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Friday, 30 November 2012

A bit of chatter

It's been a bit parky today, temperatures are going down down down. A heavy frost overnight lingered for most of the day. A perfect morning for a long soak in a hot bath. Fire up the water heater, put a bit of heat through the radiators, and I'm all set for an hour of blissfull contentment. As I don't have a daily shower, I add up all those four minutes that you are supposed to take showering, and that makes a total of 28 minutes a week, double that and I have a one hour soak every two weeks.
Today I did a full body exfoliation, that's the posh way of saying I had a good scrub up. What I do is start from my feet with a pumice stone and work my way up. I do my legs right up to my thighs with the stone, this removes all the dead skin, and makes my legs glow. I don't bother shaving them in the winter, no one ever sees them. Then I change to the rough exfoliating gloves and give the rest of me a good scrub. What I could really do with is someone scrubbing my back, but one has to compromise when one lives alone, and so I struggle with the back brush. The water will not be wasted, it will be used to flush the toilet for the next week or so. 
I have decided not to do a big shop just yet, I can't be bothered. I was in town yesterday so I picked up a few bits of food to keep me going. I found two tins of pears in Poundstretcher which were reduced to half price 24p as they were short dated. I picked up two cartons of fruit juice from the cash and carry for £1, and I got four bottles of J20 mango drink for £1.20. I got a few reduced bits from Asda, we have a smaller store in the town centre, it used to be a Netto. I picked up my usual at B & M, cheese with garlic, six eggs, and I thought I would try a slightly cheaper version of Nescafe. A bit apprehensive about that as I don't like cheap coffee, this one is ok though. I had some Nescafe left so I mixed the two together. 
A last minute decision saw me turning into Aldi on my way home, on the look out for some fresh veg. I don't know why people rave about this store, everything I usually buy is always more expensive here than Tesco own Value brand. I found a bag of onions 49p, wholemeal bread at 53p (Tesco is cheaper), Sunflower spread 75p (reasonable price), 7 bananas 68p, and Italian filled pasta which wasn't too bad at 65p. Maybe my big shop will wait till next week now. 
We went off in the car to South Ferriby for a walk this afternoon. I put the floppy cushion in to make it comfortable for Rocky. He is as good as gold, never moves a muscle, just curls up and goes to sleep.
The tide is out on the Humber so lots of mud about.

Did you see the lovely sunset tonight. I pulled over for a few minutes to get some photo's on the way home. A little bit of classical music on Radio three is a perfect accompaniment to watching the sun go down.
Before I go, I'll tell you about a letter I had today. Anglian Water has written to me, offering me a free water saving kit which could save me money. A man will come to the house and fit some gadgets, and carry out a free leak check. I read all the bumph expecting a catch, surely this isn't free, but yes it is. The gadgets are, a dual flush converter for the toilet, a digital shower timer, a tap insert which will mix air with water which should save 70% of water every time I turn the tap on, and an adapter to fit into the shower head changing it to a constant 7.6 litres a minute. How about that then, it will save me a fortune :o)
I can't wait to see his face when I show him the bath water still in the bath with a jug next to it, and a huge bucket of rainwater in the downstairs toilet to be used for flushing. The shower doesn't work so I can't use it, if it did work I still couldn't use it because the edge of the bath isn't sealed properly and I am not bothering to get it fixed because I don't shower. At least he will be able to check for leaks while he is here, he may not find any because my bills are quite low. 
Just remembered, house fairy asked if I am putting my central heating on. I do ocassionally put it on, but not for long and only if I am cold. Maybe half an hour just to take the chill off in the evening. I mostly keep moving during the day. My little office is snug, I have loads of clothes on and I am really warm. I've just had to kick my slippers off because my feet are too hot.
Toodle pip.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Standing on the corner

It's not every day I get to hang out on a street corner with three blokes, but this morning I did just that. Me and Rocky were bimbling around the village when we came across this motley crew. They had very expensive looking cameras with massive lenses pointing into the sky, and they were standing around waiting. I don't know why they didn't bring some fold up chairs with them. I had to ask what they were looking for. Yes, I know they were bird spotting, see quick off the mark aren't I, ha ha.
Well the story is they have come from Grimsby, they were here yesterday, and have come back today hoping for more sightings. Twitchers take their hobby very seriously apparently, they will happily travel from one side of the country to the other, just because they have heard there might be a glimpse of a rare bird in the area. They are hoping to get some good pictures of Waxwings.
While I was standing with them, being nosey as usual, they pointed out a small flock flying overhead. There they are. Ah yes, I couldn't get a photo with my little compact, they swooped off quite quickly. They told me that Waxwings come here to over winter from Scandinavia, they come for the berries. Well that's something new I have learnt today. Fascinating stuff.
Look at the size of the lenses.
Absolutely huge. I asked how much they cost to buy, and was staggered when they said £3,000 for the camera and £5,000 for the lens. Flipping heck, then they have to buy the tripod because it is so heavy.
These chaps stand around all day bird spotting, they must be very dedicated. After 20 minutes I was stamping my feet to try and keep warm, time to move on. Here is a picture of a Waxwing.

Isn't it pretty. And here is a short vid of one feeding on berries.


Here is a bit of info from the RSPB web site.
Waxwings (Bombycillidae)

The waxwing is a plump bird, which is slightly smaller than a starling. It has a prominent crest. It is reddish-brown with a black throat, a small black mask round its eye, yellow and white in the wings and a yellow-tipped tail. It does not breed in the UK, but is a winter visitor, in some years in larger numbers, called irruptions, when the population on its breeding grounds gets too big for the food available.

Where to see them
The first British arrivals each winter are usually seen on the east coast from Scotland to East Anglia, but birds move inland in search of food, increasing the chances of seeing one inland.

When to see them
October to March.

What they eat
Berries, particularly rowan and hawthorn, but also cotoneaster and rose.

Amazing isn't it. You learn something new every day. By the way, this has got nothing to do with money saving, or frugality, or being tight, or making something out of rubbish, or cheap cooking, or crafty stuff. I like to cover any topic I feel like, then I don't get bored writing it and you don't get bored reading it.
Toodle pip.

The lovely Ilona

Hi, Just poppin in. Have a look at this lovely blog, and this lovely lady, Ilona.
Advanced Style is all about fashionable ladies of a certain age who enjoy looking smart and are often quirky. They all have their own wonderful individual style. Could teach us young 'ums a thing or two. Click on the video.

http://advancedstyle.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/what-ilonas-thankful-for.html

Catch you later.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Learn something new every day.

I saw a man digging a hole in the middle of his front lawn today, and it made me think of this...



Me being nosey, I stopped to ask what he was doing. The hole was full of water and he was using a bucket to scoop it out. Perhaps he was making a pond, or maybe not if he was emptying it. He pulled an old tyre out, then a few bricks. Strange, why would somebody bury an old tyre in a front garden. He said it was where the builders got rid of rubbish when they had finished building the house.

His neighbour was also interested in this hole. There was piles of mud stacked up on his lawn making a right mess. The neighbour was emptying the buckets of water on the edge of the lawn. The man kneeling at the hole was up to his elbows in thick sludge, all brown and slimey, he must have had cold hands doing that. A small spade lay besides him and he picked it up and had another stab at the sodden earth at the bottom of the hole. Our village is built on clay so it was hard going for him.

The neighbour went to the downpipe at the corner of the house, from which a section had been cut away and disconnected where it went into the ground. He had a poke around with a yellow rod, lo and behold, the rod came out into the hole. Eureka! The pipework was unblocked. I was intrigued that the rain water from the roof drained into this hole in the middle of the front lawn. I asked why it didn't go into the main drains to the house.

Aha, the house has a soakaway, I was told, so that's it. I'd heard about these things but didn't know how they worked. You learn something new every day. The water that leaves a property either all goes down the main drain into the sewers, or the rain water goes off in a different direction and eventualy into the ground. The soakaway at this particular house wasn't working properly because there wasn't enough of the correct drainage materials in the hole. The water couldn't soak through the clay. Now the man has to dig deeper, and then refill with different grades of aggregate so that the water can run through it and  and soak downwards past the clay, rather than getting stuck, backing up and flooding the front garden. Fascinating stuff.

When I got home I did some research, because I know that if you have a soakaway you can get a reduction on your water bill. There is lots of information out there if you googlie 'soakaway'. I wondered if I had one. Alas, I don't think I do, although I'm not altogether certain. I have to go out tomorrow and look for a small manhole cover, lift it up. Then get up on the roof and pour some coloured water down the down pipe and see if it comes out in the hole. I think I need some assistance to do this as I don't have a ladder long enough. I could cut a hole in the downpipe a bit lower down where I could reach it. I might do that. Or I might ask my neighbours to see if any of them know about soakaways, and if we have one or not. Yes, that would be easier. Toodle pip.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Free seasonal decorations for your home

At this time of year there aren't many flowers about unless you want to buy them from a supermarket or a florist. No need to pay for them anyway, keep your money in your purse and see what you can find for free in the hedgerows. You don't need flowers, you can still make a very presentable seasonal decoration if you go for a walk and keep your eyes open for anything you can use. There are plenty of berries about to give it a bit of colour, and different shades of green with all kinds of different shaped leaves, some of them varigated. You can even use plants which are dying back for the winter, if they have an attractive seed head. I have collected a few here, and added some orange berries and holly from my garden.
Find a pot or any quirky receptacle to build the arrangement in. I have used a storage pot for tea bags. I don't drink tea so this pot is not needed. Instead of water I have filled it with dry cat food. Water might get knocked over by the cats, and some of the spriggs don't need to be in water anyway. I tried it with cat litter, but it is too dense and the stalks won't push into it. Heidi is taking an interest and has started munching the Whiskas. There are already three dishes of dry food around the house. If you haven't got cat food, try sand, or water if you don't have cats, ha ha.
C'mon Heidi, I want to make my display.
Finished. Start with the tall pieces at the back, then fill each side in, and finally the short stalks of berries at the front. I have even put some dead old twigs in here, covered in yellow lichen. You don't have to spend money to make an attractive table decoration, it's all free in the great outdoors. You could take the children or even the grand children a walk, let them pick some and give them a jar to make their own decoration.
Have fun, decorate your home for Christmas. Oooops I've said the C word on this Crimbo free blog.
Toodle pip.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Feeling a bit flush

For most of my working life I earnt enough money to pay for what I needed. I did have to tighten my belt however, when I bought my first house, and afterwards when I sold and bought twice more. During these times the bills were paid but there was nothing left over for little luxuries. I never fell into the trap of borrowing though, I preferred to go without. At times I only had a couple of pounds in my purse, it was the only spare cash I had because everything had to be paid out. The mortgage, house maintenance, car expenses, utility bills, it left little money for me to enjoy. I became quite savvy at managing my finances. I was always carefull to only buy things I needed. It was a pretty gloomy time. My friends were going out, they were buying new clothes, going on holiday, and I couldn't afford it. It did get me down sometimes.
Then things picked up a bit, I changed jobs and found better paid work. This took the pressure off and I found I had a bit more to spend on me. It was great to get a decent wage packet every week, I was always paid weekly, so even though I managed to fritter it all away by the middle of the week it didn't matter because there was more coming my way on Friday. Once the bills were paid the rest was spending money for me to enjoy. 
So during the good times when I did have some money I spent my hard earned cash willy nilly, I earnt it so I spent it. Long term savings were never in my life plan, as long as I had a bit put by for immediate emergencies, that was fine by me. The rest was spent. I loved opening my purse and buying anything I fancied. I could look in a shop window and see something I liked, then pop inside and buy it.
Throughout my life my bank balance has gone up and down like a yoyo. It's been down at rock bottom when I have had only one mortgage payment left in it, then other times I have been a bit carefull and a tidy little balance has built up. Basically I have learnt how to reign in my spending and cut corners when I didn't have the cash, and to loosen up a bit when my income steadily increased and there was a bit left over. I have experienced the hardship of not having enough money, and the comfort of knowing I can afford to treat myself without going into the red. 
I have a bit more than £2 in my purse now. Through my wise and frugal spending I find I have enough to buy me a few treats if I feel like it. In fact I could go mad if I wanted to, I could go to town tomorrow and look in the shop windows, and virtually buy anything that took my fancy. I could buy a new phone. I could buy gadgets. I could buy new clothes. I could buy new furniture. I could book an expensive holiday. I could eat at a posh restaurant. I can afford all these things because I have the cash. But do I want to? No of course not. 
What would happen if I frittered away what I have carefully put by for a rainy day. My cats would get sick and I would have no money to pay for the vet. My car would break down and I wouldn't be able to afford to get it repaired. In any case some of the money I have is put by to replace the car when it becomes uneconomical to repair it. The car tax and insurance need paying soon. My microwave oven is old, it might pack up. My computer might go bust and need replacing. I might need to pay for dental treatment. 
No, my money is staying safely in my bank account. I can walk past shops and not go in them. I can resist all temptation to blow huge sums on material things. My willpower is so very strong, I don't need to buy anything I don't need.   
Hey, look at this little fella. I went to the mobile library today and Rocky came with me. They wouldn't let him in though. He is so cute.
Just thought I'd stick this one in here. Both now hanging on my living room wall. Cheers up my cheerless room a treat. Thank you so much for all your comments on the masterpiece.
Toodle pip.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The masterpiece is finished......I think

And here it is, I am ready to unveil my latest masterpiece. I have taken the photographs outdoors because it was a hedge bottom which gave me the idea for the design.
Imagine, what would happen if this piece of plastic was laid for several months, years even, outside on the ground, lost in the undergrowth, and no one knew it was there. Mother Nature would do her work, the weeds and grass would gradually creep over it and devour it. This is my interpretation of nature reclaiming what is rightly hers. 
I decided that the piece would be better hung upside down, so the wheel arch is at the top. It can be hung on a wall, but if I were to put it in an exhibition I would like to lay it flat just as it is here, surrounded by natural living foliage.

I am so pleased with it, I love it.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Pruning my list

Ok, so I'm having an overhaul, a sort out, chucking out the chaff, picking out the best, or whatever you want to call it. It's been a while since I started my Facebook page, I only did it because a family member said wouldn't it be nice to keep in touch. Yes, I thought, with a lot of miles between us it would be handy to have the ocassional catch up. After that a few more people emerged once my name was found, to join my band of friends. My complete list after 15 months of membership now stands at the grand total of  23. Whoopeeee, I have 23 friends, I am ecstatic, no not really I am kidding.

Let's take a look at my friends list, without naming names, are they really my friends?  There are five people who live not very far away and I see sometimes while going about my business. They are my friends.

There are four family members, only two of them post regularly, the other two don't post at all. One of the posters is always swearing, so not very pleasant reading. Can't abide effing this and effing that.

There are five people who I used to be friends with quite a long time ago. Years have gone by and we have all gone our separate ways. These need sorting, I might keep two of these as they were very good friends.

So, who is left. One who I communicate with by email, I like her so I'll keep her. Someone I knew a couple of years ago but has not made an effort to keep in touch, even though I have with him. An ex from long long ago. I don't think he wants to know me any more. Another who I knew a couple of years ago and has moved away. I can get news of her through a friend here in the village. Someone who lives about 35 miles away, I tried to keep in touch but there has been no communication from them for a while, so I give up. A person who was a good friend but now has a completely different lifestyle, I can't relate to it. A very nice friend who has emigrated recently with his family, it's nice to see his pictures and read how he is getting on. This may fizzle out eventually as he becomes more established in his new life.

I have been checking Facebook daily since I started, and every day I am becoming more brassed off with it. What do I get, people playing this game and that game, oh yeh, so what! Games are not my thing. Tiny snippets of chit chat which need a code book to understand what the heck they are talking about. Text speak, ughhhhh. What happened to English. Text speak should be confined to text messaging only, purely to reduce the amount of times you have to press the tiny keys on a mobile phone. And what about all this chit chat. If you are not part of the exclusive little gang you are left out in the cold, just like being ignored in the playground when your so called friends don't want to play with you. It's hurtfull. Then there are the silent ones who never post at all, why are they on there in the first place, it baffles me. And then there are those who post videos from other sources, they pass videos around, share them. Or, hey look at this funny quotation, or join my campaign. Well no thanks actually.

I don't post very often on Facebook, mainly because I write on here every day, it takes all my time up. When I do post something it is a nice photo which I have taken, I think it's nice to share things with my erm friends.

So what did I expect from Facebook. I was rather hoping I could keep in touch with real friends, find out what they were up to, not make a load of fake friends who have either disappeared off the radar or I have no chance of ever meeting. The reason I have never encouraged anyone who reads my blog to join my Facebook page is because you are my bloggy friends, and we meet on here. That is fine by me. We are aquaintances, and are never likely to be true friends in the correct sense of the word. You come and go whenever you feel like it, and I love it when you pop in. You have your life, I have mine. End of.

The term friend on Facebook means someone who you might have known, a friend of a friend of a friend, someone who you used to know many moons ago who are now keen to build up their network of fake friends because big number must mean that you are a wonderful person and loved by thousands. I don't need that, so on that basis, I'm out. Got that saying from Dragons Den, ha ha. Some people announce when they are sorting out their friends list, I am just going to do it. If anyone is not prepared to put a bit of effort into being my friend they are for the chop. I add my bit to their comments, I expect them to do the same on mine. Isn't friendship supposed to be a two way thing? I've got to go out now, I'll do a bit of pruning later.
Toodle pip. have a nice weekend.

Friday, 23 November 2012

A Countryman's Lot, book review

I don't normally read very much at all, but just lately I seem to have made some interesting choices from the library. Also winter is the time for reading anyway, the best place to be is snuggled up with a book, wrapped up and warm. I have taken to reading first thing in the morning. I go downstairs to put the kettle on, come back up and see to my ablutions and brush my teeth, then pop back down and make a mug of steaming hot coffee. Pure bliss as I crawl back into bed and read for an hour or so. A lovely way to start the day.
This is a cracking good read, it was entertaining with plenty of laughs, and it's easy reading. This is the first time I have had a large print book, I always thought they were for people with either a visual impairment, or elderly people with failing sight. I found it so much easier to read. If I glanced away from the book at any time I was able to quickly get back to where I was, rather than getting totally lost in a sea of tiny print and reading the same bit twice untill I eventually found where I had left off. The book didn't make my arms ache either as I was able to hold it further away from my face, so much more comfortable.
I've copied the blurb on the back of the book, cheating I know but it saves me writing an outline of the story. Max and Vicki buy a place at Ramsthwaite, a village that is not listed in my map book, so I assume this is a made up name.
There are a lot of funny characters in the story, Fiery Frank and Little Petal, Apple Tom, Rabbit Joe, Fatty Batty, and Thievin Jack the butcher, to name a few. There are snippets of a Yorkshire dialect splattered throughout, which help to bring the stories alive. Some of it you have to say out loud, as it looks really strange in print. 'Yon little fella, he's supping out of a pittle pot' is, The little man over there is drinking out of a potty. 'The buggers had necked some stuff', means they had eaten a lot.

The stories of unusual finds during house clearances, was a hoot, they found a load of pornography in the house of an elderly gentleman who had passed away. Maybe not so much a gentleman after all, ha ha.

The story of the ducks escaping, and their attempts to capture them made me laugh, especially the bit when they were in the reeds in the river and Baz decided to sail out to them in an old bath tub, with disasterous consequences. He fell in and managed to lose his clothing, emerging from the water totally naked.

I had better not tell you any more, in case you want to read it, but the whole book is light hearted and funny. There are two other books in the trilogy, The Luck of a Countryman, and A Countryman's Lot. I will keep my eyes open for them. The author now lives in Leyburn in North Yorkshire, one of my favourite places. For lovers of the Yorkshire Dales this book is a cracking read.
Toodle pip.  

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Doing my duty

Oh my word, I've been summonsed to go to court, what a shock. When I saw the return address on the back of the brown envelope this morning, 'Her Majesty's Courts Service', I thought oh heck, what have I done now. Have I done something naughty, break a speed limit, or drive through a red light perhaps. I hate getting official letters, me an honest citizen of the United Kingdom, I try my best to keep to the letter of the law. If I have inadvertantly crossed the line I am truly sorry, please let me off lightly and I promise never to do it again.

I tore open the top of the envelope and cautiously peered inside. Oooh look, a letter on pink paper with a pink heading, Jury Summons. Oh no, I don't want to do it. Boohoo, flippin heck, these things can get very complicated and take ages. I might get locked in the jury room with a lot of other people and not let out untill we arrive at a verdict. I might have to listen to a horrible and gory case full of blood and guts. I might get upset. I might want to go to the toilet in the middle of it, what will I do, put my hand up and asked to be excused. Oh dear.

I don't think I'm going to be able to get out of it, you can get into big trouble if you refuse to go without a valid excuse, or if you don't turn up. It's a £1,000 fine, yikes! I've got to fill the form out and send it back within seven days.

There's one good thing about it, although I can't claim for loss of earnings I can claim for travelling costs and a meal allowance. So if I take sandwiches I get to keep the money for my lunch, and I should make a few bob on the car allowance as it's a 70 mile round trip. If I have to attend for the full ten days I should have a bit of profit. My God, that's 700 miles, I could go to Scotland and back for that. Maybe not so good after all.

Anyway, it's not going to happen till the new year, plenty of time to get my head around it. Just had a thought, I might not have much to blog about while I am doing my duty, it's all got to be secret. Oh heck, I'd better start composing a few articles to fill the gaps, ha ha. Toodle pip. 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Lovely weather for ducks

It hasn't stopped raining today, nobody wants to go out. Cats got up, had a quick shufty round the garden, wailed for their breakfast, and went back to bed.
Bugsy says, don't wake me up till lunch time.
Mayze says, go away, I'm sleeping.
Heidi says, grrrr, flippin rain, I hate it.
Rocky says, nobody in at my house, might as well snooze here.
Ilona says, this book is really good, I'm not shifting till I've finished it.
We are having a lovely day indoors. Toodle pip

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A cheesey post

There was a barge chugging up the river this morning. I think they chug, at least that's what it sounds like, chug chug chug. It's a blustery morning with threats of rain but the wind is blowing that strong it is sending the clouds scuttleing across the sky before they have chance to bombard us with their millions of rain drops. I like blustery weather where the trees bend sideways as the wind roars through their branches.
A walk round the fishing pond I think. There goes the barge upstream to the docks to unload it's cargo.
I fancied some pasta for lunch today. Ooops, I've eaten half of it before I thought to take the photo. Yes I do use a spoon, much easier to scoop the sauce up rather than it falling through the prongs of a fork. I cooked four big mushrooms (reduced, yellow sticker of course) in a lump of olive oil spread. Added a few drops of lemon juice. Then the magic ingredient, soft cheese spread with garlic.
This spread is very versatile and at only 50p it's quite affordable for those on a low budget. I don't make sauce the conventional way, in a pan with a packet sauce mix, in fact I rarely make a sauce at all, can't be bothered washing dirty sauce pans. This is an easy way to make garlicky cheese sauce. Put some of this in your cooked mushrooms, add a bit of grated cheese, stir it in, and just before serving add two desertspoons of plain yogurt. Absolutely divine, mushroom in garlic and cheese sauce.
The other uses I have for this cheese spread is, open the lid and have it next to my plate of steamed veg. I stick my fork in and scoop a splodge out, then stab a sprout, or a potato, or whatever is on my plate and yum, it melts in the mouth. Deeeeelishus. Sometimes I scoop the cheese out with a cream cracker or savoury biscuit. Yesterday I spread some on a couple of hot steamy crumpets. Sometimes I even spread it on bread or toast. Try this Everyday Value soft cheese, they do it without the garlic if you prefer. It is just as good as the branded names. Sounds like a sponsored post, ha ha, No I do not get paid to talk nicely about products, other supermarkets will have something similar.

Right, a bit more painting. Toodle pip.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Oooh la la William

What a plonker, why didn't I think of that before. Of course, just take a few snaps of William, from the TV programme Amazing Spaces. The company hasn't replied to my email, but never mind I can post these pics so you can see what a hot guy he is. Phwoar, I've come over all strange, ha ha.
What do you think ladies, I wouldn't mind finding him in my Christmas stocking. He is also a clever chappie, as well as being good looking, he is a master craftsman. I like a man with something between his ears ;o)) Take a look at his two websites
http://williamhardiedesign.com/invent/
http://williamhardiedesign.com/

What have I been doing today besides dreaming of William. Been working on the masterpiece quite a lot, it's coming along nicely and I am pleased with it so far. I am not showing it untill it's finished, so be patient. I think it's got a very good chance of selling for £1,000, after all it is an original, nothing like it in the whole wide world.

Just a quick note about trolls, mine has been back today. If you see any derogatory comments about me just ignore them. I know you want to spit back, but that is just the reaction the troll wants. Don't give them the satisfaction. I am on the zap button this end, it's easy to get rid of them.
Toodle pip.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

My dream man

I wanted to post a picture of a gorgeous, sexy hunk of a man on here tonight, but I can't find a still photo of him. I have tried stopping the video at just the right moment hoping I can copy and paste, but it isn't working. I have tried embedding the whole video on here from yootoob, but it is not available to embed. Oh frustrations I wanted to show you this Greek God of a man.

The hunk is called William and I have fallen for him big time. As soon as I saw him I thought phwoar, he is so mind bogglingly handsome. He's the sort of guy I would definitely go for if I was a few years younger. I'm thinking I might chat him up if I ever get to meet him, stuff the age gap, what difference does 30 odd years make. I certainly feel like I am younger in my head, and my body isn't falling apart just yet, I think I should go for it. I think I should become a groupie and hang around his place of work. Or perhaps I could become a couger, I don't think I'm too old for that.

I'm going to have to put the link to the TV programme on here so you can have a butchers at this Adonis, I think you will agree he is the best looking guy you have ever seen. Sorry to the overseas readers who might not be able to access the programme. It's on Chanel 4. In fact the whole series is fascinating. Worth watching all four programmes if you haven't seen it yet. There is one more programme left to be broadcast.

Link to George Clarke's programme, Amazing Spaces. William is the guy who is renovating Georges caravan. What do you think girls, hunk or what :o))
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/george-clarkes-amazing-spaces/4od#3425742
There is only four days left on this first episode.

Here is the same thing on a yootoob link.
http://youtu.be/e4n0WVoeg6s

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Book review. Walking Home

Hello and Good Morning, it's dull, damp, and miserable here at the moment, but there are signs of it brightening up. The mist has lifted, and you never know, the sun might make an appearance a bit later. So let's crack on with this book review before lunch.
I picked this out as something I would be interested in having walked bits of the Pennine Way myself, little bits I might add, not great big chunks of it. Well ok, dipped in and out of it during my trips to Yorkshire and Derbyshire. Simon is a poet, not a walker, so it interested me to read his perspective on the countryside he was passing through.
I call him a poet, but he is in fact quite a lot of other things. He writes for radio and television, writes novels, translates, teaches, and has been awarded a string of honours and awards for his work. You can read about him on his web site.
The book. I am not a fan of poetry, I cannot understand half of it, to me it is like a jumble of words thrown into a pot and fished out at random. When I read it I can't make sense of it. I vaguely remember the poetry I leant at school, the word at the end of every line rhymed with the line before it, or the one before that. It flowed in a natural way, it sort of rolled off the tongue like flowing honey. Poetry which doesn't rhyme trips and falls over itself as it is spoken, tumbling out in no particular order. That's how I see it.
If you like walking you will like this book. If you like reading about other people's travels, you will like this book. If you like poetry you will love this book, because the whole book is like one huge poem. I struggled with the poetry part of it but ploughed on because I was enjoying the references to places where I have been myself. At times the author takes a literary diversion and includes references of previous trips to other places. A bit like his thoughts running away with him. Some passages seemed to be like extra padding, not absolutely necessary.  
Even though it was easy reading there was a lot of big words which I wasn't too sure about. Simon is a very clever man, far better educated than I ever will be. He crafts his words as would a sculptor or a master craftsman would. He walked this path from North to South, most people do it the other way round. He gave poetry readings at pre arranged venues along the route, asking for donations rather than charging an entrance fee. He did very well out of it, and after taking out his expenses still had quite a bit of profit left over. The figures are detailed in the book.   
There is a short video about his trip here in the Guardian newspaper. It's interesting to meet the man.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/video/2012/jun/24/walkingholidays-pennine-way-armitage-video
In fact there is loads of stuff about him on the www, a very clever man.
Toodle pip

Friday, 16 November 2012

How was it for you?

I went into a leisure wear and sports shop yesterday, no don't be shocked, it's not something I do out of habit I can assure you. There was a man standing outside in the precinct with a placard saying 80% off. Oooh that sounds good, a closing down sale trying to shift the last of it's stock before they finally close the door. This shop has had notices up in the window for several months now announcing it's impending demise, I was beginning to wonder if it wasn't a crafty marketing ploy to get the punters in. But no, it is definately closing.

Worth a look to see if there are any good quality walking boots in my size at a ridiculously low price, to replace my trusty £110 boots I bought at half price from the now closed Millets store. Seems like outdoor shops are closing at a rate of knots around here, shame because the only way to get perfect fitting boots is to try on at least 50 pairs, with an irrate assistant hovering over you making sure you put the boots back in the right boxes. Unfortunately there wasn't much stock left, the nearest I got to what I wanted was a pair of size 6 reduced to £20. Although I had thick socks on there was still movement between my foot and the boot, so no good, a recipe for blisters. The size 5 I tried on at £30 were too tight across the width of my foot, I need just enough room to accommodate my bunions, so another no. Ah well, no bother. I could have bought the £20 ones and put extra socks on, but I have plenty of boots which are ok for dog walks, all bought from car boot sales or charity shops for two or three pounds, I don't need any more boots for shorter walks.

Anyway I digress, let me get back to the point of this post. I got chatting to the assistant in the shop, a lady of about 40ish. Just making general chit chat I asked her when the shop was closing and would she be getting a decent redundancy package. Nosey I know, but I always feel concerned for the people who are losing their jobs, asking what are they going to do next. The lady looked quite forlorn, it must be difficult to keep up your moral when the comfort rug is being pulled from underneath you and you will be cast out onto the streets to fend for yourself. No more geting up to go to work in the morning, no more seeing familiar faces on a day to day basis, chatting with your workmates. No more money going into the bank at the end of the week. I really do feel sorry for those people who find themselves up the creek without a paddle.

The lady in the shop told me she didn't know how much she was going to get in the way of a payoff, probably not much she said. Although she has been working part time for a while due to bringing up a family, in the early days of starting with the company she was full time working all hours without any extra pay for overtime. She had basically given her all to her job. But now it was crunch time because apparently the company only has to pay redundancy according to her current part time status. To me that stinks, she gets no recognition for her years of full time dedicated service.

This lady is now worried for her future, as anyone would be in that situation. She vows to go and look for another job, willing to take anything, but the prospects of her finding something are pretty bleak in this area.

I think I am going to go back to the shop and give her a big hug. What I want to say to her is that losing your job is not the end of the world. It might seem like it is, in the beginning, the endless chasing up the benefits people to get what you are entitled to, watching your savings go down as you try and make ends meet, the hours wandering the streets wondering what to do with yourself. Then the reality months later that you may never find a job and this is it, the rest of your life mapped out for you as just another statistic.

I want to take this lady under my wing, and any other ladies which might be going through a similar crisis. I want to say to them there is Life After Money, that money can't buy happiness, that earning money is not the be all and end all. Just because you haven't a job you are not on the scrap heap, you just need to change your mindest, ok not all in one go it will take time. From the moment you stop earning a salary your role changes, you need to take stock of your situation. The first gut wrenching reaction when becoming unemployed is to panic, oh my God how am I going to manage? How do I pay for this and that bill. The hardest thing is seeing a light at the end of a long dark tunnel.

You have to sink pretty low before you can claw your way back up again, but it can be done. If you are a couple you need to sit down together and talk about it. When I lost my job I went through all the usual trauma of signing on and searching for a job, it wears you down, it makes you feel useless. In the end, I thought stuff it, I am not going to bother any more. Admittedly I wasn't far off retirement and I knew I would be getting the cushion of my pension, even though it wasn't going to be a life changing sum. So I limped towards my 60th birthday with very little money but with a sense of impending joy when at last I knew I was going to be free from the shackles of work, and I could relax and be me. Stuff the job centre, stuff work, I ain't doing any more.

But younger people who lose their jobs still have many more years to go before they retire, like the lady in the shop. For them it must be devastating. There is no quick and easy answer to their dilema, everyone will have their own adgenda and be looking for their own solutions to their problems. What I can say are my general thoughts which people can take or leave, it's how I see it. You will have to look inside yourself for answers. You may have to change your priorities, you will definately have to change your mindset. It is up to you if you want to slowly sink into the abyss, or claw your way out of it. If you are struggling don't struggle alone. Talk to friends, talk to relations, seek help from groups, claim the benefits you are entitled to, or even pick up the phone and talk to the Samaritans if you need to. Just do it.

I know you won't believe me when I say the end of work is not the end of life, it is just the beginning. The beginning of new challenges, the beginning of total control over what you do and when you do it. I know you won't see it that way at first because your mindset tells you that you need money to enjoy yourself, but believe me, it just isn't true.

Please feel free to write your experiences here on how you survived redundancy. It might help someone. If there are some interesting and inspirational stories, include the downs as well as the ups, I will copy and paste them into a seperate page and post it above as a stand alone page. If you prefer to post your comment as anonymous please do so.
Thank you. Lots of love, Ilona xxx 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

I've done my duty

Whoopeeeee, my fridge is full once more. I toddled off down to Tesco last night and got some super bargains. As usual I hung around the veg department, there was a new young man in charge of the pricing machine putting the yellow stickers on. A few people showed an interest so we all gathered round and baggsed the items we wanted. It was quite civilised, but I noticed one woman seemed keen to grab everything in sight. I soon elbowed my way in, ha ha. 
I have put the full list onto the food diary if you want the details. I added it up as I went along, and stopped when I got to just over £40. That was my limit to use the £6 off voucher. I also had £10 off frozen food, so basically I got two bags of salmon steaks for nothing. I paid £24.45 in total. There was some pet food in there as well so it wan't all my food. I even look for the reductions in the meat products for the cats. There was a bag of hot cooked chicken reduced to £1, a nice treat for the pussies. 
Tesco have quite a few buy 2 get 1 free offers on at the moment. I got three bags of sultanas, three pots of cottage cheese, and three packs of cheap ham for the cats. Worth stocking up if you are definately going to use the items. 
Another boring pic of my dinner tonight, veg of course. I managed to get broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onions, sprouts, potatoes, parsnips and fennel all reduced. Enough to last me over a week.   
And I dipped my veg into this, it was 25p. Lovely.
I have done my duty and been to vote today, though I don't know why. I bet it will be a poor turnout because I can't see many people bothering. The government must be awash with money if they can afford the salary for a brand new position of Police Commissioner in every region. I studied all the candidates and made my selection. To be honest I am not bothered who gets the job, except for one person who I definately don't want to see in the post. So the gobby bloke from across the river in Hull who knows how to swing a right hook when he feels like it, and lied and cheated on his wife for years, definately didn't get my vote. Horrible man.

I've had a couple of comments from people I don't recognise. Comments which make me think that they are trying to advertise themselves on my blog, but being very crafty about it, pretending they read my blog and being nicey nice. I can tell when they are giving me a load of bullshit, it's obvious they are sitting for hours and hours on a computer churning out the same old smarmy words, they must think we are daft. On checking these latest ones though I see they are posting under a yootoob account name. There are so many people trying to make money on yootoob now. All they have to do is post a video on there, monetise their account and wait for the clicks to roll in. Much easier than spending hours writing content on a blog. So beware, we've now got yootoob spammers.

Can't think of anything much else to say, except, catch you tomorrow. Toodle pip.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Keeping my hand in

Aye up me ducks, what are you up to then. You'll be pleased to know that I am still doing a lot of walking, but the bad news is that I haven't been very far afield, so there are not so many trips to report on. I am out every day walking in my local area, just to keep my hand in and to keep my fitness levels up for when I start on the biguns next spring. At this time of the year a lot of people suffer from that SAD, Seasonal Affected Disorder, due to the short dark days. A good way to combat this is to grab every opportunity to get yourself out in the open air and get whatever bit of daylight there is onto your body. It definately makes me feel alive when I am out in the countryside.
I am reading a book at the moment about a chappie walking the Pennine Way. He is a poet and giving readings along the way in exchange for free meals and accommodation. I could do that and give frugal talks instead of the poetry, ha ha. I'm halfway through the book and he is halfway through the walk, he has just arrived in the Yorkshire Dales after struggling for days through peat bogs. This is one aspect of this long distance path which puts me off, I cannot see the fun of squelching through a quagmire and coming out the other side splattered in mud. I have walked some of the nice bits of the Pennine Way, the Dales are lovely, but I will give the bogs a miss. 
There's a long distance walk taking place this week, some presenters from Radio Humberside are walking from Bridlington to Scunthorpe, for the BBC Children in Need Appeal. There are frequent updates about it on the radio, it sounds as though they are having a good time. All this talk, and reading about walking is giving me an appetite, I can't wait to get out there again. I've had an idea for the spring. Instead of planning a route, why not just set off with no plans in mind whatsoever. Take a couple of os maps, and wander willy nilly making it up as I go along. I reckon that could be quite good fun, a real test. Sometimes it's good to have a plan, then you can see the sights you want to see, but an unplanned route would be full of surprises, and I like surprises. Hmmm I'll think about it.
In the meantime here are some local walking pics. Yesterday at Normanby Hall and the Park. 
Cor, doncha just wish we lived here :o) 
Rocky has a new friend.
Today, down Wood Hill along Flixborough Bottoms, across the fields. 
On the way back up Wood Hill.
We met a whole group of people from a local walking club, must have been about forty or more. Not my cup of tea to walk with that many. Bringing up the rear as the back marker was Graham and Lady. Poor Lady was struggling a bit so I offered to take her back to her house so Graham could carry on with the walk. She was a bit worried at first when he went one way and we went the other. A few treats soon took her mind off it, she has walked with me many times.  
Back home for a healthy lunch. Salad leaves and water cress, cous cous and sweetcorn, coleslaw, and a piece of grilled white fish. Very nice, especially as the fish was free given to me by my friend who doesn't like it, and the coleslaw and salad was reduced yellow sticker bargains.
I think I might have do a big shop tonight as my fridge is bare. Toodle pip.