Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Waste Not, Want Not...

'Waste not, want not'. 'Make do and mend'. 'Live within your means'. 'A Penny saved is a penny earned'...  And from a book by Dickens (paraphrased) "Income £1, expenditure 19s 6d = happiness. Income £1, expenditure £1 and 6d = misery".  All pure common sense and how our parents (or in reader's cases - grand-parents and great-grands) lived.  Like - sensibly.

Today we seem to have been brainwashed by manufacturers AND banks, to do completely the opposite. Throw things away even if they are still fit for use or could be mended.  Spend more than we earn (the bank will loan us the rest).  No need to save, for if we end up broke we can claim  'benefits'.  But does this - what may seem like - the opportunity to have (even for a short time) and affluent life bring us any happiness.  Seemingly not.

Last night watched a programme where a lady (forgotten name but surname something like 'Polittzi' travels around aiming to put failing business back on track.  Last week she returned to Kettley's (near Leeds) where we bought a 'sit-up-and-beg' chair for me, and we were also able to buy a two seater (old-fashioned style) settee for only £40 as that had a very small tear on the underside of one of the cushions.  A really good bargain, but at that time it was very true, it was extremely difficult for me to choose the chair I needed as there seemed to be hundreds just lined up.  We did find one, but am sue amongst the throng there was a more comfortable one.
Now the 'turn-around' was suggested, we were able to see how much better the store looked, and how easy it was to choose the furniture we would have wished.   Am pleased for the owners, as they are a very reputable company and their furniture is well worth the money.

However, yesterday things were slightly different.  One place visited was a shop selling bridal dresses, some costing over £1,000.  The emphasis was that brides are prepared to pay almost anything to get the dress of their dreams (even though Daddy or the groom - if he was already a live-in 'partner' - couldn't afford it).  Even worse, they managed to get the contract to sell a designer label, these gowns costing several thousands of £££ EACH.

This worried me.  Even a fairly 'inexpensive' wedding seems to cost over £10,000, and in today's recession, that money could be put to better use, especially - as so often seems to happen - after a y year the couple then decided to split up and get divorced, leading to a great deal more expensive and probably debt on both sides. 

The second place visited in the prog last night was a flour mill that also had a shop selling local produce (wines, preserves etc), plus a tea-room.  Again suggestions were made how to boost business, both at the mill and also in the shop.  Here again, as I looked at the displays of food sold and to be eaten, my mind again thought 'it would much cheaper to make these at home'.  And so it would be.  But then if we all did that, many small businesses would have to close down.  There just wouldn't be the custom. 

Even larger establishments would feel the pinch if we did more D.I.Y.  Hotels would lose business if wedding receptions were held elsewhere.  Cake makers would lose the trade if wedding cakes were made and decorated by family, rather than purchased.  Likewise the bridal shops would lose custom if the gowns for the bride and bridesmaids were 'hand-made'.   Perhaps the florists would still hold their own as this is one area most of us would not have enough equipment or skill to cope with.
And dare I even think about suggesting cheaper places to have a honeymoon?  Seems that the Seychelles and the Maldives are the most popular at the moment.  Myself would settle for something a little cheaper (as long as it was sunny).  My preference being Benidorm, mainly because I just love that series.  And they do have scooters!  But then my honeymoon days are over.  Not that I had one anyway. 

As you say buttercup, if we have 'food in our tummy, clothes on our back and a roof over our head', that is really all we need to at least survive.  In the old days, when anyone wanted more than that, they expected to have to work for it.  Maybe work longer hours or have two jobs.  At least in my early married days, if we could manage to end up with £1 a week more than earned, this could be spent buying 'the necessary' from catalogues, and paying back the balance over 20 weeks.  During this time, as long as the money owed (and no interest charged on this), did not go over £20, every so weeks we could order more to bring the balance back up to £20.  This was the way I was able to buy pots and pans, towels and bed-linen, shoes, and one or two kitchen appliances.  Slowly, our life-style improved without getting into any financial difficulties.  True, there have been several times, many years ago when I could not even afford to find that £1 a week, so had to reduce my then meagre food budget to make sure I could pay.  But - as they say - 'adversity is the mother of invention', and it's perhaps not surprising that when anyone puts their mind to it, just how much can be achieved.  An 'art' that seems to have been lost today. 

Definitely agree that self-sufficiency should be taught in schools, but then how many teachers today (who all seem to be so young) themselves know anything about 'coping'.  I mean really coping.
At least there does seem to be a swing towards schools starting their own 'kitchen gardens', and the pupils sowing and growing the fruits and veggies that - when harvested - the school kitchens would cook and serve up for lunch, and almost certainly the children would eat everything, just because they had grown it themselves.

Sad to read that your son's friend is such a picky eater dottiebird.  Was wondering what he DOES like to eat.  Do remember when our children had similar friends who refused a lot of food, I would not urge them to eat anything, but when I could see them putting their nose up at food I had just put on the table would say "you can't have any of that, because it's too expensive, and so special I serve it only to adults".  It's surprising how suddenly they want what is 'forbidden fruits'.  I've left the room and seen (through the hatch), the 'picky eaters' keep taking a sly 'pick', and obviously liking it. So next time I might ask their age then say "oh I didn't realise how grown up you were, so you can have a little of the adult food if you wish" and, of course, they do... and eat it all up.

There are some computer services locally Pam, but as our grandson set up our comp, feel I should let him sort it as he knows exactly what I want (and don't want).  I'd rather pay him for sorting out the problems than someone else. The comp. still works efficiently enough, albeit very slowly at times, and as long as I can read my emails and write my blog, then can cope.  It could be we have a virus that has slowed down 'the works', doing a little 'investigating' myself, the comp. check did come up with this as a possibility. Otherwise nothing else seemed to be wrong.
It could be that the comp is well past its best-before date, and probably now got to the 'worst-after' part.  But will still keep my fingers crossed.  Have to say that on some days the comp works far better than others and never know why (other than when B uses it, the comp always seems to have a sulk afterwards - which doesn't surprise me). 

Perhaps B and 'electrics' do not make good bed-fellows.  Have noticed more than once when he deals with some electrical things they then stop working altogether, and when he crosses the room, sometimes the TV switches from one channel to another. 
Myself seems to have a bit of a sensitivity to the 'leccy'.  Not noticed it recently, but certainly many years ago could always tell when an appliance was although itself switched off, as long as it was plugged into the wall socket this then switched on, touching it lightly I could feel a 'buzzing' in my fingertips.
We used to have an electric blanket, and if I touched the wall above the bed, could feel the wall 'buzzing' above the socket (perhaps where the wires within the wall had been placed).

We have to go out later this morning, so have no time left to give more than one recipe today, this being a chicken curry.  Neither B nor I like the flavour of fresh coriander, so I would leave this herb out or maybe use mint or flat-leaf parsley instead.  To my mind this has more of a leaning to 'satay' rather than 'curry', due to the peanut butter, adding spice flavour with the fresh chilli and ginger, but a different curry flavour could be given by using a smidgen of curry paste (to taste).
If the chicken breasts are large, then 2 might be enough.  Myself tend to add onions and diced carrots to a curry when I want to make up a shortfall of meat.
Chicken Peanut Curry: serves 4
1 large red chilli, deseeded
thumb-length piece root ginger, finely chopped
1 clove garlic
small bunch coriander, stalks chopped
1 tblsp sunflower oil
4 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
5 tblsp peanut butter
5 fl oz (150ml) chicken stock
7 oz (200g) Greek yogurt
Finely slice a quarter of the chilli and set aside.  Put remaining chilli into a food processor with the ginger, garlic, coriander stalks, and half the coriander leaves.  Blitz to a rough paste, adding a splash of the oil if needed.
Put the oil in a frying pan over medium to high heat, and brown the chicken for 1 minute. Stir in the coriander paste and stir-fry for a further minute.  Add the peanut butter, stock and yogurt, then bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.  Stir in remaining coriander leaves, and sprinkle the top with the reserved sliced chilli.  Serve immediately with rice and/or naan bread.

Quite a busy week for me, above and beyond the call of 'home-chores', so blogs may be shorter than usual. Tomorrow will be back, but on Friday won't be blogging at all as have an early appt. at the surgery followed by a mid-morning session with Norma the Hair who - this week - had to change the day and time.  Also out on Saturday to the Clandestine Cake Club (and still have to make and decorate a cake!).  Mind you, all this sudden 'activity' has sort of brought me back to life.  Just hoping I can cope with it all, having spent far too many recent years 'winding down'. 

A grey day today with quite a strong breeze.  Lots of bird activity in the garden and hoping our two nest boxes have been selected as this year's homes for the blue-tits.  Also time for the gorgeous display of bluebells in our woods, these being unique to England I understand.  They are truly the most beautiful sight. 

Hope you can join me again tomorrow.  See you then.