My old car (and its nettle) have been recycled, most excitingly into my first new pound coin!

I was very pleased to see one, especially since it has a 2016 date on it, which I thought might be very rare and valuable, but it’s not, it’s very common and worth £1 (subject to inflation).

However I did come across an article talking about the introduction of the £2 coin, and saying which of those were very rare and valuable.  Apparently the ‘test coins’ which had a very limited run are much sought after.  I used to have some of those – because my mum worked in a bank (I don’t think she stole them, just to clarify).  I kept them in old film canisters because they fitted perfectly.  I never quite understood why I seemed to have them several years before the £2 was properly introduced, but reading this article about the testing answers that question.

The bigger question however, is where on earth are they?  Do I still have them?  Are they lost forever?  Or did I spend them?  I fear that it’s one of the latter options but I will have a look over Easter.  I could be rich!  I seem to remember I had quite a lot of them, I rather liked them for some reason.  Fingers crossed.

Cheese and mouse crisps

A horrid thing happened last night. I was eating some crisps and put a handful in my mouth and was suddenly chewing on something distinctly furry. Aghast, I pulled the “thing” from my mouth. All I can say is that it looked quite a lot like a mouse’s tail although it probably wasn’t. I should have kept the “thing” and then I could have taken a photo for you all to see and maybe sent it off to a lab to be analysed. Also, I could have written a strongly-worded letter to the manufacturers of the crisps and demanded compensation. However, I think I was in shock because I just wanted the “thing” as far away from me as possible so I threw it away and tried to block it from my mind. Suffice to say, we didn’t eat any more of the crisps.

The Mystery of the Wellington Boots

Here are a normal pair of wellingtons of the kind you’d wear to the allotment or on a muddy walk. Or are they? I was cleaning these wellies just now when I realised they are NOT a pair of wellingtons but two different wellingtons.

Note the different treads on the soles.

Note the different lines/markings.

One of the boots says it is made in Italy but the other is of unknown origin. I have ODD boots. But how? This is yet another HelenandJo Mystery.

Let’s think like Miss Marple. There are many possible solutions:

1) I bought odd boots at the garden centre (possible but unlikely)

2) They are meant to be different because it is trendy (unlikely)

3) I have somehow mixed up one of my pairs of green wellingtons with another (I have three similar pairs although I can’t recall when any of them have met any of the others as they all live in different places – Sparrow, Northbamptonshire with Helen, and at my second home in Groxley Green)

4) I have somehow mixed up my size 9 green wellingtons with a pair of size 9 green wellingtons belonging to someone else, perhaps in Spales where there are many different wellies lying around all over the place (this is probably what has happened)

Anyway, it is all very embarassing. The reason I was cleaning them is because I will be wearing them to a smart-ish event this weekend where everyone goes around in tweed and wax jackets. Hopefully no one will notice my wellies don’t match but I will KNOW and I am already feeling anxious and unsettled because I like things to MATCH. I will have to try and forget about it but it will be very difficult and will probably ruin the whole weekend. I wish I HADN’T cleaned the mud off now as it is much more obvious they are NOT THE SAME.

Signs of spring

It must be nearly spring because my old car is once again growing a nettle out of its wheel arch.  Hooray!  I hope that no-one accidentally ‘weeds’ it out like last time.

I guess I should really recycle my car so it can be turned into a racing car or some spoons or whatever they do with old cars.

Getting off on the wrong foot

As regular readers know, Joandi always enjoy our annual Guinea Pig calendars. However, we have raised concerns about them before such as the ethics of making guinea pigs wear hats/sit in mini baths and the recycling of the same pictures from one year to another.

I have a new concern about my guinea pig calendar which I’m sure you’ve spotted already. This paw-print appears on the corner of each month but this isn’t what guinea pig prints look like at all! Their feet are shaped more like human feet, with a sole and a heel. This foot-print looks like it’s been designed by someone who hasn’t ever even seen a guinea pig, never mind its foot.

Can we really trust anything in a guinea pig calender? Are the dates even right?


You’ve heard of Hollywood and Bollywood – now there is Sparrowood! The Civic Quarter has been taken over by film trucks for some kind of big film, proving that Sparrow is a glamorous and desirable place to live. No one seems to know what the film is. All I know is that it needs many, many trucks and cranes, as you can nearly see here in these photos.

It is good that our Civic Centre may be immortalised in film seeing as it is about to be knocked down to make way for millons of flats (850 flats). The new development will be called Poets’ Corner, which is perfect for the idyllic high-rise blocks that are planned.


Joandi aren’t doing No Food January this year, instead we’ve updated it to a month of only eating home-grown squash. It’s quite like NFJ, but you are allowed to buy stuff to make eating squash for every meal a bit more acceptable.

So far this week I’ve eaten roast squash, roast squash soup, squash and lentil bake and squash and chickpea stew (plus leftovers of each of them). They’re all made out of one massive Boston Winter Squash but still it’s not used up. I have a full box of it in the fridge, plus three bags of it in the freezer, on top of all the bags of squash previously crammed into the freezer. All-Squash-January could last for months and months yet…

Any good squash recipe ideas?