Tuesday 30 June 2015

A money saving tip

Hi. I have just thought of a new money saving tip which I thought I would share with you. I know you all like to save money wherever you can, cutting down and cutting back. Reducing, making do, and generally using less so you ultimately have more. More money to spend on the little pleasures in life, and more time to enjoy your pleasures. 
To live my simple life I cut corners, reduce the amount of time I spend in the kitchen by creating simple no cook, or one pan meals, thus reducing my spending on gas and electricity, and giving me more time to play and create, and go out. 
I don't have the washer on the go until I have enough clothes to fill it. I have enough in my wardrobe, I don't think oh I need to wash a certain item of clothing because I want to wear it, I just pick something else out of the cupboard or wardrobe. A bit like meal planning actually. I don't go to the shop because I want some potatoes or bread, I eat something else until I need several items, then go to the shop. I don't do a wash every Monday as it used to be done years ago, and I don't do a weekly shop every Friday either. I do these chores when they actually need doing. 
I keep the garden tidy by doing an hour or two at a time. I enjoy working in the garden much more than working in the house. Time spent outside is healthy, getting the sun on your skin is healthy, doing exercise outside is healthy. I have a big garden and sometimes I think oh heck, the lawn needs mowing, but when it is done it looks nice and I have had some exercise. I don't get the same buzz when I have washed the pots or dusted. Time spent not doing mundane things means time to do exactly what I like. 
Summer means wearing less clothes. Less clothes means less to wash. I have dug out my skirt from the back of the wardrobe, it's several years old, someone gave it to me. It's fine for pottering around the house. 
Wearing a skirt means less clothes to wash, howzat? Easy. No need to wear anything underneath, nudge nudge wink wink  ;o)) No need to wear socks either, barefoot is fine around the house, feels nice walking around on freshly cut grass as well. So, long skirts out girls, cast aside your knickers pants, feel the breeze and free yourself from the drudgery of housework.
Toodle pip

Monday 29 June 2015

Finding stuff

Hello. Think I'm losing the plot. I keep finding stuff in bins and can't resist rescuing it if I think it might come in useful for something. Look what I found this morning. It's a sheet of plastic mesh, 7 feet by 4 feet, really strong not flimsy, looks like it was some kind of packaging material. 
Photographed on the freshly mowed lawn, do you like my socks. It was so hot today I actually wore a skirt, blimey, don't faint. I exposed my hairy legs, ha ha.

Any ideas what I can do with it. I was thinking more arts and crafts rather than garden use.

Pity I don't live near Glastonbury, did you see all the rubbish left behind after the festival. A lot of it isn't rubbish though. I hope they find a use for most of it. They say it will take them six weeks to clear it, an army of volunteers are on the job. As I understand the word volunteering, they aren't getting paid for it. Will they be able to take anything they want in payment I wonder. Well I wouldn't volunteer to do that job if I was getting nothing for my troubles. Someone's made a shed load of money from the event, you would think they could pay the litter pickers. And why are people so daft as to leave all their kit behind. They carried it all onto the site, you would think they could at least take their tents and sleeping bags home with them. I could make a whole load of shopping bags with the abandoned tents. I hope everything gets recycled and re used.

Someone asked if I was making use of the summerhouse. I've been a bit busy of late, but I am back on the job. I'm making some bunting to decorate it. There's a lot of gardening to do at the moment, everything is growing. Grass to mow, hedges to trim, it's never ending. I might get to actually sit in the summerhouse soon. It's nice that it's lighter for longer, but no sooner than darkness falls it's time for bed. Heidi is still out, I'll have to walk round the garden now and call her in. She usually responds and comes running.
Bye for now. Toodle pip

Sunday 28 June 2015

A catty post

Hello. Change in the weather today, raining. Thank goodness we were lucky yesterday. As a follow on from the cat theme, I thought I would do a piece about re homing cats, prompted by an enquiry I have had in. We get lots of phone calls from people needing to re home their cats for whatever reason. After ringing round all the rescues in their area and finding them full, they then ring places further afield. They will probably get the same story, sorry we are full but we can put you on a waiting list. Quite often the person will want to find a new home for their cats quickly, well that is unlikely to happen unless they drop lucky where a rescue has just had a pen vacated. It is a bit of a lottery.

As I said cats need re homing for different reasons, the emergency cases usually take priority over those who are not in immediate danger, each situation has to be assessed individually. Cats wandering and homeless, injured or neglected, abandoned with kittens, will need picking up first. The larger rescues often have foster carers so there is a degree of flexibility there, but the small ones like us can only take in the amount we have space for, so it's more a case of  'one out one in'. So what advice do I give to people who have a cat they want to re home, when we have no room for it?

First of all, if your circumstances are going to change in the future, relocation, relationship breakdown, working hours changing, young children cats and dogs not mixing well, then forward planning is the key. Don't leave it until it's a crisis situation. Rescue spaces are in very short supply so the longer you give yourself to find a new home for your pet the better. Start with asking immediate family, then other relatives. Someone might be willing to take them but not straight away if they have commitments. I am waiting for a lady to ring back after her holiday in August when she will be in a better position to adopt.

Drawn a blank there, next ask close friends. People that you know and trust. Then move on to friends of friends, but keep in mind that the further you spread your enquiries means that you must check their suitability as potential adoptees. If you ask workmates tell them that you will have to go and inspect where the cat will live. You would not hand your child over to a stranger without checking them out, so why would you hand over a treasured family pet.

All the time you are making your own enquiries, keep ringing the rescues. You never know, they might have had a cat leave the day before. Not sure where the rescues are? Look at this site for a list. 

Now for some 'do not's. Do not advertise your pet on Facebook, Preloved, Freegle, Gumtree, or any other social networking site. Do not stick a card in your newsagents window. Do not ask your mates down the pub. Do not give away an animal for free to someone you don't know. Why? Now for the nasty bit. There are evil people out there who want animals for breeding purposes, so make sure your pets are neutered or spayed, applies to cats and dogs. There are people who are even more sick and evil who will use cats for dog baiting and torture. Treat your animals like children, think of it as finding a safe and secure adoptive home for your son or daughter. I cannot emphasize that enough. We turn down a lot of people who want to adopt our cats, for various reasons. We make checks, they have to be right.

Most moggies will adapt to new circumstances, they will integrate into new homes given time. I'll put in a note here about pure breeds, they are a slightly different matter because some of the exotic ones need someone who understands their needs. Long haired cats need plenty of grooming and should be happy to be handled. Pure breeds have different personality needs as well, some of them can be very vocal and demanding. A lot of pure breeds are kept as indoor cats because it would be folly to let them roam with the risk of them being kidnapped for breeding. Cats will live happily indoors if that's all they have ever known, they just need more mental stimulation and play time. Saying that, I do occasionally see a couple of siamese cats in our churchyard, they live at the house next door.

To rehome a pure breed cat I would suggest goooogling the breed and add the word 'rescue'. For instance I have just found The Siamese Cat Welfare Trust. The web site looks legit with contact details, and I see it was updated a few days ago. This would be a good place to start if you had a siamese cat you needed to re home, or if you wanted to adopt that particular breed.

I hope this has been of some help to someone. I am not an expert, I've had cats for 18 years, been to numerous cat shows and learnt from other cat owners, and been involved with our local rescue for four years. If anyone is thinking about adopting a cat, please give thought to how much time you can give it, whether you can afford it, and can you look after it until the end of it's life. A tall order I know but these are the things you have to think about. As I said, there can be legitimate reasons for needing to re home a cat, life happens, but having a plan 'B' in place can alleviate some of the uncertainty as to what will happen to your cat if you can no longer look after it. Thankfully there are still some kind and caring people out there, it's just a matter of finding them, and being patient until the right one comes along.

Enjoy your Sunday.
Toodle pip

Saturday 27 June 2015

Come to our village fete

Hello. What a scorcher today, thank goodness the sun shone down on our village fete. We had our usual pitch for our cat rescue fundraising stall. Being at the end of the row means we can spread out to four tables. With the amount of stuff we had to sell, the tables were full to overflowing. Sue also did a tombola, which was a big hit. S'funny how people are happy to spend a couple of pounds on a gamble yet can't find anything they want to buy. We only have the best quality tat of course. Rocky was there to oversee the operation, and was a bit overwhelmed by all the attention. I'm thinking of starting a fan club for him.  
This spot is ideal, the sun comes round and goes behind the trees, so we don't have to sweat it out under the full glare of it. The shade keeps us lovely and cool.

The main pathway through our village green. There was the usual attractions, bouncy castle and teddy bears picnic for the kids, music for the teenagers, ice cream, cakes, games, stalls, and competitions.

Get your face painted if you dare.

Pull a string and win a prize on the Hospice supporters stall. 
Looks like the tea is brewed at the refreshment tent.

Games for children to play.

The refreshment tent is busy now. Most of the stalls are run by local charities. The mother and toddler group always have a good turnout, as do the ladies selling the cakes at the W I stall. The Bowls Club had a competition which was very popular. All in all, a very enjoyable day. A time for families to get together, and in my case, a time to meet all my friends. We did very well on the stall, boosted the kitty, ha ha, with a bit more than a few quid.

Now what was I doing last night when I dashed off to the theatre. I went to see this show. I have never seen burlesque before, only pictures. I imagined it to be fabulous costumes, buxom dancers, raunchy singers, naughty comedy, and fabulous sets. Maybe be a bit like Liza Minnelli in Cabaret. 
I was in the second row as I like to be close to the stage, I was getting all excited and looking forward to it. I must say I thought the first half was pretty boring. The female compare was stomping up and down yelling for everyone to whoop, stamp their feet, yell, and make as much noise as they could. I don't want to do this, I have come to watch a show. The company consisted of four dance girls who weren't anything special, the compare who was getting on my nerves she was very shouty, a comedian who would have been lost without audience participation no jokes he was just being daft, one blonde singer dancer who was a bit like Marilyn Monroe and a bit better than the four ordinary girls, a bloke who swung from the ceiling on chains he was good, and another singer dancer called Amber Topaz, who was very good.

I noticed that the guy sat next to me wasn't clapping at all, so during the interval I asked if him and his wife were enjoying it. He said no. He was of the same opinion as me, nothing special a bit boring. It did pick up a bit during the second half, but in my opinion there was only a couple of good acts in it. Of the four girls, one had implants, the others didn't, one had hardly any chesticles at all and struggled to get both her tassles swirling at the same time. The costumes weren't anything special, I expected lots of glitz and glamour. The show was disjointed, and that bluddy woman stomping about yelling her head off was a pain in the @rse. Why they had billed it as Britains Biggest Burlesque Spectacular, I'll never know. It certainly wasn't spectacular, there was a painted backdrop which stayed the same throughout. No change of scenery, and no special effects except some glitter being thrown about. It was like a show done on a budget. Mind you, by the noise the audience was making I suppose the majority enjoyed it. All in all, a bit disappointing.

Anyway, time to chill. Thanks for popping in.
Toodle pip

Friday 26 June 2015

Must dash

Thank you all for your comments on yesterday's post, it's good to read your views on the subject. If you commented early on in the post you might like to go back and read what everyone else is saying. I don't have time to write tonight, I'm due at the theatre to see a show in half an hour, so I must go NOW. I'll catch you tomorrow.
Toodle pip

Thursday 25 June 2015


Hello. Is anyone else beginning to feel fearful about their own personal security, because I am. It's not like me at all. I'm confident enough to go on long walks by myself, albeit in this country. I have lost the desire to set foot on foreign soil where I won't understand their language, their culture and customs, and the mindset of people who may not have the same values as I have.

I feel safe here, the familiar surroundings of the countryside fill me with a sense of peace and happiness. My eyes feast on the beauty of nature as I wander. I have the freedom to walk out of my front door, drive, get on a bus, or walk to wherever I want to go within our green and pleasant land.

I used to be quite adventurous. Been to Russia, the USA, Canada, Germany, Spain, Italy, on holiday. Been on lots of roller coasters in the USA. Had a helicopter ride from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. Driven a truck to Holland and Germany several times, quite proud that I did that. Not such big adventures as some people have, but enough for me to get a little bit excited about life.

Everything has a risk to it. I don't feel safe flying any more, although that's daft, because it is still safe. I don't want to do anything which might cause me some anxiety, and I know flying will so I have chosen to remove it from my life. I now prefer to take the soft option of sticking within my comfort zone.

But times are a changing and I am now fearful that my own comfort zone is going to be taken away from me in the not too distant future, and I won't be able to do anything about it. OK, I'll get to the point, I am feeling vulnerable when I read that 350 stowaways were turfed off trucks at Calais in a four hour period. The French government say they can't stop migrant chaos. British lorry drivers are furious because they are sitting ducks and no one will help them. They are being attacked in their cabs by people desperate to enter the UK. All headlines this morning in the press.

I am scared that a lot are getting through. If they are willing to commit crimes to get here, what kind of crimes will they commit once they are here. And where will they go. The sheer numbers congregating on the other side of the channel should be a cause for serious concern.

I am now questioning how secure am I in my own home. I get on with my day to day life, making the most of my freedom, and being grateful for every day I am given. But how much longer can it go on. I am trying not to worry about it.

Wednesday 24 June 2015

A three day veg curry

Hello. A very quick post tonight, I've been getting things ready for our stall at the village fete on Saturday. A good opportunity to de clutter so I've been going through my drawers and cupboards getting anything out that I don't want, and pricing it up. Sue re homed a cat this week, a lady rang up, her cat had recently died and she was feeling lost and lonely without one. Luckily we had the right one for her. 
I've made a big pan of veg curry and rice tonight, enough for three days. I'm getting a bit fed up of cooking so this will keep me going with some time off out of the kitchen. Onions and carrots, and a big tin (50p) of mixed beans. 
Time to get off my bum and walk the pooch, then cat sitting and tele watching. It's all go here. Catch you soon.
Toodle pip

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Yours for £1,000

Hello. I have had some fantastic reviews about my latest abstract painting, it has taken the art world by storm. I would never have envisaged such a high accolade for my humble offerings. This has surely spurred me on to explore my previously hidden inner talents and produce more stunning pieces. This is what the Curator of the Rolf Maximillion Gallery in Budapest has said about my work.
The previously little known artist Ilona Kontowski, has come a long way since her first tentative steps into the world of abstract art. This unique and endearing composition has all the qualities one would expect from Dali or Picasso. It captures the very essence of  life. Note the exquisite combination of order and disorder. The straight and orderly lines are challenged and intercepted by the chaotic splashes of colour and mayhem. The artist has to be complimented on her photographic skills, look at the effects of direct sunlight on the first picture. The garden was the best setting to highlight how the vibrant colours have interacted with each other. And what a clever move to include an excerpt from that well loved book by Hans Habe. The story of Ilona, brings a new dimension to the painting, and adds substance and depth to the already significant offering. There is no doubt in my mind that this painting will not look out of place amongst the many great artists of the world, and should it ever become available in the not too distant future, we would be honoured to show it in our Gallery. Best regards, Ivan Rattowitz, Budapest.    

Wow, I am chuffed. Looks kinda nice on my mantlepiece in the front room. I don't really want to let it go, but if anyone can come up with the dosh, £1,000 is all I'm asking, they can have it.
Toodle pip

Monday 22 June 2015

Easy Christmas pressies to make

Hello. Lots of interesting comments yesterday, thank you for taking the time to add your bit to my post. It seems lots of you are saving money by not being taken in by the lure of fancy packaging, promises of eternal youth, and expensive perfumes. This is one area where everyone can cut down on their spending. The cheap versions can do just as good a job of keeping you clean. No need to go overboard on £25 pots of cream and salon type hair products. Bog standard is the way to take control.
I've been to the Crafty Club this morning. Numbers were down, but that is no bad thing. It means we can keep to the topic of conversation and everyone gets a look in, rather than two or three conversations going at once, and people talking over the top of each other. 
I took a new and simple project with me to work on. Perhaps you might like to have a go at this. Even the inexperienced sewer can do this. Older children as well might like to join in. 
Take one small new note book. I bought this for 50p from a stationary shop which was closing down, with the intention of making a cover for it. Coloured felt is best for this project as it doesn't fray and is easy to sew. 
Here is my book cover. The green felt is recycled from a snooker table which was being recovered. I have a few pieces of felt I got from the Scrapstore. Cut a piece of felt slightly bigger than the book. Close it up to measure it accurately. Cut out a few coloured shapes to add to the front. I have used running stitch but you can use any embroidery stitches you like. Sew the embellishments on first before making up the cover.

For the inside I used plain black felt. You can use the same colour as the outside, or any colour you like. Cut two pieces slightly narrower than the cover but exactly the same height, top to bottom. Pin it together first to check that the book will fit snugly inside. Then do a running stitch to join the pieces. I could have stitched across the spine as well, but I ran out of thread, so I left it at that.

And there you have it, a decorative cover for a plain notebook. Ideal for a gift, maybe you could make a few of these for Christmas presents. Look for pictures in books for your designs. Trace them onto paper and make a card template to cut out the shapes in felt. 
So who is going to make a book cover? I'm still busy this week so will be looking in from time to time. Right, the library van is here, so I'm off to walk/push Rocky, and have a natter with Stan. Thanks for popping in.
Toodle pip

Sunday 21 June 2015

A dead cheap pamper

Hello and Happy Fathers day to all dad's. So what's this little Orphan Annie doing today then. Looks like I am about to perform a war dance with my painted face. I am scraping out the last few applications of this small tube of moisturizer which I have cut in half, but it's so small I can't get my finger into it. So the answer is to use something to poke it out. 
A wooden toothpick is mighty small, which does the job, that's why I have stripes on my face. It's a freebie sample of hand and body lotion given to me by a friend. As far as I'm concerned it can be used on the face as well.

I've been checking my beauty stocks in the bathroom. I hardly ever buy anything new, lotions and potions last ages as I use them most sparingly. Take these cheapo supermarket smellies, they seem to last forever. Even the cheap ones I use the absolute minimum that I can get away with.

I bought the toothpaste from Poundstretcher, I was in there about six months ago for something else and spotted that this was on offer at 50p. Pretty good price I thought, best to have a tube on standby for when the other one runs out. I can't see me starting this for another three or four months, such is my sparse way of spreading it on the brush. I only use a smidgeon, just enough for a slight foaming of the mouth.

The toothbrush is another item on standby, still in it's packaging. Did you know that children's tooth brushes are cheaper than the adult equivalent? No need to pay full price just buy a smaller brush and give your mouth a good scrub round with that. It reaches into all the hidden corners. I usually walk around the house multitasking while brushing my teeth as it's such a boring job to be standing still.

This is my deodorant stash, ha ha. Not much to choose from, and I didn't even have to buy them. My sister gave me the Arrid, and my friend donated the Nivea to a worthy cause, me. Neither of them liked what they had bought for themselves so all donations gratefully received here. 
Getting to the end of this sun lotion so it's an upside down job. I bought this yonks ago, not sure if it goes off, but I use it as moisturizer from time to time. I like the smell, it reminds me of holidays.

There's a long way to go with these two, at least another years worth in there. I don't moisturize my body, so the whipped body oil gets used on my face, neck and hands. The body wash will be used in the bath, eventually. I bought these two before I went on holiday to Scotland because I read that it's good for keeping midges at bay. I never did see any midges, think I was too early in the season.

My soap stocks are slowly shrinking. I used to sell hand made soap on my stall at the market and events, so I had some left when I closed the business. That was over ten years ago. Here we have strawberry, lemon and lime, and gingerbread. It has lost some of it's perfume but still performs as well as soap should.

I keep my toiletry purchases to the minimum, I only need the basics and use them sparingly. I don't need all the posh names, or the expensive perfumes. There is no cream which halts the aging process, and perfume evaporates into the air. As long as I am scrubbed clean with one of those sponges with a rough side, that will do me. I've got the bath water on now, so I'll scrub up later.

How big is your stash of toiletries? Is it minimal like mine? Or do you like a bit of luxurious pampering?

Hope your Sunday is a good one. Bye for now. Toodle pip.

Saturday 20 June 2015

How to grow chairs

Hello and Good Morning.
I've been at the yooootoooob again, there is so much good stuff on there. I urge all of you to ditch your boring old TV, stop watching the goggle box, and explore around the tooob.

This caught my eye on the BBC web site. There is a short and very interesting video to give you a taster of an amazing concept in furniture making.


Something told me to explore further, and I found this longer video of 15 minutes.

I like this man's way of thinking. It takes 40 years to grow a tree, which will get chopped down, transported at various stages, from the forest, to the factory, and shipped thousands of miles to the shops which will sell the finished furniture. He can grow his chairs on the Derbyshire hillside in six years. We need inventive people like this, and we need to explore new ways of creating things.

Thanks for reading. Have a nice weekend. Toodle pip

Friday 19 June 2015

Out of control

It's taking over again. The pile on the corner of the table has been growing steadily over the past few weeks. It's at the stage where my workspace is greatly reduced, as mounds of useful stuff keep reproducing. An idea comes to mind so I have to go in search of the appropriate pieces to add to my work. After much fiddling and deliberating, will it fit here, or would it be better there, they get tossed aside to join all the other good ideas that didn't materialize. 
Time for a sort out I think. I have forgotten what's at the bottom of this pile, I need to re acquaint myself with my useful stuff, and maybe the process will trigger off more possible good ideas bouncing around in my head.  
In the meantime, with the ever encroaching mountains of  tat art and craft materials, Mayze has found her own solution to the problem. No room left to laze in the sun, just lay on top of it.  
Busy again, catch you soon. Thanks for reading. Toodle pip

Thursday 18 June 2015

They're out to get your money

Hello. This is a post about how to save money on parking charges. By sharing my experience with you, it may help you not to make the same mistake as I did. I'll start by saying that I hate paying for parking. There maybe times when it is necessary to cough up, such as the need to be close to where you are visiting, you have a timed appointment, you have elderly or young people with you, or you have heavy bags to carry.

If I am on a day out by myself I will park on the outskirts of a town in a residential street with no restrictions, taking care not block anyone's entrance. Then I will either walk in or get a bus. I hate driving in town centre's and getting lost in a one way system. The few times that I have paid in a car park was when I took Rocky in his buggy, when we had days out at the seaside and I want to be close to the sea front.

When I go to town here I generally drive. I could get the bus, but if I have bags to carry the car is more convenient, and why shouldn't I use it, I paid for it and I enjoy driving it. We have two hours free parking in our town, which is convenient because I can park at the back of the market, get a ticket for my car, and all the shops I need are close by in the High Street. My routine is to go there first, visit the bank, the library, discount stores, and charity shops. When I have finished there, I drive out and go into the Aldi car park, which is close by, and easier to walk from store to car with my food shopping. Then I go home.

On one occasion recently I changed my routine, I went into the Aldi car park first. I wanted a bigger shop, stock up on non perishables, and as I don't make a list I thought I would do that first while it was all fresh in my mind. I am of the opinion that if I forget something then I manage without it, so I don't do lists. I spent £33 that day, usually it's less than a tenner.

With shopping loaded in the car, I decided to walk the short distance to the market and the High Street, and pick up a few other bits and bobs. On my way back to the car, I bumped into someone I hadn't seen for a while so stopped to have a natter. Then I remembered that there was a 2 hour limit for parking at Aldi, and I couldn't remember what time I had pulled into the park. Something told me to keep my store receipt, just in case I had gone over the time.

Shopping centre and store car parks are generally monitored by independent companies, they have a contract with the land owner to police car parking, for which they pay a fee. This helps the store to free up space for their genuine shoppers, and deters people from dumping their car there while they go to work elsewhere. In the case of our local Aldi, that's what used to happen before they brought in a company to monitor movement within the car park. Now every car is photographed on entry and exit.

Two weeks later I got a letter from Parking Eye. I had been clocked going in and out, and had overstayed by 12 minutes. The fine, a hefty £70, reduced to £40 if paid within a week. Now this seems grossly unfair being as I am a customer of Aldi. OK, I shouldn't have gone to town and left my car there, because the park is only supposed to be used for the actual time you are in the store. There are signs, but they are high up on posts so you have to squint to read them.

First thing the following morning I got myself down to Aldi, and found the manager doing his stock check in the first aisle. I explained what had happened, showed him the letter and till receipt, and admitted my mistake. He took the letter from me and told me not to worry, he would get it cancelled. He said I will get some more letters because it takes time for it to go through the system. I thought, what a reasonable chap he is, in fact I was impressed by his excellent customer relations.

I will at this point just mention that the letters appear very threatening when they arrive. The £70 charge is in bold letters, and they demand that you pay. People often think this is a car parking fine, it isn't, the company cannot fine you, it is an invoice. They threaten to take you to court if you ignore it. All very intimidating. A lot of people cave in at the first hurdle and pay up. That's what they want to happen.

I got three letters in total, then they stopped. I didn't open the second and third letters, I refuse to be bullied. At the end of the day, the land belongs to Aldi, the manager can liaise with head office and override the parking company if he or she so wishes. Luckily the manager here is a decent sort. My friend got caught at the same car park, he felt intimidated by the letter and paid. Afterwards he went to Aldi and complained. Head office sent him a voucher for the full amount to be spent in the store.

If you have been stung with these sort of parking charges, go to Money Saving Expert and read up about it. These are not real parking tickets. Read this thread first.  It will explain the procedure for challenging the parking company. Then read this thread how people are fighting their unfair charges.

Watchdog on BBC television have also done a report on these car parking companies. They sent an undercover reporter to work in an office, with a hidden camera. What they found was a room full of people all intent on squeezing as much money out of the public as possible, by whatever means.

A lot of people are fighting these charges on the grounds that the signs are not clear, that they didn't see them because they appear to be hidden. Others are challenging the legality of the actual wording in the letters, and the biggest bug bear is that the charges are disproportionate to the perceived crime. If your appeal is rejected, you can then go to POPLA, an ombudsman. A high percentage of people are getting their charges cancelled at some stage, it all depends on how long you are prepared to hang on in there.

Here are a couple of vids from yooootooob to watch. There are many more.

Anyway, what have I learnt from this? Always note what time I entered a car park. I may have to write it down because I get distracted and forget easily. Always read the signs. Always remove my car before the time expires. If I do that I shouldn't get any more demands for money.

Thanks for reading. Toodle pip

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Slap it on.

Hello. I've been to the galleries to see the exhibitions, I've watched the yoootoooob videos, I've seen how it's done, and this is the challenge. To produce a piece of artwork which is a load of old codswallop, with an asking price of £1,000. Shouldn't be too difficult, I'm going to give it a go. 
My canvas is a 35 year old piece of hessian wallpaper. Left over from decorating the front room in my first house. Stick on some pieces of dry wipes, and a torn factory hairnet, with PVU glue.  
Waiting for it to dry. I have no plan, I shall wait for it to suggest the next move Wonder what will happen? It will evolve. I am determined to crack this modern and contemporary art mallarkey. Slap it on in no particular order, ha ha.
Thanks for visiting my blog.
Toodle pip

Tuesday 16 June 2015

How to tart up an old book.

Hello. I don't know where the time goes, I'm rushing again. It's been a lovely day, I've been out in the garden tidying up. My veg growing is looking abysmal this year. Things are not growing very well at all, except the potatoes, they are positively thriving. My compost is about on it's last legs, I don't bother to feed it, so at last it's about dead. A few beans are making a brave attempt to grow, but they are struggling. Every night armies of fat black slugs slither about eating everything in their path. In past years I have spent hours picking them up, out for an hour every night with a torch. I am now ready to admit defeat, they have won the battle. For this year anyway. 
Today I covered another 'Ilona', book. It's a hard back, in quite good condition. I used some plain dark blue fabric as the cover, with red and light green for the embellishment. The colours are wrong on this photo. I frayed the edges of the red and green, and used green cotton to hand stitch the design on the front panel. 

Inside the front cover, this is the exact shade of blue.

I hand stitched along the top and bottom in tiny stitches with matching thread.

I cut the piece of blue fabric bigger than the book and made a cut each side of the spine and folded the excess inside. It looks really nice.
If you want to know how to stitch perfect stars, use a template that has squares. This is a piece of plastic I cut from a mushroom tray. They end up in the bin outside our takeaway and I get them out. These trays  come in useful for all kinds of jobs, mainly storage, I've got loads of them.
Thank you for popping in. Catch you tomorrow. Toodle pip

Monday 15 June 2015

Crafting with friends

Hello. It was back to the Crafty Club this morning. I've missed two weeks due to walking trips, so it was nice to meet up with the ladies again and find out what everyone is making. It was almost a full house, twelve people round the table with one missing, and for once I was on time. I took some of my recent makes to show, and Janet brought some of hers along. You have seen mine, so here are a few pics of Janet's. She has completed a cross stitch wall hanging, of three quirky cat pictures, on a black background. I love these. 

She has made a sleeve at the back to insert a wooden rod for hanging purposes. Once again her stitching is perfect. 
A piece of patchwork has been hanging around for ages, and now she has finally finished it and made an over the knees quilt. The hexi flowers are separated by shades of green to make a flower garden. It is so pretty. Two ladies are holding it up for me so I can get the whole thing on the photo.

It's a smashing group, people swap ideas, help each other to learn new techniques, and pass on surplus crafting materials. We are working together to make a Christmas tree for the festival of Christmas Trees, held annually at a church in town. Janet has a large piece of green felt rescued from a snooker table which is perfect for the job. We will all be making the decorations for it. No rush, we've got until December to do it.

I know Kath has a Crafty Group in her home town, does anyone else go to one? If you don't have a group  perhaps you could start one. All it needs is the use of a room, in a Village Hall, or other community building, put a few posters about, ask friends to ask their friends, and bingo. It only needs three or four people to start, once word gets around more people will join. There needs to be a small charge to cover the room hire, tea and coffee. Best to check whether insurance is included in that fee. Weekly meetings of two hours is not such a big commitment. It would be a lot cheaper than joining the W.I.

I am in and out a lot at the moment, so some of the posts may be a bit short. I have a friends cats to look after which needs two visits a day. They also get a third visit from another friend, we sit with them for a while, so I am getting to see some tele while I am there. Today was library day, the books needed changing.  Rocky is loving all the attention he is getting when I push him around the village, so it is becoming part of our daily routine. I'll sign off now, because it's time we were having a bimble. Thanks for popping in.
Toodle pip