Friday, 31 May 2013

A woodland walk

What do you reckon to Nellie then, she's a character isn't she. I call her the original penny pincher, the original super scrimper, and the tightest tightwad in the whole wide world. And it's not just money saving that she knows about, oh no, she has opinions about everything. Any problems that people are stuck on, good old Nellie will come up with the answer. Her speciality is sorting out relationships. She didn't want me to tell anyone but she used to be Marjorie Proops second in command when she wrote her agony aunt column, what a team eh, Marje and Nellie, awesome.
Anyway, I've persuaded Nellie to do a regular guest post for us, it's going to cost me though. As well as the stockings and the blue rinses, she wants a monthly visit to the Swedish massage parlour, apparently her back is playing her up and she says a good rub down would do wonders for it. I think I can just about afford that, so as soon as the contract is signed, we should be getting some more words of wisdom from Nellie. I shall look forward to that.
So, what did I do today. It was a gloriously sunny morning, so a walk in the woods seemed a good idea. Everything is lush and green, the litter is not so noticeable now it is covered with undergrowth. I still managed to find some though where the kids congregate, the rope swings hanging off the trees gave a clue. I shall have to go back there with some bags and pick it up.  
The birdsong was lovely.
Through the trees I could hear the dogs barking for their breakfast in the nearby Kennels.

There is a little wooden bridge over a particularly boggy bit, where the water constantly runs down the hill to the river.

The paths are nice and dry now, even after the rain we have been having overnight.
This afternoon was pottering in the garden. It was very hot. Trimming up bushes, cutting down all the daffodil leaves, and trimming the grass around the edges and in the nooks and crannies where the mower can't get to. I have potted up some of the cuttings, I like these variegated leaves. Those in the big pots behind were started from small cuttings a couple of years ago, they take ages to grow. I wonder how many of these 20 new ones will survive. I can live in hope.
Dinner tonight was a bit of a mixed bag. I got a packet of reduced rice noodles, so I mixed them with mushrooms, chick peas, spinach, and grated cheese, cooked in sesame seed oil, with garlic puree, wholegrain mustard, lemon juice, and a tablespoon of yogurt added just before serving. It was fandabidozi scrumptious.  
It's the weekend again, don't they come round quickly. I shall be busy tomorrow at our village fete, we have a stall for our cat rescue, to raise funds for the pussies in our care. I hope you have a good weekend, whatever you are doing.
Toodle pip.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

A very useful guest post

Hello my fabulous followers, today I've got a treat for you, I have agreed to engage the services of a Guest Writer. I know, I know, I said I wouldn't, but she sent me some samples of her work, and I have to say I was blown away with it. Her wisdom is mind bogling, I have learnt a whole new way of life from studying her writings. Of course I couldn't keep this exciting discovery to myself, that would be very selfish of me, so I would like to share this with you, in the hope that you might pick up some little money saving gems and incorporate them into your own lives.

Let me introduce you to this lady of great wisdom. She is a little bit shy so I have to pick my words very carefully. She has no desire to become famous or wealthy, she has a very simple lifestyle, but I have managed to get her to reveal her name, and a few other bits of information. So without further ado, I present Nellie Knowitall. She is founder of a brand new company, called Stating the Bleedin Obvious, set up to expel some of the myths about money saving and frugality. Nellie was brought up on a family farm in the Back of Beyond, she didn't have any clothes until she reached the age of 25, then she learnt how to sew, and started making bra's and pants from the hessian sacks which the animal feed was delivered in.

Anyway, that's enough from me, I will stop waffling and pass you over to our Guest Writer, Nellie Knowitall.

Hello, and thank you for that load of old cobblers introduction, Ilona. You have grossly exagerated the facts as usual, it wasn't hessian sacks, but the plastic carrier bags that the food shopping from Tesco Home Delivery came in. Right, here are my money saving tips, specially compiled for you lovely people.

1. Keep your money in your purse, do not open your purse, do not take your purse out anywhere.
2. If you have to buy some food, make sure you go to the cheapest shop. Go to lots of shops, but always buy the cheapest food. You might not like it very much, but the low cost will make up for the disappointment of eating something you do not like.
3. If your house is cold, don't be a whimp and turn the heating on, go to the wardrobe and pull out lots of sweaters and jog bottoms. Up your layers, it doesn't matter what you look like in your own home.
4. If you are still cold, go to the library and sit in the warm for an hour or two. Take a flask and read a few books. Or, use your bus pass and ride around on the bus all day, take some sandwiches.
5. If you have got some spare blood that you don't want, become a blood donor. trade your blood in for a cup of tea and some biscuits. This also gets you out of the cold for a while.
6. Wait until your clothes are absolutely filthy before you put them in the washing machine. Don't worry about the odd soup stain down your front, or the sweat marks under your arms, only wash them when you can no longer stand the smell.
7. If you really must have a bath, save the water to use for other jobs, like washing the car, or the dog, or the kitchen floor, or flushing the toilet. And don't forget, just before you get out of the bath, have a pee in it, that will save two squares of toilet paper.
8. When it's time to go to bed, and your house is cold, don't bother to take off your clothes and freeze your tits off, just get under the covers like you are, and if necessary put a wooly hat and gloves on. Don't forget to take your boots off though, makes a hell of  a mess of the duvet covers.
9. If you've got to get someone a gift, for a birthday or Christmas, don't go to the shop and buy something. There is plenty of free stuff lying around which you can give them. Do a bit of scrumping and give them a bag of apples. You can find some nice stuff in skips, or dumpsters if in the USA, people throw stuff out that would make nice gifts. Use your imagination, a bunch of wild flowers is a nice gift.
10. Think about what skills you have, can they be swapped with someone who has different skills. For instance, could someone cut your hair if you bake them a cake. Or, could you do some ironing for someone who would do some weeding for you in the garden. If you are a single man you could offer to cut the hedges for a single lady, and she could iron your shirts. You never know you might find lurv with another singleton when you swap skills.

Well that's all I have time for now, I'll leave you with this little bit of advice. Don't buy Innocents noodle pots at full price, wait until they have been reduced.

Good grief, £3 chuffin 90 for a pot noodle. 39p, that's more like my price.
I hope you enjoyed my money saving tips, please visit my web site, Stating the Bleedin Obvious, for some more. I hope Ilona asks me back again, because I could do with advertising more links to my site, so I get more followers, and they start buying stuff from me, and I can get some paid writing jobs, and I make some more money. (I lied about the being shy bit, and not wanting to be famous or wealthy)

Thank you Nellie, I really enjoyed reading your guest post. Now buzz off and stop bothering me.
Toodle pip.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Come trucking with me ;o)

D'ya know what, I think it's about time I did another trucking tale :o) My job was such a large part of my life, 32 years in fact, that memories come creeping back every so often, especially when I look at my photo albums. So, I have picked out one particular load I did, which certainly was memorable. I have a stack of Movement Orders, that's the paperwork which has to be completed every time a large, abnormal or heavy load goes out on the road. I can read through these and it all comes flooding back to me. Ah yes, I remember this one alright.
There were two loads to be shifted from Serck Baker, Bristol Road, Gloucester, to Goole Docks. Mark took the lead, and I tagged on behind. Due to the size of them, we each had a mate to sit in the passenger seat, a legal requirement. The description of the load states that they are two Filter Packages, the loaders called them Water Filtration Plants. We are using semi step frame trailers to keep the height down, they have smaller wheels and a lower bed. Total height is 17feet 9inches. The trailers are also extendables and are stretched out to accommodate the load, giving a total length of 68feet. There is a side overhang, which hangs lower than the trailer bed, along the bottom on each side are two iron girders. The overall width is 13feet 4 inches. My vehicle is plated for a gross weight of 75 tonnes, Mark's is 80 tonnes, these come in well under that at 58 tonnes apiece. I think they look pretty cool, don't you.
I climbed up on the back of Marks load to take this photo. You can see on the neck of the trailer that we carried tarpaulin sheets, and an assortment of timber, we never knew exactly what equipment we would need, so we had to be prepared. In the box on the side of the tractor unit we had straps and ratchets, chains and tensioners, shackles, and on the back of the cab we had bundles of ropes. You don't see that now because hardly any loads are roped and sheeted these days.
We set off on a nice morning on the 11th of July 1990, from Gloucester, taking mainly 'B' roads, we needed a route with no bridges because of the height. These loads were escorted all the way by the police. The route is worked out months in advance, and all police forces, and highway and bridge authorities were notified. We passed through, Gloucestershire, Hereford and Worcester, West Midlands, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, and Humberside.
Things were going well, it was a bit of a tight squeeze sometimes, going along the leafy country lanes, so we had to take our time, driving very carefully. The police were there to warn oncoming motorists to move over to let us pass. On a normal single road the police always escorted from the front, on a dual carriageway or motorway they escorted from the back. The police no longer offer this service, the haulage company have to provide their own escorts, which is usually a works van with chevrons painted on it and an orange flashing beacon on the top. I must say, having the blue flashing light there was a comfort, knowing they would back you up if any motorists got a bit stroppy, and they did. 
We weren't long into the journey, and mid afternoon a teriffic bang made me jump out of my skin. My first thought was that a tyre had exploded. I checked my mirrors and realised it was my trailer and not Marks that was affected. We all stopped and got out to inspect the damage. Oh dear, not a tyre, but one of my air bags on the suspension on the back axle of the trailer had disintigrated, bits of rubber littered the road. The whole thing was listing over to one side. That trailer aint going anywhere till it gets fixed, I thought. 
I rang our boss and was told I would have to wait there until the fitter arrived in a van, from Leicester, to come and repair it. The police decided that Mark should carry on, as it would cause too much disruption to traffic if we both blocked the road, so they took him further on. 
With everybody disappeared, I sat and waited, and waited, and waited. The fitter arrived at about 4pm. I told them to bring some new tyres as well, because I was not happy with two of them. Then it started getting dark and the fitter worked on. I had to put the hazard warning lights on, and the orange beacon on the top of the cab as well, as it was becoming dangerous with this hulking great thing blocking the road in the dark. At last everything was fixed, and I was ready to go, it was midnight. I rang the police and asked them to come back and escort me. They didn't want to, saying couldn't I wait till morning. I said, no, definately not, I couldn't go to bed worrying that something might come round the corner and crash into me. Besides, I would never sleep with the cab being lit up like a Blackpool tram. They came out and they took me to where Mark was parked up, it was 1.30am. Boy was I tired, I was glad to get to bed. 
Later on in the journey, we were parked up on the Leeds Ring Road, it was busy but quite a wide road. Our escort had left us and we waited for the next one to come along and take us further on. The car arrived, and parked at the front of Mark's lorry, so we got out and walked up to speak to him, to discuss the route we were taking. A few minutes later, there was another terrific bang, oh no, now what's happened. We could not believe our eyes, when a car came along with it's side ripped out. The woman driver, on seeing the police car, decided she had better stop. I felt ever so sorry for the lady, she was so upset, and very apologetic that she had driven into the side of my load. The iron girder overhang had put a log gash in the car from front to back, opened it up like a tin opener. What a mess, but why didn't she stop when she first hit it? It would have done a lot less damage. Panic I suppose. She said, she didn't think she had room to get past. Not a very good judge of width obviously, there was enough room to get a double decker bus through. Poor lady, she was all of a dither. The policeman felt sorry for her as well, he decided no further action was needed, and allowed her to carry on to her sisters house, just up the road. I looked at the damage to my load, there was none, apart from a bit of paint scratched off on the back corner.  
We arrived at Goole Docks without further ado, and there was a crane there to meet us and load them straight onto a boat. D'ya know what, it was quite an eventful journey, ha ha.

Thanks for your comments on yesterdays post, d'ya know what, you made me laugh.
Toodle pip.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Gritty bits driving me mental

D'ya know what, I'm a bit late with this tonight, I've been to Tesco for the late shop, and d'ya know what, I got quite a lot of yellow stickers. Big reductions on brussel sprouts, spinach, layered cheese salad, prepared carrots and peas, noodles, and muffins. And d'ya know what, there was six packs of yogurts reduced to half price, just because the pots had separated from each other. They were bagged up and marked down with a yellow sticker. Well I'm going to separate them anyway, before I eat them, so d'ya know what, I don't mind that someone else has separated them. Done me a favour they have.
D'ya know what, I have decided I don't like popcorn. D'ya know why, it's because you chew on it for ages, and you can never get rid of the gritty bits. D'ya know what, I ended up stepping outside, and spitting them all over the garden, I was so fed up of chewing. D'ya know what, there's no way I can swallow all those hard bits, I mean, what happens to them when they go down my gullet and into my stomach, how can my gastric juices possibly break that down, surely it's going to come out the other end in much the same state as it went in, so what's the point. D'ya know what, I'm definately not going to be poppin any more. My poor digestive system can't cope with me swallowing a lot of grit.
D'ya know what, I split up my babies today, here they are all in their own pots. Talk to them nicely for me, and they will hopefully turn into big yellow flowers. Thank you for all the tips on growing them. I'll keep you posted on their progress, or demise if they should keel over and die.
D'ya know what, everyone is starting sentences with d'ya know what. They keep doing it on Coronation Street, and d'ya know what, it's cropping up all over the place. They don't say 'do you know what', oh no, they say d'ya know what.  What a sloppy way of talking, and what is the point of it. The person doing the listening is going to know what, by the time the one speaking has finished, so why start with d'ya know what? D'ya know what, I will scream if I hear d'ya know what, one more time. You have a listen to people talking, see how many times you hear it. D'ya know what, it will drive you mental after a while.

D'ya know what, I had another email today from a female asking if she could write a guest post. The subjects she offered were, Bailiffs what powers do they have, Is bankruptsy for you, and Administration orders, whatever that is. She said she would love to contribute to my blog. What a damn cheek, is she insinuating that I am not capable of writing my own posts. D'ya know what, if the time comes when my head is completely empty of any ideas, if my brain siezes up completely, and my fingers can't find the right letters on the keyboard, then that is the time to pack up. Untill then, you're stuck with me I'm afraid.
D'ya know what, I'm going to bed.
Toodle pip.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Pop pop, poppin

It's been another glorious day here in North Lincolnshire, the sun has been shining and the birds have been twittering. A little bimble round the village, and pottering in the garden has kept me occupied, no need to go anywhere, no need to spend any money. Mind you, I will have to go food shopping in the next few days, the fridge is looking bare and in need of filling up. I have no fresh fruit or veg left, so it was tins and freezer food for me today.
I remembered I had this packet of corn in the cupboard, I bought it from Tesco a couple of months ago because it was on offer at 49p. I thought, oooh worth a try, I haven't popped corn before. I had to look up the method on yootoob.
A few splashes of extra virgin olive oil in a large pan. Then cover the bottom with corn, shake it about to make sure the corn is coated with the oil.
Put the lid on and light the gas. I used this glass lid from another pan because I wanted to see what happened.
It sort of got steamy, then the popping started. Wow, it was so loud, sounds like the whole pan is going to explode. I adjusted the gas, it needs to be mediumish, not too hot or it will burn.
Flippin heck, the pan is full. I had to scoop some off the top, and put it back on the gas for a few seconds, so that the corn on the bottom had all popped.
I've got masses of the stuff, now what do I do with it. It's going to take me ages to eat it. I know, another giveaway. Leave your comment to win a box of popcorn, ha ha. No only joking. I'll have it for breakfast, and maybe the birds would like some.
Anyone any ideas what I can do with it, can I make it sweet tasting, I don't fancy it savoury.
Toodle pop, oops, I mean pip.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Bringing up babies

Another warm day today, and my nineteen babies are looking all the better for it. This is my £1 Sunflower starter pack, a plastic tray with a clear plastic lid, a small bag of compost, and some seeds. I didn't count how many, but I suspect twenty might be the number. I sprinkled them on, mixed them in, watered it, and waited. 
And here they are. I am hoping they survive, and I get nineteen big yellow fowers from them. So now, I am talking to my babies, and moving them from the back to the front windowsill to keep them warm as the sun moves around the house. I'm sprinkling water on them to keep the compost moist.

I think I will need to separate them soon or they will get too crowded. What do you think? I haven't grown sunflowers before, are there any experienced readers who can give me some tips? I will be guided by your wisdom, what do I have to do to get big yellow blooms? Do they need more sun or less? Can I plant them in big pots or do they go in the ground? Do I need to feed them with anything? Lets watch over these babies together, and I will keep posting progress updates. Toodle pip.

PS. I have just noticed that my followers list is growing, there are a few more names on there. Welcome new people, I am chuffed that you have arrived. I am now going to have a nosey at your blogs  :o)

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Sunny Saturday in the village

The weather today has been glorious, the complete opposite to yesterday when it was blowing a gale, raining and cold. Today it's been teeshirts and shorts. It was a pleasure to walk round my village, a typical sunny Saturday morning is people bimbling up and down the High Street, collecting their weekend newspapers, and popping in the Post Office or the Cafe. Everyone was in a happy mood, everyone said Good Morning, and stopped for a chat if they weren't in a hurry. It's amazing how the sun lifts the spirits. I only hope we get good weather next weekend when we have our Village Fete.
It was nice to see a lot of people in their finery, gathered outside the church. A wedding has taken place, and everyone was being organised by the photographer so he could do his stuff.
Are you all ready now, everyone say cheese.
These three little doggies made me laugh, sorry the pic's not up to scratch, they live opposite the church, and were in their garden when the bells started ringing. It was so funny to hear them singing along.
Standing to one side of the wedding party were these two lovely people, their bus drivers badges caught my eye, as I have one of these. I asked if they are still used, and was told they had been discontinued in 1991. They wear theirs when they are out in the vintage bus. It was lovely to have a natter and swap stories about the good old days of bus driving, Barbara passed her PSV test five years before I did mine. They work for a company in Halifax who hires out this bus for weddings.  
Isn't it beautiful, I love it. .

It wasn't long before the guests started climbing aboard. The bus was their transport to the reception, which was taking place at Carlton Towers, about 20 miles away. I would love to have had a ride with them, in fact, I would have loved to drive it. It is very similar to what I used to drive for Stevensons of Uttoxeter, Stevensons Rockets we called them, ha ha. My goodness, they were right bone shakers.
This is my badge, of which I am very proud. There are a lot for sale on ebay, collectors items, but I wouldn't part with mine. The letters DD, means it was issued in the West Midlands area.
Toodle pip.

Friday, 24 May 2013

All you need is cats

I think we have a few cat lovers amongst us, so here is a little treat for anyone who has a soft spot for our feline friends. As you know I have three cats, Bugsy, Mayze, and Heidi. Yesterday I had in my garden, five cats, sometimes there are six, if Micky decides to pay us a visit. I tried to get them all in one photo, but you know what cats are like, they take no notice when you ask them to pose for the camera. So, in the pic below we have four cats enjoying the sunshine. Can you spot them?
Heidi viewing the scene from afar, on a pallet covering the potato beds. I'm going to have to remove the coverings soon, as the potato shoots are starting to poke through the compost.
Bugsy's favourite place, dozing on the decking made out of reclaimed timber and pallets, next to the garage. Bugsy is 17 years old, I have had him since he was a ten month old kitten.
This is Garcia, he lives three doors down, and has been coming for years, he is about 13 years old. He wanders in and out as if he owns the place, ha ha.
This is the new kid on the block, I can't remember his name, he pops in occasionally. He lives across the road close to a busy junction. It's a wonder he hasn't been knocked over by now, but he seems very streetwise. He knows my voice now, when I stop and say hello.
Mayze is not being very sociable, preferring to keep her distance and hide under the bench outside the back door.
I took the following photo's today. The weather has been awful, quite cold, just like winter, so we have been indoors a lot. Bugsy likes the arm chair in the living room. Isn't he a sweetheart. I love the way he looks at me with one eye open. 
Then he closes it and says 'go away, leave me alone'.
Another little peep at me.
And off he goes to sleep. He's got a really loud purr.
Heidi has discovered the box of knitting wool on the sideboard. Perfect for snuggling into.
No, I'm not moving, you can't have your wool, I'm using it for a bed.
Mayze is in the spare room, on a cushion, on top of a box. Cat's always like to be high up.
Ooooh, I must have a stretch, that's better.
She is so beautiful, well I would say that, wouldn't I, ha ha.
Please excuse my little pusscat indulgence today. By the way, I forgot to mention, Sue rehomed a rescue cat last week. The right people came along, village location, have had cats before. Perfect.

Have a nice Bank Holiday weekend everyone. I won't be going anywhere, I'd rather stay at home when everyone else is off work. Toodle pip.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Arty flowers exhibition

The frequent showers have had me popping in and out today, there's jobs to do in the garden, but then I have to dart indoors when the sky goes black, the wind gets up, and the rain comes lashing down. I wish we could have a bit more summer.
Here's a little colour to brighten things up a bit. Our 20 21 Arts Centre has a dual exhibition on at the moment. First they choose the artist they want to feature, and then they ask the local flower arranging groups around the region to take a look at the artworks to be exhibited, and come up with some arrangements to compliment them. The artworks are mainly about letter engravers on stone, some calligraphy, and graffiti. I didn't photograph these, to be honest I wasn't that drawn to it, but I did like the flower displays, a few of them I have chosen to show you here. Difficult to photograph with all the shadows.

In another part of the church is an exhibition of twisted ropes. It's fascinating to see how they have been constructed, they are held together by some kind of weaving. It's quite interesting to see how an ordinary length of lifeless rope can be transformed into a piece of art with so much movement in it. Try and follow the twists and turns and work out where they are going. 

It's stopped raining so I'd better go out and cover up the raised bed I've been pottering about in, before the cats think it's a big litter tray. The broad beans are planted out, and the runner beans should be ready to go in soon. I've given up with tomatoes, and had to sow some more courgette seeds. I have a salad leaves box coming along, but the cucumber is not happening. The £1 sunflower seeds are doing well though, ha ha. Hope your veg growing is better than mine.
Toodle pip.