Sunday, 30 September 2012

Getting stuck into some jobs

It's been a bitting and a bobbing Sunday, a bit of this and a bit of that. After breakfast and a Rocky walk I thought I really must wash my hair, haven't done it for a week. So it was boil the kettle and stick my head over the bowl in the kitchen sink and wash, then boil another kettle and rinse. The floor needed washing so I cleared all the cat food dishes away, and sucked up the debris with the Dyson, then got down on my hands and knees to wash the floor with the rinsing water. I like to get my nose close to the job so I don't miss any. Clean as a new pin, could eat your dinner off it, ha ha.   
I went on to Dyson the rest of the ground floor, it's all carpeted apart from the kitchen. I've decided to not bother with slippers in the house any more, fed up with them falling apart, I now just wear two pairs of socks, one thin and one thick and chunky. It's much more comfortable.
Heidi cat was playing hide and seek, mum can you find me. Yes Heidi I can see you.
Lunch time, one of my lovely lunches. Lettuce, chick peas, potato salad, pickled onions, cucumber, mushrooms, grated cheese. On the sandwich cheese with garlic and lettuce. Scrumptious. Washed down with a mug of warm diluted fruit juice. It was hot but it had cooled down a bit by the time I got to drink it.
After lunch it was out into the garden to fill the brown recycle bin with garden rubbish ready for collection tomorrow. Some hedge clipping and weed pulling, and I stripped the plants out of the greenhouse. I found two measley tomatoes and the second knobbly cucumber. A bit pathetic really. Oh dear not a good season for salad growing.
Then another Rocky walk, and paint another box file for the rest of my sewing stuff. Decided on orange this time.
Here are the two together, rather pleased with this, all ship shape and Bristol fashion, as they say. Three scruffy boxes dumped and replaced by two sturdy smart looking receptacles. I don't keep my Philly cheese in there bye the way, that's where I keep my pins.
I hope you had a nice weekend, I quite enjoyed myself. Had a bit of good news from Sue. We took in a mum cat and four kittens ten days ago, they were going to be dumped but someone rescued them and passed them on to us. Four new homes have been found with very nice people, for all five of them.
Toodle pip.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Another use for box files

I am all for utilising what I already have before I go out and spend some money. My sewing boxes are two empty Bran Flake boxes, and one contact lens box. I finished wearing contact lenses fifteen years ago so you can tell how old that box is. I cut them around three sides to make a lid, simple.
The cardboard isn't very strong so they don't hold their shape very well when stuffed with loads of cotton reels. Yes I have quite a lot of cotton, my friend gave them to me when she was emptying her mother in laws house. It's good to have lots of colours, you never know when you might need them. Anyway, it's about time I thought of a better way to store them.
I have a couple of these foolscap box files, left over from my business. They are lying around doing nothing so I might as well put them to good use. They are well made and strong, perfect for the job. First I took out the plastic clip.
I did think about covering it in fabric, or not bothering to cover it at all, but I decided to paint it. I have lots of little sample pots of silk emulsion paint, bought from Woolworths the day before they closed, at four pence each. I have painted on cardboard before with these and they cover quite well.  
I chose a lilac colour, and gave the box two coats. I didn't paint the inside or the bottom, and used a small brush to make neat edges.
One finished box. I thought about adding some stencilling to the lid in a different colour, but couldn't think which design to use. I might do that later.
That is most of the cotton, I'll paint another box to accommodate the rest. See how everything fits nicely.
Two margarine tubs wouldn't fit in the space, so I cut one of them down, pushed one half inside the other, and sellotaped them together.

You could probably pick these box files up at a car boot sale. They can be used to store anything, and if you need some dividers for small pieces, find some plastic tubs to fit. You could store nails and screws, or beads, or any small objects up to the height of the sides. I am very pleased with my neat and tidy storage system. No need to buy a fancy sewing box. I've had my box files for twelve years, I'm glad I've found a use for them. Toodle pip

Friday, 28 September 2012

Free discount voucher

Look what I've made for you,
the only voucher you will ever need.

Print this off and put it in your purse. Keep it with you wherever you go, present it in any shop in the world, then walk out without buying a sodding thing. Pin it on your notice board, stick it on your computer, attach it to the inside of your front door at eye level so you see it every time you leave the house. Stick it on your forehead if it will help you to remember not to spend any money. Do this for a year and I can guarantee you will save a flippin fortune, you will be quids in, have loads of spare dosh to get rid of your debts, your mortgage, and to buy the things which are important to you.  It's the only way to keep on top of your finances, no fannying about, stop spending.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

On the yellow sticker trail

Twas the 11th of September when I last did a supermarket shop, since then I have been picking up an odd item here and there to keep me going, from wherever happens to be the cheapest place. I've been eating out of the cupboard and the freezer, and most importantly the veg in my garden has meant that I have managed to not spend a lot of money on food. I can thoroughly recommend eating runner beans and courgettes every day for weeks on end, ha ha.
Anyway, tonight the fridge was bare so I have been to Tesco's to re stock. I've been on the yellow sticker trail. I had a nice chat with the lady on the veg counter, she doesn't mind at all that I wait while she scans the items and puts the stickers on. As I waited another lady went past with a trolley from the fresh food department. I got this great little haul from her. Sorry, but they are ready meals, I know, not good, but look, who could resist them at 20p a go. As long as I spread them out over a number of weeks they are not going to kill me.  
Salad bags 10p each.
Brocolli and cauliflower 13p each. I shall have to cut the nasty bits off, never mind, enough for eight meals here, with other veg.
Prepared fruit 50p each, and mushrooms 21p.
Food shopping is just one area where I can save money. I don't have set ideas in my mind about what I want to buy. I don't have a list, I don't buy something because I fancy it, I buy on price, I buy what is cheap. I buy supermarket own Value labels, BOGOF's, special offers, and out of date food. I mainly shop at Tesco's, and pop in the other supermarkets if I am passing to compare prices, and buy the odd special offer. A lot of people swear by Aldi and Lidl, I have checked out the prices in these shops, and it's very rare that I find something cheaper than what I am already paying. Sometimes I buy the veg from Aldi if it is cheap, but that's about all.
Some people like Approved Foods, I've had a look on their web site, but there are a lot of things I wouldn't eat. I don't do baking, don't do batch cooking, so don't need to buy large quantities of ingredients. I make time to search out the bargains, to try and get the most for my money. It's a lot easier to do this when you are single and retired.
Off to bed, goodnight xxx

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Redesigning cushions

I've had these four small cushions lying around for several years, I bought them from that large Swedish furniture store quite cheaply, intending to make covers for them. You know how it is, you get an idea, and what starts off as good intentions sometimes fizzles out as time passes by, and projects get pushed to one side. Now it's time to do something with them. I don't actually need or want four small cushions, but what I could do with is a large cushion which can be used as a cat bed. Might as well make something usefull with them.  
So I opened them up on two sides and removed the stuffing, then stitched them together, and restuffed them making one big cushion.
I thought about using smaller pieces of fabric and making a patchwork cover, I have some samples which would do the job just fine. But I thought I could make it easier for myself and get the job done quicker, by finding two large pieces and sewing them together. I bought a cotton dress from a car boot sale some time ago, the lady was selling five items of clothing for £1, in aid of her Rabbit Rescue she runs. The dress had a flared skirt so quite a lot of fabric in it. I have already used the bodice from it for other projects.
It's not ready yet Mayze, are you trying it out for size, ha ha.
I save all the zips from clothing I cut up, you never know when they might come in usefull. I found a long dark blue one which fits perfectly.
That's it, finished, now who's going to try it first. Aha, Heidi is on it straight away.
This is lovely mum, I claim it as my new bed. Thanks.
That's one job I can cross of my list. I must get a bit more organised and start using up my stash of fabric. I've enough to keep me going all winter. Now what shall I make next.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Don't throw it out, make something with it

I've had a lazy day today, it's been raining most of the day here, and from what I see on the news, the whole country is having a bad time of it. I haven't heard of any localised flooding though, my village is quite high up so all the water runs down the hill and into the Trent.
Here is a bit of frugal advice for you, don't buy an unbrella from the Pound Shop. This one took a bit of a battering on the walk, and as you can see it is falling to bits. I wondered what I could make with it, so I removed the cover from the bent frame.
And this is what I came up with. A doggy coat for Rocky. I ironed it and folded it in half, then cut out a half circle for the neck. I stitched the two sides together along the sides and top, inside out, then turned it the right way and ironed the seams flat. Next I cut a piece of thick fabric the same size and inserted it, pinned it in place, and did another row of stitching half an inch from the edge to keep it in place. Next I stitched the bottom up. A tab to fit under his belly and some velcro to fasten it.  
And there we have it, smart eh! Waterproof and cosy. He seems to like it. A lot cheaper than buying a ready made one, and dead easy to make.
Are we off out now, I want to try it out.
I checked how many miles I managed to walk over the five days, the total was
Day 1  19.57
Day 2  19.90
Day 3  16.25
Day 4  17.10
Day 5  17.23
Total  90.05
Not too bad I suppose, average of 18 a day. I still want to beat that 162 miles which I did in April. Oh well, it will have to wait till the spring now before I can do another long one. Still plenty of day walks to do when we get some good weather over the winter. I shall have to get out or I'll get withdrawal symptons. Toodle pip

Monday, 24 September 2012

Walk abandoned

It is with regret that I have had to abandon my home made coast to coast walk. You have probably seen the weather reports on the TV and in the newspapers, heavy rain along with high winds overnight, and for the next two days.
When I got up this morning I was still hopefull that I might be able to carry on but after seriously thinking about it over breakfast I realised that it would be not only foolish but also dangerous. It's not so much the rain falling that bothered me, but what happens to the ground during and after a heavy drenching. Paths become lethal skating rinks, especially when they are not level in the first place. Stones become slippery, soil becomes a mud bath and extremely slippery, and it only takes one slip sideways and a lot of damage can be done. I could not risk breaking my ankle and being out of action for several months while it healed. 
So now I am back home. I was lucky with the transport, and I almost made it the whole way back for free on my bus pass. I got a bus out of Bakewell to Sheffield, then I was lucky to find a bus leaving in a matter of minutes for Doncaster. There I enquired about a bus to Scunthorpe and was told there is only one a day and I had missed it by 20 minutes.  So it was a short walk to the railway station where I jumped on a train with only minutes to spare. I paid the conductor £10 for my ticket. My lovely friend and cat sitter Janet picked me up when I arrived back.
I am feeling a bit sad, and wonder if I should have tried it. You know I never like to give up, but my safety has to come first. Looking out of the window now it is pouring down with rain, with no sign of any let up. Never mind. there will be other walks, I just wish this British weather wasn't so unpredictable, maybe we'll get summer in November. The cats are pleased to see me anyway, and I'll get Rocky out as soon as the rain eases off a bit. Toodle pip.
PS. I really hate this new Blogger dashboard.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Day 5. Flash to Bakewell

Hi bloggy friends, post number two tonight to catch up. What have I been doing today? Well for a start my flippin legs are killing me. The upper leg muscles have been working hard since I arrived in Derbyshire, up and down the hills. Good news about the blisters. The big one under my heel has gone, after a few pricks with a needle and covered with Germoline. The soles of my feet are like leather. There have been a couple of smaller ones, but they are not bothering me, they get the same treatment so won't be around very long. I must say that my lungs are getting a good workout, and my heart seems to be coping wonderfully with all the extra beating it has to do. I feel much fitter when doing these long walks. Let's hope the leg muscles loosen up a bit tomorrow.  
Right, what have I been doing today. The best taxi driver in Buxton dropped me off at Flash, where he picked me up the night before. It was a bit cold, but dry. I thought I would be ok without a jacket on, as I expected it to brighten up, and I hate keep stopping to change my clothes. After ten minutes I was freezing so I gave in and put the jacket on. Still had the shorts on though, for some reason my legs don't feel cold when I am walking, perhaps because they are going up and down like the clappers, ha ha.
There was no need for me to walk into Buxton, I could bypass that bit now, and cut across the bottom of it towards Harpur Hill. I had put my bigger scale Ordnance Survey map in my bag as I need more detail because there are a lot more footpaths to choose from. I had to find my way around the edge of the massive site of the Health and Safety Executive Laboratory Headquarters. Luckily they have signs everywhere because they don't want people walking where they shouldn't be. The whole sight is protected by security cameras, I stopped for a minute to check a tarmac path on the map, I think this is an entrance for vehicles as it has a traffic light on it. I was hesitating because I didn't know if the path went up the road. All of a sudden the traffic light changed from red to green and there was only me there. I laughed, I could imagine some bloke watching me and reading my mind. ha ha. Off you go dear, yes you can proceed.   
Anyway, I found Harpur Hill but I was quite high up and I needed to get down to the main road at the bottom to cross it. Could I find the flippin footpath, could I heck. I ended up making a bit of a detour, going through a field of cows and giving them a wide berth, and climbing over a gate to go through the middle of a farmyard. Phew that was lucky, nobody spotted me. That's Harpur Hill down there.
Next was a bit of road walking, still a bit cold, but at least no rain. I went down a minor road to King Sterndale, a tiny hamlet of a few houses. I love this painted sign on the village hall.
I went down a very steep bank, almost went arse over tit in the mud, crossed the railway line and the main A6 road, and the River Wye, then climbed a steep bank on the other side to turn right through Wye Dale. The path eventually went through a wood, then through some brambles, my legs were scratched and stung to hell, ouch. Across on the other side is Topley Pike Quarry.
The path dropped down to a little bridge which crossed the river. It was here that I decided to get on the Monsal Trail, a wide flat path which used to be a railway line many years ago. There was a cycle hire place which seemed to be buzzing. Even though it was cold there were lots of people out cycling.  
This is the weir next to the cycle hut.
The flat surface was easier walking and giving my legs a rest so I decided to stick with it. Going downhill when your upper leg muscles are aching is hell. By staying on here I could get a move on with not much pain. Here are some of the tunnels which are now open to pass through. 
The remains of a lime kiln.
I have walked part of this trail before, this is Cresswell Mill which I mentioned in a previous post.
I had originally planned on heading for Baslow, but as time went on I thought I wouldn't make it before darkness, so I decided to modify the route and go to Bakewell. It had grown very dull and threatened rain, which started just as I got to Bakewell. I thought there would be a better chance of finding a bed here.The station is still standing and being used as a company office.
On this copy of an old poster you can see the Monsal Viaduct which I walked over.
I found the Tourist Information Office was still open so I went in to enquire about finding a room. The man looked on the computer and rang a couple of them, no vacancies. He said £70 - £75 is normal. Then he didn't have any more to check for me, and the woman pointed out that they were about to close. They told me the best place to look. I popped in a Spar shop to get some provisions for tonight and tomorrow and went down the road they suggested. I found somewhere, and it wasn't £70, well it might have been, for a couple, but I think the man took pity on me a wet bedraggled oap, and ofered it for £50. I still think this is too much, but it's a posh touristy area, so I suppose they can get a bit more. It's a lovely room, I'm going to sleep well here. They are going to do me a veggie breakfast, served at 8am.    
Coffee or tea anyone?
Well that's five days done and I am a bit behind schedule which I expected. I just haven't been able to make good progress in Derbyshire. I'm going to head towards Chesterfield tomorrow, it would be nice if I can make Staveley. We shall see. The weather forecast sounds awfull, think I am going to get drenched. I'll keep my pecker up, every step I take brings me nearer to home. Toodle pip.

Day 4. Congleton to Flash

Whoopeeee, we have a signal tonight, so I'll carry on with the post I started last night, and get that out of the way. I went down for breakfast at 8am, to find no breakfast ready and the cleaning lady doing her stuff with the hoover. She said breakfast isn't served till 9am so I told her I had requested it for 8am. Anyway, between us we cobbled one together, I needed to get going. She brought the toaster out and I made the toast, she warmed a tin of beans in the microwave. I had already had a mug of coffee in the room so didn't need another one. I made extra toast and spread it with jam and wrapped it up to take with me. On the way out of town I popped into Morrisons to pick up the days provisions.
It took me twenty minutes to get back onto the canal at Buglawton. The towpaths have been very muddy and I would have liked to get off them. It's ok around the locks and the parts where there are boats moored, but there are miles of overgrown paths.
See that mini mountain over there, that's where I am going today, after I have made a little diversion to see Bossley Locks. Apparently there are 27 locks in a mile. 
I didn't walk the whole mile and back just went to see a few of them.  
There's that mini mountain again, it's called The Cloud, looks quite rocky up there. 
I traipsed across a couple of boggy fields and came out on a road, which I crossed and took a track to the top. No jumping off allowed, ha ha.  
Fantastic views from up there, a time for solitude and reflection. There was a few people about, and lots of dogs having a great time. 
Puddytat was very happy.It was a lovely sunny morning and he was glad to be travelling on top of the rucksack instead of inside it.  
That's Congleton down there. 
From coming down off The Cloud, I picked up the Dane Valley Way. Some of it was quite difficult to find, especially when it went across fields and I couldn't find the stile to get out over the other side. I crossed over the main A523 and headed for Danebridge. I must say the path at this stage had become horrendous with the mud almost coming over the top of my boots. Another day with wet feet, at least the rest of me was dry in the sun.
I sometimes wonder if it is a good idea to keep introducing more long distance footpaths, the council printing up leaflets to encourage people to use them, then millions of pairs of boots churn them up, and nobody bothers to maintain them.
I came across Danebridge Fish Farm and fishing ponds. As it was a Saturday and nice weather lots of people had come out to enjoy themselves. They were selling buckets of food for 50p that the children could feed to the fish. They loved seeing them leap out of the water to catch the food. A bit further along there was a sign on the fence advertising Family Fun, catch a trout and take it home for tea for £2.50. I thought what a contradiction. Spend 50p to feed the fish, then spend £2.50 to kill one.
My plan was to try and make it to Buxton, but I knew I would have to run like a whippet to get there. I had spent a bit of time talking to people, so that had slowed me down a bit, but I thought I might make it if I tried really hard. When I got to Gradbach Youth Hostel it was 4.30pm, by then I knew it was almost impossible to get to Buxton in the time I had left. I was hopefull I could get a bed there, but found they were full up, the whole hostel had been booked by a private party. I had no choice but to carry on.  
I decided that the road would be my best bet, as the mud and uneven ground was really slowing me up.From the hostel I followed the road up to the village of Flash. As I was struggling up a very steep hill I saw a whole field of Alpacas, aren't they lovely.   
There was no room at the Inn at The Travellers Rest on the main A53 road, so there was nothing I could do but to get a taxi to take me the five miles into Buxton. I have read the comments on the post I put on last night, and I can understand that some people may be alarmed that I stayed with the taxi driver and his wife, it was very kind of them to put me up. I think I should add that as soon as I got into the taxi (it was licensed and had the company name on the side) I found the driver extremely easy to get on with and we soon had a lively conversation going. I have been working with men for 32 years and think I am quite a good judge of character. We were having a bit of banter about how expensive it was for a room, I said, all I want is a bed and a wash basin so I could brush my teeth. I joked, 'you haven't got a spare room have you', ha ha. He made a phone call to his wife to ask what she thought. I was amazed that she said ok and I thought it was so funny. They were taking a chance on me, I could have been a nutter. As it happens they were a lovely couple, and I had a fantastic night, I feel I have found new friends. Toodle pip.