This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Saturday, February 18, 2017


In 2015 I decided that I would lose 1000 things from the house. Well, I managed to part with just over 700 items. So I failed to reach my goal but there was a tiny bit more space in the house so I won as well because creating more space was my real aim. In 2016 I went for the same goal but failed miserable because I cleared just 365 items from the house. That is still one item per day but it falls far short of the 1000 I was hoping for. I had, of course parted with all the easily-partable-with things the previous year. This year I want to continue but I am going for a goal of 500 items. If I make it (and I am going to try really hard) then there will be 1500ish items gone from the house. Surely that will make a difference to the clutteredness in the house.

I am not good at parting with things, especially if there is any sentimental value at all but I must try harder. I know that when we are gone, my clutterfree daughters will get a big skip and everything will just go in it. I'd like to have a bit of a say in where things go.

My other aim last year was to write a post on average once a week so that I would have a diary record of happenings in my life for me to look back on. I managed 41 posts rather than 52 so I feel that I didn't fail as badly as at decluttering. It is my aim to post 50 times in 2017 too. I forget things so easily and it would be good to have a reminder. I remember the big things but it is the little details that don't stick - the ones that make me smile at the memory. Like parking in the church carpark earlier this week and hearing a little voice shouting " Ganny, Ganny". I hadn't realised that she would be at the church nursery school that day so it was a real treat seeing her at the nursery gates jumping up and down and waving and shouting to me. She is two and a half and not good at saying a 'gr' sound yet. I can't tell you how pleased I was to have such a welcome! And this is just the sort of thing that brings a smile but slips out of my memory so quickly.

I've taken a pile of carrier bags full of clothes to a charity last week so I'm pleased that I've got a total of items gone to put at the end of my post : )

38 items gone


Tuesday, February 14, 2017


2017 seems to be whizzing past. We had a lovely family Christmas but it feels like months ago not just a few weeks.  We've been doing lots of things in the last month: acquiring wood, cutting up wood, finding yellow stickered things to share with my friend and my son and his family, sharing yellow stickered goodies that my friend found, cooking, knitting, making soup for the church coffee shop (a new activity for 2017), going for a trip out and buying hen food whilst out, and lots else. Hen food is cheapest for average quality at a countrywide store, I have found, but there are no stores near where we live. If we are travelling out of our area and passing nearish to one of these stores, we call in. Currently they are selling three bags for £18 and closer to home, we are paying £8.75 for the same size sack.

I did have one evening recently when I was cooking and suddenly there was an almighty crash and the microwave turntable shattered into hundreds of pieces. Didn't half make me jump! Fortunately the food was in a covered dish so no glass got into our dinner. We've only had the oven since May and it is still under warranty so we phoned up Tesco where we had bought it and eventually they agreed to refund or replace. I only wanted a new turntable but they thought that it must be faulty. The problem was that I had bought it in the last session Tesco had of doubling up the clubcard vouchers. They couldn't give me back the full number of vouchers and they couldn't refund the full price. They could not replace it because they don't stock any similar combination oven/microwaves (maybe they have had lots with faults.....?) but they eventually came up with a solution that was a happy outcome for us. Yesterday we collected our new one (from a different shop and a different model too) and I look forward to learning how to cook with that one.

And we have been out this afternoon to collect some nice silver birch branches from a friend who has had a tree pruned. Silver birch burns really nicely when the wood has dried out nicely. Those branches will get used next winter.

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Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year

Wishing everybody visiting here a happy and healthy new year for 2017 : )

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2016

I hope everybody has had a happy Christmas. We have! We had a lovely day yesterday with fifteen members of the family there. My daughters organised the meal with military precision and everybody was detailed to bring something to spread the load. We had a beautiful meal and my eldest outdid herself with 20 different vegetables. That is a family tradition because we all like our veg. Back when the children were all at home, we usually managed about 15 veg for Christmas dinner but there is a greater choice available in the shops now.

Enjoy the rest of the holiday!


Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Christmas is coming

It never ceases to amaze me how Christmas comes creeping up on me every year and I always get a bit caught out by it. I think it is because I remember Christmastime always being cold as a child and I keep waiting for the cold weather to arrive and stay for it to remind me to check the calendar. All year I collect presents for birthdays and Christmas so I've always got a head start in that respect but there are the cards to write, food hampers to make up and presents to be acquired to fill the gaps and then wrapped.  We always write a round robin letter too and that needs done. I've read some blogs where people have been quite derogatory about "boasting" letters but I don't see them like that. We have a lot of farflung friends and relatives and it is a way of keeping them up to date with the bare bones of what has been happening in our lives. I love receiving them too.

A couple of weeks ago, I had an email from a cat food company (Purina) offering me a £1 off coupon. Great, I thought, as I have two hungry young cats to feed. However, every time I tried to log in to my account with them, nothing happened. I tried using a different browser but to no avail. So I thought I would email and tell them my problem. The next day I had a reply apologising and saying that the problem had been referred to their techie department. They also said that they would send me a couple of sachets of cat food and a coupon to make up for my inconvenience. And three days later a little packet duly arrived with a £2 coupon and two sachets of cat food. And I have since been able to print out the £1 coupon that was offered in the first place. Just goes to show that sometimes it is worth contacting a company if there is a problem : )

Today I have been to school to see my granddaughter in her school nativity play. She was so proud of herself for being a star. It didn't matter that she was one in a line up of about ten little stars and that her head dress was too big and kept falling over her eyes. Tomorrow I am going to see littlest granddaughter in her nursery nativity play but I can't go to grandson's as it was a ticket only do and is restricted to two tickets per family. Boo!

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Friday, November 25, 2016


I've been missing in action again. Life just seems to have got busy since I last posted. We have been away a couple of times for my husband's meetings too, which has been mostly good. His meetings are in Cambridge which is a lovely place and I really enjoy wandering round there. This last trip was a short one - just one overnight so one day to wander - but it poured with rain and I got tired of hiding in shops where I didn't want to buy anything. It didn't help that my husband's meeting overran by two hours. And then there were roadworks on the way home with long diversions and loads of spray from all the lorries. I've done very well with the weather on the trips where I have gone with him and I know that I can't win them all but I was glad when we finally reached home this time.

We've had another family get-together too. My husband's sister was over visiting from America and spent a long weekend with us. We haven't seen her for some years so it was really good to catch up. She had not met three of our grandchildren or their mother either, so we had a grand get-together on one of the days sil was here.

We also had a party at church for the 100th birthday of one of our members. It was a lunchtime party and we were involved in the catering. She really enjoyed her day and showed us all her card from the Queen. She was very musical and used to belong to a choir until she was well into her eighties and the current members of the choir came and sang some of her favourite pieces for her. My husband was detailed to make sandwiches and generally help out with preparing a buffet lunch. My job was to bake scones for 60 people which kept me out of mischief for the morning. This story has a sad ending because this good lady died three weeks after her birthday. She had enjoyed good health and still did all her own shopping and cooking. She had decided that as a concession to reaching 100 that she would have a cleaner occasionally but it was not to be. She felt unwell, went to hospital and died there so at least she did not suffer.

Still on the subject of catering, my husband and I cooked a Christmassy dinner for 65 for our last church meeting of the year, last weekend. The church cooker has seen better days and has been used extensively and is now inclined to burn things so we went equipped with lots of tinfoil. There were very few leftovers and lots of people wanting seconds so we must have done something right! We managed to produce the three course meal for just over £2 a head but asked £3 from adults to cover the cost of the children's meals. We have also been asked to help with catering for a quiz this weekend but that will be a doddle as it is only for 30 people : )

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Birthday bash

In the last few days we have had my birthday and my son's too. So we got together at the weekend and had a family "do". There were only 14 of us as two people couldn't make it. I do enjoy it when the whole family get together. Once upon a time there were just two of us and now the family has grown. They all seem to enjoy getting together too, which makes me really happy.

We tend to go for simple meals because that means less time in the kitchen for those who are cooking. This time we had baked potato with cheese and baked beans and salad followed by an apple and blackberry crumble made in my biggest roasting tin and served with  ice cream or custard. It is not fancy food but everybody had something they liked eating and we all enjoyed the company : )

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