Thursday, 14 September 2017

Losing our dear cat.

Hi All
I'm sitting in my friends conservatory in Cornwall (while David is fishing ) feeling a little low, so thought I would talk to you, my virtual friends.
While here, my daughter is looking after the old homestead. Our dear cat, Dixie, has been unwell and "under the vet" for a couple of weeks now. Last night YD rang to say that Dixie had taken a turn for the worse and that maybe the time had come (we had already discussed this between us and the vet) As she was talking to me Dixie fitted in her arms and then drifted away. I'm so sorry that we were not there for Dixie and for YD.
Dixie was about 10years, we are not exactly sure of her age as she was a rescue, but she was a young cat when she came to us. She had a great character and was a fearsome rabbiter and we are going to miss her dreadfully.
As I am away I can do little more that post these few words, but when I get home I will gather the photos of Dixie that I have posted over the years to put up as a sort of tribute


Friday, 8 September 2017

Safe after Irma

Thanks for the helpful comments re.. the judging. I have all my "props" to hand now and ready for the morrow.
The fishing gear is mostly packed tho' it is possible we won't set off tomorrow as the weather doesn't look too good for fishing as winds are forecast for Sunday, Monday and possibly Tuesday, so we won't be rushing off.
In truth this all seems a little petty after today when my youngest  daughter and I have been tracking Hurricane Irma every few minutes because her daughter  (the young quilter Weave) is hunkered down in an hotel on the north coast of Cuba!!!!
 The worst seems to have passed now, so she is safe thank goodness, but as yet they haven't been allowed out of the inner, windowless hall that everyone was ordered to stay in until the hurricane had passed. She tells us, by text, that they must stay in a little longer yet  (they have been there since lunchtime) and that they are told that the lobby is destroyed and at least some of the roof has gone, with water is running through the hotel.
What an awful time they are having in that part of the world. Three current hurricanes (and an earthquake today in Mexico) We are so lucky living where we do and yet no one complains about or discusses the weather as much as us Brits!
All for now, keep safe our American friends

Monday, 4 September 2017

Judging at the Horticultural Show

Hello All
I might do a bit of an update on my last post soon, discussing the animals, crops , money making schemes etc.
But for now I have a request.
Has anyone judged at an horticultural show and have they any tips?
I have been asked to judge the three preserve categories at our local horticultural show. At first I thought "Who? Me?" thinking I didn't have the experience. On reflection I probably do. I entered my first jar of jam at the Kingsway Hospital Show aged 10. I remember the jam was raspberry, made from fruit that I scrumped from a derelict orchard and I came 3rd. Not a bad start against the WI brigade!. Since then I have pickled, bottled, brewed and dried, salted and jammed and jellied year after year, sometimes in huge amounts.
The show is next weekend and I shall arrive as staging finishes to judge my classes and then set off immediately from the show to travel to Cornwall for a weeks sea fishing. David that is, I will be car booting, charity shopping, sewing, painting and all the other activities I follow while himself is on the briney.
So wish me luck with the judging and if you have any experience please share. The only thing I am absolutely sure of is that I shall find something positive to say about each jar, whatever the quality of the contents.
Back Soon

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

How we bought our smallholding

How we bought our smallholding... A bit of a ( drastically edited) life story really.
Are you sitting comfortably? then I'll begin...
 I met David when he moved into a council house 12 doors away from our council house. I was just 14 and he was all of 15 and a half.
Nearly six years later (1966) we married. My parents, who had to give consent as I was a minor, weren't too keen, but I informed them that if we didn't marry soon we might well have our children as bridesmaids.. that did  it! We rented a terraced house a couple a streets away from our parents. The house had an outside loo and a long back garden, which we never used for anything "useful" that I remember. A couple of years ( and a daughter) later we had saved the deposit for a new house on what was then, one of the biggest new private estates in the midlands. My father, a staunch socialist,  was taken aback and not a little disappointed by us being "owner-occupiers" he thought we had overstretched ourselves, a sentiment we had to concur with a couple of years later when fuel prices went through the roof and the interest rate on our mortgage rose to 15%! Those were the days of  real hardship and only the skills taught to me by my mother, much ingenuity and a frugality that had helped us raise the deposit for the house in the first instance, helped us to hang on until things got better. Around this time our second daughter was born.
Living on a new estate meant that most of our neighbours were of a similar age and we had a really good social life. We met people who are still dear friends today. Two people, in particular, we became close to. Newlyweds, they moved in five doors away.. After a while we saw them daily, went on holiday together, played cards into the night and generally lived in each others pockets. By now David and I had started to grow vegetables, keep bees in a friends large garden, rear rabbits for meat, forage, make wine (I had always cooked, baked, made jams and preserves) and yearn for "The Good Life". Our friends became interested too and when we watched the serial "The Survivors" together we were agreed that we were the types who would survive. Coming across John Seymour sealed our growing ambition which was held back purely for economic reasons! As we spent so much time together we reasoned that we stood a good chance of living together and we began to search for a property that our joint incomes could afford and that was big enough for two families (though they still had no children at this time)
Over the next few years we looked at properties, bought "useful things"  for our future life from car boots, read up and practiced skills that could be useful and after many false starts and horrors we found a property that could, with work, meet our needs.
 In the summer of 1981 we sold our houses and arranged to move in the September. One buyer fell through and we decided to take our chances with a bridging loan . Crikey that was financial fun for the next nine months!  Moving two seperate houses and households into one house (that we had yet to convert derelict rooms into liveable accommodation) in what turned out to be a bitter winter is another story really, as this one is telling of how we afforded our little bit of land.
Twelve years later our lives had changed in many ways and we decided that we and our friends wanted/needed/prioritised different things. We bought our friends out and the smallholding became ours alone. (they remain our close friends and we see each other at least weekly)
In short, we moved from council house, to rental , to owner occupier, to joint owners and finally sole owners of a Derbyshire stone cottage with two beautiful acres bounded by a river.
Here I sit feeling pretty smug in our little piece of heaven, bought entirely by our own means (we have never inherited nor won anything) it hasn't been easy at times for all sorts of reasons, but it has always been worth it.
Anybody want to share how they afforded to buy their dream?
Back soon
love Gillx

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Trying to sell things and other stuff

Hello All
Blogger friends, do you remember when you first started blogging and you kept looking to see how many views you received? Well that's me on facebook marketplace! I finally put three items up for sale (loads more to do) and I keep checking to see if anybody has looked at them.
After my last post I decided to try to sell items on fb marketplace within 40k of here and if they don't sell will put them on ebay. I have taken lots of photographs and written descriptions that I believe to be clear and honest. All will be transferable to ebay if needed.
 I remember when I first started blogging and my daughter was my first follower (well she would be as she set up the blog for me!) she said that she would get me started and follow me until I got 20 followers. I couldn't imagine that happening at the time and remember the first comment I received, I was SO excited. I'm not a regular blogger so don't really deserve nor court new followers, but I'm am still pleased when someone new follows!
 The news is pretty awful again isn't it? Unlike many people, I really don't have the answer to the terrorist attacks. Anyone can drive a van into a crowd and everyone has access to a kitchen knife, you cannot legislate against either can you? And if a person believes that they are doing the will of god and actually want to be a martyr there are few punishments you can inflict that they won't embrace or welcome.
The weather has been varied here in Derbyshire and we have struggled to get the right weather to take honey off the bees. many people have called or phoned to ask if we have any yet and we are turning them away. it is very frustrating.
Meanwhile, the odd broody is bringing off a couple of chicks here and there. no big broods, but the numbers are adding up for replacement hens for next year.
"Fake or Fortune" starts again tonight. One of my favourite programmes, I shall be bathed and ready to watch it prior to us going out to friends later.
Talking of painters and cheating, there is a new book out called "Traces of Vermeer" by Jane Jelley, which I really, really want to read. Trouble is, it costs £25 which is a lot for me to pay for a book, but I'm not sure that I can wait until it is available second hand. Perhaps if I sell something on facebook I can use the cash to buy the book!!
 Looking back, this is another random post (really? from me?)
I have started to draft a post about buying a smallholding and thought that a good place to begin would be how WE bought our smallholding, so that will be my next post.
A warm welcome to Chezbobs on the follower bar and California Clippin on Bloglovin.
Back soon

Saturday, 29 July 2017

I need tips for selling on Ebay please

I've been having a little de-clutter. Not what some would call a de-clutter, but I've made a start with the smallest bedroom aka junk room.
All the fabric, clothes etc has gone to the Air Ambulance. They pick up from the door regularly and I fell lucky with a pick up last week. A few boxes of bric a brac, books etc have gone to the charity shop, but there are some items that I think are worth selling. So how to start? I have never sold anything on ebay and bought very little (and always with the help of my daughter or granddaughter) so I don't really know how to go about it. Do I do lots of photographs,? Do I do a thorough write up?
 My granddaughter says I might do as well on a local facebook selling site. Has anyone found this better than ebay?
One of the reasons for the clear out of the small (which we call the Heidi room because it is snook up into the loft) to make more room for my granddaughter who is currently living with me and is "bottom drawing"  - they don't use that term anymore do they? I remember David and I starting our bottom drawer. For some reason I thought that red and white would be a good theme. My first purchase was a "Domino" coffee set! Really useful! I have no idea where that went but it would fetch far more now than I paid for it then, well over 50 years ago.
Said granddaughter doesn't appear to have plans for a wedding as yet, she is though (with her partner) saving for a deposit on a house. Their long term plan is to have a smallholding and they plan to buy, "do up", move etc until they reach their goal. With the price of property especially with land they have a steep hill to climb, but she's a determined (not to say stroppy and sassy) young woman and they might just do it!! Nothing ventured eh? I know that Sue from the Cottage at the end of the lane did exactly that.
I can feel a theme coming on here - "Who can afford to buy a smallholding and how?" - Next post methinks.
I'd love to hear of your experience of Ebay/facebook selling.
Love Gill x
PS A warm welcome to Debbie Amber, Modern arts and crafts and Hannah Coe on Blogloven.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

"I deserve it"

I see that it is over a month since I last posted. Where did the time go!? Been super busy here. Not even been looking at other blogs and I'm months behind with my Civic Society paperwork too. No doubt I will catch up when/if the weather worsens and I am restricted to indoor tasks only.
While gathering my strength to attack the ironing mountain(any excuse to put it off) I have been watching "Right on the money" on the TV. As often happens I have been shouting at the TV again. Well at two "patients" that are struggling with money/debts/savings. What makes me shout? The statement "We/I deserve it"  The parents of four children who believe they deserve a weekend break without the children once a month! (they also have family holidays) and the woman who buys online for things she doesn't need but likes opening packages and she deserves it. At least the woman appeared to be able to afford her purchases, but the couple were overspending in several ways, such as lots of takeaways -"because we work hard"
While I believe that people should have treats, holidays, meals out etc where does this term "deserve it" come from? I also couldn't help wondering how their children felt about how their parents needing so many breaks from them! (David and I had two weekends away on our own in all the time our children lived with us and while enjoyable, we didn't NEED the break)
Am I being a grump? Too judgmental? Do some people work harder than others?
Neck on the line here again - what do you think folks?!
Back with a smallholdy/frugally/generally type post soon.
Off to catch up on some of my favourite blogs - have I missed anything?