Sunday, 11 October 2015

Making room

I have been offered - and I accepted - half a lamb from a lady who is on the school governing board with me. She has a small holding just outside the village, and it is time for the lambs to head off to the local slaughterhouse. She is charging £45 for half a lamb, so I am having half, my sister is having another half, her mother-in-law is having half and UJ is also having half!  I should have asked for commission! 

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(image from

She wasn't sure when they would actually be ready when she was talking about it, so there was no sense of a time scale then.  On Friday, I heard that we would be able to collect the meat from her on Thursday or Friday this coming week - so that means that we need to be eating from the freezer this week to make sure that there is room to stash the lamb!

I think that there will be some interesting meals to be had this week, then, as we eat up the oddments of frozen meals, and try to use up lots of bits and pieces.  I am sure the girls won't mind, as it will be one way to ensure some variety in the diet!

We're off to the Autumn Show at the Peterborough Showground when I get back from church this morning, so I hope the weather stays fair.  I'll try to get some good pictures of the exhibits.

Friday, 9 October 2015

A cake or two

To take my mind off the inspection on Wednesday afternoon, I did some baking....not always the best thing to do when I am distracted as I sometimes make mistakes and forget ingredients!

I have some cans of pumpkin, so I tried a new pumpkin cake, which was a bit of a challenge. I didn't have the required maple syrup, and in noting down the list of the ingredients from the website, I totally omitted the sugar!  Noticing that I didn't have the syrup, I stuck in a cup of sugar to compensate, not realising that there were supposed to be THREE cups of sugar in addition to the syrup - whoops!  My loaves ended up rather more orangey that the ones in the picture on the recipe website, but the girls have eaten one of them already and said that it was nice! So I am not too disheartened about that one.

On The Quince Tree, I saw a recipe for a cheap and cheerful cake, that I had already seen on Facebook. There's no eggs, milk or butter in the recipe so it is quite cheap to make, and I was further encouraged when Ang over at Tracing Rainbows shared a variation on the cake, so I made one - and very successfully too - it is easy to make and the girls have eaten half of it already!

I shall have another go at the pumpkin cake since I have another can of it in stock, but perhaps not for a week or two, as I have put one in the freezer anyway. The cheap and cheerful cake will probably get made again at the weekend, as there was far too much icing for one cake, and the remainder is stashed in the fridge, waiting for another opportunity to decorate something nice!  Everything I need to make it is in stock and it really is cheap, and the girls' comments included, "Amazing!" and "Brilliant cake!" so it was a success all round.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Made it through

Not quite still standing, though, as we are all quite shattered, and some people have worked very hard to make sure that the inspectors had all the information they needed to make an informed judgment. It's all under wraps now until we get the official report through - so for now, it is over!  

Hopefully, the blog will be resuming usual posting tomorrow......thanks for all your support x

Monday, 5 October 2015

The words have been uttered

The words which send panic and dread into the heart of every teacher and governor in the land. "Ofsted are coming tomorrow!"

They are coming for a two day visit, and I am summoned for 4 pm with some other governors to have a chat with them tomorrow.  Thing is, we know we have made a huge amount of progress, but we just need them to come and recognise that and validate our judgements.....will they agree??

Back soon - I hope!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Cash is good

I know that some money savers don't carry cash, as a means of preventing themselves from spending frivously or in an unplanned manner.  But I'm not one of them, and I do carry cash - and I am glad I do, because some days, it means I can grab a bargain!

This morning, I drove north to a chapel I hadn't preached at before, and I passed a woman with a big Transit van on a layby, and she had a table in front of the van with vegetables laid out on it - and I could see squashes as well as other things.  I hadn't allowed myself any spare time on the journey so I just noted it and carried on.

Luckily for me, she was still there when I came back a while later - but the squashes had gone from the table and all she had out were raspberries - which I didn't want.  So a friendly wave and a, "Got any squashes left?" had me out of the car when she said, "Oh, yes, but they're in the van!" I pulled over and got out of the car to go and have a look in the van: a tray of butternut squashes and a tray of assorted other kinds also laid in the rear area.

Remember how I paid £1.90 or so for a butternut squash last week?  These were a very similar size, and she was charging £1 each or 3 for £2.50.  I soon chose two butternut and another one from the other selection. She wasn't sure of the name of the other one I chose, but said that it has a chestnut flavour. At that price, I thought it was worth a chance!

I had a mooch around the internet when I got home, and apparently butternut will store for up to six months, if stored in a cool and dry place, so there is no rush to use them.  But I wouldn't have been able to pick up these bargains without a few pounds in my purse.  Around here, there are a LOT of people who sell veg from their gates, and it is reliably cheaper than the supermarkets.

Extending my range of butternut squash recipes is going to be good, and cheap if it goes on like this!

Friday, 2 October 2015

Celebrating the end

I splashed out on a mini bottle of wine for myself to celebrate my release from the phone job - I feel more in control now and less like I am tied down!  I did the final hour this afternoon - and the very last call was to a whinger: he wouldn't go back to x dealership because of the terrible customer service, blah, blah, blah!  Thank goodness I shan't be phoning him again.....

We have had an amazing day at the chapel - all the craft groups from across the circuit came together to share and do knitting, patchwork and cross stitch together for the day. We had a bring-and-share lunch, and there were 45 women there at one point [and one man, who did a lot of chattering and not a lot else]. The fellowship and creativity were great, and we are looking forward to doing it again at another chapel sometime after Easter. It was a lot of work on the tea-making front, but there was a good team to share the load.

Off to consider a bible-study for tomorrow afternoon now - hope you have a lovely weekend xx

Thursday, 1 October 2015

October's here

I think Autumn has launched itself upon us - the sun is shining and the days are bright and clear, which is perfect autumn weather for me!  If summer is going to be like the one we've had this year, give me autumn every time....I hope it lasts a wee bit longer.

We've been experimenting with vegetarian recipes this week. I bought a butternut squash on Monday and have made a curry and a stew with it. It cost me £1.90 as it was a fair size and it has been a significant part of 8 meals - so I was quite pleased with that.

It started on Tuesday with a butternut squash/onion/potato curry [I cheated and used a jar of sauce from Aldi] which the EF girls loved. It had other veg in it, like carrots and spinach, and they ate their fill and then I put two more portions in the freezer.  Tonight, it has become a butternut and chickpea stew.  I always ask for feedback as I don't want to make them eat something again if they don't like it, so one said she liked it and one said she loved it - good to go again, then, I think.  Again, they ate a big portion each and there are two more in the freezer.

I am really enjoying this "bung more in the freezer" strategy because it means that I get another night off in the future and will not have to cook from scratch - a really wise investment in time, I think! In between the two squash meals, they had a cheesy pasta and broccoli bake on Wednesday, which the YFG also enjoyed. She had the leftovers from that tonight as she is not keen on what she feels are "too vegetarian" meals, bless her!  It is certainly keeping costs down, so I am pleased with it.

Tomorrow night is a "with chips" meal - the vegetarian will have a veggie burger and the others will have battered haddock.

The best news - only 2 hours to do on the phone tomorrow and then I am done!  I think a small bottle of wine may get opened tomorrow evening.....