Friday, 16 April 2021

Curtains for Colin?

Meet Colin ... Colin the Cactus.

He was in the annexe when we first went to view it, he was in exactly the same place almost three months later when I had the keys and the place was mine.  He was moved off the kitchen worktop when they guys came to take out the old kitchen last Saturday, and that's when I realised he wasn't a fake cactus he was real!!

Poor Colin, he can't have had any water for months, no wonder he looked like the sort of cheap plastic fake cactus that you can buy from the pound shop.  

He had simply given up the will to live 😭  

I gave him a little drink when the guys emptied the U-bend and we found some water in it ... the water for the property was switched off while they took out the washing machine and sink and we couldn't turn it back on as we had nothing to cap off the pipes. Then I gave him a little of my bottle of sparkling water.

The drink obviously went straight to his head because this morning when we went to the new house to check on progress he had toppled out of his plant pot and was lying on the windowsill.  A drunken stupor or death ... I couldn't tell.  

So we tipped all the compost out of his pot put a little back in the bottom and wet it well to weigh it down, and then I re-potted him and gave him a drink of nice fresh water.

Now I just have to wait and see if he survives ... or if it's curtains for Colin  🌵

Sue xx

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Photos on a Doggy Walk

While the guys were dismantling the two kitchens on Saturday morning we went for a doggy walk along the canal.  I wanted to get a new header photograph ready to use on this blog for when I move into my new place. The weather was cold but gloriously bright, just perfect to get a nice clear shot of the bridge and far too nice to sit on the floor watching men work.

The little barge called My Newt tempts me every time we walk past.  Her handrails and trims are all sporting a fresh coat of glossy red paint so I think someone loves her as much as I do.

 It was a beautiful day to slowly wander along the towpath and the dogs met lots of little doggy friends on our slow amble and had a good sniff around as we stopped and chatted to some of the barge owners that live on the water.

We walked first one way and then the other as I was trying to get a good shot of this bridge.  As you can see from the centre writing it was put up in 1927 and it carries a large water pipe rather than pedestrians, which is a bit sad as it would have been a handy cut through to town if we could get over on it.

You'll have to wait and see which photo I chose to use in the end, but I'll give you a clue ... it wasn't any of these.  😁

Sue xx

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

It Has to Get Worse Before it Gets Better ...

It's been all go at the new place in the last few days.  

We have had a general handyman in doing lots of the jobs that Alan would usually do, but that since his Covid jab has been too unwell to even consider.  Dave, who seems to be a Jack of all trades and master at them too, has cracked on magnificently.  The kitchens were both due to be ripped out and put in the skip that's arriving today, but then on Thursday night of last week I decided to try putting mine on Facebook Marketplace with Alan's base units being thrown in as a freebie.  

They were snapped up by the first person to get in touch.  So instead of paying to have them taken out, we were paid and they were removed on Saturday by a guy called Phillip and two of his mates.  A couple of hours and they were both disconnected, out of the houses and loaded on to the van to be taken away and made good use of in a house he's renovating - result  😀

How Alan's kitchen looked before.

How it looked immediately after the removal.

And how it looks after yesterday morning's cleaning session and us capping off the pipes and making the live wires safe.

Alan has chosen to have grey gloss base units in the same style and finish as the wall units, with an almost black worktop, a new stainless steel sink and an integrated washer, oven and hob.  It's going to look very smart.

Dave has also been very busy outside in the yard, taking down the dividing fence ...

... and breaking up a large section of the flag stoned area so we can have plants and gravel and make a more natural looking garden.  The flags that he has taken up will be used to fill in the area outside the patio doors that is down to bare earth as the decking that was there was in a really bad state.

Here's a bird's eye view of all his hard work.

The pergola will also be coming down next as it is not as strong as it looks.

And the view from the top floor window.

The fence panels that were dividing the two areas originally are going to be used in this area at the end of the annexe and along the bottom of the garden, and a new fence will be put in between us and the neighbours once some more of the work has been done.  They have been nice enough to let us be able to remove one of their panels to gain access to the skip at the front through their driveway, as our only access to the front would have been through the house.

Also in Alan's, the falling to bits fitted wardrobes have been removed and the larger of the bedrooms on the middle floor now looks even bigger and will be Alan's.

So, it's all coming along nicely and we are on track to get done what we want to do.  I'm trying to upload some photos of my kitchen to show you but my phone is not playing ball  😒

Yay, it's working now, here we are ...

As it was.

Straight after the kitchen had been removed ...

... and after a bit of a tidy up.  

We didn't have anything to clean the floor with after we had swept it, but as the tiles are to be prised off the wall today it didn't really matter.  All the dark turquoise paint is to be painted over with a couple of coats of white paint to hide the colour and then the whole annexe will be painted white.

Oh, and it won't be called 'the annexe' for much longer, it has a new name and a brand new name plaque to go up outside once all the work is done.  I mean, I know I'm a granny and it's an annexe but I didn't want to be living in a granny annexe  😄😉

The new Challenge is up and running now on my other blog - Challenging Myself

Sue xx

Monday, 12 April 2021

Challenge Accepted


I mentioned on Saturdays post about missing Challenges, quickly came up with copying an idea I had seen on YouTube and you were all so quick to support me, so what better time to start a new Challenge than on a Monday morning.

The sun is shining and as the frost melts ...

... I will be clutching my single pound coin and heading across the road to Sainsbury's while it's nice and quiet.  

What's for breakfast, well you'll find out over on my other blog Challenging Myself tomorrow morning for now over there is the list of rules that I have set myself and the allowances I have made.

Basically it's one pound for each meal, so three pounds a day.

And twenty one pounds for the whole seven days.

I have put a link over to the Challenging Myself blog at the top of the sidebar, so if you do want to follow this Challenge and you are usually just a reader of this blog you will be able to find it nice and easily.

I'm off shopping now 🛒

Sue xx

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Missing My Challenges

It's been a long time since I've done a Challenge, a proper Challenge that is one that I can really get my teeth into and channel all my energies.

It was brought home to me a couple of weeks back just how much I was missing them when I bought the above items from Booths one day.

The bill came to £6.85 just for those four items, and no that luscious looking lemon wasn't worth it's higher than usual price tag ... it was all thick peel and hundreds of pips.  Of course it straight away got me thinking of all the times I have lived on £7 for a full week and made me want to do it again just to prove to myself that I could still do it.

I did a mix of shopping from my cupboards at that days prices, and picking some things up from Sainsburys until I got to that magic amount of seven pounds, and got as far as starting to plan out a menu, and then life and time ran away with me and nothing became of it.

It's hard living in a small space with someone else that needs feeding too, and with no fridge or freezer space to store prepared foods so that they will last for the week if you have made a batch of something.

Then this week I was watching The Hack, Toba Courage's YouTube channel and pondering over his latest Challenge where he is literally going out three times a day armed with one pound for each meal, buying the food, coming home, cooking it and usually eating most of it.  Just click on the photo to watch for yourself.

I could do that I thought!!

Not that I have yet, but it is possible even if it does mean a huge budget of £21 for a weeks meals instead of the much stricter £7 that I'm used to, and just one week of a Challenge should be achievable ... shouldn't it?  And cure my itch for a Challenge.

Of course going out armed with just £1 for each meal just before that meal is the Challenge here as it means limited immediate buying power and a possibly a few very meagre meals at the very start until there are a few leftovers.  On the plus side it will get my daily steps up nicely as two of my three possible supermarkets are a ten minute walk away 😀

Should I?

Could I?

Oh you know me always up to something new and usually daft!!  😄😂

Hands up if you think I should.

Sue xx

Friday, 9 April 2021

Saving Things for Best


Claude Monet - The Boat Studio 1876

I think I confused some of my readers yesterday when I said quote myself   'It was a recently made quilt but made from vintage fabrics, so it's pretty precious to me and full of memories.'  There were so many helpful tips on looking after my lovely old quilt and preserving it, and I really do thank you for those.  But I wasn't asking for tips I was simply stating things as they are, those of you who have  got to know me over the years know that I use my things for the purpose for which they are intended all the time.  Yes I might have been 'quite dismayed when it came out of the washing machine' and I saw all it's rips and tears, done I hasten to add before it went into the washing machine!!

In my life I don't have best plates, best cutlery or best textiles of any description.  If I love something I use it daily, I use it until it wears out and then and only then do I replace it with something that I can love all over again.

We aren't in this world to store up treasures, we are here to live lives and lives are so much better lived if you love your surroundings, your stuff and your day to day things.  So there are no things in my life packed in away in boxes or drawers for best, waiting to be used on special occasions.  Each and every day that we are on this planet is a special occasion and I use my things as though each and every day could be my last.

After all when I'm gone are either of my large hulking sons going to want a delicate old quilt full of memories and dog hairs?  No they will probably do what I did when my Nana and Gran died and just help themselves to something small and meaningful.  Then they can go off and spend all the money I saved from not buying day today things to use while the best stuff lay languishing.

Sue xx

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Keeping It Simple and Repairing the Past


I spent a good couple of hours this morning repairing my lovely old patchwork quilt, so much so my fingers are sore from the unaccustomed hand sewing of teeny tiny stitches.  Alan had been using it on top of his bed for a long time and as he sleeps with all the animals there were many pulls, holes and much wear and tear.

I was quite dismayed when it came out of the washing machine, although it smelled so much fresher, seeing all the damage was to be honest quite heart-breaking.  But I do have to put it into perspective I bought it with money from Alan's Mum ... I can't remember to be honest whether it was anniversary money or birthday money ... but it was bought from a little antique shop in Wheatley after I had just finished a craft fair at the Merry Bells village hall, I think it was around the Summer of 2010.  It was a recently made quilt but made from vintage fabrics, so it's pretty precious to me and full of memories.

Our animals have always been allowed on it so I'm not blaming Alan, I'm more mad with myself for forgetting how old and fragile it is now.  Now it's repaired I am going to let Alan have the tougher modern patchwork quilt and I will probably save this for use in my new place ... where animals will not be allowed on top of it ... she says ... I remember saying that once before 😄

The eagle eyed among you might have noticed that I have changed my profile photo, it might show up on the 'Followers' section of your blogs and in other various places, so I just thought I would say it's still me.  It's gone from me with a cabbage to this one, just temporarily I think.  I doubt I'll be growing cabbages again ... they take up far too much room when you grow them as well as I seem to, so I thought a few books and a Peace Lily would make for a good temporary photo.

Exciting news over at the new place ... the handyman has started ripping up the concrete jungle that is currently the 'back garden' and I have finalised my choices for my new kitchen.  So has Alan, and as this is the first time we have both chosen a kitchen just for ourselves it's amazing how completely different our design ideas were.   I couldn't live in a house with his and vice a versa.

The one thing we do have in common is that we have both fallen in love with SMEG fridge freezers.  Me with the one pictured in a lovely cream colour and Alan with the larger fridge-on-top, freezer below version in a startling, but glorious shade of orange.  SO a question for any of you out there who have a SMEG or have had one in the past ... Are they worth the cost and are you, or were you happy with your choice?

Sue xx