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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Shoe Shopping and Nostalgia

I have had no luck whatsoever in locating my lost ring but heartfelt thanks to everyone who took the time to comment with suggestions and commiserations.  I tried shopping bags, pockets, handbag, car boot, floor of the car, laundry basket, ironing basket, bins etc. I rang all the shops I had visited and left my name and telephone number in case someone finds it.  I will not give up looking....

 
 
image from Google


Yesterday was spent with DD and the children in an out of town shopping centre buying school shoes and I suddenly remembered why I dreaded it when my own kiddies were small :0/  The shoe shop was stuffed to capacity and the noise fair burst the eardrums.  GD is so fussy that we could find nothing she liked and we ended up trailing around shops until she found some she did like.  She is such a lovely, pleasant child that I really didn't mind too much but I was shattered by the end of the afternoon.  The prices brought tears to the eyes though:

8 yr old boy £42 !  Forty two pounds! for something which looks like black trainers

11 yr old girl £30...not quite so bad but not Clarks shoes

We did better with pumps £2 for boys and £3.50 for girls (the Clarks ones were £15 a pair)

I really feel for families who are struggling financially as there is no way they would be able to spend so much on footwear. A lot of the styles, especially for girls, would be useless in bad weather and the children are not allowed to wear boots in school so if they walked to school in boots they would still need a pair of shoes to change into.  DD  donates outgrown shoes to a CS. 

When my own two were small, I remember saving up the Child Benefit (then called family allowance) for several weeks to be able to buy Clarks shoes in the sales.  Of course, it was still a struggle to get sale price ones that they would actually consider wearing (like mother like daughter, eh) but full price ones were rarely an option. In my own youth everything I was bought was at least one size too big (for growing room!) and my secondary school uniform was so enormous that it lasted me from age 12 to 16.  In the first year I was swamped by my clothes and in the final year everything fitted me like a sausage skin!  Oh happy days....lol...

Does anyone else have tales to tell regarding footwear from their own childhood? I would love to hear them...

Hoping everyone is getting a bit of dry weather this afternoon. My washing is pegged out in the gentle breeze.

Thanks so much for popping in x

Monday, 24 August 2015

A Success And A Tragedy

Firstly, a warm welcome to my new follower, Maggie2010 :)

Thanks so much to all those who left comments on my last post, they are very much appreciated.  It seems that some of you love thunderstorms but John is braver than me. Storm walking?  Argghh!

Well I mulled and dithered, researched and got ever more confused in my search for a new washing machine.  My last one was a washer/dryer but the drying bit stopped working after 2 years and it was cheaper to buy a basic tumble dryer, which I did, than to have it repaired. After reading the comments and researching  the various suppliers we ( the Royal 'we', of course as OH had little interest as long as his undies get washed ) drove to B & Q and picked up a basic little machine off the shelf. 



It's an Indesit Eco model costing the princely sum of £185.  It wouldn't be big enough for a family as it's capacity is 5kg and max 1000rpm spin but I am hoping it will serve it's purpose for a few years at least. It is A+ rated and has an Eco button with which to shorten some of the very lengthy programmes.  Fingers crossed it likes thunderstorms....

No sooner had we picked up the machine and done the food shop when I realised.....

I have lost my wedding ring 

The unfortunate part is that I don't actually know at which point I lost it or even if I was wearing it this morning.  After wearing it constantly for 43 years it just became part of me so that I never even felt it on my finger.  I only realised it had gone when I wiped my wet hands on a cloth in the car after packing in the shopping during a rain shower. I feel gutted. Bugger...

I do hope you are all having a much better day :(

Thanks so much for popping in x


Sunday, 23 August 2015

On Stretching Pennies And BIG Bangs

Hi to Jules, my new follower, a warm welcome :)

We had a lovely coffee morning yesterday and a lovely catch up with neighbours I rarely see from one week to the next.  I was really good and resisted eating any of the cake (insert a smiley with a halo) It all looked gorgeous too :(  Anyway, I came back to an empty house as OH was at work until 8pm.  What to do.....

Somehow the freezer seems to have emptied itself as has my purse, perhaps Gremlins came in the night for a feast?  I found 6 eggs, flour and milk in the fridge plus a solitary banana in the fruit bowl so decided to make some 'bulking' standbys to freeze for later.

I made Yorkshire puddings which are always great for filling a plate, some flatbreads which I use for snack pizza bases or to eat with curry, and some of Jack Monroe's banana pancakes (or drop scones).  I find the basic pancake mix a bit bland so added some vanilla essence, mixed spice and a few sultanas. The recipe made 12 but I had to try one didn't I in the interests of quality control :)  and I hadn't already eaten cake at the coffee morning despite watching others wolfing down such gorgeous sweet treats!



Once cold I boxed them all up, interleaving the flatbreads and the pancakes with baking parchment (from the pound shop) so that they will be easy to separate when I need them.


The boxes have filled the freezer up a bit making it work more efficiently.  Now I just need to make a proper food plan and a shopping list ready for Monday....

BIG Bangs

All afternoon I could hear the rumble of distant thunder.  I was eating my evening meal around 6pm when the rumble turned into bangs and flashes which were a bit too close for comfort so I dashed around switching off the TV and unplugging everything in sight, including the router, just in case.....Then there came a huge bang which almost lifted me off the sofa sending my adrenalin into overload. I HATE thunder and lightning when it's so close!  I soon realised that I had forgotten to turn off the washing machine which had been happily washing OH's mound of boxers and socks and the digital dial was blank....oh no....yep the power surge had blown the wiring in the machine.  Why the fuse didn't blow first is beyond me.  Looking at it this morning with the blackened wire and cabinet I am amazed there wasn't a fire.  I thank God for that. So my task for today is to research washing machines or washer/dryers which can be picked up tomorrow (I can't wait weeks for delivery)  Does anyone have any recommendations for reliable brands please?

Have a lovely day everyone x

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Vintage Bargains and Fallen Fruit

I mentioned in my last post that I love browsing antique shops and markets as well as charity shops. Well, I also love the buzz of auctions and used to go quite a lot a few years ago.  I have always wanted a little vintage/antiques stand in a large shop, you know the kind of shop where you place your treasures for sale in a cabinet and someone else takes the money for any sales. This is because I feel a bit shy about manning my own stand you see....Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I went to an auction for the first time in about 5 years and picked up these for a song....






And I bought these pieces of Poole Pottery in Tewkesbury....


I adore them all but know I can't really keep them as I am supposed to be decluttering...lol...

My income is too low to pay tax so I will try to sell them on to give me some funds for the C word.  Yes, it's the time of year when I start to make a list and begin my cards and homemade gifts!

Free fruit

In the grounds of Tewkesbury Abbey is a beautiful old mulberry tree which is in fruit at this time of year. 



Someone had roped it off to prevent the fallen fruit being squashed underfoot and carried into the Abbey. Can you see a ladder? In the right hand corner is a large carrier bag....an enterprising lady was busy collecting bag after bag of the 'unwanted' fruit.  Well done her! I wonder if mulberry wine was in her mind? Mmmmm....

Does anyone else have access to such bounty?  We have no untended fruit trees near us, unfortunately, and the blackberries in the lane have been small and mis-shapen this year.  I wonder why....

I'm posting early today because I will shortly be off to a neighbour's house where she has erected an awning and is holding a MacMillan Coffee Morning to raise funds for the charity.  It poured with rain during the night so I hope it holds off for her for at least a couple of hours. Soggy cake is not so nice :)

Have a lovely weekend everyone, whatever you have planned x

Thursday, 20 August 2015

More Tewkesbury Tales

I said yesterday that I would be back with more photos so here I am, as promised (or threatened!)

As I briefly mentioned, Tewkesbury is prone to flooding usually at very short notice so everyone is on high alert if it rains.  This is also true of Upton Upon Severn which is just 8 miles from Tewkesbury.  They have experienced devastating floods in the past so a lot of money has now been spent on permanent flood defences on the most vulnerable stretch around the river.  After our huge breakfast on Tuesday morning we spent a few hours in Upton and stopped to look at the river...


It's quite difficult to imagine the sheer quantity of water during a flood but earlier this year I believe it came part way up the glass on these defence panels.....  


Today it looks calm and tranquil....


Whilst walking along the river path we saw this lovely bench.  Upton holds a quite famous Blues Festival but I had no idea how it all started.....


This plaque explains. Just click on it to expand and read the wording....Well done Richard Tippin!



After we had explored to our satisfaction we headed back to Tewkesbury to seek out the quaint Medieval side streets full of antique shops.  I was in heaven!  We found an absolutely gorgeous shop the  'Antiques Market' which was an Aladdin's cave of antiques, vintage, collectables and crafts.  I succumbed to a couple of pieces of pottery (which I will show you in another post) plus a pretty floral fat quarter of fabric which I simply couldn't resist.  I would LOVE to have a stand in a market like that.  More about that later too.

Before we left for home today we paid another visit to Tewkesbury Abbey.  I love the look of the warm honey coloured stone which looks great both in sunshine and early evening light.....


A church has stood on the site there for around 1200 years.  Inside there are so many beautiful stained glass windows that it's hard to know which to look at first...


The ceiling is amazing too...

 
 As is the Altar....




One thing that I was a bit uncomfortable with are the notices urging for donations to the Abbey for the privilege of looking around it. Fine, I always donate but they ask 'for at least £5 per person' and the donation box is glass so there is no chance of sneaking in any less.  Not everyone can afford £5.  They say that it costs £5 per minute for the upkeep of the Abbey but they do raise money from sales in their little shop, donated books on shelves outside the shop, collections during services, weddings, funerals, organ recitals and the coffee shop.  They even have a donation box in the loo! Surely, a house of God should be open to anyone whether you can pay or not. What do you think about it?

Anyway, I won't bore you with any more today :)

Thanks everso for popping in x

 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Tewkesbury Tales and The Full Monty

Hi Sandra & Makyla, a warm welcome to you both :)

Well we tootled off to Tewkesbury, as planned, to this lovely campsite just a 5 minute walk from the town centre.  The flowers were lovely and looked so welcoming....


As the campsite is prone to flooding the reception is on stilts!


The first thing to do after setting up is this...lol...


Then we took the short walk into town for a browse around, got some basic provisions ...


Closely followed by a pit stop in the pub before heading back to the caravan... one must get one's priorities right :)

 
 
 

After a good night's sleep, next morning we headed for the Royal Hop Pole pub which happens to be owned by the Wetherspoons chain.  The pub is ancient and really lovely inside.  The food is decent for a chain pub and not expensive either.  OH chose the standard size full English while I opted for the vegetarian breakfast.  They cost a very reasonable £2.99 each and bottomless mugs of Lavazza filter coffee 99p each.  So....SandyExpat.... just for you is a copy of the menu!


Mine....all mine....mwah!

OH's meaty version....

 
The plates are a massive 12" across, the other diners must have thought me totally bonkers when I got my tape measure from my bag to check!  However, I do aim for accuracy in the telling....
 
The rest of the day was spent in browsing the antique shops (of which there are absolute dozens) and also visiting Upton upon Severn which was a short drive away.  I don't want to bore you with too many photos at once so I'll tell you more tomorrow...
 
It's pouring with rain now we are home so we have been extremely lucky to have dry weather for our trip.
 
Thanks for popping in, I'll see you later x
 
 
 
 


Monday, 17 August 2015

Chilly Mornings and Tewkesbury

 
Cor, I feel a bit like this, this morning.....
 
 
 
 
 
photo from Google
 
 
It was a lovely warm day yesterday but a clear sky meant that the temperature has plummeted during the night to a chilly 13 degrees this morning.  Is it still August? Or did I sleep like Sleeping Beauty and miss the Summer? Anyway, we have decided to have a couple of days away in the caravan....not too far away...Tewkesbury.... as I would like to see the Abbey once again.  I am fascinated by the history of the place and it's connection to Richard III.  There is also a good Wetherspoons pub within walking distance for a decent but cheap breakfast!  Always a draw....  :)
 
I probably won't have any internet access until we return but if anyone would like the bag I offered in the last post it's not too late, just yell, otherwise it will go to the CS.
 
I'll take my camera with me and show you the sights....
 
Until then, hugs...and thanks for popping in x

Saturday, 15 August 2015

A Giveaway

Firstly, a warm welcome to Frugal in France, my new follower.  Secondly a big thank you to all of you who posted responses to my last two posts, they are very much appreciated.

I can't believe that yet another week has flown by. Today is sunny but very humid after the persistent rain we had yesterday and I know I should make an effort to tidy the border in the back garden but I just can't be bothered ..... ahem....don't have the energy!  I have been tidying the house, which has been a big neglected of late though and have taken a bag of stuff to the CS this morning.  I found this bag lurking in the cupboard....




 
It's a lovely black soft-feel bag which I have used a few times but it's too soft and squidgy for me and as it has lots of zips and pockets I keep losing stuff in it's depths :/  I know, I know, it's an age thing  :)  It's probably about 3 months old so is in good nick.  If anyone would like it please just leave a comment and I'll pop it in the post to you (UK only please, sorry) If more than one person wants it I'll do a draw tomorrow evening after 6pm.
 
 
Sorry for the short post but I'll be back.....
 
Thanks everso for popping in x



Friday, 7 August 2015

On Track, On Plan

Well, my car has been fixed and serviced, polished and pampered so that it looks lovely.  The garage bill was an eye watering £372 but it is money well spent to ensure a safe, reliable car (fingers crossed when I say that!)

I wish I could be fixed so easily as I still feel a bit off colour today. My IBS is grumbling so I need to 'chill' a bit. DD is home!! We will visit them tomorrow for a barbecue if the weather holds.

Catch up with you later.  Have a great weekend x


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Sad & Lonely Now Rebelling

 
No, you haven't missed any posts. I do apologise for I have been feeling very....
 
 
 
 
photo from Google


sad..... I don't really know why except that I have felt incredibly lonely over the last week or so.  My DD and her family have been on holiday in Turkey for 10 days, my best friend is in Spain, my sister on a cruise around the Fjords and OH very distant and otherwise occupied with 'tasks'. My son who lives in Oz is going to be a dad in November and, in all probability, I will never get to see or hold the baby for reasons I don't want to explain on here. There has been bugger all of interest to me on TV into the bargain.  The icing on the cake yesterday was when I came back from doing the food shopping to find a nail in the side wall of my rear tyre.  Of course it cannot be repaired so I will have to buy a new one. Bugger, bugger, bugger ( sorry about the expletives but they do help ).  In addition, I have taken my eye off the ball regarding the food budget and as a consequence have spent too much money.  RIGHT ....THIS CANNOT GO ON! 

SO.......



photo from Google



1) I have booked my car into the garage on Thursday.  It will have a major service and a new tyre.  The spare has never been used so, in effect, by putting on the spare and popping the other (used) rear wheel in the boot I will have two new tyres on the rear IYSWIM

2) I have had my hair cut today and feel better for it although £25 poorer :/

3) I have written a meal plan for the week...all serving 2 people

Monday...leftovers from Sunday...cost zilch

Tuesday...Salmon...Morrisons £1.74 (half price) potatoes from the garden and a few frozen peas 25p ?  Total less than £2

Wednesday... Cheese pasties (50p each) and baked beans (29p) Total £1.29

Thursday...Carvery lunch to which we are being treated :)

Friday....Chicken pie (veggie for me) ( 2 for £1) and HM oven chips (50p?)  Total £1.50

Lunches will consist of salad stuff, eggs, cheese, HM soup using up what I have left in the fridge.
Breakfasts will be cereal or toast.



I have £10 left for a top up shop at the weekend and I intend to pay much more attention to the nutritional content of next weeks meal plan.  I still feel sluggish so need to put that right.


 I tried to distract myself by tackling some sewing but I am totally out of my comfort zone with scissors and needles.  Having cut out some pretty fabric I have totally lost the will to live with regard to sewing the shapes into the dog I intended it to be.   The fabric is cotton with 'for baby' on it in tiny writing.  If anyone out there would like to have it and try to finish it please just say so and I will post it to you along with the pattern sheet.  There are no instructions just letters to match up on the pattern.  Someone please take it and do me a favour!



The rain has stopped at last so the garden feels and smells much fresher.  I will take a peep at my carrots tomorrow to see if any are ready to eat.  The strawberries are also putting on a final spurt and the last of them should ripen soon, with any luck.

Have a lovely evening and thanks, as always, for popping in x