Random Jottings Of Gildersleeve

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Location: United Kingdom

Perhaps you'll learn more about me as you read my blog. For anyone who translates my blog using the translator facility, don't forget if you wish to read the comments in your own language to click on the title of the post down the left hand side otherwise they will remain in english. Also I assume that the translation is accurate but I don't know, so please allow for errors.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Oh You Never Saw My Images Of Woodhorn Colliery...

Where I was last Friday...showing the Weeping Poppies display coming off the wheel of one of the winding mechanisms that used to take the miners down the shaft to the seam where they dug for coal. I cannot post them all but here are a few.

On the way I passed by the Angel of the North and managed to get some images as the bus sped past and also the window was not very clean but they're not bad. Luckily there is a bus stop nearby and a regular bus service so hopefully I will get up close soon. I'm even thinking that as I am already in Durham tomorrow(all being well)and that event could be over by 3.30pm(if I have not seen all that there is to before then)I may board a bus and go the extra 14 miles to Low Fell and actually see it for myself. At that time it will still remain quite light for a couple of hours.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

A Great Night At The Theatre...

Lucky for now that I can manage to go occasionally. I appreciate that. Buses ran reasonably well with few periods of hanging around between connections. The weather was good going there and not as cold as the previous night in Durham coming home but I was prepared.

The theatre was packed. Always good to see. I had a good view too. All those people kept the place warm and when I came out I had a small scarf and a thermal hat to hand to keep the head warm. I had gone in a baseball cap...I know, I know...

I popped into the supermarket on the way home...purchased a few ready meals that will keep me fed for a few weeks.

The shrub I had planned to buy had to be changed to a cheaper one from another store on town because the few that remained at Tesco's were looking in poor condition, if I am passing another store I may try again.

Back to the theatre show, another great night of live music from a 16 piece big band in the name of Syd Lawrence who was one of the last respected bandleaders that kept such a band on the road until his untimely death many years ago. Resurrected by and fronted by Chris Dean these days as it has been for many years. He is an accomplished singer/trombonist/musical director and has a big collection/library of musical arrangements. Often bequeathed to him.

The band we were informed had virtually just returned from a 17 day tour of...Brazil. We were told from the stage that my local theatre's capacity is to be doubled in size. Not sure how they plan to do that. It may mean larger productions can be staged that usually go to theatres out of the area but I do worry this mean prices will increase. On the other hand I hope it has the opposite affect and pegs prices somewhat. My concern is that as some shows are not sold out and there are often many empty seats extra seats do not mean extra "Bums" on seats.

So today, taking it easy and in a few hours it will time to play bingo again...come Saturday I hope to be at an afternoon planned by the cathedral in the surrounding countryside which also includes a display of falconry and there are owls too.

Update:No bingo wins tonight...but two reduced cooked chickens on the way home. I cheated and had Chips and gravy cooked in the micro with chicken(cost around £1.30)quick and tasty. And of course no cost of cooking the chickens either. Having a coffee now. Almost the weekend so it can't be bad.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Still Undecided About Today...

Whether I am only going to the play in Durham(hoping that there are still tickets available) No one has got back to me from the website via e-mail.

Or if I am going somewhere during the day. I am thinking of the coast. As long as I aim to be back in Durham no later than 6pm in case of delays. The weather is supposed to be good all of this week. So I thought, lets make the most of it.

Update:Still here. Slept like a log. Plans? Let go of again...However, I'll grab a light snack, get shaved. Pop out for a shrub at a supermarket near me before they sell out(or I hope that they haven't)as mentioned in the comments section of a previous blog entry. Bring it home and catch a bus to Durham for around 17.40 which will get me into Durham for approx 18.20 and that allows me ages to get to the theatre at the speed that I walk at. Means that I can stop every so often.

The last bit of the walk is a little steep unfortunately, easier going back to the bus station. And I will get my energy back whilst at the play. If its out by around 21.45 I can just about make it for a bus at 22.15 otherwise I have to hang around for the last bus at 23.15 or decide to pay approx £3 and take a taxi back to the station and get home by 22.50 rather than close to Midnight.

Update2:Just as well I went for the bus I planned to...the next one only travels 7 miles up the road and then the next arrives in Durham and only allows fifteen minutes to try and get to the theatre before the performance starts. It could be awkward otherwise. The play ended by 21.30 and at my speed it took me around thirty minutes to get to the bus station(able people probably could do it within ten or fifteen minutes)I had to wait for perhaps fifteen minutes for the bus. Home by the time planned. Painkillers helped camouflage any pain walking to the bus station and home. Also having a rest on the bus.

Sadly the theatre(220 seater)only had perhaps 40 in the audience if that. It was performed by four in the cast and they did very well to hold our attention and were very good. Students from Durham University. Clever use of props...the scenery was sparse but they kept moving various pieces of it into different combinations. I'd kept my coat on(and to be honest)even with a thermal vest on I was starting to feel cold at the end of it.

When I came onto the Durham streets not only was it virtually deserted but you could feel the chill in the air. Time to take perhaps a hat/scarf or gloves if out in the evening from now on. Even at that time many shops/pubs/restaurants were closed and those still open were struggling. Anecdotally, I was doing a quick count as I passed by of customers and the worst I saw was two and the best(only in one place)was ten.

It will be the same in Darlington when I see the Big Band concert on Wednesday night.

Monday, September 28, 2015

I Had A Bingo Win...

so that means I am £11 better off or £25 if you decide the win meant that the night was free and cost me nothing. Its also as though I got my money back for buying my shrubs or groceries on Friday when on my trip to Woodhorn Colliery.

Myself and many others are up watching for the blood red Harvest Moon we've been promised around 3am but the moon is too small and bright at present for the eye and also my compact digital camera.

Possibly come 3am the darkening of the moon may mean I will succeed in still obtaining an image but I'm not holding my breath. Annoyingly the sky is clear with no cloud and I am able to watch with or without the window open and can see it without having to go outdoors.

Update:With the naked eye I did see the eclipse and yes the moon turned red. I could watch the moon come back into view but I'll pass. I understand there is another in twenty five years, If I am here, I'll take another look at that one when I shall be seventy five...good grief!

Update 2:Another couple of bingo wins today(A line/a house)but I missed a another house as the caller was going a little fast. But as I used a taxi there and shared one back home I was out of pocket by £4.60. If I'd claimed my missed house I would've only been down by 60p. If I'd not used a taxi I would've broken even.

Weather wise its been quite a pleasant afternoon but its already starting to become dark and probably a bit on the chilly side.

I've had a ham salad and coffee since coming home.

I have that comedy play planned for tomorrow night and may take off early and make a day of it by going somewhere during the day.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Garden Matters...

I made another attempt to buy tomatoes again. The discount supermarket was still without them(suspect they've lost a fair amount of business on that lost item)Tesco's did not let me down and price wise were close to the price I would've paid had they had them in stock.

Handy that the stores are close to each other.

However, I have six evergreen shrubs. Some the leaves will be green or change colour throughout the year and others will flower for a few months.

Coming home I am thinking three of the shrubs will go against the wall my neighbours put in the front garden when they moved in. In front/between the shrubs I am thinking clumps of bulbs...Daffodils, Tulips, Snowdrops and Crocuses. When the bulbs die down, I will try and plant Summer bedding plants next year.

I will look at the bulbs already in the garden as they flower and decide which have come to the end of their lives and perhaps divide the rest and replant them once more.

Between now and Thursday I plan to cut the front lawn and hedge too. Then look at the flower containers. I'm thinking Pansies, Chrysanthemums, Cyclamens, Dianthus and a variety of bulbs that I hope will come up after I move those plants from the tubs or I'll move them as the bulbs break through.

I could therefore need more bulbs and shrubs for the back garden if I am using them in the front garden and in containers.

I think pulling the front garden into shape is my priority as that's what people see, its smaller and easier to sort out.

Shrubs are going to be planted around the back garden against the fences(after I paint/replace broken panels)they will give protection for birds and the fencing and being evergreens I will have some colour across the year. I can accept the loss of my aged trees then. I think I shall follow the same plan for the rockery and border(I'll create it again)with bulbs etc...and at the very back a bit of a Cottage Garden that will be a bit wilder for the insects(bees/butterflies)

I've Had The Flu Jab...

I was so tempted to turn over and carry on sleeping but managed to pull myself together but decided a taxi was required to get to the surgery. I did walk home though. I was there before the start of the clinic and found no queue this year.

They'd been allowed in early. Ir was quite bust inside but I was seen within twenty minutes. On the way home I managed to find the last semi skimmed filtered 2 litre bottle of milk. I am buying that now as I waste less and I don't always have to worry about putting it back in the fridge before it turns sour so I save money.

Also in Aldi's(its made by the same company)as another well known brand in another supermarket. There it costs nearly £2 per bottle or you can have two for £3. But my new way its 89p per bottle so still cheaper. I needed a cucumber and some peaches. Ordinary milk costs £1 so I am saving between 11p to 50p even more if I don't have to waste as much with filtered lasting long when opened. I wanted tomatoes and cherry tomatoes but they either were out of them or had not put them out on the shelves as yet.

I want to go out and was tempted to take a trip to one of the coastal towns I passed by yesterday but weather permitting I have decided to do that on Tuesday, And come back into Durham for the comedy play that is on for that one night only and make a day of it. Thinking South Shields, Whitley Bay, Newbiggin or another more secluded place if I find there is a bus service there.

So debating now whether to stay home today and rest or attempt a journey closer to home as I have been mentioning all week, I can do that in approx an hour. Its only looking around shops and outdoor market in Stockton On Tees. I don't need anything though. If I leave the trip a little longer there could be something of interest as Christmas gets ever nearer. I could go down to the river area but I am not sure I can manage that today. And that isn't going anywhere so I can do that any day of the week/any time of the year.

To be honest its pretty miserable out there and dull. The sun isn't shining so I am not missing that much.

Back Safe From Woodhorn...

Shattered though so forgive me if I write about the visit over the coming days. A twelve hour day in the end. Its a long walk to the colliery. Even worse when you are the way I am. then you find out there is a regular bus service,

I'd like to say that was a good thing but the problem is though there is a bus service that passes the entrance(I later found out)they have not placed a stop close to the turn off that takes you into the place.

Truthfully I was shattered. I had to rest when I arrived and after advice where to get a bus after my visit, I kept thinking can I actually manage to walk to it but what choice did I have? I could not even find it initially. And kept thinking what if I have chosen the wrong direction. Then when I did there wasn't a time table and kept thinking "What if the service stops by this time and I am standing here for no reason?" And the thought of doubling back on the path I had taken and then adding extra time and distance was not making me feel very well to be honest.

Luckily a bus did arrive...eventually.

I had a while to wait in the nearest town so popped into a large convenience store we don't have here...treated myself to some thermal insoles, comfort insoles, some special bags that make bread, fruit and veg and cheese bags that make such items last longer if you have opened them.

When I got back to Newcastle the shopping malls run into the bus station and as most retailers were open until 7pm-8pm I popped in to M&S nothing was reduced but they did have a variety of Crisp Bakes which I remember I used eat years ago with Mum and Dad. One pack(with two inside)cost almost £2 but if you buy two they come down to £1.50 each. They have a good date on them so I chose Bacon and Cheese, the other is Corned Beef and Potato.

The bus back to Durham had switched to a half hourly service and that did not connect to the bus back to here so I had to hang around in Durham bus station for 40 minutes. So I popped next door and decided to treat myself to a portion of chips at a fish and chip shop.

Going to Woodhorn I literally arrived at each bus station and boarded the next bus and the journey went like clockwork. I now have some more coastal destinations I want to visit and most start a few minutes out of Newcastle. So I'll either do so when the weather is nice in Autumn or wait until next year and have some lovely trips out.

But as I say I'll give more of my impressions of the actual place soon. I will take to my bed and sleep and go out early to get my flu jab and see what today brings.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


We soon have a charge per plastic carrier bag being introduced in England. Some parts of the UK are already running such a scheme. If you purchase a more robust carrier I understand that will still be replaced when it is no longer usable through wear and tear.

I tend to take my own bags anyhow and use rucksacks and/or a shopping trolley. I don't buy a lot. Just occasionally the shopping is a bit heavy to manage especially when you walk awkwardly and hold onto a stick with one hand.

I haven't the income for big shopping trips but being single I use less/eat less and throw away less anyhow. Most of my food is frozen(in bags)or fresh. So there's not a lot of rubbish to go out. I'm now even considering(probably for next year)a small compost bin and then food can be reworked into the garden as it breaks down.

My local council now puts even less waste into landfill and its taken away for incineration somewhere anyhow. They also take away more usual house hold rubbish than they used to because of this. Recycling wise around this area they are less likely to accept rubbish put into recycle bins if the items are in plastic(bin)bags especially if they are black.

I rarely buy refuse sacks and hope to buy even less in the future. An ordinary carrier bag works out cheaper for rubbish anyhow(even if they start charging)for now you can't get cheaper than free. But 2p-5p per carrier is still much cheaper than a roll of sacks. Unless the sacks are so flimsy and on a roll costing perhaps £1.

I will have to pay soon...the charge comes in at the start of October for many stores. The Government say that they are not going to take the money but that they will leave the money raised for each shop/supermarket to give to good causes or charities of their choice.

I'll admit for now in the past week or so I have been grabbing a handful here, a handful there and though I will have to pay quite soon like everyone else for now I have a fair few to use when I go shopping to re-use or for the rubbish I put in the wheelie bin.

I understand that there are some exceptions regarding the charge for some bags depending on the items purchased but I'm not sure what they happen to be at present.

Monday, September 21, 2015

In A Slow Period...

Monday starts to draw to a close...Cannot say that I have done much. Played bingo this afternoon. I had some more of the buffet I had put up for my friends and myself last evening. As it was raining I booked a taxi to the afternoon bingo. I gave up on the idea of using a bus. But you can guess by the time the taxi arrived the rain had stopped. And it has not rained since.

Its only around 10pm but I may very well consider going to bed where it is cosy and warm. Listen to the radio. I have refuse and rubble sacks so tomorrow if the weather behaves I shall think about re-bagging garden rubbish and some rubbish in the back garden. Put the remainder of the fabric down on the lawns for resowing next year. Cut back a shrub that is where it should not be and kill that next year too.

If I have really made headway and the lawns are dry enough I will strimm the front lawn again and take off the untidy bits of the hedge and later in the week perhaps buy some plants again for the tubs. Possibly buy a hanging basket too.

Depending on the weather I will go to Woodhorn Collery either on Wednesday or Friday. If I go Friday there is a free folk concert between 2pm and 4pm. I don't have to rush home so I don't mind leaving after that, I will still be home by 7pm or 8pm. I can set out at 9am and still be there for Noon and that gives me two hours before the music starts. The railway on the site appears to run on Saturdays so another time I may have to think of going at the weekend.

Saturday as said previously I am still thinking Stockton but have to decide whether to go down to the river area or concentrate on the retail and market area of the town. And I will have been out early for my flu jab. So a good day to go. Planning on arriving for 10am and because of bus services I will have to think of coming home around "Tea Time" unless I take a detour and catch the bus to Durham adding time and miles to the journey but I can still get home a little later and its not as if I have anything planned.

On these dark nights I would only be indoors filling in time and I am really less interested in television these days. I tuned into a special edition celebrating ten years of Deal or No Deal where the shows host was the one opening boxes to raise money for his charity and I found it hard to believe its been on the air for ten years and that many years ago Mum and myself used to watch it on a regular bases. I feel that way about many of the programmes that fill up a lot of the TV schedules these days.

There are still quality programmes being made but they are more difficult to find or perhaps its me that has changed.

Not Complaining But...

Sunday was slow. I slept through some of the programmes I wanted to hear on the radio too. Where was I going to go anyhow? The weather could've been better but if its not too good you feel better staying home.

I had some nice simple food to take with me to the bingo(I didn't win)some was still there when I came home so a little snack and coffee. Something for tomorrow too.

Its going to be a long journey(3hrs there and back)but I want to see this so if the weather is kind I hope to see this probably on Wednesday. I'll have to make an early start.

Woodhorn Colliery, Northumberland. Its as close as I can get to the similar display that was at the Tower of London last year to honour those who fought in the World Wars and also recent events.