Thursday, 14 November 2019

FREE (Or Almost Free) Stuff & The Weather

Yes, I'm still here folks.  I'm still chewing my nails (metaphorically speaking) and waiting for a completion date but a couple of things happened which I would like to give you a 'heads up' on.  When we shopped in Sainsburys this morning we only had a few items and went through the self scan checkouts.  As I was passing through I saw a big cardboard display box with crisps in marked at 1p each.  What?  I took a backward step and picked out 3 packs (the maximum per customer) and sure enough they scanned at 1p each.....

The baked crisps were delicious, we had a pack each with a cup of tea this afternoon. Oh, and they are suitable for vegetarians.  It pays to keep your eyes open if you have a Sainsburys near you.....

Yesterday, I went with DD to the Merryhill shopping centre and we were queuing in Matelan to pay for some Christmas gifts she had chosen.  A friendly member of staff made her way down the queue handing out Galaxy choc bars to the adults.  What a lovely gesture.  I've saved mine until I get a craving for some sweet stuff.  I could do with losing a few pounds and I'm trying to resist but it's very hard.....

The weather here is absolutely appalling.  It's been raining nonstop since yesterday evening and everywhere is flooded.  The canal is within an inch of overflowing and the Stour is running high, fast and furious.  I feel so very sorry for people whose homes are flooded in Derbyshire and elsewhere.  It's devastating for them.  On the other side of the world, Sydney is on high alert for the first time ever because of the dreadful fires.  There are fires in the district where my Son is working and he says his eyes sting and his chest hurts when he is outside.  Our DiL and little Granddaughter are having to stay in their home because of the risk of smoke inhalation too.  P says they will be fine but I do still worry about them so much.

What's the weather like where you are? I hope you are ok.

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

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Taking A Break

Oh my golly, it's been 6 weeks since I last wrote a blog post.  I can hardly believe it.  One blogger, who I follow closely, wrote about saving to move and remarked that she didn't want "a teeny tiny house" and that she could have one now if she wanted.  That's exactly what we are buying now simply because a) we have no choice but to move and  b) we don't have enough money to buy anything bigger or better.  Even if we saved every penny for the next 10 years, eating sparingly and not having any fun, we still wouldn't have enough for our dream bungalow.  It made me question whether my posts served any purpose and whether they were an indulgence of mine.  However, I don't want to just fade into the ether either like so many other bloggers so I thought I would, at least, post an update and my reason for having a blogging break.

We still don't have a firm completion date although a vague "November" is still being quoted by the builders.  I found out yesterday that our intruder alarm hasn't been fitted as they put it in next door by mistake.  For goodness sake,  how hard can it be to get a simple task right?  The walls are now plastered so I'm not sure I want the man to try to fit it now at this point.  We might wait and get a trusted engineer to fit it when we are finally there to supervise.

The household clutter has now mainly gone, either to a CS, sold or dumped (in the appropriate place, of course) with recycling being the main criteria. We are now playing the waiting game.....

I am still selling online for my Stash to Cash challenge and, despite putting money into several birthday cards, I still have over £80 left in the box towards Christmas, which will be a very simple affair this year.  DD has invited us for Christmas Day so I will buy the turkey and chip in for the rest of the food on the day.  Boxing Day? Who knows....

I will leave you all for now and maybe catch up sometime later.  I will continue to read and sometimes comment on my favourite blogs but, for now, stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be.  Take care xx

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Bargain Pasta And The C Word Again

I do hope you have all had a very good week.  Here it's been quite mild and sunny, no rain at all, so we have been to water the plants on the allotment a couple of times this week.
We are still harvesting:

Runner beans (almost all gone)

And growing on:

Leeks (lots of them to last most of the winter for soups and stews)
Brussel sprouts
More spinach (in case there really is a shortage of green veg!)

We haven't sown much else because we might have to leave this allotment after we move.  It's looking likely that it will be too far to drive on a regular basis, although we intend keeping it on until early next year, but G has his name down for a half plot in the new area.  It will mean starting all over again but it will be much closer to our new home.

On the new home front, the roof is on and the windows are in.  It's now watertight!  I'm so glad because the bad weather could set in at any time.  It's still looking good for November completion :)  I just wish we could have a date to work towards.

Yesterday I stripped G's double bed, washed, dried and ironed the linen now today I've done the same with my single, although I had to use the tumble dryer for mine when we had a downpour (at last).  I have made a lemon drizzle cake, which is cooling as we speak, and it will be a simple tea of something with chips as I did a full cooked meal last night when G got in from work.

In the supermarket yesterday morning I spotted these packets of basics pasta reduced from 30p to just 15p so I bought 4; 2 for us and 2 for the food bank.  The expiry date is a long way off so they were too good to pass over.  Perhaps they are changing the packaging as this one can't be recycled.....

Anyway, I have a full 2 hours before G returns from work so it will be a Christmas crafting session for me (sorry it's the C word ;) but already I've sold some Christmas toppers online so I want to keep up the momentum.

Stay safe everyone and thanks everso for popping in x

Sunday, 15 September 2019

On Wisdom Teeth & Good Fortune

It's been a bit of a mixed week weather wise.  We have had a bit of sun, a drop of rain, and dull and dismal but the biggest change is the colder nights and mornings.  Yesterday morning the heating clicked itself on at 7.30am and then off again at 8.30am when it had raised the temperature just above shivering point.  By lunchtime the sun was out and I had the windows open and my shorts on.  How weird is that?  It just shows that Autumn is skating towards us determinedly.

I have started packing stuff ready for the move. Although we don't have a completion date yet, we have exchanged contracts so the move will take place. G has emptied the shed so that we have somewhere to store the boxes (I would find it too depressing looking at them all the time in the house) His gardening stuff has been moved to a small lock up which we rent on site, and which we can keep on for a while after we move.  Firstly, I have sorted out the drinking glass cupboard in the kitchen.  Some decent items were taken to the CS yesterday, 4 carrier bags worth in fact, and the best crystal is being wrapped in bubble wrap and packed into a box.  One of the wardrobes was also sorted out yesterday and tidied up.  It's going to take me ages doing it on my own but I'll get there by November.

On Friday poor DD had to go into hospital to have 2 difficult wisdom teeth extracted under a general anaesthetic.  When SiL brought her home in the afternoon we went to sit with her while he collected the children from school.  She has really been through the mill. The right side of her face was puffy, her lip bruised and she was in pain.  Apparently, they had to take a bit of bone with one of the teeth and the sinus opened up so they had to stitch that closed too. She still can't open her mouth very far and is surviving on cups of tea, soup, yogurt and tiny bits of cheese which she can melt on the tongue. I have been so worried about her that my IBS has flared up again too, what a pain (literally)

Does anyone know of any natural remedies for IBS?

On the positive side this month, I have had a few more craft sales on the internet (around £30)
a £75 win on my premium bonds...yay!...(Although I will have to cash most of them in in a few weeks to pay for the new house :(   a £50 cheque from the Populous Live survey site ( I get about 2 a year) and an amazing £25 on a scratch card.  It has all gone into the savings pot for the move.

G on the other hand got a speeding ticket and has had to pay £88 to attend a driving awareness course...grrrr…'s the second time he's been caught on the same stretch of road too.  He can pay that himself.

As I write this I can hear the church bells in the village.  I'm really going to miss that....

Anyway, have a lovely day everyone and stay safe wherever you happen to be x

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Cold Mornings & Veg Meals

It has gone so much cooler this morning.  I woke at 8am and, although the sun was trying to break through, the heating had clicked itself on at 13 degrees.  Autumn is definitely on it's way.  It's now just after noon and bright and sunny but still chilly.  I let the heating take the chill off then switched it off because I know I will be busy today, which will warm me up.  Lots of washing, ironing and clearing out still to do....

I had a lovely surprise this morning though.  I was texting my Son in Australia via WhatsApp and my little 3 yr old GD asked to actually speak to Granma.  I quickly made a video call and she was in the bath getting ready for bed.  Now I have a rubbish windows phone with just a forward facing camera so we had a lot of laughs with me having to constantly turn the phone around so that she could see me! lol..  She wanted to tell me that they are going on holiday to Queensland tomorrow.  She is so sweet, I do love her.

My food stock in the cupboard is definitely dwindling now (I really don't want to have to pack and transport too much)  I'm only replacing the essentials when I'm down to the last tin/packet....

I did find this packet of lentils....

Does anyone know if they actually do go out of date? G refuses to eat them so they never got opened.  If I had realised a few weeks ago I would have taken them to the foodbank....

The slow cooker is on with a beef stew for G when he comes home from work tonight ( and, no, I didn't dare add any lentils....he would know!)

I watched the new Jamie Oliver VEG cookery programme on TV a few days ago and I liked the look of the meals, especially getting some spinach into the mac & cheese.  GS said he doesn't like spinach and I replied that he wouldn't know it was in there.  He laughed and said " then why is the sauce GREEN? "  I simply have no answer to that! :)  Did anyone else watch it?

Stay safe everyone, and thanks for popping in x

PS Sooze, if you're reading this,  I've messaged you

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Village Fair & Know Your Onions

Today was the first village fair we have had in the whole 10 years we have lived here.  I have always wanted to join in with something like this, a kind of Midsomer murders without the bloodshed!  There were stalls galore, raffles, food, dog show and, of course, the produce show.  We turned up at their door almost at the crack of dawn (well, 8am on Sunday is almost the crack of dawn, isn't it?) so that we could put in our entries before G went off to work.  We paid the grand sum of £1.80 for a total of 9 entries;  2 for me, 3 each for the GC and 1 for G.
It's also lovely GD's 15th birthday today (how did that happen so quickly?) so we went to a pub for lunch then back to the fair for the rest of the afternoon.

G entered some of his allotment onions and won first prize in the 3 onions category! He was over the moon to say the least :)

GD won first prize for a colourful drawing of a Minion too which quite made her day.
Unfortunately, nothing for GS or for me for my card entries....

We had a really lovely day, warm and breezy, then came back to ours for a cobbled- together tea of cheese and home grown onion on toast followed by a slice of cake.  Now....I really need to get my act together and lose a bit of this weight which has crept up on me. My jeans are getting a tad close fitting (or perhaps they have shrunk in the wash?  No....?  Ok....

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post about empty shelves in the supermarkets.  It seems I am not alone.  Lets see what happens when we go shopping tomorrow....

Stay safe everyone wherever you happen to be x

Sunday, 25 August 2019

It's Life, Jim, But Not As We Know It

I might be quoting Startrek's Mr Spock in the wrong context here but, boy, life is changing quicker than you can quote the above phrase.

Has anyone noticed how empty the supermarket shelves seem to be getting?  Their value ranges seem to be getting harder to find each week.  For example, we like Sainsbury's basics pineapple pieces.  Costing 35p a tin, we eat it on breakfast cereal with a dollop of live yogurt on top or with a scoop of ice cream for a dessert.  They haven't had any on the shelves for weeks so I was surprised and pleased to be able to snag 3 tins yesterday....

Milk was a different matter.  I normally buy 4 pints of skimmed red top which lasts us 4 or 5 days but yesterday I was shocked to find hardly any milk on the shelves at 11am.  NO one pint, 2 pint or 4 pint of either skimmed or semi skimmed milk at all.  There were a few whole milk and some 4 pint cartons of 1% fat orange top.  I had never bought it before but we don't like whole milk so orange top it had to be.  It actually tastes much the same as skimmed but what on earth happened.  Delay in delivery? No staff to stock up the shelves? Change of supplier? What?

I have a feeling they would have sold out completely by noon.  And lots of other shelves were also half empty.  It can't just be the 'B' word ….can it??

Our house move is getting more complicated too.  We have discovered that the development has a management company to manage the green spaces (the council, apparently, has decided it's a good idea to disown the green spaces and let someone else pay to mow the grass) At the moment the annual fee is set at £111 but we have no idea how the figure was arrived at nor by how much it will increase annually.  Our solicitor is checking this and finding out if a contingency fund is being set up so that we don't end up with an enormous bill at some point in the future, for example, when the play area needs renewing. Why is life getting so complicated......

On a happier note, I'm going to spent a couple of hours crafting now.  The kettle is on...oh, and I made another £10 on eBay this week from a craft sale...yay!

It's roasting here today so enjoy the sun if you have it.

Stay safe everyone and thanks for popping in x

Saturday, 24 August 2019

A Thank You & A Snowman?

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you who took the time to comment on my last post.  Your comments were sensitive, sensible and a great comfort to me.  Philip hit the nail on the head when he suggested ( and I paraphrase) to give the benefit of the doubt, 50% of the time I could be wrong but 50% of the time I could be right.  How true.

I seem to have 2 new followers but I can't tell who you are.  A big welcome anyway :)

At the moment there seems to be so much to do.  I'm making lots of lists but have already encountered 2 things I forgot to write down and they are  a)  my bus pass had expired and b) my driving license was due for renewal on my next birthday which is November 1st
I am determined to keep on top of things with the move approaching at the end of the year so went online (go me!!) and renewed my bus pass in a trice.  My license was a tad more complicated (for me anyway) but I managed to do it.  Both bits of plastic arrived this week, yay! Success!

Today I received an email reminding me that my car is due for service.  I might need to delay that for a bit but I certainly can't delay the need for an MOT in December.  On the list it goes....

Now you might think I've flipped at last posting a picture of a snowman on a hot summer's day but when I went to sainsbury's this morning that's exactly what I saw.  I saw a poor chap wearing a snowman costume whilst assisting customers with the self scan checkout.  Who's daft idea was that?
Now, as a crafter, I like to prepare for Christmas early but on principle I don't start until the children go back to school.  1st September is my usual 'get thinking' date.  Whatever next.......

Stay safe everyone wherever you happen to be and thanks so much for popping in x

Thursday, 22 August 2019

A Lovely Day & A Moral Dilemma

Well, we had a lovely day on Monday.  I got to DD's in plenty of time for her to go off to her hospital appointment, the GC greeted me enthusiastically :)  GD made a mug of tea for me and a hot chocolate for herself and her brother and we curled up to watch Mamma Mia - Here We Go Again on TV.   It was a wonderful couple of hours of pure relaxation.  DD returned just after noon and made us all toasted cheese and onion sandwiches.  Simple, delicious food shared with a loving family, who could ask for more :)

Yesterday, G and I encountered a moral dilemma.  In town we were approached by a woman who appeared in some distress.  She said she had just walked out on her partner and needed to get to her mum's in Birmingham.  She had very little money (£3 she said) and just the clothes she stood up in (kind of leisure, housework, lounging type clothes) she was slightly unkempt looking but swore she didn't take drugs, she just needed to get to her mum who would take her in.  She said the train fare was £6.90 and she didn't have enough money and could we help.  My heart wouldn't let me risk this not being a scam. G and I looked at each other and, as I reached for my purse he pulled out his money. I gave her my last £5 note praying inwardly that she wouldn't use it to get a fix.  Did I do the right thing do you think?

On the allotment front, we have (well G did ;)  dug up the last potatoes, pulled the most enormous onions for drying and storing, pulled up the last spring onions (also jumbo sized), the last carrots and chard too.  G is planting lots of leeks because they tend to be expensive and we love them in veg stews and leek and potato soup.  More lettuce is growing nicely both on the allotment and in a tub to pick at home.  We have shared our produce with neighbours and it's a lovely feeling :)

Time now to begin cooking our evening meal.  Stay safe wherever you are in the world and thanks so much for popping in x

Sunday, 18 August 2019

A Good Sort Out

Friday was a fun day!  We unearthed 2 big storage boxes of old photographs to go through.  Unbelievably, there were so many photos of empty fields, assorted cows, seaside scenes which we had absolutely no memory of, photos of groups of people with their heads missing or eyes closed, photos of strangers....what ?? I got out the shredder and we quickly disposed of them.  Old albums which were falling apart were ditched and the good photos saved and popped into envelopes (neatly labelled of course)  We laughed, we shed a tear or two and ended up with a half filled box of stuff we wanted to keep and 2 black bags of shredded paper and rubbish.  How cathartic was that?  VERY!
There is one more box to be gone through and we will be just as ruthless with that one too.

G was persuaded to sell his bowling balls on Facebook selling pages.  They cost almost £100 about 9 years ago and they have been used about 3 times...grrr….they sold in less than 24 hours and £30 has been added to the pot.

This morning we sold a big topiary which G had spent 20 years growing from a cutting and which is too big and heavy to take to the new house.  It has just been collected so another £72 in the pot towards the move. All in all a very productive few days.

The weather today has been lovely albeit a bit chilly.  The sun shone, the wind blew gently and now we have a few spots of rain.  It's almost 5pm and everything smells so fresh and clean.  G is home now and we have HM veg curry (from the freezer) with boiled rice for tea, followed by defrosted berries and ice cream.  DD has a hospital appointment tomorrow to see about removing an impacted wisdom tooth so I will be keeping the GC company whilst she is there.  Mind you, nowadays they look after me rather than the other way around! lol  We could well be watching a film.

Stay safe wherever you happen to be, and thanks so much for popping in x

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

A Haircut and Monster Carrots

Well my hair was cut yesterday by my daughter's friend for just £14 instead of the £26 charged in the village.  After all the lovely comments on my blog regarding hair colour I decided to go for purple...she had run out! I  felt cheated!  Nonetheless, I am pleased with the cut and it will certainly last 6 weeks until my next appointment.  I had a lovely cup pf tea and a chat afterwards with DD and the GC before setting off home to see what G had been up to on the allotment.

He had pulled some carrots for tea.  We have not been successful with carrots at all and G puts it down to not having enough time to prepare the soil properly.  If you look to the left (on G's hand) you can see a tiny carrot, which is the size I like.  I bet the big ones are totally inedible :/

We have been unsuccessful with radishes too.  The first few were lovely but the subsequent ones were tough or eaten away .  However, we have eaten some lovely lettuces and potatoes and the tubs in the garden have produced lots of delicious strawberries.

In our mission to sell or donate stuff we don't need I went to offer a ceramic pot of Calla lilies to our neighbour, as he had admired them, and shut my blooming finger in the metal gate catch. Cor, it came sharp....

A big welcome to Terra, my new follower. Welcome aboard!

The craft fair on Saturday was dismal.  It rained and footfall was poor.  I took £5 which was the cost of the table :(  No one took more than about £20 so I have decided that I will do no more.  I can sell more on the internet than at the fair and can do it from home too, so that's my decision made.  I made a sale of £12 last night whilst watching TV with my feet up!

It's raining at the moment and thunderstorms are forecast for this afternoon so I will pop out to post my sale item before lunch....

Stay safe everyone and thanks so much for popping in x

Monday, 12 August 2019

Book Treasure Hunt

I have just found out about a lovely thing going on in our village.  Someone is wrapping books and hiding them around the village for people to find!  They are both for children and adults too.  What a lovely generous thing to do.  I might try to find out more so that I can do a bit of hiding of my own :)
Has anyone come across this before?

We had a bit of good news today too.  Our new home is, at last, up to roof level and we might even have completion by the end of November if the weather holds.  I do hope so :) We are going to see the site agent a week on Thursday to finalise our option choices so exchange might not be too far away after that.  It means that we will have to ratchet up the eBay selling and  decluttering but we are making serious inroads into turning our surplus stuff into cash anyway.  Today I took a carrier bag full of nice stuff into the local Happy Staffy CS.  I'm trying to share out the spoils amongst several charities in the area to make it fair :)

I'm off to have my 6 weekly haircut tomorrow so I can combine that with a lovely visit to DD and the GC.  Now the question I have purple styling mousse or boring colourless…'ll let you know!

Stay safe everyone wherever you happen to be and thanks so much for popping in x

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Not So Fantastic Plastic

Where has the week gone?  It has flown by in a rush of entertaining grandchildren, gardening, and alternately wilting from the heat and sheltering from the squally showers.  At the moment it is pouring down.  Luckily I managed to load the car with my craft fair stuff (yes, it's this afternoon) just before the downpour began.  I have an hour before I have to set off so I hope the sun will show it's face by then, otherwise footfall at the fair will be abysmal :(

I want to thank everyone who commented on my last post with sympathy and concern.  I appreciate every single one of you who took the time to respond.  It seems I am not alone with occasional sleepless nights brought on by worry either.  It's such a useless exercise in the middle of the night too.

Changing the subject completely....there has been so much talk about plastic recently and how we all depend on it and use far too much, only to fill the oceans with it or send it to Malaysia.  It's horrifying really.  I always thought that I used plastic responsibly and recycled everything in just the right way.  Now I am not so sure.  I have taken another look at our use of it in the home. Years ago I used bar soap but ditched it in favour of  liquid soap dispensers because of the soap scum the bar left on the sinks and bath.  I have now bought a soap dish and a bar of Pears soap in order to make a fresh start on buying less plastic.   The dish cost £4 and the soap 59p.....

Can anyone recommend a soap bar that is PH balanced and which smells fantastic?

I think I am going to struggle with changing other things though.  For a start, I haven't found anywhere which sells refills for washing up liquid etc  The one I use has a totally recyclable bottle and cap but how can I be sure the council will do the right thing with it? Washing powder is ok because it comes in a recyclable cardboard box but what about fabric softener?  I have discovered that most bread wrappers can be recycled with carrier bags in the bigger supermarkets...yay!

What else can I change to ditch plastic?  Suggestions gratefully accepted :)

Stay safe everyone wherever you happen to be x

Sunday, 4 August 2019

What a Silly Thing

I had a terrible night's sleep last night.  It was not for want of being tired either.  I'd had a busy day shopping, cleaning, tidying whilst G was at work until 8pm but as soon as my head touched the pillow I just couldn't clear my head.  I was a bit warm too, although the window was open to let in some air, and I tossed and turned from 10.30pm until 2am when I gave in, quietly turned on the light and read my book for half an hour.  I finally dozed off around 3am only to wake at 7.20am feeling disorientated and a bit sick.  I know it's silly but I lay there worrying about the future ie will G get worse? Are we sure we can really afford to spend all our savings on the new house? Will G have to give up work and put us on the breadline? How on earth will we manage the move as neither of us will be on the right side of 70 years old etc, etc  We have been through all of this in our discussions and I've done the sums over and over again but everything seems so much worse in the dark, don't you think?  I haven't told G I was worrying all night it might set him off.  I'm usually the rational

Since we decided to move we have been watching our spending.  We won't have to pay our site fees in December this year so today I've been able to move some of the money saved for that to the savings account for the new house.  My Daughter recommended her friend , who is a hairdresser working from home, to cut my hair.  I was a bit nervous at first but she's fine and charges just £14 for a cut and blow dry instead of the £26 charged in the village, a potential saving of £108 per year based on 9 appointments  AND I get to see DD for a coffee on the day I go (every 6 weeks) :)

I think we might ditch the expensive broadband when we move too.  We are locked into a contract until mid December and pay over £51 per month which seems like A LOT.  The TV is Freesat. We are toying with the idea of ditching a landline and using our mobiles too. G is on a cheap contract and I'm with Tesco PAYG who triple £10 a month top up to £30 which is more than enough.

Has anyone else ditched the landline? Or is it risky?

Whilst sorting out the cupboard I came across an opened packet of sultanas with a best before date of end of August 2019.  Oooh a soak in some strong tea then made into a quick teabread while the oven was on for something else, waste not want not, as my mum used to say :)

Anyway, the slow cooker is on with a lovely beef stew for G today so I can just relax and enjoy Poldark this evening.

Here's to a better sleep tonight!
Stay safe everyone wherever you happen to be x

Friday, 2 August 2019

Making Progress

Thanks so much to everyone who left positive comments on my last post.  You are quite right, it probably is much better to live amongst  people of all ages otherwise we could become older than our years, I think.  Oh, and welcome to my 2 new followers although I can't tell who you are :/  A big welcome anyway :)

The title Making Progress refers to gradually reducing my stash of craft items to manageable proportions at last. I have given away lots of items I no longer need or want to neighbours and charity shops,  and have sold a fair number of my makes on fleabay too.  All the money has been carefully put away for for birthdays, Christmas and emergencies.  I have another craft fair coming up a week tomorrow so I'm having a lovely afternoon crafting whilst G mows the grass.  These are my first makes today and I have lots of ideas buzzing around my head for later on once I've finished this post :)

Do you remember my tall craft cabinet of 6 drawers? Well this is what it looks like now....

The top half has been emptied and is now sitting in the shed ready for G to fill with all the small items (jars of screws, nails, fertilizers etc) that he wants to take to the new house.  I still have lots of craft stash left to carry on with my stash to cash project but I already feel lighter for jettisoning the excess.  I only wish I could do the same for my waistline! Lol....

We have been shopping less and using up the stuff in the store cupboard too.  I want to have to pack up and remove as little as possible in December.  The cupboard looks better already.  Baking tins that I haven't use in an absolute age have either been given to DD or taken to the CS.  The remainder is what I use on a regular basis.  The cupboard has been emptied and thoroughly cleaned too.  What a good feeeling!

G is working on the allotment a little at a time and we have been eating:

Spring onions

The sprout plants have been nibbled by caterpillars but are coming along nicely and I hope to be able to eat some around November.  They are one of my favourite veg....I know, I know....some of you hate them but I LOVE them :)

Anyway, stay safe wherever you are ( I do hope you are not being flooded with all this heavy rain)
and thanks so much for popping in x

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Meet The Neighbours....

Last night we went to the 'meet the neighbours' meeting at the new development where we are buying our new home.  As expected, everyone was so much younger than us.  Think grandchildren rather than children and you will get the picture :/   We both felt a bit awkward as though we are moving in with the  GC but the people we spoke to were nice and friendly.  I guess in reality we will rarely see them once we have all moved in because, as luck would have it, our immediate neighbours (it's a  semi) have pulled out of the sale and it's up for reservation again. Typical...The couple we really wanted to see..... The site office had put on a lovely spread of nibbles, mini wraps, sandwiches, crisps and cakes but I was too shy to eat any of it although I did manage a glass of Prosecco!

The weather here today is so much cooler, thank goodness.  It took ages to cool the house down and I slept badly again last night as well as the night before when I sat on the edge of the bed watching the dawn rise.  It was raining throughout the night after about 3am so feels much, much fresher. Long may it continue!

Have a lovely day everyone and thanks so much for popping in x

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

It's Certainly Hot, Hot, Hot

Oh my goodness it's darned hot today, just after 3pm and we are ROASTING.  We are not having it as hot as other parts of the country and certainly not as hot (yet) as the rest of Europe but it's too hot for me :/  I cease to function when I am so hot and sticky. I don't feel like eating, or cooking, or cleaning, or shopping.  I just want to lie quietly in the shade until it passes.  DD and family went to Kos on Saturday and I worry about them too.  I love AUTUMN!

What's the weather like in your part of the world?  How do you cope with the heat? And which is your favourite season?

Edit:  Woohoo! Just noticed that Marlene and Sue have topped up my followers to 100, thank you!
And welcome to you both :)

Stay safe everyone x

Sunday, 21 July 2019

National Give Something Away Day

Thanks to all of you who left lovely comments on my last post.  Your good luck messages and encouraging comments cheered us on immensely.  There is no doubt at all that we will be sad to leave here but we must look upon the move as a new adventure.  We have been invited to a 'meet the neighbours' meeting at the sales office on Friday next, with bubbly and nibbles provided :)  It will be our first chance to see what kind of age group we are moving next to.  What's the betting we will be the oldest couple there!

How come I didn't realise that the 15th July was National Give Something Away Day? Huh?

It was the day that G had managed to get a cancellation at the hospital and he was admitted as a day case for 7 more injections in his neck to treat the Dystonia.  This round of injections hasn't made any difference to the head movement either but we are hoping they will help with the pain......
Anyway, without realising it, I was doing the 'Give Something Away' thing anyway.  To take G's mind off the neck stiffness caused by the injections, I drove him to the allotment after collecting him from the hospital.  We drank in the peace and quiet and I pulled up some more beetroot and lettuce which I shared with some of our neighbours later.  One neighbour is just out of hospital himself after falling from a stepladder and breaking his arm and collar bone, but that's another long story....

I am in the process of selling or donating lots of my beloved books as we will have no room for a bookcase in the new house .  Over the last couple of weeks I have sent 3 boxes of them to Music Magpie and 2 boxes to Ziffit, (what one company doesn't take the other one does) The amounts paid for each book are tiny but I now have £50 to add to the kitty for the move. 

The bookcase was full to overflowing.  Here it is now.
The books to the left on the bottom shelf belong to G: his gardening books, which he wants to keep. The ones to the right of the middle shelf are my beloved Jenny Colgan ones which are worth next to nothing in resale value (not even the new hardback ones) but they will have to go.  I rarely read a book twice anyway.  To the left of that same shelf is my school Hymn book and my small black Bible which my Sister bought me for my birthday when I was 9 or 10 years old.  I can't bear to part with either of those two.  The CD's are the ones I play regularly and intend to keep, all others have been sold or donated to charity......

I am still trying to turn stash into cash too because I will need to reduce my craft items to one, yes ONE (a look of horror on my face) under bed storage box.  It will be a struggle but I will do it.  I still have a stall booked for 4 more Craft Fairs, the last being in November and I am selling ready made toppers on eBay too. 
This tower was stuffed to bursting a couple of months ago but is slowly emptying......

Stay tuned for an update folks!

Thanks so much for popping in and stay safe wherever you are in the world x

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

A New Home & A New Life

I promised to tell you our decision regarding our soon to be new home.  We would have loved a bungalow in a quiet area with a small garden but, sadly, it was not to be.  We simply couldn't afford it and knew that we had to compromise in a big way.  We couldn't face major work whilst living in the place and needed somewhere which needs very little maintenance.  I think we have found it in a small 2 bed semi which is currently being built on a new development about 9 miles away.  It will not be anywhere near as quiet as we have it here but it will be closer to our daughter.  There will be a small garden for G to work on at the rear and we will be in a familiar area which we know and like.  My brother lives just down the road and our best friends will be within a short drive (or bus ride).

I love the idea of seeing the house built from scratch and having an input into how certain things are done.  We can have an alarm installed at the building stage as well as choose the bathroom tiles and floorcoverings which will be laid before we move in.  Completion will be about 2 weeks before Christmas :/  so I will have to shelve my usual precision planning and gift buying (that was written with tongue firmly in cheek!) and people will get either a gift voucher or cash this year.  No room to store gifts...

The house will have a 10 year NHBC guarantee so we will have no need to worry about a new boiler or repairs for some time.

I know we will be on a squeaky tight budget from now on and our savings will bite the dust, but we will have peace of mind in that we will not have to leave our home next February.  We have had 10 wonderful years here but it's time to go.  If you don't mind listening I'll tell you all about it as the build progresses :)  There will be some exciting times ahead (as well as frustrating and scary ones, I'm sure) but we are excited about it now that we know it's happening.

Now....I need to make LISTS, lots of lists.  Lists of people to notify of a change of address once we leave here, lists of things to be done in preparation of moving, lists of stuff we need to sell rather than take with us etc etc  Already I have spent weeks, nay MONTHS, decluttering, shredding documents, selling or taking bags of stuff to the charity shops.  In my eyes we still have a load of stuff to take to a slightly smaller property than we have now but I must be getting somewhere with it because we had a man in to quote for removals and he actually said " I don't want to be cheeky Ange, but you haven't got a lot of stuff" LOL!  The company will provide all the boxes, bubble wrap and tape that we need included in the price so we are happy to let them do it.

1. Find removals company...tick :)

Take care everyone,  thanks everso for popping in x

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Nature's Bounty and the Cherry Fair / 1940's Weekend

I was going to tell you all about our decision on the new house but, following on from yesterday's post,  yesterday afternoon turned into a lovely warm one so we took a trip to the allotment to give it all another good watering and to photograph the plants in more detail.

I picked some chard for our tea tonight...

The onions are motoring along...

Lush, tender lettuce (the one I brought home had the added protein of slug...yuk...I washed it 3 times to be

The sprout bed complete with string and shiny CDs...

 Whilst there we dug up another potato plant and will eat these little tasties tonight with butter, the steamed chard and cod mornay......

The soil is VERY dry and powdery and will need some work to get more water retentive properties into it, but it's working well for now.  The grassy area is full of purple clover which I haven't seen for years and years.....

Changing the subject entirely, I spotted this poster at the Bewdley Museum last week. It's the Cherry Fair and 1940's weekend this month.  I know there are lots of you out there who love this kind of thing.  I do too.  I would like to go to it but won't know until nearer the time whether or not I can.  If the weather behaves it should be a fantastic event...

Stay safe everyone, and thanks for popping in x

Monday, 8 July 2019

Home Grown Loveliness

Where have the last 3 months gone?  For us, they have disappeared in a blur of house hunting, sleepless nights, deep dreamless sleeps of the totally exhausted, more house hunting, working on the allotment and generally coping with life.  Gone are the spur of the moment caravan breaks which we loved so much, gone, in fact, are thoughts of any holidays at all because G simply can't travel far.  His neck dystonia is getting worse making it hard for him to sit still for any length of time.  Driving is limited to around 30 minutes otherwise his neck pain is too bad.  He is waiting for more Botox injections to try again for some relief from the constant head movement.  The appointment came through last week (at last) for 15th July. It can't come soon enough.

On a happier note, the allotment is doing splendidly :)

 We had to net the sprouts because the crows and pigeons were loving them a bit too much. The photo was taken a couple of weeks ago and now they have grown so tall we have had to un-net them and put string across to deter the pesky birds ;)

The broad beans have been a failure.  Over half the plants died after black fly got to them (it's an organic site so we don't spray anything) so we have about 4 surviving plants which we are trying out.  The marigolds were an attempt to deter pests. They didn't work,

Potatoes are doing well. We have no idea what variety they are as they were gifted to us, so have no idea when they will be ready.  I had an experimental dig around an end plant yesterday as we had no spuds for our evening meal and found a couple of giant ones.  The skins (hardly any) just rubbed off. I boiled them gently with some fresh mint and they were delicious served with sausages and home grown peas.  Isn't it lovely how fresh home grown tastes so much nicer, so full of flavour.

To sum up, we have been eating:

radishes (not very successful)
potatoes (yay!)
strawberries (grown in a tub at home)

In addition, we are growing:

broad beans

We have placed the fruit bushes; blackberry, gooseberry and a gifted raspberry cane,  out of the way at the top of the allotment.
When G was at work yesterday, I went to the plot for potatoes, as I said, and there wasn't a soul there.  It was 10.45am, warm and quiet except for the birds and totally relaxing and lovely.  I can understand perfectly how getting back to the land heals the soul.

The next post will contain news from house hunting!

Stay safe everyone and thanks everso for popping in after all this time x

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Allotment News!

Thank you so much to all of you who commented on my last post.  The kind words and suggestions were very much appreciated so a big thank you.  Cherie, the idea of a lovely bungalow for £125,000 in a good area is something I would love to have but we need to stay in this area, or at least within a short radius.  I can't bear the thought of moving away from my GC and my lovely DD.  I would be bereft, as would they I think :)  House hunting has already become such a chore.  The bungalows and semi's we like the look of are way beyond our means and the ones we can afford are so tatty they would need gutting and renovating.  We have neither the money nor the expertise to do any of the work ourselves and the thought of living in it whilst work is carried out over several months fills me with horror.  Only this afternoon we put in an offer for a decent small bungalow which was rejected.  We can't offer more because we simply don't have it and can't get even a small mortgage at our age (we tried) Bugger....

On to more pleasant things...Remember the allotment we took on last year?  We covered it with black polythene to supress the weeds...

We had a few sunny days over the last two weeks so have slowly begun to prepare the ground.  After peeling back some of the polythene we turned the soil with a fork and removed as many thick weeds and stones as we could....

It took us two days of hard(ish) graft and then G made two raised beds and set them on weed suppressant membrane, covering the paths between with some free bark chippings....

Over the following week G turned a bit more soil to make a bed for a row of potatoes (free from a gardening neighbour), a row of chard (seed free from a kind allotment neighbour) and a row of broad beans.…..

You can just see the broad beans, our first sign of a crop!  I have absolutely NO idea if what we are doing is correct and G is working from a planner and with advice from seasoned gardeners, but it's exciting!

We have a gooseberry bush in a pot at home (thriving) and a blackberry bush also in a pot (not much sign of life yet)  which we intend to plant at the very top of our plot eventually.  At the moment we must take it slow and easy, I think.....

Thanks for popping in once again and stay safe wherever you happen to be x

30 a Week Challenge Day 7

Saturday meals: Breakfast: Porridge oats with cinnamon (1/4 point) Lunch : Lunch was a bit of a cheat.  I saw this little pot of Red Thai st...