Tuesday 15 April 2014


Today's big blog news is that yesterday I signed up to do Live Below The Line again.  I can't do it the set week so will have to do it the following week and have yet to decide whether I want to start on Sunday 4th or Monday 5th May (a bank holiday so that's two days out of my work place).  Beth's doing it too so we're making a team that others could join too, if they want, and we're raising money for ActionAid, one reason being that every penny raised will be matched by the government.  They seem very good at spending money on themselves, this government, so let's see them spending a bit on those less fortunate.
(more about our chosen cause another time)

So I started by planning.  How on earth did I do it last year without using My Supermarket?  If you've not come across this site, do take a look.  It is a way of costing and comparing across most of the big supermarkets including Aldi and is very useful.

Anyway I started off by thinking vaguely of the sort of meals I would like to make and started looking up the cost of various items.  I remembered that I had last year's plans saved so found them and realised that this year would have to be quite different because Alex isn't doing it this year.  I shall, therefore, be meat free for the five days apart from boiling up some chicken bones that I got free from the butcher.  In fact I might do that today so I know just what I have got.  Three cheers for freezers!  However, where do I stand when it comes to boiling up a chicken carcass after a roast that I shall be having on Thursday?  The stock and the bits will be in the freezer, it's stuff that many (dare I say most) people would throw away.  Can I count it as free?  I don't know.

I did have to rewrite my initial plans when Beth said she wouldn't go halves with the porridge oats, sadly, so it's now porridge for breakfast every day.
As last year, I feel it's a bit silly to buy things specifically for LBTL when I already have them in.  So when possible and when comparable, I will be using storecupboard stuff and count the cost of a complete packet when costing - so I won't buy any value rice,  use the value rice in my cupboard, but will take 40p off the £5.00 I am allowed for the week (or 20p if Beth goes halves with me).  Ditto with porridge as I have loads in the cupboard and it would be really idiotic to buy more.  That, I think is one of my main criticisms of the project - it doesn't encourage you to make the best of what you already have.  But, to be fair, why should it?  That's not what it is all about and immediately creates an uneven playing field.

One good thing is that things like seasonings, oil and, joy of all joys, flour can be used on a cost what you use basis and garden produce is permitted.  So I will be living off leeks, parsnips and broccoli, I guess!  And it's back to baking bread with plain (value) flour.  And I can use SR flour for pancakes.  Yay!

The other big news (for me) is that it's been six weeks since I had my hair all chopped off and, thank goodness, Sharon is over this afternoon to cut it again.  I always knew my hair grew fast but it didn't really register when it was long and I regularly hacked at the fringe anyway.  It's really starting to annoy me now so it will be nice to get it cut again.

I popped over to Wyvale yesterday and spent rather too much money on some grafted tomatoes and a grafted chilli.  I was going to order them online and they would have been a bit cheaper, but not once to count the postage.  So I have four tomatoes: a plum, a beefsteak, a cherry and a 'normal' one and may get a few more not-grafteds for the whicker bed and a trailing one for the hanging basket.  Then I need to pray for a blight-free summer!  The reason for all these tomatoes is that I will be providing three of us with them and we all like tomatoes.  Beth has decided, quite rightly, that there's no point both of us growing tomatoes and, as she provides me with plenty of veg and fruit, I can provide her and Alex with tomatoes.  Sounds good to me.  I'm hoping the chilli will do OK too as I'd like to freeze or otherwise preserve some for the winter.

I'm getting sleepy again now after a very early wake so, seeing as I can, I shall go back to bed and see if I can snooze a bit longer.

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