Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Oh Deer!

During Holiday Club, Abi our Youth Worker encouraged the Teenagers in Task Force to make gifts for the children. They created these little plaques from jigsaw puzzle pieces.


After the Club, Abi presented me with a huge bag of leftover bits of jigsaw. They were all painted red.

I put them in my Stash. Then recently, a friend asked me for ideas for a Children’s Craft Table she had to organise. I remembered something I’d seen online somewhere.

P1000237Three jigsaw pieces, three Hama beads, a cardboard tag, a bit of ribbon, a pen and glue…

It is so very satisfying to declutter a huge bag of craft bits, and solve somebody else’s problem at the same time.

[She also received a load of old CDs to make spinner decorations]

The Stash is educing!

Coming Soon To A Blog Near You!

pause in advent

Starting next Sunday will be the Pause in Advent Series. Already there are twelve people signed up for this one – do comment somewhere on this blog if you would like to be added in. There’s a full explanation of Advent Pause here



And starting next Monday [December 1st] for the four weeks leading up to Christmas, I shall be sharing some more Top Tips to help make the festive season run more smoothly [I hope!]

If you want to read my previous Top Tips, then click on the relevant label in the sidebar. If you have any good tips of your own please share them with us! It is one of the great benefits of the internet, that we can share profound thoughts, and useful ideas, and learn so much from each other.

Yes, some things do get repeated year on year – but it doesn’t matter. Someone might be reading it for the first time, someone might have a new take on an old theme, someone might have seen it before but forgotten the details. Share it anyway – you never know who is going to be blessed by it.

[This is a good principle for all you evangelists out there too!]

Monday, 24 November 2014

Mary, Did You Know?

I know it isn't even Advent yet - but I think this is just great!

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Feeling A Bit Like Elijah…

from 1 Kings chapter 19 …When Elijah saw how things were, he went into the desert. He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, God! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!” Exhausted, he fell asleep under the lone broom bush.


Suddenly an angel shook him awake and said, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and, to his surprise, right by his head were a loaf of bread baked on some coals and a jug of water. He ate the meal and went back to sleep.

The angel of God came back, shook him awake again, and said, “Get up and eat some more—you’ve got a long journey ahead of you.”

He got up, ate and drank his fill, and set out. Nourished by that meal, he walked forty days and nights, all the way to the mountain of God, to Horeb. When he got there, he crawled into a cave and went to sleep

The last couple of days have been…complicated. Lots of little things – misplaced, or broken, or plans gone awry – whatever I touch seems to fall apart. Please do not worry about me - nothing major has gone wrong, no crises of faith, major family disasters, doubts about moving, or anything like that. And certainly I have not felt any Jezebels at my heels, baying for my blood. But like Elijah, I just want to crawl under a bush duvet or into a cave warm bed and sleep a little, and wait for the angels to bring me sustenance for the 40 days ahead – and then strength for all that the New Year will bring.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Scouting For Bargains?


It is our Scouts Rummage Sale this afternoon. Over the past few years, we have made some useful purchases here. This year I may not be going. The temptation to buy must be overcome- I must not add to the stuff which must be packed for moving in January. We can offload some of our unwanted Stuff, said Bob.


So I will be taking a box of goodies down to the Village Hall this morning -books, ornaments and other bits and pieces which may be of use to others.

Including a blue and yellow ‘cache pot’ [I think that’s the correct name] which can hold a pot plant and is more elegant than sticking the plastic garden centre pot on an old saucer. I feel vaguely guilty about this item [no photo, mainly because I cannot find my camera and suspect I’ve left it in school]

When we lived in London, our house was on the main road, but on the corner of a close, and all the residents there were senior citizens. The day we moved out [August 1995] one of the little old ladies came up and spoke to me “Are you leaving, dear?” I explained we were off to the Midlands. She returned a little later in the day with this cache pot. “I have to give you a parting gift, to remind you of us” she said. She said how lovely it was that whenever I walked past with my little girls we always smiled and seemed so happy, and we had been such lovely neighbours.

I feel guilty because

  • I did not even know her name – in fact, I could not remember ever speaking to her before!
  • I wish I had been a ‘lovely neighbour’ to her – and not just someone who smiled as she rushed by with the girls, en route to school  [maybe I had said ‘Good Morning!’ occasionally, I don’t know] but she clearly felt we had a relationship, and it mattered to her far more than it did to me.
  • I suspect she went out specially and bought the pot for me –but I do not like it and have not used it in nearly 20 years. I have just looked at it collecting dust on the shelf in the garage, and wondered what happened to that generous lady.

I know most of my neighbours in this road,I shall miss them when we load all our stuff into the removal van and set off down south. But the cachepot is not going with us. I am determined to declutter. I am also determined to make sure that when I get to our next home, I will work hard to get to know the neighbours properly, and promptly, and learn their names. It may take time and effort, but like our village Boy Scouts, I will Be Prepared!

10am UPDATE. Just returned from Village Hall with two huge boxes of stuff. The Sale is NEXT Week – my dearly beloved had the wrong date!!

Friday, 21 November 2014

It’s Fun To Stay…

…at the YMCA!

I have just spent four days at Dunford House, in West Sussex, which is a beautiful conference centre owned and run by the YMCA. [Website here]

dunford1This was for our annual WWDP Planning Conference. The National committee meets every November to sort out the service and materials for the Day of Prayer which will happen 16 months later. So this year we were focussing on Cuba 2016.

I shall be blogging more about what we did later – but briefly I want to say what a splendid venue it was. Mary and Arvind, the senior staff members were brilliant, and did everything possible to make our stay comfortable. Rooms, meals and all other facilities excellent- and good WiFi connections everywhere [shame my ancient laptop kept dying on me!]


The house was, for many years, the home of Richard Cobden, the champion of Free Trade, and prime mover in the repeal of the Corn Laws back in Victorian England [he was also a passionate campaigner for peace] I admit that I have forgotten most of the stuff I learned about him in school – but I remember Mr Watson., our history teacher, telling us that Cobden cared about poor and hungry people. Good man!

dunford3Dunford House shares many of his values – fairly traded products are used, and local businesses supported where possible. When we split up into small working groups, I was in the library, where a signed letter from Garibaldi** was in a frame on the mantel. The nearby ‘solarium’ was designed by Joseph Paxton  [creator of the Crystal Palace] and it was Cobden whose vision of Free Trade was the inspiration for the Great Exhibition.


The house was full of beautiful furniture and historical artefacts, fascinating framed letters, Punch cartoons and posters. In the corridor by my bedroom was an elderly treadle Singer Sewing machine. Lovely!

So many intriguing things to appreciate – and I kept forgetting to photograph them – sorry! It was a real privilege to spend time in such a great property with a wonderful history. These photos are from the House website – clearly taken earlier in the year - this week the trees have displayed the most beautiful autumnal foliage. If you ever get the opportunity to visit Dunford I hope you will enjoy it too.


**I do like his biscuits, especially with a cup of tea!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Are They Pulling The Wool Over Our Eyes?

Am I being dense here? I do not understand why it is that Anthropologie are selling “Felted gift ribbon” at the amazing price of £8 for 205cm [that’s £4 a metre] and say that it will ‘lend a uniquely rustic touch to your gifts’ It is just wool.

anthro felted gift ribbonsirdar big softie

Meanwhile John Lewis are selling Sirdar Big Softee Yarn for £3.50 for 45 metres [that’s less than 8p a metre] It is also wool.If you want to tie up your Christmas gifts with wool, why on earth would you buy the one that costs fifty times as much? Do they think we are stupid?

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Read This At Your Own Convenience

Today is World Toilet Day. Click on the graphic. BBC photographs here. Watch the short film for children, The Adventures of Super Toilet here. If you have access to decent sanitation, be grateful – spare a thought [and spend a penny?] for those who don’t.

Basic RGB

Hope this charity is feeling flushed with success today!