Monday, 31 May 2010

Sandbanks to Harry's Rocks

Second Day. Early start today, places to go, lots to do. A filling breakfast at the hostel. I was entertained by an amusing grey squirrel performing acrobatic manouvers just outside the dining room window on a hanging bird feeder. I quite like these cute 'tree rats', as some people call them.

I wasn't sure about parking at Sandbanks so I asked the chef for advice. He said ignore the large car park as you get there and carry on round the loop at the end, it is free parking with no restrictions on the road. He was right. I would have thought that all the posh residents would be up in arms about every Tom, Dick, or Harry parking right outside their multi million pound homes. I could see why they weren't that bothered though, high walls, electric security gates with intercoms, and tall trees giving ample screening to their investments. Once they have barricaded themselves into their little fortresses they couldn't give a toss about what was going on in the outside world.

Right at the end of the loop, at the entrance to Poole Harbour is a ferry which takes cars, buses and people travelling by any mode they wish, the short distance to the other side. It is very busy because it is a heck of a distance for anyone wanting to go to Swanage and the Isle of Purbeck by road. Just as I arrived it was getting ready for off, I quickly put my one pound coin in the machine and got a ticket.

This drive on drive off ferry is quite interesting, it does not travel across the water by it's own means, but is pulled by huge chains which go under the water. If you want to read more about this, here is the web site

The man in his crows nest driving, or is it piloting, the ferry.

It has room for 48 cars.

The huge chains which propel the diesel-hydraulic craft.

Stepping off the other side at South Haven Point, the view across Shell Bay.

I had intended to stay an hour or so there, just so I could say I had been on the ferry, but when I saw this sign for the South West Coast Path, I had to explore a little further.

I walked along the beach for over an hour and saw the white cliffs in the distance. In my dream like state and enjoying the glorious sunshine, I hadn't noticed the warning signs. Looking across to the sand dunes, I blinked and looked twice, then quickly looked away. It was a surprise to see people without any clothes on. Oh well, each to their own I suppose. I was more interested in the coastline up ahead.

Passing through the lanes of Studland I came across this pretty pub, The Bankers Arms, which was almost totally covered in a creeping ivy like plant. No time to stop, must press on, I have some ground to cover if I want to get back and take the other ferry to Brownsea Island.

It seemed a long trek to Old Harry, as the white rocks are named, I kept stopping briefly to admire the view. I came across two men with huge cameras on tripods who were filming right close to the edge. Me being nosey I asked if they wanted to film me, never one to miss an opportunity, ha ha. They said they were filming for a local TV news station because a dog had fallen over the cliffs a few days before. I wish they hadn't told me that, it certainly put a dampener on my day, the poor dog. Why are people so stupid as to let their animals wander loose in such a dangerous place.

I tried to put the dog to the back of my mind and took some more photo's. The scenery was certainly stunning.

These are The Pinnacles, just around the corner from Harry's Rocks.

I asked a nice young lady to take a photo of me, modelling my new sun visor.

The ferry coming out of Poole Harbour on it's way to France.

Time was getting on and I needed to get back pretty sharpish if I was going to Brownsea. I backtracked to Studland and took the footpath past this Norman Church.

At the other end I came out onto the road, aha, a bus stop. Oh good, there is a bus in ten minutes, lucky I have my pass with me. I hopped on and was back on the ferry in ten minutes, still on the bus. Did I get to Brownsea? Keep reading.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Day one, saying my prayers

It wasn't a relaxing holiday, there was no time to chill out and do nothing, always on the move, always something to keep me busy. If I wasn't driving, or walking, or sightseeing, I was planning my next move. The only time I did put my feet up was in the evening in the hotel on St Mary's, I actually got to watch a bit of tele, now that was a novelty, flicking through the channels.

I must have walked a fair distance, didn't check it but I had my walking boots on every day. The scenery was fantastic, I did lots of bits of the South West Coastal Path, and I can see now why people like to do the whole lot, it was beautiful, I fell in love with it. Just when I thought I had stumbled upon the best sight ever, I turned a corner to find an even more breathtaking view. Some parts of it brought tears to my eyes, I was in awe of the sheer beauty of the cliffs and the rock formations, the force of the waves as they came crashing down around them. The surf of a clear blue sea rushing onto the pure white beaches, the abundance of wild flowers carpeting the ground, and the blue skies and sun looking over me. Someone up there was making sure everything worked out fine, I had a lovely holiday, I was so lucky.

I am not going to overload you with a chronicle of every detail, I will make it a series of day trips out. I wrote a diary to help me remember it all, and picked up loads of leaflets, I hope you find it interesting.

Here is the Youth Hostel at Salisbury. It is a 200 year old secluded villa set in private grounds, close to the city centre. When I drove up the long sweeping driveway and caught sight of it my first thought was, 'wow, look at that'. After my walk around the town I came back to cook my dinner, and ate it outside at the picnic tables. Breakfast is included in the price at this hostel, which is quite rare, mostly it is optional with an extra cost of £5. At all the other hostels I was self catering, trying to keep the cost down, besides I don't normally like a big breakfast. The staff were very friendly and helpfull, nothing was too much trouble. In fact I find all hostels are run by friendly people, that's why I like them.

Of course, if you are in any city with a cathedral you have to go and have a look. This one is fabulous. I couldn't get many photo's because a large part of it is covered in scaffolding where they are renovating it, but these will give you an idea.

The spire at 404ft is Britains tallest.

It has Britains largest secular Cloisters with newly landscaped gardens.

It has the earliest surviving complete choir stalls in Britain.

Some more facts.
It has Europe's oldest working clock. 1386
The Chapter House is the home to the best preserved of the four surviving original 1215 Magna Carta.
Tomorrow I'm going to Sandbanks to see where the posh folk live.

The wanderer returns.....

Hi there, I'm back. I have been to that many places, I feel like a globe trotter. I woke up yesterday morning in Boswinger hostel near St Austell and it was raining and overcast, not a nice start to my last day. Also the hostel was due to fill up with more children last night, and I didn't fancy the scramble to use the bathroom and kitchen facilities, so I felt the best option was to head off back home. Not before a visit to the Eden Project however. I left there at 2.45pm, called in to see my sister for a coffee, arriving back at midnight, with a total of 1,075 miles driven.

I feel whacked, the car wants unloading, the runner beans and peas want planting out, I need to go and buy some food because I emptied the fridge freezer before I went and I am craving fresh vegetables, and Lilly cat wont leave my side. I will get the photo's sorted out in some kind of order today, that's going to be a job and a half. Hopefully I'll be back later, hang on in there !

Monday, 17 May 2010

Greetings from Salisbury

I bet you didn't expect to hear from me this soon, surprise surprise, I am at Salisbury Youth Hostel and I have to type quickly because this is costing me £1 for 20 minutes, see how much I love you all, ha ha.

After an easy drive down with three short stops, I arrived at 3.13pm. It's 240 miles door to door. The hostel is beautiful, a large white building a bit like an old fashioned ranch with a verandah, set in it's own grounds, close to the town centre. A massive tree is at the front and it's surrounded by bushes, lawns and I've seen two pussy cats. I cooked my simple meal in the members kitchen, cous cous with a tin of mackeral fillets, got to keep the cost down.

My room mates are all nationalities, I have just had a lively conversation with two young girls from Canada who are backpacking over here for seven weeks, you should see the size of their rucksacks! I had to take a top bunk because all the lower ones were taken, hope I don't have to get up in the night for a pee, ha ha.

Salisbury Cathedral is magnificent, although a large part of the outside is covered with scaffolding, they are renovating it. I managed to sneak in for free, naughty naughty I know but I happened to be passing the automatic exit door just as someone was coming out.

Breakfast is included at this hostel so I am going to fill my belly up so that I last all day tomorrow. I have to go now, it's going to cut me off, by for now see you soon.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Happy Birthday to me,

I have been getting ready for my hols all day today, well some of it, if only I could get off this flippin computer. I don't know what's going to happen next week when I can't blog or chat on forums, I'm gonna feel so lonely :o( For goodness sake pull yourself together.

Ben's owner is due back at 10pm tonight, so I will take him for his last walk before bed time, and deliver him back. I feel quite tearfull, he has been here for two weeks and I will miss the old boy.

We have had lovely weather today, a bit blustery at times, but lots of sunshine, I do hope it continues for the next two weeks. I still haven't packed, typical of me, everything is last minute.

Did you notice the change in the caption on the sidebar? Yes I am now 61. When I get back I will change the photo and you will be able to see the difference a year makes. You probably expect me to look a year older, but hang on a minute, I am going backwards ;o) I flatly refuse to get old before my time. Stuff the twinset and pearls, I want to be a WAG.

Let the adventure begin. My camera will be clicking merrily away, the card will hold 400 photo's, see you when I get back.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

And now....for the monkeys

Time to dig my posh frock out of the wardrobe, I've just received my invitation to the National Association of Ladies Circles Summer Rally. Whoopeeee :o)

Of course I knew it was coming, I agreed to attend this event several months ago, as the guest speaker. Just imagine, ladies from all over the country gathered together at a posh hotel, and they will all be listening to me. Wow!

The accompanying letter describes me as 'The Queen of Mean', who will entertain with tales of her penny pinching lifestyle. Ha ha, I hope they are ready for this, because I enjoy seeing the look on peoples faces when I tell it like it is.

After talking about managing on very little money, it would be innapropriate to take the fee for this engagement, I will be getting a free meal, that will be enough reward. I am at the point in my life when I have everything I need. I have no desire to accumulate more money, so I am happy to donate it to Monkey World in Dorset. They do such good work with rescuing monkeys and apes from all around the world.

Which brings me to next week. I will be able to present them with a cheque in advance of the talk, when I visit Monkey World on Wednesday. It is time for my big adventure, so I will be away for a while. If I find a library with computers I will pop in to say hi. I will miss you all, but I will be writing a diary and taking lots of photo's so I can write it all up when I return.

These are the places I plan to visit.
Salisbury, Poole, Sandbanks, Bownsea Island, Swanage, Corfe Castle, West Lulworth, Monkey World, Portland Bill, Abbotsbury Swannery, Donkey Sanctuary, Salcombe, Burgh Island, Polperro, Liskeard, Fowey, Perranporth, Hayle, Landsend, Scilly Isles, Minack Theatre, St Michaels Mount, Lizard Point, Falmouth, Boswinger and area, then home.

Don't know if I will manage all that but I'm gonna try. Catch you tomorrow, one more post before I go.

Friday, 14 May 2010

For the love of animals

I've only once in my life sat on a horse, and that was in the Grand Canyon when I was on holiday a few years ago. They are such majestic animals, but I find their size a bit intimidating, never the less I am quite happy to talk to them and pat them. My friend Karen who lives behind the church has a big brown one and a little white pony, and when I am passing I pull up handfulls of grass that they can't reach, and feed it to them.

Last week I decided to adopt a horse from Bransby Rest Home for Horses, near Lincoln. I have made donations to this charity before, but I thought it would be nice to have a connection to a particular resident there. There are eleven to choose from and I picked Craigie Boy, an ex race horse.

This morning I received my certificate, isn't he a handsome boy.

They also sent me a laminated picture to put on the wall, a rosette, a key ring, and a notebook, and they will send me news of his progress throughout the year.

I am so thrilled, my very own horse. Well I don't suppose I actually own him, perhaps just part of him, a very small part, well ok, maybe just his left ear, ha ha.

They tell me he is always the first one waiting at the gate for his breakfast and tea. He has made friends with new arrival Percy, another ex racehorse, and they are often seen galloping around the field together. Aaahhhhh, how nice, he sounds like a happy chappie.

Just a couple of updates on the cats I previously mentioned. Remember Mr Beasley? He is still with Sue in a chalet in her garden. He now shares with Bobby and they have become great friends. Bobby may have a new home to go to shortly, and there is a lady who lives opposite Sue who is seriously thinking of taking in Mr B. He looks lovely now, and enjoys being groomed. All his knots have gone and his coat is silky soft.

Lucifer, the black cat who was taken into care because his owners are very ill, has sadly had to be put to sleep. Although he was very poorly we hoped he would have a few more weeks. He went to live with Janet and her cats and settled in very well. She has a big garden and he was able to stroll around in the sun. But the tumours on his kidneys were inoperable and he drifted in and out of consciousness, a genetic condition that no one could do anything about. It was kindest to ease his suffering. We are all very sad. Janet is doubly upset because it was only a week ago that she lost one of her own cats. All we can do is give them our love while they are here.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

How very dare they!

Our council are on the ball where household recycling is concerned, their enthusiasm is commendable, but a little over the top sometimes. They supply us with three wheelie bins, a red one for cardboard and plastics, brown for garden and compostable waste, and a grey one for general rubbish that can't be recycled, this goes to landfill.

Then we have two plastic boxes that we put out on the pavement once a fortnight, a blue one for paper, and green for glass and tins.

I am a keen recycler as I believe we should not be throwing everything into a big hole in the ground, so I diligently sort out my waste and put it in the right container.

However I have just had a letter from the council, not addressed to myself, but a general letter with just the address on the front. It was posted on the other side of the country, in Ellesmere Port. It says, and I quote....

'During April 2010 it was noted that a number of homes in your area did not present material for collection'.

It was in reference to the boxes, it then goes on to explain what should be put into them. I was furious, how dare they send me this letter. Do they think I am dim, or can't be bothered. I was on the phone immediately to the Waste and Recycling department.

I explained the reason for not putting my boxes out on the collection dates, I have a perfectly simple and logical answer. I create very little to put in them. I don't buy newspapers or magazines, so it's only the free papers and junk mail that goes in the box. I drink hardly any wine maybe a couple of bottles a month, and I eat mainly fresh food. In the picture you can see an empty wine bottle and an empty olive oil bottle, most of the cans are from Ben's dog food.
What is the point of putting my boxes out every time when there is so little in them, why make the lorry driver stop for such a piddling small amount, and what a good idea it is to wait untill the boxes are full before I put them out. By the time I had finished my rant the woman was apologising for sending the letter. I should think so to.
After I put the phone down I noticed a council van parked outside, two young ladies have been hovering around for a week or so. I have spoken to them before about recycling so I went out to ask them about the letter. They told me that the council send people out to do surveys on collection dates to see how many are putting their bins and boxes out. All those who haven't, get the letter. How ridiculous is that. What about people who are away from home for a long time for whatever reason, illness or holidays? What about people who do as I do and wait till they have a substantial amount to be collected? Why don't they knock on the door and ask at the time why they haven't put their box out?
Sending a letter is a sneaky way to do it, and I suspect it's just an excuse to give people a job. The council should stop harrassing innocent Joe Public and pay more attention to reducing the rubbish they collect from businesses. Phew, I had to get that off my chest.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The kids have been playing up

I'm not cut out to be a mum. No, you're not hearing things, I dont have any children, but I feel like I am a mum to my two cats, and several dogs which I look after from time to time. Animals certainly take a lot of looking after, or is it just that I make hard work of it and they are easy really. Perhaps I fuss too much, do they want to go out, have they got enough food, do they want to come in, shall I leave the door open for them, are they happy?

I have Ben dog staying here, the routine is get up by 7am, stroll in the garden in case he wants to do a whoopsie, I can't leave him out by himself because the garden is not secure, and he would root around under the bushes for any tasty cat poo morsels he can find. Disgusting! Come in, feed the cats, feed Ben, then I can have my breakfast. At 10am I took Ben for a walk.

Today I have the key for a house up the road, the man has gone out and he asked me if I could let Scruff dog into the garden. So I did that at 11.30, I tried to take him for a walk but he didn't want to go. Although he knows me he is a rescue dog and was worried about going out without his owner.

Then I managed to get a couple of hours off to visit the Scrapstore and the Arts Centre. When I got back I went to see if I could get Scruff to go for a walk. He went a short distance but I could see he was not happy so I took him back to his house and we played in the garden.

I decided to clean the inside of my car, so I got the dyson out and pulled all the carpets out. I felt sorry for Ben in the house, as it was sunny I brought him outside on the driveway and tied his lead to the door handle. I looked up from my cleaning to see he had tied himself in knots with the lead and was pulling towards the back garden, so I took him onto the back lawn and tied him to the line post. He was ok with this as he could lie in the sun on the grass.

When I finished the car I took Ben to Scruff's house, intending to walk them together, I thought Scruff would like the company of another dog. Ben did a poo on their lawn, I picked it up and we went a walk, this time a bit further. At last Scruff did a poo, which is what I was hoping for, it's not good for them to hold it for too long.

By now it's 6.30pm, time for dinner. Scruff is in his house, his owner should be back soon. I have some minced beef to cook for Ben as a treat, and a piece of trout for me which I put under the grill. The meat is cooking and the animals can smell it. The cats are round my feet crying, and Ben is following my every movement in anticipation of a good feast. I nearly tripped over him as I moved around the kitchen, talk about kids getting under your feet.

I prepare a salad, fry a courgette in oil, and put a spud in the microwave, to go with the trout. By now Bugsy cat is wailing because he is desperate to eat. The mince is cooked so I make two small cat size portions and one large dog portion. It is still hot so I put some cold water in the bowl and put the dishes into it to speed up the process of cooling it down. A few minutes later I put it on the floor and it is scoffed in two seconds.

At last I can get my meal. I settle down to enjoy it. Not for long though. The fishy smell has attracted Little Blackie, the cat from up the road, he is always in here. I have to stand up holding my plate as he tries to mug me. Thankfully he gives in and goes away. Now I can eat.

I've had a busy day with the kids today, and still one more Ben walk to do before bed time. I'm not cut out to be a mum.

Not a picky eater

I was talking to my neighbour yesterday after I had come back from shopping, telling her that I had bought my food to take on holiday. I said I wouldn't be taking a cool box because I will be moving hostels almost every day, and it wouldn't be practical to try and keep chilled food cool. I have bought more tinned and packet food than normal, simple things that don't need much cooking. I will have to make some changes to my diet for the two weeks I am away.

For instance, I will have beans on dry toast, or porridge for breakfast instead of cereals. Her reaction was that she couldn't possibly start her day without her cornflakes. I wasn't surprised to hear her say this, as I believe people are so set in their ways they are unable to see the advantages of change.

Ok I know I have said I eat steamed vegetables almost every day, and I hope to still eat them while I am away. I will take my steamer with me, and root vegetables do not go off as quickly as leaf vegetables. But there will be some days when I will not have the time or inclination to cook, then I will heat up a tin of soup, or have some cous cous with a tin of mackerel fillets.

Because I don't feel tied to a particular eating regime, I can easily adapt to my circumstances, so when I need to cut down on my food bill I look for something that is just as good but cheaper. My tinned food will not be as cheap as preparing it from scratch, but for a few pennies more I will have the convenience of food not going off and having to be thrown away.

I am busily eating up all the food in my freezer, so I can turn it off, then start again afresh filling it up. It's a good idea to have a clear out every so often, and it's a good idea to not be so picky about what you eat.

Monday, 10 May 2010

The sun in my eyes

My poor sun visor has seen better days and needs chucking out. It has faded with the sun, and is starting to fall apart. I wear it nearly every day when I am out, I hate the sun in my eyes, and wear it even when it isn't sunny. It's great when I am driving, my own personal sun visor, I don't need the one in the car.

I have prescription sunglasses, but it is such a pain to keep changing them when I go in and out of buildings. I thought about getting some specs with reactolite lenses but they seem to take ages to change from light to dark and back again. So my visor is the best for me. I have searched in every shop in town to find a replacement but no luck. So, only one thing for it, I will make another one. First of all take the old one apart and rescue the stiffener in the peak.

I have a tie I bought from the charity shop for 50p. Measure from the narrow end a piece to go around my head with a bit extra for the velcro fastening at the back, cut it off. Then unpick the stitching in the broad end, remove the liner, and iron out the creases giving a flat piece.

Use the stiffener as a template, mark around it on the wrong side of the fabric, and cut it out with extra for the seam. Make two of these. Then sew them together around the outer edge wrong side in, and turn it inside out. Insert the stiffener, pull it tight. Attach the band with pins, and stitch into place.

I put a strip of extra fabric on the inside to hide the join. Then sew each end up. Make sure it will fit your head before you sew the velcro into place.

And there you have it, a lovely purple silky sun visor. It looks great.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Dress up on the cheap

As well as washing the bedding in the machine, I'm also doing a bit of hand washing in the bowl today. From the age of thirteen I always washed my own clothes in the sink, firstly when we didn't have a washing machine, and then when mum got a twin tub, I still did my own. I didn't like the way the machine bashed the clothes about, and I certainly didn't want my frocks to go in the same wash as my brothers socks and underpants :o(

I was very particular and took care of my clothes, with money being tight I knew they had to last. So a gentle hand wash and drip dry, hanging them out on the line on a sunny day, was my routine. Of course this meant I couldn't dress up to go out on a whim, it had to be planned. It often took a week to wash, dry, and iron something, so I had to make sure clothes were washed the moment they became grubby, and not leave them in the linen basket because I was too lazy.

I found that my clothes never really wore out, they just went out of fashion. When that happened I adjusted them slightly with a few snips and a needle and thread.

Looking through my wardrobe I have clothes that are so old, I can't remember when or where I got them from, so here are a few guesses.

This colourful top was a dress with a black skirt. I don't like skirts so I cut it off, and now wear it with trousers. It is silky fabric, loose fitting and comfortable to wear. It's possibly about 20 years old. I wore this to my nephews wedding last year.

Another top about the same age. It has an elasticated waist and drawstrings across the shoulders.

Now this one has got to be 30 years old, I love this top. It's a light jersey material with threequarter length sleeves. I wear this one often.

My posh frock, bought in 1988 to wear at the Women of the Year awards at the Savoy Hotel. If I go anywhere posh now, I always get this out first, it makes me feel special.

I can't remember when I last bought something new to wear, I get all my clothes from charity shops now. Just rememberd, my waterproof jacket, it was new but only because I couldn't find one second hand, so I think I am allowed that.
There really is no need for me to buy any more clothes, with everything lasting as long as it does. By carefully looking after your clothes you can save yourself a fortune.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Tonights sunset

I could see there was going to be a nice sunset tonight, and if I was quick enough I might catch some of it with my camera. It is only a few minutes walk to the back of the church and onto the hills. We are quite high up here overlooking the River Trent.

In the distance is Drax Power Station, near Selby in North Yorkshire. It's about twenty miles away as the crow flies, but about thirtyfive miles to drive to it.

Mirror mirror on the wall . . . .

I've had to give up with the politics, too heavy for me, let's lighten up. Dog sitting has taken over a bit at the moment, so I am not wandering off anywhere, however there is plenty to do in my crafty workshop.

Here is a photo of the vinyl offcuts I get from the Scrapstore, no piece is too small, I save them all. They come from a company that makes lorry curtain sides, bouncy castles, canopies for market stalls, and large bags for the construction industry. I can go at any time and have a root around in their bin.

I have a small round mirror which I got about 20 years ago, intending to make a frame with macrame, it never happened, so what to do with it? It's five inches in diameter.

An idea, make a frame with the vinyl. Cut a round piece slightly bigger than the mirror for the back. Cut another piece for the front and cut the circle out of the middle. Then cut flowers out of as many different colours as I have, there are eleven, and find the same number of small coloured buttons.

Sew the flowers and the buttons on first, evenly spaced out. Sandwich the mirror between back and front, keeping it in place with double sided tape. Not cellotape, but I think it's used in carpet fitting, it's very sticky. Also make a hook for the top to hang it up, stick it between the layers. Then hand sew around the outer edge with neat stitches to finish it off. And there you have it.

I am very pleased with this, it looks lovely. I shall keep it because I can take it with me when I show my work at the Arts Centre.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Punch up looming?

I was listening to the radio today, (in between dog walking), trying to understand what happens next. I am not very bright where the voting system is concerned, and can't understand why the Conservatives didn't win even though they had more votes and won more seats. It doesn't seem fair.

Gordon Brown is still there even though he didn't win, and said he is willing to talk to Nick Clegg about an alliance. That's doesn't seem fair either. So now we have got three main parties who are heading for a big punch up to decide who is going to rule the country. That sounds like one hell of a battle.

Why can't they all sit round a table and come to some kind of agreement where they all work together for the good of the country? Wouldn't it be nice if they were polite and pleasant towards each other, and not continually slapping each other down? What is it with men and power, why do they always have to fight to be top dog? Anyway, that's all I am going to say on the matter. I am sure it will get sorted eventually, in the meantime I'm going to crawl back into my little world and not think too much about stuff I don't understand.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

X marks the spot

Have you done it? Well I've done it, put my cross in the square. Dithering right to the end, do I vote for the party or do I vote for the man. I stood there in the village hall, with the pencil in my hand, now which one do I go for. I looked down the list of names. Never heard of him, didn't recognise that one, and who is that bloke?

There was one name I did recognise. I know who he is because several years ago I had a little job taking names at funerals, so those who had attended could be mentioned in the newspaper. The man in question turned up and told me his name, I started to write. 'No, no, that's not the correct spelling'. Oops, well I spelt it how it sounded, I don't think I will forget him in a hurry. I didn't put a cross in his box.

The other name I recognised has been popping through my letter box on a regular basis for the past year. His enthusiasm for the job has been amazing, I must have received several tons of literature, detailing all the campaigns he has been involved with. On the bottom of one of these pieces of paper, it said it had been printed somewhere in the south of England. I was a bit miffed about that and sent him an email to register my disapproval. I asked why hadn't it been printed locally. I was impressed, I had a very detailed answer back within the hour, the contents of which I understood perfectly.

It seems to me that he is one step ahead of all the rest, pity that he is not with the party I was leaning towards. Never mind, I decided to go with him anyway. He is a youngish family man with a responsible job, a decent type who makes time to communicate with ordinary folk like me. He'll do.

While I have been writing this something amazing has happened, he must be psychic. I've just had a phone call from one of his team asking if I have been to vote yet. My answer, yes I went early, because I've been walking dogs all day.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

How many cats.......

Question - how many cats does it take to make a cat bag?
Answer - three.

One is on strike for more pay, the second is on his lunch break, and the third has downed tools and is sitting on his work because I have told him off about his sewing not being neat enough :o)

Little Blackie wandered off when he had finished eating, he doesn't even live here, Tabby Lilly went off in a sulk, and Ginger Bugsy said, stuff it I resign.

Eventually the bag did get finished. It's a pressie for my friend Janet who looks after the boys when I am not here. You may remember I made one of these before, and gave it to my friend Sue, so I thought it only fair to make Janet one as well.

I could perhaps squeeze one more out of the last piece of the gazebo roof, that would make it ten bags in total, not bad for something I picked out of a skip.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

In praise of younger men

My friend gave me a pile of trashy magazines that she had finished with, you know the sort, celebs, fashions, gossip, TV, sensationalised OMG shock horror stories. I told her off for wasting her money, but as she says, she doesn't go out and spends very little money on herself anyway, so I suppose she is allowed one indulgence. They are now on my dining room table for me to peruse at my leisure. Well I might as well, they didn't cost me anything :o)

While eating my porridge this morning I browsed the TV pages, and to my delight I found a picture of Aidan Turner in an article about the show, Being Human. Now I have never seen this, having no tele, but I have seen Aidan before in The Desperate Romantics, which I caught on the BBC iplayer. I was totally smitten by him in that production, he played a lovable philanderer, the type of character I find extremely fascinating.

I'd forgotten how gorgeous he was untill I read this article this morning, now I have lots of cheeky thoughts in my head. I shall have a smile on my face for the rest of the day, and when people ask what's going on, I shall just say, I'm in love with Aidan. Well a girl can dream, ha ha.
What do you think ladies, isn't he just scrummy ? I'm not sure who owns the picture, but thank you for letting me borrow it.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Out of date lunch

I took Ben for his hydrotherapy swim this morning, he looked happy and relaxed in the pool. It is best that he goes in the car, even though it isn't far, the walk back up the hill is too much for him to cope with.

Going down I put him in the front passenger foot well with the seat pushed as far back as I could get it. He is a big dog and only just fits in. The trouble is that he has to come out backwards so I have to guide his back end onto the pavement. Understandably he panics a bit, but he is ok once he finds solid ground underneath him. For the journey back I opened the tailgate of my estate car, and physically lifted him inside, to see if that worked any better. He seemed far happier at having plenty of room to lay down.

Once we got home however, he didn't want to get out. The big drop must have looked like jumping off a building to him, and he doesn't jump at all now. I tried to get him towards the back of the car where I could lift him off, keeping in mind that I needed to be carefull not to do my back in. He wasn't having any of it. Aha, I have an idea. Get the wheelie bin laid on it's side pushed up to the car. It's a few inches lower so it's ideal to make a step with. Then get the old blanket I keep in the back, and lay it over the car and the bin so it all looks the same. I sat on the bin, enticed him out with some treats, then put my arms round him and lifted him from the bin down to the ground. Success :o)

Anyway, I digress, this post is supposed to be about what I had for lunch today. I have a policy of never throwing food away, I eat everything I buy, even though it might be well past it's sell by date. Take these two crusty granary rolls for example. They were in a pack of four, reduced from 65p to 26p. I never buy white bread by the way, there is no taste to it. The date on the wrapper is 24th April, so you can guess by now, they are not only crusty, but also rock hard, even the birds would find them hard to break up.

Not to worry, saw them in half with the bread knife, cover each half with margarine spread, zap in the microwave for a few seconds, top with slivers of cheese and zap again untill the cheese bubbles.

Then find a few leaves of lettuce from the bottom of the salad box in the fridge, dated 23rd April, and add a grated a carrot from a bag dated 21 April. arrange attractively on the plate and tuck in. I have to add though that it took me nearly an hour to eat it, due to the bread still being rock hard. I had to be very carefull not to break my £800 four teeth bridge, and my two crowns. Could have turned out to be a rather expensive lunch if I had rushed it.

Sunday, 2 May 2010


Whoopeeeeeee, I'm so happy, I've just hit 100 followers......

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Catsngrams, you're a star.

A plan for the rest of your life

I am grounded for the next two weeks, looking after Ben. It will be only short walks for him, and me not straying too far from home. I can see there will be a lot of litter picking going on, the village will be looking immaculately clean and tidy by the end of it, ha ha.

This will give me time to dream. I still haven't finalised my holiday details, must get on with it, not long now. The hostels are booked, and so is the flight to Scilly and the B & B, now just have to fit the in between bits together. I have been looking on the internet for interesting places to visit along the south coast, I don't know what we did before the www, it's marvelous the amount of information out there.

I have booked to go and see a play at the Minack Theatre, not sure what the play is but apparently it's a place you have to visit before you die. It's an open air theatre cut into the side of a cliff, overlooking the sea. It looks fantastic, you can see it here....

Another place I am going to see is the Swannery at Abbotsbury, between Weymouth and Bridport. I can use my Tesco Vouchers to visit here, and feeding times are 12noon and 4pm. It will be quite a spectacle to see thousands of swans all coming together.

Just lately I have been thinking of places I would like to see before I get too old and immobile, as I mentioned, things to do before you die. My friend has a holiday cottage in West Scotland, so I am planning a trip up there. I have been reading library books on where to go and what to see, and I have started a list. Even if it takes ten years to tick off each place on the list, there will be all the fun of planning the trips, and of course the challenge of doing them on a shoestring, costing as little as possible.

Here is my list so far....

Trooping the Colour
Hampton Court Flower Show
Proms. Royal Albert Hall
Notting Hill Carnival
Opening of Parliament
Regent Street Christmas Lights

Henley Regatta
Royal Show Warwickshire
Edinburgh Fringe
Walking in Wales
Lake District again
Holy Island
Isle of Skye
Shetland Islands

These are my dreams, and me being a glass half full person, I will try my best to make my dreams come true. Everyone should have dreams and aspirations, something to work towards, no matter how simple it is. To have a plan gives meaning to life, to drift aimlessley is such a waste.

I think this is enough to keep me occupied for the foreseable future, there is no need to go further afield. I can find all I want here, on or around this island. I might be retired from work but I have still got a lot of living to do. Hopefully the country will not go bankrupt in my lifetime. Do you have a plan for the rest of your life?

Saturday, 1 May 2010

From skirt to bag

What can you do with childrens clothing when they have outgrown them? The sensible thing would be to pass them on to a younger child, which is what happened in my family. I got my aunties clothes and my sister got my clothes. Here is another idea, why not make them into something else.

I started this project about six months ago, but came to a halt when I couldn't think of an idea for the next stage. This morning I picked it up again, and my dear Lilly so wanted to help. It is a childs denim skirt, which I bought from a charity shop for 39p, and I've turned it into a bag.

I didn't want to completely remodel the skirt because of all the work that would entail, unpicking seams, trimming and sewing up again. So I turned it inside out, stitched the bottom hem together and turned it back again. Then I inserted a zip at the top along the waistband, and put it away because I couldn't think what to use for a strap. Ideally a piece of denim to match the skirt would have been best, but I didn't have anything suitable.

After giving it lots of thought, I had the idea of using pink fabric because the stitching and the button are pink, so I thought it wouldn't look too out of place. I inserted a pink lining, and covered the pocket with a pink patch. I cut a piece of fabric for the stripe across the front and stitched on some crystals for decoration, which I got from a chandelier I found in a skip.

I have put a long strap on it so it can be worn diagonally across the body, although it would work just as well with a shorter strap over one shoulder.

There is plenty of room in the bag for all the essentials that us ladies carry around, and maybe a few extras like a sandwich and a small bottled drink.
This idea could be used on other items of clothing as well, such as a jacket or sweatshirt, cut the arms and collar off, or a pair of short trousers, sew the bottoms of the legs together. Anybody else fancy having a go?