Answering some comments and a gentle warning

27 July 2010
I am often overwhelmed by the generous nature of the comments left behind like Hansel and Gretel's breadcrumbs in the woods. Those breadcrumbs can be followed and at times  they lead to the most wonderful places.  Sometimes, someone picks up on a tiny thing and that makes me smile, knowing they know what I know. Stephanie and notesfromthefrugaltrenches both noted my reference to Doc Martin.  For those of you who don't know, this is a UK TV program about a disagreeable and socially unaware doctor in a small village and, I guess, about village life.  I don't watch a lot of television and I rarely watch anything as it goes to air, I prefer to record and watch when I feel like it.  That has the added benefit of me being able to whiz through the advertisements.  Stephanie, what is Hulu?  I think there are Doc Martin DVDs, you might find the full series somewhere, or might be able to hire them.  Notes, my sister and I were talking about this the other day.  Where is it filmed?

Monique, I will think about your comment and answer later in the week.

French Knots, Hanno is safely home, thank you.  I struggle with some repetitive tasks but I have found that by accepting them as being part of this life I have chosen, and knowing that if I was working in a boring  paid job the repetition would be absolutely mind-numbing.  At least at home you can mix jobs around and do things according to your own timetable. You have control. I think we've been lead to believe we should never be bored when the reality is that most of our lives are filled with mundane tasks that fill up very ordinary days.  It is up to you to accept that, look at it in another way and mix the tasks you love doing with those you don't. You are at the time of life when these things you do for your family are part of it.  It won't be like that forever.  I wrote a blog about this a couple of years ago that might help you: The Familiar Rhythm of the Unremarkable.

Christa, thank you so much for your warm and generous comment.  The fact is that I am a very ordinary woman who makes mistakes, is forgetful and impatient.  The good part is that I make a good cup of tea and I can hold my own in most decent conversations.  Ironically, I don't mix well with others and prefer to be alone or with people I know, except when I'm at my voluntary job. Then I turn into everyone's mother.  ;- )


And finally, when I looked up the definition of "house-proud" the other day I came across this article in the Sydney Morning Herald that I want to bring to your attention.  This is an extract: "Scientists found significant links between the disease [breast cancer] and women's use of cleaning products, air fresheners and mould removers. General use of cleaners doubled the risk of breast cancer in women who used them the most, experts found."  It confirms my suspicions about air fresheners and breathing in chemicals we spray around our homes.  If you're still buying commercially made cleansers and sprays, you might find some cleaners you can make at home here. They're healthier and a lot cheaper. I've never used air fresheners. I believe the smell of a clean home is the best scent possible.

I feel strongly about the health risks some cleaning chemicals pose to us homemakers.  We need to stop using products we don't know about and get back to basics to discover that the old methods of cleaning with moist rags, vinegar, homemade soap and bicarb really do work.  Supermarkets and manufacturers will only disclose the information they're legally obliged to.  It is up to us to alert other homemakers and support them in the transition to gentler ways of cleaning.  Let's all get back to the tried and true ways and turn our backs on products that might compromise our health.


  1. Hey Rhonda! It is filmed in Port Issac, Cornwall. Most of the small fishing villages in Cornwall are just as beautiful and lovely! I think a trip to England is in order ;)

    I know other Australians watch Doc Martin & Canadians too! He sure is a funny Dr! lol

  2. Doc Martin is filmed on location in Port Isaac (Port Wen)hich is a small fishing village on the North West Cornish coast line. I know it well having spent many holidays there as a child and an adult. There are holding pools in the rocks for the fisherman to actually keep the shellfish fresh. There are also fish cellars where you can buy fresh fish from. On a couple of occasions when we have been down to Cornwall on holiday they have actually been filming in the streets. It is a wonderful series and you certainly can buy DVD's of the whole programme. I first fell in love with Port Isaac as a child of 11 years of age. You park your cars on the beach, but have to be watchful of the tide turning. The streets are very very narrow. A favourite programme of mine as is the Darling Buds of May.

    Tricia (aka pattypan)

  3. Good Morning from NZ!
    Wow- that's really interesting about the research on breast cancer. I've had it on my new year's resolution list for the last 2 years to switch over to homemade. I think this will finally give me the push I need. Not that I needed convincing - it was more time than anything just to organize myself, but I will put it high on my priority list now.
    Love your blog, Rhonda - you're such an encourgement to me.

  4. Too right! we must stop polluting our homes, I cleaned lots today, with vinegar, sodium bicarbonate, lemon juice, olive oil, beeswax, and castille soap............the house smells lovely and it's chemical free! Most houses are more polluted than a motorway! lovely blog btw xxxx

  5. Hi Rhonda,We are avid watchers of Doc Martin and love his grumbly ways(can't wait till next week to see if he and his lovely have this baby together)lol.Once again a blog that gives a lot to think about.I do not know exactly whee this series is made but had the wonderful pleasure of going to a place called Locock where they made Pride and Prejedice and Emily and it is just how it was then.The English are so blessed with the age of their buildings and we are so new,stoll making our history,thank the Lord that we have stopped pulling most of our Treasured buildings down.

  6. I agree about the chemical cleaners. I use vinegar and baking soda as well. Add lemon to that and you've got all you need to clean.

    Doc Martin is great. It comes on public television in the U.S.

    Hulu is a site in the U.S. to view tv programs any time you want. It only works from a pc in the U.S.

  7. Hello Rhonda Jean,
    Doc Martin is filmed in Port Issac in Cornwall, England. I too love this programme and I'm looking forward to the new series which has been filmed recently.
    I live about 6 hours from Port Issac and will be spending my holidays there at the end of August which I am very excited about.
    we are staying in an old fishermans cottage overlooking the port. We choose the cottage because it looks very similar to one of the ones in the programme. It looks cosy and inviting with a wood burning stove but fingers crossed we will not have to light it!
    This is the first time we have left our smallholding in the hands of our 17 year old son so for the next few weeks we are teaching him how to look after our chickens, pigs, goats and our precious vegetable garden.
    We started our smallholding last summer when I gave up my career in teaching to live a more simple life. My husband and 3 children have backed me all the way and our life now is happier than it's ever been. I started reading your blog 3years ago and started to dream about the life I wanted my family and I to live. I started with the veggie garden then bought chooks and slowly over the last year I've added the pigs and goats.
    I wake up in the mornings now without any stress, and excited about my day. I feed the animals, make breakfast and get the making of my bread started. It's then my time to decide how I will spend my day, either by homemaking, cooking or cleaning out the animals.
    I now live a frugal, happy and joyous life rather than a stressful, unhappy and tired life.
    I wouldn't change a thing and many thanks to you for guiding me along the way.
    I will let you know how our holiday to Port Issac goes x

  8. Thanks for the link about breast cancer and cleaning products, makes a lot of sense. I'm another fan of Doc Martin too (and Doc Marten shoes too!) PS - I've left Radical Homemakers at the centre for you, and I've finished my apron! Sonya

  9. I love reading your posts! Yesterday's was lovely, it made me all cozy inside. It sounded like a beautiful day.
    Never heard of Doc Martin, but that is probably because I live in Canada, and don't watch much TV either. My favorites would be Road to Avonlea, and The Waltons. I love those glimpses back into the "olden days".
    Oh, commercial cleaners, air "fresheners" and the works, are so crazy now. An isle in the grocery store JUST for cleaning products. It's sad.
    Glad Hanno made it back safely!
    I love your pictures as well. Just every day things- those are the best moments.
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

  10. I love how you write - and fwiw, I found Doc Martin on Netflix, instant play - I'll be watching soon!

  11. You can watch on Hulu found it here:
    Off to check it out.

  12. Hmmm... might have to see if I can find Doc Martin on Netflix. We've found other UK shows there and we generally love them: IT crowd, Dr. Who.

    I'm with you on the cleaners. I still use a few purchased ones, but I'm pretty picky about what I'll spend money on.

    That chocolate brownie with the gooey center got my mouth watering! Gonna have to find a recipe for it! Thanks for your inspiration, both gustatory and otherwise.

  13. I watch Doc Martin too! I get the disks from Netfliks.

  14. Hello Rhonha
    Beautiful post today and I loved the look of the buttons you have ( i have a stash I rummage through now and then was my grandmothers) but I digress wht not try tis lint to get a more indepth view of Doc Martins cornwall.
    Glad Hanno is home , hope all went well for your sister. And finally I am a little like you love people but I ma better with my own company or being where I can decide when I leave.
    Take care

  15. Martin Clunes, the actor who plays Doc Martin, is a lovely man and far from grumpy!!

    Port Isaac is also home to The Fishermen's Friends a group of friends who are now known nationally in the UK for their sea shanties

    Not sure if I'm allowed to put a link - only for your interest to see another bit of Port Isaac life - do delete if necessary..

  16. Hi Rhonda, Three years ago when my youngest daughter was 11 we spotted the actor who plays Doc Martin at a dog show with his dogs. Before we could stop her she shot off to speak to him. He was knidness itself and talked to her for ages letting her stroke his dogs. He's certainly nothing like his character! Very interesting item about houshold cleaners. I think I will go back through your blog to try to make my own cleaners. Jane xx

  17. You will not believe how well half a lemon dipped in grated lemon zest and salt works to clean even really tough stuff. And running over the shower and bath with just half a lemon, then rinsing is all you need. Smells wonderful, and lemons are in season (in Australia at least)at the moment so they're cheaper than any cleaning product you're likely to find in the supermarket.

  18. Hi Rhonda,
    As others say, Doc Martin is filmed in Port Isaac, on the north cornish coast - see this link:

    I wholeheartedly agree about the household cleaning products - when I visit anyone who uses commercial cleaners, I can smell them the moment I walk through the door.

    Having read your posts virtually daily over the last three and a half years, I always enjoy dropping in here, and have learned so much. Thank you.

    Have a lovely week.

    Diana x

  19. Havent used chemical cleaners in years and now am so glad. Do you also watch Kingdom with Stephen Fry, currently on 7two? Lovely show.

  20. Hello Rhonda,
    I too have serious concerns about commercial cleaning and air "freshening" products. I think what people are slowly realizing is that these products are not actually regulated. Manufacturers can freely use known toxins and carcinogens in these products. Same goes for beauty products (see The Story of Cosmetics on YouTube). It's very alarming. I think we assume that our democratic governments are on top of these things but they're not at all. Food and drugs are monitored somewhat but not the dangerous chemicals we absorb through our skin and breathe in every day! We have to take matters into our own hands and create what we need from safe ingredients. // Thank you for your lovely blog. I enjoy it every day, plowing through the archives whenever I have time.

  21. I agree that the scent of a clean home is better than air freshener. I use very few chemical cleaners, preferring to use natural agents as often as possible. The problem I have though, is my husband and I both smoke inside the house. Natural cleaning agents do leave a fresh clean scent, but the smell of smoke still lingers. Other than not smoking in the house, what can I do to rid the house of the unpleasant smoke scent?

  22. I love watching Doc Martin too. Years ago my husband and I visited Port Isaac and parked our car on the beach cove there (we had be careful to move the car before the tide came in). Everytime the beach cove comes into shot we shout out "We parked the car there!" Our children roll their eyes..hee hee

  23. Hi Rhonda! Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie, two inspirational Canadians, have written a great book called Slow Death by Rubber Duck. They research the prevalence and effects of six prevalent chemicals on our bodies and in our environment, and personally test the effects of using products containing those chemicals on their own bodies. Their results are mindblowing! As you suggest, most popular cleaning products do contain one or more of their top six, and they found that using them increases the levels of those chemicals in our bodies quickly and significantly. They would agree with your thoughts 100%.

  24. I couldn't agree more about the chemicals. Before I had my daughter I never really thought about it much. Now I am a big believer in Vinegar and Baking Soda(I think that's the same as bi carb you mentioned?) Not only is better for the household but it is MUCH more economical than commercial cleansers!
    Happy Monday:)

  25. I like your take on the more enjoyable and the not so enjoyable tasks around the home. I try to mix tasks up so that it keeps me going, sometimes I tackle the really unenjoyable things for just 15 mins then take a short reward break like a cup of tea or read a chapter of my latest book. Working from home with a toddler means I have learnt to do things in short 15 min bursts!!!

  26. I adore Doc Martin his brusk nature and the film site, your site is wonderful and feeds my soul thanks

  27. Hi Rhonda
    I love the bit about being able to make a good cup of tea, it made me chuckle to myself. My Dad always said that I could never make a good cup of tea and I still cannot to this day, I have taken instructions from my lovely husband several times but something must go wrong somewhere. Maybe there is method in my madness here, it means that I never get to make the
    Would never miss one of your blogs, thankyou

  28. interesting about the breast cancer risk/chemical use, makes me more determined to make sure I use natural substitutes.

  29. Hello from Madison, WI! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Doc Martin! And so does my entire family (husband, parents, aunts, grandma!). The characters are fantastic and the village is wonderful! I was so sad when I finished the final episode (on youtube). Season five doesn't start filming until 2011! So I have a long wait. :)

  30. Thank you Rhonda, I really am looking forward to your thoughts about it. Just today I looked at our "Home" board in our house. My firtst thought was to put it away 'till we can buy us a new one. Up till now this is not our home :o(

    But to give you a comment on your last post: step by step I am trying to aliminate the bad cleaners and trying to make the good ones. I really hope there are a lot more people to do so. Not only for ourselves, also for our nature and our future.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  31. Not a clue about the TV program but those browies look so good, makes my mouth water, do you have a recipe for them? Please post it if you do, I would love to make them, I am into peaches now, and have some good peach recipes on my blog if you care to look, hugs my friend.

  32. This reminds me of a comment my husband made to our youngest daughter. Their schedules made it possible for them to eat lunch together most weekdays. Usually they forage through the leftovers but one day my darling hubby made lunch for the two of them. My daughter said it was such an enjoyable treat to share a hot meal with her dad. The next day I took care to lay out ingredients for him to make lunch again. Imagine my surprise when everything was just as I left it when I came home from work. His comment? I don't want to get in the habit of making lunch everyday!
    I am so grateful for everything my husband does but it's a good thing I was home to feed our kids when they were growing up!!

  33. We were enchanted by Doc Martin. Keep hoping there will be a new series. But then we are only getting old reruns in South Africa. Have just found your blog, what I miss in your about me - where are you?
    Oh yes, and I enjoy both your philosophy of life, and the way you write about it. Two simple gifts.

  34. Elephant's eye, I live in Queensland Australia, in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast.


  35. Rhonda,

    So glad that you posted about the chemicals. I know a TON of people follow your blog and its great that there is an individual that they trust who is willing to raise the red flag on what public health scientists have been reporting for years. Lots of other great people have weighed in on their appreciation of this too and I'm glad someone mentioned The Story of Cosmetics. There are tons of articles and resources out about the lack of regulation on most of the chemicals on the market, as industry is to regulate itself. Most testing that does occur is based on an adult male body and pertains to one exposure (or application when its a product). If you would like any resources or additional information feel free to leave me a comment on my blog and I can pull up various articles and findings for you.

    I also loved your comment about how you prefer to be alone or just with close friends---feel the same way. I choose my inner social circle very, very wisely. While I know how to get along with just about anyone and enjoy being social, I'd just as well prefer to be with a select few....

  36. Rhonda regarding your comments on organic and non-toxic cleaning products, do you also use organic and non-toxic make up? If so, where do you get it?

  37. I was interested-but not surprised- to hear about the cleaners on the news recently too. As I get older I seem to be getting more sensitive to common household cleaners. Nowdays I have a severe reaction to caustic things such as Domestos - and Windex nearly kills me! At least.. it felt like that in the past when my hubby tried to secretly wash the windows with it. It is banned from our home now! I've become very nervous and wary of these type of products. People don't understand how scarey it is to be allergic to them. I didn't, until I developed these extreme responses myself. It's not just in the home where you need to take care either. I have been zapped by them in restaurants and shops as well, and have had to leave in a hurry and forgo whatever I was in there for. Very frustrating indeed.

  38. I love Doc Martin and watch every single episode and I live in the US



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