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

Monday 4 September 2023

A Walk by the River


The other evening after a computer filled day for us both, we decided to take the dogs for a walk along the river.  They both miss having grass, so going to the river or the park is a good way for them to enjoy a multitude of new smells and a different surface to walk on.

Mavis loves the freedom of being off the lead and is good at recall now, it only took us most of her little life to perfect the distance commands.  She was never a quick learner.

Unfortunately Suky mostly has to stay on her lead now, being completely deaf means that if something catches her attention and she dashes off to have a look, we have no means of shouting her back and her short-sightedness means she loses track of us very quickly.  In fact I've noticed that she now gets a sense of security from feeling one of us on the other end of her lead.

This is the time of year when Suky's arthritis starts to affect her and her medication has to be given daily.  On walks such as this when I notice her flagging I find a bench, and the two of us sit and watch the world go by while Alan takes Mavis on for a few more minutes to use up some of her extra energy, she doing well for an old terrier.

On this day we sat and watched as dog walkers passed by us and the young lads behind the fencing gathered on the cricket pitch for a town team training session.

All the while Suky was glancing into the distance for that first sighting of Dad and Mavis coming back.

Then it was back into the car for the five minute drive home and to settle down in their beds for an evening of snoozing and watching Dad closely for any signs of snacks being forthcoming.

Sue xx

Saturday 2 September 2023

Some YouTube Videos That I've Loved This Week

 Slow down, right down.  

Make yourself a coffee or top up that teacup, maybe grab a biscuit or an extra slice of toast, and then sit and relax with just a few of the YouTubers that have entertained me this week.

I hope you enjoy. xx

Farmhouse on Boone is currently one of my favourite YouTube channels, she has such a nice calm way about her while she is getting on with the day to day baking and homemaking.  Her beautiful home is very easy on the eye too.

I don't even knit but I love watching Rationbook Rebecca and her lovely way with words.  Her showing us the latest books that she's added to her collection was just the icing on a lovely relaxing cake.

Frugal Daddy sure knows the way to Frugal Mommy's heart. 
 What a brilliant score from the dumpster, and how sad that all those seeds nearly ended up in landfill.

And finally ... a couple I used to watch a lot of in the past, Kirsten and Joerg.  Wow, their channel has grown enormously in the past couple of years.  They holiday and tour beautiful places all over the UK and take us the viewers along with them.  

And you know me, I love a good cottage.

I hope you are having a good weekend, and that on this, the first weekend of September we all get some good weather.

Sue xx

Friday 1 September 2023

A Little Trip Down the Memory Lane of 1st September.


1st September 2022

I was talking about how chilly it was at night and thinking about starting rationing!!

I went into my photo files to start a post for the first of September ... and found it empty. 😞 

I need to take some photos and fill it up.  Do more, go more places and take more photos.  In the meantime I will leave you with the images and the links to the posts of the beginning of September over the life of this blog of mine. 

 Just click on the dates to be taken straight to the post in question.

There was no 1st so here's the 3rd September 2021

I told you my courgette plants were so much better last year! 

 This year with the rhubarb in the same place, it was as big as these courgette plants from the year we moved into this house.  I told you that I cut right it right back to the ground only two weeks ago didn't I ... it is already growing again!


Again I didn't post on the 1st of the month, but here's what I wrote on the second.

Me and Suky living in the caravan and enjoying our early morning walks around the caravan park and along the river.  Oh, and she did love to go for coffee and cake at the local garden centre ... her favourite walk.

It seems I did a bit of my life history on this day in 2019.  😀

At first I read this one as 'everyone loves a terrier' ... well they do but it doesn't say that.  😂

A little trip down memory lane, you don't have to read all the posts, but they are there if you would like to.  I'll take some photos over the weekend so I don't have to subject you to that again.


Sue  xx