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Thursday, 30 April 2015

Missing Food Bank Trolley and Live Below The Line 2015

Another busy week with the days flying by in a flurry of sleet, sunshine, showers and a touch of frost thrown in.  Luckily, I knew I had to protect my carrot and salad leaves pots from frost but I was taken by surprise and my potato tops have suffered a bit of frosting, turning parts of the leaves brown.  I do hope I haven't ruined the crop already :(  Only time will tell....

I have been following some of the bloggers who are doing the Live Below The Line £5 challenge.  I am so full of admiration for them.  I'm not sure I could do it out of necessity, let alone choice, so I commend you all. 
 
photo from Google


OH and I had to pop into Sainsbury's for something this afternoon so I took along some pots of fruit for the Food Bank trolley only to find it was no longer there.  It was certainly there last Saturday when I shopped because I donated several items as usual.  On enquiry at Customer Services I was handed a leaflet which confirms that there will no longer be a collection trolley but doesn't explain why.  The pet food collections have also been stopped.  Now these have been going on in every Sainsbury's I have visited in the last 10 years at least, so what is going on?  The need for donated pet food is still there for the pet rescue centres in the area and Food Banks are a major feature of everyday life at the moment.  The half hearted explanation is that Sainsbury's already have charity events like Comic Relief and that the staff raise money for charity too.  Last year I kept a note of how much food I donated to the trolley collection as I had a target in mind for the year. During 2014 I donated over £100 worth of food all of which was purchased in store.  I now have the dilemma of choosing to:
a) forget donating altogether
b) try to find the Food Bank itself and drop off items every week (feeling embarrassed if it's only a couple of things) or
c) stockpile items hoping that OH doesn't notice how much I am donating and drop them off at the centre whilst hoping that I don't come across someone I know who will spill the beans, so to speak :/

Has anyone else noticed that a donation trolley has been removed? Is it just in the Kidderminster store?  I wonder why........




Thursday, 23 April 2015

St George's Day and Growing Pains


photo from Google
Happy St George's Day!
I have fond memories of St George's Day. When I was about 13 I joined the Girl Guides and we used to join a huge parade in Dudley town centre.  We would meet at Top Church and a crowd of people would assemble to march through town to the beat of the drum, to be watched by a throng of bystanders.  I felt so proud in my uniform to be part of it all.  When I think about it now I remember that I was wearing a second hand leather belt and neckerchief which I bought from a school friend for 2 shillings and sixpence (bought with my pocket money)  and my school skirt and blouse!  But I will never forget the feeling of pride I felt at being part of something quite 'grown up'.
 
The remembrance got me thinking about how life has changed for youngsters today.  At the age of 12, when I went to secondary school, I had to travel by bus to get there and I travelled alone.  I went by bus to Girl Guides and to town on a Saturday where I would mooch around Woolworths for a while then walk to my Grandparent's for lunch; maternal GP's one week then paternal Nan the next.  The walk to each was around a mile from town, I guess, then I would get the bus back home around teatime and walk the half mile home from the bus stop.  I never worried about not being safe. In those days we didn't have a home phone let alone mobiles so I was out of contact with my parents all day. 
How life has changed and not for the better it seems.....
Growing Pains
This year I want to grow more things to eat but I don't find it easy :/  My potatoes are showing but where are the ones in the middle and to the left??  A load of tiny seedlings have appeared which must be weeds from the manure mixed in, I think....


The edible salad leaves are coming up too but I am not going to thin them out as I want to 'pick and come again'......


These should be carrots...but where are they?  I cover them at night with a sheet of Perspex but there is just no sign.....


The strawberry plants seem to be doing ok, though.  They look quite strong and have some flowers and signs of tiny berries forming so all is not lost :)

When I look at other blogs I feel a bit of a failure with regard to gardening but ....onwards and upwards....Rome wasn't built in a day :)
 
How are your crops doing?
 
Thanks everso for popping in x


Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Today is Earth Day

 
 
Photo taken from Google
 
 
 
Today, 22nd April, is Earth Day.  It was first observed in 1970 and created to honour the Earth and the concept of peace.  Countries across the globe celebrate this day each year and yet, hand on heart, I cannot see us ever having a completely peaceful world, can you?  War is waged in the name of religion, and cultural diversity is not respected but used to persecute others. We are using up all the earth's resources with scant regard for future generations. This makes me so sad but I know I cannot do a thing to change the world so I will concentrate on my own little piece of the earth, respect it, enjoy it and look after it as best I can.  So many fellow bloggers are cultivating their own little piece of the earth too and I salute you.  Stay true to your beliefs....
 
 
Thanks for popping in x
 
 
 
 
 
 
Craftsuprint - The Worlds Largest Legal Craft Download Site!
 



Monday, 20 April 2015

On Speed Awareness & Great Crafting




If you recall, I was issued with a speeding fine a few weeks ago for being just over the 30mph speed limit on a road I am very familiar with.  I only had myself to blame; no other traffic about, no pedestrians and a lapse of concentration.  Anyhow, last week I attended the Speed Awareness course instead of taking a 3 point hit on my licence.  I have never had points in my life and don't want to start now.  I expected a classroom filled with 20 somethings but, out of a room full of 24 people, most were close to my age and quite a high percentage had been caught at the very same speed camera as me :/  Two were HGV drivers and one, a young lad who had passed his test within the last 2 years.

We were there for 4 hours and, surprisingly, the time passed very quickly.  I learned a lot, had a giggle and came home feeling that the course was worth every penny of the £85 I had paid.  It has been 46 years since I passed my test and the number and variety of road signs has more than doubled in that time.  I was given tips on staying alert, how to judge the speed limit of certain roads when there is no obvious road sign, and it was explained why it was imperative that people like us were targeted to take the course.  You would imagine that it ought to be the 'Speedy Gonzalez' type who should be pulled in but, apparently, it is the ones doing between 30 and 40 mph in a built up area who are most at risk of injuring a pedestrian.  I can't risk that, so concentration, distance between vehicles and allowing plenty of time for a journey is the order of the day.  I don't feel 'picked on', I feel educated.....

Has anyone else taken this type of course?  What did you think? Do you feel you learned something?


Changing the subject entirely,  I have found a great craft site where you can buy downloadable cards and where there are free verses and completed cards for inspiration.  There is also free bingo!  If I can work out how to add the link to my side bar I will but meanwhile here it is....



Craftsuprint - The Worlds Largest Legal Craft Download Site!
 
 
 
Today is bright and sunny so I hope it lasts and that all my readers enjoy a great day wherever you are.  Thanks for dropping in x

Friday, 17 April 2015

On Sewing and Exciting News

I can't believe it's so long since I last posted!  I have been busy with life and although I have been dipping in and out of my favourite blogs I have simply run out of day!

I have decided to try to experiment at bit more with my sewing as I am still very new to it.  I found some great ideas on the Hobbycraft website including animal toys to make complete with patterns to download.  Aren't these fish fab? :)


I have tried to post a link but can't work it out . Try http://blog.hobbycraft.co.uk/21-animals-to-make-with-fat-quarters/?

There are loads of ideas on there and I would like to try making a cushion or two as well. Watch this space!


With the thought of warm weather approaching, our thoughts turned to get-aways and making the most of our free time this year.  OH decided he would like to buy a caravan as it would be bigger than the motorhome and we wouldn't be stuck on site without a car as we are now.  We are getting older and have a bit less energy than a few years ago and, quite frankly, the idea of having a car to explore in convinced me that it was the right thing to do.  So...we took the plunge and collected our new caravan a couple of weeks ago.  We traded in our motorhome and with the cashback we received we bought a used vehicle to tow it with.

There is a lovely kitchen for me to (not) cook in!


 
 The lounge area is very comfortable and we can actually sleep on the bench seats if we decide we can't be bothered putting up the double bed :)
 
 

Actually the upholstery is plainer than it appears in the photo, I think the flash did something strange to it :? It is much nicer than it looks here.....


The shower/bathroom is much bigger than the motorhome one and it has a heated towel rail which will come in useful on cooler days to dry the towels on (or to air my undies! I hate putting on cold clothes!)


This is me getting excited about the new bathroom......I don't get out much, you see....


We are hoping to explore the UK as much as possible this year, starting with Cornwall in May.  I can't wait......



Our first trip was about 4 miles from the dealership to Cheltenham racecourse in order to try the 'van out rather than take it home to find that something didn't work and then tow it all back again.  Cor...it was a steep learning curve.  We were trying to set it all up and firstly the rain lashed down then it hailed so we sat in the car until it eased off.  It took 2 hours to set up...2 hours!!  But, once we had, it was lovely and warm and very cosy.  We stayed 2 nights and (fingers crossed) it all seems ok.  After a bit of practise we think we will get it down to around 45 minutes.  It took around 30 minutes max in the motorhome so we need to get into a proper routine, I think. There is no way that I will drive the new car either (button for handbrake, are you having a laugh?) and no way on this earth that I will tow :/  OH has driven vehicles of all shapes and sizes but even he has to concentrate more when towing.  At the moment I am a nervous wreck when travelling.  I sincerely hope I will be able to relax during a journey eventually....

Does anyone have any tips for setting up quickly?  Do you each have a specific job to do to speed things up? Help!

Thanks for popping in, I will try not to leave so long before my next post x

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

A Lucky Impulse & Quote of the Month

Thank you all for your lovely comments on Sunday's post.  I did enjoy some crafting time alone.  I made these with the free decoupage from my magazine plus a bit of ribbon and some gems from my stash....



I think I will keep two for sending and put two in the basket for the shop.


When I turned my calendar over this month the quote was this:

 
 
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.
 
 
Amelia Earhart
 
 
Now I am not at all sure of the validity of this one.  Sometimes the making of a decision to act is easy, "I will start my diet tomorrow" for example but carrying it out may prove impossible. Or...."I have to rein in my spending" .... only for a party invitation to plop on the mat next day when you have nothing suitable to wear :)  See what I mean?  I think tenacity is the hardest part.  Being tenacious when you know you need to do something, sticking to your diet plan, making a budget and sticking to that, watching pennies when you do the food shop etc
 
What do you think, blog buddies? Is it the decision which is the hard part? Personally, I feel that is only the first step.  Is it the sticking to the plans, the tenacity, which is harder? What do you think?
 
A Lucky Impulse
 
As I was alone again yesterday I decided to do the weekly food shop.  I checked the stores and freezer before I ventured out and picked up a few bargains so that I had a little money left at the end.  There was no queue at the customer services so I splashed out £1 on a scratch card.  Am I glad I did?  You bet! I won £5!  It made my day :)  I am easily pleased...lol... :D
 
 



I hope you are all out enjoying the wonderful sunshine.  Spring has definitely sprung!

Thanks for popping in x

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Happy Easter Sunday & The NHS

First of all my heartfelt thanks go to all who commented on my last post with prayers and good wishes for my Sister and Brother-in-Law.  I spoke to my Sis again yesterday and although BiL is far from well he has had no major pain over the last week.  He is waiting to see a vascular surgeon next month and needs a heart scan (no appointment as yet :(  Why does it take so long, David Cameron?)  His appointment for his eye injection has been re-scheduled for the end of the month.  It's no pleasure getting old.....

HAPPY EASTER
 

PHOTO FROM GOOGLE
 
 
Wishing you all a very happy Easter, whatever you are doing.
 
 
OH is at work all over the holiday, working for a big DiY chain where they are stocktaking today of all days when employees should be with their families :( The chain will be closing around 60 stores nationwide over the next year so it will be a bad year for many, I fear.
 
I spent yesterday spring cleaning but today will be spent relaxing, baking and crafting until OH comes home. I had a new craft mag delivered last Thursday so I can play with the free gifts!
 
Hoping you all have a lovely day x