Sunday, 8 June 2014

Wee bit of vintage glam for a Sunday

Have wanted one of these for a long time, and I'll use it too, to powder my nose..................

At £2.87 it didn't break the bank, and I'll get years of pleasure from it  :)

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Gone to pot

The gentle and unhurried  'potting on of bits I want to take with me' is ongoing. This afternoon, in the sunshine,  I potted up some ransoms and tri-cornered leek, and a lovely wee self-sown elder tree.  Rescued several pots of good plants that had been shoved into an unsuitable place by someone, and got them out into the air and light - am sure they can be saved :)  A nice package of seeds arrived last week too,  to add to my collection. There's a great seller on e-bay that I use quite a lot, with unusual seeds. Funnily enough, he only lives 11 miles away, but I only know him as Derek.  I got - sweet lupino beans, gambero verde beans, moth mullein, Egyptian pea bean, Tuscan egg onion,  Rapunzel rampion, scuplit, a 'super' cucumber,  wild sea cabbage,  red-ribbed dandelion, some more kailyard kale and some wild lettuce.

Scuplit is a complete unknown to me. Apparently is a rare Italian culinary herb, hardly known outside of Italy.  Am looking forward to having a go at something so unusual next year.


Friday, 6 June 2014

So frugal - it's free!

Am getting back into my really frugal habits now - these include entering every free competition  and freebie/giveaway I can - providing the prize is one I can use in some way - no interest in the exotic foreign holidays/gadgets/dodgy cosmetics sort of prizes.  I've been lucky this week - I won a pile of chocolate Belted Galloway cows in a FB share and like draw, a ticket for 4 to the Food Fair in Clapham (will go to a friend) and a free card/aura reading. Great start to the re-launch of frugality :)
I've also registered and started with several survey companies, so earning a few pounds etc that way too.  All free of charge thanks to the internet.
I've also re-joined the local Freecycle group and a couple of similar groups on Facebook.  It's all out there if you make the time to search a bit, and have the inclination.


Thursday, 5 June 2014

Home again, home again, jiggety jig......................

Got home last night after a few hold-ups with discharge stuff from hospital. Always the simplest things that seem to go wrong, but am here now. Got a week of anti-biotics to go, but am feeling ok :)
Big thanks to everyone for their good wishes and love, helps a lot:)

Just pottering today, as I feel  a wee bit fragile, but think it's just adjustment to being home. Have phoned solicitor for an appointment tomorrow to try and get the finance stuff moved forward in the divorce - it's dragging on far too long for my liking - not her fault though. Will see what can be done to shift it.

Managed to more or less stick to my healthy eating plan in hospital, and the smaller portions helped; plenty of water to drink and fresh fruit always available.  Had poached salmon on Sunday, but otherwise no meat at all, their vegetarian food is better than their other stuff, and they do very good soups.
Managed to go shopping last night, and have a houseful of fruit and veg now, and lots of salad.

It's a beautiful summer day today, so will go outside and sit for a while I think with a couple of magazines and a cup of tea; have just read of what the weather might do at the weekend here - heavy thundery showers and flash flooding forecast.  I'm not going anywhere, so shouldn't affect me directly, but hope people and things stay unscathed by it all.
Packing will resume at the weekend when my hand's a bit better; my latest crochet blanket is almost complete, so would like to get that finished and put away ready. Flowers need changing and there's the biggest cobweb ever in the porch! lol  That'll be the extent of my efforts for today I think.

In the meantime, I bought myself a couple of bits for my new kitchen - not expensive, but they cheered me up :)

Hope you are all well and happy :)


Sunday, 1 June 2014


I love this  :)


Saturday, 31 May 2014


 - for lack of posts; I got taken into hospital last Wednesday, and am still here; not sure how long I'll be in, but finding it very difficult. Days are long, I don't feel too bad in myself, but have been put on some fearsome anti-biotics that can only be given by iv drip. So, here I am.  Luckily, got my laptop and my knitting, and can get a Guardian every day to read. Tomorrow hopefully my crochet will be brought in too. hardest thing is being in among people and noise again - didn't realise quite how withdrawn I'd become!  I hope to et back to posting now I'm more up together, but not sure about photos lol Will see.  Hope all are well and happy :)

In the meantime, I'll share this random photo of a mini Stonehenge which I think is rather lovely :)


Friday, 23 May 2014

Disastrous fire at Glasgow School of Art

What a sad day for Scotland, not least of all the students readying for their final shows etc. So much lost, thankfully  no lives they believe.  One of the world's iconic buildings

Thought for a Friday


You too can knit a mountain goat

This is the latest addition to my frugal living library, bought for a couple of pounds on e-bay

It's from 1978; I often think the books and magazines from the 70s are much better than those of today, and I  am on the lookout for them all the time  growing, making, etc.  Some of my greatest finds have been the original Practical Self-Sufficiency magazines.  I fin the information and advice, instructions and illustrations in them much more informative than a lot of what is published today.  Good, basic advice and inspiration from people who have actually grown it, lived, it, made it, bred, it , cooked it etc.  Not just a half page extolling the virtues of some 'kit' or 'course' or other expensive nonsense.

A quick skim through gives the impression this will be a useful book; based mainly on the growing of food, preserving and harvesting.  There is a small section on alternative energy with useful looking info  on building a solar dryer - one of the things on my list.

Inside the jacket, the authors say this:
'This isn't an impractical 'weave-yourself-a-windmill',  'you-too-can-knit-a-mountain-goat' sort of book'

Looking forward to a more thorough read.

Thursday, 22 May 2014


“The act of sewing is a process of emotional repair."

Louie Bourgeois


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Laugh out loud!

I have studiously avoided anything at all to do with UKIP, not only in the recent weeks, but in the past.  However, this popped up on Facebook just now and I really had to share it. Bet you laugh too....................!!


Wee green mat


ALmond, satsuma and ginger cake

This cake was inspired by a recipe posted up on Facebook by my friend Sue; it used mandarins and no ginger, but I tweaked it slightly so I could use what I had.

It's the first time I've made a flourless cake, and it smells really good; is cooling on the rack for now, will try it with a big cup of tea later :)

200g sugar
6 eggs
250g ground almonds
4 satsumas
ground ginger

Peel the satsumas and put into a saucepan with the peel - remove any pips/stalk ends.  Cover and simmer for about half an hour until soft. Drain, then puree the fruit and skins.  Leave to cool slightly.  Whisk the eggs and sugar together very well, then add in the ginger (to taste) , almonds and pureed fruit. Mix well, turn into a very well prepared tin (this amount made one larger and one smaller loaf tin sized cake) and bake in a hottish oven until golden brown. Turn out gently and cool on wire rack.


Is what I am going to have to be, and seriously frugal.  I'll be swapping a very large household income  for, well, no income really.  I will have money which I will have to live off, and supplement as best I can.  As the time draws nearer, I've been giving it all some very serious thought, and have started a wee notebook of ideas for making/raising money.  I've also thought of ways online I can use to help things out - I've registered for survey taking, freebie sites, competitions.  I'll be selling on e-bay too, and am keeping an eye on my  current Freecycle site, and will join the nearest one when I move.  There will be much swapping and bartering, giving and taking in many forms. I notice there are a lot of sale/swap/free sites popping up on Facebook too, so am keeping an eye out there. I am lucky in that over the years I have amassed a good amount of  equipment and household things, furniture, craft materials, etc that will stand me in good stead.  I will be keeping budget books, and cutting every penny in half.  I am painfully aware that there are people around that think I won't be capable of doing all this,  but not only will I prove them wrong, I am certain I will thrive on the challenge - it will add so much to my own life, I am sure.
Bring it on.

Something else I have started is a healthier eating plan - long range goals are weight loss, better fitness and overall health levels and saving money on the food bills.  I've started slowly, firstly this week giving up eating between meals, and wine only at the weekend.  Next week will see the start of the walking. Another aspect of the healthier eating/saving money is by growing my own. I'll be taking a lot of things from my garden here, but have a lovely big stock of seeds to take with me, and have listed the trees/fruit bushes I need for my new garden, so I can see where I am with it all.

I have a huge amount of clothes just now too; I am just about to start sorting them through properly; some I will keep as they are, some will be altered, new buttons, cut down, made into other things, some will go for patchwork bits/rag bag/cloths, some to textile bank/charity shops.
But the stash stays!  lol


Monday, 19 May 2014

Red rice

Made a very good rice salad tonight with red Camargue rice for a change; wonderful nutty flavour, am sure it's good for me too!  It's a good way of using up bits and bobs too - like pasta is.  This has peanuts, cheese, few olives, cherry tomatoes, all chopped and a spare tub of bought-in bean and herb salad.  Served with roast chicken - half price free-range chicken found last week on the reduced counter.  Good simple tasty supper for a hot day :)


Sunday, 18 May 2014

Celery experiment

I saw this idea somewhere on the net last year and have been meaning to give it a go, so I did :)  About a month ago I put a celery end into a ramekin of water and left it to grow - which it did. This is what I have ended up with, and assume that will be it as the original stem end is going rotten now.

I have ended up with quite a few tiny wee celery stalks, and a good crop of leaves. Will be used for soup, salad, stock etc. Worth doing? Yes, I think it is - costs nothing, you get a decent wee crop and a nice display of fresh greenery for the windowsill.Cost - zero :)

From tiny seeds.......................


Saturday, 17 May 2014

The art of timing, part 37...............

.............   or so.

I had to go up to Scotland last week for my mother's funeral on Thursday.  In the morning, I went out to Kirkpatrick Durham, the wee village in Galloway where I was brought up. My parents, living in London in the 1960s, bought a pair of wee cottages from my grandparents for the sum of £100, and set about having them combined and re-built into a larger family home for us - 2 adults and 4 children.  When I got there on Thursday, I took a photo of the house - Ktima, named after the town in Cyprus where my parents married in 1959 - for putting into the work I'm doing on my family tree on my mother's side. Just after I'd done it, a woman with a dog walked up towards the house and I asked if she lived there. She said yes,  she'd been there for 27 years. I explained to her who I  was and what I was doig and she bowled me over by inviting me inside to look around the house and garden. Very little has changed inside the house really; still got the staircase that was put in - open stairs, very 1970 - and nothing has been altered in the layout of the rooms, apart from one small wall in the kitchen being removed to open it up. It was put there by our builder to form a separate dining area. The garden is really quite different, not much sign of the huge vegetable and fruit beds my father and mother had, the original elder tree is long gone, as is the copper beech hedge my father planted. Still, it's well tended and retains its original character, which pleased me. The day before, I had secured a big boxful of photos that my mother had (they will make regular appearances on here, I am sure, so many of my father and relatives, all sorts of things).  Among them were three photos relevant to the above tale - two of how the cottages were before conversion, and one during the building work. Looking at them now, I personally would have much preferred they had been left as they were!  Not my decision back then, and  the converted house remains my favourite of all the ones I've lived in so far.


This is Ktima today; the clematis on the front has recently replaced the original clematis Montana that my mother planted in the same spot all those years ago.  Otherwise, little changed apart from a new front door.

The two wee cottages. One was called Oaklea (I have a postcard from an uncle in the army addressed to his mother there), and my grandparents lived in it. The other was rented out to Sanny and Annie. When the time came, he refused to leave the house, and my grandpa had to threated him with stoving the roof in on top of him unless he moved out! The railings to the right of the picture are part of the old school, where I went (handy, right next door) for several years until the new school as built at Springholm.  Hard to tell who the children are in the pic, but probably me and my older sister, up there  from London with my parents to look at the cottages. I don't remember much about the inside of them then, apart from a large kitchen table with a silver ladle in the drawer, and a rather nasty smell, mouldy, musty, damp  The wee window on the gable end in the top picture is still there; we used to watch out of it up past the kirk to see when the school bus was coming for Springholm, and hoy off round the corner to see if we could beat it to the bus stop!

Building work in progress.  Work was done by a firm owned by a man in the village, Albert Charteris; his daughter Elizabeth was in the year above me at school.
When they sold the cottages, my grandparents moved down the village to Victoria Street.  Grandpa continued to keep hens at the top of our garden, and came up twice a day to feed them with scraps and peelings in an old plastic bucket. I can see him now, coming round the corner swinging his bucket!  This is their new cottage.  I'd really like to think the folk living in it have kept the cast iron range which was in daily use by my granny.  Maybe next time I'm back, I'll knock on their door and ask.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Can't have enough...........................

...............  blankets :)  here's the latest one off the hook, in lovely sunshine colours, more gold than yellow

I bought the wool for this as a pack of lots of wee balls , from e-by, all colour themed.  I've used the seller several times, the quality is excellent, and it's £13 for a whole bagful inc p&p - I've still quite a bit of the yellows left too, for another project.
One of her other bags caught my eye last week, all in autumnal colours, so have started a knitted blanket for a change, although various crocheted ones are still being done in the background

I suppose I'll have to stop one day, but I find them very therapeutic to make :)


Friday, 9 May 2014

In a nutshell................

- things been a bit full-on here since the New Year. I started divorce proceedings in January, they are still going on, have the decree nisi granted, the absolute at the end of this month. Things more than unpleasant here right now.  At the end of January,  Bean and Shaun announced they were getting married at Easter. He was in Plymouth, she in Winchester and his parents abroad.  Vast majority of planning and organising had to be done by me. Wedding was perfect, sunshine, friends, laughter, horse and carriage, great catering, lovely people, followed by honeymoon in Turkey. Divorce is rumbling along in the background............. I got admitted to hospital with potential heart problems after an argument with ex, luckily fairly quickly sorted out, but still on the BP pills.
My friend who lived next door got murdered in London a couple of weeks ago, leaving a lovely wife and two young children.  My mother (in a home after two strokes, blind and deaf now) has serious kidney problems. She died yesterday. Funeral is next week, some 300 miles away, throwing up a host of problems that I will have to deal with as they manifest themselves. Two friends I know of have been diagnosed with terminal cancers.
Life seems so unfair at times - not for me, because I am here and surrounded by friends who love and support me - but for others.

I light my candle for everyone I know.


Sunday, 4 May 2014

When Death Comes

When Death Comes

When death comes...
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

  • Mary Oliver

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Beltane blessing

A Beltane fire to make you warm,
Protect you well and keep from harm;
A pinch of seed for you to sow
That you will with the flowers grow;
Adorned with blooms and ribbons bright,
I bless you on this Beltane night.



Tuesday, 29 April 2014

New moon

(I'm unable to find who wrote this, so if you are able to help, please do.  Shared with thanks to the original author)

Monday, 28 April 2014

Small scale living

This is one of the best small houses I've come across so far, I think it's beautiful. Its soul sings out.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Cactus flower

The first cactus I've ever managed to get to flower :)  - although I'm fairly certain it managed it all by itself lol  It's one of two that I bought at the tip about 4 or 5 years ago. I'm not a huge fan  of them, but couldn't bear the thought of them going over the wall into the compost pile!


Tuesday, 22 April 2014


................  service will now be resumed  :)   Wedding over, went absolutely perfectly; there'll be some photos soon I hope. The happy couple are now in Turkey for a week :)  I am completely exhausted, and will just be pottering and drinking tea for a week lol  Hope all are well, and big hello to my new followers  x


Monday, 14 April 2014

Saturday, 12 April 2014

New coos...............

Belted Galloways are probably my favourite cows, and this lovely mum and her new  calf appeared in the wee field beside my garden for the first time this morning


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Wonderful day


Monday, 7 April 2014

Small treasures for a new home

Took some stuff for recycling yesterday and had a look around the sales tables at the tip; came home with some new wee things for my new home when I get there.  Sunning shiny bronze  glass bowl, little cube candlesticks in glorious rich colours, made in India, and a pair of  glass containers for floating candles, but I'll use them as vases probably. About 20p per item, so was very pleased.  I also picked up a glass chess/draughts board and se, but I need to get it out and looked at and see if it's complete, not sure what I'll end up doing with that yet!