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Sunday, 4 August 2013

I'm having a bit of a waffle

Well, I've gone and done it again. Bought some cheap clothes from a car boot sale intending to cut them up, I tried them on, and they fit. I specifically went for some cotton items, for the patchwork, but there wasn't any nice colours at the right price. The Rabbit Rescue lady had her usual big pile on a plastic sheet on the ground, I had a rummage through it but no cotton, so I bought the red nightie and the purple top for 50p each. She has put her prices up, usually she is almost giving it away, but at 50p a go I limited my purchase to two pieces. Maybe she is low on stock.
I don't need a nightie, so I will cut the bottom off it and make it into a teeshirt.  
The same thing happened a few weeks ago, I bought some colourful tops to cut up, and now I'm wearing them. It is certainly a cheap way to get some new clothes. I quite like this purple top, It will be nice and snug in the winter underneath my layers.
I had a chat with my sister this morning, she rang me from her mobile, in the caravan. Last Tuesday they became homeless, of no fixed abode, so they have set up camp on a site. They finally sold their bungalow after five years of it being on the market. They have wanted to downsize for ages because they no longer want or need a big garden. Their furniture is in storage, but hopefully it won't be for long because they have found a place they want to buy, and there is no chain involved. As soon as the legal stuff has been done they will move the caravan onto the garden, and live in it while they do the house up. They were lucky to find exactly the type of place they want. I don't think I will be popping round there to paint the fence, ha ha.

Thank you all for your stories about the voluntary work you do, or have done. There was some interesting ideas there. Ceridwen asked for suggestions of what voluntary work she could create for herself. Perhaps a few of you might have some ideas. You don't necessarily have to wait for someone to ask you to do something, you might spot an opportunity where something needs doing. You could offer your services to elderly neighbours who are unable to do their own gardening. Or if someone is not very mobile who lives alone you could do their shopping for them. My friend is a volunteer for the library service. She collects the books and delivers them to people who can't get out. I think they like the company of someone calling every week to see them. Another friend ferries housebound people to and from the hospital for appointments. I like the suggestion that Alison made, helping out with canal boats and steam trains. Sounds good. The YHA are always looking for volunteers to maintain their properties and act as wardens at some of the smaller hostels. I forgot to mention that the voluntary work which takes up most of my time is writing this blog. I do it free of charge :o)

I've been thinking a lot just lately, yes I know, it screws you up, but I try and work things out in my mind. I read things and think, I don't understand that. Apparently I'm supposed to be a poor pensioner who struggles to feed and clothe myself and keep a roof over my head. I am supposed to be having such a hard time, because I can't afford all the nice things that others have. I can't afford the eating out, the boozing, the new clothes, the latest iphone, the latest anything. Life is supposed to be so awful for me because I don't have much disposable income. I can't do this and I can't do that.  Oh dear, poor little me, I'm so sad. I am so confused, why don't I feel like that?

The less I have the more liberated I feel. I don't care that I can't keep up appearances, keep up with the Joneses, can't keep up with anybody really. Does it matter that I have just got the basics, the second hand furniture, second hand clothes, and eat cheap and simple food. I save up my money if I need to buy anything and will not have any credit. My needs are simple, whatever amount of money I have coming in, I will manage on it. I will find a way. The rising cost of living might squeeze every last penny out of me, but they won't squeeze the guts out of me. If my house fell down tomorrow I would live in a caravan in a field, it would not bother me. I have done it before and I would do it again.

I try and tread lightly on this planet, for mankind is destroying it. I am proud that I won't be putting out my general waste bin tomorrow for collection, because there is nothing in it except a small bag of household waste, mainly cat food pouches, and a small bag of dirty cat litter. I have not bought anything where the packaging cannot be recycled. The plastics, cardboard, tins and glass from my food, will be collected next week. I have not bought anything new to replace something that needs throwing away. I make everything I have last longer. The hinges on my toilet seat in the bathroom have broken, I won't be replacing it. All I have to do is remove the seat rather than lift it up. A simple operation which I am now used to, and perfectly adequate for me. It will last a few more years. And I still don't feel hard done by. Oh, and by the way, I had exactly the same meal tonight as I had last night.
Toodle pip.     


  1. I am a pensioner too and I really wonder how as a group we are meant to be hard up? I feel very sorry for the generation that are working their little socks off to give me a weekly income and I feel it is my duty to make every penny count. I give them my very grateful thanks. Tried a war time recipe for oaty mince tonight and it was quite passable. Four hefty portions came in at about 50/75p. Cant be too accurate as condiments and spices are tricky to work out. from one very contented pensioner

  2. Mens shirts,, xl,, cotton ones,, are great for patchwork as there is a lot of fabric in them once they have been taken apart.

    1. Caz, I have bought men's shirts from CS for patchwork but find sometime that the really good makes are more difficult to hand sew as too many threads per inch in fabric, it is good stuff but nigh impossible to get a needle through!

  3. You just jogged my mind about another volunteering suggestion I saw recently. An organisation was looking for people who would put on a Sunday tea a couple of times a year, for a group of lonely old folks. If anyone was a good cake maker and enjoyed entertaining for a few hours, that might be an idea.
    I can't bake but I thought it might be fun, once the building work is finished.

  4. Ilona, I like the nightshirt just the way it is, I wouldn't bother to cut it and make it into a T-shirt at all.

  5. Oh no not the same meal as last night lol!

    Great post! I just love your attitude to life! There should be more people like you in the world, what a wonderful place it would be :D

    You have made my day :)

  6. Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog. I have read all your long walking trips entries, I do admire you, you have made me think about how much more I should be doing. Life does not stand still and wait for us, you have given me a great boost, thank you.
    Pam in Texas USA

  7. Hi Ilona, I'm with you on this one: we also live 'differently' and incredibly well, on what we have. No credit cards or home loans, no mortgage. We budget for our needs and save for wants or go without. Simple is less expensive!

  8. Another one on a single pension here, all my meals consist of something with courgettes at the mo! If you are not satisfied with your lot at 65 then there is no hope, just enjoy life.

  9. A brilliant attitude to have. If a lot of people simply stopped and thought for a few moments, they would realise how well off they actually are compared to a lot of folk in this world. I mean like you say, as long as we have a roof over our heads, food in our tummies and a warm bed to cuddle into at night we have all we really need the rest is just fripperies and luxuries, which if we have them fair enough, but once you have them why strive for more.

  10. I saw a quote on the internet recently (don't know who said it):

    Giving never makes anyone poor.

    Time is a precious thing to give and it is more valuable to some organisations than money. Keep on keeping on! I think your blog is great, I read it every time you post.

  11. I think your new clothes are great! Most of mine have come from the charity shop...the ones I bought new I have had forever...I am currently in the new clothes were in my suitcase!

  12. Hello Ilona from Housefairy.
    Time and family are more precious than material things. Since I was made redundant from my little job, I have spent more time in the garden and crafting.

    Working on how to cut money use.
    It takes awhile for contracts to end and not be replaced. Deciding on shopping and what vouchers to use.

    I learnt a new trick recently! with my PAYG o2 phone I am allowed 10 FREE text a month v my computer and o2 online. I am now using them first to reply to people who text me while at home. It is saving a few £'s.

    Nearly finished my peach colour plain knit cardigan now. Just the button band to do.
    Keeps my hands bussey.

    Take care....

  13. Hi Ilona, nice nightie and an interesting idea to cut it down into a t-shirt but would it look ok? A t-shirt that says goodnight?
    I would think that for most people its no great surprise that retirement is on its way so unless something unforseen happens everything should be in order like paying off mortgages and loans etc. and living within your means shouldn't be too much of a problem.

  14. Being a bloke i'm no fashion expert but the nightie cut down to t-shirt size and yesterdays fancy pants would make nice pyjamas.

  15. We all can live a simple life if we want to. We all can live within our means if we put our minds to it. And, we all can live with less possessions if we can decide what`s really important to the quality of our lives, and disregard the rest. Some people are better at this than others, and you are the ultimate role model for anyone that would like to learn how to be a savvy and thrifty pensioner. Keep blogging about it as we all learn so much from you.

    I`m with Dave on the pyjama idea, by the way.

  16. Hi Ilona, Virginia from the Tennessee mountain, I am still not able to comment on my home computer, am trying one in our library. Enjoy your blog very much, it's one of my favorites.

  17. I'm still working (i'm to young to retire) but i've got by without borrowing money apart from the mortgage. We do things the old fashioned way here. We keep control of our spending and money accumulates. Then when we want or need anything it can be bought outright. Insurance is paid in full (no installments here) so i'm in my early 50's and debt free.
    Ideally i need to save towards retirement now, its no surprise that its coming.
    We're training the next generation too, my son has saved up and put his first car on the road debt free which gives him 12 months to save for his insurance for next year. Worry free motoring.

  18. I realize that you are probably having too much fun lifting and putting down the toilet seat to care, but you can buy replacement hardware for toilet seats at hardware stores and DIY centers. Just an idea for when you're feeling frivolous, LOL.

  19. Hi Ilona, still reading! I see you do the same as me and put purchases on a credit card ans pay it in full every month. Have you ever considered getting cashback credit card? I have an Asda one (there are many others) and everytime I spend money on it they give me a percentage of the cash back at the end of the month. Because I always pay in full I am never charged interest and it works out that the credit card company give me an average £7 a month back in cash. Basically, they pay me £7 a month to use the card, this makes me very happy!


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