Thursday 27 February 2020

Don't fight to stay in this place ...

So many people … family, friends, readers of the blog … don't understand my complete lack of attachment to any of the homes I've lived in, it's hard to explain if you don't feel the same as I do.

We've lived in six different homes in six different parts of the UK in our sixteen years together, and before that I lived in a couple on my own and before that, seven with my first husband.  Each one has been improved by me living there, even when I had no money I scrubbed and cleaned and made them better in every way I could.

But I never felt the pull to stay in any of them.  I never put  down the roots that so many people talk about.  I do feel a pull to go back to the Van and today is the day I return, but to be honest it could be any caravan.  

Maybe I feel more of a pull to the area it's in.

I'm good at making anywhere I'm given to live a good place to live.  I can make friends, chat to strangers, make a home out of virtually nothing, learn about the building I'm in and how it functions and make do with the bare bones of living.  The only thing that pulls me up short and confuses my head is excess.  Too many rooms, too many choices, too much stuff, all of them make me breathe in sharply and look for an escape route.

I feel the need to escape a lot.

I just thought I would put this out there for you to digest, while I travel from one country to the next and return to my simple life.  

My heart tells me I belong there … and you should always listen to your heart

Oh, but I'll be driving a car, with clothes on … not hitchhiking naked!! 

Sue xx

Wednesday 26 February 2020

My Oat Milk Adventure - Help!!

So … I took an arty shot of my finished Oat milk, just before I put it into the fridge to chill.

At least this way you can see it as it should have been.

I followed all the instructions in my Deliciously Ella book to make the oat milk.

I soaked one mug of oats in lots of water for 30 minutes.

I drained and rinsed the oats.

I placed into my food processor with 3 mugs of fresh cold water.

And I whizzed for 30 seconds.

My only deviation was that I poured it into my muslin bag and squeezed it through, and not just through a sieve, pushing it through with a wooden spoon … which I have just noticed she says to do.  

This is how I make my usual almond milk so I think I just did it out of habit, but I wanted to try and use oat milk instead as it's better for the environment, and anyway oats are soooo much cheaper.

Has my one deviation caused the gloopy, slimy milk that I have now just consumed with my Weetabix?

 I might just try again this time not straining through the bag, just using a sieve ... I think I have unwittingly unleashed a 'gloopy oat monster' !!  

Any tip, hints or advice would be gratefully received.  

But now I have to clean up all my milky mess and then whizz around with a duster and the hoover before the estate agent turns up to give us a valuation on the house ready for marketing it next month.

Sue xx

Monday 24 February 2020

The House by the Dyke, Chirk Castle

We got back a couple of hours ago from a mini break to the biggest cottage we've ever stayed in.  We rattled round like two Petit Poi's in a broad bean pod. 

It was beautifully furnished and very National Trust.

Not altogether me if I'm honest, although we did enjoy the break.

Alan watched the Six Nations rugby matches and I read my book (a whole book), did some of my coursework and cooked.  We both washed up each day and tidied before we left.

Although this was the only bedroom out of the three that were there that we used, the other two stayed untouched and immaculate.

As an ex-holiday home cleaner myself I know the thrill this gives you when you step in the door with your cleaning supples and find some rooms unused, all the things back in their rightful place and the bins emptied and fires swept out.

Due to high winds and bad weather the whole of the castle and it's grounds was closed to the public on Friday and Saturday so we had the place to ourselves.  Made us feel slightly posh going home to a grand castle on the hill with a long sweeping driveway … although we did have to take care that no other cars followed us in!!

  On Friday we went to Wrexham … never again, least said soonest forgotten … lets just say the cleanest place to eat was Greggs!!  And then on Saturday we went to another National Trust property Erddig, a stately home with just the servants quarters open at this time of year, no matter … that's the bit I like best anyway.  Unfortunately it too closed after we had been there an hour due to the high winds.  There was just time to grab a coffee and set off back to our not so little cottage.

On Sunday we finally got to see around the part of the castle, although again due to it really being out of season only a small part of it was open.  Another coffee and cake was consumed and we had a good look around the gift shops and second hand book shop before we walked around the gardens and finally down the incline and back to our cottage.

My only souvenirs of the holiday are a wooden vegetable brush ... I have looked everywhere for a wooden one at a reasonable price to replace the one that fell apart last year … and a little bamboo teaspoon that is supposed to be a single use compostable replacement for plastic cutlery.  But things are only single use if you only use them once, I'll use this again and again and then finally as a plant marker … until it biodegrades.

Simple souvenirs of our last holiday together … the caravan park re-opens on Friday  🙂

Sue xx

Saturday 22 February 2020


I was wandering around in Tesco the other day, having a break from dogs, computer work and well just general things at home.  It was just one of those leisurely mooches along the aisles, when you don't have to watch the clock and no one is waiting for you anywhere and I realised I don't really do that much shopping anymore except the food shop and even that is much less than usual.

I don't peruse the rails in clothes shops, and as  our Tesco is too small for clothes I don't even see any there.  Although rather weirdly they do get a rack of wet suits during the school Summer holidays … not that I've ever  been tempted!

I don't go out to window shop or just look for ideas or inspiration any more, mostly because I really don't need anything.  The other day Alan needed some new jeans ... he's lost so much weight since the start of the year he had to get some ... so we went out, and while my car was being serviced and MOT'd we bought him a pair jeans and a nice new blue checked shirt to go with them both from Marks and Sparks.  On the way past the Monsoon shop I was magnetically pulled in towards a lovely loose fitting Summer top on the front rail and he immediately offered to buy it for me, you know the way men do when they feel guilty buying clothes for themselves and seeing you empty handed … but I said no thanks.  It was nice, it was lovely in fact, but I really didn't need it.

We went and got a coffee instead in Debenhams …a  much more satisfying treat.

Sue xx

Thursday 20 February 2020

My 30 Q's and A's

The other day Sue from My Quiet Life in Suffolk did a post answering these 30 questions, so as I've not done anything like this for a while on my blog, although I did do a Valentines question thing on Facebook, I thought I would join in.

Here are my answers :

1.  Who are you named after?
 My Mum once told me there was an actress called Susan Shaw in the late 50s early 60s and as Shaw was my maiden name ... who knows, perhaps.  But there were lots of us called Susan around the time I was born.

2. Last time you cried?

3. Do you like your handwriting?
On a good day yes, I like the way I write the word onions … isn't that weird!! On a bad day it's illegible.

4.  What is your favourite meat?
I don't eat any meat.

5. Longest relationship?
My first marriage was 26 years long.

6. Do you still have your tonsils?
Nope, they were stolen when I was 5 years old.

7. Would you bungee jump?
No, I have this fear that my feet would snap off … surely ankles aren't designed to take that sort of pressure!!

8. What is your favourite cereal?
Weetabix, but only the supermarkets own brand ones, I don't like the actual Weetabix anywhere near as much.

9. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
If they have laces yes, and as I usually wear Converse style sneakers or walking boots, so that's most of the time.

10. Do you think you're strong?
Physically, I'm not as strong as I used to be, there's no more humping bags of pig feed, layers pellets and bags of compost for me I'm afraid.  A bad back and a hernia caused by doing just that has limited my lifting ability for the future.  Mentally, I can be very strong when I have to be.

11. Favourite ice cream?
Swedish Glace … it's bloody gorgeous.

12.  What is the first thing you notice about a person?
Their expression.  Happy, sad, upset, angry etc
13. Football or Rugby?
Neither, I'm totally sport phobic.  I absolutely hate watching it, playing it or even talking about it.  So STOP asking me questions about it!!
14. What colour trousers are you wearing?
Jeans, always blue jeans. 

15. Last thing you ate?
A stick of liquorice.

16. What are you listening to?
The rain lashing down on the skylight and the fridge making an alarming whirring noise!!

17. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be ?
I would be one of those big fat crayons you give to toddlers … and I would have to be green.  Or maybe I would be a black Sharpie marker and you would never be able to rub me out.

18. What is your favourite smell?
Rosemary or Lavender … it's a close call.  Or maybe Vicks.

19. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
My eldest son.

20. Hair colour?
Naturally brown (it still is as well, not many greys at all … much to the dismay of my brother who went grey in his 20s).  But I'm currently a bottle blonde.

21. Eye colour?
Green, with tiny hazel flecks.

22. Favourite foods to eat?
Potatoes, pastry or pasta … I'm a carby type of girl. 

23. Scary movies or happy endings?
I love a scary movie as long as it has a good story and a good ending.

24. Last movie you watched?
Jason Bourne - bloody rubbish action movie.  But Alan enjoyed it.

25. What colour shirt are you wearing?
Blue checked.

26. What is your favourite holiday?
27. Beer or wine?
Wine … or cider on a hot day.

28. Night Owl or Morning Person?
I'm a Morning Person … as long as no one speaks to me.

29.  If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
By the sea, in a shack on the beach.
30. Favourite day of the week?
Sunday ... or permission to be lazy day.

So these are my answers, what would yours be?

Sue xx