the card and die-cut lattice work stuck behind it.  Some very shiny silver card is behind that.  The poinsettias are built up from several layers of die cutting and the greeting is also die cut.  Very lovely but very time consuming.  But it did mean I consumed only one biscuit.  Honest.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Disgraceful behaviour

Four years ago I behaved in a way that I never thought I would.  I booed at a sporting event.

Let me explain. 

Four years ago I won a pair of tickets to watch a session at the Olympics.  In my case it was an early round of badminton, a sport about which I knew next to nothing but it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the Olympics so I boned up and went to London expecting a good evening’s sport.  When we got to Wembley Arena we found the tickets I had won were front row courtside seats.  Brilliant.  We settled down and as always when top sportsmen and women are playing, the matches were exciting.

But soon the atmosphere changed.  There was anger in the air.  The Chinese and South Korean women’s doubles pairs were on court and playing so badly that even I, walking stick in hand, could have taken them on.  Neither pair wanted to win as that would have disadvantaged them in the next round.  The same thing happened with the match between the South Korean and Indonesian pairs.

The crowd (including me) reacted.  The referee came on.  All four pairs were eventually disqualified.  Their behaviour was detrimental to both the Olympics and badminton.

I think the Olympics are great.  I hope that everyone competing and watching in Rio is having a great time, and that the Olympic ideal of sportsmanship is honoured.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Kindness appreciated

For me one of the worst things about disability is the realisation (or the fear) that sometimes other people feel they can't do what they want to do because I would be excluded.  I often make excuses rather than join in something when there is a possibility that I will hold others back. 

Last week however, I got a pressing invitation to join with a Trefoil Guild walk and I am really glad that I allowed myself to be persuaded.  It was along the river bank near Brigg and I enjoyed it so much that I went back a couple of days later and did the "walk" again.

Isn't it wonderful how many really good projects have been funded with National Lottery money!  This project is the redevelopment of an abandoned canal-side path and will eventually be fourteen miles long.  We just went a couple of miles.

Part of the river is canalised and it was fascinating to see the twenty first century motorway thundering over the eighteenth century canal.

It's a wonderful leisure facility with luxury small craft on the water and dog walkers and runners on the path with both able to enjoy the wildflowers.
 And just for once I wasn't the only trundle truck user!
That's not me!!!!

Thursday, 11 August 2016


It seems a long time since I wrote about my family but during this last week I've been to the baptism of a cousin's grandchild and the funeral of another cousin's wife so my family has been in my thoughts quite a bit lately.

I've written very little about my Father's family and I know far less about them than I do about my Mother's people.  Oh I know names, dates of birth, spouses and all that, but that's not what knowing people is about.  I know so little of what they dreamed, what they were proud of, how they saw life.  I have no aunts or uncles left from that family so I shall never really know.

Father was the eldest of eight , born just over a year after his parents married.  Three more siblings appeared within four years and then Grandma took a little more time over having the other four!  My grandfather was an electrician on the local steelworks which would have brought in a steady wage rather than a large one, but  I think Grandma must have been a good manager as the family seems to have been secure and happy.  This is the only photograph that I have of all eight children with their parents.

I was one of twenty grandchildren in that side of my family!  Only thirteen of us still remain. I must talk to the other twelve about their hopes and dreams.  I've started to organise a family picnic for next year.  Watch this space!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

There's glory for you!

At the moment I'm trying to keep the car mileage down but yesterday morning was glorious so off I went to Normanby.  I almost didn't get there because a beautiful deer ran across my path but fortunately she made it across the road and I drove quite a bit slower for a while.

Then when I got to Normanby I saw this glorious sight.  I do feel privileged when I see deer this close.  They are such beautiful creatures!  Stags can look a bit fierce but the hinds look so gentle and vulnerable.

The park was full of children yesterday but fortunately my favourite bit is not appealing to the infantry.  I always enjoy the walled garden.  It's basically a vegetable garden maintained Victorian style with perennials and flowers (for cutting) bringing colour and enrichment.  They had a change of head gardener a few  years ago and I think the new one isn't very keen on vegetables.  These beds used to be filled with pumpkins which were then carved for Hallowe'en.  I rather like these new flowers though, so I sat and knitted.  There's glory for you!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

A village wedding

In my time I've married enough men to set up a sizeable reverse harem for myself.  However I've married the same number of women!

Hydrangeas given by an elderly gentleman
who wants every village girl to have the perfect wedding
Yesterday I married a delightful couple who have just come back from a few years travelling the world and they came back to her village to get married.  I love the sort of wedding where love and thoughtfulness are more important than money spent.  Yesterday was a glorious wedding.  Bride and groom were both relaxed and happy.  Each had learnt their vows by heart, a wonderful wedding gift to give each other.  The flowers in the church were from local gardens and arranged by their friends.  There is a talented organist living in the village and the music made my heart want to dance - my feet wanted to as well so dance I did - well jiggled around a bit. 

Retirement means I can spend time with "my" couples, doing my part to ensure they have the most wonderful day possible.  They will be in my prayers for many a day to come.