Monday, 30 October 2017

Travel talk

My best mate and I have travelled together for about, I dont know, but over 30 years.  Its been slowly dawning on us that all the years we spent child rearing etc have put us behind schedule on our travels. So we decided we are going to try something new. Well its sort of new but its based on what we did int he 80's when we inter-railed around Europe for a month. Sleeping on trains and every day a picnic, as we tried to stretch our money as far as we could.#

Inter-rail has moved on. You no longer get unlimited travel days, but its still doable as long as you plan properly up front. So we are off to Espana in the springtime.

Day one  - Train day
Fly from Southampton to Malaga 2 hrs 40
Train to Seville  3hr 2mins on slow track
Overnight in Seville

Day 2  - Train day
Seville exploration
Late train  to  Madrid 2hrs 33m
Over night in Madrid

Day 3  - Train day
Explore Madrid
Late train to Barcelona 2hrs 58m
Overnight in Barcelona

Day 4
Explore Barcelona
Overnight in Barcelona

Day 5 - Train day
Slow train to Valencia 4hrs 59m along the coast
Overnight in Valencia

Day 6 - Train day
Valencia to Alicante 4h 38m
Alicante to Southampton

We are flying from the local airport to save the cost of getting to a London airport plus associated costs (yes, bar and restaurant). We wont be sleeping in luggage racks this time around. Apparently there are things called hotels that grown up use instead of sleeping on the train.  We are still the queens of the on train picnic. Extremely socially acceptable in the Mediterranean countries as all of the lovely mamas send their families off to the big city laden with edibles from home.  Eve is searching out flights for us today. I am very excited

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Sunday catch up

I did everything except the office, plus went out with the old fella to price up flooring and something else which I have forgotten. And sorted my mums nectar account, & helped my mum buy a vacuum cleaner online. Oh yes and did my dads online banking. Plus did a business plan for my sons lovely girlfriend ahead of a financing meeting she has on Wednesday. And we got the garden tidy and ready for winter.
Tired? Who me! Too right. I am off to work tomorrow for a rest. But I will do the office sort out tomorrow after work. Honest.

This is Merlin, having a tiring old Saturday

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Saturday, lets get cracking

I have things on my list.

  1. A trip to the dump (recycling centre) to get rid of some old broken cupboards form the garden.
  2. Take the charity boxes to my car to drop at the Salvation Army when I am passing - all good stuff and not to get mixed up with the stuff for the dump
  3. Sort my little office out and getting very messy
  4. Laundry - at least two loads to be washed, dried, sorted and put away. Jamal normally does the washing and drying but he hasn't adapted to working completely yet so I will catch it up today.
  5. Vacuum right through. Actually downstairs is fine with a quick sweep but the bedrooms and landing are calling out for the vacuum cleaner.
  6. Course - Bestie and I have been talking about what we fancy doing when we retire. That's likely to be less than  five years away. Eek! I quite fancy a sort of pop up coffee shop with yummy cakes. So we can work hard but not too often. Also it doesn't need to be hugely profitable, as I am sure that wouldn't be, but interesting and fun. So step one is a food hygiene certification and then step 2 is to brush up on the cake making. I am browsing local colleges and other learning venues for some fun short courses.
  7. Ahdels tax - He has two jobs and the tax allowance is wrongly split so i think he is owed money for last year and is paying too much tax this year. I have gathered all the paperwork and analysed it over my morning coffee. I will write to HMRC later today and hopefully he gets his refund quite promptly. They are normally pretty good.
  8. Hospital letters. We have so much going on with Faheds dexa scan, blood tests, check up for the many breakages and for the back surgery, pre-assessment for the next surgery. And now I also have something. I have to go on Monday to have a lump on my rib cage looked at.  Anyway i need to sort out all of the letters and ensure everything is in the diary. I cant afford to miss and appointment and get them out of order!
I am feeling very virtuous as have already wiped down the kitchen and the cooker, stacked the dishwasher, set the laundry going, almost sorted the tax. Go me!

Thursday, 26 October 2017

.I need you!

Well I need some accountability!

So I'm going back to the 'to do' list post which previously worked so well for me.  I also really like the 'what frugal things I have done this week' thing which crops up in various formats across various blogs.  Good for focus!  This month Faheds company neglected to even pay him his sick pay. They never get organised enough to sort out their mistakes, despite being a pretty big and supposedly social aware, organisation. So this month will be a bit of a mission. I have savings but i don't really want to dip into them. I also have a few plans. And November pay day should be double bubble ( which is still down by 1/3 from his normal earnings). Never mind. We are getting there!

Frugal Doings!

  1. Jamal finally passed his driving test. He was never interested but suddenly he is and now its done. Not frugal in and of itself but the increase in my car insurance was enough to make me review all of the car insurances and overall there are some savings coming our way. I shall report back next week on total annual savings.
  2. Jamal also decided he isn't going back to sea, for now, so he applied for a local bar job and is applying to local unis to do a Masters degree in Physics. The bar job works in my immediate favour though as he can pay his own Jujitsu membership etc. I have to say he is pretty cheap to run anyway but this is good timing.
  3. More on the subject of Jamal. He wont get a lot of money at the pub but has already decided 20% is for him and 80% to me to save, so that he can cover most of his own tuition fees assuming he gets into uni ok.
  4. Ordered meat from the farm. We picked up the order yesterday. The meat is so much better and we saved 30% against the cheapest super market prices. We tried a couple of small samples yesterday and the quality is fantastic. Now its all portioned, back and in the freezer. 
  5. On the subject of shopping we just need to pick up veg on a weekly basis. We had a look in Lidl yesterday and they had everything we need, which wasnt the case previously, so we shall give them a whirl. The veg in there is better quality and less packaged than in our normal supermarket. I would guess it lasts less time though, because of the packing, so it will have to be picked up more often. Somehow we are still eating home grown tomatoes from my dads supercrop but the only thing we are still growing is chillies.
  6. I have made a place in the conservatory to over winter the chilli plants and see if I can get more from them next year. 
  7. Ah, another good thing to Jamal working is he eats less! He he

Sunday, 22 October 2017


I am on off work this week in with what the doctor thinks is pneumonia. Eek!

Anyway I am starting to feel fine again after four days of antibiotics, first I have had since 2014 winter apparently,  Everything makes me tired, well everything except going to bed which is the one time I don't seem to be tired and just decide to lay there aching.

Nonetheless all is going well around here.

Apparently i was so tired that i forgot to post this. And that must have been a week ago at least as I now feel just fine.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

We do progress. Truly

I cant even remember if I told you my eldest son broke his shoulder at JuJitsu. Its been that kind of summer! But now its over and I am all about moving on from it. Its autumn and I am ready for it!

Fahed has appointments for a check up on his shoulder (seems to be going well at the moment but still cant move his arms as he needs to for work :( ), his back (very successful it appears), a pre assessment for his knee surgery (which is caused by the same problem as the back) and a bone density scan, to see why he keeps breaking. Oh my thank goodness for the NHS. I cant even imagine what it would be like without them.

So Fahed currently gets SSP (Statutory sick pay) as his company don't pay you to be ill. That will be for another 2 months.  I hope he is fit for work by then or its going to be a long hard winter.  However the freezers and larders are full and we know how to cook. The fluffy blankets are aired out for evening snuggles, so we wont be wasting too much gas. My walking and cycling to work will cut down diesel usage. It will be fine.

And look, I made pickled onions. All is right int he world! (As long as you close one eye)

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