Sunday 23 December 2018

Home for Christmas

David has escaped from hospital tonight. We don't know how long he will be home but we are happy that he will sit in his usual place at the table on Christmas day.
I wish you, all my bloggy friends, a Very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year and thank you for sticking with me despite my infrequent post and for your good wishes for David.

Friday 14 December 2018

Further update (moan)

Hello dear bloggy friends
I seem to do little but quick catch ups with you at present.
I really am spending my time toing and froing from the Royal Derby with David. He was in hospital last time I wrote, came out a few days later only to be blue-lighted back in the following week with a pretty dramatic bleed, in for 10 days home for 6 and then last sunday I found him lying on the ground on his way to the outside loo (goodness knows how long he had been there, I had been blithely mucking out hens and picking spinach) So another 999 call and now he looks to be in some time as they believe he has endocarditis. The poor bloke is pretty fed up with himself. The girls and I are trying to ensure that he doesn't just have to listen to just .us and have set up a sort of rota that our friends and relatives can put themselves in a slot to visit him, to ring the changes. He is to have some procedure around his heart next wednesday, when they will know if he is responding to the antibiotics that he is being fed IV.  From this he will know if he can come home for Christmas day with the family and if he is hospital for 6 weeks or allowed home with district nurse support.
I have been doing other things honest! But Christmas is coming together pretty slowly. My Christmas cards haven't  been written (only just bought!) so I guess I have missed the overseas ones!. I have made a note of all the interesting things I HAVE been doing in a draft post and will regale you with them at a later date.
Now that I am at my computer I will finish the Civic Society's Winter newsletter as it has to be printed and posted by Monday
So again in haste. Thank you for bearing with me

Sunday 4 November 2018


Hello All
Just a few words to say that I am still here but not too active blogwise.
Thank you for the comments on my last post. Sorry I have not replied...remiss of me I know
Spending much of my time toing and froing with David to the Royal Derby as they struggle to raise his hb and decrease the odema while managing his heart failure. He has had many procedures, tests consultancies, transfusions, drugs, minor ops etc. He is in hospital again at the mo. Thank goodness for the dear old NHS.Without it our house would be remortgaged by now!!!
Still pounds and pounds of tomatoes to pick and process (in November for goodness sake! ) and many buckets of apples on the trees still to be picked (should finish the apple picking next week)
Just finished several Civic Society exhibitions and functions with just our Remebrance Evening to go next week and I can concentrate on the sewing pile.
All for now
Sorry this is such a poor post
Our new cat Baloo has been busy this week.... three mice, two moles and a weasle!!

Friday 21 September 2018

Beans and David's health (not connected!)

Hello All
Pretty busy here at the moment. It is that time of year and it seems to be going on longer this year with still much to harvest and process from the garden. Each year I try to grow different varieties  along with my old favourites. This year I grew four types of french bean.  Tendergreen, which is a bush variety, Blue Lake a climber which I have grown for at least ten years, Cobra a climber and Yard Long just for laughs! I have also grown my usual Borlotti which can be used as a french bean if you don't let it grow as a dried speckled bean for winter.
I took these pics a few weeks ago when they were at their best.
Here is Cobra which has been fantastic, a very heavy cropper with lovely long straight beans

This is Tendergreen, which even with some support has fallen about all over the place, not at all like Castandel which I grew last year and will return to.
Here is Borlotti at its green bean stage, maturing very late this year and for some reason making an awful lot of leaf.
And for your amusement Yard Long
For some reason I don't have a pic of the Blue Lake which has not done too well this year.
I will definitely grow Cobra again and have already saved some seed.
The Leon Millet grapes have done exceptionally well, here is one of the many branches. They are now picked, some have gone into wine, some for juice and the rest are in the freezer.

The peaches actually ripened and I am SO pleased with them. The flavour was exceptional, much better than those I have bought from the shop. There were forty in all, here are what was left after we made ourselves ill eating them! The pears are the first I have harvested here , so all good there too. The mushrooms are the only two that we found in the paddock this year... Oh well you can't win them all!
Just a heads-up on why I am even tardier with my postings. David is having to go to The Royal Derby everyday (inc weekends) to have intravenous diuretic to try to remove the fluid that he is retaining that not only gathers in his legs but around his vital organs including his heart. As he is in heart failure the fluid is putting an extra strain on him. Unfortunately his kidneys are also impaired and as the diuretic puts a strain on his kidneys they are having a bit of a juggling match.. The heart and renal Consultants will be meeting in the car park with stethoscopes at dawn soon !!! David's heart was damaged by radio therapy that he received some years ago when he had a 5 year fisticuffs with Hodgkins ( put simply, cancer of the lymphatic system) He had a new valve fitted nearly ten years ago, but his heart function has gradually declined. As his blood pressure is being kept VERY low the hospital does not want him to drive home after treatment so I have been driving him there, dropping him off and collecting him two to three hours later. During this time he is only allowed 1500mls of fluid a day. He is HATING this as he loves his tea and a couple of nights a week he joins friends for  real ale! When home I have been holding the fort and looking after the shared lives guys, while processing the food mountain. If the traffic is light (fat chance on the A38!) it takes me 20 mins each way. I am told this could go on 7 days a week for several weeks yet!
I am looking forward to to tomorrow. When we get back from the hospital YD and EGD and I are going to a newly opened store in Chapel Street Belper called Sue's Sustainables. She will be selling dry goods that you take your own containers for and lots of plastic free stuff.
In the Evening we are going to a 60th birthday party. They are serious Rock and Rollers and I am attempting to finish a full skirted frock. If I can get to the shops to buy the zip this afternoon I might just get it done.
Sorry about any typos and if this is disjointed as I don't have time to edit , but wanted to keep in touch.

Friday 24 August 2018

Some fruit trees and a puppy picture

Hello All
Thank you for your thoughts on how I might sell our excess produce. I am still unsure what to do. I was excited when I heard that the local council has an open market produce day at the end of next month, but the stalls are £35 !!
Anyway there is still time to decide. In the meantime I will try to improve our roadside signs and carry on processing what I can. This is taking up a huge amount of time, but it would be criminal to let anything go to waste.
The fruit trees are exceptional this year.
 Here is one of our twelve apple trees, a Bramley

 And one of our two Victoria Plums (with a couple of Marjorie seedling plums hanging down in front of me like a pair of clackers - remember them?)
 One of our ten Damsons
 Our Leon Millet grape

The Medlar

And most exciting of all, for the first time...Peaches! (Red Haven)
Hope this doesn't sound like gloating, I'm just so pleased!
Extra busy weekend as twenty or so folks descend on us, most camping or caravaning with just a couple or so on the house. Copious amounts of baking etc done before hand , much by my youngest daughter and her daughter, so that we can all enjoy ourselves. This is easy peasy after the big party we had in July with well over a hundred and thirty odd tents!
I still haven't taken a picture of the new family dogs to put on the blog, perhaps I will remember to do so this weekend.
Here is one photo I DO have. This is Hattie. This was taken two months ago when she was sixteen weeks old. She is my eldest granddaughter's dog (company for her yellow Lab, Coda) Hattie, who  has a delightful personality,  is a Bernese Mountain dog and is going to be HUGE.
It is getting late so will close for now and hope you in the UK are keeping as warm as possible on this cold Bank Holiday!
Love Gillx

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Where to Boot or Farmers market?

Hello All
I'm looking at those fruit/veggies that I have a glut of and want to ensure there is no wastage.
In a few weeks I will have huge quantities of damsons, apples, plums, beetroot, blackberries and spinach and other sundry stuff.  I will be making copious amounts of wine and preserves, but there is only so much jam a family can eat ( not so sure that is true of the wine!) So I am planning on having a go at selling our excess. The door sales aren't anywhere near as popular as they used to be, possibly because of the road getting much busier and people not wanting to stop in such traffic. I have bought some new jam jars so that stuff is up to scratch. Second hand , i.e re-purposed, jars will do US nicely,  but I am told that I can't use these to sell.
So, okay then, where to sell? I am told that Farmers markets are good and interested in such produce and there is one in Belper, which is only 4 miles away. There is also a large Car Boot at Tansley, near Matlock which is approx. 8 miles away and has a greater footfall.
I will also have honey and wax to sell and am planning on using up some of my huge fabric stash for tote bags and veggie bags. ( as I am typing this I keep thinking of other things I could take along)
What do you think then?
I would love to hear your views
For now

Tuesday 31 July 2018

Courgette and cheese bake and green beans with tomatoes recipes

Hello All
The gardens are giving generously now and it is time to think creatively about what to do with the courgette glut. The abundance of tomatoes and green beans are never seen as a challenge though. Here are two tried and trusted (by me) recipes that you might like to try.

Courgette and Cheese slice  - as a base I use
2 large courgettes, grated - I used yellow and green
one onion, chopped
a little oil
3 eggs, beaten
2 cloves garlic, crushed
a cup of tasty cheese. grated
salt and pepper
parsley chopped
 You could add some grated root veg if you want. I added a large potato (grated) too last time and went really well.
Grease a tray and set oven for 170
Grate the courgette and put into a sieve to drain off the water.
While draining, saute the onion and garlic in the oil.
Squeeze the courgette in a cloth to get out as much fluid as possible.
Tip courgette (and any other grated veg you might have) in with the onions and fry gently for about 5 mins. Add the rest of the ingredients and tip into your tray.
Cook for about 25 mins until set.
Eat hot or cold. Good with salad, or as a packed lunch, or with jacket potatoes, or with the next recipe.

Green beans with tomato
1lb french beans cut into similar lengths 2 to 3 inches suits us.
1 chopped onion
3 crushed cloves garlic
2 tbs oil
2 tbs vinegar (whatever suits you)
1 tbs honey or sugar
1 and a half pounds of fresh tomatoes, skinned and chopped. or a tin of chopped tomatoes.
chopped basil.
Salt and pepper
Place beans in a saucepan of boiling water, cook for 5 mins and then drain and steep into cold water, drain and put aside.
Saute the onion and garlic in the oil for 5 mins.
add the sugar/honey and caramelise for a couple of mins.
Add the vinegar, tomatoes, seasoning and chopped basil and cook for a further 5 mins.
Add the beans.
This is best eaten when warmed through.
This freezes very well or can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days until needed.
I served this up with some new potatoes and the courgette bake for a tasty veggie meal, all from our garden.

I was cutting out a dress pattern yesterday and was reminded of the days we saved the tissue paper cut away for loo paper. Anyone else remember doing that?! We also saved the paper that was wrapped around bars of soap to draw on. It sounds like those days might be coming back when we don't waste anything. Not a bad thing.
All for now.

Sunday 22 July 2018

Events, dogs and plastic

Hello All
I realise that it has been over two months since my last post. I have rather lost my blogging mojo and goodness the time flies nowadays! Much has happened and I have been really busy. However, onwards eh?
This glorious (too hot.. give us rome rain!) weather has meant that I have spent many waking hours in the gardens and next to none in the house. The blossom has been exceptional this year hasn't it? The trees are now groaning with smaller than usual fruit  The bees have been busy for the last four months  Yesterday while I was hanging out the washing the smell of honey coming from the hives in the garden was very strong. It looks as though it is going to be another good honey year.
 The vegetable patches are now producing well, what a great feeling that is. I have tried to fill every available space with something useful.
I have quite a few events taking up my time, which I am actively involved in setting up/ running/ hosting etc and I didn't quite know how I was going to really fit them in. I guess it is time I learnt to say "No" more often. The most significant (i.e I am heavily involved) are -  our Civic Society meeting, the AGM of a Hydro project, co-hosting (and cooking for) a yearly meet of a Book Plate Society at my friend's mansion, our yearly family and friends Festival (30+ tents 200 people) and a couple of heritage exhibitions. I usually have a few fishing trips to Cornwall thrown in, but David is not well enough to go. These events have now passed successfully I'm relieved to say and I am now  girding my loins for some more happenings and of course the honey and garden harvests that will now roll out over the next couple of months.
 We have new dogs added to the family pack! In the header picture is, from the left,Sammie, Coda and Jed. Unfortunately Jed passed away last Autumn, aged 14. He was a gentle soul. Now that his mum, my eldest daughter, has moved jobs, house and county and they are finally settled  they have rescued a lab/springer cross called Bailey. He is such a livewire, I guess it is the springer in him. Coda now has a new sister called Hattie. She is a Bernese Mountain pup, quite delightful and already huge! Finally, my grandson and his partner now have a Shiba-inu (no neither have I!).called Freja (the J is pronounced Y) Our dear Sammie, my youngest daughter's rescue is still with us at 15 an a half. So it is fun and games when they are all here on Sundays for tea. I will try to get some photos this weekend, maybe it is time for a new header.
I went to "Belper Goes Green" last month. It is a two day/ three evening event. It was very interesting, though I was surprised not to see The Green Party represented and little made of the drive to reduce our use of plastics.
Talking of plastics, when we were coming home from Cornwall at the beginning of May we called in at our favourite services at  Gloucester. There was a pretty impressive display of plastic-free items for sale. However the prices were extortionate ( e.g.£24.00 for a wooden brush for cleaning your computer!!) and I'm not sure everyone is understanding the principle. One woman picked up a couple of wooden with bristle sink brushes declaring that she would throw her plastic ones away when she got home. I was all set to ask her if there was still some life left in her plastic ones or could they at least be repurposed when my mind reader of a husband steered me away! (incidentally I bought a couple of wooden and bristle sink brushes from B&M for less than £2 each)
In common with many I am working in reducing plastic use. The throw-away/use once bags/containers have  bothered me for some time, if only for the cost but mostly because of the earth's finite resources. Now seeing the impact on our oceans and rivers (Hail ! Saint David Attenborough) I have decided to be even more active in reducing my use of these items. I stopped using plastic shopping bags several years ago, but am now ramping up my fabric recycling with bags for fruit and veg. Guess what everyone will be getting for Christmas this year?!
While this doesn't really cover a couple of months in my life it sort of brings us up to date and gets me back into the swing of things.
Won't be so long next time
Love Gillx

Sunday 13 May 2018

Friday 27 April 2018

Can you identify these old (antique) pans?

Hi People.
Anyone any idea what these pans were used for ?  They are for sale in an antique shop in a town near to us and neither the owner, nor my friend who is a collector of antiques are sure what they were used for. My Cornish friend who is up for the weekend suggests perhaps they were used to make clotted cream. I have no idea, but think they are rather lovely.

Back to normal (for me!) stuff  in my next post.

Tuesday 17 April 2018

Egg glut, veggie plants, fabric stash and more

Hello It's me again!!
I'm rubbish at this regular/frequent blogging thing aren't I ?
Thank you so much for your comments on my last post, which I have finally replied to if you want to jump back to them. I was going to write something last week as there has been so much going on, but ended up reading other's blogs instead! Easily done isn't it?!

We were in Cornwall sea fishing last week. While David was fishing and my friend was away skiing I "did" the charity shops ( bought books and jeans) and nurseries. The vegetable plants were pretty gruesome and quite expensive at the nurseries and garden centre, so I didn't bother. However, when I called in Tesco for a pork pie (jealous Cro?) for our journey home they had some really strong reasonably priced beetroot and broad bean plants, which I bought to get ahead of the game as the late spring means that we have been unable to get anything in the water sodden gardens.
David did quite well fishing and bought home six pollack and two ling, which, when processed yielded 12lb of fillets. The bones, head etc I bought home as usual and cooked up for the chickens.
The chickens are now laying well, but a week ago Severn Trent closed our road to do repairs which meant we lost our customers and passing trade. So.....
I have started processing the glut. So far I have made mayonnaise, pavlovas, omelettes and dippy eggs and quiche. I have bought some lemons and unsalted butter and intend making lemon curd. Any more ideas? I'm struggling to get waterglass, to preserve eggs,  from a chemist so I guess I'll have to buy online, but am struggling to understand the measures they give. The picture above is of the kitchen surface next to the back door.The leg rings are for 8 hens we rescued last week so that we can keep an eye on how they are doing. The jars are for stick money, egg money and honey money. The diary is for me to record my egg numbers, sales and events such as hatchings plantings etc. (just in case you wondered)
Look at this creature !

At first we thought it was a large leech and then we wondered if it was the New Zealand Flatworm that lives on our lovely and important earthworms ( nasty little blighter) when an half an empty worm was excreted from its nether end this was confirmed. We are now on flatworm watch!
Talking of plants, which I was a couple of paragraphs ago, the greenhouses are bursting with plants ready to go out or be potted on. As mentioned above I do buy some plants,especially those we don't need lots of. Below is my bargain buy of red cabbage plants. The 10 cell tray, for £1.99 yeilded 28 plants, which is good value, but more plants than I need so I will give some away.
I realise this post is even more rambling and random than is usual. So I might as well soldier on with a couple more pictures taken recently.
I might have mentioned that I am intent on using up my stash of materials, which is huge and not for the faint hearted. I have decided that when I use some material for something I will not put any back but use it all up in some way or another.|This has mostly meant cutting out patchwork pieces for another project.
In this picture, from 12.o'clock we have a log cabin quilt I am making for a male friend, using up shirts and blouses, in the margarine tub are hexagons tacked and ready to go, in front pinned to (Christmas) card ready for tacking, at 6 o'clock is net curtaining, muslin and pillow cases for vegetable and produce bags to take to the supermarket to put veggies in instead of plastic bags, at 8 o'clock is all the scraps I can do nothing with which will be used for stuffing and back to the top again are very small squares for a scrappy quilt. Blimey that was a bit of a marathon explanation, thanks for sticking with me!.
I reckon that this has gone on long enough, so will finish with a couple of pictures of our new cat, Baloo
Firstly sleeping with previous arch enemy Sammy and then him keeping warm on my laptop.

Back soon with some eco-warrior stuff.
Welcome to Anette, Jackie Walker, Janice and Nigel Hunt. on Bloglovin and Janipi P on the follower bar. Thanks ever so much for following.

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Ashamed to be Frugal?

I'm really proud to be frugal, obviously with a blog title such as mine, but many people are embarrassed to be so. It is seen as mean or necessary because one is poor or not as good as others or bad for "street cred".
While frugality, making do and mending may be born initially out of fiscal necessity, it is a way of life practiced by many because it is the their preferred way of life and it's not just about money.

I know many families that live well, with holidays abroad, up to the minute decor that they change regularly along with the furniture, wardrobes full of the latest fashions (advertising the maker on the outside! what's that about?!) I also know that some of these families are in debt. They don't consider it debt, but maxed with your, several credit and store cards, the cars bought on finance and a mortgage only just afforded (fingers tightly crossed that the interest rate doesn't go up) is serious debt!
Both parents must work long hours to to continue with this lifestyle which mirrors that of their friends and neighbours.
 Many readers of the frugal blogs know how these families could get this debt down so that they are in a less precarious state. The difficulty is firstly, helping people to see that they are one accident or illness short of financial disaster. Secondly, and probably far more difficult, is helping them to see that getting out of debt means making living their life differently, but does not mean that they have to lose face with their friends and "the Jones'"
  The solution is to become eco warriors and proudly embrace sustainable living!!

Dear David Attenborough has recently shown us that saving the planet is cool. He has awakened the public to look at plastic use and waste. Hurrah!  This in turn has inspired people to look at other kinds of waste and how recycling, upcycling, repurposing is an issue for us all. I also noticed an advert for "Vanish" that advocates removing stains to keep clothes going longer and  reducing the amount going to landfill, more good news. Recycling and reusing saves money, making do saves money, reducing your carbon footprint saves money.
And even if you don't need to be careful with money living more sustainably is a public spirited way to live your life as resources are limited and will only stretch so far.
I realise that this post is a bit preachy!
Back soon (I always say that and never do!)

Saturday 24 February 2018

The BEST news about Coda and feedback on latest comments

Hello Dear Bloggy friends
 Coda is back from the vets and the news is GOOD!
The lumps are not malignant and he keeps his leg, though will need to return to have the lumps, which are fatty, removed every now and again when they impair his movement.

I had a goodly few comments on my last post, which I found enlightening and thought provoking. Thank you so much,  in particular to American commenters, for giving your view on the issue. It is not my intention to argue and I am so pleased that everyone used a civil tone to comment in a similar spirit. 
I hope you will go back to my last post and read the comments if you haven't already done so.

 I am left with another thought though, which is why is it considered necessary to have security at schools? I was not aware until the news item on the security guy who didn't go into the school, that US schools have security folk. Is this at ALL US schools or just the odd one?

 I promise to get back to my frugal, self sufficient roots in my next post, honest!
love Gillx

Thursday 22 February 2018

Arming teachers

Somebody explain to me how arming teachers helps improve the gun situation in America.

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Paying for medical help? and a poorly dog

Hello Bloggy Friends
In my last post I talked about feeling vulnerable as many of my friends struggle with different issues as they grow older and I become aware that maybe I'm next. The support my friends  have had from our wonderful NHS has made their difficulties more tolerable
This post was on facebook after the latest shootings in the US. I thought it seemed a bit extreme and wondered how accurate it was or whether the author was perhaps a little jaded. So I am asking my bloggy friends in the States what they think of this.
In case you are not aware of how it works here in the UK. If you had been injured in the Manchester bombing you would not have had to find a penny either for the initial intervention nor for any follow up surgery, advice or rehab, all of which could go on for months and years.The NHS is funded by those who work through National Insurance contributions and Government monies ,and with no contributions at all from those that don't work or are disabled or elderly, with no upper limit on the amount of treatment received by anyone. (yes I know that this is simplistic view, but pretty accurate)
Since starting this post I have just read Leigh's ("Five Acres and a Dream") post which rather seems to demonstrate the above posts' point. Leigh is having to crowd fund further medical assistance for her husbands' injured fingers.
So guys, what do you think? What is your experience? What about people with long term mental health problems ?
I guess my thoughts on gun law should wait for another day!

On an entirely different subject we are all fingers crossed here for our dear Coda. Coda is the yellow lab you can see on my header, he belongs to my eldest granddaughter and comes here daily for doggy daycare. He is an absolute sweetheart with a generous and loving nature but, like many labs has had problems with his joints since he was a pup. He has arthritis in his fore legs and has had a fatty lump growing in a rear joint for some time. This was removed a few years ago as it was growing round his ligaments. The lump has now returned and it looks as though it has become cancerous with more growths in the same leg. We await the results with trepidation , as if the growths are malignant he will have to have the leg amputated. At times like this I wish I believed in God so that I could pray for a good result, which might make me feel better  even though it would in no way affect the result!
I have all sorts of subjects and issues going around in my head at the moment and if I can find time I will write a few posts to empty my head!
Until then
Bye for now
Ps. A big hello to Carla Valero and Lyn Palmer on the follower bar and Gem and Anne Christine Simpson on Bloglovin Great to see you here.x

Wednesday 24 January 2018

On feeling vulnerable and up to date

Hello All
Firstly Hello to Charlotte Weaver, Jennifer and Fenella Rowe on Bloglovin and Jennifer Williams on the follower bar. Thanks so much for following, especially as I am such a tardy blogger!

As as I have said in my last blog, there are several changes happening here in frugalderbyshireland. One of the outcomes of my youngest daughter moving away for a year or two  has been the rehoming of her cats and dog. As Sammie, her black labrador, comes to us for doggie day care and has separation anxiety issues the obvious choice of new home is us! Over the next few months while she is splitting herself between two other jobs he is spending much of his time here anyway and when she goes to Jersey he will stay with us full time. As for her cats..she has three, or I should say HAD three as she has gradually rehomed them over the last month. Her older long haired tortoiseshell has gone to her son's, her younger ginger haired three-legged cat now lives with her daughter and her huge, grey, half bengal, psycho cat is now with us ! After losing our Dixie last year we have missed having a cat and Baloo (also known as Beebop) is fitting in well and has made himself at home. Baloo is unfazed by dogs and has made it clear to Coda ( my eldest granddaughter's dog who comes here for daycare) and Sammie just where they are in the pecking order.
Coda and Baloo went missing yesterday. I hunted around the house and found them on my bed!

 Here is Baloo again with Coda (and me) sharing a sofa this time.

 Over the last year my circle of friends has been affected by illness, disability, death and accidents. I am beginning to feel like the last man standing! Being in our 70s I suppose I shouldn't be surprised but I really am starting to wonder if perhaps I might not be invincible  and perhaps it could happen to me. I am currently the only person in my circle of friends who takes no medication (my choice) and is, on the whole, pretty well. This is fortuitous, as I lead an active life, but when my close friend, who I see at least weekly, slipped and broke her ankle a couple of weeks ago, I wondered how we would cope if that happened to me. I suppose I would delegate tasks to others (and there are less and less of them!) and some things would have to wait a while, but what I fear most is that I think I would go stir-crazy being immobilised.

Quick up to date here on what has been happening on the old homestead -
We've been really busy with the Civic Society and Canal Society this month and my "office" looks as though a bomb has hit it! I wish I was tidier, I really try but somehow other things take over and I drift off from the chaos. I look at pictures on other people's blogs and think how good it would be to be that organised.
I have started the early seeds off under the propagator with the help of my grandson's partner. She is unable to work because of a disability, but has been really helpful with this task and we have quite a good system going. We have also started on the huge fabric stash, cutting out patchwork pieces and shopping bags.
I'm taking the last veggies from the garden now. Kale, beetroot, brussels and celeriac (I had some salad leaves but the chickens found them!) I made a lovely gratin type dish the other day with the celeriac. I just layered slices of potato, celeriac, onion and grated cheese into an ovenproof dish, poured a little vegetable stock and cooked for 30 mins. it was a great hit with the family.
For the first time this winter the river has been up to the banks, though not over. In past years it has broken it's banks and flooded a little of the paddock. The weather is till pretty mild on the whole, but then winter is not really over yet is it?
We have bought a new car. We expect this will last us for the remainder of our driving lives. It is another Berlingo multispace, which suits our lifestyle. The car salesman was somewhat bemused to hear how many bales of hay, pallets and lambs could be carried in a Berlingo!.. "Could you send a photo for our facebook page"? he asked
Lastly, it looks as though we are on lockdown because of Bird Flu again. really?! Come on . It's almost impossible.
Back Soon

Tuesday 2 January 2018

Hello All and a Happy New Year
Well Christmas has come and gone. Much as I enjoy it I also like to return to normal (whatever that is!)
Christmas day was lovely, after a shaky start when the power went off at 8.15, an hour after I had put the very large turkey in the oven. I looked outside and there were no Christmas lights to be seen so I gathered it wasn't us, but a general power cut. You could almost hear all the households screaming Noooooooo! I decided to go outside and see to the hens and rabbits. On my return 20 minutes later the phone was ringing. it was my granddaughter ringing from her father's house, some fifteen miles away. "Is your power off"? she asked  "Blimey" I thought,"Tthis is a major outage". "Why yes", I replied (as it came back on) "Are you off too?" "No I saw it on ... (local friend) facebook post!" So all was back on and I spent a goodly while thinking about what I would have done if the power had been off for the morning. I do like a challenge, especially a self-sufficient, SHTF- type situation. Does anyone else do this?
So onto lunch, just 14 people this year, which made for a little more elbow-room at the table. In the early evening, as is usual, my sister and her sons arrived with their families to join us. A few weeks before, my younger daughter and myself had found some odds and sods of cine film taken by my dad many years ago, which we had converted to DVD. We surprised everyone with a film show. It was lovely to see my parents and grandmother and our children, now 47 and 50, as babies. (We were also quite surprised at how many shots of women's bottoms were taken by dad while on various beaches!) The younger generation, that is, my sister's and my grandchildren, were shocked to see people smoking in the house and naked children playing on the beach. How times have changed eh?!
And talking of change......
The left-overs are now all sorted, eaten or frozen and we face a new year with some big changes for our family. The first came just before Christmas when our granddaughter and her partner moved out of ours to their own home, they have been living with us for over two years so we do feel that we are rattling around the house at the mo. They have moved four miles away ( the house was even on Homes under the Hammer!) and we still provide doggy-daycare, so still see them often. A more radical change is my elder daughter moving to another county! This is not as far as it sounds as she is to move to south Yorkshire while we live to the north of Derbyshire, which abuts said county. She has gained a significant promotion and she and her husband and daughter (and pony) are to decamp in the new year (oh my goodness that is now!!) As if that change wasn't enough to rattle our cosy little world, my younger daughter has been asked to be part of a team setting up a utilities project, for four years in Jersey!
We are still getting our heads around all this. Now I know that many of you have family all over the world and that we are so lucky to have had our little family within 10 miles of us since we, ourselves, were born. But Crikey !!!!!
That being said, we are SO proud of our daughters for doing so well and our granddaughter for buying her own home aged 23 years.
2018 is going to be very different for us isn't it?

I think I will leave it at that for now and post again soon. While I don't make new year's resolutions I AM determined to blog more in 2018.
Love Gillx
PS Has anyone read the biography by Caroline Fraser about laura Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie)?