Wednesday, 1 October 2014

October starts here

I've had a very expensive September, with all the big items I have spent out on around the house, not least the chair which arrives today from the furnishing shop - the FH and I chose two new chairs a couple of weeks before he died, and the company kindly allowed me to cancel that order because the chairs were specifically for his comfort and size.  Because they were so good, I used the deposit towards one smaller chair, which has been made in the fabric of our choice, to blend in with the sitting room.  The FH's old, second-hand recliner has got to move out, and I shall be researching the best way to dispose of it next week.  One thing at a time.

I shall be joining in with Sue at Our New Life in the Country with her Stoptober challenge of not spending in October.  There is probably enough of most items here for us for the month, including toiletries, loo rolls, detergents and stuff like that.  The only things I shall most likely need are fresh items like fruit for lunchboxes, and ham for the YFG's sandwiches, for example.  I am going to allow us a budget of £100 for the month, for any spends, apart from diesel, because I can't cut back on that any more than I do, living where we do in the middle of nowhere.....

I need to rebuild our savings which have been a little depleted.  The trip to Aberdeen at the end of the month will also cost a little.  The YFG is going with my sister and UJ.  Since UJ would like to go, I shall stay at home and keep the home fires burning, as they say.  I shall be working.  I'm going to look for some accommodation for them this week.  I am a little sad not to be going, but I went up in March, and I want the YFG and UJ to have the chance to go and see where she is up there.  This week is really the only good time to see her there in our school holidays - apart from the February half term, every other holiday that the YFG gets off school, the EFG will be home too!

In November, I shall have to think about Christmas!


Tuesday, 30 September 2014

And that has been September

And what a month it has been!  

We packed the EFG off to Aberdeen......

(image from studyin-uk.com)

and she has settled in well.  She's now on her third week of lectures and labs.  The YFG's godparents took her to a fancy French restaurant in the city last Friday night with their son, and she reports that she felt under dressed but that the food was amazing.  Well, they asked her to meet them in Wetherspoon's so I guess she could be forgiven for not dressing up!

The YFG has gone back to school in Year 11, the big GCSE year, and she has several positions of responsibility - she's a peer mentor for a Y8 child, and a Senior Prefect.  I'm very proud of her, and she is working hard.  She's having a fitness kick at the moment and doing Davina DVDs every other night, too, in between her homework.  She continues to help out at the gym club on Fridays and Saturdays, and is a really lovely house mate!

And me?  Well, I achieved my aim and found the perfect temporary job - and I am on week 2 now.  The lady who is mentoring me, and monitoring me by listening to the calls I make, says I am doing well, so I am hoping that I will get more confident soon!  

Financially, we are getting ourselves sorted out.  I had a hiccup yesterday when I had a letter from the Tax credits people about our old joint claim which they hadn't closed down properly, so I spent a good while in a queue on the phone in the afternoon to get through to a real live person!  That should be resolved soon.  The Widowed Parent's Allowance has finally begun this month, and we are beginning to know how a real month will pan out on this new kind of income.  It's not the income we used to have, but there are only two of us to manage on it, and if I am honest, it is more than I feared we would have to survive on, so I am very grateful, as always.  Thankful is my middle name.

The house is in a better state of repair - I have had the guttering cleaned out and fixed,  The chimney has been professionally swept and a minor repair carried out to the back of the stove.  The workshop door has been made secure again and the poo pit pump has been replaced.  It has been an expensive month, in this respect, but one in which we feel we have moved forward significantly at last!

Here's to October - bring it on!

Monday, 29 September 2014

Birthday

Yesterday went well, and I had a good time all round.  We did notice that people were missing, but we were ok.  The EFG participated in the afternoon visit of the relatives because we had her on a video call using Google Hangout, and we sat the tablet on the shelf so that she could see and hear what was going on!  She also had an individual quick word with everyone who came, which amused the "oldies".  

My cousin brought a large Tesco chocolate cake, and the YFG made a special coffee and walnut sponge for me whilst I was out in the morning at the chapel.  

So we had the two of us, my dad, and his partner, MB.  Then my late mum's two brothers, UJ and P, P's wife and daughter, and daughter's husband!  A neighbour and her daughter popped round with a wee gift and card for me, so they stayed for tea and cake as well, which was a lovely added extra.  

Dad and MB and UJ stayed a while longer than the others, then Dad and MB left, and UJ had a sandwich and watched the One Man and His Dog competition on Countryfile, before he left as well. In the evening, I was able to sit and watch Downton in peace.

The EFG sent me a Moonpig mug with some photos of us all on it, and the YFG wrapped up a couple of things I had bought for myself - a copy of the latest Jack Reacher novel, Personal, and a new Bible. Some would say that the Jack Reacher novel was far from frugal, but hey!  If I can't reap the benefits of being frugal and have a wee splurge now and again, when can I?!  To me, it is a good buy because it will be read time and time again - I love to read and re-read because I always notice something different each time and find myself reading an ever so slightly different story, but that is just me.  Hardback books are an investment to me, and I usually buy Lee Child and Phillipa Gregory in hardback, because I know that I will get my money's worth!!

My sister sent a parcel with UJ, and it was a lovely cloth bag and a diary.  The neighbour brought a scented candle which was a lovely thought, and I was appreciative.  

I have managed to work the allotted three hours today and had a good selection of calls answered!  Just on the day when my voice would have appreciated people not answering their phones, it seemed as if every other person I called was in and chatty - never mind, it is good for business, I suppose.  The throat isn't too sore tonight, but I am off to have a bath and read some more Jack Reacher soon.

In the kitchen this week

There's a certain amount of repetition going on at the moment as we are clearing out the freezers a little!  As long as they are meals we like, we don't mind.....

Today we are having cold chicken left over from the weekend's roast chook, served with some rice and veggies.

Tuesday will be sausages, with mash and veg.  We do have a vast supply of sausages at present.  I can see them looming large every week for a while.

Wednesday we'll have some fish: the YFG may well have fish in batter and I love river cobbler.

Thursday night, after working after the piano lesson, the YFG can zap some lasagne and I will just have a snack.

Friday night will be a Cottage pie that I am going to try to make earlier in the day so that we can just ding it when we get home from gymnastics.

Saturday night the YFG is babysitting but I don't yet know what time, so it'll have to be something quick and easy......

and Sunday?  Haven't quite got there yet!  A freezer rummage will be due before then.....

Hope you all have a good week. I am going to attempt to work this morning for a while but if folk can't hear what I am saying, I may have to have a break and try again later.  I feel not too bad, but I have lost a lot of voice - not good for telephone work!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

One of the FH's favourites

The FH used to say that I got lucky because this lovely lady wasn't available.  She was one of his favourite television actresses, and he was guaranteed to want to watch anything [apart from Loose Women] that she was in.  Lynda Bellingham has had a stage and screen career over many decades, and I have read the sad news that she has terminal cancer.  Our thoughts are with her and her family, as they hope to enjoy Christmas together this year, perhaps for the last time.

She was the second actress to play Christopher Timothy/James Herriot's wife, Helen.

(image from cinemaparadiso.co.uk)

She played the long-suffering mother of the Oxo family for many years, and she was brilliant!  We all eagerly waited for a "new" snapshot into their lives.

(image from theguardian.com)

She was awarded an OBE this year for an acting career of over 40 years - what an achievement!

Lynda Bellingham is best known for being on Loose Women and the Oxo mum.
(image from itv.com)

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Morning comes around again!

I woke up several times in the night with a throat feeling as if it was full of razor blades, but this morning it does feel a little better but still sore.....a morning at gym will be a challenge - perhaps I shall develop my own sign language for forward rolls, cartwheels and handstands!  I have broken out a jar of special Jarra honey from Australia that a friend gave me the last time I had a cold, and it tastes like treacle, certainly very soothing for the throat.

The EFG sent me a very special parcel yesterday for my birthday tomorrow.  She asked the YFG to video me opening it, which we did when the YFG came home from school yesterday - but now the file is too big to email to her - whoops!  The gift is a Moonpig mug, and she has decorated it with pictures of all the family, including one of her with the FH when she was a baby!  I shall treasure it, but I SHALL use it - it won't just be put on a shelf and admired.

Tomorrow afternoon the Lincolnshire relatives are descending, and bringing food for a birthday tea, so I shall be spoiled!

Off to gym this morning - hope you all have a good day.  I am just about to hang out the first load of washing, as apparently it will stay dry today, fingers crossed!


Friday, 26 September 2014

Good news and bad

Good news - we raised just about £130 for Macmillan this morning - very pleased.  Not so good - I've been sneezing like mad all day and have got a horrible cold :(