Random Jottings Of Gildersleeve

My Photo
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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I Had To Go Out...

just to head off thinking too deeply and ease my loss of Mum. But where do you go? When the bus service is poor and most places involve spending money...you guessed it, the supermarket only a couple of streets away.

It filled an hour or so and again I found some items that were reduced. I found a variety of fresh fruit(Prepared, cut...pineapple, grapes, melon and kiwi)cartons of strawberries. Vegetables(a head of cabbage)and a loaf of bread. What were they worth? £11.07 and I spent £1. Or you can look at it another way. The bread was not out of date and was worth £1.40(I paid 23p)so for less than the price of the bread I got all that extra stuff.

These past few nights I have seen someone that I have known by sight and he has been doing this for over ten years, probably longer. He walks around the town centre(he's not homeless)he has worn the same blue raincoat and flat cap in all that time and he always has a plastic carrier bag. So what does he do?

He goes through litter bins, bins where people stub out their cigarettes and looks at the public footpaths for...cigarette dumps. Every day...

All life is here!

The Searchers...Part Two

Once again they gave you your money's worth...on stage for almost two hours...so many "Newer" acts seem to do an average of 90 minutes.

I came out of the theatre around 9.40pm and found it to be quite mild(perhaps the fact the theatre was lovely and warm had something to do with it)Perhaps having my thermals, thermal socks on helped too.

Before the concert I was wearing thermal gloves, a scarf and a woollen hat. I was able to discard those afterwards. I have found a fish and chip shop that is open seemingly every day(all day until late)near the bus station and a sheltered seat near that. So I sat there with my portion of chips and two home made buns of ham, tomato, watercress and pease pudding. In my backpack some sweets/chocolate and some drinks to keep me going.

On the way home, I know this exists and I am not naive but I have only seen it on TV. Not far from the theatre I was coming past the shops and most had cardboard boxes awaiting collection by the refuse service.

There was a small breeze. I noticed that a piece of cardboard move, well I heard it first...then I realised that someone had arranged and moved it into the doorway of Marks and Spencer and someone was hidden underneath it and planning on spending the night there, obviously homeless. Sadly, there are too many such people and it could be anyone of us in that situation. The way things are going, I suspect more could be joining them and we are fortunate if it is not one of us...

So I made it to the bus station where I had to wait approx 30 minutes for my bus home(the last one)brought forward by approx 40 minutes under the new timetable. So if/when I now go to a theatre show I will always have an eye on the clock to allow myself the time to catch the last bus home and get from the theatre to the bus station which is a struggle for me.

The bus service around here is now very poor...not only are they infrequent running no better than one each hour. After teatime roughly(6pm-7pm)you can virtually not reach any local areas unless they are on the two routes that seem to come through my town.

You can if you are lucky take a detour(add more time and mileage by travelling further North but that fails as coming home if you try to do the same journey in reverse unless you come home really early(which if you have gone for a night out)means you cannot get a bus home.

The best I can do is catch one on either route that will leave me stranded either 5 or 7 miles from home and one of those buses completes 75% of it's normal journey and terminates virtually in the middle of nowhere, you'd think it would complete the route.

If there was a chance that public transport could survive or attract passengers is it any wonder people have given up? Yet they will say don't use the car and use public transport more. How anyone working shifts and need to use the bus manages who knows.

If you live further North there are more buses running later and able to connect to many more destinations but the Southern end of the county is being poorly served...and it appears to be all down to the subsidies being cut back that support the services. I can accept the services being reduced but to leave a service incomplete so you are unable to connect with another service so you can reach another nearby town or get home seems so wrong.

I do hope that enough pressure can be put on the bus company or the county council  to make them look again at the services we are no being given or rather are not being given...21st century UK is quite rubbish on basic services...No wonder many even if they could afford gave a night out decide to stay at home which in turn could make all the difference to whether a business fails or succeeds.

I can get a bus from Bishop Auckland to Darlington or Durham to Darlington(and vice versa)and the stops inbetween and that's it...but if I want to travel to the other two large towns nearby Spennymoor/Stockton On Tees, that is out. It cannot be done without your own transport or a taxi...only of use if you can share the cost...

I appreciate that the bus service is not being run just for my benefit but in recent weeks there have been many letters in the local press about the abolition of services which is making it difficult to reach hospital appointments or do shopping even during the day...

The Searchers...Part One

A 60's pop group that are still going strong and celebrating their official 50th anniversary. Such performers are more than many of those that are performing now. They have staying power. They have learnt their craft. They have put in the hard graft and are still prepared to give.

Ok some will say because the line up of the group has changed and there are a couple of new people "It is not the same" but one of the "New" boys has been with the group for twenty six years and until the new drummer joined two and a half years ago, he had been there for quite a long time. But in fifty years a lot happens...most of the changes are sadly due to members passing away...but two original members are still there and they are around the late 60's/early 70's age wise.

They did split some years ago and there is another "Searchers" but it has to be preceded by being called Mike Pender's Searchers. But it is obvious that this group as seen on Sunday has managed to hang onto and had most of the original members over the years...so is the most original of the two.

The fact is that groups from this time have adapted and become more than a straight forward pop group, singing song after song as probably happened in the 60's, performing to an audience screaming teenagers...now people listen and the audience has grown with them. Others have discovered them late in life.

They still play the larger venues and tour the UK, Europe and further afield, The Searchers will be performing in Australia and N. Zealand in 2013 but they are equally prepared to play more intimate venues but in recent months I have seen perhaps because of the austere times we find ourselves some of the concerts I have attended there have been a lot of empty seats.

But from what I could see on Sunday the theatre was full...which made me feel good and must do them some good too.

We were treated to most of their hits but also a few rarities from their back catalogue and some cover versions of other popular songs from other artists of the time...also there was some "banter" and comedy between the songs too.

I was tempted to buy a CD after the show and have it autographed(as I left)and it is good to see them prepared to meet the audience, have photo's taken with fans(they are one of few that I have heard admit that they were happy to allow photo's to be taken during the performance)some get very precious about all that...I did not bother with the CD in the end...it all adds to the cost of the ticket, the bus fare etc...if money was no object I probably would've but I have most of their hits already on CD and on the PC.

Also, should I have to move I worry there may not be enough room to take my CD collection with me anyhow.

They still sound as good as I remember them and it was good to hear songs that are so familiar and part of my life. To think I had to wait until their 50th anniversary(that's their official date)but in one form or another they have been there for at least another four years...

Don't Throw Your Love Away

Needles And Pins

Sweets For My Sweet

When You Walk In The Room(The Line Up That I Saw On Sunday)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Now What Should I Post About?

I can rant about the new bus services that are really bad and will affect many.

I can post more stories that suggest still further that Mum was helped on her way and is even more worrying.

Or the concert I attended on Sunday. I suspect that is the one I will  be going with...but by doing so I will be able to tie two of my stories together...

Whilst shopping last night I managed to find some food bargains and now may not need much of anything for a while. I managed to buy approx £30 of meat for £10 and there was a mixture of cooked chicken drumsticks, chicken breasts with a variety of special sauces and coverings. Also, quite an expensive turkey roast  so that will take care of Christmas.

And the ham that I purchased last week and some salad items have lasted past the dates they were supposed to be used by. So I have had some extra meals out of them...so I have stretched my food budget a little further...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Looking At Food Near It's Sell By Date In The Supermarket...

I have just spent almost £5 that I had not planned to but for that I got £12 of diced pork(each tray was 380g)and ham on the bone worth £7.12. So I am determined to squeeze that pork into the freezer and I should get a few meals out of that...and if I get the pork into the freezer I can ignore the date...the ham is officially ok until the 27th but if there is any remaining I will use it the 28th perhaps make some salad sandwiches...get a portion of chips from the fish shop I now know of in Durham City...I know where there is a sheltered seat...I will eat my little meal and then make my way to the theatre for my concert with the 60's pop group The Searchers...

Originally there was nothing worth buying but whilst I was there the ham was put out and then by chance I saw them checking the meat area and by waiting I timed it as they put the reduced priced pork out!

So for £4.78 I have almost £20's worth of meat!

Needs must!

I Can't Believe It...

I think I have only been in the Town Hall in Bishop Auckland once in my life...it was where Mum as a child performed in a kind of concert and sang Jerusalem and a local folk song...bless her...I think when I last was there possibly thirty years ago, they were showing Laurel and Hardy films(as there is some kind of appreciation/fan club locally)and the town has a connection to Arthur Stanley Jefferson. Who? That is Stan Laurel...as his father was the manager of the town's theatre known as the Eden Theatre. There is so much about him on You Tube I have only linked to one such programme. This also features another great of the silent era Buster Keaton...

There is a wonderful statue of Stan in Bishop Auckland here's a clip of it being unveiled by his niece in 2008. But again quite a few places around the UK has one...I think just about everyone likes to acknowledge their connection with him.

I found this of Laurel and Hardy, I have never seen it before...superb!

Well, I have discovered that a few concerts and shows take place at the Town Hall and on November 21st Richard Digance is appearing and the tickets are only £8 probably cost as much for the return bus ticket but considering most tickets in the local theatres are nearer £16-£22 that is a bargain...So hopefully I'll forget my troubles for a couple of hours and be able to smile...I think it is his only show in the North East for months but I have found that he is to appear in Darlington in March so there is another chance should this show get cancelled or the weather turns nasty, when snow comes Bishop Auckland can be difficult to reach...even by bus...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

OK So I Go On About The Future...

and how worrying it may be...

Many will be affected by all the changes coming even if you are working...so take a look at this...

Poll Tax Mark II

and this too

Jobless To Pay The Full Council Tax

How much more will the UK population have to find?

Monday, October 22, 2012

This Is Posted Because It Is So Unusual...

and I have heard it so much throughout the day on various radio programmes and news...

Acoustic analysis of the sounds made by a beluga whale revealed remarkable similarities to human speech patterns, indicating that the whale was trying to “reach out” to his human captors...

Click on this link to hear it for yourself....

NOC the talking whale learns to imitate human speech

The story itself...

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I have taken comfort in childlike things, I am watching tv via the laptop...and it is allowing me some escapism...

However, I have found a tv/film service which to be honest is a bit expensive if you are buying individual items but there is some free stuff and so I am catching up with an animated series that I find it hard to accept it is approx 20+years old...it, well there are others I have not seen are all based on the super heroes of the DC comics stable such as Batman, Superman etc...and much as a lot of modern cartoons take short cuts in their animation, compared to cartoons of decades ago, there is quality art and story lines here. so I have quite a few to catch up on...at least I have something decent to watch in the early hours...

Earlier In The Week On My Blog...

I mentioned that I awoke to hear that the care plan Mum seems to have found herself on is being questioned and many think it is being used as back door euthanasia. Tonight it was discussed on a BBC Radio programme for around an hour and there were so many similar stories and similarities I have to come to the conclusion that Mum was allowed to pass away. Also this article appeared in the Daily Telegraph and this in The Daily Mail.

OK Mum may not have lasted until now but I  realise that they sedated her, I heard of the drugs they give and what they do and it all fits in with what happened to Mum. I also discovered from callers who phoned in, many questioned what was happening perhaps more than me and their loved ones lasted longer or even recovered, the last caller took their relative home and a year on she is still here. I also discovered thanks to the programme the "Liverpool Care Pathway" is arranged and has heavy involvement with the Marie Curie Charity.

As I write this my stomach is in turmoil.

So how do I get over that? Who knows...I can't bring Mum back and I cannot see how talking it over or even being given anti depressants etc...will take away this feeling of guilt. Funny to think approx 2 hours before I lost her I was trying to get a Dr to come and see Mum as I was unhappy about things...

What can you do?

I'm No Snob...

but who would have thought I would be searching the cheap shelves of the local supermarket where they put the almost out of date food items and my local supermarket is normally rubbish at this. I never seem to spot the bargains other people find and mention but tonight there was a lot of good quality stuff but I had forgotten to take enough money with me.

But I did get £10 worth of food for £3.30 and that included a pork loin, breaded Haddock and some quality sausages...and a lot of the fresh vegetables(prepared to save me time)and not really any more expensive than loose vegetables as they had knocked 50p off here or you could buy one packet for £1 or two for an extra 25p. So that came out at £4.22 and for that I got swede, onions, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, leeks, carrots, curly kale so that should do a few meals...

At least the new discount supermarket opens on November 8th so I may benefit from that.

Friday, October 19, 2012

I Feel More Positive This Morning...

Just as well, as when I contacted the surgery my Dr was not available today and has already gone on holiday. So I will wait until he returns. A couple of weeks will not make much difference now...the fact I can say that has to be a good sign.

I have discovered that my idea of having a lodger may be a no go, however some information has come to light to suggest that if I can wait until the new changes come in this time next year there is the suggestion that you can and would be allowed to keep more of your benefits(unlike the way they would be affected now)and keep more from the lodger.

What we need is more information and at the minute there are more questions than answers but basically I have to try and keep my head down and hope I can ride out the next 12 months. But the main changes come in two stages April and from October. I have to hope there are no surprises in between those times.

We Really Are Up The Creek...

I don't know how similar or different it is for people buying domestic energy outside of the UK but over here we are paying some of the highest prices and we also have the most confusing tariffs probably of anywhere.

I already find it difficult to afford electric and gas and I signed up to a scheme to try and freeze the prices in case they go up. You know that they will never come down.

So my prices are frozen until October 2013. However, because of standing charges(which have to be paid before you use any electric and gas)I have to find a set amount daily and it also includes 5%VAT so that comes in around approx £250 annually. Basically for nothing!

On top of that the unit price of gas is kept high for 7 months of the year and is only reduced when it is unlikely to be needed. Summer in other words. If it cannot be afforded now why should we believe that it is going to get any better.

If there was no standing charges or VAT that would be a start. It ain't going to happen. I pay approx 43p standing charge daily for gas and then approx 4p per unit.

For electric it is around 34p standing charge and then approx 11p per unit. How do I keep prices down? By avoiding using the gas central heating and rationing the use of the electric.

Now our Prime Minister is saying his Government plans to make all energy companies put their customers on the lowest price possible, that does not necessarily mean that the price is going to be cheap just the cheapest that they can or wish to offer. Industry insiders think in reality this will mean we will actually pay more. So this idea could backfire.

I try to keep warm by the all the ways I have in recent months, dressing gowns, hot water bottles, thermal underwear, thermal socks, layered clothing, gloves, hats, duvet, fleeces etc...and still that does not always work. As I write this my feet are freezing. Oh, how I long for the days(it won't happen)where when Mum was here the house was lovely and warm, cosy.

Last week when I was at the theatre forgetting my troubles I was so warm and cosy, able to take my coat off. Now I am more likely to want to put more clothes on including a hat and a pair of gloves even.

I know of so many and I mean many who can no longer afford to heat their homes at all or have to use the gas and electric more sparingly for so many reasons and often have to decide whether paying their rent, council tax and other bills coming in and even whether eating comes first.

Mainly because wages are too low and few if any have had a wage rise for a number of years. Yet the cost of living just keeps rising and if those working are struggling, heaven knows how the ill, unemployed, pensioners who are being attacked manage on a limited income which likely as not will never improve and most who have to take State help are genuine and the few examples that do get into the media or are criticised are rare.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Don't See It As A Defeat Or Giving In...

and I could change my mind but I am thinking of seeing my Dr on Friday just to discuss things and see if he thinks that I am doing ok or need any help in case I have depression. Try and head it off before it happens or takes a hold. I may try and quiz a bit more about Mum and see if that puts my mind at rest...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Returning To The Safety Of Childhood Things...

Early this morning by chance I found myself watching Walt Disney's classic animated masterpiece "Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs" I guess some would say some of it is not politically correct these days but it was made in and for different times, but you know there is nothing of any real harm in it. It is a pity that is the first thing I have had to say about it.

For all the wonderful things technology has brought us we really will never see the likes again of such wonderful screen masterpieces and the creativity of the artists that created them. I cannot think of the words to describe them. And many for whatever the reason were never given any credit but thanks to the internet you can search and find out the names of many of those whose talent made these films what they were.

I think that I have seen Snow White three times now...I assume when I was a child then I would guess around 1987 when it had been restored and re-issued on it's 50th Anniversary with Mum at the local cinema(Disney was always able to re-issue his classic cartoons for a new generation. Whereas now they are more likely to turn up on a DVD(sometimes on a limited edition release)or are shown on exclusive pay per view subscription TV channels.

I did not go onto a dodgy site on the internet but did come across this film and found myself watching it and to be honest it was like watching it through new eyes and I could not really remember much of it all. I had a sense of wonder and childlike innocence again. And yes though cynical and I see so much in the world I dislike I found myself in a much better place and as old as I am, yes I shed a tear in certain parts of the story.

And now...I am watching another classic issued eight years after "Snow White" and again another one to lose yourself in "Bambi"

I have been able to do so much since getting Broadband and realise all that I have missed regarding music and entertainment. How Mum could have and would've enjoyed what I am now doing. Come to that matter my Father missed out on it too. But I know if home PC's had been around he woud have embraced the technology and would have been surfing...

My next choice I think could be Fantasia...again that came around as a one off special(we used to get one night specials years ago)and I went along after work I think to see it. Another masterpiece, classical music married to various scenes and the imagination of those who drew the images that we saw on screen.Some funny, some scary, some difficult to decide what they meant but also one special segment featuring Disney's most famous character Mickey Mouse.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Return To Some Sad Things...

Today I awoke to the radio news and that the NHS is accused of age discrimination and some treatments that are routine and could make a difference to people who are older and could benefit from medical procedures giving them independence and possibly allow them to avoid care, nursing homes and expensive drugs are not being carried out and mainly for the usual reason of age discrimination.Some articles are starting to appear in the newspapers.

Also am urgent request from MP's questioning that the Liverpool Pathway Plan(just found this link from June) most that most hospitals and care homes are following is in question and MP's are calling for the plan to reviewed and already I heard something that suggests that's what happened to Mum(including not giving any water)and the night before Mum passed away the Nursing Home would not give any just little sponges dipped in water and Mum really sucked on them and was obviously thirsty.

I managed to get a drink into Mum on the morning about 90 mins before I lost her and she really enjoyed it...How does this make me feel? Hearing all this and it all ties in with the concern about hospital food again in the last day or two and patients being neglected at mealtimes...sounds like my fears may not be so wrong after all...How is this going to make me feel?

Especially looking at the comments on the Telegraph article...I believe Mum may have been helped along the way. Can I say that?

It is too late but I am debating whether to accept matters or just to feel better even though they cannot act on my complaint to put my views in anyhow...if they do a consultation on  LCP I will certainly make my opinion known even if it makes me unpopular.

And again we have more concern about the food served in hospital, how often does that come up? It would help if many patients could be sure they even got the food inside them as often(and I have seen it)patients have food brought to them and...taken away. Mum would not have had the amount of nourishment she managed to get without me I know that. If you go back through my blog there were times you'll find that the Nursing Home managed to forget to offer her any food and that was one that is said to be one of the best and has passed all the criteria that the Government lays down when they go into them and check them out.

Ken Dodd...

Is it really almost a week since I wrote my last entry here?

Where does the time go?

Oh well...

Last Thursday(11th October)I'll admit to being a bit lazy and perhaps leaving it a little on the late side to get ready for another of the theatre shows that I had booked earlier in the year. At the time they seemed so far away but they come around.

So I was reasonably quick at getting dressed, washed and shaved but though I normally can find my tickets in seconds, I could not find it and that meant it was a rush in the end. I put a small backpack together with something to snack on and drink and was out the door.

I managed to arrive at the bus stop just as a bus had stopped there but the worry was that it would leave before I got on but it was slightly early so it worked out fine. It arrived in the neighbouring town in good time and I managed to get to the theatre with five minutes to spare. The finest that I have cut it.

Ken has a reputation of over running so I only purchased a single bus ticket as it was likely that I would miss the last bus home and I'd rather put the money for the return journey home to the taxi.

Well, the show commenced at 19.30pm. Ken came on right at the start of the evening with no warm up act. And 99% of his act was new and I had never heard before.We had two other acts sharing the night with him(variety)a vocalist who could also play a piano, guitar and flute. Later on in the second half a magician who magicked birds out of nowhere and made them disappear.

Even allowing for these two acts and the interval the show lasted five hours and Ken did four hours on his own. He was dressed immaculately. And what a memory. I couldn't do anything near what he did. And to think he was doing it all again the following night.

He really is one of the last of our great comedians/performers and his love of comedy comes through. Remarkably, he celebrates his eight sixth birthday in November. This tour started in August and finishes in December by which time he will have done 32 shows which  I think is remarkable(and he already has dates booked for 2013)one in June so obviously no intention of giving up.

He was given a standing ovation and I have seen very few performers given that mark of respect.

So when we came out of the theatre at Midnight thirty we were all so happy. I had forgotten my troubles for a number of hours and shared social contact with others even if I did not talk to anyone. Also I was lovely and cosy. The heat I used to have when home. We came out to a really heavy rainstorm. I had to get up to the town centre where I expected there would be a taxi at the rank.

I found none and no advertised telephone numbers, no clubs open where I could ask for help or really stay dry and warm. Luckily, I had taken my mobile phone and after some taxi companies not answering I found one still offering a service through the night which had to come from my town. So it arrived around 01.20am(I had to take cover under a bus shelter virtually alone)and got home at almost 2am so it was a long night but well worth it and a rare occasion.

There was no way I was coming home early and missing such a treat and losing 90 minutes. The last bus leaves at 23.15 and I would have had to add the time it takes to get to the bus stop. But the couple next to me did leave after the second half. A pity as I know they were enjoying it.

So the next show takes place on October 28th at another town/venue but I don't expect this will over run and though the last bus leaves at 22.38 now instead of 22.55 I should still be able to catch it but the one before leaves an hour earlier so unless the concert is very short I will have to hang around in the bus station a little while. That concert stars the sixties pop group "The Searchers" but on further investigation there is original member but the remainder are well known in the business, It still should be a great night.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

I Awoke In A More Positive Frame Of Mind...

It may not last but I'll take it!

When I eventually get going. I have no reason to go out and if I do I'll probably spend money. Income being low I should try and hang onto what I have for when things become even tougher.

So having organised the fridge freezer yesterday, once again I will take a look at the kitchen cupboards, pantry and food store. Then try and get them into some order once more.

And just perhaps today I will make the effort to have a little extra food today.

Perhaps some cereal, fruit and milk. Later in the day perhaps a salad and...chuck a few items in the slow cooker and have a casserole but decide whether to have chicken or sausage as the meat. If I have cooked too much(and as there is no room in the freezer I understand I can cool down what remains and if I use it within a day or two I can chill it and leave it in the fridge and have another meal by just heating it so it is piping hot. And this time it should not take as long to get ready.

And I may dig out a kitchen gadget I purchased that was on offer which I haven't used as yet but may save me time and make the preparation quicker...rather than use a knife I have a Nicer Dicer.

Update:10am - I have already added an extra couple of items to my meal plan for today...they had to be used up so  I have had a couple of yogurts not unlike the Muller Fruit Corners which were rather nice, a kind of rhubarb one and another which was plum, apple and pear.

3pm I have lost it again and feel a bit troubled but I am trying to throw myself into some housework, there's not much else to. If I go out I'll only be walking the streets or going into the same shops or looking in shop windows. And as said earlier I don't want to spend just for the sake of it.

And later in the year or the next there won't be even that amount of money to spend anyhow. So I better get used to it!

I still think I am doing reasonably well, I am trying not to seek out medical help and if I do I don't see it as failure. Yet I wonder if I should make an appointment and see my Family Dr? Even if I do, if he thinks I am doing ok he'll not put me anti depressents or offer treatment if he doesn't think that I need it...

How Strange Is This?

I have just used a piece of software on the internet to tell me how long I have been alive and how long it is to my next birthday...

I thought it was wrong and said that's a stupid piece of software but then I did my own arithmetic using my fingers and the internet programme seems to be correct and I am...a year younger than I thought I was. So now I wonder if I have always had myself older than I really was. I have tried to work it out this way and that and still come up with the same answer.Smiley lol 061.gifSmiley dazed 7.gifBoth funny and confusing...

How Old Are You?

Monday, October 08, 2012

I Know That They Have To Make A Profit But...

As I need public transport more than ever on cost grounds as income gets worse...the new bus timetables have been announced.

Where I was on Saturday, if I now go the theatre, I will have one bus that will get me home late and instead of leaving at 22.55 it will leave 22.37 so they have brought it forward 18 minutes but they then have added another at 23.33 but it only stays within the city boundaries.

Don't know how this will affect those who use that city for a night out in the local restaurants and pubs/clubs...that extra 18 minutes could make all the difference to the people and may affect local businesses. They probably would have been better leaving it at 22.55. I'm not sure how bringing it forward for that amount time improves the service.

The other town I go to seems unaffected thank heavens as depending on when the show ends I have two services to choose from and that gives me two buses possibly three...22.15(pushing it)22.45 and 23.15.

Or as weekends are the busiest times for using public transport they could cut services during the week and offer more of a service at weekends...

I guess I have been reasonably lucky all things considered. I do know some people who need these last buses to get them to work if they work through the night so I bet they will breathe a sigh of relief.

Looking at some other routes that I may try just for variety and towns I have never been to some stop as early as teatime but the trick would appear to be if you want to travel later or stay longer you need to catch a bus to a terminus and then change to another service.

They don't make easy though...

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Stacey Kent

I saw a concert of Stacey last evening. She has a disarming personality/charm about her. A gentle voice but perhaps is best suited to a theatre that I was in yesterday as it needs to be an intimate venue. Her husband played a variety of instruments including saxophone and he is also her producer and I suppose manager.

Some songs were new new to me but she also sang quite a few standards..."Stardust""Smile""Mood Indigo" "So Nice"Corcovado""Hushabye Mountain" That last song always gets to me, I don't know why, it has such an innocence and in the context of its original setting it is sung to children as a lullaby to send children to sleep and to stop them being frightened of many of the things that sadly we have to face in life and have no choice. Staceys version has a wistful quality.

The concert was enjoyable and the audience appreciative but it was one of the shortest concerts I have been to. Even those vintage performers who are much older have usually given a first half lasting approx 50 minutes and the second half of 80 minutes so if it starts at 7.30pm you leave around 10pm.

But we were out of the theatre by 9.30pm and I reckon we had a first half of 45 minutes and a second half of of approx 45 minutes. Perhaps this is the norm and the other shows have spoilt us...or perhaps it was so special we wanted it to last longer.

Unfortunately, this meant that I had missed an earlier bus home by the time I reached the bus station  and as they only run approx every hour in the evening I had to wait 75 mins for the last bus  and so did not get home until almost midnight.

And now there is a notice on all buses that there are to be changes to most services in the area and that usually means bad news. Such as a reduced service or it being withdrawn, so we'll all be looking at the new timetables that start at the end of October.

Feel A Bit Down Again...

Subconsciously I think I still associate Sundays with losing Mum and it being a relaxing day listening to our music programmes on the radio.

Well, I found it was warmer yesterday and I was not as cold in the house/bed. I used a small cheap thermometer I found for 99p($1.61)and being magnetic you can fasten it to some items(like the inside of a fridge)or stand it up like a photo frame so you can stand it on a shelf or desk. I still managed to avoid putting the heating on(it's awful avoiding using something that is supposed to be for your well being)

I suspect it will always be so from now on as my income will remain low whether I could work or continue to receive help from the State as prices continue to rise but income will remain frozen, reduce or be taken away. I still hope a lodger may make a difference but am unsure if it will make much difference as before you know it you may have to tax and on benefits you may get extra in one hand but see it removed in the other.

I have noticed the thermometer said approx 15c-18c(60f-66f)for my bedroom overnight(where I have placed it)and this afternoon it seems the same again. Better than the previous night when I was in PJ's, thermal socks and so I could still use the keyboard, a pair of fingerless gloves. The hands were warm but the fingers cold.

I suspect many are living this way in a so called rich economy seems wrong to me in the 21st century and I don't see it getting any better from noises coming out of the recent political party conferences and in particular the one taking place this week which is the main party in power at present.

The shadow party may not have come up with the ideas but will obviously accept most of what has been passed and continue with them.

And the coalition partner is only slightly different in it's outlook and has gone along with most of the ideas and unless the public vote as before and we have another coalition they don't stand a chance of being in power again, there are too few of them and many dislike the way they've gone along with many of the policies that have been instigated and some of what was promised in their manifesto were cancelled. And for those reading abroad the leader of that party has had to apologise for not keeping his promise.

If/when the next election happens we have a big problem. A couple really...in the US the Democrats and Republicans appear as an outsider to have different policies. Having said that I suspect many are saying similar things there to what we are and how much of what is promised ever gets passed into law. So you really can only judge what is happening in your own country the parties seem much the same. They all lean to the right. We don't seem to have a centre or left leaning party. So who are you going to vote for? Yet, if you don't vote you could be told "What right have you to complain when things don't go as you'd wish!"

I am really disillusioned with how things are. Even the parties that could be an alternative and are seen as a threat or worry the established parties all lean to the right...one is very hard on immigrants and is seen as being racist and the other one only seems to talk about wanting to get the UK out of the European Market or at least give the UK population a referendum with the question "in or out!"

In some ways I would like to be out when I see the amount of money a country our size pays into it but I suspect it does offer those least well off some protection socially, pension wise, work wise and medically. So I might be tempted to vote to remain in it. As any money saved by coming out of it we would not see the benefit and if we continued to have a Government like we have now there would be no breaks on what it could do or pass.

Though I never seem to see any benefit from what the European Parliament pass especially now that virtual every country is struggling and near bankrupt caused by the bankers a few years ago and now the problems with the Euro currency. What is happening in Greece is truly frightening and Ireland is already living through it and Portugal, Italy and Spain look dodgy.

No wonder I feel down...An anon once said stop looking at the big picture and just think of yourself but a lot of what is going on will affect me and many others I am too dependent on the decisions of others and I am too old to be able to make much a difference to my life and future any more.

Thursday, October 04, 2012


Just back from the local Supermarket on the town. I haven't the money to spend and am worrying again about the future and how my income will be and whether I will end up in a home.

They are my two greatest worries in my life and which I have least control over so I try to live in the day and put them out of mind and most of the time I can but Tuesday was one of my down days...

Nothing in particular that I could put my finger on but I suspect it was that I was missing "Mum" and you know it's a strange thing but when I feel like this something seems to happen.

Of late if something brings a person into my mind that I have not thought of for ages, they often contact me on my blog or appear in a forum.

And I hate to say it but if it is someone famous, a day or so later, it says in the news that they have passed away.

I was looking at some information about the guitarist "Big" Jim Sullivan on the Internet yesterday/earlier this morning in the early hours and then it has been announced on the news he has passed away.

Now earlier today the Crematorium has been in touch and looks as though I will finally have to make a decision about Mum's remains. I feel bad if I don't have some kind of memorial for Mum but if I do the place is difficult to get to and in one way whilst I know Mum is no longer in the world I feel sad that she is there all alone and no one will go and see her or keep her company.

Then again if I have some kind of plaque or have her name written in the book of rememberence they are going to charge anything from £300+($485)to £617($997)and yet I feel a heel if I  let Mum's ashes be buried with no kind of mention but that costs nothing. It's as if she was never here but we're all just passing through. It's getting to me trying to decide what to do for the best...for her and for me.

I am tempted to have them scattered in the place we were most happiest and spent many times when on holiday in the coastal resort of Bournemouth. I don't know what it costs but I feel like having a park bench on the cliff top looking out to sea with a little plaque with our names on. I don't know...

Anyhow during my small shop today, I was amazed that they have increased the variety of what is on sale but so much of what is available are branded/quality products(Birds Eye as an example)many being sold at half price and many items are better than half price. Many were being sold uniformly at a £1($1.61)

It is only my opinion and I cannot prove it but the new discount SM opens in November and  is virtually just over the road from it so it's a fair bet they are trying to stop customers from going there but will it be temporary? Will it affect the new SM? If the new SM decides to leave will the original one increase their prices again?

Or if they can sell goods at these prices why they've waited until now but we know why, if you can charge plenty and know people have to pay profits are high...but hopefully the customer will benefit now.  And they now realise people are struggling. I suspect if the new SM had not been located so close to the other one they would have left the prices as they were but being almost neighbours they have had to do something.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Joe Brown Concert...

After having my flu vaccination at the Dr's surgery, I managed to get a bus virtually straight away to Darlington where the concert with Joe Brown was taking place. All the shops were closed and I had a couple of hours to kill. It probably seems sad but I sat on seat and ate some crisps I had in my backpack and a drink of water. That filled half an hour. Another bus to the theatre and by then it had got around to 6.30pm. They started to open the bars in the theatre but I found an area where there are four seats in a kind of alcove and stayed there until they opened the actual theatre area.

I found when the show started though I was nearer to the performers I had a better view in the area further back as I had been for the previous concerts I had seen recently. I did not bother to move to one of the few empty seats in the Dress Circle behind me but was tempted as though nearer possibly because I am short or (I can't think of the proper word for  it)that thing that stops you from falling from the circle to the stalls below actually restricted my view of the stage and sadly the person in front of me was blocking my view so I only saw 75% of the stage. And therefore could only see 3 of 5 the people on stage as during the first half they were all sitting down.

I was thinking of moving for the second half but they changed their positions on stage and were standing so I could see more...

I used my earplugs for the first time and as far as I can tell, my ears are fine and have been protected but I could hear everything as it should be and it did not sound muffled. They were comfortable and really I could not tell that I was wearing any. When you put them in to your ears you feel that they are going to get lost in your ear hole but that cannot happen and unless someone is looking in your ear, I doubt they'd even know that you are using them. They have different settings but I'm leaving them at their highest protection.

I noticed that Joe and the rest of his band were wearing their own earplugs so taking care of their own hearing. When you see my ear plugs you find it difficult to think that with postage & Packing that they cost approx £28 but if they save your hearing, it's worth it!

No ringing in the ears...

So to the concert. As I have said of a few recent shows the one thing that most of these performers have are personality. Many of today's "Stars" never played intimate venues. To some extent in time the worry is that the smaller theatres may close as many like to play the big halls. You know the kind where the performer  is so small and you only see them on massive screens. Also, they often have no idea how to interact with the audience and virtually just go from one song to another. But performers like Joe have played large and small venues.

So they adapt their performance and also they talk to you.

What an accomplished bunch of musicians, you can tell quality and this why Joe and the like have longevity.

They switched between songs and instrumentals I did not know to songs associated with Joe when he was at his most popular in the 1960's so we did get a peppering of his hits. We were also treated to a variety of songs that perhaps we may not have expected such as Eric Clapton's "Lay Down Sally" 10cc's "I'm Not In Love" Motorhead's "The Ace Of Spades" The Fortunes "You've Got Your Troubles" even the U2 song "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For". Some were given a twist that made them different. We had Americana, country, rock, ballads, delicate music played on mandolins and ukuleles, all kinds. I have found out the titles of some of the other songs  that were played on the night as many are featured on Joes new album in praise of the ukulele...ELO's "Mr Blue Sky"The Who's "Pinball Wizzard" Chas And Dave's "There's No Pleasing You" "Tickle Me" "Hula Girl""Sea Of Heartbreak"

I have put links to some of the songs in case you don't know them and in one way or another these are mainly the original artists/versions as I cannot find those that I heard at Joe's concert but the nearest is the Ace Of Spades as it is quite close to the one played last night and on this video it features Joe's daughter Sam Brown so perhaps this is where they got the idea. Sam did have some success a number of years ago so I have added a link to her big hit "Stop"

And yes, he ended by playing "I'll See You In My Dreams" I did get a little emotional but there was something comforting about it too.

Joe said that we were approx the fourth show of the tour but looking at his website we were the eighth and there are another thirty six and who knows others may be added. He must be very thankful when some are held at some venues over a number of days and occasionally a few days hopefully for a bit of a rest because  the travelling must take it out of you. Even if you are younger. One show in August, Six in September, Seventeen shows in October, fourteen in November and five in December.

And of course like many performers he does special events and shows in other countries, one of his recent CD's is him playing live in Germany. So I guess they never really stop touring.