Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Wintry weather and hard work
It was wet ploppy snow which settles on the grass but never seemed to amount to much.
But as darkness fell so did much more snow and now the street lights are picking out a much more wintry scene.
It is now deeper and more interesting.
We thought of going for a walk this morning - just to the post office and beyond. But it looked really gloomy and not at all photogenic, so we stayed home.
But I have enjoyed tales of some people's doings - and felt the frustration of others.
I like this Wiltshire tale from a boggling friend....
We had wet snow, very gloomy but I had some bread that I got cheap in Sainsburys yesterday so...... I made the effort (and it was an effort). I took a bag to sit on a bench, well I soon had company, quacking around my ankles practically ta...king my fingers off and some cheeky ones were helping themselves out of the bag. I fed them two loaves...... they were still quacking and honking (if that's what swans do when they want more). I then went to Waitrose and asked if they had any bread left over from yesterday that they couldn't sell, told them the reason and they gave more 4 loaves that were out of date yesterday. My faith in human nature has been restored. I found the whole thing very therapeutic.
That was Julie in Melksham.
Meg in Crystal Palace posted a little film of a pair of foxes playing in the snow in her South London garden.
Ashley in Bangor doesn't have much snow - but the pavements are treacherous and mostly on steep slopes. And of course he can see much snow on the mountain tops.
Family in Scotland are having life disrupted by the snow.
Nobody likes life to be disrupted - but a gentle reminder that man cannot control everything is not such a bad thing.
This afternoon there was not time to go out. We had lots to do.
All the things offered for sale on EBay today were Bill's - and everything sold.
All the Coco Cubs are packed up and ready to go - to Australia, USA, Holland and the UK. Bill's knowledge and work has boosted the family coffers quite well and dear little Tiny Tusks has sold for £58.
He also sold a boxed Dinky missile launcher - wanted down under for a very goodly sum, more than we expected.
Bill was in charge of wrapping and I have done all the clerical work.
The paperwork continues as payments come in.
Now I need the typewriter to get a bid. There are watchers - at some point I assume that one or more of them will take the plunge and start the bidding.
The snow will be around for a while longer. The forecast predicts snowing for most of tomorrow and temperatures below freezing.
We must get some photos.
Friday might be good - with some sunshine, though getting even colder.
Monday, November 29, 2010
As cold as the fridge
Not as cold as in other parts of the country, but cold.
Our dear daughter in law (Mam in Thailand) doesn't really understand the meaning of the word "cold"; she has never experienced it. She tells you that she knows what it is to be cold - it is those moments when the temperature drops down to about 75 degrees and she feels the need of a cardigan!
Today I have reached for extra clothes - layer upon layer. I certainly didn't feel I was suffering.
But it was cold in the shop.
I have a thermometer in the fridge, to check that it is working efficiently and is cold enough. It should read 5 degrees C.
This morning I took a thermometer with me to the shop and put it on a shelf where I wanted to work by my area.
Guess what - I was working in a space that was as cold as my fridge!
The room did warm up during the day - by mid afternoon the thermometer had reached the dizzy heights of just about double figures.
By the shop door and the desk it was warm enough - the new efficient heater does its job - and Bill had taken in an extra heater too.
Not even re arranging some of my stuff warmed me up, but I am glad to make things look a bit different.
Not that customers bought anything of mine today - never mind, I had a good day on Saturday.
It was a pleasant day of chat.
My only trip out was to post parcels and to pop into Waitrose where some great fruit juice is on offer - bilberries and blackberries.
I enjoy being in a town like Dorking.
And I find that the Christmas decorations and shop displays are very cheering.
Bill and I might make a visit sometime before Christmas just to enjoy the atmosphere, visit the other antiques shops which we never have time to do and have lunch in The Spotted Dog.
I am hoping that there will be a good afternoon this week to go to Brighton.
I shall enjoy the lights, the skating rink in front of The Royal Pavilion and the millions of starlings forming shapes and patterns in the sky over the water's edge at dusk.
Tomorrow will not be a trip out day - we are promised some snow, although nothing very much. And Bill's Coco Cubs finish on EBay tomorrow afternoon.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Time to hibernate
Here is Tiny Tusks. There is only one of them - Bill photographed both sides so that potential customers could see the condition.
Bill started the bidding for each of them at £1.95. The bids are now all above that. Tiny Tusks leads the way with a bid of £23. Bidding ends in 2 days time.
Time for a cuppa. Time for some sleep. We will be out and about tomorrow - it is shop day. Despite the worries about the cost of electricity, Bill will definitely take an extra heater in with us.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Cold day and a typewriter
Hard words to take one through the day.
What if we had got up and gone to Ford and Littlehampton this morning?
Would we have got really cold and therefore a bit miserable?
Would it have snowed - there are a few inches of snow along the coast of East Sussex?
Or would we have had a great time and found bargains that pleased us to sell?
We didn't go. We made tea and toast and enjoyed extra time in bed.
The only journeys out were for me to post some parcels and for Bill to fill the bird feeders - and back and forth to the garage as we took out stock that I finally got written up.
One of the things I was getting ready for the shop is a 1925 portable typewriter.
Now, one thing we all know is that typewriters do not have much appeal beyond a small collecting group. This typewriter looks interesting - almost a thing of beauty; that's why I bought it.
I was writing up a label to offer it for sale for £34.
But by this time our computers were behaving themselves again - or more likely Mr Tiscali had pulled his finger out and sorted a problem. At last I could get to things on line quickly and reliably. And so I discovered that just such a typewriter as this had sold for £343 on EBay just last month.
It was not a difficult decision to change my mind - the typewriter will not go to the shop on Monday. Maybe it will be listed on EBay tomorrow. I shall need some better photos.
And now we will debate possibilities for tomorrow morning as we drink our bedtime cuppa.
Friday, November 26, 2010
A shopping trip to Reigate
Reigate had the first road tunnel in the country. The land owner, kindly built the tunnel so that people didn't have to traverse his estate on the hill.The tunnel kept the riff raff out of sight!
The farmer's market is advertised as being in the tunnel - but today there were just a few stalls on the south side of the tunnel. We chatted with friendly people and bought some interesting things to eat - yes, they cost more than in the supermarket; but then these items would not be found in the supermarket.
We visited most of the charity shops. I found a pair of Clarks shoes for £4.99. They are wide and flat and interesting. The trouble with shoes is really that I need an hour in them to know if I could manage that length of time or more. But I am optimistic.
Then it was time to hit the supermarket - Morrison's in Reigate. Going out of town is a bit like visiting a supermarket abroad; we feel relaxed and willing to have fun and end up allowing each other to buy more than perhaps we needed.
We decided to have a small snack and cuppa in the Morrison's cafe before driving home. We were not the only older couple there of course - more on my age later. But I found myself watching mothers and daughters. One pair sat, looking tense, making no eye contact and saying almost nothing. I could imagine their thoughts. The daughter was thinking what a trial it is to feel obliged to take mother shopping each week. Daughter was thinking that her mother knew so little about all the various foods that could be found....why does she buy the same things week after week? Mother was thinking that she supposed she ought to be grateful that her daughter gave up her valuable time to help her once a week; but she also wondered how her daughter had become so tense and critical, after all mother had raised a family and knew what was what.
Another mother and daughter sat close by and didn't stop talking from the moment they sat down - there was eye contact and smiles. I heard not a word of their chatter (shame!) but admired them for their friendship and ease with each other.
At home I dealt with just 4 EBay sales (out of 6) - no mighty profits from that little bundle.
And I was wrong that my fish pie would have disappeared within 24 hours. Our snacks at lunchtime had proved quite filling (mine was a jacket potato and prawns and salad and crisps) so we decided to eat some of the lovely bread bought at the farmer's market. I risked a little of it with some ham and cucumber.
There will be no snow tomorrow - so we are going to Ford, if we can drag ourselves from a warm bed. The temperatures may not get above zero all day. We will need lots of clothing.
Now, back to my age. Face book provides opportunities for silly quizzes and all sorts. I play some of the games and I do some of the quizzes that my family and friends might have done. I normally do not publish the results. This morning I did publish a result. The question was "How Old does your Profile Picture make you look like?" A friend had done it before me and was pleased to be 5 years under her age. I did it and was told that in the picture I looked like I was 47!!!! That's almost 20 years younger than my age. Bill has done it since and came up with 61 years. Good that we can con some of the people some of the time into thinking we are not old age pensioners. So why don't people ask for proof of age when we pay to go in somewhere that have a cheaper rate for old people?
Labels: home and daily life
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Bill makes up the furniture.
Yesterday we returned from Ikea with two flat packs containing the new piece of furniture that was planned to be in our bedroom.
This shows the higgledy piggledy assortment of bits and pieces that made up my side of the bed this morning.
It hasn't all changed of course.
I will mention the chair again later.
This shows that I am not alone in hoarding and collecting things that interest and amuse me.
In fact I have been better than Bill at abandoning collections. I still have lots of souvenirs of people and places and also I have items connected with the Olympic and Commonwealth games.
I think it very possible that we just do not have room for it.
Cooking a fish pie.
The cauliflower made the second layer - and I added a handful of frozen peas.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
A trip to Ikea and a long wait on the M23.
It is like visiting a far away land - not just because it is Swedish, but because it is outside my normal world.
So, what have we bought?
A few odds and ends of course.
The aim was to buy a chest of drawers to go along side my side of the bed.
The room is small and doesn't allow for much depth.
The CODs would have been too deep.
We have brought home the kit to make up what is basically a side board. It is quite long - a bit 1960s style.
We really have no idea how well it will fit.
One tiny little set of drawers will be abandoned.
I wanted to get a new mirror - I have one on a stand and it can be tilted according to the position you need. It is cheap and the wood is stained in something very dark. Ikea didn't have anything like I wanted.
Then we had a meal - I had the Swedish meatballs, lingonberry sauce and gravy this time - it is what the Ikea restaurant is famed for. It must have been on special offer - the 10 meatballs etc and potatoes cost £1.50.
We spent a long while over our meal watching people, drinking lots of tea and coffee - unlimited amounts available for the price.
We felt like the country bumpkins visiting the cosmopolitan, exciting world of Ikealand.
By the time we were ready to leave we were sure the A23 would be free of rush hour traffic. Local traffic reports always seem to mention how slow going it can be between Croydon and Purley at that time.
Yes, traffic was flowing freely.
Hooray - we would home in no time!
Of course having whizzed through the more urban driving we opted for the most direct route, down the motorway.
And then abruptly came to a halt.
Not creeping and crawling - a halt.
We were there for over an hour.
Traffic reports told of an overturned vehicle. Somebody's life had literally been turned upside down.
We could just be thankful that we were well, sitting in our car and enjoying Mike Harding introduce Folk on 2 and grinning at people alongside us.By the time we passed the scene of the accident, the occupants of any cars involved would have been in the East Surrey Hospital.....hopefully not anywhere worse. Road menders were resurfacing the road.
Eventually we were home - Swedish food that we bought has been stowed. The furniture is still in the car.
Bill will put it together tomorrow; oh for a Thai shop where the shop workers assemble the flat pack and then deliver the item.
So that was much of our day.
Labels: home and daily life
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Thinking back to Sunday celebrations and a wedding 40 years ago.
I haven't been out anywhere.
Bill went into town to collect a parcel that couldn't be delivered when we were out on Saturday. He also posted parcels.
We had a gentle afternoon describing more things for EBay.
I finally cut up the kaki fruit today - delicious actually. Texture is a cross between and apple, mango and melon; I think it tastes a bit like those three fruits too, sweet and soft.
We ate some this evening with pomolo.
Pomolo is really fiddly to prepare - so much pith under the peel and its best to remove every segment from the quite tough skin that surrounds it.
The texture is slightly crunchy and crisp and with a certain sharpness a little akin to a grapefruit.
Now for a few Ruby Wedding photos - not ours, of course. We did that 5 years ago.
On Sunday evening you may recall we met up with 5 of Bill's brothers and sisters for drinks and nibbles.
A champagne toast. I think you can see that I was feeling quite relaxed and happy! Some might say, "Merry!"
Now, 40 years ago - Jane and Geoff leave St Peter's church. It was quite a chilly November day I recall.
Bride and groom with parents, bridesmaid and best man.
Monday, November 22, 2010
And life has tired me out. So this will be brief and I will do better tomorrow.
Yesterday morning we had a worthwhile trip to Dorking car boot sale. The first purchase dealt with "stir up Sunday" - I bought a Harvey Nicholls large Christmas pudding for £1.50. This shows I just can't resist a bargain, for we don't actually eat Christmas pudding in any quantity and I already have an old one in the cupboard.
It was a food morning. A woman was selling things from some abandoned health food shop (I guess) and I bought up quite a bit of gluten free products at 50p a time.
Then we bought something that only 2 days before had been well recommended to us and that were actually going to buy new. I had muttered on facebook that I might consider paying somebody to clean the oven. Maggie replied that her little penguin portable steam cleaner is a real boon on ovens long overdue for a clean, and also for other things too.
We can now try this idea for the outlay of just £5. We bought it from Michael - the one who was going to do our kitchen floor until various family problems got in the way. Michael assured us that he had checked it all out - and if for some inexplicable reason we had any problems then we could return it to him.
I also bought stock of course.
The rest of the day we spent surrounded by cardboard, padded envelopes, brown paper and sellotape.
There were 30 items due to finish on EBay - and 30 items had bids.
I then dealt with invoices and payments and addressing parcels.
Time ran away with me - and I didn't even have time to wash my hair before we went out for the evening.
It was a lovely evening with 5 of Bill's brothers and sisters and spouses and our lovely nephew, Antony. We were celebrating Jane and Geoff's Ruby wedding anniversary.
It was a happy time with much laughter - amongst all our grumbles of old age and frailties of health!
I enjoyed 3 glasses of wine - more than I have drunk in one go for very many years. Very relaxing and soothing.
We didn't get home until half past midnight.
I hope there might be a picture or two to share with you tomorrow.
I was up early - not quite as early as I had planned, so that I could deal with more payments that had come in.
We had 24 items to take to the post office before we went to Dorking.
I still didn't have time to wash my hair! I wore a hat all day to cover up the lank locks.
It was an enjoyable day at the shop - but we sold very, very little today. I should think it felt too cold for most people to want to be out.
Tomorrow must be a rest day - but as decent sunshine is promised maybe we could walk at Tilgate or Buchan Park for an hour or so.
Time now to take a cup of tea to bed and then snuggle down and sleep.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Kitchen things, Ashley, media, selling.
We got out - and I am sure that Bill is none the worse for it.
He still is easily weary and troubled by a sinusy chesty cough.
We went to Ford of course.
It was a kitchen day for me - what I saw that I could afford was for my kitchen shelves at the shop.
I love it - much more than the pretty flowery china. Fortunately it seems to be the way the customers are thinking too.
We spent ages relaxing over our breakfast.
Then we went round the Littlehampton charity shops. Bill bought 2 pairs of M&S trousers and 2 shirts.
We also had the task of finding something to take to Jane and Geoff's tomorrow for their Ruby Wedding.
Hooray - one of the charity shops had a pretty boxed set of 2 glasses etched with a Ruby Wedding message- lots of red ribbon.
We called in at Lidl and bought a bottle of the champagne they are selling to go with it - well recommended.
We walked round to the lifeboat station and apologised to the swans who came and stood by us....we had no bread for them.
This afternoon, I sorted out the purchases. I used beeswax polish on the wooden handles of the kitchen tools.
I think beeswax is very therapeutic.
I have sold things on EBay and Bill has listed lots of lead figures - Coco Cub figures from the 1930s.
I have talked with Ashley - he was busy looking at houses for sale.
But their plans for moving maybe have received a knock or a push in a completely different direction.
The pension company Liz works for, where she is much respected has decided to close the Bangor site and relocate to Sheffield.
Ashley and Liz want to stay in Bangor of course - don't want their lives turned upside down.
But - it is Wales, and employment is always more difficult for non Welsh speakers.
The company plan to be moved by the end of March. Of course they have talked of consultation procedures - but, cynically, I am thinking that this is a done deal.
So, Ashley was looking at houses in Sheffield.
House prices are lower there than in Bangor.
The west side of the city is close to the Peak District National Park and that would suit Ashley just fine. Liz has always lived close to the sea and would miss the proximity of the ocean - if The Menai Strait counts as the ocean.
One thing seems to be sure, they will keep their house on the market and keep half an eye on Bangor houses for sale. They must think hard about where life will take them. I think Liz could be in a strong bargaining position if she is prepared to move. She has knowledge and skills which are well respected and people like her would be needed to establish a new set up in a new location.
So they now have a very awkward transition between the chapters of their lives.
And this evening I have joined the mass media events of Strictly and X Factor.
The programmes drive me mad and excite me all at the same time. Of course they are stage managed, but individuals shine through.
I didn't get at all involved in last night's media event.
That's the TV marathon entertainment/charity show that goes on and on for hours with fairly second rate entertainment - though I might have been glad to catch Take That.
The cause is very worthy and deserves my support, but I do not like feeling manipulated. I can find other ways of making sure that a little of our spare money goes to help others without a media event.
And also (another almost sacrilegious statement coming up).... I don't think Terry Wogan in much good as a TV presenter.
And now, not sure how it happened, but Bill is listening to Sinead O'Connor on YouTube - she has done some wonderful stuff, beautiful voice, beautiful person, and just beautiful.
Labels: shop and stock
Friday, November 19, 2010
Just one of those days.
I can't get my brain around to focusing on news and views.
Its just one of those days.
I have been busy. I sorted out the things that I paid too much for from a woman who came into the shop on Monday.
If I sold all of it for the prices I have marked up, then I shall make some profit.
But that probably won't happen. I guess much of it will end up on a car boot sale stall some time.
I have worked hard on preparing parcels for posting.
I said it was one of those days - the sort of day when I was back and forth to the garage for suitable wrapping, the right sized padded envelopes etc.
The Radio Times (1939) was the hardest. It is large in size and flimsy - and the paper feels just a bit brittle. It needed quite a lot of protection for me to feel secure that it would arrive safely.
The bidding ends tomorrow late afternoon.
I am hoping that there will be a combination of two good things tomorrow - it will not be raining (goodish weather quite likely) and Bill feeling OK.
I am looking forward to a trip to Ford.
I am prepared to go on my own; but Bill probably would not want that and would therefore insist he is well enough to go. So I must pick up on the clues in the morning.
And that is it for today.
I have a few more folders of Thai trip pictures - I'll get back to it another day.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
A trip to Crawley.....and France. Thursday 18th November
Its rare that I can say that about a trip into Crawley town centre.
Though I am fed up of the greyness which enveloped us by lunchtime and the darkness of the evenings.
It has been dark now for almost 4 hours - so it feels like bedtime. But its only half past eight.
Mind you bed looks inviting.
We were back at the doctor's this morning.
Bill had an ECG. The nurse had decided he ought to be checked out.
Fortunately it was a false alarm and he was deemed to be normal.He didn't bother to ask to talk with a doctor about his bug - silly really because Dr Oliver had finished with patients and it was he looked at the ECG read out.
I collected my prescription for Vitamin D injection stuff from the pharmacy over there, because they couldn't get it.
Then we went into town.
We had some vague plans for a lunch out - but that didn't happen.
There was a French market in the main square and we bought a few bits. Yes, they were quite expensive but of such quality and taste that we thought it worthwhile.
The pharmacist in Boots took the prescription and warned me that she would have to order it; but she didn't suggest that it would be unavailable.
We looked in one or two charity shops. I bought 2 skirts which look good over leggings - and they will still look good over bare legs when it gets warm again.
We looked in the furniture and electrical goods charity shops too.
The Heart Foundation sells TVs which have been overhauled. I think we will buy one for the bedroom. The one we have up there is almost 20 years old - that's not the problem of course - but it doesn't have a scart lead socket and therefore we can't attach a digibox, which all TVs will need next year.
We can buy one for £20 - £30 in the charity shop.
Then we discovered a new charity shop established by Crawley Community Church.
Its the best; its not all glossy and trying to imitate shops selling new stuff. But they do have some very classy stuff - somebody is advising very well.
I do hope, for their sake, that the shop is receiving advice suitable for Crawley. There was a goodly amount of the sort of things I sell - at the price I might sell them for; some things were quite highly priced. I don't know if Crawley people would pay £25 for a charming set of mint 1950s kitchen scales in the original box. I would have wanted them! They were made of plastic in Wedgwood Blue.
Then it was time to get home with our French food to make a picnic to be eaten at home - too damp and murky to think of an outdoor picnic today.
I am hoping my digestion will cope with the food I wanted to take risks with. So far so good - except that things have been pretty bad there for a while anyway.
We enjoyed wonderful French bread - bread cooked properly; with goat's cheese and herbs. We also bought some ugly looking salami type sausages to slice - one with figs, one with blueberries and one with.....we forget!
They were very good and not at all chewy as I feared they might be.
Bill bought a custard and plum tart as a treat and I bought some olives.
It was a lovely lunch. Really enjoyed the crisp, fresh tastes.
I did a bit more describing this afternoon; but generally we took our ease.
Now scroll down for more Thai family pictures - eating and drinking again!
Noodle shop and Rang Hill again - and family.
Because we could eat at the bargain end of the range we ate out a lot.
After all it was a holiday for all of us.
Before we went to the butterfly garden we had breakfast at a smart little noodle shop on the outskirts of Phuket town.
There is air con there for those very hot days.
The menu is small - basically selling just a few good and cheap meals that people might have for breakfast or lunch.
Here are my noodles with pork, egg, bean sprouts, green veg etc.
It is so tasy - I could eat it every day.
Bill chose pork with rice.
Jamie wrote just today for his family and friends "If you think I am silly, then just see my father to see where I got it from."