2008 Arrives, Plague Hits Us!

Since my last entry in the wee small hours as the New Year arrived, not much has happened on the plot, but I thought I’d update anyway.

New Years Day was spent in quiet contemplation of the effects of excess alcohol on the head and some very uncharitable thoughts about people who let off extremely loud banging fireworks at 3.00am. I daresay there is very little chance of public hanging coming back and even if it does, unlikely to be for letting off fireworks.

We’ve both been struck down by a rotten cold, or maybe flu. I suspect it’s actually the Ebola Virus. Val was hit one day before me, which kindly let me know what was about to arrive. Friday was my worst day and I spent most of it in bed thinking that the grim reaper was waiting in the wardrobe.

As I write this on Saturday morning, I merely feel grotty, which is a great improvement. It could be a lot worse, this Norovirus or “winter vomiting disease” sounds pretty rough and, touch wood, we’ve escaped that. Comments regarding Manflu are not welcome, by the way.

Making Our Own Butter

I did get our bargain cream converted into butter. In some ways it might seem a bit of a game but we converted 10p tubs of cream at the end of their shelf life into lovely butter that can store in the  freezer in just half an hour, including clearing up time.

Honestly, if you’re in a supermarket and they’ve reduced cream (whipping, double or that extra thick stuff but not single cream) to clear, empty the shelf. See Making Your Own Butter

The buttermilk was used as well, it went into a cheese sauce apart from some that went into the cat, from a separate bowl, I hasten to add.

Dire Financial Predictions

2008 is not going to be a brilliant year, according to the financial pundits. For a start the housing market in the UK could follow the US down the pan. In the long term, in the UK, house prices are bound to rise again even if they do fall in the short term. This isn’t all bad news though, first time buyers will find it a lot easier and it won’t make any difference to people like us who are staying put. Whether our house is worth a million or just one pound, the mortgage stays the same.

A lot of people will find themselves facing a financial crisis as the December bills land and the credit card companies stop their stupidly generous offers. My advice if you find yourself in that situation is to get down to Citizens Advice and get proper advice. Don’t respond to adverts on the TV that promise to get you out of debt, they’re not charities and guess who will be paying in the end?

Reduce Your Energy Costs

To add to the fun, it seems there is a round of price rises in the energy market hitting. Gas and electricity prices going through the roof will mean a pain for many of us and for some people, especially the elderly, the choice is between heating and eating. Take a few minutes to look at my Frugal Living tips for some straightforward advice on reducing your energy costs.

If you’ve not swapped to low energy light bulbs, then do so now. Follow that link and you’ll see how much money you’re throwing away and take a look at Energy Saving Tips

Dig for Survival – Grow Your Own

Finally, make the most of your allotment or garden. You can, with some planning and a fair bit of healthy exercise, cover a lot of your family’s food bill. I’ve spent some time researching what growing your own vegetables can save you and my best guesstimate is £800 a year. That’s quite a bonus for a great hobby. If your finances are grim, the positive psychological effect of gardening is not to be forgotten either.

My predicition for 2008 is that the weather is going to be good and we’ll have a proper growing year.  I feel it in my bones, which are probably as accurate as the super computers of the Met  Office in the long term.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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