Had our second picnic of the year today. I got out and dusted off my lovely tiffin tin (it was very dusty as last year was so wet we didn’t use it once).
We had a sunny afternoon in Puckpool Park – luckily I could sit in the shade and hide under my summer shawl. Had a great time with lots of Zonie friends and a great way to celebrate a couple of birthdays.
Since we started officially home-educating Rebekah many years ago I have been taking “evidence photos”. These were so that if we should ever be taken to court by a malicious local authority we would be able to whip out all the photos and easily demonstrate to a reasonable person that clearly a suitable education has been taking place. there was no way I was going to keep copies of any work, certainly not dated I am no way that organised or consistent, and besides most of our education wasn’t of the sort that was recorded on paper – after all if you do an activity of some sort and have been talking about it or engaged with it there is no need to write something down to prove you know about it (unless you are in a class of 30 and the teacher can’t possibly manage to have a conversation with each child as often as they would like to see how they are doing).
Anyway it is a bit of a joke that I am always saying ”Hold on let me take an evidence photo!” and to Martin (who likes to take photos of pretty artsy fartsy things) in a some what demanding voice “Did you take any evidence photos?” Recently we have also been making up photo records annually which is a great way for us to look back over the things we have done in the previous year.
Last Sunday martin and I were playing music together (well I was just singing, he was doing the clever bits) Rebekah popped her head round the doorway and took a snap declaring “Just taking an evidence photo!” Not sure what evidence she is collecting really, possibly that she has nutcase parents or possibly she is just getting her own back.
One of the many things I love about the Isle of Wight is the brilliant Walking Festival that takes place every May. This year there are 270 walks – there really is something to suit all abilities and interests, food walks, coastal walks, long walks, short ones, story walks, town walks, alpaca walks, sponsored walks……
The most amazing thing is that many of the walks are free or for charitable donation, many of the walk leaders just do it voluntarily, I didn’t realise that this wasn’t the norm until I started looking at other walking festivals and found most of them you have to pay for all walks.
Martin has led many walks in connection with work, a few years ago it was based on food and farming and for the last couple of years it has been on chines and I have co-led – although Martin always refers to me as the sheepdog leading from the back!
So we had a beautiful walk on bank holiday Monday looking at Changing Chines - the weather was glorious and we walked, with 20 people, from Brook along to Compton Farm along the coastal path and then up through the farm and over the downs. It was so warm that after we had finished we walked back along the beach to Compton and bought ice-creams.
Unfortunately our next walk was on Thursday when we had a bad weather warning for gale force winds – one of the accesses to the beach had been closed, in the week since we assessed, it due to a landslide and the wind was certainly unpleasant. We decided to cut the walk short as we were concerned about the safety of walking along narrow paths beside high cliffs.
As well as leading some walks we also like to try and do a few so we can learn something new about the island or visit somewhere we haven’t been before. This year I finally managed to get on Mathew Chatfield’s “Tree Identification For Neophytes” walk that I have been wanting to try for ages. Despite setting off rather late we had a really interesting and informative walk and I intend to take martin and Jonathan out on Sunday to show off my new found knowledge. Well worth doing this walk if you get a chance another year.
Jonathan has been enjoying learning circus skills with the Wight Stars - we enjoyed the sunshine last week and practiced on Ventnor sea front.
I really can’t stress how important our Sundays are to us – in fact I believe they are one of the most important things we have done to improve our family life – If you want to read more about why, why and how of our Sundays have a look here.
Last Sunday was particularly good. We’d just finished our £1 a day challenge, church was late (so we had a very very relaxed morning), cooked breakfast, Martin cooked one of our favourite dinners and we played music and watched TV together – all that was missing was a walk and a game but you can’t do everything
We were going for a big fry up this morning – but Jonathan needed to be out at Huxley’s Magic Hub by 10.30 and we fancied a more relaxed start.
It was some lovely local eggs boiled with soldiers . Just as the eggs were ready a very good friend a turned up with some freshly baked cinnamon buns which had apparently been started at 5am. This was a lovely breakfast full of flavour and texture and very local
Strangely some people preferred the option of pancakes to the eggs, and had them with banana and yogurt.
It certainly felt like an extravagant breakfast today.
So we are on day 5, food is difficult today as people are all over the place at all different times
Porridge and jam (again)
Onion soup and bread
(those out had bread, biscuits, satsumas, apples and crisps)
Rice and value curry sauce – with pepper, onion and leftover pork
Then we went to Youth Nite at church and as we had spent less everyday we used some of the money we had left over to buy some treats there:
Coffee – 40p
Crunchies – 50p
Sweets – 50p
Cake – 50p
Total for the day £4.59
So total for the week is: 17.64
So we had £7.36 extra that we could have spent – we could have had a piece of fruit and some more pulses everyday.
Martin says he will blog more reflectively about the week later.
I’m looking forward to some lovely local eggs and toast for breakfast tomorrow
If you’d like to support what we’re doing, you can help us raise fund for Tearfund to combat poverty - donate online at https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/gibsonfamily
We’ve managed to stay under budget all week so we decided that this evening we could go and buy some extras – some fruit!
Porridge – again
1 Maryland cookie
10p for tuck at Rock Solid
Mango (very reduced!)
Fake Ryvita and cream cheese
Everyone is saying that they are feeling much more hungry today and that is despite that fact that we seem to have eaten more. It was the first day that Jonathan has even commented that he was hungry. We managed to buy some reduced things, so had some fruit and crisps.
Martin has been eating some other things than the rest of us as he is trying to avoid wheat. His fake Ryvita and cream cheese today cost 29p almost 3/10 of the daily allowance on just a snack. I did steal a few bites of it and boy did it taste fantastic – it was the crispness and the cool creaminess in contrast to a lot of the food which has been just a bit mushy!
Tomorrow is a challenge as Ruth and Rebekah are not home at dinner time and Jonathan and Rebekah are out at lunch. Lunch for them will be the daily snacks and some of the bread I have made for today, Ruth will have an early dinner and Rebekah is taking some left-over rice from today. I have found the food to be eaten out a massive problem – it’s more expensive and more difficult to organise,
We’ve had quite a lot of discussion today about how it would feel to always be eating like this and really worrying about having enough to eat and we are pretty careful anyway only having a budget of about twice as much as this – but that twice as much feel extremely extravagant just now.
Things I am missing eating are salad, fruit, yoghurt and cheese and earlier in the week I had a real craving for a jacket potato with butter and cheese but now what I really want is hummus and carrot sticks and oatcakes – blimey how middle class do I sound!
Wednesday was luxury day – we managed to get some reduced bananas and broccoli in the greengrocers and very excitingly we had a joint of pork that had been reduced from £4.99 to 70p and will do us for 2 days. We also had a break from porridge and had some scotch pancakes – with the value jam.
Fake Ryvita (Martin – he is trying to avoid wheat – particularly hard on £1 a day)
More digestives and Bourbons
Bombay mix (to keep Martin going)
I was so so so excited by the prospect of eating a banana – but even reduced that were still over 12p each which is a massive amount of the budget. But the banana was definitely my highlight. Some of the others were massively excited by the broccoli.
The dinner was very similar to what we would eat on a good day at home – we might well have had more veg and the stuffing might be value but usually we would have augmented it with grated apple or sosmix or something. The wedges would have had olive oil and paprika and turmeric and herbs rather than melted marg and salt.
We often have pancakes here as they are cheap and tasty – but I have to say I really like mine with natural yoghurt, banana and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey not value strawberry jam! But it was definitely a relief not to have porridge again.
We’ve had a lot of discussion about bulk buying as part of our £1 a day challenge (or perhaps we should say £5 a day challenge, since we are feeding ourselves collectively which is definitely cheaper and easier than a single person attempting £1/day). I’ve also been reading some other people’s views on it on another blog. I can’t say as we really have a coherent position on this. I guess few people even if living below the poverty line have an exact amount of money to spend on food on any given day. Food will often be bought when money is available, which may mean some “bulk” buying. However the reality for most people living on a low income (even if not in extreme poverty) is that full on bulk buying is beyond their reach. Many people have to buy things at higher prices in smaller quantities because they can’t manage the higher initial outlay for a bulk purchase.
In the end we have a bit of a fudge and I’m ok with that. The purpose of this is not to pretend we are actually living like people in extreme poverty – there are just too many other differences. Rather we are looking to challenge some of our thinking about what living below the line might be like, look at how we consume food and drink differently, and give up some of our spend on food to help others lift themselves from extreme poverty.
So, we have bought a sack of potatoes the size we normally would and only accounted for what we are using in the 5 days. We’ve also used “store cupboard ingredients” and accounted for the appropriate portion of these and we’ve bought eggs in a quantity that we wont get through in 5 days. Cheating? Maybe, but it’s hard to calculate what you would actually buy just for that day or week and what you might buy for a slightly longer period.