Sunday, 11 September 2016

Progress report - on Several Fronts.

Hello there Everyone:

Cy Bear back again, having "dictated" this post to Isobel - so she can type it from "up the road", where she has been house- and pet-sitting since Thursday of last week.  She's been in and out during morning hours each day since, because of the need to finish the crab-apple processing and other community related matters, and she's due to be doing the same until Wednesday morning next week.

For explanation of this "progress" - see below
First of all, despite the heading here,  there's not been that much progress on the Baby Foxes/BabyMobile project, because of the distraction of the Paralympics from Rio de Janeiro this week (and that is likely to be the case for the next week because the Games will be on-going until the week-end).  Isobel will be busy next week-end, because it's Clare's birthday on Saturday, Philippa is coming up on the Friday evening, and we'll be busy playing with GrandsonE on Saturday.  Then we're both leaving Nottinghamshire on Sunday for a few days holiday in Devon. (So, once again, we repeat - NO BLOG POST next week - but do come back to check:  Isobel has been known to change her mind - or something else may  have occurred.  The computer is going with her!)

Secondly, the Crab Apple Butter production line was successfully concluded on Friday afternoon, with the apples shown in this picture in last week's blog post being converted into the finished item. 

Picked crab apples waiting to be processed
It's been cool enough in the flat to keep the apples from rotting too much, and in the end, our friendly gardeners actually provided Isobel with 3.5 kilos (something like 6-7 lbs - Isobel doesn't have her usual metric converter to hand at Clare's home).  The final result is 11 similar sized, but different shaped jars, and two small jars - plus a little left over so that Isobel could take some around to near neighbours - for taste-testing!!  We've had the impression that some of our friends here at Old Chapel Close  were a little wary of a Fruit Butter!!  We felt that some independent tasting reports might render the future sale of the items more likely!!!

Then on Wednesday morning, just before she left to do some shopping for the week, we had an order - for our Badger Stripe Slippers.  

Unisex Novelty Slippers Badger Stripe Fur Unusual Footwear Special Faux Fur Shoe Made to Measure Head Optional Custom Orders Very Welcome.
They have been commissioned by one MrMW from San Francisco and as they are made to measure, (as are all of our Novelty Slippers - whether for Gentlemen, Ladies or Children). the actual construction of this gentleman's slippers will commence once Isobel gets back from Devon after September 26.  (This is OK with our customer).  The one's pictured in our listing are a size smaller than MrMW's actual requirement.  He merely requests they look as near as possible like the example given.  As ever, we'll do our best to do so!

Then, in the afternoon of the same day, we found another order (the first time we've had two in one day) - and both for one of our higher-priced items, too!.  This time, it was from a lady who wondered if it would be possible for us to send her one of our Winston Wombat 3-Way Bed Pillows. 

Winston Wombat, 3-Way Bed Pillow. Pajama Case, Plush Pillow Case ,Pyjama Cover, Novelty Hot Water Bottle Cover, Faux Fur Toy
There was a potential snag though because she needed to have one of them by Saturday (yesterday) for her son's birthday.  After an exchange of messages on the Etsy convo system, we discovered she was in London, so it would be possible for us to do it - but we would be taking a risk in following it up.   Royal Mail does a next-day service which guarantees delivery by 1300 hours the day after an item is posted (the cost of which would be covered by the postal charge).  MsNW then wanted to know if we could get Winston Wombat to her on the Friday, as she had arranged to be away on the Saturday for her son's celebrations.  We managed to do so - even though we actually hadn't received the funds in Isobel's local bank account - although Etsy had done so, because that's the way the purchasing system works.  (One disadvantage of  BST (British Summer Time) being 4 hours ahead of  EST - Eastern Standard Time - which is the time zone Etsy operates within!)

Remember, Isobel is supposed to be residing up the road - and the two Winstons and all our packaging materials are firmly ensconced here at home!  The speed of the operation meant that we were unable to offer the usual "Cuddlies Catwalk" session - giving the customer the chance to choose exactly which of the Cuddlies she would like - so we decided to send the one on the right of this picture.

Before he was wrapped up, we took some pics - and this is Winston Wombat Right before he was prepared for the journey:

The photograph at the beginning of this post, is one of our traditional Farewell Photos with me, as Mascot to the Coldham Cuddlies Shop.  Then Isobel took the photograph beneath - just to show how long a Winston Wombat is - compared with me sitting in my usual spot on the bed.  My right arm is between the back of Winston's head with his tail behind my "wrist". (He looks a little crooked, because of the angle of the pillow on which we are both resting!)

Once he was fully wrapped, he was put in a polythene postal envelope and Isobel got on the next  'bus into Kirkby town centre, and he was dispatched at just before 1100 on Thursday morning.  Because the paperwork for this transaction is all here at home with me (and Isobel is not!) we cannot check whether it did arrive so we'll have to wait until Monday when we hope to hear from MsNW to see if Winston did meet the important deadline, and whether his intended Forever Friend and he are happy with each other. Am afraid, you'll all have to wait to hear in the next installment!.

Until then - hope you all have a great week or two.  The weather here is lovely at the moment, with late summer sunshine to the fore.  Long may it continue!  See you all when I next see you!

Your friend, 

Cy Bear.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Sampling Local Foraging opportunities as well.

Hello there Everyone - am giving Cy Bear a rest this week, largely because the main topic for this week's is definitely beyond the normal competence of a Beaver Lamb Bear.

The Baby Foxes project has been on-going,however, but subject to some interruption - from the need for me to be active with my neighbours once again around Old Chapel Close, as well as my being "felled" by an early autumnal cold, which is showing signs of repeating my illness earlier this year, which was diagnosed by the doctor then as "query Pluerisy!".  So, I've not been exactly firing on all cylinders. Hopefully a visit to said medical practitioner early in the week will result in my being able to fully enjoy the rest of the time - to the full.

Progress on the Baby Foxes project to date.
Not only are the schools all facing a new School Year this week, but so too am I.  For many years the months of September/October have been a time to store up home made goodies to see a family through the winter, Since becoming a widow in 2012, and with the girls well and truly flown from the family coop, I've not had the urge to do so.  However, this year, having settled in to my small flat in an independent living complex three doors away from younger daughter, Clare, the sight of so many crab apples from the window outside my kitchen, has proved just too much to ignore.

September in the UK is also the month that a major Cancer Charity - MacMillan Cancer UK - traditionally issues a challenge to the country to raise funds with a National Coffee Morning which this year has been set for 30th September.  Groups don't have to do "their thing" on that date, and we here at Old Chapel Close have this year chosen 4th October for our contribution's efforts. (This blog has reported on Coldham Cuddlies contributions to these efforts - both here in Nottinghamshire, as well as at our previous base in Wiltshire  - and we will be taking a table at the event this year).

As I plan to be away in Devon from 18th to 26th of the month (so no blog post then!), and the autumn winds and rain are already causing many of the fruit trees to shed their remaining loads, the arrival this week of the gardeners contracted to look after our grounds, seemed a good opportunity to utilise their skills (and equipment) to harvest as many as many as possible so to produce a family favourite - CRAB APPLE BUTTER,  In between their other regular chores, the two gentleman kindly obliged and managed to forage - by fair means and foul - two plastic bags full.

One bag has already received "the Treatment":  the one shown in the photograph is what remains of the  second bag.  The first having been washed, duly inspected for bugs and other unacceptable marks, topped and tailed, etc - and following the recipe below.  (Taken from "A Country Harvest" by Pamela Michael, published in 1980 by Peerage Books, 59, Grosvenor Street, LondonW1)


(Makes about 3 lbs/1-1/4 kilos)

1 kilo/2lbs crab apples
1/4 litre/1-1/4 cup/'1/2 pint water
1/4 litre/1-1/4 cup/'1/2 pint cider (I prefer dry cider, but go for the least expensive on offer)
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
Sugar - see the recipe.

Wash crab apples thoroughly, cut away any bad bits and put into a large saucepan with the water, cider, and the spices.  (I like the flavour of these two spices, so do use a good heaped teaspoon of each for my endeavours!).

Cook gently until apples are soft, mashing them well with a wooden spoon.  Put the mixture through a sieve or food mill (doesn't take that long, as the mixture is pretty slushy by this time - the apples "fall " well) and then measure the pulp back into the pan.

To 400g/1-1/4 cups/1lb pulp add 300g/1-1/2 cups/3/4 lb sugar (because Peter, my late husband had an intolerance to anything white - flour, sugar, etc. - I've become accustomed to using only brown sugar FOR EVERYTHING, which can, and does,  affect the final "look", but NOT the taste!).

Bring slowly to the boil, stirring continuously until sugar has dissolved, then lower the heat to the slowest possible simmer and cook in the open pan until mixture is thick and, when stirred, the spoon leaves a clean line momentarily in the bottom of the pan.   Pour into warm dry jars, cover with waxed circles while hot, seal with your chosen tops - if you have tops with a button on them, seal immediately, to obtain a permanent seal (until needed!)   I still have jams to consume, made in 2005, and stored in this way, and know they will be edible at the time of opening!!

The gentlemens' assistance was definitely required as you can see from the picture below:

Taken standing underneath

That's a 4 ft hedge from which the tree trunk is protruding, and the "fair" means of harvesting consisted of one of them climbing a portable platform to get as many as he could reach:  the foul method meant the other one resorting to using a metal pole and banging the branches to make them land on the grass beneath!!

Some washed crab apples waiting to be cooked - with one or two rejects having become obvious since they were washed/cut

In the "good old days", I used to have big jars of spices available to me, which we had purchased from the nearest Indian supermarkets:  these used this time around came from our local supermarket, and will be just as good, but will need to be replaced for next year, because the flavours do tend to deteriorate over time.  Purchased from an Indian supplier, though, they seem to last that much longer - and I still have perfectly serviceable supplies of other spices which are as flavourful as the day they were bought (some as long ago as 1997!).  

The whole process took me about an hour and a half from beginning the topping, tailing and washing, and I now have some jars ready for labels (see above), which are being bought for me by one of my resident friends - who knows  "exactly what you need".  This does give me a chance to do the leftover crab apples, and so increase the availability not only for Macmillan Cancer's funds, but also for prospective family gifts. 

According to the author, Pamela Michael, "Spicy fruit butters and cheeses were very popular in Victorian days and are so good, it's a pity not to revive them.  This crab apple butter should be set firmly, but just enough to spread with a knife, it is wonderful with hot toast and grilled bacon, or roast pork instead of apple sauce."   Fruit Butters are still not very well known and used these days - I think that's a pity.  They are an excellent way of using up excess fruit supplies, and can also be made with sharp, green Apples if Crab Apples are not readily available, and can also be used in the same way one would with any poultry dish which calls for ordinary apple sauce.

Well that's all from us for this week.  My apologies for the sudden change in typography - but again, thanks to the mysteries of technology, it's "just happened", and nothing I  do seems to allow me to change it back to the original font size.  

See you all next week!

Your Friend, Isobel

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Holding Post #2 - This time waiting for supplies

Hello there again, Everybody! 

I can stand - sometimes - provided I am propped up:  but prefer sitting
I had hoped to be able to introduce another Baby Mobile - or its components at least:  however, due to an oversight we found we'd run out of the smallest joint discs Isobel needs for our Baby Foxes, so she has only been able to almost complete the second (of four - for the Mobile at least).  They fortunately arrived on Thursday.   Then some developments happened at the housing complex where we live which required Isobel's secretarial input, so her mind has been elsewhere - so Cuddlies old and new have had to take a back seat a bit as a result.  (Isobel is Secretary to the Tenants Committee at the complex and her Minute recording abilities were needed for an Extraordinary Meeting this week).

However, having said that, there have been some developments on the Toy front this week - where we've welcomed back some of the Cuddlies who have been on display at one of the Shops in Kirkby-in-Ashfield since earlier this year.  The Shop - The Ark - where they'd been - is unfortunately closing because of lack of volunteers to keep it open. So, although several Cuddlies did find their Forever Homes via that route, the rest were collected by Isobel on Friday and have just been put back into their places in the Cuddlies Storage Bag.

When she comes back from her holiday (which I mentioned last week), Isobel is going to do some serious shop-hunting in other Towns in the area - so more people can find out about us in the Area. There's a lot of work that has to be done before that happens though.

The Wanderers Return
These Cuddlies are now safely tucked up - until new display areas can be found for them, but in the interim, Isobel has managed to get another Baby Fox almost completed.  Just the ears need to be attached, and then at least two more (for a potential mobile) and maybe another two - to be offered singly and unattached to anything - and then ......... well you'll have to wait and see.  (I haven't got a clue, but then I don't get told anything you know!)  New storage facilities have been created in one of the hall cupboards in our flat - where all the new Baby Toys and the Mobiles can be kept in some sort of order.

Potential Partners in Crime, maybe?
So, that's it for this week - hope everyone has a good one in the upcoming one.  Looking forward to being able to tell (and show) more soon.

Sitting on the Cuddlies Storage Bag - which is getting quite full! There's another two thirds to my left!
Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Not much to report this week, so this is a "Holding Post"

Hello there Everyone:

Taken when we still lived in Wiltshire:  me sitting in a branch of a Mulberry Tree
Cy Bear reporting in with really not much to say or offer today.  It's just as well the Olympic Games only happen once every 4 years, because we'd get nothing done in our Shop -  All this week, when she normally sits and sews new Cuddlies, Isobel has been glued to the television, watching all the splendid action being shown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (She's not been able to sew and watch (as she normally can), because the action has been so fast and furious!) However, because our wonderful Followers have got used to reading something about us Cuddlies  every Sunday,  when we miss a week-end post, our viewing figures - 50,883 when Isobel checked a moment ago - go down.  As it takes some time for them to build up again, we decided I should just check in.  Since this is likely to happen during September, when Isobel is away on holiday in Devon, UK (and she may not have access to WiFi so we can use the computer) we decided on this "Holding Post" - so that our viewing figures don't drop away too fast as September gets going..

This afternoon as well, on one of the Teams Isobel actively works with on ( ) their Monthly Heart Attack session begins at 0900 EST and goes on until 2100 EST.  This means all members post their new items, or renewed items, and everybody clicks on the individual items' "hearts" so that by the end of the day, lots of extra people get to see the items and it can result in lots of new folk learning about the Shops involved and it can also end in sales of the items too.  So, that's where Isobel is going to spend her time this week.

There are several of the Cuddlies due to be renewed/relisted - take your pick: the result is the same!  A .20c renewal fee, and the chance to be seen by the World for another 4 months, before they are renewed, deactivated or "killed off" - depending on the circumstances.  There will be more that will be listed during the evening/early night.

Here's a selection of Cuddlies that will be being given the treatment first this afternoon, after we've finished chatting here.

Novelty Rabbit Slippers Yellow Plush Slipper Plush Lined Slipper Made to Measure Warm Foot Gear Unisex Indoor Shoes Unisex Adult Slippers

Winston Wombat, 3-Way Bed Pillow. Pajama Case, Plush Pillow Case ,Pyjama Cover, Novelty Hot Water Bottle Cover, Faux Fur Toy
Coyote Hand Puppet Activity Toy Teaching Aid  Buchanan Tartan Fabric Lined Glove Cool Toy for Tots Toddlers Toy Tots or Toddler Activity Toy
Koala Bear Slippers Adult Novelty Slipper Made to Measure Footwear Indoor Foot Gear Unisex present Unusual Gift Special Occasion Gift.

There are several other Cuddlies who are due to be re-listed in coming weeks in August/September, and they may well be given an outing on the FRU HEART ATTACK session too.

Isobel is also planning on officially introducing our Blue Plush Baby Monkeys and the Brown Plush Rabbit Head Shoe Ornament we mentioned in an early post.  So, as she's got a busy afternoon ahead of her so I'll have to end this week's bulletin now.  Good to have chatted - even if it was a bit of a "make do and mend" effort this time around.  We'll try to do better next week.

Have a good one Everybody.  See you then.  Your Friend Cy Bear.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

A Week of New Starts

Hello there Folks - Cy Bear back again.

As the title implies it's been a week of new beginnings, even if there's not been too much other activity around on the Coldham Cuddlies front.  

This week's post is therefore likely to be somewhat shorter than of late - but mainly because the call of the Olympic Games,  being beamed from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - with the constant need to switch channels to watch a particular sporting activity which catches Isobel's fancy - has proved a bit of a distraction for her!  She's been doing some sewing:  but not as much as usual.  Thus there has been a bit of a hiccup in the "production line" that has been the norm of late.

First of all, as I told you last week, a Baby Hedgehog was scheduled to leave us for pastures new. Our customer, was given a choice of two Baby Hedgehogs currently in stock -,

and the one on the right was picked out from this photograph - which was included, if memory serves, at the end of last week's post.  The Baby Hedgehog on the right was the winner - and so on Tuesday, he/she/it (your choice!) was duly wrapped up and prepared for its trip to Lindon, Utah - but not before the usual Farewell Photograph had been taken:

Baby Hedgehog duly began its journey into the unknown, but still exciting prospect of its Forever Home on Wednesday afternoon.  (That means replacements need to be factored into Isobel's production programme for our new Cuddlies of the future.)

Then, in between watching the Olympics, Isobel began a new project - which involves a Baby Fox, or two (or more).  She's made a Baby Bear or two recently - as can be seen here:

Here's the Baby Fox pattern she's been using - for the first time ever, even though it's been in our Toy Pattern Library since she started making Toys way back in the late 1950's at school.  Her book of Animal Patterns has this one (which can be made as a Baby Lamb or Bear), so as she has got an idea for another Baby Mobile, she thought she'd start with this chap(ess):

As you can see, the ears are still to be properly attached - but the "look" is encouraging!  Although the pattern does not call for it, Isobel decided to give this Baby Fox arms that moved - because in the original pattern photo, they looked a little "forced"- for want of a better description.  In the picture, the arms were sticking out and just did not look right!  Allowing them to move seems a better option - but now we've got to source some more discs, as we've only got enough for 3 more (Isobel's has plans for more Cuddlies of this size - which are somewhere between our Baby Rabbit patterns and the one for our Baby Koalas).

These Foxes will be a little larger when finished than are the Rabbits and Piglets we've made recently, and may actually not look right if we attach them to a circular Baby Mobile frame.  That we won't know until more made, and experiments with ribbon sizes etc are done.  We think the final Little Foxes will be just a little smaller than our current Baby Koalas - shown here.

What our Baby Koalas look like sizewise
So, that's what looks like keeping Isobel's fingers occupied this week - in between watching the rest of the Olympic Games, of course!

Until next week - from either myself or Isobel - here's wishing you a great one, wherever you are based.

Your Friend,  Cy Bear.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Here's the completed Fantasy Bear Baby Mobile - and other news as well.

Good afternoon, Everyone - from Cy Bear!  

Yet another week has slipped by, but at least we've had some sunshine during the daytime - although at the moment we're being battered by very strong winds.  Apparently, they're unusually strong for the time of year and it certainly makes taking photographs outside difficult - as Isobel found when she had to take some pics of  two Baby Hedgehogs on Saturday afternoon (more about that later).

As the title of this week's post indicates - the Fantasy Bear Baby Mobile is finished -

All four now have a light aquamarine 7 mm (1/4 inch) satin ribbon around their necks and forming the hanging threads by which they will be strung to the main Mobile frame.  The checked cotton ribbon which forms the hanging handle matches these ribbons, although in the photographs, the colour comes out showing the blue more than the green shade it is in "real life".

The polyester circular frame is 9 inches in diameter (22.86 cms) and it's been covered with white satin ribbon all round.  When Isobel came to use the check ribbon, it became obvious that she didn't have enough to cover the entire frame.  She suddenly remembered she'd used some already for a decorative bow for one of our Light Brown Teddy Bears (   before he left for his Forever Home last year, so there wasn't enough for this particular Baby Mobile.

Light Brown Bear Toy, Teddy Bear Cuddly Toy, Brown Furry Bear Toy, Stuffed Brown Bear, Bear Toy for Tots  Plush Toy for Tots, Cool Kids Toy.
The ribbon had been used on a previous version of these two Bears, which can have ribbons attached if wished.
However, as the ribbon was aquamarine/white check, she decided to use the check ribbon as the handle and then use the white for the frame - there was just enough ribbon, with a small bit left over, from the 5 metres (16ft 4.8 inches) that Isobel had bought earlier when visiting one of our local habadashery stores recently - to be used in just such a circumstance.

Once the ribbon had firmly attached to the frame (it's usually an overnight job!) the rest of the 7 mm satin ribbon was cut into equal lengths, tied to the frame and attached to the ribbon sewn on each Fantasy Bear.  (They now all have their full quota of ears - in last week's post, our Bear at the left front of this photo was sporting just one ear!)   Now Isobel has chosen this method, because the knots used can be untied and the eventual user of the Mobile can adjust each Fanstasy Baby Bear - if that is what they'd like to do - so that the result now looks like this.  

When the wind eventually dies down, Isobel intends to take some outside shots of the latest Baby Mobile, but meanwhile this does give you an idea of what the finished object looks like (and you can see the pretty pastel green shade of the hanging ribbons too).

During the week, we received an order for one of our Baby Hedgehogs.  Isobel needed to take photos of the two Babies currently in stock. (A third is on display in one of the Kirkby in Ashfield Shops, which is currently closed for the month of August!)  The reason was that we needed to establish a "Hedgehog Catwalk Display" so that the Buyer could choose which Toy she would like us to send next week.  

We'll let you know which of these guys our Customer chooses, together with the usual formal Farewell Photograph with me, next week.  We've still to hear from our Customer which one she actually wants.  But, you can see from the way the fur is "moving" just how windy it was yesterday in the sheltered corner of our garden - where the wooden bench, on which the two Hedgehogs are sitting, is placed!  (It's a lot windier today - these fellows would have been blown right across the garden had the photo session been going on today)

Hedgehog Babies - a side view
So that's the news for this week folks.  See you all - everything being equal - this time next week.  

Your Friend, Cy Bear.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

News about a Special Day Trip, as well as our new Baby Mobile Project

Good afternoon Everyone - this week's bulletin is going to be a joint effort on Cy Bear and My part, and in two sections as it were.

Component parts for the New Baby Mobile Project - more below! 
Early in the week, Cy Bear was left  "on guard" in our flat while I joined Clare, Alan and GrandsonE on a day trip to a really special place - in our lives at any rate.  We drove nearly 300 miles - there and back in the day.  That distance for those of you in the States who are among our regular Followers - and other far flung places, is not that far.  Believe me, in the UK with our much narrower roads, and much heavier traffic (some of our motorways can resemble City Traffic in rush hour, all day at times) that distance is a TREK!

Our destination was the Shrine of St. Winefrede at Holywell, in Flintshire, North Wales.  So, not only did we do 300 miles, but we also visited another country at the same time!  St Winefrede has a well-deserved reputation for healing (in all its forms) and the Shrine is also known as the Lourdes of Wales.

St. Winefrede became a Saint by virtue of  being martyred - as most Saints are!  In her case, she had dedicated herself to God, but the son of the local Lord of the Manor at the time wanted her for himself.  She refused his advances, and in the presence of the local priest (who happened to be her Uncle) the thwarted young man cut off her head with his sword.  The priest picked up the separated head and placed it on the young maiden's neck, it "took", and St. Winefrede was saved.  She lived for at least another 25 years (in the 6th Century) becoming a well known and respected Abbess in the process.  Where the head fell, though, a spring appeared - and it has been "springing" ever since.

Over the years, people have visited the Shrine and it's one of the few religious sites in the UK  that survived the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII  at the time of his argument with the Church in Rome.  The story goes that when the soldiers arrived to do their destructive best, they were warned "don't mess with St. Winefrede"- so they didn't!   A shelter was placed over the spring, which over the centuries has become what it is today - 

We went there on a coolish, Monday morning, and reached it in time to participate in the daily Prayers over a relic of St. Winefrede (not obligatory if one is seeking help of any kind, but one which we like to be able to attend when we go there). The congregation (numbering about 20 on the day we were there) stand around the Spring, which is clearly visible in both these photographs) and the services lasts about 10 minutes.  

The adults in our party all had their own  reasons for visiting the Shrine, and mine in particular was to repeat the experience of holding my increasingly arthritic hands under the tap which has been erected.  It saves one immersing oneself in the bathing pool one can see in this photograph (the water is very cold - as genuine spring water is, but it also enables visitors to take bottles of the water back home for use as and when needed.)  The tap is located just on the left of the photo below, and one can either pay for bottles from the Shrine's Shop - through which one enters the holy area - or one take's one's own bottles and fill them up (without charge) for use back home.

 This visit was the third time I had immersed my hands under the tap (having done it twice - at the beginning and end of our visit -  on the only other occasion I've been able to go three years ago).  The brave couple in the photograph were just attempting to put their feet in - and clearly weren't enjoying the experience.  Although when I showed them my improving hands, they were emboldened to carry on for a while more!

On both occasions I have experienced immediate relief from the swelling and discomfort associated with osteo arthritis, and look forward to a third visit ere long,  The story goes that if one goes three times, the sought-after cure can be permanent.  In between the two visits, though, I've been able to gain relief by sprinkling the contents of the bottled water collected on my first visit. (Clare and Alan and brought me back further supplies in the interim).  Not being too sure if one can say that two immersions in one trip equates to three different visits, I'll hope to be going back sometime in the future!.

This time too, though, I collected some small bottles from the Shop, filling them up to give to several of my fellow residents in Old Chapel Close.  Already one has told me she has had "the best night's sleep" she's had in months, so one does not have to be a Catholic - as my family and I are - to benefit from St. Winefrede's help.

Now over to Cy Bear for a brief update on matters pertaining to our Shop -

Hello there, Everyone!

Having completed the Blue Plush Monkeys we told you about in last weeks' bulletin, Isobel is now busy on another Baby Mobile project.  She's almost finished the four Toys which form the hanging bits:  she's still cogitating about the colour ribbon she will be using to cover the circular frame.  She's purchased some sea green satin ribbon to which the Fantasy Bears - as we're going to call them - will be attached.  Three of them are finished and ready for their ribbons:  the fourth just requires his/her second ear to be attached.  Allow me to introduce them to you.

Floral Print with a Apple Green background
Pink background with Blue and Red Floral print
White Backround, with Blue and Green Floral print
And here's the fourth Fantasy Bear - they've been made using the same pattern used for our Polar Bear Baby Mobile by the way. (

Another White Background, with  a Blue Floral print
Hopefully, we'll have the finished article to show you next week - so this is Cy Bear signing off on behalf of both of us.  Have a good week, Everyone!