Lunch for 40p

Having forgotten to take my wallet to work today I was faced with a conundrum. Borrow money from a colleague or take the 52p I found in my desk to Sainsburys to see what I could buy.

I decided to see what the options would be with an extremely limited budget.

Sadly vegetables weren’t an option as everything was over a pound so I soon found myself in the instant noodle/MSG section and weighed up the options of a small tin of macaroni cheese or Chinese ramen noodles. Neither of which were particularly healthy or appealing. I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I could have bought a small baguette for 45p (again, not for me) but then I discovered a tin of “Be Good to Yourself” spicy tomato and lentil soup for 40p. I read the ingredients, nothing artificial and so with my 12p change, I heated my soup back at work.

For 40p and a low fat, reasonably healthy lunch I was impressed. The soup was tasty with a nice level of spice and filling. And for 40p that’s probably the cheapest lunch I’ve had.

I remember talking about the £10 challenge a couple of years ago, how to live on £10 for a week. With a 40p soup option, that’s seven soups for £2.80.

Hard to beat!


Where’s Guy?

Over the past few years there’s been more Halloween and less Guy Fawkes to the point that Guy Fawkes or Bonfire night seems to have disappeared altogether, at least in London.

Bonfire Night was one of the best nights of the year as a child, only surpassed by Christmas Eve.

The magic of the fireworks as rockets zoomed into the dark, Autumn sky, the giant village bonfire complete with sofa and effigy and the bright, distorting lights in the village hall as we blinked with smoke filled eyes and ate jacket potatoes with soft skins from being wrapped in foil.

Perhaps it was a little negative to burn Catholics but I miss the tradition of Guy Fawkes and remember the Fifth of November with a great sense of nostalgia.

Bring back Guy!

Wishful Thinking

Big T and the estate agent have been discussing moving dates but it appears to be wishful thinking as the solicitors are yet to speak or discuss exchanging contracts.

I suspect it’s wishful thinking on the part of the estate agent as he wants his commission and even more, his Christmas bonus.

So we’ve had surveys done and had the movers around. And we continue to wait…

Agnes and the Russians

Agnes has been spending the weekend with a medal-winning Russian grappler.

We don’t really know what that means except that we found a new dog sitter nearby and went to meet her.

She had an enormous German Shepherd called Rex and a boyfriend who’s a grappler. We assume that’s a type of wrestler and judging by the number of medals, Agnes had better be on her best behaviour!

We’ll find out tomorrow if Agnes is barking in Russian!


Back to France for a weekend of winterisation. Or in other words, make sure the pool hasn’t overflowed in the past month.

We arrived on Friday and for once decided to get an Uber. Taxis in the South of France are astronomical and we were once charged €40 to go from Nice to the airport, a journey of approximately five minutes. Ouch.

With that in mind, €40 in an Uber compared to an hour on the bus seemed reasonable.

We arrived in the dark and could instantly see the pool was a dark, green murky pond lapping at the top of the paving. We were just in the nick of time.

We also discovered a bad leak in one bedroom as builders had replaced a roof tile the wrong way and the room had flooded. Not good news at all.

It was all manageable and on Saturday the builder came to correct the tile and promised to fix the bedroom.

We dumped some chemicals into the bottle green pool and created a rather lurid concoction, not the crystalline pool of the summer and we moved the outdoor furniture, umbrella and tables under cover for the winter.

With a bit of washing and cleaning, we just had to cover the pool and we were ready for the lockdown.

With more rain forecast and the ski season already underway, it was a good thing we’d arrived this weekend.

All ready for the winter!

Agnes is 3!

Three years of Agnes, the exuberant Welsh Terrier has brought a great deal of joy into our lives and we’re very happy to have this nutty little dog joining us on our DIY adventures.

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The early days

From a tiny puppy to a fully grown, if not entirely mature Weshie, she’s a quirky personality, obsessed with raindrops, holes in the floor and the occasional piece of cheddar cheese.

Agnes will run away at any opportunity, won’t ever come back when called and bites my feet (and only mine) if I step over her when she’s asleep and it really hurts! She’s incredibly gentle with children, loves a cuddle sitting on a lap and is definitely not an alpha dog.

Agnes is a brilliant dog and very much loved. Happy birthday Little A!

The first viewing

On Friday afternoon Big T saw our new flat for the first time. Yes, that’s right, we’re close to completion and he hadn’t even seen it!

Apparently he trusted me when I said he would love it and it was right up his alley. Apparently I was right when I knew it was just the kind of project he’d like to do.

And so we went back for my second look and his first.

For me it was a case of “Yikes, do I really want to do this all again?” and for Big T it was “I can’t wait to get started!” I know him quite well!

The potential is still what I saw in the summer and I know we can make the place fabulous but there is more to do than I originally thought and we will have a lot of work ahead of us once we do the deal.

And then I remembered the reality of renovating in winter, with no heating and no bathroom…