I’ve had a bit of a break from blogging again – not because of depression, though, this time! I simply ran out of time to update the blog how i wanted to before i went on holiday to Germany (with details of dresses and skirts i’d made) .. and then i was on holiday – we only got back a few days ago.

We had a great time in Germany – visited Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, which was an extremely interesting place to visit, and well worth the long drive – and spent time with family, of course – and i had my first ever Dutch-style birthday! It involves lots of singing.. !!! I took lots of photos, of course, which i will be posting on flickr (especially now i have a new computer which is much faster than my old one)

however, that’s not the news i’m so excited about.

I had confirmation earlier today that i am officially now a student! I start my Access to Higher Education course on 13th September, studying History, and, if i get the grades (and the funding sorted out), will be going on to University to study some kind of History degree in Sept 2011. Exactly what kind of history degree i don’t yet know – the university have several degrees within the general area of history, and then there’s the option of combined degree courses, but i have about 6-9 months to decide that.

For now, though, i’m just really really excited about this – its probably the last chance i have to get to study at this higher level, and its a subject i also find really really interesting. I can’t wait!

In terms of my diabetes, i had a check up at the beginning of August. My Hb1Ac is at the same level, and the cholesterol ranges have moved in the right directions, so Cathy (diabetes nurse) is absolutely over the moon with my progress. So am i – i’m now a size 18, heading downwards, and i’ve started running as well – just running/walking on and off at the moment, with Jess, as i build up my stamina, but its all exercise and its all good for me.. 🙂 the only negative thing with regard to my diabetes is my vitamin levels. Apparently Metformin, the drug i take to help stabilise my blood sugar levels, can also inhibit the absorption of Vitamin B12, and that’s what’s happening with me. Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the more unpleasant ones – affecting memory and concentration, can cause dizziness and various other problems, none of which i need right now. Unfortunately the remedy in this case is injections, intramuscular injections, five times over the next two weeks, starting on monday, which is going to bloody well HURT. *sighs*. that starts on Monday…

ah well. its necessary. *wince*. Unfortunately.

and finally, spotted on a bus today: Stagecoach is no longer issuing free tickets with concessionary bus passes. FINALLY. Two and a half years after i wrote to them pointing out that they didn’t NEED to print the damn things, that they just wind up littering the floor of the bus and are very bad, environmentally speaking. Two and a half years after they said, in a reply to me, that they were “reviewing the need for the production of a ticket”. Jeeze. they move fast, don’t they?


Two things to report towards my Use it Up challenge… I used 6 loo roll tubes in the garden today, saving them from landfill. a tall pot of that width for growing peas in would probably cost about 10p, so that’s the cost i’ll put down (and no, i’m not taking a photo of loo rolls. lol.)

clip drier - one of the chains between the red plastic ring and the blue plastic hook broke.

clip drier - one of the chains between the red plastic ring and the blue plastic hook broke.

The other thing to report for it is the Clip Drier: This is a plastic thingamajig (I didn’t even know what it was called. Had to look it up on Argos. They say its a clip drier, that’s good enough for me) that you can hang from the washing line, and from the plastic thing you hang your socks and underwear: basically, drying more items in a smaller space. We have a cheap one that i bought a few years ago: i was hanging up laundry this morning when one of the chains connecting the red plastic piece to the blue hook (see picture above) snapped. Instead of chucking it out and buying a new one, I grabbed some spare garden wire, threaded it through the chains, and thus mended the broken bit, then threaded more wire through the other four struts to strengthen the whole thing. I’m really pleased with my results and it went on to take a full load of socks and underwear! Cost saved: £2.

With tomorrow being a new month, Cat over at Catz’s Corner has suggested a new challenge – “Use it up April“! Basically, using all those things that otherwise, you might have thrown out… like the bit of rhubarb in the back of the freezer, the tin of peaches in the cupboard that’s been there for ages and you can’t think of anything to do with… Obviously we shouldn’t poison ourselves, but if we do use something that was otherwise destined for landfill, blog it, photograph it, work out the approximate cost and add it all up! I’ll put a wee widget at the side of my blog, so its easy to see what I’ve kept out of landfill…

I think it applies to anything kept out of landfill, not just food items, but i’m not sure – i have asked, so we’ll see what Cat says.

Should be a fun challenge!

this is a hot topic in the world right now, with the credit crunch being (mostly) down to the banks and their rather laissez faire attitude towards money. However, i thought i’d heard it all from the fat cats that are the UK’s energy companies until just now, when i read a small story on the BBC.

It seems that a woman has been resourceful and thrifty enough to reduce the amount of electricity she uses in her home to less than £5 a week. (which isn’t as hard as it sounds – we pay around £9 a week and we have a large fridge, a large freezer (seperately), and 2 computers that run 24/7. In addition, Michiel stays up most of the night, so there’s the light bills too. However, she pays for her electricity via a prepayment meter. For those who don’t know what that is, its- where you take a special card to a shop, pay over, say, £5, the card is scanned, and later, you take the card home and slide the card into the meter in your home. The meter registers that £5 has been put on the card, and ups the total on the meter to £5 plus whatever was already in the meter. Then, as you use electricity, it deducts from the total.

British Gas have now told her that because she’s fallen below the minimum payment standard, she has to pay a “fine” of 54p a week. And they’re going to send someone round to see her to see how she can make extra savings.

errm. can someone please explain this to me? we’re all being exhorted to save energy where possible, this woman has actually DONE it, and she’s being penalised for it? It seems incredible. Someone  has lost all semblance of common sense over at British Gas.

Story can be found here.

no… not two photos-a-day! These three weren’t taken by me, they were taken by my Mum (who sometimes says her bit here). And i think they’re really good so i nagged her about sharing here and she said okay. So i have, with a few minor alterations to the originals – changing the contrast and sharpness of the photographs, and turning the last one to black and white (which i think shows it off far more effectively). Hopefully she’ll forgive me for messing with her babies…

Behind the cut, because otherwise my posts will get bounced off the end of the page (and we can’t have that now, can we?). Oh, and these were all taken last weekend, when she and Dad went for a walk in a country park near where they live.Makes you realise how much snow the southern half of the country got – we got lucky, i think…


the great snowstorm of 2009 has hit: and its snowing out there! we’ve had about 10 cm here so far, there might be more, as its still snowing. but for now, a couple of shots. I took a video too. might be able to upload that later. Behind the cut, as usual. Photos and other stories, including a case of darwinism..

feeling grotty still and as such didn’t get out to walk Jess this morning (according to Michiel, she had a whale of a time playing in the snow) but hopefully tomorrow….


It snowed very early this morning, again. I was up fairly early, unable to sleep, as my back was starting to hurt (always a good sign i need to get up and move around, get the muscles moving) so after a good breakfast, I decided to take Jess (and the camera, naturellement) out and walk up to the Ashton-Under-Lyne canal that runs between Manchester and – yup, you guessed it, Ashton Under Lyne.

I’ve a number of photos to share from this batch – 32 to be exact – but i’m not going to post them all here, just a few…. behind the cut, as usual (the rest can be found here). But i’m going to start with a shot from the other night, when it was snowing lightly, and i took a black and white photograph in the garden. I didn’t expect it to come out as well as it did, since this was taken without a flash, but its a beauty. Did I say I LURVE my new camera?

Taken around 9pm, it was snowing, lightly, and i didnt dare use the flash. Its a lovely photograph, Im well pleased with it.

Taken around 9pm, it was snowing, lightly, and i didn't dare use the flash. Its a lovely photograph, I'm well pleased with it.


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