I was asked to sort out Easter Day flowers for the side windowsills at church (the big arrangements were already sorted). They had to be silk not fresh, there were eight small arrangements needed and it needed to be done as cheaply as possible.
First stop was the £1 shops - I tried three before I found a good selection of silk flowers. They were all those ones where a whole bunch comes on one stem for £1.
I wanted daffodils but the only daffs available were two daffs attached to a hideous bunch of orange and white flowers. There were some relatively untacky-looking bunches of small yellow and white flowers, so I grabbed four of those - planning to use half a bunch per arrangement - and four of the bunches with daffs in, so I'd have eight daffs, one for each arrangement.
Then I had to find receptacles for them. I'd hoped to find some small glass or china vases - even pretty china mugs - in one of the £1 shops but found nothing suitable. I prayed for a solution! Then it struck me - as water wasn't part of the equation, I could use card. So I bought packs of A4 card in lilac and pale yellow, and made tubes by cutting one sheet in half longways and taping each half into a tube shape.
I cut cubes of Oasis (a bread knife works a treat!) out to fit snugly inside each tube and then stuck one daffodil and half a bunch of white and yellow flowers (cut from their bunch into individual blooms with wire cutters) into it.
They they turned out OK and cost just over £11 for eight, so didn't break the bank. Thank the Lord for divine inspiration!
A Passion for Fashion: A Liverpool Lady's Wardrobe is on from 29 April to 30 July 2006 at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. This looks wonderful - 130 items selected from the wardrobe of Emily Tinne, an ordinary (if middle-class and prosperous) Liverpool woman, donated to National Museums Liverpool by her daughter.
The exhibition is displaying clothing, shoes and accessories worn by Emily Tinne and her children between about 1910 and 1940, along with info about where many of the items came from and what shopping in Liverpool was like in this era. Sadly I doubt I'll get to see this - it's 250 miles away and I'm not planning to head up north again this year. It looks so good though - am salivating just looking through the online photo gallery.
I love this type of exhibition - where you can see the clothes and accessories of one person, and note how their taste changed (or didn't) over time, and what styles and colours they favoured over the years.
Of course, this sort of collection relies on the person stopping wearing things before they wear out, and hanging on to stuff which they've gone off, or grown too big or small for, AND having the storage space - which usually means someone middle or upper class.
In a similar vein but higher up the social ladder is Brighton Museum and Art Gallery's Fashion and Fancy Dress: The Messel Family Dress Collection 1865-2005 (on until 16 July 2006), an exhibition of gorgeous womenswear from six generations of the artistic and aristocratic Messel family.
Ladies and gentlemen - for all those who still have horrible colds and all who are wondering exactly when it's going to get any warmer despite it being nearly MAY... I give you the witty and talented PaMdora's wonderful In Bed With A Bad Cold quilt. Yes, QUILT. Click on the pic for more detail.
Via Peterborough Today: City charity is first to launch loyalty card:
"Peterborough-based (charity) Sue Ryder made High Street history with the launch of the UK's first nationwide charity loyalty card yesterday. People will be able to sign up for CareCard at one of the leading healthcare charity's 400 shops... Shoppers can register for their reward card, collect stamps and redeem in any shop. People can also sign up online. For every purchase of donated goods, priced £5 or more, customers will have their card stamped. When 10 stamps are collected, the CareCard can be redeemed for a £5 discount."£5 back for every £50 you spend! Bargain!
Sue Ryder Care: New Retail loyalty card for customers
"The fashion industry, for obvious reasons, is keen to promote the importance of buying new clothes. There is all that biannual bossy-boots business about the key purchases of the season, spelled out with the seriousness of the 10 Commandments...
And sometimes, if you're honest, you just get that magpie feeling where you need something - anything - new and shiny, even though you know that, as a way out of unhappiness, retail therapy is about as effective in the long term as getting really drunk. The only difference is that, instead of a hangover, you get a credit card bill...
So let's hear it for old clothes. Not vintage, which is just shopping with mothballs - your own old clothes..."
The Guardian's Jess Cartner-Morley talks common sense about loving the clothes that have loved you back.
The fabulous British Sitcom Guide's newsletter has made my day by informing me that one of my favourite sitcoms ever is coming out on DVD. I taped episodes of All Quiet On The Preston Front off the telly years ago, but have been afraid to watch them lately in case the aging tape finally chews up and I lose them forever. But now I can bin them and watch a shiny DVD!
'Preston Front' was based in a fictional Lancashire town called Roker Bridge, and followed the day jobs and love lives of a bunch of Territorial Army bods. Colin Buchanan, now one half of Dalziel and Pascoe, who played lead character Hodge, who spent most of his time either with best mate Eric, or secret lovechild Kirsty - product of his affair with Jeanetta - played by Caroline Pickles (most recently seen as Shelley in Emmerdale). Geeky teacher Spock was played first by Stephen Tompkinson and then by Alistair McGowan; and Caroline Catz (The Bill, Murder in Suburbia, Doc Martin) played Eric's girlfriend Dawn.
I loved clumsy but well-meaning man mountain Lloydy (Adrian Hood, who later did a lovely turn as Norman the delivery man in Victoria Wood's dinnerladies). One golden moment involved him encouraging Hodge to practice for his driving test in the van from local Chinese restaurant, Roman Holiday:
"Honest Hodge, the gearboxes are dead similar and having that noodle bowl loose on top makes y'concentrate. It's like them Maori women that learn to walk with pots on their heads."15/06/06 EDITED TO ADD: Series 2 will be out on DVD on July 3 2006! Newton's Laws of Television: The Preston Front MBuster: All Quiet On The Preston Front (screen shots from each episode)
My first Spring Harvest - quite an experience. Am still exhausted! Being an evening person, I didn't make it to any of the morning 'Big Start' worship at the Big Top, or any of the morning teaching/debate. I tended to rise later, watch the Big Start on the chalet telly then spend the morning wandering round the exhibition stalls in the Skyline, or out in Minehead. I took in a few afternoon seminars, and loved the evening celebrations in the Big Top - especially on the Sunday - taking communion with thousands of people was a very moving experience.
* Going to see the effervescent Watoto Children's Choir from Uganda.
* 'Discovering' Mark Greene of the LICC (London Institute for Contemporary Christianity) - I already get the LICC's daily emails, which are usually really interesting - but I hadn't heard of him. I went to one of his seminars (on integrity and evangelism in the workplace), which was great, and really enjoyed the talk he gave at one of the evening celebrations. He's intelligent, funny and speaks in a language I can understand - and makes realistic suggestions for ministry and evangelism. Hurrah! (See Amazon: Thank God It's Monday by Mark Greene)
* The worship songs led by Graham Kendrick - including some new ones I grew to love.
* Going to see Adrian Plass ("Evangelist: Someone who has only had problems in the past.")
* Seeing Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury give a lecture and later on be interviewed by Ian Coffey in the Big Top. Apparently his family love watching The Simpsons and his kids enjoy My Dad's The Prime Minister (he fears they see parallels with their own lives).
* Spotting Daniel Bedingfield in the wings of the Big Top just before Steve Chalke announced him and telling my friend (who hearts Daniel), who got terribly excited and tried climbing over the seats. (She later received a text from her bemused husband, enquiring, "So, how was David Bedington?") Daniel was there to help launch the Stop The Traffik campaign against human trafficking, which has been planned to culminate on the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery. He also led us in singing Refiner's Fire (Purify My Heart).
(L-R) Daniel Bedingfield singing in the Spring Harvest Big Top, Blenheim Gardens cafe in Minehead
Spring Harvest was a very emotional experience. It was bound to be anyway, but on Friday morning one of the girls in my church's group was taken ill and died - a fatal attack of sickle cell anaemia. She was only twelve. It's hard for us to understand why this had to happen but we know it was always part of God's plan.
Her funeral this morning was wonderful - sad but a celebration too, of her life here and of her new life. We heard how much she loved to be prayed for when she was ill, and to sing and dance in worship when she was well - and about how much fun she would be having now, dancing and singing in worship in Heaven. That's something for any Christian to look forward to.
So, am off to Minehead tomorrow to pop my Spring Harvest cherry. I have no idea what to expect really. Lots of chalets, lots of Christians and some crazy golf. And lots of seminars? I don't know... I have this silly idea it might be a bit too much like school - daft - I'm sure it will be a wonderful experience in all kinds of ways.
Our group organiser has emphasised that it isn't a competition to see how many seminars you can attend - and I fully intend to give the funfair my attention, eat chips on the beach and drink the occasional glass of red wine... it IS a holiday, after all!
Am sharing a chalet with a lovely bunch of lasses and am part of a group of about thirty from my church, some of of whom I know well and some not so well, and I expect we'll make a few new friends too.
I've already had my instructions from my (atheist) surrogate big bruv, Uncle Meat: "Remember to keep your eyes peeled for dishy blokes!"...
Via Christian Aid's Present Aid site - why not give Easter chicks with a difference?
"Popular Poultry: These birds can help pay for a child’s education.
You wouldn’t think that a simple brood of guinea fowl could change someone’s life. But, for families in the Mozambique, that’s exactly what they can do. Loan a couple of birds to a family and, before long, the birds have bred, produced chicks and plenty of protein-packed eggs. The family can then sell or barter the eggs and chicks and buy paper and pens for their children‘s education. The original loan can be returned to help a new family all over again."
I've put together a Squidoo 'lens' for Green Wing - with links to quotes, press coverage, interviews, web chats, fan sites, video clips, photos and info on individual cast members:
There's lots there so far, and more on the way.
Video for Stupid Girls by Pink
"What happened to the dreams of a girl presidentI just love Pink's new single Stupid Girls (lyrics here), especially the video, which is a joy.
She's dancing in the video next to 50 Cent
They travel in packs of two or three
With their itsy bitsy doggies and their teeny-weeny tees
Where, oh where, have the smart people gone?
Oh where, oh where could they be?"
In it she appears in many guises, including parodies of Jessica Simpson, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. It's based around a little girl watching telly, with her Barbies and her Girls World on one side of her and her football and keyboard on the other, while an angel and a devil (both played by Pink) try to persuade her which she should give her attention.
It's really funny and makes a good point very well. It should be played to six-year olds in school as a learning resource. Here's what Pink says about it on her website in a letter to her fans:
"...do not misunderstand me. I will clarify that IN MY OPINION, which is exactly what all of this is, there is nothing absolutely nothing wrong with being sexy, feeling sexy or dressing sexy. My point is only this: 'SMART' and 'SEXY' are not oil and water..."
"...What he does is ask for scalpels in regional accents, and taunt Tamsin Greig into trying to kiss him, then running away..."
My Green Wing series 1 DVD arrived today! (Currently cheapest online at Woolies.) I tried to be good and tape the re-runs, but the tape got chewed up during episode four, so the Blonde and I are going Dutch on the DVD.
Sunday Times: interview with Tamsin Greig, including a bit about her Christian faith.
Manchester Evening News: Tamsin wings in as Doc Caroline
Telegraph: Victoria Pile - Green Wing's midwife and surgeon
Sunday Herald: Michelle Gomez - Ready, Steady, Gomez
Commissioned by Artangel Interaction, Night Haunts is a collaboration between writer Sukhdev Sandhu, website designer Ian Budden and sound artist and musician Scanner. Night Haunts unfolds in monthly episodes through 2006 on a specially designed site:
"In this contemporary nocturnal journal, Sandhu prospects in the London night with the people who drive its pulse from night cleaners to praying nuns, security guards to the Samaritans. In each episode, Sandhu reflects on the nature of the urban night. Has night life been corroded by light and entertainment? What are the invisible forces that pulse through the sleeping city? Is real darkness possible any more?
Sandhu's first piece, Whatever Happened to the London Night? introduces his endeavours against the backdrop of past investigations of the nocturnal metropolis, particularly HV Morton's The Nights of London, published in 1926.
In his February episode, Avian Police, Sandhu recounts the experience of flying above the city in a police helicopter 'equipped with night-vision cameras that can pick out shirt labels from over 2000 feet'. In March, he tracks the solitary working lives of night cleaners traversing the city's empty streets and offices.
In future episodes he will be wading through the eternal darkness of London's Victorian sewers, dodging officialdom with pirate radio DJs, and praying for the soul of London with the Nuns of Tyburn... (more here)..."