Tuesday 30 October 2012

Living Simply and Raiding the Freezer

Living simply really does make me happy at the moment, although the veggies weren't brilliant at growing this year, thanks mainly to the wet, wet weather and of course Bambi and his friends discovering the 'snack bar' that I call the Veggie Patch early on in the season, we are still eating lots of homegrown things, mainly from last year and believe it or not the year before.  The benefits of a large chest freezer are not to be sneezed at.
Even over the weekend with an extra mouth to feed the freezer stash did not go down too rapidly.  I am just about to make up the menu plan for ths week, a day late but I did add this Monday to last weeks menu plan so I am still up to date.
I am trying to use up the 'odds and sods' from the freezers first so that there is space and freed up freezer boxes ready for re-use.  We have now eaten all the home made soups from the freezer so I feel a soup making session coming on one day this week and the empty boxes will be used for freezing extra portions.  You can't beat homemade soup on these chilly, damp days, especially when it's served with a homemade bread roll or two.
What's with the ball of wool and the crochet hook in the photo at the top of this post I hear some of your asking, well this little ball of cotton type wool was in amongst a lot of mohair wool in a box in the charity shop and I asked how much it was as it was all on it's own, 10p the lady replied, so I snapped it up and when I have a bit of time later will sit and make myself a dishcloth.  I've been wanting to have a go at this for a while and have never seen any suitable yarn on my charity shop visits up to now, so I will see how this works and may even buy some more to make myself a stash of cloths for when my bought ones run out.  I may not be the world's best crocheter but I can make a good square!! The crochet hook?  This was the one I leant to crochet with sat at my Gran's side many, many years ago.
Simple living at it's best.
Sue xx

Sunday 28 October 2012

Our Favourite Guests

Our favourite guests are the ones that muck in with what we are doing, make themselves at home in our house, don't mind rumaging through cupboards to find themselves a snack, take over the washing up of pots after a lovely family meal, basically the sort that don't come to be waited on hand and foot.  They come to see us, to  see our home and our animals and to have a break from their normal lives.  No one else in either of our families has land, chickens, geese and the sort of life that we lead.  They all have busy lives but doing other things.
Mum and Dad always used to come and simply get stuck in whether it was with the chickens or the Rare Breed pigs we used to breed, nothing was too much trouble or a job they wouldn't try.  Vast areas used to be weeded and watered by Mum, tomato plants would be brought under control and neatly strung by Dad, the patio would be weeded and ironing done, any job that they noticed needed doing would be done, and best of all not from a sense of duty but simply because they wanted to help.  Lovely Hubby's Mum once spent half a day washing our whole potato crop as we dug them up because she wanted to see a job well done before she left for home.
It was and is always so very appreciated

This weekend Lovely Hubby's  youngest sister is staying with us, and up to now she has done virtually all of the things listed above and she also got roped in with raking up vast quantities of leaves for my huge leaf mulch basket,

painting the Man Shed with her big brother ...
..and being checked out on a regular basis by the Geese who always need to know that strange folk on the farm are indeed friendly.  Living simply means that when there are jobs to be done we, and whoever is here with us, simply get on and do them.
The dogs and cats love her to bits and she is usually to be found after a hard days labour sitting on the sofa, wine glass in hand and a lap full of warm snoring little furry friends.
It's been a good weekend up to now, how's yours going?
Sue xx

Friday 26 October 2012

Damp Devastation

I'm still harvesting things from the Veggie Patch, although it has now turned into a place of damp devastation.  The weeds are running rampant and the days are just too cold and damp to do much out there.  A weeding session is on the cards for tomorrow if the forecast is as the TV weatherman said dry, sunny and cold.
Yesterday I snipped a whole bed of Spinach and processed the leaves for freezing.

Very simply just washed twice and then steamed until wilted, then the excess juices pushed out and squeezed into handful shaped blobs and open frozen.  This morning all the 'blobs' were put into a freezer box and now we have 12 portions of Spinach to add to meals.
Amazing how little it all looks once processed, but well worth it for the the goodness and nutrients it supples.  Popeye would be proud.
We are steadily working our way through the contents of the freezer, and, up to now, remembering to cross off the used foods!!  Now I will have to remember to add to the list 12 portions of spinach.
With the pack of Filo Pastry I made some quick little turnovers containing the leftover Mediteranean Veggies from the other nights meal.  A meal made from vitually nothing.  The coleslaw was made with simply carrot, onion and homegrown Kohl Rabi straight from the Veggie Patch, even a place of damp devastation can provide a good healthy and nutricious meal if you look hard enough.
We are having a nice relaxing weekend with Lovely Hubbys younger sister staying with us for the four days, I see lots of lovely family time and possibly a bit of weeding and painting ahead.
Whatever you're doing this weekend have fun and lets hope that as they said the sun does shine however briefly on us all.
Sue xx

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Freezer Stocktake

I had just started to do the usual weekly menu plan on Monday, when I realised that rummaging about in the freezers to see what we had was making my poor little hands freezing cold AND more importantly letting all the nice cold air out of said freezers.  So I hatched a plan.

Or rather I made a plan!!
It was of course a lot rougher than this until I sat down at the computer yesterday and neatly typed it all out.  Now whenever I am making up my weekly menu or even thinking about what else we might want to eat I have it all there in black and white. 
Well green, black and white  ....but you know what I mean.

And of course a good side of this was that now all the freezers are nice and neat and everything is well organised, so when I do go in there for the food for each evening meal I should be able to find exactly what I want within seconds and then close the door again.

But, of course I must remember to cross things off my list as we use them or we will be very disappointed when I next make up a menu!

What shocked me the most was the sheer amount of food that we have in stock and it has made me resolve to eat our way through all this food before we do anymore shopping. 
It is a good job we have all this though as we have seriously gone into 'saving mode' now, and the plan this month is to pay off our credit cards.  We usually do this in full every month but last month our spend was pretty high due to unexpected bills and we only paid off half of one of them so the other half, added to some spending after we paid the bill means that this one is pretty high again and we are simply biting the bullet and paying off the lot, which will take away most of my housekeeping money.
You may ask why we have credit cards when we are living simply and frugally, well it's simple the cards we have M&S and T*sco give you points for every purchase in every shop, and when we buy petrol.   They reward you with vouchers every quarter that you can use for shopping or double up for treats, so we tend to put everything on the cards and pay them off each month so we have lots of voucher pounds at the end of each quarter.
Well for the next six weeks it's going to be cash all the way, as I want to watch every penny.  I have to sit down and work out how much cash I will actually have, but I know now there's not a lot!!
Still it will get me practising for next year and my £2 Challenge.
Sue xx

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Greenhouses and Cider

I don't know if I like greenhouses.
I know I don't like the one I have at the moment, it has holes that slugs and snails crawl through, it's glass had all shifted both on the roof and the sides so when it rained it actually rained inside, but not on the plants .... on everything that I didn't want to get wet.
It was cold and draughty and although the first flush of seedlings grew well every subsequent sowing I had to watch like a hawk as things ate them, I'm sure a message was passed around pest world that this ancient old greenhouse was back in action.  I even resorted to some slug pellets in the end, not something I enjoy using.
Well I've cleaned the inside of it now ready for it's Winter rest, I pushed all the loose panes of glass back into place, I had found some greenhouse glass clips amongst Dad's stash of goodies in his garage so I've been using them to do as many of the repairs as I could.  Now we just have to use some duct tape or something similar to have a marathon sticking session where the two halves of the greenhouse have shifted and the glass simply won't stay in it's groove.  Once that's all done and all the holes are also filled with tape to keep out the whistling gales I will wash down the outside and remove all the white sun shade stuff and then that's it for this year.
I don't like greenhouses ....... I'm a polytunnel girl.
But I'll give it another go next year.
While I was clearing out the greenhouse and doing the running repairs,  Lovely Hubby had a rather nice little job for once.  It was too damp and miserable outdoors to continue painting the Man Shed so he came indoors and bottled some more of his Cider.
He has a nifty little gadget to put the tops on, I wondered how they would go on.  I had a go and it gave me the urge to bottle all sorts of things ..... I don't think bottled Berkshire air would sell well though do you?  Maybe I could say there was a Genie inside (Mum's joke is still in my head...lol).

I don't know how long we have to wait to drink it, but it's looking very promising.
Now I'm off to list some more things on eBay, 10 more possessions less and more space in the house.  It's good this decluttering lark.  I can sell as much as I want as long as it's .......

... capable of fitting into one of these.  I found a whole box of padded envelopes and I'm determined to use as many as I can.  It's amazing what you can fit into them if you try!!
Sue xx

Monday 22 October 2012

Getting Ready for Winter

Getting ready for Winter is important when you have chickens.  They don't need much really ....

... simply a house that's large enough but cosy enough so they can all benefit from each others body heat at night time 
I have deep cleaned one of their houses and put in an extra thick layer of bedding, they will be moving into this tomorrow and then the other house will be deep cleaned and left to dry out completely before filling with bedding and being on standby in case they need to swap over again.
Until a month ago they lived in both houses, lots of room and no arguments over perches and nice and cool for Summer. The houses that we have are designed for 24 full sized hens.  Free Range rules (which we abide to as we have a UK producer number) state that the houses are actually suitable for 22.5 full sized chickens, as we currently have 14 Bantams (half sized birds) and 15 full sized birds then they fit very comfortably and legally into one house.  There is plenty of room on the four long perches and two of the girls, one Lavender Pekin, and Mother Goose sleep in nesting boxes.
Then I closed the first house off and they had to sort themselves into one 'dormitory', birds at the top of the pecking order sleep on the top perches, and the two 'top' perches from the two houses had to merge but they sorted themselves out very quickly and not too many feathers were lost.

Weather proof feeders and drinkers. 
Our large black food hoppers have a drainage ridge running round the edge that, provided you get the tilt right, means any rain water runs off onto the ground and doesn't wet the Layers Pellets.  So their food stays dry and tasty, although they do actually like wet food, but they can usually find enough pellets that have fallen on the ground and gone mushy ion the damp grass to satisfy this craving.
We use a mixture of plastic and galvanised drinkers.  Chickens actually associate the colour red with food and water and mine have proved this to be correct and prefer this style of drinker.  The main thing is to make sure that falling leaves etc can't get into your chickens drinking water so anything with a top is perfect.
Shelter from the wind and rain.
The chickens favourite place to shelter together is actually under the hen houses, but we have also given them the option of the Eglu corridor, now with it's wet weather cover on .....

.... and our old patio table weighed down with slices of tree trunk and with an extra bit of wood underneath to make two perching areas.  As well as giving them protection from the rain overhead it also means that four areas of their enclosure stay dry under foot for them.
They are all fed a regular diet of Layers Pellets, with a treat of a bowlful of corn between them each afternoon.  I regularly add a seaweed tonic or simply some Cider Vinegar to their water, and at this time of year especially I tend to add Mint and Garlic granules to their food on a more regular basis. As an extra special treat on a miserable wet day, and we have had plenty of thosoe recently, they get a couple of handfuls of Meal Worms thrown onto the drier areas of the run, to encourage them to get out of the rain.
Looking after your birds well is the best way to nip any problems in the bud and at this time of year I think we all need a little bit of looking after.
Someone agrees completely!!
Sue xx

Sunday 21 October 2012

A Joke from Mum

The Irish Bic Lighter

Paddy and Murphy were fishing on the Irish shoreline when Paddy pulls out a cigar.
Finding he had no matches he asked Murphy for a light.
'Ya, shure, I haff a lighter,' Murphy says, before reaching into his tackle box & pulling out a Bic lighter, 10 inches long!

'My God, man!' exclaimed Paddy, taking the huge Bic Lighter in his hands. 'Where'd yew git dat monster?'
'Well,' replies Murphy, 'I got it from my Genie.'
'You haff a fecking Genie?' Paddy asked.
'Ya, shure. He’s right here in my tackle Box,' says Murphy.
'Could I see him?'
Murphy opens his tackle box & sure enough, out pops the Genie.

Addressing the Genie, Paddy says: 'Hey dere! I'm a good pal of your master. Will you grant me one wish?'
'Yes, I will.' says the Genie.
So Paddy asks the Genie for a million bucks.
The Genie disappears back into the tackle box leaving Paddy sitting there waiting for his million bucks.
After a moment, the Irish sky darkens and is filled with the sound of a million ducks flying directly overhead.

Over the roar of the million ducks Paddy yells at Murphy: 'What the hell? I asked for a million Bucks, not a million ducks!'
Murphy answers: 'Ya, I forgot to tell yew dat da Genie is hard of hearing.
Do yew really tink I asked for a 10 inch Bic?'
*** *** *** *** ***
I hope you didn't choke on your coffee with that one,  Mum does send me some good ones!!
Enjoy your Sunday.
Sue xx

Saturday 20 October 2012

And now it really starts......

And now - TODAY - it really starts .... the truly frugal living. 
Once again my cupboards are full, not purposefully filled up, things have just crept up on me as usual.  Before I went away on holiday I placed an Approved Foods order with that weeks housekeeping money, they had tempted me with Ryvita of all things, but at 33p a pack who was I, nay how was I to say no!!  We both love them, all the different flavours, with butter with jam, with spread, with pate etc etc etc.  Of course I totally forgot I was still doing the Dukan diet and they are totally carbalicious!!  I will be able to re-introduce them soon though as long as I stick to my diet a little bit better and get to my target weight by the end of November.  It really won't matter if they are a little bit more out of date!!
The stash in this cupboard has gone down quite a bit and more room is now taken up with home produced stuff, pickles beetroot etc.
This cupboard is looking much clearer too now, you don't have to be ready to catch falling contents anymore as you open the door!
This cupboard has all the bottles of juice and olive oil bought when they were on offer, the juices make for a much cheaper drink for Lovely Hubby instead of the flavoured waters he used to drink.  The big mixes are all from Approved Foods and save us a fortune.
Although this one came as a bit of a shock. 
 When I spoke to LH while I was on holiday he said "what have you ordered from Approved Foods this time,the box weighs a ton" and I honestly couldn't think of anything that would be that heavy.  Then I came home and saw this, it is 12.5 kg of Chocolate Sponge Mix and not the 2.5 kg bag I thought it was!!  But at just £4.99 for the bag it was a real bargain.   LH will be enjoying chocolate sponge in many many guises for months to come, I may even have to help him a little bit, even though I'm not that keen on chocolate cake I can eat it with custard now and then.

This weekend I'm going through the household expenses with a fine toothcomb and whittling away at anything not totally necessary.  Our lovely little red Fiat 500 went back to the lease company yesterday, it was simply one car too many and now that we live so close to where LH works we have no need for this little fuel economiser.  So although we loved it we didn't need it anymore and with that gone we have almost £200 extra to add to our savings each month, it was sad to see it being driven away though.
Now it's time to get back to the arithmatic, I need to be so strict next month with the housekeeping that it is a good job we are so stocked up, we will be living off the stores for at least the next six weeks looking at my rough figures.  I guess it will be another How Low Can You Go type challenge.
Have a nice weekend everyone.
Sue xx

Friday 19 October 2012

Thank You Mum

My day started with an email from my Mum, with a recipe.

Mum's Lettuce and Courgette Soup

Two Servings

1oz butter, plus a small amount of olive oil
8 fresh large outside dark lettuce leaves roughly chopped
1 medium onion, cut into small chunks
1 medium Courgette sliced or chopped
1 chicken or veggie stockpot or cube diluted with 1/2 a pint of water
1 level tsp Turmeric
1 clove of garlic crushed or finely chopped
salt and pepper
2 large spoonful of plain yogurt to stir in at the end

Soften the onion, courgette and lettuce in the butter and oil for 5 minutes, do not let them brown.
Then stir in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.
Blitz with your blender.
Serve with a swirl of yogurt and a crusty bread roll if you're very hungry.

I used a pint of water with the stock and it still made a wonderfully rich soup, so a very thrifty recipe, as this way it would stretch to feeding 3 or 4 people with a bread roll.

*** *** ***

Thank you Mum, guess what I'm having for lunch. .

So I already have my three things to say thank you for today - the day itself, my Mum and my brilliant warming inspirational lunch.

What three things can you say thank you for right now?

Sue xx

Thursday 18 October 2012

Supermarket Herbs

Supermarket herbs, so lush and green in their pots, more densely lush than anything you tend to find in your own plantings and even at the garden centre on occasion, yet you use them a couple of times and then they die.  So you go and buy some more ...... just like you are supposed to.... in the supermarkets eyes, a nice steady earner!!

A third time around Coriander
I have had to resort to buying supermarket herbs a few times this year as my own have been attacked by slugs in the greenhouse and then last week .... neglected by Lovely Hubby while I was away.  Of course it's all my own fault I didn't remind him, I forgot to erect the neon arrow pointing down to them that was obviously needed and the A4 sheet of written instructions in bright red ink.......Lol.....only kidding, he did amazingly well while I was away .....apart from watering my herbs!!
This Parsley is also on for it's third resurrection.
The ones in this picture,  Parsley on the left and Mint on the right, were fully grown lovely bushy relatively new plants when I left, I had used each two or three times and there was at least another couple of uses out of each one to come, and then they would have had this treatment.
After some of the comments yesterday and the emails asking for tips I got this morning I thought I would just show you how far I do cut my bought herbs back after they are all used up for the first time.
*** *** ***
When you first buy them they look so lush because they have actually been planted too many seedlings to a pot, this means that they have to fight for nutrients and water, and their roots are too closely entwined for each plant to really thrive for long.  So tip number one is ..... the first time you use them you should pull a few stems completely out of the pot, roots and all.  Of course if you were being really frugal you could try to transplant these uprooted seedlings, sometimes it works, but I don't bother with this, I use what I have pulled up in my cooking and put the little root bit in the chickens bowl.  Waste not want not!
This gives all the remaining plants more space in the light and more room for their roots in the compost.  I then look after the plants by checking daily how heavy the pots are and if they are too light, which means the compost is drying out I give them a drink, watering from below, hence the reason I keep them all in yogurt pots or planters.  As they are on the kitchen windowsill if they are leaning towards the light I turn the pot to give all sides equal access to the light. 
Once the herbs have all been used up or if they are starting to look sorry for themselves I give them the chop.  Literally right down to just above the soil and within one or two days you will see the start of new growth.
The first time you do this you are virtually guaranteed a second crop of leaves, and then if you are lucky you can do it all over again.  The reason this works at least once is that the plant has already got itself a good root system, so it can put all it's energy into making news leaves to replace the ones you've hacked off, and as it's the leaves you are after it's perfect.
Sometimes it's even worth buying the herbs when the supermarkets reduce them to 10p or 20p when they look like they will never recover, if the plant itself doesn't revive with a good drink, and they usually do, (why don't they even bother to water their living plants) you can chop all the leaves off and do this.
Give it a go and see for yourself.
*** *** ***
Maybe if Lovely Hubby reads this post he will remember to water my plants next time........ she says with a big cheesy grin on her face!!

Sue xx

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Getting back in the Swing and The Plan

Waitrose - Total Spend £15.97
Now the holiday is over and it's time to get back in the swing.  I spent all my saved spends last week and a little bit more besides, but I had a great time and it was worth it.  Now I am back to my Frugal October but there was some things that I just had to buy. 
Lovely Hubby forgot to water my herbs while I was away so an emergency restock was in order.  Once you get used to cooking with lots of herbs you just can't go back to not using them, although all the outdoor ones are fine my selection on kitchen window sill herbs had died a very sad death.  They have all been trimmed right back to soil level and there are already signs of regrowth so all is not lost and I can make do with just some Basil and Parsley until they are usable again.
In town - Total Spend - £7.57
Housekeeping left - £ 26.46
Although I nipped to Waitrose for the shopping I did call to town for a new washing line, the days may be cooler and shorter but I still like to make full use of outdoor drying whenever I can and although I already have a line between the trees near the house, now the sun has shifted in the sky it does not get the sun for very long, so LH has said I can stretch a line from his Man Shed to the climbing frame where the sun shines for much more of the day.  It will be great for drying those big items, sheets etc, that can be stretched out to get the full benefit of the suns weaker rays and even the slightest breeze.
While I was there habit lured me into the charity shop and I'm glad I called, I got this brilliant recipe book for just 99p and a lovely pudding bowl for £1.99.  I see lots of frugal winter puds coming up.  I love reading about the way rationing made people really work magic in the kitchen.  I did it myself for real for years and it stands you in good stead for feeding your family in the future on a limited income whenever you need to.
And I need to because of The Plan - I'm on a mission to save every penny possible over the next two years, now there's a challenge and a half!! 
 We have made the big decision that we will move back 'up North' rather than buying in this area. We will get so much more for our money there, at the moment we live in one of the most expensive areas of the country.  Currently we rent a 1930's two bed bungalow that is believe it or not (with it's 4 acres of land) valued on the open market at almost £800,000, there's no way on this planet that we could ever afford to buy anything even remotely similar if we stay in this area.  Even better we will be closer to our roots and much nearer to all our family.  It does mean that we have to get as much money together while we can, while we live here.  LH's job is really based here and it's here that we can milk the 'cash-cow' for all it's worth and hopefully save enough to almost buy a place for cash.  Any shortfall will have to be made up by LH continuing to work down here and commuting back to our new place for weekends, so my challenge to save every penny matters........really matters, we don't want to be apart for too long.
So I've already started earning pennies and pounds where I can, and yesterday I listed my first 10 items for sale, books on Amazon and other things on Ebay, and good news, one book has already sold, so I'm just off to package it up and get it ready for posting.  Although I will hang on until I have to go into town for something else, saving petrol matters too.
I'll try and get a link in the sidebar to my Amazon and Ebay pages so you can see what I sell.  After that I'll be looking out ten more things ready for listing next week.  I'm doing the listing every Tuesday so that the 5 day auction ends on a Sunday evening, I've been told by a very good authority (thanks Froogs) that this is the way to maximise earnings.
Sue xx

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Bognor Regis 2012

I'm back, I'm home after an emotional and at times hard holiday, but one that I wouldn't have missed for the world.  It gave me a glimpse into my lovely Mum and Dad's world.  Introduced me to their many, many wonderful friends and helped me understand a bit of their lives I had never been a part of before.
We went out on coach trips on some of the days.  Here is grey and drizzly Portsmouth, this is HMS Warrior in the dock a beautiful old ship.  I saw bits of Lovely Hubby's past (he's ex Royal Navy) and took photos of his old stomping grounds where he shyly admitted to having one or two drinks with his friends.
We nipped over to Rome to see the Sistine Chapel ......
...  well really we stopped in Goring on Sea to see the only known reproduction of the Sistine Chapel ceiling in the English Martyrs Church.   The work of one dedicated man, Gary Bevans, who spent five and a half years painting his parish church with an exact replica.  Absolutely wonderful.
On the days without planned coach trips me and Mum ventured off on our own.  We went to Weald and Downland Open Air Museum to see the lovely old buildings and farm animals.  The sun shone and we enjoyed coffee and cakes in the grounds.  We called in at a Garden Centre for lunch and then the next day got caught  in the rain over and over again in the centre of Bognor Regis and spent far too much time in the bookshop sheltering from the downpour.
Yes, the diet went to pot this week, what with coffees and cakes and the wonderful food at the hotel, and the alcohol in the bar each night, what did I honestly expect!!
Me and Mum shared a dining table all week with Mum and Dads good friends David and Ruth, what a lovely wicked dry sense of humour they both have, such a lovely couple.  So we enjoyed fine dining and even finer company.
Lovely Hubby joined us on Friday, it was the anniversary of his lovely Mum's death and there was no way in the world we were going to be apart, so I skipped across the aisle to join him on his table in the dining room.  He insisted on a photo and as I didn't have the customary cabbage to hand, the drinks menu came in very handy!!
So of course I had to get a snap of him propping up the bar!
As is customary on the last night all the men wore bow ties and posed for the obligatory photo.  A fine selection of happy chappies.  It took us girls a long time to get them to keep still for this photo!!
There's just one man missing from this photo, but he was there in so many ways.  He was there in the dances that he had taught the group to do, in the words of the songs that the singers sang, he was there when Mum got changed each evening into her posh frocks, and I could imagine his smile and the twinkle in his eye as he filled with pride, walking down to dinner with his lady on his arm
He was there in everyones memories of holidays gone before.
On the last day we waved the coach off after breakfast, back to Manchester with it's precious load, and we set off for Arundel Castle.   The weather was lovingly kind to a girl who had had such a tough week and we basked in the unusually warm October sunshine as we walked the beautiful grounds.
We marvelled at the wonderful old castle, chapel and home, it's beautifully laid out veggie patches, gardens and orangeries and we drank coffee and ate shortbread in it's lovely restaurant, and then we climbed the steep and winding stone staircases to the very top turrets, feeling the history in the worn treads and gazing at the fine old paintings of some of the folk that had also trod those very steps.  And then all too soon it was time to head for home.
A wonderful week and lovely company.  Thank you Mum for letting me step into yours and Dad's world, I wouldn't have missed this opportunity for anything.  And thank you to all your friends for the warm welcome.
I have to go now .... Lovely Hubby is knocking at the door of our future. 
We have new plans, plans that involve lots of saving and working towards our shared future, plans that take us closer to family and our roots.  Because that's really what life is all about sharing ... sharing lives and time, building and sharing memories of past, present and future.
Without the folk we love around us the world would be a bleaker place. 
We are so blessed.
Sue xx