A not-Birthday card

It was Friend Alison’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, but as she was working, we only caught up with her a few days after. I made her this card, which I didn’t theme as a birthday card, as it was rather late after her actual birthday, using lots of bits-and-bobs. The letters, the shiny paper, the glittery swirl, the sun embellishment and the backing papers all came from Noz; the “Russian Caravan” came from a box of teabags, and the orangey-yellow card came from an M&S £10 curry box that I bought in Paris. Even the card & envelope itself were bought at Noz I think, so it was a cheap card to make!!

We gave her a lovely Robin silhouette fat ball holder, a little like this:

together with some jazzy socks and a couple of sweet little magnetic bookmarks.

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Can I have a P please, Bob.

Here’s another Celtic letter, this time for my M-i-L. This was – like the last – done to take me out of myself, one day when I was feeling very down.The need to concentrate on what I’m doing, which band goes over and which goes under (there are a couple of errors!), where each goes to how and they fit together is an excellent way to lose myself for a few hours.

 

And for those who are confused by the title…It comes from an old TV programme, called Blockbusters, where the teams had to answer questions beginning with certain letters to move across the grid. Students delighted in asking “Can I have a P(ee) please Bob, ” and then smirking, as this clip shows

Walking Update.

Out for a walk – wearing too many clothes!!

It’s a little less embarrassing than last week, as I have managed to get out a bit! So far this month I’ve done 18 km. Not the 30 I was hoping for, but there’s still a few days to go, and I’m going out this afternoon at least. I’m also not working on Tuesday – cancelled lessons – so I shall try to get another longish walk in then too. So hopefully by the end of February I won’t be disastrously behind target!

Sat 16 5.2
Sun 17 0
Mon 18 0
Tues 19 3.5
Wed 20 1.5
Thur 21 0
Fri 22 4.5

My walk last Saturday was lovely – it was the furthest I’ve walked for a long time, and although I was slow – especially on the uneven ground of the forest track – I still did the distance in about an hour and a half.

 

  

Tuesday’s 3.5 kilometres was around the streets of Clermont as I was learn-lining (as I used to call it back in the days when I did a lot of it!) When I have lines to learn for something I find walking helps…somehow. I used to tramp the streets of Milton Keynes when I did am-dram. Well, I’m “starring” in some short English teaching videos for Bonjour World, so I have lines to learn, so I’m back to walking to help. I’ve got three of the scenes learned. I’ve got two to go before next Saturday. I’ll be out again later this afternoon, I think!

Wednesday was a quick walk along the banks of the Loire again – it’s a really pleasant little walk, which I can usually fit in before my 10.15 lesson.

And Friday was a walk with Marvin the dog – Friend Alison and her family were going out ski-ing for the day, and staying with friends overnight, so they asked us to look in on Marvin. I thought it would be nice to take him out, so at 4.30 when I’d finished my preparation for next week, I bundled him into the car (he thought he was going to the vet, so was a bit reluctant) and drove out to a walk that I like, about 10 minutes from here. There was quite a lot of snow, which surprised me, and I wasn’t very well shod, so we kept to the main forest track.

 

The woodcutters had been out: doesn’t that sound delightfully Hansel-and-Gretel-ish? Not at all, with their diggers and chain saws there were quite some scenes of “desolation” – but then, lumber is a main industry round here, and the woods are working areas. Anyway, there were woodpiles for Marvin to climb on:

  

and smells to explore

So, all in all, we had a splendid time!

 

Eleven days to go!

Are you counting down?

To what, you may ask?

Well, it’s nearly Lent…

and what does Lent mean?

As the 40 Acts site says:

The church doesn’t just meet,

It acts.

Institutions and injustices, poverty and powerlessness – these problems seem too big for simple, everyday generosity to fix and yet God calls us to live like Jesus did.

Jesus didn’t change culture by means of assimilation, he lived a radically different life; characterised by love and expressed in generosity. He gave his resources, his time and ultimately his life. He always noticed people’s needs, stopping to help the physically and spiritually poor, and in doing so he changed the world.

Following Jesus means being the church. And the church doesn’t just meet, it acts.

Each Lent a community of people around the world come together to live and give generously.

Last year there was 100,000 of us. That’s 4 million acts of generosity completed in 40 days.
Generosity happens when we see the opportunity instead of the obstacle.

Seize your opportunity

I’ve followed 40 Acts now for several years, some years more successfully than others – last year was a bit of an epic fail – but I know that God honours my efforts however poor they might be. I’ve blogged about 40 Acts too – some years more successfully than others! I seem to remember having to write a blog post that caught up with about ten challenges one year! But that’s part of the deal for me – considering the challenge and how I completed it, and then blogging about it. I’m not boasting, or saying “Hey, look at me! Aren’t I great?!” but I’m hoping that I might inspire others, for whom this might be their first year trying 40 Acts, to see that whatever you do, how big or small, can make a difference in the world. I enjoyed reading about the New Mrs M’s 40 Acts of Kindness (links to one post) that she did with her daughter. It wasn’t quite the same as 40 Acts, but it was just as good!
There’s an added incentive this year – I was asked to write one of the meditations!

Remembering the Ten…

Today on BBC Breakfast there was a special programme – on the 75th anniversary of a plane crash in Sheffield there was a fly past of various RAF/USAF planes.

Why? What was special about this particular crash?

It happened on 22nd February 1944, when Tony Foulds, then aged 8, and his mates were playing in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield. They saw the B-17 bomber plane limping back, after being damaged during its bombing raid, desperately looking for somewhere to land. They didn’t realise the state of the plane though, and when they saw someone waving from the plane the boys excitedly waved back, not understanding that it was a sign for them to clear the field. In order to avoid killing the boys the crew of the Flying Fortress steered away from them and crashed into the wooded hillside beyond. All ten airmen were killed instantly.

Since a memorial was erected in the 1970s, Tony has regularly kept plants watered and the area clean to remember the men who died. He says that he feels enormous guilt that the men died in order to save him and his friends, and this is one way of trying to make up for this. Tony says he “loves them like my own son or daughter” – these men who made the concious choice to die, rather than risk killing the young boys playing in the park below.

A report from BBC Breakfast recounted how Tony tended the memorial and how much he wanted to see these men honoured in a fly past. Permission was granted, and the USAF at RAF Lakenheath organised the Fly Past today, the 75th anniversary. This was the news report that started the whole thing off:

So today, thousands of people gathered in the park to watch the fly past, with the Breakfast Show being broadcast live from there. Tony was present, together with relatives of the young airmen who died. Here is a still from the TV report as a B-17 (at least I think that’s it. I may be wrong!) passes over and Tony raises his arms to wave.

It was actually a very emotional segment to watch, as the relatives tried to help assuage the guilt that this man feels “every day of my life” and he watched this commemmoration of their sacrifice.

Please note, I’m not unaware of the irony of the airmen dying while saving the lives of some young lads playing football in Sheffield, when they had just been over Germany dropping bombs on German civilians. But it’s still a moving story all the same.

A disgruntled Cat.

I love the word “disgruntled” – but how come one is never “gruntled”?!

Anyway, Pomme is disgruntled today.

Why?

Well, I lured her out from under my desk with delicious ham. Scrap by scrap, her greed got the better of her and she came out for the next morsel…Until she was out in the open, and I could grab her to smear butter-with-crushed-tablet around her mouth, and mostly on her paws. We are finding this is more acceptable for her, and she gets less stressed. We assume she then licks it off her paws – as she washes herself.

She snuck back under the desk, while casting evil looks in my direction, and is now sitting on the amplifier, washing herself and looking very disgruntled.

But the tablets are working: she has gained a bit of weight, and the blood test showed a big improvement in whatever it was testing. She certainly continues to be livlier and more active than she has beenfor a while!