Monday, 2 May 2016

A Traditional Walk in the Drizzle

 I just thought I'd share my photos from today's Mayday walk. IT'S TRADITION!

We could have taken the car and explored the Northamptonshire countryside, but we decided to use pure foot power and walked to Abington Park.

Well, one tradition you have to follow when you go to Abington Park is go and see the birdies. There's an aviary there full of lovebirds, budgerigars, canaries, quails, bantams, zebra finches and other things that go "meep meep" (not Roadrunner). And of course, the fabulous peacocks. Just a couple of the blue fellas there today. There's usually a white one as well. Don't know where he's gone.

The park is a fantastic arboretum. Just look at all these trees.

 And this one is awesome. There's OH, waving.

 Abington Park sits on the site of a medieval village. Some of the structures on the park date back to those times, but there's also this fantastic house which was built in the fifteenth century and is now a museum. There are plays held in the courtyard every summer - I've even been in one of them!
Shakespeare's granddaughter Elizabeth Barnard lived there, and is buried at St Paul's, also on the park site.

There being lots of trees, there are also millions of squirrels. How many can you spot?

 And some of them are very bold and will come right up to you.

There are some really good play parks for the kids, and lots of gym stuff for, erm, adults, too. This one makes you think that gravity has stopped working.

When we got down to the boating lake, it started to pitter patter.

 All these photos were taken in the rain. Very nice lake though. We got chatting to the bailiff who was fishing and had been landing some small tench and perch before the rain. We learned that there are some 20lb carp in this lake. A good fishing lake that OH can walk to with only £15 license fee per year! I think I know what to get him for his birthday now.

Finally, a drizzly picture of "The Pigeonry". More than a simple dovecot, this was originally built as a water tower to pump water for the manor house.
We put up with the rain for a bit before deciding to duck inside for a hot chocolate. No ice creams from the van today. When the rain showed no sign of abating, we braved it again and I think a suggestion of popping into another pub on the way home was briefly considered. Luckily, just as we neared said pub, the rain stopped and we sensibly decided to go home for a nice cuppa instead. Temptation avoided!

Well, we may have been soggy, but it was a nice, energizing walk. Think we did about 5 miles. My knee might need a bit of Voltarol, mind.

We settled in, and watched Being John Malkovitch which we recorded yesterday. Bloody hell, why have we not seen this film before? It is extremely weird and just a bit brilliant. I like weird, me.

Friday, 29 April 2016

The Return of the Wench

Hello everyone. It's been a while, but I've been properly missing the art of oversharing that is keeping a blog.

For a long time, I've not felt like writing, and I thought I might become an audio blogger instead. However, whilst writing things can lead to whimsical musings, tangents and even accidental poignancy, I felt that there was something about the medium of voice-based broadcasting that compelled me to tart up and slick down my personal life musings. Not quite me...That said it was jolly fun to do, so I am feeling tempted to do this and a podcast. Yes, podcast - not audio-blog. And if I'm going to do one of those I might as well make it something worth listening to. Useful and entertaining! (Hopefully.) So look out soon for Confessions of a Frugal Wench. Or another name. I can't think of anything better right now. Froogy McFrugalface?  We'll see.

So since my last update, my life has been more fraught than a soap opera.  Last year I must have angered the Piggy Bank Gods as I had to take on more debt to help OH buy his house and make urgent repairs. As a lifelong careful person, it was a horrible feeling taking on such a large and long-term responsibility. I've worked hard though, and have been able to chip away at it and overpay occasionally, too. It's still huge and scary and will be for some time, but I'm doing all right.

Secondly, it's been a tough year for OH. His health and happiness are my main focus(es), so everything I do is to make sure he is happy and healthy. One of the other big things I have done is to support him in a new career as the old one was a bit pants and driving him crazy. He is a market trader now, and it's early days but just look at that big grin. Job done. It does mean our income is greatly reduced for now while I support him as a business start up, but again, we're fine. Fine, I tell thee!

I've had another huge crisis in my life this year concerning a family member nearly dying and subsequently being very poorly. I don't want to share any more about that, just to say it's had me thinking more about what is precious to me and my life priorities.

I've had to make a bit of space in my life for all these huge issues, and have eased off on the work a bit while I gather my wits. I think giving myself that space has enabled me to start thinking a bit more creatively and recently I've been wrestling with novel plot points and scratching at stories. Makes a change from just working on other people's, and I do believe I like it.

So, low-cost living is newly in focus. Whilst this is proving slightly incompatible with the delights of the pub, I still wanna have a good time. Well, I'm back into reading - big time - and I'm currently reading 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough, with an eye on Chris Beckett's Mother of Eden and Adrian Tchaikovsky's Children of Time next.

I'm trying to grow my Aldi seeds. Think the potatoes are going okay, but nothing is happening at all with the French beans, cauliflower and cabbage. Oh garden, woe is me!

I've been knitting too. I gave up on that fiddly collar, but I'm now working on a jumper made with this gorgeous rainbow Aran - again, from Aldi. The pattern is a vintage one I was given as a present. I swore a lot at this one when I started too, but it looks great now. Aldi wool is awesome. I'm going to have a proper Aran jumper for under £15!!

I am also massively into my true crime podcasts.  Serial, Undisclosed, Truth and Justice, Real Crime Profile and Breakdown. All free, and highly addictive.

Anyway, they say the best things in life are free. What are the free things you do that make you happy? (Keep it clean!)

Friday, 25 September 2015

A Sheep Called Timothy

Hello everyone, recently back from my holidays, I have a late-night recorded audioblog for your listening pleasure.

...and to accompany the recording, here are some photos from beautiful Cornwall.

St Nectan's glen - a magical pilgrimage
The view from the boat in Mevagissey harbour

We almost had Carlyon beach to ourselves

Just outside the youth hostel in Boscastle harbour

The sea! The sea! Looking out from Boscastle harbour

Staring into the blue: OH is poised above the remains of the old lido in Boscastle harbour

Timothy was constantly eating - except when he was knocking the door to come into the bar.

Oh... this is the bread I made. Took it out of the oven just before recording. It wasn't so orangey-pink, that was the lighting.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Weevils versus Weebils

Hello everyone, I'm back - this time with an audio blog.

And for this post, here is an accompanying picture:

This is a weeble; a happy little egg person.

My knitting so far.


Monday, 8 June 2015

The Big Bad "I Said No"

Hello everyone. I haven't posted for a couple of months, but time has passed nonetheless and I am a little further down the road.

We are on the road to recovery, both in health and finances. It is a long road, but after a period of feeling rather bleak, I hope I am justified in feeling a bit more positive.

My garden needs a lot of work, and it needs to be done as I have looooaaads of seed potatoes to get in the ground. Bought them from a lucky dip for 5.95 including post and packaging and got 100! 40 have gone to my bro. Better start digging for victory!

 Today's blog title comes from another cartoon - this one from the 80s. Remember Stoppit and Tidyup? They tried to do whatever they wanted to do before The Big Bad "I SAID NO" turned up.

Scary... but I have to work out am I trying to be naughty and get away with what I can before the BBISN appears, or am I in fact scared of turning into the Big Bad "I SAID NO"?

Actually, what I'm most scared of is that I sound like the BBISN, whereas in fact I say"Is that a good idea? Are you sure you can afford it? Really? Oh, all right then..." It's a begrudging yes, so the light mood of benevolence and hedonism is still denied and no one relaxes.

At Weight Watchers we talk about diet saboteurs. It's really funny, but I think you can also get savings saboteurs.. and would you Adam and Eve it - very often they can be the same thing!

I need to make a promise to myself that I will listen to the small voice that says "I can't afford this" and just say no to things calmly and with self-assurance.

In the meantime, I've had a bit of a Stoppit and Tidyup moment, and sorted out around 40 books for sale from my book-cluttered office. They're in bags ready to go, and already my office is a nicer place to work. Have I been Kondoed? I think i may have been!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Happy as a Pig...

A friend asked me about my blog the other day, and I told him I had no heart for it at the moment. The problem is I have had a happy ending fail and I didn't know how to write about that... except maybe as a fairy story.

Once upon a time, there was a Pig Princess. DAMMIT I WILL BE A PRINCESS!

And the Princess Pig lived with her Prince in a house of straw.  But the Wolf of Worry kept blowing bits away and the house got smaller and smaller, no matter how hard the Princess kept waving her wand to try to fix it all. No, the wand is not a euphemism, and the wolf was not Taylor Lautner... he's a bit young anyway.

One day the house blew clean away. The Princess ran and ran and found herself a nice little house of bricks, where she would be safe from the Wolf of Worry living all by herself. But that made her sad, and so she was very happy when the handsome Sir Pigalot came along with a big grin on his face and a spring in his tail. And yes, he did have a sword, but it was a proper metal one for reenactments and not what you're thinking.

The Princess left her house of bricks to go and live in a charming house of sticks with the piggie knight. Other piggies went to live in the house of bricks and they paid the Princess in turnips. Yes, turnips. Just go with it.

Anyway, she was very happy (and she still is)... but occasionally the Wolf of Worry pops round and tries to wreck things. If only they were living in a house of bricks, like the one the Princess owns but no, they just have the tumbledown sticks, and they still need to be paid for too. They have enough turnips at the moment (and probably far, far too many judging by their fat little bellies) and in this regard they are so much luckier than a lot of other piggies out there. But at the moment, Sir Pigalot isn't going on many adventures - he's just had enough of fighting dragons and Wolves of Worry all the time. He's not the happy piggy he once was, and the Princess doesn't know what to do.

One day, he'll be a happy piggy again, but we need to find him something to do that doesn't involve fire-breathing dragons.

What adventures could we go on next?

With thanks and love to my dear OH who I showed the story to, and who said I could share it.

Hello new follower, Frugal in France. As you can see, it has been a bit echoey round here lately, but I will try to post more often.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Batten Down the Hatches!

The ball is rolling on the buyout, all financials are in place, and I am now fully committed to the programme of frugaldom-agogo.

This is hugely scary, and I feel tremendously wibbly, but I am trying to stay positive.

I am thankful for the  bounty of the universe, enabling me to cope. That includes a dull 20p I found in the car park this morning.

Thanks to a gift card from work, I have been able to secure some much-needed new bedding for nowt.

I had to buy some new socks - 2 for £1 at Poundland, which is great as some of mine were beyond a darn. And some I notice have not gone into a hole yet, but are like fine mesh around the heel. They seem to be pretty good at 50p a pair!

OH's watch which I got him for his 40th broke. Apparently, the guarantee was only for 12 months, so even though we managed to get it repaired under warranty the first time it broke, apparently it was going to cost this time. We sent it out for a quote at H. S**uels - £140!!! We only spent £80 in the first place!

What would you have done?

OH really wanted his watch, and had spied it was still on sale for £80 in the shop window, albeit with a different strap. Could they sell that to us and just swap the strap. Of course, they said, but my foot was tapping... had they been trying to fleece us? Now, they asked, would we like to pay extra for additional warranty, best value at 5 years. It's worth it, isn't it, OH asked, seeing as it already broke twice in 2 years?

I harrumphed, big time. "For a watch that has only been worn for best on a few occasions, I would expect it not to break at all during 5 years, let alone twice already. In fact, I would be tempted not to buy from this shop ever again!" OH did crestfallen face. "You'd have to make it worth it," I said to the assistant. "Especially seeing as we had to point out the watch to you. A discount?" Ten per cent? - Thank you very much - "Deal."

Plus, we just got £4 back from Quidco for the same sale. That's a saving of £52 on the original quote, plus an additional 5 year's guarantee. And OH has his watch!

It's not an actual saving, as we had to buy another flipping watch, but that's not staying positive...

Taking pleasure in the things that come for free...

  • TV - can't watch many things because I am so busy, and gutted to have missed out on Wolf Hall, but I have been enjoying Broadchurch, Catastrophe, and Uncle
  • Podcasts - The Infinite Monkey Cage is longer on Soundcloud than on R4 and is there for you to listen whenever. Answer Me This is also hugely entertaining.
  • Books - I'm now a bit of a Tom Pollock fan, really enjoying the Skyscraper Throne series. I have also started reading Wolves by Simon Ings and it is bleak, beautiful and dreamily sad. Thanks, the library!
  • Knitting - thanks to a generous gift of knitting paraphernalia from my MIL, I am making lovely things for the babies I know. I'm currently making an owl.
  • Online resources - I got an email this morning from someone who recommended - well worth looking at if you, your friends or family have any mental health issues.
Hello to new followers, Tracy, and  Jill on Bloglovin. I hope you enjoy my scary adventures.