Saturday, 30 April 2016

Making felt flowers

Hello. The weather is good so far, but it could deteriorate pretty quickly at any moment.. When I've finished this I'm off outside, I have lawns to mow, wish me luck. I made a little video this morning and it's ready on yoootooob. Seven minutes and 51 seconds long. If you want to make felt flowers here's how to do it. You can sew them onto anything as embellishments.

Rip off Britain update. This is what I found in the paper version of the Radio Times, and online. I think this is going to be me. It is scheduled to go out on Friday the 6th of May at 9.15am. It's a 45 minute programme.

A woman who spends only a fraction of the average weekly shop reveals her secret. 

So get your recorders set up to BBC 1, or watch live if you are at home, or watch on catch up later which is what I will have to do. Some of the older programmes are on yoootooob so I suppose this one will be eventually.

Right, I have jobs to do outside, so I'll sign off. Have a nice Bank Holiday weekend.
Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Friday, 29 April 2016

Little stories

Hello. It's been a horrible day weatherwise. Very cold, windy, raining, and sleeting it down. Best stay indoors. I did go out to do my three mile walk, after a torrential downpour, got half way round and noticed Paul's car was on his front so stopped for a chat. He was watching the Tour de Yorkshire cycling event on the tele. It was nice to see pictures of the lovely Yorkshire Dales, makes me want to get back out there, when it gets a bit warmer. It started raining again so I thought stuff this for a game of soldiers and went straight home, only doing half the walk.

I have been looking through the diaries again for some silly snippets. I have to laugh at my writings. I've picked out several entries, all from April 29th. In 1965 it says, Dear Diary, Dr Kildaire was on tele and he was in an accident. It was horrible. Can anyone remember that episode, no, neither can I. Does anyone remember Dr Kildaire, Richard Chamberlain? I was totally in love with him at the time, I was a gormless skinny 16 year old, and believed everything I saw on the tele. It was only a few years ago that I found out he was gay and always had been. What! Surely not, he was always kissing women. All those hours I wasted drooling over him.

April 29th 1967. Work this morning. Went down town in the afternoon with Anna, met Julie. I went to Rolleston School dance at night, called for Celia. I danced on stage with the Blue Spots, fab group. I walked home with Sonia and Steve. Got home at 1.15. At that time I was walking everywhere. Not sure I would walk a mile and a half home after a disco at that time of night now though.

April 29th 1969. I got up at 11.45am. went shopping, bought food, tights, wig block, and handbag. Went to Shirls at 3.45pm, stayed till 10 o clock bus. I was living in a bedsit in Blackpool at the time, and working on the Pleasure Beach. I had three wigs and a hairpiece, one day I was blonde, another day I was black, or brown. It was fun to change my hair colour.

April 29th 1970. I got up at 10.30, had a bath, and went to sign on. Walked round the town, went to Ada's but she wasn't in. Me and Mike went to Ada's at 6.40pm. we watched the tele, the cup final was on, Chelsea won, 2 - 1. I was back at the Pleasure Beach for the start of the season, after my winter job at Empire Pools, the football coupon place. The time between Easter and Whit was weekends only so I signed on for the days I didn't work. After Whit it was full time until the end of October, when I would go back to the winter job. I used to call Ada, my Blackpool mum because I worked with her and she looked after us on the donut and waffle stall. She cooked the meals for the three of us at the back of the stall. Maura came over from Ireland every spring to work the season. Mike was my boyfriend, I often wonder what happened to him. I often think back about the people I used to know and think it would be nice to meet up and find out what has happened after many years.

April 29th 1985. Fetched a load of Sulphuric Acid from Grimsby then re loaded for Fontburn, and got to Boroughbridge and parked. Alison pulled in 10 mins after me. we went out for a drink. I was driving a chemical tanker for BRS at Derby. Alison was a Lady Truckers Club member, she lived at Boroughbridge. We all had a list of members so we could contact each other if we were on a night out. Most could provide a bed for the night and details on where to park. I met many Lady Truckers like that.

April 29th 1999. Computer class 1pm. Getting quite good now, making up fancy documents. Teacher got a bit narked with me, I told her I can't hear so good so I am a bit slow. I looked to see what Carole was doing and Teacher told me off. I called in the library and changed my CD's. I signed up for a ten week beginners course for computers at the college. Thought I had better try and learn it. I liked it and after five weeks I bought a computer so I could practice at home. They have changed a lot since then. I didn't like spread sheets and data bases, I preferred designing posters and leaflets. I used to get talking books out of the library on CD's, to play while I was driving a cement tanker.

April 29th 2000. Cleaned the church, payday £32. I used to tell people I was the church scrubber, ha ha. I did two hours a week, hoovering, mopping, dusting, polishing, usually towards the end of the week so it was ready for the Sunday service, or a wedding. I had a key to let myself in. There was microphones and speakers, I switched it on and got a hymn book and belted out a couple of songs. I quite like singing, but never do it in front of anyone, always in secret. The vicar came in once, he wasn't expecting me to be there. He said someone was bringing a body in a coffin to lie overnight, for the funeral the next day. The widow was coming to see it. I said I would go home and come back later to finish off. When I got back I was half expecting the coffin lid to open and a hand come out, it was spooky. I got the hoover out and did all around the church, and finished up cleaning underneath Mr B.

April 29th 2004. Start work at 6am. Load to Swindon. This job is too long, I asked for a 5pm finish, they should have given me a shorter run. I had an accident at Swindon, as I was pulling out the ratchet handle on the trailer was loose and as I turned it caught on the back of the truck and bent the oil reservoir and punctured a hole in it. Thankfully the hole was above the oil level so I was able to continue the journey home. Back at the depot no one seemed interested. This was the last job I had, I was getting weary of long hours, of waiting to get loaded, waiting to get unloaded, and getting stuck in traffic jams on the motorways. My heart wasn't in it any more. I was also running my business part time as well, so I had a lot to do. An entry for September 14th says, Back to work today after a week at home. I am not looking forward to it but it has to be done, I need to top up my bank balance. It was down at rock bottom. My business wasn't making money so I closed it, and I stopped spending and started managing on part time wages.

Enough of looking back. Looking forward I have booked a couple of nights in a farmhouse B & B in North Yorkshire in May. Looking forward to a good bit of walking.

I had a phone call from the Rip off Britain people, she rang to tell me which day my piece would be on. I couldn't hear the message properly, the phone is not very good. I thought she might have said Friday, but I thought it would be Tuesday according to what is in the Radio Times online. Maybe they change things around. I will have to keep my eye on it, in the meantime you could maybe check on the programmes, they go out every week day at 9.15am.

That's all for now, winding down, a bit tired. I seem to be waking early these days, usually up by 6am. Thanks for popping in. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Thursday, 28 April 2016

When life throws you a curved needle

Hello. My art project keeps throwing new ideas at me, it's not as straight forward as I first thought when the seed was planted. I now have to turn it into a fully grown cottage garden which will need lots of nurturing to get it into it's finished state. 
I need to sew around corners so I am using a curved needle, but it's not easy. With a normal needle I have to go up and down, pulling it through to the underneath and poking it back up again. I thought this curved needle would make the job easy so I can do the work from the top, but where should I grip it?
The eye is quite big so I suppose I could get a better grip on that, but it is so long I might not be able to control the pointy bit. I could hold it half way along but then it swizzles around and it takes a few stabs before I find the exact right place for the stitch. It's too narrow at the point to hold.

Maybe I could buy a smaller curved needle, I might look when I am next in town. Do they make smaller ones, are they easier to handle? In the meantime I shall carry on with this one. I can see this taking a long time.

Thank you for popping in. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Let's smooth things over ;o)

Hello. Time to lighten the mood and move on. What's your favourite fruit? I particularly like soft fruits, easier on the old teef, don't take much chewin. I like them mixed up a bit as well, I like making smoothies, seeing what works together. How about grapes, kiwi fruit, tinned mandarins, strawberries, and a banana. A good combination don't you think? 
There's a whole lot of goodness in there, this is my five a day covered. My jug is empty, it was lovely.

Are you feeling fruity? What are your combinations to make a good smoothie?

A short one tonight, my head is hurting from all the moderating. I need to go outside.

Thanks for popping in. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A question and an answer (Topic closed)

Comments are still coming in for this topic. Thank you for reading, but I am not publishing any more comments.

Hello. Someone asked a question, I will answer.

Lovely scenery. I wish we had that here where I live. I have a question. Are you at all affected by the refugee/muslim situation or are you too far out in the country to be impacted? I would love to hear the opinion from someone living in England instead of reading about it in the mistrustful media.

Long time readers may remember I wrote a post about the UK being full up and having no room to take more. It is almost three years ago I, aka Nellie, wrote that. It attracted 76 comments, many from people who have looked into the more complex issues of mass migration. I see Britain as a pot flowing over with people it cannot sustain because of weak infrastructures and insufficient resources. I haven't changed my view on this, but I am more mindful of what I say now, as it seems that anyone with this view is labelled as right wing and racist. I am choosing my words carefully. 

The movement of whole populations from one country to another is what I would class as an invasion, Europe is being invaded. The cause of this is the clash between different cultures, war in other places, and economic migrants who want a better life elsewhere. Who do I blame for all this unrest? The internet. People have always moved around the world for one reason or another, but not in such great numbers. Sorry I have not studied history in great depth, so you might know different. Now, everyone with a hand held device and an internet connection can see that life would be somewhat better than the place they were born in, so they want to make the journey. 

We (the UK) need more houses, jobs, hospitals, and schools to accommodate newcomers, the Government tells us the country is bust, no money. We already have a lot of homeless people living on the streets, people waiting for medical care and operations, and classrooms of unacceptably high numbers of children. I can't see how we can take in more without improvements to all these services. 

People will keep on coming, whole armies of them, it's like a great tidal wave that can't be stopped. It's all well and good saying they won't get any benefits for four years if they come here, so what is the Government going to do? Let them starve so they end up stealing to survive, or frog march them forcibly back to where they came from? Questions I don't know the answers to. 

In my crystal ball I see vast culture changes where east and west meet in the middle, neither sides wanting to give up their heritage. Those that come here will want to copy their previous life, on new soil, those that were born here will want to hang on to their British values and principles. It's going to be difficult. It's going to mean change for everyone and people are going to struggle with that. 

In my opinion, if you go and live in another country you abide by their laws, their rules, learn their language and integrate. I choose to stay here because I don't want to do that. If I say any more about that I will be called racist. 

I had better answer the question and stop waffling on. Am I affected by the refugee/muslim situation, or am I too far out into the country to be impacted? At the moment I am not directly affected. I can get to see a doctor if I need to. I expect that to become more difficult as numbers of immigrants swell, so I'd better try and keep healthy. I have a house so I don't have to look for one. 

I can find places of solitude in the country to continue my walking. I have noticed my town becoming more multicultural, and I have to say, this makes me feel uneasy. I am more aware of my surroundings when shopping, looking around me, steering clear of anyone who behaves in an unusual manner. Crime can be committed by any nationality of course, but if someone is desperate there's no telling what they will do. 

In the last few days it has been reported in the press of car jackings, an elderly lady was dragged out of her car and run over as the car was driven away. Not saying that the crook was an migrant, but it makes you think about what could happen. Best to lock yourself in your car as you are driving through built up areas, and not get out if you are approached. 

The sight of so many dark skinned men and youths roaming around the towns in groups makes me feel very uneasy. Am I allowed to say that? It is reported that trafficers are looking for new routes into Britain because of the security at the southern ports is tightening. Only last week a lorry load of human cargo came into Hull docks, it won't stop, there will be more. 

My prediction. In years to come Europe will change beyond all recognition. People have a chance to vote in or out in June, and no one knows exactly what will happen if it goes one way or the other. Discussions welcome, no fighting  :o)

Thank you for the question, I have answered it to the best of my ability.

Thank you for popping in. We'll catch up soon. 
Toodle pip

Monday, 25 April 2016

Big shopping spend

Hello my little bloggerettes, Howz ya diddlin? This morning I went to Crafty Club and spent the two hours cutting out felt flowers for the next artwork. I need lots, it will take a while. 
Looking back at yesterday, I went and had a nosy at the car boot sale at the football ground. Not a lot of stalls there, although it was sunny it was quite cold. Also, too many traders, it was more like a market. I only buy from genuine booters. I got a bit of a shock, I spotted a pair of boots and instantly recognized them. I had donated them to the Age UK charity shop only two weeks ago. The cheeky stall holder is obviously a trader. I was so surprised I forgot to ask how much he wanted for them, he would have bought them for £1. I asked him where he got them from, he pretended it wasn't his stall, and said, 'I don't know where he got them from'. I donate things to charity shops because I think someone might have a use for it, not so someone can come along and make money from it. I suspect that a lot of people might do this trick though.  
 I picked up this set of curtains for £1.50, they are very long, thick fabric, and in good condition. My first thought was, would make lovely shopping bags, of course. I'll wait a while before I cut them up, just in case any other brilliant ideas come to mind. 
Tiny purple beads, they will come in useful. £1.

I've been to town this afternoon. A few bits from the discount stores, Wilko have an offer on the Ultima dry cat food so I picked up four bags. They also had a large bottle of milk for 30p, about to go out of date, so I nabbed that. Last port of call was Aldi. I haven't shopped here for a while, have been buying food from Tesco. I am not a creature of habit, I don't do a weekly shop. I pick up bits here and there as I am passing. I thought I would do an itemized list for you, so you can see what a normal shop is like when I pay full price.

2 cartons soya milk 59p each
Bottle chardonnay £3.89
5 foils of dog food 27p each
1k gran sugar 39p
2 tins baked beans 23p each
1kg bananas (8) 68p
Frozen peas 69p
Potatoes 79p
Onions 55p
2 packs ex mature cheese £1.59 each
Salted peanuts 99p
Dry roasted nuts £1.05
Butter 75p
Broccoli 37p
Cucumber 39p
Tomatoes 57p
Low fat yogurt 45p
2 bags walnuts £1.29 each
Brazil nuts 99p
Quiche £1.19
Soft cheese 49p
2 packs cream crackers 40p each
Spinach £1.29
Sliced ham for the kids 79p
Strawberries £1.35
Med FR eggs 79p
Mushrooms 89p
Farmhouse seeded loaf 85p
Bran flakes 88p
Total £30.62

I shop at Aldi about once a month, it's conveniently close to the town. They don't have everything I want, so I shop around. This is quite a big shop for me, the strawberries and wine are treats. The cheese and crackers will last four weeks, maybe more. I don't need to go shopping for a week to ten days, but if I am passing any supermarkets I will always pop in to see if there are any reductions, which will help me to stretch a normal shop out to last longer.

I'll wrap this up now. Need to take the dawg out and then do my three miles.
Thanks for popping in. We'll catch up soon. Toodle pip.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Bus ride to a nice walk

Hello. I decided to turn my three miles into five yesterday, and look at some nice scenery. The bus passes the end of my road just after 12.30, it's a twenty minute ride to another village, and a five mile walk back along paths and tracks. I wasn't at all impressed by the state of the bus, it was filthy. Not just a bit grubby, but months of dust along the window ledges. As I alighted at the turn around point I asked the driver if they employed cleaners. Straight away he said, 'I'm glad you asked that. because we have been telling the boss for ages about this dirty bus, and nothing ever gets done about it.' He asked me to ring the office and complain. I will do tomorrow.
The Village Hall at Whitton was buzzing with people, I forgot that it was St Georges Day until I saw the flag. There he is, sat propped up against the flag pole.  
I know this route off by heart, so no map required. Most of the posts around here have this heart man sign on them. They are designated routes for the community group walks. The Council encourages people to walk for exercise. I need no encouragement.

Wonderful views across the Trent. Usually cows in the field, but none today. The sun was out and I was feeling good.

Well  marked, the path comes up the bank away from the river and continues between a wood and fields.

Looking down into the wood on my right, how disgusting can some people be to dispose of their rubbish in this way. I don't know how they managed to get three large pieces of  bathroom fittings down there. There is no vehicular access, I can only imagine that a farmer has brought these across the field on his tractor. 
I was so bloomin annoyed, I went down into the wood and dragged the pieces up to the footpath and left them in full view of everyone who might pass. Maybe someone will have a twinge of conscience and take them away and dispose of them properly.

It's a nice walk back with good views to enjoy.

The foliage is greening up nicely, and there was the scent of garlic wafting past my nostrils.

Into Alkborough Village, the church is flying the flag of St George.

And the club has the Union Jack flag along the railings.

Oooh look, the cafe is open. I got myself a drink. Good job I remembered to put a few coins in my pocket. 
Someone is watching me, I wonder if it is real, ha ha. Nope, it's wooden. Very realistic though.

Onward towards home. Good views across the river.

This is looking inland, as the river winds it's way towards the docks further upstream. Boats negotiating this stretch of water have to be very careful as there are hidden sandbanks lurking below the surface. It's only passable at certain times when the tide is in. A little bit of cloud coming over now and it's getting a bit chilly, glad it's not much further to go. 
The beacon was lit on Thursday night for the Queen's birthday. Remnants of charred remains lie at the bottom of it. looks like they burnt a pallet and some old furniture.

This used to be a wooden bridge crossing the gully, but they had to change it to metal, because the youths kept breaking it up to put on their bonfire on the picnic area. there is a dog poo bin there, as it's popular with dog walkers around here. I would imagine most dogs would go off into the woods to do their business.

So there you are, just under three hours from start to finish including the bus journey. Made a nice change from tramping the streets. Must do it again soon.

Thanks for popping in. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Let's have a catch up

Hello and Good Morning. Let's have a catch up. I feel as if I have been away, though I am still here. Some of my posts are chatty every day stuff, like a diary, but every so often I feel the need to write an article about something that is bugging me. I don't want my blog to turn into another magazine full of articles, and I don't want it to be full of banal chit chat, so you get a bit of everything. Today we'll catch up, it's the weekend, so chill. 
There's been a lot going on in the media this week, it was such a shock to hear of Victoria Wood's passing, I don't think anyone saw that coming. Wasn't she just brilliant and talented. I am pleased that her family managed to keep it all out of the press until the last minute. I hate it when news breaks of someone's terminal illness and the press picks it all to bits even before the person has gone. For goodness sake, someone is ill, we don't need pictures of them slipping slowly into oblivion, let's have some respect for the families. Rant over.
The pictures of the Royal Family were lovely, I like that we have a Royal Family and not a President. I have every respect for the Queen, she stepped into her role at a young age, and has given her whole life to her family and her duties. A late Happy Birthday your Majesty. 
The pictures of Catherine and William in India were charming. Her dresses were fabulous, and they  both looked happy despite the endless photocalls. They cope with this intrusion very well. As usual there has been a lot of trolls at large slagging them off in the press, I hope they don't read the venomous bile spouted forth in their direction. I don't care how much money they have, or how much they cost the country. They give great value for money bringing in millions of tourists from all over the world. Who would step into their shoes and give their life to their jobs? I certainly wouldn't, I value my freedom.  
Look what I invented. I have two watering cans, found in a skip, (house clearance), but they had no sprinklers on them. I need to sprinkle water onto my flower beds, so I found two small plastic bottles that fit the spouts exactly. 
Cut some small holes in the bottom and bingo, sprinklers. Works a treat.

My breakfast this morning. Bran Flakes, nuts, dried fruits, and seeds. Strawberries on a yellow sticker which I found yesterday after calling in at the small Tesco on my way back from the council dump. Grapes I bought a week ago from the big Tesco, also yellow sticker, still fine. Value soya milk and a couple of spoons of Value yogurt. Deeelishus.

I was in Home Bargains the other day, stocking up on pet food, when I was asked by a young girl if she had seen me on the television. Oooh, I was spotted, ha ha. I think it was the pink sun visor which gave it away. She saw me on the Jo Brand documentary. I had a  lovely chat with her, she doesn't walk a lot, but she loves drumming.

Talking of television, reader John has alerted me to the fact that Rip off Britain starts a new series on Monday, this is the programme I did the filming for in December. Seems such a long time ago now. The programme goes out each weekday on BBC 1 at around 9am, repeated the following morning early, over eight days. I have had a look through the Radio Times schedule. It doesn't give much information for forthcoming programmes but it does say they are investigating sell by dates on Tuesday the 3rd of May. So I think that might be the one. I will keep a look out for anything in the TV magazines leading up to that date. If anyone sees anything, can they please let us know so we can all watch.

It's looking like another nice day, so I'm going to get off this computer and do something else. Thanks for popping in, I hope your weekend is good. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Friday, 22 April 2016

Keeping track of where the money goes

Hello and good morning. It's Friday, and as Ready Steady Go used to say at the beginning of their Friday night music programme, the weekend starts here. Thank you all so much for your comments on the previous post, your words made very useful and enlightening contributions. It's great to get the views of others, adds meat to the bare bones if you like. It's a subject that needs to be aired on occasions, to highlight the good work of Women's Refuge, and to show that if anyone is suffering in silence there are places to get help. 
So, what's on the agenda today? My winter fuel bills, as expected were quite high, so this has prompted me to sort out my utility bill files, put them in order, and work out the figures for the past year. 
Most people prefer to pay monthly by direct debit which comes straight out of their bank account. I am a bit old fashioned, I like to use the utilities first, gas, electric, and water, then pay for them on a quarterly or half yearly bill. The direct debit system works ok for those who have multiple financial commitments and find it difficult to keep track. Not a good idea to miss paying essential bills, they need to be paid. My financial commitments are simple and I find it easy to budget on a monthly and yearly basis.

So what's the situation at Tightwad Towers. I have some figures in front of me.
Four gas bills from April 15 to April 16
£5.30  April to July. Cooking and baths.
£5.84  July to Sept. Cooking and baths.
£32.64  Sept to Dec. Also, bit chilly, some heating.
£98.13  Dec to April. Also, cold bit more heating.
Total £141.91 for the year. Average £11.82 per month.

Four electricity bills from April 15 to April 16.
£26.55  April to July. Longer days, spend time outside.
£38.41  July to Sept  Don't go out much in school holidays.
£23.40 Sept to Nov  Cutting down in readiness for winter.
£71.99  Nov to April  Lights on, staying in. Computer on.
Total £160.35. Average £13.36 per month.

I have two water bills a year from two companies. Water into the house and waste water out  from Anglian. I am on a meter. Surface water removal by Severn Trent.
£35.67 Dec 14 to June 15
£32.55 June 15 to Dec 15
Total £68.22.
Severn Trent
£28.49 Oct 15
£28.49 April 16
Total £56.98
Total water charges for the year. £125.20.  Average £10.43 per month.

The other regular bill coming in is taken by direct debit, my broadband and land line is paid monthly. When I changed supplier this was the only option offered. I get an email every month from EE, which I don't bother reading because I know more or less what is in it. I can confirm the amounts when I get my bank statement. It is usually around £35 a month. I could probably get it cheaper if I shopped around, but I don't want to be tied into any contracts, and then after the one or two year period have to look for another deal. I count my computer as my hobby and entertainment. I don't go out hardly at all in the evenings, don't pay a TV licence, don't go to the pub, don't eat out. My unlimited broadband is as important to me as my gas and electric.

I won't go into detail on my other expenses, I have house insurance but not contents insurance. I have all the costs involved in running a nice car, road tax, insurance, MOT, recovery, and depreciation. For any new people who have started reading, I don't have a mortgage or pay rent.

So there you are. Financial review all done and dusted. Have you looked at your bills lately? Do you keep them in a file? Or are they all computerized? Maybe you do a spread sheet on the computer, I don't. Maybe you do internet banking, I don't. Do what's best for you.

Thanks for popping in. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

A delicate subject

Hello. Have you been listening to The Archers? I have to say I gave up with it a long time ago, the story lines were not holding my attention, so I drifted away from it. However, it has been in the news a lot lately, all down to the domestic abuse saga of Helen and Rob which has been rumbling on for around 18 months. I read that they were covering this topic but I didn't feel inclined to jump back in again, it would have brought back unpleasant memories of the past when I found myself in a similar situation. I only know too well what it's like to be the victim of  a bullying control freak, it's a horrible place to be.

A week or so ago I caught the scene where it all came to a head, through not turning the radio off quick enough. Helen took a knife and stabbed Rob, lot's of screaming and shouting. Thank goodness my situation did not escalate to that level, but never the less, my relationship brought a lot of mental stress, which is just as destructive as physical violence. Never under estimate the power of a manipulative mind taking control of another persons personality.

I've found an article in The Guardian in which the writer Michele Hanson says the harrowing domestic story line has her hooked. It is planned to trundle on for another year, as Rob is not dead. I for one will not be listening, I have first hand knowledge to know what it is like to be worn down, to become a shadow of your former self.

I sometimes mention my diaries, picking out little stories to post here, and in order to keep this a happy blog I have skipped over the not so happy times. But hey, life is not all roses, shit happens and you have to find a way to deal with it. I think it's a good idea to include topical subjects, as well as the 'ups', it's also the 'downs', which make me the person I am, and it's my blog so I can say what I like. I'm going to make an exception now of picking out a few entries of the three years or so when I was victim of bullying. You may or may not want to read it, but if it helps someone take stock of their own lives, puts their situation in perspective, and gives food for thought, then it's worthwhile me sitting here and bashing the keyboard.

I got through it in a relatively short space time, but I did think I was trapped forever and I would be stuck in that situation indefinitely. I went round in circles in my head, knowing what I needed to do, but I wasn't quite strong enough to change things, until I saw sense. I have mentioned that I can say what I like now, but it wasn't always like that during the three years of this relationship. I had to be mindful of everything that came out of my mouth, because every word was picked over, dissected, and questioned. My every move was monitored by this person who wanted full control over me. I was interrogated, accused, spied on, manipulated, and all I ever wanted to do was to make it work between us.

I went along with it because saying he loved me was easy words to roll off his tongue. If he got what he wanted he only had to say those words, and I put any doubts to the back of my mind. And it went on, a vicious circle. Eventually those doubts grew from a few seeds, to fully grown stinging nettles. Slowly I began to realize that the relationship was not normal. People, my friends and work colleagues, noticed that I had changed, and I had, to be the person he wanted me to be. I voluntarily made the changes in the beginning, because my single days were over and I was now part of a couple. But after a while I didn't like the new me, I wanted the old one back. There is only so long that you can act in character, it's important to remember the real you inside. I was always a friendly happy person, but I changed that for him. I became introvert, and scared to open my mouth, not like me at all.

Actual words from my diaries. We weren't living together.
T (made up initial), was mad with me because I was talking to M yesterday. He accused me of fancying him. What a horrible mess, we are not getting anywhere. He was annoyed, he finished with me because M was talking to me. I am fed up with the whole situation. T gets mad when he can't see me.

It all went wrong and T was mad with me, he came to the house and was shouting at me. I was ready to finish with him, I put his clothes in a bag, then took them back.

T rang this morning, said I hadn't answered the question he asked yesterday, which was why do I look at all the other men, when I was with him. We then had a stupid conversation which didn't gain anything. I gave him my answer, he said he didn't believe me.

I didn't do much this afternoon, didn't feel like it. Felt sad that I am on my own. T said he might come round, but of course he didn't. I don't know what to believe anymore. I don't know how he can treat me like he does. I'm just convenient for him to call on whenever he feels like it. I must be stupid to put up with it.

I rang T on the mobile, I have been getting fed up with the situation. I said we are miles apart with differences. He was mad with me. I just want an end to it now. I said this has got to stop, this is the end of the line for me. T is not what I want from a partner, he doesn't know how to love, how to care properly. He is always nasty, moody, snappy, in a bad mood, and miserable. I can't cope with all this gloom and doom.

Fed up with everything, I want to get my life sorted. Can't concentrate while everything is messy. T rang and asked me to pick him up. I said I was upset yesterday about coming back to an empty house after he promised to be there. He asked if I had any feelings for anyone else. The man is screwed up I am sure.

I could go on, but I'll stop there. You get the picture, I was at his beck and call. So how did I get out of it? The discontent on my part had built up over a period of time. I had put so much into the relationship, he was going to be my partner for life, but I wasn't getting anything back from it. He would have gone on for longer, bullying me into getting what he wanted, but I knew I had to get out. I felt a complete failure, he had eroded my personality that much I was a different person. I had to change back to how I was.

It took a while, because he carried on pestering me. He kept ringing for a long time afterwards, eventually the calls got less and less. I did not ask for any help in dealing with it, I wanted to sort it myself, and I did. I got busy, made myself do things, changed things around in my house, started to go out more, and find some new friends. I put the whole sorry situation in a dark hole where it belonged.

I wish it had never started, but it did, and you can't change the past. I have learnt from it, and I will never be in that situation again. I am happy now. I'll put the diaries away now, I won't destroy them because you can never completely erase the past. The Archers abuse story happens every day all over the world. I feel for the women, and men, experiencing it now. The programme is covering a very sensitive subject and needs to be talked about, I won't be listening though.

It's a lovely day, I'm going to open up the summer house and have a potter in the garden.

Thank you for popping in. We'll catch up tomorrow.
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Load up your brushes, ladies.

Hello. Tuesday morning and I have joined the Art Club. It is held at the refurbished Pavilion at the playing fields. Everything was laid out for us on arrival, the tutor was very well organized. As usual I rushed in at the last minute, never on time. First thing to do was put a pink wash on the surface. There were boards provided, but I preferred to use the paper I took with me. Let it dry then mark out the horizon, and continue with whatever colours we liked to fill in the sky and land. 
We all used acrylics, and I took four of the little pots of emulsion testers. I'm glad I did because I had just the right shade of pink and didn't have to mix it. Coffee was served, of which I didn't partake because I took diluted juice. I did however have the chocolate biscuit. 
It was a happy little crowd, although some of that was due to me mucking about. I just can't stop myself from acting the fool, I hardly ever take anything seriously.

Here is the result of sloshing the paint about. I'll leave you to guess which one is mine, no prizes. I think I am pretty hopeless, I have no patience and expect things to appear on the paper with very little effort being put into it. Even if I went back to it and added more paint it wouldn't make any difference, it would still be naff.

It was jolly, it was fun. We meet again in two weeks time, I think it's water colours for that session. Outdoor sketching was suggested, as was still life. Wonder how much it would cost to hire a model? Preferably a hunky male ;o)

Thanks for popping in. We'll catch up later.
Toodle pip

Monday, 18 April 2016

She's a right little madam

Hello. I can't put anything down in this house without a cat wanting to lie on it. And this little madam is the worst offender. Wherever I am, she wants to be, even if it means right in front of my nose when I am trying to do something. 
Here I am playing with an idea, wire mesh and felt strips. I've got a picture in my mind, it isn't set in stone so it might change as it grows. I walk away for a few  minutes and Heidi has decided that this is the perfect place to relax. I moved it to one side off the flat table where I was working, thinking it was out of her way. But no, she doesn't mind that it is on a slope and she might role off it.

Oh well, looks like I am not going to get any more done tonight so I might as well give up and read the paper.

Tomorrow morning I am trying something new, an Art Club. I need to gather my paints and brushes, and find some paper to practice on. There will be some instruction, so you never know, I might learn something.

Thanks for popping in. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Love my home prepared food.

Hello. It's a foodie post today, with a bit of stitching thrown in for good measure. I photographed this meal on Friday, it was my lunch. The salad and fruity couscous were yellow stickers, the tomato from a pack I bought the week before from Aldi. The cheese and pickle sandwich was left over from Thursday. My sister made me a snack and it was rather filling, I couldn't manage it all, so I brought it home with me. Waste not want not.
More yellow sticker food, my lunch yesterday, and I had the same thing today. There is butternut squash ready prepared in strands. Rice noodles, mushrooms, spinach, and a splodge of sweetcorn relish. It was lovely.

And today's lunch was, well you can see what it is. A quarter of quiche 25p per portion from Tesco, pickled onions, and houmous. I like these no cook meals, saves on gas, no messy pans, and can be prepared in minutes.

Tonight I've had a plate of yellow sticker steamed veg, with a drizzle of toasted sesame seed oil. All scoffed, nice. I love my home prepared food.

I'm making a few shopping bags to sell on our cat stall at the village fete in June. Starting now so I will have a few colours to choose from. It's the heavy fabric with a rubbery backing which I get from the Scrapstore. Should sell like hot cakes, they are very strong.

I did my first grass cut of the year on Wednesday, the ground was a bit wet, but it had to be done. I'm amazed that the mower keeps going, it was a cheapie from B & Q about ten years ago. I never clean it  before I put it away for the winter, and every spring it starts perfectly with no bother. I've had another tidy up of the garden and filled the brown bin ready for collection tomorrow. I see signs of life in the flower beds, a few new shoots are pushing their way up through the compost. How exciting.

I think Rocky wants to go out now, so I'll sign off. I did my walk this morning, now up to 294 miles. I hope your walking is going well now the weather is a bit better.

Thanks for popping in. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Easy to make handy little bag

Hello on this sunny Saturday morning in North Lincolnshire. Boy did it rain during the night, all my water buckets and bowls are full and overflowing, and the ground is very soggy. I will wait until things dry out before I attempt any garden tidying today. 
Yesterday I did some tidying in the crafty stock room, and came across the remains of a pair of thick black tights with one leg missing, previously removed for an experiment. A pair of one legged tights is not much use, unless you have a second pair which you can wear together. I remember doing this years ago, when I had a ladder I saved the tights until I had another similar pair. Cut off the laddered legs, and bingo, a new pair of tights. I haven't worn tights for years, gone right off them. I prefer leggins under jog bottoms in the winter, and light cotton trousers in the summer, or bare legs with either shorts or a long skirt if it is really hot. 
After cutting off the second leg, I ended up with a pair of pants. Hmmm, what to do with it now? I know, I have an idea. Turn it inside out with the back and front seams now on the sides. Run the sewing machine across the bottom a couple of times, I did zigzag stitch. Turn it the right way, you now have a bag that will scrunch up quite small to put in a handbag or pocket. 
I did a test, curious to see how much shopping it would hold. The gusset is now the handle.

I loaded it up with some weighty stuff. Packed neatly it will hold quite a lot.

Yep, I could certainly carry this from the shop to my car. 
Right, an easy project for you to tackle. Go and look in your drawers for some thick tights that you no longer wear. Even better would be some colourful or patterned ones. For a slightly thicker bag you could use leggins of any size. Cut the legs off straight across from about two inches below the gusset. The top of the tights is now the bottom of the bag, sew across with a machine or it can be done by hand.

If you carry a small bag around with you like this one, you will never be caught out if you suddenly remember you have to pick up a few items from the supermarket on the way home. If you are walking, put one in your rucksack. Could be used for carrying books to and from the library. Good eh!

I'm going to get my walk done early today, in case it rains later, so I'll sign off and leave you too it. Have a nice weekend whatever you are doing. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Friday, 15 April 2016

A family day out

Hello. I think you might have guessed why I wasn't around yesterday, a trip down the motorway to Burton on Trent. I must say, that the four lane stretch on the M1 is now running smoothly and the journey was done without any hold ups. It's about time it was finished, it has been under construction for what seems like years, and it was getting very tedious to pootle along at 50mph through the roadworks. The traffic in Burton has not improved though, the town seems to be ever sprawling outwards from the centre, new builds bringing more vehicles clogging up the roads. I have no desire to move back there. 
Rocky came with me, and after a cup of coffee and a chat to Auntie Pat, I left him with her while I went to the library to meet Uncle Stan. He was happy in his bed. They have a new rescue cat which was very curious to see a dog in the house. 
Stan likes to chat, think that's where I have got it from, I found him installed at a table near the exhibition, ready to talk to anyone who wanted the meet the artist. 
It was difficult to take good photo's because of the sunlight beaming in through the vast windows, and the reflections bouncing off the pictures with glass on them. Some I have seen before, but he has some older and newer ones that I haven't seen. He uses a variety of medium, pastel, acrylics, and oils. Some forty pictures are for sale, all the proceeds are going to the Air Ambulance.

The detail in this one is amazing.
A few abstracts.

Shame about the reflections on this one, he has got the skin tone perfectly.

This is what Stan does best, talk. He has been a gents hairdresser for most of his life, at one point having a string of shops. In his later years he scaled the business down to one shop, finishing up with a few of his regular customers coming to his house when the last shop was sold. He didn't need to work, he carried on because his customers were his friends, and the money was donated to Air Ambulance. It wasn't until he was in his late eighties that he finally did the last haircut. 
The exhibition is on in Burton Library until Saturday the 23rd of April.

I am very impressed with the library, it was a hive of activity. Spread over two floors, there are meeting rooms for hire, and the food in the cafe is excellent and reasonably priced, I am told.

Back to the house for a late lunch. Pat had made a lovely vegetable curry, far better than anything I can rustle up. Stan was whacked, so I left them to their afternoon nap, while I went to visit sister. A couple of hours there for a catchup. Sister was whacked as well after spending all morning getting the caravan ready for their forthcoming trip.

A quick dash up the motorway brought me to Tesco at about 8pm, had to pop in to see if there were any yellow stickers as my fridge is almost empty. Lucky me, there was some fruit and veg. I spent £11, which will see me through next week.

Bits and bobs to do today, need to walk because I missed yesterday. Need to tidy crafty room.

Thanks for popping in. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip