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

Thursday, January 23, 2020

What a week!

What a week - and we are only on Thursday. On Monday I was down at church baking as usual. In the afternoon we had to go to the funeral of an old friend so my husband came down on the bus at lunchtime to help me clear up so that we could go off to the funeral which was about 10 miles away. He washed up everything that was ready to be washed and popped to the office to do a job until I was finished with the rest of the utensils. His coat was sitting on my chair in the corner of the kitchen. I popped out to the Ladies at one point - the only time I was out of the kitchen. So we finished up and packed my bags up and went out to get in the car to go home and change for the funeral. And the car was gone. Stolen. Somebody had nipped into the kitchen when I was out of it for two minutes at the Ladies and felt in the zipped up pockets of my husband's coat and found the car keys.... I did not know he had left them there or I would have moved them. We had only bought the car in May (2012 model so not exactly new) and have since paid for a tow bar to be fitted and for a specific-to-that-car roof rack. My husband's spare glasses are in the car (£500 for a new pair because he has so many eye problems) and lots of tools and all sorts of stuff that is convenient for us to have at hand in the car. The insurance company will pay a maximum of £250 for contents. Grrr.

We have cctv footage of the man and woman who stole the car, three eyewitnesses who can describe them. They are known "customers" at the coffee shop, always asking for a free cup of tea. The coffee shop staff noted them particularly this visit because they asked for a free cup of tea because they could not afford to pay and then asked for the code for the security barrier at the end of the carpark. they wondered how they could afford to run a vehicle when they could not afford the tea.

And with all that evidence, the police don't seem very interested at all. I didn't know that you can only report a theft of or from a car or from a house online now. It took a good couple of hours to do that. Then another hour with the insurance company trying to talk on the phone with a Chinese (or thereabouts) lady whose first language was definitely NOT English. What a performance! The insurance company are just assuming that our car will never be seen again. So we went frantic yesterday going around car sales places to look at cars while we still have the courtesy car to get there.

And last night my husband went down with a tummy bug. 18 hours now and he is still running to the bathroom. I am sitting here waiting to see if he has passed the bug on or not...…..

And we never got to the funeral to say goodbye to our elderly friend.

What a week!


Saturday, January 18, 2020

Yellow stickers : )

Yesterday I popped across the road from church to Asda to get some milk. Happily there was a chap doing second reductions. He had quite a lot to do and I stood and waited patiently until he had reduced the things I had my beady eye on. He also had a whole tray of extra large oranges to reduce. The first reduction had them marked down to £1 for four of these huge oranges. Several ladies looked at them and asked if they could have a pack. To each one the Asda man replied that they could but if they waited a couple of minutes, he would be reducing them further. Every single one of those ladies said that they could not wait, took a pack of the oranges and went on with their shopping. He was reducing everything to just above half of the already reduced price. I was left wondering if this is a sign of our "instant gratification" world that we live in these days.


Thursday, January 16, 2020

No visit

We had hoped to go down to Devon to visit my mother-in-law this month. However, my husband has had a really bad cold which settled on his chest. He has asthma so that is not a good combination! So we are not going to Devon. My mil has full blown dementia so she would not recognise us anyway. And after the visit, as soon as we had gone through the door, she would not remember that we had been. So the visit is really for us, not for her. The visit is expensive, both in petrol and the cost of accommodation. It is my mil so we don't mind the cost too much but I am glad that we held back on booking somewhere to stay as that would definitely have been money down the drain if we weren't going.

Now we just have to get my husband healthy again and find a spot in the diary that is not too busy.


Saturday, January 11, 2020

Back in (yellowsticker) business

We found another fridge freezer on Freecycle. It is a bit elderly and battered but at least it works. So I can still keep my eyes open for good yellow stickered bargains : )   I just have to remember not keep them for treats. I still get upset thinking about all those pork chops we lost and the whole duck and all the other things too.

Invigilating is finished for another few months. It will be nice when I get paid, though. There probably won't be any more of that kind of work until May now. It is a nice little extra and I am helping our school too.

I was down at church baking on Monday, same as usual. Except that just as I was about to leave, the house, my friend rang up and said she had a pumpkin that she had grown that was on the verge of going past its best and did I want to make soup for the coffee shop. Well I could not pass up a free pumpkin so I only got a little bit of baking done. I spent the rest of the time chopping veg. I made 56 portions of spicy pumpkin and tomato soup and they are now in the freezers at church. I need to find a bit more time to get a bit further ahead with the baking now. My husband is down with a heavy cold which is settling on his chest - not good when you have asthma! If I go down with it, I need to know that there is a good stock of baked goods in the freezer to tide them over until I am well again. The coffee shop had a bit of a run on cake in December with all the Christmas shoppers wanting a break and a hot drink with a piece of cake so I have been starting with a totally empty freezer. It is definitely looking fuller now but there is still lots of space so I can't afford to get my husband's cold! I have been taking lots of vitamin C and echinacea recently......

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Tuesday, January 07, 2020

What a way to start the new year!

We discovered this week that the extra freezer that lives outside in the shed has died. Everything had thawed and I am really upset about it. We had joints of pork, a whole duck, several packs of pork chops, some lovely pate... I could go on but it is all doublebagged and in the bin now because it smells dreadful. It was mostly bought yellowstickered but it was stuff that I was saving as special treats. What a waste.  Aaaargh!!!

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everybody!

We did not intend to stay up to welcome in the new year.  We have been doing rather too much for too long and an early night seemed preferable. However our next door neighbours had a party...  They are not quiet neighbours at the best of times and when they have a party, they like it loud. They also had their back door open so that the whole neighbourhood could share in the music. My bed was jumping with the bass turned right up. and they did not wind down until gone 2 am. Not a happy bunny here : (

Yesterday was loads better. We spent New Year's Day out at our friends' farm in company with a roomful of other friends. It was fun!  And we did not disturb anybody else. Today I am having a day off and doing absolutely nothing.  And an early night too, I hope.


Saturday, December 28, 2019

Back to the old routine

Yesterday I spent down at church in the kitchen, cooking yet again. I had lots of broccoli that I had bought in Asda at 20p each and almost a kilo of stilton that I had bought on super special offer so I made 54 x 350ml portions of broccoli and stilton soup. I wanted to get it made while the broccoli was still fresh enough. I don't normally make that flavour of soup because it is just too expensive. I do love it though and brought home the pot scrapings to have as my lunch today. Yum!

I also baked three lots of cake to go in the freezer which was just about bare. Too many Christmas shoppers calling in to have a cuppa and to recoup their energy for the next round of shopping. I shall be back in the kitchen on Monday as usual to try and get that freezer stocked a bit fuller. The coffee shop is closed for a week between Christmas and New Year so there are no customers at the moment to eat everything I am making. The staff are doing a deep clean of everywhere while they have the opportunity. I have been looking on the internet looking for a few recipes to broaden my menu. I have my regular basics but I am looking for a few more recipes that are not complicated to make but look and taste good and are inexpensive to boot. As a charity, we don't aim to make a profit but we do need a small surplus as our chairs are about ten years old and are suddenly starting to look it, as furniture often does. Last year the chairs were all looking fine but this year they have needed to be mended frequently and there are cracks starting to appear on the seat pads. so we need a little bit of profit to buy new chairs with. If anyone has a favourite recipe that would be useful to me at the coffee shop, then please do share it : )

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