Who needs Glastonbury?


Wild Willy Barrett and the French Connection

 We had a lovely afternoon at Leigh on Sea at the annual Folk Festival again this year. The rain held off as a bonus. Last year we got soaked! 

I love this kind of community event. It is completely free and rather eccentric, and relies on the goodwill of volunteers and donations from the festival goers to keep running. The photo above is Wild Willy Barrett and the French Connection, which was brilliant and a lot of fun. Music, cider, cockles and sunshine. Where else can you get a combination like this at a seaside music festival?

Nick Pynn, centre, with the Famous Potatoes

We bumped into an old friend of mine, Nick Pynn, who is an amazing musician and seems to play every stringed instrument you can think of. We watched him guesting with local band the Famous Potatoes and he did his own set too. Look him up on You Tube.

Ok, so it wasn’t Glastonbury but it also wasn’t £200 a ticket!

We have actually watched some of Glastonbury on TV having said that. Adele was superb last night, such a performer and what a great voice.

  We came home and had a late dinner : liver and bacon casserole. I know offal isn’t to everyone’s taste but it is worth trying. 500g of pig’s liver cost 98p in Sainsburys and the Hairy Bikers’ recipe I used feeds 4.  You can’t get a cheaper meat dinner! We really enjoyed it. If you want a go the recipe is here: 


I bet you can’t find that at Gladtonbury either 😀😀.

What a difference a day makes

office floodApologies if you are reading this on a mobile device – I am having problems! My photos are the right way up when I add them on my laptop but sometimes for no apparent reason turn themselves on their sides when viewed on a phone or I-Pad. Annoying!!

On Thursday  it rained so hard our office car park was under water and a lot of Essex was flooded. Yesterday I was sitting outside eating my lunch in brilliant sunshine! On Thursday we were also part of the EU and now we are not (well, we won’t be for much longer).  I am very much hoping that this won’t affect my bank balance or my job but time will tell.

summer lunchI mentioned before that I had joined the gym again. I was shocked at how unfit I had got. I am going twice a week at least and I am really enjoying it. There is no doubt that exercise can improve your state of mind as well as your physical health. I went in yesterday tired and stressed and came out energised and relaxed. I also slept better.

It is an expense but worth finding the money for I think. And mine is only £20 a month which I think is a bargain!

evening gardensWe have been doing a lot of work in the garden as well, which is great exercise, although we haven’t had to do much watering. Let’s hope the weekend is better to improve the moods of all those who voted to remain but find we are leaving!

I also have a new car – well, it is an old car, but new to me. I had to wave a sad goodbye to my old one a few weeks ago as she went off to the scrapyard. I did feel really sad, but she wasn’t going to get through the MOT without me spending a lot of money, was too big for me now and cost too much to run. My new one is a tiny Toyota Yaris and a tank of petrol lasts a lot longer. I have noticed the price of petrol creeping up in recent months, but the news said it is likely to go up again this weekend as a result of the EU referendum. I have been out and filled the tank just in case!!



A sad day

I feel quite sad this morning about the murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox. Whatever your party politics, it is quite shocking that such a bright and clever lady, with a husband and two small children, should be murdered by a right wing lunatic in the street. RIP Jo, the world is a worse place for this tragedy. The story is here.

garden 2016I cheered myself up with a walk around the garden. I love this time of year – everything is so green and lush. As ever, the garden is on the untidy side but I like it that way. I will never be someone with a perfectly neat bit of garden even if I had the time to keep it that way! I thought the silly cat was stuck on the shed roof last night, but when I moved her I found a huge stag beetle. Although they are rare generally, here in Essex we have loads of them. I always make sure we have a log pile somewhere as they like these breeding spaces.

The foxgloves look splendid right now. I planted the first few we had several years ago and now they self seed all over the place.

foxgloves1I haven’t had the chance to do anything with my Aldi plants from last week yet but will definitely get out and sort those and do some tidying up this weekend, since the weather looks more promising. Last Sunday there were torrential downpours all day so not conducive to gardening.

Football fever has taken over at work – we even had it on the TV in the office yesterday. I just can’t make myself interested. Football to me is childhood memories of my Dad hogging the TV all weekend!

stag beetleI finally joined the gym last week. We have a Sports Direct one and it is just £20 a month for gym and swim. I have been twice so far and I feel so much better for making the effort. I had got so unfit!! I am not allowing myself to go downhill at a rapid pace just because I am over 50! I will let you know how I get on. It does get rather crowded in there, so I need to find the best time to go. On the way home from work makes the most sense, but unfortunately everyone else appears to want to do the same!


Mr S to the rescue

 I went to Aldi to do the weekly shop on Saturday. I always get there as they open at the weekend. If you don’t you can’t get in the car park! The stores aren’t huge but I think all the car parks are too small. This isn’t helped when a massive delivery lorry turns up and takes up half the car park, which seems to happen quite often.

They had some lovely plants in there and I couldn’t resist. They are so cheap! I also found a solar  hurricane lamp for a friend’s birthday, but when I got it home we liked it so much we decided to keep it and go back and get a few more as presents. Of course when we got there it was absolute bedlam!

I thought my 15 year old Miele dishwasher had finally bitten the dust on Saturday as it started making a terrible grinding noise. I bought it in the sale and even then it cost £450 but it has been brilliant for a long time.  Mr S came to the rescue though and pulled some bits apart and found a prune stone – it must have got into the works somehow! It works fine now 😀. I could have spent £100 getting an engineer out but I probably would have just scrapped it as it is so old. Every household needs a Mr Shoestring!

He also repaired two garden chairs I got as a set from the charity shop. The table and two of the chairs are solid but the other two were slightly damaged. Now we have a full set and just need the sunshine back.

Honestly, he is a gem 😀😀. Hope he doesn’t read this – don’t want his head expanding!

The curse of the email overload

  Well, my last blog post about vet’s bills pushed a few buttons! Thanks for all the helpful comments. I will definitely go to check out the vet prices at Pets at Home.

We have had fabulous sunny weather here, even missing thunder storms and heavy rain over the past few days that hit London and the rest of Essex. The garden is so full of flowers – I love this time of year, even though there is so much to do.

I worked from home a couple of days, which meant no fighting my way through traffic and more time for me. I even sat on our new bench and ate my breakfast outside a couple of days. What a treat – I felt like I was on holiday, even though the emails poured in as usual. I spend far too much of my day answering emails. Technology has huge benefits I know, but it makes  people lazy. Why pick up the phone and have a conversation when you can chuck over an email!

I am trying to send fewer but it doesn’t stop people sending them to me. I get so many at work I forget to even look at my personal email account. Still, I never seem to miss much! 

  We had a lovely week house and dog sitting for friends last week – such a cute little mutt. I would love a dog but we just aren’t home enough to give one adequate attention. Maybe when I retire. Our friends also have a hot tub so we had a few nice evenings relaxing in it. My daughters came over and loved it! We will happily do this again. 

My youngest is in the midst of her A levels at the moment. Such a stressful time for her. There is so much pressure on kids to do well these days. I will be glad when they are over and then we will have a break from studies as she is taking a gap year. 

Oh well, off to work to the email deluge!

Pet money saving – and being ripped off!!

Dora, the baby

Warning: I am Mrs Angry of Colchester as I write this post!

I have my three lovely cats and I would hate to be without them. I take pet ownership very seriously and they have regular flea and worm treatments plus lots of love and attention.

Lola, the beauty

The younger two are insured but my old girl isn’t. I didn’t appreciate it was that important when she was younger and I was richer, and now it would cost so much to insure her and her existing conditions would be excluded anyway. She has a thyroid condition and my vet charges £90 for a 3 month supply of her medication. (My vet charges me at least £50 for stepping over the threshold and breathing, but that’s another story!)

I prefer the flea and worm treatments that are applied to the back of the neck. The vet currently  charges £36 for 4 treatments – I thought this seemed even steeper than usual so I decided to finally get round to exploring how much I could save if I went online. I was flabbergasted. With www.vetuk.co.uk the cost of this identical product, Prinovox, was £14.18!! Even with delivery this was a huge saving so I called the vet to ask for a prescription. They sounded a tad unhappy at the request and said they would charge £12.44 for this and it could only be used once and would expire after three months.  I had the feeling they didn’t want me to shop around!! Not such a great saving but I was so annoyed at feeling ripped off I decided to go ahead. In fact I asked for a prescription for 6 Advocate as my vet doesn’t sell this anymore and it was even cheaper – £22.50 for six treatments.

Vera, 15 year old queen of the cats

When I went to collect the prescription the receptionist looked embarrassed and said the vet had decided she couldn’t do a prescription because she hadn’t seen the cat for 6 months so I would need to bring her in. At this point my mild irritation turned to outrage – they were blatantly putting obstacles in my way! I pointed out that they would sell this to me directly without me having to bring the cat in, so why did I need to because I was buying it elsewhere?

I was steaming at this point and said to put the prescription against my old girl Vera not the littlest one since they had seen her in the last six months for her thyroid treatment. They finally agreed to this but I then had to wait another 5 days to get it.

When I got back I decided to check the online price for Vera’s thyroid treatment. With delivery it was half price! So well worth me buying a prescription. I wonder what obstacles they will put in the way this time?

I have been using this vet for 15 years but have now decided that they are a bunch of rip-off merchants and I am exploring cheaper options. Has anyone had any experience of using the vets at Pets at Home? I have heard they are cheapest but I don’t know if they are actually any good.

In the meantime I will be getting all my medication online as a point of principle. My vet will still afford his villa in France but I’m not paying for it!