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Monday, 15 October 2018

Bargains & Telephone Scams

I know, I know, you don't hear from me for weeks and then I post 3 times in quick succession!  As most of you know I have been trying for months to empty my big freezer, well I'm probably 3 days away from switching it off. Thank heavens, I know its mainly my fault, but  I hate walking away from a bargain. Living out of the freezers and garden has definitely helped keep the budget down.  So far this month I have spent £62.13 and I've picked up some great bargains along the way from Asda. Some WW  cheese reduced from £1.70 to 90p and spreadable butter reduced from £1.20 to 73p. 

I also got some clothes ready to put away for Christmas and birthdays next year. I have an excel spreadsheet birthday list that I renew every November ready for the following year. Its very useful for referring to regarding the ages of people I am buying for.  Then  when I'm out and about I can buy bargains with confidence.  The incredible sunshine and warm temperatures we've experienced of late is keeping the gas/electric bills low too.  
Rain jacket was £14 paid £7, Grey heart dress, was £5 paid £3, 3 boys T shirts £8 paid £5, Pink embroided blouse was £9 paid £4, white logo T shirt £6 paid £4. So a total saving of £19. 

Today I got a lamb hotpot out of the freezer.  This will be served with mash potato and peas. I did more mash then I needed and this was made into a corned beef hash ready for tomorrow.  The garden is offering up its last few bits and pieces. We are still getting some lovely size figs and a least two bowls of small autumn raspberries a week.  I bit the bullet and pulled up the courgette plant as everything was rotting on the plant. In the greenhouse, the last cucumber plant gave its last 2, well 1.5 cucumbers. 
Earlier this morning I answered the house phone which doesn't ring very often.  An eastern sounding lady told me she was authorised to drop my line rental from £19.99  to £14.99. It was all part of a package she was putting together as 'Switch and Save'. I asked her how she knew who my line rental was with? She said she had the authorisation from Openreach (BT). I asked her for her telephone number and I would ring her back after I'd spoken with BT as they had no right giving her my personal information.  The phone immediately went dead. I have been plagued with telephone scams that all point back to BT in some way or another. Last month I had 3 calls from BT who said there was a problem with my router. Every time I have asked them for their phone number they ring off.  I know BT have no control over this but I am of the opinion that having their call centre abroad has contributed to personal data being hacked. I dare say had I agreed to the reduction I would have been asked to confirm my bank details and they would have helped themselves to my hard earned money. Has anyone else had these problems? Bye for now. Tx

Friday, 12 October 2018

Happy Dance

At last we've exchanged contracts and complete on the 24th. I'm busy writing out lists of what needs doing. Who needs contacting regarding the move like,  phone, insurance,  gas, electric and water. I'm also contacting our workman so they know their services are required.

We visited the bungalow yesterday to test out all the keys collected by the estate agent. As it's an empty property we didn't want the risk of having to call out a locksmith because things didn't open or lock. Everything was good on that front but the vendor hasn't touched the rear garden for months grrrr. Its completely overgrown.  Really annoyed that he hasnt had anyone in to keep it tidy.  At least we are heading into the season were the lawn stops growing!

Thank you for all your lovely messages regarding our Ruby Wedding.  We aren't one of those couples that say they've never had a cross word.  Weve had many a cross word during the 40years. Marriage isnt always straight forward but some things are worth going the extra mile for. Bye for now. T x

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby

No not the  Kaiser Chiefs single that I absolutely love and has one of those Choruses that everybody finds them selves singing along to. A bit like 'Come on Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners. I was our Ruby Wedding Anniversary. On Sunday the 7th October 2018 we celebrated being married for 40 years.  Goodness the time has flown.  

The weather was identical to the day we got married, warm with brilliant sunshine. Hubby was 22 and  I was two weeks shy of being 22 years old.  I celebrate my 62nd birthday soon, I can't believe I've been retired for over 2 years. 

We went out for the day and put the misery of house buying/moving behind us.  We met up with friends who handed us a beautiful bouquet of flowers, that have ended up being displayed in cut down milk bottles as all my vases are packed. We had a lovely Sunday Roast with a bottle of wine to celebrate.  It was a lovely 'chill' day. 

Along with the romantic card, hubby bought me some gold, ruby and diamond earrings, which are beautiful. Oh and there was some skin cream too. I have booked a week away in Spain next March as a his present.

I was going to buy a romantic card but after reading the words on 'An Anniversary Poem for my Husband (A.K.A. Mr. Right)' it was the card for me. 

You say my bum does not look big... and tell me lovely stuff.
You know that when I say 'I'm fine' it means I'm in a huff!!
Its true you are my Mr Right and really quite a catch, 
and since I'm Mrs Always Right we make the perfect match!

Never a true word! He-he LOL.

Oh well back to reality. I received a phone call Saturday from our Estate Agents asking why there was 3 enquiries still outstanding.  I asked him to explain as I'd heard nothing. Turns out I'd answered one 2 weeks earlier by email so I have proof.  The other 2 I hadn't been asked about and they are for things that date back to 2003 10 years before we bought the house in 2013.  So I wrote stern email to our solicitor and a 'new secretary' was given as an excuse. So this week will be spent nagging them to get the last bits sorted, its just ridiculous. I'm seething inside but helpless too. 

Bye for now. Tx 

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Good Progress

Good morning all, long time no hear from me.  Although we haven't exchanged contracts we have started to pack up our home. We don't do this normally but our buyers asked if they could visit again and they dropped by  last week.  Mr X said he contacted his solicitor that morning for an update and had been informed that all their searches were back and all OK. Their mortgage was in place and they were just waiting for the contracts to sign.   Basically from what I hear from our solicitor is all that's left to do once they've signed is,  transfer the outstanding balance to her, exchange contracts and complete.  Mr & Mrs X have left the day and date up to us, as they have already packed up their home and  their belongings currently reside in storage.

We have been selling bits and pieces off as we no longer want them, plus they'll only get in the way as our intention is to live in the lounge,  while the rest of the bungalow is updated.  Although the bungalow was only built in 2000 the bathroom, en-suite and kitchen all need serious updating. We will be having the windows checked out to see if the leaded light units can be changed without removing the frame. But if they are low quality and draughty we will look to change them. It will have a new boiler fitted and once we are exchanged I have to contact my gas man so he can order the boiler we have agreed upon.  Its a high efficiency combi boiler. It replaces a 18 year old boiler that resides in the utility room which is being removed. Plus it requires a huge copper in the cupboard in the hall, a great storage addition once cleared. We have been quoted £2800 and this includes repositioning a new efficient boiler, a new gas feed,  a new chimney vent and a  radiator moved.  The system will be cleaned to ensure longevity. 

This is our last renovation, hubby's eyesight isn't what it used to be and he gets very frustrated at having to put glasses on and off. We are going to be upgrading  to a good standard as well as adding as much thermal value as we can where we can. Its a sort of insurance, if we need to sell at some point in the future it should  provide a decent amount of money.  I will still be looking for DIY bargains and using all my senior citizen DIY shop discounts to get value for money.  Having renovated properties all our married life we have some great tradesman we can call on when necessary.  Our plasterer will be called in pretty sharpish to skim all the ceilings.  Then he will come back for the  lounge ceiling and kitchen.  The kitchen will require far more plaster work as a window is coming out and being replaced by a patio door.  The utility room walls are coming down and a back door will be bricked up. 

I will be keeping a log of all expenses so that everything is kept under control.  Keeping a log like I do for the food budget, which  certainly helps me stay in control and it focuses the mind.  I have already applied and been excepted for a new credit card which is specifically for purchases at: ' 0% on purchases for 28 months'. This means we won't have to keep dipping into our savings and the monthly  rental income we receive from our tenant will pay off the balance each month. 

Sorry for the confusion over the budget figure for last month. The £45 was for last month and the later figure £54 is in fact what I've spent since we came back from Spain on the 20th. My recent shopping was based around making one pot meals.  There is an electric cooker in the new place but I'm not sure what works and what doesn't. It will come in handy until we sort the kitchen. I've also had to buy lots of black bags for storing quilts, pillows, cushions and beddings etc. Bye for now. Tx


Wednesday, 3 October 2018

The Get Away

We decided to get away for a couple of weeks last month.  The house moving drama was all getting too much for both of us.  So we contacted our solicitor and told her.  She said she could deal with most things  in our absence, so we went to Spain and it was just what we needed.  We hired a villa on a Golf resort which was 

amazing even though it was  all very coiffeured and clean.  Hubby said it reminded him of the film the Truman Show starring Jim Carrey.
In this movie, Truman is a man whose life is a fake one... The place he lives is in fact a big studio with hidden cameras everywhere, and all his friends and people around him, are actors who play their roles in the most popular TV-series in the world. Truman thinks that he is an ordinary man with an ordinary life and has no idea about how he is exploited. Until one day... a studio light falls from the sky and he gradually finds out everything.

The views from the roof solarium were amazing.  Watching how the light hit the mountains at different times of the day was nothing short of magical.  It was warm, quiet and the best medicine anyone could have administered. 
We were 1  mile from the coast of Mar Menor and the resort of Los Alcazares which had a lovely  clean beach and promenade. There was lots of little cafes dotted along serving coffee and a muffin for €2.50 or beer and toastie for €4.  On a clear day you could see the 'spit' called La Manga quite clearly.  The spit creates a lagoon which is supposedly very therapeutic. It was very salty, clear and shallow for quite a distance. We drove to La Manga one day and along the spit which varied in width at different intervals.  It was quite stunning but over crowded in my opinion.

I am already looking for cheap flights to go back to the Murcia area in the spring as it was such a lovely place.  Have you been to this area of Spain?
The monthly budget for  22/08/18-21/09/18 was £45.18. I'm still working my way through the freezers. Yesterday I made a huge pot of Chicken casserole in the slow cooker.  It will probably provide 3 meals and there is kale and green beans to use in the freezer and some. There's still enough in the freezer for a month or so. I'm using the slow cooker more now the cooler evenings are here, which means I can chuck lots of the frozen bits in to use them up. New home update tomorrow.....promise. Tx

Sunday, 16 September 2018

House Update

New buyers have had their survey and our solicitor has forwarded every bit of paperwork required to ensure a speedy conclusion.

Our vendor has given us until the end of September to have a date for completion.

I've reached a point were I don't care one say or another. What will be will be.

Bye for now. Tx

Friday, 31 August 2018

Thank You & Sorry

Firstly I would like to say a huge thank  you to you all for all your kind words and good luck wishes.  Its given me a massive boost to know I have so many people rooting for me.  I know we are extremely lucky to have found another buyer so quick and in the great position of having sold and exchanged contracts, but losing our original buyers really did knock me for six.  So now I must apologise for my lack of blogging,  my heart just wasn't in it.  I have been reading  blogs and commenting but I just couldn't think straight to write stuff. Sorry, for not being a better blogger.  

Autumn doesn't officially start until 21st September so we are still celebrating  summer for another 22 days, although the mornings and evenings are telling me the seasons are a changing.  I have been putting lots of areas of the garden to bed as they have finished producing.  I've stripped most of the tomato plant foliage in the greenhouse down to just the green tomato vines so they ripen easier, the same with the peppers, butternut squash and cucumbers.  I'm still picking courgettes and there is one last patch of beetroot to harvest but I'll leave that as long as possible because I'm still finding tubs of frozen beetroot in the freezer.  The cabbages have split with the recent uptake of rain water but they're still edible. 

I'm still living out of the cupboards and freezers. I'm hoping by the end of next week I can fit everything in the upright freezer and then the chest freezer can be switched off.  The top drawer front has snapped and needs mending first, then I can start transferring bits and  packing the drawers to maximum capacity.
I tipped lots of small bags of vegetables in the slow cooker on Saturday and added stock,seasoning and a chilli, it made the most beautiful soup which we enjoyed on Sunday and Monday when it turned wet and cool.  Yesterday I put the thick end of a leg of lamb in the slow cooker and once it was cooked I sliced it. I made lamb hotpot from one portion, layering the lamb up with onions, carrots and potatoes. Another  2 portions was made into lamb stew  which will be delicious with the garden cabbage and perhaps a tiny dumpling.  I have quite a bit of frozen fish to use up, I'll probably make it in fisherman's pie. The  chicken breasts will become a huge curry that can be portioned into meal size trays. We've also had a fruit salad from all the berries and bits of fruit I had left in the freezer. 

I went to Morrisons quite late Wednesday night because I needed bread as hubby had been called into work an extra day.  Why is it when you are trying to run down stock you see bargains everywhere. I picked up 3 packs of 12 soft white rolls for 39p each and 4 cooked chicken legs for 63p only because they'd be used quite quickly. The wet weather over the bank holiday meant there was a mountain of rolls not bought for the barbeque.  My budget so far this month is £43.72. Last month I came in under budget at £95.56.

Our neighbours pears are huge, yes huge and they don't eat them.  So I've been picking them before they drop off and leaving them in the warm conservatory to ripen. (that is a large free range egg next to the pear)
The plum trees that were laden last year are almost barren this year. Its crazy how the weather has effected our gardens this year, at least the lawn has turned green again, it looked so very dead at one point I thought it would never come back.  

My energy supplier has decided not to issue online monthly statements anymore but it will give a monthly summary of usage not including standing charge etc. So I'll still be able to keep an eye on the costs and a statement will only be emailed every six months from now on.  Are you paperless and have to check everything online? I'm off to have another dig in the freezer to see what's buried at the very bottom and then write a meal plan for next week. Bye for now. Tx