Monday, 28 October 2013

Ahhhh .. The Smell of Starch .....

Hello there ..
hope everyone is safe and well ... here in the UK we have had a huge storm.
Luckily we saw little of it here on Anglesey .. but some poor people haven't fared so well ... the reports on the news are upsetting.

Mother Nature can be a nasty piece of work at times.

So today ... 
I've been washing and ironing ... ans starching some lovely lacy linen.

I bought a boxful from one of the clearance guys .. it was all crumpled and a bit grubby ... but it was cheap enough. 
The clearance guys don't know what to do with it .. they are happy to move it on quickly.

So I cart the box home and sort the good from the bad .. and give it a good soaking .. and a good boil wash ... and iron and starch it up ... then its all ready for sale 
... ready to grace someone's table this Christmas tide.

 A lot of work ... but its nice to bring these lovely old linens back to life .
It looks a bit like a chinese laundry 
... and probably smells like one
 ...I just love that starchy linen smell.

In between washing and ironing I had to do something with all these bags of fruit from out of the freezer.

 It being a bumper year for fruit .. the freezer is full of the stuff ...we only have a smallish freezer (there only being the two of us ... that being the logic a couple of years ago .. when we were 'simplyfying ' things!).

Anyway .... Sunday trading was good for us ... and we talked of stocking up for winter with meat ... sacks of spuds etc.
I stopped at the butchers van as he and we were preparing to pack up ... and got a bit of a good deal.

 Loads of meat for my £25 ...
As you can see ...  Black Pudding (a huge one ) a tray of Tomato Sausage ... 6 chicken breasts ... 7 pork chops .. a good 'dinner' of minty lamb chops (Hubby P's favourite ) and a small joint of nice looking beef.
Wonderful ... bargain!

But where to put it all ....? 
So thus we come to the pan full of frozen fruit ... it had to come out of the freezer to make room for the meat.
At least the fruit wont be wasted ... I just tipped it all in the pan together .. it was mostly apple and gooseberry ... and jammed it.

I just about had enough random looking jars ... I made quite a 'loose' sorta jam and not too sweet 
... it still has that nice tartness you get with gooseberries. 

I will eat this as a jelly/sauce with meat and cheese as well as all the other useful things jam can be put to.

For tea .... well I had to try the tomato sausage .. so I made a hearty 'toad in the hole '... I had one carrot left and a stump of a cabbage .. so that was veg. 
Its trading day tomorrow so I will see my friendly greengrocer and see what he has that looks good .. or cheap!

I tried a bit of the new jam with my toad in the hole... very nice ... not that anything would persuade Hubby P to eat jam with sausages!

Are you a jam and sausages type of person ...or is it just me...!?


Thursday, 24 October 2013

How Many Ways To Eat A Tomato ..........

Hello there ...
hope you have all had a good day.

The sun shone for us and we had a good day selling at the car boot .... and a good old natter with everyone. 
Lots of people were here (on Anglesey) to close up their holiday homes and static caravans for the winter ... they always seem a bit sad. 
Often retired people and the like spend most of their summer here and they become regular visitors to our stall. 
We meet their families when they come to visit ... at the holiday home .. and share the ups and downs of their family life hats to be bought ... grandchildren being born .. its all very friendly here. 

Today someone brought us a gift of eggs from their chickens ... how nice that they should think of us as friends .. people are kind.

 And lovely big eggs they are too ... whoppers!

 as the title of the blog suggests ... more tomatoes to eat up ...
or rather ... 
'How to get a tomato into Hubby P ?'

 Anything in a pie is usually a good bet ...
and we had a goodly supply of eggs ... so bacon and egg pie ... with a tomato or two thrown in.

 I still had some of the nice smoked bacon ... so a rasher or two fried up with a couple of onions .. and even a bit of grated courgette ... easily hidden in the tasty bacon-y mix.
Tomato added ... and all plonked in a pastry lined pie plate.

I cracked three eggs into each pie ... not very frugal I know .. but we have so many eggs to use up (I could bake ... but then I just eat all the baking! ... hopeless!).

 Tops on and into the oven.
There was a bit of pastry left over ... isn't there always.
  I rolled it out and draped over a tin.

  I turfed out the remains of the fruit bowl .. not a pretty sight ... chopped the good bits ...

 Added some sultanas .. a sprinkle of cinnamon and a handful of sugar.... pulled the pastry over it... and into the oven.
Doesn't look pretty but will taste okay .

 Pies came out just fine ...One for tea .. another for another day (mind you I will be surprised if it gets past tomorrow dinner time .. not that anyone living here is a greedy guts)

Hubby P was pleased as punch ...

And had to have a Desperate Dan .... man sized portion ... with baked beans ... of course!

Just as an aside (and because for the life of me I can't work out how to do the 'reply' to comments thingy on my comments bit) ...
anyway .. Sue from Our New Life In The Country was asking where we trade/work.
Well we decided early on we would just trade around the car boots on Anglesey ... we had both done enough tearing around getting stressed in previous jobs .. so now we do what suits us.

We have a regular pitch at Valley Car Boot Tuesdays and Thursdays .. and we are at Mona Car Boot Sale (where they hold the Anglesey Show) on a Sunday. 

Both venues trade all year and we are under cover ..
In summer of course the Car boots are very busy with the visitors to the Island ... and people tend to think of car boots as summer activities ... but we are there .. in the rain and snow ... and its often these 'off days' when you get the bargains. You have to be there fairy early ... most stallholders want to pack up and go home around dinner time.
Its surprising how many people do come up to me ... and say in a rather shy whisper ... 'I think I read your blog'...
They are perhaps on holiday here or visiting friends .. its always nice to put a face to a name ... and have a good old natter.

Anyway enough of me ... I've rattled on enough ... take care x

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Intrepid Geoffrey's .... and A thrifty Tomato ..!

Hello there....
What have you been up to today?

All of a muchness here ... just everyday stuff ..

A little excitement on Tuesday morning ... as we about to leave for work at 5.30 am ....
 just locking the door ... 
Hubby P noticed a little Geoffrey mouse in the birdhouse/feeder.

 Can you see him ?
The intrepid little chap ... he had found his way up the helter skelter rope and was having a good old nosh.

 I hurried Hubby P back indoors to get the camera ... it was still dark ... and raining 'cats and dogs'... but needs must ... I felt we must 'capture the moment' for the dear readers ... 
and I feel sure Hubby P really didn't mind standing in the dark ... in the rain ... camera in hand ... an epic moment!

The brave fearless little Geoffrey didn't seem to care that we were shining torches at him and flashing cameras ...
twas as if he were quite use to all the fuss ... 
like a superstar ..
or as Hubby P said ... rather cruelly I thought ...
" he might just be a bit thick"

Anyway work called so we left him to breakfast in peace.

 So the wind doth blow .... and we shall have snow ..eek!
I hope not .. not yet ...
But we have had lots of leaves ...

 Lovely leaves ... all shapes and sizes ... 
and wonderful autumnal colours.


 Waste not want not ....
T'would be a sin to throw all that goodness in the bin ... 
so I swept them up ..
 put them in a plastic bin bag ...
 tied it up and punched some holes in the bottom. 
I stashed the bag behind the shed .. there to do its magic and turn all those summer worn leaves into glorious leaf mould .. ready to feed back to the soil.
I will keep doing this weekly until the leaves stop coming and I have a pile of bags behind the shed.
It takes no real time and effort ... I would sweep up the leaves anyway .. to stop the paths from being slippy underfoot ... and I shall reaps loads of lovely richness to feed my garden.

Talking of feeding and good food ...
 bargain of the week so far... 

 All these lovely big juicy tomatoes for £1.
They were the last of a box .. and slightly the worse for being the last ... Frying Tomatoes my Gran would call them.
Anyway my friendly greengrocer said take them all for £1.
We haven't had many tomatoes for a while ... I felt they were just too expensive for the poor tasteless quality the supermarkets offered ...
But I thought I would give these a go for tea ... I fried up three between the two of us .. with a rasher each of some rather tasty smoked bacon and some black pudding .. very nice.

And somehow the colour of the tomatoes seemed so cheery and warming this cold damp night.

 Whilst I was at it I made a pot of soup for tomorrow ...
bit of fried onion and a small rasher of the tasty bacon ....chopped small .. the contents of the scraps/leftover jug from the fridge (where I pour all the veg cooking water and any unused cooked veg)... a tomato (of course ! ... still four left) and a chicken oxo.

I threw in a couple of handfuls of nice nutty red lentils ... I have big jars of lentils.. rice .. oats and whatnot just to hand ... they are a nice and good and healthy way of bulking up dishes.

So tomorrow is soup day ... we have another day stood out in the ... erm ..'fresh' air selling .. so soup will be nice to come in to.

Made a bit of soda bread for Hubby P ... its the only way I can get soup down him!

Yes ... it is slightly overdone ... 
Hubby P has been doing a house clearance today and had me stood outside (in the near dark) helping sort boxes and packing the van ready for tomorrow ... so I forgot the bread!
It will be fine with a bit of soup.

So whats your bargain buy ... 
what are you eating up this week?


Monday, 21 October 2013

Of Kettles and Pots and Steaming Good Stews ...

Hello there ...
its rather cold wet and windy here today .. so I am using it as an excuse to sit by the fire and 'fiddle about' .. I've dabbled a bit with my ebay listing .. messed about with a crochet hook .. having a go at some Christmas Robin type corsages ... or similar!

Can't really summon up the energy to do very much ... I think ..I am feeling .. Winter has come ...

We worked yesterday ... in the rain .. dreary...
but I picked up a box of old linen ... 

Rooting about in it I spotted some interesting 'colours' .. 
you know how you do ...
You spot a scrap of fabric ... a tantalising  glimpse of something interesting .. a nice shade or pattern ...
The colours were muted ... vintage-y colours ... mucky looking but interesting to me.

 After wading through the gents old underpants and yellowed string vests ... 
(its no wonder I have a strong healthy immune system)

I pulled out  these old tea towels and dish cloths ... I just loved their ... oldness?
They are very worn and faded and somewhat stained ... they haven't come up very clean after a good hot wash ...
but that's their story ...their life ... a long and hard  one..

And I love them just the same.

 The tea towels intrigued me ... they are/were obviously a good quality cotton . They have little makers labels which double as loops to hang them up.

They were produced by The Bombay Dyeing Company ... I looked it up .. its still going today ... India's foremost textile company founded in 1879.
The company sponsors Miss India ... 
just a random piece of information .. you may wish to have at hand to use when in a difficult situation ... at a Dinner party ... or whatever!

And I must just show you my new (to me) kettle ... 
again found at the car boot ... by the ever industrious treasure seeker Hubby P .

A Girl does of course dream of large shiny kettles in splendid kitchens ... a large .. wonderfully warming Aga on which to boil said kettle.
But in the real world we are content with the modest kitchen we have ... thankful that we can cook and bake and make a warming cup of tea ... 
I think the kitchen must be the heart of any home.

My dinky little kettle fits just nicely on the cooker ring ... and makes such a pleasing 'boil-y' sound ... I'm sure the tea tastes so much nicer.

And as for steaming good stews .... what could be nicer on a cold miserable day.... 

A nice pot of stew and dumplings ... the stew ... a simple 4 oz of cheapest minced beef to give a bit of flavour .. and lots of veg ... onions.. a odd 'inch' of a leek .. a carrot and scrapings of the leftovers dish ... and of course a handful of oats to plump it up a bit.
Whatever is handy really ...the dumplings were from a packet (reduced to 20p at the local shop ..Hubby P bought all six packets ... well trained you see!).

So I will leave you with the dumplings ...
Its that time of year .... 
whats your tried and tested frugal and filling dish?


Thursday, 17 October 2013

Making The Most Of THe Nice Days ....

Hello there ..
thought its about time I caught up with you all.

We've been making the most of the nice days .. although the last couple have been a bit wet and dreary.

Mind you .. we can't complain .. we have had a super summer.

So.. one fine day last week ... 
Hubby P set off for work .. 
it was a quiet-ish work day ... no need for us both to go..

and so...

I made a start ..and cleared the narrow beds bordering the trellis..
  trellis that has had its day... 
it has lasted for years...
  but is now wibbly wobbly and rotten at its feet. 

 I wanted to do this whilst Hubby P was out of the way ... 
well you know how it is ....
 it takes time to get the plants up and find new homes for them ... Hubby P goes at everything with great gung ho! ...
 it would all be rushed ..

This way I could find .. and carefully move everything ...
 just look at these interesting corms ...
nestled just under the soil waiting burst forth next summer.
These are what I know as Turks Cap Lilly ... 
something I had not come across until I move to Anglesey. 
They were growing like wild things .. 
spread all around the garden of our first house. 
I moved a few corms with us and they delight us every summer. 

I went on to start removing the old trellis ... it almost fell apart in my hands.
We had talked of replacing like for like ... but the thought of treating/painting another load of trellis kind of put me off ..
and then we were lucky enough to come across this..

 Lovely old slate ... lots of it in Wales and used for all sorts of things.....I have slate windowsills inside the house ..
 and slate paths in the garden .. 
I love it .. 
its particularly lovely after a shower of rain when all its blues and greys shine and glitter dancing in the sunshine.

 The pile of slate Hubby P stashed away some time ago is or was slate fencing ...
long slim lengths .. of interesting ... uneven widths .. quirky shapes and knobbly bits ...
all so 'very me'!

So with some of this ...

 and a pile of that ....

and the magic of Hubby P...

 It became this ...

 The start of our very own 'slate fence' to replace the trellis ... no maintenance required ... 
just the odd shower of rain to bring up its sparkly bits!

I decided to 'fill in' the garden bed ... the birds will tend to scratch about and I end up sweeping soil off the path ..
this way I can have a little platform or area to display pots and buckets of ever changing seasonal plants.

We hastened to get the bird table back up and running ... 
it had to go on a new post ... 
and of course the trellis which enabled the 'Geoffrey's' (our mouse family) to access the bird table for supper was no longer there! 

  What to do?

Well .... we used what we had to hand .. and Hubby P made a helter skelter type affair ... with some old rope ...
now if they will ever use it we will have to wait and see.
But the rope will look okay once its weathered a bit.

Birds are still a bit dubious ... it being different an all!

 So give it a few months to weather and grow a bit of nice moss ( I painted the horrible concrete-y bits with yogurt to help encourage moss-y type things)... and it will look nice and rustic.

And whilst Hubby P was doing the boring mixing the concrete bit  ... and before the showers ... before its too late ... I collected some fennel seeds.

I do like a nice cup of fennel tea .. helps settle the tummy.

So what have you been up to .... 
have you got everything all safely gathered in ... the nights are drawing in and its getting cold .... anyone had a frost yet?

Bye for now x

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Bread and Cheese .... Thrifty Trade!

Hello there ...

Busy busy day today selling at the car boot ... we are lucky here and the carboot/market trades right through the year ... 
So .. a bit tired when we got in this afternoon ...
the thought of cooking a big meal is a bit too much.

 Trying to be a bit organised last night ... I made a big pan of (use it up) soup.
It took but a few minutes when I got in to make a loaf of soda bread ... nice and fresh.
And some nice cheese ... what more could a body want for a tasty meal.
I always try to have a nice bit of cheese in ..
 you can do so much with it ...
I know it can be expensive ...
 but we are very lucky 
 we have the Cheese-y Man!

On a Sunday at the carboot Mona we have a little man ... 
well he's quite big really..
 and his nice wife.. 
who have a wonderful cheese stall ...
 so many different kinds .. local and whatnot ...
 a Girl could go mad spending her pennies!

We like to try a different kind of cheese each week ... and I think as long as we make it the focus of the meal .. then its no more expensive than say having a pork chop or piece of chicken.

Another good thing about the Cheese-y man is that he will trade with me ... 
another old fashioned .. out of date/fashion tradition.
We are happy to do this on a small scale amongst the other traders ... I think its makes for good relations amongst the people we work closely with ... we get to know a little more about the other person ..what they like/need .. things they may use in their lives.

The Cheesey -man is always on the lookout for nice clean baskets for display and hampers ...
 so if I come across any I get them and trade with him for a nice piece of cheese ... it works well!

Another lady trades her excess sewing stuff/stash (she use to have a shop) for bags of wool to knit for her grandchild.

Anyone else busily trading? 
I would so like a LETS group in this area but there doesn't seem the interest .. 
so I will just carry on in my own quiet way. 
I know some of you have a LETS ... do you think it works well?
have you many members? and if so what kind of thing do they offer ...
The last time I looked into it the things on offer were a bit well .. not very 'everyday' and practical.

Anyway enough of my waffle...

 Oh .. you may as well have these pic's ... just a little something I found today.

I thought they were delightful ... hand made a good number of years ago I should think.
The work that has gone into them is amazing ... not sure what their intended purpose was ... they are bags ... but very nice bags ... any ideas?

Off to bed now...

Bye for now x

Monday, 7 October 2013

All About The Wool ... And Who Will Humpty Together Again ? .....

Hello there ... 

Yes .. its been all about the wool for me today .... pretty bright colours ... lots of ideas for crafting.

 Although this little lot is destined for the car boot .. I  sell a lot of sewing .. knitting .. crafting supplies .. and my ladies like a nice bag of inexpensive wool for their various projects.

Now and again Hubby P finds these boxes of half used wool .. and I bundle them together in handy bags. This week a box of wool came in ... it was mostly cones of wool (for machine knitting I think) .. I find it hard to sell like this ... the yarn is usually too thin.

So I took it outside ... sat on my bench and whilst watching the birds and bees go about their business .. I balled it up using two strands of yarn. Some of it was two different shades of colour .. but it looks pretty and will knit up in an interesting mottled look.
Ideal for blanket squares and the like.

I sell it 'cheap and cheerful' ... its enough to pay to keep your hands occupied. A lot of my ladies knit and crochet to keep their hands moving  .. they suffer from arthritis and what not ... and the knitted toys/blankets/baby clothes are given to various charities.

So many people doing so much you know.

 Found this little fella .. 'Humpty Dumpty' in the bottom of the box looks like someone didn't get the chance to finish him.
I don't like to dwell on how or why .. could be a bit of a sad story .. but its a shame for Humpty ... he does need 'putting back together again'!

Along with Humpty there was a whole bag of unfinished dollies dresses .. little people like things .. well all sorts of bits and bobs .. and a doll to dress.
Now ... I don't knit ... and I am not really inclined to this sort of thing ... so does anyone want to help out and put 'Humpty back together again'?
What I propose is to post the bag of unfinished projects to you (UK only please) .... you can sort out what you can and perhaps donate them to some fundraiser/charity event.
This way the lady who started Humpty and whatnot ... 
will live on ..
 in a way ...
 it may not be just a sad ending...
 and a waste of wool!  

Leave  me a comment if you fancy the 'Humpty Dumpty challenge'... if there are a few people interested I will draw a name as per ...
I will leave it a week before I do a draw.

Poor Humpty ... !

Bye for now xx

Friday, 4 October 2013

A Riot Of Colour ... In Its Own Quiet Autumnal Way!

Hello there ...
After a rain drenched night things picked up a little by mid morning .... so I played out in the garden for a bit.

 The leaves are turning ... and the colours are just lovely ... a last vibrant blast before the cold dreary months of winter.

 Just look at this teeny tiny leaf caught by its much bigger brother it fluttered to the ground.

Pretty colours...

 And fascinating shapes and sizes
 .... all make up the natural world.

 I had a good sweep up of the brown slimy leaves ... useful for the garden when broken down ... all that goodness .... but lethal on my paths. 
It takes little for me to fall over without the hazard of slippy leaves ... so I think this will be only the first of many trugs of leaves I will be sweeping up.

And here we see the promise of things to come
 ... little parcels of delight ... seeds for new strong plants ... to delight us once again.

I roped Hubby P into helping me move this grass ... I know it as Gardeners Gaiters.
This stripy little number speaks to me of 'Home' .... when I was growing up it was one of the things that grew with great gusto (rampant) in a somewhat difficult environment  up on the Pennine moors.
It has taken me years to get it to 'do' ... to grow here in my garden ( I don't know why .. just one of those things). 
Anyway we are planning on having a new fence where the grass grew ... so I needed to move the grass and keep it safe ... I know ... a bit silly perhaps.
 I thought the old tin bath would be a good idea ... the grass would look good against the green of the cabin .. and if/when the grass gets really going (rampant ?) the bath will keep it in check.

Don't we put a lot of thought into this gardening business 
 ... do you ponder on such things?
 ... should I put my energies .. my mind to other more worldly issues? ... I don't know whats going on in Syria.
Is that a bad thing 
.... I just can't cope with caring for all the world ... and my garden is my escape.

Speaking of escape .... Hubby P decided the way to get the remainder of the apples from the tree was to whack them off with the washing line prop/stick thingy.
'Get ready' he would say ... as he got ready to whack a great big apple ...and it would come thundering down through the tree.

If he thinks I am standing under it trying to 'catch' ... hes sadly mistaken thought I !
One of those missiles would knock me for six.

I've never been any good as a 'catcher' ... anything to do with chasing balls around a court or pitch ... shrieking at other girls ... not really my strong point .
Show me a kitchen ... I will cook for you ... I will sew for you... nurse you ... listen to you and counsel ... but don't ask me to risk life and limb catchin an apple!

So all the apples were bruised and battered through falling heavily on the ground ... so I've just finished peeling and chopping .... more in the freezer and more jelly on the way.

Perhaps I should have tried harder at the Hockey!

Bye for now x