As part of my FANTASTIC sister's freelance career, she works with Cinnamon Network to support their Project Lab initiative, and was kind enough to let me attend the final with her at Mercers' Hall last year.
The Project Lab competition looks to invest in social action projects which could be grown by making them replicable by other churches across the country. The prize is £30,000 (supported generously by The Mercers' Company) along with the training, advice and support needed to develop their project to make it replicable.
This year they are looking specifically for projects that work on social need in BAME communities. If you have such a project, and you think it could grow in this way, you should apply. Apply here.
I drink lots of different types of coffee, but Café Direct was the first fairtrade certified coffee in the UK and they don't stop their work with a certification, so I like to keep buying from them. That little mug I picked up in the Design Museum gift shop in Copenhagen a couple of years ago, thinking it would be a gift to my part-Danish ex-boyfriend but since we never survived my return from the holiday, I kept it and love it so much! It's by Studio Arhoj and on finding the link for this post I've realised it's stocked in Islington at Twentytwentyone! The Denby has sentimental stories as my family all bought bits for me in waves when I was starting to build my nest solo, so my crockery doesn't match but I love it all. And that's a terrible cafétiere; I don't know who thought metal ones were a good idea, they scrape every time you plunge and it kills the coffee moment.
One of my 'go-to' recipes is this one from Booths - a one pot pork shoulder. My brother-in-law Tim cooked it for me when I went round to his and my sister's house for supper and it’s the perfect dish for a group in winter. I’ve done it since for friends, and Georgina took the recipe and now cooks it with her family when she goes home to the north. I think that means it’s a winner.
I was reminded of it as Tim said at the Christmas meal table that Booths is up for sale. My Leeds-based aunt was gutted to hear this, so hopefully someone good will take it on or there will be cries of sadness echoing across the North of England. (It seems Yorkshire folk put down any east/west divide when it comes to Booths.)
The only thing I change is to cook the broccoli separately so it stays in contrast to the creamy goodness. Tonight I'm doing different greens and have gone off piste a bit due to holiday cottage ingredients, but I'm sure it will still taste dreamy.
I'll pop it in the oven for a couple of hours, serve with crusty bread and use any leftovers for a nice soup.
The snow has now almost gone, but for 24 hours it was real, powerful, and inhibited my movements. And it was beautiful. So, so beautiful.
"It's not just our burden, it's not our problem."
Someone said this to me recently about representation of women on a board. They (nice, kind and clever person) were saying (rightly) there are broader factors at work, social and systemic change needed.
But I disagree. If you work in any organisation, club, or society, where the leadership is not 50/50 women, and doesn't reflect the diversity in other ways of the area in which you operate, I think it IS your burden and it is your problem.
I just discovered this song yesterday. It feels really fitting for this time of year, as Advent is about waiting and not about celebration. One of my closest friends Tamsin is often expecting miracles and I reply that she might not get them and that that's OK. We're both right, but seeing different sides of the picture.
We live with the knowledge that certain things won't and cannot happen. We may not be able to conceive. A loss of a child will not be undone. Friends won't be brought back to life. Relationships may not be reconciled. We may not be healed. We cannot undo things we have done or things done to us. We cannot unsee things we have seen.
We're sometimes waiting for breakthrough and there is a deep hope in this song, acknowledging the pain, holding on to the hope within it, and acknowledging the conflict. The hope found in 'Immanuel' is a small glimpse in a baby - not an immediate reversal of the status quo.
If Christmas magnifies pain for you, that's OK. The tears have not been wasted, and there is a future for all the broken pieces.
A cadence is the final two chords that finish a phrase in music, a section or the whole piece. People writing music want to finish phrases in different ways, depending where it is in the bit of music: to leave you needing more, to catch you out, to take you home gently, and to TAKE YOU HOME. To do this, they pick different chords. Here I use the I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-vii way of labelling the chords, this is 1-7 with one being your key note and counting up from there.
I started this blog on a train, entertaining myself for a couple of hours by indentifying some musical techniques in popular music. It's one of my favourite things to do. Hope it makes jargon clearer and someone enjoys my geekery.
I'll endeavour to cover the list below before the journey is out and I'll link to the blogs. Feel free to put in any requests for more or suggestions for examples.