Wednesday 31 October 2018

New clothes, looking ahead to summer

My very good friend had a clear out of her wardrobe and cupboards. She brought two bags of clothes destined for the charity shop and let me take my pick before she went to town. Wasn't that nice of her. After I had chosen she went through my clothes and said I ought to add more colour, she's like that, I am not offended at all. I prefer people to say what they think. I can look a bit dull sometimes. 
So here is my colour, 17 tops. Some of them will need alterations as she is a bigger size than me. Some of them fit me without alterations and I am wearing the vesty type tops now. 
I used to make a lot of my clothes but I don't do that any longer because they are so cheap to buy in charity shops. Everything £1 in Age UK. But these are better than £1, they are free, so I will make the effort and take them in at the sides. This is a size 16, I am a 12, sometimes a 10, sometimes a 14, depending on whether I am in a sloppy baggy mood, or a dressy tighter fitting mood.

The plan is to use one of my tops as a pattern, trim off the excess from the sides and sew it back together again. Methinks that is going to be easy.

That's my wardrobe sorted out for next spring and summer, no need to buy any more. Thank you my dear friend, let me know if I can help you in any way, I have time and two willing hands. Do you need any more shopping bags, the production line is in full swing again. It's nearly Newsletter time again, I can help you deliver those.  xxx  ilona


Monday 29 October 2018

Character and style

Some people have all the luck. Look at this for a free find, I don't know how my friend does it. I thought I was good at finding free stuff, but she beats me by miles. Most of the furniture in her house is second hand, either free or very cheap. This chair is beautiful, found on a Facebook group page where people give things away, or swap, or sell for a small fee.

Quite comfortable as well. I feel like a Queen sat on the throne, forgot to put my crown on. 
Don't you think that second hand furniture has that pre-loved homely look. It has character, it has style, there is history, and a uniqueness about it. If it could speak it would have a few tales to tell. Unlike the bland and boring stuff which comes off a factory production line.

I can count the amount of new furniture I have bought in my lifetime on one hand. I bought a double bed, then years later I bought another double bed. I bought a pine dining table and four chairs, the cheapest I could find. I bought an office chair after many years of sitting on a broken second hand one. I have never bought a new three piece suit. Second hand furniture has always been fine for me. As long as it is functional, and not too bashed about, it doesn't have to match anything. I've never been in a furniture shop and thought oooh isn't that lovely I must have one. I can't see me ever living in a brand new house with brand new furniture, it wouldn't be like a real home, it just doesn't appeal. I wouldn't like it.

Sunday 28 October 2018

Plastic fantastic

I finished these flowers yesterday. Blinged them up with mini gems, nail varnish and glitter. For indoor use or outdoors. Aint they pretty. 

Four miles walked today, every little helps. Three days left of this month, don't forget it's check in day on Thursday the 1st of November. Cold today, I've got the big thick hooded anorak out, like to keep my head warm. I'm also wearing a skirt over my trousers. Stay warm.  ilona

Saturday 27 October 2018

The way I do things.

Weather not too good this morning, raining, it may clear later. I've had some questions from a reader, which I will answer here.

Am I using energy any differently now to when I first started on my frugal journey? 
Last winter was very cold so I did use a bit more. Also my emergency fund looked very healthy so I reckoned I could afford more heat. I still can't bring myself to leave the heating on over longer periods of time because there are other alternatives to keeping warm, such as wearing more clothes, and moving about more. I am not one to sit on the sofa huddled under a duvet with all the doors shut. All my doors are open, I am not going to walk from a warm room into a cold room, and back again.

I don't put curtains up over doors, or use draught excluders along the bottom, can't be doing with struggling to get in and out moving things out of the way. I put my heating on when I am cold, and switch it off when the house is warm, same as I have always done. A prolonged period of time in a centrally heated place is not healthy. Being outdoors is healthy, when you are well wrapped up and moving.

When I first had to tighten the purse strings I didn't have central heating, it packed up and I managed without it for three years. I didn't get it repaired because I couldn't afford to. Then I got a new boiler and hot water tank free, from a Warm Front grant. I was awarded £3,500 which also paid for loft insulation and cavity wall insulation.

I am in a good position now, I can afford heat, can afford to pay a standing charge, but then I think why should I when there is a cheaper alternative. Why should I pay more than I need to. It's just my way of thinking.

Do I use gas for anything else, cooking, hot water? 
I use the hobs on the gas cooker, and the grill, but not the oven. My food is simple, I can make perfectly good food without baking or roasting it for an hour or so. For a single person I think it is not worth putting the oven on. I use the microwave every morning to heat a mug of water for my coffee, and use it to heat food. I have a gas fire in the living room, which I haven't used for ages. It has been checked, I have a gas plumber who does an annual service.

I heat a tank full of water when I am having a bath, which is once a week. Just like the old days when we used to do this at home as kids. In between baths. I wash my grubby and smelly bits in a sink or bowl of hot water which I heat with a kettle. I wash my hair over the kitchen sink when it needs it, in between baths. I have a shower over the bath but it started acting up about ten years ago so I stopped using it. I don't like showers anyway, much prefer relaxing in a bath and having a good scrub.

I don't need constant hot water. I rinse my pots, pans, crockery, and cutlery under a tap as soon as I have finished with them. I don't have dirty pots stacked up waiting to be washed. If I have been eating anything which is slightly greasy, which is not very often, I have a toilet roll on the kitchen worktop and give the plate or pan a wipe with two squares before I rinse it. Once a week I boil the kettle and dunk things in a bowl of hot water. As I am cooking for one, I use the same pots and pans all the time, I have got rid of my surplus, I only need two of everything, with an assortment of cutlery.

To sum up, I am careful with my use of water, gas, and electricity, mainly because I don't like waste of any kind. The way I do things hasn't changed a lot over the years, it's just that the pressure is off to be super frugal. Can't think of anything else, thank you for the questions. Feel free to comment, but if you question or criticize my personal hygiene, or or tell me it's a wonder I haven't poisoned myself, I am not inviting you to come and sniff my armpits, or eat the food from my kitchen.

The weather has worsened since I started this, we've just had a snow shower. I'm going to feed the guinea pigs, will take my breakfast with me and sit with them for an hour.   ilona

PS. It is snowing right now.

Thursday 25 October 2018

A spiritual walk

I went to collect the keys from Angela this morning, I am on guinea pig duty for the next three days. After lunch I decided it was too nice to stay in and did a six mile walk. I've done this one many times before and it's still lovely. There was a slight breeze and the views were clear enough to see for miles. I came across a bench overlooking the river and a young lady was sat cross legged on it in a yoga position, her hands resting on her knees with her eyes closed. It is the kind of place which is so relaxing. I think she was finding it quite spiritual so I carried on without disturbing her.
It's a well trod path, the locals use it all the time, and one or two horse riders, though some of the branches are a bit low. It's part of the Trent Valley Way, a fairly new long distance path.

A carpet of red crunchy leaves.

That's a few more miles added to the total. If I keep this up I might just make the 1000.   ilona

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Sunset overload

Thought it was about time I did another video. This is what I am doing at the moment, making some plastic flowers on spikes to sell at the Christmas Fair.

Fantastic sunset again tonight, we are getting some stunners just lately. View from my bedroom window again.

So I legged it down to the church and took these. Can't decide which to leave out so you can have them all.

Now I'm going for my walk. I shall wrap up because it's a bit nippy out there.  ilona

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Pulling in some extra miles

I'm still making the most of the dry sunny days we are having. Today I was out for a walk with Ken, we did the same walk as I did two weeks ago, a nine mile circular passing through three villages. Boy was it windy though. Not many photo's. The Humber Bridge can be seen here in the distance. 
A cute little church, all decked out inside with produce, ready for the Harvest Festival.

Man ploughing field, he gets out of tractor to inspect something he has spotted on the ground.

Ken striding ahead towards the church. He was well wrapped up with a hooded jacket and trousers. I had on a skirt, long socks, and sweatshirt. It was a bit chilly but I can hack it :o)

Back home for 4.45pm. Another beautiful sunset. The view from my bedroom window.

I think I might have a wonderful nights sleep tonight.  ilona

Monday 22 October 2018

Andrea and Matteo

For relaxation in the evenings I look for my favourite singers on yooootoooob. My musical tastes have changed a lot over the years. I still like looking back at the sixties pop scene and remembering my teenage years, then I lost interest in the mid seventies, the groups didn't do anything for me. I am still not interested in the pop scene today. Now I like singers with beautiful voices, people that can really sing.

I can listen to Andrea Bocelli for hours. I cannot understand a word of this first video as he speaks to his son in their native language. I put it on here because it is so moving. The love they have for each other is conveyed in the way they look at each other. Of course Andrea can't see his sons face, but he feels the affection they share. See what you think, can you feel the closeness of the two men. It's just beautiful. Now why can't all fathers and sons interact with each other in this way.

This is a beautiful video of the two of them singing together. Matteo is also talented.

I am staying with Ebico on a similar no standing charge tariff, paying quarterly, no exit fee, fixed for a year. The cost per kWh has gone up, but I still think it will be better than a lower cost per kWh plus a standing charge.

A walk with a friend tomorrow.   ilona

Sunday 21 October 2018

Thank goodness for yellow stickers

I've just found out that there are going to be some changes with my utilities supplier, Ebico. They are re jigging the tariffs and I have to decide which way I am going to have to go. I will look into the options available. This is a bluddy pain in the backside. It's been running very smoothly for the time I have been with them, now there is a hiccup. Makes me want to say stuff 'em and go off grid. 
Thank goodness for yellows stickers. This is my haul from Friday night. 
Mini carrots, lemon houmous, onion houmous, organic houmous, grapes, broccoli sugarsnap peas, iceberg lettuce, baby Brussels sprouts, mixed veg, gem lettuce, scones, spring onions, prepared fruit, raspberries. This will keep me going for a while. 
Back on the fruity breakfasts.


Saturday 20 October 2018

Fallen in love with Carlton Towers.

It was a nice day yesterday so I went a walk. Drove to Snaith, parked and did a nine mile circular walk taking in Carlton and Camblesforth. I had often seen signs for Carlton Towers, but never had time to stop and take a look. Walking through the big iron gates and down the long drive with sheep grazing nearby, this stunning building put a big smile on my face. WOW, oh chuffin WOW.  
It's a Grade 1 listed Victorian Gothic house, and stands in a 250 acre estate. I took lots of photo's and always reject the worst of them, but there was hardly a bad one among these, that's why there are a lot of them. 

A quick peek inside, wow, what an entrance hall.

Trying to look a bit dressy when I'm walking, instead of the scruff bag I usually am  :o)

This reminds me of the poppy cascades that are draped over prominent buildings. They are not a patch on this beautiful adornment courtesy of Mother Nature.

Time to leave, just one last look over my shoulder. Wonder if I could afford to stay here for a night. More information on the Carlton Towers web site. 

Off I went along tracks and quiet country roads. Passing Drax Power Station.

I entered a gate which led to a track alongside a field, and noticed that a farmer on his tractor came in behind me a few seconds later. A whole herd of cows came charging down the track towards me which stopped me dead. I was relieved when they turned to their left and entered the field through a gap in the hedge. They were after the food that the farmer had brought for them. Blimey, they can't half run.

I waited a few minutes until they were all behind the hedge and off I went, picking my way between muddy puddles. A few minutes later the farmer caught me up and stopped at the gate of the next field where there was another gang of hungry cows waiting for their nosh. I was all set to go in when the friendly farmer chappie decided to escort me across the field. The cows followed us to the other side. I have come across this situation many times before, nine times out of ten there is nothing to worry about. Each situation needs to be assessed for safety. Mostly cows are just curious, they follow you because they are interested. If you turn around to face them they stop dead in their tracks. Keep calm, walk away from them, do not run or you might stumble and fall over. I love cows. Thank you Mr Farmer.

I got back to my car just as the sun was going down. I had to get a photo so drove in the wrong direction for half a mile to take this. The icing on the cake after a fab afternoon out.

I timed it just right to call in at Tesco on the way in, my fridge is now stocked up with yellow stickers. I'll post a pic next time.  ilona

Thursday 18 October 2018

Happy with my utilities bill.

Look what popped through the door yesterday, my utilities bill. Looks alright to me. Figures tally up, I put the readings into Ebico web site. I think the July one must have been a bit late, they have estimated that, but no matter, I checked the figures against those I wrote on the calendar and the estimates are very close. 

Looks like my usage is almost the same as a year ago.

Not much difference between this quarter and the previous one.

If I was to go Direct Debit I could save a bit, but I am not willing to hand over my bank details to them. I can recover what I would have saved from other places. Swings and roundabouts.

Now off to the pop up Post Office in the church to pay this, it closes in an hour.  ilona