Monday, 16 January 2017


On the right - 5 cross stitched cards for my 5 Penny Pincher penfriends are almost finished - ready for Christmas. Just need to sew on the snowflake charm. The charms are a bit big really but I only had 1 snowflake brad the right size and all I could find anywhere was these bigger ones. I got them done so I can start the tapestry - on the left.  It's the one I bought myself from the charity shop for Christmas and then my Brother in law gave me the money for it.  He wants to do all his Christmas shopping like that next year!
We had a friend in the Suffolk Smallholders Society who used to frame things for me mates rates, but he's moved to Yorkshire, so I'm going to have to pay proper price, find a frame to fit or turn it into a cushion........a long thin cushion!

Mrs F at the cottage is leaving a desk in what will be my craft room so with the table I've got I should have more room for crafting than I've had for a year. Maybe I'll be able to unpack and learn how to use my new sewing machine at last.

We are still being held up with the house purchase due to a 'wrongly' worded answer by Mrs F to one of the ambiguous questions on the Law Society Form. If a question says "has any additional land been sold or purchased?" and the person answers " Yes half an acre". Which do YOU think?
Yes - sold or Yes - purchased?
We know it's yes-purchased, Mrs F knows it's yes- purchased but the solicitors.....ours or hers....... have assumed SOLD. Oh dear.......... Confusion reigns and we all get wet!
The problem isn't helped by everything being done by phone or email. If you are told to sign something that's been highlighted in yellow and you can't find anything highlighted in yellow(because it's been highlighted in green) what hope is there?!

We are waiting.
And packing boxes.

Back in a day or two

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Suffolk on TV

Did anyone watch Micheal Port-a-loo, sorry Portillo on his latest train trip when he was passing through Suffolk. It was on Friday teatime and he visited The Long Shop Museum in Leiston  which we know well. Before that he hopped off the train at Stowmarket and went to Brockford to The Mid Suffolk Light Railway Museum and although we've not been there yet, in a few weeks time we'll be living  a couple of fields from this little bit of reconstructed railway and to look forward to they have a MIDDY IN THE WAR YEARS event every year.
Typically for a rural village, the railway museum  upset a lot of people round about. They first got permission for static railway displays, then managed to get some track laid so they could run up and down and are now applying for permission to extend the track. Mrs F who we are buying from, visibly Harumphed! when we mentioned the railway - obviously she was one of those against expansion! Apart from hearing the steam whistle across the fields it doesn't affect the house at all.
The Mid Suffolk Light railway was never finished, never successful and ran out of money and closed in 1952. When I was small -early 60's - one of the roads we traveled on in a village near Stowmarket still had a hump in the road  where the old railway had crossed the road and I can remember my Mum saying that children from the North Suffolk area would travel by this train to Stowmarket Grammar School in the pre-war years.

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Friday, 13 January 2017

Keeping Accounts and Suddenly Worrying

Do you keep account of what you spend?
If you are self employed with a business it's something you have to do and if you want to be frugal and look at where you can save then  it really helps.

I can look back at our January spending for several years (well I would be able to if all my old diaries weren't still in a box in the shed! so actually I can only look back at 2015 and 2016)  so I knew that we needed to book the Tucson in for its MOT (done and it passed- good) before the end of the month, and it's tax will be due too. I can see that I bought shoes last January but they are still going strong and we bought a sack of bird peanuts but won't need them this year as we hardly see a bird at all in town - except seagulls. I know from looking back that January is always a good month for spending less on food and it will be even better this month as we eat up all the stuff in the freezer before moving.

And Moving is the real crux of the matter. At the top of my blog it says we are living carefully on savings until pension time. When I wrote that at the top of the blog about a year ago, I didn't know that we were suddenly going to decide to move to a house that was going to take all our savings and the money left from selling the smallholding, leaving us with a two month gap until Colin's pension payout plus a bungalow that won't sell. Not the most sensible thing we've ever done in our lives. If I've done the sums right we'll be OK. If my sums are wrong..........Oh Dear.

Just in case, it's another don't-spend-anything-extra time. I don't need clothes or nick-nacks (never need nick-nacks) or books........definitely not books.Despite it costing a bit more overall I'll just tax the car for 6 months, by the end of July when it's due again we'll have enough money to do a year or we might have to sell it anyway. I've been dithering over buying another floor lamp or tall table lamp but that will wait too.
I've suddenly got very concerned about how much we have to sort out and pay for when we move. Apart from needing to buy and install an LPG cooker, the lady has BT fibre connection - don't know anything about that, or how/if we use the  Wifi box. There is no TV aerial, only a satellite dish so we don't know if the Sky box connection we had at the smallholding will work easily or not........  we seem to be moving without giving a thought about practicalities! I think it's official.............we're mad! (But we have got 3 baby trees here to plant out when we get there - not sure we have our priorities right are you?)

Must say welcome to three more followers. Hello, Hello and Hello!

 11am Friday 13th and we have snow! Big flakes too, but not laying much. But I'm now laid up with what Col had 2 weeks ago. How did that happen? Just very concerned that we went to see our youngest and little Florence yesterday, hope to goodness I didn't pass it on before knowing I had it.

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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Moving news

On Monday we went to see the cottage and the lady we are buying from. Her solicitor hadn't told her that our solicitor was away until the 16th so there was no chance of anything happening before then and for some reason she had got things organised for Friday 13th. She wasn't best pleased and I'm sure she thinks we are holding things up, but nothing we can do about it. 
I rang our solicitors secretary as soon as we got home and she assured me that our solicitor rang Mrs F's solicitor before Christmas to tell her about the delay...........honestly who do you believe?

We really went over to the cottage to look at the ride-on mower she's got, it's huge and much bigger than any I've used before.It also has a trailer which is handy for moving wood etc. We need something for cutting the meadow bit although we'll be able to use our small motor mower for round the house. She's going to come up with a price for us to buy it off her.

We got lots more house paperwork in the post yesterday including draft contracts and things to sign. Unfortunately the maps were wrong - missing part of the land we are buying- so everything will have to go back. We rang Mrs F to say we can't exchange until the maps are right and she said that all the information about the small plot of land adjoining the house and garden that they bought in the 1980's was with her solicitor and she specifically pointed out to them that we needed to see the conveyance details for that extra half acre.  Ho Hum!

She said she's now arranged things for the 19th but I think that might be wishful thinking. We feel really sorry for her as she is over 70 and hasn't moved for 30+ years so doesn't realise that things Never go to plan with buying and selling nowadays.

At least we will be able to sort a completion date to suit her removal company as we don't need to move in the day we get the keys. Our removal company date can be flexible too, they are bringing boxes tomorrow so I can get packing.

A short book review of a short book........... read it in just a couple of hours.

I picked this up at the library because the cover looked interesting. It's seven short stories linked together by The Girl in the Red Coat and Christmas. Good but not outstanding, glad it was from the library and not purchased.
I've also read this which was  mentioned on someones blog. I'd not read any Georgette Heyer since the 1970's. I'll not be reading any more. Regency Romance is something I can do without!
Snowdrift and Other Stories (includes three new recently discovered short stories) ebook by Georgette Heyer
These are all short stories, 3 newly discovered and the rest originally published in a collection called Pistols For Two.

On the health front........we have seen Col's cancer doctor again and the tablets are doing their job. He told us they will work for about 12-18 months until the Lymphoma comes back too much for the tablets to cope with, which is why the donor stem cell transplant has to be done during the summer. We have a bit of a respite now as Col only needs blood tests and clinic assessments once a month, saving a lot of travelling in the short term ........before we start the huge mileage we'll be totting up going to Addenbrooks.

Back in a day or two

Monday, 9 January 2017

Plough Monday, Book Review and other stuff

 Did you know that today, being the first Monday after Twelfth Night, was traditionally called Plough Monday. This was the  the start of the agricultural year, the day Ploughman and their horses went back to work after their Christmas and New Year break...... usually their only holiday of the year.
Nowadays fields are not often ploughed every year, just rough cultivated straight after harvest and drilled immediately  after that or even at the same time.When we used to have barley straw small baled for bedding we were often in a race to get the bales done and home before the farmer cultivated! If sugar beet is in a farms crop rotation then the fields will be ploughed that year because the beet harvest compresses the soil .

Mentioned this book below the other day and had a comment from Anonymous asking for a review. It is a new book, published in 2016.
Anne was in her late 20's and working in London when she holidayed on Skye in 1989 and spotted an ad in an Estate Agents window for a primitive cottage for sale on Soay.
She'd not even thought about moving and even less to a tiny island, in fact she didn't even realise it was an island and accessible only by small boat!
Although she went back to London without finding out more, the picture of the cottage nagged away at her until she finally arranged to go and see it.

The book covers the years 1990 to 1998 in detail, her naivety as she moved there and how she was helped by other islanders........there were 17 permanent residents when she arrived. She finds out about the history of Soay and crofting, struggles with refurbishing the cottage and lack of cash. She finds a way to earn money by collecting winkles and buys a boat of her own. Several of the islanders pass away or move away over the years until the  winter of 2000 when she would be left almost on her own.
In her early years on Soay the island was used for army manoeuvres and a she met a civilian photographer Robert Cholawo who always came with the men. She began to rely on him for advice and help and when his marriage broke up they corresponded until she went to stay with him in Devon for the winter of 2001 moving back to the island again in the spring.
The years from their marriage in 2002 to 2016  are covered in just a couple of chapters. Maybe she'll write another book to tell more about how Robert bought and modernised the neighbouring house on Soay and their story up to date. They now have their own hydro electric power and keep goats and grow  a lot of vegetables. Climate change means that winter weather now is much windier and they are unable to leave the island for months at a time so have to stock up with coal, animal feed and everything else they need to last a long time.
A good read  but I was left wanting to know more..
 One thing I discovered while reading was that a couple called Comber rented a cottage on the island in the 1960's and the lady wrote several lovely books under the name of Lilian Beckwith. I'd always wondered how near to biography her books were ( A Loud Halo, The Sea for Breakfast, A Rope in Case etc) and it turns out Not at All! 

On Saturday I actually found something in the sales
Had a trip out to Felixstowe as they are another place with The Works and I was still searching for the 4 in a box game. (have come to conclusion The Works in our area didn't stock these as they had lots of the other wooden games but not that one and had no idea what I was talking about - just like the lady in Ipswich branch but Suzanne at Life at Number 38 has found it for me 'up North', she's a star!)
Anyway Felixstowe also has an Original Factory Shop like Saxmundham and that's where, last year, I got the shred and cellophane for the Christmas Hampers. Luckily they just had a few packs left reduced from £2 to £1 again so 2  purchased plus on the counter they were selling off the final few boxes of 10 Christmas Crackers for £1. I bought one. That's my January Sale shopping done!

We thought we had better get some quotes for removal companies, so we can get boxes and start packing. 3 quotes  varied by nearly £400 - how on earth can one man look round and decide they can do it for £700 and another says it will cost over £1000? I pointed out to the man from the company who moved me in that  he'd charged us £200 extra last March when his was the only company available after other arrangements with firms fell through because of changed dates. I think he looked slightly sheepish and has priced it  less than our move here. The lads were really good in March so we'll probably go with them again - this time they weren't the most expensive.

Welcome to a new follower.........a nice round 450 now.........goodness me. Thank you for all the comments for and against Yellow Sticker shopping.

Back in a jiffy
From that first visit, once I had set foot on Soay the house no longer became my primary obsession, but merely a means to an end. I had never experienced a place like it in my life. After only 10 minutes on the island I had fallen under its unfathomable, magical and enthralling spell. Unbelievably, I had found my longed-for childhood “middle of nowhere” and apparently, completely by accident.

Read more at:

From that first visit, once I had set foot on Soay the house no longer became my primary obsession, but merely a means to an end. I had never experienced a place like it in my life. After only 10 minutes on the island I had fallen under its unfathomable, magical and enthralling spell. Unbelievably, I had found my longed-for childhood “middle of nowhere” and apparently, completely by accident

Read more at:
From that first visit, once I had set foot on Soay the house no longer became my primary obsession, but merely a means to an end. I had never experienced a place like it in my life. After only 10 minutes on the island I had fallen under its unfathomable, magical and enthralling spell. Unbelievably, I had found my longed-for childhood “middle of nowhere” and apparently, completely by accident

Read more at:

Saturday, 7 January 2017

When Essential is not Essential?

In Asda the other day I noticed a whole aisle of what they are calling 'Stock Up Essentials' for 50p and £1 but they are all posher branded stuff or things that anyone on a budget would never buy or maybe just things that I would never buy............. I reckon that out of the 100+ items on their website labeled as 50p "essentials" I only ever buy one...........Heinz baked beans.

So if you avoid this aisle you can find real essentials - like tinned tomatoes- for less than 50p anyway. Tinned tomatoes are definitely on my essentials list and other items I count as essential are things like flour, butter, carrots. NOT Pot Noodles in 10 varieties.
Have to make an admission here sort of related to the above...................I don't find many yellow sticker bargains.
Two reasons - I hate going shopping in the evenings which is when you have to go to get the best reductions and secondly quite often they are things we don't eat. We spent the first few years of our married life on one very low  wage, two children came along quickly and we were also trying to move up the housing ladder to a smallholding. We ate Basics everything including the cheapest sliced bread and spread  and I vowed that once we had the smallholding we would be as self-sufficient as possible and never eat tasteless or over processed  food again. So even if Pot Noodles etc were being given away for pennies I still wouldn't buy them - too many weird sounding ingredients. That's why I make curries from curry powder and vegetables, pasta sauces from veg and tinned tomatoes, cakes from flour, sugar and butter.

Here is another admission..............things have slipped since we've been in town and Colin has been ill, the upheaval threw me off course ..........I've been buying bread, biscuits and sometimes cakes. When I get back to cooking with gas I'll start doing all my own stuff again. That's the plan.......... which I hope I can fit it between all the hospital trips.

This is the sort of LPG cooker I would like but until we can get the pipework sorted we will be cooker-less as there is no electric cooker point and the lady is taking her Everhot (a sort of cross between an electric Rayburn and a storage heater) with her.There is a doorway from kitchen to dining room right where the pipework needs to go  so not a straight forward plumping-in job. It may be several weeks until I can get bread making and baking again!

Going back to shopping...........

The other things I often see yellow sticker reduced are ready chopped vegetables or fruit - something else I don't buy. With so many years of growing our own fruit and vegetables and eating straight from the garden I believe that anything that's been chopped before packaging has already lost a lot of the vitamins and has probably been handled more often than I'd like to know about.
 I hope we'll be able to grow some of our own vegetables again once we move even if age, illness and space mean we will  never be as self-sufficient as we were for our smallholding years.
And although I'd love goats's never going to happen. Chickens - yes should be do-able.

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Thursday, 5 January 2017

Seeing Spots and Sorting Out

 I mentioned a red with white spots kettle that would be good to replace our old one, I'd spotted them in Asda a few weeks ago when our kettle first went wrong, of course when I went to get one they had all gone - Duh, no idea when/if they will be in again she said.
 So went on line and there they were, with free delivery to the store and now collected.
Writing this made me smile because when you buy anything on line now there is always a bit that says "Look What I Bought -Tell A Friend Now". I've never pressed the Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter/Other Social networking button..... thinking  "How Stupid". But now I'm doing exactly the same thing!

The kettle we've been using since the other one went bang - the one that won't switch off -  will get packed in a box and kept for emergencies again.

While at Asda I printed out Wedding, Jacob and Florence photos. Actually worked the machine without any hiccups.They've only had these photo-printing machines in Asda since November and a lady walking by said "Oh didn't know they had that here, is it easy to use?" I said "If I can use it anyone can!". Then another lady came to  use the other machine and  said to granddaughter with her that she seemed to be getting on OK which was a surprise. I said I was quite chuffed to be able to master this new technology! We sounded like a couple of old technophobes 😊 .

Now I have to sort all the photos out, some for the photo album, some for the scrapbook and some to share round the family. So far with my new scrapbook hobby, I've only done one page - but we cleared the puzzle away yesterday so I've got the table back again and I can do a Wedding page and a Florence page. I want to get card making again too but maybe that will wait 'til I get a craft room again.
I've also spent a while sorting all last years paperwork, quite a lot is now irrelevant and not personal so gets chucked into the recycling. Then the rest used to get burned but without a fire here I've torn it into tiny bits and soaked in water to make a messy paper maché before adding to the compost heap.

Christmas decorations are down and cards will be sorted out to make note-cards for shopping lists or gift tags. Christmas is now packed back in the box and sealed up ready for moving. I'm very pleased that the people over the road have taken down their flashing blue star from their front window..........we kept thinking  there was a police car outside!

It's been a very slow start to the reading year and 47 people have looked at my blank 'Books Read 2017' page! But I've now finished Dot May Dunn's small book of memories - Christmas around the Village Green. Memories of family life in a Derbyshire village during the war years when she was just a small girl. I could have sworn I'd read one of her other books about her nursing career but it's not down in My Book of Books so maybe I'd borrowed it, skimmed through and decided against for some reason. I shall make a note to read them later this year. I've now started 'Island on The Edge' about life on Soay - a tiny island in the Inner Hebrides, as usual with books like this it makes me want to dash off and live on an Island! Which reminds me - I must write to my penfriend W who does live on a Scottish island although a bit bigger and windier than Soay.

 Suzanne at Life at Number 38 had an interesting looking puzzle/game on her last post and I asked what it was called. She said she got it from The Works so I looked there with no luck. Now I've been searching on Amazon and eBay and no luck there either. So if anyone has any other ideas for a game called '4 in a box'. I'd love to know.

Many thanks for all your comments last time, I'm pleased to say that Col is eating well again and feeling better apart from being as weak as a kitten.
And what a weird co-incidence that two other people reading the blog also have that jigsaw puzzle.

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Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Not off to a good start

2017 hasn't started quite how we wished as Colin has been very poorly with the Norovirus. Because of his background illness it has really knocked him for six, almost back to how he was after being in hospital for all those weeks in the summer. It's going to take an age for him to build up strength. We see his consultant next week so maybe he'll suggest something to help. Thank heavens I didn't go down with it, just felt not quite right - perhaps in sympathy!

Forgot to mention a jigsaw puzzle, spotted by Colin on the shelf of the Sense charity shop near us just before Christmas, and bought for £1. I'd already decided not to do another puzzle before we moved and had taken one back to my sister but anyway we got started. He doesn't usually do puzzles but got quite into this one until he was struck down and then I managed to get it finished. A fascinating puzzle, loads of people, some the same in each picture which are war time and then 1948. Col said he'd like to get it framed but it's a bit big - would cost a fortune, unless we can find a frame to fit it second-hand.

Having been stuck at home for days I decided to go into town as the charity shops would all be open again. Although in the end I didn't find anything and remembered my pledge NOT to buy any Christmas cards in their sales. I didn't bother with sale shopping anywhere else either and didn't even walk as far as Debenhams, M&S, Primark and all the rest of the big stores. Just bought a couple of hot water bottles from Wilkinsons and a few bits from Poundland including a roll of their brown parcel paper which I plan to use for Christmas wrapping this year. Also bought a pack 4 clear plastic folders as it's time to empty all last years receipts,bills etc from the dresser drawer and sort everything out and I want to separate new house, beach hut, bank and building society stuff to make it easier to find at a glance, before I file everything away.

Picked up my library books which were waiting for me, still haven't got through the Huge Heap I brought home before Christmas. Really mustn't order anymore until I've read all that I've got here.

Right off to get reading

Oh, just remembered I've spied a new follower -Welcome Life on the wink - interesting name!

Thank you for all the comments wishing us Happy New Year and better health for Col - We hope so too

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Sunday, 1 January 2017


When the children were small we had this book with it's lovely illustrations. I hope we still have it in a box  and will find it when we unpack.
It says January brings the snow, makes your toes and fingers glow.  I don't know if we will get snow this January, what's the betting it will be just when we move, that's if we actually do get to move this month..... the computers of solicitors work exceedingly slowly.

Product Details

.We've had a couple of foggy grey days here but while the sun was out yesterday I clicked the two bits of colour we have in the garden at the moment.......a  pink flowered shrub/tree and the bright yellow and green

of this, and as my ID book is still in a box I can't name either of  them except for guessing the top one is probably a Viburnum and the bottom an Eleagnus. Book-shelves will be top of the list of things we need when we move, can't wait to get unpacked and see what's  been forgotten in a year.

One of my Christmas gifts was A Country Wisdom and Folklore Diary which gives this rhyme for January 1st
"Take out before you take in
Bad luck is sure to begin.
Take in before you take out
Good luck will come about" 

I think this gives me permission to go and 'take in' a new kettle before I take out the Christmas decorations! Ours gave up last week and I had to search boxes for an old one which switches on and boils but refuses to switch off, which is OK except when you live with someone who has a habit of putting the kettle on and then disappearing to the loo or outside.
Which camp do you fall into with small electricals? - cheapy from Wilkinsons as before which we had for about 3 years (costing £12 now) or more expensive at around £20 lasting who knows or top notch super douper at £40. Will top notch last 3 times the length of cheapy? With Suffolk's hard water I doubt it. I quite fancy a red one with white spots........ Oh the excitement mounts!!

Although I said today was all about looking forward I did have a quick look back to see what I had written this time last year and discovered I'd had a few days break from blogging to get my head round  all the changes that were about to happen in 2016. Seems strange to think we are about to go through the same thing all over again and back then we didn't even have the full diagnosis or realise just how serious the illness was.

So off we go on the adventure that is a New Year. I don't make resolutions or plans because things usually don't pan out quite the way we thought. Getting through whatever happens is the best I can do.

As someone has very nearly said somewhere before

May each day of the year be a good day and may all of your wishes come true

Image result for new year 2017 images

Many Thanks for all the comments on yesterday's post
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