Monday, 31 October 2011

Will they get the hang of it?

The new, second hand, recycled, free back door is on. My friend Alex came today and hung it. He had already fitted the cat flap and shaved two inches off the top because it was too tall, it's a perfect fit.

You may remember a couple of months ago, I mentioned about finding this door in the yard of a double glazing company. It was one they had taken out to replace with a new one. I asked if I could have it and they said yes.

It's waiting for the lock and handles to be put on now. Luckily I had a yale lock in my box of bits collected over the years. I will just have to pay for a bit of timber which has been replaced around the door frame, and of course a nice gift for Alex. He is coming back tomorow to finish the job off.

Now for some lessons for the cats on how to get through the cat flap. They have been used to a big hole, and usually take a dive through it. A different technique is needed for this new gadget.

Mum, do I get out?

Now come along Lily, it's very simple, you put your nose up against the plastic window and push. Pay attention and concentrate, I am not playing. Are you watching me.

Well I'll give it a try, it seems very stiff, it doesn't want to move. This is going to give me a headache, or give me a sore nose, and I don't fancy either.

No, I can't do it mum. You do realise I am 112 in human years, I haven't got the strength any more, and my arthritis is playing up.

Oh stuff it, I'm off to bed. I'll try again tomorrow.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Need to walk, have to walk

I forgot I had this photo, I should have put it on yesterday. I took it at the Motor Show at Earls Court, London, in 1974. Good old Jimmy. I wrote and asked him if he could fix it for me to drive the biggest truck in the world. Sadly I didn't get a reply. It would have been his birthday tomorrow, sad that he couldn't hang on for it. Cheerio Jimmy, you were a good 'un.

This morning I needed to walk. I searched the maps for somewhere close by where I haven't been before, but didn't want to drive too far. The weather looked a bit unsettled, and although very warm there was a good chance it might rain. I didn't fancy getting caught out in a downpour so I came up with the idea that I could still walk a few miles but not go out of the village, that way if it rained I would not have a long way to go home.

I had already worked a route out which was 2.6 miles, so I set off to walk that. My idea was to time myself, and do as many of these circuits as I could, all day if necessary, to rack the miles up. The ground is very muddy at the moment so if I stayed on tarmac I could keep up a good pace.

I hadn't gone very far when I bumped into someone I know. I couldn't just whizz past and say, 'sorry, not stopping', that's a bit rude, so of course I stopped to chat. I did the circuit but it took longer than I would have liked. Oh well, I will walk faster next time.

After a ten minute break back home I set off again, when I got to Sue's house, I thought sod it, I'll stop and look in on the kitties. She put the kettle on and we sat drinking coffee in the pens with the cats. An hour later I was on my way. I don't seem to be making much progress. Trouble was, I found myself having to take a short cut to get back home rather quickly, the coffee had gone right through me, so going off route mucked up my calculations.

When I got home I put the computer on, and adjusted the route slightly on, to make it three miles, it will be much easier to add up the total, and to check how fast I walk. Before I set off again I had to nip to the church, I saw that the plastic bag needed replacing in the rubbish bin next to the bench. A little job that needed doing as the council are here tomorrow to collect the rubbish.

Right, now I am going to do the three miles and time myself, so I put my best foot forward. Oh bother, I met my neighbour coming back from the paper shop, he always speaks to me. Ten minutes later I was on my way, again. The circuit took one hour, so knock off the ten minutes and you can say I walked three miles in 50 minutes. I think I will make this my regular training route. Perhaps I'd better do it at night, so I can get round without stopping, ha ha. I took a few photo's. There were masses of mushrooms, or maybe they are fungi, on a grass verge. A patch of brown ones, aren't they amazing.

And a patch of black ones.

And a smaller cluster.

I got down on my knees to take these.

I love this photo, you can see the droplets of rain clinging to the grass.

Another small group.

There is an apple tree in the High Street, and no one ever collects the apples. They lie around rotting and people kick them about and they get squashed in the gutter by passing traffic. Last year someone filled the brown wheelie bin with them (for composting) but the council wouldn't take it because it was too heavy for the machine on the back of the truck to lift it. Before you ask, no I don't want them, I have stacks of apples which my neighbour across the road has given me.

Bet you can guess who's house this is. Yep, Sue and her pussies. One peeping out of the window,
And one to greet you at the front door.

These are the ingredients for my dinner tonight. Getting down my store cupboard now, but I'm going to put off shopping for a few more days. I fancied something with rice, so I chopped an onion, fried it in a small pan, with a bag of frozen green peppers. These I bought ages ago when they were dead cheap at Tesco. The Mexican spice mix is left over from the Enchelada kits, I'm getting to the end of the turmeric now, I need some more soon. Chop the apple, throw in a handfull of sultanas, add half a tin of beans, and half a tin of chopped tomatoes. add garlic and any other spices, add a slug of fruit juice, and simmer till it's all cooked.

Loverly, there's enough for lunch tomorrow as well.

Toodle pip.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Snug in my room

I'm a little bit sad tonight, and a little bit happy. My two kitties, Linzi and Steve have gone. We had an email asking about Linzi so me and Sue did a homecheck. All was ok, they are a nice family and are not near a main road, and they have a big garden. Tonight they are sleeping in their new home, they very kindly took both of them so they wouldn't be seperated. I shall miss them, but I am happy that they are in a better home than they had before.

I've been doubling up on my curtains today, getting ready for winter. No point in them being in the cupboard, when they can be making the room feel more snug. I found some plastic shower curtain rings in a charity shop for 20p, they are ideal for hanging the second set through the wooden rings.

The green curtains on the right are lightweight summer curtains, and the thicker lined curtains get hung over the top. This is the back window.

I have a thru lounge and here you can see that the winter curtains on the front window are a different length to those already hanging. I don't care about that, they can't be seen from the outside. You can just see the radiator here, it has a sideboard in front of it, which would block the heat coming into the room, that's if I have the heating on. I don't plan on switching it on untill it is six foot in snow outside like it was last winter. Then I will move the sideboard to one side.

Sad news about Sir Jimmy Saville. He brought a lot of joy to a lot of people, with his TV shows and his charity work. RIP Sir Jimmy.

Don't forget to put your clocks back one hour tonight.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Not good value, but watching free TV is.

This is a warning, not all Tesco Value food is OK. I bought these last week, worth a try I thought at just under £1 for a packet of four. With some steamed veg that would make four meals for a lot less than a pound each.

I did potatoes, cauliflower and an onion, and grilled one of the portions. Yuk. The outer covering whatever it was, a mixture of breadcrumbs and batter I think, came away from the miniscule, rather grey looking piece of fish inside. It looked and tasted like all the unwanted bits of the fish had been put through a mincer. Now I remember why I don't buy fish fingers. I think I will give the rest of them to the cats.

I watched an interesting and entertaining programe on Channel 4od last night.
I like Kirsty Allsopp as a presenter, she is so pleasant to listen to, and she injects just the right amount of humour into it. The series is about crafting, and this week it's all about paper crafts. She makes paper jewellery, a paper bird, and a card machine stitched with paper flowers. These she enters into the exhibition tent at a County Show in Wales. Well worth a look at this programe if you are into crafting. I believe last weeks show was all about baking cakes.

I know most of you don't watch Coronation Street, it's rubbish I know, but it's a bit of light entertainment while I eat my dinner. I'm a bit sad to read that the young lass who plays Rosie Webster is to be written out. She has been in it since she was nine years old, and now wants to move on. Her character Rosie is a great laugh, and is one of my favourites. I love it when she bullies her boyfriend Ryan, and bosses her mother Sally about, then has a go at her father and sister Sophie. She is a stroppy madam, lives in a fantasy world, always wants her own way, sulks and stomps about, she's a right attention seeker. Poor Ryan jumps to attention, he hangs on to her every word, and lets her walk all over him. It's so funny to watch her, and I wonder what trick she is going to pull next. I shall miss the little Miss Bossy Boots when she goes. Get a grip, it's only a story, ha ha.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

My eating habits

I was debating whether to go to town on the bus, or drive in, this morning. I chose the bus to save money. Having to keep to timetables means I can't think, 'Oh, I'll just nip to so and so to get cat food' or whatever, and I can't carry loads of bags so that restricts my spending. Mind you I am very good at resisting temptation, and can easily walk past a choccy display without caving in.

I needed to get a mug shot taken for my licence application. It so happens that my photo needs renewing at the same time that the HGV/PSV part runs out. The DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority) are happy to relieve me of £20 for the privilege of changing my pic from a smiley, youngish, sort of attractiveish looking lady, to a sour faced non smiley, wrinkled old prune, who is only a few years away from resembling the late Sid James.

I found a machine to take the picture in the shopping precinct. I did look for one in Hull yesterday, but as they were all £5, I was rather hoping to find one which costs £4. This was not to be, so I fed the damn machine with my five one pound coins and 30 seconds later it spit out five copies of the most gruesome pictures I have ever seen. I must remember not to look at babies and small children in buggies.

Well, that's one picture posted off, what do I do with the other four? Sell them at £1 each, probably not. Embroider them onto a greetings card, possibly, the stitching would be an improvement. Throw darts at them, yeah, good idea, ha ha.

I'm going to add a bit more here to yesterdays post. There was a bit of interest in how much you should spend on food shopping. Saving for Travel seems to be well organised with her £60 a month challenge, and lizzie is taking her shopping very seriously, stocking up on staples when the price is right.

On the other hand Becky admits to spending too much, because there are three people in the house. Becky I understand your dilema, it is far more difficult to eat frugally, and satisfy everyones likes and dislikes. Other members of your family may not understand how expensive food is these days, what I suggest you do is write down in a note book every penny you spend on food. Then week by week, sit down round a table and present them with the figures. Have a discussion, ask them for ideas on how you can reduce the cost. If you can offer them an incentive, like, 'we could afford to have a nice holiday if you changed your eating habits'. Or, 'lets look at how much we could save towards a new car'. Factor in an amount each week to save in a jar, cut down your spending by that much, then watch the savings grow. Decide what your treat is to be, and reward yourself when you have saved enough. Good luck.

Lizzie asks if I am vegetarian, as I have mentioned it before. I don't eat any meat, but ocassionally I do eat a bit of fish, mainly to give me a bit of variety in my food. I am not an expert in concocting delicious vegan meals, due to my laziness in the kitchen. I don't want to spend ages faffing around, my food has to be simple. Cutting out meat altogether will greatly reduce your food bill, and I can guarantee you will not starve.

Last night I wanted something quick and easy. A small amount of water in a pan (I never measure anything), splash of toasted sesame seed oil, throw in a handfull of frozen sweetcorn, let it simmer for a minute, take pan off heat and throw in some cous cous. Wait till the water has been absorbed, return to heat if necessary. Arrange on plate with half a tin of tuna fish, the cats had the other half. Ready in a few minutes.

Tesco Value tuna fish chunks in brine are 45p, and it's not all mush floating about in a lot of liquid. Another frugal meal. You could garnish it with a bit of salad if you so wish.

I bought six free range eggs from town today. B & M, or Home Bargains are one of the cheapest places to get them, 89p. So lunch today was two rounds of toast, from a frozen wholemeal loaf which cost 14p. Half a tin of Value spaghetti 15p a tin, and two eggs. So that's 30p eggs, 7.5p spag, 2p bread. Washed down with a cup of coffee. Did the job a treat.

I've said this before and I'll say it again, for me food is a fuel to keep my body alive. Yes it's a bonus if it tastes nice and I wouldn't eat anything that is horrible, but I don't choose my food purely on taste. If my head tells me that something is bad for me, I leave it alone. I try and steer clear of fat, sugar, and salt. Never add salt to food, and never fry anything. I do allow myself a biscuit, or a cake, or an ice cream, or a bar of chocolate, now and again. But I can just as easily look at them in the shop and say, no, not today, because it's crap.

My stomach works best if I have small amounts of food more often, and I don't like to eat a meal after 7pm. Some of my dinners do look a bit on the large side, especially my big plates of steamed veg, but these are easily digestible and pass through quite quickly, unlike stodge which hangs around in your gut for hours. I never have a pudding because I am full after the meal. If I want something sweet, like rice pudding, yogurt, or fruit, I eat it seperately as a snack between the meals.

I know people who bolt their food down, shovel it in like there's no time to breath. This is the wrong way to go about it. Digestion starts in the mouth, it takes me an hour of slow chewing to clear my plate. People say to me I have to eat it quickly before it goes cold. Why? What does it matter, hot or cold, it is still the same food.

Anyway, dinner time and the pussies want feeding. Toodle pip. Happy eating.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Food prices are increasing, but I won't be beaten

Brain half full again, ha ha. I was up and about early this morning. Cup of coffee, feed the kitties, and on my way to Hull by 7.15. I parked at Barton and continued my journey by bus, saving me £6 on the bridge toll, it has just gone up.

The medical for my licence renewal was booked for 8.10 at the East Yorkshire Chiropractic Clinic on Holderness Road. It seemed a funny place to do it, but apparently the company, rent a room in a suitable location and the mobile doctors travel around to the appointments. That way they have no overheads and can afford to offer the service at a competitive price.

The Doc was very nice, he told me he was the boss of the company, he set it up about a year ago because he spotted a gap in the market. He said it has really taken off and they are very busy. I am not surprised, when it cost a heck of a lot more to get it done at a surgery. Obviously he has the right medical qualifications to do this, but I had to laugh when he said he is a breast surgeon. I clutched my chest and joked, can you do anything with these, I've never had much to show off in that department, ha ha.

The medical went swimmingly well, he asked a load of questions, did the checks, filled the form out, and relieved me of £40. Job done. I was in and out in 15 minutes. The next chappie was waiting to go in as I left.

I thought you might appreciate this photo of a bright and cheerfull Christmas Shop, taken as I walked back to the bus station. No, I thought you wouldn't. I could quite happily put a brick through the window.

I had a bimble round Tesco while I was there, the store is next to the bus station. I spent the grand total of £4.82. My aim is to get my food budget as low as I can. I am monitoring it over a six month period, because I feel that's the only way to get a true picture of how much it costs to feed me.

It's all very well telling everyone I have only spent a couple of quid one week, and feeling good about it. Then spending mega pounds the next week and not letting on. It gives a false picture. I am going to come clean on every penny I spend on food and drink. I want to prove that you can eat healthily on very little money.

I started writing it down on 15th Oct. The total to date is £19.50. That still seems too much for 11 days. I was reckoning on £10 per week. If I spend no more untill Sunday, I will be on track. It's a tall order I know, but it should be doable. This check list will only be for food and drink, nothing else will be included. I'm off outside to dig some more potatoes up. Toodle pip.

PS. That's the last of the tatties.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Brain is empty

I had an idea for a post and started writing it, then thought that's rubbish, so it's in the drafts folder for now. I might rehash it or I might dump it. I made a big pan of stew with the rest of the free veggies. I went for a power walk to get some excercise, I met Barry who was walking Scruff and Rocky, so I slowed down to their pace and joined them. Then the sky lit up with lightening and the thunder boomed. The dogs were frightened, it poured down with rain, we ran back home and got wet through. Now I have to go to bed early because I have to get up early, 5.45am. And I don't have anything in my head to write about. Catch you tomorrow.

Monday, 24 October 2011

It might come in usefull one day

I needed some kind of wrapping to post the bag to Eileen, which she won in the raffle last week, and looked through my small pile of used padded and jiffy bags. Occasionally someone sends me something in the post, and I try and unwrap it without damaging the bag too much, then I can use it again. I didn't want to fold Eileens bag, but send it flat so it arrives in good condition. Luckily I had one just the right size.

I try not to accumulate too much clutter, but I find it hard to throw things away which might come in usefull one day. This little pile doesn't take up too much room in a cupboard in my office.

I wondered how long you should keep potentially usefull things, before you decide you no longer have a use for them. In this case, the bag I have used has a postmark dated March 1998, so 13 years and 7 months later I have found a use for it. Maybe Eileen will also open it carefully and re use it at a later date. It could be the most travelled padded bag ever.

Here is another one, not quite so old, January 2006. So how long do you keep something in case it might come in usefull?

I took Henry a walk to the new cemetery again today, to see what his reaction would be. He remembered it from yesterday, and went into search mode again. Sniffing through the undergrowth, and looking all around him. This time he didn't put his tail down though, and it only lasted a few minutes before he gave up and decided there was nothing to find. Maybe the spirit had moved on.

We called in to see Julie, and Jessica blind dog. Julie had a bone, which they both took great interest in, so to make it fair and not favour one more than the other, she took it to the garage and sawed it in half. Here they are both enjoying it out on the lawn, while we had a cup of coffee.

Henry absolutely loves Jessie, he gets so excited to see her. He has got more friends here than he has in his own village.

Sunday, 23 October 2011


Something spooky happened this morning. I was out walking Henry, we had gone down a path which goes to the new cemetery, then past the allotments, and then down the side of a field. He was off his lead having a sniff about, and I ambled on thinking he would catch me up. As I reached the allotments I turned round to see if he was coming, but he was a long way behind me. No amount of calling would persuade him to come to me. Another act of defiance I thought, Henry will do exactly what Henry wants to do.

I walked back to him and he was acting kind of strange, so I put his lead on in case he took off. It was like he got the scent of something and his brain was in search mode. He kept looking up as if something was about to appear, then nose down again to search through the undergrowth.

Then I noticed his tail was fixed firmly between his legs. I have never seen him do that before as it is generally wagging with excitement. Very strange. He didn't want to leave the gate of the cemetery, no matter how I tried to coax him to carry on the walk. So I joined him in his search by moving the nettles with my foot, Maybe there was a hedgehog hiding, or some other small furry animal.

I encouraged him to keep looking, by telling him to 'find it', whatever 'it' was. After about ten minutes his tail raised slightly, and he seemed like he was coming back to normal, then he wanted to carry on walking. He didn't want to go any further down the path though, he wanted to go back. That was most unusual as he always wants to go right to the end.

I wonder what spooked him. Only one burial plot been taken, as it is a very new cemetery. I wonder if dogs can see things that we can't see, maybe it was the spirit of the deceased person. I think I will take him that way tomorrow to see if he does it again, but maybe the spirit will have moved on by then. Spooky.

Warm as toast

Good morning. I thought there might be some enquiries about the heat pads, so here they are. Crystal Clear sell them at £15.95 each, Purrsonel Touch who were also at the cat show sell them at £18.95, so a big difference, you need to shop around. I believe you can get them for around £14. I got the four at a discount for our cat rescue, and I know Roy who is a decent chap. Crystal Clear will deliver, but as they are very heavy they might cost quite a lot to send.

They are made in Britain so that's good news, for us in Britain that is :o) The address is.... Lenric c21 Ltd, Lineside Industrial Estate, Littlehampton, BN17 7LU. They have a web site

You can use them with or without the cover, they claim to hold the heat up to 12 hours. Sue has used them regularly in her pens and she says they are great for keeping the kitties warm in the winter. I suppose they would be just as effective if you put them in your own bed. A hot water bottle is a cheaper alternative, but my bottles cool down after a couple of hours, but by that time I am fast asleep.

In the kitties room I have a garden chair with a cushion on it. I put one under the cushion and sat on it while I was playing with them. I could feel the warmth come up through the cushion. Perhaps it's worth looking in pet stores, such as Pets at Home, or good quality Garden Centres where they have a pet section.

I hope this helps, good luck in your search.

PS. I have just checked out the Snugglesafe web site. It's good for additional information, but they are far too expensive to buy direct from them. Look elsewhere.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Lots and lots of cats

The party was excellent last night, the room was packed, and nearly everyone wore fancy dress. It looked like a lot of them had hired their costumes. Me and Julie made our own up from whatever we had lying around.

Julie had a pair of crutches in her garage so she covered her lower leg in bandages. With blood on her head and face, she limped her way into the room. I am a painter and decorator. I wore my old overalls, rigger boots, hard hat, and gloves, and took my step ladder and a can of paint and some brushes. The story was that Julie was up the ladder and she fell off because I wasn't holding it. Everybody laughed as we made our entrance. I think we should start our own business, Bob and Bodgit the builders.

The entertainment was two females singers and one male, seperately not together. I had a bop. Here are our hosts.

It was a cracking party, but, the food was not good, oh dear. Large trays full of foreign type nibbly food, were brought out, the sort you buy frozen in boxes. Spring rolls and onion barjees, and other unidentifiable objects. These were distributed on all the tables. I asked if anything was meat free, and the woman shrugged her shoulders and said, 'I don't know, it's Chinese and Indian'. I picked up an onion thing and tried it. Spicy hot but stone cold, everything was cold, it was horrible. Then Julie identified something that didn't have meat in it so I tried one. It was like greasy cold fried bread. Yuk, I didn't need a doggy bag. Hardly any of the food was eaten. Apart from that it was a good party.

Janet and me set off at 8am this morning for Doncaster Dome, for the cat show. We set our stall up on the balcony overlooking the main hall. Here the owners are arriving and installing their cats in the pens.

This is our stall, Janet is a bit shy today. She is watching everyone down below.

The trade stands are outside of the main hall, in the entrance lobby. These are open the whole time, whereas the hall is closed from 10am to 12.30 for judging.

We both had plenty of time to walk round, I took a few snaps of the cats.

Cats of every description and colour.

This one has a posh decorated pen, I think it must be a champion. It was the only one with a pen like this.

Look at this cutie, he has decided he wants to lie underneath his litter tray, ha ha. I say 'he', but I don't know whether it's male or female.

The proud owner of the beautiful Maine Coon opend the cage door for me so I could get a better picture. Gorgeous pussy cat.

Please tickle my tum.

Shhhh, I'm asleep.

These two like playing with their rosettes. Yum, red ribbon flavour.

I'm fed up, I wanna go home :o(

Wadya lookin at !

Now the judging is over and people are flocking back into the hall again to see if they have won. Pleanty of rosettes on the cages.

Now they have drawn the raffle, and the Supreme Champion of the show is decided.

Our sales were not brilliant, but they have paid for four heat pads for our cats beds. They are like a round stone disc covered in fur fabric, which you heat in the microwave. They stay warm for up to 12 hours, you put them underneath the bedding, and it keeps the cats snuggly warm in the winter. I was able to get a good deal from Roy of Crystal Clear Pet Products. Thanks Roy.

It was an enjoyable day out for us, I had a good natter with some of the stall holders who I had know previously, and Janet had a good mooch around the cats.
I'm off downstairs now to play with the kitties before bed time. Catch you tomorrow.