Wednesday, 27 August 2014

A summer off

Greetings and salutations!  I must admit that it has been rather a long time since my last post despite my best intentions.  So; what have we all been up to this summer?
I have been enjoying the fact that we’re actually having a summer this year.  I.E. – sunshine.  I've taken the opportunity of not working to busy myself hacking back the garden.  I knew there was a shed in there somewhere but since it seems that this year is the year that finally the bramble and the honeysuckle have declared all out war on each other, and are both intent on full domination of the garden, said shed took some unearthing!
I have been navigating the perils of ‘signing on’ for the first time.  That’s fun!  There is a distinct paucity of information readily available about what you can get, how you’re eligible for what and how long anything takes.  The entire system seems a bit of a mare but better minds than I have waxed lyrical on this subject many times so I won’t bang on about it.  It has meant I've had to go up into the city centre rather more often than I usually do with the side effect that I happened to go through the Exeter farmer’s market on a Thursday and take a look at what I spied:
 Razor clams! I have wanted to try these for a very long time.  Ever since I saw HFW extolling their virtues several years ago.  After that I came to realise they were one of things that people used to forage for and eat rather a lot more in decades past than currently.  That seems to be changing now though with the rise in popularity of foraging, and awareness of what local delicacies we have available without having to ship our food for miles.  I didn't purchase any yet; being out of employment they seemed a little unnecessary, but I spoke with the stall holder (from local fishmongers Gibson's Plaice) and he told me they have them most weeks bar the winter.  I shall save them for a treat.  J  In fact all of their produce looked very tempting, and beautifully fresh.
I have been making some crafty things.  Remember my purse I made that gets re-invented every time the cover is falling apart too much?  A friend had mentioned that she cannot find a card sized purse anywhere and as it was her birthday coming up I decided to make her one. 
I used some scraps in her favourite colours and stitched it up on a visit home to Ma (and her sewing machine) and she loved it.
I've also been doing waaay more baking than I ever normally have the time for - tried cheese and courgette scones - thoroughly lovely.  Useful to use up any excess courgettes from the garden or allotment.  Which brings me to the news that I am helping a friend with her allotment as she has virtually no experience at growing things.  In return I get to adopt the shed on the right  and get part of the plot to myself and we share the rest.  I've been loving getting back into the digging - it made me realise how much I missed the old plot.  Lots of plans going round my head for next season.
All of these things have made me rather wish I could make a living crafting things, and doing gardens, and baking, with perhaps some social media marketing and invoicing / IT thrown in for good measure.  I wonder if that’s possible...  Sadly something tells me I'm going to have to get a ‘real’ job.  It has been lovely having a several weeks to myself though, for which I am grateful, and it has given me time to re-evaluate quite drastically what I want from a job.  I have come to the conclusion that as long as I can pay the rent and bills and have enough for Zeke and I to live on then it is far more important to me now, to find something I am happy doing / can believe in.  It may take me some time to find this so in the time being I have been applying for casual type stuff/temping whilst I search.  Wish me luck in my quest!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

This throw-away life

It never fails to astound me how wasteful people are, whilst seemingly remaining completely oblivious of this fact.  
No more are the majority of the public prepared to ‘make do and mend’, or even it seems, bother cleaning items when you can just buy new! 
These 3 deep glass (soufflĂ©?) dishes were spied abandoned by the side of a glass bottle bank one night when I was out with the Doctor and some friends.  After discussion in the pub we all agreed it was worth a closer look- were they actually cracked, broken and knackered or just in need of a damn good clean?  Well as you can see – there’s nothing wrong with them!  They were caked in baked on oil, as you get when using glass or ceramic for roasting, but all they needed was a good going at with the scouring pad and hey presto – approx £25-30 worth of glassware for nuppence bar some elbow grease.  What is wrong with these people??!
Just yesterday I spied this big ‘bag for life’ dumped half way round the local Aldi.  'Oh no (heavy sarcasm)
the handle’s coming off!'  So I picked it up and will put a bunch of strong stitching through and bag (ha ha) myself a good as new, strong, big shopping bag.  These must cost at least a couple of pounds, doesn't that make them worth the handful of minutes it would take to put some stitches in?  Or do people have money to burn (I wouldn't have thought so in the current economic climate) and I'm just more sensitive to it now I am sans job?
On another note can we afford to be so cavalier with our resources that it’s ok to throw such items away?  And can we assume that there’s an infinite amount of space in landfill for them all?  Worth a thought, surely?

Ezekiel was just as non-plussed as me - at me using 'his' garden for taking photographs in!
"What's this??"