Friday, 21 December 2012

A Christmas wish

Merry Christmas!
Happy Holidays!

Whatever you’re doing during this festive season I hope you enjoy all the riches money can’t buy.

P.S. Message for Flowerpot ( ) - I still can't comment on your blog, even when I sign in as a member. I just get a message saying 'only members can comment'? Just wanted to let you know I'm still following. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Riches all round!

I called in to a local charity shop to buy some Christmas cards and came home with a surprise Christmas present for myself!

The first thing I noticed in the shop was this wooden easel in perfect condition.

I’d been thinking I might treat myself to a lightweight easel next summer, so I can try painting outdoors, and the price tag on this one made it irresistible: just £3.99.

I eagerly handed over £5.00 and told the assistant to put the change in the collecting box. ‘Are you sure?’ she asked, and I had to spend several minutes convincing her that I thought I was still getting a bargain at that price.   

I felt rich being able to insist on paying more than the asking price, the shop assistant was obviously pleased at being able to boost the takings for the charity, and I hope the generous person who donated the easel to the shop is also feeling rich!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Changing the way I look

I needed a new pair of reading glasses.

After the eye test, I was invited to choose a frame from the bewildering number on display. I ruled out the expensive designer frames and told the assistant I just wanted something plain, simple and comfortable. I work at home, and rarely need to wear glasses in public, so having the latest fashion in eyewear wasn’t important.

I tried on a few frames but, because they were all fitted with plain glass lenses, the only thing I noticed in the mirror was that they all made me look like my mother!

“Yes, that will do,” I said, choosing what I thought was a basic, lightweight frame. It wasn’t until I went to collect my new glasses – with the magnifying lenses in them – that I noticed a worrying detail. There’s a little artificial diamond set into each side piece.

My first thought was, But I don’t do bling!
My second thought was, Nice and comfortable and – hey! – I can easily read the smallest print on the test card.
My third thought was, Can I take this as a good omen? Will they help me to put more sparkle in my writing?

(Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that my NaNoWriMo novel this year is about the different kinds of magic that people encounter and create.)

Monday, 29 October 2012

Shopping, cooking, eating, shopping, cooking, eating ...

I used to like cooking – experimenting with new recipes and trying different ingredients – but these days it’s become a chore I wish I didn’t have to do. I’ve slipped into a rut of automatically choosing from the same limited list of easy and familiar dishes week after week.

My unfussy husband is no help.
‘What shall we have for dinner today? And tomorrow?’ I say, as I write the shopping list.
He shrugs, and makes a stab at being helpful, and I jot down the usual, boring items.      
My consolation is that I know I’m not the only person with this problem.

So, When I am Rich, I’m going to set up a food company that makes heat-and-serve ready meals with enticing names such as:
 Don’t Mind
 Surprise Me
 Whatever …
 You Choose!

 I’m sure it will revolutionise the eating habits of the nation. (And make me another fortune.)

Of course I’ll also employ a chef who will create a delicious but different dish for me every day!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


I was introduced to this lady last weekend. She’s very good-natured and has an easy life in pleasant surroundings with lots of equine friends and adoring human slaves who attend to her every need.

She reminded me that in the past I would have put horses very near the top of my What I Want When I am Rich list. But as I get older my tastes and ambitions have mellowed and altered somewhat. I’m sure I’ll always admire horses, but I’m not desperate to own one. What I’d really love are some little donkeys like these I spotted at Scarborough.

Horses or donkeys? Which would you choose?

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Happy Bithday Freerice!

Celebrate 5
years fighting hunger with

You don't have to be rich to help other people, and playing Freerice enables you to help combat hunger simply by testing your knowledge and perhaps learning a thing or two!  

It began 5 years ago and, in that relatively short time, Freerice has:

  • raised nearly 100 billion grains of rice
  • fed over 5 million people
  • grown its membership to over 1.4 million players

Want to join in? Just click on the button above!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Beautiful grazers

I’ve just found another must-have addition for my When I am Rich garden. I want a fold of these wandering around. (I’ve discovered that Highland cattle come in folds – not herds.) They might look menacing, especially when you unexpectedly come across a large bull blocking your path, but they are very calm, placid creatures.

Of course I’ll also need to add a few hundred acres of the North Yorkshire moors to my garden so the new inhabitants feel at home …

Monday, 27 August 2012

I now declare …

If I had been rich, I could have commissioned a Grand Opening Ceremony for my new blog complete with fanfares, fireworks and celebrities dropping in …

 But as I didn’t have any spare cash – and Danny Boyle was otherwise engaged – I’ve made do with a more modest DIY effort. You can see the result here.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

A win-win situation

I’m feeling very rich today – I booked a holiday and gave a generous donation to my favourite charity. My income hasn’t increased but I booked the holiday through Give As You Live. It’s a clever website that has gathered together thousands of online companies that give a percentage of their takings to charity. Lots of companies make charitable donations of course, but usually they decide where their money goes. The thing I like best about Give As You Live is that, as a customer, I get to choose which UK charity or fundraising organisation receives the money.  
I don’t do a lot of online shopping but, when I’m thinking of making a purchase, I’ve got into the habit of clicking on Give As You Live first to check if the product I want is available through the site. It doesn’t cost me any more to shop this way; in fact it can be cheaper as the site lists all the current special offers available from participating companies. And, as a bonus, I receive an email afterwards telling me how much has been donated to the cause I’m supporting. 

Now then, can I afford some new clothes to wear on my holiday …?

Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Dove Saga – Part 2

I don’t know if the doves heard about my plans to provide them with a bespoke nesting box – but they got very excited when they saw this:

 We’re having some building work done, and as soon as the scaffolding was erected the doves arrived to claim it.

Where would be the best place to build their nest?
On the wide, wooden planks of the walkway?
Against the house wall where it would be sheltered from the weather?
No, they had a much better idea. Let’s see if we can balance some twigs on the metal poles right at the edge …

They spent the rest of the day bringing in twigs, watching most of them fall to the ground, and flying off to find some more. Luckily, the builders arrived the next day and the doves (surprisingly) decided to abandon their new-found home.

Sorry, doves. Perhaps next year …

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Where exactly are we?

My husband and I needed to go shopping, but I didn’t want to spend too long in town as I had some urgent work to do at home. We set off with a shopping list and high hopes of quickly completing our mission.

Emerging from the car park, I set off towards our first port of call, the bank – until I realised my other half was striding away in the opposite direction.

“You’re going the wrong way!” I said, running back to catch up with him.

“No, you’re going the wrong way.”

We were both right. There are two branches of ‘our’ bank in town. I assumed we’d save time by going to the one nearest the shops we wanted to visit. He thought it made perfect sense to go to the other one because, although it’s farther away, it’s usually less busy and we might not have to wait so long to be served there. We spent another ten minutes debating the matter. 

Next, we went to John Lewis (a large department store). It took a while to find the department we needed – up on the first floor – but not too long to choose and buy the items we wanted.

“Come on, let’s get out of here,” I said, leading the way to the escalator.

I went back down to the ground floor and was halfway to the exit before I noticed something (i.e. someone) was missing. Yes, it was a stupid idea for a store to have two ground floors – upper and lower – and yes, if they’d renamed the lower one ‘the basement’ he wouldn’t have gone down there, but if he’d followed me as instructed we wouldn’t have wasted so much time looking for each other on separate floors!   

We managed to stay together in the next shop and then hurried to our last destination, the hardware stall in the indoor market.

Now I admit I might have slowed down a bit as we passed the stall that specialises in exotic fruits and vegetables (wonder what that tastes like?), and I couldn’t help just glancing at the racks of summer dresses, but I swear I only stopped for two seconds by the second-hand books. Annoyingly, that was enough time for my husband to vanish.

He wasn’t at the hardware stall, but the helpful stallholder told me a man fitting my missing husband’s description had been there – and had gone away. I waited there a while in case he came back. He didn’t. I went searching for him, at first systematically going up and down between the stalls from one side of the market to the other, and then in a haphazard fashion hoping he was doing the same and we would somehow bump into each other, which is what happened – eventually. 

So …

When I am Rich I will buy a pair of sat navs with inbuilt tracking devices, and if such things don’t yet exist I’ll get them custom made!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Home, Sweet Home

When I am Rich I’ll buy a strong, roomy, weatherproof nest box for this pair of collared doves.

I don’t know why they’ve decided that this would be an ideal place to raise a family

  or why they haven’t yet worked out that their nest blows away every time there’s a strong wind 


but I think they deserve a reward for persistence.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012


How pleasant it is to cycle unhurriedly along quiet country lanes on a warm afternoon … 

… and how annoying and exhausting it is to have to push your bicycle all the way home in scorching heat because you’ve had a puncture.

When I am Rich (or probably before then) I am definitely going to invest in puncture proof tyres!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Getting there – slowly

… and on the subject of inspirational art centres (see previous post) …

Over two years ago I talked about wanting to brush up my artistic skills, but my attempts at drawing and painting on my own soon fizzled out. I read lots of ‘how to’ books and watched ‘step-by-step’ videos, but it’s a big jump from understanding the theory of painting techniques, colour mixing, composition etc. to putting that knowledge into practice. I just couldn’t make my hands create the pictures I could see in my mind!

Then, last December, I plucked up the courage to join a newly formed art group that meets in the Realitas Arts Centre. What a revelation! Some members are complete beginners, others are more experienced, and we’re led by the talented Sheila who has a wonderful knack of making the apparently complicated seem very simple.
 ‘Try a touch of this colour,’ she’ll say. Or, ‘Here’s an easy way to suggest that texture.’

I learn something new and useful at every meeting.

I haven’t yet produced a picture that I think is good enough to be framed but here are a couple of my least worst efforts to date. 

Sunday, 22 April 2012

So many lovely things!

When I am Rich and looking for beautiful artworks to decorate my home, my first port of call will be the wonderful Realitas Community Arts Centre located in the pretty village of Peakirk, Cambridgeshire. This former granary is now an Aladdin’s cave packed with a huge range of arts and crafts produced by both professionals and talented amateurs.

I’d love to buy that painting, and this one, and all those … and some of this handmade jewellery, and that quirky teapot, and I can’t decide which teddy bear I like best so perhaps I’ll take half a dozen … and I’ll have some stained glass suncatchers, and a few of those delicate ceramic bowls, an assortment of candle holders (not forgetting the candles to go with them), an unusual fabric bag – or three, or four – and I love the wood carvings, the cushions, the Japanese paper bookmarks, and …

… it might be easier just to take the whole lot!

Most of the exhibits are very reasonably priced and I have bought some, mainly as presents for other people. The biggest problem is that there's simply not enough wall or shelf space in my current home for all those lovely things!       

Friday, 6 April 2012

These shoes weren’t made for walking

The weather here has changed from midsummer to winter (again!) but my calendar tells me it’s spring so I spent a cold, rainy day doing my annual de-cluttering of wardrobes, cupboards and drawers.  I discovered six pairs of only-worn-once shoes that I’ll be donating to a charity shop.

 too high

too low

too tight

too loose

I had ‘made-to-measure shoes’ on my When I am Rich shopping list, but now I’m wondering if buying expensive shoes would actually save me some money.

How do shoes that look and feel perfect in the shop turn into crippling monstrosities as soon as I take them for a walk in the real world?   

Thursday, 29 March 2012

A Favourite Occupation

I suppose that when I am Rich I will have to employ a gardener – or several, or dozens – to help me plant and maintain my lovely, big garden. I imagine it will be quite easy to allow someone else to do the difficult or boring jobs, like lifting heavy bags of compost and mowing the lawns, but there’s one task I will always insist on doing myself – sowing seeds.

The excitement of choosing which plants and varieties to grow, making sure I help those tiny, dormant parcels of life get off to the best possible start, and the thrill of seeing the first green shoots never fades.

What’s your favourite gardening job?   

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

And the love goes on …

I hope everyone had a Happy Valentine’s Day yesterday.

My Special Person and I exchanged cards but otherwise treated 14 February like any other day. Even when we are Rich, I don’t think we’ll be buying each other expensive gifts or indulging in lavish wining and dining just because it’s Valentine’s Day.

After all, what token or gesture could be more romantic than the fact that we’re still together after nearly 40 years?

(Mind you, I’m expecting something a bit special for our Ruby Wedding Anniversary!)

How romantic was it for you?   

Saturday, 4 February 2012

A Cold and Frosty Morning


Some wintry weather here – at last! I’m not looking forward to the snow that the forecasters say will arrive in this part of the world tonight, but I do enjoy frosty nights followed by sunny days. As I rushed out early to get some wintry landscape photos before the frost started to melt, I found myself singing the old nursery rhyme:

Here we go round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush.
Here we go round the mulberry bush,
On a cold and frosty morning.

So that’s something I need to add to the garden I’m going to have When I am Rich – a mulberry bush. Or why not make it a tree? I’m told that the black mulberry is the best variety to grow for its fruit and it should reach about 50 feet when it’s mature. I’ll need to reserve plenty of space for it.