Sunday, 23 July 2017

Engineering where you want to be

Hello and Good Morning. 
I had a thought provoking and inspiring email from a reader which I thought I would share with you here, with her permission of course. There must be many people in the same position who are thinking and worrying how they will cope if they change full time work into part time, or retire altogether.  

Hello Ilona,
My name is Elaine. I also started work full time at 16yrs. By the time I was 56yrs, I felt that I could no longer keep it up. I had no life, divorced with one grown up daughter, why was I putting myself through this daily grind?
I tell you why FEAR, work was all I had ever known. Also scared how would I cope financially?
I was able to take early retirement, some thought I was an idiot as it was less money than taking it later in life. But I was totally burnt out. I looked on websites for how to cope, and it was always American's who had the big advice. Then by chance I came across your blog. Somebody British who I could relate to. You were living a great life with little money, and there was me sad not knowing what to do age 58 trying all sorts and ending up lost.
I am 59 next month and in a much better place. Although I was shocked that my state pension was now available to me at 66 and not 62 as the government had me believe, thankful to the WASPI women fighting this.
I do still work part time but when I want to, and even this is now getting too much, but I realise I have to keep going till 66 drat!
I have a car, paid off my mortgage and am taking your great advice off the blogs.
Thank you for helping me, why should I feel guilty about wanting a nice life?
Best wishes,
Elaine.


My story is that I started winding down when I was in my mid fifties, I cut my working hours which resulted in a drop of income. I wanted to get off the treadmill, wanted a better work-life balance, so the answer was clear to me, if I didn't spend anything I didn't have to earn it. I watched the bank balance go down and down, to almost rock bottom. When it got dangerously low I knew I had to do a couple of days work so I could pay my mortgage. 

A strange thing happened, I didn't worry, I didn't panic. I saw my situation more as a game, a game I had to win, and winning for me was yes, I had less money, but I had a lot less stress. It was fun jiggling with small numbers. Imagine someone with big numbers in big savings, big investments, big bank accounts, and big commitments. How do they cope with that? 

Money doesn't buy you happiness, as it has been proved millions of times. It is big news when a relationship breaks up and the acrimonious splitting up of the assets begins. Money makes people bitter, when they lose it they become even more bitter. It brings out the nasty streak in people. Far better to have very little and build a life around what you have, and be content in your own bubble. 

Elaine, you are in a good place, you have made the changes you needed to. A nice life doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Over the next five years do an audit of your situation, an annual review. List your needs and wants, move some of the needs over to the wants side. As you get older you may find that you need less, so you will spend less. Ask yourself the question, 'do I need it', before you open your purse. You may find you can chip away at your working hours, cutting them down bit by bit. Perhaps look for another part time job that you enjoy more, rather than just working for the money. 

Your nice life is taking shape, it will be what you want it to be. Keep on tweaking it, manipulating it, changing things. Life can only get better if you make it better. 

Have a nice Sunday everyone. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip 

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Make a lucky horseshoe

Hello. Remember this? The rusty old horseshoe that was on the front of my garage for years, then it fell off. I thought I might tart it up a bit. Stan the friendly library man has the tools at home to get rid of the rust and it looked like this when he gave it back to me. Looks nice and shiny. Could be left like that with a couple of coats of varnish to seal it. But no, I want to add colour. 
My first idea was to wrap strips of fabric round it, and sew beads onto it, Tried that but it just wasn't working, couldn't get the finish I wanted. Then I thought of painting it, but then realized it would probably chip off. Nail varnish, that's it, I bought some dead cheap from a car boot sale and still had some left. Next clear varnish, stick beads and sequins on with the varnish. A piece of wire threaded with beads makes a colourful hanger.

It's taken ages to get some decent photo's the light bounces off the shiny surface. I've done my best, photographing it in different places, and rejecting most of them, so here are a few of the bestest ones.









I'm very pleased with the result, it looks fab in real life.

It's looking like the early rain is clearing up, I'm off out in ten minutes, the Bowls Club has a coffee morning and I'm going to socialize. Enjoy your weekend, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Thursday, 20 July 2017

They'll be something in the bit box.

Hello. Post number two. Several people said they were looking forward to seeing what I did with the mirror. Well the after photo doesn't look any different to the before photo, from the front view. It's a bit different round the back. I stripped it down and cleaned all the parts with polish. The mirror didn't fit tightly in the frame, it was a bit loose, so the dust was getting inside. 
It needed an extra layer to make a tight fit, I have a roll of black sticky back underlay the sort you put underneath a vinyl floor to add a bit of insulation. I cut a piece to fit and stuck it on the back of the mirror, the put in a few veneer pins around the edge to hold it in place. 
Next I needed a new piece of board because the original had mould on it due to it being stored in the garage. I remembered the single bed bases I salvaged from my friends when they moved, just the job. It's a very thick cardboard, I cut it out with a Stanley knife.

 Next to screw it on the back. It needed washers to stop the screw heads biting into the cardboard and disappearing.. I don't have any washers so what to use instead?

Can you guess what they are? Answers on a postcard, no prizes, ha ha. If you haven't got the exact parts that you need, improvise. Job's a good one.

I decided not to paint it, the wood is in good condition, no marks or scratches, it looks fine as it is. 
Hooooray, the sun is out, I'm off out for an hour. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Waiting for the rain to stop

Hi. It's very wet outside, chucking it down in fact. Where are the cats then? Garcia is lying in the middle of the kitchen floor. I allow him to stay in when it's horrible outside. He can't get in his own house as everyone is out at work. 
Naughty Mayze. She is sharing a basket with a bag of onions on the worktop. I have told her that she is not to jump up on this side of the kitchen. This is my side, her side is opposite next to the sink.

Heidi is chilling out in the spare room aka the craft store. Oh dear, cat hairs all over my fabric.

Take it easy kids, I'll let you know when it's safe to go outside.

See you soon.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

New skips have appeared, whooopeeeee

Hello. Here is Mollie Dolly. She is going to a new home tomorrow. I was asked to make her for a friend of a friends new baby. Hope she isn't too scary for her. She has two tone yellow hair with red streaks, I used up some oddments of wool. Her legs are a bit long, but I don't suppose baby Mollie will be too bothered by that. Just hope she doesn't burst into tears when she sees those wide open staring eyes. 
She fits in with the rest of the clan. That's it now, no more, getting bored, move on to something else.

Look what I found last night while doing my three miles. A very nice mirror in a skip. I knocked on the door and the owner said I could take it, so when I got back I went in my car to pick it up. The back is not fixed on properly and a bit shabby, and the mirror is a bit loose, so I'll take it apart and make a new back for it. Not bad eh! Keep looking in skips peoples, you might find something worth saving.


I've been watching Sarah on Money for Nothing, luckily there are lots of programmes on yoootooob to get through which will keep me entertained for a while, as well as give me some ideas. Sarah goes to recycling centres and rescues stuff before it goes into the skip. She then gets it renovated and sells it. If anyone wants to have a look give this one a try. You might get hooked.



No rain yet today but it looks like it might come down soon, so I'm going to get outside while it's still dry. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

A small pot of paint goes a long way

Hello and good morning. Thank you to Jean for the question about my paint. 
You always seen to have plenty of paint for projects, where does it all come from? I know you buy test pots, and mention free paint, but with all your summer house painting and projects, you must spend a lot. So what is your secret of never ending paint, and how do you get "free" paint? Jean.
Yes, it must seem like I spend a lot of money on paint, I always appear to have some on hand. Flis is right, friends gave me some half tins of paint for the summer house, so that was free, I also used some of my small pots. This is what I have left.
Small tins of Crown, these came from Hull Scrapstore. They were included in my £5 per basket, along with lots of fabric. So they cost very little. 
These Coverplus plastic tester pots came from Woolworths just before they closed, that was a few years ago. They cost 4p each, there was a lot more but I am on the last dregs now.

Got these on a previous visit to the Scrapstore, again as part of a basket, only three left, had about twelve to start with.

Cuprinol, bought a few months back from Wilko. You can see that they were 10p each.

The total sum of what I have left. It's all vinyl silk emulsion or similar, so the brushes can be cleaned in water. I don't have as many colours left to play with now, so I will be keeping my eyes open when I go in  diy shops that sell paint, and look for anything that is reduced.

I treat all my shopping in the same way. As well as food being reduced, shops sometimes clear out excessive stock to make way for new. It's a case of being alert, not walking around in a dream, and scouring the shelves for any offers. The word 'reduced' is imprinted in my brain, if I spot something I want to know what it is, and if it will be of any use to me.

There is a reduced section in The Range, a big department store that has an extensive selection of arts and crafts items. I very rarely find anything in there, they don't knock much off, but when I am in the shop I take a look just in case. It's like the reduced dry goods (food) in Tesco, nothing much there, but on occasions they have dented tins which are marked down to very cheap.

If I go in any shop my eyes scan the shelves, the bins, and around the till area, searching for the words Reduced, or Offers, or Sale. All these little savings add up and it means that I get to keep my money in my purse and save up a little nest egg for spending on treats. It's the fun of beating the system for me, like a tug of war between me and them. I know more or less what I am prepared to pay for things. If the price is too high I walk away.

Paint is very expensive, my whole house could do with a lick of it, but I am not prepared to spend the money because it's not a priority. I might tart it up a bit if I find some cheap enough, but I don't enjoy painting whole doors and walls inside a house. The summer house was different, I could slap it on, it didn't matter that it wasn't perfect.

Anyway, I've got tho go, Heidi needs to have a tablet, that's if I can find her, she went out earlier but might be back in now. Garcia has been in for his breakfast, he scoffed it down that quick, he brought it back up again, yuk. Mayze is lounging on the dining room table aka the painting/sewing table. It's going to be a hot one today. I shall go and see Stan in the mobile library later to change some books.

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

Monday, 17 July 2017

Cheap hairdo

Hello. It's a gorgeous day outside, summer is back. There was a big turn out at Crafty Club this morning, a new member, and an old one came back after a break. I was a bit late getting there as usual and the session was in full swing. 
It was time I did something with my hair, looking a bit dull, needs a lift. This is close to my normal colour, the red has all gone so it's sort of brown. Luckily I don't seem to be going grey in a hurry, a few whispy hairs at the front and that's about it. I have been trimming the fringe when it flops into my eyes, but don't need to do a full head cut just yet. 
I've had a £1 hair colour in my bathroom for ages, so yesterday it was time to use it. The label on the box said, light blonde, I didn't want it too blonde just a bit lighter. I think it has worked out well, the colour has improved the condition of it.  I'll leave it a couple of months before I cut some off the bottom.

Now what's going on here? I have some plywood offcuts so I thought I would paint them, then see where it takes me. A bit like a jigsaw puzzle but none of the pieces fit together. I will play around with them, see what happens next, something will, I hope. A vision will appear, I hope.

I'm reading a good book at the moment, it's about Steve Jobs. What a fascinating character he was. His brain was very complicated and worked in mysterious ways. Pity he is no longer here, I'm sure there could have been a lot more to learn from him. It's a thick book so it will take me a while.

I'm scoffing a big salad for my lunch, glad to get back to healthy eating after five days away. Rocket, mushrooms, potato salad, cucumber, tomato, and cheese, with a dash of tartare sauce. I'll get off, must make the most of this fine weather. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Where are my photos?

Hello. While going back through the blog archives I noticed that some of my photo's are no longer visible. Wasn't sure why. Then I remembered that a while ago I had reached my storage limit with Picasa. This was where the photo's were stored. To increase my storage facility with them I had to pay a fee. I looked for a free alternative, and as I was already using Photobucket to post pictures on forums, I decided to also use it for the blog.

This became a bit of a faff, it took far too long, and the site was full of adverts which slowed things down considerably. I decided to bite the bullet and start paying Blogger for increased storage. I was pleasantly surprised that it was so little. When I started it was £3 a year, now it is just over £4 a year, such a piddling amount, not worth worrying about.

Picasa is now part of Google, as is Blogger, so I can see no problems arising from this set up and hope that my photo albums will not be lost from now on.

Photobucket used to be free, but now they make a charge. My photo's are all still there on my account, but I cannot use them anywhere else unless I upgrade and pay for that. The photo's which I have previously posted on forums, Down the Lane, and Walking Forum, have disappeared, and will be reinstated if I upgrade. I won't be doing that. It has ruined quite a lot of threads I started.

The good news is that I can post photo's on Twitter free of charge, and then copy and paste the tweet into Down the Lane. My photo's on here are safe, apart from the few that Photobucket have deleted.

People not on social media will have no idea what I am talking about. If you just read, carry on. If you post photo's elsewhere on forums it can get a bit confusing. I post the odd photo on Facebook, that seems to be straight forward for now. I can't be bothered with Instagram or Snapchat or any of the others.

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




Saturday, 15 July 2017

Short and sweet.

Hello. I've been a bit lazy today, reading, sewing, and pottering. Here's a little video I made the other day.



It's 8.25pm, the sun is still shining, and I'm now going to do my walk. My total to date is 674 miles. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Friday, 14 July 2017

Over the river to Giggleswick on the last day.

Hello. Here we are at day five and the holiday is almost over. Time for a little bimble before heading home. I have noticed on my travels that the old red phone boxes are used for a variety of other purposes, always nice to see them being preserved and adopted by the community. This one at The Green in Settle is a mini art gallery. The information leaflet states that the exhibitions are changed frequently, today there are photographs of moths. 

A guest book to sign laid on an improvised table supported by a silver birch log, with a pretty mosaic floor.

Colourful shop front. It's amazing that there are decorations left outside premises all day and night, and no signs of vandalism. Pot plants and flowers are everywhere, people like to decorate their fronts.

The Town Hall at Settle. Shops and the Tourist Information are also in the same building.

Leaving Settle I went a walkabout before I got in the car to go home. On the other side of the river is Giggleswick. I passed through the day before but it was late and I didn't see much of it, so worth going back. More pots, the pavement has been widened here to reduce the road width so cars are forced to slow down.


The village Tuck Shop.

I popped into the church and the ladies were setting tables for an expected coach trip to stop for tea and cakes. I asked about taking a look inside the school chapel, and they confirmed that I could get a key from the main reception, so off I went. The lady at reception gave me a booklet which tells of the history of it.

It's a magnificent building. According to the accounts of 1902, it cost a grand total of £27,689, that includes everything inside. To read the whole guide click on this link.





Beautiful organ pipes.

Detailed artwork on the ceiling looking into the dome.


I flicked the switches for the pendant lighting. Originally there were ten brass pendants lit by gas. After 50 years these were replaced by flourescent strip lighting. Then in 1987 the lighting was returned to pendents powered by electricity.

This is the reception building for the school. Here is their web site, click on the link to watch a video, aerial shots of the chapel.


Off I went for a little bimble, the flowerpot models have spilled over from Settle into Giggleswick.

Oh wow, wish I could stay here, but alas, looking at the house prices in the estate agents windows, and going by the cost of everyday living, I cannot afford it, so I shall just enjoy the views while I am here.


What do you need while sitting on a rock high up on the hill in the sun? An apple pie of course  ;-)

It was time to go home, so back to the car which needed to be moved off the car park at the B & B.

I can thoroughly recommend King William the Fourth Guest House at Settle. I paid £200 for four nights B & B. The food was excellent, and the room was modern with fresh white bed linen and towels,  I can't fault it at all.

On the way home I stopped off at Gargrave, a small village. Very pretty, a canal. a river, the Pennine Way passes through it, and there was a really good art exhibition in the Village Hall. Traffic was a bit busy because it was kicking out time for the Great Yorkshire Show at Harrogate. A quick dip into Tesco, a few bargains but I was too early for the last markdown at 7pm. Couldn't be bothered to wait, wanted to get home.

Pussies are fine, Janet looked after them as usual. Mayze was all over me, purring like a steam engine. I made a couple of videos on this trip, I'll get them onto yoootooob to see if they are any good. Now I have things to do so I'll sign out. Sorry, I have to keep the Comment Moderation on for a while longer, the spammers have found me so they need be filtered out and I can zap them before they start disrupting the smooth running of the blog.

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