Tuesday, 30 June 2015

How did I forget Hay-on-Wye

You know I did a list the other day of places we want to visit if we get the opportunity, I forgot Hay-on-Wye. How did I do that? as it's one of my favourite towns. So many wonderful second hand book shops all in one place, it's  book lovers heaven. I shall go there with my list from Furrowed Middlebrow blog of all the WWII books by women authors he has found out about and see if I can track some of them down.

Continuing on the book theme, one of the 50p books I picked up from a car-boot sale a couple of weeks ago was this

 one of Arthur Ransom's 12 books about the Swallows and Amazons. It made me remember our visit to the museum in the Lake District where we saw the Amazon.  I've now got 6 out of the 12 as well as a couple of non-fiction books about the author and the real-life family - the Altounyans -that he based his 1930s and 40s books on.Then in one of the newspapers Col brought in from the campsite I spotted
"Titty becomes Tatty as BBC rewrites classic" ,
The BBC have begun shooting a new version of Swallow and Amazons in the Lake District and Yorkshire which  will be released next year. The youngest girl called Titty in his stories will be called Tatty in the new version so that people are not offended! In real life the little girl was called Mavis but had the nick-name Titty after a childrens story 'Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse'.
 I've watched the 1974 film version a couple of times, one of my favourite childrens stories.

I hope everyone further inland is surviving the heat wave, here on the coast we have a nice breeze to keep things more comfortable. Col has gone up the road with the tractor and hay turner, and I'm deciding between sunbathing or tennis. Gooseberries, potatoes, flowers and cucumbers are selling well after the road closure delay - thankfully.

Back Tomorrow with my review of the month - looking back at June. ( how the heck has half a year gone already?)


Saturday, 27 June 2015

It's Hot - Just The Weather For Haymaking -AGAIN

 I wrote about haymaking last year, Day 1 is here, and here we are round to Day 1 of this year.The difference is that we are are almost a month earlier,  and we are only cutting our field and the one up the road behind a Londoners second home. Our field will be made ( God and weather permitting) into small bales and the one up the road into large bales. A farmer has been up to cut  and Col will turn and bale.We have buyers for both lots of hay but how much help we will get shifting our small bales is another matter and as Col is meant to be taking things a bit easier it will probably be down to me to shift them off the field, onto a trailer and into the barn - as I did last year. I really hoped last year that it would be the last time I did this job, it's always so hot for haymaking - obviously!
Why Oh Why did I jinx things by saying this two weeks ago -

I might be a bit busy over the next two or three weeks, with tennis on TV, a couple of hundred punnets of gooseberries to pick, cross stitching while I watch the tennis and making jam to save putting things in the freezer and HOPEFULLY showing people round the house.
Instead we had one week with the road shut and no point picking because of no traffic, now the road is re-opening Monday and tennis will be back on TV, there are still several dozens of punnets of gooseberries to be picked, another potential buyer to show round Monday, Col taking our sons old car to the scrap yard and we have to add in  Haymaking too. Phew!

I might be a bit busy over the next two weeks Oooops better not tempt fate!

Back again any day

Friday, 26 June 2015

Lists While In Limbo

Still in limbo here because as predicted by the lady at Essex and Suffolk Water the road is still closed. They are waiting for a big machine for resurfacing due to so much tarmac being damaged by the water. So instead of picking gooseberries, bunching flowers and digging spuds to sell I've been tidying and sorting things, trying to find more stuff for a car boot sale and getting rid of rubbish ready for future moving. ( First viewing tomorrow)

 I came across this scrappy bit of paper which has the years 1992 to 1999 along the top and then lists of all the work we did here and what we planned to do. Under 1992-1993 is says we
cleared rubbish,
 felted and insulated the house roof,
 repaired the chimney,
 painted right through the inside, 
reclaimed some vegetable beds, 
cleared out the first shed, 
planted raspberries and strawberries, 
put up a greenhouse,
 took down the derelict Nissen hut,
 started keeping chickens,
 replaced the bathroom fittings, 
built compost bins and
 replaced the septic tank.
 A busy time as Col was working full time and we had 3 children under 12 but we were SO much younger! That was in our first year here and  the list under the next few years are just as long.

We were sitting out in the sun again today for a while and  started another list  -  places we would love to visit if we had the chance to have a gap year with a caravan. We came up with the following

Chatham Historic  Dockyard
The Black Country Museum on their 1940s weekend
Weald and Downland Open Air Museum
Butser Ancient farm
The Isle of Wight
Dover Castle
One of the Big Antique Fairs
Snowdon Mountain Railway
Keswick and the Lake District and the Cumbria coast
Yorvik and the Railway Museum in York
The Imperial War Museums at Duxford and in London
The Northumbrian Coast

Several of these we have been to before but not for years and never without children. Should keep us busy for a few months.

Back Sooner than Later

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

A bit of blue sky thinking

At long last we had some warm sunshine and blue skies without the North East or North West winds that have plagued us here on the East coast for weeks and weeks.
Warm enough to sit out for an hour for a bit of this
although I didn't do much thinking!

Our little  road is still closed, that's 6 days with no income from gate sales. I've got the address of the Man to write to just in case there is any chance of compensation- Unlikely! I biked to Saxmundham this morning, there was no one working where the water main burst although they have filled in the hole. Now they've got to do the re-surfacing of the road and according to the very nice lady from Essex and Suffolk Water, the road should be open from Monday morning. That will be 10 days closed!
Biking along the road to Saxmundham instead of driving gave me a chance to read the sign at a farm that used to have a campsite like ours. Now it's called Retro Vacations and  they do this . The airstream caravans look really good, but does it say anywhere that the site is right beside a busy B road?

I nearly forgot to say thank you for all the comments after the last post. We haven't much left to sell at car boot sales after selling £300 worth of stuff earlier and there isn't one locally this Sunday either or we could have taken gooseberries and spuds. I shall be picking and digging all next week I reckon. 

Back Shortly

Monday, 22 June 2015

Having Faith in the Flow (again)

With all of Cols health issues changes have been forced on us ( if you are new to reading - he had never been in hospital in his life until 2013 when he had angina and stents put in, then a small heart event in Oct 2014 followed by more issues in the urology area! this year which resulted in a small operation and then more  problems.)
This is what's changed
Last year we made hay and sold the bales from 3 fields, this year we will just do our meadow here.
Last year Col was working for our farmer friend moving the big irrigation system, this year he's not been able to.
Last year we had 140 chickens and selling dozens of eggs every day this year we have just 40 old chickens and selling just a couple of dozen each day.
Last year Col was doing lots of hedge cutting for our neighbour, this year that job is one of the things he has to avoid.
Last year we grew loads of pumpkins and squash out on our field, this year we couldn't.

It's obvious our income is and will be less all through the next few months. What perfect timing it was to find I was going to get a bit of pension from 35 years ago, an unexpected bonus. Then there is the loads of scrap we've cleared and sold, with more to go later, the smallholding equipment we hope to sell via a barn and yard sale and we've already made £300 from car boot sales and the campsite has been busy through most of this month.
This isn't the first time we've found things turn up at just the right time. It's called The Flow and I've written about it before (told you I was going to re-hash more old posts!)

Here we go, this is part of my post from April 2014

 When Patrick and Shirley Rivers  moved to an almost derelict house on steep overgrown land in the Wye valley, they were already nearly 60 years old and found some of the work really hard. Often just as they were on the verge of despair something or someone would turn up to help. Later, when he researched the other book, he spoke to many people who had also found that if they had faith in themselves and the way they were living simply, things often happened at just the right time. He called it The Flow.

That's how it's been for us. We've never sat back and waited for something to happen but when we've worked hard and trusted in ourselves to manage, everything usually turns out OK. All the house moves we did to work our way towards a smallholding always went well, we never lost out but we had to work hard to improve the properties.

When C had the heart problems last Autumn (2013) he wasn't able to do the 3 day-a-month council job but then the unexpected extra council work when he was well again in December and January filled a gap which would have meant dipping into savings.
When Council cuts in this new tax year brought his work with them to an end our income  fell but   our neighbours'  gardener  has now retired so C will fill that gap to do her grass cutting  for her, which means a regular job with no traveling.
With Easter being late this year our April income from the campsite has been a bit more than usual, which will help us through until we start to sell our produce again.
Last year the irrigation work didn't start until June but we had the Sizewell Outage men on the campsite early in the year before our opening time, which was an unexpected bonus that saw us through.

Hopefully all will be well.

 A few days ago I said I might be too busy to do much writing on here but the road is still closed so no point digging spuds or picking gooseberries  to sell, no viewings yet either - no passing traffic to spot the sign. I could despair that there is no income from produce but I'll just cross my fingers that they get the road open again soon and the campsite bookings diary fills up for July.

Welcome to Tracey,a new follower in the Google pictures

Back sooner than I thought

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Our house and other stuff

Many thanks to everyone who commented on my last post.
 Lots of people said they liked the kitchen and that will be one of the things I shall miss. We had the new kitchen extension built in 2011 after 19 years of working in a tiny kitchen which, if you look at the floor-plans on the brochure link, was where we now have the bathroom and utility. We'd thought about selling in 2010 and actually had the house up for sale before I had a bad time with depression from the uncertainty of everything I think. So in the end we stayed and built the extension that we had first thought about in 1992 when we moved in.
I wrote about how we came to own a 5 acre smallholding HERE and I said the house was in a bad state when we moved in. There were several things wrong. Firstly we had to have the house rewired before we could get the mortgage as the wiring hadn't been touched since the place was built in 1955. It also had no felt under the tiles so the first summer we were here Col and my dad took all the tiles off and put insulation and felt in the roof and, because when the place was built there was still a shortage of building materials after the war, instead of plaster on the walls and ceilings everything was lined out with a fibre board. Gradually over the years Col stripped off the awful rough board and either plastered or put proper plasterboard on the walls.
 Outside we had 3 very old buildings, 2 of which were made of asbestos concrete panels and had originally been on the USAF base in Leiston during the war. We replaced those with the buildings that we now have and Kev said he had shed envy! I think Col will miss the workshop which is full of all his stuff, although he is getting on well with clearing it out.
  All in all a lot of time and money has been ploughed into the house and land over the last 23 years.

Many people in comments said they thought the house would sell quickly, I'm not so sure. It's a bit too much land for a lot of people and not fenced for horses.Several people asked if we had started looking for somewhere to move to, the answer is not really. We have 4 choices when we get a definite buyer. 1. If there is a small cottage in Wales with woodland available then we could go for that or     2.We could buy a small house in town in Suffolk without a chain to move into and prepare for then renting it out. 3. We could rent something ourselves for 6 months or 4. ( my favourite) we could buy a caravan and have a gap year!We will see what happens and only time will tell, in the meantime I'm  not  going to go on and on about selling. I want to get back to my normal diary posts.

The men got the water back on  by 8pm on Thursday night but there is still a huge hole to be repaired and the road will been closed all weekend at least. I hope they get it sorted early next week as I want to restart the gooseberry and potato selling and the Alstromeria flowers are ready to pick and sell too. I shall also have to ring the people we have booked in to arrive on the campsite and give them directions for coming in the other way.

Jam making season has started with 8 jars of strawberry/gooseberry made. This combination looks like strawberry but sets better than strawberries on their own. I'm planning to also make some strawberry and I'll use sachets of pectin to set it.
I had a phone call from Cols Leiston customer on Thursday evening, she said her garage door wouldn't lock properly and could Col sort it. I asked her if she'd given it a squirt of oil or WD40, "errr no?" she said. I could tell it wouldn't even have dawned on her. So funny how impractical some people are. As it happens, when Col went down to look this morning a squirt of oil helped but wasn't the whole problem.

I've been getting up extra early all week to get the work done so as to be able to spend every afternoon watching the tennis from Queens Club and then today  just as Andy Murray got started in the second semi-final it rained. I'm not sure what happens if they don't get back out to finish the game as it should be the final tomorrow. While watching I've started  cross-stitching small lavender sachets 
very handy for small gifts.
While Col was working this morning I made a fruit cake and cheese scones and gave the oven a good clean afterwards - fun - Not!

A couple of weeks ago Col called into the Tyre and Exhaust place in Leiston to ask them to save 4 good tyres for our old small horsebox trailer. He wants to use it for the garden and smallholding things that we want to take with us, so needed to get it in good order. They found him 4 good van tyres - even better than car tyres and fitted them yesterday for just £50 all inclusive. Good bargain.

Looking back to this time last year in my diary and I see we had started picking raspberries. This year it will be several more weeks before they are ready. But the strawberries are still going strong and other crops available today are gooseberries, potatoes, courgettes, green beans, cucumber, lettuce and salad leaves, radish and beetroot. The hungry gap is well and truly over.

Back Soon

Thursday, 18 June 2015

The House Is On The Internet!

We are FOR SALE, well the house is. It went live online today and the sale board will go up tomorrow. If you know anyone who might be interested in a smallholding with a campsite the details are HERE

One of my reasons for wanting to move is to have fewer responsibilities and today proved why. A big water main up the road has burst and we lost our water supply, we had 15 minutes warning and I filled all sorts of things in the house and Col went to tell the people on the campsite because it means no toilets, shower, drinking water and water for the chemical toilet wash out. I feel responsible for all the people on site, they were all very understanding and filled up their water containers while the water was still trickling and they all have their toilets in their caravans. If it was just us to think about how easy things would be.

Essex and Suffolk Water soon had the road up and the 8inch main fixed, it looks pretty muddy down in that hole. It might take a bit longer to put our road back together again. We have a Road Closed sign outside our house but everything is ignoring it and driving up the road, turning round and coming back again!

Back Soon

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Catch Up on News from Friday to Tuesday

Many thanks for all the interesting comments after the (partly re-hashed) frugal post and my usual library book post last week, I love it when people leave nice long comments ( thank you Margaret and Scarlet) as it's like having a conversation with new friends and it's always interesting to see the different ways people are able to save money.  I see I am to blame for making Margaret P buy 2 Francine Raymond books! and I'm not the only person who will be watching a lot of tennis for the next few weeks either. But I really didn't mean to make Pat feel ashamed for having a coffee out with friends!

Being frugal/thrifty ( I must consult a dictionary to see the difference) was thrust upon us when I decided to try to avoid having to go back to work after having our eldest. Later we choose to save for a smallholding rather than having holidays abroad/new clothes/new kitchens/new cars and gadgets. Now as we trundle towards retirement age having a back up of some savings and no debt makes things so much easier.

So, to catch up with what's been happening here recently.

On Friday I decided to use some of the basil from the poly-tunnel to make a batch of pesto. I don't use pine nuts as they are too expensive but swap for cheaper walnuts and I also don't put Parmesan in! So really I don't actually make pesto - just something similar.

Col doesn't like it but I love it mixed in with a plate of spaghetti and topped with some grated cheddar it makes a lovely  lunch. I've never before thought about preserving for longer than a month or so  (which is easy by just covering with a layer of olive oil in the jar) but I had such good seed germination, have more plants than usual and want to make more. So good old Google to the rescue and I found the idea of freezing in bun cases, then taking off the cases and wrapping each portion in cling film before storing them in a bag - sorted!

Just to show how we  fall from the frugal-ness path sometimes............ We had a day out on Saturday visiting friends in Essex and WASTED £4!! on the way. We decided to go early and have a look around the charity shops in Sudbury, which is a town in south west Suffolk that we pass through if we go cross-country to Finchingfield. After going round a few shops we both decided we needed a coffee and I hadn't even thought about taking a flask (Tut!) so there it was, £4 gone that we needn't have spent.

In the Sudbury charity shops I found a hardback copy of Lamentation by C.J.Sansom for just £1          (published in Oct 2014 for £20!) and a lovely Royal Horticultural Society Address book also £1. I have had my old address book for 35 years, it has all 6 of our addresses in the front and is almost full up under the ' Cs' with all three of our children moving house so often. I shall enjoy filling in the new address book which has beautiful botanical drawings all through it. I've added Lamentation to the shelves beside Sansom's other 5 books in the Shardlake series. If ever I'm short of reading matter in the future, this series will be high on my list to re-read as they are all huge.

Speaking of reading (as I often do!) I have started reading my way through that ginormous pile of library books, choosing the Angela Thirkell - Wild Strawberries as my first. Originally written in 1934 it is part of her Barsetshire series and although featuring the upper classes of that period, before WWII changed so many things, it is still amusing and an easy read. I hope Virago (or another publisher) go on to republish more of her books as many haven't been in print for years.

Sunday was such a grey gloomy day. Our son and fiancee had stayed overnight after going to their 3rd wedding in 4 weeks( he was best man at this one). They both looked and sounded really tired. R's job takes her driving around the country and M's job involves driving around East Anglia and often working weekends. I would love to have given them both a gift of a week off work next week. Our son was able to help shift a few things that I couldn't manage ( Col is still being ultra careful of lifting after the horrible hospital stay) and we now have a clear space in one shed to pile up the garden equipment that we want to take with us.
It was grey and chilly and damp  enough Sunday evening to light the woodburner.

Monday and the sun had a bit of warmth although we still have NE winds coming down off the North Sea. Col decided to start loading the big trailer with all the various bits of scrap that we seem to have collected again. He used the tractor front bucket for the heavy bits.
I had to make bread as we were almost out and did the ironing and hoovering in between. Because we hadn't picked strawberries for a couple of days there was a lovely big basin full and most went in the freezer ready for Gooseberry and Strawberry jam. Col says I have to make enough jam and chutney this year to last us 2 or 3 years! until we can establish a garden somewhere else. Sounds as if I will be busy. I unintentionally started gooseberry picking when Col noticed a branch heavy with gooseberries had broken off one of the bushes, he picked all the goosegogs off and I topped and tailed - that's the first 2lb into the freezer.

Two blogs I read were making elderflower cordial  which is very delicious but has SO much sugar in it . It's one of those things that sounds a good idea from the Self Sufficiency angle but if your normal thirst quenchers are water and a cup of tea is it really cost effective? Elderflowers may be free but the sugar and lemons certainly are not, unless you've got a  sugar plantation and a lemon tree of course!
Hey hey! This gives me a chance to mention another post-wot-I-wrote-earlier. Cost Effective Self Sufficiency or Self Sufficiency at any cost? There I was in June last year being all preachy again!

Today, Tuesday and after a cloudy start the sun is shining. Col was away early to take the load of scrap metal. He forgot to take his passport for photo ID so they couldn't pay him but as we have our sons old car still here waiting to be scrapped he will collect the cheque then. We decided to start selling potatoes and gooseberries today and dug and picked some to put out. The blackboard sign  stands out the front for everyone to see but after having so few eggs to sell for the last  few months, I'm worried that people will have got out of the habit of looking at the stall.

I clicked on the Bloglovin' button to see my new followers, and welcome to Lee, Sherri and Jackie  but then up comes just  'Bloglover ', which seems to be a way of following with just a number instead of a name  and only links to the Bloglovin' blog page - Huh? I don't really get Bloglovin'. Tell me techi people out there........... if I delete the option of following by Bloglovin' will you be able to follow by Google, so I can add more little pictures to the collection instead of random numbers?

I might be a bit busy over the next two or three weeks, with tennis on TV, a couple of hundred punnets of gooseberries to pick, cross stitching while I watch the tennis and making jam to save putting things in the freezer and HOPEFULLY showing people round the house. The Agents emailed the draft brochure so we are almost up for sale. Col is going to be taking an old friend to hospital and back for some treatment several times over the next 3 weeks too ( how do they think an 83 year old can do the 50 mile round trip every day for 12 days when hospital transport is non-existent?)

So if I'm not around much that will be why.


Friday, 12 June 2015

June's Library Book Photo and Memories of Childrens Parties

A lovely sunny bike ride down to Friston for the library van and a good collection of booksbrought home. Not sure when I will get time to read this lot with Wimbledon coming up and Gooseberry picking of course.
Some from my favourite modern authors and a couple from the 1940s that have recently been reprinted. I shall try James Oswald again even though I didn't like or finish the last one - can't remember why. A few of the other books here are ones mentioned on The Furrowed Middlebrow Blog - British women authors from the early 20th Century. I shall let you know what I think of them all in due course.

Last month I brought home this lot and some went back unread. I tried Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver twice but just couldn't get into it. The Rafaella Barker - Summertime -was a bit too fluffy for me though I did read Green Grass. I also didn't read Pie 'n' Mash and Prefabs because the Joyce Storey book, that I did read was  about similar subjects. Though I've made a note to borrow it again one day.

  Marguerite Pattern, the very prolific cookery writer, died the other day aged 99. The book that introduced her to me was this one below from 1963.(Edited to say sorry,Picture vanished and I couldn't get it back!) My mum must have bought it to help with parties me and my sister  had at home in those more simple days.  She didn't like childrens parties and they  promptly stopped at aged 11. In fact as I was 4 years older than my sister ( well I still am I guess!) by the time I was about 13 I think she left it to me to organise them for L and her friends . I remember going through this book looking at all the ideas for games. Look at the price... 2/6, that's 12½p ! It's £4.49 upwards now on Amazon. I guess our copy fell apart years and years ago.

I do still have 3 books by Marguerite Pattern, over on the left of one of my WWII shelves.

Thanks to everyone for comments yesterday on the Frugal post. Re-hashing old posts is lazy really but I might do it again!

Back Sooner than later

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Still frugal after all this time

Do you remember this blog was once called Frugal In Suffolk?
I changed the name but haven't stopped being frugal.

This post will explain to new readers about some of the things we have done for all our married life that have enabled us to work our way up the housing ladder until we could afford this smallholding, pay off our mortgage several years early, save a goodly amount and be able to now live on two small incomes from self-employment.

Frugal Cleaning.
 These are the items I use for cleaning the house, clothes and the bathroom. I can walk past all the other cleaning products in the supermarkets and the Ecover products are bought on-line when on offer at Natural Collection. Ah Ha I hear you say, Ecover products cost a fortune!

  But if you have a septic tank they are the safest to use, they are also very concentrated so I use way way less than it says on the bottle. ( and I know some people make their own products but there are many others who spend a lot more than I do on cleaning stuff). I bought the bi-carb( in the pottery jar) as a giant bulk buy bag on-line and the dishcloths are home made. White vinegar is handy for the drains.

I buy non-scratch bath sponges and cut them in half to clean the
sinks and the Ecover Limescale stuff is the only thing I've found that will cope with our very hard water on the glass shower screen.

Frugal personal care
Soap and water was good enough for most people for years, now there is a half a supermarket aisle with just shampoos.These 4 items plus toothpaste are all I need. The soap is from Approved Foods, I use unscented and with no colour. These were 4 for £1 but I see now they are 3 for 99p which means Morrisons who have packs of 4 for £1.20 are cheaper. Whoever decided that it was more hygienic to make soap into liquid handwash in a plastic bottle obviously had shares in the plastic bottle industry!

I stock up on moisturising shower gel, when on offer and ditto with herbal essences shampoo, as its the only shampoo that doesn't make me all itchy. Or get it from Poundland. I use a roll on antiperspirant because I stopped using sprays years ago when there was all the concern about the ozone layer. I Know they took out all the CFCs but roll on only goes where you put it, not all over the place! Un-perfumed again.

Frugal Entertainment
A TV License, a Library Card and some Cross stitch. A lot of people begrudge the TV License but at roughly 40p a day ( I think) it doesn't seem to bad. I'm glad of it to be able to watch the tennis, special events like the Olympics, quizzes and access to so many radio programmes.
My Library card is free it lets me access any book in any Suffolk library - bargain, and it brings them to me on the library van every month.
Cross stitch is such a cheap hobby UNLESS you buy all the magazines new, which I don't. Instead over the years, I've picked up kits and magazines from car boot sales and charity shops until I have a stash to last me a long time. The only things I buy new is the Aida to stitch on and the threads, and even some of those have also come from boot sales. I have made many gifts using this skill.

Frugal Heat
I have lots of mentions in the blog about the way we get free wood to use on our woodburner and on the solid fuel Rayburn. So I'll not bother again here. Here is some we got a couple of years ago from the skip-hire place. We cut our way through all this amount in a winter.

Frugal food
Cook from scratch and stretch your meat. Here is a post I did about making 4 sausages stretch to feed 2 people 3 or 4 times.
Bread has to be the best thing to make to save money.I make all our bread and am working my way through some lovely malted wheat flour from Approved Foods which was £5.49 for 16kg, I'm mixing it with white Bread Flour that I stocked up on from Tesco when they had 3 for 2 on baking products. I haven't worked out this complicated bit of maths but I know it's under 30p a loaf. I also bought a box of 10 packs of Doves Farm yeast online saving me several pence per pack
Grow your own
I know most people don't have a smallholding but even a small patch can produce several pounds worth of food. You can save seed from one year to get totally free veg the next year. Take green beans for example, all those we eat this year will be free because I used saved seed. We've already eaten £1 worth and we will be eating most of the summer from 3 wigwams of beans. A tomato plant at a car boot sale is 50p this will give  several lb or £ of tomatoes. They take up very little room. The same goes for a pepper plant.
Wear blinkers when shopping! Metaphorically speaking of course.
 I sail past 99.99% of the supermarket shelves because I know what we need, what we like and what we can afford.
Use My Supermarket to find who has got what on offer before you go shopping. We can't visit loads of supermarkets in one day because they are too far away but if we are heading to Ipswich for shopping then I make the most of it by picking up the bargains.

 Amongst the posts labeled FRUGAL WAYS in my labels list is this post from 14th September 2013

Looking through new posts on my regular blog reading list I saw Frugal Queen had one titled" What have you done financially lately?". She has suggested that everyone takes a look at 10 areas of spending and tries to reduce them.
 It  made me smile when I realised that there was really nothing in her list that had any relevance to us at all. Her ideas were
1. Check you mobile phone contract.  WE HAVE PAY AS YOU GO = £10  now and again
2.Paying for watching dozens of TV channels? NO
4.Don't spend supermarket rewards on food, swap them for other things. THIS IS ONLY RELEVANT IF YOU HAVE LOTS AND ACTUALLY NEED CLOTHES, AIR MILES ETC
5.Share transport to work. WE WORK AT HOME
7. Cut car costs by finding a reliable garage.TRY TO DO REPAIRS AND SERVICING AT HOME
9.Pay off credit card debts. WE DON'T HAVE ANY DEBT.
10.Stock-take food cupboards.I ALREADY  KNOW WHAT'S THERE

 and from October 2013   - More Things We Don't Spend Money On. Oh My Goodness. How preachy I was!

Back very shortly  - library day tomorrow.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Reasons to be cheerful

  • Whoop, whoop, I had an a award winning money journalist leave a comment on my last blog post! And she lives in Suffolk too. Faith Archer also has a Blog called Much More With Less which I have added to my reading list.
  • We have had a caravan arrive on site for a 2 week stay and 2 more caravans together for 6 nights which adds nicely to the income so that instead of being £300 down on the same time as last year we are now £50 up!
  • All of last years hay has now been sold, leaving a space in the hay shed where we plan to put all of our unwanted smallholding equipment ready for a yard/barn sale later in the year. We've got 4 x 50 metre rolls of electric poultry flexi-net for a start as well as loads of other things. When Kate-who-bought-my-goats came to collect the hay she  put her name down for one of our metal waterproof  feed bins. She said she bought one that is so badly designed that if you lift the lid after its rained a load of water runs down straight on top of the feed sacks - obviously designed by a man!
  • We ate our first few French climbing beans on Saturday. These are in the poly-tunnel and are doing really well, unlike the first lot we planted outside which look very sad. The wind and last Fridays storm have also damaged the runner beans. We are also now eating new potatoes from the outside bed and they are delicious, much tastier than the very early ones from the tunnels.

  • The sun shone on Saturday and Sunday and loads of tidying and weeding was done. The asparagus bed had been invaded  by a weird and mysterious weed/plant. Seemingly growing from seed and completely covering the bed and only this one bed as if someone had sown them there. It took me ages to get it all out then I spent another age searching through all my plant books to find out what it was. I'm still not sure but the nearest thing it resembles is a Wallflower, I guess I should have left it a bit longer to see if it produced any flowers, that might have made it easier to identify.
    Weed on the right and a bit from the perennial wallflowers on the left
  • Our local car boot sale - 10 minutes away- is now almost every Sunday instead of alternate weeks. This is both Good but Bad! I went on my own again and spent 3 x 50p, and had a good walk round in the fresh early morning air. A string holder tin, a cross stitch kit and 3 chunky tumblers, as one of ours got broken last week, were the things I splashed out on. Glasses are one of the (many) things I never buy new along with tea towels they are always around and I buy a couple of each during the summer  while it's car boot season. It's no good waiting until I actually need them.  
  • Another sunny day and more tidying up on Monday. Col is working his way around his workshop mess dividing things into burning/keep/dump or sell. I was dashing around the house noticing things that needed cleaning before the house photographer comes.  I wish there was an easy but cheap answer to window cleaning, whatever I do here our very hard water seems to leave marks and the windy weather we've been getting whips up dust from everywhere and leaves it smeared on all the windows especially at the front of the house.It seemed such a good idea to have our new kitchen extension flooded with light from 3 directions, after all I had had 19 years in a small, gloomy kitchen, but that means 4 large windows that need frequent cleaning and it always seems to be my job.
  • Today, Tuesday and more rushing around putting things away. Col had to go to the dentists for a check up - nothing needed doing. The very young man ( blimey I sound like those old Harry Enfield and Kathy Burke sketches)

came with camera and took loads of photos of the house and smallholding, did the measurements for the floor plan and the details for the EPC certificate. The sun was shining so the photos should look good. We were discussing with him how  some Estate Agents are very poor at photos.Having been looking on line at houses for years we've seen all sorts of odd things. Clothes still hanging on airers, towels on the floor in bathrooms, un-made beds ( OK for Tracy Emin but not good for selling a house!). We are also surprised at some we've looked at that say they have woodland but then there are no photos.
After he went we got lots of weeding done in amongst the Gooseberry bushes. They are loaded with gooseberries but all very small, we really need a lot of rain and less of this East wind. This time last year I had already started picking and selling them.
  • Another library book finished.The House in South Road by Joyce Storey Not an easy read, in fact I had borrowed this before and not read it because it tells of an unhappy childhood followed by her unhappy marriage. I stuck it out this time but wouldn't want to read it again.

  • The above is not the most exciting picture you will see on a blog, but I'm quite excited by it arriving as it means Col really is clearing out some junk. We plan to fit everything we want to keep from garden shed and workshop in our small horsebox trailer, so a lot of might-come-in-handy-but-never-did stuff will have to go.
  • And Finally...............because my Suffolk County Council pension ( from my 8 years of library work)  is so small I had the choice of having a lump sum at once instead of £25 pounds a month. I dithered a bit but decided it was probably a good idea to have an extra £5,500 now. After all I could peg out in a few years time or the Council could run out of funds. This unexpected bonus will go a way to paying for the selling expenses or to buy a caravan if we suddenly decide to do a bit of traveling!
I seem to have lots of new followers on Bloglovin' so welcome to sherri, debijanebell,sue,su,jennifer and Amy. Good  to have you reading.

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Friday, 5 June 2015

Weather, good books and getting started

We had the most fantastic storm this morning, thunder, lightening and the rain came down in sheets more like that seen in the Lake District rather than Suffolk. I would have taken a photo of how far you couldn't see but I was driving at the time - taking Mabel to the vets for the usual regular injection. All through the town there were children on their way to school and of course none of them had a brolly or even a jacket. I should think it took them the rest of the day to get dry.
Since then it was sunny and extremely humid, part of me thinks I should have be outside either working or enjoying the warmth but really I was indoors watching the French Open tennis semi finals!
After taking a very unimpressed Mabel home again, I went the other way to Tesco for the big June shop. A £6 off £40 shop, £7 of loyalty vouchers and a few other small vouchers and my trolley full went down by £14. 60p - handy.

2 good library books have been added to my Books Read in 2015 page.  The first was Flying The Coop by Francine Raymond. ( Flagged up by Sue at New Life in the Country) She is a writer and garden columnist and founder of the Hen Keepers  Association, an online information service for people who keep poultry for pleasure. She lived, ran courses and a Christmas shop and wrote books from her home in Troston in Suffolk for many years but after her husband died prematurely  she moved to Whitstable  in Kent to be nearer family. This book is about starting from scratch in a new area when you are over 60 - very apt I thought.

The information for the second book came from Furrowed Middlebrow blog. He has now listed lots the WWII diaries and fiction by British women authors - a massive list of 60 pages!. By copying them over to Word, shrinking the type size, getting rid of all the double spacing and generally squishing things together I got this down to 21 A4, which I've now printed off to keep for future reference ( and perhaps a trip to Hay On Wye!).
  Katharine Moore lived in Kent during the war and was a teacher and Lecturer in English. She wrote her first novel aged 85. When this book was on my library book photo post a couple of weeks ago, Margaret P suggested another book of correspondence between Katharine Moore and Joyce Grenfell
which covers 22 years of letters. I've now got this on order from the library. All in all, when it comes to finding ideas for books I say thank goodness for Blogland ( and the Library for getting them for me for free).

Getting started? That's me filling in forms for the Estate Agents and finding a solicitor to do the house sale. We are being photographed and measured next Tuesday!

Have a good weekend
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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Backwards, Forwards and Further Forward

 Looking back at May.

A busy, busy month.
Cool, windy and not a lot of rain
Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Peppers and Aubergines planted into the poly-tunnels
New potatoes, beetroot,radishes,strawberries and salad leaves from the tunnel
Rhubarb and asparagus from the garden
6 Jars of red gooseberry jam made using fruit from the freezer
Selling at 2 car boot sales cleared out quite a lot of unwanted items
The campsite has been OK but not as busy as 2014, about £300 down
Tax refunds and news of a very small pension for me from my County Council library days
Various brassicas planted out into the garden
Visit from Blogger Pat - The Weaver Of Grass
Very few books read from the library haul 
A youngest daughter moved in and then moved out on the last of the month
A husband with more health problems and 2 nights in hospital was the final straw for deciding to have a change of lifestyle
A trip to Sussex for our eldest daughters wedding ( and Thank you to everyone who left comments saying they enjoyed the photos )

Looking forward to June

Our house will go up for sale
We will clear out more stuff ( especially from Cols mess workshop) to sell
We will keep the garden going
I will watch as much tennis as possible
We will sell as much fruit and vegetables as possible
Now all the excitement of special birthday and wedding are over we will be able to cut spending because we need to save as much as we can while we still have an income.

Looking Further Forward and We Have a Plan
When we have a buyer for the house, we plan to buy something small, probably in  Stowmarket - the town in Mid Suffolk where we started our married life.
We will get it ready to let out, spend some time visiting places we've been wanting to visit for years.
At the same time we will start to look for a small cottage with a bit of woodland anywhere in the country but possibly Wales, where we can buy for about £100,000 less than this house is worth. Therefore giving us something to live on until pensions kick in.

And finally I must welcome a new follower on Google - Hello Jayne M and also followers on Bloglovin' welcome Mair, Anne, Elspeth and Chrissym.

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Monday, 1 June 2015

As promised - more wedding photos!

Thank you for all the lovely comments after the photo I quickly uploaded on Saturday.

Although our children seem to be endlessly attending weddings - (our son has 3 in 4 weeks!) Col and I can't remember the last one we went to.
So I shall now bore you rigid with photos from our Wedding Of The Year!
The venue was The White Horse Chilgrove, a quirky pub frequented by H,  J and their dozens of  friends from the Guildford area.

Helen had planned everything herself, she's very keen on natural and recycled so her flowers were from The Homegrown Flower Company . We detoured between Suffolk and the venue and picked up 4 buckets full of gorgeous proper garden flowers and then spent nearly 3 hours putting them in the dozens of  bottle,vases and jam jars that H had collected from here, there and everywhere. Many she had sprayed with glitter and some were wired to hold short flowers which we hooked over the the chairs in the marquee. They looked gorgeous.
All the hand tied bouquets were from the same place, but they were delivered on the wedding morning. Here we are on Thursday afternoon- Brides new sister in law, C the Grooms mum, me and H, all without our finery!

The top table early morning. As the staff were laying the tables  we were putting the party favours - ( 250 little heart shaped biscuits that I had made earlier last week) - into bags, tying them with ribbon and then adding  name labels that H had stenciled  for the place settings. Me, grooms mum, Col and our youngest's partner got quite a production line going!

 Looking through the pub at some of the tables

The rain was TEEMING down as we dashed from pub to the wedding ceremony
which was in a marquee behind the pub. Me and C ( Grooms mum) had fun trying to light candles during the ceremony which H & J then used to light another candle as a symbol of two families joined together. We had hoped for sunshine for an outside wedding but the wind and rain made us glad of a marquee with sides

J waiting nervously for the bride with the Humanist Officiant. ( H and J did the official legal bit the day before at a registry office with just 2 friends as witnesses)

And here she is. The readings were the traditional Irish blessing that starts " May the road rise up to meet you".

 An Apache wedding blessing     " Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be the shelter for each other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be the warmth for the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before. Go now to your dwelling place to enter into the days of your life together. And may your days be good and long upon the earth."

Another reading was from the book Captain Corellis Mandolinby Louis de Bernieres
"Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your root was so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two."

  Luckily an hour or so later after drinks and canapes the rain stopped for the photographer to take photos outside.
J couldn't decide between his best friend or brother for best man so had both.

The grooms family in this one. Grooms brother is  married to H's best friend ( from uni days) sister! Which I think is how H met J nearly 10 years ago.

Our son, the archaeologist, was Master Of Ceremonies - he is a big fella with a BIG voice!

Cols' sister taking a photo of me taking a photo of her taking a photo of me..............

Bride and Groom with beautiful bridesmaids
 - our youngest on the right.

Walking through a shower of confetti

Our youngest and her partner, she has been making funny faces at the camera since she was about 3!

The cake, with the posh knife I found for H from a car boot sale - she was so pleased with it. Amazing what you can find at a boot sale!
Our 3 together

 H and J having a fit of giggles for the First Dance

We bailed out at around 11 pm and headed 5 minutes up the road to our B & B. The pub has 15 rooms but H though we would prefer to be a bit further away as the partying went on 'til after 1pm!

We  had 2 very long  but wonderful days with family and  new friends.

Back to earth with a bump as our youngest moves into her new flat and we get the house ready to sell!

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