Bye Bye Bonny Blue

I’ve been very remiss in my blog posting this year.

I haven’t even told you about Bonny Blue. I bought her at the beginning of April after selling the camper van.

I made the decision to to buy a very cheap car because I needed the money for other things, mainly to pay back some debts I needed to pay.

She cost me £450. That first week she cost me £185 to repair something, and then a month or two later another £200 to repair something else.

It’s very fortunate that there is a garage (workshop) in the village within easy walking distance to my cottage. It’s combined with the village shop.

Road tax and MOT test is now due and I found out today that it would cost between £300 – £500 for her to pass the MOT. So she wasn’t much of a bargain after all.

I decided to cut my losses and release her and was going to give her away to someone who would enjoy tinkering on her (the majority of the cost was labour charges). But on my way to the garage I thought that  someone would probably be willing to pay £100 for her to tinker on.

And sure enough, when I was talking to Lorna at the shop about letting someone tinker on it, her husband, the mechanic asked me how much I was selling it for. I told him £100 and he snapped it up.

So instead of me paying for the failed MOT test, I came away with £100 (and a bag of free mottled bananas.)

I thank Bonnie Blue for her service. She’s been great to drive and has transported chairs, tables, shelves galore to furnish my cottage via Freecycle.

Now I just have to work out a way to shop and do other errands with no car, no public transport and 7 miles to the nearest town. The village shop would be useful if Lorna stocked organic vegetables.

Fortunately I’m a member of the local LETS group – but that’s another post.

Good Eggs, Fish and Honey

We like eggs but we’re very fussy about them. I want free range – proper free range, out doors. Not ‘with access to outdoors’. Not free to roam in a barn. The real outdoors with the sky above and real earth beneath the feet.

I’m also concerned that the layers pellets that the hens are fed contain GM corn. Most egg producers I asked didn’t know if the feed they bought was GM. I steer clear of those people because if they don’t know, then they just buy whatever’s cheapest, and the cheapest pellets will be GM corn. It’s mandatory in this country to label GM food but if an animal has eaten GM food then it doesn’t have to be labeled as such.

I was having to resort to buying organic free range from the supermarkets. But the problem with that (apart form being expensive)  is all the eggs are washed. When an egg is washed the stuff that’s in the water gets absorbed through the shell. Even if they don’t add chemicals to the water there is still chlorine in it.

I found a lady at Wellington Farmer’s Market who keeps her hens outside and she doesn’t wash the shells and although she doesn’t do organic her pellets are GM free. She checked. And she’s the cheapest around so when I manage to get to the Farmer’s Market in Wellington I get a load from her. Unfortunately it’s not on every Saturday so it gets complicated.

I also found a lady running the amazing fish mongers in Taunton who has an orchard for ‘her girls’. All the eggs are different colours and sizes and all organic. And all are delicious.

I pop in on Thursdays when I go to the farmer’s market there. I love to see the enormous fish in the interesting display. I get a cod carcass for £2 and make delicious fish bone broth from it. I also rescue a bowl of fish from the bones and head too.

As a bonus the other lady who serves the fish has a beehive and sells jars of honey in the shop from time to time. It’s the best honey! I like to talk to the beekeeper to see how processed it is and she says the spinning process (to remove the honey from the combs) heats the honey a little bit but that’s all the heat it gets. Honey doesn’t tend to be labeled raw in this country as it is the the USA.

Wellington

(I found this is my drafts. So in the spirit of honesty – I didn’t do this ‘yesterday’)

I love shopping in Wellington. I’m talking about the little town in Somerset, England.

I enjoy doing my weekly shopping in local shops.

I’m so glad there’s a lovely hardware store. Yesterday I got

  • some wood glue to mend some shelves that I got from Freecycle,
  • some masking tape because Claire is decorating the cottage and has run out,
  • some sandpaper for paintwork
  • and a pair of gardening gloves.

I also went to the LETS market. It’s on the first Saturday of each month in the Friend’s Meeting House. Someone was selling material so I had to go. I bought some lovely organza for one Tone. I also bought some organic spelt bread rolls for money – 30p each. If you don’ know what LETS is I’ll do a post on it soon.

I popped into two charity shops and picked up a lovely mug in one and a basket in another. I can’t resist baskets. This one was £3 and the pretty mug was £1. We only have two mugs after I downsized big time so I need to build up a collection now I have a home to put them in.

IMG_8565

I also checked out the junk yard that’s run by a Frenchman called Patrick. I got a bucket for 50p. He had a pile of them and when I asked the price he told me they were buy one get one free. So I got two. I wanted something to put my vegetable scraps in for composting and the handle of my old bucket snapped so it’s handy to have another one.

I popped into Sunseed the whole food shop and got miso, organic bananas and apples, natural nappy cleanser for my towels (I wash at 30 degrees and this stuff keeps the bacteria at bay).

I popped into Dotty Dolly’s to get some material for a patchwork quilt now I’m in my cottage.

I was rushing around because I’d parked at Waitrose carpark and so only had two hours. I hadn’t planned on going into the Farmer’s Market because last time I went (about two years ago) it was pathetic but it looked like they were making an effort so I rushed in. I’m so glad I did! There were many more stalls this time and found someone to buy my eggs from!

Last stop was Waitrose. That’s the supermarket for the discerning. I love Waitrose but would prefer if it would have more organic stuff. They concentrate on quality though so that’s something.

Feed The Birds!

The owner told me that one of the jobs was to feed all the birds in the surrounding area. She wasn’t joking either.

I took this picture above from the shelter of the conservatory because as you can see, it’s raining. This is just one of the four main areas where there are feeding stations.

When she first arrived at the house she saw not much evidence of birds. That was until she started feeding them. She now has feeding stations all around the very large garden which need replenishing from the large bins of food each day.

She gives different seeds, grain, nuts and fat balls in different ways to attract different species of bird. She even has several barrels that are designed to feed the pheasants and partridge. The barrel has a hole at the bottom with a wire spring that when knocked releases the grain. I saw ducks availing themselves of this food the other morning too.

The owner buys bread especially for the ducks. Half a loaf a day gets distributed on the ponds.

Of course it’s not only birds who enjoy this feast. I’ve seen grey squirrels and rats too. The rats have holes by the feeding stations and pop out to get the nuts and seeds left by the birds.

Some animal has learned which bin the peanuts are in in the stables. They have also learned  to knock off the shovel I placed on the lid to prevent the theft. I foiled them with a few bricks.

stables

 

This is the old stable building where the feed is in large metal bins. It’s also another feeding station for the birds. Just out of the picture is another bird table for more food.

The owner said she’d put rat poison down to take care of the rats. Funny how we like and feed some animals and kill others.

The neighbours are not near us at all and when visiting they come around on bikes. The mum comes and takes the dogs out for a walk on the days the owner is at work. So they came for a visit and the children noticed a rook came to rest in the small pond at the back. It had it’s wings out. The neighbour rescued it from the pond but it stayed on the grass. It died later.

We also found a dead pheasant upside down inside the stables. I suspect they may have been poisoned by the rat poison but obviously have no proof. I haven’t told the owner yet. Just reported that all her girls were happy.

This Old House

I’ve been so busy telling you about the animals that I haven’t mentioned the house. and that’s a shame because it’s a beautiful place. It’s one of those old English houses that has several different ages depending on which part you’re in.

The front entrance hall looks the oldest part although as you can see from the picture above, it’s been modernised in part. On the old paneling there are two carved Tudor Roses. This paneling is thick and rustic and looks like thick planks of wood the width of thick oak trees. Looks genuine Tudor building to my untrained eye. The front door (which is not used) has been stuffed with old newspapers all around the edges to keep out the draft.

entrance hall

There is a carved bench below the mirror and can you see the two light switches by the kitchen door? They are at least 1950’s era.

It looks like it was a farm house because it has stables and barns. At least one barn seems to have been annexed to the house as the lounge.

There are other rooms that look like they were outhouses the other side of the back entrance passageway. These have now been integrated into the house whilst using the original old outhouse doors.

The kitchen door from the kitchen side of the paneling
The kitchen door from the kitchen side of the paneling