Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Tuesday: spend, spend, spend.

So yesterday I went into town on a mission - to spend (if I could) my gift cards.

I had to check a couple because they were so old but, luckily for me, they were all still good.

So . . .
Debenhams:   a nice wooden bread board, a splatter guard (my old one fell apart) and, because it was a money off day, I was able to make it up to £20 with two little boxes of Ferraro Rocher which will make most acceptable little gifts, always supposing I haven't eaten them first!  One card down!

Then into Waterstones:  after much enjoyable rootling around I bought Nigel Slater's 'Real Food' because it looks great.  Normal ingredients, not stuffed with glossy coloured pictures to the exclusion of recipes and just really sensible looking recipes and lots of them.  Delia is my hero but I do have a very soft spot for Mr Slater.  Two cards down

Then I did a few boring but necessary things, such as paying in a couple of cheques and making a long overdue hearing aid appointment.  I also went into Whittards and bought one of those ball shaped tea infusers.
Teapot Mesh Ball Infuser
Mine is the one with the blue teapot.  It's cute
Photo can be found here
Boots next:  hearing aid batteries went in the basket.  Then I treated myself to some lavender and jasmine soaps (I love the scent of lavender), some lavender body spray and a perfume stick.  Perfect for this hot weather.  Three cards down!

M&S was pretty crowded and I focused on the food area.  I got some roasted garam masala powder because the current lot has nearly gone.  Then I spotted one of their meal deals in the Chinese display cabinet.  Two mains and two sides for £8.  It was supposed to make two dinners but - blush - I've just finished it off for breakfast.  Ooops.  It was delicious though.  The card lives to spend another day.

After some time picking strawberries (so relaxing) I went over the road to Abercorns and spent all my garden vouchers.  Some plants, some plant food, two nice pots and a rake head (I have a system of tools where you buy the handles you need and the heads are interchangeable.  Very sturdy, very convenient and I used the rake to good effect before sowing some seeds in my newly created veg bed last night.  Just carrots and radishes for a quick return!  I also got some tomato food, some herb food (I didn't know there was such a thing), some bug spray and a few bits and bobs.  All useful stuff and a mixture of useful and spoiling.
If any of 'my' mums read this, thank you very, very much for the vouchers and I love what I have spent them on!  Please pass that on.

So that was four cards down and one slightly battered.

And then I went home, had lunch and fell asleep for a couple of hours!  I slept again in the evening and it's just as well I did because it was a most uncomfortable night, hot and humid and full of restless dreams and waking ups.  Horrid really.  We're now in the middle of a storm.  Not a violent one but some lightning and thunder and some rain.  It doesn't feel any less humid though - yet.  Fingers crossed.

Providing the weather is OK, I plan to pot up my tayberry into one of the pots I bought and place it where it's going to be trained along the fence.  No tying up yet as the fence has to be painted and anyway it's not big enough for that.  Yet!
Borrowed from Google.  
Here's what a tayberry looks like and this is what Wiki says about the tayberry.
Tayberry (Rubus fruticosus x idaeus) is a cultivated shrub in the genus Rubus of the family Rosaceae patented in 1979 as a cross between a blackberry and a red raspberry, and named after the river Tay in Scotland. The fruit is sweeter, much larger, and more aromatic than that of the loganberry, itself a blackberry and red raspberry cross. The tayberry is grown for its edible fruits which can be eaten raw or cooked, but the fruit do not pick easily by hand and cannot be machine harvested, so they have not become a commercially grown berry crop. As a domestic crop, this plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

When I was living in London decades ago we had a loganberry at the bottom of the garden and the tayberry reminds me a lot of that.  It's not the same, as it says above, but both have blackberry in them.  The loganberries made lovely jam.

Apologies for such a long post and congratulations if you've made it to the end without dozing off.  Have a good, cool day.


Diane Epps said...

Interesting that the storm hit you too. It hit here at exactly 4am now that the sun is up we have still got some cloud but it is still pretty warm and we really could have used a lot more rain than we got. What lovely fun to have a shopping spree there is nothing quite like retail therapy.

Joy said...

I was hoping that it will cooled down a bit by the time the rain stops. Sun is good but not sweltering heat.
The shopping spree was enjoyable. I can't remember the last time I had so many gift cards and I had to use a couple of them up pretty quickly before they ran out. I could never go and do that with my own money but when it's gifts it feels different, doesn't it?
J x

Annabeth said...

Wonderful shopping spree and lovely long post!
The storm hasn't hit here yet, not sure whether it will at all but it's very muggy. Had to get out early as forgot to put the wheelie bin out last night, but they haven't been yet. Wonder whether they are on strike already (it's on the cards and they've ballotted!)
To avoid hot, sticky nights I have removed the duvet and just use the cover, find this ideal as two layers (one sheet wouldn't be enough)
As I was up I pottered around in the garden but had to give up after half an hour, too sticky! Ax

joanygee said...

No storms here, just gentle rain. Tayberries are awkward to pick but well worth it. Lovely to read how much your efforts are appreciated. Jx

Joy said...

Annabeth, it's rained for a while not, getting increasingly less muggy through the early morning. It's quite nice now. I didn't know a refuse strike was due, Darn it!
I sleep on top of the covers completely on these hot nights.

Joan, we've had some pretty heavy rain on and off. I doubt it's enough to soak the beds but it all helps and it was certainly a useful amount.
J x

Annabeth said...

If it happens, it'll only affect Brighton & Hove!

Joy said...

:-) And has it?
J x

Annabeth said...

It's to do with equal pay for men and women so the Council workers are going to have a drop in salary to make up the women's increases. Some up to £1000 and about four up to £4000 a year.

The refuse collection force didn't like it and went on strike in June for about 10 days. In reality it was about 3 weeks because they started playing up before the official strike. Husband took the rubbish to the tip. The Inner City looked a mess and stank!

The equal pay is good of course but as the refuse workers are amongst the lowest paid I had some sympathy.

A new offer was put on the table and I've just heard they've accepted it, albeit reluctantly. Still haven't collected today's rubbish though ...

Joy said...

Ah - thank you for the clarification. I can see why you had sympathy. Why should some take a cut so that others receive what should have rightfully been theirs for the start?
J x

Annabeth said...

..and considering our wonderful Green Council spent half a million clearing up after illegal encampments last year!

Sonja said...

Lovely to read and the shopping sounds like enormous fun! :o) I had heard of Tayberries but didn't know what they were, so thanks for the explanation.
Sounds like you are having a great time - I am so glad.
Boiling hot here and mind-bogglingly humid, horrible and it's going to get much worse for the weekend, they're forecasting over 40 degrees celsius - quite frightening for someone who really doesn't like the heat! ..
Have a lovely time! :o) S. xxxx

Joy said...

It sounds an absolute nighmare for you, Sonja. It's fresher here this morning after overnight rain but I doubt the heat has gone very far away. The sun is shining brightly at the moment. Very cheering.
J x