Tuesday, 14 March 2017

You ask, I'll answer

Hello. Ok, I will come clean, I can't think of anything to write about, head is empty. I try not to regurgitate old stuff, I try and keep the blog fresh. I do all the hard work by taking photo's and putting words to it, and you just read, now it's your turn. You think of the topics, you ask the questions, and I'll see if I can answer. Any subject you like within reason, except - no politics, no religion, no personal questions, and if I think your question is out of order I will delete it.

Don't forget, I might not take you seriously, I might make a joke, so don't expect any long serious  discussions. Life is too short to to be miserable and unkind, we'll keep it light hearted. Fire away.

Ta muchly. xxx

128 comments:

  1. You are such an inspirational woman. Read your blog for years from here in America and just want to thank you so much for all you do. Tell us, though, do you never get "down" or become uninspired on your journey?
    If so, what do you do about it? Apparently such a place never lasts long with you! Blessings:)

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    1. Hi Susie. I think there's several levels of being down, ranging from a little bit sad, to totally fed up and sick of life. Being down is linked to worrying and I must say I am not down very often because I have nothing to worry about.

      I am sad when my beloved pets die, but I get over it because that's what happens. Nothing lasts forever.

      By journey, I assume you mean through life. I understand my needs and wants, I need to leave the four walls of my house, and the area of my village. I want to experience different places. I feel life is about moving on, both physically and mentally.

      I am quite a deep thinker, my thoughts are about understanding what is going on around me, and in the wider world. I don't have any control over that, I only have control over my own life.

      I am an optimist, always looking forward to another day and what it might hold for me. I am so lucky to wake up each morning. Live with an attitude of gratitude is my mantra.

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  2. hello, I'm moving into vegetarianism, am mostly vegan now. My reasons are health, and concern for the animals who are treated very badly also environment. I have heard that there are many vegans in your country. Have you any words of wisdom for those trying to come into this lifestyle? Any tips?

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    1. Hi Barbara. Well done for making that decision. I would say follow your heart and your conscience. You may wish to make the transition gradually, introducing more meatless meals, and increasing your plant based food. I did it slowly in the beginning, stopped eating red meat, then over a period of time cut out other processed meats, because I kept on seeing the poor animal that died to provide my food.

      I still ate fish for a while, but I cut that out a few years ago. I eat dairy and eggs so I am not vegan. Maybe that will be the next transition.

      According to research a vegetarian/vegan diet is a healthy diet, and I totally believe that. If any vegans want to respond to this question, please feel free to share your experiences.

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    2. I've been both vegan and vegetarian by turns and there is no way that I can see, outside of spending a lot on meat substitutes or relying on packaged products, that eating like this is more expensive than eating meat. I follow a frugal blog based in the US and the prices they cite on meat - YEOW!! If you eat beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, fresh or frozen fruit and veg (I dislike commercially canned fruit & veg, the textures are off and the salt content is too high) and cook from scratch, you'll find it saves $ over being a routine meat-eater.
      I do think you should keep an eye on certain health indicators - when I'm vegan, my cholesterol jumps way up. When I add eggs back into my diet, my cholesterol drops to a normal low. My husband on the other hand, he has to be vegan or vegetarian with a limit on cholesterol (egg whites? yes. yolks? no. cheese? sparingly or not at all.) or his cholesterol goes right through the roof. It's a matter of individual physiology and you have to be sure your body agrees with the idea that a particular dietary choice is "healthy" because one thing doesn't necessarily work for every body.

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    3. I've been vegetarian 39 years I was vegan for about 8.I don't think I did it correctly and got a bit weak .So now back to a vegetarian again.Recent blood tests showed I wasn't lacking B 12 and Doctors were happy enough with it.I do eat 4 eggs per week,bit of cheese,beans,occasional yoghurt and as much veg and salad and fruit ,nuts and seeds I can afford.I became vegetarian because I love animals and just couldn't face eating them any longer.I also like to think it keeps me fairly slim.x

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    4. " I follow a frugal blog based in the US"
      I like reading frugal blogs so which one?

      Misty

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  3. I'm down..... I dislocated my knee yesterday and the ambulance men had to put it back for me. No more walking for 6 weeks. Will be reading everyone else's totals with envy. Looking forward to the topics on this blog though. Natalie

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  4. If money and time were no object where would you travel to? Are there any walks anywhere in the world that you dream about doing? I'm thinking of the Pilgrim's walk (Santiago) in Spain - or perhaps the Alps - or some of the famous walking paths in New Zealand? Just wondered if you'd ever think about places further from home.....

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    1. Hi Margie. Good question. I don't think about going to places further away, because I am happy being here. I am very confident about wandering around by myself in the UK, but to be perfectly honest I would not feel safe in a country I am not familiar with, and where I would not understand the language and customs. I would rather stick with what I know.

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    2. The Camino de Santiago is not at all scary. There are so many people doing it! You would receive any help you needed about the Spanish customs and way of doing things. The walking itself would be a breeze for someone like you. It's not expensive either. Go on, challenge yourself! May or October is a good time.

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    3. Hi Margaret. That's the bit I don't like. You say there are so many people doing it, and I would receive help if I needed it. I don't want to walk with a lot of other people. I want to walk in a safe place, on my own.

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    4. hi,
      just read your answer

      ". I want to walk in a safe place, on my own. "

      this is exactly how I feel about walking/going out/etc.. Even if it is just sitting in a park.

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  5. A thought/question - when you go on one of your walking vacations; why do you not plan an extra day or two in the middle for you to rest your achy feet? Or would a down day even help in the middle of your walks?

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    1. Hi Judy. I suppose I could do that, book two days at a hotel instead of one, but it would have to be somewhere which is very interesting to keep me there for longer.

      My feet recover overnight, but become sore again at lunchtime the next day. When I stop it is hard to get going again.

      I do the long walks as a challenge, I want to cover a lot of ground in the shortest time, it gives me a buzz. In fact the walks are a reflection of my life in general, I like the idea of just passing through. I like being on the move.

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  6. I have often wondered why with your love of travelling and exploring you haven't had a little campervan so you could go further for longer? Jan

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    1. Hi Jan. Campervans are expensive, even an old one would cost 10 - 15 grand. I hope to be doing more travelling in my car this year.

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  7. Can you tell us more about your work with the cats? What about cats you have owned (or who have owned you!!) Who else is involved in the cat rescue work? What do you do? etc

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    1. Hi FD. We are three friends who work together for the cat rescue. I have scaled my roll down a bit because it was getting confusing with all of us taking incoming phone calls. Anyone ringing is best speaking directly with the others who have a more hands on role of looking after the cats in the pens.

      My role is mainly fundraising, we go to events and set up a stall to sell bric-a-brac which has been donated. My car is available for picking up cats, and going to the vet. They know they can call on me if they need help.

      I started with one cat, Bugsy. Then Freddie arrived, a stray. Then Lilly decided to stay. They have all gone. Now I have Mayze and Heidi. They both came into rescue within a few months of each other, with four kittens each. The pens were full at the time so I have a room here which was used as a temporary home. We found homes for the kittens, and I kept the mums.

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  8. Hello Ilona ,I'm relieved you've written.I looked yesterday and today and was quite worried ,then I thought you were just having too much fun .My mind is very disorganized and busy but blank.We'll just chat away happily and you put your feet up .You need a rest.It was lovely out walking my dogs today.Woodpecker hammering away again.Lots of muddy dogs.My silly Lily was laying in mud,mop dog filthy and older one had more sense.The sky was blue and much warmer here.Been to Lidl and bought a pussy willow ,reduced dip and seeded rolls,only 30% off.Walking does tire me but ,I have to do it and Iove chatting .x

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  9. What did you pack for your long walk?

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    1. Hi. As little as possible. The obvious things like maps, socks, waterproof trousers, jacket. I take a small computer, chargers for camera and phone. Very basic toiletries, shampoo can be used to wash everything, toothbrush and paste. Everything in small quantities. Bottles of water, and a few other things.

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  10. I have been a fan of your blog for a while now, but never commented before. I ran out of washing powder the other day, and improvised using grated soap (like home made soap flakes). The clothes washed perfectly. Anyway, it made me think of you, and I wonder if you have any money saving laundry tips?

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    1. Hi. I have a huge box of washing powder which I've had for three or four years. I only put in two desert spoons of powder in a wash. I wash everything on 30 degrees for 30 minutes. My clothes don't get very dirty, so I am not forever washing.

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  11. Sorry I forgot a question .What vegetables and salads are you growing this year? .Raspberries are easy and I get loads x

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    1. Hi flis. I turned my veg beds over to flower beds last year, because I am plagued by slugs here. I might put a few runner beans in, and if I have any seeds left over I will throw them about and see what happens. Other than that I won't be growing veg.

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  12. No politics, religion or personal questions - I don't blame you for saying that, those topics can be very aggressive. I suppose my question is this, a little personal; it's years old, the one about 'if you could invite any 12 guests to a dinner/supper party/buffet/gathering etc, who would you ask to attend'. I have my own list - you needn't explain your choices - just some names, all count (living or dead). This has provided us with much entertainment over the years as to people's preferences - some extraordinary personalities have been mentioned. It's meant in a light, not offensive way. Perhaps you may wish to divulge your 'guests'. Amanda

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    1. Hi. I will have to think about this.

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    2. Hi Amanda. It would take me ages to come up with a list of twelve. Can I just say, it will be split equally between male and female. I would choose people who have done well for themselves through sheer hard work. I feel drawn towards self starters, those who go against the flow and do their own thing.

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    3. Thanks for reply Ilona, I may have not made myself clear; our question gets answers such as Boadicae; Marilyn Monroe; their grandfather they never met; Chaucer; the list goes on... I meant to say the list of 12 is possibly someone one hasn't met, due to history, or chance, so living or dead. As previously mentioned, replies stagger me - someone said 'an English speaking alien' (fascinating choice); a 'guardian angel', presumably to know if they exist; Richard III crops up frequently 'did you kill the Princes in the Tower?'; the options are infinite. Most people add a couple of close relatives/friends but then veer towards legendary figures alive or not. Amanda

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    4. I like this game - I just lurve Noel Fitzpatrick Super vet and I would have him 12 times for dinner

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    5. Yes, Mr Fitzpatrick is a definite yes. My list would be people that are alive now, or who have been alive during my lifetime. I don't want to meet anyone long dead. I took no notice in history lessons at school, not interested in the distant past.

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  13. I know you recently lost two pets in a very short time which is difficult. I was wondering if you think you will get any more pets (I know you still have one cat). Maybe it is too early to think about?

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    1. Hi. I have two cats, Mayze and Heidi. I don't plan on getting any more for the time being.

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  14. I would like to ask how do you keep your crafting projects as cheap as possible and do you ever sell your projects ? Best wishes from Col

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    1. Hi Col. I get materials for crafting from Hull Scrapstore, from car boot sales and charity shops, people give me things, and I collect any plastics, cans, wood, string, wool, cardboard, paper, in fact anything which I think might come in useful.

      The only things I sell are shopping bags and small pet quilts, and felt hearts and decorations, at events, money for the cat rescue. I keep my pictures because I put a lot of work into them and I like them. I might sell them one day, but not yet. They are wrapped up to keep them clean.

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  15. I have a question that you might think is a bit silly, but I would love an answer from you or your readers. Why do houses in England not have screens at the windows? I've lived in England off and on over the years and I understand not installing them in historic properties, but why not in modern homes? Creepy crawlies get in! (It's so cold where I live that there aren't any bugs to sneak in..) Hugs from Barbara (Canada)

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    1. Barbara, I grew up in Scotland and now live in Canada. I think that fly screens are the greatest thing since sliced bread!! :0)

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    2. Hi Barbara. I don't think we are too bothered by creepy crawlies here. I don't have an answer to your question.

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    3. I live in Texas but am from the UK. In Texas we get a lot of mosquitos, and there are also flying cockroaches so screens are a must. Sometimes I wish we had window screens in the UK when the odd fly comes in and has to be chased out, but on the whole we just don't have the need.

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    4. Thanks everyone for your replies - obviously you are all much braver than I am! Ladybugs are okay though.. Barbara xo

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    5. Ladybugs are horrible here, in the fall we get hundreds of them on the sunny side of the house. They get inside despite screens and they not only smell awful but they bite.

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    6. Those do not sound like lady bugs. If the color is more orange than red, it is an asian lady beetle. They are bad bugs and you do not want them around. They were introduced to the USA in the 70's because of a shortage of lady bugs. Now there really is a shortage of lady bugs and tons of the asian lady beetle. I've read that lemongrass oil and a defuser can help get rid of the pests. I have not tried that yet, but will if they are aggressive this year. There is a lot of info on the internet. Ranee (MN) USA

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  16. I know you have a very healthy diet and that you do lots of exercise. My question is when you have done a very long walk (like the one you've just completed) do you notice a weight loss or is it stable? Louise

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    1. Hi Louise. There was a slight dip in my weight, according to the bathroom scales. I lost an inch or two from my waist as well. My stomach was getting a bit wobbly, now it's gone.

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  17. Were your parents frugal, and do you have any tips from that generation?

    Siebrie

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    1. Hi Siebrie. My parents were working class, we lived in a rented Council House. Dad spent a lot of his wages in the pub so mum had to manage on very little money. She had a part time job to boost the family income.

      We had to eat everything we were served up, if we left it there was no more. I sometimes had to eat food I didn't like. Mum's cooking was a bit basic and our meals were a bit repetitive. She could only afford cheap cuts of meat, plenty of sausages, and pudding was often bread and jam. Our diet was not particularly healthy, I certainly wouldn't eat much of that now.

      I have followed some of mum's ideas, but with a lot more variety of ingredients. My cookery is simple but interesting, I make it up as I go along.

      My mum was a make do and mend person, and I have followed suit. She would repair damaged clothes, alter the shape of clothes, and make curtains and cushion covers. When I was a teenager I made my own dresses and skirts.

      I remember picking elderberries with my mum, she made lovely juice out of it. I do that sometimes.

      She had a twin tub washing machine and used to do the whole wash in one tub of water, starting with the cleanest whites first, and ending with the socks. The water was like soup by the time she had finished. I had a twin tub for a long time, but when it broke I bought an automatic. They don't make twin tubs any more.

      The one thing I remember about my mother was that she taught us we couldn't have everything we asked for. She often said no to our requests, saying she didn't have enough money for it and couldn't afford whatever it was we wanted.

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  18. Mine is a very practical question. How much do you spend on groceries per week? Do you keep a tally or a record of your grocery spending or do you just roughly calculate it in your head? (I want to know if you are a money nerd like me? :0))

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    1. Hi Deborah. It's about £15 a week. that's just for me, not the cats. I don't keep a record, I don't need to account for every penny spent.

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    2. That's brilliant. My daughter is going to Uni this year and as part of her preparation at college she had to do a meal plan of £15 PW - which seemed very low to me, but she is veggie like you and managed it - others struggled. We have trained her in YS sticker shopping!

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  19. After reading your blog for a long time, I know that you love animals. When did you first realize this for yourself and how did that come about for you?

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    1. Hi e, I have always loved animals. We had mice then we had a black cat called Felix when we were little, then we had a Jack Russel dog called Nipper when we were a bit older. Because I have moved about a lot I haven't been able to have more pets. Bugsy came while I was till working but he was alright to stay in the house while I was out trucking.

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    2. Thanks for answering. I hope you've had a bit of fun with this post.

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  20. Hi
    I'm currently reading your blog from the beginning, and thoroughly enjoying it. I'm currently in November 2013 but also get the emails and read the new entries each day. I'm amazed at the variety of your blog entries and how much you cram into your life. You make me feel very lazy! But then I can be.......ha ha!
    My question is, do you ever go back and look at some of the older entries and remember how things have moved on? Or are you more of a "look forwards" sort of a person?

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    1. Hi Karen. Glad you are liking the blog. If I am looking for something I have previously written about I use the search facility to find it. I don't usually dip in and out of it and read random posts. Yes, I tend not to look back too much, always moving forward.

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  21. Hi Ilona, some great questions here. I, too, would like to know what you packed for your walk. Did you have a first aid kit with you? What did you use for blisters?

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    1. Hi Patricia. No first aid kit, no room in the rucksack. For blisters I stick a needle in them and smother them with Germoline.

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  22. Ilona - I thought you might like to visit this woman's blog. She is retired and lives here in Toronto (on the other side of the city from me) and she is into walking and photography.

    https://mylifelivedfull.wordpress.com/2017/03/10/an-epic-journey/

    The post I've sent you details her plans for her next adventure - just wondered what you might think.

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    1. Hi Margie. I've had a look at that. It's an epic journey but not all in one go. She says it will take 12 years to complete. They need a back up vehicle and it will be broken into chunks, a lot of out and back journeys. She is not sure whether she is going to blog about it. I hope they do it. remind me

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  23. I have 2 questions for you:

    Have you ever considered writing a book about your travels? I imagine there are plenty of people who would be inspired by you who isn't know about your blog. Although, I understand that you are not interested in making money.

    Do you have any major regrets in your life?

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    1. Hi Andrea. I did start a book once, it was all on my old computer, but I got bored with it. It seemed like one long slog. To be honest, I don't think I have done anything special. I have lived my life as I see fit. I have done what I wanted to do, doesn't everyone?

      No major regrets, except perhaps twice falling for the wrong bloke. You'd have thought I'd learnt the first time, but no, I did it again 25 years later.

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  24. here's something I have started to think about. What have you done or not about your end of life arrangements - funeral arrangements etc and have you already prepaid it. Thanks Bx

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    1. Hi Brenda. I don't think about it too much, plenty of time. I have made a will, in it I have specified what I would like to happen, but at the end of the day, I won't know about it. I have not prepaid for a funeral. There will be enough in the estate to cover it.

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    2. thanks Ilona. we are thinking about prepayment to help our sons when the time comes

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    3. Very wise Brenda. You have to do what's best for your sons.

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  25. I'm loving this idea and lots of varied questions already. Mine are.... after spending all those years driving and working along side men do you miss any of them? Were there one or two or more with whom you really enjoyed their company,conversation and banter? Rae x

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    1. Hi Rae. I often think about my workmates, the ones I was working with in the same company, and those I met out on the road working for other companies. In the early days there was a lot of animosity towards me, but as time went on and I proved that I was good at the job, slowly they began to accept me as an equal.

      When I was on nights out in truckstops and lorry parks I was one of the lads. I had a pint with them, had a laugh with them, I was just another driver, I liked it that way.

      Going across the channel on a ferry was fun, travelling in convoy on the heavy loads was fun. I won't name anyone, but I had some good mates.

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    2. I can read in your answer the pleasure and enjoyment you had for your job and the fun you had, once past those negative bods. I was in Fleet Transport admin and looked after the drivers and their vehicles. A mixed fleet heavy goods,vans,tractors,trailers etc and even a few milk floats ...it was an agricultural fleet! Loved those guys, great bunch they really appreciated my help in getting them out of some sticky situations I can tell you. I'm retired but still see some of them, some are retired now. My hubby laughs cause they all want to have a chat...some of them are big guys and I'm only 5 foot! Ahh those were the days. Rae x

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  26. Ilona, if it is not too invasive I would be very interested in seeing more pictures of your neighborhood and community (a typical grocery store, bakery, churches, gas station, pharmacy or all that is typical of an English village.) Thank you for so many hours of entertainment. I enjoy seeing life thru your eyes.

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    1. Hi Anon. I would rather not post pictures of my village which might identify it. I had a stranger (male) knock at my door once, he had spent four years looking for me, and driven 100 miles to come and see me. The clues he had came from a TV programme I was on, he had gone to great lengths to find me.

      I sent him away with a few choice words. He was harmless, but it could have been nasty.

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    2. If I were blogging I would be like you Ilona and keep a certain amount of my life private. Some people seem to think because they read about you and your life they know you and own you. Must be a nightmare if you are classed as celebrity status but then some of them seem to thrive on it ...silly fools. Rae x

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  27. Goodness that sounds scary Ilona!x

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  28. I was wondering how you fit your daily 3 mile walks into your very lively life Ilona...do you walk at the same time every day, or mix it a bit?

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    1. Hi Kate. Three miles takes 50 minutes. I make time for it, which could be any time of day or night. It varies.

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  29. WHERE do you get your "get up and go"? I had a lot of it when I was younger (I'm 51) but its just... gone, now, apparently. The motivation required to get out and walk has eluded me for a decade. I have some environmental allergies and allergic asthma and I sort of use those as excuses not to walk outside, but I also have a treadmill and there's no energy for that, either. I feel like a slug (probably look like a slug) but I have, sincerely, ZERO energy.

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    1. Hi. I've always been active, must be in my genes. It sounds like you might need to seek help, either for your lack of motivation, or from a nutritionist about your diet. There must be something wrong somewhere if you have no energy. Maybe your doctor could advise.

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  30. Late to the party but have been at work for 12 hours. As an ex lorry driver do you have any tips on motorway driving. They really scare me and now I avoid them altogether which is stopping me from getting to the places I'd like to on my own. Kristel

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    1. I am the same! We moved to a town where the motorway goes right through the middle, with seven entry/exit ramps from south to north and huge vehicles going between two major cities. I am terrified of the merging involved in getting on the motorway, afraid I cannot judge distances properly- so I avoid it. Took a driving course for the over 55's to go over traffic rules etc. The instructor told us, if you are not comfortable on the motorway -do not use it, there is always another route.

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    2. Hi Kristel. In what way do they scare you? Is everything moving too fast? The speed limit on a dual carriageway is 70mph, the same as a motorway. Do you have trouble with those fast roads as well?

      Is it the joining and leaving a motorway you don't like? The slip road to join a motorway is an acceleration lane. You should use the whole length of it increasing your speed up to the same as the traffic already on it. Always checking your mirrors, and looking over your right shoulder to make sure there is room to cross the line. If the traffic is heavy and you are struggling to find a gap do not slow down. Instead go up the hard shoulder a short distance until someone lets you in.

      Getting off the motorway, make sure you are in the inside lane when approaching the junction. Start indicating left at the 300 yard marker. Keep your indicator on until you are going up the exit slip road.

      If you feel intimidated by traffic whizzing by you, take no notice. Try and keep up to the speed limit your self because you might be causing a nuisance if you are holding people up. Saying that, if the motorway is not too busy and you want to drive at 60mph and stay in the inside lane, that's ok.

      Before you go on a journey check the map and write down your route on a piece of paper. Make a note of the motorway junctions you will get on or off at, that all have numbers. You won't need to do this if you have a sat nav, I don't have one.

      Lorries are limited to 56mph. Loaded artics will slow up on hills, and go faster downhill because the load will be pushing them. Keep that in mind. You will sometimes see one lorry trying to overtake another and not have the power to do so. Be patient. Either overtake in the third lane, or hang back until the obstruction has sorted itself out.

      Some of the complicated junctions can be a bit confusing. Look at the signs on the overhead gantries. Make sure you know which slip road you need to take. If you need to change lanes and it is busy, put your indicator on to show that you want to move over. Check all your mirrors to make sure that there is a gap before you move over.

      The trick with motorway driving is to read the road, not just the bit in front of you, but as far as the eye can see. At 70mph you need to know what is happening a couple of miles ahead. Watch for brake lights going on, speed limit warning signs lit up. Try going for a drive on a motorway when it isn't busy, to get some practice. Good luck.

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  31. I think I deleted what I just wrote, so will write it again. I think you are a very talented artist and was wondering if you have enjoyed painting and textiles since you were a child. Also did any of your teachers recognize your talent? I know you had an uncle who painted, and does this talent run in your family? Have you made many large scale projects besides your summer house? Are you always planning pieces?

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    1. Hi tana. I did like art at school but wasn't particularly good at it. I made my own clothes when I was a teenager because we couldn't afford to follow fashions. I copied what I saw in magazines.

      My father was brilliant at pencil portraits and drawing cartoons. I didn't inherit the talents of my uncle or my father.

      I have only taken up art and crafts since I retired, never had time when I was working. The art I do now is just from ideas which come into my head. They have been lying dormant for many years so I am enjoying experimenting with different materials. I think I am what might be classed as an Outsider Artist, having no formal education or qualifications in it.

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  32. 1. Have you ever traveled overseas?
    2. Have you ever thought about coming to U.S.? You could wLk the Appalachia Trail or into the Grand Canyon or a national park! You could write a book about your walk/travel!

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    1. Hello Holly. Yes, I have been overseas. France, Majorca, Spain, Germany, Holland, Russia, Italy. I have been to the USA, New York, Orlando, Las Vegas, Los Angeles. I have flown in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon, I have visited 17 theme parks in 15 days, riding roller coasters. I flew into Toronto, and have visited Niagra Falls.

      I have no plans to walk in the US, and have no patience to write a book.

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  33. Hi Ilona, Since we are near the same age, I wondered if you find you need to do things differently as you get older. I still do many of the same things I've always enjoyed but find I have had to make changes in how I do them. I still garden but have reduced the size of the veg plot and I do the Spring digging over several days not all at once. I admire your long walks, my mountain trail walks are shorter and on trails with less elevation change. Jenny

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    1. Hi Jenny. In my head I am still twenty, my body is holding up nicely and doesn't seem to be giving in to the ravages of time. I think I can still physically do things which I did in my twenties.

      The only changes I have noticed is that my attention span is shorter. I get bored easily, and limit my time doing jobs which I don't particularly enjoy, not because I am unable to, but because it's boring and my mind tells me to stop and do something else.

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  34. We are thinking of giving it all up and start traveling full-time in a RV. It seems to be a very popular way to go in the West. Wondering if it is a popular thing in Europe.

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    1. Hi. I think it's an age thing in the UK. Younger people in their twenties and thirties might think of dropping out, but I don't see any older people nearing retirement age go travelling. Some will downsize to free up cash from their property. They then spend it on travelling, holidays, and cruises.

      We have problems with groups of Romany Gypsies setting up camps on public and private ground. They create such a lot of mess which is very expensive to clean up after their eviction. Some of these groups travel further afield to Europe during the summer months. Some of them have homes which they go back to in the winter.

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  35. hi meanqueen, would be lovely to see more of your videos, especially money saving ones!

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    1. Hi tegan. I will make some more when the ideas come into my head.

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  36. Hi, Ilona. My question is very mundane, I'm afraid. I was wondering about your water consumption. How many baths a week do you take? You don't shower, if I remember correctly. I see where you answered about washing your clothes. I'm trying to find a way to stop spending so much on water but have it pass the husband test. Do you wash your hair every day? I've been experimenting with less showering and less hair washing so any guidance would be appreciated.

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    1. Hi Momsav. I bath once a week, heat the water in the tank. In between I boil a kettle and have a wash, paying particular attention to my smelly bits. I don't sleep with anyone, so one gets close enough to inspect my skin. I wash my face in cold water, and brush my teeth, first thing every morning.

      I wash my hair in the bath water before I get in it, and if extra washes are needed I boil a kettle and wash it in the bowl in the kitchen sink. Generally I hair wash every 6 or 7 days, depending if I am going out or not. I think washing hair every day is too much, it strips the natural oils out of it.

      Unless you have an excessive sweating problem I see no need to go overboard with the washing. A few germs here and there builds up the bodies immune system. Nowt wrong with a bit of muck.

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  37. Hello Ilona. Has a date been set yet for your next garden village fete? We are looking forward to coming over and seeing you again :)

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    1. Hi Lesley. Yes, it's Saturday 24th of June. Will be great to see you.

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    2. Great!! I've written that in my diary and we'll bring some items for your cat stall. Looking forward to seeing you again :)

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  38. I am hoping more walking will help with the cellulite on my legs. If this isn't too personal of a question, do you have much of a cellulite problem? I would imagine you are in great shape!
    Thanks

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    1. Hi. I have a bit of cellulite, but it isn't a problem. Doesn't everyone, I thought it was a natural process of aging. Walking will tone the leg muscles, but I think you'd have to walk very fast every day for it to have any effect on cellulite. Wear leggins if your cellulite bothers you.

      My body is healthy, and I am not overweight. I had a health check a few months back, all is well with the numbers.

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  39. Some questions not yet answered. It's sunny outside, I'll come back later.

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  40. Hi Ilona, I was wondering if you have any frugal/simple living mentors, IRL or online? Your blog has made you a mentor for me, I'm often inspired to make choices based on things I've read from you. Also (randomly) do you swim for either exercise or pleasure? Karen.

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    1. Hi Karen. I don't swim at all, I hate being in water deeper than my kneecaps. I can't swim.

      I don't have any mentors, I follow what my mum taught me about living within my means. I don't know anyone in real life who lives like me. I read frugal blogs but it's rare that I read something I don't already know about. Not saying I know everything there is to know, but people put their own spin on the meaning of frugality. It all depends on what your priorities are. No two people are the same.

      I'm chuffed you find my blog a help.

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  41. Hello, Ilona. I'm sensing change is afoot (pun deliberate). I think a little wondering has begun to creep into the back of your mind while you're wandering. That maybe you fancy a big change and are considering taking a break from your blog. You told us you recently gave yourself permission to spend a bit more once in a while. A hotel room, for example, instead of a hostel. Maybe freeing yourself from the daily blog is the next step, the next change. If I'm right, I may cry with disappointment but I'll always applaud you and the happy visits you gave me. Fond warm wishes to you, Ilona, whatever is ahead. Elaine near Philadelphia

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    1. Dear oh dear Elaine, your mind is working overtime. It's true I like changes, and now, because I am careful with my spending I can afford to relax the purse strings a little. The blog stays and the story continues. Lots of love.

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  42. Surely feeling one MUST post a blog entry every day can be a bit of a nuisance. Why not once or twice a week? I'd still log in and read.

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    1. Hi. I don't have to post every day, it's a habit I've got into, and most of the time I have something to say. If I miss a day there is always someone who says they worried about me because I haven't posted. They are in the habit of reading every day.

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    2. I'm a bit unsociable at times since I got older and can't be bothered,I unplug my house phone and do as I please .One friend ?got too bossy with me too many times and eventually I've had to block her calls .I feel happiest feeling free x

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  43. Hi Ilona.Top five and bottom five frugal buys? Michael

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    1. Oh my, that's difficult. What is frugal to me won't be to someone else. For instance I get my dual fuel from Ebico, there is no standing charge and no penalties for paying quarterly, but it works for me because I am a low user. It would be more expensive for a family who likes the heating on a lot.

      I get my car MOT done at Halfords, £30 but you have to book online. Not everyone has a Halfords close by.

      Prices go up and down all the time, it's a matter of keeping informed, checking web sites. Prices vary regionally as well, the cost of living is more expensive down south. Cheapest houses are in the north east.

      Sorry I can't be more precise than that.

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  44. My question is about a post you shared a few months ago. Can you tell me again how you make up your breakfast cereal with fruits, nuts, seeds in the mini food processor? I've looked for the post and can't find it. Thanks for the inspiration to eat healthier - Sheri

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    1. Hi Sheri. I put a few bran flakes in the bowl first. Then into my mini chopper goes any nuts and seeds and dried fruit I have. I sometimes add porridge oats, or if I have bought some muesli cheap I add some of that.

      I don't have set quantities, it's whatever I can eat in one meal. I make it daily not in bulk. That's all there is to it really. My seeds and nuts vary depending on where I buy them from and if I can get them cheap. Usually get nuts from Aldi.

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    2. Forgot to say, I put unsweetened soya milk on it, and add plain yogurt if I have any, and a banana.

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  45. Just spring in the air I hope,lots of busyness to flit around and tend to like the birds then snuggle up and relax x

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  46. With your driving experience, have you considered buying a small caravan to tow. Even paying campsite fees its still cheaper than b&b and you have everything you need. There are lots of campsites to choose from, from a couple of units in a field to all the bells and whistles. When you've done all the walks in that area you could move on.

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    1. Hi Sal. Thirty years ago I did have a caravan, I lived in it while I was working away. It's a good idea, but I would have to pay for storage because I don't have room for one here. Something to think about.

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  47. Hi,

    you might get a chuckle from this, but even with all the photos of meals/purchases you have shown us, I hadn't realised you didn't eat meat...(groan...).

    So, I am curious,
    is your health improved in any way since you stopped off eating meat(fish/chicken)?

    do you feel any different since?

    do your muscles work any better since?

    do you find your "brain" (mental acuity/ablity to figure numbers/directions etc) any better?

    just curious.

    we eat much less than yrs ago. MUCH less meat.

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    1. Hi. I can't give you accurate answers to your questions, because I haven't eaten meat for at least 25 years, so I can't remember what my health was like before.

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  48. Ilona - I've been reading the questions and noticed you mentioned you get your MOT at Halfords. I recently found out my local council does MOTs. I don't think they're as cheap as Halfords but as they don't do repairs it means they have no incentive to make anything up that needs doing. I never knew councils had MOT centres so perhaps even if you're not interested some of your readers might be. I went to Kwik Fit for years and felt they were making work up each year. Couldn't prove it but every year I was paying out for something. The past two years I used the council run MOT centre nothing needed doing to the car. Might be handy advice to someone. (Ruth, Wales)

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    1. Hi Ruth. Yes, I know about the council run MOT testing station. Good idea to use that.

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  49. Thanks Ilona. I've always watched the pennies but you're inspiring me to tighten my belt a bit more. I think it's good to keep these things in mind. Even if money isn't that tight if you can save on living expenses the more you have for the fun things you want to do. (Ruth, Wales)

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  50. If you do not have room for a caravan you might be able to have a tear drop trailer. This would be very easy to tow and would save on accommodation costs.

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  51. Here in the USA Organic is BIG. But I rarely hear about it on British blogs except those who have allotments and grow their own. Mostly British blogs are like yours - really into FRUGAL. I'm afraid Americans aren't terribly into frugal. How do you feel about not eating organic when you're being frugal in Britain? Organic is a bit more expensive for fruits and vegetables and more for meats in America, but most Americans feel it's very important to eat organic if they can afford and many do. Can you tell us your views on organic in your country? Thanks.

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    1. Hello, Robin,
      You sound like someone who enjoys a very healthy diet. Speaking to friends who have travelled around America, to be honest, they struggled with the food because it was so lacking in vegetables. Is this because restaurants tend not to serve vegetables, whilst people cooking at home do have a balanced diet, and like you go for organic if it is available?

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    2. Hi Robin. The word organic gives the impression that the food is better and more nutritious. Tests have shown that it isn't always the case. I personally don't believe all the hype about organic being better.

      However, if I was eating meat I might go for organic. I would want to know that the animal had been fed on natural food in the fields and not pumped full of growth enhancers. I would be thinking of the welfare of the animal, that it had a natural life.

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    3. I feel the same as you too Ilona-I used to buy organic from a whole food co op not very fresh.Our local supermarkets don't sell much.Tried growing organic but it was impossible here.Don't use slug pellets at all though.Swiss chard doesn't get eaten here or asparagus which I like.I just wash stuff well and I peel carrotts. If I did eat meat I would only eat organic meat .It may be more costly ,so I would eat a smaller portion and add beans etc.Also only free range eggs.x

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  52. I used to buy organic when available. But now need to watch the pennies. Of course organic more healthy without all the pesticide etc. I never noticed a difference in my energy levels my theory possible depends on your state health and toxin overload. Smoking. Drinking etc. I expect if I had health crisis I would go back to organic.or I could afford to purchase organic.

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  53. Thanks for the feedback about organic!

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  54. Ilona as a long time reader of your blog and much admirer, I was wondering the nitty gritty of your income .... I have read so many different stories on-line of what you live on. As someone who is close to retirement age ( 1 1/2 years ) I am planning and reading and doing all I can to see if it is possible to live on what you live on ....... I think I have read on your blog of what you make, but I can't find it now (over 3,000 posts) I think I will have close to what you make and I know it is do-able.

    Was just wondering if you have ever broken your expenditures up and placed into categories... (ie: food etccc) and posted them? Sorry for being nosy .... just curious? KarenV in NC

    (I have so many questions, just don't want to be too nosy)

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  55. Another question I have is: are city/council taxes the same as property taxes we have here in US? I tried googling an answer but can't find anything.... KarenV


    trying to find if living in England is cheaper than living in USA

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