Sunday 31 July 2022

Frugal Year on a Tight Budget.... Update


Are we still on track with our Frugal Year on a Tight Budget? 


No choice but to get the PC repaired last month.  It was either spend £73 on a repair or several hundred pounds on a new computer.  It had to be the former...

We chose to buy an annual pass for the Black Country Living Museum costing £35.90 for the two of us.  We can go as often as we like over the next 12 months and it will only cost us £3.50 each time to park the car (what a rip off price 👀)

A tall oscillating fan was purchased for my bedroom so that I didn't melt away during the heat wave.  It was on offer at £58 instead of £89.  A lot pricier than the simple desk fans, I know, but it has a timer so that I can set it to switch itself off an hour after I go to bed (up to 8 hours actually) It was worth it's weight in gold a couple of weeks ago and I think it will be used again soon.

There have been several birthdays over the last few weeks so scratchcards have been popped into the envelopes in lieu of a gift and our lovely Grandson, who had his 15th on Friday, was given cash and a gift wrapped box of his favourite cookies. He was well pleased 😀

£24.99 has been invested in a plastic water butt so that we can catch any rainwater and resist using tap water for watering the garden. DD shopped around for us and collected it from B & M.  It was around half the price of one from B & Q.  It's already proved itself by catching the rain overnight last night and the hydrangea has had a lovely drink.


We are still well within our weekly food budget and I have moved small amounts of savings to the account twice over the last couple of months whilst still keeping the fridge and freezers stocked with emergency supplies.

I applied online for free Bus Passes for both of us so that we can ride the bus instead of taking the car.  It was a relatively easy thing to do until I came to take G's photo for the pass.  Due to his Cervical Torticollis he is absolutely unable to keep his head still in order for me to take his photo on my tablet.  It was a case of keep trying until I struck lucky.  It took around 20 attempts but I finally got a recognisable shot!  The passes arrived after just a week.  Hats off to South Staffordshire council!

I have resisted buying any new clothes, shoes or underwear at all this year apart from my shacket and one pack of 3 Sloggis but it's our Granddaughter's 18th birthday party in September and I have literally not a clue what I can wear to it.  I might have to try to buy a cheap top to wear.  I don't think T shirt and jeans will hack it somehow....

We wanted to buy her a special gift so I have been selling bits and pieces on eBay.  I received another £3.31 for a small item today and have this afternoon listed our sleeping bags which we used to use in the caravan.  They have been sitting in their bags under the bed getting dusty so I need the space anyway.  Fingers crossed for a sale 🤞

Today I am thankful for:

2 lovely Grandchildren who still want to spend time with us oldies

A beautiful daughter who helps us all she possibly can

A gorgeous sunny day which has dried all my washing outside

A lovely neighbour who knocked the door and handed me a bag of local plums as a thank you for sharing our allotment produce with her and her daughter. 

How has your weekend been?

Stay safe everyone x

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Tomato Taste Test

Our first few (and I mean few 🙄) tomatoes are ripening. There were 3 ready yesterday so we picked them for a taste test..... 

They are all Gardeners Delight and although quite juicy they don't taste as nice as the ones we grew last year. The skins are a wee bit tough.  Perhaps the later ones will be better.... 

Our poor cucumber plant survived the heatwave only to collapse when the weather turned cooler. I am gutted as there were quite a few more cucumbers developing.... 

We'll try again next year. 

From the allotment we are picking :

Runner beans, French beans, lettuce, beetroot, carrots, the first few raspberries and potatoes. 
Our lovely allotment neighbour, Eric, has given us 2 punnets of juicy blackberries, and another gentleman handed me 2 decent sized yellow courgettes which I'm not sure what to do with;  Mediterranean roast veg perhaps? Any suggestions gratefully received. 

Despite having given the Bramley apple tree a good pruning, we seem to have lots of good sized apples on there.... 

.... and we are starting to get a lot of windfalls, a bit early in my view, but I saved a couple of unblemished ones and stewed them for dessert last night with custard and a handful of the gifted blackberries.  Tart but definitely delicious 👍 I'm hoping the others will cling on for a few more weeks in order to ripen a bit more.

Thank you for your comments on my last post.  I appreciated all your commiserations, empathy and suggestions.

Stay safe x

Sunday 24 July 2022

Sleepless in Staffordshire

 It was such a relief when the temperature began to cool down on Wednesday although the house stayed superheated for another couple of days after that. It was only by throwing open the windows and doors to the cool morning and evening air that the thermometer fell from 30 C to 24C by Friday inside the bungalow. We have not done an awful lot with ourselves this week just allotment visits to water and weed the plot.

The highlight of the week for me was having a ticket for the theatre to see Talon in concert last night (or is it still tonight?) Saturday anyway.  It's an annual event for me and I loved it but on the drive home I was suddenly filled with an overwhelming feeling of sadness when I realised that it would be the last time I would go to see them.  The drive only takes 25 minutes but in the dark I realised how my eyesight has deteriorated since the start of the pandemic. Oncoming headlights dazzle me to a frightening degree so that I can't see the kerb. I was so relieved to get home safely. Its the end of an era and now I am unable to sleep for feeling sad about it 😢

Over the last 4 years our lives have changed in ways that G and I could never have envisaged. We've gone from tootling off in the caravan every month touring around the UK free as birds, to moving home twice in 2 years and then staying home with no chance of holidays because we can no longer afford them. What a miserable witch I am 😳

In these wee small hours of 2am I am grateful for :

Hearing the welcome sound of light rain

Knowing I can get up when I feel like it as G has Sunday off work 

The prospect of a cool damp day to come. 

Stay safe x

Tuesday 19 July 2022

It's Hot, Hot, Hot!

 Thank you to everyone who left comments on my last post about the lack of bees both here in the garden and at the allotment.  It seems that bees and other flying insects are doing ok, they are just not here at the moment.  At the allotment we have lots of flowers and a water source and have now added small dishes of water ( thanks for the tip Sarah!) in the garden to drink from (with pebbles and an easy way to get out if they fall in) in the hope of encouraging more creatures to come.  

At the moment it is hot enough here to melt tarmac as well as us!  The temperature has reached 38 degrees today and I hate it!  The last few nights have been sticky and sleepless despite having a fan in the bedrooms.  It is forecast to cool down tomorrow and we are living in hope of rain.  The garden is parched as we have been watering just the most precious plants.  G has been watering the allotment fruit and veg late at night when it cools down but rain would be more than welcome.  Often the water tank at the allotment is empty because other's have beaten us to it.  It fills very s-l-o-w-l-y ☹

A couple of weeks ago G created a bark chip base for our bench, which is in a shady area during the afternoon, so that we will have somewhere to sit in the evenings once it's cool enough.......

At the moment I'm typing this with a cool fan at my back and  I'm still HOT.  I can't think straight, I'm not hungry and I dare not even think about the cost of the electricity we are using to power the fans 😏

The energy monitor frequently does this ....

.....  some help that is....

Stay cool and stay safe x

Tuesday 12 July 2022

Where Are the Bees?

It's been so very hot over the last couple of days, really quite uncomfortable.   We don't do so well in heat and much prefer a moderate temperature so whilst G sweltered away at work over the weekend I stayed mainly indoors with doors closed against the sun and with the fan on.  Monday (yesterday) was even hotter so we both hibernated, only venturing out when we had no choice.  By early evening, when it had cooled a little, we threw open doors and windows to enjoy the cooler air which was lovely.  I haven't been sleeping well with the hot nights even just lying on top of the bedclothes.  As we are in a bungalow I am unable to keep the windows open during the night so have invested in another fan.  It's a tower with a whisper quiet night setting which I can set to turn  itself off on timer. I'm hoping that will help me sleep better.

Today has been cooler, a bit cloudy with dribs and drabs of rain, which was neither use nor ornament, but it enabled us to do a bit of work on the allotment.  Everything was bone dry.  I dug up a few potatoes and some  carrots and found this little character.  I named him Kevin 😍 ......

At home in the garden our mini cucumbers are flourishing.......

The first one harvested today....

It was delicious on our teatime plate of salad and there will be at least 2 more ready in a day or so.

We have been eating:

Lettuce, beetroot, spring onions, strawberries, carrots, cabbage and now cucumber.

I can't wait for the raspberries to develop 😜 and the Bramley apples tree is absolutely loaded with healthy looking fruit.  I am desperately hoping that the insects will leave them alone this year.   On our eating apple tree I counted.....SIX....apples 😭  No idea what's happened there.

At the allotment we have noticed a worrying absence of insects and bees this year. There are very few flowers on our tomato plants and the ones we do have are not setting readily. Where have all the bees gone? 😥  Today I saw ONE bee, two hoverflies and three cabbage white butterflies.  Oh dear....have you noticed a reduction in insects where you live?

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

Saturday 2 July 2022

Feeling Cross and Frustrated

 I have received an email from Amazon explaining to me that after August 17th 2022 I will no longer be able to buy and download any books onto my 5th Generation kindle.  I am so CROSS 😡  Yes, I know the thing is more than 10 years old but it suits me fine.  I can buy cheap and sometimes get free books to download to read 'on the go'.  I always took it on holiday with me ( when we were able to go) as it was light enough to slip into my bag so I am cross that someone else has decided for me that my kindle is no longer worth having.  They do the same thing all the time with computers and phones, don't they.  Our PC is fighting against the Windows 10 updates.  It simply won't accept them and now I  can't pull in emails properly either.   We are hoping to take it in to PC world on Monday where a tech guy will look at it for us but we might eventually have to give in and buy the new PC which we can't really afford. 

I'm also struggling to post comments on my favourite blogs via phone and tablet. They either post as anonymous or won't post at all so please bear with me for a while until we can get sorted.

Give me strength 😠.....

I need to stop and count our blessings don't I...... 🙄

We are grateful for:

Good food

A warm home

Family to talk to

Lovely weather with plenty of rain and sunshine to grow our crops at the allotment. 

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

It's OK.....

  Angie 💓 xx