dear diary ~ always the unexpected

Well it is in my life!

I thought things were going too well but after the last few days I am resigned to thinkng that my life is never going to be simple or straightforward.

Last Sunday night we made an unexpected trip up to North Yorkshire to stay with my younger daughter and our two granddaughters, Little L and Sweetie, as she was in a fix. Her car had broken down the week before and it was still waiting inspection at the garage it had been recovered to. It wasn’t evident if it was the battery or the alternator or something else and the garage were fully booked with work for a fortnight. Last week she managed to borrow a car from a friend but that was not possible for this week so it fell to us to help out as she had the children to get to school and nursery and herself to work.

We stayed until Wednesday night when she managed to hire a car to get her through Thursday and today until the car is fixed, hopefully by clse of play tonight. Before we came back down home we drove up to see mum with flowers for her birthday which was yesterday – it was a nice surprise for her as she wasn’t expecting us even though we could only stay an hour. I never make firm plans for visiting her now as she gets confused over dates and times so I tend to tell her the night before a visit but in this case I didn’t even mention we might call just in case we couldn’t. My sister took her out for a meal yesterday to celebrate her 97th birthday.

I was telling Sweetie who is only four that great granny has now had the pleasure of 97 birthdays and very soon in 3 years time, fingers crossed, she might be celebrating one hundred – she was impressed and keeps asking her mum now when she will be 100 (Sweetie that is not great granny).

So back home again and we found it had been snowing whilst we were away and it is mighty cold – not good for the heating bills. On totting up the receipts for the four days away we had spent the grand sum of £110, mostly on bits and pieces and buying snacks and drinks out to keep us going as well as bits of shopping for evening meals and lunches. DH also did a few jobs around the house for my daughter – one of them was replacing the sealant around the kitchen worktop and along the bath – the price of a tube of sealant now is £9.80. As he has only used half the tube I suggested he replaced some of the sealant in our shower with what is left before it goes dry in the tube.

I was amazed at how the money adds up so quickly. We didn’t have time to fill a flask on the way up and I need a stop to give my back a break from sitting in the car so our first spend was the motorway Costa – £9.20 for two drinks and a packet of oat biscuits which we shared. On Monday our daughter was working around Northallerton all day so after dropping her off we had a look around the town and then went to Strikes garden centre cafe just outside the town centre for lunch but what a rip off. DH had the cheese and chutney sandwich which was served with coleslaw and side salad but his double espresso was charged as 2 @ £2.25 making it £4.50 (most places charge about 70p to £1 for the extra shot of coffee in a double).

I am not a sandwich fan and prefer baked potato with cheese. Their menu only had baked potato with Chicken Tikka or a Butternut Squash Curry filling and they were both £8.95 and more of a main meal. I had wanted something a bit lighter so enquired if they did a plain baked potato with just a little cheese and coleslaw. Yes, the lady said that was fine but when it came to paying they charged me for a Chicken Tikka and I pointed out I was having cheese and coleslaw but she said it would be the same price as the Chicken Tikka as they had no other price point to press on the till. So our light lunch cost a staggering £22.55 – needless to say we will not be going again.

I bought mum a lovely bunch of mixed colour tulips and stopped to get her a take out cappuccino and a lemon tart (her favourite) from a local Costa. Unfortunately, although I asked for a lemon tart and they had plenty and it said lemon tart on the receipt, when I took it out of the bag to give to mum it was a cherry bakewell! Still she enjoyed them.

Today it is little Freddie’s 4th birthday – so we will be going to see him with his card and present. He is super excited to be having a Paw Patrol party with a few friends on Sunday and now my younger daughter is mobile again she will bring Little L and Sweetie down to join in the party.

So I had better get my skates on to prepare for their arrival tomorrow – I have beds to make up and food to prepare. We are on rations now until next week as part of the £110 we just spent on our travels was really this week’s housekeeping, so I will have to be very creative to conjour up some satisfying meals from very little.

I am a little disappointed that all my plans for January have already gone off course and the money I had saved from being very careful and not spending money unless necessary has had to go on eating out. Let’s hope February proves to be a bit better.

Welcome to new readers – you will notice a lack of photos until normal life resumes, and apologies for not being able to join in with the Scraphappy Challenge for January.

17 Replies to “dear diary ~ always the unexpected”

  1. Those unexpected journeys often include unbudgetted costs. That was certainly an expensive double espresso! And as for the NOT tikka potato! I remember being frustrated in a BHS cafe once. They were doing an breakfast offer on “bacon & tomato rolls plus cup of tea, £2”. We ordered two, and I said “please leave the tomato out of mine” The bill was £5+. When I queried it, she said “you had a BACON roll. That is not in the offer” Well if I’d known that, I’d have taken it with tomatoes and given them to my OH! But you were doing a good thing going to support your daughter (and visit your mum) Such kindness will not be forgotten.


    1. Daughter had another disappointment today – car still not fixed – seems like there is another fault. I think this will be a bill I will need to sit down for and probably need smelling salts to bring me round!!


  2. I’m sorry you had unexpected expenses this month. It always amazes me how expensive buying snacks and drinks is these days, which is why I don’t do it unless I absolutely have to. Sometimes it can’t be avoided though, such as when travelling. I hope February is a better month for you.


    1. It was all done in a rush and so we had to abandon taking drinks in a flask in the interest of getting on the road at a reasonable time – even then the M62 was closed at one of the junctions for major roadworks.


  3. I hear your frustration…life happens regardless of our plans. And we adjust. Sort of. Good that you at least had that time with Mum to celebrate her birthday. Best of luck getting things back on track.

    Dealing with–dare I say it–unscrupulous businesses certainly takes a toll. It will be a short term gain for them when customers abandon them for their shoddy practices–like overcharging. Easy to see it happening in the grocery stores over here (US) as there are so many products that are now 25-30% more costly now–just weeks after they had already increased prices substantially. And it is easy to see that greed–not inflation–is the reason. I find myself coming up with a growing list of products/companies that I will not be dealing with in the future.


  4. “The best laid plans of mice and gang oft aglai” (or something like that) You probably know that Robbie Burns quote which seems to fit the occasion!


  5. Eating and drinking out is always expensive but now it seems even more so, and there are occasions when it just cannot be helped. So even spending just over a hundred you have done pretty well.

    My Mum is just the same now, we tell her when we are coming as she HATES surprise visits, but I do have to phone just before we set off on the pretence of asking her if she needs me to pick her any shopping up on the way. Nine times out of ten she says she has forgotten we were coming. The one time I forgot to do this she was sat in her pyjamas and her door was still locked, I felt so guilty.


  6. I’m sorry that January has not been the start to the year that you would have wished for. I hope your daughter gets her car fixed quickly and the bill is not too hefty. I agree with you that I would not be giving my custom to that cafe again !
    Glad you were able to spend some time with your mum for her birthday.
    Birthday wishes to Freddy and I hope February will be brighter for you.
    Take care


  7. It’s so expensive to just grab a snack these days. We often take drinks and something to eat with us when we go out otherwise the cost ends up mounting up, but it’s not always possible to do so. I’m glad you got to see your mum, I bet that made her day.


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