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Thursday, 30 November 2017

Rude by Katie Hopkins. Book review

Hello. You can say what you like about Katie Hopkins, you can throw all kinds of insults her way, threaten to kill her even, but she will always respond with an equally harsh put down, enough to knock the wind out of the sails of even the most persistent bully. Katie must be one of the most trolled people on the internet, yet there is no sign of her scurrying away into her little hole in the ground. This woman is for fighting her corner, and is not afraid of using whatever ammunition she sees fit. 
I first saw her when she was on The Apprentice a few years ago, she was determined to claw her way into the finals, whatever it took. When she got there, she told Sir Alan what he could do with his money, and walked out. I thought then that she had balls, but never imagined that she would propel herself into notoriety at such a breakneck speed.

Katie has a lot to say for herself, on most topics in the news today. It seems she has lots of opinions which she is keen to voice to anyone who will listen. Her choice of language is always direct and straight to the point, often littered with insults and name calling. She believes she is speaking for the thousands who are afraid to say what they are thinking, for fear of being labelled with whatever name is in fashion at the moment. Look what happened to me four and a half years ago when I said the UK is full up and didn't have room for any more. Some agreed with me, but I was also shot down in flames with readers saying they would never visit my blog again. Katie has a point, keeping your mouth shut for an easy life is far preferable for some than being trolled and bullied for your views.

Anyway, love her or hate her, I read the book because I wanted to know what drives her. I don't agree with everything she says, but a lot of what she says does make sense. She deliberately uses shock tactics to get her points across, in my opinion that works sometimes but is not always necessary.

The book. It's about her earlier life before she was famous, her travels to different countries, roughing it in remote parts of the world, her turbulent career, her battles with epilepsy and finally overcoming that with a brain operation. She talks fondly about her husband and children, as a wife and mother. The last part of the book digs more deeply into the reasons behind some of the opinions she has about politics, lifestyle, and religion.

I found a lot of the colourful attention seeking phrases she uses a bit silly and a bit school girlish, I felt they were inserted to embroider an elaborate picture around the ordinary bits of her story. Maybe that's how she speaks in everyday life anyway, I don't know.

There were parts of her story which gripped my attention. The graphic descriptions of what happens during an epileptic fit were quite shocking. I used to work with a girl with the same affliction a long time ago, and had forgotten how brutal the fits could be.

It's on the whole an easy read, but I found myself fast forwarding a bit through what I would call ranting. Maybe ranting is her thing. I don't rant myself, preferring a more laid back and calculated  approach to life. I didn't get through 32 years as a lorry driver by ranting, I got through it by steadily plodding on, believing in myself and knowing I was on the right track with my life.

Read what you like into her newspaper articles and videos, but there is another side to her. She is  intelligent, even though she puts some of her opinions across in a cruel and unorthodox way. I think she's going to be around for a while.

I don't buy books. Check your library to see if they have a copy.

It's snowing quite heavy here. No walking today. Don't forget to check in with your miles tomorrow. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Surprise food.

Hello. Sometimes I get fed up of going into the kitchen three times a day, then have to decide what to eat, and then spend time cooking it. Breakfast isn't too much of a chore, everything goes in one bowl, bran flakes, nuts, seeds, and fruit, milk and yogurt. It doesn't take long to knock that up. 
I always try and make a quick lunch, but often I end up adding a bit of this and a bit of that, and before I know it I have double the amount that I actually need on my plate. Today I made a pan of veggie curry, a mild curry, don't like it too hot. Quorn mince and chunks, frozen mushrooms, broad beans, sweetcorn, sultanas, onion, and lettuce. I was stewing some apples at the time so I put some of that in as well.
So, this is my lunch. It looks a lot but underneath it is the crust from a seeded loaf of bread. I don't know why but the crust is always twice the thickness of a slice. Must be something to do with the slicing machines.  
To save time tonight I have had almost the same again, only instead of the bread I made up some couscous, which only takes a couple of minutes. Tomorrow for lunch I will have exactly the same again, so it will be a very quick meal indeed. I made too much couscous, so tomorrow night I will be looking for something to add to that for my dinner.

I never know what I am going to eat until I open the fridge and cupboards, and see what's left. I like surprises.

Are you ready Walking Group? Tomorrow is the last day of November, on Friday it is check in day. Let's have some numbers please. I have just managed to make the 100 this month, now on 1103. It was touch and go, the weather has been awful today, didn't really want to go out, but I did. It has to be done.

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

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Simple but fabulous food.

Hello. I really must tell you about my simply fabulous lunch today. Fridge is getting a bit low, but not to worry, always something to cobble together a plate of deelishusness. That's the last of the yellow sticker avocado's, perfectly fine, twelve days past their sell by date. I bought six for 19p each, all ok. 
One tomato and a few lettuce leaves. Two slices of seeded bread out of the freezer, and toasted. The last of the yellow sticker houmous spread on them. One slice of mature cheddar cheese, two slivers of Danish Blue cheese, and a fried egg. Make it up as a sandwich and in the microwave for a few seconds.  It was oh so tasty. 
I had exactly the same yesterday. I have always bought medium size eggs, and had two of them in one meal. It was always too much. Now I buy large eggs and have one per meal. It means I can get six meals out of a box, instead of only three. Much better and I am not so stuffed.

More sewing today, and a visit to the library van to say hello to Stan, and change some books. Met a lovely black labrador today while I was on my three miles. Stopped to chat to the man. He was telling me how he found Charlie. He was about to be sent to a rescue as a puppy because the owner didn't have the facilities or the time to give him a good life. The man was there at just the right time, and immediately said he would take him home. Charlie is now nine years old, and such an intelligent and clever dog. He sensed that I have treats in my pocket and sat looking at me holding one paw in the air. I checked to see if it was alright to give him a couple. The man said yes. Gorgeous dog.

Nothing much exciting happening. Bailey dog walking tomorrow.

That's it for now. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip 

Monday, 27 November 2017

Finding a use for unwanted stuff

Hello. Thank you all for your support on yesterdays post. I am chuffed that you stick up for me. 
Skip diving yesterday. The house round the corner has had a lot of work done to it, which has meant lots of skip loads coming out of there. I saw these two wotsits a week ago but they weren't in the skip. I don't know what you call them, trestles I think, but they look like they could be useful. I thought they were part of the builders equipment to do the job. I had my eye on them. Lo and behold, they turned up in the skip so that was my cue to remove them sharpishly, they are now in my garage. Good eh! Very sturdy, need sanding and painting. Maybe make a table, or something for the garden. 
A bag of driftwood I picked up from the waters edge on Saturday. I think I have enough now. Will be used for art projects.

This is a heavy lump, it's cast iron. There is a bungalow which has been under renovation for about a year now, the man was in no rush to get it finished. I have been picking up bits and pieces from his skip for a while. He is making one last push to get the job finished and has been working on the garden for about a week. It's on my walking route so I always stop for a chat if he is there. Today he asked if I wanted this. It's a water feature which hangs on the wall. The water comes out of the lions mouth. I won't be using it with water, but I thought it would make a nice planter. It needs a wire brush to get rid of the rust, and with a coat of paint it will look quite nice. A job for the spring I think. Too cold to do any work outside at the moment.

More shopping bags made, I have a total of 17 now to sell at the Christmas Fair on Saturday. That should be enough.

The Zippppeeee project is coming along nicely, I've decided on the background. I was going to make it all black zips, but now I think that would be too much, so I'm using a dark green fabric and the frame will be zips.

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

Sunday, 26 November 2017

My past comes back to haunt me

Hello. Fancy a little titter, or even a bellowing belly laugh, then take a look at this article about me on an Australian web site. It was published a year ago, after being picked to bits over about six months in publications all over the world. After doing the rounds it was bound to become a bit ragged around the edges. Some of it was copied word for word and was true at the time, but some of the gaps have been filled in by whoever was hitting the keyboard. Ignore the numbers, I didn't quite grasp the questions fired at me by the original journalist, and she wrote down what she thought I said.

Don't bother adding any comments as it's history now, unless you feel you really must resurrect it just for a laugh. Doubtful that anyone goes back for a second look. Scroll to the bottom if you want to read all 285 comments. Thanks very much to Lulu for pointing this out to me in her comment yesterday. 

Six secrets of the worlds most money savvy senior.

Cold frosty start to the day. I had thought about taking a trip to Harrogate to the stitching show, but then decided to stay at home and carry on stitching myself. I have plenty to do here.

A reminder that we are nearing the end of the month again, crumbs, only one month left and that's the whole year done and dusted. Time to top up your walking miles. I am only just on target to reach my goal of 1100.

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

PS. I have just disregarded my own advice, and answered some of the comments, probably a waste of time. Couldn't resist it for a bit of fun. There are some new ones coming in at the bottom, now the article has been regurgitated. You can change the order from newest to oldest, click the button. 

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Bah Humbug post

Hello. Today I went a short walk on the North Bank, drove over the Humber Bridge, and when I came back I went into Barton to have a mooch. They had the Christmas Fair on so I took a few pics. It was very busy.  

Real reindeer were munching their way through buckets of nosh.

Most of the shops were open, and doing a roaring trade. Cake anyone?

Plenty of stalls selling food, and games to win prizes.

This kiddies swing boat ride was a bit expensive at £2 per person.

Entertainment was the school children singing Christmas Carols.

Janet and Sue were there with the cat rescue stall.

I treated myself to a portion of chips. £1.70, what a chuffin rip off, they were nice though. I ate half as I was walking around and I have some left over for lunch tomorrow.

This is a small event, and local, there are lots like this going on at the moment, which I won't be going to. They are all pretty much the same. It was Christmas lights switch on today in Scunthorpe, too busy for me. At one time I used to like going to Lincoln Christmas Market, but I can find no enthusiasm for that kind of thing now.

That's my Bah Humbug post done. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip. 

Friday, 24 November 2017

That's telling them

Hello. There's no point in me telling you all how to be frugal and money saving, you all know what you have to do, earn more and spend less, and only buy what you need rather than what you want. That's my mantra and I'm sticking to it.

This post is aimed at the younger generation who have not yet got a grasp of budgeting their finances, and find themselves in a heck of a mess. This is your mum speaking, so sit down and listen. You know that silly tradition that we seem to have inherited from across the pond, Black Friday I believe they are calling it. Well, it isn't just black, it is a stinking cesspit of multinational businesses bullying you to hand over your money. It's all trickery, it's all lies, they dangle these shiny gadgets with lots of buttons and knobs on, in front of your face and say come on, you know you want one. If you get one of these your life is going to be full of sunshine from now on.

Only it isn't, You will play with it for a while, and six months later, the bogey men will pester you again, with a brand new soopadoopa all bells and whistles version. Aha, the one you spent a fortune on is now obsolete, and to keep up with all your friends, who will all have the new one, you have to follow suit and fork out another few hundred quid to stay in the game.

For goodness sake, what are you? Some kind of dumb sheep. Sorry sheep, you are not really dumb, you just follow each other. Have you not got a mind of your own? So, you get sucked in, you are desperate to keep up with your pals. They invite you to parties, you buy new clothes because you don't want to appear the odd one out. I know all about that, I did the same when I was a teenager, only I didn't buy my clothes, I made them. I found pictures in magazines, bought cheap fabric, and copied the designs. The best thing you can do is learn how to sew.

It's a big bad world out there, and now we have the internet we can see the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. There are lots of influences, that want a piece of our lives. Close your mind to it all, buying something nice to make us feel good is a short term fix, leading to long term pain. Do you really want years of having debt around your neck, dragging you down, chasing every penny, being in your overdraft every month, relying on the plastic? No, neither do I. I have never had an overdraft, wouldn't know how to apply for one.

Sleepless nights, worrying how you are going to pay for everything, running out of cash in the middle of the month, it's an eternal circle, a downward spiral, that takes ages to get out of. Best not to go there in the first place, will save you a load of hassle.

So, GET YOUR PRIORITIES RIGHT. Ok, I'm shouting now. You don't need to buy lunch out every day, make a pack up from home. You don't need Sky TV and all the other packages that you pay for, you don't even need to have a TV at all, get rid of it, stop paying the licence and watch legal catch up on your computer.

You don't need to get your hair cut every month, leave it for six weeks, and ladies, never get a shampoo and set at the hairdressers, that's just lazy. Wash your own hair in your own bathroom.

You don't need to buy new clothes every month, you've probably got loads of clothes lurking in your wardrobe anyway, wear them. Or buy from a car boot sale or charity shop. You can save a fortune buying second hand.

You don't need a flash car on finance which is going to be worthless when you have eventually paid the astronomical interest rates. Start by squirreling some money away and buying an old banger. I had a battered old van as my first car, then after saving a bit more money, another van, not quite so battered, and eventually a car, still old, but a bit better. I would never buy a new car, it depreciates at a rapid rate as soon as you drive it off the forecourt.

Ditch the takeaways, the coffee in cardboard cups, the magazines, the choccy bars, and anything else that is an impulse buy. Tell yourself that everything you buy from now on will be something you have given a lot of consideration to. You have thought carefully, worked out all the pro's and con's, and found the best price you can, then if you really need it, and you have the money to pay for it, then I give you permission to buy it.

If your life is pretty crap there is the temptation to treat yourself to something nice, to make yourself feel better. The answer is not to spend money you haven't got, because then you'll feel worse, You need to look inside yourself and ask why am I feeling like this. What can I do to make some changes. Don't be blinkered, don't think the road you are on at the moment is the only one. It isn't.

So my younger readers, to sum up. Know your own mind, don't follow others, make your own way in life. Be responsible for your own actions, you make a mistake say, ok I messed up, but I won't do it again. Anyway, I haven't got time to tap away all day on this computer, I'm off out for my walk, before it gets dark.

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

Thursday, 23 November 2017

It was only a matter of time.

Hello. Look at this little madam. As soon as I vacate my seat, she is in there. Even if I get up to make a drink. Isn't it strange how cats don't stay in the same bed for very long. She has been sleeping in the wool box, now fed up with that. Then on the fleecy blanket I have on the sofa to cover me up if I am cold, now she wants my chair. As I am at this moment sitting on it, she has moved onto the piece of fabric I have placed on the table for the zippppeeeee picture.  
Now Mayze is upset because Heidi has got the best chair. They don't like each other very much, a touch of jealousy I presume. Mayze was here first so she feels pushed out and wants to stake her claim. Her eyes widen and she glares at her rival. Heidi is a tease and knows she can come running to me for sympathy. Whenever there is a kerfuffle and I am not near, I never know who has started it so they both get shouted at. Then I feel guilty and give them both a cuddle. 

They are not very often in the same room, Mayze stays mostly upstairs in my bedroom, and Heidi downstairs in the living room. They avoid each other whenever possible. If one wants to go out, the other guards the cat flap. Sometimes one sits on the outside wanting to come in, but can't. I have to open the door so they can both go in and out without clashing with each other.

Mayze sleeps with me on the bed. I take my bottoms off, and get into bed and read for ten minutes, then take my tops off in one go and lay them on the bed. Mayze likes to sleep on my fleecy top. I have two fleecy tops on the bed, in the morning I put on whichever one she isn't lying on, ha ha.

I went to a different library today because I saw on the web site that they had a new book in that I want to read. I could have reserved it and waited until it was sent to our mobile library, but I thought I would have a trip out to Barton and collect it. I found some arty/crafty type books while I was there, that I haven't seen before, so it was worth the drive out. While I was there I had a walk along the waters edge, boy was it windy and cold. Lucky I was wearing a thick jacket with a furry hood.

Well it looks like I am not going to be able to do much on the zipppeeee picture tonight, Heidi is still lying on it. I won't disturb her, I'll have a read of these books. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

What did I do today

Hello. You've got to read this fast because I have writ it how I speak. What did I do today. Do I need to insert a question mark there, I'm not really asking you what I did today. You don't know what I did today, until I tell you. So no, I don't think I need a question mark there. 
I arrived at the dentist at 10.20am, ten minutes before my appointment. I sat in my car for ten minutes because there was something interesting on Woman's Hour on Radio 4. I always listen to Radio 4 when I am in my car. I dashed into the reception bang on 10.30am. Signed the form, and before I had chance to look through a magazine I was called into the surgery. I thought it was a bit strange that the dentist himself came out into the waiting room to call my name. Usually it is the assistant who does that. 
There were two assistants in the room, in conversation, so I guess they were too busy to come and get me, so sent the dentist instead. Jim is a very nice young dentist, easy to talk to and happy to discuss my teeth. He remembered quite a lot about me, and asked about my walking and how the blog was going. I filled him in with up to date news. I asked him where he lived before he came to North Lincolnshire. He said he and his wife left London to come and work up north, and they like it here, and he has recently become a father. I said he has made a good choice, it's very nice living up north.  
Jim had a good prod around my mouth and declared that everything was hunkydory, no he didn't quite put it like that, he said, fine, nothing needs any attention. He them proceeded to give my teeth a good scrub, not that they are dirty, I brush and floss them regularly. He had a whizz round with the buzzing thing, and I had a swill out with the pink water. I left £20 lighter and an appointment for one years time. 
Next I collected Heidi's tablets from the vet. The vet's own dogs were behind the counter, a cute little pug, and the sweetest tiny sausage dog you have ever seen. 
Then I had a walk up and down the High Street. Brigg is a smallish Market town, and all the shops were pretty well taken. There are lots of small independent shops, and several charity shops which I browsed. I bought three small canvases for 50p each. They are pictures actually, pretty naff pictures, but I shall paint over them. 
I thought I ought to take some photo's. Took two, then I couldn't be bothered to take any more. This is The Angel. It's in the Market Square, has a library, a coffee shop, and a museum. I went in to use the lavvy, it said 'for customers only', I pretended that I was a customer, then walked straight out shaking my wet hands after I finished. I never use those dryer things, they take ages, unless they are those superfast ones which you stick your hands into. 
The building in the middle is the Tourist Information Centre. On a Thursday they have a market here, not today, because it's Wednesday.

My bank in Brigg was closed, so I had to come back via Scunthorpe and go to the one in the High Street there. Normally I take the scenic route through the villages to Brigg, because it gets a bit busy past the steelworks in Scunny. Anyhow, while I was there I picked up a bottle of cheap bleach to clean my toilets, and some cat food for Heidi. Also a few bits from Aldi.

I was a bit hungry when I got back, so I cooked up my leftovers for a late lunch/early dinner, then went and did my three miles, to shake it all down. It's now 5.45pm and I'm still full, so maybe I'll just have a snack, don't need another meal.

That was my day. It is very windy but also warm, snow is forecast, but I'll believe it when I see it. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

This and that

Hello. No housework done today, can't be bothered. I would rather be sewing. 
Horrible weather. Walk done, stopped to chat to a friend. Twice in fact, two friends, I have many, one long chat and one short chat. Swapped one of my dog walking days with Brenda, she will do tomorrow and I will do her Thursday. Means I won't have to rush to the dentist in the morning. Cats sleeping most of the day, they don't like going out when it's dull and wet. Garcia has been in, eaten one pouch of Whiskas and snoozed on the window sill. Made too much lunch, made too much dinner, still chomping my way through the yellow stickers. Left overs for tomorrow. No need to put the general bin out for tomorrow, only one bag of waste which I will sneak into next doors bin when he has gone out to work in the morning. Heidi cat keeps parking herself on the desk in front of this computer and sticking her bum in my face. Going to have to wrap this up and give her some attention. Oh happy days, not long to Christmas, let's just get it over and done with.

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

Monday, 20 November 2017

Christmas is a coming.

Hello. Back from my walk, turned the corner just past the pub, and there's a nice surprise, our Christmas tree is lit up on the village green. The lights have been a bit sparse over the last few years, it looks like they have been splashing out on some new ones. Really lovely. These are the first ones I have seen, it won't be long before they start appearing on the front of people's houses. I like the lights, makes everywhere look cheerful. 
We stuffed ourselves with nosh this morning at Crafty Club, two of our members are leaving the area and moving to pastures new. We had a little farewell party to wish them bon voyage. One is going up north back to her roots, and the other is leaving this country for a new life in Sweden. Friends come and friends go, that's how it is, people move on. We will miss them.

Zipppeeee is evolving, one idea leads to another. What starts as a simple idea seems to take on a life of it's own. It's leaning more towards a Folksy picture, French knots added to the flowers look nice. I will crack on with it tomorrow.

Wednesday is a dentist appointment for a check up, and a visit to the vet for Heidi's tablets. I can do both at the same time, save making another journey.

Wind down time, I am finding I am going to bed a bit earlier. Off to watch some vids on yoootooob. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Progress on the zipppeeeee project

Hello. Looking like a lovely sunny day today. I'l do this quickie post, then I have some newsletters to deliver, so let's crack on. Some flowers have been made, need some more. Moved onto leaves, the zips are green anyway but I have painted them to bring out the colour. I was thinking about this as I woke up this morning, how to make leaves, so as soon as my coffee was made at 6.30am I got on with playing. The longer leaf looks better, will make some more. Also need to make a few of different sizes.  
Some flowers have got two circles, some only one.


As soon as I trim both ends the fabric starts fraying, so it's difficult to join them up with tiny stitches to prevent more fraying.

The pearl sits in the hole in the middle then lots of stitching at the back to hold it in place.

Keep checking in for more progress reports. Thanks for popping in, enjoy your Sunday. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Friday, 17 November 2017

Bumper bargains on the food shopping

Hello. I was dead lucky last night at Tesco, lots of yellow stickers, some 75% off and some 90% off. I got there at 7pm, they hadn't brought it all out on the trolleys so I had to hang around for a while. Worth it though, there was plenty. A few people gathered, a lot of them wanted meat and ready meals, so they didn't bother me, I was happy to pick over the veg and fruit, and salads. 
I managed to make the £40 total shop, which allowed me to use the £6 off voucher. I stocked up on tins, bought a big bag of walnuts, jar of coffee, two bags of sultanas, and some frozen items to make it up. Here is a breakdown of some of the reductions I got.
2pack Avocado's 19p. Wholemeal bread 10p. Raspberries 20p. Blue berries 20p. Grapes 20p. Strawberries 20p. Rice noodles 12p. Carrots 2p. Salad leaves 9p. Brassica veg 10p. Kiwi fruit 3p each.
Yogurt 15p. Mushrooms 15p. Houmous 10p. Pears 15p. Broccoli 10p. Cookies 25p. Cannelloni 62p. Pasta salad 21p. Potatoes 20p. Veg soup mix 13p. I picked up a few extras and gave some to my neighbours next door, and to my friend Brenda.

I've made a little video about my food shopping. It took ten minutes to make and six hours to upload.



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

What do you do?

Hello. Something to chatter about, I have to go out and walk a dog. What do you think of those blogs where you click on to have a look at a post which you think you might be interested in, then only get a snippet of it, and have to click again to get the whole story? Bloomin frustrating I say. Most of the time I read the introductory first couple of sentences, then think, 'oh stuff it I can't be bothered', then dump the whole lot.

I want to see the blog post in it's entirety, so I can skim read, get the main points, then decide whether to comment or not. What do you do? Stick with it, or move on?

I'm the same with yoootoooob. I look at the title, the content, is it a subject I might be interested in, if it is I'll have a look. Then you get the waffley introduction, this is sponsored by bla bla bla, taking ages to show all the bits and bobs you'll need if you want to complete the project. Just get on with it. I am forever fast forwarding to get to the main point.

My goodness I'm so impatient. I have to stop myself finishing other people's sentences. It's so rude, I know, but sometimes I know what they are going to say before they say it. I'm always one step ahead. Then my brain then shuts off, because I know what's coming next. I am a terrible listener. 

Must go now, dog wants a wee, he will be waiting with his legs crossed, ha ha.

Catch you later.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Zipppeeeeee

Hello. It's about time I did something with these zips, I've had them for a few years. I grabbed them when the Scunthorpe Scrapstore closed down. We were allowed to take what we wanted before the whole lot got shipped over to Hull. They are all either four or six inches long, I've been pondering what to do with them for ages. I did make some purses with them when I first got them, but got bored with that. 
I've been playing with them, re arranging them, first thoughts were a contemporary art picture, maybe a bit Mondrian style. Blocks of colours. But that would have been too easy. So I thought about separating the two halves, and stitching them into a circle, could make some flowers.

I haven't got enough different colours, but found a solution to that, use felt tip pens to colour them. Seems to work alright. So, this is the first idea, it will need some more thought, but I am hopeful that it will turn into something quite good.

Fridge is empty so I'm going to do the Yellow Sticker dash tonight.

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

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

How hard is living without debt

Hello. I sometimes wonder if it is worth bleating on about living frugally and ways to save money, because I reckon a good portion of my readers are already well informed on how to live within their means. I feel I don't need to stand up in front of you and give you a lesson on home economics, because most of you already have your finances under control. You will have your own methods and know what works best for you.

This blog is about my Brilliant Life on a Pension, which is not only about how I save money, but why I save it and also how I spend it. I like to vary the content and not bore myself to death, and not bore the pants of everyone else, so, I cover all aspects of my life, and money saving is the defining factor.

Saying that, I think it is good to revisit money saving ideas because I get 6,000 page views a day, and a lot of those people will be looking for money saving tips. Some may have just dropped on the blog while searching, and will be unfamiliar with it's content. When I read Money Saving Expert Forum, especially the Debt Free Wannabe section, I can see just how many people are struggling with debt, and it is very sad that some of them don't know how they got there, and don't know how to get out of it. So forgive me for bleating on about money saving if you already have your finances under control, for there are such a lot out there who are desperate for some help.

So, what am I doing to save money right now. I am sitting here with no heating on, and wearing a fleecy dressing gown over my clothes. I could afford to flick the switch and put it on, but I know within an hour I would be feeling muggy, and would probably fall asleep. What is the point of wearing fewer clothes while burning money. I have just had a hot drink, and I am due to go out for a walk shortly, that will warm me up. I might put the heating on tonight for an hour if it gets a bit chilly.

I am not going shopping until I actually need something. I have a £6 off voucher for a £40 shop at Tesco. I haven't been there for a while and my food stocks are quite low, so I am planning on a yellow sticker dash sometime this week. Mind you, I have planned a visit before with a voucher and have got nowhere near the £40, and still had a trolley full, of mainly yellow stickers. However, this time I might achieve it because I have only got three tins left in the cupboard and the freezer is pretty low.

I have a bag full of free cooking apples which I am stewing on the hob for a few minutes, a great addition to my breakfast cereal, nuts and seeds. I made up a big pan of pulses, lentils, and suchlike, soaked for 24 hours simmered for an hour, and veg added. I found it a bit hard going chewing it, so I zapped it with the stick blender. Have eaten some, the rest frozen in portions to be added to stews, or eaten with pasta.

I keep myself busy with my arts and crafts, which cost virtually nothing because I have tons of materials, don't need to buy any more. My utilities bills have come and gone, and paid, gas and electric. Again they were very low because I am careful about switching things off when not in use, and I am with Ebico who doesn't have a standing charge. Now we need the lights on for a lot longer in the winter I try to have them on in one room only, I walk around with a little torch in my pocket to light the way when moving between rooms. I have a watering can in the downstairs toilet, there is plenty of rain water now, so it saves on flushing.

Someone mentioned about my coffee being a mix of two kinds in the jar. Yes, I buy Nescafe, have been drinking it for years, perfectly acceptable for me. Then I found Carte Noir, very tasty but a bit more expensive, so now I get a jar of each and mix it.

My credit card statement has just arrived, a rather hefty bill because the new tyres are on it. No worries, I have the cash to pay it. I was thinking about changing my car, updating for a newer model, but decided against it. The car I have is perfectly fine. It is due for it's MOT soon, and if it needs any work I have the cash for that. The insurance is due in January, again I can pay for the whole year, it costs more to pay monthly. Also on the statement is £75 from a YHA booking I made recently. Two nights, private room, B & B, in a lovely hostel in Derbyshire. A little treat for me.

When I go to town to pay this bill into the bank I shall combine it with a few purchases from the discount stores, Home Bargains, B & M, Poundland, and Poundstretcher. I get my pet food and cleaning stuff from those shops. I've noticed that some of them are starting to get fresh produce in, and some good prices too. I got a BIG bag of spinach from Home Bargains for less than £1. And some nice tasty cheeses for around £1. Worth a look.

A few general tips for anyone who is struggling to pay down debt. If you are serious about becoming debt free you have to be pro active and make changes to your lifestyle. It's no good saying I don't want to give up the Sky TV, the Gym membership, or the coffee on the way to work. If you want to keep the lifestyle you already have and not cut your spending then be prepared for a lifetime of debt. I see it all the time on the MSE Forum, make suggestions, and watch the resistance to any changes. Again, it's down to control, whether you allow money to control you, or whether you grasp the bull by the horns and say no more. No matter how much advice me or anyone else can give you, ultimately it's down to yourself. Being in debt is a lifestyle choice, being debt free is also a lifestyle choice. You choose.

Thanks very much for reading. Welcome to anyone who has recently found us, stick around, I'd love you to pop in again.
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Wood and wool

Hello. I spent ages making a video this morning, set it to upload on yooootoooob, hours later it was still only 50% done, so I gave up with it. It wasn't that good anyway, hadn't got the camera positioned right . I'll have another go. 
I decided to make four more shopping bags, then do my walk, then see Stan at the library. I missed him last week, completely forgot about it. Today I had a clear out and took all my books back, and started afresh. Because they don't get date stamped I lose track of how long I've had them. It's a good job Stan doesn't bother with the fines, he always renews them when they are about to go overdue. We can have 20 books off the van, and keep them for eight weeks. Any books taken out of the town centre library only have three weeks on them, but Stan will always renew them so we can keep them longer. 
I've finished this little bit of felting. I made it specifically for this piece of driftwood. I wondered how to fix the felting to the wood, don't like using glue, double sided sticky tape might have done it, and this morning I woke up with an idea, I could nail them together. The wood is soft so small nails would go in easily. 
I knocked them in with a little bit of the head sticking out, then wound some thin wire around all of them, then knocked the nails right in, trapping the wire. Bingo, just the job. 
I like the idea of mixing the softness of the wool with the hard nails and wire. That's just the unusual combination I was looking for.


The wire came out of something electrical that I took apart. Can't remember what it was, but there is always something interesting to re use from broken gadgets.



A piece of stronger wire on the back for hanging.

And there we have it, a cute little wall hanging. Now ready to start another project, or finish one I have already started but not got round to finishing.

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

Monday, 13 November 2017

In their former life these bags were...........

Hello. Anyone recognize this fabric? I posted about it nearly a year ago. My friends sold up and moved to Scotland, they had to get rid of most of their furniture because it was not needed in their new smaller abode. They swapped a three bed house for an apartment. 
I had three single divan beds from them, some of the wood has been used, and some is stored in my garage. I stripped the fabric from around the sides of the beds, cut it off with a Stanley knife, and washed it. To be honest I thought it might fall apart, the beds were I would say at least 20 years old. 
It didn't fall apart, so now I have used it to make four shopping bags. 
The shiny satiny floral fabric is quilted onto foam, with a lining as well, so the bags are quite strong. They are not as big as a Bag for Life type of bag, 12 inches wide and 16 inches high, but big enough. They will be on the Chat and Craft stall at our Christmas Fair, I reckon they will get snapped up. 


Bailey poodle dog walk done this morning, then sitting with the ladies at Chat and Craft, had lunch, now back to sewing. I might have to put the heat on, it's a bit parky.

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

Sunday, 12 November 2017

A little piece of wet felting.

Hello. I've been playing around with a bit of wet felting today. I have an idea for a piece of wood and want to add wool to it. I think I will call it Wood and Wool, ha ha.
First I laid out layers of shades of green on a piece of bubble wrap. Crisscrossing them, first one way then the other. I didn't want many layers because I don't want it too thick. It's a small piece. To do this you need to have a hot soapy water mix and wet it thoroughly. Massage it till all the fibres are wet.
Fold over the bubble wrap, wet it on top, and proceed to rub it all over for a long time, pressing down hard on it. Most people use their fingers and a scrunched up plastic bag, I found it easier with a sponge and a spoon. Do this over and over again. Open it up and turn the felt over, and turn it the other way round, and keep rubbing.

Then roll it up like a sausage and keep rolling it a lot. Opening it up and turning it around. Add more soapy water if needed.

Then roll it in the towel, and do the same again. More rolling. The more agitation you can give it the better.

When it's just about the right texture and felted nicely, rinse it under the cold tap. Let it dry.

I have pulled a bit off from around the edges because it was too big, I want rough edges, and added needle felting to it. I could have added the colours before I started it, so it would have all been wet felted, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it. Now there will be lots of stitching added.

If you are making a bigger thicker piece it needs a lot more bashing around. Scrunch it up and throw it down on the worktop. There are plenty of videos on yoootoooob if you want to have a go.

Looks like a sunny day again. I'm about to have lunch, then I'll go out for a couple of hours. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Three hours and eight miles

Hello. Well, after a gut busting lunch I thought I had better go and walk some of it off. The plan was to walk to town and get the bus back. Turning off the main road, and through the corner of the wood. 
The main crop around here is turf. Lots and lots of big fields covered in the green green grass of home.

Passing the horsey paddocks at the back of the estate.

And into another wood. Ooops, better step to the side to miss the puddle.

Another grassy field, this time with a mob of cruel and horrible people walking through it with their dogs and guns, heading for the wood, where they started blasting the pheasants to bits. I switched my hearing aid off so I didn't have to listen to it. Killing for fun with guns should be banned.

Along another field, and another, until I got to the fishing pond. No one fishing today.

I walked along the edge of a field to avoid the busy road, and found a layby with dumped rubbish. It looked like it was from a garage, lots of broken car parts.

More rubbish in a wood. This time a tent. It looked like this was someone's home for a while, empty drinks cans and a bag of rotting food.

This is the pond where I used to take Rocky swimming.

I walked along the road to the second roundabout and decided I didn't want to walk any further. The rest of the route goes along a busy road, it's one that I drive along frequently, nothing of interest to look at. I decided to head off back towards home, taking a different route. Through this industrial estate.

Into a village where the pub has been closed for a long time. It's a shame, it's a lovely building, but the village is small and there wasn't enough customers to keep it open.

I picked up a track along the bottom of the wood, and was lucky enough to see two deer. One of them went into the wood and the other one ran across the field past the turbines.

I caught sight of a fox in the wood, he soon scarpered when he saw me. On the way home now along this track. Daylight is fading and it's starting to get dark, though by the look of this photo it seems quite light.

At the end of the track it starts to go uphill and round a sharp bend into the wood. Oooo 'eck, it's like going through a dark tunnel and it's only five o clock. Forgot to bring a torch, wasn't expecting to be walking in the dark.

Uphill and round another bend, and I can see a street light.

That's better, I'm back in the village. Wouldn't have liked to stay in the dark for much longer.

Eight miles walked and I'm relaxing with a can of ale. Just the job.

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

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