Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

I just want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 2011 hasn't been the best one for us here at the Little Terraced House and the past few months I have been a little lost inside myself and haven't felt very communicative, but hopefully this will disapear over time.

Love and hugs, have a really great day and have a drink for me ! xxx

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Rules Have Changed........

I read Frugal Queens post this morning about Who to Trust and commented on it there, but decided to post the content of my comments on here too.

I bank with a major high street bank and have been with them for over 30 years. My current account where mine and Himself's wages are paid in is there and we have 2 credit cards with them. The cards are pretty high in debt (dont go there) but we pay a little over the required payment every month in an attempt to get the debt down as fast as possible.

We have been charged 17.9% interest on these cards for the past couple of years, the bank sneakily upped the interest rate from 14.9% and seemed to have 'forgotten' to tell us, yea right. Well now, in a time when the Bank of England Rate has been 0.5% for ages and ages, they sent me a letter telling me that as I have considereable debt (yes, I know that fact and didn't need reminding) I am considered a bad risk and as such they have decided to increase my interest rate to 27.9% !!!!!

Hello, our debt has been going DOWN for over 2 years NOT UP !!! How on earth do they decide that we need to pay more when our debt is coming down ?????

So now they have increased our debt mountain for us and are intent on keeping us tied prisoner to them for even longer, nice of them eh? They were already making a very nice profit on the 17.9% - but now they are just becoming greedier and greedier. We have never ever ever ever missed a payment !!!

I also presume that if any other company did a credit search on us, they would jump to the conclusion that we are some sort of bad risk and maybe do the same. The whole system nnow stinks. The thieves at the top who make these decision are getting richer whilst us poor phlebs at the bottom of the pile are being kept down by an increasing debt level whilst working our socks off trying to pay it off !

So in answer to Froogs Question, I dont trust anybody in Banking, Finance, large newspapers or Government, regardless of their party.

As I said at the top, the rules have changed, but nobody is bothering to tell us what they are, we just have to keep trying to work them out as they constantly move the goal posts about.

I just want a desert island, with a bit of sunshine and wind for power and a patch of ground to grow on. Then all these damn parasites can bugger off and leave me alone. I want nothing off them and they can have nothing off me !

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Sissinghurst Smallholders Show

I had wanted to go to this show all week, but it was looking extremely doubtful if I would be able to go, due to family commitments, so I hadn't even bothered mentioning it to Himself. However family commitments changed slightly on Sunday morning,so I dropped it into the conversation over toast and homemade marmalade, that Hugh (Fernley Whittingstall) would be talking at the show. Appetite whetted (we have watched River Cottage over and over again) and as Himself is currently based only 40 minutes from Sissinghurst, it was a fairly easy decision to make - I am pleased to report.

Daughter in tow (who thinks her Dad and Step Mom are everso slightly mad at the best of times, we set off and managed to get there just as the site was opening. I have always wanted to see the gardens at Sissinghurst but again I didn't manage it - never mind, an excuse to go back on my own while Himself is still working in sunny Kent!

The show wasn't huge, but for me (and himself, after daughter left a couple of hours later to go and visit a friend) we had a lovely day. I managed to hear Hugh talk about his new show that is just finishing filming, and then later in the day we had front row seats to listen to Sarah Raven and Mark Diacono (River Cottage Head Gardener and smallholder himself). There were chickens, pigs, cows, sheep and alpacas - they are so cute - I just wanted to go and cuddle them!

We didn't spend much and had we been more organised would have been able to take a picnic with us. I did however manage to buy some more cheese starter bacteria (we make both soft and hard cheese) and the company I buy from were exhibiting there. Also I found a hand grain grinder that I want to save up for. We make our own bread and I want to go a step further and actually mill the grain ourselves. The company that we spent ages talking to Grains2mill, can provide us with the wheat berries in bulk as well as the grinder. For the moment I will be use up the flour I already have in stock, and maybe with some good ebay sales, I might be able to buy the grinder before Xmas.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Even Sicker

The video footage just shown of an injured half conscious young man, helped to his feet, somewhere in London, and then had his back pack STILL ON HIS BACK looted by two men as he staggered forward, the footage then shows this cockey bastard throwing half the contents that he had looted from the injured young man, over the nearest wall and swagger off with what ever it was he thought was worth keeping.

I wish there was such a thing as a zap gun to send these bastards to the moon where they cant live in a respectable society.

I'm watching my country disintegrating in front of my eyes and I cant do a damn thing, and the government isnt doing a damn thing, just cutting the number of police that we have.........I want out......desert island......just somewhere away from this disrespectful, lack of morals country that we are becoming.

Monday, 8 August 2011

I am sick to my stomach

I am watching the news this evening and I am sick to the very pit of my stomach watching the riots unfolding on the TV. Areas of London, Croydon and now Birmingham.

There is an almighty great big fire in Croydon and I am hoping and praying that there is nobody trapped in that huge burning mess that is filling the screen. Its almost unbelievable what is unfolding minute by minute. How can people be so senseless, how can they be so wicked and so cruel. What are they hoping to achieve by all this????

I dont understand it, its just carnage and organised vandalism and theft. Hard working people are losing their homes, their possessions, their businesses and their livelihoods - it is sick sick sick.

Police, Firemen and paramedics are putting THEIR lives on the line to deal with this mess and they are going to get hurt to.

Sick sick sick bastards, I cant even find words strong enought to express how I feel right now

Friday, 29 July 2011

Take Over

Its been a hard and difficult couple of weeks. The atmosphere at work is at least difficult, at worst depressing and sad. I am watching lovely people still in a state of flux, not knowing if this month, next month, the month after will be their last month at work. A little information has been forthcoming from the new owners, but not a great deal. The majority of people who would be entitled to it, generally seem to want to stay and get their redundancy money, others who haven't been there that long seem resigned to looking around for another job - in an already unsteady market.

My boss, who is lovely, incredibly loyal, incredibly talented and incredibly hard working lady, up until Wednesday was very proactive and firmly believed that the take over could be a good thing for the business long term. We knew that hers and my position and a few others are not mirrored in the 'up north' head office and I think my boss was sort of hoping that we may be kept on to carry out our functions for both sites (Quality and Environmental Management, however after a meeting where my boss very nicely pointed put where the new comp are not legally compliant with a piece of legislation (last date for complying today), she was more or less told to go forth and multiply and they would do what they wanted, even though she pointed out the financial penalty cost, the fines, the risk of prosecution by the environment agency, the loss of business as we would have to declare on tenders that we have been prosecuted etc.

The attitude of the new MD and his technical manager both to my boss and to me today, leave a great deal to be desired and personal skills seem to have by passed both of them. It has left me feeling really sad and also very angry - not for me, but for my boss Claire, she is so talented and has been with our company for 12 years, to be put down the way that she was when all she was doing was her job of advising and protecting the company legally to ensure it meets its environmental obligations was appalling.

I don't think the next few weeks are going to get any easier......

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

What a Jump !!

On Monday me and Himself popped briefly into Tesco's - not a thing I like doing with Himself in tow, he sees things everywhere we 'need' - such as bags of toffees, poppcorn, crisps, biscuits, if fact if he sees it, well we must 'need' it, so I much prefer him not to come with me, but as we were getting milk for his work, he popped in with me, and nearly had a heart attack at some of the prices !

I think he still thinks that bread is about 15 pence a loaf and his brief whizz round the store was a bit of an eye opener.

I didn't buy anything other than the milk as I had planned to do a shop on my way up to home when I knew I would need to stop for petrol, but in all events I didn't.

I wish I had now ! The butter above, when we went in to Tescos on Monday was 1.10 per block, when I went back to do my shopping on Tuesday it was 1.27 !!!! A 17p jump - prices really are getting scary, they aren't just going up in pennies and tuppences, they really are leaping up in double digits.

I am lucky enough that for the moment I still have some wages coming in before I am laid off and I want to stock the store cupboard as well as I can, but I will be doing it not just to stay ahead of redundancy, but also to try to keep up with these huge price increases

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Not such a Good Day....

Yesterday was not one of the better days of my life. I joined the company that I work for just over 6 months ago on a job share position, working three days a week. My boss who I share with is lovely and we get on very very well. I have met some of the loveliest people that live on this planet who work for my company and there is a really great atmosphere there - many of the staff have been there for donkeys years - and even though we are in incredibly difficult economic times, we are making a profit, not a large one by previous years standards, but a profit no less.

Just over 2 months a go we had a series of audits - financial, health and safety and environmental (the latter ones are where come in). We knew that we were possibly up for sale and that as we had been sold to an investment bank a few years ago they wanted to make their money back.

So it was no surprise to us when we were informed 5 weeks ago that we had been bought by a competitor - A German company with a UK manufacturing base 'up North' that as far as we knew was not making a profit, although the German parent company (in Germany did)

The new bosses moved in, briefly, met all the staff and then we saw very little of them until yesterday when they announced that they are shutting our company (3 sites in the Midlands) and are moving everything 'up North' - timescale for the various sites is between Jan next year and December next year.

So effectively although it was nicely worded, nearly 400 hundred people were added to the unemployment figures. Oh they have said that their may be relocation packages, but I cant see many of the folks I work with de-camping their whole families and moving 2 hours away - if indeed they are offered the chance.

So the moral of the story seems to be, if you want to get ahead, buy up your successful competitors with foreign money to gain a well known marked place industry and consign yet another British company to the bin.

So, I am on notice of redundancy, date yet to be decided, but all they have to do is give me a months notice as I haven't been there long. My heart breaks for so many of the people I talked to yesterday, hard working ordinary people who's lives were turned up side down, who had got to go home and tell their families they would be losing, in some cases, their only source of income. As I said, I haven't been there long, but I will sure miss some of these people terribly.

Oh and just when you think it cant get much worse, Himself phoned last night to say that the contract work he had been lucky enough to get a couple of months ago, will now end next week, so both of us could be out of work. Doesn't look good for the mortgage......

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Garden Organic Conference

I had a brilliant day today at Garden Organic at Ryton near Coventry. It was the Master Gardener and Master Composter conference and almost 200 fellow MG's and MC's from North and South London, Lincolshire, Norfolk, Leicestershire, York, Hereford and Worcester and Malvern were there. It was so good to be in the company of like minded people and we had some really good speakers, one of whom was incredibly funny.

I also got to meet a lady who's blog I have been reading for a long time, the lovely Compost Woman - it was good to meet her at long last and she is alovely in person as I hoped she would be !

I'm off to bed now - it has been a very very long few days - more about that tomorrow !

Thursday, 21 April 2011

I'm late and tired !

Why is it that you can lie awake in the early morning darkness and not sleep, but as soon as the alarm goes off your body says, NOW its time for sleepy byes.......

I'm late now, and I had so much I wanted to get done this morning before work, but really didnt want to get up at 3.45 when my brain was fighting staying asleep....grrrrr

Monday, 11 April 2011


Three years ago, a lovely, sad troubled relative of mine decided that he had had enough of this world and all the pain it had caused him and quietly on his own in his flat, he downed a quantity of his medically prescribed pills and a large amount of alcohol and didnt wake up again. I can only imagine what he must have been feeling to have made the decision that he did. His whole life had never been what it could have been, he was a quiet shy person bullied and threatened by the very people who should have loved him the most, his own parents. I feel guilty so often that I should have done more to help him - for a long time he was lost to our family, he just simply disapeared into the vastness that is London. So many regrets and wishes that it could and should have been different, he deserved so much more.....

Tonight, through the enormous resources that is facebook, I found out that in the very same week that Chris died, so did a very dear friend of mine that I had lost touch with. Also by his own hand. He had been depressed and worried about debts and finances and could no longer cope with feeling like a failure in his eyes. He left behind his wife, another good friend of mine, and his children.

Tonight I am sitting here remembering two very lovely people and feeling incredibly, incredibly sad that they felt they had no alternatives but the final action that they took. I wish with all my heart they were still here.

Love the people you love and let them know it xxxx

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Cheap Evening Meal

Like many other bloggers, finding recipes that are both economical, nourishing and filling is something that I have to think about every day. The money that I hand over to shopkeeper has been hard earned and had to stretch as far as possible. This month I have extra bills to pay so the food budget is the only area that I have any wiggle room with, so it has to be trimmed even more than normal.

I dropped into a Netto store today, not a shop that I usually frequent, mainly because there isnt one any where near to me, but I was by one so I thought I would pop in.

I bought 3 tins of manderin oranges for £1, 3 tins of carrots and peas (himself likes them) at 39p each and 2 packets of microwave rice similar to the 'Uncle Bens' 2 minutes in the microwave rice that number 2 son likes to take to work for lunch occasionally. The rice was 49p per packet instead of UB's at £1.25 in my local shop. I'm sure number 2 son will give me his verdict as to whether it is a good substitute pretty quickly.

The other items that I bought were 2 packets of bacon pieces as I wanted to make pizzas later in the week. The bacon packets were 2 for £2.50.

When I opened them at home I was really suprised to find that they weren't full of small mis shapes but several large pieces, almost the size of bacon chops that are sometimes sold in some of the supermarkets. So 3 of the larger pieces were cut in half and I shall boil these and then oven roast them with roast potatoes and veggies (we often have a boiled/roasted bacon joint for Sunday dinner.)

The other 2 smaller pieces were shopped into small pieces, fried until nearly cooked and then I added a can of chopped tomatoes, a generous helping of dried oregano and a good shake of black pepper. While this was cooking I boiled up some pasta and served the bacon and tomato sauce on top. A grating of some drying up cheddar and more black pepper and we had a great evening meal which only cost:-

Bacon 45
Toms 25
Pasta 20
Cheese 10
Oregano 0 It was grown here and dried last year
Pepper 5

Total £1.05

Number 2 son and I had a large helping each and there is another one left for him for work tomorrow so each portion came to about 35p. Now thats the kind of meal cost that I like !!

Monday, 4 April 2011

I spent the past two days down in the South East where Himself is currently doing a couple of weeks of temporary agency work - strangely enough with the same company he left before Xmas, and on the same site ! Ironic or what you may ask - we did, seems he cant escape the place, but with work here in the Midlands not being that fruitful, for a couple of weeks it seemed like a good idea at the time. (We have had many a-good-idea-at-the-time moments, which have turned out to be FAR from good ideas, but thats not for going into now.......)

Anyway, we sold Himself's car yesterday to a friend. I had driven it down on Saturday and being car less I then had to make my way back to the Midlands by alternative means.

So my journey today has involved:-

1 x taxi journey (no local bus to enable me to get to station - don't forget I started from an unfinished housing development)
1 x train to London Victoria
1 x underground train journey to Euston
1 x train Euston to Midlands station
1 x bus to my local small town
1 x bus to my village.
1 x 1 mile walk from bus stop

It has been an eventful trip. The taxi driver was nice and friendly, all three trains were on time and nice and clean. The one bus driver was lovely and I had a great scenic tour of where I live that I don't always get chance to see when I am driving and the last bus was full of chatty oaps. Plus the walk was also enjoyable (except for the two heavy bags that I was carrying)

The journey time was double the time it would take if I was in the car (if the M25 is behaving itself) but it did remind me how much we take for granted and how difficult it must be for parents, teenagers and mums to organise and execute trips if you only have public transport to rely on. And also how much more time has to be allowed to get any where.

Once again, I stop and think how lucky I am. Things have been quite difficult over the past 12 months in many ways, but I am still one of the lucky ones, I really am..

Thursday, 24 March 2011

A Farmers Life for Me

I've been watching the BBC2 show A Farmer's Life for Me over the past 7 weeks. It is about 9 would be farmers from all walks of life, all ages and all occupations. They have had one hell of a tough time, but it has all been to see if they are up to the prize which is running their own farm for a year. Jimmy Doherty has been their mentor, guide and judge.

Right from week 1 Himself and I have been shouting for the couple from Sunderland Ray and Jayne to win it, the final is on in about half an hour so I have got my fingers firmly crossed that they win.

As part of my Master Gardener duties I was at the Edible Garden Show at the National Agricultural Centre at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire on Saturday, giving away plants to get people started growing their own produce.

So you can imagine I was over the moon to actually meet Ray and Jayne who were attending the show. Himself and I got to chat to them for about half an hour - they really are as nice in person as they are on the TV. They did'nt give us any idea of how they got on, not even a hint - thye were extremely professional, but after meeting them I hope more than ever that they win, they really do deserve it, they have worked so hard at the tasks and well, they just are nice and if you are any thing like me, it would make a change for nice decent people to get a break and make their dreams come true.

Keep your fingers crossed with me and lets hope they do win !!!!

Yes! Yes! Yes! They won !!!!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Just about a year ago, in the midst of spending endless hours sitting in Intensive Care with my beautiful little grandson after another major heart operation, I was lucky enough to be able to do something so close to my heart, it felt wonderful !

I trained with Garden Organic over at Ryton Gardens, to become both a Master Gardener and a Master Composter. What this means in practice (apart from being able to spend time with over people who love gardening as much as I do), is that we get to help and advise other people who want to compost but who maybe are a little wary of it for what ever reason, or we get to spend time with people (or children - I'm currently 'helping' one infant school grow fruit and veg, and two more compost their kitchen and break time 'wastes'), who would like to grow anything from a pot of herbs on the window cill, to a full size allotment.

The people of course are varied (we are all SO different !) and each has different wants, needs and requirements, but somewhere along the line we are all singing off the same song sheet in wanting to grow something.

So far it has been enormous fun and I have met some really wonderful people. The other Master Gardeners and Composters are great and to be with like minded people all doing something that we are SO passionate about , well its just bloody lovely!!

If you aren't already growing something edible for your self, or you need any advice on composting, why not get in touch with Garden Organic, there are schemes running in several areas now and if you aren't in the Warwickshire area, which is where I am, maybe Kate Newman can put you in touch with somebody local to you.

Its just the right time to start sowing seeds for this years crops, so why not give it a go if you havent grown any thing before.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Sad, Horrible People

Somewhere along the line, in the land of invisible internet people, somebody has been so horrible, has said something so awful that they have upset two people very close to my heart.

On Friday Rhonda Jean from Down to Earth blogged about the person who had upset her. But we fellow bloggers rallied round, sent her good wishes and internet hugs and hopefully fingers crossed she will be fine...

However the lovely Froogs from Frugal Queen blog hasn't faired so well and very sadly seems to feel that she can no longer go on blogging. She will be very very much missed by me and so many others for whom she has been such an inspiration and I just hope that one day she will be back on here.

I'll really miss you Froogs xx Hope you are back soon.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Please please read this !

Please please visit this web site and read the story about the girl who was told to take off her poppy whilst at work !

She has set up an on line petition to try to get David Cameron to take action over this and stop people trying to prevent people wearing their poppies with pride.

Please read, sign and post on your own website, blog, or forward on to friends and family.

Love Babs

Thursday, 27 January 2011

The light is a little dim...

Just lately it seems to me that it doesn't matter how fast I move to try to get to the light at the end of the tunnel, it seems to be receding into the distance, getting a little dimmer by the day.....

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

First Day.......

First day in new job went OK I think. But by 3.00 I felt I was ready for a nap and my brain was scrambled trying to take in new faces, new names, new procedures AND rememebr it all.........its only 8.15 but I am off to bed.......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Welcome 2011

Well I say 'welcome 2011', slightly fearfully. 2010 presented us as a family with quite a few challenges, some of which were overcome, some of which are carrying forward to this new year. So with hand on heart I am really hoping that this will be a better year all round. I am alternately scared and hopeful, tinged with touches of real hope that this will be a year of change which will enable us to go forward instead of round in circles, or at times quite dramatically, backwards.

I start a new part time job on Tuesday and again, I am looking forward to it, but I'm scared stiff at the same time. I feel I have been out of the 'proper' job market for a some time, and am also conscious of my increasing age....

Himself left his job the week before Xmas - I wont go into the details right now, but if he had'nt left, I honestly think the job would have killed him. And much as we need the money, I do quite like the silly old fart alive and kicking :-)

So with some trepedation but also a periodic feeling of hope, I welcome 2011 into the Little Terraced House and hope and pray we can move forward instead of backwards, can pay our way and maybe make some dent into the debt that is strangling us and Himself can start to feel better and find a job where he is happy and content near to home, instead of always being somewhere else in the country.

I hope that 2011 will be everything that you want it to be too, where ever you are.

Babs xx