Sunday, 6 November 2016

Home Front Heroes

I don't post often here any more, but today it seems appropriate - my friend Ali and I have both been through some very challenging an deep waters recently.
Things kind of built up and after tears (her) and tantrums (me) we ended up on the phone talking each other down as usual.
Later, Ian Lavender's Home Front Heroes was on, and it caused us both to reflect on how much worse things could be.
With a full stomach, I went to bed after a long, deep, hot bath, knowing all my family was safe and well cared for.
I don't love my job, mainly because it is indoors, and I love to be outdoors, but women in munitions factories worked minimum 48 hour weeks - in winter they must never have seen daylight.
Families and relationships can be a problem - sometimes our men folk drift away, or we are forced to be apart from family - but they are not under fire, in a foreign country, with no way of communicating with us.
All in all, the heroes of the home front still inspire me, and keep me going.


Sunday, 26 June 2016

Brexit Strategy? Five Ways to adapt US Prepping Strategies for the Uncertain Times Ahead

US ‘Preppers’ have a lot of useful, usable information, even if the idea itself doesn’t really hold water in the UK.

How can we take a few of their top ideas, and adapt the for the instability that’s certain to follow ‘Brexit’?

·         Food – A year’s supply is often recommended.  I’m not suggesting hoarding, but I do think that we can usefully keep stocked with tins, dry goods, and basics with which we could construct a meal. If nothing else, prices may rise, so it’s sensible to build a bit of a buffer. Rather than go mad, perhaps as long as prices are not affected, buy double of a few things, keep a few long life items just in case.

·         Bug Out Bag – This is your ‘get ready to go’ preparation in case of a crisis. Preppers refer to it as ‘SHTF’ and it’s to do with Something Hitting the Fan! I think in our case, the pooh is already on the paddle, as they say, so I don’t think we need to pack our undies. What might make sense though, is to have a simple ‘survival kit’ for an incident such as the fuel strikes some years ago. Imagine you can’t get out, just for a week. Do you have enough hay fever tablets, sanitary towels, toothpaste? If you’re buying everything day by day, now might be a good time to build in a bit of resilience. Don’t let those prescription meds run down either.

·         Garden – Growing some of your own food is, was and ever more shall be a great idea. Without panicking unnecessarily, now would be a great time to learn about gardening, or extend your plot.  If allotments are available, could you get or share one? Is there a spot in your garden that could be turned over to food? Dig for Victory – or in this case, sanity!

·         Guns – US Preppers are all about the right to bear arms – but that doesn’t work here. Firstly because it would be illegal, and secondly because we all live too close together – there are no hills to head for, no room for putting wagons in a circle. However, when there’s a crisis, it’s clear that people who don’t have food or supplies will eventually be forced to steal from those who do. Looting doesn’t take long to get underway in any civil unrest.  But it ‘s not the British way to shoot them! My equivalent to this one is to get in NOW to local sustainability groups, Transition groups, community groups – build community. Sharing skills and teaching each other how to be more self reliant is our best chance of being *consulted* when things go wrong, rather than mugged.



·         Frugality – Thrift and frugality have been around for rather too long for my liking. Since 2008 and the recession, we don’t seem to have had a break. However, until we know what’ going on, it will be best  to keep a tight hold on finances.  Clearing debt where you can, saving if you possibly can, and living well within your means are all ways of defending yourself against uncertainties.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Digging Once Again

So, after a few years of taking a different stance, I have concluded that the Dig for Victory model was the one that worked best for my garden.
I feel particularly like a wartime gardener right now, as I am in the throes of taking on a second job, to help keep the farm afloat, and so any gardening will have to be 'fitted in'.
I'm planning on keeping it cheap, practical, and pretty much 1940s, but for my lovely polytunnel of course. Although even it has come under 'Make Do and Mend' as I had demanded a new cover for it, but have decided to settle for patching up.
Stay with me while I help us fight our way up out of debt, austerity, and many other challenges with my Dig for Victory 2016 garden.


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Post Budget Blues

Seems like once a year I come back.

Last year, I didn't continue to post. I think I felt once again, that things were looking up.

After this year's budget, I do feel I should begin again here. I don't know if I will keep going - not least because we are so tired, working so many hours, and determined to keep ourselves as self reliant as possible, that the time doesn't always present itself.

But for now, I'm back.

Monday, 6 October 2014

So blessed

I'm reading Land Girls - Women's Voices from the Wartime Farm by Joan Mant.



It's making me think, how very fortunate I am to soak in a hot bath at the end of the day. Our house isn't heated, but the bathroom is. The Rayburn's alight now, and its one radiator warms the bathroom.

A glass of red wine to warm, or a hot mug of tea. It's cold now, on and off, but I have always something to warm me up. Then to bed, with a book, and a mug of cocoa made for me by my lovely husband.

In Land Girls, I'm reading about a lot of people who washed with a weekly kettle of hot water and a flannel, had little to eat, and nothing warm to drink. They were extraordinary people, these tough little city girls.

For supper tonight, we had a stew made from left over Sunday roast, with dumplings, and an apple pie. It's simple fare, and cost pennies, but compared to the diet this lot were on, it was a feast.

As the news gets darker, and IS are on the borders of Turkey - that feels awfully near - I wonder if before long, I will be trying to remember a hot bath, the comfort of a cheap glass of wine, or a steaming mug of cocoa. I wonder if we are all sleepwalking into another nightmare?


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

It may be obvious

Starting to write here again is a bit odd. Not only are we definitely still in full on austerity, it seems like before long we shall once again be at war.
As Iraq is due to ask officially for help from the UK to overcome ISIS late tonight, I expect I may very well wake up again once again in a country at war.
I find that hard to stomach, and yet like many others, I'm not too sure what else you do about the reign of terror that is ISIS.

Meanwhile, I've been thinking about the things I do that are 'frugal' but around here are just 'normal'

Our house was built in the 70s, but even by the standards of the time, it was low tech. I was built as a herdsman's house when they moved the dairy across this side of the farm. The dairy was state of the art. The house, not so much.

So although we have cavity walls, which have been insulated, we did not, until we took advantage of a government scheme a few years ago, have much in the way of loft insulation. We don't have central heating of any kind. We do have a solid fuel Rayburn.

Today I lit the Rayburn for the first time proper this autumn, and the immersion heater went OFF. The gallons of boiling water are now a by-product. Which is fine, but you do have to think about how and when you empty the tank. Evening washing up wants finishing good and early if anyone is after a bath.

I also got two loads of washing dry. I don't own a tumble drier and am always amused by the frugal articles which suggest cutting back by drying the odd load out of doors. From terry nappies to farm work clothes, all of ours has always been dried out of doors or by the Rayburn. This winter I finally succeeded in 'encouraging' my husband to install the Sheila Maid (or more properly 'Gnu' brand') overhead drying rack. Today one lot dried outside and one lot dried overhead indoors.


What do you do that you think of as merely 'normal', which others might view as frugal?

Meanwhile, I am still at the blogger address since transferring to my own domain name is proving next door to impossible.