Saturday, 31 January 2015
I hope to post a few pictures next week [of the house, not the dress- you won't get to see that till after June 20th!]
Friday, 30 January 2015
Feeling rather like Alice this week- life is full of strange new experiences, and it is all very exciting. Everyone –old friends at Kirby and new ones here, continue to shower us with such kindness. Unpacking boxes packed and labelled by other people has been a source of great fun. We eventually found the coffee filters and Bob’s razor!
The food parcels have been a Godsend- those to provide sustenance for moving day – and the hot meals which have turned up since we arrived. But I suspect that drinking the tiny bottle of Merlot has affected my sense of proportion! I knew this house was a lot smaller, and have been giving away many things these past few weeks – but I am still struggling to make things fit.I keep putting things in cupboards, only to find the doors will not shut. At least we are back on the Internet and have phone connections [and iPlayer so I can catch up with Wolf Hall!]
The house here is lovely. The folk from UCF [United Church Ferndown] have worked so hard to prepare it. Right down to repainting downstairs in the exact shade of blue that I’d hoped for. And you have to love the church here which sent someone round with flowers already arranged in a vase ‘in case you have not unpacked your vases yet’ – as well as the church back in Kirby which delayed sending their flowers till Thursday [when they knew I would have unpacked] Such thoughtfulness all round.
We are having to seriously re-think where things go. The ‘lower’ rail in one wardrobe was too low for Bob’s shirts – so now we have split our clothes between the two wardrobes, instead of having one each. The kitchen cupboards are fractionally too small for the storage baskets I used in KM, so that’s a WIP. The single garage is currently absolutely stuffed full [those guys on Storage Hunters’ would love it!] but we are planning on getting a garden shed very soon to house lawnmower, shredder etc [thank you KMFC for making that possible] And I still have a Charity Shop box on the go [don’t need that after all, that can go…]
On the plus side, the airing cupboard has better shelving,and I finally have an understairs cupboard where I can store the vacuum cleaner and the ironing board out of sight.The loft is more easily accessible too. And our appliances all fit in the spaces available, which was a concern beforehand.
I suspect it will be a while before you see pictures. Certainly you will have to wait till I find my camera-to-PC lead. I put the Cheshire Cat picture in just because I love the quote. I do not believe that the people at UCF are any more crazy than the ones at KMFC – but there are times when I look at Pastor Bob and wonder a little about our sanity. In the world’s eyes, following God’s call does seem a really mad thing to do at times – but I have been following Him for over 50 years and He has always led me in good paths.
It’s rained these past few days – and I am happily Tracing Rainbows.
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
Monday, 26 January 2015
Sunday, 25 January 2015
… Keep on growing to maturity. Continue agreeing with each other and living in peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. [2 Corinthians 13;11]
Although the van arrives tomorrow, Bob’s final service at KMFC was last Sunday evening. It was a pretty emotional day – much weeping from me [and some from other folk too] The evening service was a “Churches Together” event – and it was great that so many of the Anglicans and Roman Catholics from the village were there, along with friends from other nearby churches- Baptists and URC, along with lots of folk from our own congregation.
After Bob had pronounced the Benediction [above] Tom, our Rector came to the platform and asked me to join them. [thanks, Liam, for grabbing my camera to take these pictures for me] We were given flowers and a gift token from the other churches, and the Pastors present came and prayed for us as we move on to Ferndown. It was a very special moment for us both.
Tom spoke of the things we had been involved in – Get In The picture, Carols in the Pub, Village Fun Day etc- then asked people if there were other things Bob had done.
A woman called out “He married me!” and the another “He married me!” and another, and another… [it was a bit like “I am Spartacus”] Then Samuel said “He dedicated me” and Cameron shouted “He baptised me- last week!” [I was waiting for someone to say “He cremated me” but fortunately nobody did]
Bob’s last KMFC sermon was tremendous, based on Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians [ch 3;14-21] He said his prayer, for the church in Kirby and the other friends present was that they should be
Thirsty, Hungry, Angry and Impatient.
Thirsty for God
Hungry for Righteousness
Angry about Injustice
Impatient for the Lord’s Return
It has been a joy and privilege to be here for almost twenty years – and whilst we recognise God’s call to move on, we will continue to hold a very special place in our hearts for these dear friends who have loved and supported us for so long.
Saturday, 24 January 2015
Today is going to be a little busy – Bob has gone to a local hospital to visit a dear friend who is extremely ill. Unfortunately he has taken my car, as his is STILL having new locks fitted [they sent the wrong part from Germany] We have NO idea when he will get the Skoda back, and may have to return from Dorset to collect it [Aviva have at least promised to refund car hire, even tho the insurance doesn't really cover that] Please pray this gets resolved soon. Folk here have been brilliant helping out with the transport situation, but it is getting difficult!
I’ll collect Mark and Steph from the train [somehow!] then their Wedding Photographer is coming to chat to them, then at 4pm we have our Farewell Party in the Church Hall. Because all the PCs need to be packed up, I have been setting up some blogposts in advance. Once things are a little more settled, I shall post pictures of the party [if I remember to take them] and of the new location.
I wish you could all come and enjoy the party with us [Janet and her team always provide a fantastic spread] The great thing about blogging is that you can keep in touch wherever you are – so actually I do not have to say Farewell to blogfriends.
But I would like to say Hello - especially to those of you who have emailed me in recent days, explaining that you always read the blog, but don’t ever post comments – yet you wanted to send your love and support when you read about the burglary, and our move. That has really touched me, and I do so appreciate your kind words, whether in the public comments box, or the private email. God bless you all!
Friday, 23 January 2015
Two old friends have recently made contact through Facebook – Linda was in my class, and Andrew was in the Boys’ Brigade at Church. My Dad conducted their wedding back in about 1975. They posted some school photos from 1970 on FB. I thought I’d compare mine with one from last summer. “You still have the same haircut” said Bob.
One of these days I must make a timeline of all the haircuts in between [student plaits, that awful 1980’s perm, the too-short spiky cut…] That will give everyone a good laugh!
Thursday, 22 January 2015
Wednesday, 21 January 2015
We are labelling the boxes carefully, and there is a special colour coded card index system so we know what is in each box, and where in the new house it should end up. We have three parcel-tape dispensers and a whole box of Sharpies for writing labels and contents descriptions. We are Very Geeky about all this! But unfortunately the top came off a pen in my pocket, and has left an interesting stain [they are very old CK jeans which belonged to Liz or Steph in their teens, so not too serious] I shall endeavour to deal with this mark later – in a creative way!
Tuesday, 20 January 2015
Yes, our time here in Kirby Muxloe is coming to a close, and soon we will be enjoying new experiences as we begin work in Dorset.
But I feel that I should point out that as we prepare to leave this house, the study and kitchen doors are resolutely refusing to close.
They have absorbed a lot of moisture, and swollen badly. A good reminder that sometimes the doors do not close completely – the friendships will remain, even if we are a long way away.
As a child, I remember seeing the blue Cerebos salt packets in the grocer’s shop - with that little boy chasing the chicken. [My family usually bought Saxo, or other cheaper brands] Nowadays I like to keep my cooking salt accessible, and for many years, I have stored it by the hob in a stoneware “Salt pig” – these allegedly keep salt dry and free running, even though the front is open.
My pig has a lovely long handled wooden spoon, made by Liz’s friend Dave. I keep my sugar in one of those dispensers [ever since a visiting child once amused herself by pouring milk from the jug on the tea tray into my sugar bowl and made a sweet sticky mess]
This past week I discovered something interesting – both of these were out on the countertop in the kitchen when we were burgled. We returned to a flooded mess- and the atmosphere was very damp. The small amount of sugar in the dispenser [which I have yet to wash out and pack] had become rather wet and was caked to the bottom of the jar. But the salt? that is still in perfect condition, still free running! According to Nigel Slater, the unglazed pottery absorbs moisture from the salt, thus keeping it dry.
Where, and how, do you keep your salt and your sugar?
Monday, 19 January 2015
Now it really does feel like we are on the move. The bookshelves are bare [well, almost] and we’ve packed hundreds of volumes. Some to come with us, some for charity, and six boxes are going to young theology students.
The boxes are categorised- Bob’s office in Ferndown will be at the church, not at home – so his theology books will be going there. My books are in groups labelled school and craft, and then we have cookery, fiction, non fiction, children’s books.
We have packed the books in the ‘small’ boxes, but they are still heavy. Removal men must dread moving clergy and teachers!
Sunday, 18 January 2015
…but I do know that before the Cup Final each year, the hymn “Abide with me” is sung- and has been since 1927. In recent years, a guest soloist has performed it – but the BBC has just announced that this year, it will be a choir made up of fans – one supporter from each of the 64 teams in Round One. Anyone can enter – BBC Songs of Praise are “looking for stories that reflect the personal memories and passion of the cup from every level of the game. Maybe witnessing giant killings, perhaps the first time your non-league team made the third round or the first time your team were in the final with tales of great players, key moments, unforgettable goals and family anecdotes.”
Scotsman Henry Francis Lyte wrote this hymn in 1847 as he was suffering from tuberculosis – he died three weeks after its completion. The original has eight verses- but most of the time, we just sing five of them at church. I’m not sure what you get at Wembley.
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell'st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings;
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Since I heard about the BBC competition yesterday, I have been humming the hymn to myself – it is a shame it so often is only associated with football and funerals! I do like the line
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
Saturday, 17 January 2015
I knew the word rebus meaning a word/picture puzzle – in fact I’d taught it to Liz, and she taught it to her Primary School teacher.
For years I have been reading these books, and enjoying the TV series. First with John Hannah, then with Ken Stott playing the lead role.
In December, I polished off three very different Rebus books. Thanks Dereham Library for two, and AgeUK for the third.
Saints of the Shadow Bible came out at the end of 2013. It is Rebus sorting out a case which goes back to his early years as a detective. Back in the days when some coppers ‘bent the rules’ to get results. Was he among them?
You will have to read it to find out the exact details – but I thought it was well written and I enjoyed it immensely.
The Beat Goes On is a collection of short stories featuring Rebus- many were written for magazines. It came out in October 2014 [although obviously, many stories had been written years before] Rankin apologises that so many are set around Christmas-time, but that’s often when periodicals want a ‘guest story’! No matter, they are all beautifully crafted. Writing a short story can be harder than a full length novel, I think. Every word has to be chosen with care, no room for wasted dialogue or irrelevant flowery description. Rankin is clearly a master of the art. There are some beautiful twists-in-the-tale endings, and it was a good reading book for the Christmas holidays. Partly due to the plethora of wintry yarns- but also because their brevity made each one a good bedtime story. The book ends with a brief chapter on how Rebus came about. Which led beautifully onto my third book…
Rebus’s Scotland is totally different - Rankin writes of the Scotland beyond the tourist guidebooks, highlighting places that inspired settings for his novels. He reveals more of the story of Rebus and how this character came to be written – and how much of himself and his own background has seeped into the stories. The photographers who produce the covers for the novels have taken over 100 evocative pictures, specially commissioned to reflect the text. It was a really interesting read [and well worth the 20p I paid!]
One more rebus before I go back to the interminable Packing Of The Boxes. It seems to be a truly Sisyphean Task!
Friday, 16 January 2015
Born in 1917, she had a career working in various Children’s Care Homes [first John Groom’s Crippleage, then Barnardos].She was responsible for helping 95 evacuees move safely from London to Shropshire
at the start of WW2, and then later went to Auchterarder in Scotland with more who were escaping the Blitz in London. Miss May Grimwood was a popular Matron, firm but fair and loved by all.
After the war she continued work in the caring profession – for many years with Barnardos and then supporting older folk. She finally came to Kirby Muxloe in her 50s.
It was here that joined our church. She met – and then married – Tom Chicken, a widower who belonged to the church. They had a number of happy years together till his death in 1998.
Barnardos gave her a certificate honouring her service. May moved into the Carey Gardens Community next to our chapel - the second resident in the scheme. She continued to love life- still enjoying the laughter of children and cutting her birthday cake each year! Sadly a fall last year led to a rapid decline in health. She passed away peacefully last week – and now is free from pain, re-united with Tom.
At the service, Bob summed her up in three words
Peace-maker, Joy-giver, Faith-sharer
We shall miss her bright smile, but we thank God for her long life of service and caring. May – God give you rest!
Thursday, 15 January 2015
Over at Frugal In Suffolk, Sue was talking about the Amish & Mennonite lifestyles, and I discovered that she too has a copy of the ‘More with less’ Mennonite cookbook. Every chapter in that ends with “Gathering up the Fragments” - creative ideas for leftovers. At the weekend, Liz came down and was a great help with packing. On Saturday evening, she volunteered to make a meal, using whatever she could find in the fridge and cupboard.
She took onions, courgettes, potatoes and tomatoes – plus a pepper and some garlic and a few eggs. Liz produced Shakshuka – Moroccan baked eggs, accompanied by some fabulous “home-fried potatoes” [we were running low on bread- another time, I think that would possibly be a better carb accompaniment]
We ate it up before I found the camera, but here is the picture from the BBC Website [and their recipe here]
My egg was beaten before being poured into it’s “well” [I don’t like the taste of egg white on its own]
It was utterly delicious – and such a creative use of the contents of the fridge. Most of my herbs and spices had already been packed into a box- but Liz found some smoked paprika and Italian herbs which I’d somehow overlooked and put them in. She was going to add a tin of chickpeas, but it looked like there was plenty of veg in the pan already, so they were left for another time. There’s another variation of the recipe, and more information about this here.
Once we get settled in Dorset, I shall definitely be repeating this one – I’ll use my big, shallow, orange cast iron pan. So simple to make, and really filling on a cold winter’s evening. I have eaten it once before - Jon cooked it when I was visiting them in London last year. I’m grateful to the pair of them for introducing me to this superb dish.
Wednesday, 14 January 2015
When I was a child, missionaries** would return from Africa or wherever, and we’d go along to church and they would show us slides of their work, using projectors like this one. Dad or Grandad were often asked to operate the kit, being technical types.
One time, I remember Grandad showing me how it worked- you had to put one slide in the carrier [back to front and upside down, if I recall correctly- to get it the right way on the screen] and while that one was being projected, you had to get the next picture ready.
Grandad said this to me
“Ang, always have the next picture ready in your life. Sometimes things will be awful, the picture in front of you will be sad, or cruel – but have the next picture ready to slide across and fill the screen, and make it a beautiful one. A picture of flowers, or of people who love you, or of some evidence of God’s blessings. When the bad things happen, focus on the picture of something lovely, good, and kind, and that will help you through the tough times”
I have never forgotten his wise words, and they have been a real help recently. So no pictures today of the chaotic bedroom floor, the soaked, stained carpets, the empty jewellery box, or the smashed up back door. Here are some of the pictures I have had in the other side of the slide carrier – ones I have focussed on to get me through.
So many flowers [even daffs all the way from, Cornwall], greetings cards, chocolates from a neighbour, Baklava from Wiltshire, newlaid eggs from the hens of a friend… These wonderful signs of love and kindness have been true Godsends, lifting our spirits and helping us to keep going. Thank you!
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
**In view of yesterday’s post, I feel obliged to point out that even I am not old enough to have met Mary Slessor, although my Mum did once meet Gladys Aylward, the great missionary from China.
Tuesday, 13 January 2015
Today marks the centenary of the death of Mary Slessor, the “Queen of Okoyong”. Do you know about this remarkable woman? My parents and grandparents told me about her when I was a child – she was one of their heroines, and became one of mine too. You can find out lots more here. Why was she so great? Well simply because she went out as a single white woman to be a missionary in Africa, at a time when that was pretty dangerous.
But more than that, she did not go out to ‘civilise the natives’ – she went out to share God’s love, and to help improve their quality of life. She lived among the people, not in a separate ‘missionary house’, she dressed like them, and shared their lives.
She had been a worker in the Jute Mills [from the age of 12] and a somewhat unorthodox Sunday School teacher in Dundee, before she went out to Calabar at the age of 28 [inspired by David Livingstone] to an area where no European had been before. She was particularly distressed by the way twin babies were treated. The people believed that one twin was inhabited by an evil spirit, the other by good- so automatically put one to death at birth. Mary adopted many babies herself to save them from this fate.
She was recognised by the people of Calabar as a wise, loving, generous woman – and elected the first ever female Magistrate of the British Empire. Her memory is still revered in Nigeria- and in Dundee part of the city museum is dedicated to her. The curator, Carly Cooper has spoken of how Mary changed the way people perceived missionaries…
"That's what made her different - in many respects perhaps the first of a new missionary kind, not just importing stuff from this country but being sensitive to the culture and the needs of the people there. Her legacy is that you can't just take your beliefs and standards and values abroad and dump them on people. If you're really interested in people's lives and making them better, you have to understand where they come from. You have to understand them as people and love them as people, and that's what Mary Slessor did."
She was the first non-royal female to appear on a Scottish banknote, back in 1998
When I gave away my collection of straw hats last month, I kept one special one. It was the one my Mum always wore when the sun was too hot. Dad called it her “Mary Slessor hat” – because it enabled Mum to keep going even in bright, headache inducing sunshine, doing the work she felt called to, sharing God’s love with people.
I do hope the centenary celebrations planned in Scotland help to make this woman’s legacy better known!
Monday, 12 January 2015
You can walk round downstairs without things going ‘squelch!’ anymore. One dear reader of this blog, who lives in Leicester, contacted me to offer the loan of a de-humidifier [thanks M!] You cannot believe how much water has been collected and emptied from its reservoir. Bob has been burning joss-sticks in his study to mask the awful damp smell. Now it smells very like a 1970s student flat! I feel I should put up a Che Guevara poster and wear some loon-pants and love-beads! [the older ones of you will understand those references] But instead I have just packed box after box after box…
Sunday morning was fantastic- we had a baptismal service at Church. Michelle and Cameron spoke of their faith, and Hayley, our former Youth Worker, came back to share in the service, as she’d been part of the spiritual journey. I was on prayer and towel duty, but Rachel kindly took these photos on my camera.
A true Scot, a dried off Cam returned to his pew in his kilt! As Sarah is back at Uni in Durham, her sister Kathryn ‘face-timed’ the service on her phone.
The church was packed, the atmosphere was one of joy and celebration – really good to feel that Bob’s ministry here is ending on such a high note!
Sunday, 11 January 2015
Some words which have helped me in the past few days
for my wonderful neighbours
Jesus asked “Which of these do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of thieves?” The man replied, “The one who was kind to him.”
for the helpful police and insurance folk
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin [and floods!] do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
We lay hold of the hope set before us, which we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.
And the best news of the week for my niece, who has just had her first baby [I’m a Great-Aunt!!]
She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” [Samuel means “God heard”]
Saturday, 10 January 2015
I loved Alan Bates, Julie Christie,Terence Stamp and Peter Finch in the 1967 version of FFTMC, I suspect I shall enjoy this new version too. The title comes from "Gray's Elegy" [written 1750] and this film is released 150 years after Hardy wrote the book. My Dad loved Gray's Elegy, and could recite it by heart, so I knew it from early childhood. But I had only just started reading Hardy when the first film came out.
At Uni, I had a boyfriend who was studying Hardy as part of his degree course, so I read even more then. Just to warn you - once I move to Dorset, I plan to re-read lots of Thomas Hardy, and go on and on about him. I really need to investigate more about his life.
Friday, 9 January 2015
It has been a real privilege to be part of the Friends and Neighbours group here at KMFC for the past 19½ years. I was invited, as the wife of the new Pastor, back in 1995, to be the President of this group, and it’s been great fun. Ann, our secretary, works efficiently to organise everything – and the rest of the committee do their fair share too, so the group runs well, and truly lives up to its name. We have new members joining each session, but keep in touch with older folk who no longer feel able to come out in the evenings. And our programme is varied and interesting. But last night was my final evening. Ann had made a point of checking I would be there – but I was bowled over by everyone’s kindness.
A card, a cake, a book, a gift token, AND flowers!
I want to thank them for all their love and support - for being true friends, and good neighbours - I shall miss these people so much!