Showing posts from April, 2013

Living below the line - Day 2

Bounced up this morning and had my porridge and yoghurt, washed down with two mugs of hot water.  I did find my bowels working a bit of overtime.  More than that I shall not share.  I decided to go to yoga this morning instead of to my usual Tuesday evening class, both as a distraction and in order to compare notes with Patty, my yoga teacher, who is also living on £1 a day for the week.  The class was good.  Patty and I established that we were probably overdoing the lentils.  I nearly fell asleep in savasana, the relaxation pose, but that is nothing new and I don't think I can fairly blame the porridge. Afterwards I went cheerily into town to go to the chemist's.  I was crossing the road from the carpark when I  was blindsided by an overwhelming desire for a cup of coffee and something to eat.  I don't know if that was a response to the fact that I don't go into town very often but when I go on my own I often buy a newspaper and sit in a coffee shop with a coffee an

Living below the line - Day 1

In a less than energetic start to the attempt to live on a £1 a day for five days, I don't get up until nearly nine o' clock.  Yesterday I went with a friend to Wonderwool Wales , a festival of all things to do with spinning, dyeing, weaving and knitting.  It was a great day out and I came away astonished at how very little I know.  I  have rediscovered knitting in the last couple of years and think I am reasonably competent but I now see I am just paddling on the shores of a vast ocean of expertise and passion.  So I came home with a small amount of wool and a sense that perhaps I should have bought more.  This is a better sense to have than that you have bought stuff you could not afford and will not use! Last night I decided that, before launching into my challenge for the week, I should go down in a blaze of glory so had chocolate brownie and half a bottle of wine. So here we go.  I weigh myself, although weight loss is not what this is about.  It is simply one of the m

Could you live on £1 a day?

Could you live on £1 a day?  I don't mean to put a roof over your head and clothes on your back but simply could you spend no more than £1 a day to feed yourself?  That is the challenge which Unicef puts forward in its Live below the Line campaign.   " Live Below the Line   is challenging individuals and communities to see how much change you can make out of £1. By living off just £1 per day for food for 5 days, you will be bringing to life the direct experiences of the 1.4 billion people currently living in extreme poverty and helping to make real change. Think about that figure - 1.4 BILLION - that's over 20 times the population of the UK - living every day in extreme poverty." I had never heard of this campaign until my yoga teacher mentioned it a few weeks ago.  For five days, from Monday 29th April to Friday 3rd May, she is intending to eat for no more than £1 a day.  Now my yoga teacher is a great advert for yoga.  She looks at least fifteen years young

A walk in spring

Yesterday the sun shone, the sky was blue and there was warmth in the air. Older son and his fiancée were visiting for the weekend. We had been eating chocolate brownies. A pub meal was planned for the evening. There was no doubt that a good walk would even things up a bit. We walked straight from the house, up the track and out onto the hills to walk a huge curve which would bring us along the other side of our valley and eventually back up the hill home. From the top we could look down on the holiday cottage and you can even see the shepherd's hut in the corner of the field. You can't see the house from here as it is tucked away in the trees. The hills are just beginning to green although the trees are stubbornly bare and the bracken has yet to sprout. Hugh and Lindsay stride out and I, theoretically the leader of this walk, just about manage to keep up. It is much wetter up here than I had expected and Hugh who isn't wearing walking boots gets

Making lined curtains

While Ian was away I decided it was time to make the new curtains for the cottage.   I have been putting this off for at least four months, maybe six.  First of all I couldn't find any material I liked at a price I could afford so that was a fine excuse.  Then I read a recommendation for Textile Express  on Annie's blog.  Textile Express has a fab website but when I realised it was only forty minutes away in Oswestry I had to visit.  Wonderful choice, great prices; material purchased.  Then I carried on putting the job off because I was a bit daunted by the fact that two of the curtains are full length ones for doors but there is nothing like knowing you have a few days to yourself to make you feel you can get your teeth into a project. And amazingly, now it is done.  As I have been thinking of nothing else for about a week I thought I would share with you my own advice on how to make lined curtains.  I am not a supremely talented sewer but I have made loads of these over the

A night on my own

A night on my own?  This is an odd thing to say  really.  Ian is away down with my family but I don't have a night on my own because his father is still in the house.  So I am not on my own and yet it feels very different. I have always liked a night or so to myself.  I like the silence.  I like the absence of football on the television or the noise of the radio.  I like the way I can sprawl all over the bed when I am on my own.  Knowing there is someone else here stops me from falling down quite so utterly into a bed of silence and luxurious solitude.  But still there is a quiet and an indulgence.  I am here at the laptop with no sense that I should be stopping, going upstairs, going to bed. Tomorrow I will notice the absence of laughter and chat.  By the time Ian comes home again I will be desperate for company and conversation.  Already I miss him but how do you notice absence if you never have it?  So tonight I will sprawl across the bed and read until far too late.   Tomor

Plant me now - more plants coming in!

A couple of months ago a new web based garden centre, Plant me Now, asked me to be an Ambassador for them.  Since this involves being sent plants and reviewing them I hesitated for approximately no seconds at all.  I did say though that I would review the plants just as I found them and my first review, plants sold as annuals, although including some tender perennials went up here . The second delivery of plants from Plant me Now arrived while we were deep in snow.  Indeed we were so deep in snow that it was hard to see the greenhouse, never mind get into it.  So for a few days the plants sat in our tiny wooden lean to greenhouse up next to the house while we waited for at least some of the snow to melt.  They don't seem any the worse for having had to wait to be potted on! This time I had ordered perennials with the intention of putting some in the cutting garden, some in a new bed in the field which has amelanchier and dogwood in it and using some as bedding plants . I cho

Emerges, battered but unbowed.

There was an awful lot of snow.  When the great fall came we spent two and a half hours digging ourselves out.  And now, nearly two weeks on, there is still quite a bit lying. The wind piled great drifts, as high as the stone pigsties.  The kitchen garden was one great surging sea of snow.  Usually it looks like this, in fact this picture was taken a couple of days before the snow hit. Today it still looks like this. Ian spent hours and hours digging and shovelling and hiking in and out of here over and through the snow to the hens.  They spent the worst of the days confined to their house and then nearly a week with access only to the enclosed run.  On Tuesday Ian and a friend's son dug out the deep drifts which had buried the fencing for the larger run and reinstated it. It's a good job that only the large house at the end is in use at the moment as the two smaller houses which we use for younger birds had filled right up with snow.  Now the hens can roam