Tuesday, 25 October 2011


I took a group of children up to the National Coal Mining Museum today - it is very local to us and is well worth a visit.  School holidays are a particularly good time because extra arts & crafts activities are usually laid on for children, but at any time of the year this is a really informative and interesting place to wander around.  Today we took part in a Living History session with the Pithead Baths' attendant which really brought to life the old mining ways and reminded me of a book (surprise, surprise!)... 
Pitfall! was originally published as a little hardback by Zoar Publications in 1972 and is a short fictional story written for children (around 6-10yr olds).  It had long been out of print when in 2005 we decided to republish it in response to growing demand particularly from the Christian School community.  It really is a little gem of a book with a gripping story line about a coal mining disaster in a small mining village.  The black & white scraperboard pictures have often been praised as being very evocative of the blackness of the mining times. I remember reading this book as a child and I found it just as spine-tingling when I read it to my own children a few years ago. Gospel truths are clearly and simply taught throughout the story and this can lead to many a fruitful discussion.
Sadly the National Coal Mining Museum have refused to stock this book in their shop with some muttering about the Christian message being too blatant.  A sad sign of the times I'm afraid, but we shall continue to press it as the opportunities arise.
Pitfall! by Barbara Hallihan, published by CBO Publications, priced £2.95 (now a staplebound paperback).  See more details here.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

She's made it!

At one time or another as each of the children grew up and became more mobile they made the mountainous journey up the big steps from the office into the shop.  Yesterday Katie independently negotiated this tricky route and triumphantly made her way to what has always been a favourite spot with young children - watching the cars from the doorway!  Suddenly a whole new world has opened up to her - specifically a shopful of books ready and waiting to be pulled off the shelves.  It is a hard lesson to learn, but they all had to go through it - you can look at them but you can't grab them & slobber all over them!  

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Have a Tea Break for Charity!

In hard pressed economic times charities can be the first to suffer the effects of general belt-tightening.  Perhaps this is not quite so true of christian charities as of others.  We certainly had good support back in July when we donated a proportion of sales to Caring for Life.  Also at the moment we are seeing great interest in the charity cards within our Christmas card range (proceeds to the Savannah Education Trust this year).  However non-christian charities do not often retain the loyalty of the public to the same degree, and so are going to be under tremendous pressure - in fact fighting each other for 'market share' in people's giving.  This is a tragic reality.  Perhaps I am going to make a bad thing worse, but I will be fundraising for the sake of an unsung cause next Friday (21st October).  Epilepsy Action have designated this day as 'National Tea Break' - have a cuppa, a chat and give what you can.  They are the UK's largest epilepsy charity, but you may well not have heard of it, because epilepsy doesn't receive the same attention as most other medical problems.  But although it isn't some killer disease, it is a life changing condition.  I know because I have it.  God has wonderfully overruled it for good in my life, but it is and has been a great trial to me and my family.  Statistics are that 1 in every 103 people in the UK have some form of epilepsy.  Now, many mysteries remain in the understanding of it medically, so more money for brain research is required.  But equally, basic things like enabling sufferers to cope, training specialist 'Sapphire' nurses, and greater public awareness are all needed as well.  Epilepsy Action's current campaign is about educating people as to what to do to help in the event of coming across someone having a seizure.  So I will be in my workplace on the day next week, making tea for all who come in the bookshop to donate.  Lorna is providing cakes - an even bigger draw I'm sure!  In addition, 10% of the day's takings will be given to Epilepsy Action, and this includes mail order.  So prepare your wants lists, contact us, and support a worthy cause at the same time.  And if I can find such a thing as a virtual cup of tea, I'll happily pour you one!