Alone in Walsingham

>>  Sunday, October 19, 2014

Our annual pilgrimage weekend had been on the calendar for at least 9 months. 2 weeks before HWMBO tells me he is going to Brazil that week and won't be back in time. FINE.

We cancelled the restaurant we had booked but when I arrived alone in the village there was really no where else to go. So I went and ate alone (literally!) 

It was a fantastic meal, I think I was just very early.

 Later in the evening I went down to the Shrine cafe for a cup of hot chocolate - alone again!

 At the start of one of the services I lit a candle with a special prayer for our marriage.

During the service it burnt down and it felt very sad.  I had to light another from the first to feel happy again.
 The whole weekend left me with a lot of time for solitary thoughts.
 And solitary walks.

You are never really alone at Walsingham though.  Mary is always there with you and you can bring her home again too, even in a shopping bag!

Actually at different points of the weekend I met some really nice people and it was lovely to have a chat with them, something I probably wouldn't have done if we'd have been a couple there.  

This weekend is normally a time we would spend together with little diversion and it helps refill our marriage bank. But alone I found time to refill my own sanity bank.

A weekend away with no trappings, no material musts and shoulds.  The accommodation is clean and adequate.  The internet connection is reassuringly bad and the phone signal sporadic at best.  There are few shops, no television.  Plenty of space for reaffirming faith, time to self assess and question.  Time to find a little peace within. Time to accept the doubts. Time to talk to the priests and express my unhappiness at some of the church teachings and time to understand that it is ok for me not to agree with them on some things.

If you have never visited the England's Nazareth in Norfolk, I totally recommend you do. Even if it's just for a few hours as a part of a holiday in that area.  It is fine to just go and have a walk around, you don't have to wear a label describing your personal belief system - it is ok to go on pilgrimage and it is ok to go as a tourist.  It's an untouched part of England and a living history.  Go have a look at the Anglican Shrine in the village and the Catholic Shrine a mile outside.  Both are worth a look at.


Rangers make Play Dough

>>  Friday, October 17, 2014

 We are doing the Groovy Challenge badge at Rangers at the moment.  And making model camper vans is one of the clauses.

A playdough opportunity if ever there was one.

The Rangers made their own playdough.  I think it's a great lesson in independent living.  They learnt you don't have to go to a toy shop and spend a fortune on the playdough and it's absolutely fine just to throw it away afterwards because it's so cheap.  Although it does last for quite a long time in a ziplock bag or tupperware in the fridge.

You only need:

1 cup plain flour (100grams)
1/2 cup salt (150 grams)
1/2 tablespoon cream of tartar (cooking aisle near bicarb!)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 cup hot water (200 ml) from kettle with a splash of food colouring

(Don't worry if you haven't got a measuring cup or scales, I have used a drinking cup and a desert spoon sometimes and still come up fine.)

Just put them into a bowl (it helps if the hot coloured water goes in last) and mix well, when it comes together just kneed it a bit and you have play dough as good as the bought stuff.

I always forget the 'use warm water bit' and put all the cold 'ingredients' into a pan on the stove and stir it until it's mixed and comes together to form a ball, let it cool a little and kneed it a bit.  Either the hot water 'just mix' method or the cold water 'cook it on the stove top' method is just fine. And neither will take you longer than 10 minutes.

If is isn't very pliable you needed to use a bit more oil, if it's too wet, you need a bit more flour.  But if it's measured according to the recipe it should be fine.

You can add a few drops of essence in the kneeding stage to make it smell nice too.  Try a cinnamon for Christmas playdough crafts.

I wish more kids learnt how to make things from base ingredients.  So many times we buy expensively ready made things that can be made quickly and easily for a fraction of the cost at home.

I always made my own play dough when Cog was young,  mainly because she used to eat everything and I was happier knowing what she was eating! But also because making it filled up more playing time and it was a good lesson in weighing and measuring.  A basic maths and science lesson combined!

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