Saturday, February 5

The Oaks

Every Thursday finds me gathering my wits, donning my red and white checked apron and with a natty scarf as accessory to hide my hair, joining my fellow volunteers at the Oaks Community Cafe to work in the kitchen.
For ten years the lovely Joan and myself have produced delicious food for the locals from nine in the morning until last orders at one thirty.
Others have joined us from time to time in our cooking delights.  Barbara, Dorothy, and the glamorous Laura on the servery.

Sharing the kitchen with us is the ever competent Christine who conjures up the yummy food for the kiddiwinkles in the Little Acorns Nursery, The best in the whole area!

And as inspiration and general  [or is that "General"] over all, Linda, manager par exellence of the whole kit and caboodle, ably abetted by her two right hand men, Jeff and Maddy.

Maddy is that gem of a personality who can fill any spot and still come up with a joke to make you giggle. So if the need is a cake, a poster or dishes in the big sink, she's your best bet!

We produce for both the cafe and the nursery, so there is always an unending lot of dishes to be washed, dried and returned to their places. Everybody gives a hand. There is no standing on ceremony and choosing the "nice" jobs.  Dorothy wipes the nursery looks like an art installation to me!

Maddy with another "hat" on or is that the kettle that she's put on by mistake?

We have had various dish washers through out the years, and by that I mean humans.
The one who stayed longest was Brian and he was a main member of the Thursday team for eight years or more. So when he eventually hung up his drying cloth, we threw a party.

Joan feed him grapes, Laura wiped his brow and Chris fanned his smiling face!
It takes very little for the Thursday team to think of a reason for a party!

One of the facilities at the Oaks is the second hand shop. And on Thursday we have the gorgeous Sally to delight us with the joys of books, bric-a-brac and clothes. Also for sale in the shop are Fairtrade goodies. I have been nominated as "The Cherry Picker"  by those who should know! My latest outing in Goa was to wear a dress from the shop, at  the wedding of the year!

As soon as we finish  at one thirty, on come the bowlers to lay out the mats and the serious business of the day begins, with much whooping and encouraging cries that only bowlers can understand!
My dad was one of the more serious ones in his day, in the bowling clubs of Belfast.

Now I don't want you to think that I'm pushing Thursday over and above the other four days of opening, but my photos are only relevant to that. However each day has it's team and many have also been together since the opening of the centre ten years ago. So the amazing Bill, "professor", keyboard genius and superb producer of savoury food, in particular spicey hot goodies, still heads up Mondays delights, at the cafe.

I hope that this gives you a little taster of the delights in store at The Oaks Community Centre. We are owned and run by St. Paul's C of E in Penketh. And if you are ever in the vacinity and need a cuppa or a little snack, we would be delighted to serve you. And if you live in the vacinity and had a bit of free time on your hands, well we would love to fill those hands with a nice drying cloth or a tray to take out to that person sitting there waiting for their lunch.

So bon appetit and guten appetit  to one and all.

Oh!.... who left that yummy chocolate cake there?

Thursday, February 3

A Poem for Thursday.


Whether Greek or Roman
Portuguese or Arabian,
the sea
and it's endless roaring
is the history
of Moors and Phoenicians
Africans and Indians.
Forever coming
forever going.
Through war
and peace
sudden storm and unearthly calm.
Of Noah and Columbus
Vasco da Gama and the Vikings.
All journeyers
and all travellers
moving ever outward.
God must love water very much.
He made so much of it
and in such wonderful places in the world.
a wind is in from Africa
turning the blue
into splashes of white.
Seething and playing catch up
on this ancient sea.

Tuesday, February 1

Classes at the Potters House.

Back from India a week now. It takes a while to get back into the work again . This time it's really hard, what with the time change and the funny tummy that we both have had.
But classes started last Monday once again and so this is already the second week.
We have super people in our classes and it's great to see someone with no prior knowledge of either paint or clay start to gain confidence in what they are doing.
Although many have been coming to us for years, others have recently joined.
So I'm going to put up a few photos of recent work still unfinished .

Still life based on the work of Morandi and executed in graphite.

Ceramics in the leather hard state.

And ceramics waiting for the glaze firing.

Studio groups.

All the classes are now full which is a very good position to be in!