Sunday, 24 September 2017

Do you really need to buy more food?

Hello. I've had a very interesting and enjoyable afternoon. I visited two of the artists houses taking part in the Insight 2017 Open Studios. I was going to see a third but I ran out of time, so much to see and so much to talk about at the other two. The first was Helen who makes fabulous bags, and sends the profits to a dog charity in Thailand called Soi Dog. Beware the website has some distressing pictures.

The second home was where Irene lives and works. She is an amazing lady. She works in many mediums, metal, fused glass, ceramics, raw wood, and any old rubbish she can get her hands on. She makes garden sculptures, wall hangings, jewelry, painting, and upcycling domestic and scrap metal. Her house is full of her work, and her ideas are so unique. Her small back garden is like a tropical rain forest, with a pond and plants growing everywhere. I loved looking around, we had such a lot to talk about. Sorry I didn't get any photographs, I felt it would be intrusive to take them inside her home. Unfortunately she doesn't have a web site.

I made a little video this morning and set it to upload to yoootooob while I went out. Four hours later and it still hadn't finished uploading, but it's ready now. More people are signing up to my channel, not sure why because they are a bit amateurish, but as one young lady said, I am old and cute, so maybe that's why, ha ha.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Checkout this small supermarket

Hello. This weekend is the North Lincolnshire Artists Open Studios. Some of the artists work from home so they throw their doors open to anyone who wants to visit them. I go to the Ropewalk in Barton on Humber where there are several artists studios in the one building. 
I particularly like visiting Michael Scrimshaw, he is my kind of artist, making sculptures from piles of junk at his workshops at home. He looked a bit tired today as this is the second weekend of Open Studios and he has been talking to a lot of visitors. He soon perked up though as our conversations got underway. 
Both he and his wife are real arty types, and money savers, so we get on really well. They both have long hair down to their waist, Michaels being a mass of dreadlocks, which must be quite heavy. 
A lot of his work is commissioned, and is on show in public places. He tells me he is learning to play the violin, and after only one month of practicing, he can play quite a nifty Irish jig. I must admit I spent that long chatting to them I only had time for a quick in and out at the other studios. 
Moving swiftly on, I forgot to mention this the other day. I was in the town and went a bit further up the High Street than I usually do. There is a Herons Foods shop which I have never been in, so I thought I would check out the prices. It's not a very big shop, just two aisles.

These items were 60p each or two for £1. So, 120g of beans for £1. On the Tesco web site a 850g bag of sliced beans is £1. Sliced mushrooms, 900g is £1. At Tesco a 500g bag is £1. So these are the better buys. You might want to check out your Heron Foods if you have one. I shall be walking that extra few hundred yards up the High street again in the future, to keep my eye on the bargains there.

That's all for tonight folks. Thanks for popping in, have a nice Sunday, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Friday, 22 September 2017

Easy to make flowers

Hello. I've had a lovely afternoon sewing whilst listening to Radio 3. It was very relaxing, I could get hooked on classical music. I've made these Suffolk Puff flowers. 
A simple idea, not mine, I found the instructions in this library book.

Each one needs two circles of fabric, mine are 6 inches and 4 inches in diameter. Running stitch around the edge, and pull the thread tight so it gathers up into a puff ball. Sew the small one on top of the larger one, and add a button.

I used pipe cleaners for the stalks, I bought these ages ago from Poundland, thought they might come in useful for something. I twirled the end round and stitched it onto the back of the flower. You could use wire or anything long and stick like. Or you could make them shorter, depending on the container you are going to put them in.

Then I covered the back with a circle of felt to give a neat finish.

The pipe cleaners are a bit floppy, a stiffer wire might be better. I have pinned these together at the back and stuck them in an old glass oil bottle.

They could be worn as a corsage, with a brooch clasp fastened to the back. Or a ribbon attached and used to tie a parcel up. A small bouquet could be made and given as a gift.
Mayze likes her new sunlounger. This is the old office chair I threw out, the back is broken and the seat cushion has been patched up and is falling apart. An old umbrella, rescued from a skip if I remember rightly, and clamped to the arm of the chair. She even lies there in the pouring rain.

My dinner tonight was sweet potato, carrots, green beans, peas, and spinach, with half a packet of pasta in cheese sauce. It was very nice.

Heidi is being a bit clingy tonight and I'm not going to get any more typing done, so I'll pop over to yooootooob and watch something. Thanks for popping in, have a good weekend, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Time to stop spending

Hello. I've been doing some quick calculations of what the latest holiday cost me. Yes, walking is free, put one foot in front of the other, so apart from the cost of sturdy boots there isn't any other equipment needed. You don't have to buy special walking clothes, as long as you dress according to the weather. It doesn't matter if you don't have designer labels.

Six nights accommodation cost me £317. These ranged from a Youth Hostel at £33, and a hotel at £62. No expensive Radisson on this trip, ha ha. I budget £3.50 a day for picnic food that I can eat in my room, snacky things from small shops. Then there was the cost of the petrol to get to Bradford and on to Cleveleys, and back home again. And the train fair from Blackpool to Carlisle. Tot all this up and it comes to about £418. So not really a cheap holiday.

When I first started doing these long walks I looked for the cheapest B & B I could find, because I didn't have much money. It was not easy to keep walking past a hotel, in the hope of finding a cheaper place further on. All I wanted to do at the end of a days trekking was sit down. However, things are not so financially dire now, I save enough money to be able to pay for a bed wherever I choose. I can stop more or less wherever I like now, within reason.

People ask me if I camp. The answer is no, not on a long walk. I don't want to carry the gear, I want a real bed to sleep in, I want a real bathroom, and I want a good breakfast. Having to put a tent up after a long days walking does not appeal, and definitely not on a day when it's raining and windy. No thank you.

Looking at my recent expenditure I seem to have got through a fair chunk of money in the last few weeks. Chair £100, specs £200, and camera £100. I have no regrets for these purchases, I have saved and there is money in my emergency fund to cover for them. All I have to do is to continue my frugal lifestyle and I will have money to spend on needs and a few wants. I've just had my credit card statement, £564, this includes petrol, food, vet, mobile phone top up, one hotel, specs and chair. This will be paid in full when I am next in town in a few days.

So now the focus now will be on saving money to recover some of this spending, and top up my emergency fund. So what will I be doing in the next few weeks? For a start I will not be putting on the heating just yet, it isn't cold enough. I will not go mad spending on food, I will get a few fresh things, fruit and veg mainly, and eat what I have already got in the cupboard and freezer. I want to cut down on my dairy, mainly cheese, and experiment more with plant based food. Not going completely vegan, but I think there is a middle ground to be achieved.

I need to drink more water, I don't drink enough. I will continue to rinse my pots and pans under a trickle of tap water as soon as I have finished with them, no mounds of washing up for me. I will assess the state of my clothes before I do a wash, making sure I have a full load each time, and only wash when it's a good line drying day. I will continue to scour the shops in town for the best prices on cat food. I will keep my food cupboard tidy so I know exactly what's in there. I will cook two or three portions of food at the same time so some of it can be heated in the microwave the following days. Now it is raining more often I will keep a large bucket in the downstairs toilet and use rainwater for flushing. The nights are getting longer so I will be more mindful about switching lights on. Switch them off when leaving a room.

So, I will step up the money saving tactics I have learnt over the years, and hopefully not slip back into 'stuff it who cares', mode. We all need a treat now and again, but it's so easy to comfort spend and go a bit mad. Self control and self discipline is the order of the day. It is for me anyway.

Are you re jigging your budget in readiness for the larger winter fuel bills? Don't be caught out, start your plan now. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Life is back to normal

Hello. So it's back to normal, tidying garden, dog walking, and library today. There is housework to be done, but I will do that in dribs and drabs when I feel like it. The fridge is empty but I can manage a bit longer on what I have in before I go shopping. 
I am walking Bailey poodle again, Joyce is finding it a bit too much, she is a bit unsteady on her feet. The hedge next to the path through the Village Green is overgrown forcing people to walk over the grass. It's also difficult for those with mobility scooters, and now it's becoming quite muddy. Someone asked me if I knew anyone from the Council to report it to. It has been like this for a few weeks, the Council should have sent someone to cut it back by now. There's one way to solve the problem. I took my loppers, a pair of shears, and a brush to chop it all down and clear the path. If you want something doing, do it yourself, that's what I say. 
After lunch I went to see Stan on the mobile library, and changed my books.
Look how well my herb planter is doing. It's about time I used some of it in my cooking. I have no idea how much to use, so I picked a handful.
And chopped them up into small pieces.

And added them to this. Quorn chunks, Quorn mince, frozen beans and peas, and a tin of chick peas. I added turmeric, vegetable granules, splash of orange juice, Danish Blue Cheese, and some porridge oats to thicken it. It's bloomin lovely, two more portions for the next two days.

Oh dear, it's starting to get dark earlier now. I am layering up with extra clothes. Not looking forward to winter. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Monday, 18 September 2017

Pub lunch at Knott End

Hello. Fully recovered now, Crafty Club this morning, feeling chipper. Yesterday Carol and I went to Fleetwood to go across the water on the ferry to Knott End. You may remember that I walked there last time I visited her, but didn't go on the ferry. This time we drove, and went across. 
On this map you can see the last part of my route, Pilling was where I decided to press on to the end. No point in going the shorter route for the ferry because the tide was out, and there was nowhere to get a bed for the night. So I walked past Hambleton and crossed over the River Wyre on the Shard Bridge. 
It was a nice day, sunny with a gentle breeze. The little boat behind the ferry is getting ready for a fishing trip.

Time to get on, pay the man on board, £2 each way.

Off we go, you can see the other side.

Heading towards Knott End. There were some jet skiers about.

Nearly there, it only takes five minutes.

We had a stroll down the Promenade while we waited for the pub to open at 12 o clock. Carol had fish and chips, I had veggie lasagne and chips. It's a small quiet place people come for a couple of hours to look around, bikers meet at the cafe on the sea front. We headed back to the ferry and just missed one, didn't have to wait long for it to come back.

The tide had gone out a bit and left the ramp muddy so the skipper got the hose out to clean it off before he let anyone get off.

On our way back and we can see the lifeboat parked in it's berth.

We went back to the car and decided to have a look at the Marina. You can't see it behind the shopping centre. Plenty of parking at the Freeport Outlet. It's one of those places where all the top names have stores, but because it's called a Freeport everyone assumes everything is going to be super cheap. We are not taken in by this and didn't step into any shops on our way through to the Marina. The place was busy as you can expect on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Not a very big Marina, only saw a few people pottering about, more like a boat parking lot.

The houses you can see behind it are a large new build estate, we went to have a nosy to see what they were like. We weren't impressed. They were too close together, small gardens, not enough parking spaces which were too small anyway.

Back at the house I had a drink and left to come home. It was a nice afternoon out with my best friend Carol. Steady drive back home, couldn't be bothered to rush.

Thanks for popping in, and thanks for all your comments, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Day 6. Morecambe to Cleveleys.

Hello, I'm back at home now so I'll just write this up for the last day of the walk yesterday. There aren't many photo's because I was concentrating on walking as fast as I could. 
The Travelodge at Morecambe didn't serve breakfast, they sell a breakfast box with a few items of breakfasty kind of stuff. Not worth the £5 something so I gave it a miss. Instead I ate what I had left from my picnic in the room the night before. Cheese and biscuits and half a tub of pasta and sweetcorn salad. It was a Weightwatchers salad, and flippin awful. It nearly made me sick so I couldn't finish it. Lucky I had some choccy biscuits as well. 
I was determined to give it my all because I could see it might be difficult to get a bed along the way. I did have details of a farm at Pilling and thought that might be the answer, but it was only 3pm when I arrived there, far too early to pack up. I carried on walking. 
I took the cycle track out of Morecambe alongside the railway line. I was dead impressed with how tidy it was, and easy walking on the tarmac. I was able to get up a good fast pace. All well sign posted as well. It was well used by dog walkers and people taking their kids to school.
Three and a half miles to Lancaster, I was there in an hour. This is the Millenium footbridge over the river. My maps didn't cover Lancaster so I had to ask a couple of people for directions.

 A quick snap as I was passing through the town.

At this stage I wasn't sure how much there was left to do, I knew it would be more than twenty miles if I wanted to do the whole lot in one go. I chose to take the most direct route along the roads instead of meandering along footpaths.

On and on I went. I was hoping to find a shop where I could buy some supplies. None at Conder Green, or Cockerham, and I was getting hungry. At 3pm I went in a pub at Pilling and had egg, chips and beans. Feeling suitable refreshed, I carried on. 
To Hambleton, then over the river at Shard Bridge. It was then I knew I had to give it one extra push and go for it.

It was 7.30pm when I arrived at Carols house, she came out to meet me. I had been on the road for more than ten hours. My trudging became slower and slower. I was whacked. 
Oh it's great to put my feet up.

Total miles are 110, in six days. I'm chuffed.

Now I am home. Me and Carol went out today, I'll tell you about that tomorrow. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Yipeee, I've done it.

Hello my lovely Bloggerettes. Guess where I am tonight. Yes, I am back at base, sitting with my feet up at Carols house. Oh the relief to stop walking. Trouble is that now my legs will seize up, I've already had Carol laughing her head off as I cling on to the furniture when I move about. She said I look like an old woman of ninety.

I've just checked the mileage, 26 miles covered today. WOWEEE. Not the most I have ever covered in a day. I remember walking 30 miles on the last day of my first ever walk from Blackpool to the Humber Bridge.

It's getting late, I will be in bed soon, so I'll sign off now. Thanks for popping in, I'll put the last report  of day 6 on here tomorrow night.
Toodle pip.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Day 5. Milnthorpe to Morecambe

Hello. The landlady at The Bull makes a very nice breakfast, and charged me only £35. The en suite was ultra modern and the room was comfortable. Couldn't ask for more. 
Another nice day today, except for a couple of odd showers which lasted all of a few minutes late afternoon. There was still a lot of water lying about in the fields so I marched at a brisk pace along minor roads. At least on tarmac I don't have to be forever looking down at what my feet are doing, and I can gaze at the scenery. 
I left Milnthorpe and went over the bridge on the River Bela, and into the deer park. I only saw two deer, the rest must be hiding. It was a beautiful morning. 
This is Dallam Tower.

I soon came into the village of Beetham. Pretty cottages, and they still have a Post Office.

The pub on the corner.

This mirror assists people emerging out of the driveway opposite

This is the church at Warton.

Ha ha, the gadget for lazy people, a robot that cuts the grass.

After Beetham I had a lovely walk through some woods, and went through Yelland Storrs, Yelland Redmayne, and Yelland Conyers, very pretty villages. I was going to pick up the Lancashire Coastal Path, but I thought there might be a problem with it being possibly flooded, I went on the canal instead. There were quite a lot of people about, dog walkers and cyclists.

Someone having fun on their canal side patio.

At last after a long trek I got on the Coastal Path and came into Morecambe. Blue skies and hot sunshine greeted me.

Eric is still there. I can still hear him singing 'Bring me sunshine', and he did.

And to top it all a rainbow came out over Morecambe Bay.

Tonight I'm in the Travelodge, it was the easy option. Too tired to go knocking on doors. Another 16 miles done. I don't think this walk will be as long as I thought it would be.

I'm going to sign off now as I am struggling to stay awake. Tomorrow I'm going to be heading for Lancaster and beyond, I think there is a day and a half walking left to do. It's a pity I can't do it in a day but I think it's going to be too much. I need to check out the times of the Knott End to Fleetwood Ferry to make sure I can get across the water.

Thanks for popping in, have a good weekend, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Day 4. Bowness to Milnthorpe

Hello, from The Bull in Milnthorpe. Guess what, NO RAIN TODAY. The sun was shining on me for most of the day, with a little bit of cloud drifting over. It makes such a difference to my spirits, and now I feel cock a hoop.

I turned left out of the B & B this morning to go up the hill to the start of the Dales Way long distance path. After a mile or so it dropped down onto the road, which I then followed all the way to Kendal. I was determined to keep off the mud and keep my boots dry.

Luckily I had a Kendal Street map with me which made the camera shop that Alison mentioned, easy to find. The man in the shop tested the batteries and the charger, but he couldn't be sure which was failing, and he didn't have any of those type of batteries in stock. I could see that this was going to be a problem, so I made the decision to buy a new camera. It's a Cannon 1XUS. I will take my old camera into my local shop and get a battery ordered, then that can be a spare.
I've had the battery on charge and here are two test pictures. So, we are back in business. Thank you Alison for finding this shop.

Out of Kendal I followed the River Kent, south. I have walked this before so I recognized it. It was a lovely walk, through fields of cows and sheep. Then I left the river to continue on the road to Milnthorpe. It was about 5.30pm and I was ready for stopping. I went into a hotel and they were full, but the pub across the road had a room.

Now I will study the maps to work out where I am going tomorrow. The legs are still aching, and the feet are a bit sore, with another blister on my big toe. After a rest I will be ready for the next part in the morning.

16 miles done today. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip