Thursday 31 May 2012

Family of five move in

It's quite difficult to get these little sweethearts to keep still for the camera, so there may be one or two fuzzy shots. Mum is two thirds black, one third white, and her kitties are mainly white with splodges of black and brown on them. A big thank you to Robert and Julie for bringing them in here.

Mum seems completely happy with her new accommodation, probably knowing that she is in a safe place and she doesn't have to go out and find food for her babies. She is still feeding them herself, but as you can see from the pics, they are happy to stick their noses into a dish of Felix kitten food.

I'll leave you to ooooh and aaaah over the pics.

This one is my favourite, I love it's little tash, doesn't he/she look cute.

Mum is waiting anxiously for her kitties to come back after their photographic session.

Yum, I like this tasty food.

Tummy full, I'm going to have a sleep now.

Wednesday 30 May 2012

A goodnight natter

You should see the four adorable kittens I have here, they were delivered at 8.15pm tonight, along with black and white mum cat. The kitties are thought to be about five weeks old and were found living behind a shed. They are mainly white, with splodges of black and brown, one has a little black moustache and is so cute. I'll try and get some photo's tomorrow. Tonight they are safely tucked up in their bed.

I've done a bit more in the garden today, and it's coming together nicely. The next stage involves a lot of bashing nails into pieces of wood to hold it all together. No pics yet, keep looking.

I had a visitor today, my friend Ken came round with two big bags of stuff to sell on our stall on Saturday. I thought that was very kind of him. He is a dog walker and I often bump into him and his dog, it's called Bog.

Lily has had a nice day bimbling about in the garden and lying in the sun, and being hand fed by me. He has had tuna fish, corned beef, and yogurt, as well as his normal Felix. Janet called by again to see how he is.

My combined gas and electric bill arrived today. I have to pay £89.78, that's for the quarter from 18th Feb to 22nd May. The meter was read both times so I know it is accurate. Checking against  the same period as last year there is an increase of £4.18p which is not bad I suppose. I have just changed my landline provider from Tesco, because they increased their charges. Now I have moved it to Orange to combine it with my broadband. It works out a bit cheaper than the two seperate bills added together.

Thank you to Lucy who has just commented on a post dated 4th January 2011. She is into crafts and likes one of my bags. I read each and every comment, no matter how old the post, Lucy.

It's late, I'm off to bed, Goodnight. 

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Chatting about cats

Bit late tonight, been on the phone organising stuff. It's all go here, things never stop happening. Tomorrow night we will have a mum cat and her four kittens coming in, they have been abandoned by someone who moved house and left the cat behind, possibly not knowing she was pregnant. They will come here and stay in my temporary accommodation as we don't have room in the pens at the moment.

I have been keeping my eye on OAP Lily cat all day, making sure he didn't stray away from the garden. Lily is a boy you know. He is getting a bit doddery now, pottering about then sleeping a lot. I found him asleep on next doors driveway, and picked him up quickly before my young neighbour was due home. He might not have seen him snoozing there, I dread to think what might have happened. I asked Janet to come round and give me her opinion on his wellbeing. I'm wondering if I should be thinking about taking him to the vet any time soon. I don't want to make the wrong decision. He is comfortable on a cushion on the kitchen floor at the moment, with dishes of food and water, and his litter box close by. We agreed that maybe urgent action is not needed just yet. I will watch him closely over the next few days. Poor little love, he is about 16 or 17 years old, and came from a house round the corner to live here when he was 13.

I did a bit more in the garden today, but I had to break off to do another job. I have been given a lot of dishes, plates, and other crockery and household items, to sell on our stall at the Village Fete on Saturday. Everything needed washing, and tomorrow I will price them up. This is our first fundraising event of the year for our rescue cats. The annual fete is generally a very well attended event, hopefully even more so this year because of the Queen celebrations. The village has been decked out with union flags and hanging baskets, it looks very pretty.
It's late, goodnight,


Monday 28 May 2012

Rocky the olympic swimmer

Hi, popping back for a quick chat. First of all  I want to say thank you for your great comments, every one is a welcome addition to the blog. They're like little snippets of information which show the wider picture. I especially liked the comment from Joto on the previous post, thank you, I appreciate it.

I know you like Rocky pics, well here are three of him. Today I took him to the big pond that's more like a lake, to see if he would like a swim. I didn't expect him to relish the idea as I gave him a bath once and he didn't like that. But today was a very hot day again so I wondered if he would like to cool off.

We got to the waters edge and I half expected him to sniff at it and walk away, but he didn't. I was amazed, he went straight in and soon got out into the deep part. He showed no fear, his little legs were paddling away ten to the dozen. It's a good job I kept him on his retractable lead, or he would have gone right into the middle of it, and it is very deep there. I think it was the sight of the mummy ducks and their ducklings which were driving him on, I am sure if given half the chance he would have gone after them. It wasn't just a quick dip, the little fella swam almost half way round it, he absolutely loved it. Here he is rolling around on the lawn when we got back, to try and dry himself off.

Sun stopped work in the garden again today. The job I am doing is turning out to be a bit more complicated than I first thought, as I keep thinking of ways to improve it. All this paraphernalia at the side of the garage has now been dismantled and removed. Now I have a blank canvas to play with. No doubt I will change my mind half way through the project and bits will get added and changed. It's like fitting a jigsaw puzzle together.

You'll have to come back another time to see the end result, not sure how long it will take though, ha ha.

What's a car boot sale ?

Good morning. Before I start the days chores, well not really chores life is more like a hobby really, I will do a quick post here to answer a question from Marnie. I get a few questions which I am happy to answer, although forgive me if one or two slip my mind, I have so much clutter going on in there, some of them get filed under 'answer later', and then I forget, ha ha. This is from Marnie.....

I have really enjoyed reading your blog entries since I discovered you quite by accident. I do have questions once in a while, however, so I thought I'd just leave you a post. What in the world is a "car boot" sale? I am from Tennessee in the USA and I am familiar with garage sales, yard sales, estate sales, etc. but that terminology is foreign to me. Have a beautiful day! Marnie

Hi Marnie, and anyone else from abroad, that is people from other countries. Those from the UK can skip this bit because it might be boring to you.  A car boot sale is similar to what you call garage or yard sale, only here, people put their excess stuff they want to get rid of in their car and drive to a site. Our local boot sale is on the car park at the football ground, but they can be anywhere. A lot are on big fields on the outskirts of towns, or the smaller ones can be on school playgrounds, these are usually for raising funds for the school.

A charge is made for your pitch, for smaller boot sales it might be £3, avarage is £5, huge massive ones with hundreds of pitches are between £5 and £10. You park your car where you are directed to. You can use a van if you like, or add a trailer, though this will cost more as you take up more space. You don't need to book unless it is a smaller site with limited space, most of them you just turn up. They generally start at some ridiculously early time of 6am, mostly on a Sunday, some people turn up at 5am to get the position they want. You take your own tables with you, some take a plastic sheet and lay all their stuff on the ground. Depending on how busy it is, some sellers will pack up and go home at about 11 - 12noon. If it is sunny and loads of punters are milling about, it will stay open longer.

First thing you get some traders prowling round, they are hoping to pick up something of great value for very little money, so they can make a killing when they resell it. I get very annoyed with them when they start poking in the boxes before you have had a chance to unload. I shut my doors and say I'm not getting it out till they have gone away.

It is best to price up your stuff before you go, because you can make mistakes later on if you guess. People will try and knock you down, if it is priced you can say 'I am not prepared to go any lower, take it of leave it'. When I am buying I offer a lower price if I think it is not worth the asking price. Most things are ridiculously cheap, so for the sake of getting ten pence off I don't bother, just pay it. If you are buying and want cheap bargains it's best to go an hour before it is due to close, because then sellers start reducing prices as they don't want to load their tat back into the car and take it home again.

Because most of the sales are outdoor they are seasonal, Spring through to Autumn. Some can be held indoors in huge barns. Most are on a weekly basis, they are advertised in newspapers and on posters. When a sale becomes established most people get to know when and where they are and what time to go. A lot of advertising is done word of mouth, people tell each other.

The variety of goods on sale could be almost anything. They were created as a way for people to sell their own belongings which they no longer need. Now the boundaries are somewhat fuzzy as small time traders now attend to sell their wares, obviously buying in their stock. Traders usually have to pay more rent. Some people try and disguise the fact that they are traders, by buying in bricabrac from other sellers, or from jumble sales or house clearance, or auctions, and try to pass it off as their own. Boot sales are ocassionally visited by people from the Inland Revenue, presumably to catch traders who are not registered as a business.

There are some rules as to what you can't sell, mainly the obvious ones like no livestock, drugs, cigarettes, or alcohol. For someone setting up a home for the first time there is an abundance of household stuff, including furniture and garden equipment. Lots of childrens toys, baby equipment, lots of clothes, and some highly collectables. You really have to root through it all, it's amazing what people sell.

It can be very tempting to buy something you don't really need, because things are so cheap, you might think at that price I might as well have it. If you go every week, and buy something, you might end up with far too much tat in your house and then have to sell it or give it away. It's much harder to keep to the rule of only buying what you need and not what you want.

Hope that has answered your question Marnie. Thank you for reading my blog.

Sunday 27 May 2012

It's a dogs life

Here are my two bed buddies from last night. Surprisingly we all slept very well, not a murmur came from either of them and I had an undisturbed good nights sleep.

After an early morning walk, I took Rocky back to his garden while me and Henry went to the car boot sale. I went to look for the man I bought the tent off last week, he said he would bring a shopping trolley. There was more sellers there this week, the hot weather has brought them out. The man wasn't there though, I was a bit disappointed because I thought I was going to bring a trolley home. Oh well, keep looking. Someone suggested Freegle, but you have to sign up to be a member before you can browse the list if items, and I don't want to. I looked at Freecycle but there are mainly wants on there, not much is being offered.

I am trying to get Henry to walk properly on the lead, he has had far too much freedom and thinks he is in charge. He pulls all the time to go in the direction he wants to go. So I kept him close to me on a short lead at the car boot, he didn't like it much. He is what you might say at the 'stroppy teenager' stage.

I needed some fruit juice so I called in the cash and carry on the way back, as I was passing. Last time I got three of these cartons for £1 to try them, because the label is one I haven't seen before. It tastes fine, and can be diluted to make even more drinks, so this time I got 12 for £4.00. Should keep me going for a few weeks. It's out of date by one month, but it doesn't matter, it's cheap enough.

Henry got excited when we pulled into the car park next to the big pond. It's more like a lake actually, it has a path all the way round and dogs are allowed to go in the water. The police take their dogs there for training. I felt a bit sorry for him after dragging him round the car boot, he felt a bit sorry for himself as well, but soon cheered up when he got out the car and made a dash for the waters edge.

Another hot day, I had to retreat indoors for a while to cool down. Outside it was like being in an oven, not that I ever have been, but I felt as if I was being roasted alive. Still not finished the garden makeover, although I was able to get on with it a bit when the sun went round the front of the house at about 5pm. I've got to lift three paving slabs which have a gap underneath them as they are raised on one end with a piece of timber.  I am hoping there isn't any frogs or toads underneath. I have already disturbed a frog and had to relocate it to another part of the garden. Plenty to do romorrow, Toodle pip

Saturday 26 May 2012

My cover photo

I'm feeling a bit chuffed today. See the photo below, I took it in March last year when I was having a four day walking holiday in Thurlby, Lincolnshire. Nice innit :o)

I recieved this in the post today, it is on the front of this magazine. Good eh  :o)  I did give my permission for them to use it, and they have accredited it to me, my name is inside. It's amazing isn't it, someone finds it on my blog and it is exactly what they are looking for. Cool!

No pictures of the garden yet, I'm still dismantling some junk before I construct something new in it's place. It's been too hot to stay out in it for too long, my arms are a bit burnt. I'll carry on with it tomorrow. Toodle pip.


Good morning. Just popping in, it's a lovely morning again. Yesterday I spent time on jobs in the garden. When it is this hot I would rather stay close to home because I can nip inside to cool off. I like sun, but not too hot and not for long periods.

One of my cats needs a bit more TLC at the moment. He is getting a litle bit frail in his old age, and I would rather be around to make sure he is comfortable.

I have an idea for the garden, it needs changing, parts of it look a bit of a tip, so I will get on with that. Before and after pics coming your way.

Someone mentioned in a previous post that they are interested in what I buy in the way of food. I have started to add my shopping lists to the food diary again, link at the top. I will be recording how much I spend but won't be calculating totals or trying hard to stick to a fixed budget. I have enough knowledge now about prices to be able to keep my spends lowish, without being too strict. The more you practice budgeting the easier it gets, and now it takes me no effort at all to get value for money, because it's what I do constantly. It's second nature.

My shop last night at Tesco was £11.69. By buying mainly reduced yellow sticker items I was able to cut my bill by half. Original price was £22.70. I bought no junk, no biscuits, cake, or treats, just lots of good healthy fruit and veg, so I am well chuffed with that. I was there at the right time, and I hovered around the lady with the ticket machine as she marked things down. I'm sure she must be fed up with people who look over her shoulder when she is trying to do her job, but I'm afraid she will have to put up with me, because that's how I shop. I want the best food for the least amount of money I can get it for.

As a result of my persistant scrimping I can watch my bank balance slowly increase, to give me a tidy little sum to spend on what gives me pleasure. I can see a holiday on the horizon towards the end of June, and some days out before that.

Anyway, you have a good weekend, whatever you are doing. I'll pop back later. Toodle pip.

Friday 25 May 2012

Fill your days, no gaps

Good morning, I am waking up to sunshine yet again, long may it continue. I just thought I'd share this with you before I go out and enjoy the day. My calendar is on the wall next to my desk, in the office, ha ha, posh name for back bedroom. This room is where I plan my daily, weekly, and annual activities.   

I pin the new calendar on the wall, underneath the previous years, at about October time, so it's there and ready for anything I need to note down. So, by the time January arrives there are already some dates filled out. I need to keep track of what I need to do and when. Once something is on the calendar I don't like to change it if I have made a commitment, I hate letting people down.

The main reason people have a calendar is to organise their lives, future appointments can be inserted as a reminder so as not to forget them. Other people might have a diary for that purpose, but I much prefer a calendar, I don't like carting unnecessary stuff around with me. If someone asks me something about a date in the future when I'm out, I never agree to anything untill I have consulted the calendar, so they have to wait untill I get home for their answer. Sometimes I might get a text which requires a yes or no, again I can't answer it untill I see the calendar.

When I took the calendar down for 2011 I noticed that there were a lot of days where nothing was written down, blank spaces. Why was that I asked myself, surely I did something, I didn't just waste the time idling about, did I? Perhaps whatever I did wasn't particularly interesting, maybe mundane tasks that aren't worthy of an entry on the calendar. I was quite perturbed that I might have wasted a third of a year on doing nothing.

So when I started the calendar this year I decided to use it in a different way, to record most of the activities I had already done, so I could look back and say, yep, I did something every day. They don't have to be big important activities, they can be small jobs around the house, jobs where I have achieved a good outcome. A bit like a to do list if you like, but writing it down after I have done it.

I look at my calendar daily, and if I have a day free of commitments I think of something I can do to fill it. I don't want any gaps this year because every day is too precious to waste. The whole reason for me getting up in the morning is to enjoy the day, in whatever way I think fit. It may sound a bit selfish, perhaps people think all I do is go out a lot, but some of my enjoyment comes from helping others. Even though I don't work at a job any more, I still want to feel I am of use to someone.

Filling my calendar out in this way has helped me get more out of life in 2012. It's the way I shall do it from now on. It's the kick up the backside I need, because I can become a weeny bit idle if given half the chance. I've got a few gaps coming up in June, I think a holiday is on the cards for the end of the month, and maybe a few days out before that. Oooh I love organising my own life, much better than going to work, ha ha.

Anyone else going to give this a try? Write something down every day, not a full description, just a line or two, or even odd words if you don't have the space. Don't forget to allow yourself some 'me' time, chilling out with friends, or a glass of wine sitting in the garden. It's important to have a balance for your well being, do whatever makes you happy. Toodle pip.

Thursday 24 May 2012

I speak as I find

It's been another hot day here today. As you can see we are surrounded by a sea of yellow, oil seed rape is everywhere, sometimes as far as the eye can see. I love the smell of this. My friend Helen came with Henry choc lab, and we went a walk for a couple of hours. Unfortunately I am suffering a bit now, as I waded through a patch of knee high nettles, in my shorts. It's times like this when you wish you had put trousers on. It feels like a thousand needles sticking in my legs, I don't know when the stinging sensations will wear off, ha ha.

Kearnygirl has asked the question, how do I get invited to speak at group meetings? Maybe others would be interested in the answer to this as well, so I'll tell you about it.

People have always asked me my about my job, I suppose lorry driving was an unusual occupation for a woman, and they wanted to know all about it. After telling the story for the umpteenth time I thought it might be easier if I told it to a group of fifty people once, rather than fifty times to one single person. I personally thought it was a pretty normal job to have, but if others found it interesting I was happy to tell them about it.

I contacted the Womens Institute area office, nearest to where I lived, and offered my services as a speaker. I called my talk, Diesel in my Veins, because people said I didn't have blood in my veins, I had diesel. Well I was lorry mad and loved my job. My contact details went onto their list, and I was included in the next booklet which was sent out to all the groups. I think this book is printed once a year. It used to be free to be in it, but I think they make a charge now.

Eventually I got a few bookings, mainly around Derbyshire which was about 20 + miles away. I remember the first one. In preparation I made notes on cards, after a few talks I could remember it, after all I was only talking about what I did on a daily basis at work. The cards were a hinderance so I chucked them, it was all in my head. I turned up at a village hall which was full of people, the room was big and I had a stage to stand on. I stuttered and stammered a bit, but I got through it ok.

When I had done a few talks people started passing my details on to members of other groups, some in the WI circuit, but other groups as well. Ladies luncheon clubs, Friendship clubs, Ladies Circle, then husbands were asking me to do Rotary Clubs, Probus (retired professional and business people). Also Young Farmers, U3A (University of the Third Age), single sex groups and mixed.

So that's how it's gone on over the years. I don't look for bookings, people find me word of mouth. I've spoken to audiences of anything between ten people, and up to 200. To be honest I find the larger the audience the easier it is. Humour plays a big part in my talk, if you've got four miserable people in a group of ten, it's hard work. Get ten straight faces out of fifty and you can ignore them, and concentrate on giving the other forty a good night.

I have a standard talk in my head, but there are also lots of other stories floating around in there. These I pluck out as and when they surface, I often go off on a tangient. I have done the trucking talk to some groups twice, two years apart. The second will be slightly different from the first, and they won't have remembered it anyway. People tell me they want to hear it again.

I tried stand up once, now that is completely different. I didn't like it because I can't learn a script, and I can't work to a time table. I want at least 45 minutes, one hour is best, and I want to be the only speaker, or go on first if there is two of us. I was at a Rotary dinner once, the first speaker was a professional footballer, I didn't get on untill 11pm. Never again. I was an amateur following a professional after dinner speaker, also  the only female in the room, it was very unnerving. I made a complete and utter mess of it, and died a death.

Knowing your subject is paramount, you must know it inside out because there will be questions and you could easily trip yourself up. I don't do trucking talks any more, but some of the groups are contacting me again to ask if I do any other talks. Now I know enough about this frugal living, money saving, scrimping, penny pinching lark, I can talk about that now. I did one once on riding roller coasters, which was ok at the time because I was well into it, but I haven't done it for ages so now it's all a bit cloudy in my mind.

No one ever told me how to do this, I picked it up as I went along. It's been an enjoyable hobby for me, it's given me confidence. Who'd have thought I was once a shy gormeless teenager, and now I can speak in front of an audience. Amazing!

Anyway, that's enough talking for one night, I'm off to bed. Toodle pip.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Good for a laugh

Just popping in, it's a bit late. I've been out tonight to give a Meanqueen - Money Saving - Super Scrimper - Tightest Person - Skinflint - Cheapskate - Penny Pinching talk, to a group of ladies in Cleethorpes. I have to say it was hilarious. I had 'em laughing their little socks off, they were rolling in the aisles. I really enjoyed myself. A free night out for me with drink and biscuits thrown in. They covered my travel expenses and also a donation for the rescue cats. I think most of them will be following my money saving tips from now on, ha ha. Toodle pip. Catch you tomorrow.

Across the bridge to the North Bank

Good morning. What a glorious day we had yesterday, maybe summer is here at last. We desperately need some sunshine to get the veggies growing, but a day walking will be good for my soul, I'll see to the garden in the next few days.

So, yesterday I drove to the Humber Bridge, and parked directly underneath it on the Southbank. The toll has recently been reduced to £1.50 each way, but even so, there is still a saving to be made by walking across if I only have a small rucksack and don't need to carry anything else. The view as I start to cross.

There is a path which leaves the main road just before the toll booths, and takes you down into a car park. I popped in to browse the leaflets in the Tourist Information Office. I find these places are a great source of free maps, and finding out what is going on and where. Good for ideas for future trips. The lady on the desk was very helpfull, pointing things out to me.

For this walk out I dug out the map I printed off for the last leg of the long walk I did last month, and added a bit to it to cover the area west of Hull. There is a little pocket of villages to explore around there. This pic is looking down on the North Bank, the main A63 trunk road from Hull to Leeds. The windmill is just a monument, and the building beyond it is a pub/restaurant. I walked along the foreshore for as far as you can see in the picture. This is part of the Trans Pennine Trail, a long distance cycle path. The Yorkshire Wolds Way also shares this section of the track.

It opens out into quite a nice country park as you reach North Ferriby.

Here we are in the village.

I remembered this church from the last day of my Blackpool - Humber Bridge walk I did last year. Oh how I remember that last day, 30 miles of hard slog from Selby to the Bridge, arriving at 9pm, then ringing my friends to come and get me. Todays walk is a bit more leisurely, so I have time to enjoy :o)

Through North Ferriby, and pausing to stop at the Co op shop for my favourite Magnum choccy ice cream on a stick, I crossed the A63 at Melton and took a left turn off the slip road to follow the Yorkshire Wolds Way through the woods.

Here I had just crossed a B road and set off down a track alongside a quarry towards Welton. I really wanted to get some photo's of the quarry, I could see bits of it through the fence but couldn't get anywhere closer to get a good shot. I love big holes in the ground, and love to see the different rock formations in the layers. This one was pure white chalk, but alas they had made sure no one could get in. There are a lot of newish finger posts on this walk, someone has made an effort to encourage walkers, cyclists, and horse riders.

This is the Church at Melton. There is a stream running through the village which opens out into a duck pond just in front of the church. A perfect place to sit and eat my lunch.

A quick peek inside, and to spend a few minutes giving thanks for my fabulous life.

Welton Dale is a beautiful tranquil place place, there are woods on one side and grassy banks on the other.

The last bit takes you through some woods, delightful in the sunshine.

Now I must think about heading off back towards the bridge, I could wander around here forever, but I want to get back to take Rocky for a late walk. The next and last place to visit is Swanland. Another pretty village. They have made a start on their flower displays in this bed overlooking the village pond.

Sadly I didn't see any swans, but plenty of ducks and other wading birds. Across the pond is the Village Hall.

Heading out of the village I crossed the main A164 towards Anlaby, then did a right turn towards Hessle, picking up the last section of the Morecambe to Humber Bridge walk I did last month. This bit passes a lot of big posh houses, I gaze in awe at some of the entrances, must be a lot of rick folk around here.

Now, do I get a bus to cross the bridge, no, I decided to walk, might as well go for it. Even though there is a good bus service across, every half hour, I still hate hanging around and waiting. I got back to the car at 7pm, and back in time for Rocky.

A lovely day out, I walked 17.5 miles, and all it cost was £1.65 for the ice cream, and a drop of petrol for the 22 mile round trip to the bridge and back.

Monday 21 May 2012

Two Top Tips

This is my almost empty tube of toothpaste, I remember buying it ages ago, it must be at least six months old. I reckon there is still another couple of weeks worth of toothpaste left in there, and I shall be squeezing it till I can't squeeze any more out, then I will cut it open and get every last bit out of it.

Do you remember the toothpaste ads on the tele, how they squirt a long sausage out and apply it to the full length of the brush. This is how much I use, just a small amount is enough to fill your mouth with froth.

And here is my new tube ready to take over. It cost 30p. You don't need to pay mega bucks for a clean mouth, just some good honest scrubbing with a basic toothpaste, and flossing which doesn't cost very much at all. My toothbrush is a cheapie and does the same job as a silly priced posh one. And forget about mouthwash. If ever there was a more useless unnecessary product invented, it has to be mouthwash. How ever did we manage without it? We just did.

You're getting your money's worth tonight, two top tips for the price of one, ha ha. No half measures here, me hearty's. Today I planted my runner beans out. I needed something to tie the canes to the frame I built over the raised beds. If you are going to do this job you might be building a wigwam with your canes, this tip will work equally well. If you need something to tie climbing plants to the canes, don't go out to the garden centre and buy a ball of twine.

Instead, get yourself a charity bag out of the drawer where you have hundreds stashed away. Lay one out flat on the table and cut the bottom off. Then cut strips about 1.5 inches wide all along it.

Take one strip and open it out into a circle.

Cut through each end. If you want long ties you can use these as they are. But if you want shorter ties, cut them in half.

And there you are. As many free ties as you want, to tie your tomato plants up, your beans to the canes, support your cucumber plants, in fact use them for anything you like.

It's going to be sunny tomorrow, I might go for a walk. Toodle pip.

Sunday 20 May 2012

It pays to dress down

It was a nice morning so I went off to the local car boot sale at the football ground. I go to these places in my scruffs to create the impression that I am a bit skint, so that people feel sorry for me and knock a bit off the price :o) There wasn't a lot of sellers, but enough, and it was nice to bump into some friends I hadn't seen for ages. I looked for a milk jug but didn't find anything suitable. I had it in mind to look for a tent, I want one smaller and lighter than the one I already have, because I want to be able to carry it around in a shopping trolley. I have an idea to go camping on a bus, and a shopping trolley would be ideal for transporting my gear.

Anyway, it was my lucky day, there was a man selling amongst other things, several tents. I picked up a two man double skinned dome tent in a smallish carrybag. Size and weight seemed ok. It had the price of £20 on it, so I unzipped the bag to have a closer look inside. He said it was a new tent, never been used. He was telling porkies because it had some grass stuck to the ground sheet. I pointed this out to him. He said he buys stuff in pallet loads from Argos and he never knows what he is getting. Obviously this is a return from a dissatisfied customer. I pondered a bit, and said there could be something wrong with it. Then he said he would take £10 for it. I pondered some more and decided to take a chance, if there is some damage I might be able to repair it.

I asked him if he had any shopping trolleys, he said he did, but hadn't brought any with him. I said I would come back next week if he wants to bring one for me to look at. Then if the tent is rubbish I can take it back.

Anyway, unpacked the tent on the back garden. It's a Regatta Hydrafort, selling for £30 at Argos.

One of the loops on one of the corners had come adrift from the groundsheet. Easily repaired with a needle and cotton. The inner goes up first, so far so good.

Yes, everything is there, poles ok, the zips work. There are signs that the tent has been erected, possibly only in someones garden to check it out.

Next put on the outer skin. The guy ropes were all still as they were when it came out of the factory, they haven't been pegged down. Again all the zips worked.

Looks good to me.

So there you have it, a perfectly good tent for £10. All the reviews on the Argos web site are positive, it doesn't leak, and will stand up to wind. Everyone said they would recommend it. I am a bit chuffed with it. I'll go back next week and see how much his shopping trolley is.

As I was in the area I popped into the Pound Shop, and bought the three bags of cat litter they had on the shelf. Next, while I was there, I had a quick look in Poundstretcher. They sometimes have reduced price out of date foodstuffs in a basket near the till. Oooh look, packets of mini biscuits reduced from 39p to 10p. I'll have six of those. I know it's junk, but at that price I have some for a treat. I would never pay full price for it. I also picked up two packets of crisps and a packet of biscuits, marked at 5p each. Total 75p.

When I got to the checkout the girl called the supervisor to put it through, because all the codes had to be keyed in manually due to the reduction. I had to move to the other till while she did this. I think the supervisor couldn't be bothered, she pressed a few buttons, then stuffed it all in a carrier bag and said she had put it all through at 5p per item. Ha ha, obviously felt sorry for me as I looked so poor. I paid 45p.

Good days shopping. I'm chuffed. Toodle pip.