Thursday, November 20, 2014

More Lessons Learned!!

Seems now that each day I have to find a solution to something that never bothered me before.  For instance, my Beloved used to clear up my plate/s and mug/s that were on the side table by my chair in the living room (accumulated through the day).  True, I ended up washing them up myself, but carrying anything is difficult with a walking stick in one hand, and now - using a zimmer frame (needing both hands). 

Thankfully, my 'kangaroo pouch' (large, deep pocket in my apron) will hold plenty of light-weights, so stuff that full before I go into the kitchen.  Today went and emptied a wicker shopping basket (holding rubbish anyway), and have hung that on a small butcher's hook from the frame of my zimmer.  So now I can put the 'empties' in that and take myself, zimmer, and basket into the kitchen without any problem whatsoever.  I know it works because I've already done it.  That's another notch on my bedpost.

This morning the toaster stopped working properly, well it would, wouldn't it.  Life at the moment is not meant to be easy for me.  Challenges being thrown at me from all directions.  Could use the grill I suppose, but as I've only had the oven on once this last month, am hoping to rely mainly on the microwave, hob, and slow-cooker.  That should save a few £££s of fuel.
Anyway, it was the last two crusts of bread that at least managed to be toasted, and as I'm trying to avoid carbos, not really as much of a problem as it might have been.

Found some unopened seed packets (tomatoes et al) yesterday, bought last year (or was it the year before?).  As you know, in the past I've grown quite a few things on the windowsills, and successfully, but really only to prove that it could be done, rather than for need.   This coming winter I'll be growing some winter salads indoors again, and next year quite a few things (silly me gave away the plastic greenhouse). Have loads of packets of seeds (some still unopened) and probably many will still be viable.

Thing is, having proved in the past that something can work, will stand me in good stead, and a good reason why I firmly believe we should try our hand at as many 'ancient' skills as we can, for who knows when we might need to use them.  If I hadn't 'gardened indoors' in previous years, then I probably wouldn't have thought of trying now.

Am still finding it difficult to sleep, usually managing to drop off around then rising at 7 or 8.  Don't feel tired, so probably do have cat naps during the evening while watching TV.
Last night spent a lot of time thinking of really inexpensive things to make - inspired (a bit) by the current series of Masterchef.  So after reading jane's comment about needing to make frugal meals, am hoping that over the next few weeks I'll be able to come up with some ideas.

My first thought (and the way I would do this) is to first set a price.  Let's say a meal for two for under £1. Or for three for under £1.  Or even four.  It can be done, more easily once we have become aware of how cheap some basic ingredients can be.
Protein IS generally expensive, but for my own meals I tend to rely on eggs.  Free-range eggs can be very expensive.  A tray of 15 or 18 supermarket 'vakue' eggs ARE very cheap, less than 10p each (and please don't write in and say I should encourage people to buy free-range - at this point in my life all I am concerned with is keeping costs down - if I can afford free-range then these will be bought).

With so many comments sent in, I've chosen just a few to reply to, but all have been read, and of course to each I give my thanks.
Am not keen on hot drinks when in bed Granny G.  I'd probably spill them over me, but I do have plenty of water there if I need a liquid intake.  However, I might fill a thermos with coffee or hot chocolate and keep it by my chair in the living room for when the weather gets cold.
A radio is a good idea.  I used to put Radio 4 on each time I worked in the kitchen, but haven't had it on for the past 3 weeks (is it only 3 weeks?  It seems like an eternity).  So think I'll move the radio into the bedroom so I can at least listen to something.  I prefer classical music, but my radio is a cheap digital and it doesn't seem to get all the channels. 

Thanks to Les for his good advice.  Some is already being taken, and tomorrow have to sort out attendance allowance (mentioned by Kate). As you say Angela, it would be wise to claim for as much as possible anyway, they can only say no.
Yesterday had the pack to sort out 'letters of Administration/Probate', so my heart sank - there were pages to fill in.  Luckily my daughter is helping me sort out all the paperwork so I'll bury my head in the sand again and leave her to sort it out.  Should be able to be sorted sooner rather than later.

We had a Booth's Christmas Book pushed through our letterbox Cheesepare.  Some wonderful photos of food that - at least for me under normal circs - I would try to replicate (MUCH cheaper if we do it ourselves). 
Have, in the past, found the Berlingo too large for me to handle (I'm used to small cars like Fiat Pandas/Unos and would have loved one of those SmartCars (looks as thought the back seat has been chopped off).  Even if I could drive the Berlingo, it would be too costly to run.  I've worked it out, and it would be cheaper to take a taxi for the few occasions each month when I have to go out.  Norris will be used more often (but only when the weather is fair).

Margie's comment about snow is making me think ahead.  The weather in her part of Canada has been almost identical to what we have had in the UK, so am wondering if snow is on its way. We could take it as a warning and make sure we have our 'hottie bottles', bed socks, and extra duvets at the ready when needed.

Had notification from British Gas that they will soon be fitting new electricity and gas meters, not necessarily on the same day.  But when they do they will have to cut off the electricity and gas while the work is done, so that means several of our 'timer-clocks' will have to be re-set, and I'm hoping the engineers can do this for me as I certainly can't.  As a 'regular customer' can ask for the latest meters (free) that will show the cost of the fuel at the time of using, so suppose that could prove useful. Or depressing according to what they show.   Wish now I'd had a solid fuel stove fitted in one of our living rooms, so that this could be used to help keep warm (and maybe even food hot, sitting in a pan on the top?).   There's an old telegraph pole that B cut into pieces, intending to use them to line a path that was going round the back of the apple tree.  This would burn well.  If I had somewhere to burn it. 

Even so, only ten days to go before December, and still the weather stays fair, so shouldn't grumble. Other years at this time I've had to have the heating on all day, now it is on only for a few hours twice a day.  Add to that a great deal less oven cooking, not to mention less water being used (laundry, showers etc), also less electricity, so fuel bills should go down anyway.

If it's not going to end up too boring (and please say if it is), I'm going to blog my way through all this new life of mine, for although I've been on my own (since the family went back to their respective homes) for only a week, already learning such a lot.  Hope the findings are interesting and above all useful.

Busy day tomorrow with appointments etc, but hope to blog again some time over the weekend.  See you then.