Sunday, 30 January 2011

Granary greatness!

Just a very quick post to say that the bread came out of the oven last night at about 12.20am (far too late!!) and I wrapped it all up in tea towels and left it to cool. I sliced it this morning and the FH has pronounced the Granary loaf "the best ever" so I am well chuffed! It is now all sliced up and most of it is in the freezer in half-loaf portions. He had some for breakfast with HM gooseberry jam, and then a chicken and pickle sandwich for tea, so multiple chances to taste it already. Unfortunately the YFG has declared it inedible as "it's got bits in in" - yes, dear - those are the seeds that give it the distinctive flavour - she'll be sticking to the white version, me thinks!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Weekend again

I can't believe that just weeks ago it was Christmas, and now it will be February next week - the time is flying past and a twelfth of the year is past! There are signs of Spring in the air again since the days are getting that little bit lighter, the hens are starting to lay again, and the seeds are on sale in Lidl! It is a good time of year - time to look forward, think about what we did last year and how we can do it differently this year if last year didn't quite go to plan - learn from our mistakes, I suppose.

My biggest thing will be to get the whole thing underway outside earlier this year! We need to sow tomato and pepper seeds earlier, get the incubator going earlier, and think about the raised beds needing compost now.....and then things might happen a little better this year, depending on the weather, and the fertility of the eggs.....

Today I had to lead the gym class as the Head Coach has been ill - he rang me at 9am and said he wouldn't make it in today. We managed fine, although it was typical that when we are a coach down, every child on the register would turn up! After gym, the YFG and I had a saunter around Tesco, then the feed shop for some corn and some breeder pellets for the breeding chooks. These are expensive, so they are carefully metered out to particular birds - and not yet, as the breeding groups aren't organised yet.......that is another job for this week.

Everyone seems tired here tonight - I had a nap for about 90 minutes earlier, the FH has gone to bed to watch some tv and the YFG has gone with him as she isn't feeling quite right, and the EFG has a cold. I think they could all do with a day in bed!! The FH has had a glass of Tesco's version of Bailey's Irish Cream tonight - a very small amount in a sherry glass - as I bought it to make fudge at Christmas and there is a lot left to be used within three months, so he is helping me out with that - he thinks it helps him to sleep but I am not sure that the very small amount I gave him would make a lot of difference but perhaps it is a psychological effect.

I have bread rising near the fire, so since it is still at the first rising stage, I will be up for some time yet - I have made a batch of plain white dough and then another batch which is 2/3 granary mix and 1/3 white, so I am hoping that it will not be too heavy. I'll knock it back at 10pm and it should be in the oven by about 11........bed by 12 tonight then - good job I have a folder full of gym stuff to sort out which totally fell apart this morning - and there might be something half decent to watch on the tv whilst I do it!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Seeing double

The Approved Foods delivery was here at 12.30pm and then the fun began! I knew I had ordered four big packs of loo roll so I wasn't surprised that there were two boxes as I wasn't sure that it would all fit into one. The FH loves unpacking deliveries so he dived right in and started on one of the boxes and I on the other one - and then the duplications started to emerge - I was crossing things off the list as we found them and he would say he had got so and so and then I would realise that I had already unpacked some of those and crossed them off - we had got exactly DOUBLE what I ordered - 20 Five Alive cartons instead of 10, 8 bags of crisps instead of 4 and on and on....For about two seconds, I was tempted to keep quiet, and then I realised that this was a mistake and someone could get into trouble for this lot going missing, so I phoned up and Lisa was rather mystified, but she sorted it out and has arranged for the courier to come back in the morning and pick the extras up, so we repackaged them and they are ready by the door! Hats off to AF customer service.

I have also arranged for Autoglass to come and repair a chip in the windscreen of the Vectra in the morning, so the FH will have a morning waiting for the doorbell to ring. I am taking the EFG to hospital to have an ultrasound as the doc wants to rule out polycystic ovaries.......I have explained to her that for it to work she has to be fit to bust for a wee, so she will be drinking a lot in the morning!!

The hens are beginning to lay again - put out the flags! Seven one day this week, only two today, but it will be hit and miss for a few weeks until they get themselves back into the swing of it, and the new layers have to learn to drop the precious cargo in the nest boxes and not just where ever they want to.... I have found a couple in the runs so far.

Our lovely friend B has been round and cut the girls' hair tonight and they both look great - she always does an excellent job. I would usually trade her a cake for the hairdos, but I was short of time this week and so I popped into the shop and bought her a box of chocs instead, which she was thrilled to receive - happiness all round.

Statistical success

A proud mama moment! The EFG came home with her Statistics test result earlier in the week and we were over the moon with her test score - 100%!!!!

She reminded us that she had scored 100% in a maths test before and we hadn't been so excited, but now that she is 14, nearly 15, and doing GCSE work, it seems more significant somehow to realise that she does know what she is doing and clearly understands the work well.

SO chuffed!!

Food and stocking up again

I had an appointment in Huntingdon yesterday so I went to the Big Brands For Less shop in Ramsey on the way. I wanted to pick up more of the bread mix as I am so pleased with it - so I got 10 bags - for just £10. Let's get the calculator out!!

Each bag weighs 7.7lbs, and it takes me 3lbs of mix to make 2 large loaves of bread at a time. All I add is water, at minimal cost, so I am going to overlook that for now. Each bag therefore makes 5 large loaves of bread, at a cost of 20p a loaf. I know that we should factor in some electricity, but I think that is not going to be a lot - I could cook 4 loaves in the oven at a time, and it is on for about 45 minutes. Moneysavingexpert forum posters reckon an average oven uses about 3kW/hour, so that would be 2.25 kW for 45 minutes - and I am paying 9.98p per KwH with am I right in thinking it costs me less than 23p to run the oven for an hour........gosh, this is too early for maths!! If I rounded the 23p to 24p for the sake of the maths, each loaf would cost less than 25p - and that is a definite saving on "good" bread in the shops which is over a £1 a loaf, and even "cheap" bread is nearly 50p a loaf at the big supermarkets, so I am making a good quality loaf at less than half the price of cheap bought stuff. Result!

The lady in the shop said that they have been selling that breadmix for well over a year, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that they continue to be able to source it. I still have two bags of the Granary mix which I am going to try this week when I bake - maybe later today - but I am tempted to cut it with some of the white mix as I am not sure that the gang will like straight Granary...

I have another order from Approved Food coming today - the text has arrived to say that the delivery will be made between 12.07 and 13.07 so we will see how precise they are today! I have re-ordered some products we liked, but not everything that we bought last time is available again, and new things are on offer - Nouvelle loo roll this time, for example - 9 rolls for £2.60. That loo roll is particularly good for here as it breaks down easily for our septic tanks, so I think I ordered four packs of it! I may have to think of new and creative places to store it all as the current loo roll store is still quite well packed with the Nouvelle that Tesco were selling at half price before Christmas!

The children are very adaptable and thought of new ways to eat the things I had bought last time - the YFG has become fond of the Savoury Rice as a breakfast choice!! The only trouble with that is that the fastest way to cook it still takes at least 10 minutes and then it is a hot meal to eat so she has to think of what she wants early enough to have time to cook it and eat it. That is one of the items not available at present, so she has about 4 or 5 sachets left. I had thought that the rice would be served beside some more veg and perhaps fish, for example, serving the three of them ( I can't eat it because of the wheat/dairy intolerances) but it seems to serve one person adequately if that is all they are eating for that meal.

Well, off into the day I go - chickens, washing, tidying, ironing, baking, coaching, cooking, chatting as well, no doubt! Have a good day, everyone :-)

Monday, 24 January 2011

Settling down

I re-read an email I sent to Silversewer a while back and it came to me that I had understood myself so well all of a sudden in that email, so (apologies SS) I am going to share part of that here:

"Now that we have been back down here 10 years, it is hard to know where we belong. We feel like we have settled here now, but we have moved three times since we came back, and have been in this house 6 years. The girls were both born at Forth Park maternity hospital in Kirkcaldy, and are proud to be Scottish-born, if not Scottish-bred! I used to think I would go back to Cupar in a heartbeat, but we have got so involved here now that I think it would be a wrench to leave all this now - and I think that is what I missed about Cupar when we left - we had a "place" there in the community, and now that we have found our places here, we are actually quite happy here too. I do miss living in a town, though - we spend far too much time travelling here, whereas there we could walk just about anywhere we needed to go. The girls have to go to school on the bus, and we use the cars (now we have to have two) virtually every day. Having said that, I wouldn't fancy living in any of the towns round here, and I am grateful in some ways that living here stops the girls going out and hanging around in the streets - not that I would let them anyway, but they don't expect to be able to go out to hang around here - there's nowhere to hang!! I am happy for their friends to come here, and at least I know that they are all safe that way. We also have my dad, my uncle and my sister within a 20 mile radius now, so we see them more often. I do thank God for the internet - living out here without it would be challenging - and I hate shopping with a passion!! I can't understand people who say they have been to Cambridge or Peterborough to the shops for recreation - if I can't get it in the little town 8 miles away, I send for it on the internet, we make it or we do without!!"

It seems a bit strange to me that in that moment of writing to someone I didn't know, I could all of a sudden have that clarity, and realise that it is not where I live that it is important, but it is the feeling that I belong there that matters, and makes us happy there. It has taken me a while to reach this conclusion, but actually I think that I have had this feeling of contentment in the area for a while now, and I don't long to be elsewhere any more!!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Ups and downs

I have had a very rough couple of days with things going on at the school and I am quite wrung out over it all! I have had long conversations with a number of people, official and otherwise, and things are beginning to happen........someone said that the powers that be won't do anything and I said that I will not let the situation be swept under the carpet. Another person questioned why I put myself through all this, and the answer to that is that I don't pass the buck when the going gets tough - I have been elected to this position for a year (at our school - other schools do it for different periods) and I will see it through. Whether I will stand for election again next year will be a matter for serious consideration - if I don't though, I will give anyone else coming forward a much better idea of what the position involves, and how totally lonely it is! I admit to crying yesterday because I was completely overwhelmed at the feeling of responsibility I had for the children and staff at the school, and the feeling that the knowledge I had been given imposed a duty of care on me that meant I had to act. I was relieved in a way to get to gymnastics yesterday afternoon so that I had to focus on something else.

The EFG is not here this morning. She went home from school last night with a friend for a sleepover and they are going to the cinema this afternoon, so I will be picking her up from the friend's house tonight. We realised that this is the EFG's first real sleepover at someone else's house - the YFG has been on loads, but the EFG had only been to my sister's before! I am not worried about her - she's nearly 15 - but it is strange here without her and I do miss her!!

I made more homemade bread this week, and realised how important the way I lay the dough in the tins is to the final shape of the cooked loaf - if it is uneven, the loaf rises wonky and then goes over in one direction - so I must be more careful to ensure that the loaf is shaped and placed in the tin properly after I have kneaded it. The bread is OK, but it could have been better!! The electric slicer works wonders and I have sliced bread in a bag in the bread store just like shop bought. The FH loves it, the girls are getting used to the crust! I will be going to Huntingdon this week, so I will be popping over to Ramsey on my way to get some more of the breadmix from Big Brands For Less.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

It was OK!

I was worried about getting through yesterday - but it was actually OK! I get bothered sometimes when I have too many commitments in one day, and just the thought of all that yesterday had started to be a I got up at 5.45am to get a head-start on it all and make sure I had everything I needed ready, and to be less rushed.

I let the chickens out in the dark - some were a bit reluctant to come out of their houses, but they had to come out if they wanted to eat, and by the time I let the last group out, it was almost light. The girls and I left here at 8.15am for the short trip to the town to the school, overtaking their bus before we left the village, and ensuring that the EFG was at school well before the time for her exam. I came home again by a rather circuitous route to get through the early traffic of people heading to work. Home to my breakfast - three sausages which set me up nicely for the day!

I was at the school for the meeting at 10am - and I left that meeting, which was completed bar the chitchat, at 11.30am so I had time to come home and have a quick drink before going off to Cambridge. The trip to Cambridge didn't take long at all - not as long as I had allowed, which is always good - so since there was plenty of tea and coffee and sandwiches available at the venue, I took the opportunity to sit and chat with the other people at my table. They were an interesting bunch - from all over Cambridgeshire - East Chesterton in the city, Stretham in the East of the county, Wyton-on-the-Hill near Huntingdon, Huntingdon itself, and Bar Hill - a purpose built settlement built 42 years ago. Family history - my great-grandfather owned some of the fields upon which Bar Hill was built! Four women, two men and a mix of ages and experience, so it was a good mix, and I hope that we all sit together at the second session in a few weeks time.

The evening meeting went OK but I have decided to resign from that committee as it is dominated by one woman - and she insulted our gymnastics club last night quite rudely so I have had enough of her. If one volunteers for something, you can do without that sort of behaviour - and the woman isn't even the chair of the committee - that person seems to sit back and let this woman take charge. Last night I tried to ignore her and address my comments to the chair. I do feel that I would like to tell the chair how I feel about the insult last night so I have to ask someone where she lives or where I can find her phone number!!

And eventually, I sat down with my tea, returned a couple of phone calls and emails and fell into bed! I had to bribe the EFG to go and shut the hens up for me as I was too tired to get changed into outside gear - so I am on rabbit feeding duty today for her.

And so today - the FH is going to the surgery for acupuncture for pain relief regarding his gout at 11.30am, I have the afterschool gym club to run, and then the YFG has a cornet lesson at 6.30pm with the musical director of the band. This is a one-off lesson because the band practise on Monday night was so busy with more beginners that she didn't get a decent play at all, and came home with a slip of paper asking me to ring the MD. I will have to go and find her house in daylight when the FH is at the surgery because she warned me that it is very tucked away in a cul-de-sac so I don't fancy trying to find it in the dark!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Still around

Yes - I am still here, but this week is a bit mad, so I am having trouble posting!! I am doing this one at just gone 6am. Why is the week mad? There is stuff happening at the school, so I had a meeting there on Monday (all morning), one today (10am for ?hours), and another one on Friday morning.....add in to that still doing gymnastics, the EFG wanting me to take her to school this morning because she has a GCSE Physics exam (good luck!) and I have also got to go to Cambridge for a governor training session today (1.30 - 6pm) and I have been trying to cook ahead for the times I am not here, as the FH's gout is bothering him again so he is resting most of the time. Monday night I cooked mince for spag bol last night, and yesterday I made a lamb-shank casserole to have tonight. I will be at home tomorrow night, thank goodness.........

I am also having challenges making decent bread with the BB4L breadmix that I bought a couple of weeks ago. After several less than successful breadmachine attempts, I made a double batch yesterday in the Kenwood with the dough hook, let it rise, punched it down and put it in two loaf pans, and it rose again - cooked it in the oven and managed to produce two loaves I could be proud of. Duly sliced and frozen now. So relieved to have found a simple way of making bread, and I hope to be able to do it a couple of times a week to produce all our own bread. I can see that if I can do that, I will have to get more breadmix..........I am also going to try using the granary mix later in the week and see what the family think to that.

Better go - things to do!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

And I'm done for the day........

It's been a long one. But I think it has been a good one, because I get the feeling that I have done and accomplished a fair deal today, so I can go to bed tonight with a sense of earned tiredness, not the tiredness that comes from sitting around, watching tv or being bored!!

I was up early at 6.30am and had a couple of loads of washing done before I took the YFG and went to gym. I led the preschool group at 9.30 - there were only 6 kids there: we are a little concerned about what happened to the other 7 that were meant to be there, so their parents will be getting a phone call this week from the Head Coach to see whether they are coming back this term. We need 10 children in order to make the class viable. The 10.30 class was a little late getting started as people seemed to arrive in dribs and drabs over a 15 minute period, but once we got underway, we really worked the children and had a good session.

After gym, I had to sit and have a cuppa and a spot of lunch before heading out to the chook houses for a massive cleaning session. 8 of the 10 pens got cleaned before it got to the stage where the chooks were needing to go inside, so I couldn't be cleaning them out - so 2 left to finish tomorrow, if the weather is OK. A shower was definitely on the agenda after that, and then I was sous-chef to the YFG as she cooked a savoury rice dish for the supper.........a night off for me, really, but I was left with the washing up.

This evening, I have pottered around, taking down dry washing and hanging up more of the wet stuff, and rebooting the washing machine with more. Last load of the day is still in there.

The FH has spent another day in bed, but he feels that his foot is improving a little, so I am hoping that he might get up tomorrow - he will have barnacles on his bum soon if he doesn't get up for at least the afternoon tomorrow. We may not go to chapel in the morning, as I am quite tired and him being out of action still means that I have everything to do and so to go to chapel would mean me getting up at about 6.30 yet again - the spirit is willing, but the flesh needs its sleep!! Suppose I had better head off to bed now, and then if I wake up early enough, we could go......

Friday, 14 January 2011

Furry friends update

We haven't caught any mice for days now and indeed, haven't heard any noises in the kitchen recently either....we've got our fingers crossed that they may have all been caught, or at least the remaining ones have moved on - wishful thinking, perhaps!!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Very much approved!

Thanks to the lovely people at the Frugaldom forums, I found out about the shop in Ramsey which the FH and I visited last week. I also found out about Approved Food: this is a website selling short dated/out-of-date food - but only food that is past its Best Before date so it is all perfectly usable, and not at all dangerous to eat.

I placed an order with AF last Saturday, and it was here, delivered by a courier service, on Tuesday afternoon. I received an email to say that the parcel had been dispatched, and then, on Tuesday morning, a text message to say that it would be delivered within a particular hour slot.

The parcel was very well packed, and all these goodies were tucked inside. Not everything is actually past its Best Before date - the Crosse & Blackwell savoury rice is in date until December 2011! And how would Tesco's cleaning liquid pass a Best Before date?

A few examples of serious bargains are: James Martin lemon tart mixes - should be £2.49 each, on sale at £1.99 for FIVE! Sainsbury's cuppa soup - a pack of nine boxes, each containing 4 servings - one pound the lot!

The delivery charges are very reasonable - £5.25 to most places for the first box, containing up to 29kg, and then £3.75 for each additional box. The website very handily calculates the weight of the order as you put the items in the virtual trolley, so you know when you are coming to filling a box, and can either decide to stop, or fill another. I have already talked to a neighbour about a joint order to save postage. The website offers change as the supplies change, so it will be one to keep an eye on!

And all these items in the photos? £33.odd including the delivery charge!!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Baking mad

I felt that I hadn't been at home at all today: I was at school for a meeting between 10 and 1, pottered about at home until 2.45 and then nipped off to town to Tesco and the DIY shop for 90 minutes.

Today didn't start off terribly well - the FH had a fall as he was getting out of the shower this morning; I was relieved that I was in the house when it happened as I was able to go to him and help him to get up. He was rather shocked, and got back into bed for the time that I was out this morning. He didn't feel up to doing much and it seemed more sensible to sit in bed and watch some tv and snooze, tucked up in the warm, rather than sit downstairs and have to light the fire or be cold! We looked at the shower and decided that it would be a good thing to replace the shower enclosure as this is not the first time he has fallen in this way. The trouble is that the enclosure opens on the corner so that you have to get in on the diagonal and there is nothing to hold onto. If we put in a fully opening door at one side, he can have a grab rail on the wall so that he has something to hold onto whilst he is stepping out. I went to the DIY store to look into the shower options whilst I was out - there is a huge range in price!

After my trip out, I had a couple of hours in the kitchen and made good use of the oven: mincemeat muffins, two loaves of white bread, a cherry pie and a jam turnover, toad in the hole for tea and a banana cake. I bought some "reduced" veg at Tesco - and got quite a lot of broccoli, so I took one head of broccoli round to my friend D. Whilst I was there I saw some manky bananas that she was going to throw out, so she asked me if I wanted them!! Of course!! So I managed to swap the broccoli for two bananas just perfect for cake.

Tonight the FH and the YFG have been to band practise. The EFG has had a night off as she is taking a GCSE Biology exam on Thursday, and then one in Physics next week - she is working hard on her revision and didn't want to get distracted from all that.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Saturday news

Two more mice bite the dust - however many more can there be? There are currently 7 traps around the kick boards in the kitchen, and said kitchen has been cleaned to within an inch of its life so to speak today so that the mice don't find anything to eat!! They will have to go to the traps for food, so we should catch some more. We've been here 6 years and this is the first time we have had mice in the kitchen, so I am rather bewildered as to how they got in. Desperation in the cold weather recently possibly drove them to find a way in!!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Upping the stakes

One mouse caught overnight and then another this evening - two in one day is a good haul! The noises under one of the cupboards have stopped today, but the YFG has seen another lurking behind the fridge.....the saga will continue.

This morning my friend D popped round to make arrangements for us to collect her children from school later in the month whilst she nips off to hospital. The FH will actually have to do the collecting that day as I will be in Cambridge on a governor course. They are lovely children and he won't mind - he has agreed. D stayed for a while, and then the chap came for the Astra so I had to say a sad goodbye to the car - end of an era there and lots of happy memories of trips around the countryside in that car.

After lunch, the FH and I went to Ramsey. On the Frugaldom website, I had read about a website called Big Brands For Less and people were talking about some breadmixes which work and are very cheap. I found them on the website and then discovered that there is actually a shop and it isn't more than 45 minutes away. Since it was a very dreary afternoon, we thought we'd go over there and see what else was on offer. The shop was very small but well packed, and we found the breadmixes easily (3.5kg for £1 - just add water) so bought those and some other bits and bobs like rice pud and Jelly Bean (2 tubes for £1) as a treat for the girls.

Ramsey has another claim to fame, apparently: the world's first carbon neutral supermarket. Tesco has built an eco-store there, which aims to generate more energy that it uses, uses rainwater to flush the loos, natural daylight, LED-lights in the car park, and a timber framed building - it was refreshingly different from the average run-of-the-mill Tesco. All the refridgerated food was in cabinets with sliding doors rather than open as well. I was sort of impressed, but I wouldn't travel that far to patronise it very often - and I notice that there was already a good sized Co-operative store in the town so I wonder about the necessity of a Tesco adding to the town.

Yesterday, the chooks managed to lay an egg between them! I am not sure which hen laid the egg, but it was a layer (ie one who was laying before, not a pullet) in the group of older hens. I was so excited to find it that I rushed up to the house to show the FH!!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

And there's more...

Yes - another mouse in the trap this morning and we can hear sounds of more!! The YFG is frequently to be found in the kitchen, standing on a chair, saying, "It's under there," at the moment. She does like a bit of a drama.

In the interests of health and safety, and to preserve my food stocks, I have put a lot of dry foodstuffs in large plastic containers today, and thoroughly cleaned out some of the kitchen cupboards - the rest of them might get done tonight. Thankfully, the mouse poo evidence is not spread out too far so their movements have been relatively limited, which is a great relief. We have purchased four good mousetraps today, and a neighbour has lent us three more, so that makes 9 altogether - not quite enough for that great scene in "Mousehunt" where there are hundreds of traps all going off at once, but certainly enough to have a good go!

My Astra has been sold tonight - for the grand sum of £70....which is just about what the scrap man would have given me for it. And it will still be seen around the place, as the chap who is buying it is connected with the feedshop where I get my chook food, so I'll still see it occasionally. We bought it in August 1998 so I was a bit off in my thoughts before, but I had the right year!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

We got a mouse!

I followed advice last night and put some peanut butter on the mouse traps, thinking anything was worth a go. The FH put a tiny sliver of carrot on the trap first and then I smeared the carrot quite liberally with PNB. Well, the mouse ate it all up and almost left a tip - the little darling ate the lot off both traps and didn't get caught - again!!

BUT this evening, halfway through dinner when I was taking plates back to the kitchen, there he was again - scuttling along the counter and behind the bread machine........eeeeeeeeeeeekkkk! So the FH had a mighty fine idea and sent the EFG for equipment. I moved as much stuff out of the way whilst he set up this very specialised bit of kit - and then it was war.

He hoovered the mouse up the pipe, and promptly stuffed several plastic bags down the end of the pipe. Job almost done!! We just have to get the mouse out of the hoover now.....a job we will definitely be doing Outside.

Of course, we can't be sure that that was the only mouse, so we will be taking precautions and setting traps again tonight - if the food gets eaten, we at least know we have more company, even if we can't catch them with the silly traps.

What hysterical laughter you would have heard here tonight!!!

Silly me!

I am sitting here with a daft grin on my face because I have two more followers - welcome Frugaldom and Rainbowchild!!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Back to normal soon

The girls are going back to school tomorrow, so the holidays have come to an end - until the February half term!! I have enjoyed these holidays, and relaxed - it's been good.

So, tomorrow, they will be off at 8am, and I will be starting to do a bit of "spring" cleaning; I always enjoy a good clean out of the lounge when we take the decorations down, which I'll do tomorrow. There are surfaces that have had decorations on for three weeks that must be harbouring spiders - and talking of wee beasties - we have a mouse! I saw one in the utility room late yesterday afternoon, so we set two traps last night and the cheeky beggar ate the chocolate fudge off both of them and lived! I may have to bring the cat in for a night or two - but then will there be any evidence of her catching them? The EFG says that the cat often leaves the head or the tail as her trophies, so we might get some evidence! Perhaps if I am a bit mean with her rations at tea time, she'll be hungry enough to hunt...

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Cue panic!

(I have had a glass of wine tonight, so I apologise now if this doesn't make a lot of sense!!)

It was all going so well. The FH, YFG and I had been to chapel, come home and had a cup of tea. I decided to go north to a discount shop where I knew I would be able to buy a 5l plastic container with a lid to go in the fridge. Round trip would take about an hour, with a stop on the way home to fill up with the cheapest petrol I could scout on the way up there (price rises due here). All went well. Purchase made and heading home. Approached Tesco where I believed the cheapest petrol to be, and the YFG said that she Needed some stuff for lunchboxes, so we had to go into the store as well as the petrol station. OK, I said, you go get what you need, I need the loo, so I'll meet you back here near the flowers in a minute.

I'm in the loo, and I suddenly for no reason decide to check my phone, where I find a text from the EFG - "Um. Dad having a crisis" OMG!!!!!!!! Half an hour ago!!! What kind of crisis? I text back pronto. No reply. He's had a heart attack, he's gone to hospital in an ambulance, he's ..........I don't know what I didn't think........I rang the house - no answer - my mind was whirling. I got out of the loo and headed for the rendezvous with the YFG - who then approached me from behind and scared me to death.

I rang the house again - and HE answered. "What's the matter? Are you OK? What's happening?" "Oh - the kitchen floor is covered in water - the dishwasher leaked!"

"Is that ALL? I can cope with that!" Water on the floor - nothing, not a problem, I don't care. That is nothing in the grand scheme of things, my love, when I was imagining you dying.

EFG has had a talk about cryptic text messages.............

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Beginning again...

The first of the year offers a new opportunity again and again - the year is a clean slate on which we choose what to write, our plans, our hopes and our dreams.

How far should we plan? Just for the month ahead, for the year, or for a few years hence? And what of other people and their plans?

I am spending time today and tomorrow thinking about what I want to achieve in 2011 for myself and for our family; I also need to consider what responsibilities I have to the family in terms of time and money to provide them with all the things they need.

I have been poking around the forums at the Frugaldom website and learned a lot about challenges and generating income. It is fascinating, and I am really keen to incorporate some of the ideas into our plans.

It is kind of hard to work on plans here, as the FH doesn't have any - he is 73 now and happy to go from one day to the next, with his weekly highlights a regular feature, and he helps me with a lot of stuff, but that is usually driven by me (that means I nag!). The girls plan their homework, their tv viewing, and their time with their friends - the rest of the time their time is pretty well directed at school, gym, Brownies, chapel, etc, or I am giving them chores to do!! That means that all the long-range planning is down to me, and they all get a little say but not a lot....

I will post tomorrow when I have finished some of the plans, and hope to be able to share some of what we want to achieve in 2011.

Happy New Year!

2011 has arrived, and we have no idea what the year will bring, really! According to the news, it is going to be an "austerity" year, but I think that there will be a lot more going on than everyone being hard up!! People have more going on in their lives than money, although if money is short, it can cloud everything else. I wish everyone a healthy and happy 2011 - make it the best you can.