Thursday 29 June 2023

Very Berry!


It's been very wet the last few days which is good for my parched garden and plot.  I popped down yesterday to pick my berries only to discover that the birds had got to my blackcurrants 😱  And they'd broken 2 big branches by standing on them.  I did have netting on that bed but it had blown off and I'd never got round to replacing it.  Heyho, my own fault! You'll see in the video how many I got!! 😂

I decided to make gooseberry gin liqueur with a bottle of gin my Lovely Mum had opened and not used in ages.  Neither of us are keen on this one.  I froze the gooseberries to soften the skin (like you do with sloes) so I didn't need to prick each one!!  I'll let it sit for a few months to infuse then make jam with the gooseberries when I strain them off.  Flavoured gin and jam from the same berries 😋

I've been picking strawberries from my garden each morning.  I eat some and freeze the rest.  I've been saving the tops too as I've seen a few ideas to use them to make syrup or a flavoured vinegar.  The initial recipe I saw said pick off the green bits but a few others showed the tops still on.  So I'll just freeze the whole top from now on as it saves time.

I've been drying some rose petals on my sunny window so I can make a rosemary and rose infused oil to make a salve later in the Summer.  I'm definitely going to be making more lotions and potions with my garden produce.  These petals came from the rose Very Berry which is growing abundantly in my front garden in one of the raised beds 🌹

Gorgeous and has a lovely rose scent!

P.S.  Just one more day until I retire!! 🎈🎉🎊

Tuesday 27 June 2023

After the party's over


I don't think I mentioned that one of my colleague's husband has set up a wee photography business.  He's very good so I asked him to take photos of my party.  Just informal ones and a few posed.  He sent 171 photos today!  Here are my work besties who organised it all for me.

One of my favourite photos! 💕

Another favourite one of my Lovely Mum, 2 of my sons, my DIL and my future DIL 💕

I'm not crying, I'm laughing so hard as they're singing to me!  They changed the words from "I will survive" to "I will retire" and included all the things I've done at school.  It was hilarious!!! 😂

And my gorgeous Emma who was the star of the show 💕

I went to the Leavers Assembly this afternoon where I was presented with a lovely peace lily in a blue pot which will go nicely in my bedroom.  I cleared out the last of my personal belongings from my classroom, hugged all my kids and handed back my key fob.  I'm officially done with school 🎉

I picked some strawberries from the garden tonight and thought yep, I'm looking forward to my retirement now 😊

Sunday 25 June 2023

Frankly, I'm glad it's all over


My retirement garden party was yesterday.  I had mixed feelings about it beforehand.  My work besties organised everything so I genuinely knew nothing about it.

My gifts from the staff were specially made balloons, flowers, Prosecco, non alcoholic gin and a Dobbies voucher for £250!!!  Some people brought a 'hostess' gift too.

It was a bring your own bottle arrangement but I set up a bar area and provided some drinks too.  People said nice things and they made me feel very special.

Then most people got completely trashed (not me, I was sober!) They sang and danced loudly then pretty much refused to leave.  That's the heavily edited account!  I was rather disappointed with their behaviour.  I felt the need to apologise to my neighbours this morning who were very gracious.

Frankly, I'm glad it's all over and I can move on now.  School finishes on Friday.  I'm going in on Tuesday afternoon to the leavers' assembly as I taught most of the kids who are moving on to high school in August.  And that's it.  I'll stay in touch with some folk but there are a few I doubt I'll ever see again.  And I'm good with that.

Thursday 22 June 2023

RIP HRH Princess Tuppence


Feisty to the last but being blind and unable to walk made today's decision unavoidable 💖



I popped down to the plot last night to leave my extra pumpkins/Winter squash for a few people I promised.  I arrived at at 7.20pm and left about a dozen plants in the communal area, clearly labelled.  I watered my polytunnel and did a quick video.  When I returned to my car at 7.35pm and the communal area, the full tray of plants was gone.

Someone had taken every single plant!  I'm really annoyed as it's totally against the community spirit of sharing our excess.  I had to apologise in the FB group to those folk I'd promised plants.  They were annoyed too.

Sad thing is I know who took them as they were the only other person on the site 😠

My DIL said she hopes the plants get blackfly!! 😂

Sunday 18 June 2023

Her Royal Highness!!


Oh my goodness, this chicken has had us all running round in circles.  There have been a few times we thought she was a goner.  And a few times I almost called the vet to put her to sleep.  But this morning she was very vocal when I went out and tried to peck me when I was giving her the medicine.  She drank a huge amount of water then started pecking around for food.  So I gave her some chopped up strawberries and blueberries and well, you can see the result!!

She's still unable to stand up but is shuffling around instead of just sitting with her head down.  Fingers crossed she keeps getting better!! 🤞🤞🤞 We've renamed her HRH Princess Tuppence 😂

I gave in and reinstalled the Too Good to Go app.  I got an M&S bag last night.  I paid £5 for the above items.  Lamb moussaka, cream slices, carrots, small fruit salad, large fruit salad and a sandwich.  Full price should have been £20.30 so not bad.  My DIL got a  bag as well and hers totalled £15.50 so I got the better deal this time.

I also got a wee viola Heartsease plant at Dobbies for 69p.  Tis very pretty!

Thursday 15 June 2023

Going soft!


I'm going soft in my old age!! I've always said I'll never keep a pet going just for me or pay extortionate vet fees for drugs.  I've spent £300+ on medications for Emma in the last month and today I took Tuppence to the vet as she has bumblefoot.  It's a real thing chickens get!! 😂

£96 for oral medication to reduce the inflammation...

...and steroid cream to massage into her poor wee swollen feet!

She's nearly 6 years old which is a good age for a chicken.  She's a Plymouth Rock and is a feisty wee thing, which is why I'm giving her a chance.  Currently she can't walk on her sore feet but is shuffling about and talking at me!  Luckily I caught it early before the inflammation travelled up into her legs.  I've had chickens for 8 years now and never needed vet advice on any of my girls.  So I can't complain that one finally got a common chicken problem 🐔

Friday 9 June 2023

Too much?


I put up some wallpaper last night to make a feature wall in the kitchen.  It comes ready pasted so all you have to do is dip the paper in water (I did it in the bath) and put it up.  Let's just say I'll not be using ready pasted wallpaper ever again!!

I got it HERE last year and it's been sitting waiting for me to get round to it!  I love it but some might find it a bit too much!!!! 😂😂😂

Thursday 8 June 2023

Miscellaneous few days


First roses of the year - Very Berry

My not very happy Old John rose in it's new pot 😔

Lemon Basil, smells delicious already

Old apple tree removal

Weeds from under old apple tree

Currently on the needles

Kitchen wall painting has begun, colour Dulux Heartwood

A new herbal remedy started

ETA:  Jan asked what is an oxymel.  Good explanation HERE if anyone is interested 😊

ETA:  Oxymel recipe for Rachael HERE 😊

Tuesday 6 June 2023

The current plan!


Frankly, at this point I have no idea which plan I'm on!!  Maybe Plan K??  Long term readers of this blog will know I've had to change my plans many times, mostly thanks to other people's actions or reactions to circumstances.  That sounds rather cryptic but basically my ex husband and then my ex partner threw huge gigantic spanners into things that had been put in place.

I always knew at some point in the future I might need to sell this house or do equity release to get the money I have tied up in it.  My 4 year challenge included me teaching until I was 60 and saving half my salary.  I'd worked out that would be enough to keep me going until I got my state pension at 67.  My son and DIL moved in with me on the understanding it would be until I decided to sell.  We'd share expenses and we'd all be saving as much as we would over the next 3 to 4 years.

Sharing my house with them has been challenging (for many reasons) and I wasn't saving as much money as I wanted.  The cost of living has gone up but that's only part of the reason.  Things haven't been quite as I thought we'd planned and agreed at the start.  And I'll leave it at that.

The current plan is to sell my house next year and buy 2 much smaller properties outright.  One for me to live in and one for them to rent from me.  Their rent will supplement my teacher pension and any part time job I might have by then.

Looking at property prices here it's totally doable.  I'm hoping I can buy a wee bungalow/cottage with a garden locally but they're rare and often go for a lot more than the asking price.  So I'll just have to trust that things will work out the way they're meant to in the end 😊

Monday 5 June 2023

Noisy start to my week!


I was rudely woken this morning by my next door neighbour's workmen.  He's a good neighbour but he'd forgotten to tell me that he was getting his roof prepped for solar panels.  In other words, 6 guys all shouting at 8am to be heard over jet washers and a generator blasting gunk off the roof.  Now my driveway is full of said gunk and mucky water.  I managed to move my car out on to the road before it was covered too.  They've promised to clean up at the end of the day...

So I changed my plans for the morning and went to the allotment to water the polytunnel.  I took Emma with me as she was scared of the noise 🐶

The plot is starting to flourish.  I've got some gorgeous wild campion flowers hidden in the nettles but there are loads down the side of the rugby club too.

So pretty on a dull morning!

It's been very hot here over the weekend, around 22C so I've managed to potter in the back garden in bursts.  It's all finally coming together.  My DIL has now joined the ranks of saving sad plants and got 12 pot marigolds reduced to 88p!!  We potted them up and added some of them to the potting table display.  She also got 4 Asiatic lilies for £1 😂

I've tidied out my mini greenhouse by sorting all the trays and pots.  I've only got one shelf of seedlings now.

There are 3 types of pumpkins/winter squash, cucumbers and a couple of very slow glowing tomatoes.  I'll plant a few more peas and things so I have a successions of veggies.

I'm glad I planted this rose at the allotment.  I've been looking at my garden and thinking about which plants I'll want to take with me when I move.  Obviously I won't strip the garden but I've spent a lot of effort in getting the plants to this stage so I'll take bits of things and pot them up in the Autumn.  I'm hoping to buy a wee cottage/bungalow with a garden but I'll put more flowers on the plot any way as it helps with the biodiversity 🐝🐞🐜🐛

P.S.  Thanks for all the lovely comments on my last post about my hair! 😊

Thursday 1 June 2023

How rude!


You may or may not have noticed I changed my profile photo recently.  I thought I was having a good hair day and took a selfie in the garden! 😎

I follow a lot of frugal channels and sometimes comment on them.  One YouTuber asked for viewers' tips on how they save money.  I wrote that I grew out my fringe and stopped dyeing/highlighting my hair.  I said I get a good cut into a long bob once or twice a year and take good care of it by not blow drying it and conditioning it regularly.  And that I check regularly for split ends.  Someone left this comment - "Yikes! 😏 Super unhealthy hair"  without even seeing my hair!!!  And they'd edited the comment so it was definitely what they wanted to say with that smirk emoji!  

I also left a comment on another frugal channel where they were talking about how expensive meat has become and how to stretch it.  I wrote about adding grated carrot, onions and lentils to minced beef when cooking a big batch for freezing and someone just replied "I won't eat onions (raw or cooked) or lentils they don't agree with my stomach."  

Some folk should listen to Thumper!!