Monday, 18 February 2019

Sunday 17th February - Sun and Sea

Church first though - I was on 'Stewarding' duty. The first time I did this, I had to ask what was involved. Ah, if they had said 'Sidesman' I would have known what to do already, but of course 'Stewarding' is gender-neutral... which I approve of, but a little sadly at the loss of another old-fashioned word.

The main entertainment (of course the liturgy and worship is not meant to be entertainment - but there's always something to make you smile) (apart from the Vicar's microphone unexpectedly switching from off to ON partway through her welcome) was the wrong part of the Scripture being read to us. Muttered consultation halfway through, and the reader exclaiming 'this is my favourite bit in the Gospels'. So we compromised - finishing that reading (given to her in error) and going on to the one we were supposed to be hearing. Actually Luke 4; 14-21 (accidental lesson) ties in reasonably well with Luke 6; 17-26.

Onwards. It was a lovely, lovely day, so instead of going home, we said 'where to next?' I set to work on google and found an old Sunday Telegraph '10 Best Seaside Places for Food' article and it included East Beach Cafe in Littlehampton. Do follow that link to see how it was built!

This is what it looks like from the land... It was still the breakfast menu when we got there, so that's what we had for lunch - eggs Benedict in my case, and smoked salmon and scrambled egg in his.

Then we set off for a prom along the prom. There was a holiday atmosphere; families out walking in the warm sun (wrapped up well against the brisk breeze).

A noticeboard mentioned the longest bench, but did we have to go East or West to discover it? I asked a woman passing by; while she was explaining that she didn't know anything about it (we realised later she had been walking past it for the previous ten minutes) a small boy interrupted 'is that the one that goes loopy loopy loop?' I nodded, guessing from his description that was probably what I was looking for. 'That way,' he pointed, and caught up with his own family.

This is what we found;

The longest bench in Britain!

You can have your own message carved (engraved?) onto a slat, which you 'lease' for five years. Many of the messages commemorate weddings, birthdays, families or express love for people and places. The whole construction is one of joy and fun.

As we walked along, more and more people seemed to be emerging into the afternoon sun. It felt like the final scene of a disaster movie, where the people appear from their shelters after a long period of danger and terror and depression into the burgeoning hope of a new dawn (or afternoon). Or maybe the opening lines of 'The Wind in the Willows', when mole emerges from underground spring cleaning and discovers the sun;   

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Saturday 16th February - Knitting and Reading

Yesterday was a gloriously sunny day, which we spent waiting in for a delivery ('all-day' delivery slot turned out to mean around 3pm).

Today has been grey, dank, miserable sort of weather. Best get used to it, as that is the forecast for the rest of the week.

I had another morning-in-bed, surrounded by cat, cups of coffee, mobile phone, Kindle, diary, suduko. Excellent. I would have got up if the weather had made it worthwhile. Still,, in spite of spending half a day lolling about, I have cleared a reasonable amount of admin

  • send in pay claim for music lessons
  • send in completed registers for music lessons
  • email parents about forthcoming music exam dates
  • email round everyone on the Women's World Day of Prayer committee to remind them to gather numbers for the coffee morning next Saturday, and persuade some of them to bake Slovenian Apple Cakes 
  • email to say I would Much Rather Not play for a memorial service on Friday as I will be baking Slovenian Apple Cakes
  • email to give transport dates for fetching an elderly parishioner to church -  I try and share the duty with a friend - she does the taxi bit, which I dislike, and I do the 'looking after her in church' bit, which she dislikes.

And so on and so on. Stuff. Paperwork. Things to lose and find and put somewhere sensible and lose and find again.

I've also been reading a lot recently; currently I have got these books on the go;

Persuasion - Jane Austen: AnnotatedHolding

Persuasion - Jane Austen
Letters to Alice: On First Reading Jane Austen - Fay Weldon   
Holding - Graham Norton (book club on Monday. I did read this last year, so am sort of skimming through)

and I'm about to re-read 'Arthur and the Seeing Stone', or maybe one of the others in the trilogy,

The Seeing Stone: Book 1 (Arthur)At the Crossing Places: Book 2 (Arthur)King of the Middle March: Book 3 (Arthur)

just to revisit the way the books have been written, like a series of little word-pictures.

I am determined to finish the red and yellow jumper that I finished knitting ages and ages ago - all it needs is to be sewn together, but I haven't dared tackle this until the right moment - that is when the ingredients of time, mental acuity and good lighting all coincide. I'm hoping that this conjunction of the stars and fates will happen sometime this week...


This picture dates back to 31st May 2018!

My current 'mindless knitting' scarf is going well; I started it at the end of January and it now looks like this;

It is meant to be an odd shape; all the increases are along the curved edge and the effect is a sort of crescent shape. I have had to switch from the circular needle I started with as some of the alloy near the point flaked off (never had that happen before). I would have swapped needles in any case - the metal tips are hard on your fingers compared to these nice bamboo needles, but I'm going to run into trouble soon as I will have too many stitches. You can see how the knitting is all bunched up at the top.

The knitting is progressing well - not least because I have discovered audiobooks on YouTube!

I'm halfway through listening to a dramatisation of 'Tiger in the Smoke' by Margery Allingham, originally a radio production. So far the Bad Man has murdered four people in one night, and Albert Campion's wife has survived a near miss. Thrilling!

Himself sitting back in his chair with a glass of wine and little olive palmieres - and apperitif before supper. He brought me mine earlier;

I've been making my way through them while I've been blogging. Ah well. Nothing lasts for ever.

He's taking a break from cooking, sitting and reading and consuming his own little dishlet of palmieres and glass of wine while the kitchen timer ticks away like an unexploded bomb beside him.


Friday, 15 February 2019

Friday 15th February - Half term - tea and chocs

Half term arrived in the nick of time - it felt like 'touch and go' whether I would last out... gales of laughter when I knocked on the door of a classroom on Tuesday requesting a child for a piano lesson, only to be told I had already taught him in the morning. (Really? I wonder what we did in the lesson - hopefully I will have made a note in my teaching records.)

Fortunately swathes of pupils fell by the wayside over the last two weeks - either they were ill, or on school trips - whatever - the respite was welcome! I've some lessons to make up next term, but that's something to sort out later.

I think I've been taking photographs from time to time, meaning to write a blog post. So they will now be acting as an aide-memoire;

Let's see;

The only picture I can find is this one. I had quite a few fancy, weird and exotic teabags leftover from Christmas, and have been working through them, saving the empty packets in a pile for some reason...

I've come to the conclusion that matcha tea (Japanese green tea) is matcha over-rated, in my opinion... And lavender and rose petals are much better left out in the garden or used for perfume and pot-pourri rather than stirred into boiling water and drunk. Mint works well with most things, as does ginger and lemon. Liquorice was an unexpected ingredient in several teas, but acceptable. There you go. Now you know.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day; for once it didn't pass us by. I sent off for a Green and Blacks Chocolate Subscription for Him, so random bars of dark chocolate will arrive through the post for the next few months. The first ones came at the weekend - classic 70% cocoa and "hmm, do I, don't I, like" currant and nut chocolate. Several tastes along the way and the answer is no! Hey ho - but you won't know unless you try.

He brought a Hotel Chocolat box of weird and wonderful chocolates; I think it was this one;

This was more successful - between us we enjoyed all - even the 'carrot cake' and the 'eton mess' - except one (cherry).