Saturday, 30 July 2016

A Few Ideas For Boosting Our Savings

   I know when you are on a tight budget how hard it can be to save money and if you are anything like us you just manage to get a bit of money behind you and a big bill arrives like work on the car and eats most of it away. There is one thing Tom and I are trying desperately to save for and that is a little camper van. We have a dream of setting off for a couple of days with our dogs in the back and exploring all around the country. We don't want a massive luxurious one in fact a little one we could fit into ordinary parking spaces would be ideal. Just somewhere to cook little meals and sleep after a days walking would be perfect. The problem is how are we going to get the money together.
  I never underestimate the amount that can be made from small amounts of money saved and small amounts of extra money made. I recently read a good idea for saving extra money without noticing and it really works. Every morning when I get up I check my bank account, just in case something unexpected has gone out. What I read was to round the money down to the 0 or 5 below and transfer it into a savings account. So if you have £323.32 in your account transfer the £3.32 into the savings account or if you have £216.50 in your account transfer £1.50 out. I really didn't notice the little amounts transferred every day and it took me a month to save just over £100. If anyone said I had to save an extra £100 I would say I can't afford it but I managed it with no trouble.
  When I was student nurse in a shared house we had a money box by the telephone which we all put our loose change in to pay the phone bill and we were often amazed at how much money would be in there when we came to add it up. It was occasionally raided for a night out but on the whole it worked well.  I'm hoping to get everyone in our house into the habit of putting their loose change into this little money box I had as a child. This may boost our savings by about £50 a month with luck so just another £150 a month to find and we will be on track for next summer. I'm sure I can think of some more ideas to raise that and then it will be life on the open road for us!

Friday, 29 July 2016

Occasionally....I Wish I Was Rich

    My Mum and Dad's house is just down the road from Headly Court Hospital for wounded servicemen and women. You often see soldiers with very severe disabilities around the area and we are always so impressed by their cheerfulness and stoicism. Sometimes they stop for a chat with my Dad as he works in the front garden. Last week two wounded soldiers on bikes stopped for a talk. One had lost a leg and was wearing a rigid false leg as he cycled. Could he not get a specially adapted leg for cycling my Dad asked him. Unfortunately not replied the soldier as one costs £18,000, then off he went with his artificial leg stuck out at the side.
    I was horrified when my Dad told me and I would give anything to be able to buy him the leg he needed. I have absolutely no interest in having lots of money. I am grateful every day for what I have and it has nothing to do with money. But occasionally I think how lovely it would be to have enough money to help someone like this. I feel sad for the soldier every time I think of him. We often buy things from the Help For Heroes website and that evening I bought a little bracelet. It was only £5 and I know that is a drop in the ocean but I do hope with the good work this charity does maybe one day this soldier could buy the leg he needs to go cycling.


Thursday, 28 July 2016

Loving Vintage Cars

    When I was walking to my Mum and Dad's house from the station this morning I saw this lovely old mini for sale on the forecourt of a local garage. It's not quite vintage I suppose as the number plate dates it to the 1990s but it is one of those lovely classic minis I love. My best friend in the 1970s had a little blue one we would go every where in. We drove all the way to Devon for a holiday and as there was no working radio we sang all the way to pass the time. It was 1979 and we sang "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor and "Born To Be Alive" by Patrick Hernandez (I'm ashamed to admit) at the top of our voices. I can remember on one night out in it she got boxed into a parking space and four men from a pub came out and lifted it right out of the parking space for her. I can't count the amount of fun days out we had in her little mini but she would be amazed to see the price of this one as I remember she bought hers for £50.



A Classic Mini

   We have been discussing old classic cars a lot lately as Tom and I would love one but disagree as to what we should get. The other week we drove past a middle aged couple in a perfectly restored open topped Morris Minor, on a luggage rack, on the rear, was a wicker picnic hamper. Oh how I envied them! How I wished it was us off for a day out in such style. It reminded me of some photos I had taken at the Smallholders fair of vintage cars one being this perfect Morris Minor van.


A Morris Minor

   What Tom really wants though is a Jaguar Mark 2 like Inspector Morse used to drive. I can't see us stretching to that any day soon so as a surprise I went and searched through some old boxes and found my collection of toy cars I used to play with when I was a child and there it was a perfect little Lesney model from the 1960s. He'll have to make do with this until I can afford a full sized version as a present for him!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Missing The Little Things In Life

   I can't believe this day has finally arrived. After nearly four months in hospital my Mum came home today. As the ambulance men carried her into the living room and put her on the bed she looked out of the window and said "Oh there are bees on the echinops." It was such a small thing but it just seemed like a little normal sentence at the end of all the terrible days and stress and upset. I could have burst into tears but was frightened I'd set everyone else off. Sometimes I suppose it's not the big things you miss but the little things from home that make life normal to you.


A Bee on My Mum And Dad's Echinops

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Drunk On Nectar!

   We have worked so hard in our poor neglected garden today. The hens and the ducks we're cleaned out the hedge trimmed and roses dead headed. The only reason we stopped was because the garden waste bin was full to capacity. The hollyhocks in our garden are beautiful at the moment and alive with bees. I watched this bee for a long time and I'm sure it was practically drunk on the nectar in the flowers. I hope it takes it all back to it's hive and someone benefits from the honey. One day I would love our own hive if in our garden or on our allotment. When I was excitedly reading the rules of our allotment a few years ago I read out that if you have a bee hive you must leave an emergency number in case the bees swarm. "No" replied my youngest daughter firmly "You are not going out and leaving me to deal with a swarm of bees. I draw the line at that." Oh well maybe not on the allotment then!


Friday, 22 July 2016

Are We Being Watched?

   We were coming back from the hospital this evening and I has to take some photos of this lovely view over Epsom Downs and The Grandstand. My lousy photography skills do not do it justice.


    I took several photos on my phone and set them to upload straight away. By the time I arrived home twenty minutes later I had received an email from google telling me they had made an animation of my photos taken on Epsom Downs as well as a few adverts for items for sale connected to The Derby. I'm glad I don't have anything to hide as I can never quite believe how much seems to be known about us on the internet. I remember reading once be careful what you put on the internet as your grandmother may see it but your grand children one day definitely will! Well I hope they enjoy this animation.



Thursday, 21 July 2016

A Poor Little Fox

   It's been a bit of a sad week. My Mum's discharge day from hospital was all decided. The ambulance booked and the carers coming in. Then the evening before it was all cancelled. Her blood results had changed and were very worrying again. We just sat and stared at each other, are we ever going to get there? We will in the end I'm sure but this week it all seems very low.
   During the days of waiting for equipment to be delivered at my Mum and Dad's house I have watched the little fox in the garden they have been looking after for the last three years. It is a poor little soul. It has a bad limp and one eye but every year she has a litter of cubs. My Mum and Dad have been buying her dog food and dog biscuits to keep her going. My Dad visited the local Wildlife Hospital to ask for advice but they said that if she was eating well and getting about they would leave well alone.
   They love their little fox and my Mum asks about her all the time, we even bought her a new sponge bag with little foxes on to remind her of her friend. Since my Dad has been on his own he chats to foxy all the time. She comes and sits by his feet whilst he is sitting in the garden and she has become so tame I joke with my Mum that by the time she gets home foxy will be in a basket by the fire! I cannot tell you how much pleasure she has bought him. My Dad thinks he is caring for this poor injured fox but I think it is the other way round and somehow she knows he is sad as she sits by his feet and comes to greet him in the morning. It has given him an escape and an interest in the last four months and for that I always be very grateful to her.


The little injured fox.



Where's My Breakfast?


Enjoying Breakfast.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Onwards And Upwards

    It has been an incredibly busy two weeks. My Mum is coming out of hospital shortly and there has been so much to arrange. All the equipment is being delivered and they only give a morning or afternoon appointment so there has been a lot of waiting around in between visits to the hospital. Two carers will be coming in four times a day so it will still be very busy. There are moments I can't believe it has gone from shopping, driving and being totally self caring to this in a few short months but I am determined not to let sad thoughts come into my mind. It is what it is and all of those negative thoughts are firmly put away behind that wall in my brain behind which sad thoughts go! It's onwards and upwards from now on for us.
   I haven't got round before to adding the photos from Ardingly Smallholders Fair from two weeks ago before now so here they are.


Pekin Bantams. Ours are in there somewhere.


Young turkeys. Aren't they sweet at this age.


A selection of young hens for sale.


Alpacas


Clever ladies spinning alpaca wool.


I would have loved playing with this as a child. I was always a tomboy!


Medieval Reenactors.


A Miniature Donkey. How I would love one of these.



I love these scarecrows.

What a lovely day out we had. Our three pekin bantans are doing really well and are outside in their own small house and run inside the big chicken run under the watchful eye of Felicity and Mollie.I will take photos soon to show how they have grown.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Our New Bantam Hens

We had a lovely day today and went to The Smallholders Fair at Ardingly Sussex. It was the first day out we have had since my Mum has been in hospital in fact the first out at all really even for a few hours. I took lots of photos of the day but for now as I have just got back from spending the evening at the hospital I thought I would share the photos of our new Pekin Bantam hens. They are just 10 weeks old so still very small but are just the cutest little things.



One is a Millefleur, one a lavender and the last one I think they said was Lemon. I'll share the other photos soon

Friday, 1 July 2016

Remembering My Great Uncle

I didn't want today to pass without remembering my Grandma's brother, my Great Uncle. He was a sergeant in the 24th Battalion of The Northumberland Fusiliers which was the 1st Tyneside Irish Battalion. He was mown down by machine gun fire a few minutes after going over the top on the 1st July 1916. What was left of his body was never found.
    My Grandmother knew her beloved older brother had been killed she said as he came and spoke to her in a dream the evening of his death. I don't know if that really happened or if it was just the stress and worry playing on her mind. I do know though he had been one of five brothers and four of them died in childhood of sickness. He was the precious remaining one who was the apple of his parents and his four sisters eyes. I also know the family never really recovered from their loss and life was never the same for them like thousands of other families at the time. I have put his rememberance card up on the mantlepiece today and have told everyone to think of him when they pass it and to remember what he gave up to sign up in the first few days of the war. I hope where ever he lies he knows we are thinking of him today.