The Chateau strikes back….

So, once again I am learning more and more about the pros and cons (mostly cons) of Chateau D’Omnishambles…. This week it’s mould (mold?) and condensation…

Last winter this wasn’t something I noticed or cared about as last winter this house was a building site, with broken boiler, no radiators, plastering and construction going on and the doors and windows were open all winter while workmen trudged in and out etc. My previous house was a new build and extremely well-insultated so didn’t have this issue (that I was aware of).

This winter in the new house, we have discovered mould in all the windowsills, a result of the condensation running down the windows every morning since it turned cold.

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The Tree Quilt

I’ve been wanting to make this one for ages. The original pattern had the tree “leaves”/circles all in one colour, which I think would have looked a bit better, but this was for my newest daughter and as we don’t have any of her baby clothes we wanted it to include other special memories for her like her football kit, school cardigan, pyjamas and nighties, favourite dress etc.

So it’s more colourful and a bit random in terms of a colour-scheme but it’s special and she loves it.

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The Single Tax

Tonight I paid single tax.

That extra money for things that couples just don’t need to pay for.

S’s football training has been moved later in the evening and it’s a total logistical nightmare. Previously it was 6pm to 7pm on a Monday night, and that was hard enough, as I’d have to entertain a very tired 4-year old on the sidelines in the cold, dark, and often very wet side of the pitch. A usually goes to bed at 7pm and she has been especially knackered since starting school so on Mondays we don’t get home from football til 7.30 and then it’s almost 8pm by the time I can get her teeth brushed and into bed. It also doesn’t help that S’s football team is close to her old primary school which is not even remotely local and all the way across town.

Now the practice is from 6.30 – 7.30pm so that they can share the floodlights with another team, and it’s a massive pain in the arse.

I just can’t expect A to stay up that late, standing about in the cold dark drizzle. And I don’t want S to have to give up football either – she’s a very athletic kid who loves sports and has a lot of good friends on her team. Friendships have been tricky at her new school lately and so maintaining friendships outside of school is crucial right now.

So we have tried out a new babysitter, a local 6th former who babysits for my friend.

I put A to bed, waited til she fell asleep and then said teenager popped over and sat in my house watching telly while I drove across town to collect S from football practice.

Couples have a built-in partner who can just stay at home with the kid while you do this sort of thing. They don’t have to pay some random kid £5 a week so your kid can stay on their football team.

I’m especially annoyed about it as I literally never get to go out, and having a night out usually costs a fortune – you’ve paid £30-£40 before you’ve left the house so it’s just too expensive. But here I am paying a babysitter weekly, NOT so I can enjoy myself but to trundle about collecting the children from their activities.

It’s a tax only single parents have to pay. And I’m irrationally annoyed about it.

It ain’t no cruise…

Being a parent, and especially a single parent, means being all things all of the time, whether you want to or not. It’s a huge responsibility to be the person holding everything together even when sometimes you don’t feel like it.

You are the anchor, keeping everything stable.

You are the Captain, in charge and sure of yourself and your decisions at all times.

You are the navigator, charting a course, figuring out where you are going and how you’re going to get there.

You are the ship itself, keeping everyone safe as you roll around in the stormy weather, reeling and rocking, getting pummelled and battered, while keeping them warm and dry.

You are the activities director, planning all the playdates and football matches and swimming lessons and fun stuff.

You are up the mast clinging to the pole trying to spot any icebergs bearing down upon you, working out if you can avoid them or not, or if you will inevitably have to take the hit.

You are the safe harbour when the outside world is too rough and inhospitable.

You are all of these things, and sometimes, you are also an exhausted human who needs their own safe harbour, and anchor and captain to look after you too.

If you’re lucky enough, you have a support system (or harbour) strong enough to hold you sometimes when you need to dock and refuel, to bolster you ready to head back out to sea and do it all over again.

The price of milk….

This morning our milkman apologised to me that he couldn’t deliver my milk on time as he’s had a crate of milk stolen off the back of his truck this morning and he had to go back to the depot to get more before he could deliver it to me.

He said this sort of thing has started to happen more and more recently.

And here’s the thing.

There is no resale value for a bottle of milk. It’s a highly perishable item that is worth relatively little.

The person who stole it almost certainly wasn’t intending to sell it for profit. They most likely just couldn’t afford to buy milk for their own family.

They probably only needed a few pints, but because it’s hard to subtly steal 3-4 glass bottles without drawing attention or dropping them, it would have been easier to just take the whole crate.

I really wish we had a Government that could honestly and genuinely understand how desperate people are at the bottom of society that they can’t even buy milk.

Energy prices for heating and electricty are going through the roof, mortgages are scary and many, many people will be repossessed and will become homeless in the next year, including families with children. People are choosing whether to heat their homes or eat, and articles are appearing all over on how to save money by not using your oven to cook, and how to stay warm without heating your home etc.

The Government has quite literally gone mad and caused most of this crisis themselves, and are refusing to see the sheer desperation of a large portion of the population who have been through enough over the last few years of austerity and Covid combined.

I honestly found this milk theft to be so, so sad and I feel so much empathy for the person who stole it. I cannot imagine how hard that person’s life is right now, and I wish someone in charge had even 10% of the empathy that I feel.

Budget Christmas

As promised, I thought I would share with you some of my homemade budget Christmas ideas.

I will often make just one or two things one year and give it to everyone, and the next year make a different thing and give it everyone so I can keep track of who has received what. (And also avoid giving people the same thing year after year after year as that gets super old and boring very quickly).

Obviously in posting this, some of you may get a preview of what’s coming your way this year, so it won’t be a surprise, but try and forget about it by Christmas anyway!

Not only are these ideas generally fairly cheap, especially if you have saved up your jam jars all year or found things for free on local freecycle groups, but they are also usually much appreciated by the recipients as they are thoughtful and homemade. Many of us these days get inundated with “tat” at Christmastime – lovely to get gifts but I think almost all adults (and most kids) will get at least one gift that will go straight to the charity shop in January! More and more people are keen to not only save money but also reduce the need for more “stuff” that will clutter up their homes. (I always keep a list of things I genuinely want or need for myself on hand so if anyone asks me what I want I can direct them to things I have been specifically wanting like a new casserole pot or a trivet etc to avoid too much random stuff!).

Anyhow, hopefully these ideas will not only be good for your wallet but also for your environmental impact! And if you don’t have your own jam jars, bottles or containers, first check places like freecycle and local facebook “hand me on” type groups, as it’s likely you can get it for free, but if not, places like Ikea and Hobbycraft or Wilko often have cheap jars, bottles and containers you can use.

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School!

Just like a whirlwind the summer holidays are over and the new term is upon us!

In most atmospheric fashion the glorious sunny weather we’ve been having broke on the first day of term and it has rained ever since. Reminds me of my own childhood when summers seemed to be full of long, hot, golden, sunny days and going back to school meant wet, damp, autumnal weather…

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