Sunday, 21 September 2014

World Peace Day 2014

preace war

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is hatred let me bring your love
Where there is injury, your pardon Lord
And where there is doubt true faith in You

peace words

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is despair in life let me bring hope
Where there is darkness only light
And where there's sadness ever joy


practice peace

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul


Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
It is in giving to all man that we receive
And in dying that we are born to eternal life

peace life

[Photos from Words Of Peace Global]

Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Monuments Men [And A Woman]

Bob was sent a voucher to get a free film over the Internet – and we chose “The Monuments Men” It was a film we both quite enjoyed and is based on a true story.


Once you get past the fact that the cast are [mostly] a load of very familiar US actors [plus our own dear Lord Grantham, aka Hugh Bonneville] and the real characters they portray were possibly not as photogenic as Messrs Clooney and Damon, it is an OK film.

But the one significant female character fascinated me. Played by Cate Blanchett, “Claire Simone” is based on an amazingly brave Frenchwoman, Rose Valland. Working in Paris as an assistant in the Jeu de Paume Museum, she was the only French person allowed to stay on when the Germans took over and used it as a base for the ERR [Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg] This was the Nazi organisation dedicated to acquiring Europes finest works of art for Hitler. They stole, and then hid, many masterpieces.


Rose kept a low profile, and spoke only French- so the Nazis never realised she was fluent in German – and she understood all their conversations!

But she kept a secret inventory of the works of art which passed through her hands- and after the war was able to help recover millions of pounds worth of art treasures. Her assistance to the Monuments Men was invaluable.

Valland’s accomplishments were virtually unrecognized in France during her lifetime, and she died in 1980 in relative anonymity. She is buried in her home village of Saint-Etienne-de-Saint-Geoirs where the Association de la Mémoire de Rose Valland has been founded to honour her life and work. [website here] Corinne Bouchoux wrote a book [in French] in 2006 which was translated into English and published last year, in time for the film release.

I don’t think MM is a particularly brilliant film in terms of accuracy – lots of technical mistakes about equipment in use in the 1940’s, and geographical errors too. And there is no way Cate B’s character would have attempted a romance with Matt D’s US Officer, Rose just wasn’t that sort of woman. But it was a film that made me want to find out more about these people, and I guess that improves my final verdict. I might not have paid to see it at the cinema, but a free viewing was certainly enjoyable. madonna of brugesVerdict ***

I ought to say that whilst I was happy just to watch the film then search for information online, Bob decided that it made him want to take the tent and motorbike across to Belgium for another camping holiday, to seek out these treasures now restored to their original homes. Like the Michelangelo Madonna in Bruges. So watch this space…

One other thing- the Rose Valland Association have developed a special flower in her honour – the Rose Valland Rose – which will go on sale next year. I wonder if my Francophile friend Elizabeth will get one for her beautiful garden in Cornwall? Or maybe Floss, another art lover will plant one in her French garden…

Friday, 19 September 2014

There’s Trouble Brewing At The Manse…

My September Mange Tout Campaign is going relatively well, I think. We’ve eaten lots of meals made entirely from freezer and pantry goods. I have purchased some food though – I used some M&S reward vouchers to get fresh milk, and an unexpected food voucher from Makro was spent on a few other bits and pieces, plus I’ve been given beans and tomatoes by gardening friends with gluts. But I did fall down on the tea and coffee front. I picked up a pack of coffee when we were in IKEA on Monday – but then in the afternoon found we were completely out of Sainsbury's Red Label teabags. Panic!!!

P1000091I checked out the cupboards, and offered Bob a choice – Green tea, Herb tea, Redbush, Earl Grey…he opted for green. But then later I found a tin at the back of the cupboard -Fortnum and Mason “Royal Blend, Stronger Tea” [best before 2013. Oh dear!]

The label declares it was first blended for Edward VII. I made a pot of tea with leaves “A spoonful per person and one for the pot” said the label on the back of the tin. I had to find a tea strainer too.

It was OK [ish] as tea goes, but not the best I have tasted. But the real shock was when I came to rinse out the teapot. The leaves were huge – I mean, really large. I got out a ruler - and my camera. Some measured 2.5 cm across. They were like postage stamps!


I can hardly complain to F&M, can I? The tin [A 2012 Christmas gift] really should have been opened last year. But these leaves do seem excessively large. Maybe Royal Blend Tea requires KING-Sized leaves. I have been to Sainsbury's and bought some of our usual bags.

I may be attempting to be as frugal as possible this month – but O am not sure I can manage without a decent cuppa in the morning, and another when I get home from work.

I like a nice cup of tea with me dinner
And a nice cup of tea with me tea
And when it's getting late
Almost anything can wait
For a nice cup of tea

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Time Flies Like An Arrow…

…But Fruit Flies Like A Banana!

There are many people out there who follow this blog – some far away, some local. Last year, when I made these for charity…


…my friends Lee and Dawn had one of them. They even christened it “Angela” [‘Have you put Angela on the teapot?’] Despite this, I still consider them to be my friends! At the FunDay they mentioned that they’ve been having a problem with fruit flies in the kitchen. I said we had been plagued with flies this summer at Cornerstones and recommended one of these food umbrellas

food cover

Lee pointed out, quite reasonably, that they take up rather a lot of space. “What we need” they said, “is a sort of mesh mob cap, to fit neatly over the bowl. But the flies are very small, so it needs to be fine mesh!”

Up to the loft, and into the Great Stash. I found some fabric [my SIL’s voiles, from the conservatory in her last house] and cut out a huge circle, using my IKEA tray as a template. It did not take long to zigzag round the edge of the fabric, then pin and sew elastic round to make a mob cap – which should allow air in – but keep flies out!

fruit bowl mob cap

What will they call this one do you think? [Ang the MOB, perhaps?]

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Village Fun Day–Number TEN!

It is ten years since the start of this annual event. It was started by Jenny after her son Kris died in a road accident, to benefit the young people of our community. Jenny spoke movingly about this on Sunday. Here’s Jenny – and a photo of Kris


One of our friends [as we packed up]commented that people who attend these events do not realise the amount of planning beforehand, and work on the actual day, that goes on behind the scenes. Here is the field at 8am when we arrived, along with Jenny.


Soon there were others there too – Abi & co setting up our ‘Thirst’ Youth Club display, and Debs preparing the Messy Church tent. And I got to blow up the church!!




Bob set up his sound system – and the village defibrillator was on display [funded by last year’s Fun Day]P1000069

And the weather was brilliant, loads of people turned up to watch the singers and dancers and school recorder group – and Dad’s Army!




And at the end, we deflated the church and put everything away again till next year… Here’s Bob and Paul, the Church Secretary squashing the inflatable, assisted by Lynda, observed by Carol…


Thank you everybody involved - especially our brilliant young people from Church [including Matty, Bob’s sidekick in the sound tent – who performed the very tedious task of announcing the Raffle Prize Draw]

Here’s the field at 6pm when we finally left…


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

It’s Awl Out Of The Bag!

52 projects

This project got started last summer when I was on holiday – and all through the winter has languished, unfinished in a carrier bag. But now everything has come together and at last I can reveal the finished article.

It began when I kept seeing these gorgeous woven straw “French Market Bags” everywhere, particularly in North Norfolk, round places like Holt and Burnham Market. That’s where some rather wealthy folks have their holiday homes, and the shops charge an arm and a leg for the most basic things. Bags like this…

french bag

I considered the options – buy one in Norfolk [the cheapest I saw in BM was £28] or zip over to France and pick one up there [but the trip will cost more than £28] or make one. Then I saw this bag on the “Quilt While You’re Ahead” blog – it is crocheted in twine! The pattern is available on the blog [thank you so much, Monica!]QWYA bag

wilko twineMonica used Nutscene Twine in order to get the pretty colours. I went into Dereham Wilko’s and my friend Ann [she was in Girls’ Brigade with me in the 60’s] served me with a couple of large spools of plain Wilko Jute. I set to and made a bag – trying to follow the pattern.

DSCF5004The first attempt came up in a shape I was not too happy with [must get back to Hookery for some more crochet lessons] but #2 was fine. I wanted to put strap handles on, so I just left four neat buttonholes near the top, rather than making handles in crochet like QWYA. Bob suggested using the leftover red leather from the chair. At this point the project stalled.

land girl bag

Then this summer, back in Burnham Market, Bob spotted this calico Land Girl’'s Bag. The strap was one continuous loop of leather. I liked that.

Bob cut me 4 strips of the red leather and I sewed them [with our new awl]to make a loop 10 feet long!

But what about the lining? I wanted some heavy cotton twill type cloth.


My cousin Gill gave me this lovely Marmite tea-towel a few Christmases back – and I have never been able to bring myself to use it. But it is such a lovely heavy piece of twill cotton – and was exactly the right size to line my bag. Just the deep red edge shows when the bag is loaded, and goes well with the leather.

Here’s the finished article…


The straps thread through the holes and are stitched at the top for extra support. I am really pleased with it – the cost of the twine came to less than £5. And nobody else has one quite like mine.

So next time I am in Holt, if I do bump into Camilla when she is popping into Byfords, I shall feel very chic.[My SIL tells me that the Duchess of Cornwall is quite fond of dining there]

Monday, 15 September 2014

Minimalist v. Frugalist

I having been pondering on this one – and I am still undecided. I often think I should like to be a minimalist – simplifying things, and reducing my possessions.

gandhi jpgteresa

It is said that Mahatma Gandhi believed so fervently in the life of the spirit that he had only a handful of material possessions when he died – a watch, sandals, spectacles, and a few similar items. Similarly, Mother Teresa left just a bucket and two saris. Now you could argue that the nun lived with the other nuns, and was provided with a bed, bedlinen, and meals – so did not need to ‘own’ plates, cups, bathtowels etc. But lots of other people live relatively minimal lives within the context of a more conventional 21st century Western World existence. They have ‘capsule’ wardrobes, use just a basic set of kitchenware [2 pans, 2 knives, one chopping board etc] and keep all their reading material on one little Kindle.


I am aware that if ‘hoarding’ means ‘keeping something for which you have no immediate use’, then I am definitely a hoarder. And I justify this to myself by saying that this is being frugal. If I get rid of this thing now I may have to spend money on replacing it later. Don’t frugal people need to keep things ‘just in case’? This past few days, I have found uses for ‘just in case’ stuff.


A couple of years ago, we gained two chairs which another person in the village was throwing out because their legs were damaged. Bob was able to make one good chair from the two damaged ones, and it now lives at Cornerstones in the back bedroom. But he stripped all the leather from the second chair and kept it in the garage. On Thursday I was using that leather to finish off another project [I shall write awl about that later!] It would have cost a lot to buy a piece of leather.


On Friday, a colleague in the staffroom asked ‘Does anyone have any pine cones please? I need some for Wednesday week’ Much shaking of heads and mutterings of ‘Sorry, no’ – I went over and said ‘I have a sweet jar full of them that you can have’ and explained they were left over from a Church Holiday Club Craft. I didn’t dare tell her which year they were left over from! They’ve been in the garage for ages


On Saturday I was involved in a rather sticky craft project involving PVA glue. Fortunately I have a tub full of little plastic pots which contain disposable gloves [you get a pair in every box of hair dye- but I use the same pair over and over for that until the gloves split] So I was able to keep my hands clean [and yes, I did throw away the very sticky gloves afterwards]


I’ve sorted out the work I shall be doing with my new SATs students – and put it into some old folders which I had emptied out 2 years ago and stored in the loft. And that’s saved me the cost of purchasing more

I think my problem is making intelligent decisions about how many boxes of these things I need to keep. In the box of folders in the loft were also dozens [yes, honestly that many] of cardboard ring binder files accumulated down the years – and then emptied of their contents when no longer needed. What do I do with them?

  • I shall never have need for all of them.
  • Charity shops don’t want these items
  • You cannot even give them away on Freecycle
  • I feel uncomfortable just throwing them away

Any suggestions? And while we are at it, my jiffy bag collection is getting rather large too – even if everything I ever advertise on eBay sells and I do lots of blog-giveaways, I won’t need all these padded envelopes [I must have samples in every size they produce, from tiny to huge] I did manage to reduce my mammoth pen & pencil collection over the summer. I took a large box of [new & unused] items to Holiday Club and we gave them away as prizes each day.

Do you have items which you hoard?

How do you manage to declutter your stash?

Is it possible to combine being a minimalist and being a frugalist?