Tuesday, 30 June 2020
This is a boring post, it's more for my records really.....sorry! Not even a photo to cheer it up
June should have been a low spend month with only the electric bill over and above the regular stuff and everything was going so well until the visit to the vet to get Polly's annual flu etc vaccination where they checked her mouth and decided she needed a tooth out. It was a shock to find out how much it costs to take out a cat's tooth. It would have been cheaper to get a new cat from Cat's Protection or even 3 new cats!! Cats in my life up to now have been "farm cats", loved, looked after, fed, taken to vets when very elderly if necessary but not treated like cat royalty. Polly is the first to have so much spent on her. Ho Hum!
Other spending was the normal direct debits for Council Tax, phones and broadband and charity. Then I bought a 5L refill of Ecover Non-bio laundry liquid.......it will last ages. The electric bill was much the same as this time last year, which is good considering I've been at home all the time. Odds and ends like toothpaste and paracetamol .Also spent on having the massive settee throw cleaned.
And books - of course - secondhand when possible - and many more than usual!
I don't need any more childrens toys or cross stitch kits from ebay but found something else that is often very cheap as a 'job-lot'............. greeting cards. I cross stitched a few at the beginning of lock down but then moved on to the owl scissor cases for gifts and plan to do sunglasses cases and more lavender sachets for more small gifts, from ebay I bought a bundle of childrens birthday cards with the age badges, which will be handy as I think children like them better than a home-made card.
Nothing spent on the garden except £5 worth of petrol for the mower.
I've been buying the Saturday local paper during lockdown, partly for the weeks TV schedule and the puzzle pages but at £1.90 a time it soon adds up so I may drop that. My sister in law will save all the puzzle pages for me from every day's East Anglian if I have time to carry on doing them once things are back to normal.
The thrifty bits
Cut my hair myself again - a saving of £16
From the greenhouse and garden..........Rhubarb, cucumbers, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, courgettes, aubergines,rocket, tomatoes
Sold some books - £13 from Ziffit
£4 Co-op divi.
£5 Morrisons More voucher
Didn't go far so only £16 worth of diesel put in the car
One takeaway of pensioners Fish and chips for £3.50
After the heat of the last week it seems strange to say that it was so cold in early June that the boiler was needed for a bit of heat mornings and evenings.
Having to use metered water for the garden before it rained.
Every time I say next month will be better because there's nothing due something always happens. So best say nothing about next month at all!
Monday, 29 June 2020
Hedge cutting, a bit at a time early each morning before it got too hot. That meant I could laze about in the heat of the day knowing that a good bit of work had already been done - so no guilt!
Here's part done after day 1, on the right of the front of the house - easy with the electric hedge cutter - it's the clearing up afterwards I hate. After forking up all the cuttings I run the small mower right up against the bottom of the hedge to finish tidying it up.
But that still left so much more to do - left hand bit of the hedge at the front of the house. There's one perennial Sweet pea that always appears there at the end of the hedge.
Then all the way up the side and around the top bit between me and next door neighbours, at least I only have to do one side of this greater length as Mr Next Door does the top and their side. Although it's mainly Hawthorn and full of brambles so a pricklier job.
I didn't get all the way up the side last week, so a bit more to do this week, but I'll get there........ eventually.
Saturday, 27 June 2020
I'm glad I live where I do because the crowded south coast beaches seen on TV don't appeal at all and not because of being frightened to get out and about but because of the traffic jams, the queues for toilets and the hassle. Felixstowe on a sunny day is Much quieter.
Flowers on the table this week are a mix of all sorts, shades of pink and purple, not just from the cutting garden.
During the week I had to go and pick up my prescription from the surgery pharmacy and Hooray! the chip shop in the same village is back open, so timing it right I was able to get my first meal in 3 months that I'd not made myself - Pensioners Plaice and Chips = £3.50 - Yum.
Staying inside out of the high temperatures gave me time to read this - and what a good read it was - as I knew it would be. This is the 4th in his series set in the 1930's and 1940's.( Starting with Corpus, they need to be read in order)
In Cambridge, brilliant history professor Tom Wilde is asked by an American intelligence officer to help smuggle a mysterious package out of Nazi Germany - something so secret, even Hitler himself doesn't know of its existence. Posing as a German-American industrialist, Wilde soon discovers the shocking truth about the 'package', and why the Nazis will stop at nothing to prevent it leaving Germany. With ruthless killers loyal to Martin Bormann hunting him down, Wilde makes a desperate gamble on an unlikely escape route. But even if he reaches England alive, that will not be the end of his ordeal.
Rory Clements write good stories although belief needs to be suspended on how many times a person can get beaten up and still carry on!
Here's my weekly updated list of what one "old" woman can grow to eat in a year.
- 9 small lettuces (I now have a gap because the next sowing took ages to get going)
- First Rocket
- 6 Cucumbers - and 8 more given away
- a few asparagus spears
- lots of rhubarb
- A surprising amount of strawberries from 6 new plants.
- 3lb of gooseberries
- Lots of raspberries and 2lb put in the freezer
- Several courgettes.
- Few new potatoes
- First tomatoes from greenhouse
- And the first aubergine................ as mentioned yesterday made my favourite pasta sauce. (Scroll down on the Recipe Page) I ate it with tagliatelle one day and with a baked potato the next day and one portion went in the freezer.
This week I am grateful for
- A problem one part of the family had, has been resolved, so one thing less to worry about.
- Raspberries or strawberries everyday all week.
- A week of beautiful warmth
- Lots of comments on the blog
Hope you have a good weekend. I might virtually visit this https://www.facebook.com/FelixstoweBookFest - all for free instead of paying to go and listen.
Friday, 26 June 2020
One thing raised on yesterday's post was - How much do I spend on growing my own and is it worth it?
My first thought was that growing your own fruit and vegetables is not so much about the money but more about mental health, freshness, lack of chemicals and self reliance. Of course that's because I can afford to do it - but disregarding all the other benefits - is it worth the money spent?
Because I keep accounts it's easy to see what was spent this year on............
Multi purpose compost
Pheromone Moth Traps for both Apple and Plum Trees
A huge planting tub
16 Various Brassica Plants
The total spent on this was around £87. Of course the big pot will be around for years. The ant powder will last more than one year and the moth traps have sticky bits and pheromone things for next year and then I'll only need refills, and some seeds are still in the tin for next year too.
Now the difficult bit .......will my harvest be worth that spend? This is so hard to work out because some of the seeds I've used were bought last year, some were my own saved seed. Plus I'm harvesting things that were planted years ago - like rhubarb and raspberries that would cost several pounds to buy but have cost me nothing.
I've harvest 14 cucumbers so far and given 8 away, do I count those? do I value them as equivalent to the cheapest at 50p, the large at 85p or the organic at £1 each.
My brain seized up............I gave up thinking.
Instead I ate my first home grown aubergine in a delicious aubergine and tomato sauce. They are just 50p in the shop, but I don't know where they've come from, how many days they've taken to get here, what the people who grew them were paid and what they've been sprayed with.
My aubergine took me 10 seconds from greenhouse plant to pan....................and THAT'S one good reason to grow my own.
Thursday, 25 June 2020
I wondered how much you could buy with £9? Enough food for a week? It would be interesting to see.
I know lots of people have done the £1 a day challenge in the past - which I freely admit I could never do and this £9 shop is purely theoretical too - I doubt I could stick to it for real.
|willow spread 78p|
|5 bananas 69p|
|4 Baking potatoes on offer at 50p|
|Chicken thighs £1.70|
|Cheapest way to buy cheese £1|
|cheapest bread 32p|
|cheapest spaghetti 20p|
|2 tins at 28p each|
|70p for 100g of the cheapest coffee|
Next take the spare £1.85p/ £2.00 to Asda and buy a Smart Price Tin of 565g Pineapple for 68p and
ASDA Frozen for Freshness Broccoli Cauliflower & Carrot for 99p
use the rest to buy 2 onions .
I think this would go a long way to providing a bit of protein and filling 1 person for a week but would mean eating the same every day - Peanut butter on toast for breakfast. Cheese sandwich and fruit for lunch. With a variation on chicken/vegetables/ spaghetti and a tomato sauce with the onions and tinned tomatoes. Variety would cost more.
Much too short in the fruit and vegetable department and I would want milk too but if there was only £9 to spare it wouldn't be too bad but I bet YOU could do better!
Wednesday, 24 June 2020
I've got needles, cottons, pins, bags with cords, elastic and wool and lots of hooks, eyes and snaps - everything needed to make and create.
(The Glycerine, Lemon and Honey pastilles tin contains pins and dates back to the 1970's - Vintage!)
But about 5 years ago my sewing machine fell to bits - literally - it was very old and the brittle plastic shattered and bits fell down inside and that really was the end of it.
Not wanting to be without a sewing machine I found a new basic Singer going cheap online and bought it.
Then Colin was ill with the heart problems and then the lymphoma, we moved house twice and the sewing machine in its box moved house and didn't even get unpacked.
At last time and space to unpack and try and get it going to stitch a better mask than the one I cobbled together a few weeks ago. The machine has an automatic needle threader but no way could I get it to work - even after watching two u-tube instructional videos. So I threaded by hand but whatever I did everything jammed up after a few stitches. The pathway for the cotton between the reel and the needle seems much the same as any other sewing machine and the bobbin loading is also the same . Tension seems OK and I've read all the problem solving bits in the handbook and everything seems to be set up right.
I gave up and covered the machine - feeling frustrated.
When the world gets back to normal I'll get a sewing machine shop to have a look at it, or perhaps my sister who is much cleverer than me with sewing ( and knitting!) could have a go and see what she makes of it, in the meantime stitching will be done by hand - I don't need to make clothes or curtains so waiting is not a problem.
After trying 2 home-made masks - neither of which had any room for breathing, I found the Co-op were selling washable masks for £3. At the moment the only place requesting a mask is the doctors surgery - for picking up prescription tablets - so one is enough.
Tuesday, 23 June 2020
Yesterday morning early I headed out to see the sea at Felixstowe - what an adventure! Sadly the A14 is back to being full of trucks and just as busy as it ever was. I met up there with Son, DiL and the two youngest grandchildren for breakfast on the beach and a short paddle. Son took Youngest Granddaughter in the sea and she didn't want to come out saying........ as 2 year old's do............ "I NOT cold" through chattering teeth! There were lots of people there by mid morning - but plenty of room to keep well spaced. I took my camera but for some reason it wouldn't take a photo - hope I haven't got sand in the works. The wind was straight off the North Sea so a bit chilly and we all headed home again by noon.
Once again something has gone seriously wrong with my tomato labeling, these are NOT the small yellow plum Ildi that they ought to be!
These are definitely red Big Mama! But when you're waiting for your first homegrown tomato of the year then anything will do.
And this is something I've been meaning to try for ages
It's not a tomato plant grown from seed but a pinched out side shoot.
Monday, 22 June 2020
The aren't so many Pyramidal Orchids on the meadow this year, perhaps it was too dry and hot earlier.
How did I forget to give a mention to the Summer Solstice on Saturday - it was a proper summer day here and still good daylight after 10pm but then on Sunday I woke to a gloomy morning, rain and strong winds and it didn't feel much like summer at all, everyone who had outdoor plans for Father's Day must have been disappointed.
Saturday, 20 June 2020
But then a bit of news that was more exciting to me and that's the smaller more local-to-me car boot sale is hoping to re start in July - strict rules and I think it will be very busy because the big Needham Market boot sale is cancelled for the rest of the year.
This week was going well. At the weekend I had a socially distanced coffee with Col's sister, her husband and my niece. They have been seriously shielding as BiL has a debilitating condition that really wouldn't mix with Covid 19. It was so good to catch up. They've found their garden again after not having time to do much for several years, it's looking lovely and productive.
Then Monday I went to visit the nearest Grandchildren, sat on the floor to play with Youngest Granddaughter but then moved wrong and the blasted knee went clunk and I was stuck on the floor. Poor DiL had to haul me up to the settee! I managed to drive home OK but it put paid to other plans (not that I had any!) for most of the week. I had been so careful not to twist it since the first time - last December- but will now need to be even more careful.
On Tuesday I delivered Polly cat to the vets. Do you know how much it costs for a cat to have a tooth removed? BIG MONEY! They reckoned it might have set off an infection if it was left wobbly so was better out.
There's been a couple of spells of good rain during the week but not the thunderstorms some parts of the country have suffered. I hope the rain has helped the fruit trees as it looks like a bumper apple crop this year, it certainly plumped up the raspberries.
Food from the garden so far this year
- 9 small lettuces (I now have a gap because the next sowing took ages to get going)
- 5 Cucumbers - and 6 more given away
- a few asparagus spears
- lots of rhubarb
- Few strawberries.
- 2lb of gooseberries
- First raspberries
- 3 teeny courgettes, one had been pecked by birds so I took off these tiny ones and covered the plants with a net. Then one more decent size courgette later in the week.
- The first potatoes. I wouldn't normally have dug them up this early but two plants seemed to have died so I wanted to see if there was an ants nest underneath. No ants but so, so dry under the ground. Not many potatoes from 2 roots. I made potato salad.
Oh, I found out where the Mystery Parcel came from - someone in the family - for research because they are planning to do something similar but better value and all ethically sourced. I was able to give an honest account of what I thought of it.
This week I'm grateful for
- My wonderful children and grandchildren
- Fruit from the garden
Wednesday, 17 June 2020
First N or M
It is WWII and Britain faces a threat from "the enemy within". The intelligence service appoint Tommy Beresford - a very unlikely spy- to find out what connection a boarding house in the fictional Leahampton has with Germany. His wife Tuppence overhears the discussion and decides to be part of the investigation too. A light quick read.
From my shelves I pulled this book which I've had for a couple of years (there are a few for sale under £1 if you are interested - even less than I paid.)
Fighting Fit; The Wartime Battle for Britain's Health
Based on original archival research and written with wit and verve, FIGHTING FIT reveals an extraordinary, forgotten story of medical triumph against the odds. Through a combination of meticulous planning and last-minute scrambling, Britain succeeded in averting, in Churchill's phrase, the 'dark curse' on the nation's health. It was thanks to the pioneering efforts of countless individuals - doctors, nurses, social workers, boy scouts, tea ladies, Nobel Prize winners, air raid wardens, housewives, nutritionists and psychologists - who battled to keep the nation fit and well in wartime. As Laura Dawes shows, these men and women not only helped to win the war, they paved the way for the birth of the NHS and the development of the welfare state.
I really enjoyed this book and much of it seemed so apt for our present times. Each chapter deals with a different aspect of how the country prepared or not and how everyone worked to solve the problems when imports had to stop. The story about the lack of laboratories for testing seemed familiar and the chapter on lice made me itch!
Next.............Carola Oman - Somewhere in England. First published in 1943.
At the end of the first book the main character had just resumed her nursing career at the beginning of WWII and in the second we join her again 2 years later when she has just married and her new husband (who she knew when she was much younger but lost touch with for many years) has bought her old country home to turn it into a cottage hospital for injured soldiers which she is running with the help of a nasty Matron and several young nurses.
Then finally I sent for this from Waterstones with the last bit of the £50 shop4all voucher I got when I changed my house insurance......it was a big disappointment.
I'm sure some people will have read it and enjoyed it - but in my opinion it ought to have had a different title.
I've got no posts in drafts at the moment and as I've injured my knee again ( like last December but not quite as bad) I can't do anything to write about so I'm taking a few days off the blog.
Back in a while
Tuesday, 16 June 2020
A questionnaire arrived in the post last week addressed to the occupier. From Ipsos MORI , the market research company, on behalf of Suffolk County Council Highways Department - Col's employer for 35 years.
Most of it seemed very irrelevant to me here - Pavements - what pavements? Street lights - none, bus services - Ha!
But then there was a section asking if things had improved or not in the last year and I thought - that's interesting, maybe they are not happy with the big private company that currently do all the repairs......or not......on Suffolks roads.
It must be 10 years since the men who had been used to working for the council, knew their area, were based locally suddenly found they were working for a huge private company who had no idea of the area, sent people from the east of the county to work in the west and vise-versa and then found they had days with no work......we heard it all from the men that Col used to supervise.
So I was able to put my tick in the Very Dissatisfied boxes. There are potholes everywhere, road markings have vanished in many places, never see a road sweeper or a gully-sucker now and road signs are filthy, falling to bits and never repaired.
Hope it helps - everything was so much better when it was done 'in house'.
I did wonder why I'd been selected to receive a questionnaire, but maybe it was because I contacted the Rights of Way department when a tree came down blocking the footpath.
Monday, 15 June 2020
It came via an etsy site but who sent it? someone in the family? a blogger?, a mystery friend? I haven't a clue except it must be someone who knows my address and I hope they read the blog as that's the only way I can say thank you.
It was much appreciated - and the Divine chocolate was consumed quite quickly! The hug card was lovely, I may well pass that on to someone who also needs a hug.
Thank you again to who ever organised this.
Could certainly do with some hugs, it's getting harder and harder to stay up beat, feels like after Colin died when other people got back to normal quickly but I couldn't. Now other people are out doing all sorts of things they like doing but all the things I enjoy are still on hold except for one tiny ray of hope - the mobile library is starting up again from the 6th July - it was due here on the 2nd so I'll still have to wait 4 weeks until the end of July for it's next visit but at least I know the heap of reservations that are waiting will be on their way to me next month.
Saturday, 13 June 2020
This weeks flowers on the table are the first of the Alstromeria and the rather small Sweet Williams all from the cutting garden.
First of all a Big Welcome to some more followers - hope you like reading about life in Suffolk.
There's been a lot more rain here this last week, I got woken in the early daylight hours of Thursday morning when it looked like a cloudburst outside. All the water butts are full again so it can stop raining now and it's been quite chilly too - and, with no one to moan at me, I even had the heating on a couple of mornings and evenings.
Two weeks after it started I finally shook off the sore throat/earache/lethargy thank goodness. I was glad it went.......didn't fancy the hassles of trying to see a doctor.
The highlight of the week was the vets deciding to re-open for routine vaccinations, just in time for Polly to get her cat-flu booster without having to start again from the beginning of a long course. They did the usual health check and found she had a wobbly tooth which would need to come out in case it set off an infecton- so it's back in for her next week - that sounds expensive - Ho Hum.
And apart from making jam as mentioned yesterday it's been another week of reading, stitching, watching snooker on TV and the occasional burst of housework. It would be possible to do exciting things like going to a garden centre - but there's nothing I need so I've only been out to the vets and post office..........
Running total of food from the garden 2020
- 9 small lettuces (I now have a gap because the next sowing took ages to get going)
- 4 Cucumbers - and 4 more given away
- a few asparagus spears
- lots of rhubarb
- Few strawberries.
- 1lb of gooseberries
- Strawberries from brother in law
- Good rain for the fruit trees
This weekend I'm just popping out to deliver a cucumber and a jar of jam to my sister-in-law which I'm swapping for lots of puzzle pages from the local paper and hopefully will be able to see the nearest bit of the family too.
Then next week most shops can open but they might be busy so it will just be a supermarket trip I think.
Hope you have a good weekend.
Friday, 12 June 2020
Then on Tuesday night he phoned to say he'd picked nearly 2lb and would put them in his fridge and if I waited until Wednesday evening there would be a few more.
So Wednesday in the almost non stop drizzle I picked a pound of gooseberries and topped and tailed them, washed lots of jars and in the evening went over and collected just over 2lb pound of delicious plump strawberries.
Thursday, 11 June 2020
longest day and shortest night.
Wednesday, 10 June 2020
4 kits - One is to make a felt chicken cushion - Quite ugly. And a cross stitch bag - with Black Aida - and if you've ever tried stitching on black Aida then you know it's not easy on the eyes. Both those have gone in the future car-boot box. There was another piece of Aida and a card blank I've kept in the 3rd kit and the childrens long stitch horse kit had been done all wrong so that was chucked.
Another children's new long stitch kit of a dog and the felt santa puppet have gone in the cupboard. Wool from the heart knitting is in the sewing box and the Aida and hoop from the penguin kit has been kept.
Tuesday, 9 June 2020
This is the UK nature writing long list
2020 Longlist for Nature Writing
13 books in the long list and out of these I've tried 2 but didn't
finish either. Several had popped up on my recommended for you amazon
list but there are two there that I hadn't come across at all. I've added several to my list to order when libraries get going again. One is on order waiting until it comes out in paperback - free with my Shop4all voucher and one I decided to buy straightaway as it sounded so good.
Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness
When Joe Harkness suffered a breakdown in 2013, he tried all the things his doctor recommended: medication helped, counselling was enlightening, and mindfulness grounded him. But nothing came close to nature, particularly birds
Dancing with Bees by Brigit Strawbridge Howard
Dancing with Bees is Brigit Strawbridge Howard’s eloquent, captivating account of her ‘return to noticing’ the natural world around her. With special attention to the plight of pollinators, Brigit shares her journey to rediscover nature; filled with fascinating details of the lives of flora and fauna that bring her ever-increasing wonder and delight.
Dark, Salt, Clear by Lamorna Ash
A captivating portrait of life in the Cornish town of Newlyn, the largest working fishing port in Britain, from a strikingly original new voice. Dark, Salt, Clear is an evocative journey of personal discovery replete with the poetry and deep history of our fishing communities.Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty
Diary of a Young Naturalist chronicles the turning of 15-year-old Dara McAnulty’s world. From spring and through a year in his home patch in Northern Ireland, Dara spent the seasons writing. These vivid, evocative and moving diary entries about his connection to wildlife and the way he sees the world are raw in their telling
Native: Life in a Vanishing Landscape by Patrick Laurie
Galloway is a place forgotten – a vague, half-imagined corner of Scotland that has fallen off the map. Patrick Laurie returns to his homeland, to establish a herd of native cattle on the hills above the Solway Firth and encounters the final passing of an ancient rural heritage.
On the Red Hill by Mike Parker
On the Red Hill is the story of Rhiw Goch, ‘the Red Hill’, and its inhabitants, but also the story of a remarkable rural community and a legacy that extends far beyond bricks and mortar. It is a story that celebrates the turn of the year’s wheel, of ever-changing landscapes, and of the family found in the unlikeliest of places.
Rootbound by Alice Vincent
When she suddenly finds herself uprooted, heartbroken, living out of a suitcase and yearning for the comfort of home, Alice Vincent starts to plant seeds. She nurtures pot plants and vines on windowsills and draining boards, and with each unfurling petal and budding leaf, she begins to come back to life.
Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie
In her luminous new essay collection, Kathleen Jamie visits archaeological sites – a Yup’ik village at the edge of the Bering Sea, the shifting sand dunes of an Orkney island – and mines her own memories and family history, to explore what surfaces and what reconnects us to our past.
The Frayed Atlantic Edge by David Gange
In one brilliant adventure over the course of a year, David Gange kayaked the coasts of Atlantic Britain and Ireland, every inlet and every island. This book tells that story, and gives a social history of our coasts which for centuries were vital hubs for communication and trade but can often now be neglected.
The Well Gardened Mind by Sue Stuart-Smith
How can working with nature help us to cultivate our mental health? In a powerful combination of neuroscience, psychology and brilliant anecdotes, this book uncovers the enormous value of gardening and getting outdoors from prison rehabilitation programmes to PTSD recovery to the benefits for the everyday gardener.
Wanderland by Jini Reddy
Wanderland is about Jini’s journey to connect with the magical ‘other’ the landscape in Britain, to develop a more spiritual, intimate and reciprocal relationship with nature. It has a timely eco-spiritual edge and is a blend of memoir and nature writing which touches on themes of well-being, identity and belonging.
Wild Child by Patrick Barkham
From climbing trees and making dens, to building sandcastles and pond-dipping, many of the activities we associate with a happy childhood take place outdoors. And yet, the reality for many contemporary children is very different.
Wintering by Katherine May
Wintering is a poignant and comforting meditation on the fallow periods of life, times when we must retreat to care for and repair ourselves. Katherine May thoughtfully shows us how to come through these times with the wisdom of knowing that, like the seasons, our winters and summers are the ebb and flow of life.
Haven't read or even seen any of these.