Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Back at Base once more: with a quick round-up before beginning again.

Going away can cause major problems - the mail build-up in one’s absence being one of them.  I had a real fight to get in the front door upon my return yesterday afternoon (mostly the unwanted marketing material, but some stuff that demanded immediate attention), but having sorted, replied and filed the correspondence, I am once more available for blogging.

Although away for 10 days this time, I did have access to a computer so have been able to keep up to date with my internet correspondence/activities, so at least that has not taken too much time.  It has been very gratifying to see how folks have been following and reading the posts here though - thanks so much.

Right:  so what happened while I was away from home?  Two things:  attending the annual Corps Day (formerly Annual Reunion) of the First Aid Nursing Yeomany(Princess Royal’s Volunteer Corps)Philippa has been a member of the Corps for 14 years now and this year was awarded the First Aid Challenge Cup - much to her surprise and delight, and my delight and pride.

First Aid Challenge Cup, on a patchwork cushion made in FANY colours
 If I told you folks all about the FANY(PRVC), it would take far too long:  but anyone interested in knowing more can go to www.fany.org.uk and you can spend an hour or two finding out about the splendid bunch of ladies, who have now been in existence since 1907.  Believe me, it's a fascinating story:  you won’t be disappointed.

Incidentally, in 2007, before I re-started making Cuddlies, I  used to quilt.  To celebrate their Centenary, I designed and made up a quilt which the Morrell Family then presented to the Corps.  They’ve had a somewhat peripatetic existence in recent years, but have now found a permanent base in London from which to operate and it was lovely to see that the Corps have found a wall in their new HQ on which the quilt can be displayed.  After a space of 5 years, I found it somewhat surprising at first - and almost could not believe - that I’d actually produced it.

Presentation of Centenary Quilt - March 1, 2007
 (The picture is the result of a scanned photograph, so is not as clear as my normal reproductions,  but conveys the idea.  The contents included the different cap badges worn by the Corps during the 100 years service, their different uniforms during the period and some of the activities they undertake - which include languages (when Philippa was Language Officer for a time, she had 26 different language speakers at her disposal), parachuting (undertaken with French Forces, as UK do not have the necessary facilities for such activities), Horse Riding, First Aid - of course, and Communications - radio, signalling etc.)

I also did another one - which showed all the military decorations and honours awarded to members of the Corps during their 100 years. The awards came from France, Belgium, Norway, Poland, USA, as well as the UK.   A picture of that one is shown below - it’s somewhat out of focus, but the amateur photographer who took it was battling a draught in his hallway at the time.  This one was the feature of a Raffle among Corps members and other interested parties - and eventually raised nearly £900.00 ($1,438) for the Corps’ Centenary Memorial Fund.  It was won by a FANY Veteran who had the joy of carrying it back on the train from London to Norwich (in East Anglia)  It measured about 4 ft 6 ins. x 4 ft 6ins and had been framed and stretched, but not mounted behind glass!  I was told the following year that she’d never had such a short journey home, as she spent the entire time talking about the Corps and their activities the whole time!
Quilt of Honours awarded to the Corps 1907-2007

All the ribbons shown are the actual ones on which the medals and honours are mounted - and were appliqued on by machine.  Both quilts took me about 18 months in total - and quite frankly, I quilted myself out as a result!  Toys are so much quicker and easier to handle these days.  The thought of another one of these creations is so daunting that I cannot believe I'll ever do another.  Small ones I might consider, one day - but Cuddlies are so much more fun and entertaining! 

The second major activity undertaken was the sad one of laying Peter’s ashes to rest.  Originally, we had hoped not to have to do this, as both of us bequeathed our mortal remains to Medical Research.  Alas, because Peter died unexpectedly, away from home and within 5 days of having seen his doctor, he had to undergo a post mortem.  That precluded the Medical Schools accepting his cadaver, so we then had to go through the Requiem, Cremation and, finally, on November 3, his Interment.  His final resting place is in a beautiful, peaceful spot at the National Catholic Shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk and as a family, we could not be happier that he is where he now lies - at peace.  His ashes were placed in a hole dug at a spot chosen by the Shrine authorities and where we can easily locate it when we visit - as we plan to do regularly
The Director of the Shrine, tidying up the flower bed

We were able to do this for him because in the 1970’s, when the Chapel of Reconciliation was being originally built, Peter was very involved on the committee charged with overseeing it’s construction.  The readers of the Catholic magazine for which he was then working contributed some £30-£50,000 ($47,952-$79,919) - at this distance I cannot recall exactly how much - and the Publishers of the journal asked Peter to represent their interest.  He grew to love the place, and we’ve often visited the Shrine as a family.  It’s also not far from the sea at Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, so we would go on and get some sea air into our lungs, before returning home.  So, when we were faced with the problem of burial earlier this year, I approached the Shrine Director - who agreed by saying “it could not be a  more appropriate place”. 

Friends and Followers who would like to know more about this historic place might like to visit www.walsingham.org.uk.  It, too, is worth reading and hopefully you’ll enjoy the experience as well.

In between all this, I’ve also been toy-making - and will be posting about my efforts shortly.  But, I also finished the four Wombats for Christmas for Philippa - and here they are, just waiting to be wrapped and sent off to meet their Forever Friends soon.  They are sitting on another quilt,  I made after the other two - using up the scraps of poplin left over.  This one is now a throw on the sofa-bed in Philippa's living room.

Wearing Ribbons in the Forever Friends' favourite colours,
Be back with you all again soon.   Isobel