Monday, 29 February 2016

Home made cheap ready meals.

Hello. I spent Monday morning at Crafty Club, almost a full house this week. I took this picture with me to work on. Still a long way to go but I thought I would give you an update.

I had to leave promptly at 12 noon to get back for a phone call from Newstalk, an Irish national radio station. That came at 12.30pm. Not sure if the interview was live or if it was recorded for later. I'll have look to see if I can find it. 
This is an M & S yellow sticker, apparently they mark down at about 5pm, there wasn't much when I was there last week, so I don't think I will be making regular visits. I made a very nice pan of soup with this, plus I added a large handful of spinach. There were two portions and it was lovely. 
Tonight I couldn't be bothered to cook so I took a veggie stew out of the freezer. This was made with yellow stickers and cost very little. Even if you made something like this with full price vegetables it would still be cheaper than buying ready meals, and it doesn't take much effort to make it.

Perfect. Still tasty after reheating in the microwave. .

It's that time again guys and gals, the end of the month where the walking group send in their total mileage to date. I have finished Jan and Feb on 176 miles. Thank you to those who have sent your miles, you are doing just great. I am updating the page as the new figures come in. I'm pleased that you are still keen to carry on. If you haven't yet got off the starting block, or have got a bit behind, don't worry, there is still ten months left. Still time to catch up. Looking after your health and fitness levels is the best thing you can do for yourself. 
Let sleeping dogs lie. Shhh, don't disturb him. 
There is a new follower working her way through the whole blog. Mila is getting lost in 2012 at the moment. She has a mammoth task ahead of her, only four more years to catch us up. Everyone cheer her on.

It's bed time, thanks for popping in. Sees you soon. Toodle pip.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Free haircuts for life.

Hello. It had to be done. When my hair gets to a certain length it irritates the hell out of me. A floppy fringe gets in my eyes, straggly bits down the sides wafting in my face, and hair getting trapped inside collars feels uncomfortable. Long hair makes me feel grubby, so time for a cut. I did my usual trick, two mirrors facing each other, spread fingers of left hand and lift clumps of hair through fingers, and chop with the right hand. Trim around the bottom. I wrote about it previously here. 
The 'before' pictures. 
Too long, the weight pulls it down, it just hangs, no shape in it.

Half an hour and the job is done. 
That feels better.

Here is the 'before' of the right side.
And the 'after' of the right side.

Not bad at all, that will do me for six months. I have always hated going to the hairdressers, so now I don't have to, hooooray. Free haircuts for life.

I've been playing outside today, it's been sunny. The rotting pallets have been removed from around this raised bed, and replaced with bricks. This one is ready for planting up now. I shall have to make a trip to the tip with the scrap wood. I've got some more bricks, but not enough for what I want to do, so the search goes on.

That's all for now, time for dinner. Thanks for popping in. Catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Can we tempt you with more dosh?

Hello and Good Morning. It's Saturday and Sounds of the Sixties is just finishing, so I'll turn the radio off because it's a distraction. No point in leaving it on if I am not listening to it. 
This post has connections with the 'No Quick Fix' theme of yesterday. All will become clear if you read on. Below I have copied a letter I received from my bank, dated 6th June 2008, yes I keep all my banking correspondence filed away for future reference. If you want to read it you might have to magnify it, but the gist of it is that they are offering me a Personal Reserve fund, an amount of money that I can use if I have exhausted my balance and my overdraft. I have never had an overdraft, by the way. When there is no money left, this Reserve Fund kicks in. Well isn't that nice of them! 
The letter states that the Personal Reserve is help when I need it most, so nothing to worry about then. When I am absolutely skint there will be money in the pot to enable me to carry on spending. Such a comfort to know this. But hang on a minute, there has to be a catch, there usually is. If I go into the reserve I have to pay a fee of £22 for the first five consecutive working days, and if I am still using the reserve there will be a further fee to pay of £22 for each subsequent five working day period, regardless of the number of transactions in that period. Now for someone who sees the word 'interest' as a dirty word, that arrangement sounds horrific. 
This letter arrived at about the same time as I was reducing my working hours which reduced my pay. My bank balance was slowly shrinking, almost to the point of dropping below the bottom line. It never did though, I always pulled myself back up again. 
Of course there are a couple of other niggly charges that they can add on as well. Returned transaction fee £8 per transaction, and Guaranteed transaction fee, £8 per transaction. So if you take your eye off the ball and slip up it will cost more, which is what happens normally if you overspend or make a mistake with transaction dates.

Did I sign up for this fantastic offer? What do you think? Nope, I wrote and declined it. If you have been reading my blog long enough you will know that I don't spend more than what I have coming in. Below is a little snippet from the top of my monthly statement. Emergency Borrowing NIL. You can see that they have thrown a tempting morsel my way of a personal loan of £20,300. They don't give up do they.

Right, what you see here is how much credit I can have with my one credit card. I could have a nice treat with that, but, and here's the catch, the same rules apply to the reserve fund and the overdraft, IT ISN'T MY MONEY. A lot of people would look at that and think, let's spend it, I deserve a holiday. Not a good idea, because it has to be paid back with that dirty word, interest.

Every time I use my credit card, I have the funds in my bank account to pay it off. I use it for convenience, and for the consumer protection it gives me on larger purchases that might go wrong, and it gives me points. I put part of my car payment on this to help rack up the points. All of my small purchases I pay for with cash. It's very rare I use a card in the discount stores.
Now I need to make the connection with what I have written here, to 'No Quick Fix'  There are thousands of people with lots of small debts spread around lots of companies. Lots of bits of paper coming through the post, asking for payment. Lots of bits of paper getting lost, shoved in a drawer, and ignored. It's called burying the head in the sand, I'll sort it one day. Keeping track can make it very difficult to balance money coming in with money coming out.

Wouldn't it be much easier to have one payment going out to cover all the bills? Debt consolidation sounds like a good idea, get a loan and repay all the debts with it, then there is only the loan to pay off every month. Simple. Sounds like a good quick fix to me, or does it?

A loan does not get rid of the debts, it just moves them to a different place. Get the loan, pay off the cards, and bingo. The cards are cleared, the catalogues are cleared, the payday loans are cleared, the overdraft is cleared, giving you a fresh new start. But it isn't. What happens if an unexpected expense occurs, something breaks and has to be replaced, or the holiday of a lifetime opportunity is too good to turn down, or a wedding is planned, or even a night out on the town with your mates is on for next week? That's OK, you still have the cards to pay for it. And so the downward spiral starts again.

Moving debts onto a consolidation loan is a quick fix which is not going to work, if you haven't learnt any lessons. If your attitude to spending has not changed, you will find yourself back at square one, with even more debt. It is all over Money Saving Expert Forum that it is not a good idea to move debt around, with the one exception of moving some of it to a 0% interest card, and even then, that 0% is only going to last for a year or so. If you have not paid off that card before the time runs out you will find yourself with even more of that dirty word, interest, to pay.

Forget quick fixes for sorting out debt, the remedy needs to be long term. There is a Statement of Affairs calculator on MSE where you list all your incomings and outgoings. Fill that out to get a better picture of where you're at.

It's not rocket science, changing your mindset about how you spend over the long term is the key. You don't lose weight by a frenzied stopping eating over a couple of months because it will pile back on again, and you don't get out of debt by juggling it around and shifting it to different places, it's still there.

Grey skies today, I won't be going far.

Thank you for popping in. I hope you have a good weekend. Catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Friday, 26 February 2016

No quick fix.

Good morning. The idea for today's blog post has come from an article in The Times. There is a huge growth in online gambling, which is driving addiction among young people. The number of 18 to 35 year olds calling a leading gambling helpline has jumped by 177 per cent in five years. Campaigners say that an advertising free for all has encouraged young people to take up gambling in record numbers. The online betting industry has grown rapidly in the last five years.

I find this pretty scary because the gambling gene has bypassed my brain. I have never felt the urge to risk my money on the turn of a card, toss of a dice, or press of a button on a machine. Yes, ok I admit to putting pennies in a slot machine at the seaside, but I soon learnt that the only winners were those who owned the arcade. I had a flutter on the national lottery when it first started, but the odds are so dire, it was soon apparent to me that I had less than a splash of gnats piddle of winning.

For some people the thrill of  the gamble is the fun of  it. That's ok if you have got the money to lose, and know when to stop. But for others it will be the urgent need to increase their income, and will be viewed as a short cut, a quick fix, to their money problems. Sadly when gambling is seen as a way to make money, the logic of quitting when you are ahead goes out of the window, and one win is never enough. You cannot gamble your way out of insolvency.

I can think of several scenarios where quick fixes don't work, and long term solutions are the key to achieving where you want to be in life. Off the top of my head.........

Spending money on faddy diets that promise weight loss results in a few weeks. OK, so you might drop a few pounds, but what happens after? You can't drink shakes for the rest of your life. That is no quick fix. Long term healthy eating is the solution, educating your taste buds, and exercise.

Getting your boobs pumped up. Fashions come and fashions go. Some famous people who went down this route are now reversing it and having their airbags removed completely, or they are downsizing. If there is something you are not happy with about your body, there are so many procedures that can now be done to correct the perceived imperfections. They might give a short term solution and make you feel good for a while, but the long term solution is to take a look inside your own head. I struggled for many years with low esteem because of  how saw my face, there were times when I absolutely hated it. But now I have come to terms with it. I decided not to let it get in the way of me doing what I want to do. I chose a job which brought me a lot of attention, I chose to become a pioneer for women in transport, and I chose to write this blog and put myself out there in the media. So, my long term solution for accepting my looks has gone on for forty years.

As well as gambling there are other addictions which do not respond to quick fixes. Alcohol, smoking, food addictions and eating disorders. These type of addictions destroy lives, they have got such a strong hold it's not a matter of turning off the switch. One glass of beer, one crafty fag, secret raids to the fridge, binging then vomiting all need a long term solution, often with the help and support of family and friends, and professionals.

Ok, let me summarize. I've talked about quick fixes not working, but long term fixes will not work either if there is no commitment. The choice is to bimble along and be happy in your own skin, or pull out all the stops to get where you want to be. Me personally, I would like to hang on to my good health and fitness levels, so I have to work at it. I will walk the three miles a day, and longer walks in summer, I will make time for it. The long term goal is to reach 1000 miles in twelve months. I will stuff my face with veg, but may occasionally have a cake or an ice cream, which will keep my spirits up. I will wake up every morning and marvel at the brand new day ahead of me. These are not quick fixes, but long term fixes which will hopefully work.

I've been looking for some videos on good old yoootooob, to illustrate my points, and have found three. Each with a different scenario, but the same message, there is no quick fix. Something to ponder over the weekend.

Have a look at Karen on her treadmill, she could be my sister.

Want to get fit, listen to Justin.

Want to improve your life with meditation? Listen to Khandro

Thank you for popping in. I hope you have a great weekend. Catch up soon.
Toodle pip

PS. Just got to come back and add this, I can't stop laughing. Go back to the previous post and see what troll has been commenting on. You will wet your pants, ha ha. 

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Sunning ourselves on a dog walk

Hello, back again. This was my dinner yesterday. I went to town in the afternoon and then went to Tesco. I was too early for the 90% off mark down, but managed to get some veg and salad with quite a good reduction. While I was there I decided to pop across the road to the new Marks and Sparks to check out if they reduce anything. I found a few items, but not a massive amount of savings, the sprouts were worth having and a plastic box of super wholefood salad, which you can see in the middle of this pile of spinach.
It has different beans in it among other stuff,  but it took me ages to eat it. I kept finding small hard bits in it and had to keep picking them out of my mouth. I couldn't tell what it was, but they looked like small pieces of plastic. I don't suppose it was, but it was such a nuisance as it took me ages to eat the meal, and even then I gave up with it and picked the beans out. 
I've had the other half of it tonight in much the same meal as below, with the addition of two boiled eggs and some sliced beetroot. This time I didn't empty the salad onto the plate, I just picked through it and ate all the beans. I discovered that the hard bits are broccoli stalks and pomegranate seeds. If you wear false teeth I wouldn't recommend buying this. I paid 90p for it, but I reckon the real price is about £3. Most of Marks's food is very nice, but there is no way I could afford to shop in there. 
I had a lovely walk with my friend Helen, her dog Henry, and a friends dog, Guinness. We had a big bowl of hot veggie soup before we went, hot in the sense of temperature and spicy, she puts chilies in hers. Although I took Rocky with me, he stayed in her house because he can't walk that far and that fast. He was happy to stay on his bed for half an hour. Although it was sunny I put a thick jacket on, there was a chill in the air.

If you look at the horizon on this pic, you can just about make out the Humber Bridge. I zoomed in as much as I could. It's about five miles away. 
When we got back to the house, I took Rocky a walk on his own before we set off back. He likes visiting his friend Henry, but is not keen on two bouncy labradors sniffing around him. Stretched out on his bed at home is his favourite place.

Naughty me didn't do a walk last night, so I must get out now. Thanks for popping in. Catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Read all about it.

Hello. Just popping in this morning, I'm off out at lunchtime to meet my friend Helen. We'll sup soup and take dogs a walk. It's sunny so it should be nice.

This article is just out in the Burton Daily Mail,  I'll link it here so you can peruse if you wish.

I'll be back later. Toodle pip.

I'm just adding this before I go out. I've found the ABC Canberra interview, it is only available for 7 days. Move the slider button along to almost centre of the scale. There are no numbers on it so I measured it with a ruler. The line is 26cm long, my bit is a fraction before the 14cm mark. I'm pleased with it, one of the better ones. Phillip is a friendly fella.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Come to the Cabaret

Good morning. I'm checking in early today, I want to get on with stuff.

I've been asked to take part in a feature in my home town newspaper, the Burton Daily Mail. It's a questions and answers thingy, so I've pinched it for my blog post today.

Hobbies?  Textile art, walking, dog walking, blogging, sewing, pottering in the garden, my pets. 

Favourite film/tv – why?  Funny Girl. Love the music and the sentiments, 'What good is sitting alone in your room, come hear the music play. Life is a Cabaret old chum, come to the Cabaret.' I felt inspired by Sally Bowles. 

Favourite food and why?  Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, eat tons of it. It's easy to cook, I love the taste and it's good for me. 

Most embarrassing moment?  Standing up in front of a room of 200 Rotary Club men to give a talk. I was the last speaker of the evening following a famous footballer, it was 11pm, I was tired and froze. 

Ultimate ambition in life?  To sell all my possessions and spend all the money I have. I came into this world with nothing, and that's how I hope to go out. 

If you ruled the world?  There isn't one person on this planet who could put things right. I wish I could solve all the worlds problems, but I can't. All I can do is to be kind to people, and hope they pass it on. 

Pet hate?  I have no space for hate in my life, hate is a destructive emotion. I get a bit miffed though when our beautiful country is being trashed by litter dropping and fly tipping. Such scant regard for the place we call home, it's very sad. 

Favourite belonging and why?  My computer. It's like having a library at my fingertips. It keeps me in touch with the world. 

Dream holiday destination and why?  There isn't one place. I would be happy to visit lots of places within the UK, a tour in a camper van would be nice. So much to see on this island, I have no need to travel further. 

Dead or alive – who would your ideal guest at a dinner party be and why?  My mother, Martha Elizabeth Helen Brand. I didn't tell her enough how much I loved her. She passed away far too early. I wish I could tell her what a good job she did of bringing me up, and how grateful I am. 

What would you do with £1 million?  I would buy myself a nice house, nothing too big, and a new car. I would gift some to family, and my favourite charities, and I would love to put a wad of £20 notes in my pocket and discretely pass them to random strangers. The smile on someone's face would give me great joy.

These are the first answers that came into my head, you can add your own thoughts if you like.

Thanks very much for popping in. It's nice to see a lot of new people commenting, not only those who have recently found the blog, but also those who have been reading for a long time and are now commenting for the first time. Catch up soon. Toodle pip.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The Enchanted Forest

Hello. I've had some emails asking to see my artworks, and although they are all on this blog they are scattered around so not easy to find. If you click on Crafty Stuff, or Arty Stuff on the side bar, it narrows it down a bit, but there is still a lot of clicking to find the posts you want. I thought I would make it a bit easier and make one or two videos, so I set the camera up on top of a small table on top of the ironing board, pointing at the picture. The only bit of me you see is my hand, as I talk you through it.

Please excuse the amateur narrative, I have no script, it's just off the top of my head. There are hesitations where I couldn't find the right words and forgot what comes next, but I think you will get the gist of it.

I call this picture The Enchanted Forest.

I did an interview last night at 10.20pm for BBC Ulster Radio, and I have to say it didn't go at all well. Vinny was the presenter, I had to listen very carefully to unravel his Irish accent, but I managed to answer his questions. Another one reading from a script. After a few minutes he brought in another contributor to the topic, an Irish woman who had her own views on how to shop for and feed a family. She sounded like she had her head in a bucket, it was echoey, and with her very Irish accent I could barely make out what she was saying. I picked up on her money saving tips which were in contradiction to my own, regarding food shopping. She says she gets a better deal by shopping at small independent shops. Vinny let her go on and on and on, and I was wondering was it all about her, and why did they bother to ring me.

Then it was my turn, so I was able to point out that shopping for a family was a different matter than shopping for a single person. I explained that I do shop around at the discount stores. Then he went completely off topic and started asking me about my lorry driving days. Why I do not know, then it all became a rush as he ran out of time and quickly terminated the interview. I felt as if I was pushed out of the door.

I won't put the link on, because I can't be bothered to listen to it myself. You are not missing anything if you can't be bothered to find it.

The interview I did tonight at 6pm was very much better. It was recorded for ABC Canberra Radio, Australia, so I'm not sure when it will go out. Philip the presenter said Good Morning to me, and I said Good Morning back, ha ha. His voice was clear and his questions were concise and easy to answer. I felt it went well. Not sure how I can listen to that back, maybe I can't unless they have the equivalent of our catch up channels.

I've just been snooping and found Phillip at ABC Canberra, he does a breakfast show. I'm going to be watching this in case I turn up there. Isn't the internet marvelous.

I'm going to pop off now, still got three miles to do, and it's 8pm. I have a free day tomorrow so I'll go and buy a phone, and I'll pick up a few items of food. I need bananas and eggs.

Thanks for popping in. Catch up soon. Toodle pip

Monday, 22 February 2016

Gifts in the post

Hello. I'm back, feeling refreshed after my day off. Glad you liked the comedy clip, where would we be without a titter now and again. I had a lovely surprise today, the postman brought me not one, but two parcels. Ooooh, just like Christmas. Inside I found a selection of haberdashery and crafting type goodies. Fabric, beads, and suchlike. Thank you so much to the two kind readers who sent them. I am dead chuffed. 
I went to Crafty Club this morning, numbers were a bit low but we had a good old chinwag. I took a new project I am working on. It's going to be a picture, not sure how it will develop. It's 11 inches by 14 inches, so not very big. There's going to be some trees in it, all hand stitched.

I've been trying to make a video this afternoon, but made a right pigs ear out of it. It's not easy with only one pair of hands. I realized why it wasn't working so I'll have another go tomorrow.

A phone interview was booked to take place yesterday with ABC Radio Australia, but they didn't ring me. I had an email today from them, it was an important piece of news which threw everything out of kilter, so my piece was put on hold. They will contact me with a new date. I am expecting a phone call tonight just after 10pm from BBC Radio Ulster, must remember to stay awake, ha ha.

I'm taking little Poppy dog a walk tomorrow, her mummy has an appointment at the hospital. I still haven't bought a new phone yet, that's the next job to do. Our new pop up Post Office doesn't do car tax, so I'll make a trip to the next village and visit their Post Office. If I time it to go at 4.45pm then I can pop in the little Tesco and the Co op, and check for any reductions. Please don't tell me to do it online, I don't do anything financial on the computer, I would rather pay cash over the counter.

I think I'll catch up with The Midwives now, or should I do three miles next, or maybe I should close my eyes for half an hour so I'm refreshed for the phone call later. Perhaps leave The Midwives for another day, do the walk, then close my eyes for a rest. Yes, that's a better plan.

Thanks for popping in. Catch up soon. Toodle pip

Sunday, 21 February 2016

A little titter

Hello. I'm having the day off today, so I'll leave you with this little titter. You can't beat a good old fashioned British comedy, and Some Mothers Do 'Av 'Em, was one of the best. Michael Crawford aka Frank Spencer did his own stunts, he is so funny.

Catch you tomorrow. Toodle pip

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Sewing, cheap food and collecting stuff.

Hello. I did my three miles earlier today while it was still light. It was surprisingly warm, I needn't have put a jacket on. I'm up to 148 miles for Jan and Feb, but I know there are people who have done more than that. Keep going peeps, only another ten months and ten days left to do. 
I am getting a reputation in this village as someone who is collecting fabric for crafting purposes. A friend of a friend rang last week and offered me a bag of mixed pieces that she didn't think she would ever use. I went and picked them up. There are some nice colours. I promised her I would make her a shopping bag.
Today I delivered two shopping bags, but she wasn't in, so I folded them carefully and pushed them through the letter box. I hope she enjoyed the surprise.

I called in at the Cash and Carry on my way to town yesterday, I haven't been for ages, so I wondered if they had anything new in. I found these porridge in a mug sachet's, £1 for three boxes, 15 sachet's. Not quite as cheap as a 1kg bag of oats at 75p, but I thought they would make a nice change because they are apple and blueberry flavour.  They have a best before date of 27th Feb, which is fine.  
I already have some of these Vegetable Granules in my cupboard, they are handy to add to all sorts of meals. I picked up five more jars at 20p each. They were out of date in April 2015, I don't care.

These noodles were priced up at four bags for £1. There are four separate servings in one bag. I thought four bags would be too much for me, so I bought one bag for 30p. That's 7.5p per serving. The date is best before today, 20th Feb 2016.

And my fourth bargain is a 500grm slab of mature cheese, priced at £2.50. I usually buy a 350 grm pack of cheese for £1.59 from Aldi. The date on this is 25th March 2016, so well in date. I can't find this on the Tesco web site, but they have Cathedral which is similar at £3.50 for 350grm, so I think this was a good buy.

As well as people wanting to give me fabric, it seems I am also the drop off point for friends who are de cluttering. They know that I help with the fundraising for the cat rescue, and anything we can't sell I will take to the charity shop. A bin bag of stuff was delivered to me today, some of which we can sell. Set of new glasses in a box, white ceramic bowls, a money box, and other bits and bobs.  
Rocky wasn't too impressed with his Santa's hat which was in a bag of Christmas decorations, ha ha. 
I think it's time we went out for a last bimble before bed time, so I'll say cheerio for now. Thanks for popping in. Catch you soon. Toodle pip.

Friday, 19 February 2016

No bells and whistles

Hello, my little Nokia is knackered. Boo hoo, sob sob. The man in Carphone Warehouse couldn't get it to work, he fiddled with it, but no, it is a sick phone. 
The walls were filled with phones galore, I briefly browsed, which one should I have. My goodness, the prices of some of them, utterly bonkers. I said, nope, don't want one of those, I want a bog standard cheapie for phone calls and texts. There was a Nokia on display exactly like this one, for £20. That will do I said. He went and looked in the storeroom, sorry, we are out of stock. We walked back to the display to see what else there was. The next Nokia model up was £50, he pointed to it. What, I said, aghast, I'm not paying that much. Then he pointed to a Samsung, this is £25 he said. I said, I don't want to pay an extra £5 for a different model and have to familiarize myself with it, I can't deal with anything too complicated. I asked if they were getting some more Nokia's in, he said yes, next week. I said, OK, I'll come back next week.

So I walked out with nothing. Got to stick to my guns haven't I, now I am the stingiest pensioner in the country. It's not just the price of an all bells and whistles phone that puts me off getting one, it's the fact that I don't want to be a slave to a screen 24/7. I don't want to be permanently connected to the internet, to be constantly checking it, any emails, anyone tweeted me, what's happening on Facebook and so on. I have a life away from the computer, I don't want to be carrying one around with me. I also don't want to be trapped in a contract. My little phone has cost me £5 a month on Pay As You Go. If I want to take a photo I carry my camera. The phone is just for the odd call once in a blue moon, and sending a text. That's fine by me.

Three miles done tonight, it's blowing a hoolie out there. Thanks for popping in. Catch up soon. Have a nice weekend.
Toodle pip

Thursday, 18 February 2016

What a jazzy pair of curtains, and another radio interview.

Hello. Here we have the unveiling of the patchwork curtains, all finished. Don't they look just dandy, I love them. The window is at the back of the house at the top of the stairs. They look nice against the pale blue walls. 
This is my pile of scrappy pieces of cotton, all shapes and sizes. Here is the post I wrote on how to get started. 
Today I finished them off by cutting two pieces of cotton sheet for the backing. I sewed the back to the front with right sides facing, leaving it open at the top. It doesn't matter if the edges are not neat, they can be trimmed off, before turning it right sides out.  
I found four pieces of curtain tape taken off some curtain samples I got from the Scrapstore. Two on each curtain will do the job just fine.

Best to iron it flat, then close up the openings at the top, adding the tape to the back. And there you are, done. I haven't bothered to quilt it, it hangs quite well without. This picture shows one curtain pulled across so you can see the design. 
I'm well chuffed with these, adds a splash of colour to brighten up the plain walls.

This is what was hanging there before, big improvement, eh! I found them in a skip, brand new still wrapped. I'll drop them into the charity shop. 
I had a smashing interview today on BBC Radio Leicester. I really enjoyed it, the presenter, Jonathan was great. It was more like a chat than an interrogation. If you want to listen click on the link and move the slider button across to 2 hours 12 minutes. It is only available for 29 days. I've just listened to it and it made me laugh, he was such a nice chappie.

Tomorrow I'm talkiing to someone on an Irish radio station. Couldn't quite catch the name of it when they asked me on the phone the other day. I hope they speak slowly and clearly so I can understand what they are saying.

I'm just off out now to do three miles, I'll add on the one mile I did earlier with Bella dog, making four. Is everyone else keeping up with their walking?

Thanks for popping in, Catch up tomorrow. Toodle pip

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Chatting with Vanessa on BBC Radio 2

Hello. . It's been raining all day, so no walking tonight. I've been alternating between sewing machine and computer and phone today. The patchwork curtains are nearly finished, I just need to back them and sew the tape across the top. Might get them finished tomorrow.

I see a few of you listened to me on Radio 2 today, thank you for your comments on the previous post. Pity it wasn't Jeremy, he is relaxed and chatty with his guests. I  wondered if Vanessa was reading from a script,  she was firing questions at me. I felt as if I was under interrogation. She got my surname wrong in the introduction, and my age, and rushed through the interview. Didn't enjoy it as much as yesterday, with Radio Coventry.  

If you want to listen to it here is the link. Moved the slider button along to 39 minutes.

BBC Radio 2. Interview with Vanessa Feltz. 

I've got two more interviews in the pipeline, both with Irish radio stations. I'll let you know when they are confirmed.

Following the chat today I've been on the Radio 2 Facebook page and said my piece. A lot of comments were negative but quite a few positive ones as well which was nice.

I need to go to town tomorrow, my mobile phone has gone a bit funny. I'll go in the shop and get them to look at it. Might get a new one.

There is a new follower who is ploughing through the whole blog. She started at the beginning and is now on 2010. That's a heck of a lot of posts to read.

I'm a bit tired now, so I'll sign off. Thanks for popping in. Catch up soon. Toodle pip.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Video killed the radio star ;o)

Hello. Another fun day, chatting on the radio. This time it was BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire. I sat there at the ready with my notes, waiting for the phone call which came at 10.30am. Marian was the presenter, she was very easy to talk to. If you want to listen to it, click on the link and slide the button along to 1 hour 35 minutes. . The interview is in two parts, with music in the middle, and finishes on 1 hour 58 minutes. It is only available for 29 days. The sound quality is not very clear at my end, I think I have my mouth too close to the phone. I noticed a couple of times I stumbled on my words, must try not to do that in future.

BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire

I thought it would be fun to set my camera up to record me while I was speaking, but of course you only get my side of the conversation. I had been listening to the programme live on the iplayer from the start, but as soon as the phone call came I had to switch it off. Only the first part of the interview is on this video. I've put it on  yooootoooob. Have a look at my facial expressions, what a larf, ha ha. I am looking at the computer screen most of the time.

I'm going to be doing it all again tomorrow, on the Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2 at about 12.30pm. Jeremy won't be there, Vanessa Feltz is standing in for him. I won't be making a film of it so it doesn't matter what I look like. It won't be long before I chop my hair, it's getting too long.

I've stuffed my face with a big dinner tonight, tons of veg, I need to be getting out for a walk soon and I still feel full. Maybe walking it off will be a good idea.

Thanks for popping in. Catch up soon. Toodle pip

Monday, 15 February 2016

I can't be bought.

Hello. I've been sent this contract, am I going to sign it? 

Nope. My story is already out there, it's all over the world, it was given freely, and no one can claim exclusive rights to it.

Off out for a walk. Thanks for popping in. Toodle pip.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Oooo errr, my bed is wonky

Hello. I've done a bit inside and a bit outside today. This morning I added some more strips to the curtains, both of them are at this stage, the patchwork creeping closer to the edge. I have used up most of the scraps now, and will probably have to cut a few more pieces to complete the job. 
It's been sunny today so I've made a start on the outside job of reducing the sizes of the raised beds, replacing the rotten pallet wood with bricks. Oooops, something's not quite right here, there shouldn't be a gap on that corner, ha ha. A slight adjustment is needed. A big black cloud came over so I abandoned ship and went inside. Just as well, it started snowing. I want to get these sorted out so I can start planting for spring. I'm having a change and growing flowers instead of vegetables. I need to find out which plants the slugs don't like.

I have a big bill to pay this month, the credit card statement is a whopper. Car insurance is on it, £100 for animal treatments, blood test, injection, and flea treatment for all of them. Then there's Tesco for food and petrol. Just when you think you are doing well, a big hand appears and grabs a big chunk of it. And that's not all, the car needs taxing by the end of the month, and it's time for a service. Early next month the utility bills will come, it's a busy time for money going out. No worries, I have the funds to cover it all.

I've been watching a smashing short series on BBC iplayer, there are three programmes, it's called The Real Marigold Hotel, has anyone else seen it, if not I recommend it. It's about a group of eight senior citizens who go to India to see if it is a good place to retire to. It's like a travel programme/reality show, but interesting and good fun. The first episode is on yoootoooob, it's 58 minutes long. Beware there is a short scene 15 minutes into it of a market where they choose a live chicken for their dinner. You can guess what happens to it.

If you don't want to watch the whole thing, here is a short trailer.

Thanks very much for your Valentine wishes, and thanks for popping in. Catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Happy St Valentines Day

Hello. It's St Valentines Day so we've got to have a bit of romance. I just love to see people so happy and enjoying themselves. Let's all be a bit sloppy today.

Lots of love to everyone. Ilona xxx

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Can you hear me mother?

Good morning. Well that was a bit of a mad rush. There was me thinking I would have enough time to get ready for a 9am start by getting up at 7.30am, and just before eight I had a phone call saying can I be ready with the Skype connected at 8.30am. Cue mad rush, gulp down the coffee, madly tidying up, grabbing small computer, plugging in and switching on. Another phone call on the mobile, are you ready. Me...still trying to get Skype started. Yes, Skype is ready, they called me, WE ARE CONNECTED.

I can see what is happening in the studio, they are rehearsing, I can hear them as well. They speak to me, I speak back. We have a practice, Matt asks a question, I answer. My screen keeps freezing, don't know if the problem is here or there. Skype is not brilliant, a second or two delay, stop and start, I can hear an echo of my own voice. The interview had to be aborted, not going to work.

I am disappointed, they said they have a technical problem, I also have a problem this end as well, the broadband signal is lousy. Never mind, at least we tried. Going down to London for a five minute sit on a settee is just not worth the expense and time. I think I need to get my equipment updated, and make my own little videos from here.

I'm juggling two computers, will log off on this big one, and upgrade the small one from Windows 7 to 10. It's telling me I can do that free. Catch you later.
Toodle pip.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Bimbling around Binbrook

Don't you just love a good paddle in the mud. This was a mucky start to the walk, three ploughed fields, ha ha. Me and my walking buddies, Paul and Paul set out from the car park at the Village Hall in Binbrook , not far from Caistor in the Lincolnshire Wolds. Paul had chosen the route and when he emailed me the map I noticed that I had done a lot of it before. In fact my map of the Wolds has that many coloured lines on it from previous walks, I would struggle to find any new paths. 
Mud mud, glorious mud., follow the tractor lines.

Lots of snowdrops covered the ground alongside this babbling brook.

Here we are at Stainton le Dale. Time to peel off a layer or two, it's warming up. There is another photo of this scene on the blog somewhere, I passed this way before.

We came down a long track and passed through a sprawling farm with lots of out buildings. It was eerily  quiet, there seemed to be no one about and all the doors were secured with large pieces of timber nailed across them. I looked back and saw a big sign on one of the buildings, All enquiries to ........ Looks like it is for sale. After some digging on the www I have found some details. The Manor House at Kirmond le Mire was on the market, in August 2013 but was withdrawn. I've also found it on a blog called Wreck of the Week. And if you want to take a look around a spooky old house, someone has posted a video of it on yoootooob.

A bit further along we came to some fishing ponds.

By this time we were looking for somewhere to sit down for lunch, and came across a large house at Thorpe le Vale, with some outbuildings. This one was obviously occupied, there were parked cars outside. Quite a lot of these grinding stones were propped up against the wall of the driveway.

Paul tried to pump some water but there was none.

Plastic birds nesting in the centre of the wheel. 
This is the front of the house, the garden is terraced with a variety of bushes and shrubs to add interest to the stark white paintwork.

Walking down the driveway away from the house we found some large tree trunks lying on their side, just the job for a sit down and eat our lunch, break.

A little bit of road walking, and more bridleway walking, brought us back to Binbrook. One last photo, of me and Paul, with the church behind us.

It was a smashing day. The weather was fine, hardly any wind, and ok to walk without a jacket. We did ten miles, and was back home just before 5pm. That's taken my walking miles up to 128 since Jan 1st. There are some people who have done more than that. keep it up ladies and gents, no slacking.

A bit of news for tomorrow morning. I am due to be on Chanel 5 The Saturday Show. Not sure what time it will be on, but we are going to link up on Skype at 9am to record a chat with Matt. Think I had better have a tidy up and put my best clothes on, maybe a nice frock, ha ha.

Thanks for popping in. Catch up tomorrow. Toodle pip.