Thursday, 31 January 2013

I know.

Aye up me ducks, don't send out a search party for me, I'm still here. Something cropped up which needed my attention, a bit of a mystery, which is a mystery no longer. Something was going on behind the scenes, it was puzzling me and I needed to work out a plan which would give me the answer. And it has. My plan worked beautifully. No more mysteries. I know. Ha ha.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Finding a use for tiny scraps.

Hello, how are you all on this blustery Wednesday night, the trees are bending sideways here, I'm quite expecting one of them to fall and flatten my wonky garage. Which reminds me, I need to get in there and have a sort out when it gets a bit warmer. Always jobs to do.
This is a follow on post from the raggy rug. When I cut the fabric into strips I ended up with a whole pile of itty bitty pieces, too small to do anything with. I didn't want to throw them away, and found a use for them. I snipped them into tiny pieces and ended up with a bag of crumbs. I also found some bits of foam and added that to the mix. I could have added this to the compost heap, that wouldn't have been a waste, but no, I have an idea to make something usefull.
I've got a couple of curtain linings which I removed from the curtains because they were quite old. I made a big cushion and stuffed it with the crumbs. It measures 27inches by 26 inches.
Then I made a cover for it from a curtain that someone gave me. It's a cotton fabric so it's washable. Heidi decided I needed some help with the cotton, she thought it was great fun to pull it from the machine.
The finished cushion. I found a long white zip in my stash, so it will be easy to remove for washing. The filling is a bit heavy and needs shaking up every so often. Not bad at all for saying it cost nothing. Now I wonder which cat will bags it for a bed.
Briony asked if I stretched the mesh when I made the rug, I think she means on a frame. No I didn't Briony. It had quite a lot of give in it, so there was a bit of pulling it about as I was working on it, on the dining room table. When I hold it up the weight stretches it a bit, but it always springs back again as the mesh is flexible.
I've got to dash, I've got to call John on the Skype. He has a new webcam so maybe I will be able to see him now. Before I go, I've just remembered, I've had a long email from a new reader in Malaysia. Just to say I will reply asap, probably tomorrow.
Bye for now, Toodle pip.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

In My Dreams I Dance by Anne Wafula Strike. Book review

Hi de Hi, thank you for all the comments on the mulitcoloured rug, and the votes as to where I should put it. I will leave it in the bedroom for a while, but might move it to the bathroom, ha ha. Today I have another book review. I much prefer autobiographies, as I think there are some amazing stories out there by some amazing people. This is one of them. I read the blurb on the back cover when I picked it up, and the author appeared to be one very strong lady. The first sentence reads, 'Anne Wafula achieved what people said was impossible'. Sounds good to me, I like a tale of courage.  
Anne grew up in a small village in Kenya, she was one of eight children. At the age of two and a half, she was  struck down by an illness, no one knew what it was. Even the local witch doctor didn't know what it was. One year later, the family moved to Nairobi where Anne went to see a doctor, and was diagnosed with polio. For about a year she had to endure her body being enclosed in plaster, and later she was given callipers and crutches to help her get around.
Her father had high hopes of her making a career for herself and sent her to a special boarding school for disabled children at the age of four and a half. She found that very hard at first, but got used to it. Her mother suddenly died when Anne was nine, a terrible blow for her.
Anne excelled academically and went on to another school, then to university and trained to become a teacher. All this time she was still struggling with her callipers and crutches.
Anyway, not wanting to spoil the story for you if you want to read it, I'll skip forward a bit. She met a nice man, fell in love, got married and they had a son. I thought that was the end of the story, they all live happily ever after, but no, there's more. This remarkable lady was given her first wheelchair at the age of 29, and this opened up a whole new world for her. Fast forward, she discovered that she loved racing in her chair and started winning medals, she became the first East African to compete at her sport at the highest level. 
Anne had been knocked back so many times in her life, but her belief in herself was overwhelming, she found the strength to overcome every obstacle which was put in her way. This is a truly inspiring story. Look out for this book, it is an amazing story, well worth reading. 
I googlied her name and found out a bit more. She has a blog.
and a web site
And she is on yootoob

Toodle pip.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Rug of many colours

I've been a busy little bee today, and the raggy rug is finished, yippeeeeeee :o) As soon as I had eaten my porridge this morning I made a start, with only two outer edges left to finish, I thought I would keep on going to the bitter end. The weather has been pretty dire, windy as heck and it's still cold, then the rain came, so I'm best staying indoors.
I had to stop and cut more strips, then just before the end when I only had a little bit left to do, and only two colours left, I had to stop again and cut a few more strips of different colours. I quickened my pace and sprinted towards the finish, it's a bit like walking a long walk actually. When you can see the end in sight, that is motivation enough to keep going. The measurements are 45 inches by 38 inches, and it's taken me nine days to make it.
This is the back, I think this side looks nice as well. I won't be sewing another backing onto it, it doesn't need it. The rug is quite heavy as it is.

I tried to mix the colours up as best as I could.
Now where shall I put it? It would brighten up my cheerless living room ;o))  but the carpet is already pattened so it looks kind of lost on there.
It goes very well on the dark carpet in the bathroom. Nice and soft to step onto when I get out of the bath, and it wouldn't get wet, because I keep the water in the bath and don't slosh over the sides. Yes, I like it there.
Or should I put it next to the bed on top of the plain green carpet. Also nice to step out of bed onto it. Oh, I don't know, can't make my mind up.
I am very pleased with my creation, it looks lovely, and it cost almost nothing. I already had the backing, and the teeshirts and sweatshirts. Most were mine, old and worn out, some were given to me by a friend who had a clear out, and a couple are what I bought for 20p each at a car boot sale. 
Would I make another one? Well probably not at the moment. It is a good way to pass the time when one is banged up indoors, but it is a lot of work, which although is monotonous, is sort of therapeutic. I switched off and listened to the radio whilst I was working on it. Now I've got to think of something else to do, time to move on and keep busy. Toodle pip.  

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Getting the beds ready

I spent the morning working on the rug, and the afternoon in the garden. All the snow has gone, melted overnight. I am the only one in the street with any snow left, that's because I piled it high on the front lawn and stacked it up on the side of the house. It will take a few more hours for that to melt.
Welcome to my compost heap. It is behind the garage, and next to the greenhouse. I haven't got a fancy container for it, just some bits of wood along the back and one side, to stop it spilling everywhere. In the left hand corner is where I have been putting the grass cuttings, I'm starting to dig them out now and spread it on the beds. It's well rotted and full of worms. When I have removed all that I shall move the top of the other pile which is rotting veg peels, across to the left, then spread the underneath bit on the beds, to clear the right hand side out altogether, ready to start again with a fresh pile. I cover the compost heap with plastic to stop the cats piddling and pooing on it.  
My job this afternoon is to check the raised beds, and repair any wood which is starting to rot. These I built from pallets about five years ago, they have served me well. Easy to make, cut two pallets in half and stand the pieces on end in a square, and nail small pieces of wood across the corners to hold them together.
If there are gaps in the wood you have to fill them with any old wood, so the compost wont fall out. I had to replace a bit of wood here as it was rotting.
If you put three in a row like I have done here, you only need two pallets for each end and one for the middle. You need some flat pieces of wood to line each end of the middle bed. These beds are ready for planting. I have covered them in old compost bags cut open, then laid some plastic trellis over them, and put some heavy wood on top to stop it blowing away. The cats can't get on and use it for a litter box.
Job done. Four more pallet beds to sort out, and two beds I made with scaffolding planks. I shall be growing some veg this year, but I will keep it simple. I don't do brassicas any more, too much faffing about trying to keep the butterflies off them. I will be growing the usual tried and tested basics, runner beans, potatoes, courgettes, carrots, maybe some broad beans, nothing that will need a lot of attention.  
This area at the bottom of the garden is the veg plot. It doesn't have to look pretty, it's a place of work. I planted the leylandi hedge across to screen it from the rest of the garden. It's quite secluded really, and quite pleasant to potter around in here. The ground is a bit sodden at the moment, we had a lot of rain in the night, I'm traipsing through mud. Time to go in for my dinner. Toodle pip. 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

I'm getting there. Rug update.

Here's a progress report on the raggy rug. It is sometimes called a peg rug, or peg mat. It has grown quite a bit over the last week, and I am getting close to the edges. My kitchen floor has squares on it, which is usefull for checking if things are square or if they have gone off course. You think you are working in a straight line but when you check you can find it has gone all wonky.
At this stage I decided to turn under the edges using the squares as a guide. I tacked lengths of string across with a big needle, tying off the ends. All I need to do now is keep going and stop when I reach the edge. The string won't need to be removed. I reckon another week or two should do it.
I have found some information about making rag/peg rugs/mats. It's very interesting. It was taken from a crafting web site, but the link on this article appears not to be working, so thanks to Bradford District Council, we can read it here.
We had another heavy snowfall last night. The snow was piled up against the back door this morning, I had to free up the cat flap. It was funny watching Heidi try and walk across the garden, every time she put her paw down she sank six inches into it. This is a visiting cat, perched on the corner of the table outside the back door.
According to the news reports it's absolutely chaos on the roads. People abandoned their vehicles on long stretches of the M6 motorway last night. Mountain rescue teams were called in to rescue some of them in the worse affected areas in Lancashire. There are a lot of road closures due to high snow drifts, especially in Yorkshire and the Lake District. Even though I am keen to go out somewhere, I think I am better off staying here for the time being. I shall be hunkering down untill it has all gone away.
Anyway, lunch time, the last of the spinach in an omlette I think. Might make a pan of curry later, I've got some peppers and a swede to use up. Have a nice weekend. Toodle pip.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Deities at the Bottom of the Garden.

I've been multi tasking, working on the rug and uploading these pics at the same time. I mentioned this exhibition at the Arts Centre earlier in the week, or was it last week, I can't remember. Anyway, I went to have a better look today, I didn't have much time before. Richard Bartle is the artist, he is a Yorkshire man from Sheffield. There are twelve miniature, scale model, garden sheds, and each one is a tiny private worship space. Each sculpture has been extensively researched and is hand crafted.
Each one is set on a tall white plinth topped with layed carpet tiles, and is at eye level so you can see inside. The exquisite details include hand woven rugs, painted ceilings, hand turned furniture, and glass light fittings. These are the most amazing dolls houses I have ever seen. I'll leave you to enjoy them. 
This last one is of a large print hanging on the wall.
Richard has a web site. On the home page is a photograph of the whole exhibition, inside our Arts Centre Church. If you scroll down to the bottom there are individual photo's of the sheds. It's on here until the 23rd February, I will go and have another look when I am in town, it's fascination. Hope you like it.
Toodle pip.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Ignoring the sell by dates on food.

Just poppin in to give a quick update on the food situation here at Tightwad Towers. My last Tesco shop was eight days ago, when I spent £8 +. I got a few bits from town the day after, eggs, cheese, and some veg. Today I used the last of the bagged salad leaves for my lunch, had to pick a few wilty bits from it, but that's not bad for saying it was eight days out of date. Some of the veg went in a three day stew which I have now eaten, and all the yogurt has gone, so has the bread. However I still have enough food to last me untill possibly Wednesday, so I am going to make it last, and stretch a weekly supermarket shop to two weeks.
This is my dinner for tonight. Sorry about the quality of the photo, very dark and very light colours don't photograph well with a flash. There is spinach, (still got some left for tomorrow), frozen salmon portion, cous cous, and today I boiled the two packs of fresh beetroot that I paid 36p for last week. A very healthy meal I think.
I've spent most of the day working on the peg rug, it's growing inch by inch, and looking good. It's started to thaw a bit here, but the pavements are still covered in hard compacted ice. It's very slippery to walk on, so I stayed in today. I'll go back downstairs now and do a bit more of the rug, while listening to Radio 4. Toodle pip. Catch you tomorrow.

If I remember rightly............

I was halfway through writing a post, and thought, hang on a minute, I think I've written about this before. I hate to repeat myself, don't want to bore myself or to bore other people, writing the same old same old. I did a quick search with the 'Search This Blog' button, top right, typed in the words, 'Sugar Daddy', and yep, there it is, 21st November 2011. You may ask why I was going to write about that now, well I'll tell you, it was the subject of my radio chat this morning. So, to save me a lot of work, waffling on re-hashing the story, why not read the original.

See, I can pull something up from over a year ago, but I can't remember what I did last week, ha ha. Bugger, now I've got to think of something else to write about, ha ha. Toodle Pip.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Have I remembered everything?

I think I am at that age where my grey matter is getting a bit frayed round the edges, the stuff I need to remember drops off the edge and floats away into the distance never to be seen again. I no longer ask a new acquaintance their name, because I know that five minutes later I will have forgotten it, so I greet everybody with, 'hello there', when I meet them again.

I find that now I don't have the daily routine of going to work, I don't have to remember what time to get up, remember to prepare my pack up the night before, and remember to lay my clothes out. I don't even have to remember what day it is. Most mornings when I wake up it takes me a minute or two of coming round, to work out if there is anything I must do that day. I sit up in my bed and think, aha, a free day to do as I please. I'm not sure if all this free time is a good thing, there is very little structure to my day. While it is lovely to have the freedom it does worry me that I need to keep using my brain so that it doesn't seize up altogether. I do need a little bit of structure, need to know what my plans are, need to make things happen, so I need some kind of list.

I think about a year ago, if I remember rightly, I posted about my calendar on the wall. I have another use for it, instead of writing in the appointments, the plans, and things I must do in advance of doing them, I also write in what I have done after the event. This then gives me a record of how busy I have been, and motivates me to keep it up throughout the whole year. My 2012 calendar was full when I took it down, I made sure I did something every day. This pleased me enormously, at least I didn't waste time doing not very much at all. My calendar helps my memory, helps me to remember what I have to do, and what I did do.

Making lists are a good way of remembering things. Everybody knows about shopping lists, and funnily enough, I don't make one. That's because I am flexible with my eating. If I forget something when I go shopping I just say to myself, tough, you forgot it so you won't be eating it, eat something else instead. If I forget the beans I will eat the spaghetti. No sweat.

There are lots of ways that lists can help you keep track of things and help you remember. Bank statements are lists of transactions that go through your account. You can see what money came in and what went out. Meal planning lists help you organise what you are going to eat, they can be helpfull if you lead a busy lifestyle and haven't much spare time. Not for me though, I decide what I am going to have for dinner, fifteen minutes before I eat it.

Anyone following a weight loss diet would do well  to keep a food diary, a list of what they eat. It helps with the calorie counting, something else I don't need to do. Anyone who uses their car for work will need to keep a list of the business miles they do, and how much petrol they put in the tank, to claim their expenses back.

Some people might like to make a housekeeping list, a routine to follow for the tasks that are needed to keep the house clean. My list is quite simple for that. Wash the pots when there are no clean ones left. Get the Dyson out when I am wading knee high through cat hairs. Clean the windows when I can't see out of them. Don't forget to take that with a pinch of salt, ha ha. This blog has an element of silliness about it, it's up to you to spot the jokes.

So, there must be something I need to remember, I need to make a list. Remember to take library books back, don't want to pay a fine. Remember to pay bills on time, don't want to incurr any late charges. Remember what I have done so I remember to write about it on this blog, calendar on the wall helps with that.

I need to remember when I ate chocolate. Chocolate is a treat and is only allowable once every three or four weeks. I must remember when I last had a bottle of wine. Again another treat, only to be consumed once every three or four weeks. In fact I need to remember when I have any treats, because it wouldn't be very healthy to scoff bad for you treats every day. A treat is a treat and food is food, there is a difference. One does you good and the other wrecks your health. Everything in moderation but I reckon the 90% / 10% balance is about right. So next time I pass a shop and I fancy chocolate I need to remember when I last ate some, and walk on by.

I've just realised I've got a lot to remember. There was something else, oh I remember. I must remember to answer the questions that people ask me in their comments. Someone asked about a kitty update. Here's one. These two were rehomed a few weeks ago. You may remember them as the two boys which came into here with Heidi mumcat. Look at their lovely home now, much better than living under a shed where they were found. Aren't they lucky.

There was something else, oh I remember. I'm going to be on BBC Radio Humberside tomorrow morning at about 11.20am. I shall be chatting to Burnsy, from my home phone, don't need to go into the studio. You should be able to listen live if you are in the UK.
Or later on the catch up.
I'm off to make a list of what I've got to say tomorrow. If you listen in you might be surprised, it has nothing to do with money saving and frugal living. Ha ha.
Is that it, ooops, no, something else has come to mind. I had an email from an advertising company working for a well known department store, asking if I would write a review on some of their products, mainly toiletries. They said they would send me some to try out. Some may say I am mad to turn down a box of freebies, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I wonder what would happen if I agreed, then wrote that their products were a load of crap, Obviously they wouldn't be best pleased, but I suppose it would be funny. No, I have to stick with my policy of no advertising. 
I think that's all I have to say tonight, I'll go now before I remember something else. Toodle pip.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Oh crikey, not more snow !

Phew! I've cut up four teeshirts while I've been waiting for this lot to upload. It took that long I was losing the will to live. Twas brilliant sunshine this morning. After breakfast I cleared the drive of snow yet again, then went round to the back garden to clear a bit there. The puss cats were following me around. Mayze is up to her belly in the snow on the decking.
Heidi likes to climb up here and sun bathe.
Oh dear, the expanding ice has broken my ceramic pot. That's a shame, the cats like drinking out of a deep container. I shall have to look out for another one at a charity shop or car boot sale.
Next I cleared a patch of snow from the lawn, to make a bird feeding area. I put an old metal saucepan filled with water out there, and chucked some cereals, a slice of wholemeal bread, and a couple of manky cooking apples onto the grass. I looked out of the window five minutes later and who should be there, but big fluffy Micky cat from two doors down. He sniffed around a bit, no the food was not to his liking. Spose he is waiting for a tasty bird to pounce on now. Buzz off Micky.  
After lunch, a cheese and watercress sandwich, I went a walk across the fields to Normanby Park. It was such a lovely day, too nice to sit around indoors. The duck pond was frozen over, and the ducks had relocated next to the cafe. They're not daft, they know people go in the shop and buy bags of proper duck food. This little boy was laughing his head off, especially when they chased him.
Then they thought I was going to give them something and came waddling and quacking around my feet. Sorry ducks, I've not got any food.
I went a walk around the park. I like the way the snow has stuck to just one side of the trees.

I love the way snow transforms the landscape and the way it clings to everything, as long as it's not me it's clinging to, ha ha.
I think of this as a magical secret garden. No one is allowed to enter.
I would rather see a real tree like this, decorated with real snow, rather than the awful artificial Christmas trees wrapped in stretched fleece.
This is the walk way alongside the duck pond.
And I took this photo in almost the same spot in the Autumn of 2011. Someone mentioned that my photo's of the snow almost look like they are black and white. They do, not much colour around at all at the moment.
A bit of news hot off the press. I'm going to have another crack at the long walk I had to abandon in September. Ellesemere Port to the Humber bridge. I could actually start where I left off at Bakewell, but I decided I would rather do the whole lot as I first planned. It just so happens that my friend Lin in 'the Port', is getting married and she has invited me to her hen party, so a good excuse to get myself over there again.
Toodle pip.