Thursday, 27 August 2015

Scotland's Secret South: Galloway Pippin Apples

Adapted and reproduced from a blog by Phillip Bruce

Scotland's Secret South

There is a corner of Scotland that is ignored by the crowds rushing up to Edinburgh, Loch Lomond and the Highlands. Those of us who live in Galloway hope they continue to do so, but there's a warm welcome for the discerning traveller. Galloway is in the Southwest of Scotland and can be found by turning left at Gretna and following the A75 to Stranraer. (Frugaldom is next to Three Lochs Holiday Park, Kirkcowan, where we can now offer Frugal Breaks.)

Galloway's Gorgeous Apples


In 1267 a Dominican Friary was founded in Wigtown by the enormously wealthy Devorgilla, wife of John Balliol, after whom the Oxford college is named.

The monastery was situated near to where the current Church of Scotland church stands, see picture. The monastery was closed during the Reformation and it is thought that some of the stones from its buildings were used in nearby buildings. The friars used to fish in Wigtown Bay and were known for their skills in the orchards where a delicious pippin apple was cultivated.

There are few records of the monastery but the pilgrimage route to the ancient holy place of Whithorn passed close by and it is said that pilgrims were grateful to be given apples by the friars. Could some of the ancient rootstock be still hiding away somewhere around the former abbey's location?

In the middle of the 19th century, apple enthusiasts recorded the discovery of the Galloway Pippin, which is probably the tree that was cultivated at Wigtown. This is said to be an attractive apple and several people in Wigtown have trees flourishing in their gardens.

A good book to read is “Apples in Scotland,” by John Butterworth, Langford Press, ISBN 1-904078-00-1 There is a picture of The Galloway Pippin on page 33 with the caption: “Ancient long-keeping cooker from Wigtown, known locally as 'Croft an Righ' (garden of the King). He writes on page 56: “Galloway Pippin' is a late cooker, eaten by some, which has been associated with the area around Wigtown in Galloway 'since time immemorial.' The local name 'Croft-an-Righ, is the same as the same name given by the Romans to the locality, and means 'garden of the king.' There is still a property in Wigtown with this name, with a tree of the same name! Not surprisingly, there are a number of good reports from this area. My inclined cordon has been excellent, and my young standard made a very promising start to cropping. I attribute the latter's development of canker to the fact that its branches were broken the ground trampled by cattle.”

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At Frugaldom, we have a fruit-growing project that is set to incorporate a small orchard of Galloway Pippins. If you would like to help support this project, you can do so by sponsoring a tree. Further details will be made available in the Frugal Shop and you can follow the progress either in our Frugal Forums or by clicking the ‘like’ buttom on our Frugaldom Facebook page

Published by NYK Media as part of the Frugaldom Project and Frugal Blog

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Frugal Breaks in Scotland

site_thumbnailWell, here’s what I have been doing during my somewhat lengthy absence from frugal blogging – taking the next step in providing our frugal friends, families and fellow money-saving challengers the opportunity to sample Frugaldom life for themselves.

Escape to the country and enjoy a frugal holiday.

Rural retreats in Scotland

Get back to nature in the Scottish countryside with a short break to sample rural living at a price you can afford. Try our budget self-catering accommodation in a holiday caravan at Three Lochs in the beautiful Dumfries and Galloway region of southwest Scotland. Relax and unwind, bring your walking boots, swimming costume, fishing rods and/or golf clubs and avail yourself of some Scottish hospitality, safe in the knowledge that your Frugal Break won't break the bank!

Frugal holidays in Scotland

Followers of Frugaldom (Facebook, Twitter, Website, Forums or Blog) will know that our main aim is to make a good life affordable to all and that should include a break from the norm. Our answer to this is to give you the opportunity to find out about Frugaldom for yourself, right here next to the project.

We are now offering this comfortable, 3-bedroom static caravan, which is fully equipped with all the basics you will need for sampling our frugal lifestyle, for short breaks and frugal holidays. For added luxury, the following are all available FREE to our guests:

  • WiFi
  • Satellite television (free channels only)
  • DVD player
  • Indoor heated swimming pool
  • 9-hole golf course
  • Fishing loch
  • Nature walks
  • Squirrel hide
  • Wet weather family games supplied (cards, board games, dominoes etc.)

Views from the caravans

We enjoy an elevated position here with views of nearby Loch Heron and the surrounding countryside and wildlife. There is easy access parking by the caravans and you are guaranteed to have frugal neighbours who can show you the sites and give you a tour of Frugaldom, which is less than a mile's walk, cycle or drive from the holiday park. (For the more adventurous, there are tent pitches available.)

Wooden wraparound decking, drystone wall and sycamore trees

The caravan is accessed by 4 steps leading up onto the 40' wooden decking, which provides adequate outdoor seating for enjoying lazy afternoons and evenings in the sunshine. A container garden provides fresh herbs for cooking and freshly picked sweet gale, grown nearby at the Frugaldom project, helps deter our Scottish midges. The location is adjacent to a small woodland where we have our bird feeding stations, which can be viewed from the caravans.

Caravan kitchen

The open plan kitchen is fully equipped with gas cooker, microwave, toaster, fridge freezer, electric kettle and slow cooker plus everything you need for an enjoyable self catering holiday. There is a small shop on site for any additional items you may need, but we can include basics like tea, coffee and sugar.

Spacious living room and dining area

The main living and dining areas are spacious, light and comfortable with adequate seating for friends and family. The caravan has 1 double room, one twin room, one single room with space for travel cot, which can be provided, and a foldaway double bed in the living room.

Bring your camera to catch a shot of the resident woodpeckers or watch for the red squirrels. The area has an abundance of wildlife and a good population of owls. If you are lucky you may spot a red kite or white tailed sea eagle soaring overhead between here and Frugaldom.

Prices start from £50 per night plus £5 per person for linen pack. You can, of course, choose to bring your own bedding and towels to save a few pounds extra.

We accept PayPal and all bookings must be paid in full a minimum of one week prior to arrival. Optional extras are available, like grocery packs and outdoor activities such as pony trekking, bike hire, air rifle shooting, archery, clay pigeon shooting, boat hire and fly fishing.

There is a small shop and laundry facilities on site, plus the indoor heated swimming pool, children's activity play area, BBQ hut and small skate park for use by residents and holiday makers. A woodland walk takes you around Loch Heron.

We should be able to start taking bookings from next week and I have already made a start on putting together a few photos and details for the webpage, which can be found at www.frugalbreaks.co.uk

NB: Frugal Breaks will offer booking concessions to 'Friends of Frugaldom' for any crafting, artwork, fitness, equestrian, tree planting, wild food foraging or other outdoor workshops we may organise.

Published by NYK Media as part of the Frugal Blog – helping make the good things in life affordable.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

UK and Global Transporting Facts

By Julia Latham

thumbnail_truckWhen you examine the facts relating to transport from both the UK and globally, the results are staggering!

Can you believe that hundreds of millions of miles are travelled by cars around the world and tens of millions by trucks? That is a significant amount of mileage and it makes you realise why it’s important to be as fuel efficient as possible. It becomes even more crucial when you realise that 13% of global carbon dioxide comes from transport. Of that carbon dioxide, 57% is created by cars and 23% by trucks, with the rest divided amongst other vehicles. We always hear about lowering our carbon footprint but it’s only when you see the figures in real terms that you realise how each of as individuals can make a difference.

Fuel Efficiency

We can all take simple steps to make our cars and trucks, especially if we drive for a living, more fuel efficient. Carrying out regular maintenance on our vehicles, reducing drag and changing how we drive, for example by accelerating and braking less harshly, can all make a difference.

Millions of litres of fuel are consumed by cars and trucks to keep them on the roads. Think how much further those vehicles would have been able to travel if every litre was used as efficiently as possible?

Aeroplanes are also fuel thirsty, but best to leave it to the aviation authorities to decide whether that fuel could be more used more efficiently.

Bringing Us What We Need

Much of the fuel that has been expended by aeroplanes, trucks and ships has been used to bring us all the items we take for granted. The amount of freight tonnage, which comes through our docks and airports every year, is astronomical and that freight is then loaded on to trucks and carried along our roads. No wonder many have gone back to buying more locally in order to help preserve these precious fuel resources.

However, the flip side of this coin is that exports, imports and logistics contribute a great deal to the economy. Jobs are created, profit is made by businesses and this, of course, has a positive impact on GDP. Maybe the lesson is just to make every mile, whether by air, road or sea, as efficient as possible and with new technologies it makes this efficiency ever more possible.

Keeping It on the Road

Spare a thought, too, for those truckers who have to keep everything moving along smoothly. There are over 5.7 million truck drivers around the world and with an average salary of a driver in the UK at around twenty-four and a half thousand pounds a year they have to travel many miles for that money. Trucking jobs are a vital part of the logistics train but they also often take drivers far away from their families for extended periods and it can be a tiring job when you spend many hours on the road.

Driving a truck is also a highly skilled job. The average length of a truck is 53 feet and weighs 44,000 kg. Could you imagine manoeuvring that along windy country lanes, through busy town centres and under low bridges, let alone having to reverse it around a tight corner? It’s certainly a job that deserves our admiration and appreciation for keeping everything circulating around the world.

This has just been a brief glance at the incredible transport logistics of which many are usually unaware. Even more amazing is that these figures rise dramatically every day. Why not work out how much fuel you estimate you consume in a year and then let’s all work together to lower our carbon footprints as a global community?

Resources:

https://www.trucklocator.co.uk/uk-and-global-transport-facts/

https://www.farmmachinerylocator.co.uk/farming-data-in-the-uk/

Content created by Julia Latham, published by NYK Media as part of Frugal Blog 

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Frugaldom in June

 

Glorious sunshine has burst through at Frugaldom, so it's back to work on the land project - in between dog walking, lemon curd making and spending some cash free, prime fitness time making the most of the swimming pool here on site.

Wild rabbit

Around the Frugaldom micro-ranch, the gardening has already ground to a halt. Having the bird feeding station and a nest box fitted has generated some excellent photo opportunities, especially with the woodpeckers visiting many times each day.

Field mouse on the bird table

At ground level, however, our little furry friends are having a ball. Not all of them are staying at ground level, either. First it was the rabbits digging up the rosemary and the birds pecking the strawberry plants, then it was the field mice running up the dry stone wall to help themselves to the bird food and now I have an owl visiting every night, obviously thinking the mice are for supper snacks!

First bed prepared in the garden of gratitude

Today I took the neighbour's two little dogs with me to Frugaldom, so the conversation was a bit one-sided during the walk there and back. They were very well behaved and sat watching as I dug and prepared the first of the beds in the garden of gratitude - this explains the furry tail-end that got into the photograph!

This is the current view from the garden of gratitude when looking towards the Forest but this vista will change as time progresses. The wood will be harvested and new trees planted and to the forefront, we still have to lay out the rest of the garden. Future plans for this include seating and possibly a picnic bench, as it will all form part of the eventual walk.

Frugaldom project

As you can see, the Frugaldom Project is beginning to come alive now that the flowers are coming into bloom, trees leafing up and grasses growing. Just out of shot in the above photo will be the first of the ecoart displays, where the barn owl swoops to land on a nearby tree stump. The sculpture is well underway and definitely taking shape, so we are hoping it will be completed and in place later this month.

Ecoart by H R Mayson - barn owl landing

There is so much to do out at the project that it's difficult to know where to start next. I am always on the look-out for willing helpers and accommodation can be arranged for willing volunteers. There are camping facilities nearby, as well as various other options, so don't be shy, give frugal living a try. More details available on this and other options in our forums at www.frugalforums.co.uk or else get in contact.

Frugaldom in June

Monday, 8 June 2015

How to decorate your small living space to look bigger

 

If you are living in a small house or cottage, apartment, lodge, or caravan, there is plenty you can do to make your living space look and feel bigger.

Ambitious plans include removing or altering the position of a wall or screen, adding larger windows, glass or panel doors instead of solid doors, or building a separate level or platform for a bedroom or office. Major changes such as these will need professional advice and planning, but some simple decorating and home furnishing tips can also help, without any major expense or upheaval.

Decorate in neutral colours and think about creating clean straight lines in plain designs. Heavy, dark or floral wallpaper will make a room feel smaller.

Wooden flooring creates a feeling of space and is more practical to clean than light coloured carpet. Then, add a few carefully selected items in a strong, bright or bold colour to accent the neutral decor, such as cushions, a throw, or a vase. This will add taste and personality to the room without overdoing it. Try to keep surfaces clear, with only the minimum amount of ornaments. Hang a couple of your favourite pictures or photos if you want to, but be ruthless or the result will be cluttered and will make the room look smaller.

Choose furniture for your home that doubles up as storage; for example, an ottoman or laundry basket that can be used as seating, a stool for a nightstand, a sofa bed, futon or loft bed that can be used during the day, a nightstand with drawers or a unit that can be used as a mini-desk or bureau.

Mirrors and floor to ceiling storage

If space beside the bed is tight, hang a shelf instead, and use ceiling lights, wall lights, or sconces instead of table lamps. Store clothes and shoes out of sight in floor-to-ceiling wardrobes or cupboards so as not to waste space. Use any space underneath beds for storage; storage baskets or cubes for smaller or less-used items are ideal to keep everything tidy and organised. Hang a floor to ceiling mirror. Open up windows by removing heavy curtains and install wooden shutters to maximise the light coming into the room.

In the living area, choose an extending or drop leaf table, a nest of tables and chairs or stools that can be stacked or stored away in a cupboard. If possible, choose bespoke furniture that uses every bit of available space effectively; opt for built-in book shelves that fit into an alcove or small space.

Windows, mirrors and laptop

Hang a mirror opposite a window to reflect the light, and look for clever artwork that creates an illusion of space – for example a tunnel effect or a forest scene. A wall-mounted television and a laptop or tablet instead of a PC will help to free up space and reduce clutter.

In the kitchen, reflective, light or white surfaces and cupboard fronts, as well as under cupboard lighting, will help the area to feel larger.

Give some thought as to how you can maximise the space that you have. By decorating in light colours, removing clutter, and making good use of every bit of room that you have, you can maximise your living area extremely effectively.

Downsizing, home decor and small space living are all topics discussed at www.frugalforums.co.uk  Join us free to take part in our moneysaving and budget challenges.