Saturday, 17 November 2018

Lost way

I have seriously lost my blogging groove lately. Life seems very bogged down at present.  I have put a ban on the national news as that has made it worse. Just leave the EU!!!

Why such a down?  We have thought and thought but can see no economies that will pave the way to a more comfortable life in the next 6 to 12 months.  We need to decorate, want carpets upstairs (4 years of varnished and painted boards) and the lounge carpet has a bare patch, sofas are hanging their springs out the bottoms, need new duvets and a new bed. We will need new clothes next year as we have just about exhausted all the clothes left from better years and recent charity shop finds.

We have given up our river mooring and are selling our boat. That should save £30 a month?  But we don't want the capital regained to go on the "everyday".
We have been through the electric, oil and water bills and we seem to be low users and on lowest tariff. We keep an eye on things and keep as to as low use as possible and within budget.
Our food bill has remained constant for the last 4 years, we are not spending more and our absorbing rising prices by eating less, making things go further and going for basic brands.
Our Sky bill has gone up but there is no reasonable alternative. Though there are days when I feel like throwing in the towel on TV altogether - that really would save a lot.
Our council tax is £1200 a year and we have just too much savings for reductions/benefits and likely to rise in April.
Our motoring costs are stable with low car tax, insurance and no repairs expected.
We have just come to the end of an expensive round of dentists and opticians bills and that should be OK for 12 to 24 months now.

If only we were getting some income of worth from our savings!! Oh for those past years when having savings meant the high interest rates was there to help. Current politics seem to be making prospect of interest rise on savings impossible to contemplate.

So what to do? We have tried optimism and how we are lucky to be healthy, warm and happy.  Not helping. We are struggling to find the money for a load of logs and the oil tank is pretty low.  We really should not have had a holiday this year.  Only good result is duff wood we have inherited on moving here is finally hitting the fire!

Our discussions so far have been about ideas of buying a second property to let.

We could get a mortgage and a one bed flat would give us at least £1000 a year income after expenses. Is it worth the stress of tenants? One new boiler and we would not get anything out of it.
We could get a bigger mortgage and a holiday home with a higher income.  But we worked it out that it would not be much more that the £1000 for less risk.

Are we ready to throw in our lot with the kids and ask for an annex on their next moves?

Our discussions next will have to be about making money from doing stuff creatively. Not just selling odd tomatoes at gate as that did not go well this year (£25 only). I could get my Folksy shop re stocked?  Husband could use his woodworking skills?  Small investments versus risk?  We are constantly encouraging entrepreneur efforts in our children, so perhaps its time to get back in the fray ourselves?

More thoughts needed.  Last alternative is spend all our savings and then throw ourselves under the Benefit top up train.  Another reason to turn off the news - the whole benefit system as reported sounds like a nightmare!!

Oh don't bother sending any fraudsters our way; its hard work getting a penny out of us for anything but basics and a fraudster has got no chance here!

Having got that off my chest, I feel better and may be able to get back to blogging about the good things in our retirement lives soon.  Cheers.

Friday, 9 November 2018

And back to you Brian!

The canes with bottles on them seem to have worked on the mole. 

There was a fresh molehill this morning - back over Brian's side!!!

Hee, Hee, Hee!!!

Meanwhile I was out at the dentists, which was bad enough, but the bus service into town was terrible.  20 mins late going in. Disrupted on the way back, running late and then the bus that left half an hour before mine,  breaking down so our crowded one had to stop and take everyone on board.  I am ready to give up bus travel even if its free.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Thanks Brian!

Image result for moles in garden uk

Our next door neighbour has been chasing a mole round his front lawn for the past two weeks. Even with the help of mate who is an ex professional mole catcher and his traps.  His lawn is completely ruined.

We got home this afternoon to tell us the mole had moved over or under the joint front path on to our lawn about mid day. 

His fencing contractor had used a heavy duty cutter to cut a whole in his concrete drive early this morning and that apparently had moved the mole on.

Thanks Brian.

I suppose we had better start using all the advice we had given him over the last few weeks.  I started by fetching some plastic bottles on bamboo canes that will rattle and vibrate in the winds predicted for the next few days.  I stuck 10 in a circle round the first molehill. The sprout plants out the back will have to take the chances with pigeons this week.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Good NHS!

NHS queues?   Not in our surgery!

The modern purpose built health centre is about 500 yards from our house.  The repeat prescriptions and appointments can be booked on line. Medicines collected from in house pharmacy. Only down side we have found, is if its urgent attention you need you have to sit on phone at 9 am and keep trying to get through for that day.

Does it work?  I'd booked appointments for us both on line last week.  Monday at 9.00 I left the house on my bike. I logged in on the auto system screen as the only person in the waiting room, and was seen promptly for annual medicine review. Husband left house at 9.05 and walked down the lane. I met him in reception where he was one of 3 people in there, discussed leaving him my bike while I walked back as he looked a bit "sweaty".  He was called in early as I had been so quick and he was "registered" us being present. 

I walked home and was sitting taking off my shoes at 9.25 when he appeared with a prescription in his hand.  All done and dusted.

So there we were at 9.30 having completed our major task of the day wondering what to do next. Also wondering if our NHS experience was unusual as every news broadcast is so full of doom and gloom about appointments!

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Strange grandchild?

Our 4 year old grandson came up from London at the weekend and spent the first afternoon with us running wildly around the garden till late while his parents took on some heavy duty gardening jobs for us.  After a big tea we were all sat in front of the fire talking when in a plaintiff voice he said:
"Isn't it time one of you put me to bed?"
Horror struck parents leapt to their feet, gosh, its 20 past 8.
"I go to bed at 8 and I am very tired"

Bad parents, we crowed at our son, Very bad parents. (Revenge for all the years of unwilling bed time routines)

Image result for tired childNext night he asked to go to bed at 7.45!!    Again, a day spent with grandparents had worn him out.

You hear about so many children being difficult to put to  bed (including the other son's 4 year old daughter), but not this one!  Well, not when he is worn out by us!

Friday, 2 November 2018

Owl recycling

Another rumble through the box of worn out 2/3 year old clothes from my grandson and the internet for ideas I came up with an owl cushion pattern.

I have used mostly two cute sports kits from (expensive) rugby for toddlers club he did for a while. The wings are the sleeves of two of those all in one swimming costumes ( whatever happened to swimming trunks?).

The pattern was a free download through Craftsy .  I went wrong with the wings but achieved a rescue.  I also used batting to quilt the features on the front to give it more shape.  I thought the 4 inch wide band that joins the front to the back owl shape would be the most difficult but it turned out to work really well.

As it was a gift and not being sold I did not have to do the safety checks on children's toys. Though I will warn the parents that it is not fire proof (non smoking, underfloor heated house so no real risks there).   I cut an old pillow in half expecting to use the foam or fibre filling as stuffing and found it had a thick foam layer in the middle.
Never seen that before. No wonder this old pillow had been shoved to one side as uncomfortable. Still this foam layer was actually just right for giving the owl a move rigid structure.

So some more recycling achieved and a cheerful cushion on the spare room bed ready for their next visit.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Autumn harvest

Our weather is yo-yoing between warmish and wet and then clear and bright. Wednesday was a lovely day and two loads of washing were dry by 3.30 pm.  There is nothing more lovely than white sheets billowing brightly!
I managed some gentle gardening after lunch, taking care not to overdo the sore back (again) and brought it in a bucket of potatoes and this lovely collection of roots, leeks  and a cabbage.
Next year I must make sure my husband gets seeds for SMALL cabbages. Thee great big things keep us going for a week!

That evening there was an article on the news about sustainable food and buying local - we looked at one another and laughed.  Apart from the small amount of chicken brought locally from the butcher who buys only local products, 90% of our dinner had traveled 50 yards down the garden.

Lost way

I have seriously lost my blogging groove lately. Life seems very bogged down at present.  I have put a ban on the national news as that has ...