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.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Something New!

Some months ago I was talking quite a lot about food!

I must do something to return to what is a favourite subject of mine...

But it's great when you find something new, even better if you like it.

For now, I cannot say as I have yet to taste it but the brand Branston has seemingly been branching out and bringing out many more chutney's and relishes.

They have brought out a range of mayonnaise(or is that mayonnaise's?)

Anyhow, tomorrow for lunch I am thinking of having a salad sandwich with prawns and some mayonnaise. And this will get me chance to give it a try.

It sounds promising(How does food have a sound?)

It is called Mayonnaise With A Twist...and this one is Lemon and Roast Garlic so we'll see. It will depend if the flavour gets lost with all the others or whether it is strong.

Update:I had a very quick shopping trip(having a watch battery replaced and buying a few more bulbs...)and returned with a small portion of chips(French Fries)and served them up with a wholemeal bun with prawns and the mayonnaise and I can tell you it is lovely and I can recommend it!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The End Is In Sight...

Remember how we were told that politicians had signed into law the demise of the old fashioned light bulb on the grounds of protecting the Earth and helping to reverse/halt global warming. The bulbs were to be phased out over a certain period and I could suddenly not find any to purchase.

A few weeks ago, I found a shop in town selling them again and started to buy a few boxes when I could remember to, I'm putting off the inevitable but I thought I'll manage to build up a little stockpile.

A national newspaper announced a couple of days ago that the European market has passed another amendment(with little fanfare)and within ten days all such bulbs will be taken off the shelves(ahead of the planned date of withdrawal)and from then on it's the new bulbs and nothing else.

I hope there are some still on sale when I go out on Monday...if there is, I'll buy the lot!

So many lamps and items that need bulbs will be obsolete. You cannot buy coloured bulbs that includes soft coloured lifts in a pastel shade. Or candle shaped bulbs. Frosted, clear or pearl bulbs. What a choice we're being left with!

BTW some months ago I told you that British Gas sent some free energy saving light bulbs, last week we received another package this time from N Power and it contained...more bulbs.

But here's the problem, they all keep sending bulbs that they all say are the equivalent of 60 and 40 watts and what we need for most rooms(especially in a ceiling fitting)is the equivalent of 100watts or as many of the new kind are softer, we could probably do with one that is the equivalent of 150watts.

Also, to get a decent light we may have to use more bulbs and have more lamps which kind of defeats the idea behind the switch over.

It may seem crazy but I have managed to buy a variety of 60watt/100watt old fashioned bulbs(and some candle ones)and now have approx 200

It really sounds a lot but when 10 are required for the centre ceiling fittings of all the rooms and I have known 5 be lost in days of each other they may be used quickly.

I have managed to find some pretty spiral shaped ones and better shaped energy efficient bulbs so in time we may get used to them. There are some that look more like they should at last.

It would've been nice if the energy companies had sent the best that they could to promote the new bulbs.

A friend offered to send bulbs from the States(they don't phase them out for approx another 5 years...)but I said that they may be stopped at customs as if they are to become illegal in Europe they won't probably want to allow them here and they'll slap a customs tax on them...

Who would've thought that?

I hope the next step is that they don't start coming into our homes and taking our stock of bulbs away!

Friday, August 21, 2009

I've Been Waiting All Day...

For the engineer to call to service the heating system, well the gas boiler.

The boiler is ok but I am a bit annoyed...this time they installed for free two smoke alarms and a Carbon Monoxide monitor.

Well that is for our safety so why should I be unhappy?

Well, We were told where we had to have them placed.

The carbon monoxide alarm which is very large has been placed on the main wall in the hall.

The smoke alarms have been put on the wall above the airing cupboard upstairs(which is the landing)and the other has been put on wall in the hall above the monoxide alarm. Two almost together.

After the engineer has gone, he left us the instructions of how to use the alarms(and this also shows how and where they should be installed as suggested by the manufacturer.

Now from seeing other alarms in other homes I always thought because of how smoke rises most fire alarms are placed on the ceiling.

To me that would mean positioning one on the kitchen ceiling and one on the landing ceiling.

Looking through the instructions he left(after he had disappeared)surprise, surprise...the manufacturer says that ceilings are best for the smoke alarms and if you only have one carbon monoxide alarm they say the best place is near the bedrooms.

So to me I see it being done this way because it was easier for the engineer.

I also do not think we needed the carbon monoxide alarm because we do not have a gas fire...just a boiler and the room it is in the doors have ventilation grills to allow air into the house and fumes etc...out.

I suspect because they have rules and regulations to follow its a case of you have to have them whether you want them or not. And the monoxide alarm is meant mainly for homes that have a gas fire.

And when you are renting and it's not your own home you have in some instances less say in what happens.

But Mum cannot be bothered with the hassle so they'll probably remain where they are.

At least they are not in the lounge, dining room or bedrooms so we are not having to look at them all the time.

Years go when I first got satellite tv I remember the installer insisted that the dish had to go on the front of the house(they all seemed to be installed that way back then)when we said we might not bother in that case, he put it on the side of the house and ran extra cable from the dish to the living room window area. So in other words they wanted to do it as quickly and easily as possible.

I'll probably moan about it today and then by tomorrow forget about it and live with them...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

They're Coming To Take You Away...

Once...and it's dangerous to generalise...you'd be told or led to believe that drugs were taken by the down trodden of society and only the rough parts of large towns and cities had this problem.

We all know in history various substances have been taken by all parts of society and you'll find it as much a part of the life of the rich and famous and those who actually make the rules and regulations that society is expected to follow.

Some substances are a way for the ordinary person to get through the humdrum routine of life and it does little or no harm and other substances destroy families. Other substances are controlled or allowed but taxed. In many cases it's a grey area.

Well, I discover according to a local newspaper whilst I was fast asleep or taking it easy this morning ten police drugs raids took place in my own town and a neighbouring town and village. In fact one raid was in a street within walking distance of my home...and if I had not seen the report, I was none the wiser. I heard or saw nothing.

Which is a surprise considering whenever they are shown on the local television news there is lots of noise and usually front doors are smashed open. Again only two streets away there is a large police station and a court house.

The latest news suggests that they are drug dealers. The whole story will probably come out eventually.
It just shows you do not always know what is going on under your nose.

Shopping Trip...

Recently Boots the Chemists have redeemed themselves and given me reasonably good service. And most of the assistants chat and call me by name. I like that.

However, last week they let us down again, after filling Mum's prescription they informed me that one drug was not in stock and would not be available until after the weekend(approx 4 days)and unfortunately the one they were out of stock was...the very drug she no longer had any of in the house and they were important as they were painkillers. It's not an usual drug and one if they had too much of it in stock would soon be used up.

Had I not had some spare of the same kind, she was without.

So ok I couldn't be bothered to ask for the prescription to be returned go elsewhere. It was getting late, I wasn't sure who would be open and I'd need to start riding around in a taxi which adds to the cost.

I waited until today as I had other things to buy so I could do as much as possible. I expected that I would go in and present my receipt and collect what was outstanding from last week and be finished in seconds.

Guess what! They started to put the prescription up for that one drug up whilst I was in the store and I had to wait.

What if they had run out again in the meantime when I presented the receipt and I was told again, we are out of stock? As that was my drug, part of a prescription not completed and I was promised it would be there waiting for me, it seems wrong not for it to be waiting for collection. That isn't good to me.

From what I can see there is a lack of business in the older part of the town, many would say it is because of the large Tesco's that has opened and they sell most of what is being sold by the few remaining shops in this part of towns plus the supermarket has a pharmacy with longer opening hours and you can shop whilst your prescription is made up it makes sense to go there.

And now another pharmacy has opened very nearby this branch of Boots again offering better opening times and it is connected to a Dr's surgery next door.

A new shop opened a few weeks ago to a great fanfare and it sells many items available in Boots(at discounted prices)and another couple of shops so again this has not brought extra business in my opinion but taken it away from others and I suspect those shops are suffering and it is the prescription part of Boots that is keeping their business going.

I needed a pair of trousers, the only store that sells men's clothes had plenty of t-shirts, jeans and shorts but trousers? Approx 3-4 pairs on a stand instead of the usual large part of the store given over to trousers that I remember.

I ended up at...Tesco's and they had what I wanted so is it any wonder they do so well?

How much did my trousers cost, a bargain at £6. Unfortunately, my usual waist size did not fit because my steroids have increased the size of my stomach but this then means that though I have the same inside leg measurement, the rest of the trousers are baggier. But what can I do? So now I need to do my little bit of alteration and hopefully I'll be wearing them soon.

So what should have been simple tasks were not so in the end...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Everything Happens At Once...

I need to consider(well, I have for some time now)buying a new vacuum cleaner but not so long ago most stores/shops had a limited choice and they were not terrifically expensive...

Now on the internet, mail order, in many stores and yes those shops where you buy via a catelogue, the choice has grown enormously(and so has the price)

The designs make it more difficult and we must not forget the weight of the machine especially if you need to vacuum a staircase. Mum insists she wants to vacuum the house which is good but not being so mobile that may be a problem. So many models are heavy to move about. Then many more have those hoses and you pull a little machine around that is on little wheels.

I also require a new electric cooker, that's a little more straight forward(thank heavens)and prices for a basic cooker offering an oven, a mini-oven, grill and four hobs isn't too much of a trouble.

And now the other problem(things happen in three's so they say)

It could be something is need of repair but then I have to decide if it's worth repairing or replacing but the UK as many places are in the middle of great change regarding...where television is going. And you could buy something you think is as up to date as it can be(and I know any electrical item is usually already obsolete as you buy it)but you expect to get a reasonable amount of time out of it.

Usually though I cannot fix something like a computer or television I know why something happens and what it may need to repair it(so it's not often I get taken for a ride)

I am at a loss this time and don't know if it's the satellite receiver, the video recorder or the television. And no I am not rolling in money, most of the items I have are a few years old and I try to make things last as long as possible.

I have not changed any wires around or settings. So what is the problem? I can record or play back via the video recorder all terrestrial channels but now if I record from satellite the picture goes dark gradually until its practically unwatchable and if you play back any recording of a satellite channel it looks that way too but any channel live or recorded from ordinary tv looks and is fine.

All channels(terrestrial or satellite)look and work fine if just played through the tv as live.

If it's the VCR I'll consider going over to DVD recorders but there are already so many changes planned what should I buy and what sockets and cables should it have. Especially as High Definition is being talked about? If I consider a new television again what should I consider? And so it goes on.

If I call the repairman out, I usually can explain what I think has gone wrong but this time I am at a loss. I think some shops offer a free call out and some that I have used before charge around £50 but then if any work is required they take that amount off the work required.

At present if it is a television fault I don't have a spare tv to use if it needs taking away. The only good thing is that most repairs are done reasonably quickly these days.

On the other hand what is it going to cost to repair or replace all these goods?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What You Learn By Chance...

With such a wealth of music and information out there unless you become very obsessed and have the time to study how one person singing a song or playing a guitar or some instrument move from one group to another and how many groups are interconnected, it could do your head in.

You do not always realise how many of the songs and tunes we listen to have been written by artists long forgotten and only remembered when you suddenly think I wondered what ever happened to? Sometimes thanks to radio only playing the songs that were hits or best remembered great swathes of music is ignored.

I was listening to a great radio DJ Roger "Twiggy" Day who has been in the business in the UK for almost 50 years and he was looking back to the year of 1967 at a time when Pirate Radio was the only way many people in the UK could hear new music to any great extent(for anyone living abroad or too young to have been around then)they were literally radio stations broadcasting from ships that were anchored in international waters.

He happened to play a track by The Mama's and the Papa's and also Scott McKenzie and during the link mentioned that Scott had been a member of the Mama's and the Papa's.

Well, I knew of Mama Cass, Michelle Phillips, John Phillips and Denny Doherty. Their story is one of the most complicated and it all comes down to various relationships between the members of the group and also the death of one member and today there is only one member still alive.

I know that if Roger tells you something it will be as accurate as anyone is able to be. I only know Scott as the singer of San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair) but there is a connection straight away(I did not know)this song was written by John Phillips.

The connection to The Mamas and the Papa's was also still there in the 1980's when Scott co-wrote(with others)a hit for The Beach boys alongside...John Phillips again.
I also discovered thanks to the site I have put a link to how Scott did indeed join The Mam's and Papa's in a kind of indirect way.

The group reformed but at various times the male members through illness could not or just did not want to take part so Scott came in as a substitute/replacement for Denny and then eventually Denny did come back and Scott took on the role of John.

It's quite an interesting story.

I won't say that some bad music was performed, recorded, written in the 1960's and maybe you had to be alive at the time"To Get It!" but there really is for me something about that decade and whenever I hear virtually any "Pop" song from that period it makes me feel good...

Take a look!

Scott McKenzie

Friday, August 14, 2009

Let's Celebrate...

The recession is over...no not quite but if you listen to the financial experts wheeled on to television and radio yesterday and in the papers all the main headlines were telling us all day that France and Germany have turned the corner whilst the UK are still awaiting to see an improvement.

Any improvement in the figures has to welcomed but when you look closer we are talking of a third of 1%.

And today I heard an expert from Europe even say this improvement could be temporary and we may see mainland Europe and particular these two countries economies slip back later in the year or in 2010.

He also explained that many areas of these countries economies are being helped and/or supported by their Governments and unlike the UK the housing market is different and the problems experienced is different so the debt is lower in that sector of business. Lets us also not forget that in many areas of Europe it is still more popular or acceptable to rent a home or property rather than buy.

Here buying a home is promoted much more.

So can we breathe a sigh of relief? Not yet! Should we believe the media, I'll wait a little while longer...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It Was Forty Years Ago...

I planned to write a blog about the Landing On The Moon when the anniversary came around last month but most of the media covered that in great depth. What are my memories...perhaps not as much as I might've thought at first.

I do remember following most of the space race but the night Apollo 11 landed, I watched it on television and hearing that the Lunar Module had landed safely. Now I don't know if we decided then that the walk on the moon was going to be too late for us to stay up for(My Father and possibly my Mother too)would probably have been at work the next day, perhaps I would be at school(though I think it was school holidays)

Then again back then the UK only had three tv channels and they were all usually off air by midnight-1am. Even during the day they were off air except for broadcasting schools programmes so I guess we also assumed there was no reason to sit up into the early hours but it appears that the Moonwalk was shown somewhere around 4am.

The first time I think I saw any footage of Armstrong and Aldrin on the Moon was the next day as I was in the town centre and was passing a tv rental shop and the tv's in the window were showing it.

So what else happened in 1969?

There was the pop festival at Woodstock near New York which is still talked about.

The other day British media was talking about the cover of The Beatles album Abbey Road released this year and many Beatles fans were celebrating and turned up(it is a regular occurrence)at the same zebra crossing and tried to recreate the event. Annoying many motorists and people who live in the area near the famous Abbey Road Studio's.

And then of course this was also the year that the horrific murder of the actress Sharon Tate took place which has again been returned to by the media and thanks to the internet and media interest much more detail has been given to this perhaps more than we really need to know.

People often say that the world is worse now than it used to be. Many feel that they had happier times but did we? Is it just that today we have immediate access to what is happening around the world so we hear and see what we may not have in days gone by.

When my Mum was born and a child radio was just starting but access was probably limited. I would assume the next and most immediate way to access news was via a newspaper but again, how much national news would it contain and how much would be locally sourced? A lot of news unless you lived in a big city would probably never reach most of the population.

Were we better knowing less? Who knows.

It does prove that every year has good and bad and large and small stories.

How much of our memory decides rightly or wrongly their importance in the great scheme of things?

Monday, August 10, 2009

We've Been Here Before...

So I'll allow you to say...Not This Again!

However, weeks or months ago I posted as to whether we should consider eating food past its sell by date and how important is it not to eat items past their use by date. We have food experts telling us of the dangers to our health should we not adhere to the expiry dates printed on packets and boxes of what we buy from our supermarkets etc...

But how many of the local fresh produce food shops have items that do not have a date printed on what is being sold and when you next purchase something from the deli on how many items can you see a date on what is being sold? Isn't this roughly how our parents used to buy food? How many people had to stay within a budget and often re-use leftovers etc...

This all comes about because once again our Government is talking about how we may find food being in short supply because of climate change, too any people in the world for the Earth to sustain the population. We hear this year after year but is any actual action taken, if it is I seem to be missing it.

We also have some articles in the press suggesting that there is enough food and perhaps we are eating too much and that we should eat less. We also have others saying that we need to increase output.

We have suggestions that we should go back to a diet similar to what we had during wartime, eat smaller portions and ration ourselves either by choice or having it forced upon us.

I can eat as much as anyone but because I am not doing loads of physical exercise I am not burning calories and I find that I can survive on small amounts but I try to eat a good variety of food to supply all the vitamins and minerals my body needs.

There are sites on the internet selling items near or after the Best Before dates and they are doing very well as families realise that most of the time the food is safe and in difficult economic times it is saving money, I have seen some shops selling sweets in my town that are near or after the best before dates but for the first time ever a few days ago when I was looking for some chicken breasts in a large nationwide supermarket I found three or four items all being sold at half price or with a large reduction on price, people were buying without looking at the date but I discovered on closer inspection that they had best before dates going as far back as April in some cases. Usually supermarkets are quick to remove any item that has a date that has expired(perhaps they are supposed to be law)so whether this was an error(I doubt it with so many items on sale)or a new idea I am unsure.

It also brings home that many such items usually have the guidance that you can freeze such items but they must be used with in a month but if they have a date of April that's already approx 3-4 months over the accepted date before you've got it home. I wonder how many of those buying realised.

If this is ok I may in future still eat meat that is a few months old...if it is looked after at the proper temperature and has not gone off by smell or appearance and is cooked thoroughly I am not really sure what harm you can come to.

I decided to purchase fresh chicken breasts(a little more expensive)but they can be frozen and kept for a while...

We are being told to ignore or consider eating things past their sell by date and yet in the same breath experts say that the young and elderly must be careful. In the end it comes down to common sense as much as anything. The important thing is that you store food correctly and follow simple rules.

What Can We Do

Return To The Old Days