Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Up early enough to write today's blog before Norma comes. Albeit a shorter one than usual.
First will reply to comments:
Not sure if it will be too late now Susan G. but using second class stamps when sending Christmas cards does save quite a lot of money. Next year the price of postage may have risen even further, so now is a good time to stock up on stamps - we can use older (cheaper) 1st and 2nd class as long as they are the normal type (think they have a colourless strip on them that their machinery 'reads'.

Believe it is possible to grind rice up in a blender June (and welcome back), but not sure how fine, rice is very hard. As rice provides the 'gritty' texture to shortbread, instead you could use semolina as an alternative.

A welcome and hugs to Mrs G. (Linda) and thanks for writing in. Thanks also to Alison who also wrote in. Appreciate your comments.

Your mention of your OH Kathryn, buying a cheaper brand to 'try', gave me an idea. Men quite like to 'test' things, and perhaps if you suggested what he did was a brilliant idea and a good way to save money, he could list up all your favourite brands, then try either other (cheaper) brands, working down to own-brands (these often being more than one price). Myself have found cheaper brands just as good as our 'favourite', and he could give points to each. Also - if the wish to keep eating 'the best' continues, then maybe mixing a cheaper brand with the expensive one would work well enough for the difference in flavour not to be detected. It's always worth trying cheaper brands for very often we can be agreeably surprised.
Morrison's Value Beans were listed in the paper as on a par with Heinz. Beloved was asked to bring in a can for me to try and (of course) went to Tesco and bought their cheapest beans. Later asked him to bring in one I'd asked for, and have to say I found Tesco's tasted better than the Morrison. But as always - it all comes down to personal taste.

They don't sell sprout 'tops' in the supermarkets Sairy, but we can buy the whole Brussels sprout stalk with the sprouts still attached and the leafy tops still on. The idea is to plunge the cut end into a bucket of water and the sprouts then stay fresh and we can remove only what we need when we wish. Not sure if the tiny 'cabbage' in the centre of the top is still there.

It is true what you say minimiser deb, programmes dealing with economy, do-it-yourself etc, barely scratch the surface.
Watching a programme last night on how different families cope when living on the same income (£40,000 net p.a.) showed how differently people place their priorities. Have to say the couple with no children (by choice) did seem to be able to live quite a luxury life-style, especially as they did not use credit cards. The woman said she was a 'good manager' when it came to money, but have to say it seemed to be she who managed to spend most of it. A new (and expensive) car every two or three years? And a shopping spree every Sunday when she ALWAYS bought something?
A lot of money was also spent on food - especially ready-meals it appeared.

Another family (two adults and a daughter at private school) also seemed to be able to make their money stretch. Holidays in the Maldives, Kenya etc? Mother stayed at home, so probably did more home-cooking.

Others - who perhaps might be called 'working class', seemed to find it difficult to make ends meet. One family paid almost three times as much a month repaying the mortgage than did other families.
A couple (early-retirement) had downsized and were now living in an apartment. The lady said she spent around £430 a month on food. Seemed most of the other families (with two adults, one - three children) spent about £120 a week, less than the retired couple, but by my standards still far too much. Even now, aim to spend no more than £120 a MONTH on food.

One family with a toddler and baby triplets were finding it hard to cope, they came from the Philippines where the husband was a trained architect, but his qualifications were not accepted here so he had to take them all over again, and then couldn't get work in that field. He was obviously upset because he had to take a more menial job to bring in the money.
But this couple were - it seemed - the only ones who were prepared to save any 'disposable income' for - as the mother said - they needed to save the money to put their four children through university. Other families were not prepared to put any money by to leave their children/grandchildren when they died and preferred to spend it now! Often on themselves.

There was one Scotsman who, with no family, could - of course - manage well on the £40,000, but had not blown the lot. He admitted to buying himself a bottle of whisky now and again, and he was rather fond of collecting guitars, he also gave regularly to charity. But he had also saved the rest of his 'disposable', and was thinking about leaving it to some charity or trust whereby others could gain. He appeared to be a fairly devout Catholic, and perhaps this made him far more aware of other people's problems and needs than an atheist might give thought to. Not that we need to be 'religious' to be caring, But isn't that in itself one of the pathways to the Golden Gates?

The problem with many religions is they are all based on 'love they neighbour' yet so many seem to fight and kill even within their own 'community'. The Christian religion has Roman Catholics (almost) hating the Protestants (memories of the Irish uprising), the Muslims have their Sunni and Shi-ite 'sects' who now seem out to blow each other up at every opportunity.

Recently some Muslim girls were head-lined because they'd been out on the booze, and got very drunk, then bashed up a non-Muslim girl. The judge 'excused' them because - being Muslims they were not used to drink.
The problem today is that once religion is mentioned when wrong-doing has been done, we then tar all those of the same faith with the same brush. This just is not fair. How many of us have been baptised, but do not go to church? All still celebrate Easter and Christmas but more for the feasting than for any religious reason. Myself - having had many Jewish neighbours and friends know from experience many do eat bacon. Nigella Lawson (Jewish) admits to enjoying eating pig's ears. Some Muslims drink alchohol. It is not permitted, but many still feel 'of the faith'. But are they. And does it really matter? It is how we all behave that does count. I don't go to church. Does that make me less of a good person?

What does seem to be happening is that many young (and old) of certain faiths are now doing atrocious things because they are just bully boys and want to show dominance. Normally they would remain small and insignificant (and probably soon sorted), but as long as they do the wrongs under the banner of their religion, then they can easily sway the gullible to believe this is the right way to behave, even though what they do (or encouraged to do) is the complete opposite of the religious teachings. What book of faith says it's OK to kill innocent people? But this is still done - in the name of religion.

If youngsters are so keen to wave the flag of defiance, why do they always cover their faces? In shame perhaps? In Roman times Christians were proud to be Christians - prepared to be thrown to the lions rather than disguise the fact. Whatever our faith we should be proud of it, proud to show we are of it, and what is more - show what good it can do.

Youngsters have their own version of face-covering these days, and nothing to do with religion. Think we call them 'hoodies'. Perhaps time now that no-one should be allowed to cover their face. In cold weather there are enough hats around to keep our heads and ears warm and still leave the face open to the elements. If the weather is THAT cold that our nose would freeze, doubt anyone would want to wander the streets anyway.
'Nuf said on that subject.

Back to food. Another prog. watched last night was 'The Food Hospital'. Haven't seen all the series, but it was interesting, and very useful for 'those that care' to know the best foods to serve to the family to help protect them from various illnesses/diseases.

It has reached the time when I have to take my leave of you for today. The weather is getting worse, the rain howling so much yesterday it sounded like big jet-planes continually taking off from a run-way close by. Almost like the sound Concorde used to make.
It's also been raining and sleeting, and the forecast is worse to come. With that thought, all I can say is hope you manage to enjoy your day one way or the other, and stay indoors if you can.
Please join me tomorrow. See you then.