Monday 30 November 2020

End of November Round-up

  Phew...........what an 'interesting' month.  I decided to move and within a week  the house was photographed and ready for selling and went live on Rightmove on the Thursday afternoon............the wonders of modern technology.
 I showed round 2 couples on the Friday, 4 on Saturday and 1 early Monday morning and later that morning the Estate Agent rang with offers. One family were ready to complete and move in as soon as solicitors could do the work, they had sold their house and were preparing to move in with parents until they found something suitable  and that's what they'll do until they can move in here. They offered the full amount which I accepted (and  they are  Suffolk people with young children and I hoped for a family for this house as it hasn't had one for a very long time)
In 40 + years of selling  and moving I've never had anything happen so quickly - it's good but seems much too easy...............makes me nervous! Although they've been for another look and still seemed keen.

And having decided against the new-build on a new estate I now need to find something to buy when almost nothing is for sale in any of the 4 villages I would like to live in........... could be a problem or maybe I'll rent and  be right ready to buy when something turns up. Although renting probably means going back into a town for a while.

No Spend November has ended, the lock-down certainly helped because I didn't go far and unlike the March-July lock down I didn't go  spending online either!

So how did it go?

1st.        No Spend
2nd        Food  £33 + Cat £6 +  Diesel £18 + Printer Paper £4.          = £61  
3rd         No Spend
4th        Swimming £2.25 + Birthday Gift for Youngest daughter
5th         No Spend 
6th        No Spend
7th          No Spend
8th         No Spend
9th        No spend
10th       Food £18 + Cat £5 + Kitchen stuff £2.50 + Pharmacy £3.80  Christmas bits £3.50  = £32
11th        No Spend 
12th        Whoops forgot I'd pre-ordered a book published today from up the amazon £8
13th       No Spend
14th        Fruit, Veg and Yellow sticker pizzas + Flowers  £11
15th      The cat calming stuff for Polly which I have on a 3 times a year regular order £34
16th      No Spend
17th      No Spend
18th       No Spend
19th       No Spend
20th     No Spend
21st      Food  £26    Cat £3.75   Superdrug £1.50 = £32
22nd     No Spend
23rd     No Spend 
24th     Pensioners discount Fish and Chips £3.50.Diesel £24 = £27.50
25th      No Spend
26th      No Spend
27th      Online Xmas gift spending £13
28th     Fruit £2.50, Quarterly Electric Bill £94 (actual reading) much as last year.
29th      SWIMMING BOOKED FOR NEXT WEEK!!!!! £2.25
30th     Today will be a no spend..... as far as I know
 Add in Direct Debits for Council Tax, Phones, Car Breakdown Insurance,Charity Donations plus Birthday gift and Xmas presents. Making a total of  roughly just under £650   .......Not exactly a "No Spend" month but not bad.

December probable spending - A LOT - with the trees being cut down, chimney sweep,car insurance due. Christmas Gifts for children and their OH's and some Christmas food. But I solved the problem of what to buy BiL - we decided not to bother! He buys anything he needs himself anyway and I've got my 12   actually 7  Christmas treats for the 12  7 days of Christmas so we are both happy with that arrangement.


Still clearing out - now for a definite reason!

Lots of burnable bits - a box full of straw(?), hardboard etc- from the workshop went on the bonfire
A crate full of various containers of oil etc - BiL took them home to sort out for me
Lots of things including an out of date hard-hat ( yes Colin had one from somewhere that had a safety use by date on it) went into a heap ready for the tip-trip
Small bits of old electrical wires and switches into bin
Several books waiting for charity shops to open. 
Old sheets and duvet - once used for dust sheets - off to clothes/fabric bank at tip
Half the jam jars that I'd been keeping went off to bottle bank
Bundle of childrens Christmas books to youngest Granddaughter
Frugal Living tips are the same as every other month
Back Tomorrow


Saturday 28 November 2020

The 4th Saturday of November

Apologies for not having a lot of time for reading and commenting on other blogs this week the reason being that things have changed  since I last posted. The company building the new houses where I planned to move to don't yet have a sales office there, so I had to trek to the other side of Bury St Edmunds  to look at specifications and choose extras etc. And there was a hitch.....  the house I wanted at first had been reserved, other similar houses in the same road on the edge of the site turned out to have a row of large oak trees just over the boundary fence, and one  so big it was almost touching a house I could have chosen. Several of these trees had preservation orders on them and I realised the gardens would have no sun in summer because of the trees and in winter because of the shade of the houses .....not good. Plus the roots of the trees would take all the moisture from the garden all summer. And growing stuff in the garden is something I have to do for my sanity!
So now I'm urgently visiting everything else that's for sale, trying to find something without too much of a chain that I can get into before March to save moving twice.
I want to be in one of 4 villages - all of which I know but all have virtually nothing for sale........ Very Worrying.
My head is buzzing from spending too much time on-line studying floor plans and photos, too much time speaking to staff of Estate Agencies, too much time doing drive by viewings looking at where houses are actually situated and too much time trying to fill in the forms for selling! 
It's exhausting

Earlier this week Brother-in-Law came over to work outside cutting up the fallen tree branch and having a big bonfire. Meanwhile I've done lot's of sorting in the big workshop and garage and now  need Campsea Ash auction house to open in December so I can take some crates of workshop stuff and two old wooden ladders there.  There are several  containers and tins full of old nails, screws, bolts and other metal bits which I can't decide if they are worth taking to the scrap metal place or not, and  I've sorted more things for a tip run sometime.

And is it just  me? or does anyone else watch a trailer for a new programme and think................  Looks a load of rubbish. That's what I thought when I saw Michael McIntyre promoting his new quiz The Wheel. "I'm going to be the arrow" he said dramatically, lying down on a spinning turntable with screeching celebs on seats around the edge. No I WON'T be watching tonight.

And again is it just me? or does anyone else think all the reporting furore about the death of a footballer from Argentina to be completely over the top?

So just a few days of lock-down left ........thank goodness, but I really don't agree with Suffolk being in tier 2. There are still very  few cases and very few deaths. I think the majority of people will ignore some of the rules as they just appear too strict for what's actually happening on the ground and virtually impossible to comply with after all these months.


 This week I'm Grateful for

  • What seems to be an easy house sale even if I don't know where I'm going!
  • A Lovely gift of a book from a blog reader
  • Good news from one part of the family about a work situation
  • A Gift of an online advent calendar from a blogging friend - hope I can work out what to do with it!

Hope you all have a good weekend I expect to back Monday, stress permitting.......... but who knows!


Tuesday 24 November 2020

Thank You to a Lovely Blog Reader

 This arrived in the post  yesterday.

 Thanks to A. who asked if she could pass on my address to P.  a kind reader from Wales who wanted to send me her copy after I said the library waiting list had over 500 people on it..... I would have waited but it's a treat that I don't have to and I promise to pass it on to someone else. Thank you P  - I will write and thank you properly.

Which reminds me......Spoiler alert! My Advent photos 2020 are going to be Christmas books, some of which I'd like to also pass on to blog readers. More about that next month as I have to read them myself first!

On what would have been library day last week Andrew the library man rang just to remind me that they wouldn't be round. We had a discussion about it being a shame that there wasn't a way to get the books reserved by mobile library readers to a library building so we could pick them up. He said he had 400 books in crates stuck waiting until the mobile can start up again. That has been the only problem with being a mobile user as readers who use a library building are able to book a slot to collect their reservations. But I've plenty to read here so waiting isn't a problem.

And talking about Spoiler Alerts............ with no one being allowed into the studio the Strictly Spoiler website has lost it's 'mole'. As the whole world knows, the "Sunday" results programme is recorded after the Saturday live programme so up until this year it's been possible to look online on a Sunday morning and find out which two couples were in the dance off and who got voted off. But "mole-less" this week it was completely wrong! Whoops.

 And STOP PRESS - I accepted an offer on the house yesterday - which means it sold (subject to contract and all that jazz) within 4 days of going on the market! That's never happened before. The family buying have sold subject to contract to someone in rented accommodation but need to finalise here by end of March to catch the Stamp Duty Holiday and that means I'll need to rent for a few months (a holiday let maybe?) until the new build I want is available in May (Or April or June -  with a new build - who knows!) 

I'm taking a few days off  blogging to start sorting things out!


Monday 23 November 2020

St Clement's day 23rd November

St. Clement Gives the Winter
The direction of the wind at Midnight on St Clement's Day forecast the conditions that will prevail until Candlemas

 Clement of Rome was the 3rd Pope after St Peter. In the year 95 St Clement wrote a letter begging the Christians in Corinth to show mutual tolerance and love and to respect those set in authority. Peace must be the aim of all who follow Jesus, he said.
This is the page from my book A Calendar of Saints 

Of course one of the best known writings that gives St Clement a mention is the children's rhyme

Oranges and lemons, 
Say the bells of St. Clement’s.

You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s.

When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.

When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.

When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

 When I looked up the origins of this nursery rhyme I found the directions for the playground game. This is where two children form an arch and the rest go through until the "chop off your head" bit. But what I'd completely forgotten was that the two children in the arch secretly decide which of them is oranges and which is lemons and when someone has their head chopped off they whisper their choice of "oranges" or "lemons" and then stand behind whichever child in the arch. - Yes we did that - simple pleasures!

In another of my books "Cattern Cakes and Lace" by Julia Jones is this recipe..........

I have to say it does sound very good,
There's much more about St Clement on Wiki HERE
Back Tomorrow

Saturday 21 November 2020

Saturday in Week 36 of Strange Times

 Another week gone - surely we are getting to the end of this second lock down? How many days left?............. 9 I think.......Only 9 I hope but who knows and as for what's happening for Christmas, no one seems to agree on the way forward.

What have I done this week......................Not A Lot, apart from doing a good house clean and tidy ready for the House Photographs it's been a nothing sort of week (and apologies for not replying to all the comments yesterday about the house ad and St Edmund)

Although I did get one vegetable bed weeded so I suppose that's a plus and made half a dozen jars of lemon marmalade from a tin of the prepared lemons.
Haven't  mentioned  how I'm getting on with.................

(Direct Debits for Council Tax, Phones, Car Breakdown Insurance,Charity Donation Total £260)
1st.        No Spend
2nd        Food  £33 + Cat £6 +  Diesel £18 + Printer Paper £4.          = £61  
3rd         No Spend
4th        Swimming £2.25
5th         No Spend 
6th        No Spend
7th          No Spend
8th         No Spend
9th        No spend
10th       Food £18 + Cat £5 + Kitchen stuff £2.50 + Pharmacy £3.80 
               Christmas bits £3.50      = £32
11th        No Spend 
12th        Whoops forgot I'd pre-ordered a book published today from up the amazon £8.19
13th       No Spend
14th        Fruit, Veg and Yellow sticker pizzas + Flowers  £11
15th      The cat calming stuff for Polly which I have on a 3 times a year regular order £34
16th      No Spend
17th      No Spend
18th       No Spend
19th       No Spend
20th      No Spend

 I will be popping out today for fresh fruit and some frozen bits and I really must get on with ordering/buying some presents for the grandchildren that are not yet sorted. Already organised are hampers for the 2 sisters and Brothers in Law, small presents for penfriends. The 3 children and their OH's will get money. Just leaving BiL who is always a problem.  I'm not doing gifts for niece and nephews this year, who are all grown up with their own houses and earning more than me!........ (now there are 4 grandchildren something had to give). The plan for my 12 days of Christmas treats has ground to a halt at 7 as I can't think of anything else!
Oh, remembered another thing I've done, and that is to take a whole lot of photos for the Advent Photos 2020 posts. I'm planning something a bit different to the last 5 years. 

This week I'm grateful for
  • Good photographer who took some excellent house photos
  • Some dry days to get gardening done
  • Always something to watch on TV .......... tennis this week
  • Mild weather most of the  week - saving oil.

And finally isn't it brilliant to see Pat at Weaver of Grass home safe and sound and back blogging and also hello and welcome to some new followers.

 I will return on Monday - full of bright ideas for blog posts.................I'm lying about the bright ideas!


Friday 20 November 2020

November 20th St Edmund's Day

 Now this is the bloke who really should be Patron Saint of England! He has a far greater claim to English fame than St George.

In fact he actually was the first Patron Saint of England until 1348 when Edward III replaced him with St George.

 From my book "A Calendar of Saints"


(Everything in Italics is from website)

Born on Christmas Day 841 AD, Edmund succeeded to the throne of East Anglia in 856. Brought up as a Christian, he fought alongside King Alfred of Wessex against the pagan Viking and Norse invaders (the Great Heathen Army) until 869/70 when his forces were defeated and Edmund was captured by the Vikings. He was ordered to renounce his faith and share power with the pagan Vikings, but he refused

 I  wrote a bit about him  HERE  when I went to Bury St Edmunds



 And here at HOXNE CHURCH

  According to the 10th century account of the saint’s life by Abbo of Fleury, who quotes St Dunstan as his source, Edmund was then bound to a tree, shot through by arrows and beheaded. The date was 20th November. His decapitated head is said to have been reunited with its body with the help of a talking wolf who protected the head and then called out “Hic, Hic, Hic” (“Here, Here, Here”) to alert Edmund’s followers.


 In 2013 another campaign was launched to reinstate St Edmund as patron saint. This was the ‘St Edmund for England’ e-petition, backed by the Bury St Edmunds based brewery, Greene King.

This tongue-in-cheek yet serious campaign questioned whether St George, patron saint of 16 other countries, ever even visited England. It suggested he should be replaced by an Englishman, and who better than the Anglo-Saxon martyr-king St Edmund.

 Radio Suffolk also had a go at putting him forward for a "more English" English patron saint but still we are stuck with St George.


(House is online if you want a virtual nose round it should be HERE)

Back Tomorrow




Thursday 19 November 2020

Look What's Just Appeared...........

 .......................... Just half a mile from home! A Pill Box

 Something that was built to protect us from invasion through World War I or II  has been hidden for years beneath ivy and brambles. I've walked, cycled and driven past it umpteen times since living here but had no idea that what looked like a bit of overgrown hedge was hiding this little bit of history.

 You can imagine what a surprise it was to see it for the first time. I couldn't believe what I was seeing but someone has done lots of hedge, ivy and bramble cutting and  had a big bonfire to burn everything.

Wonder what will happen to it?

Back Tomorrow



Wednesday 18 November 2020

Ogham Tree Alphabet 12th Lunar Month

When I looked in The Ogham Tree Alphabet book to see what tree represented the 12 lunar month it turned out to be Wheatstraw! ............................. Where to find wheat straw in November?


The Wheat-straw Page from Karen Cater's book" Ogham Sketch Book"

When we traveled to visit friends in Essex we would pass a sign for Corncraft  and that's where I went a few weeks ago, before the latest lock-down. (Thank  goodness I went then and didn't wait until November!)

They had dozens of different corn-dollies from teeny to very large and this is the one I bought.


My Corn Dolly is now hanging on the dresser, looking very good.


Thanks again for comments about moving, I only found some yesterday. The next house will be the 11th house I've lived in in my 65 years from a C16 cottage to a New Build in 1975, Victorian  to 1700's, from small garden to 5 acres , bungalows and houses - I've seen them all! (not forgetting the caravan!) and no I don't have any worries about moving and yes I'll still be in Suffolk probably only 10 or so miles from where I am now. The benefit of a new build by a large house-building company is they have a NHBC warranty and a person in a sales office to moan at if things go wrong!! 

I was confused by one comment from MargaretP

"If you plan to have a nice garden, don't forget to include good access through fencing etc." ?? 
AKA a gate I presume!

House photos here have been taken and by the wonders of modern technology the house should be on the market by the weekend or Monday at the latest. The Estate agent said did I want a sign up outside and I said they needed to put up 2, one at the end of the lane on the road and one outside the house because when the property at the other end of the lane went up for sale with no For Sale signs no-one could find it and I had loads of people driving right up to my end of the lane looking completely lost.
Unfortunately yesterday was too windy for a drone photo to show the whole garden and meadow which would have been a good idea but never mind. 

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Any Ideas?

Thanks to everyone for comments yesterday. It was a sudden decision in the end but I know it's the right one which wouldn't have been the case a year ago.

 I was going through my few CDs and DVDs (to see if Ziffit would take any) which live in 2 of the 4 drawers of the chest of drawers/coffee table that the TV sits on and from the other 2 drawers  I pulled out  this wonderful collection of cables and electronic bits.

 No idea what most of them are for - except the charger for my old camera, so don't know if I should keep them or not.

What a tangle .............I'll probably just shove them all back in the drawers!

And the DVD's and CD's? ........well I only have about 2 dozen of each and Ziffit would only take 1 DVD and 3 CD's,  so I won't get rich from that sort out.

Back Tomorrow


Monday 16 November 2020

Making a Big Decision

I bought flowers on Saturday.....why? Because  tomorrow a man is coming to take photos of the house - Yes, I've decided to move! It suddenly seemed the right moment.

 I love living here, it's the best home ever,  but the worries of a old house with all the things that can go wrong, lots of grass to cut and a ride-on mower that keeps breaking down have made me decide it's better to go now than later.

My original plan was to stay until I was no longer able to drive but "Move while you can rather that when you have to" is a common Estate Agents mantra (well they would say that wouldn't they!) but it is a good idea. Less responsibilities of a new build is my plan and with so many people wanting to move to somewhere with land in the country due to the covid situation my home is now worth between £50,000 and £75,000 more than we paid for it, making it a really good time to move and houses around about are selling very quickly at the moment  and this house needs a family.

As long as there's room for a few vegetable beds and a small greenhouse in the new home I shall be happy but I don't plan to downsize house size too much - did that with the year in Ipswich and didn't like it.

I'll keep you posted on progress but our last two house moves (smallholding to Ipswich and Ipswich to here) each took 6 months! and that was without a who knows. Plus the houses I'm hoping to move to are not even built yet.


Anyway, back to the here and now..............

No spend November (with flowers!)

(Direct Debits for Council Tax, Phones, Car Breakdown Insurance,Charity Donation Total £260)

1st.        No Spend
2nd        Food  £33 + Cat £6 +  Diesel £18 + Printer Paper £4.          = £61  
3rd         No Spend
4th        Swimming £2.25
5th         No Spend 
6th        No Spend
7th          No Spend
8th         No Spend
9th        No spend
10th       Food £18 + Cat £5 + Kitchen stuff £2.50 + Pharmacy £3.80 
               Christmas bits £3.50      = £32
11th        No Spend 
12th        Whoops forgot I'd pre-ordered a book published today from up the amazon £8.19
13th       No Spend
14th        Fruit, Veg and Yellow sticker pizzas + Flowers  £11
15th      The cat calming stuff for Polly which I have on a 3 times a year regular order £34 

Halfway through November and all is well.

Back Tomorrow


Saturday 14 November 2020

Week 35 of Strange Times

Apologies......................... This post is just a whole lot of lists!!

 This was  Week 35 of Strange Times and 9 Days of our second lock-down have passed = 19 left until hopefully things are relaxed a bit.............getting through.

 First of a winter harvest this week - Brussels Sprouts and very nice they were too. They are from one of the four plants that I bought as part of a 16 plant  Brassica Collection from one of the seed companies.

I didn't get many heads from the 4 Calabrese plants and the 4 Cauliflower plants only produced a couple of small Cauli's but I've had two big cabbages and 2 still standing and out of the 4 Sprouts plants  2 have decent Brussels sprouts. Conclusion  = Probably not worth growing next year! Although it is so good to have fresh Brussels Sprouts. If they were available 'on the stalk' all winter rather than just at Christmas that's how I'd buy them.

And that reminds me...............what happened to my "Food Produced by One Old-ish Woman on Her Own" list?.................. Forgotten since 5th October.

All these are finished now

  • Lettuces
  • Rocket and small beetroot leaves as salad leaves
  • A few asparagus spears
  • Lots of rhubarb
  • A surprising amount of strawberries from 6 new plants and a few from the old bed.
  • 3lb of gooseberries
  • Lots of raspberries and 3lb put in the freezer
  • 2lb Redcurrants
  • Few mange-tout peas  - put in the freezer
  • Green beans  - some put in the freezer
  • 2 small calabrese heads.
  • 2 small cauliflowers 
  • Figs 
  • Courgettes
  • Aubergines
  • Cucumbers
  • Plums
  • Runner beans
  • Plenty of tomatoes from greenhouse
  • A few potatoes
  • Beetroot
  • Onions 
  • Cooking Apples (Some left in the freezer)
  •  Eating Apples
  • Few peppers left in the greenhouse (lots in the freezer)
  • Pears 
All I have left are
  • A few leeks
  • 2 Cabbages
  • A few Brussels sprouts 

Quite a successful year.


I enjoyed re-doing the 30 ways to save £1 posts from 2013 and seeing if they were still relevant and thanks to everyone who commented. The reason for pinching pennies in some places is so that I can spend on more interesting things. This year I'm not buying an Advent calendar, an expensive diary or the Almanac book and that's freed up some money to use for my 12 days of Christmas Treats to cheer up the days alone after Christmas and I've already stashed a few things in the cupboard. It might seem a bit self-indulgent and it took me a while to "allow" myself to spend this way but it seemed a good idea this year when everything is so weird. 

No spend November is still ongoing

(Direct Debits for Council Tax, Phones, Car Breakdown Insurance,Charity Donation Total £260)

1st.        No Spend
2nd        Food  £33 + Cat £6 +  Diesel £18 + Printer Paper £4.          = £61  
3rd         No Spend
4th        Swimming £2.25
5th         No Spend 
6th        No Spend
7th          No Spend
8th         No Spend
9th        No spend
10th       Food £18 + Cat £5 + Kitchen stuff £2.50 + Pharmacy £3.80 
               Christmas bits £3.50      = £32
11th        No Spend 
12th      Whoops forgot I'd pre-ordered a book published today from up the amazon £8.19
13th       No Spend

 This week I'm Grateful for

  • Sorting out the Ride on mower when it stopped working -again
  • Making an important decision

Have a good weekend, I shall be back Monday


Friday 13 November 2020

Feed 4 people for 5 Days = Feed One Person for 20 days?

This isn't an ad for Morrisons and they aren't paying me - sadly! It is just a post filler on an otherwise blank Friday. All photos from their website.

 I don't do online food shopping and had  forgotten about  the Morrisons boxes that they started doing during the first  lockdown until someone mentioned their High Tea box so I had a look and found this one...............................

5 Meals to Feed a Family of 4 Box

 The Family  Main Meal Box 
What's in the box?

"Your box will include the items listed below, or comparable products of the same value"

Morrisons Spaghetti 500g

Morrisons Market St British Beef 12% Fat 500g x 2

Morrisons Garlic Net 2 per pack

Morrisons Wonky Carrots 1kg

Morrisons Brown Onions 1kg

Morrisons Vegetable Stock Pots 4 x 28g

Morrisons Passata Sieved Tomatoes 500g

Morrisons Flat Parsley 100g

Morrisons Fusilli 500g

Morrisons Italian Mozzarella 125g

Morrisons Baby Plum Tomatoes 250g

Morrisons Trimmed Leeks 500g

Morrisons Chestnut Mushrooms 250g

Morrisons Maris Piper Potatoes 2.5kg

Morrisons For Farmers Mature Cheddar 350g

Morrisons Red Kidney Beans 390g

Hot Chilli Powder 10g

Morrisons Mixed Peppers 3 per pack

KTC Chopped Tomatoes 400g

Morrisons The Best Pork Chipolatas 12 Pack 375g

Morrisons Fresh Thyme 20g

Morrisons Courgettes 3 pack 240

It has everything needed to prepare 5 Main meals for 4 people , so in theory 20 main meals for 1 person.

If I bought this and made the recipes,divided and portioned to freeze I wouldn't have to cook for nearly a month! The recipes are

Spaghetti Bolognese


Vegetable Pasta Bake


Rosti-Topped Cottage Pie


Sausage Tray Bake


  Veggie Chilli with Wedges


But I'd need a couple of variations - I don't like freezing meat based meals for re-heating so would use Quorn and I can't eat red kidney beans and I don't have 20 containers to use for freezing!

Will I be doing this? Well, never say no, but I doubt it.

Neither will I buy the Afternoon Tea Box which I reckon is spoiled by the ordinary bread

Afternoon Tea Box

 As is the Festive Afternoon Tea Box

Festive Afternoon Tea Box


The only people who get interesting bread are Vegans - who I think get the nicest box of the lot!

Vegan Essentials Box 

Won't be sending for this one either......................Sue-In-Lancs has already done it!

 Back Tomorrow

Thursday 12 November 2020

Old Pubs and Old Forges

 I biked the six mile loop again and took the camera to capture some of the old houses and buildings that were once pubs or forges.

Once a forge, now just a building used for storage. This part of the village is called Blacksmiths Green.


This house below was once a pub, right up to the 1970s. Colin could remember going there in his teens.

It was called The White Horse but known by everyone as The Cat and Mouse. A Pub with no bar, the landlady would fetch the beer from a barrel in the back room

 A House with attached building called The Old Forge

This House below is called The Trowel and Hammer. Once a pub but closed even before the Cat and Mouse.

Below and a couple of miles away from the house above is a pair of cottages , called Old Trowel Cottages. This was a pub way, way back in history.


And finally in the oldest bit of the village, close to the church is another house called The Old Forge.

Somewhere in this bit of the village there would have been another pub and I wasn't sure exactly which house it was. But after looking in the book about the village that was put together several years ago and then added to in the 1980's it seems the house above was a pub and still has a cellar but was later renamed the Old Forge. 

(Direct Debits for Council Tax, Phones, Car Breakdown Insurance,Charity Donation Total £260)

1st.        No Spend
2nd        Food  £33 + Cat £6 +  Diesel £18 + Printer Paper £4.          = £61  
3rd         No Spend
4th        Swimming £2.25
5th         No Spend 
6th        No Spend
7th          No Spend
8th         No Spend
9th        No spend
10th       Food £18 + Cat £5 + Kitchen stuff £2.50 + Pharmacy £3.80 
               Christmas bits £3.50      = £32
11th        No Spend
Back Tomorrow


(And if you were watching Antiques Road Trip yesterday afternoon you should have picked up a clue to where I went a few weeks ago and the mystery thing I bought which represents a letter in the Ogham Tree Alphabet.......................I'll write about it one day next week.)

Wednesday 11 November 2020

The Wild Silence By Raynor Winn

 I loved her first book " The Salt Path" - which tells the story of their walk around the South West Coastal path after being made homeless,penniless and with her husbands diagnoses of a terminal illness hanging over them.

This is her second book and is the story of how she came to write the first book, how her husband finds ways to fight  disease, their new home thanks to a kind reader and a trek through Iceland.

It was a bit of a struggle to read this, not because it's hard going but because of connections to my life.

Firstly of course is the diagnoses of terminal illness - a different illness to Colin but just as devastating . Treatable but not curable we were told - sadly they didn't say that treatment rarely works for very long. Ray's husband Moth is still fighting but my Colin died after just 2½ years.

 And then the book starts with the death of Ray's mother and Ray having to spend a couple of weeks with her mother in hospital and having to decide when to stop treatment. It was a bit too close to May 2018 and I remember all too well sitting with Colin and trying to sleep on a fold out bed beside him as his breathing got worse and knowing he couldn't hear me talking to him anymore.

 Then another but nicer connection when Ray is asked by "A small publishing company" to write the introduction to a book being reprinted. I knew straight away the company were Little Toller Books   
and I knew well the book she too knew well from her youth. Copsford by  Walter Murray

I wrote about it here  in July 2019. As a young man Murray, desperate to get out of the city, spent 10 months living in a semi-derelict cottage in the middle of nowhere, harvesting and  drying wild plants which back then (just after WWI) were sold to companies to produce medicines.

I'm now  re-reading  Copsford as it's many years since I last read it.

(Direct Debits for Council Tax, Phones, Car Breakdown Insurance,Charity Donation Total £260)
1st.        No Spend
2nd        Food  £33 + Cat £6 +  Diesel £18 + Printer Paper £4.          = £61  
3rd         No Spend
4th        Swimming £2.25
5th         No Spend 
6th        No Spend
7th          No Spend
8th         No Spend
9th        No spend
10th       Food £18 + Cat £5 + Kitchen stuff £2.50 + Pharmacy £3.80 
               Christmas bits £3.50      = £32

Back Tomorrow


Tuesday 10 November 2020

30 ways to save £1 Revisited (part 6) and No Spend November

 Yesterday was a  Foggy Monday morning, the sun was probably up there somewhere but wasn't seen until noon, and even then it was only half-hearted sunshine which disappeared two hours later.
 The fruit for my Christmas cake had been soaking for 3 days so it was time to get it made. Half the Victorian Christmas cake recipe that's on the separate recipe page  makes a 6 inch cake. After Christmas I'll finish it by eating  slices with an apple and a piece of cheese....delicious. Not sure about bothering with marzipan or icing this year. If I buy a pack of both there will be some left over after doing such a small cake. Maybe I can find small packs? Not going to make my own.


 The last of the list from 2013

 26. Make you own bread everyone is doing it - it's easy and much cheaper.
         This is something I've done on and off since the famous strikes in 1976 or 7,  when there was no bread in the shops and we had to eat cream-crackers instead. I'm making most of my bread again since getting the bread-maker, just keeping bread rolls and a loaf of sliced in the freezer just-in-case.  As a bag of flour(making 3 loaves) is a lot cheaper than one decent loaf of bread it has to be a good penny saver.

27. Do you REALLY need to buy a book straight away - wait for paperback version or buy secondhand later or use your Library.
                Thank goodness for libraries is what I say, with their free borrowing and free reservations, must have saved me £1,000s over the last 40 years.
28. Eat less meat- start by swapping one meal a week to veggie things then 2 or 3 a week.
         How things have changed in the last 7 years - now so many more people are vegetarian than there were back then, with so many options available to buy, and veggie and vegan recipe books abounding.
29. Chutney is easy to make, the ingredients can be cheap and men like jars of chutney for Christmas presents.
       Still a good penny saver - My Christmas hampers this year have 4 jars of various chutneys in them.
30.Drive wisely - accelerate and brake slowly and don't carry more weight than you have to, take off the roof rack.
       Still useful to do even though we all all driving less through Covid!. 
I wonder how relevant these 30 tips will be in 7 years time?

(Direct Debits for Council Tax, Phones, Car Breakdown Insurance,Charity Donation Total £260)

1st.        No Spend
2nd        Food  £33 + Cat £6 +  Diesel £18 + Printer Paper £4.          = £61  
3rd         No Spend
4th        Swimming £2.25
5th         No Spend 
6th        No Spend
7th          No Spend
8th         No Spend
9th        No spend
Today won't be no spend as I need to shop for fresh fruit and veg and a few other things that got forgotten on the 2nd. 

Back Tomorrow

Monday 9 November 2020

30 ways to save £1 Revisited (Part 5) and No Spend November

A sunny Saturday and a four mile bike ride - just up and down the quiet roads. My next door neighbour was weeding out in the lane opposite her house when I left home and I stopped to talk to her .She said "Do you realise we are OK to meet and talk out here in the lane but if we moved six feet over into the garden it wouldn't be allowed" and we both agreed the whole thing was crazy!.

A late Autumn sunset on Saturday afternoon

  I had been watching a soppy Christmas film on Saturday afternoon  and at the end turned over to the BBC news channel just in time to hear that the election result  in the USA had been called - phew, although  lawyers were being sent out here there and everywhere to look for the "illegal/fake" votes. Hope the handover is peaceful for the sake of  all my American readers, but I fear it may not be.

On Sunday I was invited to lunch with my bubble - and that's something that would have made no sense a few months ago! (and maybe makes no sense to anyone outside of England - but single people are allowed to meet up with one group of other people as long as the total isn't more than 6. My bubble is the closest part of my family).

We walked round their village after a roast dinner. The old soldiers were out on the green again for Remembrance Sunday.
New houses are scheduled for building in 3 places round the village, doubling the size of it. The Primary school has no room to expand and there is no doctor in the village, but all those new people will keep the bakery, Co-op, Indian Restaurant, pub and Post Office going.

Old Street will remain, however many new houses are built.

That was the weekend.

 A new week and another 5 ways to save pennies or £s ....are they still relevant 7 years on from the original blog post?

21. Every time you come home put any 5p's you have into a jar. They are so small and get lost easily, you won't miss them from your purse and they will soon turn into a pound.
               I still do this, but there will be fewer this year due to paying by contact-less through Covid, it's also not as much fun as it was because I used to trot into the bank and swap my 5ps for notes to buy Christmas food but now to stop fraud, money has to be paid into an account...... Why they think that someone coming in with a fivers worth of 5ps might be laundering stolen money I have no idea!!

22.Read your local and national papers in the library or persuade a friend or neighbour to save them for you.
       Lots are online via the library now too.  Here's a  VERY annoying thing  -  Suffolk libraries are staying open through this latest lockdown for people to collect their reserved books or a random selection picked by staff  BUT mobile libraries are stopped!!! I wonder if I can get my reserved books sent to a branch for me to collect?

23. Never buy notebooks for phone messages or shopping lists. Cut up cereal packets or similar into neat squares and keep them in a little box in the kitchen or by the phone.
         This is easy to do. I keep a bundle of cut up card in the dresser draw to use for shopping lists and 'to do' lists and never buy a notebook

24. Grow something to eat - even one tomato plant in a pot can produce more than a pounds worth of tomatoes.
            Grow-your-own saves me a lot of money
25. Never use 1st class post - get organised and post early with second class stamp.
            Another penny saver that still works seven years on. 

 (Direct Debits for Council Tax, Phones, Car Breakdown Insurance,Charity Donation Total £260)
1st.        No Spend
2nd        Food  £33 + Cat £6 +  Diesel £18 + Printer Paper £4.          = £61  
3rd         No Spend
4th        Swimming £2.25
5th         No Spend 
6th        No Spend
7th         No Spend
8th        No Spend
Someone asked "Why  No Spend November?". It's been around in blogland for as long as I can remember and was a way to save some money for Christmas. All these various challenges are a very popular way to fill blog posts! I don't take it too seriously and wouldn't worry if there was suddenly something needed to spend on after all but  if I was to leave all Christmas present shopping until December I'd be panicking so that's exempt for me.

Back Tomorrow


Saturday 7 November 2020

1st Saturday of November - Week 34 of Strange Times

Sheep grazing ....................A very unusual sight for this part of Suffolk. Farming here is all arable, wheat, barley, oil seed rape and sugar-beet. Occasionally there might be field beans, maize or linseed but never sheep.....but here they are just up the road. Fenced in with electrified wire strands and grazing on a field of  I don't know what.
They look like the Suffolk breed and obviously less prone to escaping than some of the sheep we kept in the past.

I went back on my bike for a closer look at what was growing and still couldn't work it out. There is grass but something else has been sown , very annoying that I don't know what it is!

After two days of lock-down I've settled into it,  although more or less run out of library books already. To get the ones I'd read and those I didn't want to finish out of the way I shoved them through the return letter box at Eye library on my way back from swimming. So it will be back to reading from my shelves for 7 weeks until the mobile is round again.

Obviously the way to get through the next 3 and a half weeks is to write 'A List of Things To Do While Locked Down..........'

  • Cross stitch something Christmassy
  • Watch the two DVDs I picked up from a charity shop last month (didn't write about them at the time as I was going to do a review when I'd watched them to fill a blog post)
  • Write a letter to my penfriend who I should have written to about 3 months ago (Sorry W)
  • Knit some dishcloths until I've used all the dishcloth cotton
  • Ask for ideas for Christmas presents for two youngest grandchildren and oldest granddaughter (Oldest Grandson already sorted) and get things ordered.
  • Actually get round to sorting out the soil in the Camellia pot and the old strawberry plants
  • Sort out more craft stuff and put aside for charity shop reopening
  • Chop Kindling wood as and when I need some more
  • See what else there is to sort in the workshop.


 No spend November

(Direct Debits for Council Tax, Phones, Car Breakdown Insurance,Charity Donation Total £260)

1st.        No Spend
2nd        Food  £33 + Cat £6 +  Diesel £18 + Printer Paper £4.          = £61  
3rd         No Spend
4th        Swimming £2.25
5th         No Spend 
6th        No Spend

And finally GOOD NEWS. I went and had another go at the compressor which lives out in the workshop, switched on at the mains and it made it's usual charging up noise (which it didn't do on Wednesday)......just for a few seconds and then switched off. Oh! thought I......... must be something there after all. So I fiddled with the plug connection and by keeping my foot on the compressor plug where it's plugged into the extension lead - hooray - it charged itself up. So I haven't got to buy a bike pump/car pump after all.

As requested............... here is the recipe for the CHOCOLATE CAPPUCCINO SQUARES from yesterdays post.

Grease and line a square 8 inch cake tin. Preheat oven to Gas 4/180C/160C fan oven.

1 tablespoon coffee  concentrate (I use instant coffee dissolved in a teeny bit of boiling water)
2 tsp cocoa powder
5oz butter at room temperature  softened by beating a little
5oz caster sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
5oz SR Flour plus 1tsp baking powder.

  1. Beat everything together until well blended but don't over-beat.
  2. Spoon the mixture into the tin, smooth the top. 
  3. Bake for 35-40 minutes until firm to touch on top.
  4. Cool for 10 mins then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely

For the topping melt 2 oz chocolate in a bowl over pan of simmering water with 1oz butter and 1 tablespoon milk. Remove from heat . Sieve in 3oz icing sugar and spread over the cake. Cut into 8 bars or 16 squares.

This week I'm Grateful for

  • Getting through a bad patch
  • Strictly Come Dancing able to carry on
  • Books on my shelves
  • Some sunny days this week 


Have a good weekend. I'll be back Monday


Friday 6 November 2020

30 ways to save £1 part 4 and No Spend November

Yesterday was fine and sunny to start with but a bit misty later, then sunny again but no wind so  a load of washing hung limp on the line before I brought it in to drape over the clothes horse. My clothes horse is plastic coated metal and held together by string where the clips are broken but whenever I open it I remember the old wooden one we had years ago......... It was always turned into a children's tent in the summer.

I'm still trying to resign myself to this new lock-down so made cake!
Chocolate Cappuccino squares - from the WI Cakes cookery book. I often make these and they used to sell well at the Country market. 16 squares = 16 days of cake.

Still having internet  connection problems sometimes. Telling me to log on, not recognising my sign in or password then I find I can still get onto internet anyway - all very weird

So once again I'm saying that if I disappear that will be why! Hope it doesn't happen

So far this month

(Direct Debits for Council Tax, Phones, Car Breakdown Insurance,Charity Donation Total £260)

1st.        No Spend
2nd        Food  £33 + Cat £6 +  Diesel £18 + Printer Paper £4.          = £61  
3rd         No Spend
4th        Swimming £2.25
5th         No Spend


More from the 30 ways to save £1 list from April 2013

16. Poundland and 99p shops are sometimes very good value but not always so know the prices of the things you buy - keep a little price book in your bag. 
       This is still true but probably now that Poundland etc have been around so long we probably know which items are best value without needing a price book.

17. Make Xmas gift tags from old xmas cards or cut an 2 inches off the end of wrapping paper, stick on a piece of card and cut out to make matching gift tags.
         I still do this with my Christmas cards after Christmas every year
18. Borrow recipe books from the library and see how many recipes you will actually use before buying the book.
           I'm sure the library has all the recipe books that are published ....and that's a lot, especially at this time of year. Free to borrow, cheap to photo-copy a page. A year later almost every recipe book there is appears in the charity shops!

19. Tip bottles up-side down and leave to drain to get the last bit  of things out.
         This still works obviously and I try to buy sauce and mayo in glass rather than plastic where ever I can. 
20. Cut the end off tubes of toothpaste and creams etc. to get to the last bit.
           This used to be a dangerous process when the edge of the cut off bit was often metal and sharp.    Now tubes tend to be plastic, easier to squeeze to get every last bit out.

So to Friday, another day at home alone, seeing no-one and speaking to no one. Ho Hum

Thursday 5 November 2020

No Spend November + 30 ways to save £1 part 3

So here we go again..................locked down from midnight. I got through the depression that set in after the announcement . 4 weeks doesn't sound long after getting through 4 months and there is all the 'fun' of what's happening over the pond  for entertainment!

 A cold start yesterday morning, the first frost of the season - I think it's time to start putting the car in the garage again................

 How does nature make these wonderful patterns on the car windscreen? Half an hour later it had gone as the day turned sunny - wonderful after several gloomy days.

Determined to have one final swim before lock-down (even though it broke the no spend November thing!) I booked a slot yesterday lunch time. The busiest it's been with the new system - 5 people in the slow half and 4 in the faster half. But I managed a good 35 minutes. 

Before going swimming I spent a while trying to find out why the compressor (for pumping up tyres) wasn't working. Tried a different extension lead and replacing the fuse in the plug. No Luck - Bother. Now I've no way to pump up car or bike and the bike needs pumping up quite a lot. This is one problem I can't solve on my own.

No Spend November 

1st.        No Spend
2nd        Food  £33 + Cat £6 +  Diesel £18 + Printer Paper £4.          = £61  
3rd         No Spend
4th        Swimming £2.25


More from the 30 Ways to Save £1 list revisited from 2013

 11.Invest in a flask and take tea or coffee with you on days out.
           This must have saved us a fortune over the years. We even used to take a flask to Addenbrookes hospital in those last months of Colin's treatment. It must have looked a bit strange sitting in the waiting room pouring out a flask and opening the sandwich box but the alternative was a very expensive coffee from the adjacent WRVS snack shop or a grotty coffee from a machine.

12 Don't waste money on bottled water- stand a bottle of water in the fridge and take it with you next day.
       Thank goodness I've always lived in places where the tap water is very good to drink. I used to be horrified when emptying the bins on the campsite at the number of plastic bottles once holding expensive fancy water. If we weren't taking a flask with us we always took a bottle of tap water everywhere anyway.
13. If you need more than 2 regular prescriptions a month always buy a NHS prepayment card.
             I guess the pre-paid NHS discount prescription cards are still available? Now I'm over 60 I don't pay anything so don't know. I know it was a huge saving years ago. 

14. Find out about free events at local museums or NT free open weekend vouchers etc.
            Well, this would be a good one anytime except for now! when everywhere is closed due to the virus.

15. If you have an answerphone set it on the longest number of rings so you get there in time to answer and don't need to phone people back.
          I suppose some business people still have answerphones? We had one for the campsite where this tip was useful - saved me ringing back to people all round the country trying to book a pitch. Not needed so much now with the prevalence of mobile phones and text messaging.

5 more tips from the past tomorrow