Thursday 28 December 2023

My New Blog


Just a heads up to all my regular readers on here.

 I have decided to carry on blogging in a slightly different way for a while.  Who knows it may stick and I might start my wacky ramblings more regularly.  A few of the more crime solving minded regular readers have already found me, following clues to the new venue.

No murders have been committed ... yet!!

If you click on the top photo in the sidebar of this blog you will land in the new place with barely a bump.

If you can't see the sidebar you could just click HERE.

This blog will now be left dormant and the comments switched off again.  Thank you for reading over the years.

Sue xx

Friday 15 December 2023

Merry Christmas


Just appearing to wish all my readers ... and yes there are still a lot of you lovely folk reading through all of my various blogs and their posts since my disappearance ... all the very best for Christmas and the New Year.

I hope it's everything that you would like it to be, and that you can manage to have a happy and simple Christmas that suits you.

The Heathrow Bears - Coming Home for Christmas 2023. 

With lots of love from all of us in Lancashire.

Sue, Alan, Ginger, Suky and Mavis xx


Thursday 9 November 2023

The Blogging Break is Permanent


I have decided that my blogging break will not be coming to an end.

After just over a month without writing a post of any description I have discovered a freedom and a freshness to life that I did not expect.  There has been no more reaching for the camera to photograph something that I am doing or something that I think other people may like or want to see ... I simply enjoy it in the moment for myself, and in that simple action of not reaching out, enjoy it all the more.

No one needs to know what I am doing or eating, where I have been or where I am going, and just this simple mental letting go has been truly liberating.

I did briefly consider shutting down all but one of my blogs, but then after checking the daily reading figures on all of them, having a good look at the statistics over the last month when they have been left to fend for themselves, and seeing the daily traffic that uses them to access other blogs I have decided that I will leave them online for the foreseeable future.

Thank you for reading my writings over the last 15 years I hope it has been interesting for you.  

If on a rainy day you want to have a read of the ramblings of girl who moved from town to country, from farm to smallholding, from smallholding to caravan and then a settling down in a small town by a canal, the pages of the blogs will be there for you to find through the links on the sidebar.

Wishing everybody that reads this, all the very best for the future.

Sue xx

Thursday 5 October 2023

Taking a Break


For various business and health reasons I am going to take a break from my blogs for a while.  I will be turning comments off from today so that I do not have to worry about missing any of your messages ... or of course that all intrusive Spam.

It's time to take a step back and revel in some peace.

Hopefully I will be back soon, if not please don't worry there is nothing drastically wrong.

Wishing everyone love, light and happiness ... and a cosy Winter season.

Sue xx  💖

Tuesday 3 October 2023

Awww ... Suky's Mum


Aww ... look what popped up in my Facebook Memories on the first of this month.

It's little baby Suky and her Mum in a photo that we used on a calendar, we had it made for us and a few family members who got their copies as gifts for Christmas 2016.

They all loved it by the way and it seemed to be a novel gift idea, perhaps we should do it again one year, or maybe not it would never be original again would it, perhaps we could do it just for us next time.

Suky's mum was a Welsh Pug called Lady Midnight Star and her dad was a black Pug called Kenmilleven Graphite, I'm guessing he was called Ken for short!!  I remember sharing her family tree when her Kennel Club registration came through and it turned out that one of my blog readers had a Pug with the same dad as Suky.

It's funny to think that both our dogs are Welsh.  Suky was from South Wales but bought when we lived in Oxfordshire, and obviously Mavis is from North Wales.  So we cover nearly all the UK between us, me and Ginger are English, Alan is Scottish and the dogs are Welsh.

Suky last month, looking much older than her Mum now, but still just as gorgeous in my eyes.

Sue xx

Saturday 30 September 2023

Singer ... and the Rag and Bone Man


I just had to share this image isn't it gorgeous ... although if it were in my home the walls would be that lovely retro green.

But isn't it a good use of an old Singer sewing machine table.  My Mum had exactly the same one and used to treadle away in the early days of her marriage making baby clothes and things for the house.  Then Dad, who was always nifty with adapting things got a conversion kit and turned her machine electric and made it a handy little box to sit in.

Of course he claimed all the drawers for his shed to keep his 'important' things in, and although I don't know for sure, I should imagine the metal base went to the rag and bone man who came down our street every Monday.

Sue xx

Thursday 28 September 2023

I Think I'm Going to Need a Bigger Garden ...


The September issue of Kitchen Garden magazine came with it's usual three packets of free seeds, I can't remember what they were, but I know one was cabbage and they will be going in this month, if I can fit them anywhere.

The thing is there was a free offer on the cover which I thought was really good, and it fitted in with my little garden now being a Victory Garden ... three 250g packets of onion sets.  Now to my mind 250g seemed to be a small amount and I imagined a dozen of each at the most .  

Nope there are loads of them!

The onion sets were free if you ordered one other thing and as I needed some garlic that worked out just fine.  I can see my little Victory Garden being absolutely full of onions come next Spring.  🧅🧅🧅

I think I am going to need a bigger garden!!

Once again I am debating whether it is worth me carrying on with my subscription of Radio Times.  It's £4 a copy now and although I do enjoy reading about new programmes and doing the puzzles at the back, I don't know if I can justify spending that amount of money on a magazine each week.  Four pounds might not seem that much but when you think about it being £16 a month and over £200 a year it's starts to seem a lot more. 

When I am trying to save as much as I can this year by keeping the food spend to around £10 a week, while I am eating down the food stash and living on WWII rations, spending almost half of that amount on a magazine seems ridiculous. 

I don't think I am going to have to think too long or too hard about this one.

Sue xx

Tuesday 26 September 2023

And because she was ...


When she was a little girl
they told her she was beautiful
but it had no meaning
in her world of bicycles
and pigtails
and adventures in make-believe.

Later, she hoped she was beautiful
as boys started taking notice
of her friends
and phones rang for
Saturday night dates.

She felt beautiful on her wedding day,
hopeful with her
new life partner by her side
but, later,
when her children called
her beautiful,
she was often exhausted,
her hair messily tied back,
no make up,
wide in the waist
where it used to be narrow;
she just couldn't take it in.

Over the years, as she tried,
in fits and starts,
to look beautiful,
she found other things
to take priority,
like bills
and meals,
as she and her life partner
worked hard
to make a family,
to make ends meet,
to make children into adults,
to make a life.

she sat.
Her children grown,
her partner flown,
and she couldn't remember
the last time
she was called beautiful.

But she was.

It was in every line on her face,
in the strength of her arthritic hands,
the ampleness that had
a million hugs imprinted
on its very skin,
and in the jiggly thighs and
thickened ankles
that had run her race for her.

She had lived her life with a loving
and generous heart,
had wrapped her arms
around so many to
to give them comfort and peace.
Her ears had
heard both terrible news
and lovely songs,
and her eyes
had brimmed with,
oh, so many tears,
they were now bright
even as they dimmed.

She had lived and she was.
And because she was,
she was made beautiful.

Author: Suzanne Reynolds, © 2019

Photo credit: Nina Djerff
Model: Marit Rannveig Haslestad

This came up in my Facebook Memories from last year, and I just had to share it with you. I hope you like it as much as I do. 💖

Sue xx

Sunday 24 September 2023

Time Out, Coffee ... and Don't Get Arrested


Gosh I'm feeling like a time out at the moment.

Inspiration has temporarily dried up leaving me feeling very strange.  I'm halfway through three books and not that inspired to finish any of them.  I should be planning out next weeks rations but haven't even started yet.  

I have hoovered.  😃

But perhaps I'll just wander off and search for a coffee.

Because ...

Sue xx

Thursday 21 September 2023

It's All About the Beans - Part Two


Last week I posted on here about my bean shortage and the letter I received from Heinz in response to my politely worded email pointing out their short-changing a nation of bean lovers on a regular basis.  I apologise to any of you who are now obsessively weighing the contents of all your cans to see if you too are being short-changed ... and reading some of your blogs it would appear that you are!!

In response to my 'complaint' ... I was polite, honest I was ... they sent me six pounds worth of vouchers to spend on Heinz/Kraft products.  It didn't take me much looking around at the range of their items in the shops that I have access to, to realise that the best use of the vouchers would actually be on baked beans.

And then when I spotted them this morning as we passed the end of the aisles to go upstairs to the café in Booths for a coffee after my hospital appointment, and they were just £3.50 for four cans ... just I say, that is a lot of money when I am used to buying 28p tins of beans from Aldi !!  I decided over my coffee that I would buy two four packs with my vouchers.

Now as I am living on WWII rations at the moment and beans have to be purchased on the Points system these are going to last me a long time ... possibly into January.  😄

One pound spent = beans for months.  

Thanks for all the lovely comments on the last post.  💖

Sue xx

Tuesday 19 September 2023

Just a Proud Great Nana Moment ...


We went to see and have a cuddle of our new great grandson Finley-James on Sunday morning.

Here with his Mum, his big brother and Great Grandad Alan reading a story, with Mason supplying all the sound effects. 

Time for a cuddle, and in Finley's case time to watch a bit of television while the grown ups all chatted.  And then ...

... time to hand Finley over to Great Grandad Alan who was on feeding duty.  

Finley and Mason's Dad, my grandson Liam, was there but he just had to keep going into the kitchen for business calls, so somehow he managed to miss all the photos!!

A lovely couple of hours of family time, so I thought I would pop the photos on here for posterity.  💖

Sue xx

Saturday 16 September 2023

Weekend Watching


My mantra for the weekend.  😊

And here for your delight and entertainment are a few of the YouTube videos that I have really enjoyed this week.

Firstly a lovely vegan couple that I've watched for quite a while now,  doing another of their budget vegan food shops.  They are so close to the magic 1000 subscribers at last, so if you enjoy the video please think about subscribing to the channel, it costs you nothing but does really help them

I watched Farmhouse on Boone this morning, such a relaxing way to start the day this video and a cup of coffee ... and such a beautiful house with it's lovely muted colours.

A little video from Carolyn, who is great for giving me ideas to help with rationing.

I think I'll give these ago the next time I run out of bread.

And finally from Grackle ...

A bit of a nosey into two hotels in London, the newest and the oldest ... and wow, what a difference in price.  I do love a look around a hotel room and what better way to do it without having to spend on an overnight stay away from home.  

I hope you enjoy these, just something to sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee over.

Sue xx

Thursday 14 September 2023

It's All About the Beans

I have beans on my menu twice this week over on my Getting Ready for Rations on Retirement blog, usually when I am splitting a can of baked beans I upend it for an hour or so before I open it, just so that the sauce distributes evenly throughout the can ... this time I forgot.  So to get an even distribution of beans and sauce I decided to tip it into the pan and then spoon out half.  I thought I might as well get a perfect split so I weighed the pan.

I was pretty shocked really that a good brand such as Heinz is still short-changing it's customers.  I have complained to them once before when I was doing a challenge and had cause to weigh my beans, they sent me a £2 voucher.  I have also complained many years ago to Asda about their Smartprice beans, they were seriously underweight, they too sent me a £2 gift card.

Now I didn't do this for any reward but more because I was really annoyed.  

Branded beans are now quite an expensive thing to buy, these Heinz beans were bought on offer at £3.50 for a four pack, usually they are £1.40 per can each ... obviously I was feeling flush that week whenever it was ... as I'm someone who usually buys the supermarkets basic lines at under 30p a tin this price is astonishing.

Anyway I ate my lunch, half a can of beans on two slices of toast, and then jumped on the computer to send a politely worded message to Heinz via their website.  Just pointing out that as beans are cooked in the cans there should be no room for any discrepancy of weights and if they knew that somehow beans magically lost weight on cooking they should start the process with more weight in the cans and then left it at that.

On the way to Mum's yesterday, with the car boot loaded up with Alan's carpet cleaner ready to clean Mum's carpets we were chatting away about all sorts of things and I mentioned the low weight of my beans and of the previous cans from this batch and Alan started doing the maths, as only an engineer would.  He worked out that if they are making millions of cans of beans per year and a good percentage of them are actually underweight the company is making huge profits from selling 'missing beans'.

Yes, we often have these sort of conversations!!  😄

And this was where this blog post was going to end, but ...

... I have just received this letter.

I only contacted them on Tuesday, so this is very quick work on their part.  I am now the proud owner of two £3 vouchers, I didn't do any of this for that but nevertheless I am happy to have them.

The big questions is now do I buy more beans with my vouchers?

Checking the prices of the Heinz beans and Sainsbury's own brand beans as I was a few minutes ago to get things right for this post, has thrown up that the packs of six Heinz beans are currently on offer in Sainsbury's at just £4.75 if you have a Nectar card, I'm tempted, but maybe that's their plan ... get me hooked on Heinz baked beans as I used to be many years ago.  😀

Sue xx

Monday 11 September 2023

Apologies to Anyone Who Loves the Heat

 For sure.  💚

I love Autumn, and no sooner than I thought it had arrived it left!!

 Only the other week as the days, and especially the nights, started to cool I was dreaming about putting on my winter-weight duvet and snuggling up at night, pulling my warmer jumpers and cardigans out of storage and packing away the lighter Summer coloured t-shirts for another year.  It's a good job I didn't react to my first thought isn't it.  

Last week was a sweaty mess in every sense of the word.  Watering plants to keep them alive was suddenly top priority, well along with trying to keep my little place cool for the dogs and Ginger to escape from the sun.  How Alan managed down South wearing a shirt and suit each day at work I have no idea!

Yes, the nights are drawing in at a fast pace and the darker evenings are a balm to my soul but I need cool, lots of cool at this time of year.  Thank goodness it seems to be cooling down to more Autumnal temperatures this week ... and fingers crossed it stays that way. 

Now all I need to do is go to the car wash and get that Saharan dust that came down in the thundery showers the other day, washed off my car.

Sue xx

Friday 8 September 2023

Mavis and Suky - Two Days of Adventure


I took the dogs to the groomers yesterday.

 I don't know whether it was the uncertainty of her Dad being away for work, it being so early in the morning or her just wanting to be back on the riverbank but Mavis did not rush in the door to greet the groomers the way she usually does, indeed I had to step back out of the salon, pick her up and lift her purposefully inside.

I drove away feeling very guilty ... was she trying to tell me something?

She was much better when I went back to pick her up an hour and a half later and waited patiently while I settled the bill ... gulp!!

As soon as they got home, both dogs had their usual long drink and settled down to sleep away the stress of being bathed, partially dried and having their nails clipped. 

 They stayed there pretty much all day.

To make up for yesterdays 'torture' I took them to their favourite park this morning.  Just two minutes away by car and with lots to sniff at.

We all walked around and bench hopped, even at 9.30am it was getting too hot for me and Suky.

The grass was long, gloriously damp in some places and soaking wet in others, and my shoes got pretty saturated but both dogs loved to flop on it and cool off.  

Unfortunately, there were no people to watch so Mavis had to make do with watching a cloud of Hedge Sparrows settling on the ground, then flying around for a moment and then retreating into the bushes before doing it all over again.  

She was fascinated.

I think this look just about sums up this morning so beautifully.

'This is a better day Mum, thank you.'

She's  always had eyes that speak to me.  💖

Sue xx

Thursday 7 September 2023

Sunny Sunday in Llanrwst


It seems only fair after showing your our Sunny Saturday in Conwy that I show you what we got up to on our sunny Sunday in Llanrwst, the town that we used to live so close to.

For once ... much to Alan's dismay ... we couldn't drive past our old home as the road was shut at the Tal y Cafn junction, but being former occupants of the area we knew the back roads and set off to enjoy the even more picturesque route to Llanrwst.

On a gloriously sunny day with the windows wound down, it was magical.  I've done it many times before in dreadful weather and the windy country lanes are not quite so magical then!

We wandered around the park seeing if the Horse Chestnut trees were starting to release their conkers yet, the main purpose of us going there ... but nope not ready yet!!  At least the dogs got a good wander around and sniff, staying mostly in the shade wherever we could.

Then we sat on a bench watching out over the river and the traffic on the Pont Fawr Bridge. 

As usual there was a lot of activity on the bridge, partly due to the road closure in one direction but also as there must have been an accident in the other direction.  Emergency vehicle after emergency vehicle sped along the road towards it and then over it and across the river.  With police at both sides directing the traffic, for once there wasn't the usual free-for-all of being the one to get to the top and therefore have right of way.

Then we crossed the road and sat in the sunshine outside the tearooms to have a much needed cup of coffee and a sandwich.  The dogs alternating between watching us eat and sitting in the shade under the picnic bench.

Then the heat of the day got too much, and we went back through the park to the car and headed back to the flat, taking the same scenic route in reverse until we were home in the cool of the flat.

There might have been a short afternoon nap before we gathered together our bags and set off late afternoon back home to England.  😃

Sue xx

Tuesday 5 September 2023

Sunny Saturday in Conwy


We set off early on Saturday morning before the heat of the day got too much, hoping, expecting it to be quiet in Conwy, but already the tourists were flocking to the castle walkways, no doubt enjoying the shade offered by the old stone walls. 

 Already the sun was out and the heat was building up.  

We got a coffee each and sat on the quayside watching the tour boat go out with it's load after load of holidaymakers wanting to be on the water on this hot day and see the beauty of the River Conwy from the centre of the river rather than it's edges.  It must have been nice out there, we will do it one day, but this day we chose not too.

Instead we drank in the blueness of the sky, the calm of the water and the beautiful boats and watched children making sandcastles with coffee cups and ice-cream tubs.  Buckets and spade were available in the gift shop, but don't you just love a bit of ingenuity.  😀

The queue for the Smallest House had been much longer when we sat down, but when I turned to go I realised I could get a photo as there were fewer people now.  

At £1.50 to go in and look at it's two tiny rooms I couldn't justify yet another peep.  It used to be 50p, and then £1 and I visited at both those price points, but I've seen it now and I have the ability to 'save' very detailed images in my head of how interiors of buildings look, so I stood and pulled up the image ... and saved my money.

We shade hopped back to the car park with both dogs glad of the shortish distance, and then took them back to the cool of the flat.  Then we went into Llandudno for a couple of hours, still on our hunt for the final two pieces we wanted to furnish the flat with.  A side table for a lamp and a unit of some description for the television to sit on.

First stop the British Heart Foundation furniture shop, where we really struck it lucky.  Second stop fish and chips at one of our favourite chippy's followed by a little mooch around a charity shop and a book purchase.  Then it was back in the car to the BHF shop to pick up our purchase and head for home.

And this is what we got, a lovely little 'Hi Fi' cupboard.  

Brand new and donated by a furniture shop to the BHF when it recently closed down.  It had previously been priced at £360, reduced to £320, and then donated.  We got it for just £45, a bargain, I guess because of it's name not many people want a Hi Fi cupboard these days, but hey you have to think out side of the box if you want a bargain.  It's not specifically the 'lamp table' we were looking for, but it's even better it's a surface for a lamp but with storage, and it's solid oak wood matches the theme of the flat perfectly.

A quick wipe out and then it was put into place and into service.  

What a successful day.

Sue xx