Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 reviewed

How was your year?  Looking back at ours, it wasn't bad at all.  


Mother's and sister's health issues continue to be problematical, both existing conditions and new ones.  None of us is getting any younger, so these things have to be faced.  Husband's asthma is being a bit of a nuisance, he's seeing the asthma nurse regularly so keeping on top of it.  My Achilles tendonitis is as bad as ever, no improvement at all, and my diagnosis of hearing loss was a bit of a shock.  Both of these are being addressed in the new year though, I have my first physio appointment in January, and a hearing clinic appointment, at which time I will tell them I'm willing to give hearing aids a try.

Good things:-

After the previous couple of years where several of our family members/friends died, this year we've lost nobody, thankfully.

Our best friends moved house, now only 5 mins drive away from us instead of the previous half an hour.  New neighbours moved in 2 doors away from us just before last Christmas, we get on extremely well with them and they've become very good friends.

Betty has continued to be a total delight, she's enriched our lives so much and, although she can be hard work at times, we are so glad we got her.

And of course husband retired from work!  It felt strange for both of us initially, because he'd worked long shifts of 12 hours plus for 50-odd years, and nights for the past couple of years, but we soon got used to spending more time together and being able to go out more, weather permitting.

As for next year, we're planning on having more days out, more short breaks away, and going up to the Midlands more often to visit Mum and sis.  We joined the National Trust, our Christmas present to ourselves this year, so will hopefully be visiting plenty of their properties (must make the subscription worth it!).

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Bloody broadband! And lots of cheap healthy veggies

I'm typing this post, but whether it gets published remains to be seen, as the broadband is constantly dropping out today, grrr.  When husband took Betty out this morning, he passed a BT engineer in the lane round the corner and stopped for a chat, pointing out that a big branch in a large tree nearby is resting heavily on the cable.  The engineer thanked him and said that was probably what had caused the fault in the broadband of the house he was seeing to.  Husband said we have reported this branch at least 4 or 5 times before....the engineer looked a bit sheepish and said he could understand why nobody has done anything about it before, as it takes so much paperwork and red tape before it can be done - identifying the owner of the land the tree is on, finding out if the tree has a preservation order on it, getting the owner's permission to prune it, getting in touch with the Highways Authority to close the road whilst the work is being carried out....etc etc.  For goodness sake!!!  Beggars belief.  And since the engineer was there this morning, our broadband has just gone haywire....whereas it was fine before, only dropping out the usual 2 or 3 times a day.  Honestly, it really annoys me that in this day and age, where most people have superfast fibre optic incredible speeds of 50-100mbps, we get the equivalent of two tin cans and a bit of string....and they even bugger that up!

Ok, rant over.  Went shopping this morning, quite a successful trip.  Got the cruet set I was after, in a sale.  I got a lovely long hooded wool cardigan, half price, husband got a nice polo shirt and pair of wet weather trousers for dog walking, also half price.  In the supermarket (As*a) they'd reduced loads of the fruit and veg to very cheap prices due to short dates....even short dated, it looks so much fresher and healthier than all the veg we bought in L*dl during our big shop 10 days ago.  Got a net bag of lovely huge unwaxed lemons - unwaxed ones are usually quite small, these are massive, reduced to 62p.  Bought a big cauli, white cabbage, baby parsnips, sprouts, broccoli, 3 swedes, asparagus, clementines, blueberries, pears and a load of salad stuff, all reduced.  Well, the pears weren't, they were about the only thing full price!

Also got 2 large half wheels of Stilton and 2 boxes of chocolates (new year and birthday presents), all half price.  The Stilton has gone in the freezer.  I also picked up some face cloths and pillowcases, 6 of each, which were also half price.  Oh, and not forgetting the eggs and bin liners.  Altogether I spent just over £36 in the supermarket, which I'm really pleased with.

The reason we bought so much fruit and veg is because we've decided that for one, possibly two days a week from now on, we will be eating just fruit and veg for the day, with a few nuts for protein and a little dairy in the form of Greek yogurt and a splash of milk in our tea/coffee.  We'll have fruit with a spoonful of Greek yogurt for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and a veg stirfry or plate of steamed veggies for dinner, dressed with a few walnuts or flaked almonds and soy sauce or a splash of fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.  We could both do with losing weight but don't want to go down the route of dieting - a couple of days cutting out carbs and fats should be healthy enough.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Done for another year, and shopping check

How was it for you?  We had a brilliant day at our friends', together with their adult son and daughter and daughter's partner, perfectly cooked food, lots of catching up and fun and games (a very rude and non-PC card game called Cards against Humanity....even funnier when you've had a few drinks).  It was chucking it down with rain when we left to go home.....we got totally soaked going the few yards from their front door to our car, it was literally like we'd got in a bath with our clothes on, we were that wet.

I keep thinking it's Sunday, it feels like a Sunday, we've not done anything much today.  We're now in that weird sort of no-man's land period between Christmas and New Year.  I'm looking forward to January, the start of a whole new exciting year, and nearer to Spring....which is my favourite season.

It's 8 days now since we last went food shopping.  I had a quick check today, we don't need anything except eggs and bin liners.  We get through a lot of eggs - we have some sort of frittata or crustless quiche about once a week, scrambled eggs for breakfast a couple of times...we give some to Betty too, she loves scrambled egg.  And of course I use them in baking.  

Our last big shop 8 days ago was in L*dl.  Now, I love their fresh meat, bacon and ham, dairy and fresh bread, but have to say I'm very disappointed with the quality of the veg we got there.  We bought 2 bags of potatoes, 3 each of carrots, parsnips and sprouts.  Fresh veg I keep in wicker baskets covered over with cloths in the utility room, it keeps very well in there as it's unheated and always cool, although we do have one of those electric tubes to just keep it from freezing (it's a later brick extension stuck on the side of the kitchen).  However, the L*dl veg isn't keeping very well at all, some of the potatoes we've had so far have been black deep under the skin (not visible from the outside), the sprouts started turning yellow very quickly, the carrots and parsnips were wilting and going soft.  What we haven't eaten so far, I've had to cook and freeze - if I left it another day or 2 we'd have had to throw it out.  Not impressed and I won't be buying veg from there again.

We're going out tomorrow, our pepper grinder broke the other day so I need a new one, as well as the eggs and bin bags.  I'm not actually intending to buy much else, but if we see some amazingly good bargains that are too good to leave behind, then we might get them.  Last year after Christmas the supermarket had loads of pots of double cream reduced to 10p, I got a few and made butter with them, I also got some fresh cranberries which were also down to 10p, if I remember rightly, I made a few jars of relish.

Saturday, 23 December 2017


Wishing everyone season's greetings - I hope you all have exactly the kind of Christmas celebration you desire, plenty of good food, the company of friends and family, or a peaceful time by yourselves.  

We're spending the day with our lovely friends, I'm looking forward to their company, catching up, having a really fun time - and no cooking!

Monday, 18 December 2017

No more shopping for as long as possible

Sorry about the last post....bit of a downer wasn't it?!  It just felt at the time I wrote it that the rain/hail/wind was never going to stop.  Of course it did - for the last few days it's been lovely....cold, crisp, frosty, very sunny days - and today it's not even been that cold, in fact I'm in a short-sleeved t-shirt and we haven't got the heating on.  I did wear a thick fleece jumper when we went out early this morning, but was too hot in the car on the way home.

We did a big shop this morning, getting to the supermarket shortly after it wasn't very busy at all, thankfully.  We used a big trolley (can't remember the last time we used one of those...years ago I think) and it was full up by the time we finished.  Our spend was the equivalent of about 3 weeks' normal shopping, and included 2 large joints of meat (lamb and pork) and a small frozen turkey.  Our fridge, freezers and larder cupboards are all now full, we shan't need to go shopping again until at least halfway through January.  In fact, I'm going to make it a challenge to see just how long we can go before we have to go shopping again.  The only thing we might need to get in a couple of weeks' time is eggs, I don't think we'll run out of anything else.  If we do - well, I'll just see if we can manage without it until we really do need to restock.

This is a new thing for us...doing a month or so's shop I mean.  If it works out ok, in terms of having enough food, toiletries, etc to last the month, and if it can actually save us money, by buying larger quantities at a cheaper price than individual things, e.g., then we'll aim to do it that way in the future.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Roll on Spring!!

Thanks for the Betty comments, I wonder when she'll get to experience some proper snow?!

We've had so much torrential rain, heavy hail and strong freezing cold winds this past week, it feels neverending.  In between the rain and hail, we've had very brief (like, 10 minutes) periods of sun, but it catches you go out quickly to do a job outside or take Betty out, and within a few minutes the sky has come over black again and you're getting soaked.  And it's so blooming dark - bad enough that the days are so short now anyhow, but every time the clouds and rain come, it goes so dark that we have to put lights on.  I'm fed up with it, it makes me so grumpy.

The forecast for tomorrow is actually a lot better...let's hope they're right!  And roll on the 21st (next Thursday), when it's the winter Solstice and the days start gradually getting longer.

I really, really hate winter!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

BettyBoo and the snow

Thanks for the comments on the last post.  Will have to go in a shop today and get a top up of fresh stuff, I will be as disciplined as possible!  Also have to go to the opticians to get my new glasses changed from varifocals to ordinary single vision lenses.  This is the second (3rd, possibly) time I've tried varifocals and I just cannot get used to them - same problem each time, I find it difficult to cope with the ground being so blurry, it makes me feel very uneasy.  Oh well, back to swapping between my distance and reading least I'll have quite a substantial refund of cash back, as varifocals cost so much more than ordinary lenses.

We had hardly any snow to speak of.....Sunday it rained heavily most of the day, but then it started snowing late afternoon.  At first it wasn't settling because the ground was so wet, then we had great big fat flakes coming down for about an hour and gradually it began settling just on the grass.  We let Betty out in the garden to see it.....she was totally fascinated.  She just stood still gazing around for a few seconds, then suddenly started running around the lawn with her face pushed into it, literally hoovering up the snow, it was just so funny to watch.  OH went out and made a couple of (very small, since there wasn't much snow!) snowballs and threw them towards her, she crunched them up as if they were treats.  

You can see from the pics just how little snow we hour later it had all gone.

Got up early this morning, having woken about 5 am and not being able to get back to sleep....the sky was midnight blue with not a cloud in sight, but loads of stars and a bright sliver of moon - beautiful.  Betty got out of her bed to greet me when I came downstairs, then went straight back to bed, obviously thinking 'well you may be a mad woman who gets up early, but I need my beauty sleep'.  She does like her sleep, she's a right teenager in the mornings and doesn't like getting up early.  She also sleeps a lot during the day:-

She looks so angelic when she's asleep!

Friday, 8 December 2017

Getting the hang of this!

Thanks for the comments on my last post regarding using up stuff.  Using out of date milk for 'cream of' soups is a good idea, I hadn't thought of that, thanks Gemma's Person.  It's definitely soup weather now....although it's sunny and it's doubtful we'll get much (if any) of the snow other areas have had, it's blooming freezing cold.  I've got lots of frozen veggies, plus leeks, carrots and potatoes in the garden, plenty of dried pulses, frozen bacon bits leftover from the last boiled gammon we had, so lots of scope for soups.

I think I'm getting the hang of making meals from what we have.  Following the chicken and bean hotpot we had the other day (which was a big success, OH loved it), I had plans to make a sausage Bolognese to have with spaghetti the next day, I knew there was half a pack of sausages in the freezer.  But on going through the big freezer I found a tub of sausage pasta bake I'd made ages ago, so thought I might as well use that up first.  There was also one sachet left of frozen tomato & basil sauce, so that was mixed into the pasta bake when both were defrosted.  I topped it with grated cheese and breadcrumbs made from a crust of stale bread, heated it through in the top oven and we had it with buttered Savoy cabbage.  I'll make the sausage Bolognese another day, using the sausages deskinned and rolled into small balls, and a sauce made from homegrown cherry tomatoes - I have several bags of them in the freezer.

I'm keeping a large tub in the freezer which I add leftover cooked veggies to (like leftover cabbage from yesterday) - I usually do bubble and squeak with sausages or baked beans and a fried egg, but might do something different with the next lot.  Perhaps mix with homemade tomato sauce and top with mashed potato for a veggie cottage pie, or add gravy and leftover roast chicken and stuffing and make into a pastry pie.

Today we're having a fishy thing (well, it is Friday - we traditionally had fish and chips every Friday when we were kids at home).  Half a bag of frozen prawns, I'll mix them with a tin of salmon and sachet of Hollandaise sauce and serve on a bed of brown rice, with frozen veg on the side.

Had another idea to use up a large bag of blanched whole almonds I'd bought reduced to a ridiculously cheap price as they were on their sell by date a couple of months ago....they've been sat in the cupboard ever since.  I saw on FB that someone had made spiced roasted nuts for Christmas and thought great, I'll do that with the almonds.  

So I've started making small dents in the larder and freezer stores.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Meals from stores and using up out of date things

Thanks for all the comments on my last post, good to see I'm not the only one who can't leave a bargain!  But when you're trying to cut down on spending, and your cupboards/freezers are full, there's really no excuse to buy more stuff....  So the rest of this month is going to be as low spend as possible, even if it does mean sending OH to get anything necessary.

I thought it might be useful to post about meals I make from what we have in store, especially if it uses up things that are on their way out or are already out of date....after a sniff and taste test of course, to check they're ok to eat.  Might give me inspiration if in the future I can't think what to cook with what we have.

I had half a tin of baked beans in the fridge, 1 chicken breast left in a frozen pack, plenty of tinned tomatoes and pulses in the cupboard, still lots of leeks in the garden.  A small cupboard full of herbs and spices.  So I've done a sort of hotpot, using bbq spices and herbs.  Sliced a leek and diced the chicken breast and lightly fried them both, then added 2 heaped tsps. bbq seasoning and stirred it all in until the spices were smelling nice.  Added the half tin of beans, a tin of chopped tomatoes and one of white kidney beans (been in the larder forever, can't remember why I bought them originally!).  Put in a tsp dried sage and 2 tsps. parsley, a squirt of tomato puree and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.  Gave it all a thorough mix and will put it in the oven later this afternoon.  We'll have it with some of the chilli cheese cornbread I made the other day....made a trayful, cut it into squares and froze it.  Will warm it through in the oven.

I also discovered, whilst looking through the larder cupboard in the utility room this morning, that 2 cartons of the longlife milk (I have about 8 in stock) are a few days out of date.  Having opened them both, sniffed and tasted, they were fine, so to avoid them going off I've made a rice pudding in the slow cooker, demerara sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg added.  It's smelling lovely.

So that's today sorted, and I know what I'll do for tomorrow.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Changing the mind set

I've come to the conclusion that the best way to save money on shopping is....not to go in any shops!  (duh, hardly a revelation is it, more like common sense).  

Case in point - yesterday I had a list of 6 items I needed as we'd run out of them....came out of the supermarket with double that number (and having spent more than twice what I'd anticipated).  To be fair, I did buy some chicken, steak mince and sausages that were all reduced and have gone in the freezer, a pack of dog dental chews and OH picked up a couple of things he wanted (bottle of squash - I don't drink it - and some disposable razors). 

But that's the way it always goes....for the past month or so I've looked in the freezers/cupboards, done a menu plan for the week and written a shopping list, but I always end up buying stuff not on the list.  I don't buy anything frivolous or strictly unnecessary, it's always things we'll definitely time.  But I can't resist a bargain - if I see something on a good special offer, or fresh meat/fish that's been reduced because of the date, then I usually buy it.  It's now got to the point where the fridge, freezers and larder cupboards are very nearly full, so I definitely don't NEED to do any more shopping for at least 2 or 3 weeks.  Well, except maybe for fresh milk (we have several packs of long life milk in the larder, which I'm quite happy to use but OH doesn't like it) and fresh veg/fruit.  

I reckon the safest thing to do is write a list of essential items only and send OH to get them.....he's far less likely to buy anything not on the list.

Perhaps if I stay out of the shops for a few weeks and just send him when absolutely necessary, I might be able to break myself of the habit of buying extras just because they're on offer or reduced.  

I need to have a few weeks of using up what we've got before I go shopping again.  The trouble is, I do like to open a cupboard or freezer and see a good stock of food....I guess it's because when we were kids at home, Mum didn't have much money and couldn't keep a full cupboard, she just couldn't afford to (single parent of 4 kids on benefits after dad buggered off).  But I have to remind myself that, nice as it is to see a full food cupboard/freezer, it's there to be eaten, not looked at!

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Busyness....and a strange feeling!

Been busier than usual the last couple of weeks (as we all are, I guess).  My mum has been very unwell, so we made a quick unscheduled visit up to the Midlands to see her.  She's on the mend, thankfully, but I am always surprised at how much frailer she is every time I see her now (which is 2 or 3 times a year, but hopefully will be more often from now on).  She is 81 though, with numerous ailments....none drastic, but all of them together have quite an impact on her.  I'm so thankful that my sister lives next door to her and pops in every day, I'd be so much more worried about her otherwise.

We've also had several health-related appointments - just routine things, but they've all seemed to come within the last couple of weeks.  That includes Betty, she's got her recurring ear infection again so has been back to the vets twice.  All under control now.  I have an optical and a follow-up GP appointment this week, OH has the dentist....that should be it then.

Over the past few days I've had this strange feeling creeping up on me....I am beginning to feel quite.....Christmassy!  This is a very odd feeling for me - as I mentioned before, we just don't 'do' Christmas.  Other than loving all the old and cheesy Christmas songs, and liking decorations and lights (on other people's houses, not ours!), the festive time of year leaves me quite unmoved.  But the other day, I made several jars of excuse being that OH likes mince pies, and I quite like mincemeat icecream, and I occasionally make a cake with mincemeat in it.  I bought a pack of (charity) cards a few days ago - we haven't sent Christmas cards at all for the past several years, preferring to make a donation to a favourite charity instead....all our friends/family know we don't send Christmas cards, so quite why I bought them I can't really say!  I noticed one of my friends on FB has today made a tray of spiced mixed nuts and immediately thought how lovely they looked and I must make some for Christmas too.  And I made an ivy and berry (fake not real) wreath for our front window at the weekend, using things I had in the house already.  What is happening?!?!  Perhaps it's because we've been invited to spend Christmas day with our lovely friends, staying overnight.  We've done that before, a couple of times, and had a wonderful time.

I doubt I'll be going as far as wrapping presents (we don't buy any and that's not about to change!), buying a tree or going on a mad supermarket dash just before the day though!

Sunday, 19 November 2017


Does anyone know how to block somebody on Blogger?  

I've started getting quite a few spam comments (must mean I've arrived! teehee), none of which get published as I have comment moderation on.  However, I've had several recently (nearly every day) from the same person - nonsense stuff, a load of gobbledy gook that's clearly of foreign origin.

No big deal really, it would just be easier if they couldn't get through.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

More Christmas stuff

Sorry, I know it's been a while (nearly 2 weeks....oops).  No good excuse really, just had nothing much to say.  

Thanks for all the comments on my last post - 20, a record for me.  Seems most of us don't fancy spending so much money on one meal - you could feed a whole tribe of family and friends for the Christmas period on what would be the cost of a Christmas Day meal in a restaurant.  As I said, the cost of a Christmas meal around here (between £50-£75) would be a fortnight's shopping (if not more) for us, so is totally unjustified.  

Thank you for the birthday wishes.  To answer some of the comments:-

Pam, no dancing round the kitchen yet, but am sure there will be!  Catriona, I'm surprised to hear that not much of the extra cost for the meal goes to the staff - terrible, where's their incentive to work then?  Toni-anne, no I can't imagine you being able to get through a big 3-course lunch!  Marlene, I hope you enjoyed your birthday.  Sandra, my CD player/DAB radio is a compact Bush model (didn't want one of those huge ghetto blasters), I like the look and portability of it, but the sound quality isn't great - it's ok for my purposes though, I can always play my CDs on the DVD player with the sound bar in the lounge if I want really good sound.  Dawn, good idea to go away for Christmas, we've done it a few times in the past when we had our caravan.  Vix, your Dead Relatives Society Christmas Day curry feast sounds good!  And good value too.  Hazel, your Christmas days sound lovely, and no stress for you!  Chris, yes I agree, I often think when we've gone out for a meal that turned out to be mediocre that I could have cooked it far better myself.

We've decided to have roast beef for our Christmas lunch - it's something we don't have very often due to cost, so we'll look forward to that.

We will be going out for an early Christmas dinner - our village parish council put on a 3-course Christmas meal plus coffee and mince pie, and entertainment (singers and/or a comedian), in the village hall in early December.  Haven't been before, but are going this year with our lovely friendly neighbours, it should be a good evening....and is certainly much MUCH cheaper than a Christmas Day meal out.

I'll be hanging my one decoration in December - a small wreath on the door.  I'm not a total Grinch, I do love all the Christmassy songs - classic choir hymn ones, old cheesy pop ones, good old Slade and Cliff Richard, etc. - I play them continually in December, much to OH's disgust.  We also like going out to see the Christmas light show put on by a number of houses in one cul de sac in Burnham on Sea - they all have incredible displays and collection boxes for charity.  I wouldn't fancy their electricity bills!

Monday, 6 November 2017

Christmas Day (oh and my birthday)

Thanks for all the comments on my last post, seems we all feel the same.  I don't normally do current affairs posts, I don't really watch the news, but we've been bombarded with all this molestation stuff and I did feel strongly about some of it, hence the post.

Husband and I don't really 'do' Christmas, we never have - we don't have children (OH has adult kids from his first marriage, but they've never lived with us) and both of us come from families who don't celebrate Christmas, for religious reasons - we don't follow their faith but, having grown up not celebrating Christmas, we've never felt the need to either.  I do usually cook a roast dinner (not turkey, as neither of us is keen on it) and we enjoy relaxing for a couple of days and watching lots of TV, but that's as far as it goes.  However, this year we've been toying with the idea of going out for Christmas lunch in a pub/restaurant - never have before and probably never will again, it just seemed like a nice idea, so I started looking around for places that are doing a lunch, and checking out the prices.

Well, we won't be going.  I know it's Christmas day and the venues have to pay their staff (hopefully a good rate!) for giving up their day to work - but good grief, the prices!!  What they're charging for a meal for the 2 of us would work out to pretty much a fortnight's food shopping, and I simply can't justify spending that much on ONE meal.  It seems obscene, even if it is a 3 or 4 course meal.  So that's that, it's a nice roast lunch at home for us.  At least OH won't have to drive, so he can have a couple of glasses of wine and a Scotch.

It's my birthday today, OH took me out to lunch, we had a lovely carvery meal, beef and pork with lots of nice veggies, and the bonus is I don't have to cook today.  He bought me what I asked for, a CD player/DAB radio, I'm very pleased with it.  Our only means of playing CDs, of which I have quite a lot, is on the DVD player in the lounge.  Since I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, I couldn't hear my CDs properly unless I turned it up very loud (bearing in mind my poor hearing) and I didn't want the neighbours complaining!  So it'll be lovely to be able to play them in the kitchen. 

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Err, no it wasn't!!

I'm totally fed up with all this sexual assault/inappropriate behaviour stuff by celebs/MPs/people in the public eye that's coming out lately.  The latest one, that MP (Michael Fallon?) who's just resigned, made a statement that really annoyed me....he said that behaviour that might have been acceptable in the past was no longer appropriate now.  Excuse me, but since when has touching up a woman against her wishes EVER been acceptable?  It hasn't and isn't, end of.  Some men are trying to brush it off as horseplay/high jinks, when the reality is they're having a grope - whether the woman wants it or not.

Now, this is my opinion, on my blog - I don't speak for everyone, it's just what I personally think.  

I think that years ago men did a lot of 'inappropriate' stuff, they've always done it and mostly got away with it.  And the reason for that, I think, is that years ago women didn't really have a was the culture, norm, practise, whatever you want to call it, that men were the bosses, workers, ones in charge, and women were the little housewives and mothers staying home with pinnies on looking after the home and family, deferring to their husbands and not being expected to have an opinion (remember the unbelievably sexist TV adverts years ago when women were told not to worry their pretty little heads about things they knew nothing about?!).  It's taken decades for women to speak up and become equals and have the courage to say this happened to me years ago, and to now say No means No.  I think some men have been slow to realise that they simply can't get away with inappropriate behaviour anymore.

I also think there needs to be a distinction between sexual abuse and inappropriate behaviour - and again this is just MY opinion.  I realise that everyone is different and what one woman might find acceptable, another might not.  But in my book, what constitutes sexual assault is very different from merely inappropriate behaviour - to me, just putting their hand on a woman's knee or asking what colour knickers they've got on is just inappropriate and creepy, and should be easily dealt with by simply telling the bloke he's being a dickhead (or threatening to punch him in the face like that journalist did to Michael Fallon - well done her!).  Sexual assault is a whole different (and criminal) thing.

I do think as well that there is the danger of some men in the public eye being hounded and made the subject of a witchhunt.  Let's face it, some alleged 'victims' (male or female) might just want their 15 mins of fame, or have a financial motive.  

I also wonder what's the benefit or purpose of someone who was the victim of, let's say, a low level inappropriate behaviour, coming forward after a great number of years to talk about it.  Where does it get them?  What purpose does it serve?  I suppose it might help them to get it off their chests and perhaps close the book on something that has bothered them for years.  But, and again this is just my opinion, doesn't it just rake up things from the past and bring it all to the fore again and risk upsetting them all over again?

I'm sorry if all this upsets some people - as the current campaign slogan goes, #MeToo.  And that's all I am saying.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

This, that and a bit of the other

Our guests have gone, it all went off ok, they ate (almost) everything I provided - even the ketchup was eaten without noticing anything different....or at least they didn't comment!  Now, as well as our neighbours coming in tomorrow evening for the dominoes/cards/snacks night, we also have another set of visitors for lunch tomorrow, unexpectedly.  So I've had to go and do a bit of a top up shop low-spend October has well and truly gone out of the window.  Never mind, these things happen, and it is nice to see relatives we haven't seen for a year or two.  I am planning on doing a low spend November though - we'll see how that goes!

Our little Betty Boo is a year old today - the time has raced by.  Here's how she looked when we'd had her just a couple of weeks (so about 10 weeks old):-

(look how tiny she was!)

and here she is now:-

Big heffalump sitting on wouldn't be so bad if she just sat still, but she doesn't, she's a right fidget.  But I love her to bits.

We got these two ornaments the other day:-

I couldn't resist them, told Betty they're her mum and dad (SharPei mother, English Bulldog father).  She wasn't impressed, she wouldn't even go anywhere near them at first when I had them on the hearth.  Eventually though she started to approach them, cautiously at first, and then, after sniffing them thoroughly, she tried to bite the heads off!  Hence why they're now on the mantel shelf.  She gives them sideways glances and woofs at them every now and then, she's so funny.

Betty likes being with us and follows us about from room to room, except when she's napping of course.  If she wants attention and we're not giving her any, she'll either come and sit with us and pat us with her paw, or she'll grab a toy and come and dump it in our laps.  She has very expressive wrinkly eyebrows, which move independently of each other - when she's lying down with her chin on her front paws, not asleep but just watching us or the tv (she loves any kind of animal programmes), her wrinkly brows are constantly moving up and down, she makes me hoot with laughter sometimes.  Having her is one of the best things we ever did.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Getting a bit out of control....

With hindsight, perhaps October wasn't the best month to try and cut down drastically on food shopping spends.  Last week we were away on a last minute Mon-Fri break, stayed in a timber lodge on a quiet fishing site in north Devon, it was wonderful and totally made up for the disastrous holiday last month.  My £41 shop last weekend included some food for the holiday, but we did eat out a couple of times as well, so spent more on food than I would have if we'd been at home.  And tomorrow we have guests arriving to stay with us for a couple of days....they don't eat the same sort of things as we do - mainly junk or fast food! - and one of them is a very fussy eater, so that's meant we've had to buy more food than usual, and included things we wouldn't normally have.  E.g.  the fussy one only drinks cola, and branded at that - we never ever buy fizzy pop for ourselves and if we did, it wouldn't be an expensive branded one.

So yesterday we spent just over £70 on food shopping.  Oh well, I did stick to my list again and I've economised on some things, so £70 is probably less than I could have spent.  Our guests only have the leading brand of tomato ketchup - in our cupboard I had half a bottle of the supermarket own brand one I usually buy, plus a little bit left in a bottle of the leading brand one (bought from Approved Foods ages ago when they had it at a cheap price). I was planning on swishing it out with water and adding it to a stew or something, but had a brainwave - I poured the own brand one into the leading brand bottle and shook them together....we'll see if our guests actually notice the difference!  They don't read this blog so they won't know ;-).  So that saved me having to buy another (expensive) ketchup.

We've recently started having a dominoes and cards night every fortnight or so with our lovely friendly neighbours, we take it in turns to host and provide food and drink.  It's our turn this coming Friday but I don't have to buy anything extra for that, I'll make some snacks using what we've got.  We've got some beers, cider and wine too....I almost never drink alcohol and OH doesn't drink much, so what we get given or buy on special offer always sits in the cupboard for ages - useful for when we have guests.

I think I might try doing the restricted shop thing next month, nothing much planned so far, we're not going away and no guests visiting.

Thank you 50 and Counting (good luck with your reduced shopping!), Fishcake Random and Gemma's Person for your comments on my last blog - retirement (well, OH's) is going just fine, we're busier than ever.  Our Betty Boo is a year old this week, how time has flown!  She's as lovely as ever, still making us laugh every single day, still very stubborn but reasonably well behaved.  Our one-to-one training with the lovely Carrie-Anne has been put on hold as she is heavily pregnant, but hopefully we'll continue with it when Carrie's back to work.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

and the 3rd....

Went shopping this morning, stuck to my list apart from a pack of wraps that OH decided he wanted for his lunch (they were reduced though).  I think one of the things that's helping me not to buy stuff we don't actually need, is that by sticking rigidly to the list, I don't go down any aisles which don't have stuff we need.....I just look for the items on my list and don't bother looking at anything else.  Spent £41, making a total of £113 for three shops.  

On the face of it, it doesn't look like I'm keeping my spending down.  However, under normal circumstances (not watching the pennies in other words), we usually spend around £60 or £70 on a weekly shop, so we're actually doing pretty well.  I'm sure we could do even better though.  At the end of October I'll take stock of things and see how I can cut down even more.

Thanks for the comments on the last post.  Sue in Suffolk - I've tried other brands, including shop's own, too but always come back to the Nescafe ones, I really like them the best.  I have the Unsweetened ones - they still contain glucose but are much less sweet.  And yes it does make sense to stock up on things we regularly buy when they're on a good offer.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

2nd shop!

Firstly, welcome to new followers Deb B and Sue Hall, and thanks for the comments on my last post.  We're all noticing prices going up and shops taking stuff off their shelves to make room for seasonal (expensive) stuff.  Kate mentions very cheap frozen stuff in her T***o - we don't have a T***o round here (amazingly, thought they'd taken over the country!).  Apparently, they've been refused planning permission here (for some reason, I know not what) in the past.  However, someone told me the other day that an M&S food store will be opening up in our town next year, taking over the Buyology premises - they've only been open a few months but I'm not surprised they're closing, it looked like a jumble sale and sold rubbish stuff anyhow.

We had to go shopping again (sooner than I'd planned) as I'd run out of a few things.  Sugar - having made several apple cakes, chutney and jam over the past week, I'd used it all, and I still have one more lot of chutney to make.  My lactose-free milk - I generally get through 2 litres of fresh and 1 litre of longlife every 2 or 3 weeks....I was down to 1 fresh (in the freezer, I thought there were more) and 3 longlife.  However, when I opened a longlife yesterday, it had gone off - not surprising really as it transpired it was 4 months out of date.  So were the other 2....I suspect 'someone' (who shall remain nameless but it wasn't me!) had put the cartons away last time we bought them and hadn't put them behind the old stock.  I opened the other had also gone off and the other was on the turn, so I made scones with it and froze them.  I'd also run out of antibac kitchen spray - I thought there was another one in the cupboard - there was, but it turned out to be window cleaner.

I had a quick look at MySupermarket to see where my milk was cheapest (it's gone up in price quite a bit recently, generally £1.40 a litre) and As*a had it on offer at £1 for fresh, and 4 for £4 for longlife.  They also had some meat joints in their 3 for £10 offer, 950g boneless pork leg and 750g gammons.  And my favourite coffee, those Nesc**e cappuccino sachets, on offer at £1.50 per pack, they usually range in price from £1.50 to £2.98....generally nearer the top end.  I know they're an indulgence, but I only have 1 a day, first thing in the morning, very occasionally a 2nd in the afternoon.  Their Extra Special bacon rashers were 2 packs for £4 as well.

So I ended up spending £51.41, but bought enough milk to last me 6 or 8 weeks and saving £6.40 whilst it was on offer, 8 boxes of my coffees saving £4+, a boneless pork leg joint and 2 gammon joints (no waste and they'll each do us for several meals), bacon and some dog treats on offer, plus the sugar, kitchen spray and some cheese which was also on offer.  I saved about £15 altogether so, although I spent more than I was hoping, we got some very good deals and bought things which will last us several weeks.

Monday, 2 October 2017

First Stoptober shop

Over the last few days I wrote a list of things needed, there weren't many, just ordinary milk, nut milk for me (I like nut or coconut milk on my cereal - not fussy, whichever one is on special offer), butter, strong Cheddar, peanut butter, honey, canned grapefruit in juice, a multi-seed loaf, kitchen towel and pan scourers.  The grapefruit is to go with a can of Mamade that's been in the cupboard for ages (got the idea from Sue of The Cottage at the end of a Suffolk Lane, thank you Sue) to make grapefruit and orange marmalade.  For the last few weeks I've been making our own bread, but we've been busy over the weekend and I knew I wouldn't have time to make a loaf today, hence buying one.

It was just 13 items (4 nut milks, as they were on offer at £1 each), and it came to £21.05.  £21.05!!!  Buying just a few items and it costing over £20 shocked me really, it shows just how much food costs nowadays and how much prices have gone up.  As others have mentioned in their blogs, I noticed that a lot of the supermarket's basic range stuff has disappeared.  And of course they're starting to get Christmas stuff in, which means prices are going up (a carton of chocolates, which I'm sure were £3.50 a few weeks ago, are now £4 and supposedly on offer, down in price from £5 allegedly....I suppose they'll say in tiny print on the shelf label that they were priced at £5 for a week in one particular store in London!  Do they think we're stupid?!).  

The bill today has opened my eyes quite a lot and made me more determined to use up as much as we can from our larder and freezer stores before going shopping again.

I stuck rigidly to my list and didn't even look at anything else (a first I think!).

Sunday, 24 September 2017

A sort of Stoptober

More of an experiment, really.

Managed to get quite a few yellow sticker meat/poultry things last week, which have all been portioned up and frozen.  And of course loads of homegrown fruit and veg prepped, cooked where necessary and also frozen or made into jams or chutneys.  Did an Approved Food order and stocked up on tins, packets and flour, and went to Wilkos for toiletries and washing/cleaning supplies.  So the fridge, freezers and cupboards are pretty much bursting at the seams right now, and we still have lots of veg and apples to come from the garden.  We also have lots of dog food, dried and frozen homemade.

In theory then, we shouldn't need to buy anything except dairy for the next few weeks.  I'm going to see if we can do just that, only go shopping when necessary and keep all receipts so I can see what we've spent at the end of October.

Shame we can't keep a cow and a goat in the garden!  :-))

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Betty back to normal, and food processing

Thank you for your kind comments, as always.  I stayed downstairs on the sofa for 2 nights, to keep an eye on Betty - she was quite restless and out of sorts.  She's now been back to the vet for her post-op check and has been pronounced absolutely fine, the cut is healing so well not even another dressing needed, and we don't have to take her back again unless there are any problems.  We've to keep on with her anti-inflammatory pain med for another 2 or 3 days, small meals spread throughout the day rather than the 2 large ones she normally has, and only short walks on the lead for a further week.  That's going to be the hardest thing - she's already back to being full of beans and is straining at the leash to be let off and run!  We've decided to take her for 5 or 6 short walks daily for the time being, rather than the 2 or 3 long walks/runs she normally has.  Thank goodness husband's retired!

It's totally amazing to me that she's so well and lively after what is, after all, a total hysterectomy - if that was one of us ladies, we'd not be feeling like running around 3 days after the op!  Animals are just so incredibly resilient.

It was a shame about our holiday, to be honest it really didn't feel much like a holiday at all.  We're hoping we may be able to get away for a short break in the not too distant future.

I'm having a day in the kitchen (just sat down for a quick coffee and rest) - there's so much fruit and veg produce to deal with and process at the mo.  I've just made bread dough and chopped carrots, onion and beetroot in the processor to make veggie/bean burgers.  Our friendly neighbours gave us a bag of cooking apples last week, I'll be making a couple of apple cakes, possibly some chutney, and simply stewing some for the freezer.  Bought a massive cauli reduced to 40p yesterday, will make a couple of cauli/macaroni cheese dishes to freeze.  Husband brought in two courgettes that had turned into marrows (he said he didn't see them!!) - one we'll have stuffed probably for dinner tomorrow, the other I'll grate and add to the pack of minced lamb I have in the freezer, that'll make a couple of shepherds pies.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Back, mostly all well, but poor Betty :(

Thank you for your kind comments.  The two family members who had serious health worries have had their results back....not nearly as bad as feared, although still ongoing problems to be dealt with.  At least we can breathe a sigh of relief now though.

We went away last Friday for a week's holiday in Cornwall (it was looking like we may have had to cancel, due to the family health problems, but fortunately results came back early in the week).  Unfortunately, though, we had no end of problems with both the car and the holiday cottage, which meant we threw in the towel and came back home 2 days early - we just weren't feeling the holiday.  Oh well, never mind, it was a relief to be home.

We took Betty for her spaying op today - all went well, we brought her home at 3.30 pm and she's not moved off her bed since - she's just sleeping off the anaesthetic, hardly even changing position.  For the first half hour she whimpered like a baby, broke my heart.  She's not interested in food yet (I cooked a bit of chicken for her) and wouldn't even have a drink, although she did lick a few drops of water off my fingers.  

10 minutes later.....she's just woken up and had a few sips of water, thank goodness, I was beginning to get a bit worried.  I'm going to stay up with her tonight, I'll sleep (ha!) on the sofa.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Back soon

Very busy at the mo, and some worrying family health issues.  Will post when I can.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Utility room pics

Here are the pics I took of the finished utility room.  Well, I say finished - it is, more or less, but I still need to buy a length of material to make a curtain to cover the underneath of the worktop.  It's where stuff we don't use much is stored and looks a bit unsightly, I'd rather it was all hidden away from sight.  And a pretty bright flowery curtain would bring in a bit of colour.  The whole room is very light in colour, which is what I wanted - it was very dark and dingy before and I wanted a complete change.  The paleness of it all makes the room look so much bigger than before - it is a pretty good size, about 12ft x 15ft, with a space of about 2ft x 4ft taken up by the boiler cupboard.

The ceiling where the mould was before, all treated and replastered.  It would be nice to get that horrible strip light replaced, I really don't like strip lights (unfortunately, we have them in the kitchen and dining room too), but that's a job for an electrician.  Husband can turn his hand to most things, with the exception of electrics, which he doesn't feel competent enough to do.

The cupboards all now beautifully matching, with the lovely new worktop underneath.  The baskets on the left hold vegetables, the plastic lidded boxes I store supplies of packet foods in, the green one contains the dog food.  Tins and jars I keep in the cupboards.

The space underneath the worktop where we keep not much used stuff, which is where I'll put a curtain across to hide it all.

The washing machine corner, with spare fridge and small freezer.

Beside the boiler cupboard, new upright freezer replacing the old knackered chest freezer, which has now gone to the tip.

Tumble dryer beside the door to the garden...note the lovely new vinyl floor covering.  After I'd taken this shot, husband removed the last of his tools (on the worktop in the corner) and promises not to bring them back in!  I've said he can use the drawers beside the tumbler if he likes, I have enough Fablon left over to cover those too.

The next jobs on the agenda are decorating the twin spare room, and husband wants to box in the horrible 50s fireplace in the lounge.  Those are jobs for next month.

Thank you to Briony, TA, Cheryl and Dawn for your comments, and welcome to a new follower, Janipi p.

Friday, 25 August 2017

The hearing thing....

Thank you so much everyone for all the comments....I also had an email from Chris who gave me some helpful info - thanks.

Amazing how many of us suffer with tinnitus, seems to be a common thing.  Toni, I hadn't actually noticed that your aid is cerise - how lovely!  The colour would suit you perfectly!  I didn't know they came in colours.  How funny about your tooth and our backs - I know we like a lot of the same things, but it seems we have even more in common :-)  I've tried that massaging/draining lymph nodes thing a few times, can't say it's made any difference to my tinnitus though.

Cheryl, my tinnitus is white noise (my mum's is a buzzing noise) so I can't see how more white noise would help me at night.....doesn't it just irritate you more?

Vix, total hip replacement at 39? Blimey, I've never heard of anyone having it that young!

I'm still undecided about the hearing aids.  I think I'm going to book a free hearing test at Specsavers (they say they put you under no obligation to buy aids, they merely give you advice) and have a chat with the technician who does it.  At the hospital, I was so taken aback when the specialist said I had significant hearing loss that I didn't really take in much of what else he said, and didn't think to ask questions.  Now I've recovered from the shock a bit, I can go to Specsavers armed with a list of questions.

The doctor in charge of the hearing therapy clinic rang me a couple of days ago, which I thought was a bit odd (ringing me I mean), considering that the clinic is for patients with hearing loss!  Luckily, I can hear people on the phone fairly well, provided there's no background noise or interference, in which case I can't hear a thing.  Anyway, she said there's quite a long waiting list for the clinic and she wouldn't be able to see me until November.

In other, happier news, we've finished the utility room at last, I'm so pleased with it, it looks lovely.  With the walls and ceiling painted white, light coloured vinyl flooring (instead of the old bare concrete) and pale wood coloured Fablon covering the cupboard doors, the room looks much bigger.  The Fablon was an absolute bugger to put on the doors, it kept creasing and bubbling and sticking to itself....when Valerie, Peter and John used sticky back plastic on Blue Peter they made it look so easy!!  Anyway, it's done, it's lovely.  I've taken pics and will put them on another post.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Nearly done, and a bit of a shock

Thank you for the comments on my last post (welcome Vix, I'm honoured!  I said hello to you once when you were trading in Bristol a couple of years ago).

All the decorating is finished in the utility room, OH has fitted the new (to us) worktops, and the new Venetian blind is up.  Today he's fitting new hinges to the last 2 cupboard doors, then we're covering all the cupboards with Fablon and fitting different doorknobs (we already had a bagful of those, can't remember where or why we got them).  Tomorrow the vinyl flooring will be laid, then everything can go back in and I'll get my dining room back and my lovely new utility room will be finished.  I'll take photos when it's all done.

I'm so grateful to husband for doing it all (well, the bulk of it) - he's getting older (66 now) and has arthritis in his hands and knees, and the dyslexia means he's disorganised and makes the occasional mistake with measuring.  But nothing stops him, he carries on regardless as he's not the sort to sit around doing nothing.  He'll give any kind of DIY thing a go, the fact that he's never done something before doesn't put him off, he'll have a look online or in one of his DIY books for help.  And he watches loads of the DIY type programmes on TV, he's always seeing something that he thinks is worth a try.  He really is a treasure (even if he does get on my nerves with his untidiness!).

I had to go to the hospital for tests last week, as I've been having some trouble with my hearing.  The tests confirmed I have quite significant hearing loss in both ears, and I need hearing aids.  This came as a bit of a shock - I'm only in my 50s, I feel far too young to have hearing aids.  The specialist said it's not age-related, and he couldn't see a problem with my ears themselves, he said it may possibly be tied up with the raging tinnitus I have had for a few months.  Well, I've actually had tinnitus for donkeys years, it's never really bothered me before though, it wasn't there all the time and wasn't particularly obtrusive.  But over the last few months it's become very loud and is constant, I now have it literally all the time.  The specialist was at a loss to explain this as he said tinnitus usually gets better over time.  I have to say I'm not at all keen on the NHS aids he showed me, which are the only ones they prescribe.  I have looked into private ones, but good grief they're expensive!  I told him I didn't really want the NHS ones (I have short hair and they would be visible), and he said he was going to refer me to a hearing therapist (to learn how to cope with tinnitus and general hearing loss) but didn't know whether they'd accept me if I hadn't tried hearing aids first.

I'm feeling a bit numb about it all - I was really expecting the doctor to say that the hearing loss was temporary and related to an ear infection or wax, perhaps, but he said I didn't have either.  Oh, and I've got a wobbly front tooth which I expect will have to come out sooner or later.  So what with my ears, tooth, diabetes, Achilles tendon and bad back, I kind of feel like my whole body is wearing out way too early :-(

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Keep calm and do yoga!

I'm not the world's best housewife - far from it!  I don't vacuum every day, I clean the bathroom when it needs it, as opposed to a schedule, I only wash the kitchen floor about once a week, I rarely dust (seems a bit pointless, all I'm doing is moving the dust from one place to another....for this reason I'm not really a fan of ornaments!).  I don't mind things ('stuff', for want of a better word) put on windowsills or the tops of cupboards etc, so long as they don't build up into a tower that eventually falls over.  

But I do like things to be reasonably tidy, and I am pretty organised.  My husband, however, is not - at all.  He's very untidy, he just doesn't seem to notice when things are in a mess.  He's also extremely disorganised and is forever losing things - tools, keys, shoes, glasses - because he puts things down and can't remember where he's put them...I've always said his hands are not connected to his brain.  He's dyslexic, which I think is one of the main reasons why he's so disorganised - his brain just doesn't organise things very well.

After 34 years of marriage, I'm used to his disorganisation - I also count myself fortunate that he's so hands on and is willing to get stuck into anything, he's a great DIYer and can turn his hand to building most things.  He does create loads of mess though, which does tend to irritate me - I just have to keep telling myself that it's a means to an end and the end will be worth it.

This is all about the utility room - he decided, without me saying anything, that he'd fit new worktops as he thought I'd like them.  He's right, I would - I never mentioned it though because I didn't want to give him any more work, I would have put up with the old mismatched ones.  He had in the shed, unbeknown to me, a long length of worktop he'd been given by a neighbour, which was surplus to their requirements.  It wasn't quite enough to completely replace everything in the utility room, but there's a local discount woodyard which sells loads of surplus stock/slightly damaged worktops at very cheap prices.  He went there this morning, confident that he'd be able to find a matching piece - he did, and it only cost £14!  So now he's taking out the old worktops and fitting the new ones, which involves yet more mess.

Yes I'm very grateful, and I know I'm going to have a lovely utility room which will meet all my requirements and, very importantly, look really nice, after having basically a makeshift horrible tip for the past few years.  But I am beginning to be a bit irritated by the ongoing mess - dry plaster footprints all over the kitchen floor every time he walks in, because he doesn't take his outside shoes off (because he's in and out about 50 times an hour all day long!).  And feeling a bit irritable about having to move things (that he's put there 'just for a minute' and then forgets he's done it because his mind immediately goes straight onto something else) so that I can get to something.  E.g. he'd put his stepladder and a box of decorating equipment in front of the spare fridge in the utility room, and I needed to get something out of it.  He'd also moved a big plastic box containing the dog food, because he wanted to get to something behind it - he put the box, which is heavy, on top of the small chest freezer and left it there.  I had to call him in from the garden to come and move it, as it was too heavy for me to lift.

I think all the things I'm learning in my yoga classes about breathing and releasing tension are going to come in very handy over the next few days!  In another week or so it will all be done, I just have to focus on that.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

We have lift off!

Operation Utility Room has started.....the plasterer is here, halfway through the ceiling, he's alternately singing/bemoaning the state of the ceiling (have to say his singing leaves a lot to be desired, but at least he's a cheerful soul).

The floor will be done tomorrow, then we can start painting once the floor's dry.  We've got the paint, Fablon and replacement handles for the cupboard doors and new window blind, just the vinyl floor covering to get once all the painting is done.  Can't wait till it's all finished and I can then go in there every day with a smile on my face, rather than hating it.

To answer TA's comment about whether I have a surreptitious practise of yoga at home....yes I do TA, have to do it upstairs out of the way, if I do it downstairs the dog thinks we're playing and jumps all over me!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

At last! And more aching muscles...

After what seems like I've been waiting forever to get my utility room done, we have finally managed to pin down the plasterer, he's coming at 8.00 am on Saturday to do the ceiling, then will help OH re-cement the floor.  This Friday will be spent clearing everything out of the room in preparation, the appliances (spare fridge, chest freezer, washing machine and tumbler) will all have to go in the garage for the time being.  Actually, I've just realised, the freezer will have to go in the dining room as there's still food in it and no electrics in the garage.  Best make sure I'm up to date with the washing first, as it'll be a few days I expect before we can do the decorating and laying of the cushion flooring and get the appliances back in.  OH needs to refurbish the wall cupboards, putting on new hinges and handles and fixing the shelves inside as necessary, then I'm going to cover all the doors with sticky-back Fablon type stuff.  I'll also cover the worktop with the same stuff.  I can't wait for it all to be done, it's so exciting! (we lead such an interesting life lol).

Thank you for the comments about yoga, seems several of you have no classes nearby, which is a pity, cost is a factor too.  A friend asked me yesterday why I don't go back to the chiropractor, even if just for a couple of sessions, as I'm having so much back pain lately because of my sprained Achilles tendon.  Well, it's because for the cost of 2 sessions with the chiropractor, I can have 16 weeks of yoga - no contest!  The yoga classes have other benefits too - I enjoy them a lot, the teacher is lovely and it's a fun bunch of like-minded people in the class, we all giggle a lot.  I find it really relaxing and stress-relieving, and it's an hour of me time, something I do on my own that's just for me.  Much as I love having husband at home now he's retired, it is nice to have a bit of time to myself.

Had my 2nd class last night, we concentrated mostly on upper body/shoulder stuff last night, really stretching our shoulder muscles and opening up our chests (ooerr missus) - consequently, my shoulders today feel like I've been doing windmill actions with my arms for about 12 hours nonstop.  Although I do find it quite difficult to do some of the stretches at the moment, I know it will get easier as I practise more and get more supple.  I'm already starting to feel the benefits, I'm standing straighter, consciously keeping my shoulders down and am more aware of my posture and breathing.  Looking forward to next week!

Thursday, 3 August 2017


Thank you for the lovely comments about my beautiful Betty, she's my baby and I love her to bits, she's enriched our lives so much and I cannot imagine life without her.

Ever since I sprained my Achilles tendon (about 3 months ago now), I've been hobbling about like an old woman, limping, unable to stand in the kitchen for more than a few minutes without having to bend forward clutching the worktop for support.  Walking in the field with the dog is a complete No No, the ploughed uneven surface kills my leg and back.  My limping awkward posture exacerbates my long term back problem and makes my left hip hurt like hell.  I'm fed up with being crippled, having to curtail what I can do, and taking painkillers 3x daily - I don't want to live like that (GP said the tendon could take 3-6 months to heal, and to keep taking painkillers in the meantime).

I know I could go back to the chiropractor (Magic hands Mark) who sorted my back out the last time, I'm sure he could work miracles with my back again and the tendon.  But it costs around £40 a visit, and he suggests 2 or 3 treatments a week for 2 or 3 weeks (the cynical part of me says of course he would!).  I can't - well, I don't want to - afford that, not now husband is retired.  Then I remembered my SiL and a couple of other people I know do yoga - for various reasons - and all swear by it.  I googled and found that, not only does it help with physical problems, it also helps relax you, eases stress and helps you sleep - all of which I need help with.

I found out there's a weekly class in our nearest village and emailed the teacher, who sounded lovely when she replied very promptly.  To cut a long story short, I went on Tuesday evening for my first (free taster) class.  I was worried it would be full of skinny, lithe and supple, lycra clad 20 year olds (although Jayne the teacher had assured me it's not in her email) - thankfully she was right, it's a small class, only about 8 people.  They're all middle aged and mostly not skinny, there's even one man (usually 2 apparently, the 2nd was on holiday).  And they're all of different abilities....oh, and there was one other newbie starting, a lady of 81!!

I won't deny I found some of it quite hard....I was stretching muscles I didn't even know I had, and getting in positions I never have before.  And having big boobs and a fat tummy made some of the poses awkward!  But Jayne the teacher was very good, helping me out with suggestions for slightly easier ways of doing things.  Everyone was very welcoming and encouraging and I really enjoyed it.  I actually slept quite well that night and, although my muscles ached the next day - and today, possibly even more today - the lower back pain I've had constantly every day for the past few weeks has downgraded to mere soreness.  I'm also standing taller and straighter, and all this after just one session - amazing.  I will definitely be going every week, I've even bought a yoga mat (a lovely purple one).  So it's sorting my back pain out, helping me sleep, relaxing and making me more supple (in time!) and is only costing me £5 a week!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

To change the subject....Betty pics!

Let's get away from the makeup stuff and have some lovely doggy pics.  Firstly though, I must say thanks for all the comments.  Rambler, thank you for that, I had heard about the Avon SSS before but thought it was a myth!

First one:-

There's a bronze statue of a sailor called Yankee Jack on the esplanade at Watchet.....Betty thought it was a real man and really wanted to meet him

She was quite put out when he didn't make a fuss of her!

Having a rest in the long grass over the Marshes nature reserve, all that running around sniffing wears you out!

Sorting out her toy box to find the one she really wants to play with

Avidly watching CountryFile - she's a right telly addict, especially when there are animals or birds on.

And finally worn out at the end of a long day....just look at that lovely squishy face, makes my heart melt.

Monday, 24 July 2017

We're all different!

Thank you for all the comments on my last post.  I want to address something that's come up from Galant (Margaret P) who made 3 long comments.

Firstly Margaret, thank you for your kind comments about my hands/nails (incidentally, the varnish is coming off today, having done some weeding and lots of veg prep, including podding loads of peas, over the weekend, it's chipping off so I have a legitimate excuse to remove it!).  

You ask whether being a country girl precludes us from wearing makeup or taking care of, of course not.  Just because I choose not to wear makeup, wear varnish or mess around with my hair, doesn't mean I don't take care of myself.  I do take particular care of my face, using hypoallergenic products, as I have sensitive skin and the occasional bout of eczema (another reason why I don't wear makeup!).  I also regularly use hand cream.  I don't wear perfume as I'm clearly super-tasty and get bitten by any insect in the vicinity, so don't want to encourage the little buggers by smelling like a flower!

Everyone is different, some like to spend time (and money) on makeup and having their nails and hair done, others don't, for whatever reasons.  My reasons are that I can think of better things to spend my money on (particularly now OH is retired and we have less income), and I don't feel the need to - I don't need to do myself up to feel good about myself, I'm perfectly happy as I am.  And as we've been happily married for 34 years, my husband is clearly happy with me too.

Incidentally, the only time I wear trackie bottoms and old t-shirts is when we're decorating!

I used to wear makeup, do my nails and hair when I was a secretary - case of having to, although the makeup and nail varnishing got less and less over the years to the bare minimum of makeup and no varnish, although my nails were always shaped and tidy.  Since stopping work (well, paid employment) a few years ago and living in our little idyll in the country, I no longer bother simply because I don't want to!

To answer your last question, Margaret - yes I have had my makeup professionally done, once, a long time ago.  I wasn't overly keen on it then and wouldn't do it now.

Thank you for all your encouragement for me, and the other ladies who said they don't faff about with their appearances either, to do all these things, but I won't I said before, it's just not me and I'm happy as I am!

Admittedly, I did have a few days where I was quite down about my weight and didn't like what I saw in the mirror, but that was just a hormonal blip, I'm not always like that.