Friday, 29 January 2016

Nearly the end of the month

I wonder if you get this too, but since it is nearly the end of the month and folk are getting their salary paid into their bank account, I am getting a few emails with "tempting" offers to splurge on all kinds of things from The Book People to clothing companies, Lakeland and everything in between.

However, I am not being tempted - I have got bills coming in from all directions at the moment: the car is in the garage today for work to the tracking and possibly the suspension as well; the chimney is going to get sorted out this next month, and I have no idea how much that will cost, but it must be done, so I need to be careful.

Good news is that there is no council tax to pay in February and March, so that payment can be put towards other bills, and that helps a little.

I wanted to share a website that I have just come across through a Facebook page I joined. This lady, Miki, has a recipe blog, and she spends only about £30 a week to feed herself and her partner, as well as doing evening meals for older relatives each night - so I think she's doing pretty well.  I've had a quick look through the blog and will be adding it to my blogroll, and her Lentil cottage pie with sweet potato mash is on the menu here tonight as I have got everything in the house to make this for the girls.  I shall be doing some of the other ones from here as well, and I do hope she adds more!

Blogger Jack Monroe has become vegan and she has been sharing some more interesting recipes lately, but since many of them are curries, I am afraid that I shan't be indulging as I don't really like curry!  However, the two EF girls are mad keen, so I shall possibly be trying one or two recipes out on them.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Better day for some

Just passed an online food hygiene course exam with 93% so quite pleased with that, and the boss at work should be pleased too.  Made some lemon muffins today, and have had UJ here as well.

The violinist has succumbed to the flu bug, but she seems to be not as bad as the rest of us were - probably her ultra-healthy lifestyle which puts us to shame!  Off to bed now - see you tomorrow xx

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Sad thoughts today

I have been to quite the most upsetting funeral today that I have ever attended.  It was a "community" or "public health" funeral, because, it seems that although the gentleman had family, no one was willing to take responsibility for the funeral arrangements.  Our minister provided the service at the church, and then there was a burial in the village cemetery.  It was at one of "my" churches, so I was asked to attend to support the funeral steward and the minister.

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We didn't really know what to expect, whether anyone would turn up, how it would pan out. It was unexpectedly well-attended as the family are an extensive local clan, but as large families sometimes are, it was rather a disjointed group of factions, and some went to the burial but not on to the pub afterwards, some went to the church and the pub but not the burial, and we believe that some were just going to come on later to the pub.

The heartbreaking part of the funeral for me was that the minister was not able to do the usual talk about the deceased - when and where he had been born, his life, his profession, his family, his hobbies and interests, his contributions, his legacy - because no one in the family had had a good word to say about him: perhaps they felt justified, because he seems to have had a troubled life and not been very kind to many people......but to leave the minister only able to say that the deceased had been a father, grandfather, partner and uncle was a bit of a challenge for our poor chap. He did very well, sharing some thoughts about the scripture passages, and sharing a poem about God's forgiveness, but it was a struggle for him.

From an outsider's point of view, the funeral varied from the more usual ones in that there was no order of service, only one hymn, no eulogy [as I have said], no limo behind the hearse. I understand that the grave will be very simple too. The family had organised flowers, and the coffin was just as most of the others I had seen recently.

This has opened my eyes to a different side of ministry and to how some families can react to death. All the funerals I have been to before have been for someone who has been much loved and will be missed, but this was very different, and I feel the need to reflect upon it for some time before I come to terms with it.  Life really makes you think sometimes, eh?

Monday, 25 January 2016

Not popular

Ilona's cheery face came up in my news feed on Facebook this morning as her story in the local paper has been picked up by the national press, and she has featured in the Daily Mail and the Mirror - or at least, she is on their websites.

What troubles some people is the nature of the comments that the general public has put on the websites as a response to the articles - and they are not all very pleasant, I have to say.  There are some supportive comments, some from people like us who read Ilona's blog, and some who think that they could learn something if they did head over and read the blog for the first time - so I predict a surge of new readers for Ilona!

But, unfortunately, there are a lot of derisive comments, and they are quite horrible in places.  It makes me think of the old adage, "If you've nothing nice to say, say nothing!" but on the other hand, some would say that folk have the right to express their opinions.  Mmmm - I know what I think!

The bottom line is that thrift and frugality are misunderstood by the general population, which does not seem to grasp the difference between thrift and meanness - and there is no concept of my own underlying desire to keep out of debt and to pay my way without having to use credit.  What a lot of us frugal/thrifty/super-scrimping bloggers do on a day to day basis is not what the majority of the population does - and there seems to be an attitude of superiority over us - that we eat unhealthily, eat food not fit for consumption [thank goodness Ilona doesn't use Approved Foods or they would really have had a go - out of date food? whatever next?!] and we are generally mean and miserable people!  They haven't got a clue of the sense of freedom I have from not being a slave to modern fashion, the requirement of society to replace things before they are worn out, and the desire to avoid waste, for example.  They forget that the Queen is famous for being thrifty and is known for walking round the palaces, turning off the lights, and is quite fond of scrambled eggs on toast for tea at home when she is not out and about.

You carry on, Ilona - we're right behind you!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Hopes for better week ahead

Following Monday's expense with the tyres, the YFG coming down with the flu, the guttering getting fixed on Thursday and the discovery that the metal chimney flue has moved about 10 degrees out of upright, possibly in the high winds, one can only hope that less things go wrong in the week ahead.

The tyres cost me £110, the guttering £80 and now the chimney expert reckons that he needs a cherry picker to deal with the issue. There's a local chap who has one, which would be cheaper than the regular supplier that the chimney chap uses, but the chimney bloke hasn't got the right certificates for the local that might be £180 for the use of a cherry picker from further afield, on top of the actual cost of the repair.  I just need him to get himself organised and get it repaired as I am a bit worried that the wet and windy weather that is forecast for this week will only exacerbate the problem.  I'm sort of hoping for the return of high pressure as that tends to be very cold weather but without wind - and I can definitely do without that at the moment.

The YFG is better and doesn't seem to have suffered to the same extent that the Danish girl and I did. I've had a bit of a laugh with the Danish girl today as she is studying King Lear for her English studies, and she was struggling with it rather - well, just imagine it: English is not her first language, and then they ask her to study Shakespeare, which most native English-speakers find a challenge, and you can see why she may have been finding it hard!  We managed to find a good website which offered the original Shakespearean text alongside a "modern" translation that gave her a better handle on what the bard was on about.  Since I did Lear for my English A level too, it has been fun to try to dredge up some of what I remembered to help her.

The YFG went on a gymnastics coaching course today and did well but it was quite a long day and she went to bed quite early tonight.  The violinist has done over 4 hours of practice today, and I haven't seen a lot of her.

I just want to say that I love getting your comments, but I have also been blessed by one or two emails to the address that I shared up there on the right - it is wonderful to hear from you that way too, but don't be upset if I don't reply immediately as I probably only check that account a couple of times a week.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Blogging friend makes headlines!

Over at Life After Money, blog friend Ilona has been interviewed by her local paper, and it is interesting reading - although as regular readers of her blog, there isn't a lot we don't already know! It is great to see the frugal lifestyle in the press, although they had already interviewed her back in 2009.  There's a bit of repetition from the first article and it would have been lovely to have seen some of MeanQueen's amazing creativity shared in the papers - her artwork is amazing.  Her brilliant summerhouse did get into a snapshot though.  Well done, Ilona!

Back in about 2000, a friend and I thought we would have a bash at a thrifty newsletter but that never really got off the ground as it was a bit challenging to co-ordinate back then when we lived at opposite ends of this island of ours.  Now that we have blogs, it is much easier to just put the information out there and it is up to folk to read if they are interested - it seems that some of you are indeed interested in reading and I continue to be grateful for all your comments and the sharing of your news in the comments.

Thrift seems to come and go in popularity and it has risen in past years because of all the austerity measures and the dire need to make ends meet for some people.  For some, it is the need to manage of very little income, and for others, it is a desire to wring every pennyworth of value and not to waste money.  Whatever your reasons for reading here, and I know that some of you pop in just to keep up with our news, you are very welcome!

Thrift is a major contributing factor in the way that we live here, and it hasn't always been easy - some people look down on those who don't worry too much about interior design, drive old bangers, make boots last for a decade, and have their hair cut in the village salon for £7.50......but it makes me secure in so many ways that I won't give it up easily and I won't part with cash for no good reason.  I'll give it away to causes that I support, yes, but I won't be scammed out of it - I've had some very dodgy emails in the past two days from people offering me huge sums of money for helping them to secure funds from abroad - and the "delete" button dealt with them very swiftly!

Friday, 22 January 2016

Loving a bargain today

You'll remember that I said I was saving those Shop&Scan points to spend at Amazon?  Good job I didn't rush into it, as I have had an email today to say that they are offering £10 off purchases over £50 for today only.  Consequently, I have just ordered £54odd of books and only spent the £4 and pence on the lot - so pleased I waited and have got £10 worth more than I would have had with only the shopping points!

If anyone else has an extensive wish list, or has a voucher to spend, the code you need is "BIGTHANKS" and the purchase has to be made today.  This is probably just for UK readers, too.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Challenges ahead

Coming thick and fast this week!

Got the YFG in bed again today - she's got the flu that the Danish girl and I had earlier in the month and she's looking pretty ropey this morning, all hot and flushed.  She went to the bathroom pretty early and turned the heat off because she was so hot, but that meant that the rest of us were rather chilly when we got up, but I couldn't blame her because I remember the sweltering heat that I felt then too.  She doesn't look like she will be well enough to go on a gymnastics course on Sunday so I have to deal with that on her behalf.

I also have to preach on Sunday at a church where a dearly beloved member died very suddenly last week, and that whole congregation is in shock and grieving.  I am spending time thinking prayerfully about how I take the Lord's word to them this week.  I have to choose the hymns today because I need to notify the organist, so that is a priority this morning.

But the good news is that the recent appraisal I went through means that the leadership team are going to recommend to the circuit meeting that my appointment be made permanent in February - I was on six months' probation.  I am mightily relieved about that.  There is also the possibility of another few hours each week, but that also has to go through the meeting, so they may not agree.....we'll see.

I'm waiting in this morning for a chap who is coming to look at some leaky guttering and I have a supermarket delivery coming as well.  Then I have to go out this afternoon for a while....but not for long because I don't want to leave the YFG for too long, although I realistically know she'll likely be asleep.

Take care and keep warm today - it is chilly out there, and we have had the hardest frost so far this winter.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

A new project

At one of "my" churches, we are launching a new Knit&Natter or Craft group, but we have been made aware that some people might like to come who don't do any yarn work of any kind.  I had a ponder about that, and dug out the pieces of a patchwork quilt that I started making when I was 18 or so - we won't say exactly how many years ago that was!!

I took it along this morning to the church coffee morning where I knew that a couple of interested people would be, and showed them and shared my idea - and they were quite enthusiastic!  One lady has gone home with one section [like a rosette as they are hexagonal pieces] to complete as the outer row is only partially completed, and another friend has taken some of the material and the templates to make enough for another section.  All in all there should be 8 rosettes when they are all completed, and then we will be looking to join them together.  When it is all finished [don't hold your breath] we think that we will be able to find a use for it in the church fund raising calendar.

It is all made from cheap poly cotton fabrics that I bought from Sheringham market when I was there one summer for about 5 or so weeks.  Some of them are quite different from one another, and others are similar fabrics but just in different shades, so it brings the work together and there is some unity in it.  Since it was bought for a very reasonable amount of money, I have no qualms about giving it away as it is of absolutely no use to anyone in my shelf unit - and I would hate to think how many house moves I have dragged that through!  Hopefully we will have it transformed into something useful and functional by about Easter....

As for those who do want to do yarn work, they will be welcome to bring along whatever they are currently making, or we will have some charity knitting that they can help with as there are lots of charities requiring hats, scarves, blankets - we will keep all the fingers busy in one way or another, although I know that there will be tea and cake aplenty as well!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Other income

I have just last night managed to hit the 5000 points on YouGov in order to claim a pay out of £50. Now the question will be what to do with it?!  It has been a couple of years since my last YouGov pay out as I took some time off from doing the surveys - but I got the bug again as I could see how close I was to the pay out threshold, and £50 is well worth having.

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I certainly shan't be spending it on gin!

What's £50 to me?

A month's electricity payment, a third of a delivery of oil at this month's prices, about a tank and a half of diesel, a new tyre for the car, a week's groceries, a pair of boots, half the six monthly water bill, almost half the annual car tax makes a difference when you think of it like that.  If, on the other hand, it feels like silly money, it is easily frittered away.

I've also almost earned £50 in Amazon vouchers on Shop&Scan, and within a few more weeks of sending in my shopping data, I will be able to download the vouchers. Now that Amazon is selling a more and more diverse range of products, I am not limited to buying books or DVDs - but actually, that is probably exactly what I will buy for myself as I do regard these vouchers as my own treat.  I have to have one!  The thing to weigh up will be what to buy from my wish list - the Downton Abbey DVDs are possibly in with a chance.  We shall see as I may have changed my mind by the time I have achieved the points.

Those things I mentioned above are all current things in my spending review: the monthly electricity bill has just been reviewed as I changed the tariff, the oil is coming on Wednesday, I filled the car up with diesel yesterday, two new tyres had to go on the car yesterday afternoon, the groceries were purchased at the weekend, the boots are still being researched, the water bill was paid at the end of December, and the car tax bill was paid last week ready for the end of the month.  I could have done with a bigger pay out from YouGov really!  

But it is one way that I make a few extra pounds now and again, and it is something that many people could do too.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Call the Midwife - spoiler alert

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Having been to a discussion group on Saturday morning at the circuit meeting about whether the Methodist Church should consider revisiting its definition of "marriage" [yes, I think it should], it was great to see Call the Midwife last night addressing so many issues which we are still grappling with fifty five years after the date at which the new series is set [1961]. 

We have Patsy and Delia in a gay relationship, there was poor old Sister Monica struggling with giving up sweet things for Lent, a baby born with a serious disability, and the beginnings of what looks like a bit of a struggle between Trixie and Sister Julienne.  And then there was Trixie's recognition of her alcohol problems as we learned that she has started to go to Alcoholics Anonymous.  The new uniforms were a bit of a giggle for the nurse-midwives, and there looks as though there may be a fledgling romance developing between one of the midwives and the curate, although I think that might ruffle some of Trixie's feathers.  There is the opportunity to develop a story-line about body image in there somewhere as the keep fit at the church hall looks set to be a feature of this series. 

It is heartwarming for me to see faith portrayed in mainstream television - there was a minute when the baby was born last night and her mother saw her for the first time and I am sure that Mrs Turner and Sister Cynthia shared a quiet prayer as they waited outside the room.  

In other news, the violinist won a local round of a music competition on Saturday night and came home with a trophy - her first!  She was quite pleased, and now progresses to the next round at the end of February.  Good luck to her!  

Hoping to be back later in the day with a menu plan for the week - my task for the day.  

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Stretching and saving

On Friday night, I cooked six sausages and let the YFG and her friend, who was here to share a meal with us, each have two. That left two in the fridge - Friday night was a complicated night and there were four combinations of concoctions made here to use up bits and pieces as well as cater for various needs.

Anyway, last night, the two sausages were sliced up: each made nine slices, and the slices were shared around a four-hole Yorkshire pudding tray.  They were popped in the little oven for about 15 minutes and then had the batter poured over them. Served with a little hot gravy and the microwaved left over veg from Friday night, the YFG and the Danish girl each enjoyed a couple of little Yorkies with sausage slices.......and they smelled good here last night - and the plates were cleared.

It's very good to be able to use up the leftovers and not waste things!

On Friday I was also able to add another little individual portion sized dish to my collection - I have two white enameled dishes, perfect for a portion of fish pie or shepherd's pie, for example, but there are three girls here most of the time, so I really needed a third.  Bargain! I found one on a sale table in one of the churches on Friday for the grand sum of 40p.  I snapped it up.

We have been having some issues with portion control with the Austrian girl and really, she has been eating more than her fair share on occasions, which has meant that I have had to institute these individual portions so that she gets her share, and can't eat half of someone else's as well, as happened with the chilli incident before Christmas: I had put vegetarian chilli out on the table for the two EF girls to share [YFG doesn't like it and I can't eat it] but it was more of a 3:1 in favour of Austria, and when the Danish girl thought that she might like seconds, there was none left because Austria had had three lots!  And my portions are not stingy!  So now, there are portions given or Austria gets a portion of something vegetarian and the YFG and Denmark get meat or fish.  Complicated but fairer all round.   Some of the little foibles that we have to find ways to get under control before they get out of hand but in the typical British way, I can't do confrontation, so I have to go about these things in my way, which is not the Austro-German way.........but I am learning all the time!

Hope you are having a good weekend - I am so looking forward to the return of Call the Midwife tonight - the tv is booked and there is a comfy chair with my name on it xx

Saturday, 16 January 2016


Long words at this hour of the morning are not necessarily a good thing........but I'll have a go.

What I mean is that I need to draw myself up a list of things to start doing again - things that I know work but that I have slipped out of the habit of doing, for one reason or another.  A lot of things went by the wayside when the FH was ill, and I didn't have so much time, but then more went west when I started work after he died, and I have been struggling to keep track of things since I started the new job this year.

There is no sense in worrying about what I haven't been doing.  I've had one late payment on a credit card, just because the paperwork isn't as organised as it used to be, and the freezer is stuffed full because I am not tracking things well enough in there.  We are also throwing away too much food.

Well, nothing like hitting the confessional, eh?!

Let's start a bit gently.

First of all, I am going to set up my Household Planner folder.  I used to swear by this, but I never got round to setting up one at this time last year, and limped through 2015 without it, not knowing where vital paperwork was, and hating my inefficiencies.  All I need to do is print off a monthly calendar page for each month, a spending chart for the month to slide in behind it, and then to actually file everything vital that comes in.  It works but I just have to set it up and do it.

Then I am going to do an inventory of the house - what food we have in stock, the cleaning materials, the toiletries, the laundry detergent, etc - so that I don't buy any more until we have used up what we have here already!

And I am also going to re-instate the weekly menu planning.  It was so great to know what I was going to cook each day.  With a vegetarian on board, life needs to be organised.

Finally, my spending diary is coming out again and I shall record every single penny spent. Knowing where the money is going really helps to stop leaks and control spending.

That should be enough to start with, don't you think?  There is a lot more I could do, but if I try to do too much too soon, I shall crash and burn.  Realistically, I can get my teeth into these routines again and see results, which will encourage me.

Friday, 15 January 2016

RIP Alan Rickman

One of my favourite actors, in all sorts of films:

Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility with Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson.  I watched that again last week whilst I was ill.  Possibly my favourite role for him.

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Emma Thompson's husband in Love Actually - we always watch it at Christmas, and so that has been on recently too.  Brother-in-law to Hugh Grant's Prime Minister, you'd think he would have known better than be tempted by this little minx!

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Kids everywhere will remember him as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films. 

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He starred as Louis XIV in A Little Chaos, with Kate Winslet, which I also watched last week on Netflix whilst I was ill. He directed this film as well as acting in it, and I hadn't seen it before - I liked it.  

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Another great talent lost - but we have one last film to look forward to, I understand, as Eye In the Sky will come out later this year, also starring Helen Mirren.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

End of 2015 finance review

I finally found some time last night and the review of last year's savings got made up to date. Contrary to my expectations, it seems that we ended the year just over £5K better off than we had started the year - wow!  We spent quite a lot of money last year - repairing the fence, turning the chicken run into lawn, installing a shower over the bath, putting a new cam belt on the Skoda, painting, acquiring new-to-us furniture for the EF girls' room, a holiday to Sheringham in the October half term - so I am really pleased to have hit the £5K again.

As for this year - well, we can hope!

I have five more months of income from the EF girls, and we have decided that we are not going to have any more for the 16-17 academic year, as it is the YFG's A level exam year, and her application to uni year, so we may need to be going on some open day trips, as well as recognising the need for her to have peace and tranquility for studying.  I shall think about having more in the future....but they are leaving mid June, so we will have a spare room for the summer - I may have to have thoughts about that.

There is the vaguest hint that there may be some more hours at work in the offing - I shall snap those up if they do come through, as I am loving the job and would welcome the extra time to do more of it.

I still have a workshop with some beekeeping equipment lurking therein - this has to be the year to get it shifted, and bring some cash into the coffers again.

(image from via Facebook and

On a positive note, the price of oil is so low that I am keeping the tank topped up - would you believe that the oil I bought earlier this week would have cost me over 60p/l a couple of years ago? Shocking how the prices change so no sense in letting it get too low in these economic times.  We have a good load of wood in stock, and UJ has almost finished cutting up all the rough lengths of wood that there were about, so we have several winters' worth of wood in there.  As good as money in the bank in many ways.

I am going to spend a bit more time strategising my plans and money this morning.  It all means that my plans for the future continue to look secure for now, thank goodness, and I won't need to sell the house just yet....

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Back to the beginning

Nearly half way through the month, and I still have yet to get to grips with the year's finances. What with the new job, the EF girls, the EFG being home, the flu and all, I just don't seem to have had the time to sit down and review things the way that I used to.  If we are to continue to spend wisely and save money in areas, I must get on top of this!

I made a start yesterday when I had a look at the current price of home heating oil.  It was triggered by me seeing on Monday night that Tesco were actually selling diesel for less than petrol - 99.7p/l compared with 99.9p/l - I know that that is a tiny amount, but I couldn't remember the last time I had seen diesel cheaper than petrol, and thought that perhaps the oil price had dropped again.

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I went through my usual price comparison procedure though - check Boilerjuice first and then, with that information, call my local supplier [because I like to support local businesses, but I also don't want to be taken advantage of by them...].  The Boilerjuice price was 25.37p/l and the local company quoted over 32p/l at first. Then I mentioned the other price I had, and all of a sudden, they could bring the price down to 25.10p/l.  So 600 litres at the new price was £46 less than it would have been if I had accepted their first price.  That is quite a reduction, and a bigger one than I have had from them before.  It still makes me mad that some people will accept the first price that they are quoted - just don't do it!!

On a separate note, we are waving good-bye to the EFG this morning as she makes her way back to Aberdeen for the start of term on Monday.  She's been here for nearly a month, and we have had a lovely time with her.  Weirdly [and perhaps some of the Scottish readers can comment] she has lectures on both Good Friday and Easter Monday and will not finish for her "Easter" break until the 1st April, so we will not have her home actually at Easter although she will come down afterwards.  I shall be looking forward to that. The YFG went to Aberdeen last February half term but has decided not to do so this year [at the moment] as she has mock exams looming this year.

Have a good day - and keep warm!

Monday, 11 January 2016

I'm back....

Yesterday was the first day that I actually spent more time up and about than in bed, and it meant that I could go to sleep at a more reasonable hour because I hadn't been napping all day - but I was quite shattered by 10.30pm last night.  Up at 8 am this morning, and dinner in the slow cooker already - planning ahead!  Saves work later when I think I will be more tired.

The EFG is back to uni on Wednesday so one of my helpers will be gone and I will need to get to grips with the laundry again....she's been a treasure these past days, and I shall miss her tremendously, not only for her help but for the way she makes me laugh so much!  Not long this year until Easter - thank goodness, and we see her again then.

Not going to chatter on long, as I just really came to say Thank You for all the kind messages xxx

Tuesday, 5 January 2016


I've been able to function for only about 5 hours today - I'm admitting defeat and acknowledging that I have got the flu. I've had several hours bundled up in layer upon layer in front of the fire, but I am in a sweaty phase now, so I'm not going to go to bed until I cool down a bit........

Monday, 4 January 2016

Quite a night

I collapsed into bed at 4pm yesterday afternoon and here I am just emerging, freshly showered though, just over 18 hours later.  I felt increasingly tired until just after I served our meal, and then I just had to give up and go to bed.  I was sweating and shivering, dreaming about the filthiest holiday cottage I have ever seen, and then there was something weird which went on for quite some time about bagging up sleep and only being allowed to put an hour's worth in each bag........I ran out of bags!

I still feel a bit queer this morning but nowhere near as bad as last night so I am taking the day slowly. A load of washing has just gone in the machine and I am sitting here with a cup of tea.  My two girls are in York for the day, and so it is just the Danish girl and I at home. She is busy catching up on homework ready for school tomorrow, so it is quiet - just perfect!

I hope your start to 2016 has been healthier than mine!  Here's to a happy, frugal, 2016 for us all xxx

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year!

Despite celebrations being cancelled around Europe because of terror threats, the London fireworks have just blasted off [and yes, there is a small part of me that wonders how much food could have been bought for the food banks or blankets for desperate refugees for example with that money, but it is also a poke in the eye for the terrorists that it went ahead, so I'll overlook that this year!] and we are sitting here watching Bryan Adams blast out some rock music!  Neighbours are letting off fireworks here too.

The EFG is knitting a monster from a kit that she was given last Christmas and thought she ought to have a bash at - she's making a good fist of it and is just stuffing it and sewing the last seams closed.  I have had an evening attacking my first sock knitting project with some gusto - I have had to frog it back a couple of times over the last few days, but I have turned the heel and I am decreasing along the gussets now, so I hope that it is going to continue in the right direction and be finished soon. In the interest of not getting second-sock-itis, I have knitted the second one first :)

I haven't had too much time to get the new year's budget or resolutions sorted out this week, so I might spend some time in thought over the weekend......  I hope you are ready for a cracking year, and wish you all the best for 2016.  I've got all those flooded-out folk in my prayers, and know that you will join me in wishing them a drier year ahead when they get all the damage sorted out - it is terrible that the same properties keep getting flooded, so I am praying for some respite from this dire weather.