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.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

I've Missed Talking To...

those affected by my friend being in hospital but have left phone messages and kept a check via Facebook. Its been a quiet day. I have had a corned beef pasty for lunch(it was more full than the last one I had)I am soon going to have fish(haddock)potato wedges, peas and buttered bread. Not a very Sunday meal but its easy and means it is used and not wasted.

As the fish is smaller than I thought, I may have two pieces. That can all go into the oven, the peas in the microwave for a quick steam. No preparation or and little cooking time but a lovely meal at the end of it.

I've cheated and quickly made a wholemeal loaf which I hope will bake OK when it goes in the oven in approx 30 mins. I did this one by hand I have to admit and it is a basic wholemeal loaf nothing fancy. Just an experiment. The disadvantage I have these days is that I no longer have an airing cupboard to offer some warmth when waiting for dough to rise. Really the answer would be to allow the sun to fall across it in the Summer in a windowsill or a day when the radiators are on and place it nearby. Its not very warm but I have tried putting it in what was the airing cupboard and on top of the metal water tank that is heated by the combi boiler, with the door closed it is slightly warmer and a smaller space.

As far as I know I think the little bingo session is still on for tonight but I'm not expecting everyone to be there(obviously my friend won't be, I assume his Mum won't be)but there could still be 5-6 of us. I'll put a little buffet together. I can bring what isn't eaten home with me...ham baps, cherry tomatoes, cheese, crisps and some cake bars. I usually only take one of everything for each of us but they can eat what they like of the cheese and tomatoes.

Update:Loaf of bread almost worked, tastes OK but the inside is too damp and dense...one day I'll get it right.

Back Late...

but safe and sound...

My bus to Durham arrived on time and I was in Durham City by 6.30pm. Slowly(as if I can do anything else)I walked to the Market Place...purchased some sweets and water for the theatre, some sweeteners and a bloomer loaf to bring home. The bread cost 49p more than here but it means I do not have to go out for anything today.

I'm glad as there is a horrible cold wind getting up and some plastic advertising signs are coming loose on a Leisure Centre near my home that mention a basket ball team that plays in some league.

They were flapping about when I went out earlier and they still are. I'm surprised that they are still attached and haven't blown away.

The show finished just after 10pm and I couldn't be bothered to attempt to rush to Durham bus station(I wouldn't have made it)nor pay for a taxi to it. Money saved made my shopping seem in expensive. It only meant hanging around for approx. 45 minutes for the last bus.

Durham was really cold but it was windier and colder when I returned to my own town. But it was starting to change as I left Durham. I was in my home around ten minutes after Midnight.

I feel quite safe in Durham even though especially at weekends there are a lot of people frequenting bars and clubs or walking between various venues but how they manage against the cold I don't know...many blokes are in thin shirts, often short sleeved. The women are often in shoes they have difficulty walking in and a few take them off and walk barefoot! And again the dresses/skirts and tops are thin and very short.

Most bars in the city are safe and not near the river that runs through the city but many feel students from the University have died recently have lost their way, been unsteady and have fallen into it and having become separated from others they were with and drinking seems to have been blamed.

A couple of days ago the police pulled another male from the river in the early hours, he was alive and very fortunate to have been rescued. I do know of a pub in the area he was found and if he was in there, it is very close to the river and I can understand how he may've got into trouble. Tonight around the market place I saw a couple of females who had fallen on the paths and needed to be helped back up onto their feet.

Saturday, January 31, 2015


I may have a go at baking bread tomorrow(not going anywhere and have plenty of time)been thinking that if I take a basic bread recipe anyhow its worth taking a chance on the bread machine. What's the worse that can happen?

Still intrigued by the about what I hear about bread in a machine having a hole in it!!! But now I have access to a small oven that works quickly and has less space to heat up, that works well. I may just need to dig out my loaf tins again or make a loaf that can sit on a baking tray if it keeps its shape and doesn't spread because the mixture is too runny.

If it works/if I do decide tomorrow is the day, I'll post some images like the old days. These past days I have been enjoying white sliced bloomer loaves from the discount store Aldi's TBH and they seem good value at £1 a loaf. From past experience I like home made bread and have usually been successful but I can never make mine as soft as those in the shops.

It is cold and blustery outside but no sign of any more snow since Tuesday or Wednesday, there could be some rain going on...looking at the window. Biggest problem for myself has been the ice that has remained on some paths or roads where you need to cross. But each day that has continued to improve. The main roads seem OK and if you are heading to a city or town centre they are mostly kept free of ice and snow. Its the housing estates and side  roads that are mostly affected.

I hope it stays that way as Durham City(where I am planning to be tonight)is high, open and very hilly. I may have spoke too soon. I can now see sleety snow being blown around.

I may have a corned beef pasty for lunch. Already had coffee, marmalade and toast. And my meds. I may still watch some TV later but I have a few programmes downloaded which I may watch in bed where its cosy. I don't think there is much on Freesat/Freeview worth putting the main TV on for. But I will look through the listings just in case.

Update:Had a quick look around the TV Channels, gave up...Did have a pasty(tasty)but it contained very little corned beef(more pastry than anything else)had some potato wedges too. Followed by rice pudding.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Of Course Its Coincidence...

but what life chucks at you...

I am friends with two elderly people and their special needs son. They've helped me in recent times and in a small way I have helped him. One of his parents is in a bad way health wise and age is not helping so last evening I went to the little bingo club his Mum runs and she was dashing out the door to go home where there was an emergency. It was assumed it was his dad. Turns out it is him and he is in intensive care.

Still don't know what is wrong but it shows how life changes within seconds and how more worry is piled on people already coping with big issues.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Feeling Slightly Down...

wasn't sure why and perhaps its too easy to pin it on what I am about to say but it could be that subconsciously I know that it is coming around to the anniversary of my Father's passing and Mum's Birthday in February. Even though it is around 31 years since my Dad died I still miss him.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It Really Sounds Nasty Out There...

There's talk of snow but we'll see. I may stay indoors. At best I may decide to pop out for my PC and TV listings magazines(the only publications that I purchase)in money terms that comes in at approx £1.50 per week.

I don't have to go out, I could see how the weather goes, wait until another day where I will be going somewhere. They never sell out. I am toying with the idea of having a meal using either the beef or pork mince today. A ready meal may've been a cheaper option but I have all the vegetables and meat that is needed. The mince I have is quite lean, not as much fat but not sure that bothers me, it just is.

Cooking smaller portions(being single)and using ready meals as a guide there is no reason why it needs to be in an oven for ages, I have cheated before and may very well stick it in the microwave. If I make two I have meal that just needs reheating another day.

Most recipes need to be guessed on how much you put into the dish or changed from the instructions because they assume that you are cooking for 2, 4, 6 or even 8 people.

I guess an alternative could be for me to make my own burgers/meatballs. Perhaps an idea for another day.

I am still gearing up to baking bread again and trying something more specialist. I wish I had done much more imaginative meals for Mum and myself though I think that I was a reasonable cook and we had nice meals. Whether I make my loaves by hand and use an oven or the bread machine if I can work out how to use it without the manual.

I'm about to have breakfast...I'll keep it simple toast/marmalade and coffee. Meds already taken. Lunchtime I think its time that I had salad sandwiches again and using up tomatoes, spinach, watercress, rocket, cheese perhaps some ham.

Later I may decide to have a dessert after the main meal(thinking Apple Pie)and custard.

I guess its a day of thinking about food. I would guess for the whole day that will come in at around £2-£3.

Update:Still learning how to cook mince and think I can do better. However, it came out OK and actually tasted better the following day, why, who knows. I also ditched the salad idea and went for corned beef pasty and baked beans for lunch.

We've had a little snow overnight but not a massive amount and the weather is bright and sunny so nothing more has fallen but then again not a lot has thawed either. Slowly getting ready for the bingo tonight but it will be interesting to see if everyone turns up.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Had My Kind Of Burns Night Celebration...

Later than planned because...I went to bed and fell asleep early on and had around 8 hours sleep. My reckoning is that I needed it.

I tried the new slow cooker and its OK. Its too small but you can just about manage two bowls of food. And as I eat less I can make that do at a push. It will be used. I enjoyed the beef stew(lots of vegetable choice included...Leeks, onion, carrot, turnip, swede, celery, potato, b sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower)The beef was nice too. I'll leave the remaining portion on low and perhaps have it for lunch as a kind of soup with a bread bun.

I wasn't up to the walk to the afternoon Bingo session, I got outside and had walked only past a few houses and thought I can't do this...and head back home and ordered a taxi. I won £1(Big money)as I shared with someone else on a line. If I'd won on my own I was only £1 down using the taxi. A house would seen me breaking even after sharing a taxi home.

I had receipt from the supermarket saving 62p off my next shop so that almost paid for my loaf of bread coming home and I only had to find 12p. I've paid really but its like getting it for free.

Its milder/warmer tonight(indoors anyhow)I can tell that it is because as I am tapping on this keyboard I am not as wrapped up as usual and my hands are warm(no gloves required)and a quick look at the thermometer says 14c/58f but I have the bedroom door closed which helps.

The rest of the house will be warmer when I have new lined curtains up at the windows and new carpet laid. There are other little tricks you can make a home warmer...foil behind radiators, draping curtains behind them too. Some people put bubble wrap on windows. You can't see out the windows but...it only looks a bit like frosted glass. Modern window blinds work too.

I've nothing much planned for this week, the big night John Shuttleworth(actor Graham Fellows)at a local theatre on Saturday. Otherwise I'm on the town until then. Mainly at home. Perhaps out for 6-7 hours.

I'm thinking of having some of my home finally pulled around after the recent upgrade. I'll leave the big stuff until when the weather improves and I am also hopefully better off financially but I may have my hall, landing, dining room and the small bedroom painted.

I have some curtains for the hall which need hanging across the front door which again will add to the appearance, keep it warm and offer privacy as it will cover the panes of glass in the door and surround especially in the evenings. I tend to keep most curtains drawn especially at the front of the house. It helps to avoid getting caught by people who arrive by surprise(usually selling something)and if its an official they have to leave a card and rearrange a visit and it means I am more prepared.

Update:By 9.30am today I have had my second portion of beef stew already and enjoyed every mouthful. I may do some catching up of TV.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Exciting Weekend Ahead?

Not really. I can stay indoors except for approx 3-4 hours on Saturday and Sunday evening but I am being tempted out by finding the soups and turnip I could not find. I'd like some more food container boxes(nothing fancy)not bothered if they have lock down lids. I need some yeast to for my bread making.

Debating how far to go off town and which retailers to visit. I was amazed that Heron, Iceland, Tesco's stores that I tried didn't have any. There is a Farm Foods/ASDA approx 5 miles away so I am wondering if I should hop on a bus, its an hourly service in either direction and the bus stops virtually outside their shops.

Slept well but had strange dreams(mainly forgotten)but the last one had the actor Jim Dale in it and it was mainly about me trying to take photographs of him after I discovered I had my camera with me(which initially I thought I had forgotten)and then all the best times to get great images had passed. Why?

I've had coffee, toast and marmalade. Taken all my meds. Later I am thinking garlic and herb fish coated in bread crumbs with vegetables with a few roast potatoes that are leftovers from earlier in the week for my next meal in the afternoon. It will take perhaps 25mins in the small electric oven compartment(hopefully it doesn't use too much energy)I think that the thermostat drops every so often and being smaller oven there is less space to heat up.

I have to be on the way to Durham by 5.45pm because I won't get the theatre on time if I go later,

I think its another cold day but its not raining, snowing or windy so that's welcome.

Update:I have everything now. I was there on one bus, back on the next, I have turnip and soup. Yeast for my bread. I have lean beef mince so I think I will have a kind of stew which like a thick soup/hotpot anyhow. I will use the smaller slow cooker on for a couple of hours and add the mince later after I have browned it. Unless I decide to have diced beef*. Like many I think I shall wait until Monday being that I am out this evening and tomorrow night.

*I did and I have purchased some as I went to the theatre(could do with some chunky veg)Casserole type. I reckon I can get 6-10 meals out of what I have purchased in meat and with other ingredients I'm talking £1.50-£2 and I think thats quite good.