Sunday, 19 December 2010
Since Elisabet was standing in front of a real Christmas nisse, she ran right up to him and felt his red cloak. Then he bent down and lifted her up on his arm. She tried to pull his beard to find out whether it was real, and it was.
'Why are you so kind?' she asked.
Ho, ho!' laughed the man in red again. 'The more we give away, the richer we become, and the more we keep for ourselves, the poorer we become. That's the mystery of generosity, neither more nor less. But it's the mystery of poverty too.'
The angel Impuriel clapped his hands. 'Well spoken, Bishop!'
-If you haven't already put The Christmas Mystery on your Amazon Wishlist, you'll not have the chance to be delighted by the pilgrims' arrival in Myra in 322AD on December 19th! Suns on edge of bunk beds and Dad creeping in from Carol Service to have an update in excited stereo. Very clever meeting of Bishop Nicholas and the Wise Men!
Schools still closed due to snow here, so the holidays appear to be starting! A Merry Wonder-filled Deep Down Tummy Love Christmas to you all, dear, inspiring, encouraging bloggistes! I have loved this year in Blogdom and look forward to the next! More Friday Cake Bakes, the rest of Alphabe-Thursday, and lots and lots of Pom Pom, Angela, Left-Handed, oh the wealth of it all! The mysterious generosity of you!
Love from all at the Land of the (sometimes tearful) Strawberries xxxxx
Friday, 17 December 2010
Thursday, 16 December 2010
We have had Jo's school play, finally, after snow disruption necessitated a daily performance for most of a month! We have attended our first senior school Carol Service and been moved by the passion of still enthusiastic P4 singers.
Tomorrow marks the beginning of the round of parties and non-uniform days, so my L for Alphabe-Thursday is a resounding last day of uniforms and a less resounding last three macarons from Paris! I plan to ration them strictly; hopefully their demise will coincide with Sunday's mince pies and mulled stuff and the sharing of muchly festive fayre! Ready, steady, ....
Sunday, 12 December 2010
It was a whole weekend of abundant peace- much more than Mrs Large's three minutes and forty-five seconds! With lots of opportunites to kneel with all the santon figures of French nativity, a little teacher beside the little millers and shepherds and holy family waiting for the empty crib to be filled.
Saturday, 4 December 2010
Elisabet had stopped crying. 'To Bethlehem?'
'Yes. To Bethlehem, to Bethlehem! For that's where Jesus was born.'
Elisabet was very surprised by what the angel had said. In an attempt to hide her astonishment she began to brush soil and grass off her trousers. There were some nasty stains on her red jacket too.
'Then I want to go to Bethlehem,' she said.
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
Do you know it? I'm already wary of the consequences of a sub-story about a girl who runs away from her mother in a shop! And how much of John's tale will they grasp? But then I grasp something new from this book every year. From the first year it gave me my image of wisdom- more of that when its day comes! The outstanding quote for today was most apt given my quick and fruitless dash to the local shopping cente tonight!
Perhaps the reason the lamb had come to life and run away from the big store was that it could no longer bear to listen to the cash registers and the talk about buying and selling. And perhaps that was why Elisabet was following it. She had never enjoyed shopping....
Sunday, 28 November 2010
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Saturday, 20 November 2010
Friday, 19 November 2010
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Seven year Mattman: Interesting. Is. It. In. "Is it in? That makes a sentence, you know, Mummy."
42 year old Mags: Insects.
Disproportionately not what I was expecting... Aphabe-Thursday is here!
ps Frances, I always think you're funny!
Saturday, 13 November 2010
Really couldn't say the same of tonight's first attempt to make a real sponge cake. Oh my. We had even invited very good friends for tea and the cake. Flat as omelettes and tasted as eggy. Cranks cookbook said to use 4 eggs and vanilla essence and only one ounce each of sugar and flour. Can this be right? I didn't think my whisking was effective though. Salvaged by making mini sandwiches with cream inside and jam on top. Politely eaten. Comestible as Nedboy would say!
Took refuge in Erasmus. Only because Prince Charming has driven down into the slow marshes of academia for his latest Local Preachers unit. "Have you heard of Erasmus of Rotterdam, Mags?" he foolishly asked from the reading chair last night. I am still living with the consequences of my proud and patronising response!
Thursday, 11 November 2010
I was going to be Happy because November is my favourite month, I have decided. But then I logged on and read all the fabulously sensitive and moving Remembrance posts and Happy seemed inappropriately jolly.
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
The mother of a singing friend who studies in Paris proudly emailed the brochure for Beatrice's first public performance. On the evening of Sunday 5th December. A little seed was sown. A big present from PC was the fruit!
Hence a very excited friend and an extremely excited I will be flying to Paris on the Saturday- well, a lunchtime flight on Sunday wouldn't make the travelling worthwhile?- and coming home on the Monday. The third Sunday in Advent represents Peace- peace and beauty and beaucoup de chocolat or indeed vin chaud.
For this is where we plan to spend lots of time!
ps If anyone knows how to do accents in bloggais, I would obviously need a crash course!
Friday, 5 November 2010
So the stripey colours came, not only replacing the eleven year old once pristine carpet, but also inspiring us to bring just some of the original furniture back in. So now there is the most uplifting feeling of space. We all love it- the boys have discovered that below the now totally exposed shelves, behind the new chair position is a perfect cosy den.
There will be, however, no photos. This week Mise and her white heaven haven have been in a magazine. I am reeling from the fact that such a celebrity might sometimes come to call in the Land of the Humble Strawberries! And indeed we have been busy with friends and visits these last few days, which reminds me of not so long ago, before the lachrymose times, when our philosophy here practised hospitality as a sign of the Kingdom. That has been nice!
Sunday, 31 October 2010
Friday, 29 October 2010
Thursday, 28 October 2010
I thought one opportunity was lost in the film- Gru should have turned out to be a children's author. I was absolutely convinced that this would be the denouement. Alas no. But it does leave me wondering how many arch villains turn to more constructively creative jobs at times of amoral crisis. Left-handed Housewife- any thoughts?
(This was my now weekly Alphabe-Thursday panic. There being no thought in my head other than surviving half-term and working out what on earth to do about our annual Pumpkin Party being on a busy Sunday...)
Thursday, 21 October 2010
Friday, 15 October 2010
Thursday, 14 October 2010
Is there no stage of life at which the worry stops?
I am challenged by the stoicism, courage and faith of the Chilean miners. They really did find danger deep down. How fabulous is their resurrection. Angela's post, as always, says it all...
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
This recipe came to me at the weekend from the repertoire of the Amazing Cooking Catherine who has it from the Julia Child of Ireland- Darina Allen.
Melt the butter until it is nut brown, toss in the onions and the sugar; add salt and pepper; stir well. Cover and cook for 30 minutes over a gentle heat, stirring from time to time with a wooden spatula. Just time to do some ironing! Add vinegar, red wine and creme de cassis. Cook for 30 minutes uncovered, stirring regularly. Time to do slightly less ironing!
I am now looking out for little jars and thinking that this could have Christmas gift potential. At least, that is what I would be thinking if it was November. Official Strawberry Land point of thinking about Christmas. Not before! Unless it's Darina Allen...
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
This is a glorious autumn! Not only are bunches of grapes hanging off the vine we planted in a former pre-child life, but mellow fruitfulness is coming in even more life-enriching ways. Our special sun is, say his teachers, showing himself to be much less special indeed. And I am revelling in the fabulous grace of the ordinary. He read two books in quick succession this afternoon, having flown through a comprehension. A small blog that struggles to be faithful, let alone grateful , consumed by sinning worry, has not words enough to say thank-you. But its soul sings.
And pumpkin boy, distraught at having outgrown his small sized pumpkin suit, is now fully clothed. The same helpful supermarket supplied a very grow-with-pumpkin-boy pumpkin suit and the next shop gave us this:
No doubt all will make an appearance at the Not So Scary Party we now have tickets for over the holidays- Mr Hullaballoo and his puppets never fail to charm! Oh sunny bloggistes, o frabjous day, I'm thanking Him for you too!
Thursday, 7 October 2010
However, C should also be for clutter. I thought my Autumnal meditation was the last photo on the camera, but obviously Jo has been snapping in my absence... Hence the full story of life in the Land of the (sometimes tearful) Strawberries- collections of clutter!
Another week, another Alphabe-Thursday!
Monday, 4 October 2010
The basket of communion bread was still sitting on the table, and everyone was standing around talking and clearing up and there was that nice buzz that you get when people have worshipped together and are communing on a less formal level.
So the basket of bread was there, waiting to be cleared away. I was sitting in the front row waiting for PC to tidy up his guitar and tie up with the sound guys, and the suns were on either side of me playing, and then I noticed that some of the other children were up at the table at the bread basket.
And they were gorging on the pieces of bread, absolutely falling on them and devouring them in handfuls. Their mouths were not big enough for the fistfuls of bread that they were eating with surreptitious side glances at the women who were pottering around.
And I can't get that out of my head! That falling on the body of Christ, and devouring that grace as if your very life and essence depended on it. The exhileration of something that shouldn't belong to you, but you will have it, and have in all abundance.
Friday, 1 October 2010
Linden Grove has mouthwatering scones today- we had 42 buns in the oven (!) last night for Joshua's birthday break in school, and if I could summon up any energy at all after school today and then his family party I would embark on the pirate cake for his friends' party tomorrow.
Happy Birthday, Jo. One of the two best things I ever cooked!
Thursday, 30 September 2010
I actually started with The Outcast by Sadie Jones. C lent it to me one Friday night. I put the boys to bed and started reading at 9.30pm. I rang her at 10.30pm to discuss. I read until it was finished- 2.30am Saturday. I rang her 10am to discuss again! Family and society fail a traumatised child in post-War middle-class England. Harrowing, challenging, obviously influenced by Camus's Outsider but all her own tapestry of pain. With lovely hope as the weft!
Then I got into the car and drove to France. On passenger stints I devoured Family Album by Penelope Lively. C had been totally disturbed to find herself, she thought, a character in Outcast; well I was destroyed by the mother in Album! It's one of a very few books since university that I annotated as I went along!
"This is all she ever wanted: children and a house in which to stow them- a capacious, expansive house... And Denby ovenware and a Moulinex and a fish-kettle and a set of Sabatier knives. She has all of these things and knows that she is lucky. Oh, so lucky." And so obtuse, and so so wonderfully, brilliantly terrifying!