Sunday 31 January 2021


 On Tuesday 19th January I posted about taking in OTT  as lodgers.

OTT stands for overseas trained teacher.

Katy was an OTT.

In her own country Katy paid £50 a month rent for a bungalow with a garden that she shared with her aunt and her aunt's five children.

Once in the U.K. she realised that living expenses were much higher and she would have problems finding the money she had promised to send home.

Katy joined an escort agency, she was too naive to understand what it entailed. She assumed she would be paid £100 just for conversation. I tried to explain but she didn't believe me. On two occasions she went to meet a punter and then phoned me in tears when she realised that they expected sex! On one occasion she didn't even know where she was and I was driving around Reading trying to find her.

On another occasion Katy took pictures of her sticky bits to upload to a website (hoping to get paid for them) she left the photos on the desktop of my computer as she didn't know how to delete them.

This is just a small selection of some of Katy's exploits, some of my readers remember her from my previous blog, hence the update.

Catching up with Katy

 I intentionally don't follow Katy on Facebook even though I know she is on there but occasionally she shows up on LinkedIn.

She is still living in the U.K. near her relatives, she has two children who are almost teenagers and has recently married.

She is teaching at an E.F.L college, is heavily involved in her local church and is involved in pyramid selling.

Friday 29 January 2021

Living on the cheap 3

 Cooking mince.

When I cooked minced beef  I used to add onion, carrots, leeks, lentils and oats, go steady with the oats though as otherwise you will end up with mince flavoured porridge! All the veg went through a food processor, a couple of oxo cubes added during the cooking time and the veg couldn't be seen.

Rubber chicken

Roast chicken on Sunday, just use the breast.

Strip the rest of the meat from the carcass and use some of it for a chicken pie.

Chicken pie, either add any leftovers from the roast dinner including roast potatoes, stuffing, Yorkshire and gravy, cover with pastry.

Or add mushrooms and some scraps of ham or bacon, add a white sauce, cover with pastry.

Pasta bake.

Add leftover chicken to a white sauce or a tomato sauce, pour over cooked pasta, sprinkle grated cheese and breadcrumbs mix over the top, brown under the grill.

Special fried rice, soften sliced onion in a little oil, add any veg suitable for stirfry, add cooked rice and the last few scraps of chicken.

Boil up the chicken carcass and make soup from the stock.

Hunt the fish pie.

Add a small amount of white fish to mashed potatoes, add some thick cheese sauce. Throw the whole lot into an oven proof dish, top with grated cheese and cook until cheese is bubbling.

Crisps and leftover bread

If you have some crisps that no-one likes pound them to crumbs in the bag, add some grated cheese and use to top fish pie or pasta bake. Grate leftover bread, add to grated cheese for an alternative topping.

Thursday 28 January 2021

Molly the muntjac

 I walked Beano just before 8:30 this morning.

As we were walking along the towpath  Molly a muntjac deer who lives in the woods nearby burst from the undergrowth and ran ahead of us. 

Fortunately Beano didn't give chase he just looked somewhat surprised. 

It's the first time I've seen her during the day, she normally only appears at dusk.

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Milder today

Col, I'm so sorry you had such a difficult time at work you have my sympathy. 

I had a few tough years when we had a new head teacher who announced he wanted rid of all female staff over 50. There were 9 of us and I was the only one who outlasted him.

We should have gone shopping yesterday but it was cold and icy so we decided to wait until today. It has rained almost non-stop today so we need to watch the water level. At least the pump out pipes aren't frozen so we can flush the toilet!

My back aches after yesterday's fall but I drove to Aldi, Steve shopped and Beano and I walked around the area. Lots of interesting new smells for Beano. 

Tomorrow we will go to Sainsbury's to get a few things we couldn't get in Aldi.

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Understanding dreams

 Icey, I'll look out for that series.

Taking Beano out for his morning walk I fell arse over tit, landed flat on my back in front of the marina maintenance man, he was just telling me to be careful as the slope was icy. It's the second time I've fallen over in front of him.

Anyway on to the meaning of dreams.

Last night I dreamt that Steve and I had gone to the bank, he needed to make an appointment and to do so had to go upstairs. Steve can go upstairs but struggles to get down again so I went up instead. It took me sometime to make the appointment as the two gentlemen would insist on turning their backs to me. When I eventually returned downstairs Steve had left, this didn't surprise me as he is notoriously impatient. I tried to phone him but my calls reached a weather forecast. I sat on a bench waiting to see if Steve returned and an acquaintance arrived and kissed me. He had a moustache that scratched my face, as he left someone gave me a white rabbit that someone else tried to take from me. Make it that what you will! I assume the men turning their backs to me is because my deafness is causing communication problems. I was not a kissy, huggy person in real life even before Covid but have always accepted that some people are. I don't mind facial hair as both my husband's had/have it. Maybe the rest of the dream was just ephemera, random rubbish triggered by something I've read.

I had a family member who lived with his wife in a small bedsit, the wife was at least 20 years younger than the husband and they were a very devoted couple and I think I was curious about their relationship, I sometimes dreamt that there were many more rooms in their home than there actually was. I assume this dream represented my curiosity.

There a few well known dream meanings, if you dream you are naked it suggests uncertainty.

I'd you dream of falling it suggests anxiety.

If you cannot find a toilet, it suggest you cannot express yourself.

If you dream about losing teeth it suggests you are worried about how you are perceived.

I would disagree with some of these, if I dream about needing the toilet it's because I need the toilet!

When I was younger I frequently dreamt of falling, it got so bad that  taught myself dream control, so I would turn the fall into a float and drift gently to the ground.

When I dream about losing teeth this is because I've had horrendous problems with my teeth. My childhood did not include stuff like soap, toothpaste or toothbrushes. It did include brutal school dentists, a phobic mother, a tendency to vomit when given gas and air and roots that have become embedded in bone and now require a hammer and chisel to remove them.

Monday 25 January 2021

Boat life

It's very cold here, we had snow on Sunday, it's mostly gone now but some places are slippery when walking.

We are keeping a close eye on the toilet, if the temperature stays below freezing for long, the pipes leading from the toilet to the black water tank can freeze. If this happens the toilet won't flush! We have a porta potti we can use in an emergency.

Beano doesn't seem to mind the snow and has been happy to go on his regular walks.

I'm still doing some crochet. It's slow going as it's amigurumi I'm struggling to see the stitches. Blogger won't let me upload pics at the moment.

Steve and I don't often eat the same food, he likes his food beige, I don't. 

The evening I cooked him a gammon steak, I had some thick cheese sauce left over from yesterday and a cooked potato. I mashed them together formed the mix into patties and fried them in a dry frying pan. Steve had one with his gammon and some mushrooms, I had the other on its own. Cheap and tasty and it used up the leftovers.

Usually any veg left over from a meal gets turned into soup for my lunch but the patties made a change.

Living on the cheap 2

 Don't shop!

Don't shop as a hobby.

Don't swap shopping on the high street for charity shop spending.

Don't rush to the supermarket if you run out of something, how many times have you popped into a shop for a pint of milk and spent £20?

Keep longlife milk and part baked rolls in your cupboard. 

Think about the things you run out of most and then build up a store cupboard of alternatives.

Find an alternative to things when you have run out.

I have cooked roast potatoes in lard, oil, butter and margarine.

I've added weetabix to stuffing mix that was too runny because I didn't have enough.

I can make stuffing from scratch or from a packet mix.

I use instant mash to thicken would and stews.

Yesterday I had half a chicken breast and wanted to do our usual Sunday roast, I cooked a couple of sausages and made stuffing, and Yorkshire puddings. Our plates were full with peas, cauliflower cheese, broccoli, sprouts and roast potatoes. Even Steve didn't realised how little meat was on his plate.

Tuesday 19 January 2021

Living on the cheap 1

 Side hustles and cash neutral are popular phrases now, I don't remember them being used when I was bringing up my family but maybe they were. I certainly did both things even though I didn't call them that.

 I have had a sewing machine for many years and I made a lot of my children's clothes. I used to buy clothes from jumble sales and use the fabric to make clothes. Voluminous polycotton nightdresses could provide a few summer dresses. Men's red shirts can be cut down to smaller ones and even to pyjamas.

Whilst helping at the local playgroup jumble sale I noticed two dresses used for ballroom dancing, one was white, the other lemon. They contained metres and metres of fabric and provided the basis for Christmas presents for my daughters, I made them both a tutu with layers of net and a top layer of bejewelled lycra, I showed them to other playgroup mums and sold every tutu I was able to make from the fabric. I paid 50p for the two dresses and made about 20 tutus, the money I made paid for Christmas that year.

I also made tutus as birthday presents when my daughters were invited to parties, for boys I made superhero capes, I realise this sounds sexist but I was equally happy to make superhero capes for girls though they usually requested a Wonderwoman outfit. I'm sure my kids sometimes got invited to parties because of the capes and tutus.

I earned extra money by doing alterations, sometimes as simple as sewing buttons on.

I tried to choose something every year that  could make as gifts and also sell, nappy hangers, lavender bags, crayon rolls and many other items. When eyelash wool was popular a few years ago I knitted scarves and sold them, I paid for Christmas three years running selling them.

Other side hustles included making jams and mincemeat, coconut ice, biscuits amongst other things.

Taking in foreign students, having a lodger, there is a rent a room scheme where you can let out a room for £400 pcm without paying tax, it may be more now. When I worked for a school I had OTT's staying. Overseas trained teachers, some were lovely, some were difficult and then there was Katy, not her real name, her exploits were on previous incarnations of my blog.

I've taken dogs in whilst their owners are on holiday and looked after cats and other pets in their own homes.

I've also done evening and early morning cleaning before and after work and temped during the school holidays. Restaurant work both in the kitchen and front of house.

Sunday 17 January 2021

Today's book

Bones of the Lost

Kathy Reichs

This book is about forensic anthropologist  Temperance Brennan. The TV series Bones is based on this character. I'm a fan of Kathy Reichs

Why Steve shops

 I always used to do the shopping or we'd shop together.

Once the pandemic struck Steve decided he needed to protect me by doing the shopping himself.

That is why Steve does the shopping.

Saturday 16 January 2021

When Steve goes shopping

 I give him a list, on the back is a list of things we don't need because we have lots already but I cannot list everything we don't need.

He always spends an absolute fortune, left to his own devices he would buy a gammon joint every week and junk like pot noodles and crisps. With a list there is stuff I can make a meal out of. He always tries to buy something I like but goes overboard, I still have three jars of olives in the cupboard from when he bought a jar a week.

I've suggested we shop fortnightly rather than weekly in an attempt to spend less money. I will grab milk and bread when we run out.

Today's book

 Stranger Times by C K McDonnell.

Stranger Times is set in Manchester the title is the name of a newspaper that reports on the weird and the wonderful. If you enjoy Rivers of London and The Dresden files you will probably enjoy this.

I do not award stars or write a review of each book, suffice it to say that I no longer struggle to get to the end of a book I'm not enjoying. If I add a book to my blog it's because I've enjoyed it.

I read an assortment of genres including historical, crime and magical reality.

Friday 15 January 2021

Who's breaking the rules

 It seems I maybe breaking the rules, I meet up with one of my DD2's once a fortnight and we walk our dogs. The place we meet is 5.7 miles away and I shouldn't really travel more than 5 miles.

But then everyone would seem to be breaking the rules and the excuse given is "but I'm very careful".

Steve had a phone call from a friend who was bored and wanted to  to visit us, he is still working but had no work to do and his girlfriend who is a carer of the elderly, was looking after her grandchildren. Fortunately the marina is closed so he couldn't visit.

There are boats on the marina belonging to liveaboard boaters who have no other place of residence but they are not on board.

We have boats belonging to holidaymakers, these should be empty but they are not.

A least two people in the marina drive off in their cars every day, they are retired so are not going to work. Do they really have an essential journey to make every day?

I have no idea what is going on in these people's lives, I'm working on the theory of "Let he who is without son cast the first stone" maybe they have good reasons for what they are doing. I'm keeping my distance and avoiding contact.

I am content

I am perfectly content with my life.

I was struggling to think of something to blog about and had wandered around a few other blogs for inspiration.

On them were mentions of quizzes and meetings via zoom, people watching films and box sets.

My remarks about not being able to use zoom etc were meant as an explanation of things I can't do, they were not a complaint.

I do not blog about my tarot readings as that would be a breach of confidentiality.

I haven't written any more short stories lately but I am working on something for my grandchildren.

I will blog soon about Imbolc, I am planning a small celebration.

I will also blog about raising my family on very little money.

Thursday 14 January 2021

My mind is blank

I'm struggling to think of anything to blog about.

We've reduced our shopping trips to once a fortnight.

I walk Beano, I cook, I crochet and I read.

I can't watch tv or use zoom or teams.

Life is very quiet and boring, there is nothing happening that I can tell you about .

Monday 11 January 2021


 No not covid tests!

DD2 couldn't remember why she's had her IQ tested but I could.

My oldest son has dyslexia and dyspraxia, as a kid he couldn't fart and chew gum at the same time.

If it's hereditary it came from my side of the family, in an effort to prove that my genes were faulty my then husband decided to have everyone's IQ tested!

DD1 refused, DS2 was probably too young. So just four of us were tested. I vaguely remember doing the test but at the time I was running a business, My mum was terminally ill and I was stressed up to the eyeballs.

I never did receive the result of my test I was told by my ex that my test results were inconclusive but I'm assuming I scored higher than he did, something that would have seriously pissed him off.

DS1 scored 135!

What's the score

I met up with DD2 yesterday, she has started internet dating again. She can't meet up with anyone, not just because of lockdown but also her ex now only sees the children for 10 hours a fortnight sometimes even less and doesn't have them overnight. As DD2 meets me once a fortnight when she is child free for a dog walk that leaves her very little spare time. But the dating gives her someone to talk to and sometimes lots of ammunition for her stand-up comedy routines that she does over zoom. She always makes it quite clear that she is not looking for a relationship.

She recently started chatting to someone who was very insistent that he was only looking to talk to intelligent people as he was very intelligent himself. DD2 wasn't particularly interested but he kept messaging her always repeating that he needed someone who matched his intelligence. Eventually she asked him what his score was, she knows her own as my ex had all our children tested. It seems his score is 114 which means he is bright, unfortunately for him DD2's score is 126, suddenly he's not interested in chatting any more!


Saturday 9 January 2021

Just another day

 The back pound is frozen, we're in the front pound and it's not frozen yet. We will keep an eye on the temperature as if we get frozen in we will not be able to go for a pump out

I met up with DD2 and we walked our dogs together. Beano and Loulou were very pleased to see each other. I stopped at the co-op and bought bread and milk. 

I've scrubbed the kitchen floor, it is tiled with wet room flooring, very safe as it is none slip but it's a bugger to clean. Tomorrow I'm going to clean the kitchen doors.

I'm still working on the long legged cat, it's slow going.

I'm defrosting a joint of beef ready to cook for lunch tomorrow, it looks a big piece so hopefully it will stretch to a couple of extra meals.

Another boring list with little going on.

Thursday 7 January 2021

My next project

Another request from a grandchild, a crochet kitten in pink and blue or any other colour with long legs! I don't think I've got any colours with long legs, lol. 

I'm going to use these colours.

YouTube here I come

Wednesday 6 January 2021

Another one

Another shawl. This one was a special request and is for a child's dressing up box. I was asked to make an old fashioned poor persons shawl so it is made from assorted left over yarn.

The edging and some rows are stylecraft parchment.

New earrings

 I follow By Bike and Boat on Facebook. Rich lives on a narrowboat called Bluebell with his family and a cat called Whisper. Rich makes jewellery from recycled copper, he has an etsy shop

 I bought myself a pair of earrings.

Tuesday 5 January 2021

This year's calendar

 My calendar is, of course, blank!

I always have a calendar on the wall for checking dates, I will fill the family birthdays in on it, any appointments etc. It will never be very full.

This year's calendar was purchased from Dru Marland, an artist who lives on a boat on the Kennet and Avon. I've never met her but I just love her art work. I also have a selection of blank cards with her designs on. And a very rude badge!

A few cheap meals

I have a vague meal plan in my head, I don't write it down because if Steve saw it he'd immediately decide he didn't want what was on the plan and then food would be wasted.

I've made a pan of spicy turkey soup that will do for lunch for a couple of days.  I have a three rashers of bacon in the fridge that need using up, I shall make a bacon and onion hot pot  with them. I have rather a lot of cheese in the fridge, left over from the Christmas cheese board we were given and rather a lot of eggs so a cheese omelette is on the cards too.

I  put fish pie mix on the shopping list, Steve bought two lots as he didn't think there was enough for two of us in one packet. I expect each pack will make four servings, so we will be eating fish pie every week for a month!

Monday 4 January 2021

Boring day

 Today, like many of my days makes boring reading.

We went to Aldi for our weekly shop I think it's about 10 days since our last shop, storage space is limited, my fridge and freezer are both quite small. I used to shop monthly but not now.

I drove to Aldi,  Steve shopped with a list, I walked Beano around the nearby housing estate. It is bitterly cold but as long as it's not raining Beano enjoys his walks.

I'm having to do regular resets of my kindle fire, it won't down load books. As I can't listen to the radio or watch tv I rely on my kindle for entertainment. Sometimes when we have a good Wi-Fi signal I can watch Prime videos.

Saturday 2 January 2021


The water pipes on the marina keep freezing so we are being very careful with our water usage. We top up our water tank when the pipes defrost but it's back to boiling the kettle for my morning wash, if I run the water until it's hot I waste such a lot.

The only dried food Beano will eat is Bakers Choice for Small Dogs and even then he will leave the cubes and just eat the smaller shapes. Rather than waste the cubes I put them in a plastic tub and take a handful with me when I go out. I frequently get mugged by the local dogs as they know I carry treats, the dogs are just as happy with the cubes from the Bakers Choice as they are with dog treats. Obviously I check with the owners first before giving any dog a treat.

We've had no wastage from our Christmas food, we didn't buy much and I've been very careful to use things up or freeze them.

I've been feeling dizzy and nauseous, a common occurrence, it's to do with my eustachian gives not the crystals in my ear. I'm used to feeling dizzy but hate feeling nauseous, fortunately the nausea has now worn off. The dizziness will stop when the willow fluff arrives as then I'm snotty and sneezy

Trouble at the big house!

Not long after we moved here we had a visit from a man, Mike, who worked for the housing association. He was condescending and patronising a...