Saturday 30 July 2022

Jobs for today finished.

 Picked and froze more wild plums, 3lb this time. Easily 50-100lb left but most out of reach, too small or over ripe. Might go for a few more pounds if we remember.

Dug up rhubarb and moved it to the front, where if it survives, it will have more room to grow.

Made a loaf of bread. Stripped bed, remade it, washed and dried on the line.

Popped to local shop for milk as we forgot it yesterday.

We are picking what to watch on the Commonwealth games. Really enjoying the swimming and cycling. So nice to be hosting it as there is no time difference.

DS still recovering from Covid, still just positive but absolutely pooped bless him. Hope he doesn’t pass it on to his family although think they would be showing symptoms now, if they had caught it.

Thursday 28 July 2022

Where will it end?

 The energy price hike prediction has risen from 54% to 65% and now 78%! It could get even higher by then, who knows. These hikes will affect anyone not on a fixed rate contract. Once your contract ends, you will feel it deeply.

If you are not on a fixed rate contract, add 78% to your current tariff, see how much it will be. If you can find an 18 or 24 month fixed rate contract for less than that, think seriously about changing over to one BEFORE the end of September at the latest.

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Kefir pancakes and wild plum sauce!

Exchanging kefir for milk in an American pancake mixture, we made these for our tea one night:

They were delicious!

Our trip to see DS and family is cancelled:( 

We thought it would be but it is so sad when it happens. He has returned safely from the USA (I hate him flying),but Covid symptoms have reared their ugly head again so now, after landing at Heathrow, he is down south with DDiL's family until fit enough to travel. 

We were only a couple of days away from going and it was turning into too much of a rush. They wouldn't have had time to sort the house out, do food shopping etc. Even though he is in good hands, there is nothing worse than a mother who can't tend their unwell 'child' even when it is no longer their job and they wouldn't want you to anyway.

We were hoping to celebrate several birthdays at once and was looking forward to seeing them all. Hopefully another visit can be rearranged asap, but with their busy schedules, who the heck knows.

Karma can be a sod at times. The black dog has been slowly nipping at my heels for a while now and these everyday life events just seem harder somehow because of it. Ridiculous I know but there you go.

Well, on the bright side, I don't have to worry about the garden whilst away. We are due warm weather again and although my neighbour would water it well, I still worry as it is coming into its full stride now.

Just harvested my second slightly large yellow courgette and the tomatoes are growing well.

Sunday 24 July 2022

Wild Plum Picking

 For the past few years, our wild mirabelle plums have been non existent. Either through drought, very cold weather or too hot weather. This year, we discovered the trees are laden and what is more, we have timed it right to harvest them.

We have a short drive to do so. Our usual place, we couldn't reach them as the lower part of all the trees have been trimmed back.

Off we drove to another nearby spot, where they tend to grow in the hedgerows. Luckily, we found about 8 trees/bushes.

Normally we have only found the larger yellow or smaller red ones. This year we found orange, yellow, pink, red and purple. I think the colour must have been affected by the weather. They were all on the small side so have decided to freeze them, then cook and remove the stones before use (jams, puddings, cakes etc):

We were getting hot and bothered after a short while due to bugs and the heat so came home to wash them. Once bagged we found we had picked 6 lbs!

I was hot and itchy so sat in the bath whilst DB filled up the sink. Two jugs of water over me, washed my hair and myself, 4 jugs to rinse, 'bath' finished. Boy, did I feel much better after that and it was a good conservation of water not taking a full bath.

Saturday 23 July 2022

A new one on me, storing and harvesting woes

Welcome to two new followers.

For the first time, my blackberry drupelets have lots of white drupelets, as below:

 courtesy of The Farmer Fred Rant link here.

Apparently it has been caused by UV radiation (sun scalding), due to the excessive hot dry weather we have recently experienced. They are still safe to eat thank goodness. If we have similar weather later on or next year, apparently I need to shade them.

My gooseberries were yet again rubbish. This was my entire harvest from 4 medium sized bushes:

On a different note, I recently harvested my rosemary bush before digging it up as it was massive and very woody despite constant trimming. I dried the clippings. Some have been kept whole (left side) to steep in hot water as a hair rinse and the rest was turned into condiment powder, (right) side. Also a loaf of bread was made and some more Kefir:

Busy, busy, busy!




Friday 22 July 2022

Goodness me! Updated

 Martin Lewis is furious with what is happening to us in this country, although to be fair, it is a world wide problem. Please spare 10 minutes to watch this.

I learnt something about the coming price hikes in energy. I knew a big one was coming on October 1st but it is going to be way higher than predicted. Also, they are going to be going up every 3 months after that - say what!!!

Combine those rises with food increases, inflation, shrinkflation etc, we are heading to a world of pain. Many financial analysts already say we are in a recession but most are hoping it really doesn't get as far as a depression.

Stop putting your heads in the sand (those that are) and do anything you can to help alleviate what's coming.

Remember Frugal Queen, she now has a Facebook account called Frugal Queen in France and she is working her butt off give her best advice on how to help ourselves. See here.

Wednesday 20 July 2022

Too hot to sleep

 The bedroom is 30C making it difficult to sleep. Fan is on, windows are open (cooler outside) but it is still hot inside:(

Ruby enjoyed her first ice cubes today. She had them over 4 sessions. Despite sitting in front of a fan or laying on the cool bathroom floor, she still, given a brief opportunity, shot outside trying to lay in the sun. Daft dog. She was promptly returned indoors.

Plants galore in the garden wilted in the heat. They were watered thoroughly this morning but had to be done again at 9pm.

Monday 18 July 2022

Poorly Son

 DS flew to the USA last week for an annual work trip. Timeline for infections has determined, either on the aircraft or first day in the office, he managed to catch Covid. He has avoided it here for 2.5 years so probably the aircraft.

Although he managed to do his days in one office, he flew to another one before testing positive and obviously can't go in. He feels rotten but luckily, an Uber driver not only delivered food but also large bottles of over the counter medications. Can't do that here, as our packets of things such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are limited to 16 pills per pack and only two can be bought at any one time. We can of course go to many shops to get more.

I was worried he would be stuck in a hotel room but luckily, he has been put up in a very nice house owned by his work place. He has someone else with him but don't know if they are both having to isolate, I should think so.

On top of that, his internal flight back home was cancelled. Can't seem to pick up another one. Now even if he could have travelled back this week, his international flight home was cancelled just before he tested positive.

He can't fly home until 24th at the earliest and then only if negative AND can actually get a flight home. It is getting ridiculous.

Nowt worse than being ill in another country. I am very worried about him.

Saturday 16 July 2022

Preparing for the heat

All windows in the house either have blinds or curtains to shut against the sun, except for the inner front door. As the sun moves, these are opened or closed depending on where it is shining.

First thing in the morning, windows and doors are opened to let in the cooler air but in such a way, that insects don't often get in. I hate flies with a passion!

As the sun moves around the sky, mid afternoon, our conservatory starts to get exposed and very hot, often reaching 45C. By this time, all doors and windows are shut with blinds and curtains drawn. However, the inner door, from the conservatory into the house, has no such protection.

This causes a problem when watching tv as we get blinded and don't want to shut the lounge door to see, as it messes up any airflow we have. It also gets very hot, even when leaving the conservatory door to the outside open, so that radiant heat can't build up even more.

We will measure and order blinds but for now, DB found some dark material in the attic, which I sewed into a curtain. He adjusted an expanding pole to fit the door and the curtain is now up. It can be pushed to one side once the suns moves off the door. 

The blinding light is no more and as the conservatory warms up, I shall keep checking the temperature of the glass on the door to see how well the curtain is doing.

Wednesday 13 July 2022


 Our favourite loose leaf tea rose by 20p from last week. We bought 3 packets just in case. Had to go to another shop later in the week. It was still at the previous old price, so bought 3 more. The difference cancelled each other out making them the regular price, if that makes sense!

Berries seem to be very expensive this year or is it just me?

Petrol prices have been the same for over a week -  a mini price win. Still trying though to not travel far.

Monday 11 July 2022

Shade temperature

 Is currently 32.1C or 90F, as of 14:53 hours. I filled just one watering can up and watered a couple of plants, I could feel my skin burning! Worse is forecast for tomorrow and even hotter at the weekend. No sign of rain for weeks:(

People are still walking their dogs, it’s crazy. Ruby was walked at 06:30 this morning and if lucky, depending on the air and pavement temperatures, she may get a very late evening walk. 

Other than watering and the occasional harvesting, we remain indoors, most curtains and windows shut. Indoor temperature is about 5C less.

Thursday 7 July 2022

Smoke and mirrors!

Despite not being a fan of Boris Johnson, this continued witch hunt by the media to remove him, means we are not looking at the larger picture.

What is she talking about I hear you ask? This article hear explains it, here. 

Even that doesn't take into account the amount of industry, medical, manufactoring and processing procedures we have all handed to them over the years. It doesn't take into account the amount of land they have purchased around the world, the microchip processing and nuclear power plants they have bought or invested in as major share holders. The factories they are shutting down, meat processing in particular, that hardly anyone is noticing.

Where did Covid come from,  C-ina. Who produced most of the PPE and testing kits, Ch-na, etc. 

On a lighter but just as annoying note, dehydrating strawberries. I wanted to do this so we could enjoy a taste of summer in winter but it wasn't to be. 

Two punnets bought yesterday, £1.85 each - ouch. Looked fine. This morning I went to process them (couldn't do it yesterday), and most of them were already turning and going mouldy. I would have been able to only get one tray of potentially dubious slices, which isn't worth the electricity to dry them, nor the risk of them going mouldy inside the jars. 

The slices were covered and put back in the fridge where hopefully we can enjoy them today and tomorrow.


Monday 4 July 2022

Frontier/Pioneer skirt

 I started this yesterday and finished it today. I had a few problems but YouTube helped solve them.

There are many tutorials online for this but the basic premise is this. Measure your waist and add between 20” and 24” which ever gets you to an even number for ease of the maths!

2nd layer is double this 1st layer. 3rd layer double the 2nd layer etc. As each layer is larger than its predecessor, it has to be gathered to fit. Sew into place, iron seams upwards, oversew the edges, iron upwards again to flatten.

Do as many layers as required and do the hem. Make the waistband the same width of layer 1. Height is dependent on the size of your elastic. Mine was about 3” high to accommodate a turn under and the elastic. 

The trick to helping prevent your elastic turning over is to allow for a very small seam around the top of the waist band. Thread the elastic, oversew the ends after making sure it fits.

I didn’t make mine quite this size. Top layer was 60”, next 120” and final layer 180”.