Thursday, 25 December 2008
Monday, 22 December 2008
I had raised the topic at one of our knitting group's evenings some time ago, and was delighted to hear last Tuesday, that another member had had a great result when she decided that she would check her situation. She found out that she already had over 30 qualifying years and could stop her voluntary contributions.....£30 per month is a lot of yarn which can now be stashed away, or of course there are other treats or savings which this can be put to.
Recently the government has changed the number of qualifying years for full state pension to 30. Years not at work but looking after children, I think after 1978, when the woman's name was on the 'child allowance book' do count but you need to claim these. So if you are paying voluntary contributions or know someone who is, it is worth checking your individual records. You will be sent a pension forecast, so do ring up 0845 300168. You will need your National Insurance Number. You can also go on line for a forecast. Unless you check and know exactly where you stand you could continue to pay when there is no need to. You can also find out whether it is worth paying for any incomplete years to make up to full pension. The rates will be going up after April 2009, so it is probably best to get things sorted out sooner rather than later.
There may be of course some chaps, who may have thought they would not have a full pension due to missing years. No credits are given for years at University and with early retirement, and no work some men will also benefit from this change, so they may also be pleasantly surprised by the results of a current check on their future state pension benefits.
Decorating the tree is the ideal time to open the special VERY BIG box of Maltesers, which Mr S brought home on Friday evening. I love them, and it is very difficult to have only one, isn't it? There are still some left for the remaining days before Christmas!
I needed something to get me in to the Christmas mood, so wondered whether Mr S would like to come and sing some carols with me at the Castle. Its an unusual request from me as those who know me very well indeed, know that I am not a singer. Although I definitely need singing lessons, I really do like to sing, though I can get a big lump in my throat and even a small tear when singing carols.
There were groups of people and some with at least three generations, some had lanterns and wonderful hats. A group of younger boys were rushing round and jumping off ruined walls, and cute little girls were parading around in fancy hats and gloves etc. I looked around to see whether my friend Mandy was there with her family. Mandy had knitted some fabulous hats last year, and what a place to parade in them. However little did I know then that was the last place she would be as she was undergoing a medical emergency, but thankfully she is now on the mend.
Next year, I would love to take some friends there and have supper here afterwards, or tea before, which will be a lovely start to the Christmas festivities.
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Here I spent a couple of hours marvelling at the collection of ribbons and woven artifacts dating from the 18Th Century, and was intrigued to find out that Coventry was the centre of woven silk ribbons for over a century. My interest in woven items has been growing over the last couple of years, and in Venice this year I was amazed at the woven silks and ribbons which they used in period dresses.
I mentioned the Ribbon Exhibition at the WI craft group, and several of my friends there were able to tell me more about the items that Cash produced.
I was disappointed that the shop at the Herbert did not have any of Cash's items for sale. It is very strange that where they have a wonderful exhibition, there are not items for sale. Where there is a local item of such excellent quality, I feel it ought to be really showcased and that people around must be really proud. I think we must support British Made items of such quality, and enjoy them and ensure that such companies continue to prosper.
This is the start of my collection of woven silk pictures. The first in middle is that of a Peregrine Falcon. I picked this up at a bring and buy coffee morning. The next two, I bought as second hand items from a Furniture Shop in Kenilworth. The detail is superb: the fluffy white feather on the robin's breast look as if the wind is blowing them about, and the designer has managed to capture the stillness of the moment on the Kingfisher woven picture. I'm hoping to receive Cash's book marks as birthday presents in the future, well I dropped a big hint to Mr S, hope he was listening.
Cash is still in business and produces name tapes and items such as bookmarks and greeting cards. This past weekend I was delighted to find some at the Coventry Transport Museum. Veronica and I marvelled at the current collection. The design, details and the colours are really beautiful. I picked up two booklets: Silken Weave, A History of Ribbon Making in Coventry from 1770 to 1860, and Still Weaving - J and J Cash Ltd of Coventry. These two booklets are excellent sources on the history of a craft and the effect that the industry has had on the character and development of a City.