Thursday, 26 June 2008
Sharon from finding simplicity has written a lovely post listing her "riches that really matter" and has asked me to do the same. At first I thought I would struggle but then found it difficult to stop, this is what I came up with after just a few minutes. Interestingly the more material things seem to pale into insignificance.
Sharing this life with Mr C
Knowing I am one of the first my children phone when they have good news
Ditto when they have bad news as even though it may be sad it means they trust me
Playing fetch with our playful puppy
Cuddles from same calmer puppy
Getting an "all clear" result from drs
Being cosy inside during a thunderstorm
The sound of rain on the conservatory roof
Egg and tomato sandwiches, egg custard tart and chocolate cake (mum's favourite tea both my sister and I still see this as comfort food)
Fishfingers, mash and peas (more comfort food)
Feeding the ducks
Sitting by a river watching the world go by
Paddling in rock pools
Being the first to tramp a path through crispy new laid snow
A field of daffodils
Decorating the Christmas tree with totally mismatched decorations collected over the years that mean so much to our family
The memories and watching the video of our cats 5 kittens (many years ago now)
Cuddling a new and freshly bathed and talcum powdered baby
My Mum's little aluminum "tea for one" teapot because it reminds me of Mum
A tray of tea and biscuits shared with a friend
A walk in the woods
Sitting by a fountain
Working in the garden and soaking up the sun
Picking the first runner beans of the season and each harvest afterwards
Watching a dragon fly flit across a pond
New baked bread
Cinnamon and spiced cookies baking
Bargain hunting at Car boot sales and charity shops
Making something and feeling the sense of achievement
Seeing happiness in my family and friends
Curling up with a good book (and some chocolate)
Having the time to smell the roses
I could happily go on adding more and more of lifes riches!
I wonder what your list would be?
The trouble with having an illness, that means very limited energy, is it does tend to mean that new and exciting interests use up vital energy supplies and that means a distinct lack of energy for the normal everyday business of looking after a home, and sad to say, it shows! I am blessed and lucky to have enough energy to at least realise this and care, in the early days it was all I could do to raise my head off the pillow!
Family and friends take us as they find us, it is us they come to see not a tidy house, although that would be nice sometimes.
With the weather being perfect for keeping on top of the gardening jobs, indoors is becoming neglected. Which way to go? How to fit it all in without aggravating the cfs again? I feel another list coming on!
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
In this weeks delivery I have 2 little gem lettuces (must find a recipe to use up all these lettuces! lettuce soup?) cucumber, why does an organic company have to use plastic? tomatoes, carrots, new potatoes, bananas, pears, melon and 1/2 dozen organic eggs. Apart from the melon, it seems a bit boring and not a lot for my money so I am considering changing to a delivery once a fortnight and using our local farm shop inbetween, it will be interesting to see how much I can get there for my money (£12.85)
I wish I had more energy to shop around and get some bargains but with the pesky cfs, needs must etc., I did manage to get a bag of fresh brussels sprouts knocked down from £1.49 to 20p the other day at sainsburys just because the outer leaves were a bit tatty, just peeled those off and used half yesterday with the roast dinner and the rest are in the freezer.
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
I shall miss this view of the end of our garden! The builders (cowboys) are back again after a couple of years of protests from the neighbours, ourselves included, incredibly the plans have been approved for another couple of £500,000 houses (they have already built 3) to go ahead on land at the end of our garden. Thank goodness we have a long garden!
Yesterday all we could hear was the sound of trees coming down, so sad and I suspect there are still some nests in use in those trees, not that these particular cowboys would care about that.
Over the years we have become used to this view and pretended we lived way out in the countryside surrounded by trees, we had owls and in the summer bats would fly over our heads while we sat out on our patio enjoying a glass or 2 of wine with friends. It is so easy to take such things for granted and believe that they will always be around but sadly things do change and from now on we will have the noise and swearing and eventually a 3 storey house overlooking our little bit of heaven.
At the moment I just want to move away and find some peace but for now we have to put up with it!
Friday, 20 June 2008
My Grandparents ( WW1) and my Mum as a baby 1920
When my grandparents were bringing up their 5 daughters in the 1930's they lived in a draughty victorian house with no mains water, just a well in the back garden complete with a live in frog (Granny said it ate all the flies) no electricity just gas for lighting and cooking. They then survived WW2 with all the rationing and trials that entailed. Although they worried they did however succeed in bringing up those girls and while they may at times have been hungry, nobody starved, I think of them a lot these days and weigh their experiences again my own recent worries. It certainly has the effect of shrinking my worries right down!
There's talk of fuel prices going up by as much as 40% over here! Food prices are also increasing rapidly - worrying times indeed. We rely on gas fired central heating and have had a condensing combi boiler fitted for 2 years now, this only heats the water we use and certainly made a difference to our gas bill, apart from only running it for a very short time each day in the winter, I am not sure what more we can do, the house has double glazing, wall and loft insulation. I run round behind Mr C turning off all the stand by buttons, have replaced light bulbs with the energy saving ones, things are not too bad yet but then again it's summer - longer, warmer days, the winter will be the challenging time! Doors will be shut, might even make a couple of draught excluders, heavier curtains put up at the windows and doors for a start and hot water bottles and cardigans employed.
Our cooker is a multi fuel one, gas hob and electric oven - one way to go is to bulk cook only - maybe try the cook once a month for the freezer method this book recommends http://www.amazon.com/Once-Month-Cooking-Spending-Delicious/dp/0805418350
Mr C often has problems choosing my birthday presents, I truly am happy with all that I have and rarely desire more but this year knew I would be able to use one of these and hopefully save a lot of electricity so this is now on order and I can't wait to start trying it out! http://www.lakeland.co.uk/product.aspx/!2511
There is still a lot more we can do to cut back our fuel usage and our food costs - a real work in progress and a steep learning curve but when I think of Granny's problems I realise just how lucky and blessed we are.
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
By Joyce Kilmer
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosoms now has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
I love this tree! It has been around a long, long time. I remember climbing it as a child (what child could resist such an easy climb) and then climbing it again while on my honeymoon. On sorting out old family photos I see my father did the same!
The tree is old and weighed down but still it is here and in leaf, maybe not for much longer but in these worrying times I will take strength from it still being here despite it's weary appearance.
Saturday, 14 June 2008
The top photo shows the vintage rose patterned arcopal I inherited from my Mum. It has great sentimental value as I can remember being with her when she bought it. Whenever I use it I remember Mum. The trifle bowl came out on special occasions and the butter dish and egg cups were in regular use. Mum had the tea set as well but i can't remember what happened to that. I have never seen any of this pattern come up on ebay but I keep hoping. There are a few of the lovely lustre tea sets on ebay at the moment though.
I thought the butter dish would make a great alternative for refrigerator pyrex dishes (can't afford them yet but will save up) so I was pleased to find another arcopal butter dish in clear glass for 50p at the church summer fete today. I also was found a glass storage jar, pretty blue bowl, 2 small floral dishes (might put some tea lights in these) in the 10p box. The linen "God bless my kitchen" tea towel was 50p and the little bag in a purse 20p. We also picked up 2 bags of books at 3 for £1
Friday, 13 June 2008
The puppy could and still can do this with cute panache but I alas cannot. I consider myself to be "recovering from" rather than "suffering from" cfs/me and often overstretch myself just to try for a while to keep up with the fast pace of others around me, it doesn't last long and I am soon put in my place and have to rest up (no choice in the matter). The house is a mess and needs a good old fashioned "bottoming out" but that will have to wait, in the meantime I can make lists. Truth be told I could make lists for England! and then lose them again in all the clutter! lol So today I am making lists, shopping lists (trying to keep that one very small, still getting over the shock of soya mince doubling in price!), his and hers lists for jobs around the house, gardening list, wish lists, reality lists! Even if I only manage to cross one thing of my lists it will be an achievement and mean I am going in the right direction again.
Thursday, 12 June 2008
Last year I made a little frog pool by sinking an old washing up bowl into the ground just a couple of feet away from my bean patch and within a few weeks this little critter moved in with 3 friends and we had very little trouble with the slugs (unlike my neighbours) There is still movement in the pool this year so I am hopeful my little slug eating buddies will do their bit again this year.
Wednesday, 11 June 2008
For the last 3 years I have been receiving an organic mixed fruit and vegetable box, first fortnightly and now on a weekly basis. It has just gone up to £10.90 for the box and £1.90 for the eggs and I know I pay more than perhaps I would at the shops but the quality has been consistently good and the home delivery side of things has been a lifesaver to me since my illness started. If I wish I can also (with 2 days notice) add to my order online from Abel and Coles grocery section.
Above are photos of a few I have received recently, bottom one being this week (with delicious strawberries and melon) , as you can see I sometimes have organic soya milk and soya yogurt added to the order, always adding organic eggs weekly. It may not look like much but I can normally make a few meals out of this and anything I can't use up quickly I pop into the freezer (this is why my freezers are bulging with bags and containers of veg!)
I still pick up any bargains I can to pad meals out, this week the fruit and veg man at the car boot sale was selling 2 huge cauliflowers for £1.50 and a butternut squash for £1 so I will be adding cauliflower cheese, butternut risotto and a vegetable curry to the menu plan.
Mind you having seen the wonderful bargains Jennifer at Home Matters Most found at the weekend, I am feeling inspired to try some late night shopping!
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
I bagged another piece of pyrex yesterday from the charity shop, it had some burnt on marks around the side but these have lifted off in the dishwasher. It has a lid which, although not a perfect fit, will cover the lobster patterned dish I rescued on sunday from an unwanted "stuff"
The top photo shows I have been reading my dog eared copy of "Tightwad Gazette" and wash out my "baggies" ready for re-use, including some of the super lakeland "stay fresh" bags (next to the bag of soapnuts) which really do work.
I do feel though that we are becoming a bit too dependant on plastic, we probably all have some tupperware in our cupboards and freezers and they certainly do stand up to the test of time, but I do worry that so much plastic around our foods may not be such a good thing, chemicals can leech from the plastics and when the item is no longer required or good for it's intended use it goes into the landfills and causes problems there. Plastic bags can only be washed and re-used so many times (not at all if wrapped around raw meat) this adds to the cost. I need to look into the alternatives. Tupperware was just coming out when I was a child and I do fondly remember the pastel coloured tumbers for our squash, but other than that there wasn't a lot of plastic in the kitchen. Food like sandwiches and cheese were wrapped in greaseproof paper or brown paper bags, cakes were mixed in earthenware or glass bowls and casseroles were cooked in pottery casseroles or pyrex. Maybe a trip back in time would be better for our health and wealth. Any excuse to add to my pyrex collection.!
It's was our puppys first birthday yesterday! She celebrated with a charity shop stuffed fimble toy (doubt it will last the week! don't worry though i do check it's condition several times a day for safety), a new tug toy and a pigs ear. How quickly that went by, and how she has grown. Her coat is just beginning to grow back towards the typical cockapoo teddybear like appearance after a very close clip to get rid of some tangles. Regular brushing and trips to the groomer should stop the tangles but it isn't cheap, however this cuddly pooch is definately worth it.