Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Post Holiday Busyness

 We have just returned from a holiday in the Lake District with DS and family. They nearly didn't make it though as DGD woke up on the Saturday morning not very well. They decided to come later in the day. She was OK during the day, bit upset each morning. Night times were a different matter bless her. Coughing so bad it kept all of us and her awake.

By Tuesday she was no better so they took her to the Emergency Department at Kendall. Brilliant service and only a 30 minute wait. We took ourselves out for the morning to pass the time, before returning to the cottage. After a thorough check up, they diagnosed Croup and gave her a huge one off dose of steroid - Dexamethasone - usually used in severe Covid cases.

Within a few hours she seemed happier but nights still weren't good but got a little better. However, by Thursday she had had enough and was crying to go home which they did on the Friday. She is apparently a lot better now, but still with the occasional cough.

Washing, ironing and general tidying was begun when we got home and is now just about finished.

We went to our local garden nursery to buy some compost and summer bedding plants. Blimey, I think I will attempt to grown my own next year.

The compost last year was 3 bags for £12, this year 3 for £16. Pretty sure last year they were also 60 litres in size. This time only 40 litres. Strips of plants last year £1.25, this time £1.75. Individual plants normally £1.25 were £2.00 each.

I only got enough to do the front planters. Still a few more to do back ones. Might just get some compost and sow some very old seeds and see what happens.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

More peppers dried

 Following on from buying my 20% more expensive wonky peppers, I set to preparing to dehydrate them:

12 hours later, they were ready:
Once conditioned, the other peppers will be mixed into them and stored away.


Monday, 16 May 2022

Shortages...

We had to go to 4 different shops the other day, to find my usual deodorant. They had other versions of it but not the one which really works on me. 

DB needed his usual over the counter medicine, nope, none to be had. In the end we bought a different brand. The chemist had quite a few gaps on their 'behind the counter medicines' and indeed, Boots Chemist has already warned about some hayfever medicine shortages. Let's not forget the HRT shortages currently ongoing.

We popped into Marks and Spencers food hall, their chunky chicken and chunky steak were still the same price so I bought 4 more tins. The steak and kidney tins were nowhere to be seen, again...

Friday, 13 May 2022

To good to be true?

If I could offer you an interest savings rate of between 20% and 50%, with a quick return of just a few weeks, you would think it too good to be true, a scam etc. You would probably be correct in a money savings account.

However, from a food saving point of view, it isn't a scam and IS good value for money so to speak.

For example, two weeks ago, I bought wonky bell peppers for £0.99p. This week they were £1.19, that is a 20% increase. 

We quite like easy peeler mini oranges, they are usually £0.99p for 6. This week they were £1.49, almost 50% increase. We bought 6 satsumas instead for £0.99p.

See what I mean? If you apply those figures to almost everything on your shopping list, that can be stored long term, that would be a huge saving for the future. The money would be in your pocket and not those of the shops.



Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Dehydrating results

 I dried both peppers and carrots for 12 hours, the carrots maybe needed a tad longer but we shall see:



They now need to be conditioned. That means checking them every day by shaking and seeing if they freely move, clump together or there is condensation inside the jar. This is done for 5 days.

If condensation appears or they seem to clump together or bits stick to the jar, that means they are not dry enough. They must go back in the dehydrator as soon as this is noticed.

If after 5 days nothing appears wrong, they are ready for long term storage. Either way, I shall check on them occasionally as I did peas last year and they went mouldy despite being rock hard when packed away.


Monday, 9 May 2022

Dehydrating Bell/Sweet Peppers and Carrots

Some people choose to blanche peppers others don't, I chose to do the former.

After removing the seeds and slicing 6 peppers, the strips were blanched for 1 minute in boiling water:

Then placed in very cold water (I didn't have ice cubes):
From there to a salad spinner then final dry off on a clean old tea towel:

Before being placed on 3 dehydrating trays:

I also did enough carrot slices for 3 trays which is the capacity for my dehydrator:
I will report back tomorrow to hopefully show you the results!


Friday, 6 May 2022

Sun, sea and potatoes

We took Ruby off to the seaside yesterday for a swim in a deep puddle of sea water. She doesn't want to run too far into the sea but if we stand either side of this 3' puddle she will run/swim across. Her fur has been feeling tacky lately with all the dust around and she was scratching a lot. She feels better now and is less itchy.

We of course also treated ourselves to chips and curry sauce. We then had salad for tea.

DB is busy outside cleaning/hosing out the gutters. Quite a bit of dirt and moss has accumulated. The debris has been thrown on the back flower border to give it some nurioushment. He seems a bit wet so has started hosing and cleaning the windows as well, go DB!

I have been sealing and vacuum packing dehydrated potatoes. Seems an odd thing to do but we do eat them on occasions and once the packet is opened it is difficult to keep them fresh. 

Each packet contains enough for one meal, plus instructions on how much liquid it needs. We rarely use just boiling water, preferring to use mainly hot milk with a good blob of butter in it plus black pepper. They will now last well past their date:


 

 

Monday, 2 May 2022

Ruby is...

 Currently laying beneath my chair as I type this, head twisted at an awkward angle (as always), snoring loudly. She would not be the type of dog to share a tent or indeed a bedroom with!

About the first of each month, we move/pick everything up off the lounge floor (not heavy furniture), and give it a thorough clean and hoover. The armchairs are swapped around to ensure fair wear and tear.

Each year we find it harder to do but can still do it so do.

My first sown vegetable seedlings are popping up and my fruit cage is looking full of (so far) healthy fruit bushes and plants. One gooseberry every year gets infested with sawfly. The leaves are already disappearing but I can't find the caterpillars yet, blasted things. I shall put some newspaper underneath and give it a good shake and hope I can catch them that way.

I will sow beans direct into the ground in a couple of weeks. My toms are not looking too great at the moment, this new peat free compost doesn't seem to suit them but we shall see. If they don't make it, I shall buy some from a local nursery.

Friday, 29 April 2022

Swapping a meal for a dessert

 Yesterday, we should have been having chickpeas, tomatoes, spinach and eggs for tea. However, a bought loaf of bread was getting very old and we were worried about it going mouldy so swapped this out for bread and butter pudding. Here it is, fresh from the oven although it sinks down a bit afterwards:

Four slices of buttered bread cut into quarters, with a tablespoon of sultana's and one teaspoon of sugar between each layer (6 quarters in this tin). Therefore that was two layers and 4 quarters leftover for the top. Beat 4 eggs and make up to one pint of liquid with milk. Gently pour over the bread and leave to half soak. Keep gently pushing the bread down into the liquid as it has a tendency to float. Sprinkle the top with sugar and in this case, cinnamon at DB's request. I don't add sultana's to the top layer as they can burn.

It was baked at 190C for about 30 minutes. We had half each with hot custard and it certainly filled us up! When you think about it, it is really just sweetened poached eggs on toast.


Thursday, 28 April 2022

Keeping Busy

 I have kept busy vacuum sealing more pantry items to extend their shelf life. Found a YouTube channel yesterday on dehydrating vegetables, very informative so going to take down notes for future use. I loved that she showed the difference between those that are blanched and those that are not as well as carrot slices versus grated carrots and how they rehydrate. See her instructions for carrots here.

Or her blog here.

The new back border has finally had its first weeding and sorting out, thank goodness. I was beginning to think I would never get it done. My first vegetable seedings have been sown direct into the ground and are now showing.

DB has started his annual clearing of the dreaded mare's tail. Eventually we give up and let it grow as it greens the garden where there are bare patches. We do try to keep on top of it in the early weeks!

The ironing has been done and I have a batch of vegetable and cheese soup on the go. DB has gone off to the dentist for his check up.

Friday, 22 April 2022

Stew

 I divided one 1lb pack of stewing beef and froze half for later use. The other half was put into my slow cooker along with potatoes, carrots, parsnips, swede, onions, pearl barley and chopped apricots.

It slow cooked for 5 hours to make us enough stew for two days and a small amount of gravy to freeze for later use:

Not the best of pictures but you get the drift. I made some mini cheese scones to serve with it as well as froze some for the other batch of stew.


Thursday, 21 April 2022

Bellowing cows!

 Our walk this week, takes us through the middle of a farm yard. We were about 20 minutes away when we heard the cows starting to bellow. They almost sounded worried. I was getting a little concerned by the noise, wondering if someone was trying to steal some!

We approach said yard through a field. Sometimes a few cows are in this field and a neighbouring one, with the yard empty. Not so on this occasion. They were mostly out in the yard itself, many dozens of them.

We approached the gate and waited for about 10 minutes, watching them all running about, with the two stockmen trying to round them up. Even they were laughing at them. No way were we going to walk in, which we are allowed to do, as they all had calves.

After about 10 minutes, one of the chaps approached us and asked if we were waiting to go through, we said yes.

He said "Come on then, I'll escort you through. This could take 30 minutes or 5 hours, I suspect today, it will be the latter". We asked what they were trying to do as we knew it was too early for separating the mothers from the calves. He told us they were trying to move them bit by bit to pasture away from the farm, but they wanted to join other cows in the nearby field or go back into the barn.

We got safely through and carried on with our walk. Several fields had their cows and calves in them, always standing by the gates we needed to go through. We could hear the bellowing everywhere they walked but coming from different directions. Sounded like at least some of them had been moved. E was a bit anxious as she isn't too fond of cows but we managed in the end.

Monday, 18 April 2022

Bathroom blind

 After having our bathroom window changed, we found out we had made a mistake in our choice of glass. The one we chose turns out to have an effect of a lighthouse lens. We tend to bathe early evening when the sun is round that side of our home. Consequently, we get blinded and it is very difficult to relax.

Another perfect fit blind in metal slats with a maple effect:


It looks creamy yellow here but has a light woodgrain effect. Makes a huge difference.

Saturday, 16 April 2022

2nd bowl soaking

 Stinging nettles that is. I used half of my supply over winter and thought it best to top up. Gathering the nettles in spring appears to be the best time:

Once washed, leaves stripped from stalks and patted dry, they are put into the dehydrator. I did a total of 8 trays, lightly squished them and put them in a preserving jar. To use, they are put into a small herb blender and turned into powder which I sprinkle on my morning yogurt/cereal etc. Yes, you need to wear thick gloves, I find washing up gloves ideal. They can also be used to make nettle tea, which at the moment, I don't drink.

My mojo has returned but I still have to pace myself. Even after just 20 minutes doing something as simple as weeding, I get breathless and am pooped for hours afterwards. Still, onwards and upwards.

Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Vacuum Sealing done for now

Flour from the freezer and pantry - done!

Pasta and rice from the pantry - done!

Sundry items from pantry - done!

Things back in the freezer and pantry - done!


 Doesn't look a lot but the rest is in the freezer. Buying more flour tomorrow and more beans etc., next week. Remember folks, two is one and one is none!

Monday, 4 April 2022

Winter 2022/2023

 I went for a short walk with DB and Ruby to our woods on Saturday to gather pine cones. We got just one carrier bag, more later in the year:

The tray they are drying out on measures 2' x 1' (60cm x 30cm). Once dry they will be stored away. They make excellent kindling, saving a bit of kindling wood and newspaper. Also, if the fire has burned down too much, you can revive it with them.

Bending up and down didn't do me much good however. On the way back, Ruby ran off into a deep ditch full of sticky black mud. We know from experience it is difficult to remove. Anyhow, once home, she was hosed down, shampooed, hosed, shampooed and finally hosed again. She was as clean as she was going to get.

I came indoors and had to sit down. my pulse was 110 and my oxygen levels had dropped to 95. Nothing too precarious but I was shaking and felt dreadful. Same thing happened Sunday morning, bending over to wash my hair.

I am still tired and the dreaded green catarrh is also making a bit of a comeback so I shall have to start treating that again. Blimey, when will it end!


Sunday, 3 April 2022

Vacuum Sealer

 Here it is in its box:

And unpacked:

A dry/moist mode, vacuum and seal or just seal, can be used for cooking in Sous Vide mode (nope) and comes with one roll of bags. As you can see, I also got another twin roll pack.

Any bags of beans, rice, pasta I want to do, will have small holes put into the tops of their original bags before being put into one of these and sealed. At the end of the year, I hope to remember to do the same to any vegetable/fruit/flower seeds I have left or self harvest.

I am also investing only in heritage seeds as they should come true from self harvested seeds. A lot of modern seeds can't be saved like this. You can sow them (apart from F1 hybrids) but they won't come true to their original.

Friday, 1 April 2022

19 days later

 And a week on from my last post, I am getting better. Still have a mild sore throat and occasional catarrh/cough. My energy levels are not fully recovered and I feel quite dehydrated. Still, its better than one week ago, onwards and upwards. Thank you for all your kind wishes.

One load of washing on the line and another on the go. It is a sunny, cold but blustery day, so I hope they will at least get half dry.

I have invested in a vacuum sealer machine. We had one when we came back from Germany decades ago but couldn't get hold of the bags as they weren't 'a thing' over here then. I want to store my bags of flour, pasta, rice, beans etc longer term so the air needs sucking out. I won't be using oxygen absorbers for now as they won't be for super long storage.

More on that another time.

Thursday, 24 March 2022

2 1/2 toilet rolls later......

 I might, just might, be getting better!

Day 10, still testing negative. My body is beginning to feel better, my head and throat are another matter.  My throat and nose are still sore from all the bloodied catarah coming from my sinuses and phlegm being coughed up. I still have a bit of a thick head. My left ear is uncomfortable, hopefully due to blocked tubes rather than an infection building up.

Anyway, I have managed to gather some soil to test what state my garden is in. The first lot heralded a disaster so I am repeating them as thest particular tests are new to me.

Dog washing is on the line and I did manage a good walk yesterday even if I was a bit breathless at times.

That's my lot for now. Thanks for all you well wishes.

Sunday, 20 March 2022

Good grief

 A second night with a high temperature and despite being very hot, I didn’t drench in sweat. I have had flu and this isn’t like that, nor is it a cold. Maybe it is Covid but not showing up on testing.

I did however find the energy to dead head one hydrangea so that was something. DB continues to look after me and so far, hasn’t caught it. Hopefully I am in the end stages of it. Just the cough and my sinuses to clear?

Saturday, 19 March 2022

Rice pudding disaster and a crappy night

 I was in need of comfort food yesterday so decided to make a rice pudding for lunch, yeah, who knew!

In it went and I set the timer for 40 minutes to give it a stir. Oh no (or words to that effect) poured forth from my mouth as I realised it was in the top oven and I had switched the bottom oven on instead.

For a brief moment, we thought no problem. We then realised the bottom oven is used to store things we can't fit in our cupboards, including a new sandwich toaster. Yep, the feet had melted off and part of the cable was melted. Its in the bin as we couldn't guarantee anything else hadn't melted inside.

Luckily the oven was only on 160C so the molten rubber didn't attach to the oven floor. I quickly began to move the rice pudding to bottom oven and slopped it. DB had to clean up the mess as I had lost it by then feeling so rotten. It was too late now to have it for dinner and as is with a rice pudding, it cooked fine but the subsequent waiting around meant it sucked up all its milk and went solid. Hey ho, we ate it anyway.

About 8pm last night my hands and feet went stone cold and I began to shiver uncontrollably. My temperature was rising after 2 days of a severe throat and 2 days of runny nose, sneezing and coughing. The sore throat also returned but was milder.

I went to bed and woke up soaking wet at 1am. I needed ibuprofen but had forgotten it so made my way slowly to get it. Couldn't be bothered to take my temperature as I wanted to get back to bed, I was red hot so knew it was high. Eventually I got to sleep and woke up about 4am, bed and me were slowly drying. My whole face was pounding.

Normal get up this morning, but I feel as though my face has been slapped hard against a wall. There is discoloured gunk coming from my nose and sinuses and it is so painful if I cough. Thank goodness I have almost stopped sneezing as that is even more painful. 

Hopefully another 2 days should see the end of whatever it is. At least I can enjoy getting to know my new gaming machine even if I can't currently play very well.

Thursday, 17 March 2022

Feeling half human again...

 After two wretched days, the worst of being unwell has passed. I have never had such a sore throat or felt so cold. Having flu was the nearest memory of such things. Another bad night, though I did sleep eventually. Took a Covid test this morning to be on the safe side, negative thank goodness.

A lovely sunny few days to come. Hopefully after resting today, I might feel up to doing something. The last two duvet covers will be hung outside once washed. The first one still smells of whatever washing powder the shop washed them in.

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

So far...

 DB is the only one of us not to have gone down with whatever DGD had whilst we were away. No wonder she felt so unwell. A severe sore throat, so far no runny nose or sneezing. She spiked temperatures though which DDiL is doing, us others are okay regarding that.

Having had chiro treatment yesterday, we take the oppurtunity to visit two huge warehouse sized charity shops nearby. I picked up 3 double quilt covers for £12, a cheap way of buying lots of material. Below are the freshly washed (but not dried) pillowcases so you can see each side of the material:

The blue side above is a bit thin so might not use that for a skirt.

I have found a pattern online for a 'pioneer skirt' which I would like to have a go at. I love to wear skirts all year, even in winter. I should be able to make them as long/short as required.


Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Up North!

 Just had a lovely weekend with DS and family. DGD was full of cold again, but on the whole, was well enough. She didn't engage with Grandad so much but did play and chat with him. He takes it in his stride. She kept climbing on my lap, especially when feeling a bit unwell, must be a female thing when they are under the weather.

DS and DB were busy finishing off skirting and doors on the revamped dining room. Still needs painting but that will be done when they finally settle on a colour for the walls.

We have just had our first cup of tea out on the patio. As usual, the sun was shining whilst I was hanging out the washing but clouds came over as we sat down. Still, it was nice to feel the warmth on our faces.

Our new back border needs weeding but we both have Chiro today so it will have to wait. Maybe later in the week when warmer weather is predicted although we can't see it on our local weather forecast.

Heating oil got as high as £1.23p per litre but is beginning to drop now. Currently, it is £1.10p.

I have decided to have a go at trying to grow sweet potatoes this year and will start them off in the next week or so. Wish we luck!

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Up again

 Just 4 days ago, when I mentioned my neighbours trying to get the best price for domestic heating oil, it was 89.90p per litre. The next day, it rose to 93.49p. Today, it is 105.5p per litre with VAT to be added on top of that!

Petrol last week when we went shopping on Friday, was 147.7p per litre. Today it is between 151p and 157p (supermarket prices) depending on where you go, locally. I know my son is paying way more than that, per litre, where he lives.

Lidl today had quite a few empty shelves but both Morrison's and Sainsburys were quite well stocked. It isn't just about being well stocked though, is it? It is how much food will cost when those high fuel prices impinge both on the cost of transport and storage, especially frozen and refrigerated food. As harvesting progresses throughout the year, lots of produce is kept in low temperature storage facilities.

Wheat and other cereal crops were poor or indeed failed last year in certain parts of the world. Now add the loss of Ukraine exports, Russian sanctions and at least Hungary closing down their cereal exports. You would have to be blind to what will happen to those prices.

I felt for a woman interviewed outside a supermarket in America. She was being told about this and the worldwide shortage of fertiliser about to affect this and potentially next years crops and how bad the farmers were doing due to rising costs. She wasn't worried about the farmers as "I get all my food from the supermarkets". It does beggar belief that she didn't realise that the supermarkets get their food from farmers. Many people though today, seem to be totally disconnected from where their food actually comes from, so maybe her answer wasn't so surprising.

American prepping channels have been warning about these failures and the fertiliser shortages for several months now. Yet today is the first mention I have found on our business pages. If you garden to grow your own vegetables, I would recommend growing heirloom varieties rather than F1 as you can save the seed for future years. 

Recommendations from those preppers are to grow just 5 or so foods that will keep you going through the winter months, rather than many different types of food. My garden is no longer that big but I will certainly aim to grow more this year. We do well with soft fruit (apart from a gooseberry failure last year). Indeed we still have loads of rhubarb and brambles left. Apples were bad last year but pears were okay. I can't store things long term in something like a root cellar so most is frozen or eaten fresh. Eating them fresh means the money I would have spent on those items, can be used buying food to store.

I no longer care whether people think I am mad. Don't you think if citizens had had the chance to store food long before WWII, they would have done so? Once the situation got too real and very close, prepping/hoarding was banned. 

Questions to myself are - do I have enough for me and mine if things took a turn for the worse? How would we cook things, efficiently, if no gas/electric/oil was available? How would we stay warm?


Monday, 7 March 2022

Venetian Blinds Up

It took us a while to fit these this time as the window inserts (that fit behind the rubber seal of each window), were too deep. We went to our replacement company that we used last time and ordered some smaller ones. They worked fine.

I purposely chose a deep colour to try and block out more light in the early hours which was waking me up. The light is now reduced by about 40% to 50% which will make a big difference come summer:


As the bedrooms are south facing, they get very warm in summer if we can't have the blind out due to high winds. They will offer shade and give us more privacy from the houses behind.


Friday, 4 March 2022

This time last year

 Domestic heating oil was around 48p per litre. When we bought some last month, it was 69p a litre. Yesterday, when my neighbour ordered some, it was 90p per litre. I suspect it will be much higher still shortly.

Unfortunately for them, their fixed rate electricity deal finished the end of February. They weren’t quick enough to lock into a new deal. After a discussion between us, it was decided to find a fixed rate deal ASAP, with no exit fee. Should they by some miracle find a better deal later on, they won’t get penalised for moving.

Prices are rising on everything. Petrol has risen by several pence this week, more to come there as well. People are starting to panic buy. 

We are all aware of food price hikes. I read yesterday that South Korea gets 60% of their cereal crop, mainly corn, from the Ukraine. They are desperately trying to find just under 400,000 metric tons elsewhere. As everything is locked in place before sowing starts, can’t see them achieving it. That is just one country.

Homesteading blogs I read are also reporting on major price hikes on animal feed, fertiliser and other items needed for their livestock. Those prices are having to be passed on, their customers aren’t happy. What can they do other than have less animals, keep more for their own families thereby creating more shortages.

I am constantly amazed by how people are burying their heads in the sand because it stresses them out too much to think about it. Stressing out won’t feed and water you and yours, keep you warm next winter, get you from A to B.

Every time you shop, if you can, buy a little extra, don’t clear the shelf. Keep your car fuel topped up always, look at how you can adjust here and there to cut back.


Tuesday, 1 March 2022

A busy couple of days

 I have made 11 birthday cards for women from a lovely old calendar and 4 for men. 

The perfect fit Venetian blinds we ordered for the spare bedroom, arrived in less than a week. We have ordered some shorter fitments as they are showing daylight around the frame.

I will post a picture once they are up.

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Favourite Jam

 There was a time when you could buy fresh blackcurrants easily. Now unless you grow them, they are hard to find, even in a can (which Tesco used to sell).

Shopping in Lidl, tucked behind other jams, we found this:

Get two said DB, so we did!


Sunday, 20 February 2022

Blimey

 It’s absolutely hammering it down at the moment. More rain than Eunice but not quite so windy. Glad I am not out in it though.

Faggots, vegetables and gravy for lunch, followed by home made rice pudding. Chips, jelly and custard for tea. Right comfort food on such a day.

Saturday, 19 February 2022

Cooking during Storm Eunice

 We made preparations yesterday in case of power cuts. The dinner we had thought of eating was replaced by a can of M & S chunky steak, instant potatoes and canned vegetables. We enjoyed it.

As it happened, we didn't have any power cuts, damage etc. Wind was quite bad, so we consider ourselves very lucky.

Friday, 18 February 2022

Renewing at last...

 Our pair of baby scissors still worked but were getting blunt. Indeed, I had a thread hanging from my nightie and it wouldn't cut it. We bought a replacement yesterday, unfortunately had to buy a small set that included the scissors, a teeny pair of nail clippers and a nail file:

New scissors on the left, plastic handle versus old on the right, all metal:

Not bad for 35 years old!


Tuesday, 15 February 2022

A compliment

Welcome to two new followers.

Whilst the cooker was being delivered, they had to reverse with it into our lounge so I could shut the front door, allowing them to manoeuvre into place. One of them noticed I had paused a video game.

"Ah, I see you have The Last of Us II, how's it going? What did you think about them killing Joel off?"  (the previous lead character).

A quick discussion followed as they left. He then started to say, "its unusual for people of your ...."

He stopped as he realised what he was about to say and blushed. I finished "our age"? 

"Well yes" he said. "Its nice to see". 

Yeah, it appears I'm in with the 'in' crowd!!!

Monday, 14 February 2022

New Cooker

Our cooker was 13 years old and whilst still working reasonable well, was about to undergo another expensive repair, its third. We bit the bullet and invested in a new one:

It is similar to the old one but has a feature we don't like (but knew about before we bought it. Instead of venting the oven out the back of the cooker it vents through the little black things on top of the back, one per oven:


 

The upshot of which is steaming pouring out (potential to scald) and going straight onto the tiles, where it condensates then runs down the back. It no doubt would make a mess behind the cooker. DB's temporary solution was this:

All well and good but if needing to, the back right of the cooker wouldn't be able to be used.

The chap in the shop said it was the biggest complaint about the new style and we would agree. We do however love Zanussi cookers so hope to find a bit better fix!


Friday, 11 February 2022

Keeping Warm

 I have been reading a few sites regarding how to keep warm with fuel rates rising. An interesting one that I hadn't thought of, was an electric blanket/back warmer/knee cover.

They cost very little to run and will help keep you warm in a cool room if you are having to be careful with fuel costs. We also set our thermastat to 18C. Hot water bottles, microwavable hot pads are also useful. Next year, we plan on using our wood burner far more than we have done this year.

Layers of clothing we probably all know about but some days, I have been unable to keep fully warm despite layering. We haven't really had a freezing cold winter either to test things out. I have used fingerless gloves and a scarf/shawl to keep my neck warm which helps greatly.

I also read that the price of a British barrel of oil, was £85 dollars in early January, but today is £92. Doesn't sound too much until taxes are added. Driving to do shopping the other day, we noticed fuel has gone up by 2p a litre again. 

Our prices equate to $5.36 USD for an American gallon or $6.39 dollars per a Canadian gallon. Wonder what it is elsewhere as I don't think Americans are paying anywhere near that rate at the moment.

In the kitchen, only put in the kettle the amount you need to boil. We have ours marked for 2 cups, enough to fill our small teapot. Some people prefer to boil a whole kettle and store the unused amount in a flask for later use.

I have just made us a pea and ham soup to eat over the next couple of days. It was done in my pressure cooker.

Elsewhere, we haven't used our tumble dryer for ages now. We bought it as a replacement for our old one, but it has a built in lock to prevent using a timer overnight, most annoying.

I'm sure lots of you have other tips on how to keep warm if we have to start using a lot less fuel.


Saturday, 5 February 2022

New BP Kit and freebies

Our new blood pressure kit arrived yesterday, along with 2 freebies:


 Some anti-bacterial handwash and a smaller bottle of hand gel.

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Home Blood Pressure Monitoring Kits

 Our current kit (from Boots) is now 10 years old. They are supposed to be serviced every 2 years to make sure they are measuring accurately. We both check ours and it always coincides with the surgery reading. 

However, we want to change it now. Trying to get it serviced is a nightmare and now costs more than the device. That is such a shame so we are getting another one.

Monday, 31 January 2022

Revamping old tea towels

 I have turned old tea towels into vegetable and fruit storage bags for the fridge and floor cleaning clothes. As its time to change them again (every 2 years), I wanted to make some dishclothes as my crochet ones are tatty.

I cut each towel into 12" x 6" strips - got three strips from each one:

Then did a zig zag stitch around the edges to join them together. This was followed by a line of straight stitch, through both middles to sew a cross shape. This should help them retain their flat shape longer:
After double checking and re doing one or two edges, I now have 8 'new' dishclothes (only 7 here as one is in use:
Should last at least a year as we change both the dishcloth and tea towels every day.


Friday, 28 January 2022

Sorry for my absence

 Not a lot to report. Tootling along doing every day stuff and playing on the PS4! 

Sunday, 23 January 2022

Coping on a reduced budget

Pricing increases and delivery problems are a big concern for many at the moment. Our food budget has certainly increased and increased again in the last year. Bills have gone up and in Spring will go up again, especially fuel.

We have been through our monthly, quarterly and annual budget. We add everything up, add 10% for inflation, then divide it back into its monthly, quarterly and annual components. 

However, as we age, my thoughts do turn more to how would I cope if anything happened to DB. He financially would be fine if I went first as he has the bigger share of pensions. We have both made wills and paid upfront for our funerals.

He has spent quite some time, going through all our finances, spending and savings. He has created a list for me, of what amount comes out of which account, who it is paid to and when. I did have a good idea but it is always nice to see it in black and white.

He has created another smaller list of his pensions, life insurance and any other credits I might get. Without a share of his work pension, which I am entitled to, I would just be able to manage everything on my government pension and my teeny tiny other work pensions.

How that would pan out in future years with this crazy financial worldwide situation I don't know. It has however, taken a great weight from my shoulders.

I would hope before then, and before we get too decrepit, we would have moved closer to our son, into a smaller property and be even more financially secure.

People say 'why are you still being careful with money, why have you gone without in past years to save for your future. That is why!

None of us know what the future holds. We have no idea when and if we will decline in health and need a major outlay for help. Staying at home rather than going into a home is our top priority, unless medical problems dictate otherwise.

That is also why.

We do still want to live and go visit places and have the money to do so. Pandemic to one side, this year we hope to do more of that.

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Mask wearing

 As far as I know, we are supposed to still be wearing masks in shops? In Lidl, the manager was swanning around without one, he wore it last week. A group of school boys weren’t wearing theirs either. Two men and one woman didn’t wear them either. Have previously seen these wearing one.

Then went to Morrison’s where almost everyone had one on.

People, flu has just started in Europe, wear one against that at least!!!

Sunday, 16 January 2022

A tad overpackaged!

 We had a delivery yesterday, this is how it was packaged:

A little bit OTT.

Also, I for one will be glad to hear the back of the constant news about a certain tennis player. The publicity has completely overshadowed all tournaments previous to the Australian Open and indeed, all build up to it. You could hear the exaspaeration in the players voices during post match interviews.


Saturday, 15 January 2022

Runner up Andy

 But boy, apart from losing both opening games, you played well. 5th game 2nd set could have turned it around but your opponent was excellent. Lots of the old Andy evident. Well done lad.

Sydney tennis final

 The BBC, despite not mentioning much about him, have decided to show Andy Murray in the final of the Sydney tennis. He can be found on the red button or iplayer, UK only, for anyone who is interested. Coverage from 08:25 today.

Thursday, 13 January 2022

It occurred to me the other day...

That in an emergency, we would need an emergency item - a manual can opener! We use an electric one as I find manual ones difficult to use. We do have a manual one but to be honest, it is about as much use as a chocolate teapot!

We ordered and have just received a butterfly opener and 2 x military issue P51 can openers:

DB was happy to show me how to use the military version as he had knowledge of them.

Yeah, yeah, I hear you say, what kind of emergency are you thinking of? A prolonged power cut for one thing, breaking the tab of those so called easy to open peel back cans (done that numerous times). Spam and corned beef keys are notorious for breaking halfway around the tin.

What I like about the P51 are their small size (easy to operate though) and the fact they can be threaded onto a cord for safe keeping if you are out and about camping.

Another to do thing checked off my list!


Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Jigsaws and sticks

 In two days, DB set to and completed his Christmas present of a 500 piece jigsaw. I bought it for him as this is how he remembers Christmas from his childhood:

Occasionally, when out for a walk in woods, Ruby, picks up a thick stick to walk back home. She is not allowed to run with sticks in her mouth. We take them off her once home and throw them into a pile to weather down. Here they are, mixed in with garden branches, ready to burn on our fire:

We usually only burn 1 to 1 1/2 baskets of logs in a day unless very cold then we might use 2.



Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Oh - poor thing!

 I looked out the lounge window first thing yesterday morning and saw this:

I don't think it will open anymore but it is certainly a record date for something that normally flowers late April early May!

Just shows how topsy turvy the weather is.