Saturday 31 March 2018

March....Spending and Thrifty Bits

Well, March 2018 was a good deal less expensive than March 2017..........Don't Move House - is my advice.

The spendy bits....

The estimated electric bill arrived = £127, I read the meter and phoned in the actual numbers and only had to pay £88. For a winter quarter it's much less than expected, much less than at the smallholding - somehow. I'm not complaining but  I quite expect Eon to send a person to check the meter!

Beach Hut ground rent paid.
We've re-stocked with bird's fat balls - 300! = £22. And 20kg of mixed seed for £10
3 fill ups in total of diesel for the cars.
A big food shop for the month  and the family weekend and several top-ups because Col is eating like a Horse!
Council Tax bill  for 2018/19 arrived......... up 4.6% on last year
Cat flu booster jab and wormer drops and stocked up on cat food while it was on offer
Membership for small WI = £41
Col got a roof rack for the grey car
Multi purpose compost £12
We got some Duplo people off ebay enough to send to Jacob for his birthday and some to keep for Florence

The thrifty bits
Bought 5lt Ecover washing up liquid from local hardware shop which is £1.50 cheaper than buying 5 x 1lt from supermarket. Then I  decant ¾ liquid and add ¼ water into an old 1lt bottle, and give it a shake to mix which works fine and makes it even cheaper.
Took drinks and snacks/lunch to Addenbrookes hospital each time for the clinic appointments.
Still stitching cross stitch from the stash,  for little Christmas gifts and cards
Ran cold water into jug while waiting for hot to appear  and used  for flushing loos all through month.
Used our own frozen peppers,  courgettes, mangetout peas and last of the green beans from freezer.
Used last leeks from the garden
Used first purple sprouting broccoli from garden
First few sticks of rhubarb from the garden
Picked up twigs from field to dry and use for kindling
Printed out a price comparison voucher from Asda worth £2.10
Printed out a price comparison voucher from Asda worth £1.68
Remembered to use car park voucher in Asda - twice - saving £2
Found Duplo from charity shop for Jacobs birthday in May, sent it back to Surrey with them
3 tee-shirts for me from charity shops just over £6
Had coffees in the MacMillan centre when at Ipswich hospital for a small charity donation.
Helped Youngest save money by collecting some new tyres for their car from an ebay seller just over the border in Norfolk to save her having to buy new ones for the MOT.

Just a normal sort of month of  Spending and Saving.

When Colin went into hospital on Wednesday we weren't sure how long he would be in for but Hooray! he is home again, I picked him up from Addenbrookes yesterday afternoon. They've done numerous tests and we will get the results next week. In the meantime they've put him on some tablets which they tried in 2016 after his own stem-cell transplant had failed, the tablets didn't work then but as the donor stem cells seems to have got rid of the Lymphoma in the bone marrow they are hoping the tablets will have some effect on the new problem...........enlarged Lymph glands.......hopefully only caused by the wonderfully named Graft Versus Host Disease, rather than any other reason ..........(Frightening thought) .We shall see how things go.
Did anyone else get the torrential rain on Friday afternoon? We were driving home through it for over an hour, the roads were rivers - really horrible.It carried on for even more hours after we got home.

Hello and welcome to some more new followers.
Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday, I feel embarrassed when people say we are brave or strong because we are just trying to get through as best we can. Coping and hoping!

Back Tomorrow, even though it's a Sunday,  as it's the first of the month and I'll be doing the April folklore post.



Friday 30 March 2018

The Week Just Gone

The week just gone...............

Last Saturday I visited the Grand Opening of a  new Farm Shop "Hen & Hog" that has opened about 10 minutes away from us.
Very Rustic, and as I thought - jolly expensive.

I sipped a local produced Apple and Elderflower Juice - lovely, and sampled some little bits of Millionaires Shortbread from a local bakery - delicious.

I looked at the Home Raised Very Large Free Range Chickens ........£31! - yes they were LARGE (as big as a small turkey) but £31?, I looked at their home produced Proper Pork Sausages £4 for 6.
To show willing I bought a few small salad potatoes and a head of celery and then went home again.

To start with they are only going to be open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday mornings, which begs the question - how fresh will the produce be?

I'd love to support local businesses, but...............

The Farm Shop Rhubarb was £5 a Kg but we had our first few sticks of our own lovely pink stems for dinner on Saturday evening. Col made custard and turned them into a rhubarb fool (but without  cream....sadly). The sticks came from one of the new crowns I planted last year, better not pull anymore.
I forgot the  'photo opportunity' but I expect you know what rhubarb looks like!
Sunday, we had Siskins on the bird feeder

Monday, a bit of sunshine and it was a good day as gardening was started at last. First I weeded the fruit bed. The Gooseberry bushes planted last year look good, the very old blackcurrant is still alive and the old raspberry canes are shooting.
Then I weeded the vegetable bed that's empty apart from a few skinny leeks and finally we folded back the plastic on the other bed and  got the 5 Swift and 5 Home Guard potatoes into the ground. Re- covered them with the  black plastic for a week or two while the weather warms up.
Col got the mower out for the first time this year.

Monday night I headed across to Framlingham High School for the Suffolk-East WI Spring quiz. It was a very enjoyable evening. 26 WI's from East Suffolk were represented and we ended up 12th.
There was a very funny happening at the beginning........The question-reader lady had a microphone through a speaker which, after she had asked just one question, suddenly made strange noises and then shouted "OK Left and over, up,down, right and over." We realised the loud speaker had somehow tuned into an exercise group going on in the next building. It was so funny. There was a delay while someone went round to the exercise class and tried to find out why we were picking up their frequency. But in the end another ordinary microphone was found and we were able to carry on.

 Tuesday............back to cold and wet weather and I  was off to the vet with Polly for her annual check-over and cat flu jab. I'm glad it's only 3 miles as she complains loudly all the way.

 Wednesday............ and we had been waiting for a call from Addenbrookes as we were expecting Col to be called in for a biopsy before Easter. So on Wednesday morning he gave the Specialist Cancer nurse a ring to find out what was happening. She said she would call back and they were trying for Thursday. I set off to Stowmarket to pay a bill and a bit of shopping and had just arrived in the Asda car park when Col rang me to say they wanted him stay....... straight away. So I zoomed round Asda and home again where Col had his hospital bag packed and off we went to hospital. They had decided that having him in to stay would ensure they were able to do a biopsy and lots of other tests. He has enlarged Lymph glands and they need to know why and they need to decide what to do next. We had a feeling things were not right so although it was a shock it wasn't a complete surprise. We'd been warned many times that Mantle Cell Non Hodgkin Lymphoma is difficult and aggressive.We are gritting our teeth and carrying on best we can as that's the only thing we can do.

Because of heading off to Cambridge in a rush I forgot a book but found one on the shelves in the waiting room,
book cover of Grandmother\'s Footsteps

  it was good to have something to read as I was there 4 hours before they decided that Yes, Colin would definitely be staying. The book was a thriller, not something I would usually read but it kept me occupied. I've read 15 books this month......good grief, just proves how grotty the weather has been and how little housework I do!

On Thursday I made a batch of Hot Cross-less buns. We tried some cheap ones from Asda earlier in the month and found they were doughy and tasteless...... I decided Home Made are best by a long way, but they could do with a bit more spice than the recipe says. I've made a note in the recipe book.

HOT CROSS(less) BUNS  (from Bread - River Cottage Handbook by Daniel Stevens)

500g flour, half and half strong white bread flour and plain white.
125ml warm water
125ml warm milk                                                 ( 50g plain white flour and 100ml water
tsp instant Dove yeast                                                if you want to do crosses)
tsp salt
50g castor sugar
1 medium free range egg
50g butter
100g mix of sultanas and currants and chopped mixed peel                                 
1tsp ground mixed  spice
1tbsp jam and 1tbsp water to glaze

This is VERY sticky to do without a food mixer and dough hook!

Combine flours, water, milk, yeast, salt and sugar. Add the egg and butter and mix.
Then add dried fruit and spice and knead with dough hook on low speed until smooth.
Cover dough and leave to rise  in a warm place until doubled in size.
Knock back dough and divide into 8 (for very large) or 12  for more normal sized.
Shape into rounds and dust with flour. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise again until double in size.
Preheat oven to 200C/Gas 6. use flour and water mixed in a piping bag to add crosses ( I don't bother)
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Heat jam and water in a cup in the microwave ( or in a saucepan) and brush over to glaze as you take them out of the oven.

 The recipe is stored on the separate recipe page, right at the end.

Thursday afternoon was fine enough to weed and tidy the quarter circle flower bed at last, I hadn't even cut back the dead stuff from last Autumn. It looks so much better after a couple of hours work.
There seem to be some empty spaces so I'll see what I can find at the next car boot sale.

So to today..... Good Friday, the proper day for eating Hot Cross Buns.
 In the Christian churches manner of adapting pagan traditions, these buns are descendants of small cakes made at this time of year in celebration of the arrival of spring. Even the cross was there before Christianity -as a symbol of the year divided into four seasons. At one time all bread was marked with a cross - thought to help it rise, but this was frowned upon by the church after the reformation and a cross was reserved only for special holy cakes.

Have a good Good Friday
Back Tomorrow

Thursday 29 March 2018

A Good Car Boot Sale for the Grandchildren

We headed out to the big Needham Market car boot sale last Saturday. Nothing of interest for me but plenty of books for the grandchildren. Col got the trucks for Jacob - 50p each- and he found a new sack-barrow for us for £5 (our old one was on loan to youngest when they moved house last year and got nicked from out the back of their flat!). The new one isn't as sturdy as the one we lost but will do for moving the LPG cylinders which is the main thing I'll need to shift.

I picked out a big selection of books, there are 12 lovely Usborne rhyming learning to read books (over £60 new!) which will make a lovely present in a year or two  and four others.....16 in total for £5, and another rattly thing for Grandchild number 3 for 50p.........(only 2 and a bit weeks to wait now- exciting), there are also 2 little dolly feeding bottles to go with the doll I got a few weeks ago for Florence they were 20p. Also bought a bundle of small Activity and  Dot-to-Dot books for 50p - ideal for a few years time.

I'm sure I said something about not buying so many things for the grandchildren this year!?
Epic Fail!

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 28 March 2018

3 Days Borrowed from April

Both of the weather folklore books I possess mention that the last 3 days of March are stolen or borrowed from April.

There is a Spanish story about the borrowing of says that a shepherd promised March a lamb if he would temper the winds to suit his flocks; but after gaining his point he then refused to pay over the lamb. In revenge March stole 3 days from April in which fierce winds blew to punish the shepherd.

Then I found yet another version of the story

Borrowing Days

The last three days of March are called the Borrowing Days, said to have been a loan from April to March, the legend goes that March had a spite against an old woman, and wished to kill her cow; failing to do so in his own month, he borrowed three days of April to enable him to complete the task

 In one book there are several rhymes about this legend

March borrowed of April, April borrowed of May,
Three days they say
One rained and one snew,
And the other was the worst day that ever blew

March borrowed from April
Three days, and they were ill
The first was frost, the second was snow
The third was cold as ever could blow 


March borrows of April
Three days and they are ill;
April borrows of March again
Three days of wind and rain. 

So to sum up it looks as if the next 6 days may be a bit rough! It's Easter weekend of course  but I have a secret stash of Easter Eggs, so will survive!.

Oh look over there at the followers........ up to 299, hello new peeps, hope you like reading. Although still a way to go to get to the 435 followers on the old blog.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Well, I worked out a menu................

.................for 2 people for 2 weeks for £40.............just about.

Including cheese,meat, vegetables and fruit but no pulses!

(But I must first apologise to Faith at Much More with less because she has already written about this book and done some of the recipes in February and I'd long forgotten so I'm sort of copying without realising)

Here's the shopping list (using whichever is cheapest, usually the value brands Asda or Tesco)
1kg Porridge oats 75p
Supermarket variety of 24 'weetabix' 74p
Value Marmalade 33p
4 Loaves of value wholemeal sliced £2.20
1.5 kg bread flour 69p
1.5kg Self Raising flour  45p
sachets yeast 59p
2 x 4pts whole milk (mix 2:1 with water to make 12 pints)£2.18
500g of whichever spread is on offer £1
250g Baking fat 55p
500g whichever cheese is on offer £3.50
Pack value mozzarella 47p
2 x 1kg Frozen chicken portions £3.36
500g frozen value pork/beef mince £1.69
500g Asda bacon offcuts 57p
Asda Pack 4 frozen nut burgers £1
Value mayo 40p
15 value eggs + 6 eggs £2.19
7 tins value brand plum tomatoes @ 29p = £2.03
2 x value tins spaghetti hoops 28p
1 Tin value brand baked beans 23p
2 tins tuna chunks in brine  £1.30
500g value Pasta penne 32p
tube tomato puree Lidl 37p
Tub Asda Curry powder 79p
Asda 1lt sunflower oil £1.09
1 kg value Asda frozen mixed veg 82p
 2.5kg potatoes £1.35
1kg small potatoes 65p
2 large baking potatoes 50p
Head celery 55p
1 Aubergine Lidl 67p
2 lettuce and cucumber Lidl £1.29
1 red peppers Lidl 49p 
1 kg onions 59p
6 Salad Tomatoes 69p

Which, if I've added up correctly, leaves a few £ to buy some fruit - the cheapest fresh in season, bananas at 13p each from Lidl and some tinned value peaches and 22p for a Asda basic value sponge mix for a sweet treat! (Although goodness knows what size sponge a small packet of mix and one egg would make - I've never tried it)

This turns out to be not much different from the 2015 menu which just proves I am a creature of habit and have no imagination!

The Menu............
Breakfast is porridge, made mainly with water or 'weetabix'(with minimum of milk) and/or toast with marmalade
The bag of bread flour plus yeast will make rolls, a pizza base and Naan breads.

Lunches are home made bread rolls or sandwiches with
Cheese and tomato
Cheese and grated onion
Chicken and lettuce and Mayo
Egg Mayo
BLT sandwich 
Spaghetti Hoops on Toast
Poached Egg on toast

Main meals 
Cheese Omelette
Bolognese sauce using mince,2 tins toms, puree, half pepper and an onion. Served over pasta
The other half of the above served under mashed potatoes to make a cottage pie.
A bacon,onion and cheese quiche half served with potato wedges
The other half served with small salad potatoes and salad
Chicken tray bake with tomatoes,onion and half pepper and small potatoes
Chicken and celery pie
Vegetarian nut cutlets in bread rolls and salad
Home made pizza with tomato/onion and mozzarella topping
Coronation chicken and pasta salad
Tomato and Tuna Pasta bake
Baked potato and cheesy beans
Aubergine curry with Naan breads
Tuna Fishcakes

There wouldn't be much left over at the end of the week but unlike that book there wouldn't be lots of other things needed that are NOT in the list. Just sugar, seasonings and tea/coffee I think.

I'm sure  I couldn't stick to this......I like more fruit, but at least it is do-able.....just. Also, although all these things are on the Mysupermarket price comparison site, there are some that I've never seen in the local shop....Asda bacon offcuts for 57p certainly don't exist in our local Asda.

( 3 Posts inspired by one book is pretty good don't you think?!)

My brain now needs a short rest!

Back Tomorrow

Monday 26 March 2018

So Why Was I a Teeny Bit Cross With That Book?

This book........

 As I said on Saturday, this book by a food blogger is on loan from the library. It's been raved about all over the place and has good reviews. It has menu plans and very delicious recipes for meat eaters, vegetarians, vegans and people who need gluten free. With a photo and prices of the weekly shopping required. EXCEPT when you come to look at the recipe you need other things not mentioned in the shopping list........things like flour, olive oil, spices and balsamic vinegar..............and that's just in week 1. So although it says feed your family for £35 a week you do need a few extras.

But I shan't gripe too much because when I worked out my plan 3 years ago I also used a few things from the cupboard but my weeks outlay was under £20 while in the book each week comes in at MORE than the £35 quoted.

Perhaps spending more than the quote is just sort of authors artistic licence?......or cheating........

But what about now .............2018..... can 2 people eat for £20 for a it possible? (without pulses - which I can't eat and with a few sweet treats ......because I'm bad!).

I tried - using the Mysupermarket price comparison site again - but by golly it's hard. I wanted fruit but that was difficult to factor in, I wanted some meat and cheese and vegetables and breakfast other than porridge. I added up, took things out of the list, swapped some things but still couldn't get under £20. And I know there are people out there managing very well on £10 a week per person..... please could they tell me how? (without using yellow sticker stuff plus NO pulses but with meat, cheese, fruit and veg!)

Then I had a thought.... "light-bulb moment"!................benefits are paid fortnightly so anyone on a tight budget would have two weeks money and could plan two weeks menus which might actually make things easier to work out.

So back to the drawing board...........£40 for 2 people for 2 weeks...........................

That was the  weekend before last when  I was watching Rugby, writing a letter and reading a library book so didn't get round to sorting out a meal plan. Then I tried again this weekend just gone................

How did I get on?
Back Tomorrow

Saturday 24 March 2018

Feeding 2 People for £20 Back in 2015

 This library book that I collected last week got me remembering a post I did in January 2015 on the old blog.   ..............a purely theoretical look at how to feed 2 people for £20 for a week.

The parameters I set were HERE
I was imagining someone without a garden or access to markets or yellow sticker produce and only able to go to 2 shops. The cupboards were bare except for just a few things including tea and/or coffee.

Old post in italics

So..........£20 to spend/ 2 shops/only a few things in the cupboard/3 meals a day + snacks

My £20 shopping list using the My Supermarket comparison website for Tesco and Aldi

500g value cooking bacon 80p
750g.value beef mince £2.69
400g sausage meat £1
1kg value porridge oats 75p
454g value milk powder £1.15
250g.value butter 95p
250g value baking fat 39p
1.5kg bread flour 75p
1.5kg SR flour 45p
yeast 59p
value eggs (15) £1.25
1kg value rice 40p
value spaghetti 20p
2½ kg potatoes £1.15
celery 69p
1kg carrots 55p
1kg value onions 79p
pkt value mashed potato 28p
2 tins value baked beans 48p
2 tins value tomatoes 68p
2 tins value peas 42p
pkt value stuffing mix 15p
jar value mayo 40p
jar value marmalade 27p
bag of value apples 89p
bag of value pears 89p
from the cupboard mixed sweet spices and curry powder, sugar, stock cubes, sunflower oil, salt and pepper, tea and coffee for drinks.

This makes
3 loaves bread to have for lunches and toast for breakfast if needed
porridge for breakfasts / and or the toast
some homemade spice biscuits for snacks 
bread and marmalade pudding for one dessert if you need it
main meals
  a bacon/onion quiche feeding 2 people for 2 days,
 a pan full of beef mince/tinned tomatoes/onion/carrot/porridge oats mix to  make 2 portions spag- bol,  2 portions shepherds pie (using the packet of mash to make the potatoes last all week and probably into next week too) and 4 portions to freeze for  2 days next week 
half the sausage meat/half stuffing mix/grated apple/shortcrust pastry makes a sausage plait for 2 portions with veg and some for lunches
a vegetable curry using onions, carrots potatoes and celery
A scalloped potato meal with a little bacon in for flavouring

That's 7 main meals all served with some of the veg either tinned or carrots. I would prefer frozen peas to tinned but that is a bigger outlay.
lunches of 
vegetable soup -twice                          }                     
beans on toast                                       }            With a small piece of fruit each to follow - 
scrambled egg on toast                         }             half a pear or apple each
poached egg on toast                            }              depending on how many were in the pack
bacon sandwich                                    }
sausage plait with grated carrot salad   }

 There would be several things left so that the next week it would be possible to buy
a chicken and cheese instead of the meat
different breakfast cereal instead of porridge for variety
some dried fruit and more veg instead of some of the other buys

The rest of this post is HERE with what people said and also why I wasn't very happy with my menu plan.

So here we are March 2018 and a book with weekly budget menus is in my home - and it got me thinking and planning and researching and finding how prices have changed in 3 years and then getting a bit cross with the book!

To be continued Monday...........................................


1st PS...... Went to Hospital yesterday for results of  his CT scan and stem cell sampling................There may be problems. Back next week for a biopsy.............No light at the end of the tunnel yet...........hours more treatment ahead.

2nd PS....... Thank you for comments on second-hand shopping yesterday. I'd love to say I never buy new but I don't fancy secondhand knickers!!

Friday 23 March 2018

Avoiding New

Twice recently when I've mentioned things that I'm looking out for at car boot sales or charity shops, people have given me details of where I could buy the same thing new.

But that's not the point................ I don't do New unless I absolutely have to.

 If you've ever seen the size of the ships coming into Felixstowe docks from China and driven along the A14 among the huge trucks carting all the stuff  to warehouses and shops around the country you would understand why I don't want to help contribute to the import of new when there is enough old already here.

So from 3 charity shops in Stowmarket, I have found 3 tee-shirts for me to wear around the house and garden in the summer. Men's large or XL in light colours......... so nice and baggy and cool - I hate clingy or dark colours when the weather is warm, and one of these still has a M & S price tag (£6). Total cost for 3 was £6.49.

I might tie-dye the white and white for gardening  is silly!

Apologies to everyone who is having trouble viewing my blog..........some people have said that since I changed the header photo my blog has shrunk. This is a complete mystery as I just took off one portrait shaped photo(the long tailed tits of the feeder) and swapped it for this new one. The photo automatically shrinks to fit in the right area and on my lap top it seems fine. Because I can only see it looking OK I have no idea how I should change it. I didn't alter any other settings. I have no idea what else to do to put things right?!

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 22 March 2018

Back to the WI in 2018

Getting back to WI in 2018 hasn't got off to a very good start.

Big WI don't have a meeting in January and small WI went to someone's house to watch a film on DVD......which isn't what I joined WI for. Anyone can watch a DVD, and it wasn't something I wanted to see anyway. (I actually find it a bit annoying that small WI substitute so many other things for what I call proper evening, garden party, Christmas meal are all instead of a regular speaker, then when you count in Resolution meeting and AGM they actually only have 6 speakers through the year............ Have to keep my thoughts to myself as sister in law is president!)

So my first WI meeting of 2018 was at big WI on the first Monday in February where a lady came along loaded down with patchwork and quilted items to tell her story of her obsession with these crafts. And blimey she certainly knew her stuff, her patchwork and quilted bed covers were gorgeous.. She's entered competitions all over the country although didn't win with her earliest entries which spurred her on to bigger and better.

What astounded all of us was the boxes of teeny-tiny off cuts, no bigger than a finger nail which she keeps and uses for micro crazy-patchwork on handbags or book covers, bits hardly big enough to see let alone to get under the foot of a sewing machine!

I missed the February meeting of small WI due to feeling poorly and bunged up ears. It was about Suffolk words and dialect which would have been interesting.

Then I missed the March meeting of big WI due to still feeling very grotty - the virus turned into a cough and I didn't want to cough my way through a meeting plus we had thick fog and one thing I really do NOT like driving in is fog at night. The speaker was an auctioneer talking about how they value things for auction, that would have been interesting too.

So eventually time for small WI in mid March..................

The Suffolk Serial Murders
 Or in police terms................operation Sumac.
Our speaker was retired Police Inspector Karl Smith, who was in charge of the Family Liaison Officers at that time.
 It was back in October 2006 that a young sex worker was reported missing. She had last been seen in the 'red-light' district ( actually just 2 roads) of Ipswich, caught on CCTV.
In December 2006 the body of another young sex worker was found by a member of the public in a stream on the outskirts of Ipswich.
Police opened murder investigations and that's when Inspector Smith was involved as he had to send 2 Family Liaison Officers to support the family.
The body of the first victim was soon found in the same brook - further downstream. Both bodies were naked and had been in the water for a while which made the investigation difficult.
Then the body of yet another sex worker was found just 2 days later, but this time in woodland on the edge of Ipswich so forensic experts were able to gather more information.
Just 2 days later the bodies of 2 more young women, also naked were found in woodland  not far away and forensic evidence from one man was found on all 3 bodies.
This man had had DNA taken several years earlier when he had stolen some money from his work place, and it was his DNA found on the victims and also fibres from his clothes. He was also known to frequent the red light area and regularly used prostitutes. Eventually he was found guilty of all five murders and sent to prison for a Full Life Term. He has never admitted to the killings.

 One outcome of the murders is that there is no longer a red-light district of Ipswich and much more help for drug addicts and prostitutes. All the girls worked the streets to fund a drug habit - the biggest cause of prostitution and although there are still prostitutes working from is, after all, The Oldest Profession........ they feel safer and can get help if they want to stop.

It was an interesting talk, not sensationalized, on something most of us remembered all too well as Ipswich was in the media spotlight for weeks.

I'm joining a team representing Small WI for the Suffolk East Federation spring quiz next week, better get my brain in gear!

Thank you for comments yesterday.

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Yesterday.............................. some time,  was the minute when day and night are of equal length...............The Spring Equinox.

I forgot.

So a day late............. Happy Ostara or Eostre......the name comes from a Saxon Spring Goddess..

Little is known about Eostre but according to my Country Wisdom and Folklore Diary...................

The story goes that Eostre found a wounded bird. To save it's life, she transformed it into a hare but even though the bird took the appearance of a hare it retained the ability to lay eggs. As thanks to the goddess the hare decorated the eggs and gave them as gifts to her.

When Christianity arrived Eostre became Easter and decorated eggs have been given as a gift for hundreds of years.

I prefer chocolate to hard-boiled!

Thank you for comments yesterday

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Tuesday 20 March 2018

New Farm Shop

I picked up a leaflet from the roadside stall where we buy our eggs................

This is not too far from us and reachable by small empty back roads so avoiding the busy A140. I'll go and give it a look on one of their Grand Opening days.
May not buy much, as farm shops in Suffolk tend to be rather expensive...... Jimmy's Farm ( Jimmy Doherty  of TV and friend of Jamie Oliver) just outside Ipswich sells his sausages..... which I'm sure are really good......for £8 a pound which is a £1 each!

 So I'll go and look.........If I can get there! - every time we go anywhere just lately there are signs for road closures - repairing potholes at last, but it does make things complicated ........... trying to remember what's shut when. Monday 19th for 5 days for one bit of road , Monday 26th for 3 days for another bit. This all seems very sudden as some of the pot holes have been there a while. Then the information leaflet came with the Council Tax bill telling us the Suffolk County Council are spending £21 million to repair and resurface 1000 miles of Suffolk roads. I can see road closures being a major feature of all journeys this summer.

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Monday 19 March 2018

Library Book Photo as per Usual and Vanishing Bloggers

Books I had requested were picked up from the mobile library last week......... seem to have chopped off half the titles........hope you can still see what they are.
There is more of a mix this month .......only 3 crime, a book about Communal Living, then a couple of cookery books - The Art of the Larder by Claire Thomson and Home Economics by food blogger Jane Ashley. Also two WWII books.......Slideshow - Memories of a wartime childhood and The Childrens Front and finally two natural history books ........Oak, Ash and Thorn - old woodlands. Plus.......The Secret Life of the Owl.

I'll let you know how I get on with them........ they won't last me 4 weeks so I'll be turning to my own shelves again.

I was going to write about how sad I was that favourite blogs have stopped..............but I'm not sure they have, so I've deleted what I was going to say and will say nothing......... until I know or maybe I wasn't supposed to know........maybe they were hiding, maybe they were upset about something I said................I always imagine everything is my fault..............I'm always being told everything is my fault.......the insecurity.............the lack of confidence.....................

Anyway..........welcome to a new follower, hope you like reading and thank you to everyone for more comments on gnomes and about wild garlic, Col getting well again and our green man-up-a-tree!

Back Soon

Saturday 17 March 2018

Green Shoots...............

..............of Wild Garlic.

I'm very excited that the roots of wild garlic that Col's brother brought over last year have survived and small green shoots are starting to appear.
It's not common in Suffolk so when Andrew moaned about the smell of garlic in the wood (which he and a mate rent to haul out dead wood to sell) I asked him to dig up a few roots for me........ he brought a big bucket full.
There was no guarantee it would grow here, we are dryer than the wood it came from, but they are coming up everywhere we put them, it's certainly wet enough  this year so far.

Other things are appearing down at the end of the meadow..............primroses...............
.............and the buds on a young willow that we planted in the Autumn.

And Colin is well enough to climb a ladder

So the Green Man has been fixed to keep an eye on the new trees

All is well in the new wood.

( No Gnomes!)

Thank you BTW for all gnome comments,the funny, the like them/hate them and everyone else.

I actually don't mind old concrete gnomes, it's the plastic-lurid-imported-from-China-ness of these that I don't like but if someone wants to help Asda make more millions then that's up to them.

Have a good weekend, stay warm in the snow and strong winds that are forecast.
Back Monday

Friday 16 March 2018

Those Dreadful Garden Gnomes are Back

Good grief, they've got some more for this year.........................

Spotted in Asda Stowmarket March 14th.... Now for sale at an Asda near you.......who buys them.............Come on, own up!

Thanks for comments yesterday

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 15 March 2018

Sowing the Seeds of Success.....I Hope

At last I got organised to sow some seeds. There's no electric to the greenhouse so the propagator has gone in the conservatory.

I'm growing  3 different varieties of tomatoes; a tiny grape size tomato 'Sun Grape', a packet that came as a trial 'Tomatoberry Grande' - "A vigorous variety producing good trusses of heart shaped fruit weighing up to 40g". Plus good old San Marzano - A red plum variety - high on flesh and low on seediness. I've also got some Shirley seeds - may do a few of those too later when I know how many of the others have grown.

Then Cucumber 'Euphya', Pepper 'Sweet California Wonder' and Aubergine 'Black Beauty'.

Just a few of still feels strange to be sowing a dozen tomato seeds rather than 5 dozen!
I was sure I'd got some sweet pointed pepper seeds, but I must have forgotten them so need to have a look for some ASAP and the Aubergine seeds are 3 years old so if they don't come up quickly I'll be buying some fresh.

I'll be potting the seedlings on in the conservatory so that we can keep a frost buster heater on until the weather is good enough for them to go out into the greenhouse........must get the greenhouse glass washed in the next month - it's very green and mucky after a wet winter.

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Reading From My Shelves Again

Ran out of library books again, so it's back to my bookshelves.

 Two crime fiction that have been on my shelves for years
 Robert Barnard - The Missing Bronte.  (Published 1983) Short crime novel by prolific author. Very dated .
Gerald Hammond - The Curse of the Cockers .(Published 1993). A short book set in Scotland in the world of gundogs and their training by a prolific author, now slightly dated.

A non- fiction book found more recently, can't remember where.......must have been one of the book sales
Ronald Blythe - At The Yeoman's House. ( Published 2011) A short book, a glimpse at the history of the Author's house 'Bottengoms Farm' situated on the Suffolk/Essex border.

 Then it was like returning to old friends when I decided on another Angela Thirkell..........Love Among The Ruins. I am reading my way through her  village stories, mainly featuring the people from the Big Houses which are  set in the fictional county of Barsetshire. I've not read any for a year or so.
 13 of the earlier titles in the series have been reprinted by Virago Modern Classics but now I'm having to read the original tiny print from 1948. 'The Ruins' of the title are the aftermath of WWII when the gentry had moved out of their big houses and were living in the "East Wing" or "The Dower House". Injured war heroes now became teachers at prep schools and old Nannies lived on in genteel retirement.The people in the story had also just survived the coldest winter on record - 1947.
Some people find her books annoying. But I grew up in the 1950s in a small hamlet where half the houses were owned by The Family at The Big House and most of the men in the tied cottages still worked on their estate farms. Our next door neighbour had been a nanny for them at one time too. Not so far removed from Angela Thirkell's books.

The two crime books have gone in the box under the stairs ready for a car boot sale. At the Yeomans House has gone into the Ziffit box and Angela Thirkell will be put back on my shelf.........although I have several of the series there are still 8 that I don't possess.......selling for silly money on Amazon because they've only been reprinted once since the 1940s and that was only in the USA.

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Tuesday 13 March 2018

Family Weekend

When Colin's birthday coincides with Mothering Sunday on the same weekend as a baby shower for DIL - the mum-to-be, it had to be a good opportunity for a family get together for Sunday Lunch.

 Sadly it didn't quite work out as planned because our youngest daughter is working part time at a busy social club (as well as part time at the opticians) so had to work .............because it was Mothering Sunday and the club was fully booked for lunches.

So it was a family get together in two bits.................

On Saturday, Eldest, her husband and Jacob arrived from Surrey mid morning, then youngest brought grand-daughter here while she went to the baby shower party.

Eldest went off to the party too, leaving Son In Law, Col and me to mind the two small cousins. (I had a choice of baby shower party or minding two grandchildren ........I choose the latter!)

We keep all the toys out in the conservatory, but Col soon decided the floor was a bit chilly and before long everything was brought into the living room.

Two small people were busy all afternoon, only stopping now and again for a story
Jacob is now 22 months and chatting away non-stop, Florence - curly locks - is 17 months, she's got a few words now - favourite being "Oh No" when something falls on the floor. It's great fun to see the difference just a few months makes to development.

 Our son, the archaeologist,  having been abandoned by his wife because of the baby shower, decided to come over and see his nephew and niece.

All good practice for being a Dad in a months time!

Then on Sunday the lunch get together  (roast lamb for a treat and Quorn roast for the vegetarians, then Betty Crocker gluten Free Brownies and cream for dessert) was made up of  Me and Col, Son and DIL, DIL's sister who had come up from London for the baby shower, Eldest Daughter, SIL and Jacob - (who decided to go for a nap at lunch time which was handy as we were all able to eat in peace) and last but not least Col's brother - Great Uncle Andrew.... which is funny as Great Aunts and Uncles used to be VERY Old!

Lovely to see  the family even if it wasn't all at the same time.

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Monday 12 March 2018

Bay Tree

In 1992 we took a Bay tree in a pot to the smallholding and planted it in the middle of what would later become the herb garden. 15+ years later and after trimming it back a few times it was still huge, cutting out light from the kitchen, living room,herb garden and poly-tunnel........... there was no choice but to cut it right down and pull out the roots.

A  few years  before that I'd had  good success with cuttings from the tree and had about a dozen small trees in little pots which kept growing nicely until they were big enough to sell at the gate. But did I keep one for us? Surely I must have done, but is the tree we took to Ipswich and then brought here in a pot as old as that? and if not where did I get it? I really can't remember.

Just before we left Ipswich the bay in a pot got blown over and the big pot broke so when we got here planting it out was one of the first things we did. We put it on the edge of the ditch and hope it will grow as big as the one at the smallholding was because it will then give us a bit more shelter from the wicked North West wind that blows in across the field.
It shot up another foot last year and survived the snow last week, it's over 5 feet tall now.

 Bay leaves are easy to dry and I use them to flavour things like mince when it's being cooked up for a bolog sauce or to make a lasagne. I also use them when simmering the milk to make a bread sauce. 

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 10 March 2018

Easter Cards

March.....and it was my turn for a Penny Pincher Letter. I've mentioned before how a group of us who subscribed to The Penny Pincher Paper kept in touch after the Paper finished.There were 7 of us

writing we are down to  5 taking it in turns to write.
My Penny Pincher Letter is rarely about Penny Pinching because it's all old news but I just write about what's been happening in the last few months, books read, bargains found etc. much the same as the blog...........but without pictures! Luckily 2 of the people who I send letters to don't read the blog so it's new news to them.

Anyway, as Easter is coming up I thought I would make some cards to include in with my letter. I had a quick look through the stash and couldn't find anything that gave me any ideas for cards. So I went on Craft Creations website and did a virtual shop - putting all sorts of things in my basket. When it got to check-out the total came to over £30....WHAT! I went back and took things out of the basket but it still came to over £20......too much for someone with shelves and boxes full of card making stuff. I switched the lap top off and looked through my stash again and at last came up with an idea and made the cards above.

Spending £0.....satisfaction 10/10!

Even though I printed out the letters and got them into envelopes we were then stuck at home due to the snow and  I didn't get them posted off to arrive on the first of the month............ Finally got them posted when the snow went .

We had a very good morning at Addenbrookes yesterday. Col's specialist nurse had organised his usual clinic appointment + CT scan + bone marrow sampling to perfection, we were in and out and roundabout without too many hold ups and home by 2.15pm. And Good News -  we don't have to go to Addenbrookes for 2 weeks and he can have the Hickman line dressing changed in Ipswich next week instead. It will be nice to have a week without that trip along the A14.

Thank you to everyone for hankie comments yesterday. I love to think of boxes of fancy hankies going into charity shops after each Christmas and then selling again before the next Christmas! Hankies and tea towels were the things I was first "allowed" iron when I was young and I do keep a box of soft tissues for visitors, those ones with balm are much kinder on small noses.

Have a good weekend.

Back Monday

Friday 9 March 2018

Coughs and Sneezes

A postcard of a wartime poster, we were still chanting " Coughs and spread, catch them in your"  at primary school in the 1960's.
When Col was at primary school they were encouraged by a teacher to blow their noses really hard.........a competition to see who was the loudest nose blower! I blame that teacher for the sinus problems he's had recently!

After a bad experience as a new wife and snotty handkerchiefs ( BC - before Col) we always use kitchen roll as tissues........... but that doesn't scan so well in the rhyme........the cheap kitchen roll I got from Approved Food are complete rubbish, just falling to bits with one nose wipe but I'll still not be going back to cotton hankies that's for sure.

 Did you have relations who always gave boxes of 3 handkerchiefs for birthdays? I did - distant aunts who didn't know what else to give...................... wonder what happened to all those boxes?

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Thursday 8 March 2018

I Only Went in One Charity Shop.......................

.................which was a jolly good thing as the Asda shop cost an arm and a leg!

Having No Spend January and Frugal February just means that some things hadn't been replaced for a while which turns into big-spend-at-Asda in March! Then with family here too and buying edibles for small people, food for a family lunch, gifts for the baby shower, gluten free for DIL's sister and finding several things on my list  were on offer so I doubled up, I nearly fell over at the till when it headed toward the £90 mark!
Oh well - it still works out cheaper than having a giant Indian Takeaway and spending that much is a very, very, rare occurrence nowadays.
I did use my last Asda price check voucher and remembered the car park £1 refund voucher and after getting home I checked the Asda Price comparison  website and printed out a £2.10 voucher to use next time- all small comfort!

I had to go into the town centre to the Post Office and had time for just one charity shop and picked the right one because I spotted this great ol' bag of Duplo for £4.99.

 We gave Jacob some Duplo  for his 1st birthday. There are some bits here to add to what we gave him which he can have for his 2nd Birthday(when I find out what he's short of) and Florence can have the rest to add to the box that I found for her at a car boot last year  -for Christmas this year.
 Presents sorted! Happy Nanna!
Now I'm just looking out for Duplo people that never seem to be included in the bundles I find.

Hello and welcome to follower 290. Whoop Whoop nearly 300 but will I ever get to 437 .... the number on the old blog, which I'm sure is more than when I stopped and that means people are still starting to follow a blog that I don't write anymore!
Not that I'm chasing followers or anything like that!
I know some people don't follow or comment because they think it gives all their personal info away but anyone clicking a picture or comment name sees minimal information or none at all if the profile is blocked.

I'm so sorry the price of 'that' book from Monday's post is now ridiculous. I found out about it from a comment on the Books Read 2017 page and liked the sound of it and ordered around Christmas time and it was just 1p back then. I hope the price will drop again soon. I've just ordered a winter/Christmas book by Susan Hill  that someone mentioned last year (Lanterns Across the Snow),  when I added it to my wish list  the price was several £ because it was winter and I suppose people were buying it to read over Christmas. But by waiting I got it for 1p plus postage. It pays to wait!

But now I have a new added responsibility to worry about.................what if everyone who has bought the book doesn't like it! Oh dear what a worry.................

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 7 March 2018

Make Do and Mend (2) + Yesterdays Post

Yesterdays post about the book Gaining Ground by Joan Barfoot brought lots and lots of comments, thank you to everyone, especially people who've never commented before.  I reckon I ought to be on commission from Amazon for all the people who've ordered a copy of the book! was my mention really the cause of the price now being £27!!
It was only 1p a couple of months ago......honestly.

I looked on Amazon for the book mentioned by Sharon in Surrey in Canada (The Book of Eve by Constance Beresford-Howe) but I think it's very  different in that Eve walks away from an abusive unhappy marriage and then later finds love elsewhere. Abra In Gaining Ground is in a safe marriage, she loves her husband and children but is overwhelmed by a sense of emptyness. She doesn't want or need human contact and it's only by living in the cabin on her own that she finds 'whole-ness'.
I'm glad I'm not alone in feeling the way I do and then feeling guilty for feeling that way! Also pleased that our grown up children all have loads of friends and enjoy being really social as I wouldn't have wanted my feelings to have been passed onto them.

Sharing and finding others feel the same means I feel more empowered now to be as anti-social as I want!

Now the Make do and Mend...............

How to revive an elderly cheese grater.

Insert  the tip of a metal skewer  under each of the grating bits and prise them out. Simple!
That's it .............Job Done.

Poor new neighbours. Their removal company went into liquidation on Friday! Half their furniture and possessions  were stuck in a depot and they had to pay another company to collect their stuff and deliver it to them. Sounds like a proper moving house horror story!

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 6 March 2018

A Cabin in the Woods

When I read about the subject of this novel (Fiction Published 1978) I just had to read it. No copy in the library but a 1p copy was available from Amazon.

From the book jacket....................

Abra has left a husband, children and suburban security to live in an isolated cabin (In a Canadian forest) without mirrors, clocks or human contact.As time has passed her senses have sharpened, her muscles hardened and she has achieved the inner peace and strength which has always eluded her in the past.
But when Kate her daughter tracks her down 9 years later, Abra is forced to account for her actions and dramatically re-evaluates her life.

Did she have some sort of breakdown? is she ill or is she now well?

Surely most mothers/wives have thought about vanishing? Or is it just me. The responsibilities of childcare, housekeeping, managing can be totally overwhelming.There are just so many things to worry about, then turn on the TV and the whole worlds problems can provide another set of worries.
 I once had to give up a discussion group because the other mums wanted to take turns in caring for the children away from the group. I couldn't do it - yet there I was......A good Cub Scout Leader managing 20+ 8 - 11 year old boys every week but the thought of looking after a group of half a dozen 1 - 4 year olds filled me with terror. I felt I was walking a tightrope with our own two children under 2 years false move and I would fall into an abyss.

When I explained Gaining Ground to Colin  he said it sounded like something I might do and the children have often told me that I'm turning into a hermit! But I do like being at home, people talking about cabin-fever due to the snow? No idea what it is - especially this time of year. If there is no need to go out - it suits me fine!

I can happily go to WI and socialise for a couple of hours but I don't need crowds of friends coming round - even having family here can sometimes get me in a panic. I couldn't be a perfect Nanna and look after grandchildren full time. At the moment I'd struggle for just a few hours although when they are older I'm sure it will be easier. Col's Mum was a born baby minder, she was a nanny for a few years before she married and Colin arrived. She looked after our children one afternoon every week which was a godsend to me - she was also in her late 40's when our children were under 3 whereas I'm in my early 60s and feeling it too sometimes!

This book describes perfectly how you can't really make somebody into someone else. Everyone is an individual. If you make someone do something they can't do does it make them selfish for not trying or you selfish for thinking they ought to try?

One of the Amazon reviews of this book said "every year or so I need to read it again". I think that's how I feel - a book to keep and read again.

Thanks for  comments yesterday.

Back Tomorrow

Monday 5 March 2018

Toys for # 3 Grandchild

Car boot season is well underway and it was time to find some bits and bobs for 3rd grandchild due in April.
 At a car-boot last month I struck lucky and found someone with a box-full of  toys for babies and picked up 7 things for £3.....all washable so will be good first toys. Then at last  I found a doll for Florence - been looking for something suitable for months but so many at boot sales are old, tatty and dirty. This nice clean and tidy doll, with newly knitted clothes was £4.
Also bought a ceramic dish for 50p to replace an old pyrex one with a chip  plus a pack of 6 large Christmas badges for 75p. I think they will be good for Christmas cards for Grandchildren in few years time.

Then I found a "mystery" plastic bag full of notebooks, writing paper and cards for 50p.

 When I got it home and looked at it properly it turned out to have all this lot inside

Yes, a good 50p worth, some cards I may not use but the notebooks will be good for grandchildren in a while and writing paper for me, buried under the heap is  a pack of blue-tac and some sticky labels too.

Addenbrookes hospital on a Sunday is a much quieter place than on a weekday and it was an easy drive there and back too. Col has had the blood test etc that we couldn't get there to get done  last week. Much less snow over in Cambridgeshire than we had had here. It will take a day or two of milder weather to melt away some of the huge heaps on the sides of the road near us where a digger has cleared the road. Around us the green-ness is back, the dwarf irises buried under 6 inches of snow have reappeared looking none the worse for it.

Hopefully our new neighbours should get the rest of their furniture and possessions delivered today.

Thank you for Saturday comments

Back Soon

Saturday 3 March 2018

March Financial Outlook + New Neighbours

Last year in March, having just moved here we spent several thousand pounds.......... There was........... the removal company, a new lap top, a whole load of painting by the painter-man, a years council tax, a cupboard for the dining room, Col's 60th birthday bash, building insurance on the bungalow (later mostly refunded), The final electric bill for the bungalow, some wood cutting, a safety fireguard and cot for visiting grandson, the cat's flu jab and wormer drops, bits to repair the bathroom loo and the chimney sweep.......phew.

Thank goodness this year March won't be so expensive!

Last year we paid the council tax all in one lump because we weren't sure of our income, so thought we'd better pay it while we had the money, this year it will go back to 10 monthly payments. The vet has already sent a text message to remind us that Polly needs her booster jab but all the rest of that list above doesn't have to be spent out  on this month although we'll get the chimney swept during the summer.

We have family visiting mid month (hopefully) so I'll need to get in some extra food things. There will be car boot sales at which I MUST NOT SPEND TOO MUCH! normal food shopping and  we are due an electric bill. I'll need to get some bags of multi-purpose compost too. That's about it........she says in hope.
Being cut off by snow means spending so far this month = £0!

Looking back at the February outgoings including House Insurance, LPG cylinder, Diesel for both cars, 6 month water bill, food, bits, bobs and all the usual expenses was £797. I put off the Beach Hut ground rent until March.

We've met our new neighbours .........not a holiday cottage thank heavens, but a couple just a bit older than us so hopefully no loud parties! They've moved in late Wednesday in the worst of weather conditions only to find that the previous people have left them with hardly any heating oil, which is a bit mean. We said that surely old neighbours had had some delivered not many weeks ago and the new neighbours said that 500 litres had been delivered 4 weeks ago but it was almost gone - good grief................ I'm glad we have the wood-burner so we don't have to have the boiler going all day. We also discovered that because of the weather and us being cut off, only half their possessions had arrived as the second lorry couldn't get through late Wednesday afternoon. One of their cars full of stuff was stuck at the bottom of a hill 2 miles away, they had some food from their freezer, but no alcohol, no comfortable chairs and had run out of tea and milk!  At least we could give them tea bags, milk and the sun loungers - but we couldn't do much about the alcohol!

Have a good weekend.......stay warm and safe if you are in this countries snowy conditions............It started snowing again here yesterday afternoon - making it the worst snowy cold spell for 30+ years.

Back Monday

Friday 2 March 2018

St David's Day Bake + An Abandoned Journey

A day after St David's Day - a late recipe!

I don't know where this recipe came from, I've had it in my "repertoire" for years presumably called St Davids Day Bake because of the leeks.

This tastes better than it looks - I promise.
Very simple - leeks sliced and cooked then put in baking dish with pieces of ham. Thick white sauce over the leeks and ham then dried breadcrumbs and grated cheese over the top.

Pop in the oven until hot right through.

Serve up with mashed spuds and veg. I've also often made this into a pasta, ham and leek bake too.

 We had a phone call on Wednesday to ask if Col could go to Addenbrookes for his blood test on Thursday instead of Friday because Friday had been over booked. He said we would try but it depended on the weather.  There was no more snow overnight so off we headed early yesterday morning, food packed and I put my walking boots in too.......just in case.
The problem was the wind, it was taking the snow off the fields and dumping it on the roads where there were no hedges to stop it, so between our home and the main A road there was already a build up in several places. We got to the A140 OK and then came to a halt in a queue less than a mile down the road. Nothing coming the other way so obviously road blocked by something. Just 4 miles from home and wondering if there would be more problems over the next 60 miles and if we would get home down the little roads later, Col decided to do an about turn, we got halfway home and came up against a delivery van stuck in a snow drift. Luckily we could back up and some men in another van coming the other way got out and pushed the delivery van backwards and we were able to get passed where they gave us a shove through the drift. We got home 10 minutes later pushing through several small drifts on the way. Phew!
Luckily Col has enough tablets until next week but he really should have had the blood test and Hickman line flushed but what can you do if you can't get there? We are forecast more snow today so no journeys out again. They want us to go at the weekend .......we'll have to hope it stops snowing and blowing! For the last 10+ years we've had a 4 wheel drive and never needed it in snow and now we don't have it we have the weather for it............. although even a 4 x 4 wouldn't get through a traffic jam on the main road!

Hello, Hello and Hello to lots more people who are following. Hope you enjoy reading.

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Thursday 1 March 2018

March Days

 Some of the March pages from the Country diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden

 In the Roman calendar March,or Martius, was the first month of a new year. The month was named after Mars, the god of war and the guardian of agriculture. March was the month when both farming and warfare could begin again after winter.

The Saxons called it Lentmonat, or lengthening month, because of the equinox and lengthening of days and this is the origin of the word Lent.

There are many weather sayings,  the best known is

March winds and April showers
Bring forth May flowers.

Also.....................So many fogs in March, so many frosts in May 

Dry days are precious to get seeds sown.................A peck of dust in March is worth a king's ransom

When farm workers were paid partly in cider then a good apple harvest was important, and early blossom was a problem
If apples bloom in March
In vain you'll for them search
If apples bloom in April
Why then they'll be plentiful;
If apples bloom in May
You may eat them night and day.

There are many special days this month

1st .......St David's Day and the first day of meteorological spring
11th .........Mothering Sunday
17th...........St Patrick's Day
20th........ Vernal Equinox, the start of Astronomical spring and the pagan celebration of Ostara
25th..........Lady Day and Palm Sunday
30th........ Good Friday

We had lots of snow overnight Tuesday and off and on all day yesterday. We didn't have to go anywhere so stayed in the warm, fed the birds and watched the weather.

Back Tomorrow