Tuesday, 12 October 2021

On Smart Meters

Our new home has smart meters.....and we were provided with a display thingy which has been sitting in a drawer until  yesterday when I decided to have a play.   This was triggered by a letter from the power provider asking me to register online and informing me that we are on the standard tariff which is bound to be expensive. The monitor was plug and go so hassle free to set up but it's a bit scary when you see energy consumption in real time 😱

When we woke up this morning this was the reading:



Last night it read:


I assume it is the combined gas and electricity cost but I'm not sure if it includes the standing charge. I would guess not, so need to watch consumption closely and stop G from boiling kettles of water for endless cups of tea which don't get drunk 🙄. We are on a standard tariff and have a dilemma.... do I try to change tariff now or wait for the first bill?  Martin Lewis says to 'do nothing' but I'm not sure. Meanwhile I'll try to keep useage as low as possible whilst I do a bit of research.   Does anyone know if the standing charge is taken into account in the figure quoted?

If useage over the year averages £2.00 per day the annual cost could be £730  How low can we go and still remain warm and clean 🤔?

We were called into the surgery at our old GP on Saturday to get our flu jabs.  I guess that will be the last time we visit there.  Next day I woke with with a headache and ached all over but by Monday felt perfectly fine.  How weird is that 😏

Stay safe everyone x





Friday, 8 October 2021

October Update!

Crikey, it's a week into October and a whole month since I last posted.  What a busy month (nay...manic month) it has been.  We finally moved out of our house on 21st September after a very stressful few months.  I won't go into the nitty gritty but on the Friday before we were expecting to move on the Tuesday I gave the solicitor an ultimatum: either we exchanged on the Friday and completed on the Tuesday or WE WERE PULLING OUT and forgetting the whole thing.  I fully expected the move to fail but the deal was pulled off at the very last minute.  So here we are at last 😃

As you can see from the 'before' shot at the last house......


...and the 'after' one at the new bungalow below, we are nowhere near as overlooked as we were.  The garden is flatter, bigger and, sadly, now a blank canvas once more.  We are planning what to do with it but it will have to wait until next Spring for any work to be done on it.  We are plumb tuckered out.
On the left hand side is our new garage which will become G's play area as he no longer has a shed 😅



Once again I have taken possession of the smaller bedroom.  Our Son in Law has not only put up a shelf for me ......
 


But he has bought me a small wardrobe which he and our lovely 14 yr old Grandson duly assembled and anchored to the wall for safety......


It's plenty big enough.  I don't have that many clothes and my chest of drawers is great for folded jumpers, nightwear and undies.



Whilst unpacking I found these flipflops which I had totally forgotten about.  I'm a sucker for a bit of animal print 😆


Take care everyone wherever in the world you happen to be.  I'll try not to leave it so long before my next post x

Sunday, 5 September 2021

September Already?

 September already and the beginning of Autumn.  How did that happen? This year, the same as last, has flown by in a flurry of inactivity!  The only exercise I have been getting is at the allotment (thank God we have it) and it has provided us with a fair selection of veg as well as apples and raspberries.  I haven't bought any potatoes for a couple of months now either....


There are still runner beans aplenty, 5 potato plants still to unearth, and we are trying to grow sprouts.  They look a bit feeble at the moment but time will tell.  Our leeks were a disaster.  They grew to an impressive size then showed signs of distress as white mould set in and they had to be pulled up and destroyed, so not even any use for the compost heap 😭  We have picked a fair number of apples; both cooking and dessert varieties but a high proportion of both have been nibbled and spoilt on the trees.  Ah well, we can say we have shared with nature.

September also sees the children back at school ( I can hear the collective sighs of relief from all the mums out there!) Our Granddaughter turned 17 a few days ago ( how did THAT happen too?) and all through the Summer holiday she has been applying for jobs without success.  It's not easy now either, with video interviews, online applications etc but she has really tried her best with absolutely no luck whatsoever.  She is going back to 6th form in the hope that things will improve in a year or two.  Our Grandson turned 14 at the end of July and is growing so fast.  He's now taller than me! and is a lovely caring lad.  He doesn't really like school after all the disruption of the last year as he is dyslexic and finds home schooling difficult.  Fingers crossed there will be some semblance of normality this Autumn term.

A BIG thank you to everyone who left kind and sympathetic comments on my last post for my Brother and his wife, V.  They were quite poorly for a while with headaches, runny noses, coughs and tightness in the chest but are both now out of isolation and have been told that they are considered immune to the virus now for at least 90 days. I'm still wearing a mask in certain settings and just getting on with things.  I don't subscribe to the conspiracy theories either.  Covid is what it is and the pointing of fingers of blame and conspiracy to control just don't cut the mustard.

Anyway, it's a beautifully sunny Sunday and I must do the ironing before it gets too hot to do it.

Enjoy your day wherever you happen to be in the world. Stay safe x

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Covid-19 Hasn't Gone Away....


I had a shock call from my Brother yesterday.  On Saturday he and his wife did their lateral flow tests and both were negative.  On Sunday his wife felt off colour, tired and developed a cough so on Monday they did another test; his was negative, V's was positive so they went to a drive through test centre for a PCR test.  She definitely has Covid, despite being double jabbed and extra careful.  My Brother's PCR test was void so he had to go for another drive through test yesterday....still awaiting results of that one.  They  have both been extra careful with contact, hygiene, social distancing etc, and they still wear masks when in enclosed spaces, especially as V is 76 yrs old and not in the best of health.  The only places they have been to is for food shopping so I feel she has been so very unlucky.  At the moment she is in self isolation in the house.  She is sleeping on the sofa downstairs, using a separate loo and preparing her own meals in order to keep contact with my Brother to a minimum.  Poor V.

PLEASE everyone....don't take any chances with your health.

Stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

EDIT:

My Brother has tested positive too 🤒😷😪


Saturday, 21 August 2021

What to do on a cold, wet Saturday in August

 



I awoke to drizzle and, with the promise of a wet, miserable day ahead, decided to crack on with something productive..

I didn't sleep well last night for worrying that our move will not be happening.  It seems that the only thing outstanding is from the management company of our current home who are simply not replying to emails from our solicitor and so are effectively blocking the sale.  I have to forget it and hope that the solicitor can sort it out eventually.

Anyway, after a leisurely breakfast of muesli, fruit and yogurt I hopped into the car and drove to our local M&S for some easy ready meals as I'm totally fed up with cooking.  Just over £16 spend has put 5 ready meals in the fridge as well as a box of cookies which our Granddaughter loves.  It will be her birthday on 1st September so I  will give her those along with some money in her card envelope.

The breadmaker is on, producing a lovely crusty loaf for tea......


My hair is feeling messy and in need of a cut.  I rang the posh looking salon down the road and they can fit me in on Monday afternoon.  Perhaps a new haircut will give me the mental boost I need.

Half an hour left before G comes back from work so time for this....



Tomorrow there is an antiques fair at Himley Hall from 9am to 4pm.  Weather permitting, I'll be having a wander round there.  It costs £2 to park and £2 entry fee to the fair but it's in the open air so should be quite safe.  I  can take a flask and a sandwich.  I LOVE antiques fairs 🥰

What are you doing this weekend?

Stay safe everyone x

Friday, 13 August 2021

Food On The Cheap, Bungalow Update & Eating Fresh,


 Since my lack of success with the 'Magic Bags' a while ago, I haven't managed to get one at all.  They either fly out as soon as released or are too far or too late in the day for me to pick up.  DD has got the Greggs ones down to a fine art!  She has managed to get 3 over the last few weeks.  The latest one shown above contained:

Ham & Cheese baguette
Tuna crunch pasta
4 sausage rolls
4 doughnuts 
2 Gingerbreads

All for £2.59 (RRP £8)

And the previous haul contained a lovely fresh sliced bloomer loaf .  Success!

This last week has been a bit mundane for us,  just catching up with jobs and chasing, chasing, chasing progress.....

Bungalow Update:

Why is everything such a struggle lately?   I got so frustrated with lack of information, poor communication from all concerned, as well as being unable to speak to a 'real' person, that I got stuck in and 'kicked ass' as they say!  I spent most of 2 days on the telephone, insisting on speaking to someone in authority each time until I got a call from a man who knew what he was talking about!  He chased everything up from his end regarding the purchase of the bungalow and emailed me all the legal stuff in pdf files which I promptly forwarded to our solicitor.  He now has everything required to process the purchase.  We are now waiting on the local searches for the sale of our current home which have a backlog of months by the sound of it.  Then we should be ready to go.  I feel rather like ' I bought a dog and have to bark myself ' as far as the solicitor goes.  Which begs the question "why am I paying him so much?"  Fingers crossed that things will start moving now....

Allotment News:

Our Grandson, K, helped us out again on Tuesday by climbing a ladder placed against the Bramley apple tree.  So many windfalls were depleting the harvest and the last few were big apples which had fallen and been spoilt.  K enjoyed the adventure of climbing the tree for the best fruit!  Any which didn't come away easily were left for another day.  The harvest totalled over 20lbs of fruit 😀 I processed any which were blemished, zapping them in the microwave with a spoonful of sugar and freezing in batches for future crumbles.  The rest were shared with DD, my brother and our storeroom 😆

We have picked in the last week :

Sweetcorn cobs (3)
Runner beans
Calabrese (4 decent size heads)
Parsnips
Carrots
Raspberries
Bramley apples

G has sown lettuce and spring onions this week.

A big welcome to my new followers Anjie & Barbara....Hello!  Glad to have you aboard.

That's all for now. Stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x







Wednesday, 4 August 2021

From Fork to Plate in 4 Hours

We had a fabulous day yesterday.  G and I went to the allotment and our daughter and the two grandchildren joined us.  I wanted to dig up a whole row of potatoes so that I could more easily reach the back of the row of  runner beans. Our grandson K had his 14th birthday last Thursday and is much stronger than me (which isn't difficult!) So he willingly got stuck in digging them up with a fork, whilst his sister G bagged them up and collected the leaves for the compost.  He didn't spear a single one, unlike me, I usually spoil at least 2 or3.  G once managed to spear 3 beauties on the fork in one go so he's been banned from digging them up ever since!  This meant that I could harvest the runner beans at the back before they went over. We pulled up the pea plants, removing any edible bits before putting them on the compost too.

The giant onions are growing so big that one or two are actually touching which isn't what we want so I harvested 3 to make space.  Onions can be eaten at any point in their growth so I kept one and gave our daughter the other two.  This is the smallest of the three...




We spotted a tiny visitor in amongst the leeks and onions.  There are plenty of slugs and snails for him to get through......




Our lovely allotment neighbour gave us 4 beetroot to try.  As soon as I got home I boiled and skinned my 2.  They were delicious and have been added to salads and a sandwich......


 I took hot and cold drinks for us, as well as soap and water for hand washing, so we paused for lunch and bought chip shop chips to share 😜 followed by freshly picked raspberries . It was the most exciting day out that I've had for months!

DD took home some carrots, runner beans, peas and potatoes as well as a couple of corn cobs.  She cooked them, ate a plateful of veg with gravy and kept a corn cob back for later after taking her son to football training.  When she got home her hubby had eaten it (even though he swears he 'doesn't like' corn  🙄) so she never got to try it.  It was deliciously sweet and tender served with a small knob of butter.....




I'll pick some more for her next time we go. She did take home 3 carrier bags full of potatoes which she will share with her Sister-in-Law and her neighbours.

Food Shortages:

Sainsburys has just delivered the food shopping and each week lately there are out of stock items and substitutions; 4 out of stock and 4 subs this week alone.  It means we are 3 meals short on the food planner for the next 7 days.  On the rare occasions I nip into Morrisons for a forgotten item I notice empty shelves everywhere. I do commend the supermarkets for pulling out all the stops to keep the deliveries flowing.  It must be tough at the moment.

How are food supplies where you are?

I'm especially grateful for the veg at the allotment.  
Coming soon:

Leeks
Calabrese
Parsnips
Sprouts
Blackberries
Bramley apples
Russet? dessert apples

Still harvesting:

Potatoes
Runner beans
French beans
Carrots
Onions

Luckily, there was a small piece of steak in the shopping so G can have that tonight with roast potatoes, roast parsnip, carrots, and runner beans.  I think I'll just have a big plate of veg like DD did but with home grown mint sauce 😀

Stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be x

On Smart Meters

Our new home has smart meters.....and we were provided with a display thingy which has been sitting in a drawer until  yesterday when I deci...