Thursday, 17 May 2012

Bills ahhhh!

Hehe, we know that we are now proper adults because we now pay bills! I knew that bills would cost money and we have alloted money that we don't touch for that very purpose. But what I hadn't figured on was how much time that you spend on the phone phoning them with daft questions and requests like 'would they please change my name from Stacy to Sophie please (EDF)' or 'I have set up a direct debit but now I am told by a letter that my payment is overdue what the hell (again EDF)'. I will never understand how all this stuff isn't electronic either. I was sent an itemised billing schedule for the whole year for council tax, however if I want to go and pay it, I have to key in the amount myself. Its not just waiting on the system for me to put my debit card details in. Which means its quite scary because you don't feel sure your actually paying 'your' council tax eeeek!

This leads me on to how on earth we have the money to pay these bills. We are both employed! Yay! Mattyman is working as a dealer in a casino and I am working in a Pub behind the bar. Its fantastic I feel so much better now I am employed we don't have to worry about money much, because between us we earn enough to pay for everything. We even have money left over for fun stuff and savings (I am currently saving for the AAT, I have discovered that if I pay it in full upfront the price is at a 20% discount which would make it around 1600 rather than 1900ish).

Well since writing this and completely forgetting about it I have had more run ins with EDF. 2 weeks ago we recieved our first EDF bill and the bill told me that noting was further needed from us as the bill is paid by direct debit. A week later we recieved a letter from EDF asking why haven't we paid the bill and to do so as soon as possible. So I sent an email to EDF detailing why I haven't paid the bill. After not hearing from them for a week I get a further letter telling me that if we do not pay the bill further action will be taken by them (a debt collector may come around). So I decide after finding a number for them that wouldn't cost me the earth to phone them by, I phoned them up.
After speaking to a very nice man it transpired that although a direct debit was set up their system had deleted our bank details. All this fuss for £27.57, so as a grown up I made the executive decision to cancel the direct debit and pay quaterly like all the other bills that we pay.

Phew now all that is over we have two months without bills (except council tax which is monthly). Now we can get ready for the wedding without worry of our electric being cut off in our absence. Anyway now to go and pack and get ready for going back to Ilfracombe to see the peoples and furry monkeys (who will be very put out when they see us leave early in the morning on Saturday.

Byeeeeeeee for now, watch this space for wedding photos x x x x x x 

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Being Grown ups

Well it is now, May the 1st and lots has happened, we are now offically residents of Plymouth. After our initial visit to Plymouth we went back and arranged to view some houses. The first one we viewed was horrid, the second one was alright but it was 3 floors up and in the student area on town (known for being loud), the third one was a basement flat that was ghastly. Finally we were down to one and a spare that the agent said would be worth a visit which was next door. The first one was ok but the kitchen was in the lounge and it became quite clear that the fridge/freezer and washing machine would be quite distracting, we were starting to worry about whether we were going to find a suitable place and then he took us next door and it was perfect!

It comprised of a large bedroom with storage (2 slim wardrobes), a nice sized lounge, a nice tidy clean bathroom and a kitchen which is part of the hallway. It had room for washing machine, fridge and a freezer (by this point we realised it would make sense to make these purchases and Thank you to Grandpa and Grandma Bave for their contribution which paid for all these items). Here are some of the piccys from the estate agent:

 The Bedroom

 The Lounge

 The Bathroom

The kitchen there is more cupboards to the left of the camera as well as space underneath for our fridge and freezer

So after deciding that was the place for us we set about securing it. It took a couple of weeks and a lot of phone calls (not helped by the jobseekers allowance lot, who we repeatedly had to phone as well). However, on the night before we were due to move in Matt was asked to attend the final stage of interviews for a job. This turned out to work in all our favour, as me and Matt were at Plymouth ready to sign for the keys (after a little heart attack provided to us from the card machine which refused to accept our payment) and Dad, Kez and Isaac were able to all fit in the van to help unload. So there is a major thank you to Dad, kezza bee, Isaac and Rosie for all their help lugging and delivering all our stuff and thank you Mummy for all your support in the planning of it all to get it all to work. So after getting the keys we bought supplies for the hard working removal team (which included english breakfast sandwiches (I don't think I have seen Kez's eye get quite that big except at Christmas hehe) and biscuits. It was quite scary when it all first arrived as all the stuff came out before the furniture, so it looked like we had less space than I thought however it all just about fits (as can be seen from the piccys below). 

 The lounge
 The collage I made for the fireplace

 The bedroom, which despite the stuff in it still looks huge

about six weeks after we moved in we recieved this little box of goodies from the letting agents, hehe!

Phew well it is getting late so I will finish with some more to tell another time
Night Night x x x x x

Friday, 27 April 2012

The New Year and a new Destination!

After our wonderful WWOOFing experience we came home to Ilfracombe for the end of the year and to spend Christmas with the family. We also helped with bits and pieces of DIY, the house is looking amazing, we kept coming back to find more and more of the house having been beautifully finished. Christmas was fun with all of us home.

In the new year after a little holiday at Center parcs, which was lots of fun, lots of swimming, Badminton, card games, and food, we started looking into where to go to next. After much debate and research we decided that Plymouth would be the best option (Exeter was top until we found out how expensive living costs were). So from the end of January we started applying for all possible jobs. So first we decided to visit Plymouth, to see if we liked it.

So we booked a hotel visit to check it out, we stayed at Jurys Inn, in the middle of the city.

 The view from our hotel room on the 8th floor

Our very comfortable hotel room

St Andrew church that literally is the roundabout which you can see from the hotel hallway

The Lighthouse at the sea front

The memorial Garden for WW1 and WW2

F.G. GODDARD is my great grandfather who died aboard the HMS Thistle a submarine blown up by a German U-boat

 The memorial Garden

another view of the Memorial

The Quay at the Barbican, the building with the curvy roof in the top corner is the Aquarium 

 The brilliant sculpture at the quayside near where the Mayflower set sail, although technically the actual ship set sail from inside what is now a pub across the road from the where the quay is now.

   The icing on top of the cake, Matt found Bibbon St he was so happy to be moving somewhere monkey related hehe!

After this we seriously focussed on getting jobs in Plymouth

Watch this space for our next move x x x x

Our Last Woofing experience catch up

I just realised I couldn't really start the blog without the last chapter of our Wooffing experience. The last place we went to was called Dyffryn Isaf in South Wales.

We arrived in the afternoon and after a cuppa tea we got stuck straight in a started to weed some beds and soon discovered that this farm has one type of white rooted that was very persistent. In fact we didn't realise just how persistent it was until one of our woof hosts dug a patch we had done and it was still full of roots! but finally we did get as much roots out as we could and covered the with corrogated metal.

 The beds ready for new planting.

We did lots of different things at the farm, they have many Shetland Sheep and were given the opportunity to give them a health check, I have never handled sheep so this was a great experience. They also have 4 goats, 3 of which, were producing milk and we were allowed to milk them. Most of the food that we ate on the farm either came from Suma or their own farm, so we ate a lot of goat milk, goat cheese, meat from their own sheep, and vege from their own garden. I don't think we ever have eaten so much goat product, the cheese was especially good.

The farm was situated in a lovely valley there were some beautiful views. We were lucky with the weather although we had some rain, we generally had good weather. They also had their own Orchard in which they grew, cookers, eaters and cider apples. We got to pick quite a few on our stay, we also picked a lot of raspberries and had many meals that included both fruits. We also got to press about 6-7 bin fulls of cider apples with a big apple press. We had lots of apple juice, all ready for fermenting and some for drinking. This was lots of fun and much laughing and giggling as some of the apples where more mushy than others and some batches did kind of explode out the sides of the press with big splat noises! all the crushed pulp was given to the goats.

As you will see later our hosts dye their own wool, during our stay we got to harvest a whole crop of Madder root (which is a plant whose roots can be used to dye wool a red colour), apparently it takes 2 years before you can harvest as it takes this long for the roots to grow prolifically. 

As well as the hoofed creatures they also had lots of chickens and two cats too (named Socks and Lucy) I of course fell for the kitties and they repeatedly tried to get cuddles out of us.

One of the views in the sheep field

Matt at the gate of the orchard.
The patch that we rescued one of the sheep who had got caught up in a few sneaky brambles.
Some of the Shetland Sheep that they had at the farm, these sheep were both a meat source and a wool source, our hosts were very into textiles and spin, dye, tan the skins (for sheep skin rugs, many of which are used in the house as rugs) and make things from the fleece (e.g. felt).  

Me and Lucy on a break
Socks making sure that everyone knew the wood was hers.
This is an attempt at homemade solar water sadly there wasn't much in the way of sun or heat for it to work while we were there. 
The apple pressing equipment all cleaned up.
Mad Momma Chicken!
The very impressive compost system.
The Broccoli that flowered very early
The raspberry patch
The muck heap that we weeded and covered up with black plastic

Some of the Madder root, when wet and washed the roots are dark red through to orange.
One of the batches of chickens whose mum is the mad Momma chicken!

Our Wooff hosts let us have a go at weaving!

Here is our finished weaving hehe.

We also were given two days off during our stay so we decided to go to Tenby and Camarthen.

We had a great time going to Tenby, we also got to see Narbeth on the way. At Tenby I realised that I had been there before, I went there as a small child and we went on a ride in a horse drawn carriage, and they are still doing running trips around the town.  We went to the seafront  

Our hosts very kindly took us along to the Welsh Spinners, Weavers and Dyers guild event in LLandiloes. It was a wonderful event, the theme of the guild event this year was flowers, our hosts local guild flower was the foxglove. Here are some pictures of the beautiful wares and pieces for the competition. There was a whole mix of fibres, textiles and themes. Overall it was brilliant, they evn had local suppliers in selling all kinds of fleece, fibres, equipment.for spinning, felting, carding if it was wool related they had it! This was also where Matt bought his drop spindle and our host showed him how to use it. We also got to meet an amazing artist who did a presentation on here textile work and business she was amazing she was only in her 20's and she has done some really prestigious artwork really amazing! Her main theme is weaving and she sells some of her designs but she also does art using threads and ribbons set into resin which created stunning illusions. I will include her name when I find the booklet I wrote her name in, her textiles were truly gorgeous.

 The two photos above were the display from the Pembrokeshire guild the one our host belonged to.

 The Pembrokeshire guild members Competition entry. I particularly like the fox wearing gloves!

Pressing apples

 sneaky pic of Matt weaving at the loom
After the Spinners, Weavers and Dyers event we dropped in at Aberaeron and had ice cream and the The Hive. It is a Local Honey themed restaurant and they make ice cream to die for!

We also got an opportunity to go to Camarthen which we had only previously changed trains and buses at on the way to other places. It was really nice there even though it was raining, we had a total nostalgia day. We went to see The Lion King in 3D at the local cinema and ate a the Wimpy and also bought me a new phone as mine died a week earlier. We had a such a silly day it was lovely.

Other than that we staked the cabbages so the wind wouldn't blow them over in winter, we made 2 types of bird boxes, I even got to use a plane to put a campher? on the roof of each house. We had a great time and got to meet some great people (especially our hosts), we even got to meet some of our woof hosts friends when they came over for dinner and they were very nice to us too.

Phew well I think I have written nearly everything I can remember of our trip, we had a wonderful experience WWOOFing at all the places we went to, it is truly a life experience we will never forget and hope to do again in the future!

Lots of Love Sophie and Matt x x x x x x