Thursday, 31 December 2020

Financial Review & Getting To Grips


 The snow continued on and off for a couple of days and the temperature plummeted during the night so that the days have been cold and icy.  This morning we have some lovely sunshine which is melting the last of the snow and clearing roofs.  Long may it continue. It's new year's eve and time to remove the traces of Christmas decorations so that I can give the living room a good dusting at last.  G is outside removing the lights from the little tree but I think I might leave the wreath on the front door until 12th night.  It still looks fresh and pretty and a shame to waste it.

Today we have been placed in tier 4 which is really another name for lockdown.  Nothing will change for us, we seem to have been under lockdown for months anyway.  We will still be allowed to drive the short distance to the park for a walk but our favourite garden centre will probably be closed.  Hey ho...we will sit it out and await our turn for the vaccine.  I hope it will be the Oxford one because it is much cheaper (around £3 per dose) and easier to store so perhaps our GP or pharmacy will be able to administer it.

Good news....the Consultant at the hospital rang G a couple of days ago and informed him that his lump was benign and there is no need for any follow up treatment, thank goodness.

As the last day of the year, I have been writing up the financial bits and pieces and have just fixed our energy costs until June 2022.  I think costs will rise anyway and I would rather do it now and know what we will be paying for the next 18 months.

The TV licence fee has been paid and at £157.50 for a year's viewing is not too bad providing we get some decent dramas in the new year.  I live in hope anyway!  Over the last several months we have been bingeing on series 4 of The Last Kingdom on Netflix as well as all the Spooks episodes on i-player ; all 86 of them (10 series) What can we binge on now?  Any suggestions please? 😀

As we are back under lockdown conditions I am eternally grateful that we can continue to get food delivery slots.  I have a delivery booked for next Tuesday 5th but have checked and we still have plenty of food in the fridge/ freezer and store cupboard to last until then.  Today we are having the last of the curry which DD sent us on Boxing Day with some rice and the home baked samosas.  We can have ice cream to follow.

I really want to get a grip on the food budget in 2021 as we spent way over the £50 per week we had allocated at the start of the year.  To help me with this, I will record here what we are spending and keep a running total.  The aim is to keep as close as possible to £50 per week for food, cleaning products, washing powder etc.  I will count actual money spent but anything bought with loyalty points will be a bonus and not counted as actual money IYSWIM.

Lets see how we go......


Wishing you all a very happy, healthy new year.


Stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be, and a warm welcome to a couple of new followers x


Monday, 28 December 2020

We Got Snow!

I got out of bed at 6.30am this morning, peered through the blinds and realised it was snowing!  So I snuggled back down for another couple of hours and woke up to this.....





I quite like snow if I don't have to venture far and we definitely don't need to go anywhere today.

Yesterday, I realised that we were out of fresh milk.  We do have a few cartons of longlife milk but, being heat treated, it tastes different and G is not so keen so I popped into the local supermarket.  There was hardly a soul in there apart from the staff  so I grabbed 4 pints of skimmed milk and a fresh loaf.  I spotted these potatoes and snapped them up too.  They were a bargain at 40p but 12p for a bag of 10 potatoes was too good to miss.  I baked one for my lunch to have with various salad bits from the fridge and found 3 sprouting baking potatoes too.  I rubbed off the sprouting eyes, peeled and cut them up and made them into mash, adding cheese to make a pie.  It's  sitting in the fridge to be reheated tomorrow.....



 Today we will be having a roast type lunch with veg roast, roast potatoes,  the last of the sprouts , carrots and gravy.

I hope you all had a really lovely Christmas.  We did manage to go to eat lunch with the family,  a proper turkey dinner (even I had one slice of turkey) I took along some homemade sage and onion stuffing in a dish which was reheated in the oven with the roast veg. We had roast potatoes, sprouts, roast parsnips, carrots and cauliflower cheese followed by Christmas pudding and brandy custard.  We played charades and watched Strictly on TV.  We didn't stay late and our daughter sent us home with a turkey bap for G to eat later.  It was lovely to have a hug from everyone even if we were wearing masks at the time 😷

On boxing day DD texted to say turkey curry would be ready to collect just after noon if we wanted some. I collected a big portion of curry as well as 8 homemade veg samosas 🥰 There was enough  curry to freeze some for another day.  Our DD is so kind 😚

Just for Sue Hall  😉... this is what was in my parcels.....


G got much needed slippers and a big box of chocs.  He'd better share!!

How was your Christmas? Do you have snow?

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

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Happy Christmas To One And All

 Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. It seems we are all getting pleasure from simple things right now and gearing up for a quiet Christmas celebration.  Our daughter dropped off our gifts at the front door yesterday and collected the family ones just in case the worst should happen and one of us feels off colour tomorrow or (heaven forbid) one of them tests positive with the rapid test this afternoon.  At least we will have something to open tomorrow 🥳  The blue gift bag is for G, the bottle is to share and I  have the 2 beribboned gifts at the front. Exciting.


The fridge freezer is full and a delivery booked for 5th January so we shouldn't need to go out anywhere if we don't want to.

Wishing all my readers a 

Happy Christmas and a happy, healthy 2021

I'll be back in a few days... 🍷 🥂 🎅 

Lots of love xx

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Hopeful News and Simple Pleasures


Thanks for all your comments on my last post, and thank you MM for asking about G.  He was at the hospital for an hour and a half and after having two kinds of drops in his eyes and various examinations, it was decided that there is no major problem.  There is a minor one in that one replacement lens after his cataract op is becoming cloudy.  It's not a problem as it can be lasered off eventually but that's a procedure for sometime in the future, thankfully.  His facial scar after his skin cancer removal has healed beautifully too.  I only wish my own health problems could be resolved quickly but it is looking like both my procedures will be next year.  My skin cancer one is looking like it will be in February according to the consultant's secretary.  I will have had my skin cancer for exactly a year by then....

Christmas with the family is looking more hopeful.  G finishes work tomorrow (until 27th) so can isolate until Christmas day,  I don't go anywhere there are other people 😷, the GC have finished school until new year so they will be isolating and our daughter and son-in-law have booked rapid tests for Christmas Eve so that they don't take a big risk on being a-symptomatic.  If it all works out we can drive the 15min journey for Christmas lunch with them and come home to sleep.  I really do hope it pans out well....

On Friday I worked out that I hadn't been for a walk since Thursday of the previous week.  I had popped to the supermarket once for my YS bargains but otherwise had only driven to and from various hospitals to drop off and collect G.  No wonder I felt sluggish.  We decided to drive to Himley Park and have a brisk walk there even though only half of it is open.  The day was cold but not freezing so we wrapped up well and walked for about an hour up and down the same route.  It was rather muddy so I went to the little stream to wash my trainers.  It was so peaceful around the rushing water and the little ducks....


I spent several minutes standing and splashing in the water, enjoying the peace and tranquility which is in such short supply right now. I felt like a little girl again and it washed the mud from my trainers beautifully..... 😀


Are you finding any simple pleasures at the moment?

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

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

A Trace of Normality


I have just dropped G at the hospital (again) this time for an examination at the ophthalmology department. The optician thought he could see a little blood behind the eye so he needs to be checked over.  I'm going to cook a quorn tikka masala with rice for tea and wanted a rice sachet for speed so masked up and popped into the supermarket to get some.   I decided that G deserves a sweet treat too and spotted these cakes reduced from £2 to 10p 😃

I had to pass the fruit & veg as well as bakery and spotted these.  There were loads of them but I only took one of each to give others a chance of a bargain.....




 

They were all priced at 5p and had todays date on but I  can easily freeze the crumpets and bread rolls for another day.  The cauliflower is white as snow beneath the wilting leaves and will be eaten tomorrow along with some sprouts and a veggie roast for me, sausage for G.  The total price was 79p and that included a rice sachet at 39p full price. It took me just 10 minutes to shop and was an encouraging nod to normality 🤗


Now I just need to wait for G to ring me for a lift home.  Why does time pass so slowly when you are waiting anxiously?

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


Monday, 14 December 2020

Christmas is a-coming!


Google image

We don't have room for a tree :(

 Crikey, it's been a week since my last post already and time is creeping ever closer to Christmas.  I have written my cards and posted off the ones I needed to.  Isn't the postage charge a bit much now?  It's going up in the new year by 9p for first class as well.  I've cut down the number I send drastically already but will cut even more next year, I think.  I suppose I could use second class post but it would take an absolute age to get to it's destination.  My handmade cards have been pushed through the doors in plenty of time for them to be quarantined before opening.  My gifts for the family were wrapped at the weekend and are sitting in wait for delivery or collection.

I've just taken delivery of another food shop so I have one more next Saturday before Christmas week and then I will leave it as long as I can before trying to book another slot in the new year.  New Year's Eve will be a non-event so I'm not worried about what we will eat then.  I really hope that we can see our daughter and the grandchildren on Christmas day but time will tell and we will have to 'go with the flow' (or with Government directives).  We will all be so disappointed if we can't get together for at least Christmas Day as we have abided by the rules all along despite seeing others flouting them.  

Now...Brexit is looming too....what will that bring us I wonder? Word is that fresh fruit and veg will be in short supply and prices will increase.  No surprise there then.  I have a few extra tins of fruit in the cupboard but I'm not going to worry.  When I was a child we ate with the seasons and had very little variety regarding fruit.  If it wasn't grown locally we didn't get any.  The same was true of veg.  Winter meals mainly consisted of potatoes, carrots, onions and cabbage.  If we had tinned fruit it would be peaches, fruit cocktail or strawberries (anyone remember tinned strawberries? Yuk! so soggy) all served up with a drizzle of condensed milk.  Sunday tea was usually tinned fruit with a slice of bread and butter.  Happy days ;)  What do you remember eating as a child?

G has just come back from his walk so I need to sort out what we are eating tonight.  I have a small piece of steak for G but what do I feel like eating?  I haven't been out at all over the weekend nor today either so don't feel particularly hungry.  Maybe cheese on toast and an apple....

What are you cooking tonight?

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





Monday, 7 December 2020

Christmas Preparations Underway!


 
We received our first Christmas card  on Saturday and, for once, I agree with the sentiment.  I wouldn't mind a little snow now and again to brighten up the soggy, muddy streets a bit 🎅  I wrote all our Christmas cards over the weekend and posted them today, not that I'm sending so many this year.  With the cost of postage being what it is I have cut down by at least half on the number I usually send.  

We had a lovely surprise on Sunday. G came home from work with this...



B &Q usually arrange a party of some sort for the staff at Christmas 🎄 This year, of course, there won't be one so all employees have been given a gift card.  G usually misses out because he doesn't 'do' parties so this is the first time in 10 years he has actually had something for Christmas from work.  This is so much better in my view than spending an evening drinking with virtual strangers and having to pay for a taxi home 🏡  We will consider carefully what to spend it on, although an online shop in the new year when we are tightening the purse strings is very tempting.

We have a shopping delivery due this evening (with some wine for Christmas) a delivery booked for next Monday and I finally managed to get a slot for Saturday 19th too.  I'm hoping that the freezer will be big enough to store enough food so that I won't need to order again until the new year.  I think slots will be few and far between until then anyway.  I can bake our own bread in the breadmaker if necessary (I have enough flour and yeast i think) we will have longlife milk too so might only need a bit of fresh salad and fruit to keep us going. 

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post and offered suggestions for online shopping elsewhere.  I really appreciate it.

In other news: My beloved little 10 year old car passed its MOT 🙂 No money to be spent on it until the insurance is due next March...phew!

Anyway, I'm off to clear a shelf in the understair cupboard for the bottles and tins, and a drawer in the freezer for the frozen goodies.  Anti-bac wipes are at the ready 😷

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

Thursday, 3 December 2020

What an Eventful Week!

 Thank you to everyone for your lovely, and varied, comments on my last post. It was great fun 😀

Well...what an eventful time we have had since my last jottings.  I expected my skin cancer to have been removed last Friday 27th but due to a mix up (partly my own fault) I discovered (only the day before) that the appointment was actually a consultation for another procedure and I am still awaiting an appointment for the skin clinic.  The Friday appointment didn't go well and I left the hospital in tears and feeling quite traumatised and with no confidence at all in the Consultant.  

Luckily, G's op yesterday was a textbook procedure.  Lovely NHS staff, the lump removed, and lots of information given out both before and after.  I dropped him off at 9am and got the call to collect him at 9.45am.  He has to return in around 9 days to have the stitches removed.  Job done.  Fantastic....

He has so many appointments coming up for GP calls, eye clinic, telephone consultation regarding the non-existent MRI scans etc that he is filling up the calendar for December all by himself 😏  Even his new glasses have had to be returned because everything was blurred when he put them on.

I just feel that we have to sort G out first then I might get my own health sorted at last.  I really don't want my own procedures to be carried out too close to Christmas in case anything goes wrong.  I would be left with no one to turn to if the GP was closed and the hospitals overwhelmed....

Thinking of Christmas, I am really struggling to book an online food delivery slot for Christmas week.  There is absolutely nothing available from Sunday 20th to Wednesday 23rd, after which they are closed for 3 days.  I can bulk up the next 2 deliveries a bit but really wanted some fresh veg and salads the weekend before Christmas at least.

How are you doing? Do you have a slot booked?

Anyway, my little car is going in for it's MOT tomorrow. I really hope that it doesn't need any work because a) I don't want to spend any money on it at this point and b) I need it to run G about to his appointments.  Fingers crossed! 

Thanks for popping in and do stay safe everyone, wherever in the world you happen to be x


Friday, 20 November 2020

What Do You See?

It's rained virtually all day today and the table lamp has to be switched on earlier and earlier each day. The shade casts a pattern on the wall. Sometimes I see a fox, sometimes an owl. What do you see?


Thanks for all your comments on my last post.  Once again I haven't found the time to sit and respond but I certainly do read them all so thank you 🤗

I have achieved several things from my list of 'to do'. 

My car is booked for its MOT with a small local garage for £45 which is dearer than last year but cheaper than the dealership. The garage is just a stones throw away too and independent so I'm helping local  business.

The house insurance has been renewed at just £10 more than last year which is perfectly alright too.

I now have a hospital appointment to remove my skin cancer next Friday 27th and G 's appointment is on 2nd December. We are moving in the right direction at last 😉

How are your plans going?

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

Sunday, 15 November 2020

On Finance & Being Grateful

 The weather doesn't seem to know what to do with itself today.  I awoke to torrential rain at 8am, then the sun came out, disappeared once more and now it's beautiful again, if a bit windy.  I've done my morning chores, emptied the bin, put out the recycling, washed up including my flower vase which I used for my birthday flowers ( I just realised I never said I had a birthday on 1st November) and put on a load of washing.  Lunch will be a gravy meal so quite straightforward, then I can relax this afternoon.  G has the day off for once so we can relax together 😊

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post.  I do appreciate it.

PM

Oh dear.... I began this post this morning and had to postpone publishing...... It's now 2pm, raining again and G has just gone off to the allotment and I quote " just for a look" 👀  I have no idea what he can actually look at because all our produce has finished!  I think he would rather be at work than relaxing at home!

On a different subject, yesterday I reviewed the finances after receiving a letter from DWP confirming that we have each been granted £100 Winter fuel allowance.  I never take it for granted and wouldn't have been surprised under the circumstances to find that we didn't get it this year.  At this moment in time, when people are furloughed or losing their jobs, I am incredibly grateful that we have the state pension and now the fuel allowance.  We are now on mains gas too so I no longer have to watch the gauge on the tank and worry that a) we don't have the funds to fill the tank or b) the tanker can't through to us because of bad weather.  We can relax and stay warm.  

Things to sort out:

1) the house insurance is due early next month so I need to get quotes

2) my car is due it's MOT on 15th Dec so need to decide where to take it

3) our energy fix ends at the beginning of January so I need to look out for a similar deal

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

Friday, 13 November 2020

New Specs at Last!

 Crikey, it's been 10 days since my last post.  Thanks so much for all the lovely (and amusing) comments 😂  I don't know where the days are going.

It's been a week since the start of the second lockdown and I think it's made me (us) lazy.  I don't get out of bed until 8 to 8.30am then sip a leisurely cup of tea while I alternately read and gaze into the garden from my reading corner. Then breakfast around 9.15am, usually cereal with fruit and a dollop of yogurt. It's always 11am before I can even think about a shower and going out for a walk somewhere.  G is worse than me.  He is Candy Crushing as soon as he is up and has to be prodded to move his ass.  Gosh, I must be so unfit and it can only get worse with Winter approaching. Just under 3 weeks of lockdown left to go...

One positive thing to happen is that we both managed to get an optician's appointment last week.  I had my sight test in February this year and never managed to get any specs. On lockdown the store closed and never reopened (with my prescription locked inside the store!)  Anyway, to cut a long story short I ordered new specs last Thursday and they arrived on Tuesday. Great!  


Question...who is that old woman in the photo ?? 😏

G wasn't so lucky.  He had an eye test and after further investigation the optician said he could see a little blood in the eye and has referred him back to the GP to test him for high blood pressure and / or diabetes.  Anyway, he ordered some specs too but they arrived damaged and so he's still waiting. The poor chap is convinced that someone dropped a clog on him 😒

I also quickly discovered, whilst waiting for G to come back to the car, that during lockdown there are no TOILETS open, a fact that I'd forgotten and I needed a pee!  The 30 minute drive home seemed a looooong way somehow.......

He has had an appointment come through to remove the carcenoma on 2nd December though  so, at least, that will be one of us sorted.  I'm still waiting.....

For years now I have been completing surveys on the Populouslive website and spotted this when I logged in.  My name is Angela G!!.....


As luck would have it, it's not me ....I emailed them to check 😢

C'est la vie...

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

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

With a Resigned Sigh....

Here we go again....lockdown for a month.  I'm not going to articulate why I think this has come about because most of us know why and I have an awful feeling that it will be extended until 2 weeks before Christmas so hey ho.....a new plan.

Thank you so very much for all the comments and good wishes (again) on my last post.  It must be quite depressing to read my ramblings right now so I am extra grateful for you lovely people for taking the time to read and comment 😄

This post will be a POSITIVE one!  (big pants at the ready Marlene!!)

Hopefully we are all better prepared this time with cupboards and pantries, fridges and freezers stocked with essentials to last the 4 weeks or even longer. I am lucky to have a food delivery tomorrow and also one booked for the following week so I'll bulk up next week's order as necessary in case of shortages.

I have just taken delivery of 2 new books delivered by post as the library will again be closed. I did check the library list for the Richard Osman one and I was 125th on the waiting list.  It must be good!



I have ordered a couple of Christmas gifts to be delivered by post too so I don't need to brave the shops anytime soon, even when they re-open at some point.

G and I will spend our time pottering in the garden and allotment (weather permitting) picking chard and calabrese while it lasts and planning what to grow in Spring.  Our seed order is on it's way and we have raspberry canes and a blackberry bush due sometime later, not sure exactly when. I will, read and knit as I have some yarn stashed in a box (somewhere) since the move, watch TV in the evenings only, make my Christmas cards and simply sit it out.

Our hospital appointments will come at some point so it's not worth worrying about them.  And my hair?  Pfft...I've been here before and survived 😅

Are you better prepared this time?

Stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Thursday, 29 October 2020

A Double Whammy...

 Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post.  I think most people know how to be sensible and we can only look after our own families, I think.

We have had another eventful few days.  After my shock diagnosis of skin cancer, I persuaded G to ring the nurse about a lump which has appeared over the last few weeks on his temple (mine on the right, his on the left) She asked to see a photograph and then booked him in for a face to face consultation a few days later.  In the meantime antibiotic cream was prescribed to put on it.  On Monday morning he tootled off to see the nurse and by lunchtime the local hospital was ringing him to offer an appointment the next day.  An appointment within 24 is unheard of!  This rang alarm bells with me.  Anyway he pootled off to see the consultant next day, on his own as I was not allowed to go with him.  He was told that he too has skin cancer.  He had to go to another department to have the lump photographed and measured (4mm) and snapped a shot of the form he had to take with him on his phone.  The consultant had written SCC? Even with my scant medical knowledge I read that as a possible Squamous Cell Carcinoma which is NOT a good kind to get.  He is now awaiting treatment too and more than 4 weeks on I still haven't been called for.  I sincerely hope that G is treated first.....

On the news tonight we have been told that our area is moving up a tier from medium into high lockdown.  What more can happen?  Do you ever feel that you are a swan; calm and serene on the outside but paddling like mad beneath the water to stay afloat?  That's exactly how I feel right now......

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

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

To The Doubters


 Firstly, a very warm welcome to Barbara, it's lovely to meet you 😊

Just a short post today folks. 

A family member (family by marriage and whom I never see in person) was very vocal about the stupidity of having to socially distance.  It's been confirmed that she, her husband and young step-daughter have all tested positive for the virus, that's 3 out of 4 members of the same family.  She is feeling very ill...

The local news feed on my phone has just let me know that an outbreak has been declared at the local 111 call centre which is about 2 miles away.  3 members of staff went on holiday together and contracted the virus.  The result is that 16 other members of staff are now in self isolation. That's 19 members of staff being unavailable to work because 3 people 'needed' a holiday WTF.....

I will wear a mask everywhere I shop

I will continue to wash my hands on a regular basis and

I will give space to others 

It's the least I can do...

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

Saturday, 24 October 2020

A Breath of Fresh Air

Firstly, a warm welcome to Lorie,  isn't it typical that as soon as I get a new follower I run out of things to say! It's been almost 2 weeks since I last posted, but life seems to be at a standstill at the moment.  There's nowhere to go to safely and we can't visit the family, so life is more than boring right now.  I feel that I'm fast approaching becoming a recluse. G still goes to work every Saturday & Sunday but I don't see a soul (other than G) from one end of the week to the other. There's not a great deal to be done at the allotment either.  We still have Calabrese to pick and a bit of Chard, although that is beginning to go over now that we are getting such cold nights and mornings.  Our seeds for next year, as well as some raspberry canes and a blackberry bush, are on order through the allotment society. Beds have been cleared, manure put around the rhubarb, black polythene (re-purposed from last year) put down to suppress weeds over the Winter, and the Canna cut down, dug up and placed in the mini greenhouse to over-winter. 

We had a few crop failures but we will try to learn by our mistakes for next time.  We put in 8 cauliflower plantlets but only managed to get 4 decent heads, I think we had put them in too close together and the air couldn't circulate properly with the result that 4 of them were either stressed and overblown or damp and slug infested (yuk!)

On Wednesday last, I felt like I was climbing the walls so, despite the rain, we drove the short distance to Ashwood Nurseries for a look at the plants.  The rain was persistent but fine and gentle so we happily wandered around outside.  I had my umbrella and my winter coat on and the fresh air and sweet smelling rain helped me to relax.  We succumbed to a warming bowl of leek and potato soup with a roll and butter too.  It was delicious.

On Thursday, the rain had ceased so we took the opportunity to visit Himley Park after lunch for a brisk woodland walk.  The trees looked stunning.  The leaves are turning beautiful shades of red and gold and on a fallen tree trunk I found these little fellas lifting their heads to the gentle sunshine....



Today is Saturday and, with G at work again, I have knuckled down to housework and washing 😩
I know I will feel better with a clean house and fresh bedlinen 😀 and having blog- hopped a bit too.
I'm getting hungry now and I feel the need for cheese on toast. With my IBS problems, I have drastically cut down on cheese and dairy and it does seem to have helped somewhat.  I can tolerate a small amount and today's the day! 

What are you doing this weekend?

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


Monday, 12 October 2020

Comforting Carbs....

 Firstly, a big thank you to everyone who left comments on my last but one post.  To read about other people's experiences is comforting. Thanks for your good wishes.  I'll keep you in the loop, as they say.

The short time I had with the family was lovely.  The table was allocated to us for just 90 minutes and we had table service so could just sit and talk whilst we awaited the food.  The meals were not brilliant to be honest, my veg lasagne had been reheated in a microwave and the chips were not very hot, the side salad dire (lettuce from a bag, sliced red onion and a few pieces of chopped tomato) but I could sit and catch up on their news.  I'm glad we did it because it was announced this evening that in future, meeting in pubs/restaurants will not be allowed from Wednesday 😥 until further notice.

On Sunday morning I popped to the supermarket for some hand wipes and had to pass through the bread aisle to get to them.  Yellow stickers caught my eye and I just HAD to investigate. Well it would have been rude not to after all this time 🙃 I couldn't resist this little lot for the freezer......


I'll use the pitta breads to make mini lunchtime pizzas and the tea cakes, crumpets and scones can be brought out when required.  The bread will come out a couple of slices at a time as I need them.  I think they cost a total of £1.21 With all the cake in the afternoon tea box as well, we have plenty to keep us going now if the weather turns nasty and we need comforting carbs!.

What is your favourite comfort food?

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

Saturday, 10 October 2020

A Weekend Treat

As we have been spending far more on our foodshop than ever before,  I have not been  ordering cake or many sweet treats in the online order.  We have recently felt the need for a sugar fix  so I succumbed to temptation and ordered an Afternoon Tea box from Morrisons . Costing just £15 including delivery, it arrived right on time this morning. 'Simon' rang the bell and the sturdy box was left on the door mat.  It contained a nice, fresh, sliced loaf, a box of lemon bakewell tarts, 4 scones, a scrumptious chocolate cake,  a small packet of teabags......


All packed neatly and, thankfully, unsquashed 😉 ........


Beneath those was a cold package and inside the fleece were 2 ice packs, some Cravendale milk, clotted cream and 4 tiny pots of strawberry jam for the scones, and two packs of sandwich fillings; egg mayo and cheese & onion.......


The fleece will be used on the allotment and the cardboard box recycled.  Actually, on second thoughts, the box can be composted too.  We will soon be taking up all the spent vegetable matter to put on the compost heap so cardboard will be a useful addition to that..... 



I did try to write this post on my tablet but Blogger had other ideas so please excuse the apparent random-ness of the photos.  They are not in the order in which I actually wanted them!

Anyway, I added up the cost of the items which came to £11.09 plus the jam.  I couldn't find the small jars on the website so have added on a normal jar of the same brand at £2.60 making a total of £13.69
This leaves just £1.31 which I could have saved by shopping instore myself .  In my view, £1.31 for having someone drop it at the door on a designated day with a 1 hour time slot is a 'no brainer' as they say.  I am safely indoors and just had to wipe everything down with sanitiser before putting things away. G will think he's in heaven when he gets back from work too!!

I have arranged to meet DD and her family this afternoon in a local pub/restaurant to have a meal together because we aren't allowed to meet in our homes right now.  Masks will be worn until the meals arrive at the table (table service only) and I will be taking my own cutlery in a plastic bag.   I have downloaded the NHS test and trace App ( I did it on launch day) and will scan the QR code on entry.  We are trying to do everything by the rules but I still worry.  I do need to see the family though, we are all struggling with isolation in one way or another.

Has anyone else downloaded the App?  Do you think it will work in reducing numbers of infections?
If you live in another country do you have a similar App there too?

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






 



Wednesday, 30 September 2020

There's Good News & Bad News....

 Yesterday, I was diagnosed with skin cancer.  That's the bad news.  The good news is that it's the 'best' kind to get, if you see what I mean, because the tiny patch of skin on my temple which has been refusing to heal ever since February this year is a Rodent Ulcer.  I initially phoned the practice nurse at the GP's surgery to ask what I could put on it to heal it.  She requested a photograph then called me in to take a look at it.  I was quite shocked when she referred me to the hospital and even more shocked to be put on a 2 week rapid assessment. Yesterday, the Consultant took one look at the suspect patch of skin and confirmed that it is, indeed, skin cancer.  I'm now on the waiting list to have it removed under local anaesthetic.  It's not urgent because it will grow very slowly and I'm assured it will not spread anywhere else.  I'm thanking my lucky stars at the moment for being seen quickly and hoping that there won't be another lockdown which halts treatment.

Once again I have to thank the absolute angels working in the NHS who are carrying on regardless.  I saw for myself yesterday the difficult conditions under which they work every single day. Despite all wearing masks, I could see their smiling eyes when I spoke to them.

God Bless them all.

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


Sunday, 27 September 2020

Autumnal Signals

 It's been decidedly Autumnal here over the last few days; cold nights and mornings and lashings of rain too.  This morning the heating came on for the first time and, boy, was it welcome!  I had an appointment for a flu jab at 11.20am today.  It's the first one I have ever bothered with but I feel it's my duty to take whatever is on offer at the moment.  Anything which has the potential to take the winter strain off the NHS can only be a good thing surely.  What I didn't realise was that I had ben earmarked for THREE jabs!  Flu, shingles and also pneumonia.  To be honest, I didn't fancy having all 3 together as I'd never had any before and at the age of 70 have no idea if I will succumb to side effects.  In the end, I plumped for flu in one arm and shingles in the other.  I can go back in a week or two for the pneumonia one. Fine by me...

As I was driving home the sun came out and it's warmed up a fair bit.  The living room is South facing so is lovely and sunny at the moment.  G is at work, I've eaten poached egg on toast for lunch and have decided on a little crafting while it's quiet.  I have Elaine Paige on the radio with songs from the musicals (which I love) and all is well.  The world has been temporarily forgotten :)

My crafting thoughts have turned to Christmas and I have made 7 cards already.  I usually go Christmas shopping with DD to the out of town shopping centre, taking a whole day to shop, chat, and eat, but that won't be happening this time.  I have spoken to my brother & his wife and they are happy not exchanging birthday and Christmas gifts with us until this thing is over.  Ditto with friends for whom we usually buy token gifts.  Things will definitely be different this year.

Anyway, back to Elaine Paige and my papercraft!

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


Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Mojo Comes Home & Rude Veg!

 Thank you so much for your encouraging and kind comments on my last post.  I think lots of mojos have gone on strike over the last few months! Mine returned this morning, I'm happy to say 😊 and all due to my food box....

 I decided to order a Morrisons Vegetarian Essentials box to keep the cost of shopping down this week.  'Simon'  (all drivers seem to be called Simon 🤔) kindly popped it inside the hall for me to save me lifting it over the step (without being asked, and also keeping distanced) At £35 it contains enough items for several meals as well as bread, butter and Cravendale milk which lasts for ages without going off.  There is also tinned soup, lots of veg; baby potatoes, sweet baby peppers, spinach, a bag of onions, a bag of wonky carrots.....



Ooh what do I spy in the carrot bag .... OMG 😲 🤣


Now THAT cheered me up! Nature at the rescue again.  It shows that even commercial producers don't always grow perfect veg 😉


The one disappointment is the dented tin of beans. 


Mind you, they are pretty awful beans. They are in pale sauce and break up on reheating so are not much of a loss.


From the allotment we are still eating:

Runner beans

Spring onions

Chard

Leeks

Gardeners Delight tomatoes which are ripening at last.

There's not much else ready though....

Cauliflower and Calabrese are developing nicely.  Green manure has been grown and dug into a previously unused bed for next year's potatoes and more green manure seed scattered on the failed potato bed of this year.  This will be dug in later on.

Have a lovely mojo filled day yourself and stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x


Saturday, 19 September 2020

I've Lost My Mojo!

 G tootled off to work just after 6am this morning and won't be home until 4.30pm.  I got up to wave him off then went back to bed until 8am, the day looming empty and un-inspirational.  I have completely lost my mojo.  Before lockdown (BL) I used to relish the weekend to myself to shop, potter, craft and have the family to visit.  Now....what?...   I'm completely fed up of cooking, washing up, washing clothes, ironing, cleaning, bleaching, sanitizing.  I have absolutely NO inclination to wander around shops and supermarkets like I did BL, and of course we are again restricted from entering someone else's home or garden by local lockdowns and the Rule of 6.

I can't escape to the allotment because we only have one gate key and one shed key and G has taken them to work :(

I feel like a limp rag this morning.  WHERE ARE YOU MOJO!!

Is anyone else feeling like this?  How do you motivate yourself?

I'm following Sue Hall's Ration Challenge and she is such an inspirational woman that I feel ashamed to be so wet.  Anyway, the sun is beginning to peep out ( has the sun lost it's mojo too?) so I must make an effort to DO something.  A cup of tea first though......(Angie slinks shamefacedly away to the kitchen)

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

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Another Blow....

 After feeling more upbeat about our lives recently, we have hit a bump.  Although our Daughter lives a short drive away (about 15 minutes) she lives in a different local authority area which will be coming under local lockdown from Tuesday due to a spike in virus cases.  The GC have only just gone back to school this week and will be facing more mask wearing already.  GS is asthmatic but will be wearing his mask too.  To say we are devastated at once more being denied seeing and being close to them is an understatement.  The government rules are confusing to say the least.  People can still visit pubs, clubs, restaurants, hairdressers, gyms etc but we won't even be able to visit them in their garden?

Once more we will be totally isolated from our family.  Sad times.....

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


Thursday, 10 September 2020

Our Free Shed And Other News


Thank you to everyone who left comments on my last post.  I haven't got around to responding individually but I appreciate each and every one.  

We have been busy catching up with tasks, doing bits to the garden and tidying up bits of the allotment too.  We were quite disappointed with the crop of potatoes, the peas didn't produce very well, the lettuce was mainly wolfed down by slugs, the onions failed and our apple crops were spoilt, in the main, by earwigs and a few codling months.  Today we grease banded the apple trees and did a bit of pruning to let in some air and improve the shape of them for next year.

We are still picking chard, runner beans and a few tomatoes.

Our daughter and SiL were replacing their shed so we were given the old one for the allotment.   As you can see, it suits me well for when I need a break and a flask of coffee 🙂




Parts of it have seen better days and light is visible in places, but it can be repaired and last a little longer. Waste not want not......



My Boots parcel arrived on Tuesday containing my free goodies (thanks to my loyalty points) so I will not be needing to buy toiletries for a while...

  

I haven't managed to review the household budget yet so that will be my next task ; to check if  income is covering outgoings.  I'm sure it is but I need to check the actual figures, especially as food spending has rocketed. 

Thanks for popping in and stay safe, wherever in the world you happen to be x

Friday, 4 September 2020

Getting Into The ' New Normal '

I am trying to get into the mindset of the 'new normal', a different way of doing things and getting a bit of my confidence back. Earlier in the week I went to get a second haircut, 6 weeks after the first one.  The salon was still clean, chairs well spaced and only 2 customers at a time.  I wore my mask again but it's really tricky getting the sides of my hair cut whilst wearing it especially the bit around my ears.  I was asked if I was comfortable with releasing the ear elastic one side at a time so that the hairdresser could cut the sides evenly! I held the mask over my face instead so that she could complete the job.  She was wearing a visor and standing behind me so I felt safe doing that. This is the result.......



Today we paid a visit to Ashwood Nurseries to get some compost and some more plants.  It wasn't too busy so we bought jacket potatoes for lunch and ate them in the coffee shop as there was a clean table right by the open doorway and a lady was right on the ball with sanitizer and a cloth doing the tables as soon as they were vacated.  It was lovely eating something I hadn't had to prepare myself at last!  We really enjoyed it.


I spotted the little fella above sitting displayed on a wall outside.  Although we've downsized bigtime I simply had to have him at £10.50  He is sitting in guard of some of my few precious remaining books on the shelf in my bedroom!  Touch them at your peril...lol...!!

I explained in a previous post how the food bill has been running away with me.  When I popped into the supermarket for a TV guide I passed the reduced section and saw this bread reduced from 85p to 26p.  I've popped it into the freezer and will take out a couple of slices as I need them.  G will only eat white bread so this will last me a while.  The first proper saving for months....



I simply must get back into the frugal habit I had before.   With this in mind, we did a manual shop at Sainsburys last week.  I used their scan and bag system, the first time I've ever used it for a big shop.  An assistant sanitized a scanner and handed it to me and I cleaned the handle of the trolley well myself.  The store was busy but very organized.  At the Smart Checkout it was amazingly quick and simple to do (no queueing) and I used £40 of Nectar points in part payment.  A £64 shop therefore cost me just £24 and I could even use contactless to pay.  I'll certainly do it again at some point, although I'm reluctant to give up home deliveries completely, but I am getting pretty fed up with substitutions and battered shopping being delivered!

I realised today that I have accrued quite a number of Boots Loyalty points too, so I have just placed an order online for over £30 worth of shampoo, deodorant, hand wash, hand gel, antibac wipes, talc etc which has cost me nothing in the way of cash, just points AND it's free delivery too.

Phew...I'm getting back on track at last, I think. 

Next I need to review the household bills.  It's been almost 9 months since we moved so I should be able to get a better idea of whether my original budget was on track or not.  Watch this space....

How are you all getting on with your spending? Is it more up or down?

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

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

My One True North

During lockdown I have done more reading than ever before and I have 3 favourite British authors whose books I lap up as soon as they are released.  One of these is Milly Johnson.  Her style of writing is absorbing, with down to earth language and with plot lines which draw me in every time.  Her characters are believable and I always end up rooting for the good people and scorning the nasty ones (as you should!)  I had an email from her this morning.  Her last book My One True North is on offer in the US at $1.99 via kindle on Amazon.com.  Go grab a copy! It's a beautiful book :)




I bought my UK version a few weeks back and I couldn't put it down.....

Is anyone else a Milly Fan?

A warm welcome to Jeangenie, thank you for following :)

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

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Financial Hits & Winter Planning

It's almost the end of August and the time when I check our spending over the month and ensure that we have enough in the current account for next month's payments.

Before lockdown, I allowed £50 per week for food, cleaning products and toiletries.  With careful spending we ate healthily and frugally (as well as feeding the family at the weekend) and managed to put aside a little money out of the £50 towards Christmas.  This year, the focus changed dramatically at the end of March from frugal and healthy to buying whatever food we could get, at whatever price, with the result that the cost rocketed by 50% to an average of £75 (paid for on the debit card) with nothing left to save.  There is, therefore, NO Christmas fund.  Shall I cancel Christmas?  Of course not....I love it too much.  It's more that the planning will have to change.  I'm stocking up again now anyway just in case there are more problems with the virus during the cold weather to come.  I simply can't face the initial panic of  lockdown yet again; the battle to buy loo rolls or flour etc so I'm making sure we have enough to last a couple of months in storage.  If we get snowed in this Winter it won't matter !😊 The cost has been balanced out by not eating out for months anyway.....


Gift buying has been gradually reduced over the last few years.  Now I usually pop some money in the children's cards, nothing for the adults, with the exception of my brother and his wife, and DD and her family.   In previous years I've given gift vouchers but feel it's a bit risky to do that this time because a) the store might close or b) the recipient might be avoiding shops.  My list this year will be minimal :) AND...there is no way I will be spending a whole day with DD at the out of town shopping centre this November like we normally do.  We make a day of it with lunch out and come back broke but loaded with just the right gifts for the family.  Not this time.  More planning required, I think.

Other bloggers are so talented; making jams & chutneys for hampers, knitting socks, sewing lovely things and baking for giving.  I'm not talented in any of those things so I need to get my thinking cap on.....

Are your plans changing this year?

It was bright and sunny this morning after a whole day of rain yesterday so I popped into the village to pick up my prescription.  En route was the Acorns Children's Hospice CS.  It was open so I put on my mask, used the hand sanitizer, and popped in to check out the books.  I got these for £1 each....





When I got home I wiped the covers with anti-bac surface wipes and left them to dry.  They will be put aside for 3 days before I touch them again.  I really wanted to stop for a coffee at my favourite coffee shop but it was busy so I walked away.  I'm too nervous of crowded places.

The sun is out so I'm off to peg out the bed linen.  I love the smell of washing after it's been outside in the sunshine.

Have a great weekend everyone, wherever you are in the world x








Sunday, 23 August 2020

Chilling on a Sunday

Well I managed to get a fair bit done yesterday.  All the things I planned plus a bit of washing too, although it did rain again so I couldn't peg it out.  It went on the airer instead and was dry by morning.  Today started off dull and cloudy, and then it started raining  yet again so I put the recycling in the bags outside, emptied the waste bin,washed the floor in the kitchen, hallway and downstairs loo, vacuumed the lounge and ate lunch.  A quick shower then I have been reading a book which was lent to me by a friend.  I can't seem to put it down 🙄




As you can see I am getting close to the end.....if you've read it please don't tell me the ending 🤐 I am GRIPPED !

I did manage a little crafting yesterday and have been experimenting with Christmas card toppers.  I like to be prepared....I think my favourites are the poinsettia ones....



Anyone else starting Christmas prep?

Anyway, I have half an hour before G gets back from work so....back to my book!

Stay safe wherever in the world you happen  to be x

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Windy Wet Week

We have had an awful lot of rain over the last week.  Far from cooling things down, it just made us even more sticky with the humidity.  When the rain and thunderstorms finally blew themselves out by Thursday we went to the local park for a long walk.  Crikey, we were both puffing like steam trains when we were walking up the steep incline to the woodland walk!  I'm sure we have both lost muscle tone over the period of lockdown.  G is back at work now so should recover a little but I feel I'm on a downward slope.  My weight is still 10lbs less than in February.  As I'm still not going far from the house I have no idea how to build up my stamina again.  A weekly long walk simply won't hack it and I have nowhere else to walk other than along the main road alongside traffic fumes and dog walkers, and with joggers to dodge.  How I long for the country walks along the canal where we lived until Last December :(

Anyhow, I'm still paying attention to what we eat.  We need healthy options.  I'm not baking much in the way of cake because it gets left and it's been too hot to think about food, much less put the oven on!  We had very high winds again yesterday.  Winds which blew things around the garden, including the plants in pots, but it's now calmed down a little and is cool and comfortable.

Today, I'm catching up with housework, online banking, and budgeting (long overdue) whilst G is at work.  I'm hoping to do a little crafting this afternoon.  I've had a few online craft sales this week so want to keep up the momentum.

What are you doing this weekend?

Thanks so much for popping in,
Stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Friday, 14 August 2020

On Heat And Apples....

The last few days have been so oppressively hot that we have been too uncomfortable to do anything but sit with ice cold drinks in our hands.  At night it's been too hot to sleep and I've been dropping off in the early hours (almost just before I have to get up again) and then waking hot and sticky.  The thunderstorms have been amazing, just as night fell, and at one point we were sitting, in the dark, in the garden watching and filming the storms.  We had torrential rain and even hailstones at one point. Thankfully, it's a little cooler today, humid but overcast so more comfortable.  I can't take the heat any more.  Is it an age thing?  How do you cope?

After my tussle with the earwigs in the Bramley apples I was nervous of giving any of the Russets to the family but my brave Granddaughter offered to try them  :) .....






She says they are tart but delicious so more will be picked and shared around.

I cut into the remaining Bramleys cautiously and stewed them with a little sugar.  We can eat them for dessert with some ice cream or custard and a further two plastic boxes of stewed apple are in the freezer for crumble later.


It seems we had coddling moth in the Bramleys which spoilt a lot of the fruit so we will be grease banding and putting a pheromone trap in the tree at the appropriate time.  We really don't want to resort to spraying and are happy to share a little of the fruit with insects (but not quite so much as we have shared this year!)

Currently picking from the allotment:

Runner beans
Peas
Radishes
Lettuce
Chard
Apples

Our potato crop has failed abysmally.  I think the plants were frosted early on and never really recovered.  We have been digging up the occasional plant and the potatoes have been tasty but there were very few on each plant.  Recently we found out that the previous plot holder had grown potatoes last year in the same bed :(   No wonder they didn't do well.  G has sown green manure in a different bed so that will be dug in and we'll try potatoes in there next spring.  Onward and upward, as they say!

Have a great weekend and stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Especially for Sue And Other Interested Parties!

Firstly, a very warm welcome to my new follower, Susan. Hi!

Sue from A Smaller and Simpler Life, mentioned recently that she is looking at houses with gardens a similar size to ours so I thought I might as well post a few photos to show what we have achieved so far with an awkward shaped, claggy soil garden.

Step out of the French doors onto the patio which G extended both outwards and sideways to give us a bigger seating area.....



Taking you in a clockwise direction: to the left is the unfinished 3 raised beds.  They have had to be staggered because the garden slopes down quite dramatically and G has had to level the beds. They have had some decent top soil added and ,ultimately, they will have some manure dug in and then be planted up with flowers....



Further down on the left we intend to have another flower/shrub bed with a Hydrangea in the corner as that is the bit which gets soggiest in Winter.  The multi-stemmed silver birch will, hopefully screen us from the one semi behind us and we want to strategically plant a red berried Rowan to screen us from the other semi and to attract the birds.  The silver birch is sunk into the ground in it's pot to make sure it's in the right spot.....



Bottom right, the shed which will have 2 ordinary slabs in front of the entrance to save our feet getting muddy.....




Further right, the mini greenhouse which will just have to go.....




To the right of that more stuff in pots and tubs which will need to be re-jigged......



Top right, nearest the house is a storage box containing, amongst other things, the green bin.  The recycling stuff is by the back gate....



There is still a lot of work to be done but it's the pleasant stuff: buying flowering plants and shrubs.

G has begun setting the stepping stones into place.  They are all different, impressed with flowers or animals and birds.....





And a lovely quote......






I forgot to say that the garden is South facing and gets very hot...phew....

Thank you for your patience.  I hope you liked the tour :)

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

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!  ...