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Sunday, 31 July 2016

It's just criminal

Hello. I don't think the Love Food Hate Waste message is getting through to people. Hugh Fearnley has a long way to go to convince everyone not to chuck things away that might have a useful life elsewhere. He has been instrumental in convincing supermarkets to sell wonky veg, and hopefully that will become more acceptable as more people join the war on waste. 
Take a look at my little haul yesterday, this food cost me no money at all, it was free. I happened to be walking through the market late afternoon just as they were starting to close down and pack away. A chance of some reduced strawberries possibly I thought. After finding some at 50p something caught my eye on the adjacent stall, a young assistant was sorting through the stock and putting some items in the wheelie bin. I had to notice that didn't I, that's what I do, notice things, ha ha. 
I said, 'you're not throwing them away are you?'  He said yes. 'But there's nothing wrong with them', I protested. He said they wont last till Monday. My hand was in there when he said I could take them. Never mind the embarrassment of scavenging in bins, free food hits the spot with me. especially when they have only been in the bin for less than a minute. I am sure they will taste a lot better than bought ones. The spuds needed a wash and they are fine. 
Hugh would be proud of me. I think I'm going to make a habit of going to town late on a Saturday and walking through the market to the car park at the back. It's not that I can't afford to buy these things, but I just can't stand seeing food being thrown away. It's criminal when so many people haven't got enough. Hugh needs to start targeting markets.

It's a sunny day outside. Grass needs mowing. Enjoy your Sunday. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

PS. Just remembered, it's the end of the month. Walking Group members please send in your mileage, let us know how you are doing. The target for 7 months is 583 miles for those doing three miles a day like me. I am off out now, which will take me to 584 yipeeeee. Do not worry if you are taking things at a more gentle pace, any walking is better than no walking. It has been proven time and time again, that there are many health benefits to regular walking. There are no negatives at all unless you push yourself too hard and risk injury, so don't do that. Just do your best.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Wake up and smell the coffee

Hello. Hugh Fearnley Whotzisname is on the warpath again with another programme on his War on Waste. (Available on iplayer for 29 days). He certainly knows how to fight battles with big corporations which don't want to listen . He goes on the warpath with a megaphone, on the top deck of a double decker bus in London, yelling at the customers who dare to cross the threshold of one of the big coffee shop chains, spreading the message that the cup they are lovingly nursing is not recyclable. 
I don't get this walking around with a cardboard cup of coffee. Don't people get a drink at home before they leave? Don't they get one at work, it's easy to put the kettle on. Don't they get a lunch break where they can sit down for ten minutes in a cafe? Don't they know that there is such a thing as a flask to carry a hot drink in their bag? Are people so addicted to coffee that they must have one close by in case they suddenly keel over with exhaustion?  
Millions and billions, and trillions of coffee cups are binned every day. The plastic coating on the inside means they cannot be recycled. There is only one place in the UK which has the facilities to do this, and none of the big coffee chains send their waste cups there. New ones cannot be manufactured using recycled cardboard, they have to be made from brand new trees. Such a shocking state of affairs. 
If you do have a used coffee cup you could always do what I did with this coca cola cup I found on the street in the gutter. Turn it into something pretty. I did this for an exhibition at the Arts Centre a few years back, I still have it. 
I watched the shed programme last night on catchup at 9.30pm, my very brief appearances lasted nano seconds, blink and you missed me.

Right, got to get off this computer and go to town. Run out of Ultima cat food again. Think I'll take the trolley and load it up. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Owain the weather man.

Hello. It's raining at the moment, our weather man Owain, says it's going to clear away throughout the day and we are going to have a bright weekend. Owain comes on my Twitter every morning, giving me the forecast so I can plan my daily activities.

He has a lovely presenting style, with a melodic welsh accent which I love. He's so cheerful with his smiley face. His profile says he likes drumming, and cats, so I asked if I could see him play the drums. Lo and behold he sent me a link to one of his yooootoooob videos, and by jove, he is good. I am impressed, a man of many talents, he speaks in Welsh as well. So here I am sharing this bit of sunshine with you on this rainy morning.

First a short profile, some examples of his work, note the longer hairstyle.



Now watch him bash hell out of his drum kit. Looks like a good upper body workout to me.



Good isn't he.

So. What am I doing today?


Playing with fabric scraps, I am in the mood for making a bag.

How are the Walking Group members getting on with their 1000 mile challenge? I am on 575 miles, need another eight to get me to the 7 month marker of 583 miles. Need this rain to stop please Owain.

Don't forget that Shed of the Year starts tonight on Channel 4 at 8pm. My shed will not be on this programme, you will have to wait until the fourth and last programme which will be on the 19th of August. However you will catch glimpses of me in the audience as I was there throughout the filming of the finals.


Lunch time, so I'll sign off. Have a nice weekend. We'll catch up soon
Toodle pip

Thursday, 28 July 2016

How many washes from a bottle of shampoo?

Hello. When writing about a money saving frugal lifestyle, questions often crop up about numbers. People want to know exactly how much a meal costs to make, how much certain foods cost per 100 grms, or per kilo. How much is electricity and gas per kilowatt hour. How much can be saved by changing energy supplier. How many washes can you get out of a box of soap powder. How many drinks can you make out of one bottle of  dilute juice and how much will it cost per drink. How many cups of coffee can you make with a jar of instant coffee. And so on, and so on. 
It's easy to be lazy when using products and services, and not worry about things running out, because new supplies can be bought. The idea of monitoring every penny spent can be a big turn off for some people, but if the aim is to pay off debts, pay off your mortgage, live within your means and build up some savings, then the only way to reach your goals is to watch every penny that leaves your bank account and purse. 
Even the smallest everyday spends can be monitored. That well know saying, 'look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves', is so true.  
I use my toiletries and cleaning products as as cost effective as I can, sometimes diluting to get more from the bottle, sometimes using a dribble rather than a whopping big squirt. You won't see mounds of froth in my washing up bowl, nor a mouthful of white foam escaping from my lips. There's no excess suds in my washing machine, nor tons of moisturizer giving my face the look of a greasy frying pan. I use everything very sparingly to make it last longer.

I'm going to conduct an experiment, I bought this 400 ml bottle of shampoo for 35p the other day and I'm curious about how long it will last me. How many washes will I get out of it, how much per wash will that be. Hairdressers cost a fortune, they have overheads to pay for, staff and buildings, The only cost to me to wash my hair is boiling two kettles of water if I wash my hair in the sink, or wash it over the bath before I get into it.

Starting from today I am going to use only this shampoo, marking on the side each time with a permanent marker pen. Let's see how long it lasts. I reckon about four months. I will not dilute it but use it neat, dispensing a little at a time into my hand. I usually wash my hair once a week, maybe less if I am going out somewhere.

Anyone going to join me on this? Do you get through far too much shampoo or bath foam, can you cut it down to save some pennies? I'll post some updates along the way so you can see how I am doing.

Thanks to the kind reader who sent me a parcel of goodies, it arrived today. I did not answer the door when the post man came at lunch time because I didn't hear him knock, instead I found a card on the mat, 'Parcel in shed'. It was indeed in the Summer House, ha ha.

Thanks for popping in. we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Sunrise at Happyland Castle

Hello. Famous shed builder and Queen of Tightwad Towers has once again produced another stunning work of art. All the materials used are scraps and the frame is an old one painted in a funky plum colour to give it a new lease of life. Machine and hand stitching was used to add detail to the fun folksy design. 









Another one done. I'm pleased with it. I chose a darker colour for the frame because a white one would have made it look wishywashy.

Thanks for popping in. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Not long now.

Hello.  Ooooh look. My shed is on the Channel 4 trailer for Shed of the Year, starting on Friday.



It's also in the TV guide of the Mail. Thank you to the readers who told me about it, my friend gave me her copy.

I took some more photo's today, the Summer House looks lovely now there are flowers in the beds.



I have painted this frame for the new picture, just need to put it together now. I love this colour.

I found two courgettes on my doorstep when I returned from town yesterday, that was a nice surprise. Don't know who left them. People round here know me, ha ha. I already had some cooked pasta so I put it in a pan with some oil, a chopped courgette and some frozen sweetcorn, with garlic and veg granules, and this is the result. A quick and tasty cheap lunch.

Thank you to Nikki for the mesh fruit bags. I am getting on with that picture now, it's looking good.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Open Gardens, more pics.

Hello. And now for the rest of the photo's from yesterday. Every garden had a veg patch, from a few raised beds at a pensioners bungalow, to a large allotment size plot in a one acre garden. Every one of them were full of healthy plants yielding an abundance of  vegetables and fruit. Not one slug nibbled leaf in sight. 
There were little nooks and crannies to explore, beautiful cottage gardens, with secret half hidden sheds.


I did say to the man that he could enter this in Shed of the Year, but he said no.


Another hidden shed in the same garden.
We saw some quirky garden sculptures and ornaments.

Bee hives at the bottom of this garden, the bees seemed very busy coming and going.

Some of the houses were very large.

I like this sign, seen inside a shed.


This was stunning, a huge pot of equally huge flowers. Don't they look fabulous.

This was the last garden, and I'm sure they saved the best for last. Mind you the waterfalls and ponds were also fantastic, oh it's virtually impossible to say which one was best.



Thank you very much to the people of Winteringham for opening their gardens. We really enjoyed it. Great value, only £4 for an afternoon out. It's the first time I have done this, I shall be looking for some more Open Gardens now.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Winteringham Open gardens

Hello. I've had a fantabulous and brilliant afternoon out, looking around gardens. It was Winteringham Open Gardens today, this is the village where I help to deliver the Parish newsletters, so I've seen all the front doors, but never looked round the back. Janet came with me and we really enjoyed it. 
I have lots of pics, too many to put into one post so I will split them in half and you'll get some more tomorrow. 
The gardens were really stunning, every time we went round the back of the house our first reaction was, 'oh wow, look at this'. The owners were all very friendly answering any questions we had. The event was very well supported so there were lots of people traipsing around the village with their maps in their hand. 
First off we went to the Village Hall where we handed over £4 each for the map. The money made from the event is to be shared between the Village Hall and the Hospice. There was also an art exhibition, with stalls inside and out selling plants, wooden garden sculptures, and outdoor ironwork and stone carvings.  Refreshments were available but we didn't have time to sit down, there was a such a lot to see in 14 gardens. 
The first wow factor had a big pond with massive fish in it. A waterfall and rockery with mature shrubs. 


There were pots of flowers everywhere.

This garden was overflowing with plants and shrubs. Walk through the pergola to the pond and water gardens. Ornamental herbs and vegetable/fruit gardens. Lots of little meandering paths through the greenery. It was fabulous. 


Not much garden here. No, not yet, but it has the potential to be great. Hope they open it next year. This site has been under construction for a long time, the building is renovated barns. The owners had the house next door while the major building work was being done, now they have moved into here and work will start on the garden soon.

Lovely paved patio to sit under cover. 
We even found pigs at the bottom of a huge garden. There were ten altogether, five sleeping and five foraging.

Just leaving this one, on to the next one.

Now this was a little stunner. The house from the front looks nothing special, it's straight onto the pavement, no front garden. But go round the back and you find a water feature made from two genuine old lock gates, A veranda dining area, and a secret hideaway, a small Swedish guest house in an old barn attached to the house. Janet is just emerging onto the patio.

The inside is just fabulous. Wooden stained paneling with two sets of stairs up to the sleeping balconies. 
There is a wood burning stove with comfortable arm chairs, and it also has a shower room, sauna room, and a toilet with hand wash basin. This is used as guest accommodation when family come to visit.

Al fresco dining area.

Poor old wheelbarrow is broken so they have transformed it into a planter.

If you click on a pic they will become bigger. That's all for now, I'll post some more tomorrow.

Thanks for popping in, see you soon.
Toodle pip