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, August 29, 2008

Energy Efficient Light Bulbs...

They probably have their part to play in the current climate regarding global warming or climate change but from previous entries on my blog you'll know that I agree with trying to save or reduce how much we use the Earth's resources but I still see trends as being natural, it's happened before and it will happen again. One day whatever we do will have no effect whatsoever.

So today British Gas a utility company in the UK has decided to supply all it's customers with four light bulbs for free. I'll use them but I still prefer the old bulbs...they give light immediately you switch the light switch on, they also add heat to the overall temperature of the room they are in(I suppose that will be seen as being not so good)but in Winter it adds to keeping us warm.

The light is generally balanced whereas the new bulbs are strange shapes and that probably means they'll not fit existing sockets as easily so they may may require changing or replacing.

The new light bulbs have to warm up so light is not immediate and if they break or have been used the contents require vacuuming up, the glass being carefully collected and you are supposed to go to the local recycling centre which could be miles away adding to the so called Carbon Footprint and in my case adding to the cost of disposal because it will cost approx £10+ to travel there and back by Taxi.

The new light bulbs contain something that is harmful to Humans and the environment so that's why you have to recycle them which seems strange when we're talking of going green but our Government and the European community in general have started to take traditional electric light bulbs off the market.

Yet the claim is you will save money by using low energy bulbs...if I have to keep paying to get rid of them, I am not saving. If the company keeps raising their prices to supply electric whilst you can argue you are saving money(they say £9 a year per bulb)I have yet to see what the bulbs cost to purchase in the first place, you may still save that cost on your bill but if the prices have gone up you are still paying more so the advantage has been lost.

The brand and type that have been chosen say that they'll last 10 years, assuming we're around to see they last that long and if they don't had I bought them rather than been given them maybe I'd out of pocket as often in my home when a bulb fails it usually happens suddenly with no warning my literally going out as you switch the light switch on.

Our own electricity supplier(Not British Gas)but N Power has announced an increase of 14% for the next quarter on their electricity prices and they've already increased the cost supplying electric already a couple of times this year.

In a bizarre way if climate change offers us milder winters so we can save by not switching on our heating systems perhaps we'll be glad of it.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I have in recent months found my ramblings being ever more connected to food. It may not always be so but...

I have suddenly(though I love food)regained an interest in attempting to create and/or cook more variety of dishes and flavours either of my own or adapting recipes of others that I come across.

Also, the Government is making a lot of the fact that as a population more of us are "Fat" and that we are storing health problems for our later life and the real reason for their concern is not our well being but they are scared of the cost of looking after us and how the economy will be affected.

It will always come down to money.

There will always be lazy people but I have said before that many of the youngsters they go on about as being obese and at risk do seem to be out playing games and exercising as they always have even though we are told that they are all sitting in front of a computer or a games console.
Every two or three years we are given a different term that is more acceptable than the last in case it offends or upsets...you must not use the word "fat" It will be seen as bullying. So they use the word "Obese" now in some cases that word is no longer acceptable so we have to look for another.

What is important is whether being "Fat" is due to being lazy, eating too much and/or illness. Do I look down on someone who is fat? Not automatically(I am slightly overweight myself)If it's due to illness, medication I will offer all my support, I may only take a negative point of view if it is due to being a slob. And it has been allowed to continue to get worse so that the medical profession has not stepped in much sooner and the victim is so overweight, they cannot even move around their own home.

We are told that too many people live on junk food but allowing for some items being high in sugar and salt, even quick food does not necessarily mean it is unhealthy or will harm you. Probably anything would if you ate it every day and almost every meal. That film came out a few years ago called "Super size Me" where I understand the presenter ate meals from a well known fast food chain every day for a month or two and then talked of the effects on his body. Hardly a surprising result.

Even vegetarians if they do not get certain proteins and minerals into their diet would find their bodies lacking in certain nutrients and they would have to be supplements in some way.
Then we are told that the young no longer can be bothered to cook or learn the basic cooking skills and knowledge of food and newspapers can always find a survey to suggest how ignorant children are. Some may be but I am sure that some children still learn to bake in the kitchen with Mum or Dad and if they had to they could still put together a meal of some sort.

I am more likely to blame the work culture we have today...long hours...often long journeys to and from places of work, then when you are at work many jobs require you to sit behind a desk for hours. It's all well and good suggesting exercising when you get home or going to a gym, if you've been out of the house for up to 10 hours a day and still to have a meal and think about going to bed early to be rested for the next day it doesn't leave you much time to do anything for yourself.

Count up all the time you spend going to and from work, preparing to go to work, travel time and actual time spent at work(add your time spent sleeping etc...)you'll probably find that each day you only have around 4-5 hours which is your leisure time)

Within that leisure time you probably are also having to think about having breakfast or an evening meal. For quickness is it any wonder that takeaways are so popular?
It may be wrong to assume that teenagers and young adults are not interested in cooking, it could be that in time as their lifestyles change, they will take up cooking and actually find the taste for it(like me)circumstances have as much to do with whether you bother in the kitchen. It could be for economic reasons to keep costs down and if you have a family to feed. Or you simply find it enjoyable. I think many people return to cooking in later life.

I notice that many of my friends when we discuss food and cooking are 40+ but even if the young are not cooking meals they are happily enjoying what is being served up to them by others such as parents, grand parents or friends.

I'm not so sure that I am as pessimistic as our Government and experts would have us believe the situation to be but their policies do not necessarily help, when I was at school, basic cookery was taught for at least one afternoon a week but that was in the days when probably some subject was seen as appropriate for boys and another for girls. And today there are so many websites and programmes on tv or articles in magazines, instructions on purchased food and once you've cooked say a Chicken Breast, the basic rule of where to set the ovens controls and how long to cook doesn't really change, you can see if it's cooked and if you use a skewer and find the juices run clear(or there isn't any)you know it's safe.

It really is hard to accept that you could not manage to feed yourself and that you'd starve.

I've just heard that a well known supermarket is now selling packages of eggs already hard boiled at 50p per egg! That is just crazy. But again, its another way to feed yourself.

What Are You Doing At This Time Of Day?

Rhetorical Question...

As I start this entry it is around 3am BST and I would usually be trying to sleep. I love to sleep. However, from previous entries over many months, I have been mentioning my on going illness.

Which means for a variety of reasons I do not necessarily sleep through the night and I tend to get sleep when I feel I can and rest when it's appropriate for me. So it could and often is better to do so during the day. This could be due to the condition and the effort to get around or the fact that I am on very strong drugs to control, sustain or attempt to halt/slow the condition.

Today, well yesterday now, I awoke with two bloodshot eyes, last week at the weekend I had double vision. It's all different and varies from day to day. And of course, I have to get comfortable regarding any new problem.

Each and every day is different and another reason for taking it easy and laying down(even if not trying to sleep)is that I can get more comfortable with that hernia and let things slip into their right position which walking around does not allow. Sorry if that's graphic. I still plan to have that fixed but unless something happens as an emergency, I want to see one problem controlled first before dealing with another.

Who wants an operation? And having one is a big strain on any one's system so when you have kidney disease...not forgetting the worries in the UK about catching some hospital bug that can kill or cause other complications?

No, it's restricted my life further but I can put up with that.

However, my reason for being up at this time of the day is due to medication...

Once a week I have to take a tablet that helps protect my bones from thinning due to the cocktail of drugs I am on.

The directions state that I have to sit or stand upright for an hour after I take it. You must not take any other medication for at least an hour afterwards.

Then if you wish to lay down, you have to eat something preferably a meal. To avoid reflux.

So I had been getting up early maybe at 7am to take my pill and by the time I follow this regime, it can get around to 10am or later and that's if I manage to be awake at 7am otherwise I am hanging around so long, it's lunchtime. It's a wasted morning.

So I have reversed all that and started a new idea which does not suggest the effects of the medication has been reduced.

I take the tablet between 3am-4am, then my next medication(which again has to be taken an hour before food)and then have something to eat around 5am and then turn in to rest or try and sleep. It seems to make more sense. Then I can spread the rest of my medication across the day.

Thank heavens there is usually something to listen to in the background thanks to the radio...a documentary or a news story to help the time pass by.

So now I'm thinking about what to have for my early, early Breakfast.

Update:What did I have? A bacon buttie with lettuce, tomato and some diced onion.

That may be all I'll have until lunchtime, we'll see...

And now to bed :-)

Friday, August 22, 2008

More Delays...

My town has always been classed as the jewel in the crown in this area and community charges have been high accordingly because of its status. If any big even such an election has to be counted and shown on National media, it will be counted here.

And yet from blog entries you know the farce our town centre has turned into and even when we eventually saw a redevelopment starting to take place and we secured a large Tesco's, it has ground to a halt.(behind the scenes that may not be so)but publicly it seems so.

At present we seem to be tied into the winding up of the local council's and the commencement of a unitary council that will be run from Durham City. And social housing stock being transferred whether you want it or not. I disliked either option but had to choose one otherwise my vote would be lost.

I am still unsure that I made the right choice. But it appears those voted took the same option.
I would guess with all the changes over the next few years the work to bring things up to date will be delayed further and be moved down the list of priorities.

There is a town approx 4 miles away that has seen better days and been neglected, the Tindale area on the outskirts of Bishop Auckland. It could be that this proposal will come to nothing but I have a feeling that this could be built or set in motion before we see our own completed and it could affect who may decide to come here to take up any empty retail units. They may decide they would rather locate in Bishop Auckland.

A local free sheet has as it's main headline article a proposal to use part of what was once an industrial estate...it includes a new Sainsbury's supermarket, a multi-complex cinema, a ten pin bowling alley, a new football stadium for the local team and more, if planning permission is forthcoming it does look as though the people behind the idea have solid support. The article came across as though it is likely to happen.

My town has been after some big venue to stage public events for decades and still cannot attract any well known names to invest.

And the latest news suggests that the name that was in the frame to take the empty Sommerfield Supermaket retail unit(Wilkinsons) is having second thoughts according to some stories in the local press.

It's not looking good.

The fountain of all local knowledge(Taxi Drivers)was discussing it with me today and his take is that my town though said to be important has "always been screwed and given a bad deal by the local politicians" and perhaps the change of how and where everything will be done in future may work to our advantage...

I hope so.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Drinking Eight Glasses Of Water A Day Is Healthy, Right? Wrong.

I would like to quote sometimes from newspaper articles but the difficulty is knowing how much you are allowed to so it's easier to link and make comments. However from a variety of sources over some months articles have been appearing that question the long held belief about how much water you should drink daily to maintain a healthy body. Something I myself have questioned.

It is being realised that "So called experts" perhaps with their own agenda of making a career of appearing on tv and radio and having people attend their clinics and push ideas that can earn them a lot of money you have to try and decide if what you are being told is common sense or advice that could harm. Recently, another newspaper contacted a number of online sites offering dietry advice and some were way off the mark and others were almost correct in what they said but still left much to be desired.

I promised that I would put up some links to some stories that I believe and seem like common sense to me. Now, if I can just remember the other links...I may have to post them later.

It's easy not to realise that other drinks other than water can refresh the system and that some fluid is gained from foods that you eat.

Coffee and Tea is not necessarily bad for you and can be included in your daily intake.

Your body will only use what it needs and if you keep nipping off to the loo to relieve yourself, that's your body saying, I have too much water and I need to get rid of it.

The colour and density of your urine is a clue. Another way to see if you are dehydrated is to see if you have water retention(swollen ankles/legs etc...)and by pressing your ankles, if the depressions comes out immediately you are probably OK, if it stays depressed probably not so good. Your kidneys are struggling.

Another quick test? Pinch the skin on your forearm and let go. If the skin goes back quickly you are OK, if it returns slowly and is not so elasticated, you probably need to drink a little more fluid. I would suggest that it's better to drink slowly and spread your fluid intake across the day rather than as tempting as it is to swallow as much as possible, as quickly as you can and swamp the system and have it try to cope. Doing so could cause an imbalance of the chemicals that regulate your body's functions.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Don't Know Why...

I have never ever thought of making my own burgers and it's been years since I ate a burger of any kind. For various reasons if I avoid any meat I guess it would be Beef and over the years although any could be caught up in a health scare that is the one I avoid. Though it is no guarantee that products containing bovine orientated material has not found it's way indirectly into my system.

In my current attempt to add more variety to my diet and range of meals, I suddenly thought I could make my own Pork or Lamb burgers and make them more healthy, as cheaply and add various extra little touches. So I thought. I went to the one Butcher's that exists in my town yesterday and they could not manage to supply mince of any kind other than Beef.

Well, not strictly true...it was available from today, late afternoon. Fine, if you have all the time in the world because you are not working or can shop whenever you wish.

So today I hopefully will get my mince, of decent quality but the business will go once again to the Supermarket rather than a local retailer and once again local business already struggling will lose out.

Now, I'm sure two or three very good friends of mine will not mind if I relay their recipes for making their burgers in case you would like to try for yourself...I am amazed just how many websites and recipes are available online...

Angelicweeyin1 suggests...

"I finely chop an onion (now onto the homegrown ones), add some garlic, worcester sauce and the most important ingredient, an egg yolk (helps it stay together) and then combine everything with my hands, then make the burgers using flour to stop it sticking, then I griddle them. I sometimes add coriander, but the cherubs normally say, what's that green stuff, or whatever herb that's been used..."

Raisins though talking of Beefburgers mentions the following but it will work I'm sure with an alternative.

"1 pack of 5% lean mince. Fresh thyme, leaves only salt & pepper. Scrunch the whole lot up, make into patties or mould into burgers and griddle I do a tomato salad with just the aforesaid, some shallots and a sharp dressing made with sunflower oil, wine vinegar and a dash of soy sauce.I have made made my own coleslaw, and will have one with a normal bap (healthy living one) and loads of salad.

I only ever use fresh thyme or sometimes some oregano, but go easy as they are quite strong."
Well, if I succeed it's opened another variant for a meal either by putting them in a bun or with a salad(Another friend)Curmy says that salad is always a good accompaniment with a burger, I think that is right having some fresh vegetables with them. But you can do a mixed grill that's reasonably healthy with them such as baked beans, tinned tomatoes and whatever else your imagination can stretch to.

If you feel like having a go...enjoy...

What a job to get the ingredients, I managed to get some some Pork, Lamb and Turkey mince but trying to sort out the herbs, puree and garlic was another matter. The best I could do was fresh Corriander and Parsley(but Garlic?)I ended up asking for help and the assistants spent 20 minutes trying to find some...in the end the closest we came up with was a small jar of a garlic liquid type stuff that says garlic in sunflower oil.

So I think I can make something in the end as I imagine. The Mince is fresh, it cost no more than a prepacked meal. And I doubt it will take more than a few extra minutes to prepare.

Angelicweeyin1 also suggests that I could make the burgers up and actually freeze them so I can just pop to the freezer and not have to keep making them. We have one other food outlet(smaller than Tesco's)and a little further away(but run by Sainsbury's)just maybe one of these days I'll make the effort and see if they have any Garlic Puree on the shelves.

It better be worth all the trouble...I'm sure that it will. Maybe, I'll think of something else I can make other than a burger.

Update:Well, I did and again Angelicweeyin1 came to the rescue to help my basic knowledge...which resulted in another quick meal but I have to say it was so very tasty...

Brown off some diced onion and Lamb Mince in a frying pan...in my case I transferred it to a saucepan in which I added half a pint of water with Bisto Gravy Granules and I simmered that for approx 25 minutes. In the meantime I boiled some new potatoes and at the end some Broccoli and served it up. I really found it mouth watering. It took next to no preperation and really was so simple.

I will be doing it again sometime.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Eleven Days And Counting...

So I accompanied Mum to the Dr's for her appointment and whilst there I thought I'd see if my prescription was ready for collection which I requested on Friday(if it was) it saved me waiting for it to go to over the pharmacy on the town(Boots)to be dispensed. Then I do not need to go there tomorrow after my blood test at the Dr's surgery and I can get a taxi and come straight home.

It was ready and all was well...WRONG!

After waiting 20 minutes for the prescription to be made up for both of us...I discover that once again they can only supply 5 tablets of one of my drugs so will have to owe me again some of my prescription which means making a special trip to pick up the remainder. That's 23 tablets short.

Before that...from my previous blog entry you'll remember it was getting only half a box of Steroids that they owed me 14 tablets which someone called Michelle promised would be put aside for me and would waiting for collection. You'll remember that I have forgotten to go in to get those missing tablets but they should've been just waiting for collection as of 11 days ago.

Guess what! They've not been put aside for me and the assistant's could not do anything because Michelle was on her lunch so could I call back? I'll give them until tomorrow morning(not that they know this)as I have to have that blood test, I can call in as I pass, I have other business but if it's not ready and today's is not completed, I think I will actually make an official complaint to Head Office(for what good it will do)and/or switch to the pharmacy that exists in the local supermarket in the new part of town, then I can do both my shopping and collect my prescription at the same time and Boots will have lost most if not all of my business for the future.

In general most of the assistant's are polite and helpful but the actual service stinks, I think I am fair and rarely complain but you'll know from previous entries on my Blog this kind of error has been going on for months and it's getting no better.

If my mobility was good, my extra problem with my knee and ligament was ok, I did not have a hernia to deal with and have to use a taxi to do my basic shopping I probably would not mind so much(I only live about 5-6 minutes from the town centre)but when it costs £2-£3 in each direction...it all adds to the expense. And means making extra un-necessary trips.

Talking of supporting local retailer's, I decided(I'll say more next time)to visit the local butcher and buy some Lamb and/or Pork mince and make some home made burgers...I couldn't even buy that. It's unavailable until tomorrow afternoon(and I'm not making another special journey just for that)so again, if the local supermarket can supply, they've got my business again.

Does any business want to be a success these days?

Update:The prescription from yesterday is still not ready(The new stock does not arrive until after Lunchtime)so another trip is needed later in the week. The steroid tablets still were not ready and no sign of Michelle. Now I am told that I should have returned all the packaging of the tablets(even though I was told not to or it didn't matter)Michelle was still unavailable but this time, they did give me them without talking to her. It looked as though(before I put my foot down)that they were actually going to refuse letting me have the missing tablets.

I am now shattered after a long morning that probably could've/should've taken only approx an hour or so to sort out and get back home. So I plan to do as little as possible. There are some good programmes on the radio(drama, music and documentaries)and if I don't fall asleep I will be listening to them.