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, July 30, 2012

Hopefully I Have Some New Readers...

So whether you read occasionally, leave comments or decide not to...welcome.

Things have been difficult finding myself alone and sometimes posts have been negative but I think dare I say that is to be expected. Even staring my own mortality in the face. Realising I am on the wrong side of 50!

There's an admission...Mum and myself never thought about age. We lived for the day and worked on the premise that "Age is only a number!" It's what you feel inside even if your body tells you different.

Income has dropped a lot since losing Mum and as has been said, things are going to get tighter and I have no idea how bad it will be. You are caught between a rock and a hard place because if you are given help from the State they decide what will give you an acceptable standard of living. To be honest most struggle and it isn't great.

You soon discover how to become frugal/thrifty call it what you will. Most of what you spend will be on Rent/mortguage, Council tax(It gets called a few names-some unrepeatable Smiley in the past officially they were called The Poll Tax/Community Charge)

Having lived this way for approx 3 months(Is it really that long since I lost Mum)I have to say at this minute I may be able to leave my heating on longer, eat better and not keep switching everything off. The point is if you don't spend it, it will be taken from you.

Equally, though it is good to have some spare cash for emergencies(things break and need replacing/repairing)You may need some clothes...I need some new furniture and carpets(I've only held off in case I was wasting money, If I  have to move and I would not want to leave items behind)You may need to travel more one week to the next.

I could get out more but that costs money, if you need to use taxi's as I do because of mobility problems and as joints stiffen that's another reason why I have to stay warm when indoors.

Quick trips around the town are cheapish £2.50-£3.50 but if you can walk a little you are attempting exercise which you are supposed to do. They usually tell you don't just sit. Then again travel 6-7 miles and that can suddenly be nearer £15(£30 round trip)depending on the company used, whether they use a meter etc...)

Two or three journeys at that price and you soon go through money. So maybe I should travel more out of the town

New changes being introduced over coming months will affect many people and they will have to become frugal and treats will be rare so whilst I can I think I am going to go and see some local theatre shows.

It gets me out and it's more than just going down the street to the shops day after day and it will feed me emotionally and give me something to look forward to, I'll mix with others socially and have memories. And a few on here have told me to get out more, so this is one way.

I am fairly certain I will be £1,600 worse off annually at some point. And I know another benefit is being scrapped and the replacement is 20% less so that could lose me another £1,600 and if I don't fit the criteria for the replacement it could be worse. That's between the bedroom tax and the change to this benefit.

Then we'll have to see what if anything I am entitled to(less if I have come into Mum's money)but hope as that reduces I will be helped again...but there are so many unknowns.  So for anyone who thinks it's easy...it's not!

I have told the story about seeing Joe Brown, I can mention that again nearer the time of the concert and tell you what I thought. I hope to be there unless something happens to stop me(I have my ticket)but I do know I need an operation and fear that if I sort that out now, I may miss him. Of course that may be taken out of my hands. I could still miss the concert if that plays up. I hope not.

Anyhow, there are few shows(still some spare seats)that I quite would like to see(Up to seven)but having that frugal frame of mind I keep thinking should I? I suppose in reality it works out around about the equivalent of £1 a day so perhaps I'll just go for it!

I don't know how many of those I am hoping to see are known outside these shores, some are "Getting on a bit!"Smiley so perhaps it's the last chance to see them. Listen to me...as if I'm not! What's that saying about policeman are looking younger these days?

The shows I am interested in are *Clare Teal, **Martha Reeves(the Motown Diva)Joe Longthorne, Rick Wakeman, The Rat Pack(recreating the shows starring Sinatra, Martin and Davis Jr)A 60's night with  Gerry and The Pacemakers, The Animals, PJ Proby and Chip Hawkes and some comedy with Ken Dodd. I have seen Joe and Ken before but a long time ago...

Though these shows happen in September and October, it's a bit like having one every two months if spread over the year.

If I went on holiday I could spend at least that amount(I haven't been to the theatre for perhaps 20+ years or had a holiday for 14 years)Being frugal is probably why I can consider treating myself.

Today, I am travelling to see my Auntie and Uncle(there aren't many relatives left now)and this week I will finally have to think about arranging Mum's laying to rest(and I'd like Mum's brother and his wife to be with me)when it happens. I think I will use the cremation's garden of remembrance.

It is as nice as anywhere and still reasonably near to me. Then perhaps I'll look into having some kind of inclusion in a book of remembrance but in the church we worshipped in on the town to make it even easier for me to get to. Also I think inclusion is free or if not it is not as expensive.

*Cancelled **Still to decide whether to go(if any tickets remain)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Anon In An Earlier Comment...

Mentioned about what life do I have/will I have if all I do is the same things daily and worry about my finances...especially as I depend on the State for help.

Well, it certainly sharpens your skills at trying to live on the least amount possible but as well as you can.

But I thought that this post from a blog that I have featured before kind of shows what genuine people are having to go through(and in this case we are not talking about the people that the media tends to feature or politicians castigate)and the public phone in and have a go.

In many cases the media just ignores this section of society and therefore few know what is happening, they have no voice.

Of course you have to try and find those who are making false claims but when you have a Dr and a Consultant who can offer evidence and you say "You can look at my medical records" how much more open can you be?

Anyway for anyone who has the time here's a link to that post and the comments. Of course the site has a political slant but I am posting an entry that is not so politically orientated.

The Infamous Store Room...

Not the best images in the world but this is my main store of food in the dining room... there is probably more than it seems as some crates are on top of others and I have to sort things into some kind of order...

Many items have very long dates on them going into 2015 so not everything needs to be used very quickly. I have all kinds of goods from tinned fruit, sliced mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, tea, coffee, sugar, pasta, fruit squash, rice pudding, custard, vegetables, herbs etc...It's better to ask what I haven't got!

It's not all to be stored and never touched, I do mix what I have with what's in the fridge/freezer and kitchen cupboards to make meals up and to see that stock is rotated to try and avoid wasting any foods.

I still have space in this room but this is the pantry and my supply of cereals etc...the long life milk will soon after be used as it as a use by date of the end of August but I already have another stock of milk with dates for late October and December.

In between that time I can go back to using fresh milk, at present my local supermarket is doing 6 litres of Fresh milk with a date of late August for £3 so if the offer remains a while longer I'll get some but at present I have quite a lot of milk to get through.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Is This Sniping?

I was accused of doing so earlier about the Olympics...this comes from within.

This MP did not mince his words or hide his light under a bushel...hopefully some of the opening ceremony spoke to the ordinary person.

and on another note...

Well, those who know about things felt that Mark Cavendish stood a good chance of winning the cycle road race for Great Britain today. However, Kazakhstan's Kazakh Alexander Vinokourov came away with the gold and Cavendish also missed out on silver and bronze. I don't know enough about sport and cycling in particular to know if some tactics stopped him winning, other were better than him on the day but I do know it is reported that he thinks the race was not as it should've been. And we can only go by that. As we were not there. Even if shown on tv or radio.

I wonder how many other events in the next fortnight athletes will accept they were beaten by someone better or feel that they were robbed! There can only be one winner for each medal so if you have say 40 athletes taking part 37 will be disappointed.

No doubt what hurts is the fact that if you have been training for that moment for perhaps four years and to suddenly have nothing...it really must hit home. I'd like to think that I could accept defeat gracefully.

It's something we'll probably hear quite a lot of over the next fortnight.

The Opening Ceremony Of The London Olympics...

I dipped into the opening ceremony, if I had not I have no right to make comment. Yes it was spectacular but sometimes less is more. But for anyone who missed it here are some images of the event.

I thought the best part was probably the simplest of the night from the speedboat down the Thames with David Beckham to when the torch was passed over to Steve Redgrave who entered the stadium to the lighting of the cauldron. That was enough for me.

There is something about a good old fireworks display. Seeing the landmarks of London we know so well and I still get moved by the traditional music that we usually hear at such events often heard on Remembrance Sunday/Last Night Of The Proms...but that's me.

When I saw how Muhammad Ali(Cassius Clay)is now. Of course he's older but so sad and touching to see him as a shadow of his former self. There as a former Olympian. I think had they not said who he was for a split second I would have been wondering who it was.

I like to see the reaction from abroad, here's a Report from the New York Times and here The Washington Post. Some interesting comments posted for and against the ceremony and the UK by readers of the paper.

It was shown on a four hour time delay in America so this is how it aired in the States. And on delay the broadcaster NBC dropped the section of the ceremony that remembered the 7/7 bombing of London.

Friday, July 27, 2012

That B***** Smoke Alarm...

It's good in one way that it continues to warn there is a problem but though I have removed the battery almost 30 minutes later...It's still bleeping. I'll either have to go out and get that battery when the shops open to avoid being driven insane by the loud high pitched noise(I hope it will stop soon)or shove it in a draw...

I did and guess what the other alarm has started behaving the same way...I've disconnected that one now but it's still beeping!SmileyThat's under clothes in the airing cupboard and still I hear it!

Update:It wasn't the Smoke Alarms...it was the Carbon Monoxide alarm in the Hallway downstairs and the batteries have been replaced and the bleeping has stopped.

Cringe Worthy And The Stupid Public Attending This Event

yesterday are I am afraid just plain daft. They reckon 60,000 attended the event. I am rarely critical as such of my fellow Human beings but the media sure has whipped up some hysteria and the Mayor of London in Hyde Park was pathetic.

He's never seen anything like this in his life...they've lit a cauldron from a torch...Many do that on a smaller scale when they light their gas cooker every day. OK I jest, I'm not being serious. I heard this speech on the radio news and thought "Pathetic!"

If you want to see the images and hear the speech here's a link...You don't need to bother with the article(though it points out gaffs from a politician visiting from the States)but our PM has upset the people of Salt Lake City now, so they're all at it!

Just click on the link to the site to see the video

The Olympics has still managed to give me some material to write about...Smiley

Another Problem For The Olympics...

Two actually...but the first is the worst!

Now this should have been sorted years ago in the planning stage(Why have they waited until now to publicise the problem?)Make up your own answers. They've had seven years to prepare for it! The building that is hosting the diving competition is badly laid out seating wise and if you have a ticket quite a way back everyone taking part will look like ants...

Anyhow, they've decided that the views for many are so restricted they are offering refunds to those who have purchased tickets and somewhere in the region of 5,000 spectators are affected. The tickets cost £50. I hope the ticket holders have been contacted and told this already rather than turn up on the day having spent probably more than the price of the ticket if they have travelled from other parts of the UK.

Here's a link to the story and images but I have saved you time and the effort with my synopsis of the story and I don't think I have been biased in what I have said. Of course there will be positive stories but those will be featured everywhere. I'm not looking for Olympic stories but if they come my way, I'll make a comment even if it's negative.

I've been thinking, with all the sponsorship and rights to the Olympics for images and tv and radio rights...I'm tempted to say that virtually no public money should be invested in the event and possibly the tickets should be free and a way should be found to distribute them more fairly. As those attending have either the money to afford them or are going to be paying off the debt for some time to come.

It should live or die on it's reputation and deliver what they keep calling on the radio "The Greatest Show On Earth!" One comedian has called the Olympics a glorified sports day!"

Another gaff regarding football teams/players...after the fiasco over the wrong flag being shown when N. Korea now it involves a football player on Team GB...

I Can Virtually Be A Recluse...

I am so well stocked up with food in my store room, fridge/freezer I may be able to do avoid shopping for the next month(unless I need bread or I hope I can afford my computer mag, the only publication I buy)My rent is paid for the next four weeks too(well what I have to pay in my present situation...)I have my medication for the month ahead so I'm as organised as I can be. I'm all sorted with my electric and gas too.

I will spend my time trying to eat better, sleeping and resting more and continuing to pull things into order here.

Still not taken in by the Olympics...

It's been raining again but hot down south, however the weatherman on the radio says the wet stuff will return across the whole of the UK early next week so the Olympics may be affected.

I treated myself to some sweets on my last trip to the supermarket...all the stuff you shouldn't but it will last me quite some time. The kind of kid's sweets you used to buy when going to school , many moons ago.

So I have some white chocolate buttons, marshmallows, fizzy mix, mini jelly beans, white chocolate buttons with hundreds and thousands on them, fizzy space belts. Tesco's seem to have switched one ingredient and have moved from beef gelatin to Pork which personally I am happier over. Whenever they use gelatin they nearly always go for Beef.

I haven't had sherbet in years(more like decades)so I found a Barratt Dib Dab and a Sherbet Fountain, a couple of tubes of Fruit Salad Chews.Smiley

I have not had much to eat today but I had a lovely big bowl of cereal with banana, blueberries, red grapes and strawberries. A whole carton of orange juice, toast and marmalade.

I'll not come to any harm with that...and I am full enough.

Feeling a bit sleepy tonight so may get manage to get a decent night's rest Smiley allowing for the fact the smoke alarm's battery must be running low as it's starting bleeping occasionally so I'll have to replace it, for now I'll just remove it. Smiley

As best part of things are disconnected much of the time. And rarely do I have anything on without me being here. Unless I am cooking and burn something the only naked flame in the house is the pilot light in the gas boiler.

You'll know from my posts I did not sleep though I have been resting and have been dozing...

My main meal for today when it's defrosted is almost a casserole(again done in the slow cooker)turkey mince, bacon, vegetables and potatoes in a kind of gravy/sauce of some kind. Earlier in the day I'll have some cereal and toast again. And during the day a couple of sausage rolls with some salad perhaps...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I'm Still Not Excited About The Olympics...

but an odd story still filters through to me and you just know that no event is error free but day one and we mess up on one of the simplest things possible. I suspect someone pressed a wrong button or the software was loaded incorrectly but the first of the Olympic events took place yesterday...Women's football in Cardiff, Wales and Glasgow, Scotland.

So what went wrong?

We already know how difficult the relationship is between North and South Korea. So tonight when the names and images of the North Korean Women's football team were shown on the screens in the stadium, the featured flag belonged to...South Korea. Oops!

The game was delayed but did eventually get under way. It is said that there were only a couple of hundred spectators watching.

What will happen next?

I hear good reports about the opening ceremony but the amount of money it's cost to stage it should be. Maybe I am missing something special but I won't be watching.

When I can listen to the report again there are lots of questions still being asked about many of the businesses that were moved/cleared from the location they set up the Olympic site and also some housing areas that already offered what is often called affordable housing.

They reckon when the Olympic area is dismantled they are having difficulty getting investors and property developers interested in building new properties there and the so called affordable housing they say that will be built most think will be anything but.

A lot of hype and spin, mainly originating from Government sources...surprise, surprise.

The UK Is In A Double Dip Recession...

the worst for fifty years. Tentatively they are blaming the weather(well perhaps)but I assume that would mainly affect tourism the most but if money is tight and people are worried about staying employed perhaps you are just not spending and that in turn I suppose is why money is in short supply and that could then mean businesses suffer.

But the other reason being touted is the fact we had a few extra Bank Holidays. Any excuse to attack the few little breaks the population get from work. We work long hours, are mainly on rubbish wages and need to recharge our batteries, spend time with loved ones if you are fortunate to have family. So it's the least the Government or an employer can do for their employees to give them a day or two off. Lets just be slaves and work until we drop.

As Carol one of my posters said, many times its as if all  you do is work and have no time to do something nice for yourself. There could be an argument that as there are fewer jobs but more people requiring work, employers could/should offer something like job share. The trouble is that if wages are poor already, you could not live on the money you would get for three days of work.

And I suspect you would have to go back to the state to try and get help, now that to me sounds like you are claiming well fare again. On the other hand you may just fail the criteria for such help and then you could find that you are out of pocket and worse off for working.

I still am unsure why the Government thought that because the Olympics are taking place the hours shops are open needed to be relaxed and extended. How its helping the economy I don't know. You can only spend what you have and when it's gone, it's gone.

I suspect that there is ulteria motives as if they can say this exercise was a success we may find supermarkets in particular open all the year round including Christmas Day.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I May Dislike The Fact That I Am...

nearly a pensioner and see time passing by...

What worries or depresses me the most is the thought that I may end up in a Nursing Home. That should I live that long and become incapable of looking after myself. More likely for me because I live alone...and have no relatives...but   none of us know what the future will bring.Smiley thinking 020.gif

If I could shake that off perhaps I might feel more positive about things...

These Past Days...

I found myself very sleepy...so I cannot say that I have done a great deal. But I am back on track for tidying the store room, the house and I am eating more. Trying to do something a little different meal wise.

Approx an hour ago I had some fruit and cereal.

When out today I found some decent cider cheaper than the previous offer(50p and 75p a can)so the price is getting better. On the other hand chicken is going up in price. I also noticed possibly because people are feeling the pinch income wise, many of the low priced range of goods were out of stock especially tinned vegetables and potatoes.

The chickens that I was getting for  approx £2.25 are now £3 or more, two chicken breasts are £2 but today I went for diced chicken at £3 but I got more for my money and I thought I have the option of making a casserole or doing a stir fry and should be able to get a few meals out of it.

It has been noticed on quite a few forums that talk about life on a tight budget and with the drought in the States and the wet weather here, some foods have risen in price or is in short supply.

I'd say don't panic buy but do consider buying an extra tin, jar or packet of food when shopping and have a small store room of goods for when food is unavailable, income is tight or certain items increase in price.

Using my shopping trolley I have saved on taxi fares which either means that I can save the fares, leaving money in my pocket or spend that towards the shopping. Wish I'd done this years ago. What I have spent or could have saved using a taxi...must run into thousands...

I was in the charity shop today and for 99p picked up a really decent lightweight grey jacket/jerkin. Hope something comes in that is suitable for the Winter...I found some luxury Cadbury's chocolate on offer in the newsagents today, three bars for £1 so I treated myself.

Update:Tonight I cooked some *pork meat balls(well they are already cooked so you could eat them cold if you wanted to)in the remainder of that packet mix from yesterday that is suppose to give the meal a kind of flavour of red wine gravy, sliced mushrooms, garlic, onions, streaky bacon, chicken stock, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli and new potatoes(Using the slow cooker again)It was tasty and came out well. I have found some of those mixes by the supermarkets own range for as little as 38p and I can use half at a time so that brings the cost down still further, they seem ok.

But again I have been told if I think the slow cooker is good, try the halogen oven.

Whilst I was waiting for it to be ready, I had another look out and went to the supermarket at 10pm and did not feel frightened and there were quite a few people around riding bikes, riding on mobility scooters etc...and quite a few cars in the car park, all I was short of was bananas and strawberries. I had nearly purchased them earlier but thought I had some in the house.

*I could not make them any cheaper myself or make as many as there are in the container, they are a reasonable size and there are enough to get a few meals out of them.

Wellbeing Index Points Way To Bliss...

live on a remote island and don't work!

Ages ago I posted on here with some responses, about the proposed survey that has now been completed(link supplied above)

We thought it was a waste of time. Happiness is relevant to the situation that you find yourself.

Compared to someone who is terminally ill or in a home with dementia...I have much to be thankful for. Compared to someone with starving children living in a parched dessert the same. Someone who has shells reigning down on them in Syria would probably give all that they own to be in relative safety.

We can dig out so many examples...

Many would be happy and content to have loved ones around them, money to pay bills, a roof over their heads, eat reasonably well and stay warm. And have as good health as possible. We may like more but to be honest most of the population in any country is locked in to a daily routine of working, having a little bit of time with the family, going to bed and doing it all over again for years and years and years.

Very few are so well healed that they can do a job that is rewarding or earns/has enough savings that they have the choice. That they can just take off and go where they want when they want.

It was different work in past centuries and harder physically but in reality most of the population is still working hard and work is the centre of their world. And yet someone involved in this survey when interviewed on the radio said something along the lines of we work too many long hours and do not spend enough time with family. Who is to blame for that I wonder?

A lot of employers still take advantage of employees and do not pay a loving wage. Employees in work worry about keeping the jobs that they have finding work and this allows the employer to pick and choose and set the wage at a low level.

Then most of the policies the Government have are not family friendly and as soon as you drop your child they are doing all they can to have you return to work, put children into care or if you have parents they are called in to look after the Grandchildren.

If you work it can be difficult to obtain time off work. If you are unemployed or ill, you may have the time but not the money to go away and if you claim benefits the restrictions mean that if you try benefits will stop.

Many at present are worried about the austere measures that are being introduced and the unknowns the future holds.

Am I happy? Am I content? I could not say that I am happy but neither am  I depressed. And what has affects me I have no control over and cannot change.

It's interesting that overall the survey suggests that many people are at their happiest when not working. I am sure the survey is being done so the Government can put a positive spin on life in the UK.

Really the survey is a waste of time and money...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Changes To How...

benefits are paid, what you are entitled to, whether you can have any help are frightening. One concerning how Council Tax is worked out, will from what I have read in the following article, affect everyone in some way, even those not receipt of benefit but may be working or retired.

To me it has some aspects of what the Tory Government managed to do many years ago when the population were so riled up about the Poll Tax many took to the streets and the policy was changed.

They just keep chipping away at the little money the population has...

However, here's a link to a newspaper article...the media often have given up reporting stories like this so no wonder many have no idea what's going on...

The poll tax is back from the dead

I've Signed Up...

Is it a good deal? I don't know, today I spoke to a representative of N Power and he has estimated my gas and electric will cost approx £960 for both electric and gas over the year. As opposed to approx £865 which I was quoted yesterday. But If I spend less it could come out less. After 6 months they look at the amount I am spending. I have to keep supplying meter readings on line. They have taken £145 off the annual bill through signing up to Direct Debit and looking after my account on line.

There is a standing charge but the Rep said that they give you a reduced unit price to compensate. I hate those standing charges. Had I gone with EDF as originally planned they had standing charges, they all seem to do it.

I think meters should be free but I don't think you should have to pay line rental on the phone(until mobile phones were as popular)as the only way you could receive and make calls required a land line to get the service of a phone company, they should supply that for free. And to stop people moving over to mobiles when at home, they could/should reduce the price we pay for renting a phone line.

For now even being frugal I will have to find approx £80 a month(£20 a week)I hope that I can...It is less than the gas bill was when Mum was here(I'd happily pay the high bills to have her still here with me)I think we were paying approx £1,600 over the year for gas alone. And at least £800 for the electric and now it may be nearer £500. It's still guess work for the company and myself. You may ask why we were never offered a different tariff to what we were on all those years. Being on a new tariff has reduced what I pay too.

I haven't really changed my habits regarding electric and now for it to be cheaper is a bit baffling. We've come to the conclusion that possibly when the gas central heating is on it uses an electric pump to move the water around the system and perhaps that was making the electric more expensive.

Any savings are temporary because even if you cut back and use less you know prices will increase but at what point does it reach where you just cannot reduce your use any more and afford what you use?

They've decided I will spend £45 for electric and £35 for gas. So that's approx £3 a day. Then with the phone, internet, tv licence and budget meals added, that's approx £6.80 daily. So the rest in time will be taken up with the rent, council tax food and all the usual costs(possibly the use of taxi's/buses to go somewhere)when something breaks down etc...and needs replacing/repairing, clothes and so on...

All I could give up would be the internet/phone and tv. Which when on a low income and not going out much is not much to keep you entertained or in touch with the world.

In fact I think most of the incomes of the population is taken up with paying rent(mortguage)utility bills, Council Tax and it leaves very little for food and  little for entertainment amd that is probably why people spend such a lot of time being passive by watching tv, playing on games stations or the internet.
It's a reasonably basic life...

Chicken Thigh Day...

Think that says it all reallySmiley happy 096.gifjust have to decide what to have with them...

I was going to say that I haven't eaten yet but I did have some lettuce, tomato, egg sandwiches and also a Muller Rice Pot whilst messing about on the PC and I had three slices of toast and marmalade this morning...

So this main meal later on will fill the void...

Update:Around 8pm, I cooked two thighs, used roughly half of a sachet of some kind of mix so it can make another meal, half the water because its a smaller portion for one, some stock from the chicken I cooked the other day, some onions, streaky bacon and sliced mushrooms.  Also some mixed vegetables and potatoes. . It was supposed to be chicken in red wine.

There isn't the choice on the supermarket shelf but where you can pay 80p-£2 for a sachet of herbs/mix with a roasting bag. I found one of the food manufacturer's have tins of some flavours normally found in these packets for £1.99 but you can measure out individual servings up to 12 servings and that's cheaper so if I could find some more of them, that would be great!

It came out fine and was a decent meal. One of my more expensive meals because I had two chicken thighs, so where my daily budget  is 50p - £1 and at most £1.50 this probably came in around £2.

I'm Out Of The Loop...

There is little in the way of sitcom on British TV and comedy originating from these shores is mainly "Stand Up" or many of the same comedians appearing on panel shows that require a comic response. The truth is quite often the same comedians turn up on most programmes. It's probably quite cheap to produce by today's TV production standards.

Having not watched much tv many are unknown to me or when I have watched I haven't seen what the audience seem to have to have them roaring with laughter and rocking in the isles.

Is there something about being in a collective group and having prepared for going out to see a show?
That makes you more responsive?

One comediene that I seem to like and amuses me(even if I don't laugh out loud)is Sarah Millican and if ever she was to appear locally I think I would consider going to see her. She is performing in the Tyneside area but when you have to add transport costs and may have to consider staying overnight in hotel, for me it's a no no. Even, if I found a way to save up for it.

My night out at the local theatre has had to be saved up for and even that is spoilt due to the added cost of needing a taxi each way. But as it was a few months away, I have been able to sort it out.

I have the chance to meet someone I talk to on a forum and may take up the offer but a taxi each way adds at least £6 onto the night before I do anything(and as there is musical entertainment and a bar, I'll have to buy a couple of drinks...)

She was sensible enough to suggest meeting in a public place. It wasn't an invite as such but a certain event happens on a Tuesday and "I often go there" And we have not exchanged any details about ourselves, all we know is that we live in the same town. And we are struggling and in a similar situation.

The forum that we take part in is all about helping each other survive and ways to save money and be thrifty. We have passed each other in the street but not know. How do we know? She is the only person on the town that cycles using a red trike with a kind of box on the back for shopping etc...

Monday, July 23, 2012

I May Be Signing Up To An Energy Company Tomorrow...

And in the end taking my gas and electric to NPower. I am tired of looking at the comparison sites. They just confuse me more and sooner or later they have to make a profit and we have to buy and use what they supply.

I will be switched to a new tariff introduced three weeks ago and by doing the account on line and paying by direct debit I can save approx £149 annually. On the amount of gas and electric I am using they reckon it will come in at approx £874(or less for the two)that's approx 70p per day...Mind I am being a miser and using so little I feel as though I have stepped back in time by decades. Probably could have been on a better tariff years ago. Just as Mum probably was entitled to more help from the State and when she started to get what help she should have had, it was too late.

Should I find that by being careful I can save even more(if it gets really cold perhaps I can spend more when required)especially if my budget and benefits do not change much. I don't believe that I can get it down any more than I have unless I lose all access to any entertainment that helps to keep me sane.

Everything is switched off as often as possible. And more and more people are going back to old days where they don't shower or bath every day and they only have one or two proper baths per week(might be different if you are working and doing a dirty sweaty job. I eat lots of cold/buffet type meals or meals that cook quickly and my variety of gadgets will help when I do have to have a hot meal.

Some people and Charities believe if we keep showing how thrifty we can be and how little we can scrape by on, those who decide what you are given by the State will cut back the help still further so by being careful we could be making things more difficult for ourselves. As they will like the fact we have shown that we can whether it is good for our health or not.

The rent, Council Tax are probably the killers, utility bills second, food third. I should not have to live so frugally(naturally I should try and not be wasteful)but lets take the rent and CT out of the picture for the minute...I pay approx 90p daily for the TV license(which I may drop next year)and access to the telephone and internet(that's includes the cost of the line rental)the constant worry is if the pc's need repairing...and they will. I eat daily for approx 75p- £1.50. So if the utility bills can be kept down I am doing all of this for approx for £3.10 daily(That's £21.70 weekly)

There are a lot of unknowns... I cannot gauge for changes coming in...that will affect the income and budget I have to work too.

Much of what I say is guess work.

I have not allowed for paying for my medications in my calculations...there's always something that you forget. What a mess!

This must be a similar situation for many right across the UK and not much better if you are working(on the minimum wage)but I have gone over that...many, many times...:rolleyes:

It becomes boring:yawn:though important to the person concerned. I can make these savings but really it's not a life but I can survive.

I Never Did Get Back...

to having my hot meal of chicken, veg, potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and gravy so my meals across the weekend were cold. To be honest they have all been the same. Wholemeal buns containing chicken,   lettuce, spring onions and tomatoes. So reasonably healthy. I guess that's chicken salad.

I also had some fruit and cereal so at least I have eaten.

Now, chocolate is so pricey unless I find something on offer, I don't buy it not that I was a big spender on sweets. I suppose this proves that if a levy was brought in you could force many to change their ways. But as I am a moderate drinker/sweet eater I am being penalised because I am on a low income.

I think that my last bar of chocolate cost me 34p, a simple block of own brand white chocolate and tonight as one of commenter's(Carol)on my blog mentioned that she was having some, so I have too. A little treat for me...four little squares...

I'll make it last!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

More Jobs Have Been Lost...

Since Tuesday the local supermarket has been using shopping trolleys where you have to put a £1 into a mechanism to free them. We've all been asking why and saying they are not stolen and if you try to take them off the premises they don't work.

Today the penny dropped...

They've sacked the people that collected the trolleys and returned them to the collection point in all weathers. So as the customer has to pay a £1, they return them to get the money back!

I assume this has been rolled out at every branch across the UK. Here I think we were talking of approx 3-4 people and I would guess roughly working 10am until 6pm but add that up over every branch...I bet they were on minimum wages too.

I have my trolley and it's easy to move around and I can put bulky items in it on those occasions(few)where I have to bring such items home. I'm still very slow/unsteady and have to rest when I get home, often during my excursions outdoors but it is nice that sometimes money once spent on taxi's can now be saved for emergencies or pay for extra food.

(Tonight, I was able to bring home 4 litres of water and 2litres of lemonade, some tinned items, limited edition cereal - Fruit Loops, bread, some vegetables, some cooked ham.(I looked for the cheapest drink I could find and found a couple of bottles of cider for a treat...so saved about 80p compared to other brands)But that would be dropped if things became even tighter. And if they add that levy they keep talking about, it will definitely be a rarity.

I am still using what I have in the house from a few months ago but am rationing what I use and trying to keep some in my store room for when times are tough.

And I have my ruck sack for the very small shopping trips as though it holds a lot, it would not do my shoulders and back a lot of good. And the other night I found one of my knees felt as though it was under pressure and might give out.

My life generally revolves around a small area. But I pick the days that I feel I can cope. And I adapt  quite well and hope that I will as long as possible. I hope help will not be forced on me as it was Mum, that it will be given when I decide I need it.

But when I look around here, for a variety reasons probably best part of my neighbours don't stray far from home.

Better Than A Knife!

Just tried out the 85p egg slicer that I purchased a few weeks ago. The verdict!

It's fantastic. Lots of uniform thin slices of eggs with the yolk intact...

I'll be using that again...

Also what a good idea to have some eggs already hard boiled and in the fridge for quickness. They last up to a week(I am told)

If you have a salad, want to make sandwiches etc...they are just there, ready and waiting. I boiled them all at the same time.

A Few Weeks Ago...

I mentioned buying some plain roasting bags...the cheapest that I found were ten for £1.13. If I can find the right herbs I should be able to save money because if you buy a sachet with a bag and herbs you can pay 75p-£1.50 for one which adds to the cost of your meal but a bottle of herbs can do a few meals and you can decide what you use and how much.

It's made cooking of chicken and meat much easier as has the slow cooker.

Well, the other day I found for £2 forty medium size bags that you can put fresh or frozen vegetables in, even chicken and fish too. And this means your microwave becomes a steamer. The bags it is claimed cooks everything quicker and uses 75% less energy.

So if I purchase another couple of packets of roasting bags and another of the steam bags, I have enough to last me for the year ahead.

How easy is that?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Can I Cook Chicken In Four Hours...

Yes, I can. I now believe that can do it in less time than that. Which for a slow cooker isn't bad. It's still moist and falls away from the carcass. But it has remained intact this time. When cooked in the main oven it is of a more dry texture.

The liquid from cooking it remained in the roasting bag and is usable this time as stock and if I boil the bones, there could be more that I can add...but I may have enough already.

I consider myself a reasonably good cook but you can always learn.

A few things in the fridge were backing up on each other date wise and I had visions of trying to eat my way through what I have or throw them out as they would be passed their dates even by my standards...but in the smallest of writing possible I have discovered that I can freeze the bacon. I can freeze cooked chicken thighs and even the mackerel, so I should be able to save money and probably get a few extra meals out of my food.

I have also had some advice how to wrap the food better so it lasts longer and is in better condition when it is taken out of the freezer.

And as promised I must start to label and date items better. And write that list of what I have and place one in each crate. Also group similar items together.

Did I say? I know being alone at Christmas is going to be difficult and I'll either have to treat it like any other day or play the Christmas music which Mum and I shared, make myself have a Christmas meal with all the trimmings and drink a toast to Mum(and Dad)and use up the Champagne originally purchased for Mum's Birthday and New Year.Smiley

I would not have usually purchased it but it was on offer and now alone it's highly unlikely I'll buy it ever again. I have Christmas wrapping paper and bows that will never be used. A box of Christmas Crackers that I cannot pull on my own. I suspect I will be in bed before Midnight on New Year's Eve too.

For all that I will try not be miserable, And I have said elsewhere, if money allows even if I use them after Christmas I am going t try and have one crate in my store room of Christmas treats, you know...cakes, biscuits, sweets, Christmas puds...things like that.

Food Banks...

I may add my own comments later(I think the article says it all)but I just wanted to link to this article that shows how difficult life is in the UK for many and watch out as many more will be joining this side of things soon...Even me(if I had not started my own store room of food)because that's what it is in reality...a food bank.

I don't mention it outside, not because I am not compassionate but if word gets out people could rob for food and if I give my stuff away, I'll need to be helped and struggle just like them. I say that but if asked with my nature I probably would try and give. Cheap shot coming here...

I wonder what some of the politicians in Government who we know are well heeled would like to donate to a scheme like this? Even, if the Government is cutting back.

 Is this the "Big Society" at work or a failure of society that we need such places? Most who need them are not the stereotypical types that the media and politicians would have you believe. I heard a heartbreaking interview on Radio 4's Today Programme yesterday morning with a mother struggling to feed a couple of young girls and where was she, in a place not normally associated with the poor, usually to live there you are thought to be "Well Off!"

Where you ask?


Food Banks.

So When Would You Hold A Strike?

The workers in the Home Office and The Border Officials that look after people arriving at the airports are unhappy with their wages, conditions and pensions(and the loss of jobs)

It's yet another section of workers/society that are unhappy with the Government and it's policies. Whether you dislike strikes or unions, politicians and this particular Government often this is the only way the public can make it's voice heard. Whether the public agree or it gets the population at large backs up.

Also whether, the Government takes a blind bit of notice or carries on regardless. They are only one of many workers who have in recent months made it clear how unhappy they are and these have included teachers, Job Centre staff, even Dr's who you would not normally associate with taking such action. Sometimes it's strikes other times it's more like they will only do the minimum asked of them in their contract.

I am surprised that many who are unhappy have not decided to take their action when it would have most affect, is it because they are afraid of a media and public backlash? Because if I wanted to get maximum coverage and have the most affect this is the time to do it, when the Olympic Games are taking place(I have to say I am not inciting people to do so)in this day and age you are likely to find yourself in court for suggesting such a thing as some were when riots kicked off last year.

Naturally, the action of the Home Office staff to strike(the day before the opening ceremony, I believe)has been condemned by the Government of course.

But if I was in charge of a union or wanted to make a point, you would do it when it will cause the most disruption, when you have the World's media in town and other countries of the world watching a global event. It allows maximum publicity and shows that some of the show that is being put on hides the fact that this country does have problems and not everyone is happy.

After all the Olympics is more than a sporting occasion for the host country, it is a big promotional event with the main reason for hosting it us to try and get more tourists and businesses to come here.

No doubt at the opening and closing ceremonies we will see and hear from officials and politicians quite a few speeches which the public do not want to hear. I understand past and present Prime Ministers have been invited to the opening ceremony. I'm afraid there cannot be many still alive.

Off the top my head, I can think of Tony Blair, John Major, David Cameron(that's about it))one has said he will attend the event but not the opening ceremony, that's Gordon Brown. There is Margaret Thatcher but I fear she will be too frail. But she may surprise us.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I Have Been Doing So Well...

But this last hour or so I have found myself struggling and once again thinking that I let Mum down...for a few days she was hot in bed and sweating even the nurse on duty took her temperature over night. It's that little word with such a big meaning "If" only I had called a Dr in would they have been able to give her antibiotics and save her... Why did I not do something about it?

But I'm only going over old ground and if I start to beat myself up what  am I going to get out of that? I am still wondering if they were giving Mum too much morphine in the end so she could not stay awake and talk with me? Or had Mum been seen sooner and survived were we just delaying things and would that have been worse?

Now, I have discovered that I have missed a phone called from the Crematorium regarding the laying to rest of Mum. Is it coincidence that I feel as I do on the day that I received that call or a kind of sixth sense.

I'll come around...It's just a wobble which will happen, now and again...Smiley

With All My Talk Of Eggs...

this probably is good to know but someone, somewhere will likely as not say the opposite is true as they did for years, for now I can eat them and enjoy them but I always did.

Eggs Get Healthier

There's still only one food I avoid and I don't know if I am being silly(well, perhaps two)offal and beef.

They have some really good meals in my local supermarket but if you buy sausages the casings are always made from beef, even in most of their sweets they contain some aspect of...beef. I used to like corned beef but again I avoid it...all because of the scare over Creutzfeldt-Jakob-disease

I can get around the problem in sausages by buying skinless or looking for a slightly more expensive brand...but corned beef hash with onions and/or mash potato was always a nice meal.

That's Good To Know...

Our Prime Minister has been writing in a newspaper again and it's reported on the radio that he expects or shall we say, he warns us that we should not be surprised if the austere times we are living through will last until 2020. Just what we want to hear.Smiley

Is it that bad or cynically by saying this, it gives an excuse to carry out unsavory policies or before the next election, if they can so something good we'll say, that wasn't as bad as we feared and they will hope that changes into votes at the ballot box.

So I Am Laid Here Thinking...

Why is my throat hurting when I swallow...I was ok an hour or two ago...then I thought, I had scrambled eggs with cooked ham, fried tomatoes and...some garlic bread. That's what's done it. Its caught or bruised something on the way down so lots of cool drinks and soft food tomorrow...

Just started...I have just eaten a vanilla rice pot.

Later, for the weekend I will be cooking a chicken again in my slow cooker, it's been suggested I cook it for four hours(not eight)and on the higher setting.

I will make my own again but for ease and cost, I could not do any better than buy the ready meal of sweet and sour chicken with rice which I managed to get for 95p and I can cook in the microwave in minutes...

Having said that, I can make a lot of my own comfort foods as cheap and I then know what's in them.

I boiled five eggs tonight, they are said to be ok for up to a week and I can make sandwiches or have them in salads. They were starting to get near their Best Before Date...I had three in my scrambled eggs(they are not very big)and I still have seven to use. If I can get around to doing so...perhaps I'll christen my new egg cups and have a couple of soft boiled eggs with some lightly toasted soldiers.

I was looking at some skewers to use for checking when my chicken is cooked but I don't need four or want to pay what they cost in metal nor bamboo so I suddenly thought I'll use a cocktail stick...how cheap is that!

I managed better tonight with my back pack when shopping, it wasn't as heavy and was much easier...I am slow and need to rest when I get home but it is a little bit of exercise and money saved on taxi fares either means a little more in my pocket or it is as if it's gone towards the cost of my shopping.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Unemployment Is Down Again...

Yeah right! What's that saying about statistics can be made to say whatever you wish? I so want to use this again:^o liar

Take a look at this article...

Employment Is Rising But It's Not Down To Job Creation

And when a previous Prime Minister was asked by a reporter about 20% unemployment she came back by saying "Yes but 80% are working!" That doesn't tell you what jobs they are doing, whether they are on schemes or are being paid a decent wage.

And our present PM tried the same trick by using statistics to suit his argument that unemployed were claiming Housing Benefit by saying one in every eight is claiming it were unemployed. I could say yes but seven in every eight are in work...but still have to claim because the wages are poor and they cannot pay all their bills...probably because they are on a minimum wage, could be on a scheme, not able to claim some benefits due to savings or the jobs they are in are part time, many reasons...

I never believe these figures put out regarding the unemployment totals...

Remember I mentioned a young girl helped me home with my shopping the other day?

I found out that she has been housed round the corner from me and near to where her parents live and she was happy even though she is not getting any or much help with the cost of staying there.

I assume they have housed her in a two bedroomed house(smaller properties are hard to find around here)but she is already worried about the bedroom tax coming in next year, she has little in the way of furniture and is sleeping on an airbed and yes, having to make the food go as far as she can because she is on a tight budget.

BTW When the BBC used to report about the cuts regarding welfare they used to say "Welfare cuts" now they have changed that to "Savings in Welfare costs" or something similar...it doesn't sound quite so bad when said in that way does it?

At last after telling us unemployment figures are better on the BBC all day they have finally added that thoughthe figures have dropped we are still at an all time high and it's the highest amount of people out of work for 15 years. Why did they wait until now to add that to the news story?

The story seems to have been dealt with more fairer on their website...

A Time Of Innocence...

It has been reported on the radio news that William Asher has passed awaySmiley


Well, he was the TV producer of some of the greatest, gentlest comedy programmes shown on television. If you ever grew up watching I Love Lucy(with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez)and Bewitched with Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York, you'll know exactly what I mean.

Some stations around the world are still running them but at present I don't believe they can be viewed on UK TV so you'll have to look for clips/episodes on sites like You Tube.

He was ninety years old.
Thanks for all the laughs and childhood memories Bill!  Smiley

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's Funny How You Look At...

foods that you have never considered before when on a budget, whether to eat now or to add to a store room in case things get even more difficult income wise or as prices increase. A regular item I like is Marmite. Tesco's own is fine but for less than 20p I decided to stick with the original. I have found the Breakfast marmalade in the Tesco "Everyday" range is pretty good too. That is cheap. Tonight, I have purchased for the first time ever, some Chicken Bovril.

Also, some sweeteners for adding to tea and coffee from the same range. I bought some pork meatballs tonight they cost me £1.89 but they are cooked so I can have them cold or cook them in a microwave/fry them to have them hot. There are plenty and I can have a few meals. If I was to buy raw meat and cook them myself I don't think they'd be any cheaper.

And I still, though careful, do not always worry about sell by/use by dates...I have just eaten a whole tub of Salmon Paté with a use by date for 16th July, I refuse to believe that when 17th July comes around it goes off that quickly. If a few days have passed I might think otherwise...

There is a run on some items thanks to the weather and today on the Farming Programme they said expect fresh carrots to increase in price but you'll probably get less for your money and they'll be stumpy so by the time you top and tail them not sure what will be left. It has been suggested if you live near a farm shop you may do better buying a bag of carrots intended to feed horses.

The truth is a lot of good vegetables are thrown away just  because they are wonky and if they'd sell them in supermarkets they probably would be cheaper...

The good news is that the UK's Met Office suggests the worst of our weather may be over and we could return to the weather we are suppose to get at this time of year...the Jet Stream has started to move rather than staying static but we could still be talking of next week before it's noticed.

Can't Get Motivated Today...

Not depressed...let's make that clear. But it's another dull, dull, day. It starts off with blue skies and fluffy white clouds around 5am and then as the day goes on it just changes.

It was a bit colder last night in my home but I avoided putting the heating on, insted I put on my thermal socks and pyjama bottoms, that did the trick. What a performance I have to put socks on these days...I now quite often have two options with socks, I either leave them off altogether, or wear them for a few days, it's not worth the gymnastics trying to put them on...even putting trousers on can be something else.

I may have a look out around 4pm, I haven't been out for a few days...I don't really need anything so could probably go until the weekend but I cannot be bothered to order off line and wait for a rucksack/bag to be delivered, the one that I would like that was half price, in blue, I don't think they are getting it in again as it's been out of stock for over a week.  

There is one that is slightly smaller in blue and is £2 less than my first choice by Adidas but it is still half price. It has Olympic logo's on it. I would prefer it without but it's just to bring small amounts of shopping and on my budget and being single, big shopping trips are out so it will do me fine and probably last years.

So I think I'll go for it! £9.99 isn't a bad price. As long as I can get salad stuff, bread, milk and similar items into it, that's good enough for me.

Think I'll get ready and have a look out now...

Then come home, do a quick tidy and perhaps have something to eat...

Monday, July 16, 2012

I'm Ex Directory...

I have few if anyone to phone and the people calling me have virtually become non existent. Most I suspect are companies doing the silent calls or trying to sell me something. I can go weeks without any calls.

Two minutes ago I found that I had been called perhaps 40 minutes ago and a number had been left which obviously is from my area so I phoned back...

The caller claims that she has phoned no one at all and did not call me...What's that all about? I even suggested had she rang a wrong number by mistake but still she says that she hasn't.

What can you do?

Who Believes Them Then?

With all the recent political problems over the reform to the House of Lords and politicians falling out over how it will be done(even some of the MP's in the party in power)decided to vote against the proposal...our leaders of the coalition felt they had to do another press conference today just to tell the public that all is well. And there's nothing to worry about, it's business as usual.

Anyone believe that?:^o liarI'll have to add allegedly.

It's a public relations exercise...and to be honest, much as the previous Government was criticised, we probably have as much to fear and worry about the longer this lot remain in power. So perhaps even if it meant having another election sooner rather than later we might be no worse off.:-S worried

From their point of view they need to make this agreement last as long as possible. After all no party won. The other party was never likely ever to win...so they need each other.

If an election was held again now...the opposition would win or the results would mean no outright winner and once again it would mean another coalition or another election. Which probably should have happened the last time.

At least if there is an outright winner or one with a close result that can govern but needs the co-operation of MP's belonging to the other parties, at least you get compromises which often means policies are better when they become law...now everything gets put through on sheer numbers and practically on the nod. That's not good for democracy and is leaning towards a dictatorship.:-? thinking

They reckon there will be a reshuffle during the Summer recess, to use an old phrase that's like moving the chairs around on the Titanic! Who may be moved and where?

Maybe the plans to improve the rail network announced today and trailed all the weekend in the media and will cost millions are worth considering and it may benefit the nation's economy but from what I have heard on the radio, you'll only save perhaps 30 minutes on a journey and even with the investment the Government are promising the train fares will have to increase and the passengers will have to find extra money to pay for the tickets!

To be honest I am unsure unless it's a short local journey, whether I will ever be able to afford to travel by train again. Taxi's are expensive and I don't have my own transport so in the end I will have to depend on the good old bus or a coach service.

And as we all know in many cases the service is less than regular or reliable. Especially once you get past what is considered the normal working hours in this country approx 8am-6pm. Out of those times it's practically non existent. When it takes that much effort you can see why many people probably can't be bothered.

All my own work, I read and added links many hours after it was posted just to flesh it out...and see what the media was saying.

The Olympic Coverage Starts On Radio 5...

I was passing through this afternoon and Richard Bacon mentioned that two of the Olympic teams had arrived at the airport(probably Heathrow)I forget who they were, after all as said I am not that interested...but he said something on the lines of...Radio 5 will be there for every team as it arrives in the country.

That will be really interesting then...:yawn:

What are they going to say? Unless you start talking about individual people on the team and what they specialise in, all you can say is they are going through customs, getting on a bus and going to a hotel...

This is overkill and they have lots of hours to fill...I hoped that Radio 2 would be mostly Olympics free seeing that most of the other networks are heavily covering the event 24/7.

The latest news is that eight police forces are now having to supply officers to help with the security at the games...

LIfe Is Going Great...

And then it Kicks you in The Teeth...

In my case it  was losing Mum and now wondering what the future holds regarding where I will live, what my income will be and my health etc...I know it's the same for everyone...it's the unknowns...

For someone else, it could be the loss of a job, becoming a carer to someone, being made homeless, a murder, an operation that goes wrong...oh the list could be endless...(I also appreciate that the opposite is true and there are many good things that bring joy)but take out the materialistic side of life, what matters most are loved ones and your friends and family.

Sadly, at some point these important aspects of life are taken away and it's how you cope with such adversity. It's them or you...

But many of these things that hit you come out of left field.

By chance I came across the Twitter account of a radio 4 continuity announcer. Lovely voice to listen to and thankfully they are still an important part of the radio network(many stations have dropped this aspect of radio)and you go from one programme to another. At radio 4 they do an important job connecting programmes and informing the listener bits of information and naturally are there should the system break down.

So one young male announcer suddenly found himself feeling fine but with no voice. No pain. Eventually he had to see a Dr and was referred to a consultant and his vocal cords had paralysed. He has had to go through various tests and be retrained how to use them.

Whether they will be as strong as they used to be or the problem will come back, who knows...I have heard him in recent days and he has been able to resume his career but the voice is weaker, I hope it will come back stronger, as I am sure nobody wants more than himself but who would have thought that was going to happen?

Enoch Powell...A Complicated Man...

We can look back in hindsight and access many historic documents, sound and vision media reports on historic figures and events that have shaped our world and who we are. Depending on your personal views these will colour your take on that person and event.

Even if you live through the time, you will see things differently depending on how close you were to the event at the time. So is it fair to that person that we go by soundbites where the world has had a brief glimpse of that person's life. We need a more rounded view form the parts of their lives we don't see, when they go home and close the door.

And so the BBC has been running a series of short programmes suggested by the public and then by a panel of people in the media and social sphere to come up with 60 influential people that have lived during the time that Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne and has just celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of having ruled over the UK for 60 years.

Today the featured subject was Enoch Powell.

He'll always be remembered rightly or wrongly for speeches given regarding how he saw the future of this Island and how immigration would affect things, he was not a fan it has to be said and many of his speeches and the toe made it difficult to have a debate that did not become heated.

It all but ruined his career as a politician.

However, the last couple of sentences in today's programme struck home...someone asked him why he no longer listened to music as much as he once had, he said that it evoke longings in him and in his 80's they kind of asked the usual question what he wanted to be remembered for or what his life had meant to him...he wished that he had died during his war service(He had been shot)Obviously a sad and lonely man.

None of us ask to be born, we are here because our parents wanted a child but once we are, we have no choice but to live out our allotted time, whether it brings joy or pain. And we all know there is only one certainty. Is there an afterlife. I have always had a reasonably strong faith but to be honest at present, I have lost that and cannot see how we are going to meet up with all our loved ones or all those that have gone before. Is it only Humans that go on to the next plain? What about the dogs, cats(any animal)birds, insects, trees, plants...they've all lived. Or is it just that we have a greater intelligence? Are we the only one's with a soul.

If you listen to many scientists they will tell you a lot of what we do is due to a chemical reaction.

Even if we were in a different form. It would give me comfort to believe that is so but we knew nothing before we came, when we go into a deep sleep, we know nothing...sadly I suspect that's how it will be...though when I do go to church and pray, sing a hymn I do feel much better so if it just gives me peace then I guess it is doing what it says "On the can!" Do I feel hypocritical?

To some extent...yes. But even those who have a strong faith and are in the church as a profession and giving comfort to others, fuind themselves questioning their beliefs and their faith. They go through periods of doubt.

You Try To Save Money...

By using gas and electric less. The energy companies politicians and experts will give you loads of tips of how to do this. Anyone who believes you'll really see bills reduced is naive. As prices rise so you pay more for less.

And it's happened again...the National Grid that supplies services to the public needs upgrading so who is paying? The companies that use the grid to deliver their product?

No, "We" the public. It may not seem a lot but with all other costs we have it seems a bit unfair and if you are already on a tight budget every increase chips a little more from your income. They say £7 next year rising to £15 annually in 2015. I don't know how many years this will be taken off us.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I'm Away...

To have something to eat...

One pork burger, fried tomatoes, baked beans with some melted cheese and a jacket potato.

The Durham Miner's Gala...

I'll admit I know very little about it even though it has happened for 131 years...it is steeped in the history of trade unions and trying to give the "Working Man" a fairer life as an employee by getting better working conditions, a decent wage, better hours which it has to be said there were many employers who took advantage of the workers and in the early days of our industrial revolution, the politicians in Parliament were from the same social class and were often rich on the backs the workers and they owned many of the factories and mines so why would they want to change things.

Sadly, there are still employers who take advantage, politicians that still make life difficult for many, that's why so many jobs are low paid(not a living wage)and have to be made up by the State still and yet in the next breath they are trying to reduce the help given.

And I do not lean any particular way politically, I just call it as I see it and if I see a policy I believe to be good I'll praise that party.

So today for the first time in something like 23 years the leader of the Labour party attended and addressed the gala. The people attending cheered but what is he offering as an alternative political choice for the future of the UK and the people who are hurting. The vulnerable, the ill and disadvantaged. When the speech is analysed I bet everyone will be asking what did he actually say that gives us hope?

Ed Milliband Speech at the Gala(some not much)

He said "A few years ago the Tories tried to say, 'We're all in it together.' But now we know they never meant it. Because we have seen what they do when they get back in power"

"One rule for those at the top and another rule for everybody else. They cut taxes for millionaires and they raise taxes on pensioners."

"It's business as usual in the banks and small businesses go under."

Sounds nice but what concrete policies is he signposting for the future?

Also..."Community. Looking out for each other. Never walking by on the other side. These are the value of the people of Durham. These are the values of the people of the North East. These are also the values of the British people."

He acknowledged past Labour stalwarts who have spoken at past galas, some who are now names in the history of the UK such as Keir Hardie and Clement Attle.

"I am proud to follow in their footsteps," he said. "I am proud to be here today."

Lots of platitudes...

When you talk on a local level it is the values of the British people and we do look out for each other and step in and help when the chips are down. That's proven  how we give when a disaster hits abroad. How we donate to food banks in our own country even if we are hard up ourselves...but the media and Government play the divide and rule game. We are also back into the territory where the question is asked who are the deserving poor and the undeserving poor.

Nothing To Go Out For...

It's dull and looks like rain. How do I feel? Unsure. But I still think I'm progressing and doing well...

I can't be bothered to change stations on the radio(there's not much to switch to)Saturday afternoons are not the best of the week.Of course that's just my opinion.

What has been on Radio 4 this afternoon is a play. It's called "Betrayal" it is written by a playwright described as acclaimed and he always seems to be talked of in hushed tones. Held in reverence. Harold Pinter. I'm sorry I don't get it! It's not the first of his plays I have listened to and felt the same.

I wonder if people really do like his plays or it's a case of they feel that they have to say that. That if they don't they feel as though others will think there is something wrong with them. They are not one of the "Gang"

Or have I heard the wrong ones so far? To some extent because many awards have been  heaped on him, we are supposed to see him as special but awards are given like confetti these days so their worth is much diluted.

I'll say it..it was a load of pretentious twaddle. Of course my opinion is just that...No greater or less than anyone else.

Now to prove the point...

I do like classical music and can listen to some complete works but don't listen as often as I probably should.

The BBC Proms season started yesterday. I'll be honest for me it's a bit heavy going but I will be tuning in for some of the concerts but the ones I am interested in are quirky or could be called not true to the overall concept of the festival.

Last year(I think)John Wilson conducted and arranged a concert of music featured in the Hollywood musicals of the 40's and 50's but what made this special was that most of the scores had been thrown out by the studios or had been lost and Wilson has tracked much of this music down and also transcribed by listening to the soundtracks. It was wonderful. Later in the season there is another concert lined up but tonight...something new.

The Proms is having a production of the musical "My Fair Lady" but instead of the songs and music being featured, it is also being produced as a complete production with well known actors. So that could be very interesting. I'll give it a listen...Smiley

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Week Has Passed...

and if the work by the water company has happened I'm none the wiser, I have not seen any discoloured water so whether there was any and because I did not run the water much, it bypassed me.

I didn't go out today but managed to get a lot of rubbish in the wheelie bin and have almost cleared the dining room and kitchen. It's tidy! Back to vacuuming and a wash of the kitchen floor and I may get the out house finished quickly now and I can start to settle a bit at last.

It's Said To Be Nicer...

but it is more expensive and you won't get as much for your money. Having said that, 8 pints of double cream will make approx 9 blocks of...home made butter(approx 250g per block)If lucky you find it reduced in price.

It will take longer but you can even make it in a clean jar by shaking it. If you have a food processor or a blender it can take as little as ten minutes...if you want it salted after it's made just add a very small amount of salt. The same again if you want herb butter.

Put the cream in a mixer and using a whisk attachment at medium to high speed...in approx 10 minutes you should have butter. You need to drain off as much of the liquid as possible(don't throw it away)as that is...buttermilk.

Then put your butter in a strainer and rinse under the cold water tap, again to get rid of excess liquid.

Then you knead the butter into a shape.

Put into a container and into the fridge or wrap in cling film and freeze it, I suppose waxed or greaseproof paper would work and plastic containers. It is said you can stored it for up to three months. Not having the additives of purchased butter it won't last as long as butter from a supermarket. But your portions are smaller so you'll probably use it quicker.

How easy is that!  Again you can make as much or as little as you wish...^O^||3 eatI will make some just to say that I can and I have but it will be a very small amount.

The Rain Is Holding Off...

but it's a colourless sky, dull and looks cold out there...not that warm indoors either...I'll get motivated eventually, get dressed, shaved, do some washing up, have a coffee, something to eat. Not planning going out unless I buy another torch and now I have mentioned it see if there's any shoes/wellingtons/waterproof jacket anywhere on the town. I can wait. I did forget to buy my Orange juice yesterday but wasn't going back for it.

In the old days I could carry more shopping home by wearing a back pack so perhaps that's the answer rather than trying to carry bags? Perhaps I'll buy one again...then my hand is free for my walking cane...and just maybe I can walk home even if slow and still a struggle...not sure why I did not think of that before...

Tonight I think I may have some pork burgers, baked beans and fry some tomatoes that have gone a bit soft, pity to just throw them out. Followed by a little desert I have of custard and fruit.

Soon I'll have to start using up the ice cream in the freezer so I can buy some new or really it means I may be able to create some space, I may be able to use the empty ice cream containers for other things.

A Few Days Ago...

I said something on lines of "We get the politicians we deserve" Good or bad...I heard this on radio and could not believe what I was hearing...Then I heard it discussed by political sketch writers and it's been doing the rounds on You Tube...I wasn't impressed...

This Link is to the Daily Telegraph's own video...

More Spending Of Government Money Abroad...

Of course when criticising the spending of money classed as foreign aid I can feel bad doing so as some ideas are good and people are living in conditions that no one should(making our lives even when bad look like a doddle)but the latest announcement is that we(other countries are giving too)are to give £200Million for another scheme.

Now remember our country is struggling, many of our own are going to face great hardship in coming months and those mostly affected will be the low paid and those who need "State" help. Our Government is having to borrow money and pay incredible interest charges but still they manage to find money to give away.

How about that money being invested in this country and it's people. If it was and it was successful in improving the economy and helping the vulnerable, the sick and the disadvantaged, the quicker our situation improves and then we might be able to do even more to help those in other countries. Many of the schemes we give to are questionable because they interfere with cultural and religious interests of a country.

It has been said  that a lot more could be done by using soft persuasion such as using the BBC World Service radio and tv services pumping their broadcasts into countries but their budgets have been cut back.

Let us not forget the comfort and hope access to the World Service has given to some high profile public figures over the years, Aung San Suu Kyi, John McCarthey, Brian Keenan and Terry Waite...

These donations are given more for the kudos it gives and why are so many of the meetings about aid held in London. There are other countries that could host them I am sure.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Olympics Take Place In Fifteen Days Time...

So what's this about the Olympics? They say the security firm that was given the contract to employ the extra  people required to act as security for the event have fallen short of the task according to a variety of media sources. And it's so close to the Olympics, many will probably not finish their training(Originally they were to supply 10,400 security guards)so the Government are calling in the army(around 3,500)to supplement or do the job.

Call in the good old army again, when they are already stretched and they have been told that many in the next few years will be without job. I know that there has been talk that many of the army personnel being called in(I have no idea if it is so)may be soldiers just back from duties in Afghanistan or about to leave for a tour of duty there and some are on leave with their families and to do this work, will have to give that up.  

That will always be a possibility when you are in the armed forces but it is not a war nor a case of civil unrest. From a variety of sources on the radio there has been plenty of anger expressed by soldiers and relatives alike to their latest task. They'll do it and be as professional as ever but they are not happy.

I hope it's all worth it! I suspect it will be used as a vehicle to give politicians lots of chances to divert the public from the problems this country is facing, giving the worldwide audience a rosy view of life here and just for a week or two some of the population will forget just "What's around the corner"

It's cost us plenty...

The sponsors should bear the brunt of the cost and the Olympic Committee not the country hosting it and therefore the taxpayer.

Update:Just over 13 days before the London Olympics open and the security firm is now is likely to be penalised and see the Government try to claw back money for not fulfilling the original terms of the agreed contract but the firm is saying it will pick up the additional costs of having extra soldiers brought in and now it's been announced that extra police are being drafted in which again is not going down very well. As always time will tell if this Olympics is successful and if these hurried plans work. No one wants to see an incident that tests their readiness.

The questions and investigations will of course happen after the event and the Olympics take place right in the middle of our so called Summer, when some of the population are on holiday, Parliament is on Summer Recess. But you know that "Certain" politicians will be attending the event. Using it for propaganda, as a diversion from the problems this country is facing and wanting to be seen on the world stage and we'll get one of those dull speeches at the start and end of the event by our PM and the head of the International Olympic Committee no doubt...