Sunday, 28 June 2009

A Sponsored Walk & The Coconut Shy

There hasn't been much to write about recently, (household chores and washing our cars doesn't count!) but this end of the week has been busy. On Friday approx 950 students and 90 staff from our school did a sponsored walk of 8 miles! There were only a few injuries and they were mostly blisters and twisted ankels. Thankfully the day was mostly dry and cool although the sun did come out after lunch, by which time over half of the walkers had returned to school and were relaxing in the shade. We don't yet know how much we've raised, but all the money is going to be used to buy materials for new classrooms in our group of partner schools in Kenya. Many of the schools we are supporting have only mud huts and they leak during the rains. They don't have desks, books, pens, pencils, rulers etc. Things we take for granted like toilets are holes or trenches in the ground. So the money raised will make a big difference to these children and their teachers in Kenya, by providing them with permenant classrooms and proper toilets.
Saturday we spent running the Coconut Shy with the Guides at the Village Fete. It was a hot sunny day with big crowds out enjoying the fete, the Guides worked hard and raised lots of money, approx £80 which they are donating to the Moorfields Lions Eye Centre in Ghana. Moorfields uses the money to save childrens eyesight in Ghana. Today is a rest day for our sore feet, but I've plenty of stitching to do as three of our teachers from the English department are moving on to pastures new at the end of July. I will post pictures of the finished stitching later in July. Mum's batch of Elderflower cordial was (and still is) delicious, I froze some of the cordial in ice-cube bags for later in the year. I hope you have a lovely weekend. Jane x

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Crafting and Recipe From Dorset

Last weekend we were down in Dorset visiting my parents. My Mum had been given some elderflowers by her neighbours as she wanted to make Elderflower cordial. They were cutting back their elderflower bush. So we made two batches to share, We couldn't carry our batch home so we left it with Mum to finish. We are looking forward to collecting next time we visit. The recipe if you would like to make some cordial too, is very easy:

30-40 Elderflower heads (fully out but not going over)
2lbs Granulated Sugar
2 Oranges
1 Lemon
2 0z Citric Acid (available from the chemist/pharmacy)
4 pints boiling water

Cut the flowers from the stalks with scissors
Put into a large bowl with the boiling water, citric acid & sugar
Stir and leave to cool slightly
Add the grated peel of the lemons and oranges and the juice too, stir again
Leave for 48 hours stiring occasionally
Strain the mixture through a very fine sieve or colander with muslin
Pour into bottles, plastic is best if you are freezing any of the cordial.
Finally pour a small amount into a glass and dilute to taste, relax and enjoy.

I have been busy knitting and cross stitching again. In the absence of a model, the chair was a good substitute for showing the length of the shawl/wrap. My progress on the poppy picture has worked up the left side, but I have run out of one of the main colours of thread, so work has stopped temporarily. Happy crafting Jane x

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Where Did My Holiday Go?

Where did my holiday go? It has gone much too quickly. We spent the first weekend around the house. My parents came to visit and Ali returned from Uni. My dad helped Tony change the handrail on the stairs. It was a low profile rail which was useless if you lost your footing as you couldn't get a grip to stop yourself from falling. The new rail is wonderful by comparison, it is properly mounted on brackets and sealed with varnish. Thanks Dad for your help.
During the rest of the week we went to the pictures/cinema to see; Angels and Demons with Tom Hanks as Professor Robert Langdon - It was a brilliant interpretation of the Dan Brown novel of the same name and we all enjoyed it very much, even me who is inclined to close my eyes if it gets scary! We also saw Night At The Museum 2 Battle Of The Smithsonian. We enjoyed it so much we keep quoting bits from the film, then we bought the original Night at the Museum on DVD which was also very good. We also visited Clandon Park N.T. which was brilliant. Clandon has a hidden Dutch sunken garden, the village church, the house itself and a Maori house - Hinemihi o te Ao Tawhito, which is the only one of its kind in England. I remember standing inside the Maori house when I was a child so it was like seeing an old friend. Best of all for Em the restaurant actually had food she could eat and even offered Gluten free/Dairy free cakes, which made all the difference to our day out.

On Friday we went to Brighton to see the Royal Pavilion which is the former holiday home of The Prince Regent, later King George IV. Opulent, swathed in gold and dripping with Chinese dragons and serpents it is an amazing show piece home. To stand in the main dinning salon and imagine yourself at one of the lavish dinner parties is quite easy. The gardens are beautiful and have been restored with many of the same type of plants from the period when the Pavilion was newly built in the 19th century. I was surprised how many plants I recognised that are still available today.
On Sunday we visited Uppark House N.T which suffered a major fire in 1989. With the insurance money and funding from English Heritage the downstairs rooms were restored to the same condition they were "the day before the fire." As a result it looks an odd mismatch of rescued and conserved pieces along with some new replacement and gives the place a shabby, tired look. There are virtually no gardens either as it was landscaped by Henry Repton to fit in with the dramatic views of the South Downs. Back to work has been busy and with the glorious weather at the moment it has been difficult to be indoors. I hope you have a happy week. Jane x