Monday, 28 February 2011


I'm back! Had a lovely and busy week off and have lots of blethering about it to do on here. This will have to occur tomorrow though as tonight I have to leg it from work so the man can come and fix the idiot gas meter that's shut everything off and is displaying 'Call Help' in it's little window. That makes it the 3rd time it's done this over the last few weeks - including Tuesday evening when the Chaps son was staying at mine and I wanted to a) make dinner and b) heat the house. [And c) make a good impression.] I wasn't too pleased as you can imagine so when I saw this message again this morning 'help' wasn't exactly what I called! :-D Hey ho, c'est la vie. The nice man on the phone has promised to request a whole new meter thing for me. I wonder if they'll pay for me to take a day off work so they can fit it too... [Yes - I am a cynic.]

Friday, 18 February 2011

Absentee - I will be...

I'm off for the next week now and know not whether I'll have access / time etcetera to bestow my inane jabberings upon the wider world. If not then do me a favour - blog will be one on Friday so here's an early 'YAY' from me and I'll leave it to you fine people to party in my absence. Or something. Anyway I'll try and post but it's probably going to be a fairly busy week. I'll be meeting Chap's son for the first time so am a tad trepidatious - what does one talk to 14 year old blokes about? I asked this question at work and got told - 'X-box games', 'footy', 'birds' (and no - not ornithology). Ah - that's me stuffed then! I sadly have to report that I no longer have a games platform of any kind; my PS2 having recently given up the ghost. If I'm honest that's been used for nothing other then playing DVD's for the last few years anyway. Oh I do feel old!! I'm sure I'll muddle through though and I am looking forwards to it far more than I'm worried at all. Just do me a sunshine dance as my little-big sis has promised she will so we can go cycling on Dartmoor and other such things. Possibly even fishing which I haven't ever done before so a mini-adventure for me there.
I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of going fishing. As a pescatarian I have to try it at least as I eat the end product; ownership of one's actions and the ramifications they have and all that jazz. Also I am ultimately scathing at a meat eater who won't watch images of abbatoirs etc but I'm just not sure how the squeamish side of me may manifest itself. I'm fine with worms, frogs, snakes, toads and that kind of thing so hopefully it'll be fine but I can be disappointingly girly with things like spiders [emitting high pitched eeks and generally running away; although living on your own does toughen you up a bit. Or at least teach you how to hyperventilate whilst trying to persuade a spider to climb on the end of a garden cane AND NO FURTHER UP IT so's you can pitch it out the window.] and milipedes - things with too many legs basically although earwigs fill me with horror too. Anyway, I digress - hopefully it'll all be lovely and I'll also find some way of balancing the karma of it all. Hmmm...

Calming picture.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

February Witterings

As it seems to have been a fairly quiet week since the excitement of V Day on Monday [!] and I've been a busy bunny and therefore failing to cook anything interesting; certainly anything worth blogging about [I have to confess to making us pizza and hash browns on Tuesday :-O] I have very little to spiel on about. Oh no!! I'm sure I'll manage though as wittering is one of my fortes - why use one word when 12 will do?!

Firstly - a little expounding on our picnic setting as this really is a top spot. In Exeter there is a 'Green Circle Walk' - a walk of 12 miles that goes round the outskirts of the city and is split into 5 smaller sections. The viewpoint we visited is on one of these - it's in the Barley Valley Nature Reserve. I can recommend this walk - the Redhill's walk. As I mentioned we're going to return when it's a little more clement - and possible lighter [we slipped our way back across the muddy field pretty much in the dark] and will take some photos of the view then. Chap enjoyed his steak sandwiches and I my smoked salmon washed down with some rather nice champagne. I'm sure the lady walking her dogs thought we were nuts!
Secondly - the weather. Argh - I know it's still February but I'VE HAD ENOUGH NOW!!!! Please please can we have spring - warmth - sun - not raining... it'd be lovely. I'm sure I remember the sun - you know - that big yellow ball thing that hangs about in the sky trying to peek through the louring grey rain-sodden clouds from November to March solid. Or so it seems.That's the one - see those rays - aah bliss!

This weekend I'm hoping to get a fair bit done at the allotment - I need to finish digging over 2 of the 3 big beds and re-edge the smaller ones. I also need to make a decision about whether I dedicate a second of the smaller beds to fruit or not. I currently have one small bed with Rasps and Strawbs on and was tempted by a Tayberry bush in Poundstretcher for the princely sum of £2.49 the other day but I kinda think when it comes to fruit - unless you give a fair bit of land to multiple bushes it's not really worth it is it? I suppose I could pick a small handful now and then and save them up in the freezer until I have enough for a pie or crumble but this seems a bit counter intuitive to me. The other side of me though is the bit that causes me to have hundreds more packets of seeds than I have space to plant. It's the bit that wants to try different things out - the bit that snaps my head round in poundstretcher going 'look Ruth - you really NEEEEED that - a Tayberry - bet that'd be exciting, the Chap'd be impressed, it'd taste nice - pleeeease can we, can we, can we...'. That's the bit that gets me in trouble. [It's the reason why I have amongst other things; a toast rack that matches my salt and pepper set - which are admittedly pretty cool little metal wheely objects. I never use a toast rack though. It's a pet hate of mine if the toast isn't warm enough to melt the butter. Why would I need a toast rack? It's basically a cooling device for those deviants that like lukewarm toast. Of course the answer is I don't need one. But I saw it one time and it matched my S+P and that bit of me won that time. This was a few years back - I'm better now on most stuff but seeds / plants - not so good.] Anyway I managed to not succumb to the Tayberry and have been regretting it ever since. The thing is - if I give the third small bed over to fruit as well as the first one there'll be nowhere for the Jerusalem Artichokes which are currently hogging what tiny amount of space there is in the back garden each year. I want herbs in the back garden - to hand like, so the J'Arts need to be moved to the plot. Hmm - a quandry.

In case you're wondering, or are vaguely interested or are merely ploughing on through hoping to see the end in sight to this post some time soon... for info - my allotment is a half plot. 5 x 25m with 3 5x3.5m beds and 3 5x1m beds and space at the end where I will get round to building a shed. Or Chap may do it - being a buildery type bloke ['blokey bloke bloke' as Bill Bailey would say] he's fairly excited by the prospect I think. Anyway - promise I'll take a decent pic sometime vaguely soon and get it up here for y'all. In the meantime I think that is in fact it on the wittering front for today. Buenas Noches kittens.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

'V' day - an update

For the love of the sea. I used a cropped image of this rock I found a few years back for the Chaps card. :-)
For the love of - er - chocolate and tartan? in fact the chocs were from the Chap and we went and had a picnic [yes - I know it's February] on top of a hill on the edge of Exeter where you get the most fantastic view of the entire city and valley, over 180 degrees of it. stunning. And of course champagne on top of a muddy hill in February is always a good idea eh?!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Win v' the Quins

Saturday brought the long anticipated (for me) home tie against the Quins. The last time we saw them down here was when they got relegated back in 2006 and proceeded to storm through the National 1 teams with the Chiefs being the only game they lost. One I was there to watch in my Quins shirt with my mother and big sis who travelled down for the game. Typical huh!
This season Chiefs played the Quins at their home ground the Stoop back in September, losing 40-13 on that occasion so we had a fair bit to prove this time round.
The game opened with Quins piling on the pressure early, the first 10 minutes were a little hairy it must be said. However - we held them off and Steenson [Steeno...] kicked our penalties one after another to notch up the points leaving us 12-3 up at half time. The second half saw the first; and as it turned out only try of the game for Chiefs, along with a couple of other good go's for the line. Although we missed the conversion another penalty took us to a final score of 20 to the Quins' 6 - they having kicked a second penalty. The Quins did make a couple of good breaks for the line in the latter stages of the second half and they were nippy with it; I think their stamina was starting to tell at that point. We managed to keep them out though to emerge the victors. Considering Quins started the game 5th in the table to our 9th a 20-6 win isn't too shoddy at all.

Friday, 11 February 2011

'V' day

With Valentine's day fast approaching and the shops exhorting us to spend yet more cash on red or pink heart or flower shaped chocolate covered tat that shows all the thought and depth of emotion as a dead jellyfish I thought I'd share a few photos of better things with you.
For the love of nature and the thought that spring is coming. The snowdrops and catkins are out and this morning for the first time I could smell spring in the air.For the love of tending the earth whilst treading on her lightly. Reaping the freshness that a shop can not sell you. Hours spent in solitude or side by side working a spade.
For the love of yorkshires. 'Nuff said, surely?!
Happy Weekend all. :-D

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Beauty and cold

Having to be up at the crack of dawn gives me a glimpse of trees along the skyline against the edge of the rising sun that I'd have missed otherwise. Sometimes I don't mind the early starts so much...

Monday, 7 February 2011

The art of living frugally #2

Tips for other areas of life; places a few pences can be saved.
Repurpose and reuse - upcycle. Charity clothing bags. Maybe it's just the area I live in but it's a rare week indeed that at least 1 of these doesn't come through the door. Being an inordinate hoarder; and having seen some of the scams operated this way [although to be fair probably less likely around here] I rarely have clothes to go in these and if I am having a clear out I'll take it to the local shop myself. [I tend to favour the PDSA.] Experience has told me that though there's a cheery 'if you've nothing to donate at this time leave the bag outside so we can collect it for reuse' message printed on them they rarely if ever get taken back and you end up with a pile by the front door getting dirty and blown around the street. I use these as bin bags now. Don't get me wrong - I'd rather they went back to the charity but if they're not picked up back they come into the house to be repurposed; and save me money on buying black bin bags. At last count I had 30 of these so I think I'll be alright for a while should the supply suddenly dry up.
Plastic reuses. There's so many ways to reuse plastic packaging for different things; especially if you grow any plants. From reusing water cooler cups for seedlings to grape boxes as mini propogators the only limit's your imagination. Find rather more ideas here. My latest flash of 'inspiration' [if I can be so presumptuous to call it that] is to use the shaped plastic from muffin packaging as 'cloche' style tops for plastic cup seedling pots. Neat huh?
VAT rate awareness - loopholes therein. My friend put me on to this one. Things like cotton wool, moisturiser &c - get them from baby ranges! It's VAT free so generally a good saving. I bought Boots own baby moisturiser - 300ml for £1.39 when I got it [It's now £1.42] as opposed to their own brand basic 'adult' moisturiser - 150ml for £1.49 at the time [now £1.52.] 10p more for half the mount of product - go figure!! My friend also gets baby range oatcakes as they're way cheaper than getting them from the regular cracker aisle in the stupormarket she says.
Local offers - our council does a compost giveaway every year. The compost is made from the green rubbish they collect throughout the year then in the spring they'll park up in a local car park and you can fill 4 bags for free. There's also the local campaign against wasted food and other rubbish - don't let Devon go to waste / Love Food Hate Waste. They'll send a free bag, pen, spaghetti measurer, magnetic memo board [really handy for the shopping list], book of tips for leftover food etc etc to local residents for free.
Freebies online - I've mentioned this before but it can be worth it. These 2 bags were both freebies I signed up for or heard about online. The jute one was in return for sending in plastic bags for recycling so we can't complain about that!
Swaps - we were lucky enough to have a local seed swap set up in Exeter - there's a few of these around the country. Or how about just setting one up at work or for other items? I actually managed to give up a load of my 'spare' [as much as seeds can ever be 'spare' - yep seedaholics anonymous here I come] seeds last time and came back with a mere 2 packets of interesting things to try.
Freecycle - get joined up to your local freecycle group. Here people post items that they no longer need but that are perfectly good and you can email them to request them. Posting 'wants' is also allowed and you have the satisfaction that you've saved not only some pence but also the item from going in landfill. Yay all round!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Tigers? More like kittens!!

That's more like it! A 35-10 home win comprised of 5 converted home tries versus 2 unconverted from Leicester who waited until the second half to score any points at all. It made it worth the bitter cold watching this game,; although the first half was notably better than the second. We're still 9th in the damn table though as this was for the LV cup not the Aviva Premiership. Our next game in the Premiership is home against the Harlequins on the 12th. Should be an interesting tie, especially as that is the team I supported since I was young. [I liked the shirts when I was about 5 and had no clothes taste!] Hmm - divided loyalties anyone?!