Saturday 27 April 2019

Heating fixed!

The plumber changed our 3 way valve but everything still seemed stiff and not quite right. He reckoned the 3 way metal pipe behind it was responsible. We paid him for changing the valve and his 2 hours of checking etc.

The next day he phoned to say had we kept the box from the replacement valve as he had now got hold of one that came with the 3 way metal pipe attached. He could change the new one for that version and all would be well plus give us a full rebate for the new one just fitted. He could then get a return on said valve.

He came yesterday afternoon, partially drained the system and changed the valve and pipe. Another bit of testing and all was well. When he and DB inspected the metal pipe, it was corroded and pitted from limescale hence not opening and closing correctly.

Not too expensive in the end and a good repairman, willing to sort things out and not con us. We shall use him again for future jobs when necessary.

Friday 26 April 2019

One of the reasons

For continuing to live a relatively frugal life, is to have the savings to do things or get people in to do things for us.

The 3 way valve switch box on our central heating has just about broken. We keep getting intermittent heat in the radiators even though the heating isn't on. Last time it went, DB changed it himself. Now he's happy to admit he would find it difficult to see what he's doing as well as twist in the airing cupboard to do it.

We had a man come to look at it yesterday afternoon. He changed it but believes the actual valve behind it isn’t swivelling correctly. This unfortunately will involve draining the whole system to change it. Radiators could do with a good empty out anyway as you can hear bits moving around sometimes.

Our heating was put in by the previous owner and we have spent decades dealing with it’s weird operating methods!

Thursday 25 April 2019

The front garden....

Is coming along nicely although it is desperate for some decent rain. An early, yellow Welsh poppy and the lime green bracts of Euphorbia are in flower:

Even though we had a lovely Easter weatherwise, the front garden didn't get touched. We were concentrating on clearing part of the back and creating a new herb area. When finished, I'll show you my new herb area.

The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed my Singer sewing machine 'table' is no longer in the top picture!

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Chosing a colour for the lounge

With makers of paint supplying numerous colours to paint with, yet few tester pots available in those colours, it takes an age for us to get the colours we really want.

We hope to paint the lounge in the next few months. The carpet is a mess and has gone flat, so we may as well be walking on the floor. It too needs changing.

Eventually, we decided on soft peach for the walls, on the left of these samples:
Whilst the rest looked bright, they just made the room look grubby somehow. Being north facing, we need a bit of warmth on the walls.

Normally, all 4 walls are painted the same, but we checked out an alternative colour for the chimney breast:
Ignore the green on the right, that was to go with the other 3 patches on the top and was decided against. The middle - copper blush - is way too dark. Adding white made it the wrong shade - on the left.

We will try another couple if we can get tester pots, if not, the whole room will be soft peach.

Finding a carpet in the colour we want will be a nightmare as the 'in' colour is grey. Much as I love grey, it is not the colour for the room:(

Tuesday 23 April 2019


We don’t travel about much during Easter as the roads are too busy. Yesterday though we ventured out to try and get a final pot of paint to test. Not much luck so we bought what we had previously decided on before heading off to a garden centre for some pots and herbs.

Back home we had a visitor who was just driving off as we arrived. An hour was spent having a nice chat before she departed and we had lunch.

After that, I potted up my new herbs of rosemary, sage and two different thymes. Still need another plant pot for my mint potentially but we shall see.

Friday 19 April 2019

Going to be nice.....

Except for Ruby who will be hot. She never stops chasing the shadows of anything, or twinkling things, or bugs, when outside in the garden. As a result, we have to come in so she can cool down, daft dog!

We are currently working our way through some paint sample pots. Once the right colour is chosen, the lounge will be pared back of furniture and painted. Once that is done, it will be emptied ready for a new carpet. Haven’t started looking for one yet, so no rush.

I keep having to remove the tomatoes and beans from the conservatory as it is getting between 35C and 40C.

Have a grand Easter everyone.

Wednesday 17 April 2019

It’s almost time...

For the new series of Beechgrove Garden. It starts BBC Scotland at 8pm Thursday 17th April, or BBC 2 Sunday 12:30. Give it a go if you have never watched it. Personally I find it superior to Gardeners World.

Tuesday 16 April 2019

Sorting my Brexit Box

Now that the time for leaving Brexit has passed (without actually leaving), I decided to sort through my Brexit Box. There were some items in there with best before dates of 2019 and quite a lot for 2020. They have now gone into my revamped pantry:

I still have a box with items dated up to 2021, 2022 and a few 2023. They will get added to as and when I can and become my new box. It was like Christmas again, unpacking and restocking!

Monday 15 April 2019

A year ago yesterday....

Ruby came to live with us, age 8 weeks. She went from this:
To this:

She was too much of a fidget to duplicate the shot!

Sunday 14 April 2019

Shopping around....

We always try to shop around for the best utility deals where we can, such as electricity and oil. We went on a water meter years ago and it continues to save us around £350 per annum.

Last year, we chose the best but cheapest lifetime dog insurance deal we could for Ruby, from MoreThan. It came to £317.76. This year they put it up to £402.76, an increase of £85.00. We hadn't made a single claim and we have had Ruby spayed - no difference it seems.

I wasn't happy with that so went onto a price comparison site Bought by Many, put in all her details and was given 6 choices depending on what we wanted to have. We chose a mid range lifetime deal which almost matches last years perfectly. Guess what, it came to £256.42, a saving of £146.34 - that is a huge saving.

Welcome to Ramona MS and Lisa Jenkins via Bloglovin.

Thursday 11 April 2019

I think if I am not careful

I could very easily become a recluse. Over the decades, the few friends I have had, have drifted away. Not by location, no, they are still around, so what has happened?

We all accept that life moves on but I find it odd that people can't still spare you a few moments of their existence, once in a blue moon. You know how it goes. Visits are longer inbetween, telephone calls and other social media messages reduce. You become the one always getting in touch, rather than them.

You decide to get in touch less to see if they notice, nope! You leave a longer and longer gap then get in touch again. Still no response.

I used to have two very good friends in the village. We all moved into work, our children grew up and social interaction reduced, as expected. One chose to hardly be in touch at all other than to flout her new best buddy relationship!! Nearly two decades passed before we bumped into each other and she started sending a Christmas card. I could have started it all up again but chose not to.

The other one had many grand children arrive and I would have expected her time to be reduced but had hoped to still be invited up occasionally to meet grand children. Nope! She went on to have a life threatening illness. I wasn't made aware of it and only found out, 1 year afterwards, when having got in touch for the umpteenth time, got invited for coffee. Since then - zilch.

It doesn't just happen with friends either.

There are times when I feel like a secretary. Times when I feel I am flogging a dead horse, trying to get a response. It has, at low moments, the capacity to make me feel completely unwanted, unloved and at its worst, wondering if they would miss me...

Wednesday 10 April 2019

Raised beds and fruit blossom...

Three out of the four raised beds out back, had spring planting put in them to help maintain the soil over winter. They are now in bloom. In the middle of each bed is their compost bin, all of which are awake and in action:

Bed 1 and a vegetable bed:
Bed 2 has rhubarb in the four corners and 3 parsley plants but not many flowers
Bed 3 isn't shown as it just has strawberries in it. Bed 4 the other vegetable bed, on the patio:
Greengage blossom - excuse the state of the fence. It is NOT ours and the neighbour changed the other half but not this half:(
The later fruiting Spartan, which I was told would take 7 years to produce a good crop of flowers, and it has:
The James Grieve apples are also beginning to send out flowers:

The front arch has in bloom (here on the back of the arch) a russet apple and pink pear:
The front apple (out of shot) and another pear which has never flowered, grow on the left.

We also have a back arch with two different plums - Victoria and Czar on one side and a quince on the other.

In the fruit cage are one blackcurrant, one bramble, two blueberries, two gooseberries and two new dwarf raspberries. The blueberries are slowly dying as we don't have the correct soil but have given us fruit for quite a few years. I think possibly this year, I may need to replace them.

Tuesday 9 April 2019


The hair on her tummy is taking an age to grow back but she now has some stubble. Doesn't stop her flying around in the woods when we go there. We are teaching her to jump over and stand or sit on logs:
Mid flight - love this one:
She is 14 months old now and settling nicely although reverting back to things we thought she had grown out of. DS was right!

Monday 8 April 2019

Pantry update...

As I now like to operate my pantry as a mini shop, I realised there just wasn't the space in the kitchen cupboards or the pantry 'under the stair' (a family joke as we live in a bungalow with no stairs).

After its first reincarnation, see here,

we decided to upgrade it further. It now looks like this:
In fact, another half shelf has divided the space bottom left. There is storage for the bread maker, at waist height, to save straining my back. The very top wide storage space is where all my home made preserves will be stored.

I have yet to sort it out ready for when I decant all my Brexit box items into it. The hoover has gone into the spare bedroom, freeing up several shelfs for storage. All in all, a huge improvement.

Sunday 7 April 2019


Although Ruby sheds hair on a daily basis, twice a year, she has a proper moult. We glove brush her each morning and on average, this is what we remove:

She has her ears combed every day otherwise they knot. By doing this, it allows us to check her for any unwanted visitors!

Saturday 6 April 2019


I was a bit late sowing my tomato seeds but 9 were sown and 8 have arrived:

3 x Orange Bourgoin, 3 x Ailsa Craig and 2 x Gardeners Delight. They were sown in quite small individual cell seed trays, 2 seeds per cell. The spare ones were removed and after about 4 weeks they had grown enough to pot on. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost my 3" potting on pots so they have gone into 4" ones. Hopefully they won't mind.

6 will grow down by the garage wall alongside 6 climbing beans. The other two will be put into pots on greenhouse staging to keep them away from Ruby. If I decide we need more, I shall plant up the plantlets that grow in the leaf axils. They seem to readily root.

Thursday 4 April 2019

I have spent....

The last 2 hours in my pyjamas and dressing gown, very unusual for me. However, I haven’t just been sitting around. Granola has been made and baked, my weekly shopping list organised and bread is in the bread machine, and the breakfast things washed and put away.

A dull, grey, cold day is currently in motion. Maybe it will improve. DB has a hygienist appointment then we can chill out and tootle around as per normal.

I have washing machine liquid to make up and a video game to play!

Wednesday 3 April 2019

The front garden and loft

Welcome to Barb Surman via Bloglovin.

Our winter wasn't as bad as normal. As a consequence, the front garden didn't thoroughly shut down. Things are now growing well and soon, it will be full of flowers:
The euphorbia is already 'blooming', the mini daffs didn't do very well but all the late spring flowers have pushed out their leaves and in a few weeks, it will look lovely.

DB is currently hoovering the loft. Why you might ask!

We store rarely used clothing up there in suit zipper bags. You know the kind of thing, funeral and wedding and special occasion clothes which take up space in our everyday wardrobes.

He went to get something the other day, touched one of the bags and it went 'poof', disintegrating into black dust. Luckily it didn't cause too much damage to the clothing (as far as I know) but made a right mess on the floor.

Tuesday 2 April 2019


Like many folks this time of year, my sap rises and I get the urge to declutter. Our mantelpiece was a nightmare and because it was so cluttered, it wasn't getting dusted. Since having Ruby, our dust levels have increased and I am getting more lazy as I age!

DB commented on how much better it looked and how we could put on a nice picture of DS and DDiL. I said no. Our walls are covered in pictures, including their wedding and our wedding pictures. We don't need anymore on here. Sorry DS and DDiL.

We move our chairs and tables around in the lounge once a month. It not only distributes wear and tear on them but also gives us a good opportunity for a thorough clean and getting rid of items. The next thing to tackle is our huge 'cubed' corner unit, which is also stuffed.

We want to decorate and change the carpet so now is a good time to do it.

Monday 1 April 2019

Today has dawned...

Bright blue skies and sunshine, for now at least. It is certainly cooler though, the forecast for the next few days, not too pretty.

With that in mind, everything left in the wash basket is in the washer and will shortly be on the line. I think I shall make pea soup with bockwurst chopped into it. Should last us a couple of days.

Had a lovely chat with DS yesterday. Hope you all had a lovely Mother’s Day in the UK yesterday.