Wednesday, 31 August 2016

August Achievements

Much of my craft activity during this month has been running repairs and renovations - I am awfully glad I have a sewing machine at Cornerstones! 

Reading clockwise from bottom left corner

  1. polished furniture
  2. new curtains in lounge
  3. patching Bob's jeans
  4. mending Jon's pjs
  5. Rosie's reversible bicycle dress [this was fun to create]
  6. The other side of the dress
  7. Liz's new peg bag [leftover fabric from #1, this pattern]
  8. repairing Jon's shorts 
  9. fixing Steph's top
  10. in the centre - the blanket and quilt for the doll's cot
All but 1&2 were achieved during our fortnight's holiday - some of them were definitely emergency repairs to the family's limited holiday wardrobes. During September, I hope to do more work on the bedding, especially since a dear friend has sent me some beautiful trimmings for the sheets and pillowcase.
I have to report that the doves given out for the Christmas Tree Festival are gradually being returned to me. People are working so hard on these, our tree is going to look wonderful and I am truly grateful to all those who are taking part so enthusiastically.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Feeling In The Pink

Bank Holiday Monday morning- lovely late breakfast [BLT baguettes, courtesy of Bob] then I did lots of weeding whilst he did some wiring. Happy to report that my Gospel Chandelier is finally up over the dining table - and shining brightly. There was a delay because some how the bits got packed separately when we moved, and the final part has only recently come to light.[sorry, pun unintentional there] An unexpected gift of pink flowers from friends at Church has brightened the room too - and the lilies smell heavenly. Thanks, friends!
The other pink things round here are my nails. For my wedding anniversary, Bob gave me a totally unexpected gift -  a set of Jamberry Nail Wraps. No, I didn't know about these things either, but he said he wanted to give me something which would be fun, and just for me. I am now sporting the most amazing sparkly pink fingernails. Allegedly these should last for a fortnight with care. Here's the before and after.

I applied these [very slowly and carefully] on Saturday evening, and after 2½days of serious cooking, laundry, gardening and preaching they are still looking as new. 

Facebook proved very useful this morning. I posted pictures of one of my garden shrubs to find out what it was. People promptly replied to tell me is is hypericum, or St John's Wort, and those juicy looking berries are definitely not edible [yes it had lovely yellow flowers earlier in the year] and can cause skin irritation. Fortunately I was wearing gardening gloves [to protect my nails, of course] 

Monday, 29 August 2016

Reading Room...

...or more accurately, reading "Room"

Liz lent me this in July. I took it on holiday, and brought it back having read just a few ages. Over the weekend I read it through completely on Saturday night/Sunday morning.
It is quite gripping. NO SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW!
The blurb explains that "Jack is 5, he lives in one Room with his Ma. He has a TV, but knows the stuff on screen isn't truly real. Then one day Ma tells him there is a whole other World outside..."
What makes this book so clever is that the story is narrated by Jack, and everything is seen through the eyes and language of a 5 year old. Admittedly an intelligent 5 year old. Some of it is horrific, other parts poignant and moving, and the use of language is wonderful. 
The way that sometimes the language and behaviour of an adult is utterly perplexing to a child is portrayed brilliantly. Some parts reminded me of Scout's reactions and comments in 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. 
It is a reminder to all of us that when we speak to children, we should measure our words carefully. I recall Liz sobbing uncontrollably when she was barely 3, because an old lady looked at baby Steph in the pram and said "She is lovely, I could eat her all up!" and pupils at school genuinely worried by family members saying "If you lose that I will kill you" [and whatever it was, they had lost it and were so anxious at hometime in case death was imminent]
It is also a compelling portrayal of motherly love. Unconditional, enduring, self-sacrificial love. 
I really enjoyed this book and would rate it *****
[There is now a film - I am not sure how well that will work - although I understand Emma Donaghue wrote the screenplay before she wrote the book.]

Sunday, 28 August 2016

La Rentrée

The French use “la rentrée" to mean the return to work after the slack period of the summer break. 
This is the last weekend of August, and next week many school terms will start again, we are about to begin our Autumn programme in the life of our Church, people will be preparing to go off to College, start new jobs... fresh beginnings, new adventures ahead
One of the standing stones I saw at Durlston Castle seemed a very apposite question for this time of year. It comes from CAD's poem 'Snow' so really relates to the end of the calendar year and the new beginnings of January, but nonetheless struck a chord with me. 
Every day is a precious gift. 
May I use each one wisely and well.

Let us keep running in the race that God has planned for us. 
Let us keep looking to Jesus. 
Our faith comes from Him, and He is the One who makes it perfect

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Sunshine In Swanage

Some more pictures of our fabulous day out - most of these taken by Bob on his new camera [thank you darling!] Here's the view crossing on the ferry from Sandbanks

Traditional Punch and Judy show on the beach [probably not very PC - but plenty of sausages to enjoy]
Also on the seafront, fine murals from Purbeck Arts Week, and a lovely floral display
We walked up along the seafront, and had a pasty and then took the long climb up to Durlston Castle

This amazing place was built by George Burt- intended as a hotel for the Victorians - but sadly they found the steep climb a bit much! It is now surrounded by Durlston Country Park, and amenity run by the council. The Castle itself houses a lovely tearoom and gallery and outside is the Great Globe. This weighs 40 tons, and was made in Greenwich [brought here in 15 pieces and reassembled] The Park makes much of the Victorian history, the flora and fauna- and being part of the Jurassic Coast, you will find the occasional model dinosaur lurking in the shrubbery and standing stones labelled with dates in pre-history

Following a break in the cafe [which we needed after climbing up in all that heat] we went back down into Swanage again. Bob took lots of pictures all along the route of plants, and the sea. Look at that amazing blue sky! That's George Burt in the portrait and statue. Fabulous cake [we shared that ginormous slice]

A lovely day, if somewhat hot!! I would definitely recommend Swanage as a good place for a day out, and this BBC site has so much useful information too

Friday, 26 August 2016

Getting Stoned In Swanage

We planned a day exploring Swanage.  I found a really good route for a walk on the BBC website here.  I'd always thought of Swanage as just a place with a good beach - but there is so much more to this charming Dorset town. We both took lots of photos. The key people in the story are John Mowlem and his nephew George Burt.
John was skilled in the use of stone as a building material. He recognised the potential of the local Purbeck stone. He improved the way stones could be transported to the Quay and shipped round Britain - and soon Mowlem's company were building houses,  pavements, churches everywhere,  especially in London. Mowlem became very rich.  He ploughed his wealth back into his home town.  It was from here that the Purbeck stone had been mined, and so he wanted to ensure that the local workers enjoyed some of the benefits too.
More than that,  as the ships returned,  having deposited their stones in the capital, they needed ballast for their holds. John shrewdly filled them with scrap stone and ironwork. His nephew George carried on the tradition. He used these bits and pieces in the structures he built in Swanage.
Which is why, when they erected a monument to celebrate King Alfred's victory over the Danes at the Battle of Swanage in 977 Mowlem topped it with three Russian cannonballs which came to London after the Crimean War. We shall overlook the true facts here -  the romantic Victorians rewrote the story, in reality there was no battle - the fleet most likely foundered in one of the violent storms which happen on this stretch of coast. 

Further along is the Wellington Clock Tower.  Originally put up near London Bridge,  the clock didn't work,  and the builders ran out of money, so omitted the statue of the Iron Duke which was meant to go on top. Furthermore, the tower was in the way of the traffic.  So George fetched that back to Dorset too.

When the Mercers' Hall in the City of London was demolished, he salvaged the facade to front Swanage Town Hall in the High Street.  You can see the  emblem of the Mercers over the door - two cherubs offering a  length of cloth to the Virgin Mary. I am not quite sure why they didn't drape the fabric a little more decorously over her bare chest!

Opposite is the Purbeck House Hotel,  decorated with leftover granite chippings from the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park.  The hotel grounds and gardens are lovely - Neptune looks down from another rescued London archway,  and walls are decorated with repurposed plaques. 

All over the town you will find mismatched iron bollards from London streets and churchyards.

Burt took over the family firm and carried on his uncle's 'recycling' habits
To this day,  the Mowlem company logo is seen on building sites everywhere throughout the country - but the man is best remembered in his home town.

I'll do a second post with more pictures tomorrow... 

Thursday, 25 August 2016

A Man In His Prime

I love numbers  - here's a sum - multiply these four prime numbers
3 x 5 x 17 x 53
that is the number of days I have been married to Bob
this is the man whose smile lights up my days
whose faith, hope and love give me strength
I thank God daily for him
and currently, this is my favourite picture of him!

Happy Anniversary Bob - thank you for 37 fabulous years!