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

Thursday, March 27, 2014

£5 off at Aldi

Today there is a £5 off a spend of £40 in the Daily Mirror.  I shall be acquiring my copy of the Mirror : )

I'm reading that lots of people seem to be buying two copies of the paper so that they have two vouchers because they are dated for a week hence.  So one for this week and one for next week if they go shopping a little bit earlier in the week.  I have trouble enough spending the £40 in one week let alone two weeks running!

They seem to be printing a voucher for Aldi in the last week of every month so I think (now that I've finally noticed the trend) that I shall start keeping a separate shopping list for the things that we want that are good value in Aldi.  I do have difficulty in spending £40 anywhere in one go so this will give me a head start.  I can only bring myself to buy something if it is good value because otherwise there is no point to going to buy the paper specially and getting to Aldi.  I have the same problem with the £so much off a £spend vouchers at the other supermarkets too. This provides no end of amusement for my husband. Well, isn't it nice to be useful for something ?   : )


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Busy weekends

This weekend was busy.  Next weekend will be busy and so will the one after that.  It is the housework that usually gets left undone because we have to eat and clean clothes are needed for work...  so don't come and visit before the Easter holiday, please, so that I'll have a chance to play catch-up : )

One of the things that we did on Saturday was to go to an 80th birthday luncheon party at a pub near Stratford.  It was a very pleasant afternoon. As we were the transport for another couple, we were invited back afterwards for a cup of tea because the other couple were, if you see what I mean.  I had not expected that so it ended up that the whole day had gone because it was not very local... It was my first 80th party.  I've been to lots of 50th and 60th celebrations but not been to a 70th yet.  It will come : )

We don't tend to go out for meals but our invitation was the verbal kind that is kindly meant but extremely hard to refuse without giving offence and besides, the other couple would not have been able to go if we didn't, so we bit the bullet and went. We had expected to have to pay but discovered that it was all paid for so it just cost the diesel, which helped towards my enjoyment, if I'm being honest. I know I'm a skinflint sometimes but I like our cooking and it grieves me to pay a week's housekeeping money for a meal that is usually not as good as we could have cooked for ourselves.  I decided to order the scampi meal because I like it and my husband doesn't, so I very rarely have the opportunity to eat it.  And there were four different veg served with it, so that pleased me too.

Sunday, we had church in the morning (with music rehearsals that means 9 am until almost 1 pm - so it is longer than it sounds...), a quick trip to Lidl for milk and a glance at the weekend half price specials (pork mince £1.14 for 500g - nice!) and home for a quick sandwich.  Then off with son to help him move something which took longer than expected (doesn't it always?) then a super quick omelette made with a large number of my new girls' baby eggs and back to church for a special event.

I did manage a load of washing on each day and it was really good to bring it in dry at teatime, even the towels.  Since we have the woodburner now, I put up with an airer or two in the living room with us in order to make more use of the heat and keep away from the energy guzzling tumble dryer but I really like not having the room like the proverbial Chinese laundry.

And mentioning the woodburner reminds me to say that my daughter rang up to say that a tree had come down this weekend in her neighbour's garden and she has kindly volunteered our services to clear it : )  It is not a huge tree but it is free wood nonetheless and will help towards replenishing what we have lost at school.  The garden and tree belong to a single mother who is very grateful not to have to pay to have it cleared or to have the trouble of working out how to clear it. Win win, I think.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Cathy Daniels giveaway

I've been reading Angela Almond's blog and one of the blogs that she reads has a giveaway so I thought I would mention it.  I love the items pictured on the blog because I love patchwork. When I have more time to call my own, I shall go back to patchwork because I miss it in my life.

I thought that I would copy and paste the picture from the blog but it is huge and won't let me make it smaller.  Aha, I thought - I'll copy it into a word document and make it smaller and then I can copy and paste that smaller picture here.  No, that won't work either. I'd really like to increase my blogging skills so that I can do what I want!

So here is the web address for the patchwork pottery blog:

And Ang Almond's blog is worth a read too:


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I'm cross!

Three posts in three days.  That is rather more than I normally manage.

I've mentioned before that the caretaker had given us permission to clear a fallen tree at school.  It saved him money in getting people in to clear it and benefitted us.  We had to get somebody in with an enormous and powerful petrol chainsaw to cut the trunk up into big round slices that my husband started to chop up with an axe.  The big slices were too big and heavy to move so they had to be made into smaller chunks so that we could load them into the car to bring home.  Then they get chopped into suitable size pieces to fit into the woodburner.

Well, we had big slices of wood and my husband had started the process of cutting some up and bringing it home.  Then he went down with a chest infection at the end of December and then the rain came.  He still has not got rid of the last dregs of the chest infection even though the few days in Wales helped a lot.  And where the tree had fallen was like a bog and not really firm standing for using sharp tools when it would be so easy to slip.  Besides, he just wasn't up to swinging the axe.  And when he called into school yesterday, he went to look at the wood - and it has gone.  Somebody has taken a winter's worth of wood with our name on it.  We talked to the caretaker and the other person did not have permission to take it and we did but the caretaker's main view is that the wood on his grounds has been moved and at no cost to his budget.  Grrr.  At least we've had a bit for which I'm grateful.  But.......


Monday, March 10, 2014


This is a link to a fun quiz from the Guardian's food warrior series:

I came out with mainly Cs.

But - although it is a bit of fun, I was horrified by this bit:

You don’t need to be told that food waste is a problem. Last year, data revealed that British families throw away approximately six meals’ worth of food every week. It’s a waste of our money, it’s bad for the environment – and the 86 million chickens that are thrown away without being eaten each year can’t be particularly chuffed about it either.

We don't throw away six meals' worth of food every week and nor does anybody else that I know.   This means that other people must be wasting WAY more than that to balance our statistics and those of the people we know (and yours too?) in order for the average to be about six meals' worth.  Why do they buy so much?  I just don't understand.  If they have that much money to spare/throw away, can I have some of it please?  I could put it to better use and buy the smallholding that we'd love to have.  And where do they get that statistic about throwing away 86 million chickens uneaten?  In one year!  Surely that can't be right?  They are talking about British families not a worldwide statistic. Brain overload here......


Sunday, March 09, 2014


We've got eggs!  Yum!  All my new little brown hens have now laid eggs and all my older hens are laying two or three eggs a week apart from Tufty who is laying four.  So I can have eggs again and so can some of my customers now too.  I've been explaining to the new girls that they have to not only pay for their own keep but contribute towards the pensions of the older girls - and especially towards the pensions of those who are now too old to lay.  And how some future new girls will contribute towards their pensions when they are too old to lay.  They look at me so seriously when I talk to them that I can't help but laugh.

We went out to the feed merchant yesterday to stock up on layers' pellets.  It is about a ten mile round trip so I try not to go too often as it costs the same amount of diesel to buy one sack as it does to buy six.  It was such a lovely warm and sunny afternoon that we decided to come back through some of the little lanes before we got back to streets and houses again.  We were so glad that we did because we found not one, not two but THREE branches fallen and laying by the side of the road.  So we stopped, pulled the car in as far as we could, spread the tarpaulin over the sacks of hen food and got out our trusty little hand saw.  We came home with enough free wood for the woodburner for four to five evenings.  Somebody local stopped his van and told us that we were doing a grand job tidying the place up.  That made me smile too because that was not exactly our main objective although the place did look better by the time we had finished.

And I've hung outside my first loads of washing for 2014.  I'm now really looking forward to having clean bedding which smells of being dried outdoors : )

I popped into Lidl after church this morning.  My husband really likes their meaty crisps and they were one of their half price weekend specials.  The only pack left was torn and half the little packets were missing.  He was really disappointed - especially at £1.04 for all those packets which would have lasted him several weeks.  Their other half price weekend specials were pork chops (none left) potatoes (already got plenty) and mini salami at 29p for a pack of two and one of these minis is just right for upping the flavour in a host of dishes.  So I was pleased even if husband wasn't.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

World Book Day

It is World Book Day on Thursday 6 March.

If you buy a book at Amazon through Topcashback before 9 March (there are 10000 of these deals available) then you will get a bonus £2.50 cashback.  This is to celebrate World Book Day.  What a good excuse to buy a book : )  I've always got a list of books that I would like.  I usually try to wait until I can spend birthday or Christmas money (on secondhand ones) but I'm very tempted right now...