How long does it take a load of laundry to dry?

Hello Dear Reader.

I own, as you can see, three different laundry drying racks and a whirly-gig round about washing line which you can’t see. On a bright sunny day (what’s one of those?) I hang it on the whirly-gig. On dodgy days (like the ones we seem to have had since the 80’s) I hang it on racks which I can lift and bring indoors if it rains. 

Now I don’t own a tumble drier, but when I did, I owned a huge American Whirlpool drier (similar to the Kenmores you can still buy) which matched my huge American Whirlpool washing machine (I sold them both to buy an eco-responsible washing machine that doesn’t use much water or energy). I could strip three beds and wash and dry all the washing in about an hour and have it all back on the beds again. Convenience costs. It costs the planet the most as my purse will recover.

I now consider a 48 hour turn around quite OK. I washed this laundry in the photo above yesterday afternoon and it’s ready to be folded and put away. Last night’s laundry is getting some breeze under a grey sky. It will be drier when I bring it in than when I put it out. If it’s chilly tonight, I’ll light the wood stove and finish drying it there. When I had no wood stove, just leaving it in the house for a few days eventually got it dry.

There are things to remember with indoor drying. Keep your kitchen door and dining room door closed or the smell of food will permeate not only the drying clothes but soft furnishing. Dry your clothes in a draught if possible and try to get them outside. The outdoor air will make your clothes smell better. I lived in the middle of a city for a while and used to dry my washing on roof terrace and being above car level meant that it didn’t smell of traffic fumes.

How long does it take your washing to dry? Is 48 hours acceptable to you?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs 


Rising costs of energy!

Nationwide disgrace and total numpty!

Dear Huhne the goon!

Here we go again some snotty posh Tory (Liberal in disguise!) telling us how to cope with rising prices – it takes the biscuit – it really does! I bet he’s not wrapped up in a blanket with one bar of his gas fire on for one hour a day because it’s all he can afford! I bet he doesn’t sniff his clothes before he decides to wash them (or get his Polish cleaner to wash them!) I bet he doesn’t have a shower timer or always have pee swishing around in his toilet! Why is it that some wally like this slimy toad thinks it’s OK to give us advice. Chris! You should be wringing your hands with shame!

Gas and electricity costs more than the average family can afford. Families on low incomes, pensioners, ill people on disability benefits, young mothers on small part time incomes, sick people on statutory sick pay recovering from surgery are going to have a cold, cold winter. According to Huhney’s advice, all we have to do is find the lowest tariff, get your walls insulated and put a sweater on! Well here’s  a message for you Huhney! A saving of £100 a year on average bills of £1400 for a family would hardly be noticeable when you’re bringing three children up on minimum wage!

“We want people to check their tariffs, we want people to switch to cheaper tariffs and we want people to take advantage of the free offers that there are to insulate their homes so they can protect themselves from rising bills this winter,”

I want us all to go a stage further. I want to see consumers do a lot more to say ‘get stuffed’ to the energy companies. Get a thermostat and set if to 17 degrees, get a lot of jumpers, use wind up torches and lanterns, go to bed early with a hot water bottle and have more cuddles. Just boycott the flamin’ energy companies as much as you can! I’ve not used the gas for anything but the gas hob for two weeks and I’m going to keep going. If I have to grope around in fluffy slippers with a battery lamp charged by the sun then I flamin’ well will!

OK, so I’m a bit extreme but the prices are a national shame and I am not going to give them my money! I would appeal to all of you to find any affordable alternatives you possibly can. Stuff them! Don’t give them your money!

Huhne! You can take your hollow advice and stuff it in your ministerial brief case!

Until tomorrow,

Froogs (blowing raspberries at said twonk on Channel 4 news)

Life without a tumble drier

Hello Dear Reader,

I grew up with a mum’s twin tub and lots of clothes horses. We never had an automatic washer let alone a drier. I have three clothes horses. A fantastic continental version that we bought from Lidl and two standard ones. I have two top of the range Minky driers and they last for years and years. If the weather looks ‘dodgy’ then the washing goes on them and not the whirly gig line so I can just grab it in doors. In the winter, I stand them in front of the patio doors and the passive solar dries the laundry. It also makes the house mouldy behind curtains and in corners of the rooms. Nothing dries washing like a real fire. Stoke up with old wood and shut the fire down for the night, stand it well away from the fire (this was positioned for the photo) and leave over night. By morning, it’s dry.

I am still reeling from the luxury of heating. It’s amazing how cold we’ve been over the last few years with the heating set to 17 degrees. We hand our bath towels over the banister at the top of the stairs and instead of their usual cold mustiness by Wednesday, they are crisp and dry and like new every morning.

All year, I keep an eye on the weather forecast and wash when there’s good weather. Now, I can light the fire and dry when I need to.

How do you cope with washing? When do you do it and how do you get it dry?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xx

Keep the heating off!

 Hi everyone!

I’m aiming to make a mortgage capital repayment on September’s pay day so I’m conscious of money. I’m going to make sure I use as little of everything this month. As little food, energy, water, diesel etc. I’ve already set myself the target to spend no money on anything by food and transport for the rest of the month.

As will all British Septembers, it can be warm on minute and chilly the next. I’m going to do everything I can to not put the heating on at all, for as long as possible. That’s perfectly OK if you’re moving around and keeping busy, but I’ve spent almost all of today working at my desk. After a while, I can feel myself seizing up from the cold. The only answer is to wrap up. Sleeveless tops, cami’s or vests are one solution. After all, no one can see me! Then a tee shirt. This keeps summer clothes in use………as extra layers. A fleece top is light, easy to find in jumbles or charity shops or cheap enough from shops like Primarni! My £5 Matalan blanket gets used a lot, over chairs to snuggle under whilst watching TV (add hot water bottle when it gets really cold!).

The greatest addition I’ve added recently are the beautiful wrist warmers that Foster Mummy made for me. I can type, knit, read, blog, mark books and  plan lessons in them. it gets really cold where I work too, so when I’m sat there working in the evenings after the heating has gone off, I can sit and mark books and stay warmer.

The bright red blanket lives on my office chair, unfortunately……….so does my cat! Closer inspection will find evidence of that! Other than just you, no one will see me. I’m going to do a thorough stock check tomorrow, some menu planning and then a clear out of all ‘in date’ food, as there’s now a permanent collection point for ‘Foodbank’ in my town! Does anyone else have a foodbank collection in their area? Can you spare a carton of UHT milk or box of cereals?

Any way, back to staying warm. Sometimes, you have to do what you have to do when you’re confined to being sat in one room. Whilst I’m young and healthy, I can easily live with very little heating and it’s warm enough where I’m sitting tonight.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Do I? Don’t I?

Hi everyone!

I’m back. We’ve been extra busy at school, but things are back to normal now. I have a dilemma to share with you all and maybe, you can give me some advice.

Seasoned wood is £100 a tonne or 2 cubic metres, either, or, it’s about the same. We’re about to have a tree down and we’ll chop it and save it for next year. I’m going to be laying down green wood for a while, and reap the benefits by seasoning it myself. I will also buy logs cut this year if I can get them any cheaper. It’s not a cheap option, but it is the most affordable and green option, or greenish……let me explain my dilemma.

I treat the A390 as a larder and often there are thinned trees; people leave the logs piled by the side of the road. If you are nuts enough to stop………….let me explain this dilemma too! I call the A38 and A390, the track of death. It’s a fast sweeping road, with blind bends, and a few straight stretches where people often risk over taking. Even though they are minor roads. The hedges and the trees come right up to the road edge and you have no view of what is coming. There are regular fatalities, especially on the A38. Very few people, will notice the remnants of tree surgery. However, I can hand on heart tell you of the damsons, the crab apples and sloes and not only that, I could take you to where it’s safe to pull over and where you should never try to turn right and never pull out into traffic.

On one such bend, where most people are just concentrating on staying on the road, there’s an old house set a little back and it’s surrounded by trees, or it was. They’ve had a few cut down and they are piled by the gate. Now, most people who want the fire wood, have the tree cut to log size but these are not, they have been left at about a metre long. They have been neatly piled and left. When people do that, they just assume people will help themselves.

So, here’s my question. Do I, or don’t I? Do I call into the house and ask? Do I just stop and help myself? I’m personally inclined to ask? They will take a lot of sawing and neither of us can or would operate a chain saw and we’ll have to stop in a dangerous place with our trailer. There is easily a month’s supply of heating and it’s there for the taking. So, do I, or don’t I?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs

Frugal ten minute work out!

 Hello everyone!

Did you look down at the tops of your arms on your 40th birthday just to discover they were wider and wobblier than they used to be? Fortunately I enjoy wood chopping as I can’t stand the gym!

 Here’s my frugal solution to keep fit! Chop your own wood! All that gym nonsense of bicep and tricep curls!!! Just swing your own axe, or in my case, a mawl, much easier than a conventional slim axe.

 DB does the big thick bit and breaks a whole pile into two whilst I then finish them off chopping them down into burnable sizes.

 I would recommend ten minutes a day……………three of four ‘rings’ a day?

What manual work do you enjoy? What do you do to keep fit and save money?

We’re both off to do some heavy duty building work on our house………….all will be revealed later.

Love Froogs xxxx

Brace yourselves!

 Hi everyone,

Just call me Carol Vorderman! I’m going to have to get my maths head on today and work out how much energy I can afford!

Everyone has already had energy price rises. In November 2010, just before the worst winter in my lifetime, we had on average 10% increase in energy prices. We had no choice but to pay it. Everyone is now getting notifications, either by email or in letters of this year’s energy price hikes. British Gas have announced price rises of 18% for gas and 16% for electricity. Most energy companies have comparable price rises. I am on the cheapest tarrif I can find – NPower sign online 23 and I will face price rises of 15.7% for gas and 7.2% for electricity.

 We all know about the difficulties people with ‘fixed’ incomes have with price increases. Up and down the country, as usual, old people will end up in hospital or dead as they won’t be able to heat more than one room, if they are lucky, and many won’t even be able to afford that. Here in the countryside, many people rely on propane bottles which are twice the price of mains gas and they will now be priced out of heating at all. It also doesn’t surprise me that all the blood suckers come out of their dark holes and join in. If you use wood to heat your house, get it now!!!! It is going up and up in price.

Then, as well as fixed income folk having struggles, there are all the people who now have: no overtime, reduced working hours, reduced salaries, more pension contributions to pay. You all, like me have to get your calculators out today and work out what you can afford.

 Here are the reductions I am going to have to make. In the winter, my heating is on from 5pm until 9pm on a weekday and from about 12 noon until 8 pm on a weekend. Thirty one hours in total. I am going to have to cut that by 20% to be able to afford the £69 a month I now have to pay for gas. I will have to cut my usage down to 24 hours a week. There are 168 hours a week and I will have to have the heating on from 6pm until 9pm and at the weekends from 2pm until 8pm at the weekends.

I have electric ovens (mini and main), an electric kettle, electric shower and minor items such as the computer etc. I will have to reduce what I use by 10%. In case you’re wondering, here’s a recap of what I already do to save energy.

Heating is set to 17 degrees. I got rid of the tumble drier years ago. We shower and don’t have baths. We ‘let it mellow’. We use the mini oven instead of the main oven. We fill a flask from the kettle and use that to save reboiling. We batch cook when the oven is on. We keep the freezer full. We cook in a triple steamer to save gas. We only wash our clothes when they are dirty. We use the dishwasher every other day. We wear clothes to bed. We go to bed early and turn the lights off. Nothing is on stand by.

I have even investigated price fix tarrif for the next three years and those are already 11% higher than average bills. I have looked, investigated and costed. The only way to afford energy is to use less. Brace yourselves my lovelies, get down the charity shops and stock up on curtains to ‘double hang’, buy lots of wooly jumpers and cardigans, get quilting and layer your beds, stock up on coal and logs as I have a feeling, it’s going to be an expensive winter.

On that cheerful note, I will see you tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Shower timers!

Frugal shower. Get in….straight away! Don’t worry if it’s cold; it will warm up in a few seconds. Wet hair. Turn shower off and lather. Turn on and rinse. Wash your body as you rinse. Use “washandgo” to save two lots of hot/cold/hot! hot!/too cold showering! When shower timer beeps: get out! Do all of the above whilst standing in a big bucket and then use water in bucket to flush loo………….or wash urine off floor from Dearly Beloved wetting himself laughing at my ridiculous attempts to save water and electricity!

Save water, save money, save the planet!

Can you guess what it is yet??? I have an old 1970’s loo. Unlike modern small cistern loos it takes a lot of water. We try to flush as little as possible. No need to flush pee……….just poo. So here’s what’s inside the cistern in my house. A brick………we had to cut it in half and drop in a half at a time. A Waterhog, which is a bag that holds a litre and half of water. The loo ‘broke’ and needed a new ball cock and arm, so we improvised and used and elastic band and a mouth wash bottle to keep it afloat. The result: a repair for free and 2.5 litres less water wasted when we flush the loo.

Save money and the planet

We have every device you can think of to save energy and money. We have water hippos and bricks in our toilets (which we rarely flush) We have power down adaptors so our appliances switch themselves off when we leave them on standby. We have energy monitors so we can see what uses to much energy and then use it as little as possible. All of these appliances and adaptors are free and given away by the water board and energy companies. We watch out to see who is giving them away for nothing and often give them as gifts or we even sell them on ebay. All of our low energy light bulbs were free and came from the local council and we’ve used the same ones for years. I’ve cut my energy bills by £850 this year and I’m going to make sure next year’s bill stays as low. How much can you save with these nifty free devices?