Thursday 30 September 2021

Back To Thrifty - The Ins, Outs and Frugal Bits

Back to my last day of the month thrifty posts..........
The huge expenses of moving are over, I've restocked my cupboards and emergency supplies (Bread flour, yeast, peanut butter, tins of pineapple and coffee!), car boot sales will be slowing down and I need to get back to thrifty, to live on my income and stop using the money from savings and from down-sizing.
My income is now 2 pensions - my state pension plus the County Council spouses pension (now being taxed!) and some bits of interest from savings bonds. I looked to see what average income is for a pensioner and came across the figure of £18,000. Well, my income is well below this so maybe some savings will be needed and anyway the very reason I never had a private pension is because we knew we had a house that could be sold and we could downsize.

One spend this month  I was really pleased about was a new winter coat. I've been looking for something warm and waterproof  with a hood for a couple of years, searching charity shops with no luck and the ones in shops were either those huge puffy jackets (I'm puffy enough already!) or had weird mock fur round the hood (nasty) or the sleeves were so narrow that there was no room for anything underneath. Then I called in at the big Asda in Ipswich after the  dentist and £36 later I had waterproof with a hood in blue - perfect.

Other spendy bits were Phones and Broadband bills, 2 lots of diesel (I filled up when I went shopping on the Tuesday before the  country went into panic mode), a birthday gift, Ecover for the washing machine. A couple of plants for the garden and some crocus bulbs -all from boot-sales. The window cleaner turned up and the regular 4 weekly electric bill (which is driving me nuts as no sooner do I get a text message from Scottish Power asking for a meter reading and pay it then 4 weeks is round again!). Batteries for my torch (jolly expensive now),a couple of second-hand books and food - obviously!

These are the thrifty bits I thought of

  • Picked the right days to do washing - so avoiding using the tumble drier all month
  • Dried Bay Leaves from my Bay tree
  • Made 4 jars jam using Strawberries from BiL and gooseberries from a car boot sale earlier in the year. 2 are for the hampers.
  • Washed hair before going just up the road to have it cut which saves me £4
  • Runner beans from the garden
  • Yellow and Red Peppers from the greenhouse
  • Made two candles for the Christmas Hampers
  • Made Wild Fruit syrup from hedgerow fruits for winter and the hampers
  • Made Marmalade for winter and Christmas hampers
  • £56 income from selling unwanted stuff in village yard sale
  • Library books for free
  • One pensioners Fish and Chip meal (£3.50 instead of £6)
  • Free coffee and cheese scones at the village Monday coffee mornings (instead of breakfast😇)
  • I'm still catching cold water in a jug before the hot arrives and using it for watering the pots under the front porch and the new bits planted in the front garden
  • Also still mixing whole milk half and half with water.
  • Couple of cucumbers and courgettes from BiL's garden

and I finally found something to put everything in for the Christmas Hampers from yesterday's car boot sale. I called in on my way to shopping - it was very chilly, damp underfoot and hardly anyone selling

so I was pleased to pick up these for £1.50 each. Nothing else bought.

In October there are more birthdays and a probable trip to see the new baby after it arrives which will involve a stay in holiday let or similar plus diesel, electric, phones and food of course. Hopefully not much else.

Back Tomorrow


Wednesday 29 September 2021

Suffolk Fourses Cake plus Marmalade

 When I was looking through my books for the 1st September folklore post I came across the recipe for Suffolk Fourses Cake. Not something that was a regular for baking in my Suffolk kitchen - because I'd never heard of it except in this book.

Although Fourses is a Suffolk word I knew............ it's  the afternoon version of Elevenses I thought I'd better set to and make this. It's from the recipe in the book Cattern Cakes and Lace.

"A traditional lardy bread, served to Suffolk harvesters in the afternoons with sweetened beer. Rich and full of calories, they were welcome after back-breaking toil"

(How real the corn looks - but it's just a photo in the book! Cattern Cakes and Lace by Julia Jones and Barbara Deer Published in 1987)

 I used half the recipe. It's a cross between bread and cake and I think it should have risen a bit more. I'm eating my way through it - spread with butter. Very solid and filling! would have been perfect for farm-workers.

Time to cook up another batch of Marmalade. This time I used a tin of prepared oranges and a tin of  pineapple in juice which is an idea from the WI book of preserves.
2 for the hampers and the rest tucked away for winter. With the closure of the Lakeland Ipswich shop there's now nowhere to easily and cheaply buy the tins of prepared lemons for marmalade, which is a shame........ so it will be variations on orange from now and grapefruit, orange and ginger, orange and whisky as well as the pineapple and orange on it's own of course.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Sitting Outside All Day Is..........................

.................. Hard Work!

There was fine and warm weather for the village yard sales on Sunday, so well before the advertised start time of 10am I had set up my stall out the front. I was glad I'd got it sorted early because people stopped to look and I'd already sold a rug and the old kick stool by the time I remembered to get my camera for this photo.
Even got rid of old tools from Colin's workshop, they've already moved house three times! - luckily most sold for a few £.

By 2pm it didn't seem likely that anyone else would be round so I packed up. The chair and shelves didn't sell and went back in the garage, one box-full of small things went straight into the car ready for a charity shop. I also put some things in the car to take to BiL who can burn them.

My next door neighbour had a stall too with a ton of children's toys from her two who are 10 and 7 but I  was very good and didn't look too hard and it was good to chat to her as she and her husband are always so busy. I also spoke to someone who I'd last seen in 1978!

And  it was worth  hauling everything out of the garage because I got rid of quite a lot of unwanted bits and pieces and ended up with £56. 

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Monday 27 September 2021

What Job Does Your Daddy do?

If you ask Youngest Granddaughter this question her answer is he digs in muddy holes in the ground!

 On  Friday we went down to Clare on the Essex/Suffolk border to see the "muddy holes in the ground" which son is in charge off. It's a community thing, lasting for 3 weeks and this is the 3rd and final year of funding.


All that is left of Clare Castle on the top of the Motte
We walked all the way up to see the remains

The dig is looking to map the extant of what was the cemetery of Clare Priory.

 From the top of the Motte there's a good view of the excavations. The building on the right is an old engine shed. Once a small branch railway ran through here, which has confused the archaeology  and probably destroyed quite a lot of stuff.
Lots of bits found, they have volunteers digging and washing everything as it comes out of the ground.

This little piece of medieval glass is one of the best finds

 A view over the roof tops of the small old town of Clare from the top of the Motte.

I visited this church (one of the 100) when we went down to see the dig two years ago.

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Saturday 25 September 2021

Last Saturday in September

It's been a fun news week - NOT!  and even though I rarely watch much news on TV - all I've heard this week are warnings ........................  

Not enough turkeys for Christmas  }
Shortage of fresh pre-packed meat  }                } these all due to a shortage of CO2
Shortage of bagged salads              }  
No toys on the shelves for Christmas
Not enough gas to supply everyone for winter 
Electric and gas prices shooting up
People waiting 8 hours for an ambulance

 And then  the fuel thing - NOT a shortage of diesel or petrol, just slow deliveries due to shortage of lorry drivers. If people just carried on filling up as usual there wouldn't be a problem but Media Hype means that when I went out with DiL and the grandchildren yesterday and we needed fuel to get where we were going, the queues were crazy.  Sainsbugs had run out of diesel and at the next garage DiL put in ¾ tank full before that too ran out.

It's official......................the world has gone mad. Do you know what I'm going to do next week?...............................Stay at home and read all those library books on yesterday's post!



 The October Parish Magazine has landed through the letter box this week and with things re-starting I've discovered this is a village of Coffee mornings....................

Every Monday there's one in the Old School room - all for free!
Tuesday mornings every week - in the Church - donations for the church
Then on the First Saturday of the month  coffee morning and lunches as well- in the Old School Room again, not sure who that's raising money for.
The Rural Coffee Caravan calls on the first Friday of the month - they bring information as well as coffee for free but you have to take your own chair and mug (bit chilly outside)
Then there's an extra one on the first Saturday in October which is a fund-raiser for animal charity.

  Here's  a small glimpse at where we were going when  we needed to fill up with diesel ....... all the way to the Suffolk /Essex border.

Just as two years ago Son, the archaeologist, was in charge of the volunteers and digging at this site.
More about this on Monday 

Today Youngest Daughter was going to visit but she daren't as she couldn't get any fuel for her car in Leiston. She said the queues were down the road all day! I have to go for a flu jab this morning and annoyingly they're not doing them at the doctors in the village due to building work so I have to go to the other surgery.
Then there's the village yard sales tomorrow, I shall haul my junk  out of the garage and see if I can make a few pennies. 

I'll leave you with photos of youngest granddaughter,
"Take a photo of me posing Nanna" she said. "Posing?" I said "Yes" she said "like this". 3½ going on 13!!

Whatever you are doing this weekend I hope you don't run out of petrol! Have a good weekend.
Back Monday


Friday 24 September 2021

Library Book Photo for September

I didn't get on too well with my August library book haul but this heap picked up yesterday looks really good. As usual they are all books I'd tracked down and ordered online and there seems to be rather a lot!


Plenty of crime fiction this month including 2 British Library Crime Classics and others by Anne Perry, Anne Granger, Kate Ellis and Donna Leon. There are several  non-fiction namely 'Open House' by Jane Christmas, 'The Comfort Book' by Matt Haig, 'A Sparrow's Life as Sweet as Ours' by Carry Ackroyd, 'The Wood' by John Lewis Stempel, 'Mail Obsession' by Mark Mason, 'Under the Stars ' by Matt Gaw and something reprinted from the 40's - 'Where Stands a Winged Sentry' by Margaret Kennedy. There's one author - Jessie Greengrass - I don't know at all so not sure where I came across her details.

This lot should keep me busy for more than 4 weeks I think.

The library books I read last month are on the Books Read 2021 page and I also read one of my own books - bought during lockdown  - Rory Clements-' A Prince and a Spy' which was brilliant and I'm now loving 'A Place in the Woods' by Helen Hoover ... another purchase after reading about it on Mikis blog 'Farm's on my Bookshelf'.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 23 September 2021

Singing Jerusalem

 In the 80's when I was a member of Bacton WI we always used to sing Jerusalem at the beginning of meetings and God Save the Queen at the end. When I went back 4 years ago they'd stopped and neither did we sing at the small WI I joined. So it was lovely to go to my own village WI this month and find they still sing both and it was 'allowed' again.

This months meeting was back to normal with a speaker - or actually two, they were Community Engagement Officers and I'd never heard of them! They are actually Police Officers whose job is to 'Engage with the Public'. Each area has one. 

They go to events in their local area, speak to groups and our own PC regularly turns up at the Rural Coffee Caravan - for the cake and coffee he said! They advise about fraud and house protection and anything else people are worried about regarding their safety.

He said the difference between calling 101 and 999 was if you were worried about something that had happened or was actually happening at that moment. So if you hear someone in the neighbours garden when you know they are away then ring 999- just in case.
We lamented the lack of money that means we rarely see a Police Officer nowadays except rushing by with blue lights flashing. He said that was actually a good thing because the way they worked now was more targeted so if you didn't see a policeman it meant there were very few problems in your area.

They had some leaflets with information and gave out pens for marking possessions that show up with a UV light.

They often find stolen goods when they have to search a suspects home but usually can't return them to they're rightful owners because they don't know where they've come from.
They also said it wasn't just Line Of Duty where all the talk is in acronyms - they really do use them in real policing too.

It's really good to be able to walk there and back so I hope that WI carries on here after the AGM in November.

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 22 September 2021

Candles for the Christmas Hampers

 Sometime back in the summer I got a Kirstie Allsop candle making kit from a charity shop and wondered why I'm often tempted by craft making bits.

I've now made them for the Christmas Hampers....ta da!

I can't stand scented candles - some give me a headache and others make me feel sick  - but it didn't really dawn on me that making them would be just as smelly.
I had to put the extractor fan on and shut the kitchen door until they'd set.

I shall wrap them in cellophane - if I've got any - label them up and put them somewhere out of the way until Christmas.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 21 September 2021

St Matthew's Day

Today, the 21st, is St Matthews Day .

 If the man who wrote the first Gospel in the bible is the same Matthew who became one of Jesus's disciples, then he had been a collector of taxes for the Romans working and living at Capernaum.

Matthew's gospel contains much that isn't mentioned in the other gospels - the story of the magi,the sermon on the mount and some of the parables.

The painting below of Saint Matthew is copied from my Calendar of Saints book and is by Rubens

(Tuesday afternoon and just editing in to say that Ang has let me know this isn't St Matthew! It's St Thomas!  I took the information from my book A Calendar of Saints and didn't check elsewhere because I assumed the book would be right - but it's Very Wrong!. The book was published in 1986 but my copy is from 1997 which means no one corrected it when it was reprinted. How strange. Thank you Angela for putting it right. I shall never take the Saints book at face value again!!)

Now this IS St Matthew by Rubens
Peter Paul Rubens: St Matthew

Nothing is known about how or when Matthew died, although some church traditions mention him being martyred in Ethiopia.

There are several weather sayings attached to this day.............

St. Matthew's Day, bright and clear,
Brings good wine in the next year. 
Matthew brings on the cold dew.
St Matthew get candlesticks new

Maybe that last one relates to the Autumn Equinox which can fall on the 21st although this year it's the 22nd, the date when daylight hours start to decrease, time to buy candles for winter.

Some books mention the "key days" which were supposed to predict the weather for the months ahead. The 20th - 22nd September are said to predict the weather for October, November and December.
People have tried to verify this many times - tends to be totally unreliable! 

Back Tomorrow

Monday 20 September 2021

Two-thirds of the Way Through

Regarding my Saturday post about the auction and that WWII sign I would have loved to own? It sold for £420!! Needless to say it wasn't me that bought it.

 As usual September is whizzing by, it's always a good month when I seem to get re-energised to do things. I'm sure it's a hangover from all the years when it was time for the 3 children to go back to school and I'd be home alone again with a chance to get things done and the harvesting and storing for winter urge re-appears.

A late in the year but first-of-the-year spot - Small Copper on the Coreopsis in the front garden last week.

 "Widespread and common" according to my Butterfly book, that's as maybe, but only if you are in the right place at the right moment!

I thought it was time to get the Autumn seasonal bits on display. No Mantel-piece so they are going to go on top of the bookshelves.

 The top of the bookshelves isn't as long as the Clay Cottage mantel-piece, so just a few autumnal bits - I like how it looks.
The only new thing is the plate and plate stand. You'll guess the plate came from a boot-sale for 50p and I sent for the plate stand from amazon so I can display those gorgeous Summer and Winter Villeroy and Boch plates that I found in August. It's the 5th year for the Autumn leaf swag - it's lasting well.The mushrooms on the right were a gift, the acorn  was made by one of the children when they were at Middle School in the late 80's, the other wooden mushroom thing and the jug from boot sales a few years ago. I've got some Halloween related bits to swap in for late October. 
The village yard/garage sales at Finningham didn't yield any treasures except these 4 books for £1.

 It turns out we have yard sales here in the village next Sunday - no mention of it in the Parish Magazine and I wouldn't have known about it if I hadn't seen a poster on the notice board by the postbox but I'm taking my entry fee to the school today to get included on the map.(It's a Friends of the Primary School Fundraiser) I've written a sign for out the front and will haul all my unwanted stuff out of the garage and see what I can get rid off. It's mostly things that got brought here and are now not needed.
I've brought in the last of the big orange dahlias to enjoy them close up this week. Not many

 flowers left to bring in now. There were no Asters and Sedums here, I've planted both but it will take a long while for them to produce enough flowers to bring any indoors.

The Launch of Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday night was a good programme. Lovely to see everyone so enthusiastic to get going and hopefully no painful to watch dancers although the way Dan Walker was 'moving' in the group dance he might be out sooner than later! But it's good to know my Saturday nights will be entertaining right through 'til Christmas. 

Back Tomorrow



Saturday 18 September 2021

Looking But Not Buying

Viewing for the 3rd Domestic and Rural Bygones Sale of the year at Clarke and Simpsons sale-yard at Campsea Ashe yesterday, so after looking online I went to have a look at the real thing.
As usual there were lots of rusty stuff and junk with just a few interesting bits. These are the things that caught my eye.
 I'm always attracted to old gingerbread moulds - they are fascinating, this is described as "An amusing primitive antique carved treen cat gingerbread mould"

This little stool looks old


A collection of kitchenalia......except for the hair trimmers and  bedpan! Somehow I don't think the cheese wheel lid fits on the base that it's sitting on do you?

A child's pink unicycle?? very unique I should think

A very early "Washing Machine". The lever moves the posser or dolly up and down. I've seen plenty of wash tubs, possers, dollys, tongs and wash boards but never seen anything like this before. The wash tub is up on a metal stand to save bending - it must have been a real "mod con" for someone in the past.


2 rocking horses - one much older than the other

I could do with these old lawn edgings to replace the grotty plastic edging that's here

These croquet sets  are always turning up on the TV antiques programmes - Jaques are the name that make them the best for selling.

A very old - Victorian ? or Edwardian?- garden cloche and on the left is a copper posser - as mentioned above


You would need a very large pond for this pond yacht!


There were several boxes of old books, cards and postcards, these looked as if they all been torn out of an album.

Stuffed animals or Taxidermy is not every ones cup of tea. This is much bigger than usual and the chance of seeing a pheasant and her chicks so close to a fox is very unlikely!!

Another model boat,Venture, it says Cranfields Ltd, Ipswich (Cranfields were a grain buying/storage company with their own bakeries) so maybe this is modeled on the real thing from back in the day.


Another collection of Kitchenalia

Some of the rustier things in the sale although I like the big pottery basin  - everything will sell even if it is rusty. 
These below were more interesting to me than old watering cans and milk churns - an old farm yard with lots of mostly lead animals- it reminded me of my childhood farm and I had many of these animals. This was guided at £40-£60

Now this sign below is my most favourite thing in the whole sale! I would love to buy it.  It was estimated at £40 - £60 but online bidding was already at £90 when I looked on Friday I expect it will go for several £100.
And Finally the biggest thing in the sale is this massive Airstream caravan - you don't see many of these in the UK! It's guide price is around £22,000

The sale starts at 9am today and with over 1000 lots will still be going in the early afternoon. So if you are looking at this early you could go online at The and register to buy something.
I shall leave all the buying to others!

This weekend after no Yard/Garage sales for ages two come along at once. Thorndon last weekend and a few miles in the other direction it's Finningham today.Another thing to look forward to is a bit of glitz and glitter with the return of Strictly Come Dancing tonight.
Have a good weekend.
Back Monday

Friday 17 September 2021

Another Post-box Post

The mystery of the hooded postbox................

This appeared in the village where BiL lives over 2 years ago. No one had asked for another postbox in the village, no one knew why it had been put there.

It's in a very bad spot, just as cars come out of the Village Hall car-park, blocking the view up the road.

The Parish Council asked Royal Mail why it had been installed there. They said they didn't know!

It's sat there covered like this ever since.



 (Thank you for all the comments about the Elderberry Syrup yesterday. I have no idea if it really helps against colds but it tastes good and certainly can't do any harm and Betty's comment about scientific investigation into the efficacy of Elderberries was interesting to know)

Back Tomorrow 

Thursday 16 September 2021

Wild Fruit Syrup

Several years ago I made Elderberry Rob, so good for winter colds.

 I doubt there would have been a better opportunity to snip the Elderberries from a tree on the bank opposite the bungalow than the week the road was closed. There wasn't really enough Elderberries so went on a bike ride around the back lanes to see if there was anything else to add in.

I ended up with just around a pound and a quarter of a mix of elderberries, some blackberries and a few yellow cherry-plums from a tree overhanging the road and the only 2 red cherry-plums that weren't squashed on the road.

 I popped them in the freezer and later found a few more elderberries and blackberries until I had about 2lb in total. This is the recipe I used in 2018 and 2019

This time I remembered to add a cinnamon stick to the boiling fruit - cinnamon is good for colds too.
After straining
and adding an equal amount of sugar and boiling gently for 5 minutes, then into sterilized bottles it made 4 and a bit kilner bottles.

I tried a little in some hot water and it's just as good as I remember.

I'm pleased to have this tucked away for winter and two for the Christmas Hamper gifts too.

Back Tomorrow