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, February 27, 2009

Is There A Good Side To The Economic Downturn?

It has been said that families in cutting back on luxuries due to income being tight that some are returning to doing recreational things that cost less or no money at all(and that means more physical exercise)as opposed to being a coach potato to use a well known phrase.

And the hope is that when the situation improves this will continue even if some return to old habits. And the same is true regarding food.

More people are cooking for themselves and cutting back on prepared meals and this also mean that ingredients that are basic are popular once more. This also means that brands perhaps forgotten about or rarely used but that are still around are being found again or discovered for the first time.

Why? Probably because many of the brands apart from offering value for money, are part of the skill of being added to a dish as you cook so you have to think about that as you prepare your meals and if that is something you don't normally do, you'll not normally come into contact with these items. Or perhaps learning to do something yourself using flour, eggs, milk and so on. Or buying something that only requires peeling or cutting such as vegetables and/or fruit.

I dislike everything being classed as junk food...everything can be good in moderation and if you vary your diet of the food eaten across the week what is wrong with comfort food?

Why can't we eat a desert with custard or ice cream. Or fish fingers. Or a chicken pie etc...not at the same time of course ;-) If one looks at the ingredients on many of these "Traditional" goods these days you'll find that they have had certain ingredients taken out and some healthy ones substituted instead.

I've always eaten well, consider my diet reasonably healthy but I think I have always eaten traditional fare that could be called comfort food. There has always been food that is better than others and people who have been healthier than others. Really it comes down to the individual.

Here is an ironic thing...one of the food chains that probably gets stick from the press and media as selling "Junk Food" has said that in the next few years it will open up new outlets nationwide and this will result in 9,000 new jobs. The offer of all these extra jobs has been welcomed.

But hold on a minute, doesn't this fly in the face of the idea that we should eat less processed food? If and the plan must be for this chain to believe that it can be as successful as it hopes and to see it's market share improve this means that they hope the public will eat more of what it is selling or get more of the public into their takeaways that have never thought of doing so in the past. Then again to be fair...on price, quality and what is on offer, it could be that it is perfectly OK but just that you should not be eating it every day.

Now on the other hand, I heard the following on the radio and had to do a double take...even the presenter questioned if it was April Fool's Day as it seems such a silly or crazy idea.

A brand of gravy mix that has been around for over a century is to change it's name. Over the years it's changed it's image to suit the times but the catchphrase of "Ahhh Bisto!" has stuck.

The idea being that when you smell Bisto Gravy you make a satisfying sigh.

Well, the manufacturer has decided to drop the name Bisto and just have on the jars the days of the week so it would say "Ahhh Monday" "Ahhh Tuesday" and so on. It's laughable and at first I think the idea will fail...then again, perhaps the truth is that it's a temporary campaign just to get publicity and get people talking about it. I suspect there will be a tv campaign as well as advertisements in magazines etc...but look at the publicity the brand has gained by having newspapers write up stories about the change in name from the press release. It's all free publicity. So I personally think it is a stunt and not to be taken seriously.

There is a product that is still available and is probably better known in the States and as it's such a well known brand I am surprised that more of their products are not on sale in the UK specifically(though some could be licenced and manufactured locally)

An after thought...many companies get involved with Comic Relief a kind of charity event connected to the comiedians who raise money for good causes around the UK and the World and I am just wondering if this will turn out to be associated/connected to this event which is happening in the next few weeks.

Update:If you've clicked onto the last link you'll know it connects to Hormel's website in the USA. Originally the only reason I knew of their existance was by listening to some old radio shows of the 1940's starring George Burns and Gracie Allen. Why? Because they sponsored the programme for many years. As I said earlier I suspect the reason Hormel is not known so much here in the UK or in Europe is because there are plenty of local manufacturer's producing similar foods. Also the market must be large enough in the USA.

I had an interesting message from my friend North Star in the States...Spam does seem to invoke a variety of feelings in people but most processed food does. Yet mostly, it's ok. And it is surprising what culinary delights can be worked.

I don't think he'll mind if I quote one particular section...

"How do you think the company's name is pronounced? Originally, it was Hor' mels, with the 1st syllable accented. However, that pronunciation sounds a bit too much like Whore mel's, so the company later changed it Hor mels', with the 2nd syllable accented."

Thanks for that...It is amazing how many interesting facts or bits of trivia are out there if you look into the history of many of the world's best known products and companies.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Oscars...

When I think of the Oscar ceremony and all the gushing and back slapping, the industry congratulating itself and they decide to let the public who pay at the box office to watch from a distance...they could start by letting the event be screened by whoever wishes to for free but they know tv and radio broadcasters will bid for the rights and pay well to do so, so in the UK for example if you don't pay subscription, you have to make do with highlights or snippets lasting seconds on the news. Or the ordinary broadcasters showing the parties or catching an odd word with actors outside the event. I sound like an old grump but could I care less...no!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


How do you like your's? Is Pancake Day only celebrated in the UK this coming Tuesday as it happens(I know it's connected to Lent)or is it something done across the World? We've never eaten them as much as we could've(perhaps we should start again) I have made my own batter(the first time ever last year)but I cannot remember why but I usually cheat we have a make of pancakes that are so good, I sometimes wonder if it's worth making your own mixture(Aunt Bessie's)they are really thin and you can fry them up without having to add any oil in the pan. And you can put any that remain in your freezer.

We usually put lemon juice and sugar on our's but looking at a magazine given free in a supermarket and a tv advert I have had some other ideas and I bet there are many more on the internet if you go to the recipe sites. I've put some links in my blog entry for ideas for fillings etc...and the history of the day...

Update:I made such a good job of my pie with puff pastry crust, there was no room for pancakes so I'm postponing it for one day and making Pancake Day Wednesday this year. And since writing my post I have found even more recipes with suitable fillings for pancakes and advice on what to put in them...I'm spoilt for choice.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Am Trying To Do What Is Right...

Yesterday, I made the effort to be good and return to eating more fruit and fibre as I had been doing for most of the last year or two. Oh, I eat well, everything in moderation, we avoid adding too much salt to anything that is homemade and the same is true of prepared meals when we shop at the supermarket where possible but I have been avoiding eating salads and fruit. I have been buying it...but its been left in the fridge and often having past it's sell by date had to be thrown out. Having a blender has helped recently. It's not that I have been eating something else instead just that I have been eating the main course and not necessarily having a second course.

I managed a small portion of porridge(I say small)it was a cereal bowlful and though it's perhaps lazy, each portion is measured out in an individual sachet which also allows you the correct amount of liquid(milk or water)to be added. I also added to the porridge as it cooked some blueberries. Tomorrow, I may add to them some banana and/or strawberries. It is another of the recommended daily portion of fruit and porridge oats is good at reducing cholesterol...so it is said.

At lunchtime I made another of my soups using some of the fresh vegetables I have in the fridge (a chicken stock cube and added potato, leek and carrot)

In the evening, chicken and vegetable pie(ok, I cheated on that this time it was a Birds Eye product)but with that was new potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and leek. Followed by honeydew melon which was in a container already cut into chunks. I discovered that I had eaten the equivalent of two portions of fruit.

So I think that is a reasonably healthy diet.

I am hoping in the next day or two to attempt to make my own pies. There are so many combinations open to me with or without pastry. I have in mind leeks but I can add mushrooms and some kind of sauce possibly more vegetables and/or add chicken or ham. I can avoid too much pastry by putting a crust on the dish and decide whether it is short crust or puff pastry.

I may post a picture of my efforts depending on which recipe I choose and a link in case you wish to follow it too. Cooking is as difficult or as simple as you wish. I proved that tonight, I was ready to do something special(It's Mum's birthday) but we settled for scrambled eggs(with some garlic added)baked beans and some sliced pork. Followed by apple pie and ice cream. I may have some fruit later on...

I'm still looking at ways to get more fruit and veg into Mum's diet. In general I'm doing reasonably well...the smoothie maker helps. I've not succeeded yet but I am going to attempt to see if I can get her to eat a small portion of porridge some day soon. She has never fancied it, I'm not sure if she had any when she was a child. If she did perhaps it was more the rough type of oats and the smooth may be more acceptable.

I'm amazed that I have managed to get garlic into some dishes successfully.

If you are not into all the preparation and eat smaller portions buying items ready done is not really that expensive but another way around the problem is to use frozen vegetables. You really can stretch them and make them last a long time. And if buying ready prepared is costly, fresh vegetables that need some trimming can be less expensive.

Fresh items can take some getting through if you have one big shop. In days past you would probably call in at your local greengrocer's and buy what was required daily. Or grow your own.

But again, I do not always believe that eating something slightly over the date on the packet will harm you or lose the goodness. I have a book that suggests how long items can be kept for before discarding them.

And if you have access to a blender or smoothie maker you can always drink fruit and vegetables and in doing so you can take in more than you might if it was in a dish or on a plate.

Not the most exciting blog entry I'll grant you but I guess you get an insight into what I am eating and what kind of meals are eaten in the UK, granted I'll give you it's reasonably traditional fare rather than taking the influence of the diversity of who lives here these days.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Un-necessary Work?

Around the time when we were at our worst and it was touch and go whether Mum would be home and how often I would be visiting her in hospital or how long and then as she was unwell and needed to be cared for at home(and still does to some extent)we had the prospect that one contractor wanted access to the property to replace the gas boiler(and possibly do some more work)and another company wants to survey the property(I believe to re-value the property regarding the community charge)which has for years only been re-valued when a property comes up for sale.

But there are many stories in the press to suggest that is about to change.

I wrote back to the companies concerned as soon as possible when they originally contacted us and so far no one has acknowledged the letters that I wrote.

A little of the housework had been neglected but I had started to make some headway but I still needed a few weeks to be on top of it all so things were not as I would've wished when you have people visiting that are connected to the authority you are renting from but if nothing else it makes you speed up your tasks even though I prefer to go slow. Especially as mobility and illness can affect how much you are able to do.

Hopefully, by the time they arrive to do the work everything will be tidy and rubbish will have been thrown out and taken away.

One of the contractors did get access today...in some ways what is planned is not as much as it could've been but really the work is un-necessary and could've been put off for quite a long time into the future but friends have suggested it comes down to new regulations/health and safety etc...in the UK.

The gas boiler is in the kitchen, now for some reason(even though its working ok and is regularly serviced)they are to take it out and put a new one upstairs in the airing cupboard but here's the crazy part of the story.

Originally the airing cupboard had a water tank inside, it was removed and a new water tank was installed in the loft. This made the airing cupboard larger so we could store more bedding, clothes and towels.

The boiler will be put in the airing cupboard and we'll lose approx 50% of the space that was created and the water tank in the loft will no longer be used. So we are almost back to square one and how things were when we started. Talking to others it is seemingly common practice to move boilers when they are replaced and especially if they are in a room downstairs such as a kitchen and some have found the new systems after being moved to a new location a nuisance.

I will ask more questions when they come out again such as can I control it downstairs and avoid having to come upstairs if I need to change things and will it be quieter, it will be annoying if you are trying to rest/sleep in a bedroom and you can hear the central heating firing up or running.

In some ways we are fortunate in that we are not paying for all the changes and should anything go wrong we will not be responsible. And if this is all we have to have done the job will be reasonable small and quickly done and that's how I like it!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Fluffy Duck...

I'll suggest another cocktail but if you look it up on the net or ask other people for the recipe, you will find there are many variations...

A Fluffy Duck

1 part(approx 30ml, that's a shot glass) advocaat liqueur
1 part creme de cacao Lemon/lime soda
Crushed ice

Take a glass and put approx one quarter of crushed ice into it.

Pour creme de cacao over the ice.

Then add the advocaat.

Slowly fill with soda. Stir, and serve.(Watch out for it coming over the top of the glass when the fizzy drink is added)

A tumbler or Hi-ball glass is approx the right size and it depends whether you want a large drink or half it with another person so you drink less.

It appears that creme de cacao is a chocolate liqueur(I found that I only had blue cacao)that is an orange liqueur so I substituted Baileys Irish Cream Whisky with caramel flavour(as close as I could think of to chocolate)and it seemed to work pretty well so here's a Gildy alternative.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Well, I had bloods taken last week and had to have another taken today and I told the nurse taking them that I would be having exactly the same tests but because someone at the Dr's surgery who prepares the paperwork had not ticked one of the boxes, one test was not taken and the nurse would not tick the unticked box to say I required a full blood count. Talk about being pedantic!

I only hope that does not mean that today's tests are a waste of time and that means I have to have another at the hospital on Thursday as that was one of the reasons for having the tests today so the information is there for the consultant. If all is well whilst in the neighbouring town the hospital is near two supermarkets not on my town and I'll pop in and see if I can find something a little different(and hopefully find a Birthday card and gift)it's Mum's Birthday on Saturday.

I'm not sure I can bring much home as there is little if any room in the fridge/freezer.

I can report that I made my first cottage pie today...it tasted pretty good and looked as good as any I have purchased in the shops.

I must've done something right as Mum came back for seconds and very little was left at the end of the meal. I also cheated by not buying any special baking trays etc...but used a metal foil tray that had been used to cook some Baked Potatoes in the previous night and it was the right size for the cottage pie.

It was packed full of goodness and no added salt or similar ingredients, it probably had more meat and vegetables in it than any bought in a shop.

I made an onion gravy, browned off some lamb and mutton mince, added it to the gravy with diced swede, carrot, peas etc...and topped it off with maris piper mashed potato, into the oven for 30 mins(190 degrees)and that was all it took. But the result was superb even if I say it myself. I felt good eating it and also as good afterwards. I could not eat anything afterwards and originally planned to have some extra vegetables on the plate but this was a meal in itself and I assume the size of the tray actually meant it serves one person, well there was enough for two.

I generally know what is the correct temperature for cooking certain items, if I don't I use the same instructions as I see on the products that are similar and purchased at the supermarket or find it on cookery sites on the net.

Most definitely comfort food.

Then again a simple meal of sliced chicken breast, brussels sprouts, turnip/butternut squash(mashed)roast potatoes and onion gravy plus yorkshire puddings which we had last evening was equally tasty.

A quick recipe...maybe for a snack you've heard(I hope)of what is called egg and bread or Gypsy toast?

It is a variation on omelets. You beat an egg with or without the addition of some milk. Dip some white bread in the mixture and fry it in a pan with or without oil/fat but if you use oil sunflower or olive oil is best.

Well, I came across the variation above which looks like one worth considering...

Update:I must've done something right with my Cottage Pie as Mum has mentioned how much she enjoyed it the following day so I will be doing it again...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Toilet Rolls...

That's right, it's my turn to pass on what seem a useless household tip which few if anyone seems to know and I have never seen written down in a book.

I don't believe that I have mentioned it on my blog before...

I first heard of it on an old Children's Television programme in the UK many, many years ago...called How!

It doesn't seem to happen as often these days but sometimes when you need to use a toilet roll the pieces of paper do not match up and the perforations are not lined up so you do not get a neat piece of paper.

If that ever happens to you, just get hold of the layer that is longer and take it back round in the opposite direction and you will suddenly find that all the partitions will be lined up again and the perforations will be in line with each other.

You never know there may be one day this information may be of use to you...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

We'll Drink, A Drink, A Drink To...

It's strange where your mind takes you and how sometimes you end up investigating something that you have not given a second thought to for many years.

We have a television programme in the UK called QI broadcast and made for the BBC. It is a quiz(none too serious)and presented by the actor/writer/comedian Stephen Fry. There are 4 people who answer questions posed by Fry that are based on fact/trivia and whilst learning some facts, the contestants(who are all from the world of comedy)try to make amusing jokes about the topics.

A couple of weeks ago it came up in the programme that during Victorian times or some similar time frame Raspberry Jam was on sale...only it was not Raspberry Jam but an alternative food stuff(usually rhubarb)made to look and taste like the real stuff but the contents were fake, it was made to fool the public and if that was not bad enough, the pips that people believed to be seeds were actually made of wood and manufactured by factories employing people to do so. Click on the link above and move down the page and you'll find a reference to what I am talking about.

Heaven knows what effect this foodstuff was having on those eating it. So crooked practice has always gone on in the food industry.

So just as well we have some safeguards in place to try and stop such practices(even though sometimes stories of dangerous food getting into the food chains still happens today)

It also appears that Emmeline Pankhurst known for her work to obtain the right of Woman to be able to vote and a leader of the Woman's Suffragette movement actually started a factory making and selling genuine Jam. I don't think this is mentioned in the article I link to and I am unsure exactly why she started this venture...

Another person mentioned on the same programme was immortalised in a song sung in the 1960's by a pop trio called The Scaffold and it did well in the record charts and was very popular entitled Lilly The Pink and it is all about someone who makes a medicinal compound that cures all ills. Well, medical problems that Women suffer from. Looking over the lyrics of the song it would appear that they were adapted or based on a song that already existed.

It turns out that this person actually existed as did her compound(I thought it was a make believe story and a make believe character)but it would appear that there are still descendants of that family living today and that though the ingredients may've changed, the product is still on sale today. As far as I know only in the USA.

Also, it appears that she was actually called Lydia Pinkham not Lilly.

A Few More Days Have Gone By...

So a few days have passed by and the country really has had continued bad weather(in parts)here it has virtually passed my town by and as I write some areas are on flood alert, without electric or gas and so on.

I would be unhappy to lose power as that would mean a loss of heating, being able to cook hot meals or make hot drinks but much as I may get annoyed when power is lost if it is due something like the weather I appreciate how difficult it is for the engineers who have to go out and solve the problem and reconnect the wires. In fact even when power is lost for other reasons I have seen documentaries of how difficult and dangerous their work is to repair the faults and how they risk their lives.

I am afraid things are quite dull around here still...I am shopping(and thinking what meals I can come up with)In addition to meals mentioned previously I hope to make my first cottage pie with mince, gravy and vegetables covered in mashed potato.

You can buy fresh(but that takes little if any preperation)or frozen veg all prepared, all you do is stick something in a saucepan or in an oven and let the cooker do the business.

I have a fridge full of fruit, a freezer full of meat and fish and my pantry and cupboards are full of anything I can think of regarding tinned or packet goods or sauces etc...

In some cases many items are new to me and I am trying to see what new flavours I can enjoy...I purchased some Plums, Nectarines and Passion fruit today(I have never purchased them in my life)Plums are being hailed as the new super healthy food so watch the price of them go up in the shops.

And another hit in the vegetable line(and something never eaten before by myself or Mum)is Butternut squash, a root vegetable from Kenya(and other places)which you oven bake drizzled in olive oil...the nearest I can describe it, is like turnip or swede with a buttery taste. I mash it up.

I don't eat much in the way of crisps(I try to watch my diet due to my condition) but Walker's crisps launched a competition asking the public to come up with a new variety and they managed to get it down to six flavours(some are genuine)some are tongue in cheek, the idea is that the public will text the company and say which flavour they like and it will remain on sale whereas the other five will be history.

I have yet to taste them but I have in the cupboard the following Fish and chips, Onion bhaji and Cajun squirrel(I kid you not)and I know that amongst the remaining three, there is one that claims to taste like Builders breakfast(bacon, egg, beans, tomato etc...)so I'll have to give that a go...but when I was a child there was a brand of crisps manufacutured in the North East of England called Tudor Crisps and they had all kinds of flavours including Kipper flavoured crisps, as long ago as that!

I had to go out today for a blood test...it went ok(and that will depend on the result more than anything else)usually there are no marks left afterwards but today I have been left with a number of marks on my arms where blood was taken(also because the nurse)did not pay full attention to the form and had to take a second sample and decided to take it from my other arm whereas normally it all gets taken from one arm whilst the vein is open. And then to stem the blood cotton wool was placed over the wounds and held in place with surgical tape.

And ripping off surgical tape from skin with hairs attached is pretty painful even if done quickly but in doing so that has managed to cause additional bruising. What a wuss I must sound...

And I have it all to look forward to again on Monday and a hospital appointment on the Thursday, however, it does mean that I can pop into a different supermarket and hopefully bring home some items not available on my town.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

And Still They Go On About The Snow...

I have no problem with the media looking for the snow stories and informing us of how bad it is...

I have more of a problem with all the people going on about schools being closed and how wrong it is that people are staying at home and by doing so they are all classed as skivers...it is the same mind set how often those with no experiences of their own condemn others.

Are we really being told that by some schools being closed for a few days because a rare event of snow or ice has made it dangerous to travel to school or if the school could open perhaps all the staff have been unable to get in or would have to leave early because the weather will deteriorate again the education of our children will be ruined? A few days can affect a whole years work...that doesn't say much about the quality of the system.

It was said that it was a disgrace that buses were taken off the roads in London and that in the wartime they were able to continue a service of sorts but bombs were not landing all the time and managing snow and ice with a large vehicle is a bit different. And again, if a bus had an accident wiping out a car or knocking over the public, who would be the first to complain or sue? There have been plenty of so called experts or public figures giving their opinions on the tv news.

Let us not forget times have changed(for good or bad)If a school had closed in years gone by, chances are one parent would be at home so children would be taken care of but now many homes have both parents working so it is harder to arrange child care or make arrangements so one person can stay at home and perhaps not go into work. That is probably what makes it more difficult to cope these days.

For now it is a rare event, if it changes and becomes the norm maybe then things will have to be looked at and a change in how society manages such situations considered but for now I wish people in general would stop complaining and I am sorry but I am going to say it...chill out!

What Have We Done?

Well, I had little choice really...three or four times they tried to get the North East of England to start a kind of Assembly(a quango)a talking shop and another level of bureaucracy and each time the population said "No!" and could not have said it more clearly. The same thing was said when tenants were asked their opinion on the transfer of social housing stock to a private landlord or a kind of housing association.

But after a few months those who could make decisions at Westminster kept coming back and changing how questions were asked and ballots were held until they got their way.

Now, with the economic down turn and the need to create work, there is talk that social housing will be a priority again and new houses will be built but the question being asked is whether councils will take up this work or will it be given to the new housing associations who have taken on the housing stock from councils who have transferred their stock.

If councils take up the work and are awarded grants to build new housing, it means they've off loaded their previous housing stock and the tenants and "we" may find out that we have been treated badly. If the plans had not been rushed through we still could have been under the care of the councils. Which I think many would've preferred. But we were making a decision on the information and situation at the time the proposal was being pushed through.

And in our own town there is now some problem regarding what will happen to the open spaces that allow some green areas that benefit the environment and have not been built upon but it appears the land has been transferred along with housing stock and it is possible the housing associations that now own the housing stock may decide it is so valuable it is worth building more houses and this land may not remain open much longer.

The truth is that no one knows. I do know in a neighbouring town, houses are being built and squeezed into areas I would never have believed possible or that they would be(and that's private housing)so anything is possible.

Nothing Exciting Going On...

So here I am at this silly hour having taken my weekly medication that supposedly protects my bones from thinning waiting for an hour to pass as the directions say that I have to sit or stand for an hour before I can lay down and even then I have to eat something before laying down. But I have told you this before...

Depending on how I feel I may have something simple like a bacon buttie...or what is called a Full English Breakfast(that's tomatoes, beans, mushrooms, bacon, fried bread, egg(scrambled or fried)or any of the above in any combination. Or maybe I'll keep it simple and have a bowl of porridge with some fruit(good to reduce cholesterol and have a portion of fruit)

Well, I had none of the above after all(but may later this morning)Not the most healthy option but I went for something simple so I could get to bed...a crisp sandwich with some Branston small chunk pickle but I still enjoyed it.

Did you know in the UK we are told to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily to stay healthy but in America it is 8 portions.

In the meantime, I am listening to the radio...the BBC World Service has an interesting programme regarding religion(Creation)versing the scientific view(Evolution)of how the World began in Charles Darwin's body of work.

I'm afraid no side can really explain this and in the end it has to be personal to the individual and you have to search for the answer. If you find the answer, that is fantastic. I have my own faith and beliefs as much as anyone is able.

Then I have an instalment of The Atlantic Records Story on another BBC radio station(broadcasting it at 3am of all times)There is a great series on at this time every night. In the meantime, another station runs some great radio shows overnight(that I could not sit up and listen to overnight)and it is only available downstairs via the satellite system, it would take too much of my internet time and the player has started to behave strangely, so often I time shift it to listen to later but tonight I discovered my recorder had stopped working so I lost quite a bit of what I hoped to listen to. It happens rarely but is so annoying when it does.

I don't know why but some of the best programmes seem to be broadcast at crazy times and ok it's only a personal view but some of the poor stuff is on at times when it's easier to listen to.

Can I recommend two programmes that regularly go out on BBC Radio 2(music based)on Saturday evenings between 8pm-11pm(but are available on line(as a live stream or for 7 days on a listen again bases via the net)

Suzi Quatro(the rocking singer)playing the diverse music of America(with many rare recordings)and sometimes a guest saying which music influenced them, sometimes you get a surprise. A new show that is trying to recreate the stations that the UK listened to in the 1960's that broadcast from ships at sea and were known under the blanket term "Pirate Radio" with one of the original and best DJ's of the time returning so I assume playing the music of the time and trying to sound as we remember. That DJ being Johnnie Walker.

And if you really love radio 7pm-8pm usually there is a concert or a documentary about a music subject...tomorrow the singer Don McClean who sang American Pie talks to Maria Elena Holly the widow of Buddy Holly who died 50 years ago this week in a plane crash alongside JP Richardson(The Big Bopper)and Richie Valens.

I have to say that I really do watch less tv these days and prefer to listen to the radio.

Anything interesting happening away from radio?

Well, I hope Mum is continuing to improve but it's a long road to recovery...I'm due to have another blood test so will see my Dr on Monday and I have another hospital appointment in approx a fortnight(so I wonder if all will be well...)and unfortunately the other problem is playing up again so I plan to do as little as possible this weekend and I hope it settles down.

My interest in cooking is as great as ever...I hope to be making my first cake soon, a banana cake. Also some home made fish cakes. So at least I have some knowledge of how to make soups, bread, casseroles, general meals and deserts and I am still learning all the different smoothies, juices and cocktails that I can.

To that end, again I found two great books yesterday in the charity shops in town on top of recent books I have purchased(together they are worth approx £23)and I paid £3.50. They are a little different this time because they have recipes for drinks using vegetables and fruit but they also offer combinations to boost your energy, clean your system etc...but also lots of additional information missing in other books I have making it easier to work out how much fruit or vegetables you put into a drink without necessarily having to measure or weigh everything out.

Also, there is information about how long you can store items in the fridge which sometimes is difficult to gauge and if you do not always use everything by the date on the container or packet(that the supermarket has put on it)you may throw it out something that is still perfectly ok.

These books also have information on what vitamins and minerals are in each fruit/vegetable and what they may be good for regarding your health and conditions you may have or wish to avoid.

So again, it was a good day for bargains...and I have a lot of things to try and my blender is being put to good use.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The UK(Well,Some Of It Grinds To A Halt)

It's been a day where depending on which newspaper or tv or radio station you watched or listened to there were tales of many cities, towns and villages struggling to cope with the amount of snow that had fallen but where once you would b told that the North of England gets the worst of this weather when it occurs, it was the Southern half that was hit the worst. And news reports suggest that where it was bad in the North, the people got on with their lives and things still carried on much as normal. If just slightly slower than normal. All kinds of statistics and information being relayed such as it being the worst snowfall for 20 years etc...

A day where little if anything could be done other than staying warm under the duvet and then in case the weather continues to be bad as we are told it will I went out and did a quick shop so I can remain indoors for most of the week. Plenty of fruit, fresh vegetables and I stocked up on meat and fish. And got home as quick as possible. As I write this, it is raining outside so the snow is thawing out and disappearing at quite a rate...Having said that if it freezes as is likely, it could be quite dangerous and hazardous whether you are walking, driving or taking public transport.

Worst snow for 18 years

Millions take ANOTHER Snow Day

My bargain of the day? There are many sites on the internet that offer recipes for soups, meals and cocktails but not as many for making juices and smoothies and there is still something about having a book that you can look at the images and refer to. Many books are expensive. Even if you order on the net.

I have been looking in the charity shops for some books without success but today I found two(Both contain over 200+ recipes)and were worth £13(I paid £6.50)many great ideas contained that I would probably not have thought of...and it will give me the chance to come up with other ideas. All fully illustrated, well written and on high quality glossy paper.

So don't be surprised if I try many of them out and tell you what I think and share some with you. That smoothie/blender is being well used as is the cocktail shaker for healthy, luxurious drinks and yes, occasionally alcoholic fare. I have quite lot of booze to get through...responsibly of course.