Wednesday, 29 June 2011


Unfortunately, I am not getting better and as usual, it has taken me a few days to work out that the majority of the symptoms indicate that I am suffering from stress or anxiety. I am not depressed, as I know that feeling, and it is a little different, although I think it is a close cousin. I am feeling overwhelmed and under a lot of pressure to do things, be places, etc etc and I really feel tonight that the only thing I want to do is stay at home and weed the garden! Tonight, I want to just be a "housewife" and mother, and think of nothing else but my family, my house and my garden/chickens. In a way, I want to move somewhere where I don't have any responsibilities and just be me, so that I can start again - it is very hard to say to people that you don't want to help them any more - and it isn't that I don't want to.

I can't give up all the things I have taken on overnight, and I know that there is a 6 week break from the school and the gym coming up, which is a good thing. I sent my apologies to two school events tonight, and it is likely that I shall do the same tomorrow and Friday. I may not go to a church meeting in the morning, either. I may make a visit to the doctor next week for some happy pills, as I call them, which might help me to get through this episode - it's a while since I had one like this, but they have got more frequent this past year, and I haven't done anything about improving the situation, so perhaps it is time I should.

The trouble is that this IS an illness, but it is an invisible one, and so people look at me and think I look OK and wonder why it is that I don't feel that I can do this, that or t'other.

UJ has a date for his hip operation - July 11th - which is a cancellation slot, we think! He is really pleased at getting one so quickly, and the FH is happy to go and stay with him once he gets out of hospital. I am thinking about some meals I can make and freeze so that all he has to do is pull them out, thaw and reheat, and maybe cook some veg or pasta or potatoes to go alongside the main part. I don't want the FH to be too hard worked whilst he is there, as his poor old ankles will suffer with too much standing around, cooking.

Gosh - what a rambling!!

The latest batch of chicks had their first day in the outdoor garden run today - and seemed very happy in the sunshine, although they are back in their box in the verandah for the night now. The older batch are now in the runs at the top of the garden and getting the hang of that lifestyle - if it rains, one has to go into the house, and they didn't grasp that yesterday when the heavens opened, so they got drenched - they'll learn!

And Murray is through to the semi-finals at Wimbledon - hurrah! The other chap just seemed to give up right at the end when it was Murray's service - he just let all the balls go right past him.

The girls have a day off school tomorrow because of the strikes, so the YFG has a friend here for the night, as we are looking after her tomorrow. They are going to have a great time as they get on very well together.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Not such a great weekend

Saturday morning went fine, and we stayed an extra hour at the gym to give the competition girls a little longer to work on their routines and vaults for the comp next Saturday. We got home about 2.20pm, and had a drink, got changed and started to get ready to go out again, as the EFG has some trousers that need turning up, and she needs another pair of school trousers, when I was hit with the most appalling stomach pains. I was in agony, didn't know which end would explode first, and was just doubled over in pain. The sweat was pouring off me, I was dizzy and couldn't see...and the FH had gone out! The YFG was looking after me, and I told her at one stage that if I fainted, she should get help!! The pains kept coming for the best part of an hour, and then gradually began to subside, with no explosions happening at all. I fell asleep after that, and mostly stayed asleep until about 10am this morning.

Today I didn't do much at all to start with. The EFG dealt with the washing, and fed the chooks, whilst the FH went to chapel. Then he and the YFG nipped up to the local car boot sale, where I hoped that they would be able to buy some fruit and veg. The person selling it wasn't there by the time they found his usual plot, so we think he left early. That meant that I had to gather my energies and go to the shops. The FH drove us, and I managed to walk around by holding on to the trolley and feeling about 80!

Tonight, now that it has cooled down, I have done a little more outside - picked the red gooseberries, hung out more washing, watered the greenhouse and the beans, cleaned out the chicks, etc, so I am feeling a lot better than I was, but I can do without episodes like that, thank you very much!!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Meant well mix up

We have a problem with the washing machine in the utility room at the moment, so the FH plumbed in a spare one that a neighbour gave us, but that one is in the workshop, down the yard.

I have had several loads of washing to do today, and when I went out this afternoon to gym, there were still two baskets of washing to be done, left in the utility room.

Imagine my surprise to come home tonight and find all the washing ironed and piled neatly on the table - including the bed linen I knew I hadn't washed yet. Yes - the FH had ironed it for me - bless him and his good intentions - but it all has to go in the washer in the morning!!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Time's a wasting!

I was bitten on the bum, so to speak, yesterday when someone whose opinions I respect, told me that he had had enough of people telling me that they hadn't got time to do something. He explained that we all have the same amount of time, and that there are some jobs where you will never get everything done, or get the job finished, so you must decide what your priorities are, and do those things first. If there is time left over, by all means do the things lower down the list.

So I thought about that last night, and cancelled something this afternoon which was actually not that important that I attend, so I stayed at home and did some things here - taxed my car, paid some bills, changed my internet/phone provider, cleaned my oven, sorted some paperwork out for tomorrow, did some washing etc. All things I had been putting off for a little while...

Thursday would be a good day for me to say, "no" to a lot of things and have as an "at home" day, because I don't have to go out until 3.30pm and then only for about an hour to take the YFG and her friend to their piano lessons. I think I may begin to plan that as a day at home, when I can put housework and gardening at the top of the list.

Next Thursday the girls' school is going to close because of the proposed teachers' strike. I'm not politically minded, and the last time the FH was a teacher and there was a strike, he went in anyway and did some prep work to make use of the time, so we are hardly qualified to comment on that situation. As Chair of Governors at a primary school, the headteacher I am working with now has a constant question he uses when he is making a decision - "What is best for the children?" and I am fast coming to the conclusion that he is right (I know he is right - the school he usually runs is "outstanding" so he knows what he is talking about and I am very lucky to have him half the week!) and that with that as the central focus, we should be on the right track, so on that basis, I don't think striking is a good thing, because it is not what is best for the children. Losing a day's education can't be best. I am relieved that none of our teachers are going to strike, so the school here will remain open. Whatever my thoughts, however, I am totally aware that everyone has their own opinion, so you are entitled to disagree - and I am sure some of you will!!

The new black hens are laying - and I am so pleased. We have been getting the odd egg now and again over the past two weeks, but both yesterday and today we got 5 and they are beautiful brown eggs - quite petite so far, but pullet eggs often are. They are getting into the swing of it now and I am hoping that with 12 of them, we should be getting about 8 - 10 eggs a day eventually - fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The towel is in the ring

Yes, I have to throw the towel in over the £100 challenge. We just can't do it at the moment - and for such an extended period. When I weighed up the health consequences, it wasn't right - we could keep going on what we have in stock, but it wouldn't be a very balanced diet at all!! We have still got a lot of meat in the freezer, but we need to buy more fresh food on a more regular basis than we have done over the past almost three weeks. By fresh food, I mean raw food, I suppose - carrots, apples, grapes, etc that I can use for lunchboxes and snacking - too many snacks were being eaten from the wrong food groups!

BUT I have managed to get about £200 put away, and I haven't done a "big" shop yet. I have still, as I said, got plenty of food in the house, but it just needs to be supplemented. I will have to go shopping at some point, probably today, because the lunch boxes were a mighty struggle this morning, and it defeats the object if child B asks for money to buy a fruit bag from the canteen!

So, challenge abandoned for now, but new lessons learned - and it does not mean a licence to go mad in the shops - I will continue to buy just what we need for the next few weeks, so that I can put more money in the savings, and then I will go back to building the stores up for the winter - the longest day is here today, so the tide is turning again, back towards the winter. Can't believe it is the longest day already!!

Monday, 20 June 2011


Just a quick picture I have been wanting to share for a week or two! I have been driving past this field regularly for weeks, and forgetting the camera, so last week, I stopped the car and asked the EFG to take a picture on her phone - and here it is. I think the woman walking the dog along the riverbank wondered what we were up to.

It is just a wide strip of rough ground between the field and the river where all these poppies have sprung up - perhaps a drain was dredged and the sediment put there, I'm not sure, but they do look glorious at the moment.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

It's Showtime!

Cakes in the food section - these are from a lady called Katy in Grantham - the most gorgeous looking cupcakes with fab decorations - and not expensive, really, when you consider the work that had gone into them: 4 for £5 in a cakebox. We drooled, politely..

A pensive Golden Guernsey goat in the RBST tent. The EFG went around taking the pictures whilst the YFG and I were doing a quiz. We got all the answers right, of course, and were rewarded with a small prize; I think the YFG chose a pen. It was interesting, and I may join the RBST eventually...
Miniature llamas, related to camels, funny looking giraffes - all comments I heard children make near these lovely alpacas. They aren't very big at all and seemed quite docile, but the FGs were concerned that they might spit, so we didn't get too close!

They loved eating from the hay in their rack.

I'm ashamed to say that I have forgotten which breed of pigs these piglets were there to represent in the RBST tent. They were there with their mum, and when we went in, they were all fast asleep for their afternoon nap, including mum!

Apart from all of that, the FH watched the White Helmets, the Royal Signals motorbike display team, and we all had a good mooch around.

The YFG took part in a grand cookery section where over a hundred children took part at a time! There were four timed slots, each with about 105 children, and she got into the last one at 3pm. They each made their very own strawberry, apple and rhubarb crumble, and then did some activities whilst they cooked, and came away with a cooked crumble and some Rhodda's clotted cream, with a goody bag too. She enjoyed that.

A little shopping was done not to say too much about that as I bought a number of gifts which I shall keep quiet about until the birthdays have passed!

We bought some Highland beef burgers for our tea, which I made when we got in, with some oven chips. They were very meaty and the folks liked them.

My dad came over this evening with his holiday photos and some small gifts for the girls, including the chocolates which his cabin steward left on his pillow each evening - he saved them up and brought them for the girls!

Hope you have all had a good weekend.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Thanks for the end of the week

That was a long week, and it has had its ups and downs.

A friend on the phone in tears this afternoon broke my heart, and I feel so helpless that there is nothing I can do to help her in her particular situation, but she had family on the way to be with her, and just needed someone to talk to whilst they travelled to her side. She is in a really tough place, and I wanted to go to her and give her a big hug! She'll be in my thoughts and prayers now.

It's raining again - I feel like doing the rain dance to celebrate the garden getting a fantastic soaking tonight. The ground was like dust and it so needs this moisture for the beans and courgettes in particular. It wasn't so much fun for the EFG who got rather wet when she went out to shut up the chook houses tonight.

This weekend is the East of England show, and I have some tickets, so I am really hoping for a fine-ish day on Sunday so that we can nip to Peterborough and have a good poke around the show. Since it is Father's Day, I thought that it would be a good day out that the FH would enjoy. We are watching the weather forecasts closely to see whether it will be a goer or not. Fingers crossed.

The weeks are counting down to another gymnastics competition on 2nd July, so we are working hard on routines for that. It is a fairly local competition, but we haven't entered it for several years (OK, four years!) so I am not sure what the level of the other entries will be like - I think I am more nervous for the children than they are. But before that on the 26 June, I am going to go to Stevenage to watch a competition in which we have no entrants this year, but which we hope to enter next year - if I can go along this year and suss it out!! Should be interesting, and it is to be held at a very good gym facility so I am going to be going green with envy at the equipment, I just know.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend, whatever you are doing.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Blackcurrants - an experiment

The load of blackcurrants which we were given yesterday amounted to 1.7kg. You would hope that after boiling them, straining them through a jelly bag, adding 500g of sugar and boiling for a further 20 minutes or so, one would end up with several jars of jelly to put in the storecupboard. Some hope. I have achieved two jars - one of 350g and one of 200g, and it is extremely thick and well set. Tastes OK but I think next time, I'll stick to jam: less effort and more reward!

The YFG was up at 4am with a headache, and feeling sick, so she had a day at home today: we watched St Trinian's DVD whilst I did the ironing. She slept some, and rested so she will be back to school tomorrow, and her after-school piano lesson.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Blogger madness and eggs

The stats page is now regularly showing more than 200 pageviews a day - that's not sensible!

Eggs: well, I have loaded the incubator up this morning with another two dozen GPO eggs, and then one of the dear GPOs has gone broody on me! She was in the nest box yesterday when I went for the eggs, and then she was still there at bedtime last night, so I had my suspicions, but they have been confirmed today as she has sat there, quite tightly, all now I have a conundrum - to let her sit or not? Will consider that, and report back later in the week.

Storecupboard stash

The stores are getting depleted already!

It is the basic, everyday items which we are running out of first: the squash is finished, so they are having to drink water or hot chocolate; the last tin of tuna was eaten yesterday and that is all the tinned fish finished (try saying that quickly!); the last pack of UHT milk has been opened so then we will be moving on to the dried, but whether to tell them that, or just to make it up and put it in a jug...mmm..not sure about that one yet.

Space is developing in the freezer - although the FH took up bartering at the weekend and gave away two jars of honey in exchange for two pounds of sausages and 2 packs of 8 pork burgers - I think we got the best end of that deal somehow. There is still a lot of chicken in there.

The YFG was hunting around last night for a snack and said, "There's nothing to eat!" and I resisted the temptation to say too much, but then she came back and asked if she could make some cakes! She made a batch of carrot buns, which have helped to pad out the lunchboxes this morning.

Tonight's supper is looking OK though - they are having some of the sausages, and I will have some frozen white fish (steamed in a parcel with lemon juice, over the potatoes) with said potatoes and a selection of vegetables from the freezer. I think that I may try some kind of suet pudding with a pack of ready mix from Approved Foods - we have loads of jam, after all, and it will fill them up till bedtime.

We were given a couple of bunches of beetroot yesterday, so that is going to necessitate the purchase of some vinegar for pickling, unless I can magically find some in the back of a cupboard. The same kind benefactor also brought a bag of blackcurrants, which the FH said we should put in the freezer. I declined and asked him to top and tail them for me whilst I am out and then I can try out the jelly bag which UJ lent me, and see if I can produce blackcurrant jelly - I think it would be nice on the side with meat, a bit like cranberry jelly, perhaps. If that fails, I am sure it would be OK on toast.

And so, with all this creativity, have I put money into the savings account? N.O. This has come along at the right time, though, as I have had to spend £30 on printer ink and £60 on new clothes for the EFG.

The EFG and clothes have a serious love-hate relationship. She hates most clothes and then when she finds something she likes, she loves it to death, wears it out, and wants a replacement exactly the I sometimes buy more than one. She tends to get paint on her clothes, or stains of various kinds, so she can be a nightmare to take out because she will end up wearing jeans and some kind of top time and time again. I love her to bits, whatever she wears! But, the time has come when she has to smarten up and have some decent clothing to go out in: she had an interview yesterday for work experience, at a school, and she has to go in her own clothes each day, looking "smart casual". Challenge.......She's a larger young person, but she is short...really quite short...not an average shape...she's an individual, as we all are. So we went to Asda, and hit the jackpot - some "smart casual" clothes which co-ordinate. She chose some lovely navy blue based separates, including a pair of navy trousers, so what with her school trousers and a blouse she already had, I think we can squeak through 10 days of work experience with enough outfits to give me time to wash them in between wears, if you see what I mean. Must get the trousers turned up before July, though!!

So, although I have had a major expense this week, it hasn't hit us hard as we have cut back elsewhere, as we had planned, and this has compensated adequately. Maybe we will get some money saved in the bank next week.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Better news

The chick which was teetering made it through the night and is happily back with all the others - a great relief! So we are left with 11 from this batch.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Crisis on the maternity ward

Two chicks have died tonight and one more is looking decidedly dodgy, and it is our fault. We thought a couple of them were panting as they were too warm, so we lifted the heat lamp up a little. Big mistake. Within an hour, one had died, and two more were on the edge, so I put them back into the incubator to warm up. One of those two has since died too, and the other is teetering.

The FH has had a damp day at his show, but an interesting one, and has met lots of new people. The girls and I have been busy in a lot of ways, here and there, and that is all I am saying for tonight - I am SOOO tired! Good night!

Weather watch

Parts of the Anglia region have officially been declared a drought region because of the extremely low levels of moisture in the soil, and I can quite believe it - parts of the garden are like dust if we don't keep it all watered well. I am making good use of the water butt and my trusty watering can. Still, there was a very heavy downpour on Friday night but there is no evidence of that rain left - the dry weather since has evaporated all that moisture, it would appear. The weather forecast which was given a few days ago for today said that it would rain heavily here today in a prolonged manner - we can hope! Although the FH is having a little demonstration area with his beekeeping stuff at a local farm for Open Farm Sunday, so I suppose I had better not hope for rain, for his sake.

I am cooking a chicken for tonight's supper in the slow cooker. Last night I made Toad in the Hole in the Remoska, and I am making a real effort to make economical use of the oven, or to keep it turned off. Rather than leave the computer on all day if I am home so that I can pop on and off for 5 minutes here and there, I am coming and having a quick look and then turning it all off. Why? Because we are using about £70 of electricity a month at the moment, and it has got to be reduced!!

Had to buy potatoes and apples yesterday so I will dig out the receipt later and bring my spending total up to date.

Thursday, 9 June 2011


I had a little challenge in my own mind, and it has been lurking there for quite some time. I have been tracking pageviews on the stats page, and it has been up and down - sometimes quite a bit more "down" than "up". I thought I would be rather pleased to get to 100 in a day, and so I thought that would be something to aim for.

88 came and went some time ago, but it never stretched any higher than that, and with being away last week, I dipped quite low as there was nothing new to read.

Then, wham! All of a sudden, yesterday, 164 pageviews! 164 - almost double the previous high!

I did a little dance!

I squealed!

Then I sat down and thought about how that had happened, and I can only think that the post about "Poor kids" really touched a nerve somewhere. It had touched me, and others were interested to read it too, I suppose. So, actually, after all my excitement, I wasn't that pleased to get a high page view count on the day I wrote about childhood poverty in the UK. But if a few more people go and watch the programme on iPlayer because of what I wrote, I guess it did some good.

PS In that case, could I have some more Followers, please?

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

How does your garden grow?

There are no pretty maids here, just runner beans! This is the runner bean support we have made out of the old swing which we were given - I am hoping that it will be sturdy enough to stand up to the wind. My teepee arrangements usually end up blowing over at some point each summer... On the right you can see the little row of lettuces which I bought and planted yesterday - they are "Little Gem".

These are the lettuces I am growing from seed - one lot of them, anyway: there is another batch at a lesser stage of development.

And these I bought and planted earlier in the season - they seem to have come on all of a sudden. I think we may start to eat them this weekend.

I have no idea if this will work, but I planted the dwarf beans in clumps this year, instead of the rows I usually use. They were certainly easier to plant, but whether it will have any effect on the outcome, we'll have to let you know later.

These are the courgettes, with a rogue sunflower, a couple of marigolds and a petunia just lurking in the bottom corner there. This bed looks empty at the moment, but when those courgettes take off, it will soon look overcrowded!

There is less hurry clearing the remaining bed now, as the curly kale and sprouting broccoli seedlings have all died. That happened with the kale last year, and I don't understand why. They get to a certain stage, and then keel over. I am going to sow more kale, but I am giving up on the broccoli!

How's your garden looking?

Poor Kids

There was a documentary on last night, called "Poor Kids". That link will take you to the BBC website where you can watch a clip, although the whole thing must be on iPlayer as well.

Gosh, it was shocking.

We talk about how "the other half" live, but society can't be delineated as easily as that. "The other half" are usually richer than us, when we use that expression, but we aren't really poor. Not compared to those children, and the millions like them, IN BRITAIN TODAY. That is what got me. I understand poor children in Africa, or in Asia, for example, who have no food because the harvest has failed or there has been a drought, or a civil war; I have seen the pictures of people desperate for the sacks of provisions being flung out of the planes, I know about them living hand to mouth, one meal a day, walking miles to get water. I understand that kind of poverty.

These children were living in Leicester, Bradford and Glasgow. Leicester is less than 100 miles from here, and I know Glasgow only a little, from what I saw on the hospital trips when the FH was in the Royal Infirmary. I know the Gorbals by reputation.

There is a child on the programme who is sitting on her bed, eating some kind of large sausage roll, and that is her tea. She explains that quite often she doesn't get any dinner unless she is at school where there is a free school meal for her. Breakfast? She says she often "forgets" to make herself some toast, or she runs out of time. And the housing. The Gorbals area of Glasgow is a tenement maze, where hundreds of thousands of people must live in a very small area, piled up in blocks. There were rooms where the whole ceilings are covered in mould, the mattresses on which the children were sleeping were mouldy, and they had asthma and other health issues. Another child and her siblings, one very young, were playing outside, and running from one boarded-up house to another, trying to gain entry so that they had somewhere to play. She explained quite sadly that if she went home, it was quite boring, as all there was to do was watch the television - she said that other people had colouring and toys and puzzles, but they just have the tv.

I really counted my blessings last night. Really.

I may not have the money that would allow us foreign holidays, posh cars and fancy clothes, but we have got it made compared with those children. We are rich by comparison, and our children have a life those "poor kids" would love, and they would be grateful because they have known life without. I didn't see that part, but apparently a child at the end said that she didn't want to grow up - perhaps because she had seen what living like that had done to her mother.

How did it make me feel? Well, I vowed to double my annual donation to the Salvation Army because I know that the SA supports people like those, especially children. I also thought about supporting more home charities. It also made me start to think about the kinds of places I want to work if I ever make it into the ministry. One think it did for sure, though, was to really open my eyes to true poverty in this country.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Week 1 spending so far

A quick trip to town this morning and I decided to go to Lidl instead of Tesco, hoping for less temptations. It was the right choice, as I spent only £9.74 - and this is what I bought for the money:

4 pints semi-skimmed milk £1.00
Pack of 4 white pitta bread 39p
Carrots 69p
Broccoli 79p
Braeburn apples £1.39
Mature cheddar £1.49
Small bananas 99p
Grapes - two punnets for £3.

After leaving Lidl's, I went off to the vegetable nursery where I purchased 10 Little Gem lettuce plugs for £1 so that also needs to be included as we will be eating them eventually. They are safely planted in the garden now, and are intended to "plug" (sorry!) the gap between the ones I bought earlier in the season, which will be ready in a week or two, and the seedlings which won't be ready for ages! Can't quite get the hang of this succession sowing lark yet!

So, total so far - £1.60 + £9.74 + £1 = £12.34

£100 divided by the seven weeks is only £14 a week, so I am hoping that I am done shopping for this week!!

Tonight the FH will be cooking whilst we are at the gym and he has corned beef hash on the menu - corned beef from the storecupboard stash, to which he will add sweet potatoes and courgettes from the fridge, an onion and from the freezer, he will have to defrost some tomatoes. There are also potatoes left from the holiday which I think he will probably use up tonight.

I think that we will be eating more rice and pasta meals, as I have loads of that in stock, rather than quite as many potatoes as we have had lately.

There is quite a lot of chicken in the freezer so if anyone has any interesting but cheap chicken meals to share, I'm interested!

Come and say, "Hi!"

Blogger stats reports that in the last 24 hour period, I have had page views from the UK [45], Russia [13], the US [6], Canada [5], the Ukraine [2] and India [1].

This is a very typical list of the countries from whence I get regular page views, so I think that some of you are coming back on a semi-regular basis.

Would you like to say "Hi" in the comments, and tell us where you come from, as it would be lovely to know more people from around the world? I believe that most of the regular commenters on here are from the UK, US and Canada.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Day 1 disaster!

I am £1.60 down already and not a lot to show for it!

UJ had a loaf of bread open whilst he was here looking after everything, and I went to it this morning to make a sandwich for the YFG's lunchbox. I made the sandwich, cut the crusts off as she likes, and passed over the lunchbox to her to put in her bag. The loaf of bread sat very demurely on the side, and never gave a clue. Three minutes before she was due to go, I picked up the loaf of bread to get to something behind it, and wham! A HUGE black patch of mould was lurking the other side of the loaf.........I had to grab the sandwich out of the lunchbox and hand over enough cash to enable her to buy a baguette or wrap from the cafeteria at school. The bread I made the sandwich from actually looked fine, but if she had eaten it and become ill, I wouldn't have forgiven myself, so I paid up. Lesson of the day - check the bread earlier when you want to make sandwiches so that you have time to get more out of the freezer if necessary.

Tonight, the gang have had a minced beef and onion pie, potatoes and cabbage, and I have had a similar concoction, but with cold roast beef left over from yesterday instead of the pie.

I haven't had a chance to look at the stores yet today - it's been a busy day! Quick trip to school, and chat with the Head, meeting at chapel about the holiday club, lunch, knitting whilst watching the news, paperwork, washing, bit of tidying etc, a friend came round for a chat, and then cooking the tea. I'm off now to clear up the kitchen and bring in some washing, and then I should have time to consider the options for the week. Lunchbox food is going to be a Challenge in itself!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

And the challenge begins.......

Tomorrow sees us begin the £100 challenge for the half-term until the girls break up from school on the 22nd July. I mentioned it back here and the time has come to begin tomorrow.

At some point tomorrow, I will be investigating the stocks in the freezers and storecupboards, and looking for some recipes to make a menu plan up for the week. It would be fun to use up what we have in stock, and to try out some new recipes. I may look around (which used to be recipezaar) as well as allrecipes which is also a good place to browse. I also have a couple of magazines to check through, and then there are the Sainsbury's £50 week menu planners here. I'll post the ideas and the shopping list for the week - which needs to be absolutely minimal!!

The garden is looking promising and by the end of the challenge in July, I hope to be harvesting courgettes, tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers too, which will help with the fresh veg situation. Other stuff will follow later in the year which will keep our general costs down too. Great news tonight - it is raining!!! The ground really needs the rain, and it is forecast to rain for a couple of days, so I must really focus on how much the rain is needed and not worry about getting the mountain of washing dry which I brought back from the holiday - it can wait. The sun will shine again.

RIP Leah

The last remaining Dutch bantam, Leah, died this afternoon. She had been looking a little tired and sad for a few days, and not really "mothering" her chicks as well as she would usually have done, and I gave her some corn at lunchtime, but she had keeled over by 5pm. Both of the chicks cheeped rather sadly when I removed her body from the run, and they have gone to bed tonight together, so I hope that they will huddle up and keep each other warm.

I have lost count of the number of broods Leah raised for us, and even of how old she may have been, but I would guess at five or even six years of age - a good few years for a chook, anyway. She had a happy life here, and spent some time with my friend Helen when Helen took a group of Dutch bantams over for me, but when Leah was the only one left, she was returned to us to be with her sister, Lana. Lana passed away in the chill months of last winter, and Leah has lived long enough to see in the spring and early summer, and to raise another batch of chicks. She was a lovely bantam, and will be much missed.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

We're back!

We have had a very relaxing five days away. We slept late most days, watched Britain's Got Talent every night, and then went to bed! The girls and the FH did some walking most days, and they went to Holt, and then I went with them to Cromer and Sheringham on various different excursions; we have done some shopping....The weather has been great, and we have come home to find that UJ has done a great job of holding the fort here, too. As the EFG would say, "It's all good!"