Saturday, 24 April 2010

Amazing how I find St. Hils inadvertently addresses some issues in its own way..

Hiya Everyone
It is well over a week since my last blog.  However as you will all know if you have been following my blog that I have been very poorly which is taking time and medication to help me get back to my "normal self".  I am not sure whether I was happy or sad when the doctor told me last Wednesday on the results of my latest blood tests that things HAD improved and that I should attempt a return to work.  Anyone off work for more than a few days will appreciate what a mountain that feels for me at the moment so please everyone wish me luck for next Monday as it will be the first day I will HAVE to remain awake all day!  I had to laugh at my doctor though because he suggested that, once you are able to cite each and every programme on daytime tv, you are ready to go back to work.  Sadly I obliged and sealed my fate!  I have found out the hard way how easy it is to turn yourself into an invalid and expect all to be done FOR you so I suspect my poor long suffering husband is pleased too that I have been declared fit enough to return to work!  I can't tell you how hard my first day on my own at home was......nobody to wait on me hand and foot so there I was relearning how to make cups of tea, toast, dinner hot water bottles again.

Enough of my whines and whinges I hear you all cry and MORE about St. Hils.......................

Before I begin another trip down memory lane I have a confession to make..and before I tell you see below for the evidence.........

NOT good enough is it?  This is NOT me at all because during my time off sick I have unusually been able to stare at this unacceptable situation day after day with dolls having fallen over and ducks not perched properly.........................

Here you can see better how poor Alice has been lying on the floor for ages as I have so neglected her welfare whilst being so wrapped up on my own.  The picture, as with the other one, has been taken "on the hoof" as it were with flash and macro whilst I held the camera. 

Here you see more closely in the chancel/sanctuary how poor Tom has fallen over and again, I have been extremely neglectful of his welfare too poor boy!  Gloria, our new "duck on the block" is no longer perching on the altar properly either. Even the lily I had Eric holding for Gloria has fallen off his beak too.  I guess tacky wax is good but it doesn't always last forever!   It really does amaze me how I can have the whole church set up so well with not one thing out of place (well perhaps not - you know how easy it is to miss things?!) and suddenly, without reason, a doll decides "enough is enough" and collapses on me!  Such is life.

I have to thank Frances of Buttercup Miniatures for giving me some ideas for this blog.  It was, in deed, Frances who pointed something out to me that, although I had given it SOME thought, I had not really considered it a big deal.  It amazes me how, in my storylines, I suddenly realise I have addressed an issue that I know is very important within society itself because it has something to do with not only the issue, but also in how it is viewed by society in general. 

I realise that literacy is something that many of us take for granted but for some people, particularly adults, it is something of an issue if they either never attended school enough to learn to read or write properly or, for some other reason, they just never "got it".   However I didn't really set out to address this issue at all when putting together our Remembrance page last year in which I cite poor Ernest as not being able to read or write but who still wanted his mother remembered in the list of those who had died as she had died so recently and he missed her sorely as does his father, Eric.  Of course my immediate thought was - how CAN a duck be expected to read or write?  However I quickly realise that a duck would not be welcome in any real full sized church whether it could read or write so the issue would never arise in real life would it? 

Now I have a BIG confession to make and anyone who has visited St. Hils over the years are welcome, if they can remember, let me know which page I featured this issue on with our Rita and son.  I have just spent literally ages trawling through both current and archived back up folders to find which page it was on and have now temporarily given up.  Let me explain................Rita as you all know came to England from Australia.  The reasons for her now living on the road are obscure and in that I like to leave the detail to our visitors' imagination.  However I distinctly remember having a feature on one page where the vicar actually receives a letter from her son who has finally tracked her down.  Rita, you see, must have had good reasons which I never explain, as to why she had to leave her son when he was so small with his father.  What circumstances led her to live on the road?  Did she have to go to a women's refuge because her husband had treated her badly?  However if that was the case why didn't she take her son with her? She may have been the victim of mental illness and had developed severe depression and was unable to stay in the family home and left for the sake of her husband and child. 

Whatever the case, Rita would never have forgotten her son and, when the vicar of St. Hils gives her this contact letter from him she is just so overjoyed that he has found her. 

 I have also included a really old photo here with Rita sitting on the back pew.  You see she is quite shy and much prefers to stay out of the limelight.......Rita, incidentally, was made for us by a friend of ours, Rachel Fritz, who lives in South Australia.  She is a truly great artist and also provided us with the vicar and in him, she has also set the whole character of St. Hils for me!

Homer too is a man of the road that the vicar is happy to provide refuge to in St. Hils.  He came from Germany because he was made for us by Daniela Kiefhaber as was our Rev Ken who was modelled on a real life man of the cloth who is also a family friend.  Rev Ken, actually represents our friend because it was he who took us all under his wing when my father died back in 1980.  In addition to taking my father's funeral Ken also married Andrew and myself back in 1991 as well as taking the funeral of my mother, the late Hilary Davies.  Mother referred to him as "my rock" and indeed, during her subsequent life after the loss of my father, he certainly fulfilled that role for her - thanks for that Ken!

Gosh I have strayed off my original path...sorry for that.  Where was I?  Oh yes I was really talking about both Homer and Rita.  I particularly wanted to have such people in my St. Hils because it so represents what I remember of my childhood days when my father took the family to church.  A church to me is not a church if all are not welcome.  I will always remember the kindness of my father to one particular old lady who lived on the road during one particularly harsh Winter.  In my minds' eye I can still see my dear father lead this lady right up to the front of the church where she would be most visible in order to sit her right next to a church heater to keep the poor lady warm.  The church concerned is a city centre church and, as such, was and still is a venue that much attracts people who really have nowhere else to go when things are not good for them.

So it is fitting that St. Hils has at least two people who are homeless as part of the congregation.  You see my message is..God loves EVERYONE whatever their circumstances are and with no favour.  So in addressing the issues I have chatted about today I feel it is good that people can know that it is "okay" if you can't read, or live on the streets or........well anything really. 

Whoops - sorry about the above cos I realise I have gotten all philosophical but hope you all get the gist of my message here!  Perhaps you could say I have had too much time to think over the last four weeks!  

I have now got to get my head around to Pentecost - any ideas out there folks?  If you have any do let me know.  I can't promise I will use them all but any ideas are great because it sets my imagination off.  So far we have had Pentecost parties to celebrate the day as the birthday of the church..........a lesson completed by the children on the subject of Pentecost majoring in on the fruit of the any other slants on the subject all gratefully received.  Even if you have a funny pet story that we could adapt for our own pets is welcome.........

Till the next time........ 

Monday, 12 April 2010

Of Bonnets, boaters and hats............when to wear them and......when not!

Dear All
Phew - just over another week has flown by.  I have to confess I have been very unwell so I have to ask you all to excuse my lateness in updating my blog on St. Hils.  However, although my energy levels are not up to doing great photoshoots again yet (although they are steadily improving.......) I fancied taking you all down memory lane again as I remember times past in St. Hils.  Isn't it typical that you ALWAYS want to find a photo or photographs that you can't find?  Well that was my position the other day as I mused on this latest blog idea.  I wanted to find the photos I know I used for my very first Easter day page on St. Hils because I had put most of my "girls" in "Easter bonnets" for the occasion.  Could I find them?  NO - I checked my back up drive and no folder was present for Easter Day in 2004 which was our first full year in St. Hils.

However today, whilst feeling brighter, I decided to check out our old PC which still works most of the time.  I just hoped and prayed that it would turn on when I pressed the "start" button because that is the main problem with it and why we finally had to replace switching mechanism is duff and some days it refused to come on at all.  However it has given us a few funny surprises when, suddenly and out of the blue, it switches itself on! 

Fortunately I found a copy of the website which I backed up in 2004 after Easter - hooray!  You can see one of the photos here with Clara sporting a pink bonnet and holding a lily.  Sadly I have failed to find the original sized photos or the folder in which they are stored but at least I do have a reduced copy which was originally on the site so all is not lost.  I am sure they are about........SOMEWHERE!    My computers reflect me sadly...........very disorganised.

I sadly rather love this Easter photo from my very first Easter page.  That chick is SO big it really doesn't fit the scene does it?  I have to chuckle at this one though because I so remember that I used REAL chocolate eggs here.  Not sure quite WHAT kind they were..........they may have been Cadbury's creme eggs but something tells me that they are not quite big enough...  Whatever the case - I do feel they are rather too big for the occasion.  I am not sure either what the children were meant to do with them as I am sure their parents would rather they didn't eat them all in one sitting.........

Here above you can see Emily. (the old Emily before she had her hair done!)
I rather like this one above of Poppy and Amelia......they look so grown up!
I expect you all know that ladies are traditionally expected to wear hats in church but conversely, men are not allowed to have their heads covered.  I have to say this convention did worry me in the early days of St. Hils and certain photos I have taken reflect that as you can see here with both Tom and Ben again, on Easter Sunday in 2004.

I no longer worry because I firmly believe churches need to move with the times and anyway I have never liked wearing hats anywhere let alone church.  The above photo is included in our original wedding page before poor Esther had her bridegroom arrive.
 I set it up as a Pentecost wedding and so, as Pentecost IS an up and coming festival in the church, felt it appropriate to show off a photo or two from that original page.

Miss Esther is STILL awaiting her bridegroom as she reaches the altar............poor Miss Esther!

I like this one as it gives you some perspective on the size. and you can see the wedding flowers which I did commission.  Sadly the lady, Angie, of A J Miniatures, who created them, no longer has a live website so I am unable to provide you a link to her work which is such a shame as she put so much effort into the work.  She made me my bride's bridal bouquet, headdress and all the church flowers including the one on the altar.

I hope you all have enjoyed my walk down memory lane here.  I hope, as my energy levels improve, to do more in the days to come but the doctor has said it will be  a few weeks yet before I am up to strength again.
Thanks to those who have offered me their best wishes and prayers for my recovery...they are very much appreciated.
Till the next time

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Easter Day IS here after at least one faux pas.....

Dear Everyone
I am afraid I have been a bit remiss keeping this blog up to date but hope you will all fogive me as I have been rather unwell over the last week - very unlike me!  So please forgive the fact that my new Easter story is shorter than usual as is this blog as my energy levels are not yet back to full strength.

Despite my low energy levels (and nasty cough - darned Winter colds!) however, those that know me will understand it takes a lot for me to be beaten and so, I have ensured that St. Hils has not lost out this Easter and hope that you enjoy or have enjoyed my new storyline on our Easter Day page.

As per usual NOTHING went quite smoothly!  You may all remember in a previous blog that Esme decides to join in the egg hunt in her own way by "sitting" on some chocolate Easter eggs!  I was a tad dozy though and Andrew had to remind me that the Paschal candle is a rather integral part of Easter Day as it represents Jesus, the Light of the World, between Easter Day when He rose from the dead and up to Ascension Day when he ascended into heaven.  Arghhhhh........I thought!  Good job Andrew reminded me so I had to have a little think about who should be responsible for lighting the candle this year in St. Hils.    I seem to remember Ambrose lit the candle last year so decided Alice should have a turn this year.

Picture the scene...........muggins finally manage with the wonders of tacky wax to stick the said candle lighter/snuffer into Alice's hand and raise her arm up and bingo........YES......her arm DOES reach perfectly.  However you will all understand that she is only practising because, after all, we can't afford a REAL lit candle in St. Hils however lovely it may look. 

I took loads of photos of Alice in this pose having also gathered some Easter eggs around the base of the pulpit.  You see Adele brings some to church because she wants the vicar to find children in the village who would otherwise not have one this Easter which is rather kind of her don't you think?

Can you see my faux pas IS rather obvious isn't it?  You may agree with you but sadly I failed to spot this rather bad faux pas until the photos were downloaded on to the computer upstairs....  Ben and one or two other dolls were lying on the floor in the chancel.  I had left them like that thinking daftly that they would not show in the photo....or rather perhaps NOT thinking at all!  You would think that, after the years of photoshoots in St. Hils I would now know better but apparently not!

I hope you like our new addition to the family of St. Hils............Gloria!  She was made by Aidan Campbell and I just had to have her when we visited Aidan's stall at the recent Miniatura Dollshouse Show. (Just got my cockatiel, Pebbles, on my shoulder for a short time as he "touches base" with me when I am at the computer - what a lovely little companion he is even if he CAN be quite a problem when he gets in the way of my photo shoots as he sadly did yesterday!) 

Many thanks to Aidan for Gloria and a particular thank you to his wife for naming her too!  My idea here is........Gloria is an auntie to Esme who decides to come and visit and, in the process, she becomes friendly with widower, Eric and wants to keep him company.  We shall just have to see how the friendship progresses I guess and see where it goes...........

Thought I would leave you with Eric, as above, in dapper style, offering a lily to Miss find out what she does with the lily you will have to visit our Easter page....................

Till the next time.......