drEAming, general chit chat, mEAndering, out and about

mEAndering…goodbye to Uncle P

It has been a bittersweet few days.  We travelled down to Cirencester on Thursday morning for my Uncles funeral, he died suddenly, leaving the whole family shocked and upset at his passing.  You may remember this picture of him that I included in my mum’s Family Album recently.

1958.img016b

Uncle P was married to my late dad’s younger sister (the one here with the cake tin) – he was always full of life – ‘a happy chappy’ I guess – full of wit and wisdom and well-known for the occasional practical joke.

All our side of the family wanted to attend the funeral even though we had long journeys to get there involving a night in a hotel.  Those going from North Yorkshire chose to go down after work on Wednesday evening, stay in a hotel overnight and then go back home after the funeral.   Those of us here in the west of Yorkshire chose to journey down early on Thursday morning and stay over coming back Friday.

Even though it was a sad affair it was lovely to see all of the wider family, some of whom we have not seen for months or in some cases years, and catch up with all their news and the latest arrivals.

As is usual at these events there are many cousins –  first cousins, second cousins and third cousins and not forgetting all the once removed ones – I am never sure how the heirarchy of cousins fits together but we were all there.  Little L discovered her third cousin (possibly removed, possibly not), Little H – they are of similar age and even though it was the first time they had ever met got on so well to the point that little L did not want to leave her new playmate and go home and had a bit of a sulk on at home time!

After a bite to eat and a lot of catching up, a few tears and a few laughs, we set off to find our Premier Inn hotel at Little Witcombe – just outside Gloucester – only to be directed by the Google place finder to the one at Barnwood.  We didn’t even know it was the wrong one until the lady on reception could not locate our booking.  We then had to run back to the car in the lashing rain with all our luggage – repack it into the boot and set off with a few vague directions from the polish receptionist to find the right one.

All we knew was there was a lot of left turns and roundabouts involved – but more by sheer luck than management we eventually came to Little Witcombe – only to discover the hotel is in the middle of nowhere without a takeaway or chip shop in sight and the restaurant next door had stopped serving long ago for the night.

So after dumping our luggage in our room it was back into the car again to find a local takeaway – we ended up a few miles away on the outskirts of Gloucester at Domino Pizza – my first ever and although I am not a fan of takeaways and fast food it was surprisingly good.

On Friday morning before heading homeward we had our trip to Cheltenham where both DH and I met and lived for a few years whilst at Art College – it is many years since we had been there and I was a bit hesitant about going back – sometimes just having the memory of how it was is better – but I really enjoyed trying to spot buildings and places we remembered and what had been knocked down or changed.

I will fill you in on our visit on my next post.  I am experiencing some computer problems at the moment so posting is a bit intermittent.

Back soon x

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fEAsible, my goals

fEAsible…plans for February

 

appEArance

A visit to the optician – I need new glasses for work – but I don’t want stronger ones so I am going to test out some eye exercises to see if they have any effect on my eyesight.

A little exercise after work  – I plan to do some circuit training (I think that is the term) I will use the bottom step of our stairs, I have a Pilates ball and a balance board – so a few minutes on each and then an evening walk around the block.

mEAndering

A trip down south to attend my Uncle’s funeral and seeing all the family – a sad event but will be lovely to see the wider family.  An overnight hotel will be necessary and we are planning to go and have a look around Cheltenham where we lived for a few years to see how much our favourite town has changed.  Good idea or not – I will let you know – sometimes you should just remember places as they were so I am a bit hesitant about this.

A trip up north to see my granddaughter.

rEArranging

The old downstairs toilet – now the makeshift and temporary dumping ground and soon to be my new pantry but firstly I have a little job of selling, donating, repurposing – all the stuff hanging around in there.

 

sEAsons

Bringing fresh flowers into the home – tulips and narcissus

Changing one or two items around my home to reflect the coming of Spring.

crEAting

Making more cards –  after the initial start I have made with the January birthday cards I am planning to do my Valentines card and Easter cards.

Using up the hen fabric to make a tea cosy for my tiny one cup teapot.

homestEAding

No decorating this month – way too busy clearing up and clearing out.

But I plan to get out into the garden here in Yorkshire for a tidy up

nEAtening

Spring cleaning our bedroom and my wardrobe – with a little decluttering and beautifying.

fEAsting

Pancake day – can’t wait – I love pancakes

Valentine’s day – a nice meal and maybe a film – I might actually buy a DVD!

trEAsury

Getting to grips with our pensions – setting up an appointment with a financial advisor.

                Replenishing my depleted long-term savings (after the recent car purchase) with my  just  matured Flexclusive  Regular saver.

                Limiting our weekly groceries to £50

                Buying birthday gifts when I spot a bargain – I found a couple of really nice gifts recently, much reduced – perhaps I will see something on our visit to Cirencester and Cheltenham.

Maybe I won’t get through the whole list but having a plan is better than no plan at all.  How is your February going?

fEAsting, taking stock, holidays, cottage garden, mEAndering, bEAching, crEAting, fEAsible, celebrations, trEAsury

drEAming…January – did I blink and miss it?

I feel like I have been ‘off the circuit’ for months rather than days and January has whizzed past so fast that I never got to post the list of my intentions for the month but I will try to capture the best bits in a quick summary.

 

  • fEAsting –

    Celebrate Burns Night – as you can just about see from the Polaroids above a great night spent with 6 friends, 3 Haggis (one vegetarian), 12 Scotch pies, 2 Macaroni pies and a heap of tatties and neeps not to mention plenty of gravy and wine whilst singing along to the tunes of bonny Scotland –  I even made the Cranachan this year – it was delicious and although hesitant at first everyone gave it the thumbs up – just a touch more Whisky next year!

 

  • trEAsury –

Buying a new car – after much deliberation and contemplation and counting the pennies – here she is my new car ‘Hetty’ Hyundai.

 

After 16 years driving the same car day in, day out she is taking a bit of getting used to especially as she is much higher than my old Citroen Saxo and at times I am feeling a little travel sick.

I am sure we will settle in together soon!

  • crEAting –

Making birthday cards for January birthdays – they had to be quick and simple so I used some brightly coloured ink pads and these tiny flower stamps and just dotted the flowers around – each one is slightly different.  They also made good Thank you cards too.

 

  • fEAsible –

taking stock and planning but first the reading and researching – with the long dull winter days what could be more perfect than getting warm and cosy and reading – most of the books below have been borrowed from our local library.  I am interested to cut down our spending as much as possible both to save money and to simplify my life by owning less stuff.

The book titled Deep Country by Neil Ansell is an excellent account of a man who takes himself off to live in a cottage in a remote part of the Welsh Hills for 5 years where he has no modern conveniences such as electricity or running water, no transport and no phone.  His nearest neighbours are just the wild creatures – fauna and flora of the surrounding woods and fields – I was captivated by this book – not only because he describes in detail the amusing behaviours of the birds and animals he comes across on his daily walks, but part of me was envious of this simple but rich lifestyle.

 

 

  • mEAndering –

The ‘Italian Job’ – booking the accommodation and flights for our trip to Italy in April for our niece’s wedding.

This task was both a chore and a delight – looking at the beautiful pictures of the region from Venice to Verona and deciding where we wanted to stay and what we might do and then the difficulty of making all the travel arrangements to get everything to join up.  Now everything is booked apart from a taxi to take us to the wedding ceremony – for that we will have to email the hotel for advice.

  • bEAching –

My final intention for January was to have a few days at the cottage (caravan) in Scotland – to check the place over and also begin clearing out the undergrowth in the upper wood – not forgetting buying the haggis for Burn’s night.  We set off on the Friday with snow lying on the ground in Yorkshire and we heard on the news it was bad at Shap but the M6 was still flowing so we decided to risk the journey knowing that we could turn back or put up in a hotel if need be.

As it turned out the worst bit of the journey was actually only 6 miles away from here going over the moors to Manchester and the stretch of the M62 by Scammonden – there was nothing around Manchester itself.

As you might expect it was a very cold night in the caravan – the temperatures had dropped to almost freezing but thankfully we have double glazing and central heating.  We put the electric blanket on to air the bed and even after we switched it off we stayed toasty warm all night.

On the Saturday it was a gloriously sunny day with blue skies and an even deeper blue coloured, calm sea.

 

We had a leisurely breakfast and a trip into our nearest town Stranraer to change the empty spare gas bottle – with the cold weather it is always best to be well stocked.

We had a potter around the town – I bought a couple of birthday gifts for the January birthdays and a very large family sized pack of Persil on offer at Tesco for £9 (Morrisons had it on offer at £10!) – I like a bargain.

Back at the caravan the sun was out and it was such a lovely afternoon we put on our gardening gear – fleece joggers, padded jackets, hats, scarves and boots and looking like arctic explorers went up into the upper wood to do some clearing.  We have to do the wood clearance at this time of year whilst the undergrowth is not growing.  We pruned the elders that spring up in any bit of a clearing and had a go at the brambles.  Elders make good shredding or should I say Elder branches go through the shredder easily, they are straight thin branches and not thorny like Hawthorn.

The large spider legged pond cover we bought last year in a sale from Agriframes seems to be doing the job of keeping the leaves off the pond – I presume the wind from the recent gales must blow straight through the structure as there is no way to anchor it down but yet it had not moved an inch – luckily.

 

 

There are bulbs coming up everywhere in the garden and snowdrops well in bud.  To my horror though the three-cornered leek is everywhere you would not even know I had dug up so much of it last year even to the point of digging out every last tiny bulb over a 2 metre area – even the ones that were like microscopic beads.  To no avail – it has spread over winter with a vengeance.  So it is back to searching the internet for a remedy – surely there is a pesticide for this persistent pest of a weed.

 

There was a surprising amount of colour around the garden –  the Mahonia Charity and Viburnum in flower…

 

 

Berries still remain on the Hypericum…

 

 

and elsewhere evidence of shoots bursting into life…

 

or about to…

 

 

The light eventually faded and we had to come inside – I made a nice hot 2 day lentil curry for tea to warm us up whilst OH promptly fell asleep and snored blissfully on the sofa after a job well done!

Opening the curtains on Sunday morning confirmed the weather we could hear from inside the caravan – wet, windy and cold – not a day to venture out and certainly not a day for the garden.  We had to turn our attentions to amuse ourselves inside.

For me it was plotting and planning as well as reading a stack of magazine articles I had clipped in my recent clear-out interspersed by just watching the waves as the sea crashed around at the bottom of the garden.

By the end of the afternoon the weather was a little warmer and calmer but the light was fading fast so still no chance of gardening.

At tea time I began to collect our bits and pieces together ready to pack for leaving on the Monday.  We had to be in town for 11am as the local Osteopath (with the magic touch) was going to work on fixing my bad shoulder before we travelled home.

I know the main problem with all my muscles is due to lack of exercise and I will be taking small steps to address this soon.

I actually feel quite pleased with myself that I completed all my intentions for January – I decided this year I would try and focus on one project at once – unfortunately it was unavoidable that planning the Italian Job and buying a new car collided a bit but thankfully they both got sorted.

In a day or two I will be posting my intentions for February so stay tuned.

Back soon x

fEAsible, taking stock

fEAsible…doing better next time

Notes to self for next December

Each year I reflect on what worked and what did not both in the run up to and over the Christmas period –  then I make notes.  This is the list I made recently to remind me of things to do better, things I want to do again and things to definitely avoid next year.

 

  • Definitely no decorating beyond end of October – there isn’t time to look for furnishings with all the extra events and general tasks in the run up to Christmas and stocks are low in the shops – we spent a lot of time and petrol money trying to buy the electric blanket for mum – it must have been on everyone’s Christmas list!
  • Buy fancy Nougat for OH stocking early from TKMAX – don’t wait until we are out shopping together or with mum as it gets too tricky to buy it secretly.
  • Negotiate with mum that she plans her visit for November again like she used to – it has crept into middle December now and this leaves me with no time on the busiest weekends and all the Christmas events that we could go to tend to be in November.
  • Make less food for our neighbour / friends get-togethers – our new neighbours just did a selection of crackers, cheese and wine with a little fruit and some dips – it was both simple and ample and you don’t have to cook anything.
  • Make Christmas cards in October –waiting until November and December are too late to experiment with ideas. This year some of the colours of my stamping inks had dried up or gone off and I had to dash to town for new ones.
  • If supplementing with bought cards buy enough of the same design – don’t buy different packs then there are no decisions to be made of who has which card.
  • Plan to draw the names for the family Not So Secret Santa and Not so Secret Santa Stockings by mid-November – to allow plenty of time to buy the gifts and order any online and take advantage of any offers.
  • Stock up on stamps early – buy a book each month to spread the cost.
  • Send an e-card to Australians with the newsletter – to save on postage costs.
  • Collate newsletter for friends and distant family in November  – to save time this year I used my blog photos and posts to remind me of significant events and highlights throughout the year.
  • Update card and address lists in January for next year – remove anyone who has died or doesn’t require a card anymore.
  • Good tip from The Sadie Diaries – take photos and make notes of décor and lighting that works – most important label those fine wire lights with the colour of the white – warm white / bright white etc – they differ quite a lot and is easier to get the right ones in the right place if you know the exact colour.
  • Also like Sadie put outside lights up in warmer November.
  • Reduce décor that is put out in the rooms – less is more – use more natural foliage as décor and simple twinkly lights and candles looked really effective this year.
  • Buy plenty of batteries when on offer – as they are so expensive full price.
  • Make a plan of December menus that are quick and easy and can be frozen – for those extra busy days. Make notes on recipes for next year.
  • Find recipes that use left-over fruit and nut and egg whites and are quick and easy.
  • Buy one roll each of Adult Christmas wrapping paper and don’t forget one roll for Children now we have more in the family.
  • Pre-write gift tags when writing cards –  to save time when wrapping gifts.
  • Put the Saltaire Living Advent event into diary – not to be missed – also check on the one in North Yorkshire.
  • Buy a few sprigs of flowers and leaves from the florist for decoration – they were really good value and you can select exactly which ones you want.

Hopefully with a few adjustments I can make next Christmas run more smoothly and have more fun.

 

 

 

drEAming, general chit chat

drEAming…of Italy and a car

You may have noticed that I have been quiet the last few days – no I haven’t come down with anything – thankfully – although we had 3 people go home last Wednesday, I was pleased it was my last day and I could escape the germs.  I have been wiping desks, door handles and key boards each morning with my Dettol wipes just to try to keep them away.  Coughs and sneezes from work colleagues are harder to avoid!
No, the reason for my absence is that I have been a little overwhelmed lately  – well a lot overwhelmed actually.
I have a couple of large projects on the go at the moment and they are taking up all my spare time.  Once the time has been put in to deal with these the end results should be very enjoyable!
The first mammoth project is that I have to change my car before it is no longer useable.  It is sixteen years old and due an MOT by the end of this month and I already know it won’t pass so I decided that enough is enough and I need to buy a new one.  One that will last me another 16 years and hopefully one where the heater works during the journey to work not just as I drive into the car park, and where I can open or lock all the doors at once. 
After slogging around the showrooms, reading reviews and taking a test drive I have settled on one and placed an order – just got to arrange the insurance and then sit back and wait for delivery.  I am so sad though to be saying goodbye to my old faithfull friend – I just get so upset at the final parting.
The other project on the go is what I am referring to as the ‘Italian Job’
We are invited to my niece’s wedding in Italy (she is marrying an Italian) in April.  The ceremony and reception takes place in a small village in Northern Italy near Verona and Vicenza and not far from Venice.  We intend to make a small holiday of it and go for 9 days – three of which will be taken up getting to the wedding, enjoying the wedding day and then saying our goodbyes and moving on.  We will be meeting up with my two daughters for the wedding itself but then each of us are planning to go off in different directions. 
After the wedding OH and I have decided on a few days in Vicenza followed by a few days in Venice before flying home. 
We will need to book a hotel to stay in on landing at Venice Marco Polo then move round to the outskirts of Vicenza to another hotel closer to the wedding venue for 3 days.  Then another short move to an apartment for 3 nights in the centre of Vicenza to experience Italian life and finally moving to Venice for the remaining three days.  Four different hotels / apartments in all.  That’s a lot of packing and unpacking and a lot of booking.
The choosing of all these different places to stay has been a bit of a headache and so time-consuming – scrolling through endless internet pages of hotels in the region – what did we do before the internet?  Places that look OK on Booking.com can look quite different when viewing the travellers own photos on Tripadvisor.  I really hate it when you see a lovely hotel room on a website – stylish and clean and then discover that this is their only room of that decorative standard and on arrival you are shown to something quite different and very shabby in appearance (and I don’t mean in a chic way).
We have booked the flights, the hotel for the wedding and the train connection so far but still many bookings to go yet.  It is not a cheap way to take a holiday either – I can see why people opt for a package deal.
So I may be quiet for a few more days yet…I am still following and reading along though with everyone’s blogs and hopefully all will be back to normal again soon and blogging will resume.  If anyone has any tips for Italian travel they will be very welcome.

Back soon x

budgeting, financial focusing, trEAsury

trEAsury…a good start

Snowdrops

Birthday Card

We are now on day 8 of the new year and up to yesterday all we had bought during the week was milk and a bunch of flowers and box of chocolates for a birthday gift.  The card I made having a really good time with some tiny flower stamps I had bought a while ago but never used.
Total cost for first 7 days £11.   January is quite a heavy month for birthdays  – I have seven to buy for.
Yesterday we had to go to the supermarket for a few bits for my lunches and some fresh fruit and vegetables.  I was very organised and arrived with my menu plan and list in hand feeling confident that I was going to spend within my budget of £50.
After the first two aisles I came across a number of our usual grocery items on offer but not on the list such as coffee. 
Dilemma.
In the end it seemed right to take advantage and stock up –  otherwise it will be a while before the offers come round again.
  • The very large Lurpack was down to £6.00 – we decant this into a butter dish which I quite like doing anyway – more elegant on the breakfast table than a tub – and a tub this size is not at all pretty – but it does last us for ages.
  • The seeded flat breads which are like Pitta breads are great for filling with salads for my lunch and these had been marked down to 80p for six.
  • The instant Lavazza which is normally extortionate price of £4.50 (but hubby’s favourite) was down to £3 a tin so I splashed out and bought 3 which should last us until the offer comes round again.
  • I also bought a couple of cartons of Napolina Pasata at 60p carton and a good pantry staple for making lasagne, chickpea bake or adding to any winter warming casserole.
  • We needed water filters and we were in luck this week they were reduced – I can only afford them when they are on offer but I do like filtered water – since I had the high levels of radiation a few years back it has left me with a very heightened sense of taste and smell like you get when you are pregnant.  They were reduced from £21 to £14 for six and we make them last 9 months so about £1.55 a month, which is well worth it for me.
So in the end we spent £72  – £31 on the offers.
Over the weekend I have been looking for new ways to maximise any rewards points, offers and freebies.  Reward points work well for me and the Nectar card at Sainsbury’s is the one I use most.  I haven’t really taken much notice of the online account before – but I ventured on there to order a new card as mine must be more than 20 years old and a bit worn out.  Yes I hate to say it but this little bit of plastic is heading for the landfill!
Whilst having a browses around I found I could get 200 points on my next shop and all I had to do was click to load the offer straight on to my card.
Brilliant.
So I have now bookmarked the login on my sidebar for easy access and this is one account I shall keep checking into more frequently.
I then logged onto the Boots Advantage card site and found the same – not only have I £34 in points to spend but you can load any personalised offers straight to your card.  Why didn’t I know this before?  I wonder what else I am missing.
To boost the coffers over the January period I have a children’s outfit to return to M&S for a refund of £18 and my brother owes me £10 – he will just need a nudge about this.
As you can tell I will be trying to spend as little as possible other than food during January.  I even managed to avoid the magazines whilst in Sainsbury’s – I could see them out of the corner of my eye beckoning me with promises of losing 10lbs in 2 days or was it 2lbs in ten days or making me happy, less stressed, better dressed – none of these things would be difficult but I have heard it all before in last years magazines that I bought  – the ones that cost me over £100  – and did they make a difference – nope – none that I can detect.  I am still the same old me!
I have plenty of clothes for work and my new boots and old winter coats are still good. 
If I need anything it would be a plain black top, preferably a fine knit jumper, that will go with a few patterned skirts that I have and will give me another three outfit options to wear for work.  I bought the skirts ages ago but have never found a suitable top to wear with them – but there must be one out there and it seems a bit wasteful to have the skirts hanging there doing nothing.
Note to self – buy clothes in outfits then I am not stuck with oddments that don’t go with one another.
Back soon x

 

 

drEAming, general chit chat

drEAming…looking back on our non-plastic kitchen

Did I mention that when we were Art students in the early seventies we were big on saving the planet – the generation that came a while after us during the Thatcher years seemed to completely ignore the topic and it became a spend, spend, spend world and consumerism was born in a big way.
One of the ways we tried to ‘save the planet’ was that we had an almost fully non-plastic kitchen.  With all the recent discussion in the news of plastic waste I was reminded of our efforts back then and that it is not actually that hard to achieve it just takes a bit of adjustment.
We carefully selected our kitchen contents and only bought items of glass, wood, enamel, metal,  china or pot.  Looking back it is incredible that we managed a whole kitchen by today’s standards as most people have Tupperware, or plastic washing up bowls and formica counter tops not to mention all the groceries we buy and store in the kitchen that come packaged in plastics.
We lived in rented accommodation back then –  a tiny 3 bedroom terraced house in Cheltenham just off the high street behind the Co-op on Grosvenor Terrace.  Ours was the blue house – they were all painted a different colour.  The living room was so small it didn’t even accommodate a 3 piece suite.  The dining table was squashed in here in the corner as there was no dining room nor a dining kitchen.
The kitchen was in fact more like an old scullery down a passage at the back of the house which opened up in to a bit of a dismal yard with no rear access but at least we could hang a washing line out there.  The windows in the kitchen were the original painted metal frames and the floor was made of those red clay tiles.  The whole house was cold at times but even more so in the kitchen – there was no heating at all in any of the rooms and all we could afford then was a two bar electric fire for the living room.  We just shivered in the other rooms and dived into bed quickly!
The bathroom was quite colourful a yellow toilet, pink basin and white bath – no doubt whatever the landlord could find going cheap at the time!
The only items in the kitchen, which was about 8′ x 6′, was an old gas cooker, a white pottery sink in the corner and the previous tenants had left a small wooden dresser on the back wall.  There were no kitchen units or wall cupboards built-in or otherwise.
Being a handy kind of man OH set to and made a kitchen unit to fit next to the gas cooker from some MDF and old packing cases that we found  – as you can imagine trying to cook when you have no horizontal surface to put anything on is near impossible.   The unit didn’t have anything posh like doors it looked more like a bookcase with a work top on it – you would call it open shelving these days and you would be thought of as extremely modern.  In those days you were thought of as a poor student!  The work top was a huge slab of dark grey slate – about 3″ thick and 3′ long with a round hole in one end.  We found it on some waste land and somehow using that old technique of rollers Egyptian style managed to roll it home and then called on friends to help lift it on top of the frame – whether any other resident that came after us ever got it out again would be another story!  It was a brilliant place for putting down hot pans though!
We painted the dresser grey – it scrubbed up quite well.  We also acquired a fridge at this point – our first ever, second or third hand of course.  The door seal on the fridge and the wire shelving coated in plastic was one of the few things that had plastic and unavoidable.
We used enamel buckets and basins and a wire metal dish drainer.  We had a dish mop and dish brush made of real bristle and wood – which you can still buy in some hardware stores.  Our cooking utensils were wooden or metal – no plastic handles allowed.
For food storage we used the old-fashioned glass jars with ground stoppers and glass basins with a saucer on top to keep food and left overs safe and fresh in the fridge.
We had no Tupperware or plastic bowls.  We only bought foods that were free from plastic wrappings, our vegetables were packed in paper bags and the cheese and butter wrapped in greaseproof paper.  Sauces came in jars and most food items were free of any tamper proof shrink wrapped cellophane or plastic display trays.  We used Stardrops for washing up and cleaning as this came in a glass bottle as did the milk.
The waste bin was one of those old style pails with a lid made of enamel. In fact we generated so little waste our old tin dustbin in the yard was rarely full of any rubbish – which is just as well as we had to carry it through the house to the front doorstep on bin day.
With all the discussions recently in the news about China and our plastic waste it is no bad thing that we should review our use of plastics especially the single use of plastics for packaging.  Remembering our kitchen all those years ago and how some of the values we held then have fallen by the wayside a bit over the years I am mindful now in the light of the current plastics awareness that is sweeping the country that I must make an effort to reject plastic once again and challenge myself to having a non- plastic kitchen.
Of course it would be wrong to get rid of anything plastic by throwing it away better we hang on to it now for as long as possible and when we have to renew look for an alternative material, but we can avoid such things as squeezy sauce bottles opting for the glass ones instead or buying vegetables that are loose not prepackaged.  Every small change will eventually make a difference.  I possibly won’t be going back to a 3″ thick slate work top though!!