Tuesday, 31 January 2017

No problem, I'll make one.

Hello. Thank you for the many more messages coming in. You are so kind. I'm taking one day at a time, looking for things to occupy my time and my mind. Can't sit around feeling sorry for myself. Bugsy had the best life ever, I made him that promise when he first came into my life. For the last few years he knew he was the King of the Castle, mooching  around his domain,  checking on his subjects, letting them know he was boss. Nothing bothered him, he was so laid back. The last few months while he was living on the table we had conversations, face to face. He knew he was loved. We were a team, I am grateful that I have lovely memories of him. 
 I'll tell you about a little invention I made yesterday. I bought my sewing machine about the time I retired, nearly eight years ago, it was just under £100, nothing fancy, it does what I want it to do. 
This is the piece I am working on at the moment, patchwork pieces. I cut out some brown strips of fabric for the tree, it's a heavy material and frays a lot. I laid them out where I wanted them.

Hand sewing was going to take too long, so I thought machining would be best, but the pieces were in danger of falling off while I was doing it. I need a wider flatter surface around the machine to support it and  keep it all flat. 
I could make one out of wood, but that might take a while, and it's too cold to work outdoors at the moment. So, I had a look around and found a sturdy cardboard box that I brought my groceries home in from Aldi. Measured the height, exactly three inches, perfect. I cut an aperture in it, the width and length of the machine base.

 Covered the top with sticky white glossy paper, and slid it onto the machine.

Perfect. Now I have a flat surface to support my work, and it cost nothing.
Does the job just fine. A good invention I think. 
It's lunch time and I am going out this afternoon, so I'll sign off. Don't forget, tomorrow is the 1st of February, the day the Walking Group clock in with their mileages.

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

Monday, 30 January 2017

It should get better.

Hello. Thank you everyone for your kind and thoughtful comments. It's a great comfort to me that I have so many understanding readers. I am grateful for your support, through the good times and the sad times. There is now a big empty table in front of me, and a sadness in my heart which I hope will ease as time goes on. Some things we have no control over, life changes all the time, and all we can do is get used to new situations. 
Garcia comes every morning, he is waiting at the back door and comes into the kitchen and jumps on the worktop looking for food. He is in his own house overnight, but is let out when everyone goes to work, so he comes straight round here. This morning he didn't find any food in the kitchen so he did what he normally does, comes into the living room and jumps on the table to finish off Bugsy's food. He looked a bit confused,  nothing there, everything gone. I have a few sachets left so I opened one for him. Then he settled down on the easy chair next to the table. He is gone now, back home for the night. His owners know he comes here, they don't mind, he commutes between the two of us. 
Here are a couple of pictures that I was going to post yesterday. This little bag is a smaller version of a shopping bag. Inside is Helen's birthday present. I thought it would be better than wrapping it in paper which would be thrown away. The bag can be used again. The gift tag is cut from an old greetings card. 
The band that played at the party on Saturday night. They were very good and everyone was up dancing, including me.

Today I've been keeping myself busy. I woke up at 5am, and made a coffee and went back to bed. I am half way through reading a book which is quite good. It's a true story about a man who gave up his job to travel the world.

Before breakfast I finished off sewing three more shopping bags. I went to Crafty Club this morning. Not many of us there, one member is away on holiday, and another is having an operation. We still had a nice chat though.

I did my three mile walk this afternoon. Only one day left of this month. I made a target of 100 miles for January, and I will hit that when I have done the walk tomorrow. I hope you are all doing well. I will post up a list of Walking Group names on Wednesday the 1st of February, then you can post your comments on there, how you have done, and your mileage for January.

I have painted this frame today, it was gold, and didn't really suit the picture. The black frame looks a whole lot better. I love the picture even more.

The best thing for me to do is keep my mind busy. Waves of sadness come from nowhere. It's early days, it should get better. Bugsy is buried wrapped in a piece of patchwork that I made nearly fifty years ago. It has fabric from a couple of dresses I made for myself  in it. A little bit of me has gone with him.

Got to go, crying again. We'll catch up soon.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Goodbye my little friend

Hello. I'm not saying much today, my beloved Bugsy has passed away. I went out last night to Helen's 50th birthday party, and when I came back I sat in a comfortable chair with Bugsy on my knee, for an hour. I put him to bed with his hot water bottles. He hadn't eaten very much in the last 48 hours and I planned to take him to the vet on Monday morning.

This morning when I came downstairs, I knew he was very poorly. He was laid stretched out and had been sick where he lay. I rang the emergency number for the vet and she said to bring him straight away. I asked for a home visit, but she said it would be quicker if I brought him in. He was barely conscious so wouldn't have known what was happening. When the time came to say goodbye I think he knew I was there, I held his head and he gave a little murmur. One hour later I was bringing him home.

He is now buried in the garden. He loved the garden, lying in the sunshine watching me and the other cats, and Rocky, coming and going. Rest in peace my little boy, my best friend for 20 years. He came to me when I was in need of some comfort after a messy relationship broke down. His previous owner kept going away and leaving him when he was only a kitten. We both needed someone to love, and we found each other.

Sorry, no more words.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Do I need one?

Hello. I am getting  a bit worried, I think I am missing out. I'm going to miss the boat and get left behind if I don't get my finger out and get organized. Everyone else seems to be getting them, you need one for this and one for that, just how many do you need? I haven't got any! Oh dear.

They say life is so much better if you have got a few of them, even one would be better than none. But where do you get them from? The world seems to be awash with them, everywhere you go there are adverts, recommendations, on the radio, internet, magazines, posters, they are everywhere. You must get one of these, you need this one and that one.

Ok, I'll look for one. But my life has been fine up to now without them, if I get one of these must have's will it make everything so much better. I'm a little bit wary of all this hype, a little bit sceptical, I can't understand how they work. What do they do exactly?

Perhaps I'll stumble across one somewhere when I am least expecting it. Maybe I'll turn a corner and there it will be, saying 'I'm yours, come and get me'. But how will I recognize it? It could be a fake. Someone could have planted it there, knowing that I will be coming along and fall for their trick. I don't know if I would dare pick it up, I might walk round it and leave it there.

If I don't get one soon perhaps I'm destined to be a dinosaur forever. I'm not sure if you have to pay for them, I've heard they are free. I don't want any extra complications in my life, I am happy as I am. Maybe I won't bother, if I see one, I will ignore it. No thanks, go away, I don't want you. That would be the easy thing to do. Yes, that's it, I have decided that I will not look for one. If I find one I will give it away.

YIKES....There are millions of them. Have you got an APP?  What do they do exactly? How do you get one? Can you give them back? Maybe someone can enlighten me.

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

Friday, 27 January 2017

Hugo says.....

Hello. I've had my tootsies tickled today. Hugo has a clinic at the Age UK regional office in town, and charges only £10, so I thought it would be a good idea to get my feet checked to make sure there is nothing terribly wrong with them. 
I expected him to be an older man, he sounded older on the phone. I'm surprised that a young man chooses a career which involves getting up close to feet. He was a chatty friendly type, and he loves his job. He goes to care homes and does all the elderly people while they are having a coffee. He does home visits, and will visit groups. Here are his details for anyone in the North Lincolnshire area. 
Hugo says he has seem bunions a lot worse than mine. He says if they are not causing any bother leave them alone. They aren't so I will.

Hugo says I have two hard lumps on the balls of my feet, I'll cut them out. He said it's the pressure which causes that.

Hugo says it's ok to drain a blister and put antiseptic on it.
Hugo says do you want me to cut your toe nails. I said no, I've just washed my feet and cut them myself, I can reach them. But you can use your clippers on the two hard nails which I find difficult to cut with scissors.

Hugo says, do you want some moisturizer on them. I said, yes please.

Hugo asked me if I want to make another appointment. I said, no, I will see how they are in six months after I have done some more walking.

Hugo says he has the best job in the world. I said, no you don't I had the best job in the world, a lorry driver. Hugo says he has an HGV licence. I said he could make some money driving a truck. He says no thanks, I like looking after feet.

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

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Works both ways

Hello. It's chuffin cold outside, freezing cold in fact. I went out to do my walk and came straight back in to change into a thicker, heavier jacket with a hood. Three miles and one hour later and I was back. It would have been 50 minutes later, but I stopped to talk to Ken and Jade dog. She was a bit mucky on her back, I expect she is happy now that she can roll about and run free in the fields. 
This was last night's dinner, and I had exactly the same for today's lunch. Piping hot Quorn and vegetable mild curry, very tasty. Another portion left for dinner later. The fridge is bare, not much left in the freezer, and only a few tins and packets. I have to go to town tomorrow so I will pick up some more supplies while I am there. 
Have you noticed that this time of the year is like being in a void. The space between New Year and Easter is a bit of a no mans land. It's all a bit dead and flat. I feel like something ought to be happening, but not sure what. I keep busy, but it's getting a bit samey. I need a project.

It seems I am mentioned in a newspaper article in The Times today, about frugal living. I can just about make out the text on my Twitter feed, it's a mishmash of what's already been in print in various other newspapers. I don't tweet very much, mainly follow people I am interested in. Mainly people I have met, or who I would like to meet.

I was just thinking the other day, that I have never been on a protest march. I can't think of a cause that I feel so strongly about that would tempt me to join in. I have never liked being in a big crowd of people, and have only been to a couple of big star concerts. Cher at Sheffield was good, and Meatloaf at Birmingham was good.

Thinking back to how I was treated as a lorry driver in the 70's and 80's, I felt the best way I would survive was to knuckle down and quietly get on with my job. I always felt I was equal to men, I just happened to be in a different body. Times were tough, the men didn't want me there, but I stuck it out because I felt no matter what I looked like, I was equal to them.

People often asked me what it was like to do a mans job. My answer was always the same, it isn't a mans job, it's anybodies job. Other drivers would ask me, what does your husband think of you driving a lorry? My reply, what does your wife think of you driving a lorry? Years later they eventually got it, and the questions stopped.

Life is unfair for everyone at one time or another. I remember going to London to appear on a chat show on TV. It was a live discussion on a new course offered by Shell, the oil people, to train women to drive trucks and get their licence. I felt this was positive discrimination and unfair. If they were offering free courses for women, they should offer the same amount of free courses to men. In my eyes, equality works both ways.

Anyway, I'd better wrap this up. I need to get off this computer and do something else.

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

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Getting close up to the job

Hello. I appear to have a small fan base on yooootooob, messages have come through that they want more videos. Bless their little cotton socks.

So just to put a smile on their faces here is another of my money saving pearls of wisdom tips. I think you will be impressed by my efforts.

If my popularity continues to escalate I can see me having to hire in a professional camera man, with all the right equipment. A tripod would be handy, and a little bit of direction so that I stay within shot would be good. I can't be on both sides of the camera at the same time.

I did two circuits of my walk today, another six miles to make 80 so far this month. I have 66 names on the Walking Group list which I will be publishing at the end of the month, so if you are on it, get out there and put your best foot forward. I want to see some numbers on the 1st of February, don't let me down.

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

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

How I make coffee in the microwave

Hello. It's been ages since I made a video, thought it was about time for another one. It has been reported in various newspaper articles, and I might have mentioned it on here, that I heat the water for my morning mug of coffee in a microwave. This declaration usually brings comments on how dangerous the practice is, and that it should never be attempted. Something about the microwave blowing up, or the mug breaking and boiling water gushing everywhere. 
I should explain the reason why I do it this way. My electric kettle has an element in the bottom. It takes two mugs of water to cover it. I only want one mug of coffee, it is the only one I have all day, so I don't want to save a mug of hot water in a flask because it will not get used. I understand that a maximum of two minutes in a microwave is cheaper than boiling a kettle. There is also an added bonus that the mug gets heated as well as the water, so the drink will not cool down as quickly as pouring it in a cold mug. 
My instructions for making coffee of the instant variety in a microwave. 
Check that the mug is microwavable, label on the bottom. Fill mug with cold water, not quite to the top, about an inch short.
Place in microwave and turn on. Don't bother with the timer, you need to estimate how long it needs, around 30-40 seconds. Do not walk away, wait for it.

Remove from microwave, it will be luke warm. Add instant coffee, sugar, and powdered milk. That's not tea by the way, it's where I keep the Coffee Mate. I have one spoon of each. If you want to use fresh milk put slightly less water in it and top up with milk. stir it, sip it to see how warm it is and put it back in the microwave.

Give it another 30-40 seconds, stay with it, you don't want it to boil over. Count to ten if you like. Remove from microwave and check it is the right temperature by sipping it. If it is still not hot enough give it another 10 seconds. Notice that the microwave hasn't blown up, and the mug is not broken. Perfect mug of hot coffee.

A video I made earlier. Oooops, don't laugh when I drop the container. I have been doing it this way for a long time, and I reckon over the years it has saved me a bit of money on the electricity bill. Please excuse the echoey sound, my kitchen is quite big and I don't have any clutter in it.

Anyone else do it like this? Or are you going to have a go? Thanks for popping in' we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Monday, 23 January 2017

Fan of Heartbeat

Hello. Not a lot happening here today. The usual Monday morning Crafty Club, numbers down a bit, people must be busy with other things. This afternoon a friend came round and we had a coffee and natter. She comes to the village every week day during term time, to walk two dogs belonging to a teacher couple. They pay her to do this, as the dogs would be on their own too long otherwise. After that I did a Jade dog walk, that is the last one now, as her regular walker is back from his hols, and will take over tomorrow. Jade will be pleased, as Ken lets her off the lead to run in the fields. I have kept her on the lead as I don't want to be chasing after her if she decides not to come back.

I've got a bit hooked on watching the old Heartbeat shows on yoootooob. I love the Yorkshire setting, the characters, and the storylines. It's easy viewing, a little bit of drama with a splash of humour. The village of Goathland is used for the filming, I've been a couple of times, it's a lovely place, and great for walking. To all the blog readers outside the UK, Heartbeat is a glimpse into village life in the 1960's. Mind you, there seems to be quite a bit of crime going on, I'm sure it's not like that for real, ha ha. It's got the pub, a shop, a garage, a police station, farms and cottages.

I've found a short clip, it's one of five that goes behind the scenes. Have a look, and if you think you might like it, give one of the episodes a try. Each one lasts about 45 minutes. Let me know if you like it.

I'm going to get myself a mug of hot choccy and watch another one.

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

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Mind your language

Hello. Isn't it sad that people of supposedly higher than average intelligence feel the need to use foul language when they feel strongly about something. Anger rears it's ugly head in many aspects of our lives these days. The media, including magazines, newspapers, TV, and internet, are all becoming littered with offensive, filthy mouthed swearing. What does this say about the person spewing these profanities? The message I am getting is that it reveals a lack of self control, a lack of anger management, and an inability to express oneself eloquently due to a limited vocabulary.

Keyboard warriors are the worst culprits. It's so easy to punch a few keys on a keyboard before putting your brain into gear, with no thought of how your words might be perceived by the millions out there reading it. Anger mixed with foul language is a toxic combination and belongs in a sewer.

I don't suppose the millions of trolls out there give a stuff about how many people they offend, they see swearing as cool, makes them feel big, gives them a buzz. Anonymous trolls hide behind their anonymity, they haven't the guts to put their names to the bile they spew. They are to be pitied.

Then there are the people who you wouldn't expect to be swearing, those that do put their names to their words. It comes as a bit of a surprise that those well known faces should compromise their position by allowing their anger to bubble up to such a degree that they are no longer in control of their fingers darting across the keyboard.

Mind you, woe betide anyone who dares to challenge the use of foul language, for on social media they can easily be deleted. Warning, when you challenge an angry person who is spewing offensive language, your comment will be dumped. Maybe not immediately, but go back at a later time and it will be gone.

Don't mess with an angry person, it's not worth the hassle. Ignore. Being angry makes them feel good. Leave the anger with them, it's their anger, not yours. Do not take any part of it. Keep calm, move on.

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

PS. Please don't swear in your comments. Thank you.

Saturday, 21 January 2017


Hello. What a change in the weather again, no two days the same. Damp and drizzly and overcast. I did the Jade dog walk this morning, and was glad to get back into my comfortable house. After lunch I finished off the six bags I started the other day. The fabric is not bright and jazzy, but when I saw it at the Scrapstore I thought that will do nicely for bags. 
I was thinking the other day that I haven't been out in the evening for ages, except for the WI talk I did the other night. Can't remember the last time I got my glad rags on and painted the town red. I think town centres are to be avoided at night, they seem to be geared up for boozy youngsters partying. I am too old for that sort of thing. My social life is virtually nil.
I shall be going out next Saturday night however, been invited to a birthday party at a pub in the next village. My good friend Helen is celebrating her 50th, it will make a nice change. I won't be stopping long though, about an hour will be fine. There is a band and as you know I can't cope with noise, I also won't drink, have to drive home. 
Nope, not much socializing happening here at the moment. My nights are spent in my comfortable living room, on my super comfortable second hand sofa, the whole suite cost me all of £50 from my friend who emigrated. A brilliant buy. Reading a book, listening to the radio, or watching something on yooootoooob, just me and my kitties. Trouble is, I put my feet up, and it doesn't take long for me to drop off to sleep. Reading always makes me drowsy. 
Bugsy has a choice of dinner as usual. Now what shall I eat first, Felix or Gourmet Gold. A quick lick of both and he goes for the milk. It's a good job he has, I've ground the tablet to a powder and mixed it in. I started by giving him the tablet whole but it was so stressful for both of us, it's easier to dissolve it in a drink. You should have seen him earlier on today, he scoffed every bit of his food. I reckon I will come downstairs in the morning and most of this will be gone. Only two more tablets left for tomorrow, then we'll see how he goes on after his medication has finished.

Right, time for relaxing on the sofa. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon
Toodle pip.

Friday, 20 January 2017

I love to go a wandering.......

Hello. The first sunny day we've had for a week or more, best get out there for a walk. I made a small pack up, only going to be out for about four hours, so just need something to keep me going. So, step out of my front door and go. I've posted this view before, the track goes along the bottom of a wood, with the river in the distance across the fields. 
Approaching the Industrial Estate I found a colourful plastic coated picture dumped in the hedgerow. Shame no one will see it there, let's put it on the fence. Very artistic I thought.

Oh dear, the car park of the vacant office block has been invaded by the travelling community. I thought they lived in caravans because they like travelling around. Making a mess as usual.

I followed the River Trent, there is a boat unloading at Flixborough wharf. Can't get close enough to read it's name, but if I go on the Marine Traffic web site it tells me that is is still moored now, it's name is Scanlark, it's flying the St Vincent Grenadines flag, and  it's gross tonnage is 1371. Have a look here for more details.

Further along the Trent I came across two more boats at Gunness Wharf.

H & S Fairness is a general cargo boat, flying the Netherlands flag. It was built in 2012, it's home port is Delfzijl, and it's overall length is 87.75 m. It arrived here at 32.35 last night.

Wilson Almeria is flying the Maltese flag, it's home port is Valletta. It was built in 2010. It arrived at 23.45 last night.

I bet you really wanted to know that information didn't you, ha ha. The Marine Traffic site is really interesting.

If you want to see where my yacht ILONA is, have a look here.  It is actually moored in London at the moment, at Marsh Wall, the Isle of Dogs. Perhaps I should go down there and see it again. I last saw it in 2012 when it was there for the Olympics.

Ooops, forgot, getting carried away, I'm supposed to be writing about my walk today. From Gunness, I took a track which is an old railway line, now for walking and cycling. It goes over the M181 close to the roundabout at the end of it. In the distance you can see the big Tesco store where I do my yellow sticker shopping.

Homeward bound now. I walked through the outskirts of Scunthorpe, taking the most direct route back. Leaving the houses behind I picked up a tarmac footpath, which led onto a rough track and through some fields. The sun is just disappearing over the horizon.
Coming into Flixborough village with three miles left to do, it was starting to get dark. As luck would have it, someone I know spotted me and stopped to ask if I want a lift. I gratefully said, yes please, he was going my way, so I hopped in. It was 5pm when I landed home. Checked the mileage on Bikehike, and it was 11 miles, so I'll add that to my total on the calendar, making it 62 up to date. Nice to get back into the swing of longer walks again. Must do more.

Pleased to report that Bugsy is doing well. The tablets he is on are making his poo really sloppy like oxtail soup. Other than that he is eating ok, and moaning when I haven't given him the right food. There was the option of taking him for another injection today, but I phoned the vet and said he is doing ok and doesn't need it.

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

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Mucky boots.

Hello. Fancied something different for my breakfast this morning, rather than the usual bran flakes, ground nuts, seeds, and fruit, and a banana. Twas half a tin of Value baked beans, 12p, two scrambled eggs, 28p, and two slices of seeded bread, 14p. Filled me up a treat, had a late lunch because I was still full at 1pm. 
Weather is still a bit murky, though not raining. I got my walk done before lunch today, and went a different route. The farmers are getting in the sugar beet. Two tractors trundling up and down the track and tipping them onto this pile.

I watched for a few minutes. I had a job once driving tractors through an auction, it was hilarious. I like tractors. I like JCB's as well. I had a go once at driving one at the JCB test site at Ashbourne in Derbyshire, they don't half bounce around. I imagine the suspension must have improved a lot since then.

Clever how that machine scoops up the roots and discards the tops of the plants. Wouldn't mind having a play with that monster. 

Coming back for another load, best get out the way.

 Oh heck, stuck up to the eyeballs in mud.

Moving on. Money saving tip. Are you coming to the end of your toothpaste? I bought the Colgate for 50p ages ago from Poundstretcher, it was on offer. It has lasted a while, I only put a squidgen on my brush, hate having a frothy mouth. Anyway, the new tube is a Tesco Value one, only 25p. It might be cheap but it has all the ingredients needed to clean teeth, and is accredited by the International Dental Health Foundation. I have used it in the past, it's perfectly fine, and the minty taste is not too strong, which I like. Give it a go, no need to pay silly prices for toothpaste.

Think that's about it. I'm making some more shopping bags, always something to do.

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

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Does she ever stop talking!

Hello. Some smashing stories on yesterday's post, worth going back to see if any more have been added since you last looked. Thanks to all those who shared their inspiring stories of things not going according to plan, and how you have found a new direction. I applaud you all. 
The talk I did for the the WI last night went down really really well. One lady came to me afterwards and said what a rotten day she's had, and my talk was just what she needed. I was chuffed. The ladies were lovely, must have been about sixty of them. The more the merrier as far as I'm concerned, the larger the audience the easier it is for me. I get my feedback by watching their reaction to my stories, that tells me where I should be going next. Whether to speed it up or slow it down. If they miss something they can always come and ask me later. 
I move about a lot, wandering up and down, using a lot of gesticulation. No point in standing there like a plank. My aim is to enlighten them about the joys of a frugal life, my good life on a pension, and  to make them laugh. I want them to go away chuckling to themselves. That certainly happened last night. 
I take some props with me in bags, then after the stories, I get them out and lay them on the tables, explaining a bit about my arts and crafts. I donated the last two of my shopping bags to the raffle, now I need to make some more, ha ha. After tea, the ladies come and have a closer look and ask questions. I hope I have inspired some of them to think about using recycled materials when they do their own crafting. 
There isn't a photo of me from last night, but I have found this old one from a few years ago when I did a talk at the Arts Centre at Caister. Showing the bag I made from Judo belts.

I popped to town yesterday to pay some bills into the bank, and to get some of Heidi's favourite cat food. She likes Sheba in the mini pouches. £1.50 from B & M. I had a look in the Age UK charity shop while I was passing. They sometimes have some lovely picture frames in there. No frames, but a rack full of recently donated jackets. Worth a look. Wow, spoilt for choice here. I chose these two. I really need to throw out some of the rags I am walking around in, ha ha. 
Nice eh! Good condition, hardly worn, zip up to the chin, pockets, just the job. The best part is they are only £1 each. I know, amazing isn't it. So lucky to have a £1 charity shop in our town. 

That's it folks. I've just remembered I should have picked up some magazines from Paul's house on the way back from the Jade dog walk. I had better go and get them now. My head would fall off if it wasn't screwed on.

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