Sunday, 21 January 2018

In a better place.

Hello. It had slipped my mind that this blog has an anniversary coming up, in fact the anniversary has now passed. I wrote the first post on the 2nd of January 2009. I sometimes look back and read my own blog, and can see consistencies throughout the nine years I have been writing it. Although I am not a fan of routine, it stifles creativity, I am still running my life more or less the same way as I always have done. That is living within my means, cutting back on my day to day living expenses so I have more cash left over for pleasures. Working out my priorities have always been at the forefront of my budgeting. There is a slight change there, in the beginning I was dead skint, having cut my working hours giving me a smaller income. Getting the work/life balance was important. I now find that by being strict with myself has put me in a good place, I can ease off a little bit because I now have the confidence and skills needed to maintain my present lifestyle.

So, let's have a look at my first post all those years ago.

Hi there, thanks for taking a look at my blog, this is my first attempt at blogging, so I hope you find something of interest. The main theme for the blog will be frugal living, because that is what I have been aspiring to for the last ten years. I decided to reduce my time at work, so reducing my income, and creating a whole new challenge, I now work at how to make ends meet. That may sound daunting to some people but it's easy, as long as you can differentiate between what you need and what you want. Making ends meet gives the impression that you are scrimping and saving worrying about where your next meal will come from, that is not true. For me it means making the most out of the money you have, getting the best value, the most food from the supermarket, and the challenge of surviving by your own means. I have never been in debt, always paying my way, so perhaps I am used to living within my means, luckily my mother taught me all about it. 

I have been a lorry driver for 32 years, something I am immensely proud of, in total I have worked for 44 years, and now it is time to slow down. All my hard work has almost paid for a house, still a bit to go so not completely debt free, but I am working on it. I am now looking forward to a fabulous retirement, but of course I will never fully retire because I like work. But from now on, any work I do will be on my terms, it will be something I want to do, and I will do it when I want to do it. There, a bit bolshie maybe but that's how I am, I know my own mind. Life is too short to be a slave, and by that I mean a slave to money. I have realised that I am perfectly happy with just enough, a simple life for me means less worries. Do I worry about money, of course not because I haven't got any. 

Please join me on my frugal journey, I am going to record just how I live my life on very little money. I'm not setting any targets, or making any rash statements like living on a £1 a day, it will be a true story of how it really is. Don't expect me to be complaining about how expensive the cost of living is, or how fed up I am of having no money, that won't happen. Instead I want to open your eyes to the pleasures of a simple life, the enjoyment you can have out of life's free gifts, and how I wake up each day looking forward to the day ahead. See you later. Ilona

Two people commented on this one, Norfolk boy and Dancewriter, both from the USA. I was thrilled that someone had found me. I wonder where they are now. I can't find a blog for Dancewriter, and Norfolk Boy stopped blogging in 2012. I hope they are both alright and have a good life. 

So, What has happened to you over the last eight years? Are you in a better place, or about the same place. Have you moved forward one step. or taken two steps back? Thank you to everyone who has traveled with me along this road, here's heading for year nine. 

It's snowing here, a couple of quick walks to see Tina cat is all I will do today if it keeps on. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon. Enjoy your Sunday.
Toodle pip

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Cats visiting, and food

Hello, no clowns tonight, just me :o) This is Garcia in the window looking out. He pops in from time to time when there is no one in at his house. I was busy on the computer at the other end of the room when I heard him growl. He obviously is not impressed by another cat who is muscling in on his patch. I don't know where this new cat on the block lives, but he/she has taken a liking to my garden. There is a table just below the window outside and cats seem to like that. Sometimes they put their front paws up onto the sill and look in. It's funny to see their little faces peering in through the glass. 
My dinner tonight, veg left over from last night. I'm not sure if I deliberately or accidentally make too much, but never mind, if I can't eat it all there is always some to warm up the following day. There wasn't quite enough for a full meal so I chopped a leek and some mangetout peas, and added that, with some spinach. When all that was cooked I added two eggs and sort of half scrambled them. I think they used to call reheated leftovers Bubble and Squeak, or was that something with cabbage in it? This plate is now empty, I have eaten it all.

I took some cooked chicken for Tina cat, she likes that. I see some of the furniture has been removed from the house so maybe they are starting to clear it. I'm just off back there for the second visit as soon as I have done this. I've been sewing today, and watching videos. Can't stop watching Puddles, his singing is so good. I see Scott O Connor has another wood sculpture video out, he seems to be getting on with creating more art since the fire.

Just before I go, I've found FQ's recipe page, (on Web, she had started to archive them. A lot of people were disappointed that all her recipes were lost when she closed her blog. So if you were a fan of her recipes here are some of them.  The links to the recipes work, and the links under the header work, and the links to the popular posts work, but not the blog archive or the labels. Maybe this will help some of you who liked her recipes.

That's it, I must go now. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Puddles in the flesh.

Hello. After posting last night I carried on watching Puddles on yooootoooob, I just couldn't stop, was up until gone midnight. There are some vids of him in the flesh, as Big Mike Geier, before he became Puddles. Some interviews as well, he is a big man at 6ft 8ins. He sings like Elvis and Tom Jones but in his own style. He sings Elvis better than Elvis.

For those who don't like clowns have a look at this. Some of his earlier videos are not up to top quality, but if you want to hear the very best covers ever click on Puddles and scroll the picture off the screen if you don't like his face. His voice is just awesome.

See you later.

Friday, 19 January 2018


Hello. In the absence of anything witty, funny, interesting, inspirational, educational, shocking, crazy, or creative to say, have a look at this sad clown.

Awesome or what?
We'll catch up tomorrow. Toodle pip

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Inspiration from an art teacher

Hello. I went to town today, needed to pay a bill into the bank and pick up a few essentials from Aldi. I also had a bimble around a couple of charity shops, looking for a canvas or two, found one, 50p. I also found these items which looked interesting. This wire thing was 50p, not sure what it was in it's previous life, but I have an idea what it could be in it's next life. 
In the Scope shop I found a set of 12 chrome coasters, for just £1. There is something pleasing to the eye about a spiral. I have an idea for these as well.

My inspiration for these two projects comes from one of the bloggers on my side bar, so not strictly my idea. Cassie Stephens is an art teacher, she is just amazing, the kids must love her. This is her blog post which inspired me to find something I could yarn bomb. In fact if you love art have a look at her blog she has some great ideas. Here is the video she has put on her blog post.

I've just managed to eat this massive dinner, all good stuff. The carrots, peas, broccoli, potatoes, baby sweetcorn, and parsnips, all yellow sticker, with two eggs scrambled into it. A fabulous dinner and I'm stuffed.

Time to go and do my walk and check on Tina. She was ok when I popped in this afternoon but I think she is missing her mummy. I will take some sewing and sit with her for a while.

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

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Storage solutions on the cheap.

Hello my little Blogerettes, howz ya didlin? The snow has almost gone here in North Lincolnshire, I'm not sure about other parts of the country though, they have had more than us.

I've made a video for you, I got it just about right first time this time, no retakes, ha ha. What you see is what you get, no editing. It's about using what you already have to store bits and bobs in, rather than going out to the shops and buying containers. With the whole plastic thing in the news at the moment, and the plastic boxes stacked sky high in the shops, I thought I would do my bit to point out that actually you might already have something in the house to keep your nails/screws/threads, paint brushes, crafting bits and pieces and anything else, tidy.

Blimey, it's only been live for twenty minutes and already someone has viewed it. It's 16 minutes long by the way.

Right, I'm going for a little bimble, and will pop in to check on Tina puss cat. I am splitting my walks into two at 2 miles each, the house is on my route so I can call in twice a day as I am passing.

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

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Eating well for less

Hello. It is one week since I did my last yellow sticker shop, and I still haven't eaten all the food I bought, even after giving some away. I thought I would post a picture of my lunch today, everything on the plate was 7 days out of date, and as you can see some of it was 'best before' and some was 'use by'. The rice with mushrooms was a salad pot, it went in the pan with the chopped up large mushroom and a drop of oil. I cooked it for five minutes on the hob. 
This is a mayo and garlic dip, it's all gone now, just finished it on my evening meal.

Avocado's, I did have one which I had to cut out the black bits, but one out of eight isn't bad when the rest were perfectly fine, and only 19p for a pack of two.

Unwashed salad leaves always last longer than the ready washed ones. I still have a bag of these left for tomorrow.

There was four large flat mushrooms in this pack, one left for tomorrow.

My out of date tasty veggie meal.

Yesterday I had an even cheaper lunch. It came in a plastic microwaveable pot, and only took two minutes to warm up, and only cost 20p. Beans, peas, and broccoli. I didn't need to add anything to it, this was plenty to fill me up.

I've been playing with the tissue paper again, this time I used a piece of white cotton fabric. It is laid on a metal grill rack to dry. First I put the background pieces on, blues and greens, then added the sun, and the stalks and flowers. The colours soon seep through. When I lifted the tissues I didn't think the colours of the flowers were dense enough, so I got small pieces of the same colour, screwed it up, wet it, and dabbed more colour on. A bit like painting with my fingers. My intention is to embroider onto it. I will think about what to do with it next, might add some paint first. 
My regular dog walking job has come to an end, Ken is walking Bailey now and he is getting on fine with it. I shall be filling in for him if he needs to take a day off for some reason. I now have a new job, Tina the puss cat is on her own, her owner had to go into care. Someone calls in once a day, and someone else twice a week, and I have a key to go and check on her every day. We are hoping to find her a new home through the rescue. It's snowing here at the moment, I shall pop and see her in an hour or so, it isn't far, across the road and down a street, only five minutes away.

Anyway, I'll cut you loose, thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Monday, 15 January 2018

Death of a Jupiterite

Hello. This is the year 2525. A cyber jet from Jupiter has landed in Central UK, and violence has broken out. A bloody battle has been going on for a week and there are many deaths and injuries on both sides. Earthlings are fighting back in a bid to stamp out this invasion. Ray guns are poised, rockets are ready for launching, and computer headquarters are ready to intercept any Jupiterites who defy the instruction to leave our planet. They know they can't win, all it takes is the press of a button and they will be obliterated. The control centre of each and every one of them will implode, and with the loss of their life blood there is no way they can function. 
Their leader has been eliminated, and the body has been taken over by our superbugs which will dispose of any evidence, nothing will be left behind. 

My imagination knows no bounds, ha ha. Innards of an old computer, wool creating texture and painted over, plastic spiders found after Halloween, mounted on a 50p canvas. Extra board inserted underneath to screw into. The red is blood red, not pink as it is here. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Bleeding colours

Hello. I am playing again, saw something on yooootooob and thought I would have a go at that, and it works. No wonder I don't have enough time in the day, I muck around too much, ha ha.

Tissue paper, £1 from the £1 shop, I know, I don't like buying materials, but I don't have any lying around, and I can afford £1. There is tons of it, lots of different colours, plenty for other projects.

Cut some into small shapes, squares, circles, triangles, hexagons, whatever. I tried it first on a small board, I have some board, got it at the Scrapstore. If you are going to do this you could use thick paper. Lay the pieces out to whatever design you like, then wet a brush (tap water) and stick the shapes to the board.

Wait a minute, then carefully peel the tissue paper off while still wet. The colours have bled into the board and into each other. Could make a nice background for stenciling, doodling, collage, or painting on top of. I will try a bigger one next time and put more thought into different shapes and lay them out a bit more artistically.

Now where was I. Ooops, Garcia has decided that he would like to lie on it, oh well, I'll get on with my other projects then. He is not my cat, he lives two doors up the road, but he visits daily, he sleeps in his own house at night. After nearly ten years of commuting I haven't the heart to throw him out, he is an old boy. His owners know where he is. 
Looking good outside, I may go out later, but for now my tum is rumbling, it wants food. Thanks for popping in, enjoy your Sunday, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Always on the lookout for reductions

Hello. I spent the morning wrapping some rings with wool and thread, and then did some painting. After lunch I went to town. I wanted a couple more canvases but the only ones I could find were too big. Maybe I should have bought them though at 50p each. I want to stick with smaller ones at the moment until I get the hang of this painting lark. 
I've been watching that many arty crafty yooootoooob videos, my head is buzzing. There's such a lot you can do with plastic bottle tops. Every time I see a good idea I think, must try that. 
I popped into the Cash and Carry to see if there were any must have bargains. This musli was 50p per bag, and the large jar of pickled onions was 60p.
These five tins were looking wobbly on the shelf due to them being bashed up. They normally sell them three for £1, but they wanted to get rid of these at 20p each. I will have them thank you. Will come in handy to put in a stew. They even have a long date on them. I'm always on the look out for reductions wherever I shop.

I made too much dinner tonight so there is enough for tomorrows lunch.

I'll go and get my walk done now, shake this dinner down a bit. Thanks for popping, we'll catch ip soon.
Toodle pip.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Mystery artwork

Hello. This is typical of the food I am eating at the moment, munching my way through the yellow stickers. Three days past the sell by date, and still some more left in the fridge. The strawberries, bread, and hot cross buns are in the freezer, the butternut squash, chopped onions and mushrooms have gone in a stew, four portions in the freezer for 40p. 
This is my latest artwork, can you guess what it is. I had some pieces from the inside of an old computer I smashed up a long time ago, must be something I can do with them.

 I had a bimble locally today, and came across a load of bathroom fittings on a footpath. I've just been on the council web site and reported it. This area is targeted quite often because it's wide enough to get a van or car down there. Compared to some areas I don't think we suffer too much from fly tipping, I've seen some horrendous sights in inner city areas. I blame the council for putting a charge on getting rid of waste. This will come from a small builder who doesn't have a licence from the council to take it to the tip.

I've had a letter today from Ebico my utilities supplier, asking for meter readings. It was dated 5th Jan and I have only just received it. I wish they would get their act together, they don't need to send me a reminder, I posted the readings on their web site on the 2nd. Why don't they check that first. I've just done another reading and posted them.

Bailey has a new dog walker, Ken is doing it now. Hope all is going well with that. I saw Joanna the 1940's lady, in the shop the other day, she invited me to call in for a coffee. I might do that

That's all for now, not a lot happening here. Thanks for popping in, enjoy your weekend, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Pay attention.

Hello. Have you ever thought about how carelessness and familiarization with your surroundings can impact on your bank balance? Can you see the connection with everything in it's place and a place for everything, equals saving money? Or, lacking in organizational skills can lead to more bills, more expenses to pay out?

I have been thinking about how every day activities can be linked with either money spending or money saving. The things we do automatically without thinking may not always be the best way. We can get into sloppy habits because we are not paying attention. Here are some of my ideas.

Where do you keep your car and house keys, any keys for that matter? It's easy to come into the house and sling them in the nearest kitchen drawer. Easy to pick them up again before you leave the house. They will always be there, mostly they are, but not always. Don't tell me that you hang them on a hook on the wall just inside the front door, that is just asking for trouble. Thieves know the most likely places to find keys. Only a few weeks ago a house near here was broken into, they found the keys to three cars on the drive, they were all gone in a matter of minutes. I hide my keys in another room of the house. I know where they are, no one else does. They would have to ransack the place before they find them.

Same with purses, wallets, and handbags. In the kitchen cupboard? In the office? Don't make it easy for thieves, hide things away out of sight, somewhere where they might not think of looking.

There are desperate people out there who are not getting any benefits and will resort to robbery to fund their lifestyle. You think you are safe in your own house, but you are not if you leave a door unlocked. Opportunist thieves will try doors until they find one unlocked, and woe betide anyone who is inside. You don't want that to happen, so lock your doors.

Next, walking about in towns, anywhere, you are carrying money, keys, phone, and cards. Keep them safe in zipped pockets, always check that the zips are fully closed after making a purchase. Do not leave the shop until you have checked your change and have your card stowed away safely. If you have to carry a bag use a small across the body bag with a shoulder strap. Put it on over your clothes but under your coat or jacket. While walking about check that you still have all your valuables in your possession. Pick pocketing is rife, bag snatching is rife, and now we have hoodies riding about on mopeds looking for victims who are yakking into their mobile phones while not taking a bit of notice about what is going on around them. It only takes a split second for a snatch to take place.

You think you are safe while driving about in your metal box, but you are not. When you get in your car what is the first thing you do, chuck your bag on the front passenger seat or in the front footwell, then drive off. That's a no no. At least hide your bag, your purse, but better still, lock all your doors. Bags have been stolen while a car is sat at traffic lights on red. It takes no time at all for someone to come alongside. open the door and make off with your valuables. It happens. They could be on foot or on a bicycle, they will escape through the crowds, and you are stuck in a traffic jam in your car.

As for parking your car, try and leave it in a busy street, not somewhere hidden away. Park near houses if you can, and lock it. Thieves will try car doors in the middle of the night even when your car is on your own driveway, they have been caught on CCTV cameras. Do not leave anything in your car when you lock it and leave it. Last week Humberside police tweeted that a car had been broken into, cards found and a substantial amount of money had been spent on them within hours. Who would be so daft as to leave their cards in their car? I do despair. Do not leave anything in your car.

Yet another case of stolen dogs has come up on my Facebook this morning, it's happening all the time. They are stolen from back gardens on a regular basis. Apart from the mental anguish that follows from a pet disappearing, there is also the monetary loss as well. Six dogs were stolen from the back of a Transit van recently. Only a couple of weeks ago someone left their two dogs in the multistory car park at Manchester which went up in flames, while they went out for a meal. The brave fire brigade went in and got them out before they died. I suppose you could put it down to the owner making a mistake and leaving them for a few minutes, but it shouldn't happen. You have to be aware of why dogs are stolen. People see dog breeding as an easy way of making money. They will steal a dog, impregnate it, or use it (male) for stud, keep it in squalid conditions until it gives birth and then kick it out. Often a stolen dog will be sold on to an unsuspecting buyer. Some of them are finding their way back to the original owner because of chipping, but not all are chipped. So my message here is, do not let your dogs out of your sight, make sure they are in a safe place at all times.

And the connection to money saving? Every little mishap, every mistake, every time complacency takes over and you are not watching what you are doing, you walk zombie like into disaster. Your purse is gone, the cash is gone, you have to phone the bank and cancel the cards and order new ones. Your car is stolen, or damaged, you have to contact your insurance to claim, your premium goes up the following year. You have to replace the car or get it repaired. Your mobile phone is gone, all your details are in there, your contact numbers, you are in danger of someone stealing your identity, the repercussions could be horrendous.

And losing a beloved pet has to be the most painful of the lot. Nothing is as bad as that. Material things can be replaced, but finding that your best friend has been taken by strangers, who will probably not treat it very well, is enough to make you say, why did I not take more care of it.

Something to think about. Pay attention, take care of your possessions, and I don't mean become paranoid about it. Just get into the habit of taking simple precautions.

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

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Shopping at night for bargains.

Good morning. I finally went shopping last night. Arriving just before 7pm, and leaving two hours later with a trolley load of yellow stickers, plus a few other things which are never reduced. Look at this amazing haul, my best ever I think.
The shop wasn't busy, with about half a dozen people hanging around the back door waiting for the freshly yellow stickered fruit and veg to appear. Another small group of people were waiting around the chiller cabinet where the ready meals/convenience food, dairy and meat are usually stacked. I had a quick look there and picked up some dairy, but most of it has meat in it, so no good for me. I leave them to it and head back to the fruit and veg and wait for the next lot to be wheeled out.

A few close ups so you can see the savings to be made by shopping at the end of the day when things are about to go out of date and have to leave the store. Thankfully by the front door in customers bags, and not by the back door in skips. At least my Tesco does offer it to us patient shoppers who wait around for it to be priced up.

These pots are not out of date until the end of the month. The six pack has come apart and the wrapper is torn, so all they do is bag them up and reduced them.

Shopping this way gives me chance to try things I wouldn't otherwise pay full price for. It means I can vary my diet rather than keep eating the same basic cheaper foods. This will not be baked, my oven doesn't work, I will empty the contents into a pan and cook it on the hob. I have two of these, the label says not suitable for home freezing, I need to eat them in the next couple of days.

Rice and vegetables with a coconut curry dressing. Microwave in the bag. I will open it and split it into two portions and cook on the hob.

There were a lot of potatoes going cheap, I will give some away.

Once again I have avocados. I'm not surprised they don't sell very well at that price. Lucky for me to spot these. I have four packs of 2.

The total value of my yellow stickers is £76.31, I paid just £9.09 for them. Probably my best saving ever.  Even better than when I went shopping for Rip off Britain. I bought a few other things which brought the total up to £28.86. Two bags of dry cat food at £3.50 each, they were on offer £1 cheaper than normal price. I also got eggs, cheese, milk shake, soya and rice milk, and fruit juice.

We have a new dog walker starting this morning, Ken is going to take over walking Bailey for a while to give me and Brenda a breather. I am going to go with him on his first walk to explain Bailey's little quirky habits. Later on I need to cook some of that food up for the freezer. I'll sign off for now, need to get ready. The weather looks awful, dull, overcast, and drizzly.

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

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Change of routine

Hello. I was up with the lark this morning, full of the joys of erm...winter. I think I even beat the lark, didn't see one. Me and Mayze have a cuddle before I get up, she gets in the bed with me. I stretch my arm out so she can rest her head on it, I whisper sweet nothings in her ear and tickle her tummy. A perfect way to start the 4.30am. 
I got up and wrapped a fleecy dressing gown around me and went down to make a coffee. Heidi was up and wanted to go outside, but I said no, too early. I took the coffee back to bed, with a crafting book and my doodle/notebook. Had some ideas I wanted to make notes about. Then we cuddled, and I got up. It was still early and I felt in the mood to go out and walk the streets. A quick snack of bran flakes and a banana, I can't walk on an empty stomach or I will go all wobbly, and at 6.30am I had my boots on and I was off. 
It was lovely and fresh, not cold, not frosty, not raining, just right. I saw dog walkers, and a girl arrived at the paper shop on her bike with a splendid trailer on the back of it. She was well lit up with a head torch and a light on her clothing, ready to do her paper round. I asked her if she had made her trailer, she said no, she was going to but then her dad stepped in and made it for her. 
Lights were going on, people getting up for work, more quick dog walks, two ladies dressed in walking gear and trainers, people coming back from the night shift. My neighbour across the road came back just after six, and took their dog out before he went to bed. I was back in for 7.30am, and I've just had beans on toast. 
I like to have a change of routine now and again, it keeps the mind sharp. Doing the same thing day in day out, week in and week out numbs the senses. It's a good idea to give yourself a sharp prod to remind yourself not to waste the whole day wandering around in a dream. Once I've done this I am going to get on with a new idea for an artwork that is developing in my head. 
I found someone filling a skip last week with the contents of their garage. I was in two minds whether to take my car round there and rescue some stuff, but you will be pleased to know I managed to quell the urge. I did however spot these two packs of brand new screws, too good to leave there. 
The bad news is, I've seen another skip, they are rebuilding the Bowls Clubhouse, and the roof is going on. There are some really useful pieces of timber in there. I might have to drive round to the mobile library this afternoon, and make a detour and possibly pick a few of the best pieces out, would be a shame to leave them.

Still not been shopping, keep putting it off. Might go later. Hair needs cutting, it's getting on my nerves. Need to sort out my car insurance, I see it has gone up again.

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

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Look for a positive in a negative.

Hello. It's been a smashing day, sunshine all the way. I've been outside sorting my wood pile out in the garage. Pulling out unwanted nails and staples, unscrewing screws, from second hand reclaimed wood. I had a gap between my garage and next doors fence which I wanted to block off, and yep, I found the exact pieces of wood to do the job. The next thing I need to do is to replace the plastic gate to the back garden. I need it to be more sturdy, and lockable, can't be too security conscious.

Anyway, before I went outside I knocked up another video, and set it to upload while I worked in the sunshine. So here it is. Took me four attempts, got my words mixed up, forgot important points, and got a tickle in my throat. See what you think.

Just had my dinner, scraping the bottom of the freezer now, not much left. I was going to do a yellow sticker dash last night but couldn't be bothered. Was going to go shopping today before they closed at 4pm, couldn't be bothered. Will have to go at some point next week or else I'll be munching on the carpet, ha ha.

Off out for a walk now, I'll leave you to it. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Poor Martin

Hello. Martin Lewis came in for a lot of stick yesterday on Twitter, for daring to suggest that if you go into a supermarket for one or two items, you don't need a basket. Insults were throw his way from several offended trolls who were most indignant that his remarks were patronizing, and who did he think he was to tell people how they should do their shopping and spend their money. All he was trying to do was point out that holding a basket in your hand puts temptation in the way, and encourages picking up extra items that you didn't go in for.

Of course Martin was right. You only have to read the MSE forum to see that people do have a problem with impulse spending. They are addicted to buying stuff they don't need, and it is ruining their lives by digging them deeper into debt. So surely every little tip to control this willynilly spending, has to be a good thing.

Martin's tip is a great way of controlling how much you spend. I will not pick up a basket if I only want a couple of things. I go in several shops when I am in town, checking prices and looking for the special offers. My eyes just go to the shelves I am checking, I ignore everything else around me. I check Wilko for offers on cat food, more often than not there aren't any on the food my cats normally eat, so a basket is not needed. I have been caught out occasionally though and have had to juggle ten small packs of Sheba in my arms, sometimes balancing on top of three or four bags of dry food.

The same thing happens in all the shops I enter, no I don't need a basket, I walk straight to the section I need. Sometimes the price is right and I make my purchases, sometimes there is nothing I want, so I walk out empty handed.

The shops are not daft, they know that people pick up a basket automatically, they are hoping you find more than what you went in for, hoping that when the basket is full you go back to the beginning and get a trolley.

Some shops have now got plastic baskets which have two handles, a short one for carrying, and a longer one which you can pull along behind you because it also has wheels on, instantly turning a hand basket into a trolley, thus encouraging you to load more items into it. Items which you didn't know you needed until you saw them.

I hate those pull along things. You have to stoop because the handle isn't long enough, putting strain on the back. Ideal for someone of a smaller stature, but hopeless for those of a regular or taller height. You need a long arm to pull them, or else you bash yourself on the back of your heels. The handle collapses when you let go to reach something on the shelf, then you have to bend to pick it back up again. If you are not careful it is easy to trip over someone else's pull-along when they aren't paying attention to what they are doing. The small Asda has these clumsy things, I never use them. 

I know what I want to buy before I go in a shop, I make the choice between a real trolley or a basket. If I only want a couple of items, I don't need either. Next time you go in a shop ask yourself, do I really need a basket, or can I manage without one. I think it's a great money saving tip. Thanks Martin.

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

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Virus alert

Hello, ha ha, that fooled you didn't it. No, my computer hasn't got a virus, that's the title of my first have a go at painting a picture. This is my Virus. It's a 12 inch square second hand canvas I bought for 50p from a charity shop. There are plenty about, no need to buy new. 
The red paint is a small tin of household emulsion I bought from Hull Scrapstore. I stuck on some dried packet soup mix to give it some texture. Split peas, lentils, and pearl barley. This first picture is nearest to the actual colour. The rest look slightly pinky because I took them in different parts of the house. The lighting is not good at the moment, it's very dull outside. 
Once this was dry I added some lengths of fine cord, stuck down with another layer of paint. Then the title came to me. At first it was going to be 'How long is a piece of string'. Nope, too long winded. I decided to paint the split peas in black and make them into spiders. Then it became 'Virus'.

First I picked out the spiders and the cord with black felt tip pens, but the spiders weren't black enough, so I went over them again with acrylic paint and a very fine brush. It was very fiddly and some of the spiders have hairy legs, and they haven't all got six legs, it was whatever I could fit in.

Took this picture in the porch, more light in there, but the shade of red is not quite right.

I like it, my sort of art, fun and quirky.

I have updated the Walking Group list on the last post. I expect not everyone has seen it yet, there will possibly be a few more newcomers. I can't keep updating it indefinitely, but will do so in the next few days to allow people to tell me if they are joining the challenge. After that anyone can still do the challenge and check in their miles on the first of every month, but they will have missed the opportunity to be on the original list.

Raining at the moment here, as soon as it stops I will be out. In the meantime I'm playing at art. Cats are in, and Garcia is here on the window sill. No one in at his house, I wouldn't chuck him out in the rain. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

New list of Walking Group Members for 2018

Hello. I've just gone through the comments and now have the lists of Walking Group members, total miles for last year 2017, and names of those who are starting this year 2018. The first year we did it in 2016 we started with 21 names on the list. Last year that rose dramatically to 68 names. Of those 68 I have 22 names who have checked in with their totals for the whole year. I don't know whether the others have completed the challenge and not checked in, I hope they did, or they gave up at some point during the year. As I always say, some walking is better than no walking.

So let's celebrate the achievements of the 22 who have stuck it out right to the end and shared their journey with us. There are some fantastic numbers, you should all be proud of yourselves. If you read the comments you will see that everyone is feeling a whole lot better, and fitter, and healthier, since they started. Well done everyone.


Jeanneke 1066 KM.....Haxel Dxb 1180 m.....Amanda 1773 m.....Kath K 86 m in December.....Hilogene in Arizona 1126 m.....Alicesav 1157 m.....Odette 1108 m.....Natalie 863 m.....Christina Neumann 1146 m.....Sonja in NC 1175 m.....Wences Spain 2519 m.....Ray Nicholson 1089 m.....Flis 46 m in December.....Beachcomber Sue 1116 m.....Margaret 731 m.....Hilde 1000 m.....Helen D 1103 KM.....Kate on the Coast 608 m.....Vickey E Yorks 792 m.....Jules 1247 m.....Shelly Williams 926 m.....Gill That British Woman 730 m.....Yorkshire Lass 1019 m.....


Jeanneke.....Lisa J Tasmania.....Caroline Kempster.....Dawn.....Gillian.....Amanda.....Kath K.....Hilogene.....Alicesav.....Jenette Palmer.....Odette.....Mirjam Raehse.....Cherie.....Rentintin Croatia.....Ellie-g.....Rosie Life.....Deborah W.....L.....Sam.....Anne.....Natalie.....Christine Neumann.....Carole Cooper.....Ray Nicholson.....Linda Martin.....Joy Victoria Aus.....Sendee Colorado USA.....Jane Karwat Ontario Canada.....Frugal Wench.....Flis.....Beachcomber Sue.....Hilogene Arizona.....Mary G.....Sonja NC.....Elaine.....Lynda.....Marie-Paule Belgium.....Mary in NZ.....Sandy in USA.....Kay Schmitz.....Hilde.....Margaret in Maryland.....Helen D.....Kate on the Coast.....Gill That British Woman.....Angie Gloucestershire.....Jules.....Shelly Williams.....Lisa NSW Australia.....Jennifer Christie.....Susan New Jersey US.....Adrienne.....Dia Northern California.....Hazel Dxb.....Nanny Anna Canada.....Nim Buckinghamshire.....Nick.....Jan Australia.....Jean Winnipeg.....Patricia Ontario.....Wences Spain.....Yorkshire Lass.....Hazel c UK.....Slimsdotter Wyoming.....Andrew.....Apartment Cat Australia.....M.E......Joannepenny Cumbria.....

59 members have signed up for the challenge, and as you can see we are a World Wide Walking Group. 53 walkers will be feeling great by the end of the year. The months will soon fly by, if you have to ease off through injury or illness, have a rest and get back on when you feel better. If you drop out because you can't be bothered, you will only be letting yourself down. So come on, let's not have any shirking, pull your socks up and get on with it.

Remember, it's not a race, nobody is better than anyone else because you are doing it for you. It isn't a competition, everyone taking part is a winner. You are responsible for checking your own miles or KM. We want a monthly report on how you are doing, in a comment on the first post of every month. Share your triumphs and share your misery. Good luck everyone.

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

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Really useful pressies, and notes for the walkers

Hello. I'm back. I had a lovely day yesterday with my family at Nottingham. Auntie and cousins and partners gave me some lovely gifts. They are so clever at choosing the right things, unlike me who is pretty hopeless and give money and say get your own, ha ha. Look what I brought home. A big bag of pompoms, red fluffy wool, a candle making kit, glittery thread, a Dove bath pamper set, some pink crafting wire, and a wirey thing that I am supposed to massage my head with. Wonder if I should use that while relaxing in the bath. 
So, I didn't do a walk yesterday, I was busy scoffing and socializing, and it was late when I got back. Today it's raining, I hope it stops so I can get out. Going to the library soon, books to change. Think I might get some painting books out.

This morning I took Heidi for her half yearly check up, and saw a locum vet who has been working in Barnsley. He is originally from the USA and has been in the UK for many years. He had a long beard, as long as his long hair which was tied in a pony tail. He checked Heidi over and said she didn't need to have a blood test because she seems to be doing well on the medication, and so another six weeks of tablets were dispensed.

Thank you all for checking in with your walking miles, some great results there. It's good to see some new members joining in. When I have got a minute I will make up a full list so everyone knows who is taking part in 2018. Someone asked about measuring distance. I use this web site For my two and three mile walks I found my house on the OS map, and plotted out two routes with my mouse, which totals up the distance automatically. When I do a walk in an unfamiliar area I mark it out with a felt tip pen on a paper map and check the distance when I get back home. If you use this site, you need the course creator page, and toggle the map sizes so the bigger map is on the right hand side.

You can use a fitbit, or a pedometer, or a GPS app on your smart phone. Do whichever suits you best and which you can afford. Bikehike is free to use, there are other sites which do more or less the same thing. You can count in miles or kilometers, you can do it on a treadmill, walk, run, cycle, or even swim if you want to. The main aim is to get active, set yourself targets, if you feel you can't do the 1000 miles, aim for something a bit lower. It's best to have some kind of target because you need it to be a challenge, not just oh, I'll do it today but can't be bothered tomorrow, maybe I'll do it the day after. The aim is to get into a regular routine to get your body moving.

I'm off to the library now, Stan leaves at 3pm. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Monday, 1 January 2018

Check in time for Walking Group members

Hello and Good Morning. It is January the 1st 2018. I like the sound of that number, it has a nice ring to it. Now is the time to check in with your final walking miles for 2017. How did you do? Are you chuffed with yourself? Did you give it your best shot? Are you going to do better in 2018?

New members are invited to check in here, we like new starters. The format will be the same, please check in on the first of every month throughout the year to record your progress. If you miss the actual day, you can go back to the post at any time and add your comment.

I am having the day off today, good start eh! Ha ha. I am also reverting back to the 1000 miles target, so that gives me some days off throughout the year. So, 1000 divided by 12 is 83.3 miles per month. It helps to break it down, gives you a monthly target to aim for. Breaking it down further it's 2.74 miles per day.

You will have good months and bad months, depending on the weather, how you feel, your family circumstances, and the amount of free time you can give to the challenge. Don't forget, the more effort you put into it the better you will feel about yourself. There is nothing negative about walking, it's all positive, so no moaning about don't feel like it today. You know it makes sense to look after your body, and walking is a good way of doing that. I can't do it for you, so now it's up to you. Get up off your bum and do it.

I'm busy today, I shall be looking in later. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.