Sunday, 31 August 2008

Indulgence

Farmers market day in Winchester today, so I headed on up there after a nice late start. I didn't actually need anything but I bought a couple of dressed crabs for a suppertime sandwich treat me & my youngest son. I also stumbled across a book shop which was having a £1.99 sale. That may sound like every book is £1.99 but I know to my cost that it is not the case. I bought three books but My bill came to a little under £9. So I checked again and only those in the middle pile were £1.99. Tch! So to return or to keep? I kept. They all seemed pretty good value and I like the inspiration of a cookery book, even though I never follow exact recipes, so perhaps I will learn a little from them. The non cookery book was an illustrated hints & tips & household skills, which seems to tell me in pictorial detail everything I have ever wanted to know about my home. But we will see.

Later I had lunch with my parents, home grown potato and runner beans in amongst the veg. Yum. I guess that's my last Sunday lunch with them for a while as Beloved will be home this week and life will start returning to normal.

This afternoon I visited some friends for coffee, cake and chat. In between I got most of my tasks completed and now I am off to bed with a clear conscience.

Nighty night

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Bonding

My son and I both intended to do some housework today. He to do his bedroom or else I am giving his possessions away to charity (nothing short of this will get him to tidy). I was making a few re-arrangements in my bedroom, cleaning the bathroom, getting some laundry done and also a bit of quality time with my vacuum cleaner.

So, like a couple of kids avoiding revising, we went of to the town. I needed a hair cut & to collect some mending from an old fashioned jeweller in town. We also decided to have a McBreakfast as my husband is back this week and that sort of thing is frowned upon. We also invested in new hair clippers for the kids hair (with the price of hair cuts this actually pays for itself in about 2 months), razor blades for my son (he doesn't grow a beard as such but does get what he calls 'random tufts' all over his face) and hair colour for me as I am beginning to look rather like a badger. Hair colour and razor blades came from Savers and saved us a few quid on going to a normal chemist.

Then back home & we tried to get back to our work but found any excuse to stop and chat. My son introduced me to all sorts of music including a singing Johnny Depp. I introduced him to Sebastian Coe in his prime (via youtube)which left him awed. He only knew Lord Coe as a suit that talks about the 2012 Olympics. We also listened to some Elvis and even dragged out a bit of Bill Hayley (how can they call this rock n roll, he asks?)We pretty much finished what we meant to do but we had great fun chatting and showing us stuff, and just this once I think we made better use of our day than we would off had we kept our noses to the grindstone. Tomorrow I will catch up, honest!

Of Cowes & quiche & trojans

I have been out of action (in the virtual world anyway) because of a virus or Trojan or something. I think my laptop is still infected but I have managed to clear it enough to actually start to use it. I try not to be negative because I cant see the point of making your self miserable. However I am feeling very cross, grumpy and negative towards people who want to infect computers for their own entertainment. I assume it makes them feel powerful but I wasn't in awe of their skills, I just thought they should get a life. I have learnt far more about fighting them off over the last two days but I still haven't got my machine back under my control and I am not happy about that.

However, I am happy about other things. Yesterday I took the ferry to the Isle of Wight to visit my best friend from school. Scarily we worked out we have known each other for 35 years so I am now feeling ancient. I wont dwell on the cost of parking anywhere close to the ferry port as I will get all cranky again but next time I might well take the car and try to get a few foot passengers to get in with me to cover the cost of the ticket.

The rest of the day was great fun and I can really learn a few things about frugality and simplifying from the girl who once taught me to spend every penny I had before it burnt a hole in my pocket. My friend picked me up form the boat and we walked back to the town via the chain ferry. Its free for foot passengers or cyclists to take the ferry but car and bigger must pay. Eve parked back in the town, on the first patch a free parking that you come to, so we saved on ferry fare and also parking.

So, back to the house for a slice of home made malt loaf & cup of coffee whilst sitting at the freecycle tables and chairs in the back garden. The sun, noticeably absent from England this summer, even manage to break though the cloud at this point. We sat in the sun and planned our day. A friend of Eve had rented a beach hut for the week at Sandown. We packed a lunch of homemade pastys and quiches, potato salad ad cake and then set of to the beach. It was quite a walk to the beach and I find I definitely don't walk as fast as Eve. Resolve to get fit before visiting again!

The beach hut was pretty basic. A concrete hut with a shelf and hanging rail, and a wooden bench, also included was three deck chairs. We sat on the prom like old ladies on a seaside postcard until deciding ti was time for a nice cup of tea. Renting the hut, which was cold enough inside the act as walk in refrigerator for the picnic food, meant we also had access to a little shared kitchen and even some cups and others kitcheny bits. We had a (very bracing - eek)swim and then lunch. Before we knew it then it was time to move along. Back at Eves house she packed me a little takeaway meal, courgette quiche and malt loaf, to take on the boat. Tired and content it was time to make for home.

I made it to the boat with moments to spare but the boat was as crowded as i have ever seen and actually left over a half hour late. I had a seat because I didn't have to wait to load my car, just strolled aboard. Prime position with a little table. I tucked into my supper and read my book and listened to my ipod ( i can multi task!).

A gentleman came along and sat down beside me and was trying to balance his hot drink and cake on his lap as he ate. I suggested he swap places with me as I had finished with the table. He didn't want to move me but we swapped over and he was a lot more comfortable especially as it meant he could put his foot up & it appeared to be either plastered or heavily bandaged. Another lady joined us at the other end of the bench, whilst her teenage boys took a look around the boat. Another lady came around looking for a seat. She had a baby in a car seat and a toddler. We squeezed up and fitted her in as well. The toddler was found a little stool. The baby lady had to pop back to the cafe for something so the other lady sorted out the food for the toddler and chatted to her. When mum came back again, saying how they hadn't eaten all day as time had run away with them that the little girl must be starved, they tucked into he dinner as the baby looked on. Now baby wanted her bottle. Mum prepared it and then the other lady fed the baby on her lap. The lady with teenage boys missed having a baby and baby mum needed several pairs of hands, so it was nice for everyone. IN Britain we very often sit apart from others and don't strike up conversation or help each other. Not because we don't want to, I think, just because we are a bit shy and reserved and we don't like to intrude. The boat journey was very busy and we were all crushed in together and being closer together seem to crack through our reserve. Maybe we could do with being overcrowded in public places a bit more often???

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

C'est Bon

I really enjoyed my day today. We had to get up far too early but otherwise it was great. I nice sociable leisurely breakfast on the boat. A little drive and stroll around the french town of Barfleur. A very leisurely lunch and more yapping and laughs. Then we drove back up to the supermarket and leisurely shop (are you beginning to notice a theme here!)A bought some nice wine and some bit and bobs for the rest of the family. Afterwards we went back to the port & had a cold drink and more chatting before boarding the cat home again. We were only gone about 18 hours but I feel I have had a proper little holiday.

I dropped my friends back at the homes and then came home myself. Phoned Beloved to see how he was and he said 'I just want to come home now really'. He hasn't visited his family and his home for 25 years but he has now caught up enough to want to come to his real home. So this time next week he will be on his way.

Monday, 25 August 2008

I love travelling

Pretty much any travelling (I do draw the line at a package holiday- tried it in my youth and never again). I don't mind if we are going to Brighton on the bus or slow boat to China, I love it all. It's to do with being nosey and the same reason I love books and the Internet, it gives me a window in other peoples existence (and aren't blogs brilliant for that very reason).

Tomorrow I am going travelling. Okay, perhaps not quite as far as would suit me but all the same it sounds like run. A small group of friends from my work are travelling on the Fast Cat from Portsmouth to the Cherbourg peninsula. We are taking my car because of the LPG (cost of course but also low emissions). I am assuming a Fast Cat is a speedy catamaran rather than a speedy moggy.



So tonight I am preparing my little bag (my dad has already checked the oil & water, and I filled filled up with LPG). I have the tickets and my passport, my purse complete with euros. I note pad in case I get bored (which also has the measurements of all my windows etc at the Crete house in case the urge to buy curtain material comes upon me - it does from time to time). I don't have a book, which is a bit of a blow. I am just deciding whether to take some embroidery instead but as I haven't yet been able to thread the needle myself this seems to be a bit of a non starter. My i-pod is prepped and ready for action. Its not quite as exciting as Inter Railing across Europe when I was a kid but you have to cut your cloth according to ....something (cant remember what.) I do remember doing tapestry as we sped around Europe, sleeping on trains and showering in stations for a month. I dont think I could manage without a nice comfy bed at night these days so maybe its best to stick with the less intense travelling. So this is our day. I need to bring back a case of Merlot for my parents and a good red wine and 2 Camembert for a friend who has tonsillitis and so can't join us.

Au Revoir...

Sunday, 24 August 2008

We had an actual summers day

My parents and I, with my youngest son, planned to visit my sister and brother in law down in Dorset today for a barbecue and some social time. Of course, when I woke at 7am it was raining really heavily. Okay, we are English, we understand that you can cook in the rain as long as you get to sit under cover to eat (or else your plate fills up with water). So we continue with our day. We had to drive 50 miles each way, so made sure to fill the car with LPG (better for the environment and for my bank balance).

As we drove through the forest and on through the countryside of Dorset the sun finally remembered it was August and came out to shine on us. We all contributed food of course, to make sure its not an expensive day for anyone. The was of course too much ( we all bring enough for everyone just in case the others have some problem)so we have enough for a cold meal tomorrow....and maybe the next day actually.

After cooking, eating and clearing up we took a stroll together along the cliff top. Not to far as the ground is uneven and my parents are 80 (also there are adders and I am a scaredy cat - anyone reading in Aus or the US - I know how pathetic I sound).

In the evening we let the sat nav direct us a different root back home and missed any traffic. A lovely day and just about warm enough to be called summer.

This evening I phoned my husband. He asked how are day was as he loves these kind of days. We don't get them often as he works weekends. I told him all the bits of our day but that everyone aid that my lamb kebabs were okay but his are better (its true) and told him it wasn't so warm. He said it is so hot where he is, around 40 degrees, that he would find a temperature of 16 degrees about perfect. Looks like he is suited to English summers as a large part of our day was 16 before hotting up to an amazing 18 degrees at noon! Everyone has their spiritual home and I feel that his is here!

We also decided he doesn't go alone next time, 3 months was too long but he needed it to go home for the first time in 25 years. Next time, maybe in three years, he can go for 6 weeks and me and the boys come for the last two weeks.



This is my dad and Steve (sisters husband)from the caravan window.

I was also going to mention that when we meet as a family, which we do very often, we also make sure to spread the cost of anything between us. Today we all contributed food, and divided up the leftovers as we waste nothing. At Christmas we all contribute some food to the main day but we also entertian a day each, to spread the work as well as the cost. We also dont like to waste so we buy, for example one piece of dutch cheese or brie and take it from house to house.If we run out then we buy more but we dont like to overstock and risk waste.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Quick update after my adventures in the linen cupboard.

I remember now why I don't use these pillow cases and quilt cover. My pillows slid all over the place, all night. I knocked everything off my bedside table at one point. The cat decided to sleep by my head (very hygienic, I know,but I don't normally notice her there) and kept sliding into me. The actual Duvet was fine it was just the pillows that seem to have a mind of their own. I am so tempted to buy new ones but I dont need them, so I wont.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Adventures in my linen closet

My youngest son was returning from his water activity course today, so I had an intention to pick him up form the station where the coach would drop him at 3pm and then get on with some of the weekend chores. I thought I would be ultra efficient by starting the bedding wash before work this morning, knowing that I will need a head start to get though all of the muddy camp clothes which he brings back, by the end of the weekend.

So I stripped the bed linen before my shower this morning, then got dressed and went of to mum and dads house for coffee and toast (our Friday morning ritual), watched a bit of the Olympics and made myself late for work. Forgot all about setting the washing going. I left work at ten to three to pick him up. Got to the station and there was another half dozen mothers milling around. One managed to get a child on the phone and was told there haven't boarded the bus yet, they are still in Swindon. Back to my friend, who was also collecting her son but lives in the opposite direction to me, house for coffee and a chat. Two and half hours later my son rang to be collected. He didn't seem to mind having been on the road from 9.30am to 5.30pm but it sounded pretty dull to me. Anyway the course was wonderful and he is exhausted (although the food was rubbish and not enough of it! _ I sympathise with anyone trying to fill up a large group of 16 year old boys, its not possible).

So we come home,popping into see grandparents on the way. We worry about food and chatting, and even GCSE results (not bad actually for a kid who never does any work - 9 passes including 2 'A's). SO by 9.30 it is time to go up to bed. I want to watch something on i-player tonight (brill free video service from the BBC). Of course when I get to my bedroom I don't have any bedding, and I haven't washed the stuff I stripped off this morning. To the linen closet.

I don't really like the linen closet. It is too high up and a funny shape plus you have to stand on a chair behind the bathroom door to get to it, risking life and limb. I was depressingly calling out to me to be sorted out so I pulled everything out for a sort out. To say that I will never need to buy another pillow case is not an exaggeration. I sorted the contents into piles of pillow cases, bottom sheets, quilt covers, old children's bedding no longer required ( I am hoping my friend Sue in Crete will want these). I also found four large microfibre towels, which will cut up nicely into 4 clothes each. I also found a pair of black knickers (my own, judging by the size). Oh dear, how do I let this happen.

So tomorrow there will be more sorting before any article is returned to its home. Hopefully Sue will let me know if she wants the kids linen. If she does then I can shrink wrap it to go in the case next time we visit, if not then to Freecycle as it is too good to cut up. There are three lots of bedding for our bed, two are old and dyed & one is silky and strange. I am testing the silky one this week. If i like it then it stays but if, as i suspect, it keep sliding off then maybe it is recycled into something, cant think what. The bottom sheet and pillowcases will divided up to use both here and in the Crete house.

I quite enjoyed a trip through the linen closet considering it was well past my bed time before I evened opened the cupboard door. I must have been having a smarter moment at some point though (or someone else put something away - highly unlikely) as I folded all of the silky bedlinen and pack them into one of the pillow cases! Impressed? Me too!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

New languages

I have been reading Frugal Freedom and learning American. I know what a 401 is (contributory pension scheme), an RV (actually I know it means recreational vehicle but I am still not quite sure what that means. Maybe a 4 x 4 or maybe a big camper van - we will see). I read quite a few blogs and they are pretty much all from the USA, Canada, Australia, NZ or here in Britain. Obviously this isn't a coincidence as we are all English speaking nations but what I like is how much we say things differently rather than the same.

Sometimes I get confused but I like it that way. I love reading American recipes (not so much those from Down Under as they tend to be much the same as our own - tasty but way too easy to understand) but I prefer not to know what the mystery ingredients are. It makes really interesting reading. Popsicles turn out to be ice lollies (not like lollies from NZ - sweets without sticks). For some reason I expected something more exciting. Crisco sounds like it would be crispy and crunchy like a delicate French biscuit. Half and half is a good one. Half what and half what? I imagine beer and lemonade. Biscuits and gravy. Biscuits are sweet here,and crunchy, not like cookies, you really wouldn't want gravy with them. Did anyone in the UK read about the amazing & very sweet Michael Phelps' breakfast and not wonder a)why is he not huge! b)what is a bowl of grits? Grit means small stones here, yum. Australian can be good too, we definitely mean an entirely different thing with 'thong'.

I am interested in languages and how they develop and move around, like the Elizabethan phrases still existing in US English, 500 years ago we used to say Fall instead of Autumn too. So anyway I will continue to read my recipes without referring to Wikipedia because I appreciate the variety. Vive la difference!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Preparing for winter


Normally I find it hard to plan for winter in the middle of summer but the temperature this week is around 16 degrees & its wet and dark. This week I can really imagine it is winter without trying too hard.

Winter plans have to include Christmas in our house

My initial plans so far:

1)Christmas cooking course at the local school part way through November. I can could just fine but sometimes I like some new ideas.

2)Christmas gifts for family and friends. All presents must be homemade and/or weird and/or special and under £10. Time to start serious planning now if there are to be home made gifts.

3)Sort out the conservatory so that outdoor plants can be brought in and protected if required.

4)Shed to be tidied (a bit) so that garden furniture can be stored away.

5)Books, needlework projects and other interests for long winter evenings. I have borrowed the Cretan Runner from a friend at work and bought Nigella's Learn to Eat from ebay, so far.

6)Meal plans for winter. Affordable, nutritious and not too labour intensive.

7)Short course of cookery lessons once a week for the 1/2 term following Christmas. At the moment is it between Bistro(with a 10 mile round trip) or Beginners Indian (with a 1 mile round trip.) So far it is looking like Indian.

8)Prep the cars for winter - anti freeze in the radiator and pre-icer in the water for the screen wash.

9)Bleed the radiators int he house ( not that they get put on very often as I am too mean but I like to know they work.)

10) Thinking about Christmas meal plans.

10 points is enough, or else I don't do what I plan. Yeah, I love winter!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Whats better than recycling??

I was reading the BBC News website at lunch time today ( I like it - it's free, there is less tripe than in the papers and it is updated during the day.) I have been following the experiment of a journalist that has attempted to give up plastic for a month. Today there was a quote from Friends of the Earth's senior waste campaigner Mike Warhurst warns against assuming that just because something is bio-degradable it's "greener".

"I'm seeing a lot of confusion happening where people are using disposable items and then implying that they're good because they're biodegradable.

"Whatever it is it required energy to make it. So if you're in a cafe, you're far better off having a cup which is washed up than having so-called biodegradable cups.


Which got me thinking about recycling. I recycle in the conventional way, paper and card, bottles, tins etc. But I am thinking that actually re-using things is more the key. Which led me on a tour of the house ( when I got home from work - I didn't just wander off in my lunch break inspiring though Mike Warhurst may be).

We recently re-built our garden shed using the old shed (which we inherited when we bought the house.),some wood which had previous been a pergola, OSB board left over from the extension. The best bit is a set of fire door/exit from a pub, complete with side windows.


Looking at the extension, we had some roofing given to us which was on its way to the dump, plenty of the wood was left over but we had to buy some. The windows were all from the existing house. I also bought some stained glass panels on eBay. It all came together to form a lovely little extension which is unique but also built with minimal waste. We love it and its fairly easy on the conscience.

This used to be my kitchen window.


These are my lovely eBay windows. I still have two left for future projects.

And this is my favourite room in the house, our log cabin. Designed by me (no architect plans to go to the council planning dept, just my drawings on graph paper - they were very cool about it.)and build by my 'menfolk'. Plus it made my sons top of the class in woodwork at school. My eldest is working as a boat builder at the moment, whilst he waits to be a rock star I assume, so he gets a chance to impress with what he learned helping his dad refurbish this place.

Re-using and renewing, revitalising the 'things' and my home. Better than recycling.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Simple Things

Youngest son and I spent yesterday painting the sitting room. We are two thirds finished & have done all of the tricky bits. I am going to finish it off a bit at a time as the week goes on. My youngest son ( who puts up with being referred to as Baby - he is too cool to complain)has gone away to water sports camp this week & the other son is working six day weeks, so I think I am on my own for the rest of the work. So after work each day I will aim for a little progress.



I have a couple of photos of progress so far. One of them mostly shows the tapestry I completed before RSI in my hands stopped me from needle working.



My dad and son fitted guttering on the front of my conservatory/extension. Then they fitted a water butt for me. How cool. It is a recycled chemical storage container but it wasn't initially recycled by me and has been a water butt for some years, so I think it is safe to use.



Lastly a close up my little apple tree. This little guy was transplanted from the allotment and seems to be fairly happy (i.e. not yet dead) and has even come up with a couple of apples!

Friday, 15 August 2008

Same old Saturday???

Nope, not at all. Usually Saturday is prime housework day followed by a couple of hours at my parents on Saturday evening whilst Beloved does his voluntary work for the work at the local Lifesaving class.(Obviously not at the moment as he wont be back for another three weeks still!)

Tommorrow me & baby are going to decorate the sitting room. We have cream emulsion for the walls, a mulberry colour for the feature wall of the chimney. Same colour in satinwood for the picture rail. We also need to rub down slightly and varnish the skirting boaard and door frame. We may also paint the ceiling(white). If we dont have time then we will do that next week. HOwever if it goes super duper good then we will move on to the stairs as well. There are currently a pale lilac so cream and mulberry would be quite a fresh change.

We also need to prep babies bag because he is going on some water sports event next week. Sounds great fun with canoeing, windsurfing and aarchery. I wish I was 16 again.

I am pretty much on top of my washing so only one load for tomorrow.

I am also thinking of doing somethnig I havn't done since I was a kid! No, not so exciting. I am considering going to the cinema again to see the same film as I saw last week. Last time I did that wss for Star Wars and I only went then because my cousin wanted me too. This time its for me. My mum and sister want to go again. My eldest son wants to come too & so does another friend. I know its a waste of money but I dont waste money often, honest!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

A to Z of Homemaking

A ~Aprons--y/n If y, what does your fav. look like?
No! I wear my ‘housework clothes’. Sports leggings, t-shirt and trainers – makes me go faster! I do have some lovely aprons. Cow pattern is a favourite.

B ~ Baking--Favorite thing to bake?
Cakes – Small ones. I love the way that the kids sniff them out as they come out of the oven, so that half of any new cake stock is gone before the end of the day.

C ~ Clothes line?
Of course. An essential part of homemaking equipment. The small of line dried laundry is incomparable.

D ~ Donuts--Have you ever made them?
Yes, but only the oven baked kind (less oil.) Not a big doughnut fan, although they always smell fantastic………….........

E ~ Everyday--One homemaking this you do everyday?
Cooking. I cook for everyone most days and at least someone everyday. I also think it is the most important home making task that there is.

F ~ Freezer--Do you have a separate deep freeze?
Yes. I buy meat when it’s a good price. There is also plenty of fruit and veg from Mum & Dad garden.

G ~ Garbage Disposer?
No. Never had one, not actually sure what it is. I recycle paper, card, tins, bottles & jars. We have a small amount of rubbish each week but not much. We don’t very often waste food. One days leftovers is the next days lunch.

H ~ Handbook--What is your favourite homemaking resource?
I don’t have a favourite (although it’s possible that I have 1000 books) but I love the Internet and the chance it gives us to learn from others around the globe.

I ~ Ironing--Love it or Hate it? Or hate it but love the results?
Hate. I only iron for interviews, weddings & perhaps funerals. Otherwise shirts are hung up when wet. I normally buy clothes that don’t need ironing. I work full time and I want to take care of my family and my home. Something had to go and ironing is it.

J ~ Junk Drawer--y/n? Where is it?
No. I don't have a junk drawer, but there is a drawer in the kitchen that looks like a junk drawer to me but husband says its not!

K ~ Kitchen--color and decorating scheme.
All of my walls are washable cream emulsion. All of my wood is light, from renewable resources (and usually second hand too). So the kitchen looks like the rest of the house but with a few more tiles! Lighting is a simple black chandelier.

L ~ Love--what is your favorite part of homemaking?
Coking, feeding the family and seeing them grow fit and healthy from their nourishment. Providing a sanctuary for everyone to escape form the world.

M ~ Mop--y/n?
Oh yes. Steam mop, so no chemicals required.

N ~ Nylons, machine or hand wash?
Rarely warn and if they survive the wearing (unusual) then they go in the normal wash.

O ~ Oven--do you use the window or open the oven to check?
Open the door. I like to have a good look at what is going on.

P ~ Pizza--What do you put on yours?
Spinach and marscapone. Yum.

Q ~ Quiet--What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
I don’t know, it hasn’t happened yet.

R ~ Recipe Card Box--y/n? What does it look like?
File not a box. A normal lever covered with a pretty sticky backed plastic.
Style of house--What style is your house?
A little English cottage, built in 1908.

T ~ Tablecloths or Placemats?
Nether. I varnished the table so many times that nothing marks it and it wipes clean after use.

U ~ Under the kitchen sink--organized or toxic wasteland?
Pretty Organized. Its all neatly packed & I know what is in there.

V ~ Vacuum--How many times per week?
One main session and a couple of mini sessions for the busiest areas.

W ~ Wash--How many loads of laundry do you do per week?
I do about 6 but it is a large capacity machine (“A” grade efficiency to minimise water and power use of course).

X's--Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off?
Yes. One at work and one for home.

Y ~ Yard--y/n? Who does what?
I look after garden but call my husband or one of the kids for anything ‘heavy’ (like the mending of washing lines).

ZZZ's--what is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
Feed cats, switch everything off, fill up a bottle with tap water to drink in the night (don’t leave glasses by the bed the cat woke me up after getting her head stuck in a glass….drinking my pint of water! ) set alarm clocks for everyone.

I saw this at Rural Writings who saw it at Pieces from Me, who saw it at Coffee Time At Home. Please play along on your blog!!! Let me know if you do, so I can visit

Monday, 11 August 2008

Mamma Mia!

Late home tonight as it was movies night.

I went to see Mamma Mia with my parents, first time they have been to the cinema for about 25 years, since a rainy week long holiday in Cornwall forced them into a local cinema to dry off and warm up. My sister and brother in law came to.

The film was excellent in a very musical, tongue in cheek kind of way. It was based on a Greek comedy, complete with Greek chorus. My dad was even seen singing along. The desire to sing along, even as a non ABBA fan, was irresistable. The audiende clapped at the end of each song, and hey pretty much got a standing ovation at the end of the movie.

Great fun, go see it. Even if you dont like ABBA, just go see it NOW, and I bet you dont come out of there without a smile!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Sunday Night

Lulu (head cat) and I are in bed, watching TV and surfing the web. We can multitask!

We are very chilled. We had a busy weekend and the house is looking pretty good, even the poor old garden is starting to get back to normal again. My son is going to help me with the painting next Saturday and then he is off to a watersports camp for a week. My husband will be very pleased with all of our improvements. I prefer to get major changes done when he is away because he is happy with change after the event but he doesn't like the idea of change. One wall of the sitting room and the picture rail are being painted in a cranberry colour. He will love it!

After all the busyness of the weekend we went to my sisters house this evening. It was her birthday and my neice had decorated the house and made some snacks and a birthday cake. So a nice relaxing end to the weeked.

Tomorrow back to work but I have a busy week, if fun, ahead. Tomorrow night I am going to the cinema with my family to see Mamma Mia. On Wednesday I am going to France for the day with some friends from my work. If all goes well I should be able to fit in a bit of work too!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Update on my tasks

Vacuumed right through yep but havn't mopped the hard floors yet. Tomorrow morning for that.
Vacuumed the ceilings right through as well as I noticed that the spiders had been making Christmas decorations when I wasn't looking!
Half of the clothes washing is washed but couldn't line dry as it is raining. I am a bad person as I used the tumble drier. I have no place for under cover lines and washing needs to be dry by the end of Sunday if it is going to be put away properly.
Put up a new shelf in the sitting room for the landline phone and the wireless router (should stop the router from overheating now it is on a hard surface.)
Half fitted a shelf above the washing machine to house the washing powder supplies. Couldn't drill through the wall so this is to be continued tomorrow. I also knocked some nails into the wall in the washine machine alcove to use up some wasted space to stor all of the bags wwhich seem to be around the place. We are refurbishiing the kitchen soon (after the guest bathroom is compelte etc etc etc) so this is all temporary.
I also went to B&Q and bought some paint to give the sitting room and maybe some other rooms, a bit of a going over. I use a cream coloured washable emulsion thoughout so its easy to choose paint!
Maybe tomorrow I have time to start a bit of the painting too. Fingers crossed.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Countdown

Beloved is coming home from visiting his (enormous) family on 3rd September. I have 4 more weekend to get the house looking how I want it to look, and to have a few new habits in place before he returns.

Its time to make a list of a few things to do. I am going to work through the house room by room. I am endeavouring to do finish one room before starting the next (as per Laura's advice.) but of course some things are reliant on other things being finished first. Tomorrow I will work on my list & also get a start on the work. My son is helping with some of the traditional 'mans work' in the morning before he goes off to a party in the afternoon & evening. That's good for me, as I really don't get on well with woodwork, light fittings etc which all need doing.

So first plans for tomorrow include washing & line drying all of the washing.
Vacuuming each room (including inside of the gas fire, cupboard, freezer etc). Dumping the last of the builders rubbish in the hippo bag and arranging for its collection.

Another thing for the to do list. My son has a new job. There is no certainty in the future of the job because it is a boatyard, so orders equals works, no order equals no work. It is too small to carry staff through lean periods. Every morning, including Saturday, I have to wake him up at 30 minutes before my normal waking time and, as of today, again 15 minutes later. So I am thinking of buying him an alarm clock. But I am being really silly I am thinking I will jinx the job just by buying an alarm clock. But of course I wont, so just keep fingers crossed for him because tomorrow I am thinking of buying him an alarm clock!

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Another misc. kind of day

Update on the ipod. It seems quite simple to load music (just as well as my son took a whole 15 seconds to show me it in great detail, although he did download Itunes for me first). I have just loaded 120 songs ( I own quite a lot of music) and it isn't yet 15% full. So now I have been hoping around the BBc collecting podcasts of programmes I have missed during the week. Some music, some comedy and a couple of 'farming today' which I just couln't resist! Great fun.

Not so good with the craft activities. My joints are not so painful with crochet as with knitting however I dont really like the product of my labour. The wool is very jazzy and everything I can do with it is just too jazzy. My next idea if to knit small sqauares and the hold them togther with strips of black stocking stitch. All plain stocking stitch and just, effectively, a black blanket with highlights in the jazzy wool. More unravelling awaits!

I was reading the BBC website today, following an experiment of a woman who has given up plastic for 1 month. Unfortunately her council wont take unwrpped rubbish (like ours)so she considered wrapping it in news paper and then realised that it would actully mean less was recycled and more was in landfill. Not exactly a result. Not useful for me either as I dont buy papers and magazines. So, are bio degradeable plastic bags the answer for rubbish? She also was told that although the effect on the environment of disposable nappoies was awful, the effect of washables was about the same. Perhaps there is some low carbon bio degradeable option which is best? Compostable nappies? Why not?

I phoned my husband today. First time since SAturday. He is beggining to sound very sad and home sick. He has nearly another 4 weeks before we get him back. I have always dropped off to sleep after him. Once he is settled done for the night and I can hear his regular breathing, then it charms me straight off to sleep. In the last two months I have slept but not like I need to. I am going to sleep for 9 hours a night for the whole of September!!

Yesterday I took a day off work to go visit my sister on her holiday. She holidays in an area with no phone coverage (good idea)so I couldn't actually get a hold of her. So instead my dad came up for a few hours and re-seeded some of my lawn (we moved the last of the builders rubbish to the last hippo bag, fixed my washing line and mended my leaking gutter. I am spoilt and lucky and I know it.

So, a very miscellaneous sort of day.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Misc.

I have discovered that my joints just were not ready for knitting. So, last night, another unravelling session and now I try to remember how to crochet. No-one ever taught me so I can’t follow a pattern but I thought I could make a couple of big squares and so them together. I can also carry on and make it into a blanket if the mood takes me.

I brought myself a present. It arrived today. A lovely little iPod from eBay. The idea is that I will be more tempted into a lunchtime walk if I am accompanied by Robbie Williams (or whoever) then I am on my own. I haven’t worked out how to get my music on there yet but how hard can it be?

I have spoken to my eldest son about using less energy (of the gas, electric kind - not the renewable energy of youth). The kids are honestly the worst culprits of waste so if I can get them on board then we should be on to a winner. I will speak to the youngest when he gets back from his mates house on Thursday. At the moment he is wasting someone else’s power. For myself I will try not to resort to using the tumble dryer too easily. My time is fairly limited so I do use it when I shouldn't sometimes. If they can make the effort then so can I. I am also going to invest in a couple of those extension lead’s which switch off by remote, for the TV etc which is plugged in so far back in the cupboard that only the cat can reach it.

Plans, plans...there are always plans.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Sunday again already

Has this week been on fast forward. It has passed in a flash.

I have been reading Move to Portugal and have decided to copy Lura and have a food budget for this month. I have chosen £200 because I am pretty sure I can come in under budget with minimal effort. The idea being that I stick to it again in September when we go back to full strength (husband comes back on 3rd September)and then aim to reduce in October. I don't waste very much but keeping a proper record should help to focus.

I have also loaded MSMoney on to my laptop and downloaded all of my bank statements. Actually wish I hadn't as I can see I spent too much with Beloved has been away. New vacuum cleaner, new steam mop etc. But this is only the third vacuum cleaner I have since we got married so I don't exactly rush through them.

I have another new piece of software which collates recipes. I haven't used it but will have a go during the coming week.

My bag knitting is coming on slowly but surely. I have knitted the first few rows a few times and unravelled them as I wasn't keen on the output but I tried again last evening on some needles from my mum and the new attempt is looking good. I intend to knit a large rectangle which I will stitch or crochet into a bag shape. After an inch of knitting I will introduce a couple of cables (just to prove that I can!). The wool is super jazzy so I don't want too much patter with it.

Today I plan to do some more cleaning and sorting this morning. Yesterday we took another big bag to the Sally Ann's and also a large plastic box of storage jars, vases and so on. The place looks emptier all the time. Afterwards lunch with my lovely parents. Traditional Sunday roast of course. Then to my friends house for a couple of hours. Then back here late afternoon to make food plans for the coming week.

Hope everyone has a lovely day.

Summer Rain

The middle of summer on the sunny south coast of England, and the rain is falling heavily enough to keep us indoors again. We were hoping to...