Monday, 2 September 2019

Headlines From A Holiday

Bank Holiday Trap!
Woman spends all Bank Holiday weekend firmly wedged in the doorway, after she tries to exit the caravan holding:-

  • flask, 
  • bag of beach clothes and towels, 
  • cool bag containing lunch 
  • phone
  • camera
  • handbag
  • emergency cardi

Flower Power
Holiday maker succesfully convinces husband that they are visiting nearby narrow gauge railway to admire the floral displays...

Man surprised to discover that his swimming trunks failed to magically appear in the beach bag.
He shook his head and observed sadly...
"Last  time I saw them they were in my clothing bag in the caravan, ready to go to the beach..."

Girl surprised to discover that the tide will go and and come in again,
just like yesterday,
but it will be running at a slightly later time...

Ringing In Ears
After visiting twenty different churches in a day on a bellringing open day in Wiltshire, a couple are convinced they can hear bells even when none are ringing...

Caravanners on site all aware that the occupants of pitch no.60 are cooking toast again,
after they activate their smoke detector at precisely 9am, for the third day in a row...

Life Saver
Woman hopes that pouring calorie-laden cream on to her calorie-laden pudding in the form of a cross, will absolve her from any calories!

Starter for 10
The KHT attempts to start a lively conversation, with the fun opener
"What is the most interesting part of highway maintenance?"

Holidaymaker delighted to discover someone with the same itintials has already carved them in the rock.
They can now upload a picture of the initials to their Instagram account and claim the credit,
until they get called out by an ecco warrior - at which point they can conveniently explain that the initials were already there...

Husband steadfastly refuses to have anything to do with the precarious stack of washing up on caravan draining board, as he suspects it is a booby trap...

Sign of the Times
Woman takes photo of 'Steep Steps' warning sign, so that she can boast that the route to the nearst public conveniences required the determination of the deliverer of the Milk Tray chocolates...

After several days sat with her back to the sea, studiously avoiding the tempting waves by focusing on a book from her extensive collection of literature written by Jacquline Wilson, the KHT decides at 5pm that the sea is absolutely the best place to be.
Ironically this is the point in time that her parents have quietly decided that it mught be a good idea to pack up the caravan and trek homewards.

Cannot Win
As the occupants of pitch 60 pack up late on Bank Holiday Monday, fellow campers view their departure suspiciously, muttering to anyone who will listen
"If they hadn't paid for tonight they should have left hours ago!"
followed by
"If they had paid for tonight, they should have not wasted their money and spent the day in traffic jams on the M5, rather than enjoying themselves on the beach..."

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Does This Ring A Bell?

Monday evening we had hoped to ring at Ottery St Mary. I had emailed the Tower Captain, but not received a reply - well it is summer and not everyone checks their emails every day.

I went online and asked about ringing in East Devon. Apparently there are over 400 towers in Devon and about 100 of these are in East Devon... I was given some contacts for the towers in Exmouth - as practices alternate between the ring of eight and the twelve. I hurriedly dashed off an email whilst cooking tea.
Did we really want to go back to Exmouth when we have spent the day there?
Did we really want to ring on twelve bells, especially if they were very good ringers...?

Meanwhile DH decided that he wanted to go to Tesco - despite the fact we visited Waitrose on our way home... It was also less than three miles away.
Exmouth could wait for another year.
"Not another supermarket!" sighed the KHT.

Having wandered around Tesco in Honiton we got in the car to go back to the campsite.
"Shall we go back via Ottery St Mary just in case they are ringing?" I suggested, "It is only a small detour and we haven't got anything that will spoil..."
DH approved of this plan, so off we set.
In Ottery St Mary we found a parking space ouside the church, which appeared to be in total darkness.
It was not looking promising.
On the off chance DH pushed the button to operate the automatic door opening.
To our amazement it swung slowly open.
This was like an episode of Scooby Dooby Doo!
Dare we enter?
Inside we could hear distant voices.
We stepped gingerly into the darkened building...
"Are you bellringers?" came a cheery voice from the glorious gloom.
"Yes", replied DH
It was an evening when a few regulars were missing, so they were very pleased to see us.
Ottery St Mary is  a grand church and has been described as a mini Exeter Cathedral.
Unusually for a large church the bells are rung from the ground floor.
Built as a collegiate church, the Victorians gave it a significant make over.
Some of the Victorian tile decoration can be seen in the shot of DH ringing the tenor.

Meanwhile the KHT had a wonderful time exploring the church.
The ringers put lights on so she could explore the building, but she also enjoyed reading the books by torchlight!

As one of the ringers locked the door he told us that the ghost would now appear in the church.
"It was creepy enough entering the church through those automatic doors into the dark," I commented.

Wrong church
On Tuesday evening I had arranged for us to join the practice at Sidmouth.
"I know where the church is, we drive past it when we turn right on our way to the car park. There is plenty of space to park in the grounds..."
I reread the email
"Enter by the South door."
However, the South door was firmly locked,
so was the East and the West,
and all other doors.
Then I looked up.
No tower!
No steeple!
No spire!
No bells!!!
"This isnt the right church! Look it has no tower!"

DH looked up and had to agree that with no tower this was not the right church.
"Where is the right church?"
"I think it is nearer the sea.."
"I can hear bells," replied DH, "it can't be far away!"
Right church
Off we set, with windows wound down, trying to determine which direction the church was in.
We saw it as we passed it.
We then passed loads of no entry signs, as we travelled further and further from the tower.
We made our way back though narrow streets that earlier would have been filled with throngs of tourists.
No parking at the church.
We found a space close to the tennis courts.
The south door would be open until 7:45, after that we would have to find the doorbell and wait for someone to come down and let us in.
It was 7:43.
The KHT and I bailed out of the car and headed for the church,
arriving just before the door was locked.

In fairness to me, we had only ever driven past the first church and from the passanger seat you don't get much of a view of the roof. I had assumed that it was the same church that is visible from the sea front. I know differently now!

We had been invited to join the band at Axminster at 6:30pm on Wednesday evening for service ringing. We found the church with no problem, but when we went to enter the building those inisde were deep in prayer. It didn't feel right to disturb them.
We looked for a different door.
DH encountered a Vicar, who directed us to the vestry door. Inside members of the local congregation showed us the door to the spiral staircase.
We rang Devon style call changes on the front six of this glorious ring of ten.
We didn't stay for the service as we hadn't had tea, but the music sounded great!

As we left I could have sworn I got a glimpse of a green-brocade-cloaked member of the clergy wearing a mitre, but I 'might have' been mistaken...
Google tells me the Bishop of Credition was appointing a new Rural Dean, so I may have seen the Bishop. I will never know

Our next planned ringing is on Sunday morning, but this could change...

Sunday, 18 August 2019

On the Border

After a manic week, in which I failed to get the stocks down from the hall loft for the local community day, I managed to complete the majority of self-imposed deadlines and departed for a break in the tin tent.

As we drove off DH posed the question he always asks at this point in the proceedings..
"What have we forgotten?"
I always reply that I have absolutely no idea, or it wouldn't be forgotten, and that if we have forgotten anything we can replace it, do with out or improvise.

Despite our 'everything-including-the-kitchen-sink' approach to packing (well we do have a caravan) we usually forget something, but not anything too vital. This year it was the beach shoes. Yes, they are still drying out in the airing cupboard... Minorly irritating, but not the end of the world.

We spent the first three nights on the Hampshire Wiltshire border. Several years ago I had visited Mottisfont and had always planned to take Barry and Abi. There was also a bellringing day around Salisbury on the Saturday... We like to take the opportunity to ring at some new towers, especially the rarely available 3's and 4's that are often available on these planned events.

Friday saw us at Mottisfont. I had visited in October, when the garden was not at its best. Since then quite a bit of remodelling has gone on, and it is much more than just a rose garden!

Even on a grey, drizzly day it is still an interesting place to wander around.

Lots of interesting things to discover...

Knowing the rain was going to get heavier we did as much exploring outside as we could.

Finally we decided we better brave the chaos of the cafe, which is situated on the lower floor.
We entered by the cellars, which was a tad disconcerting!
I wanted to ask if anyone had seen the salt...

DH disappeared to visit the facilities, meanwhile I acheived the impossible by finding a vacant table in the old kitchen.
The other side of the wall was a waterwheel, which turned the spit. The downside of this was the repetive soundtrack of the waterwheel turning, as we ate.
Above our table was a viewing panel into the inner working of the waterwheel. As it was above my head I failed to notice this, until a succesion of people stopped by our table and stared intently at the wall above our heads...

As anticipated the KHT LOVED the Beano exhibition and intently read each and every cartoon.

The KHT instinctivly interacted with various elements of the exhibition.

There was also an official photo booth.
Some were less keen to take part.
"Dad, you are so lame! I am never going to take photographs of my children!" one pre-teen was heard to proclaim.
"Don't blame us when there are no photographs of you!" was the response of one parent.
The KHT had no such qualms, and immediately went into pose mode with a stink bomb!

Outside the rain was getting heavier and heavier.
We delayed the inevitable with another coffee, but finally admitted deafeat and exited to a car park that was rather emptier than when we arrived!

Mottisfont - a fascinating visit. Gorgeous in October with the autumn colours,  and even lovelier in August.

Perhaps next time we visit it will be a sunny day, when the roses are at their best!

Monday, 29 July 2019

Stating the Obvious

I was catching up on a backlog of  photos.
However, the only one I took on Sunday was of the flowers on the Table in church.
I had moved the candle behind the flowers hoping for an interesting effect.
However looking at the photo after I uploaded it on to my computer,
the flame is barely visible,
which was a tad disappointing.

Never mind I thought and uploaded the photo on to my online photo project.

"Did the candle get blown out?"
If the candle remained alight
and the church burns down
I have just just uploaded the evidence implicating myself...

Me ( to Dear Husband)  - Silly question, I know, but did you blow the candle out in church on Sunday evening...?
Dear Husband - Yes, AND you watched me blow it out.
Me - I don't remember that.
Dear Husband - I got wax on my hand.
Me - Ah, yes! I DO remember that!
Dear Husband - For some strange reason the candle was BEHIND the flowers. 
I have no idea why.
Me (stating the obvious) - I wanted to take a photo...

We are very different.

Monday, 15 July 2019

May I have a word, Amazon?

Dear Amazon
As one of your favourite customers
I just thought I would drop you a line
to wish you a very happy birthday.

I would also like to take this opportunity
to raise a few tincy wincy points with you

Firstly, I use you because you are convenient.
However, I do so with a heavy heart,
because the reports of how you treat your workers
are not good
I do not want to be encourage Amazon
to think
that this is acceptable.
Claims on the BBC website reveal that you expect an item picked every eight seconds,
332 per hour for a 10 hour day. (GULP!)
Surely that is inhumane!?
Maybe you should get robots to do your picking...
Oh wait, Ocardo tried that and their packing warehouse went up in flames...
I bet that slowed down those super robots a bit!
I am the customer who gave up her favourite coffee because it was made by Nestle,
because I did not feel comfortable with their policies.
Be assured that I am not afraid to change my purchasing habits,
even if it requires sacrifice.

Secondly, Amazon, you save me time.
Don't get me wrong I really do appreciate that.
You save me the hassle of touring loads of shops
trying to some elsusive item that I have decided I require...
However, price isn't everything. I also want you to treat your employees well.
Add a £1 per item to the price - and give it to the order pickers.
I really won't mind!
It won't deter me from using you, in fact it may encourage me to!
It may also mean your employees don't have to work ten hour shifts,
which will benefit them and you,
as they will be fitter and fresher for their shifts.

Thirdly, I like the fact I can order goods on the Amazon site for another country
and I do not have to pay international carriage rates to get them delivered.
You can be a great blessing!

However, Amazon., you are 25 years old.
Stop. Taking. Advantage.
Pay. Your. Way.
Yes, pay taxes!
We all have to grow up sometime and become responsible members of our community.
If you could pay the money that you really should,
then we will have more nurses and teachers and Teaching Assistants
and people doing a thousand jobs and earning decent wages.
The benefit to you is that they would have more money to spend at Amazon.
I call this 'Trickle Up' economics.
(It probably has a proper name, but I do not know what it is.)
I gave it that name because it is the opposite
of the'Trickle Down' economic theory the rich advocate
 - which never works, because as the rich increase in wealth,
they find ways of avoiding paying tax!
Leaving the poor to pay a disproportionate percentage of their income to run the country.

In conclusion, Amazon, I hope you stick around for another 25 years,
but sort out the way you treat people and start contributing to the economy.
And we will all live happily ever after.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Sunset Strip

Sheringham is made for sunsets.
Being more sheltered than Cromer,
and positioned slightly around the corner,
means that it is often less windy than its neighbour.

Sheringham also has the advantage of not having cliffs separating prom from town.
In Cromer, you have to physically decide to descend to beach level.
Whereas in Sheringham, wander throught a gap between some buildings
and suddenly you are there, facing the sea, stones, sand and sunset.

The sea front at Sheringham is also enhanced with various murals that the KHT likes to interact with.

We ambled along,
 pausing to sit here,
or stand and watch the silent retreat of the sun.
Left behind
by the world in its ever turning trajectory.

There is always something to take the attention.

As we wandered we noticed people perched
apparently in the perfect position
to watch the sunset -
on benches or walls they sat.
Some enjoying lively conversations -
eager to put the world to rights
before the last of the day is stolen away.
Others enjoy private silent contemplation,
seemingly at peace with the world.

We returned to the campsite to witness a large flock of birds
noisily descend upon the adjacent copse,
squawking and bickering in raucous tones,
like fractious children who have been cooped up too long.
Having shared their views, they fall silent.
Not bothered by getting the last word.
They have spoken and that is sufficient.

Birds can be wise.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Sunday Morning Surprise!

This morning we went to the morning service at the parish church in Cromer.
We had no idea where to park, so I googled 'parking for Cromer church'.
A link came up advising me that there was some street parking
and gave the name of the nearest municiple car park.
There may have been street parking normally,
but it was the weekend with the best weather so far this year
so the town was buzzing.
There was also some big cycle race in Norfolk on Sunday morning
which further limited the available street parking.
After finding ourselves in a dead end once more,
but this time adjacent to the cliff edge, rather than contained within a farm yard...
We then drove around the local streets several times
in ever increasing circles
before we admitted defeat and used the recommended car park.

The church was also buzzing.
Sun streamed through the plain glass windows.
I expected the church to be half empty
but we found ourselves sat in the side aisle.
If I was carrying out a mystery worshipper
I would have said that there was a good atmosphere of expectation before the service.
The music was led by a worship band,
who did there very best
despite some very challenging acoustics -
high celings and stone walls are not the best elements
for creating a good sound.

The service was led by a young clergyman
(I must be getting old when the clergy look young...).
The churchwarden began the service by announcing his appointment to lead the church for the next three years.
I understood he had been doing so on an informal basis.
The news was met with spontaneous applause from the congregation,
who were obviously delighted by this outcome.

I examined the leaflet we had picked up as we entered.
The speaker was listed as Roger Billings.
I remembered a Roger Billings from nearly 50 years ago,
but he was now a Rev and last I heard was living in Oxfordshire.
When he stood up to speak I recognised him straight away.
"I recognise him!" I said to DH.
"Well he does look familiar.." replied DH.
"He was one of the original leaders of Crusaders when I was ten! They moved away a year or so later."
After the service I greeted him
"Crusaders, Redditch 1971!"
A look of delight crossed his face.
We chatted for a while
and he asked after various people from that era.

Back then Roger and his wife Margaret were a young married couple,
who helped launch a Crusader group, in an attempt to stop those in the 10-18 age bracket drifting away from church.
I remembered his wife as having long dark hair and wearing a long purple cloak.
It was at a games evening at their house that I first discoverd the game "Tell Me" 
which required very little skill
other than thinking of something beginning with a certain letter of the Alphabet
on a nominated topic.

It was purely by chance that we ended up in Cromer,
and went to that particular church on a day when Roger was preaching.
If he had not been preaching I would never have known that he was in the congregation!
That was my Sunday morning surprise!