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

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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Saturday, October 22, 2016

More jam

I've made some more jam. I got my hands on some sloes and wanted to do something other than sloe gin with them. There is a section of hedge along the perimeter of the allotments which catches the sun all day long and there was about a pound weight of big black golf balls (huge blackberries) just waiting to be picked. So I did. I added in some windfall apples  just to make sure it set. I've made jelly with sloes before but not jam. This jam has a wonderful flavour and I really like it. It is sharp in the way that marmalade is sharp but sweet at the same time. I cooked the sloes first and sieved them to remove the stones. I wondered if it would be too much of a faff but when I tasted the jam I decided it was definitely worthwhile.

So I have updated my Preserving Year post to include this jam. We have some grapes on our vine and they are nearly ready to pick to make some grape jelly. We don't always get enough grapes to be worth doing anything with them but this is a year when hopefully I will get about 5lbs of jelly.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Scary story

This morning I did not feel at my best, so as I did not have to be anywhere, I stayed later in bed with my book. My husband was going to the allotment and was packing his stuff up to go and I carried on with my book.  Suddenly one of cats leapt on to my bed and plonked a rat on my lap. A live rat. It really made me jump! After freezing for a moment, I jumped out of bed and ran for the bathroom bin which I emptied on the floor and ran back to the bed and clapped the bin upside down on top of the rat - and held it there while I phoned for reinforcements. Fortunately my husband had not got very far and he came back and helped to capture it and took it up the far end of the garden. Hopefully it will die peacefully there, unmolested by cats. I am not keen on rats, to put it mildly, but after a fright like that, it probably won't survive.

My cat is probably feeling aggrieved that I didn't appreciate my nice present quite as much as he had expected : )