Friday, 28 August 2015

Do You Obey Rule 163?

Click HERE to watch this video. Please drive carefully!
Until we get the sort of separate cycle lanes provided in the Netherlands, we all need to be more careful of how we drive our cars past the people of bicycles. And please don't tell me "but Motorists pay Road Tax, cyclists don't" That is INCORRECT. In fact, all taxpayers finance the roads, what motorists pay is Vehicle Excise Duty. And anyway, that response does not excuse dangerous and bad driving!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

They’ve Seen The Signs In Leicestershire…


The council put up helpful signs to point people in the right direction!

error in coalville 08 15

This sign in Coalville is the latest county council gaffe. Oh, no, sorry, that should read CoalVILE. Get it right, County Hall!!

coalvile 08 15


The Old Soldiers of the RADA are all lining up to appear in the new Dad's Army film - due for release in February 2016. Toby Jones as Captain Mainwaring, Bill Nighy as Sergeant Wilson, Michael Gambon as Private Godfrey, Tom Courtenay as Lance Corporal Jack “Don’t Panic” Jones some younger talent - The Inbetweeners’ Blake Harrison as Private Pike, and Catherine Zeta-Jones providing the glamorous female interest [mind you, she is approaching 50 now, and has been on stage for almost 35 years] 
I have very mixed feelings about the film. I grew up watching the original programmes with my family, and I love watching repeats on TV, and listening to the excellent radio broadcasts on BBC Radio 4 Extra. Furthermore, I am a little miffed with the town of Bridlington where the film was made, who are planning to 'twin' with Warmington-on-Sea, because Thetford in Norfolk has been the true home of Dad's Army since 1968, as any fule kno. But there we are, times have changed...As long as the script is of the calibre of the original Perry/Croft ones, with such a stellar cast***, they certainly ought to be able to produce a fine film.
*** For what it's worth, I am not that keen on Bill Nighy [although I did get to teach his great-niece for a whole term once] but I will happily watch anything with Tom Courtenay in it.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The Measure Of The Man

We try to limit our spending on anniversary gifts – but also to find something which the other will enjoy. When I found this little item in a CS recently, I knew it was just the sort of quirky gizmo which Bob would have fun with. It came in a neat wooden presentation case. I was intrigued, and after much discussion with James [the helpful assistant in the Trussell Trust Shop] and the pair of us squinting through the sights and wiggling the little lever, I handed over my dosh, and then came home to research it further.



It is a circumferentor, or surveyor's compass – that is, an instrument used in surveying to measure horizontal angles. Although it was superseded by the theodolite in the early 19th century, ‘Stanley’ of London continued to make them. 


According to the instructions, “Practice with this compass will help a person develop the ability to visualize lines and planes in three-dimensional space. On the cover of this compass there is a Natural Sine Scale for calculations of different readings during a survey.

Under the cover is a mirror used for taking reflecting readings from the dial. The compass is composed of a magnetic needle that is balanced on a pin so that the needle can rotate easily and becomes aligned with the magnetic field lines at the location of measurement.”


“The ability to visualize lines and planes in three-dimensional space” does remind me rather of the phrase Time And Relative Dimension In Space. Well, WHO would have thought it? [next anniversary, should I get Bob a sonic screwdriver and knit him a long scarf?]

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Thirty Six Fantastic Years!

A man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honour her husband.  [Ephesians 5]

Summer 1979

wedding 1979

Summer 2015

4 of us at wedding

Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today

Happy Anniversary, Bob – so grateful for all that we have shared together in the years past, looking forward to all that lies ahead…

Monday, 24 August 2015

Throw In The Towel

As Douglas Adams said, in Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy…

“A towel, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have…You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”

There have been times when I have needed a towel and been unprepared – like the summer of 2011, when 4 of us stripped to our underwear and had an impromptu swim at a Norfolk beach. We ended up having to share just one towel – Marion’s dog-drying-towel!ang liz swimjon mark swim

I have decided that as we are near the sea so much more these days, it would make sense for us to keep a towel in each of our cars. So I took one of my kitchen roller towels apart [I don’t have a roller here] and rehemmed the two sections. Then I made neat little bags from a remnant of curtain material. And here they are – ready to go.


If you want to make a similar bag, first fold and roll up your towel tightly and measure the length and circumference. Add 2” to each measurement.  Mine was 10”x10”, I cut a square of fabric 12”x 12”.

Fold in half, right sides together and sew the long side seam. Flatten, so the seam runs up the centre, and sew across the bottom. If you want a square base, then sew across each corner. Hem the top edge. Turn inside out and attach hanging loop. Roll up your towel, push it in – and head for the beach!

Sunday, 23 August 2015


annunciation martini&memmi

I love the story of the Annunciation – the angel coming to tell Mary she would be the mother of God’s son. When Steph and I visited Florence, in 2002, we saw many great paintings interpreting this theme [top to bottom 1333 - Martini & Menni; 1430 - Fra Angelico  1489- Botticelli; 1470 – Leonardo da Vinci]

annunciation fra angelico2

Timothy Dudley Smith rewrote Mary’s Song – the Magnificat – and produced a hymn which has become very popular in many churches. It was one of my choices for the service I am taking tonight in Boscombe [theme ; Psalm 96] I’ve been humming it all week.

annunciation botticelli2

  Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!
Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice;
tender to me the promise of his word;
in God my Saviour shall my heart rejoice.
  Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his Name!
Make known his might, the deeds his arm has done;
his mercy sure, from age to age to same;
his holy Name--the Lord, the Mighty One.
  Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his might!
Powers and dominions lay their glory by.
Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight,
the hungry fed, the humble lifted high.
  Tell out, my soul, the glories of his word!
Firm is his promise, and his mercy sure.
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord
to children's children and for evermore!

annunciation Leonardo_da_Vinci_-_Annunciazione_-_Google_Art_Project

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Currant Affairs

The Manse garden here at Ferndown continues to surprise and to delight me. Perhaps it is true that when you get older you start to appreciate the garden more. Anyway, down the narrow side passage I have found some unexpected treasures! This section previously this was blocked off by a previous incumbent, to prevent his dog hiding down there – but Bob removed the fence panel back in July, and lo and behold, there were some currant bushes. I suspect that neglect and lack of pruning have not helped their growth – but I did pick a cup full of fruit, which have ripened whilst we’ve been away,


Not a huge amount, but enough to embellish a batch of home made yogurt.

I wasn’t expecting to return from holiday and find there were still salad leaves to pick. I found a few more broad beans yesterday too. I tweaked Delia’s recipe from Frugal Food

delia frugal

She combines broad beans with a cooked rasher of bacon, spring onions and some salad greens, and herbs then tosses them in a simple dressing. This cookbook has no pictures of finished recipes. I used mixed leaves, bacon, and beans. Hadn’t got spring onions, but I did have a few of my friend’s home grown toms, and also some basil in a pot on the windowsill.


Then I got carried away and threw in some crumbled walnuts and a few scoops of quark [it is one of the few cheeses I can eat, and I had picked up a reduced tub in the supermarket this week]

Now that’s what I call a healthy looking lunch!

I think the last time I picked blackcurrants was in the late 1960’s – we used to bicycle out to Gorgate Hall [near Swanton Morley] to pick them for the farmer there. He sent them off to the Ribena factory- and we cycled home having earned some holiday spending money. I think all the fruit picking there is mechanised nowadays.