Monday, 31 July 2017

A fab walk

Hello. A quick post tonight. Carol is pooped, I have made her walk 9.5 miles today. We've had a fab day out, Walked from Cleveleys to the Pleasure Beach . Got the tram most of the way back, walked one mile back to the house when we got off the tram. It's been really good. 
I've got a lot of pictures, will post them shortly. Catchup soon.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Meeting Mum

Hello from a very windy Cleveleys. The party yesterday was good, it started just after I arrived at 4pm, and went on till after nine. There were tables outside on the lawn, plenty of food and drink, and jolly company, we all had a laugh. 
This morning I met up with Blogger Mum and her daughter. We had a stroll along the Promenade, and enjoyed lunch in a family cafe. The flowers are looking good.  

Giant planters line the main shopping street, giving it a Continental feel.

 Mum is very shy about having her photo taken, this is the only pose she would agree to.

This caught my eye on a memorial on the Promenade. Diana is a name very much in the news at the moment.

It makes a nice frame for posing. I like Cleveleys, the Promenade has been modernised and is nice and clean, it's not overly busy, plenty of space to mooch about.

Chilling at Carol's now, the sun is shining, we may go out.

Enjoy your Sunday, thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Friday, 28 July 2017

Hobby blogging

Hello. I like to tidy up my blog list on the sidebar from time to time, you will see it under the heading, 'Good blogs to read'. If someone hasn't posted for a while I remove them, you can't follow a blog when there are no updates. Ok, people might have a rest and start blogging later, in which case I will reinstate them. Some have been on my list for ages because I like reading them, and sometimes I fancy a change so I swap about, some go and some new ones appear. A bit like the friends and acquaintances you might meet in real life, people come and go.

I've added a new link to the list this morning.  Kate fits into the fugal, healthy eating, and needlecraft mold perfectly, and the plus point is that she isn't trying to sell anything. I can't be doing with blogs that are littered with advertising. I had a look at one this morning, found by me being nosy and clicking a link. Oh dear, praising herself up to the hilt, how she was making a ton of dosh from her blog, and if you pay her X amount of £'s she would let you into her secrets. I think we've all come across them from time to time, they pop up in the media with their rags to riches stories. No. I'm not jealous, it's just that I don't believe a word they say because they are being paid by whoever.

Anyway, that's the end of that gripe, each to their own as people often say. I've had a dabble at running a small business, twice, each time I didn't make much from them, just about covered my costs. I did enjoy running an introduction agency/singles club, it was fun. I also enjoyed buying in fancy goods and giftware with a cat theme and taking my mobile shop around the country to events. Hard work but enjoyable. Guess I'm never going to be rich, so I have given up trying.

I digress. Kate sent me an email, parts of which which I will copy here. I think she won't mind.

I just believe in sharing and it costs nothing to give away something that hasn't even cost me anything.  My blog is small, I don't have any sponsors not will I ever want any, I just blog because I enjoy it, and I have 'met' such lovely people from all over the world.  I have been so lucky in my life, I even have both my parents at 63 and until last year my husband had both his too, not many couples in their 60s can say that.  I'm giving up work in October, I only work part time but even that is more than I want to, I have enough contributions for a full pension when the time comes and until then my husband who is still working at 65 will pay the bills and I will live off my savings.  We are looking to downsize in a couple of years when he stops working (he loves his job teaching meditation courses) but until then it is more convenient to live where we are.  I'm seeing giving up work as a new challenge, I want to get fitter and change our diets (we are vegetarian but eat too much quorn and cheese), and there are so many needlecraft I haven't tried yet.  Sorry, I tend to ramble on a bit. 

Welcome Kate. You will find her blog on the sidebar, she is mainly about quilting, and other stuff, and if you get lost it is here. Smiles from Kate.  I like smiley people. Have a look and see what you think.

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

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Start of a new picture

Hello. A bit late tonight, just back from my walk, I'm on 703 miles now, whooopeeee. Hope you are all still plodding along. I've made a start on another needle felting picture, I did think I might make a wet felt picture but I'm not sure now. There will be a lot of stitching for sure. Thanks to the kind blog reader who sent the bundle of felt and wool, I have more colours to play with now. I've layered shades of bluey greeny purpley, this is going to be a sea bed picture. 
It's 16.5 by 12.5 inches. It's early days but I have some ideas.

More skip diving has taken place. Spotted these louvre doors in pretty good nick. I have cleaned them up, maybe they could be painted, I'll find a new home for them.

I've had my first quarterly bill from my new suppliers Ebico/RHE. Not strictly new because I was with them when they partnered SSE. I chose to stay with Ebico after the split, because they have a zero standing charge, ideal for me as a low user. Nevertheless they have managed to cockup. I have been entering my meter readings on my online account but the electricity side has not been registering in the history. I emailed them about it and they said it is fine. The bill they sent me has an estimated number, wildly over estimated. I checked my online account today and all the readings are now showing, so why they have estimated it I do not know. Email has been sent pointing out that they have the readings, and please send a new bill.

I'm going on a little jolly soon, to Cleveleys near Blackpool. I will take the little computer but I may not have time to write up a report. I will be too busy partying with my best friend Carol. There might be some walking as well so I'll take the boots and I have borrowed a map from the library. If it rains we will stay in.

Time for bed. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Amazing talent.

Good morning. This is something you must watch, have a tissue handy, you're going to need it.

Catch you later.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

All about Henry

Hello. I went to see Henry today, and of course my friend Helen was there as well. Henry is nine now, I have known him since he was a puppy, he used to come and stay at my house, and I stayed at his house when Helen went on holiday. I have walked him in his own village, and around here. 
He has been a bit poorly just lately, the boy has suffered with arthritis for a long time, and has been on medication to control the pain. The tablets which have given him a good quality of life are no longer available, they have stopped making them. The vet prescribed some other tablets but they didn't work the same. Luckily the vet has been able to source some more, but when they run out there may not be a plan B. So now all Helen and Paul can do is enjoy him while he is still here. I have never met such devoted dog lovers as they are. Henry has wanted for nothing. 
It was pouring with rain today but we still went a walk. 
He still loves his little bimble, sniffing all the other doggy smells.

I've dug a few old photos out from the archives. Friends having fun in my garden.

A flower pot makes a good chewing toy.

Relaxing on the sofa, just chillin.

Tie them to the bench so I can take a photo.

That look, ha ha. It says, this is my house, this is where I live, and I am King.

Walk from a couple of years ago, with his best friends Guinness and Angus. Helen pack leader has the doggy treats in her pocket.

Henry is a character, lets not cry just yet, he's still here.

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

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Eat plenty of veggies

Hello. Howz ya didlin. Are you all scoffing enough vegetables? I hope you are. Tons of veggies are good for you. If you need some inspiration, here's a little video I made today about the delishusness of veg, and how I cook them. Plain and simple, steaming takes five minutes in a pan on the hob.

Prices are good at the moment, not too expensive, so it costs very little to make a meal. To those who say healthy eating is expensive, I say bunkum. Junk food is expensive, just veggies is cheap.

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

Monday, 24 July 2017

The cost of washing your hair

Hello. Some smashing replies on yesterdays post, thanks for joining in everybody. I forgot I had these photo's of the Coffee Morning at the Bowls Club on Saturday. Lots of raffle prizes to be won, sadly I didn't get to take one home with me.  
Home made cakes for sale. I treated myself to a slice of coffee and walnut cake, baked by Bob, it was lovely.

People are having a go at bowls. I chucked a few balls last year but wasn't very good so I'll give it a miss this year. Mind you, if you asked me if I fancied a game of ten pin bowling I would jump at the chance. The wooden clubhouse will be demolished in the near future, they applied for a grant to build a new one, and got it.

Everyone is gathered for a natter, tea and biscuits are included in the £1 entrance fee. It was a successful event, more money made for the club.

Do you remember this? The experiment has finished. I wanted to see how many hair washes I could get out of a cheap 35p bottle of Aldi shampoo. I managed to get 42 out of it. I noticed that when people on the MSE forum work out how much they needed to spend per month on toiletries, it always seems quite a lot to me. I usually wash my hair once a week, sometimes twice depends if I am going out somewhere and I want it to look nice.I don't think I can get my hair washes any cheaper than less than a penny each, unless I give up shampoo altogether. I don't feel the need to buy expensive brand names, in my book they are a rip off. Can you cut down on your toiletries spend?

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

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Engineering where you want to be

Hello and Good Morning. 
I had a thought provoking and inspiring email from a reader which I thought I would share with you here, with her permission of course. There must be many people in the same position who are thinking and worrying how they will cope if they change full time work into part time, or retire altogether.  

Hello Ilona,
My name is Elaine. I also started work full time at 16yrs. By the time I was 56yrs, I felt that I could no longer keep it up. I had no life, divorced with one grown up daughter, why was I putting myself through this daily grind?
I tell you why FEAR, work was all I had ever known. Also scared how would I cope financially?
I was able to take early retirement, some thought I was an idiot as it was less money than taking it later in life. But I was totally burnt out. I looked on websites for how to cope, and it was always American's who had the big advice. Then by chance I came across your blog. Somebody British who I could relate to. You were living a great life with little money, and there was me sad not knowing what to do age 58 trying all sorts and ending up lost.
I am 59 next month and in a much better place. Although I was shocked that my state pension was now available to me at 66 and not 62 as the government had me believe, thankful to the WASPI women fighting this.
I do still work part time but when I want to, and even this is now getting too much, but I realise I have to keep going till 66 drat!
I have a car, paid off my mortgage and am taking your great advice off the blogs.
Thank you for helping me, why should I feel guilty about wanting a nice life?
Best wishes,

My story is that I started winding down when I was in my mid fifties, I cut my working hours which resulted in a drop of income. I wanted to get off the treadmill, wanted a better work-life balance, so the answer was clear to me, if I didn't spend anything I didn't have to earn it. I watched the bank balance go down and down, to almost rock bottom. When it got dangerously low I knew I had to do a couple of days work so I could pay my mortgage. 

A strange thing happened, I didn't worry, I didn't panic. I saw my situation more as a game, a game I had to win, and winning for me was yes, I had less money, but I had a lot less stress. It was fun jiggling with small numbers. Imagine someone with big numbers in big savings, big investments, big bank accounts, and big commitments. How do they cope with that? 

Money doesn't buy you happiness, as it has been proved millions of times. It is big news when a relationship breaks up and the acrimonious splitting up of the assets begins. Money makes people bitter, when they lose it they become even more bitter. It brings out the nasty streak in people. Far better to have very little and build a life around what you have, and be content in your own bubble. 

Elaine, you are in a good place, you have made the changes you needed to. A nice life doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Over the next five years do an audit of your situation, an annual review. List your needs and wants, move some of the needs over to the wants side. As you get older you may find that you need less, so you will spend less. Ask yourself the question, 'do I need it', before you open your purse. You may find you can chip away at your working hours, cutting them down bit by bit. Perhaps look for another part time job that you enjoy more, rather than just working for the money. 

Your nice life is taking shape, it will be what you want it to be. Keep on tweaking it, manipulating it, changing things. Life can only get better if you make it better. 

Have a nice Sunday everyone. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip 

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Make a lucky horseshoe

Hello. Remember this? The rusty old horseshoe that was on the front of my garage for years, then it fell off. I thought I might tart it up a bit. Stan the friendly library man has the tools at home to get rid of the rust and it looked like this when he gave it back to me. Looks nice and shiny. Could be left like that with a couple of coats of varnish to seal it. But no, I want to add colour. 
My first idea was to wrap strips of fabric round it, and sew beads onto it, Tried that but it just wasn't working, couldn't get the finish I wanted. Then I thought of painting it, but then realized it would probably chip off. Nail varnish, that's it, I bought some dead cheap from a car boot sale and still had some left. Next clear varnish, stick beads and sequins on with the varnish. A piece of wire threaded with beads makes a colourful hanger.

It's taken ages to get some decent photo's the light bounces off the shiny surface. I've done my best, photographing it in different places, and rejecting most of them, so here are a few of the bestest ones.

I'm very pleased with the result, it looks fab in real life.

It's looking like the early rain is clearing up, I'm off out in ten minutes, the Bowls Club has a coffee morning and I'm going to socialize. Enjoy your weekend, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Thursday, 20 July 2017

They'll be something in the bit box.

Hello. Post number two. Several people said they were looking forward to seeing what I did with the mirror. Well the after photo doesn't look any different to the before photo, from the front view. It's a bit different round the back. I stripped it down and cleaned all the parts with polish. The mirror didn't fit tightly in the frame, it was a bit loose, so the dust was getting inside. 
It needed an extra layer to make a tight fit, I have a roll of black sticky back underlay the sort you put underneath a vinyl floor to add a bit of insulation. I cut a piece to fit and stuck it on the back of the mirror, the put in a few veneer pins around the edge to hold it in place. 
Next I needed a new piece of board because the original had mould on it due to it being stored in the garage. I remembered the single bed bases I salvaged from my friends when they moved, just the job. It's a very thick cardboard, I cut it out with a Stanley knife.

 Next to screw it on the back. It needed washers to stop the screw heads biting into the cardboard and disappearing.. I don't have any washers so what to use instead?

Can you guess what they are? Answers on a postcard, no prizes, ha ha. If you haven't got the exact parts that you need, improvise. Job's a good one.

I decided not to paint it, the wood is in good condition, no marks or scratches, it looks fine as it is. 
Hooooray, the sun is out, I'm off out for an hour. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Waiting for the rain to stop

Hi. It's very wet outside, chucking it down in fact. Where are the cats then? Garcia is lying in the middle of the kitchen floor. I allow him to stay in when it's horrible outside. He can't get in his own house as everyone is out at work. 
Naughty Mayze. She is sharing a basket with a bag of onions on the worktop. I have told her that she is not to jump up on this side of the kitchen. This is my side, her side is opposite next to the sink.

Heidi is chilling out in the spare room aka the craft store. Oh dear, cat hairs all over my fabric.

Take it easy kids, I'll let you know when it's safe to go outside.

See you soon.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

New skips have appeared, whooopeeeee

Hello. Here is Mollie Dolly. She is going to a new home tomorrow. I was asked to make her for a friend of a friends new baby. Hope she isn't too scary for her. She has two tone yellow hair with red streaks, I used up some oddments of wool. Her legs are a bit long, but I don't suppose baby Mollie will be too bothered by that. Just hope she doesn't burst into tears when she sees those wide open staring eyes. 
She fits in with the rest of the clan. That's it now, no more, getting bored, move on to something else.

Look what I found last night while doing my three miles. A very nice mirror in a skip. I knocked on the door and the owner said I could take it, so when I got back I went in my car to pick it up. The back is not fixed on properly and a bit shabby, and the mirror is a bit loose, so I'll take it apart and make a new back for it. Not bad eh! Keep looking in skips peoples, you might find something worth saving.

I've been watching Sarah on Money for Nothing, luckily there are lots of programmes on yoootooob to get through which will keep me entertained for a while, as well as give me some ideas. Sarah goes to recycling centres and rescues stuff before it goes into the skip. She then gets it renovated and sells it. If anyone wants to have a look give this one a try. You might get hooked.

No rain yet today but it looks like it might come down soon, so I'm going to get outside while it's still dry. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

A small pot of paint goes a long way

Hello and good morning. Thank you to Jean for the question about my paint. 
You always seen to have plenty of paint for projects, where does it all come from? I know you buy test pots, and mention free paint, but with all your summer house painting and projects, you must spend a lot. So what is your secret of never ending paint, and how do you get "free" paint? Jean.
Yes, it must seem like I spend a lot of money on paint, I always appear to have some on hand. Flis is right, friends gave me some half tins of paint for the summer house, so that was free, I also used some of my small pots. This is what I have left.
Small tins of Crown, these came from Hull Scrapstore. They were included in my £5 per basket, along with lots of fabric. So they cost very little. 
These Coverplus plastic tester pots came from Woolworths just before they closed, that was a few years ago. They cost 4p each, there was a lot more but I am on the last dregs now.

Got these on a previous visit to the Scrapstore, again as part of a basket, only three left, had about twelve to start with.

Cuprinol, bought a few months back from Wilko. You can see that they were 10p each.

The total sum of what I have left. It's all vinyl silk emulsion or similar, so the brushes can be cleaned in water. I don't have as many colours left to play with now, so I will be keeping my eyes open when I go in  diy shops that sell paint, and look for anything that is reduced.

I treat all my shopping in the same way. As well as food being reduced, shops sometimes clear out excessive stock to make way for new. It's a case of being alert, not walking around in a dream, and scouring the shelves for any offers. The word 'reduced' is imprinted in my brain, if I spot something I want to know what it is, and if it will be of any use to me.

There is a reduced section in The Range, a big department store that has an extensive selection of arts and crafts items. I very rarely find anything in there, they don't knock much off, but when I am in the shop I take a look just in case. It's like the reduced dry goods (food) in Tesco, nothing much there, but on occasions they have dented tins which are marked down to very cheap.

If I go in any shop my eyes scan the shelves, the bins, and around the till area, searching for the words Reduced, or Offers, or Sale. All these little savings add up and it means that I get to keep my money in my purse and save up a little nest egg for spending on treats. It's the fun of beating the system for me, like a tug of war between me and them. I know more or less what I am prepared to pay for things. If the price is too high I walk away.

Paint is very expensive, my whole house could do with a lick of it, but I am not prepared to spend the money because it's not a priority. I might tart it up a bit if I find some cheap enough, but I don't enjoy painting whole doors and walls inside a house. The summer house was different, I could slap it on, it didn't matter that it wasn't perfect.

Anyway, I've got tho go, Heidi needs to have a tablet, that's if I can find her, she went out earlier but might be back in now. Garcia has been in for his breakfast, he scoffed it down that quick, he brought it back up again, yuk. Mayze is lounging on the dining room table aka the painting/sewing table. It's going to be a hot one today. I shall go and see Stan in the mobile library later to change some books.

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