Tuesday, 12 December 2017

I want less hassle.

Hello. I have a new debit card from my bank, it is a contactless card which means I can hover it over a machine at the checkout and my purchase is complete. I believe there is a limit of £30 per transaction, I haven't read the blurb because I have no intention of using it for purchases. This facility is supposed to make life simple and easy, no need to remember your pin number, or does it?  
Have a read of this article in the Mail. How easy it is for someone with the correct electronic device to skim the details from these cards, even when they are in your purse, pocket, or bag. A whole new industry has started up selling little pockets for the cards which will block the signal. An alternative is to cover it in foil. There is another remedy, they can be returned to the bank and you can ask for a non contactless card. I can't be bothered to do that, so mine is covered in foil.
I have lots of little habits which contribute to making my life simple and without hassle or worry. One of these habits is to never use my debit card for purchases. Ok, I correct that, I have used it twice over the years when buying a car, it is more convenient than paying with cash. But other than that I don't use it at all in shops, and I don't buy online. My rules for a simple life.

The only time I use this card is to withdraw money from the cash machine inside the bank. I don't use hole in the walls in the street, I don't trust them. So my debit card only comes out of my purse once or twice a month. In fact I don't even need to take it out with me at all, unless I know I will be visiting a bank.

I do have a credit card which has a few transactions on it, and I take care of it, guard it with my life. It's so easy to get distracted when shopping, as my friend was recently. She left her card in a machine, which caused a whole load of hassle cancelling it and getting a new one. Luckily she did it quickly and nothing was stolen from her account.

So, my simple life is all about being careful, not making problems for myself, being extra vigilant, staying alert, and trying to limit things going wrong. I want less worry.

Another simple thing I do is stay within the speed limit when driving. I can't be doing with folks who say speed cameras are cash cows. If no one speeds the government makes no money from them. I have been caught three times in the past, all while working, but not any more. I have learnt, no speeding, no letters in the post, no money lost, and reaching my destination less frazzled. 

Another way I try and eliminate hassle from my life is to avoid people I don't like very much. On first meetings I can tolerate most in small doses, but then the boundaries go up and I am on my guard. There are people you warm to and some you don't. Welcome the people you love, but for a more harmonious life it's sometimes better to walk away.

So what do you do to make your life simple, and I don't mean growing your own veg or keeping chickens, because both of those need a fair amount of commitment. I did grow veg for a few years because I didn't have much money, but it was time consuming. Now I can afford to buy veg so some time is freed up to do other things. My time management now is much more simplified.

Now I have to get the car ready and take it to the garage. While it is there I shall be making use of the time and walking to the village.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Monday, 11 December 2017

Just peanuts

Hello. While the rest of the country is grinding to a halt, it's business as usual here in North Lincolnshire. We have no snow, but it's very frosty and cold. I am well wrapped up when I take Bailey poodle out. I gave him two half hour walks today because it's a bit of a rush to do the full hour on a Monday morning, and be at Crafty Club for 10am. So I give him a second walk in the afternoon, just to make sure he is empty, if you see what I mean. He lives down the bottom end of a cul de sac so when we are almost home I take his lead off and he runs like the clappers, ears flapping, straight to his door. Looks so funny. He likes going out, but is so excited when we get back. 
I gave up buying peanut butter a while ago. Tesco changed the recipe of their Value brand and put it in a plastic pot instead of the glass one. It was never the same, and didn't taste very nice. I tried one or two other brands, but didn't find anything I like, and the prices were far more than I wanted to pay. I've been making my own ever since. I buy Value salted peanuts, or Aldi, or any other cheap makes. Put two bags in the Kenwood and whiz until they are the right consistency. Tastes lovely. 
So that's one money saving tip, I make my own peanut butter. Another money saving tip is that I put the whole mixer bowl in the fridge just as it is with the blade as well. I don't decant it into another container, why bother because that would make more washing up, costing money and time. I dip into this with a teaspoon  whenever I am feeling a bit peckish but don't want to make a meal. A couple of spoons keeps me going until the next meal time. The mixer bowl gets washed when it is empty. 
Here is a little snap shot of the Zippppeeeeee artwork. It's coming together slowly. I think it's going to be chuffin good. The pink zips I have machined onto the background, all the rest will be hand sewn.

I washed the car this afternoon, the water was freezing on the car seconds after I threw clean water over it to rinse off the soap. I've got to put the back seats up and give it a bit of a clean inside tomorrow morning before I take it for it's MOT test at 2pm. Keep your fingers crossed that it passes.

I've got nothing marked on the calendar for the rest of the month. No plans for Christmas. There won't be any extra shopping, just my normal food will be bought, plus I might have a treat or two. No need to go mad. Tesco sent me a voucher for £6 off a £40 shop. I'll check through my cupboards and see if I can find enough to make up a shop for £40. It would have to be things I use anyway, no point in buying just for the sake of it.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Sunday, 10 December 2017

In praise of Youth Hostels.

Hello. What's the weather doing where you are? Parts of Britain have ground to a halt, people are either stuck in snow or are out enjoying it, or are huddled at home with no wish to venture out. There is no snow here which I am pleased about. I did my walk this morning, I need to do three miles every day now for the rest of the month, to reach my target. No slacking, no excuses, just do it. 
I'll just finish off the last of the photo's of my break last week. A few of the hostel. Hartington Hall is between Buxton and Ashbourne, just off the A515. The village is lovely, shops, pub, church, and school, and lots of farms all around it. 
This is the view from the car park, it's just starting to get dark and the pathway lights are on. 
If you have bags to unload you can drive right up to the building. Disabled badge holders can park in the small courtyard, they don't need to move their car to the car park. 

It looks very welcoming with the glowing interior lights. This is the front door, but it is just as easy to access the building through the side door.

The Christmas tree is up, with lights around the wood burner. They will light a fire if you ask, but to be honest, the whole building was hot enough with the central heating.

One of the two dining rooms. These get very full when there are school parties booked in. While I was there I was the only person in the dining room for the first day, then two other ladies had their meals there the second day. It is fully licensed for alcohol, I had a cider which was a bit pricey but hey hoe, I like a treat. The staff were great and couldn't do enough for me. The two ladies on the evening shift were really nice.

This is the quiet lounge, there are books and magazines available to read. I was lucky, and found several Embroidery Guild magazines, I read them all while I was there.

My room was in the Coach House across the courtyard. I had a shower and wash basin en suite, with the toilet across the corridor, shared only by two other rooms. There was a members kitchen, and a dining table downstairs for those who self cater, and a cosy sofa and television set if you don't want to go across to the main building. I used the kitchen to make my first mug of coffee in the morning.

My first evening meal was three bean chili, and this pizza was served the second night. Dinner is from 5.30pm, which is good, because I was back by 4pm, and I don't like eating too late, too close to bed time. I could only eat half this pizza, and to be honest, I very rarely have pizza at home. I didn't bother to ask for something else from the menu, they had prepared this so I ate what I could and wrapped the other half up for lunch the next day. .

Now is a good time to stay at a Youth Hostel because it can be quite cheap out of season. Even cheaper if you are a member. Check out the web site for vacancies. Some of the hostels will be closed for the winter, but some remain open.

For instance, if you fancy visiting Penzance next week there is a newly refurbished hostel there, which has beds in a dorm for £13 non members, £10 members. Private room for two people £29. Fancy Keswick in the Lake District next week. Even cheaper, £10 non members, £7 members, in a dorm, per night. Some hostels are open all over the Christmas period, so if you are sick of it already why not get away for a couple of nights.

If you want to see more pics of Hartington Hall, here is a link to the post from December 2011.

Dinner time. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Bimbling around Buxton.

Hello. When I woke up on the last morning it was raining, in fact it had probably been raining all night. Not a good day for walking across fields, it's a good job I had a plan B. Breakfast was half the amount I had on the first day, at my request, and so I managed to eat it. I packed up my bag and cleared my room, and set off for Buxton. 
I found some free parking in a quiet street on the outskirts and walked into town. By this time the rain had thankfully stopped. This is the Town Hall, the back entrance. They have ruined the outside though by taking out two windows and putting in toilets in their place. 
I had a look in the Museum and Art Gallery, in the same building. I love old rooms like this. I can see myself relaxing in a chair and reading a book.

The art gallery is upstairs, there is an exhibition of students artworks. I have to say these pictures show some exceptional talent, I absolutely loved them. Difficult to choose my favourite. Nearly all of them were painted by female artists. Three cheers for the girls.

Brrrr, it was getting cold when I came out of the gallery, don't think I will be hanging about for much longer, best keep moving. The massive Palace Hotel, with some ugly advertising boards along the front.

This railing around the Pavilion Gardens had been decorated with colourful ribbons.

The Opera House looking very grand.

And the tropical gardens in the Pavilion Complex next door. I have been here before, there are more pictures on my blog, click on this link to see them.

Upstairs above the tea rooms is an exhibition of local artist paintings. There is a sale on and they have all been reduced. I like these two for the colours and the quirkiness. They both have £100 off.

And if I wanted to save even more money I could buy the picture below for £150 instead of £495. Maybe I'll pass on that. Excuse reflections in the glass.

In the adjoining marquee was a Farmers Market, not a very big one. Traders were standing around looking bored, not many customers. I got chatting to a man who was trying to sell his honey, and another one who was trying his hardest to sell me some of his fancy chocolates. I said no thanks to both.  A few ducks on the pond outside in the gardens. It was getting colder.

 I had a walk to the Poole Cavern to see what it was about. The exhibition was quite good, with a short film about how the cavern was formed millions of years ago. I decided not to pay £8.50 to go down there. Time to get back to the car and go home. Passing this book store on the way back.

There are more pictures of Buxton here, a post from March 2015.

I just managed to get back to the car when the heavens opened and a big hailstorm started lashing it down.

I arrived at my Tesco just as they were putting the second yellow sticker reductions on, and picked up a few items. Saved a bit of money, but I wasn't prepared to wait two hours, or go back later, for the final markdown, so I missed out on quite a lot more. There was tons of food left, the seven o clockers were going to get some bargains. I have enough food to keep me going anyway. I will go again before Christmas, bound to be lots on offer then. 

The snow hasn't reached here yet, I am hoping we might be lucky and miss it. It's cold though, but I am still doing my three miles. Lots of pretty lights to see now that people are decorating the fronts of their houses.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Friday, 8 December 2017

Circular walk from Hartington.

Hello, it is me, back from walking in Derbyshire fully refreshed and ready to blog. It is important for me to get away every so often, I feel trapped if I am in the same place for long periods of time. There are a lot of places within an hour or two's driving, with lovely scenery. Might as well make the most of it. 
I've been to Hartington Youth Hostel before, I thought it was about four years ago, but when I checked I see it was six years ago. How time flies. I remember this cottage just down the road, with the two trees that meet in the middle. 
After a lunch stop at Cromford on the first day, I drove straight to the hostel and only had time for a short walk in the afternoon. After a big breakfast the following morning, which was far too much, I set off for a full days walk, taking a veggie sausage and a hash brown with me to eat for lunch.

It was a bit dull, but dry. I made this short video about 20 minutes into the walk.

I crossed several fields to get to Sheen. Mud mud, glorious mud, yuk. Hows this for a Village Hall. A lovely old building.

I decided at that point I was going to stick to mainly roads, it's not much fun sloshing around in mud. I got on the road to Townend. A typical country pub in these parts.

At the road junction in Hulme End is this very picturesque pub. Looks a nice place to stop for refreshments. The Manifold Inn. Not for me though, I want to carry on.

Nearby is the old railway station which is now a Visitor Centre. The disused track is a pathway for cyclists, walkers, and horse riders. I set off heading south The track runs alongside the River Manifold for a long way.

So far down and the track turns into a narrow road and goes underneath the road above it.

There are some spectacular views, I've zoomed in to this cave across on the other side of the valley.

Look at this, big skies, big open spaces. It's starting to brighten up, maybe I'll be lucky and the sun will come out. Just past the cave I decided to come off the Manifold Way and continue on the road to Wetton. It's time I was starting to make my way back.

I found a bench on the village green, opposite the pub, and had a bite to eat. I like villages because you never know what you are going to see in people's gardens. Howzabout these giant wood carvings.

And two very big hands sticking out of the ground.

The plaques on the wall of this cottage look a bit arty.

And how about staying for the night in this old chapel, offering B & B. I would like to have a nosy inside.

Time was getting on and I needed to head off back. I came off the road and took a track along the bottom of Wetton Hill. The sheep round here don't seem as nervous as some I come across. These let me pass through them as they carried on munching.

Back on the road again, taking a dead end road to Narrowdale. There are several buildings here which have been abandoned. Not a soul about.

No time to linger, less than an hour left of daylight. Onward I went, looking for a track to go towards Beresford Dale. It is the shortest distance back to Hartington, and I have walked some of the route before, even though it was six years ago.

Something wasn't working out. I should have come to a T junction a lot sooner than I did. I lost my bearings, there was a signpost, but nothing on it indicated where I wanted to be. After twenty minutes I realized I was no where near where I thought I was, I must have taken a wrong turn. Nothing for it but to backtrack. I needed to get to a road. I had torches but they are no good in the pitch black open countryside if you don't know where you are. Getting onto a road would be easier.

After ten minutes or so I saw two walkers coming towards me, and asked if they knew where they were going. They did, I said I had gone wrong and needed to get back to the road. After a brief discussion these kind people said they were going back to their car at Alstonefield, and if I went with them they would give me a lift to Hartington. What a relief. No doubt I would have got back anyway, but their offer made it a bit easier for me. They dropped me at the hostel door just before four o clock. Altogether I walked 11 miles. I know exactly where I went wrong, it was at the derelict buildings. Too busy taking photo's and not noticing a footpath around the left side of them.

The evening meal was pizza, it was massive, far too much for me. I wrapped half of it up to take with me for lunch the following day. I have some pictures of the hostel for another post.

Back to normal now. There were some embroidery magazines in the quiet room so I had a good read of them. Given me lots of ideas for artworks.

Thanks for popping in, more tomorrow.
Toodle pip