Tuesday, 10 March 2015

10th March -3 years ago today

3 years ago today Col gave up working full time for the County Council and launched into an unknown world of self- employment.
Actually it wasn't quite as drastic as that sounds because he carried on with his old job of bridge inspecting for 3 - 5 days a month and had several part time things lined up and of course we already had the campsite up and running and  planned to increase  our eggs and veg to sell.
That first spring and summer of 2012 was an unsettling time. Ever since our youngest started school in 1992 I had been used to being at home on my own all day for most of the year. It took a while to get into a new routine. Col still felt he had to be working at something all the time whereas I had been gradually slowing down since our youngest moved out in 2006. Everyone thought he had a pension to live on, which we didn't, but I had been juggling our income for 30+ years, through many tight times and knew we would manage while Col thought he needed to be doing dozens of different jobs to make ends meet.
3 years and two  heart events later and everything is much calmer, he is 58 tomorrow and so glad he finished work when he did. We are a long way out of the rat race and have settled into a  laid back routine. We don't need to earn "loads-a-money"  because we live such a simple quiet sort of lifestyle and  I no longer feel guilty reading instead of doing!

Well, what have we been up to over the last week on the Simple Suffolk smallholding?

Thursday morning was a wood cutting morning followed by a walk. Later I cleared all the small things from the dining room and brought the dust sheets in to cover the table and carpet ready for decorating. I'll get the prep work done bit by bit over a few days.

On Friday Col took the car to the dealers garage for them to look at the wheel bearings as we have a humming noise. The car came with a 3 month warranty - handy. They couldn't get it done Friday so lent Col an old Mondeo for the weekend. Later we shifted a load of shingle mixed with cement into some low parts of the campsite driveway. This sounds hard work but was mostly done with the front bucket on the tractor so not as energetic as it sounds.
Thanks to a reminder on a blog ( sorry not sure whose) I have taken cuttings from my money plant and shoved them into a pot in the hope they will root. Some pepper seeds which had been sitting in the propagator for  weeks suddenly decided to grow. Now I have 13 pepper seedlings - much better.

On Saturday morning our son came over to get the battery  from his old car to put on the newer car. I was doing a bit of baking including the mincemeat cake from Bovey Belle's Blog ( declared very tasty by Col later. I used ordinary SR flour as I didn't have wholewheat).
 Saturday afternoon was a quiet one on my own stitching, knitting and watching the Davis Cup tennis as Col went to Leiston to work for his customer on her allotment.

Sunday morning and spring sprung for a few hours, we lost the cold wind that seems to have been plaguing us since the beginning  of the month. Col wanted to check out that it was OK to borrow the muck spreader so we walked down to Friston by road, then across towards the church,
called in on our friend  and then back along the track, oil seed rape on the right and wheat on the left.

Lots of darts on TV during Sunday - and more tennis. By the end of the day the dining room walls were ready for emulsion after odd bits of filler, sanding down and washing down. We just need to go and get something - pale lemon I think.

Early Monday morning Col set off down the road in the tractor to fetch the muck spreader and was soon flinging all the old chicken muck all over the bit of the field that will be used for pumpkins and squash ( no main-crop potatoes this year.) He will be swapping the muck spreader for a big rotovator to turn it all in.
My Monday jobs were bread baking, ironing and cleaning windows.

Reading all my favourite blogs on Monday evening I saw that many parts of the country had a wet day, whereas it was dusk before we got rain here, and then it was just a shower - the driest part of the country again, so often the clouds have broken up before they get here - I do sometimes  wonder why we are thinking of moving west?

Another book has been finished, and once again it's something written in the 1930s. ( Angela Thirkell - Summer Half, first published 1937, reprinted by Virago in 2014) If anyone had told me a few years back that I would enjoy all these old books I probably wouldn't have believed them!

The new system for car road tax refunds works well. Now you don't sell a car taxed but get a cheque refund automatically  from the date that you transfer ownership to someone else. The road tax on the Hyundai is a bit less than the Jeep Cherokee, (which we had  only just taxed before Col decided on the Hyundai) and on Monday we got the cheque for virtually all the old tax  - enough to cover the new car - handy.

Which brings me back to today.
 Col headed off early for a mornings work in Leiston for his customer finishing the work on her allotment, coming home later with a cheque for £100. I had to stay close to the house as we were waiting for the plumbers to come and service our thermal-solar-hot water thingy

(that's it, on the flat dormer roof of the back bedroom- heating our water for free - as long as you don't count the couple of thousand pounds it cost to install it in the first place!!)

  It's been chugging along nicely since it was installed just over 3 years ago, but when the sun was shining the other day and the temperature of the water was high enough the pump didn't come on as quickly as it should have done. The men arrived eventually and did various complicated things in the airing cupboard to check it. I thought I would rustle up a coffee and walnut sponge for Cols birthday and also made a big batch of shortcakes ( recipe here) to squeeze into the freezer.
When Col got home he brought in a bowl full of salad leaves from the poly-tunnel for our lunch
(some of this yummy stuff) and after it had been rinsed and dried and put in a bag, I weighed it....... 350g, that would have cost us around £3.50 in a supermarket. Yes, growing your own IS worth the effort.

Welcome to Simon a new follower on Google and Kath on Bloglovin'. Hope you enjoy the ramblings of an old Suffolk gal!

Back in a few days
Sue









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