Thursday, 30 January 2020

On Sussing Out Supermarkets, Cholesterol & Meters

Since we moved, I have been investigating the local supermarkets.  Within a short driving distance we have a Lidl, Aldi and Morrisons as well as a Co-op in the village, so have plenty of choice.  Certain things are cheaper in each store so I need to remember which is which and shop accordingly.  There is about £35 left for food each week at the moment and I intend for us to eat well for that.  Morrisons is brilliant for yellow sticker reductions.  Already I have found things like 6 bread rolls for 20p, 2 giant crumpets for 18p ( lovely toasted for breakfast) a pack of 2 Naan bread for 25p, 4 cheesy muffins for 20p (a lovely quick lunch if toasted and a poached egg placed on top)  My freezer is getting fuller and I'm freezing some to give to DD too.  I just need to menu plan each week yet still make things flexible as G often wants us to go off somewhere at the drop of a hat, then I arrive home tired and not feeling in the least like cooking.

We have had to register with a local medical practice ( can never remember whether it should be a c or an s, so please forgive me) anyway, we had to go for a general health check.  Blood tests have revealed that I am perfectly healthy apart from a cholesterol level of 6.7 ...eeek!  I was offered statins but have refused them, deciding to try the diet route first.  The only enjoyable thing that I have in my life at the moment is food too.  We can't plan holidays, we don't have days out apart from errand days, and now I can't eat my favourite food, cheese, either.  Half fat cheddar just doesn't float my boat.  No chip shop cod and chips, no pastry, no cakes, no cheese on toast, no baked potatoes and cheese, the list goes on. B*gger :/   I might as well give up the ghost now......

Changing the subject, I thought having stairs again in the new house might be a bit of a problem and, indeed, the first week saw me huffing and puffing up and down them several times a day.  However, I am pleased to report that I don't think twice about navigating them now!  My breathing is normal, my calf muscles are firmer and I've lost 2 pounds in weight.  Use it or lose it, as the saying goes :) Now just need to get rid of some cholesterol....

When we moved in we were told that we had no water meter and no smart meters installed so that we were not tied to one supplier.  Lies! All lies!  On the pavement is a little metal flap. Lift it up and what have we here?  A WATER METER.  It was so mucky and so far down the hole that we had to kneel on the pavement and put a tentative arm down to clean it up then READ the blooming thing! How on earth can we do that twice a year at our age, never mind when we reach 80!



We also, as it turns out, have a smart meter for the electricity.  At least that is high enough up on the wall to read.  The same can't be said for the gas meter (which isn't smart or even slightly intelligent it seems) We have to read that every 3 months and it's at GROUND LEVEL!  It's a digital panel too so you have to lift the lid, press a button to activate the panel and READ the blooming thing on our hands and knees.  Oh, for goodness sake, give me strength....

Thank you everyone for your comments on my last post. Six of you, at least, would like to see more of the new house so I'll take some more photos when it's a bit lighter :)

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

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Another Sneak Peek! Living Room

We are, at last, starting to get back onto an even keel regarding our home.  At Christmas DD gave us some money to buy something for the house and we decided to spend it on some proper light fittings instead of having the plain dangly things that the builders put in.  We chose 2 sets of these fittings as we have 2 lights in the living room;  one at each end, and SiL fitted them for us. Much better....


I now have a reading corner with a table for my tea, a book and a fleece blanket.....

                                     

At the end of the living room, directly opposite the French doors, is my beloved sideboard and dining table.  The dining set is a little too big but we can't replace it at the moment and I really wanted to bring my sideboard because of it's useful storage space so we squished them all in at one end....


At last we are connected to both phone and broadband!  After another 38minutes spent in a phone queue to BT, G spoke to a man who seemed to know how to resolve matters at last.  He simply cancelled the original order and started again. Within 24 hours we are connected!  How simple was that?  Why did no-one else at BT do that?  Anyway, the modem is now in the under stair cupboard and (fingers crossed) working well.  I don't like the trailing wires but we will have to try to sort something out with those later.  The whole cupboard needs sorting, in fact, as it's become a bit of a dumping ground until we decide where to put things.  G has put a row of coat hooks in for our regular go-to jackets and my ironing board & vacuum cleaner are in there too.....


  We have had some blinds installed, firstly to give us some privacy when the homes at the back are occupied and also to screen out the sun in the middle of summer as this side is south facing.....


A shed was delivered and erected by two very efficient men on Monday.  The door and window are on the left (obviously!) because I didn't want to be looking at them every day and then G used a sage coloured fence paint to give it 3 coats of colour.  It takes up precious room in the garden but will hide all the tools and other bits and pieces which I don't want in the house....


As you can see, the homes at the back are nearing completion.  It's amazing how quickly they can be built these days.  BTW the fencing to the right belongs to us which is why we have attached my Green Man to the post on that side and not the other :)

I hope you found the sneak peek interesting.  Would you like to see other parts of the house in other posts?  I don't want to kill you all with boredom ;)

Anyway, stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Friday, 24 January 2020

Bloomin' Broadband


We have had no phoneline or broadband service for over 6 weeks now.  The box ( no idea what it's called) has been in place in the under stair cupboard since day one. We have made a myriad of calls to BT placing an order, chasing the order, querying why it's taking so long etc. We have spoken to people in the UK as well as India, men from Open Reach have been in to look at the box and shake their heads in disbelief that we STILL have no connection.  According to them the set up is spot on and connection shouldn't be a problem.  I never thought that I would miss the internet so much but I haven't been able to read my fave blogs, research prices or services, and it has cost me a fortune to make necessary calls on my mobile phone. GET A MOVE ON BT!
I can use the computer at the library but can't always get there when I need to and the question is " how safe is it to conduct business there? "  Ok, I'll step down from my soapbox now....

One thing I am really missing from no longer living in the park home is having people to talk to on a daily basis.  Our neighbours are all young, out at work all day and invisible by night.  I have met just 3 sets of neighbours and that was only because I took in parcels for them during the day.  I think I will need to find something to do, either volunteering or joining a group of like-minded individuals.  The question is where?  Once we get the internet back I can do a search.

In the meantime, stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

New Home News!

Six weeks ago to the day, we finally moved into our new home.  We picked up the keys on the Monday, having staged a sit in at the site office when our solicitor transferred our money to the developer and they kept saying it hadn't reached their account.  There was NO way I was leaving the office before getting the keys!  Anyway, we did finally get them just as it was getting dark so just opened up, checked that everything was ok and left the cleaning until the next day when the white goods; the fridge/freezer and washer/dryer were being delivered.  This gave me plenty of time on the Tuesday to Dettol-spray the kitchen, clean floors, windows etc and move a bit of the boxed up stuff into the house and to try to work out where to put everything.  The main problem is that the kitchen is about a third of the size of the one we left behind :/  but I'll explain all that in another post.....

Wednesday dawned reasonably dry and the removals van arrived early.  DD and G went to the new house to supervise the unloading while I stayed behind to clear up as the men loaded the van.  I vacuumed, polished and sprayed as they cleared each room, shed a tear as I locked up, and braced myself for the next stage of our retirement.....

The new home

Building work is still going on at the rear so this is the view into the back garden.  I LOVE the French doors which will come into their own in the Summer and, as this view is South facing, we might save a lot on heating bills....



The tiny garden is a bit of an odd shape. It slopes down to the left quite steeply (supposedly 1 in 15 but I'm not sure it's not more than that )  We intend putting a shed for garden stuff to the bottom right and a tree of some sort, perhaps a Rowan in the bottom left.  This will fill the space, help to drain any water and give us something pretty to look at from the living room.....


G managed to snap up this plastic storage box from work for half price as it had a bit missing.  He's replaced the missing bit and it's now perfect for more storage ( which we desperately need as we don't have a garage)….


As you can see, we brought our Shirley Valentine table and chairs with us, as well as a few pots, and we're really looking forward to eating breakfast on the patio during the warmer weather.


I have been busy sorting out the household budget, moving us straight away onto a cheaper tariff for gas and electricity (the temporary one was on an extortionate rate per unit: a total of over £54 for the first 10 days) We have now agreed a figure for monthly direct debit for both fuels with a much cheaper rate for both standing charge and cost per unit. Phew :/

One thing which concerns me is that we have 3 of these little guys......


There is one in the downstairs cloakroom, one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom.  They are all set to extract air on a constant trickle and boost themselves up if they detect moisture but, although I can see the value of having them, how much are they going to cost to run?  Do you have any experience of these things anyone?  I have begun to turn them off overnight at the isolation switches.  Should I be doing that ?

Anyway, that's all for now.  I made quorn cottage pie yesterday for tea and there is enough left for tea tonight too, with veggies and gravy added.  G is out for his walk so I'm off for a read with my feet up!

Stay safe everyone wherever 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!  ...