Random Jottings Of Gildersleeve

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Location: United Kingdom

Perhaps you'll learn more about me as you read my blog. For anyone who translates my blog using the translator facility, don't forget if you wish to read the comments in your own language to click on the title of the post down the left hand side otherwise they will remain in english. Also I assume that the translation is accurate but I don't know, so please allow for errors.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mixed Feelings...

The forms have arrived regarding my migration from one benefit(that is being scrapped)to another assuming I pass all the obstacles put in my way. A worry time of course lays ahead and though it will probably early next year before I am called in for a medical(even though they say that you "May" be called in)and whether I am told good or bad news, that will be hanging over my head during Christmas. I will try to have as good a Christmas as I am able but this will be in the background. Stories like I have linked to just worry you even more.

Today, I am having a tidy around the house and doing small tasks that need doing as my Land Lord(Housing Association)wishes to visit and do a kind of check around the property so even if the furniture is old and the carpets could do with replacing it can still be uncluttered and tidy. If I can stay put next year I may invest in a new sofa, bed and some carpets, I would have to do that anyhow if I was planning on having a lodger share my home. Well, I am taking my time and doing the tasks over a number of days and slowly.

How ironic is this, some smaller properties have become available on my town(not many)but all of them are private and they are only one room less, the trouble is that they are private but they cost more to rent(even if you receive help from the State)than staying put, the difference is that I have to find the extra money if I stay here or they would have to pay more if I moved. Also, I lose the extra security I have by remaining in what is called Social Housing rather than private, it is crazy.

It felt a bit strange but I took some of Mum's personal items to a charity shop. I can't use them and they had never been worn, two pairs of moccasins(one pair in a tan colour, the other in a blue colour)and a lovely pair of shoes I think they are called sling backs they looked as good as new and as though they had never been worn. Worth £95 and Mum must have got them in some kind of sale for around £19.99. So others will benefit. No doubt in time I will take other items.

When I came home there was a letter waiting for me, it was from the funeral company that took care of Mum's and they are holding a Memorial Carol Service in approx 12 days time in an old church in a neighbouring town so although it means a journey and the cost of a bus fare Mum is worth it and though I am bound to become emotional I am going to attend, we can light a candle and place a simple message on the Memorial Christmas Tree.

I have now discovered there is a memorial carol service on my town in my church which will allow the lighting of a candle and a little message placed and there is the chance to have the name of a loved one placed in the book of remembrance too.

So I may attend both or decide on one or the other.

So much bad news in the world, on the way home from the charity shop I bumped into a neighbour on his mobility scooter, he told me he had been to hospital today and had a biopsy on his bladder(his third)and he is awaiting the results, he has an aggressive cancer. His daughter in London(only 57)has had an operation on a brain tumour, they have taken away what they can and she still needs six weeks of radiotherapy or was it chemotherapy I forget.

We may be living longer and they are getting cleverer but I do sometimes wonder when you have to face such worry, what are we gaining?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Last Night(Part Two...)

I slept reasonably well allowing for walking through the night and going back off again. I sometimes felt that I had been asleep for hours and perhaps it had only been thirty minutes.

I had some disturbed dreams again...they are fragments so they are difficult to piece together. I was seemingly driving a car but the horn was too quiet and the steering wheel was coming apart. The nearest I can find for interpretation suggests that cheap or run down vehicles reflect vulnerability or a lack of resources.

I believe that Mum may've been in the passenger seat. People riding along with you in a vehicle is said to reflect aspects of your personality that are influencing your choices or the outcome of situations.

Later on I think that I talked to Mum about her coming back to live with me in my house, I don't know why she was living in another building. My own guess is that I see her passing as though she is in another location and I want her here where she belongs with me or me with her. Perhaps I am looking for comfort and security too. Trying to be sure that I can stay where I am and where all my memories are and I feel that I am losing control of the future. In my dream I am quite sure that she said that she would.

I believe I saw my Father briefly, I don't think that we spoke, I don't know what he was doing but the suggestion using a kind of dream website is that means a representation of conscience, or the ability to make positive choices, or choosing between right and wrong.

I seem to remember making a cup of coffee or tea for a celebrity I don't particularly care about nor think about and haven't watched for a long time, she works in the world of TV news and I cannot work out the significance of that by analysing it myself or find anything to help me work out the meaning.

I don't think that I feel as bad as yesterday but I am in reflective mood and there is a little bit of that knotted feeling in my stomach. I have a feeling though I will cope with the future, my time will switch between extremes of happiness and will be peppered with more days where I think of sad things and the reality that time is becoming shorter even if some say that I am still young.

I am trying...I keep telling myself things will improve and it is still early days but even my Dr says there is no beginning or end to grief, nor no right way to deal with it. At present I am unable to see my way forward but I am probably expecting too much too soon. And I do have times where I more my usual self but sorry if by reading this it makes you miserable to. I am doing this without counselling or any medication. Also without the support of family. But I am lucky to have some very dear friends on here like Jan, Carol, Paul, Span and Northern Bloke who often leave comments. I know I have a couple of Anons that are compasionate too amongst those that seem to be critical.

I found this on the internet...a version of The Byrds song "Turn, Turn, Turn" and some images put together by Rachel Esprinoza. It comes to an abrupt end and you have to sit through an ad before the video starts but often the ad can be skipped.

Last Night(Part One...)

Whilst able I went out last night and did something a little different, it still cost money and I have cut back on something else mainly because the future is unknown, If things were clearer I'd know what I have to play with. I never thought that on a Saturday night, I would be attending a local church and watching the Durham Constabulary Male Voice Choir. It started around 6.30pm and allowing for the interval ran for nearly two hours. There was cheese and wine to follow but I came home. Most attending were couples or groups of friends.

It was a different way to spend a night and being on the town it saved on bus and taxi fares and the ticket was only £5.

A town my size is poorly served for social events on an evening and I think even the pubs are not as busy as they used to be. To be honest being alone I would feel a bit awkward going in and drinking, if I want to do that I can do that at home, isolated yes but less expensive.

The person organising the concert for the church said he hoped we were warm enough. It was warmer than my home if he did but realise. Often a supermarket is warmer(even in the freezer section)

The concert had some soloists and I cannot remember all that they were but it was a varied selection some show tunes, religious and popular ones.

How Great Thou Art, I Dreamed A Dream, Bring Him Home, Down By The Riverside, When The Saints Go Marching In, Last Of The Summer Wine, Portrait Of My Love, An American Trilogy, Nessun Dorma, The Rose, You Raise Me Up. The Day Thou Gavest amongst others. Twenty Six songs in total.

When I came out of the concert it was pouring down. Only three streets from my home but at my speed it takes quite a long time, approx 30 minutes last night.

I Can't Help It(Part Two...)

As I have said many times virtually anything you do socially costs money(which if you haven't got it)is it any wonder people are isolated and stay indoors with a book, a radio and/or TV. Often deciding whether they eat or heat the home...for anyone living outside the UK, the prices of energy is too high for many here and is becoming something that cannot be afforded now and thanks to Government policies and the prices utility companies charge what should be an essential service to make life comfortable and healthy is becoming a luxury.

Two main reasons causing this is the insistence to be green for the environment, the infrastructure to deliver electric and gas has been allowed to deteriorate and it needs rebuilding and the public who are already struggling to pay the bills are having to stump up most of the money. Some help is coming from the Government but not as much and it means in reality the public is paying twice.

As a consumer and then as a tax payer. Now who is to blame for that? Well, since the electric and gas has been privatised it has virtually been accepted that they have been happy to make profits for their shareholders but have not been investing for the future. The Governments(any of them)have also let it slide. So now it is a race against time as they keep telling us if we are not careful the lights will go out within a few years.

It used to be pensioners struggling to stay warm or afford to eat but now it is people that work or have families. Anecdotally but also with reports from charities and interested parties just about everyone has been touched by fuel poverty. People(well Dr's and medical staff)say get out of bed, you'll become depressed. But for many the warmest place in a home is the bedroom, in particular the bed itself.

I just heard a writer on the radio say that she wrote her best selling novel in bed because it was the warmest place in the house(but wrongly perhaps)you assume a best selling author would be able to afford to use the central heating.

The big trouble many have in our country(even before times became tough and the austere measures come in)is that the cut off point before you get help from the State is too low. So if you can save you either need a lot of money to cushion life's blows so you don't need to ask for help and can soldier on or you need to be so poor that you have no safety net and depend totally on the State. But live like a "Church Mouse"

Or dare I say it makes people dishonest because if they have family they have to distribute funds amongst family if they have any. I know living a very frugal life myself I have very little to play with to cover the unexpected things that can happen from week to week.

Now if you had a small nest egg, it might put an extra £10-£20 in your pocket each week. But if seen as a lump sum in a bank, that could actually mean the difference to being helped and struggling even more. If I was to eat better and use more energy there would be nothing left. Or I would have to give up the odd treat or my internet. How horrible would life be without some enjoyment.

In coming months that may still be a worry, if I am not entitled to certain help due to changes and/or new taxes and increases in daily living costs and yes, income being frozen.

I have a fear that we are not being told the truth and we may find ourselves in a similar position to some countries in Europe such as Portugal, Spain, Italy and yes, Greece. I hate the idea that internationally respected charities that usually have appeals for countries called the third world are trying to help people in mainland Europe with food banks and soup kitchens etc...and that includes my country.

No wonder, whist I try to count my blessings I feel down and less positive.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I Can't Help It...

Last night I felt reasonably happy and positive. I found myself not really thinking about anything. Not the past or the future. Just the here and now.

I found myself listening to the radio and paying attention. Then I watched some TV via the laptop which I have not been able to for approx a week. A diverse mixture if I say so myself(some of these will not mean much if you live outside the UK)

The last two episodes of Hebburn(a comedy/drama)to some extent full of stereotypical characters of how some from the North East of England are seen. Do they still exist or is it a kind of time warp based on how things used to be?

Then a food programme with Nigel Slater, a favourite cook of mine, he comes across as unpretentious and it has been said that he is a reluctant TV star and he took some persuading to become one. His recipes are simple. He uses mainly ingredients most of us have, not what might be seen as "Fancy"

Then it was time for a chat show with a reasonable line-up Michael Bublé(Canadian Singer)on tour in the UK but promoting his Christmas CD again, the same as the one I purchased last year but with four bonus tracks they said on TV. After looking closer the new CD has one extra track to my copy. I refuse to buy it again but can buy the track as a one off mp3 file if I want to part with my money. I hate the way some artists/companies sometimes release the same album and keep adding more tracks.

Also on the same sofa was Michael Palin(Monty Python cast member)but probably best known now for his  TV travel documentaries. Helena Bonham Carter(Actress)I think I am supposed to actor even though she is female but I think that political correctness is silly. And a comedian who seems to be a favourite on TV at present, Jack Whitehall.

Then I was off into the musical world for documentaries,  a film packed with startling memories, vivid images and penetrating insights into the power of pop and rock's first and most abiding artefact - the seven inch, vinyl 45 rpm record.

Then a programme to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the UK chart, a selection of hits that reached number 1, including the Bee Gees, T-Rex, Donna Summer, John Lennon, Culture Club and Adele.

Finally, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles' Love Me Do, and reflections of how they evolved into one of the most famous bands in the world.

Then it was time for some sleep.

But I have woke and found myself in a miserable frame of mind...missing Mum, thinking of my mortality, a little lonely and afraid about my financial future and whether I can survive on what I know will be a limited income...whether I will be ok after attending/if I have to attend that medical.

It's difficult for everyone, I was talking to a neighbour with a little boy, he was worried about me and wished me well, but he is struggling too, he is working and needs to claim help because he can only get 20 hours of work and his job is not safe.

Hence the title of this post.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Bargains When I Have No Room...

Four bird roasts for Christmas but massive and I mean massive Pork joints worth over £12 and being sold at half price and if there was room in the freezer I would have sliced it up and had plenty of meat into the new year but there isn't any room. Typical! Too big for one person but if cut into smaller portions...really good value...

I'm determined to try and enjoy Christmas, listen to the music, watch more tv and make myself eat more imaginatively over Christmas. I am even thinking of attending the Midnight service at my local church which I have not done in years...but has memories of attending with Mum and Dad. We would come home and have a Turkey sandwich, a cup of tea and open our presents and back in those days it seemed to snow so we would walk home from the church in newly crisp fallen snow...

I will try not to worry about the future and what next year will bring...I have some booze that should still be ok though it is over a year old and most is ok past the date on the bottle...I'll use it! There is something I wanted to share with Mum and never managed to and when used it is too expensive and I don't see me buying it ever again for myself...champagne.

What do I know of booze...I am ok drinking cheap cider, larger and now bitter...but I like vodka and rum(especially made into cocktails...)

I drank my first can of bitter last night(finished it this morning)and it still wasn't flat, anyhow I could not tell the difference between larger or bitter...

If they leave me alone I'll have a two week festive celebration to take me into the New Year. I don't think I will be up seeing the New Year in though. I suspect I will be in bed. 2012 has been pretty bad so knowing what I know many will see the year ending in 13 as much worse...

If anyone thinks I spend too much on food all I purchased today was some strawberries, Brussels Sprouts and some large bread buns but even that came to £3.40, you don't get much for your money these days nut at a push I can stretch those items over a few meals so in the end it is not too bad...

I had a three stews out of one meal cooked in a slow cooker so that stretched some vegetables and meat further and tonight I have some mackerel that only cost £1.49 so again I can stretch the three fillets over three meals and make them into a salad and/or sandwiches. Simple but good for you, I don't care if it is slightly out of date either...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Another Stupid Speech...

Sadly this excerpt misses out our PM's mention of Hitler but he finds at virtually opportunity a way to compare today or play on the spirit of the British people when we were at war as in WWII...some of that can be seen here...
It's War!

Even Jeremy Hardy the comedian isn't particular impressed as said in a recent Twitter entry...
Can't link but here's one of his posts...

Jeremy Hardy@JeremyJHardy
Cameron likens our economic problems to WW2. We didn't rely on the private sector to defeat Hitler, Dave, you chinless pudding.

Breadline Britain...

I'll just post this link but I think it says it all without comment from me...

Misleading reporting by the media(University Of Kent's Social Policy Team)

I'm Sorry All I Can Say Is What A Load Of Rubbish...

Money Isn't Everything

Of course it isn't but you can say that if you have enough to live on and there is no chance of losing the roof over your head, you have food in your belly, warm and cosy and hopefully have loved one's your life.

Who on Earth did they ask to take part in this survey...

I wonder if they'll get the same answer as more people lose their jobs, their homes, see their income reduce, cannot afford to feed themselves or stay warm...

I have a feeling things will be different in coming months...there is a difference between happiness and well being...

It's another piece of...I nearly said something else theretears of joy emoticonIt's Government spin and propaganda. Who believes it?

I Am Worried I Cannot Lie...

 So people think having to take help, jump through hoops and living on state help is easy...

OK all I can offer is anecdotal evidence with the following report but that's all many can whatever side you are on...

So take a look at the hardship of those featured in this report and what they have/are going through...
gloomy emoticon

Work Capability Report

And there's more...OK it is a blog entry but  it makes you think...

Elf and Safety

Now there has been a report on the radio today. I believe I heard that 37% fail...but then when they go to appeal 38% succeed and see their benefit reinstated...What you can do with statistics...the media and politicians usually just quote the first one so it looks bad...

Now who do we believe on this, a Government Minister said that the reason the tests fail are because the claimants arrive without medical evidence from Dr's and Consultants and usually only present it at the appeal/tribunal but seven respected charities and a claimant that was interviewed said that evidence is often ignored and it is taken into the assessments. So who is telling the truth? And you will find examples in the report that I link to above where evidence is taken along but not looked at.

This same radio report highlighted that often due to time restraints it is difficult to get evidence from Dr's and Consultant's in time to accompany the forms you have to fill in and to take with you...Also, some Dr's are charging for writing letters on behalf of patients facing these tests(I believe they said £13)and a Consultant had charged over £200 which when you are on benefits and fighting to keep them and could lose them, is pretty unfair.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Troubled Sleep...

Probably still to do with going through the grieving process(and now worrying about my finances and facing form filling, probably a medical assessment)and once awake thoughts race through my mind and then getting back to sleep can be difficult. And yet until now, sleeping has not been much of a problem thankfully. I want to avoid sleeping tablets(besides they are not given easily by the Doctors at my surgery)and recent research suggest that they can contribute to other health issues including falls, confusion and dementia.

I had a dream earlier in the night which I am sure Mum was a part of but I cannot remember now how much she played in it and how clearly she was seen. But I can remember some of it here and things that I have talked of recently have worked their way into it...such as missing a bus that was going to take us on a tour somewhere and I managed to get it to return to give us the chance to board it after all. Well, that obviously has some connection to my letter and talking about the poor bus service.

Then I could not find my way to the pick up point and Mum so found myself taking a wrong turning and ending up lost in an old graveyard, I suspect that is to do with talk of Mum's laying to rest and my past worries about my own future health wise. Bit morbid isn't it? It probably only lasted a few minutes but you feel like a dream has gone on for ages.

I don't remember dreams much these days and have never looked up the meanings before but found this a few minutes ago...

"To dream that you are waiting for a bus indicates a temporary setback in achieving your personal goals. If you miss the bus, then it indicates that an aspect of your life is out of control. You need to slow down and map out a new plan."
"To dream that you are at a graveyard represents the discarded aspects of yourself. You may be fearing the unknown. Alternatively, the graveyard indicates a loss or a period of mourning."
"To dream that you are lost suggests that you have lost your direction in life or that you have lost sight of your goals. You may be feeling worried and insecure about the path you are taking in life.

Alternatively, being lost means that you are still adjusting to a new situation in which the rules and conditions are ever changing."

There is more but they were the most appropriate points to what I remembered of my dream.
Interesting? Never been sure if I believe in interpreting dreams but then again, I don't know how I feel about spiritualism but there are so many things that are unknown and and that are difficult to explain away. What's that quote from a Shakespear play possibly Hamlet. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
If you want a link to the dream website, here it is...Dream Moods
There are others of course...

Slightly Better News...

I have just had a letter from NPower and it appears that I have misheard on the phone what I pay for my energy. They allow £42 per month for electric and now my monthly payment for gas has been increased to £15 so I am paying £57 per month in total(£14.25 per week)I thought I was paying £67 per month.
Due to a mix up, I was £35 in credit on the electric but owed £72 for the gas(but that could be covering two months rather than just one)but when they worked things out on the phone and took the £35 credit from what they said I owed on the gas, I only owed £16 so I paid it off so it is a clean slate for the next Direct Debit in December. And if you add the £35 and £16 together that still only comes in at £51 which is still less than the £72 they quoted originally...£21 less. If it stays that low perhaps I can keep the heating and/or the electric on longer and if there is any credit from not using the electric it can go towards the gas bill.

Perhaps I can save more in the Summer months...then use more in the Winter. All I get for that £57 is enough electric to power a PC, DAB radio, an energy saving lightbulb overnight and left on for safety, occasionally a hot meal in a slow cooker or microwave and to power the fridge/freezer over the year. Perhaps once a month a full load of washing and a quick dry in a Tumble drier(lets change that to every two to three weeks for the sake of some who like to leave negative comments)I don't make an exact science of when I do the washing...central heating perhaps for an hour or two daily(but often not at all)So how people afford to use more I do wonder. Well we know that many don't and have to do as I do wear warmer clothes, wrap themselves in blankets, duvets, use hot water bottles etc...

Of course on a low income even £51 is quite a lot to find and fuel prices will always rise and as other changes come, you think you can save a little extra from one area to afford something else, this may have to be reduced still further. On the other hand money from a lodger staying here may mean financially things improve.

Letter Printed In The Local Free Sheet...

I don't suppose that anything will come of it but I had a letter printed in the local free sheet about the poor bus service my town has since the recent changes is bus routes and the subsidies the bus company gets from the council etc...we have two routes that cut through our town and virtually straight through the middle so most of it does not have any access, they run hourly after 6pm and on one route the last bus only completes 75% of it's route so I would be stranded 6 miles from home.

And the earlier bus probably means you would have to leave an event so soon there is no point going in the first place. And two other popular local towns you cannot travel to after 6pm unless you add another 14 miles to your journey and change buses.
Again, to come home there is a last bus but it connects to the bus that stops 6 miles from home...so you are no better off. This end of the county is badly served but the Northern end has many services running later and travelling further distances...this on top of quite expensive bus fares(still cheaper than taxi's)and soon it is likely free buses for the over 60's and disabled being cancelled/put back so you are much older, people are going to be stuck to a very small area and not be able to socialise. It was said by a politician not that long ago that the bus service in the UK is very poor and needs improving, they've said that for decades...no sign of anything happening...

Nothing Exciting Continues...

I have mentioned the Bedroom Tax before, so many do not realise what it entails and the damage it is going to do to so many...I was explaining to my Dr(OK he's never going to be affected by it)as he'll have a good salary and his own property and what I thought I will be paying. He said "Yes but that will only be each month?" When I said weekly, he was visibly shocked. Very few are in favour of it and most who seem to be are on the internet not on the street. There are still people asking me if  Bedroom Tax comes up in conversation "What is it?" and "When is it starting?" Lots of shaking of heads in disbelief.

On my town there is a meeting in a week or so questioning why they keep building large houses and not smaller properties that people could move to but nice houses in decent locations...many are unable to move even if they want to...

Another report today is featured in the news saying the effects this will cause many(Can't find a link) I'm just linking to a few stories mainly for readers that may be outside of the UK to give some background to the topic.

For now I shall hang tight and hope that I can absorb the extra cost and as said before I may have to go down the route of hoping that I can find a lodger which I understand is allowed. Of course I would prefer not to and I may not be successful finding one.

Not sure what the difference is but I am not allowed to sublet. It won't happen but a sure winner for any political party hoping to win the next election would be if they promised to repeal this policy and say so...now! I'll always remember that the House Of Lords who often are criticised for being out of touch and as being "Toffs" and being "Posh" did all they could to stop this becoming law. So perhaps they are not as bad as they are painted.

This year has been pretty ghastly and the New Year doesn't look very promising either...lets hope it is not as bad as feared and at least most of us, working, not working, ill or retired can cope with what they throw at us...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Just Tidying Up Earlier Posts...

Nothing exciting...
You'll know that I have had concerns over the care plan Mum was put on and much has been made of it in the press and media.  My Dr says the plan is good but the problem is how relatives of loved ones do not have it explained to them and he said my Mum was very ill and there was nothing more that could be done but he was surprised and shocked by the question the Coroner's Representative put to me when I identified Mum's body "Was I planning on suing the Nursing Home for the care she had received?"
He asked why they would ask that and then when I told him that they had asked to take tissue samples and without them they had said Mum could not be cremated for some time, he asked me again why and I had to admit I had no answer. But had I heard something that I did not wish to, I would be upset even more and I did not want to delay Mum's funeral/cremation any longer...for Mum as much as anyone...I'll always have questions...the suggestion now could be that I should have asked questions and why they wanted to take tissue samples...

I have delayed the scattering of Mum's ashes until the start of next year and am thinking of having them brought back to me in an ern. I can return to the crematorium any time I wish and have them scattered there but I'm not ready yet. I am trying to debate if there is somewhere more special I can choose for Mum(I realise this is largely symbolic)and probably for my peace of mind as much as anything or whether to wait until I pass away and perhaps be scattered together...I may of course change my mind before January.

I realise that I have mentioned Mum a lot and not my dear Dad who meant so much to me too but I guess when almost twenty Nine years have passed by memories are not as clear and Mum and myself were there to support each other and it gave some familiarity and security that things were still somewhat the same whereas now I am alone. And though not true of all Mother and Son relationships we were close and had a special bond. Besides it is still a very recent event in my life.

I finally saw my own Dr says if I can stay put that I should because my location is better for me on health grounds and sees my point but that doesn't mean he can do anything about it...he is also offering his support for when I attend a possible medical to prove my health problems...of which I have quite a few and they are likely to remain as they are or become worse. But the fear is that the company that does these tests has a very bad reputation and as said in an earlier post some months ago there were two documentaries on TV about their procedures. And anecdotal evidence runs into many examples from those affected as well as reputable organisations and charities. In the States there have been concerns raised where they are involved that has seen legal action taken over how they operate.

It is suggested that many people have to go to appeal here find the original decision is overturned. But they try to wear you down as often you are called back in quite soon and have to go through it all again. Also and this is a worry even if you are given supporting evidence from a Dr and/or Consultant they ignore it...which makes you wonder who knows you better than those who have treated for years and my own Dr said he has heard of the happening but will still offer help when I submit my forms.

I have at least 6-8 problems...that work separately or sometimes together. But I have been in touch with an organisation similar to the CAB and they have advised me what I am likely to expect, told me not to worry and they are there to help, also some tips on filling out the forms...that still does not mean that I will be successful or won't become stressed.

And for various reasons even if I am successful. My situation may change in the future and for a few months I may not be entitled to any help. The worry will be that when I re-apply I will be unsuccessful as I will have to start from scratch and the person doing the assessment may see things differently from the previous claim...I will just have to try and live each day as it comes and not to look too far ahead fearing what the future brings.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Just When All Seems Well...

And I am told to live for today and not think too far ahead, over the months people have said don't worry...one of those dreaded brown envelopes has dropped on the mat to tell me that I will receive a phone call soon, then a dreaded form to fill in, then possibly(I'd say very likely)an assessment and then I will be transferred to the new benefit that replaces what I receive or again knowing what this Government is up to they'll transfer me so I come off what I now receive and will be on something totally different. With many more conditions and a  reduced income.

It's all up in the air and very scary. I thought that I may be able to absorb the changes coming or delay the thought of having a lodger but now these ideas may have to be brought forward if they feasible.

Do You Get Spam Texts On Your Mobile?

It appears in the UK you can stop them...

Don't open them as that proves that your number exists...

If you forward them to the number "7726" if you are on the following networks O2, Orange and T-mobile or Vodafone 87726 and Three 37726, doing so eventually blocks them so that if that number calls again it will not get through.

Food Glorious Food...

I don't have as much of a food store as it looks, what makes it appear so is trying to fit food into the crates because of the shape of them. Anyhow, yesterday I did a stock check and rotation of the goods so older items are used first...

It appears much of what I have will last ages as most of it is in cans and are dated best before 2013-2017. And my older stuff is confined to one crate and they are dated 2011-2012. And to be honest items months past their dates are fine...so they will not be wasted. Mostly tinned meats, fish and vegetables...the only thing I threw away was some crisps I had missed and they don't always taste nice when they go past their date.

My fridge freezer is full and the remaining cupboards and pantry too. I am not overeating and that means that my food shopping is less frequent and I am spending less. If my freezer was larger and I had space the bargains on reduced priced meat in the local Tesco's at a reasonable time was the best I have seen but too much for a single person unless you could adapt it into smaller portions and had spare cash in the first place. You could have probably purchased a year's supply at once. If I manage to use up some of what I have in the freezer between now and Christmas I may see if I can do something abou that.
Catch up time...my back has improved greatlybliss emoticonstill get a twinge though...

Also, I have a clean slate regarding my gas and electric...a couple of days ago I phoned some meter readings into my utility company and was told that I was approx £35 in credit on the electric but owed approx £72 on the gas...

I phoned again the following day and a different person said after working things out that the direct debit covers both and after some calculations and using the credit on the electric, all I owed was £16 on the gas so I paid it. This also showed the original information I had been given was wrong and I was already better off by £25.

I have increased my DD by £5 per month. So my monthly DD is now £67. We'll see how it goes especially when more of my income reduces still further which it will...

It has been milder of late so am managing to keep the heating off or use it sparingly and my use of thermals, fingerless gloves, scarf, hat and socks are making a difference most of the time...to save washing too often and to build up enough clothes for a full load, I have plenty of charity shirts/jumpers and cardigans, the other day I managed to find a John Lewis 93% lambswool/7%cashmere jumper in mauve for 99p. The only problem it was extra large so it goes over my bum but it keeps me warm and I don't care what I look like...

I have six or seven sets of thermals(which allows for changing them regularly if I get sweaty)and nine pairs of thermal socks...same reason and some are not as bulky so they can be used when wearing slippers or shoes. They were quite a bargain yesterday...three pairs for £3.29 but if you spent £4 you got six pairs.

Monday, November 12, 2012

It's Legal...

The other night a consumer programme on TV and it mentioned that some cartons of fruit juice were not all that they seem...

And I found one that I have(not mentioned on the programme)follows the same practice as those featured.

I'll explain...

I have a carton of  New Ocean Spray 100% Juice from concentrate with added Vitamin C Blueberry and Pomegranate with Cranberry.

However, when you look at the list of ingredients and the percentages. The carton contains...

Grape 70%
Apple 10%
Cranberry 9%
Pomegranate 6%
Blueberry 3%
Aronia 2%
Vitamin C

So combined the Blueberry, Pomegranate and Cranberry only comes to 18% And until you read the information on the back there is not any mention about the grape juice.

I understand from next year if  a carton of juice says it is Blueberry and Pomegranate with Cranberry then they have to be listed as the main ingredients and in the order they are the greatest quantity.

It will affect many products in the future. This could mean the shortcuts that have kept the prices down may increase so we'll have to pay more or switch to a less expensive and more basic fruit juice.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A New Day...

I think that there is an improvement in my back. I made the effort to get out early and attend the local Remembrance Sunday Ceremony. I was tired by the time I returned home though...but for those who say get out and do something, well there you are, I did.

Always touching these kind of events and yes, I wiped a tear away. I was going to attend the service but the church was quite packed and at least I paid my respects. A couple of slight mistakes crept in, the town clock had stopped so no chimes at 11am to start the two minute silence and the lowering of the flag and raising of it was messed up as it became caught up on a really small branch(more like a twig)on a tree nearby.

On the way home the specials were on sale at the new supermarket so I treat myself some new thermal socks and a nice warm scarf for the future especially for when the ones I have are in the wash or wear out. And though I have enough mugs, cups, plates, bowls, cutlery and glasses to last my lifetime. Though not a big drinker and booze is too expensive, I always wanted(even when Mum was alive)proper cocktail glasses, the kind you drink a Martini type cocktail out of and they are never available locally.

Well, the new supermarket had some in their Sunday special range. So I got some of them too. So as long as I don't break them they'll do for me.

Do I eat too much as some have commented? Well, all I have had is a diluted fruit juice with water, salad, bread and light spread(with a little cooked ham, one potato and egg(coffee with semi skimmed milk, no sugar)no dessert, cake or bicuits and have had all my calories(and minerals/vitamins)for the day so you cannot say there is any fat to speak of and that I have overloaded either. So for the poster who said that I will become obese sorry to disappoint you even if said jokingly.salad emoticonI don't say that in a nasty way, the comment was probably said with the best of intentions...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Day For Not Doing Much...

It is not very nice weather wise so I'll stay indoors and give myself the chance to improve. I have my thermals etc...on and feel quite cosy to be honest. Yet earlier my hands were quite cold but they have warmed up without the help of gloves...no heat so far has been needed.

Now today I have already eaten my quota of calories for the day(more actually)so if I eat nothing else I will be fine...Since midnight I have had salad in an oven bottom muffin, two actually. And I had a kind of mushroom and chicken pie in puff pastry with oven chips perhaps an hour ago, I have had all my vitamins and minerals too.

I have eaten more than I usually do(perhaps physically)but not in calorific value, just made more of an effort to avoid doing the same meals too often.

This Will Be An Interesting Weekend...

I have gone down with a bad back...in the Lumber region. And even the most simple movements are difficult and very painful. But unless I have to ask for help, like many I will work around the problem and manage on my own.

And having seen what care is like for those who require it, I want as little as possible to do with social services, social care or health departments...it is not a case of pride but the more they get involved, your life is not your own...

At least when I was unwell before I had the support of my Mum...I remember some months ago someone was talking about losing his wife and he said the scariest(and this may seem selfish)time for him and when he feels at his most vulnerable is at night and he is taken ill. It is on the other hand a compliment to the love, comfort, support and care of his partner and their relationship.

I am able to move around tentatively using a variety of aids(walking stick, zimmer frame, leaning on furniture, holding onto things around the house etc...)and no I am not saying this for sympathy or because I am feeling sorry for myself. There will always be those worse than myself. Lately, I feel as though I have to excuse myself if I say I am unwell because I will be criticised and yet others will say something similar and not be or they will be given a word of support. You become paranoid and feel that you have to defend yourself these days.

Anyhow, earlier in the day I made the effort to have a small mixed grill and perhaps because it has been awhile since I had one I really enjoyed it. Streaky bacon, eggs and mushrooms. I could have grilled it but I'm not too bothered about all the carry on over fried food over grilled as I don't fry food that often and I was using Olive Oil anyhow...but I may be switching soon to Rapeseed Oil as that is cheaper and has various properties that may make it even more healthier than Olive Oil. It also can cook at a higher temperature without smoking/burning...

From bad backs to food...how did that happen?

Here's another occasion where having a well stocked store of food will help as I do not have to go out or try to ask someone to get items for me...an unforeseen situation. Not the usual bad weather(ice or snow)keeping you indoors.

Update:Thought I had been lucky upon waking and beaten it but no...it has returned and I also have something similar to frozen shoulder too(I don't do things by halves)Things come in three's they say...they can keep that, two is enough!on crutches emoticon

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Just A Quick Post...

Later today our new Aldi discount supermarket opens so I may see if there is anything nice to buy later on. It is welcome but any savings will depend on what you buy and have to look for cheap items or what is on offer. So I will have to play it against the other food shops in the town.
And I am working on a limited budget anyhow. So I am still unable to take advantage of some of the bargains that come up. As sometimes you have to buy in bulk.
Also, I go for my check up at the hospital today which I hope will be ok. The appointment isn't until 11am but the transport could arrive as early as 8am but it saves me paying for a taxi or bus...
As I eat smaller portions and lots of fruit and vegetables(casseroles, salads etc..)I hope so and according to a website I use I have lost weight and I can wear trousers with a smaller waist band and it seems I am around the 7st-71/2st(50Kg-53Kg)or should be but I dug out the bathroom scales and they say that I am...exactly 10st(76Kg)I don't do metric so I hope my comparisons are correct.
 shocked smileyI hope that is wrong! I feel as though I have lost weight and people have said that I look like I have.

Sunday, November 04, 2012


I found tonight that BBC TV was running an episode(the third in the series)so sadly I have missed two earlier episodes of one of my favourite comedy perfomers/writers/actors/directors(he did it all)who I fortunately saw twice "Live" on stage. He passed away earlier this year...also BBC 2 screened a documentary about his life...with lots of stories from those who knew him as a friend and worked with him...peppered with many examples of his work.

I don't know why but I have just looked at You Tube and there is so much of his material to be seen...Please go and look at this genius of comedy and enjoy...Eric Sykes...I thought that I had seen much of his work for TV and films, still I found something new...two of these I have never seen before.

Eric was just about the only person who could still perform almost silent comedy and persuade many performers to play cameo roles so in particular do hunt out "It's Your Move" and "The Plank" and "Mr H Is Late" "The Plank"(Reworking of it, different actors, shorter length and newer)In fact the second time I saw Eric on stage, he tested this version out on the audience at the theatre to see the reaction before it aired.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

The Care Plan For Those Deemed To Be Coming To The End Of Their Lives...

Once again it has come to light that there are many concerns and listening to the coverage on the radio I am even more convinced that Mum was allowed to die and I was naive to what was going on. I was not asked for my consent but told this is what will happen. It has also come to light that many hospitals, the NHS in general are getting a financial bonus for putting people onto the plan...that is like saying "We'll pay you for finishing someone off!"

I have heard a Dr say on the radio when it was put to this Dr about the patient sucking on sponges dipped in water and if that is the case that is wrong and they should be given liquid by mouth and if that cannot be done it can be given another way and Mum was doing that.

I don't like what I am hearing. Alarm bells are ringing over Mum but sadly too late. I am hearing so many examples where other people were not asked or informed about this plan and whether a loved one has been placed on it. Many stories are coming back where relatives have questioned the decision and the person has recovered and even left the hospital and made it to a Nursing Home or even got back to their own home and even made a full recovery...

It stinks...

Relatives Must Be Informed

There is said to be some announcement from the Health Secretary of the Government about this on November 5th because of all the stories coming to light from the public. I'm not expecting much changing. After all if they admit things are not as they should be they are laying the health service open to being sued.

Swings And Roundabouts...

I believe that I am having more good days than bad and that I am continuing my journey of discovery. Occasionally, I have my troubled times yesterday was a little bit of one of those days but I suppose that I have had worse and will have more to come.

I would be telling a lie if I did not say "I have been b***** freezing!" but it is a strange thing, sometimes I can look at the temperature on the thermometer in my bedroom and the same number is showing and I am quite cosy in bed...other times I am really cold and my feet are like blocks of ice even with thermal socks on.

Lately, I have taken to sleeping in thermals, gloves, a scarf and a hat. Now, what I don't get is for a few hours  I was really cold. Suddenly, at around 3am I am lovely and cosy, I have been able to remove the gloves and the hat. As for my feet...they are toasty.

In fact earlier this morning I thought the following...

I had a light bulb moment. I have a fairly decent food store...so "perhaps if I don't have to buy food for a while and use what I have built up, I can afford to put the CH on and be warm and cosy again during the cold times...at present I am trying to avoid using the CH or electric.

Then perhaps the trick is to...buy and store food during the spring and summer months for future use over the year...Then money I might spend on food during Autumn/Winter might pay for the heating when it is most cold...this may/may not work but I just thought of that!"

Speaking of which over here in the UK I think my favourite TV cook is Nigel Slater(no doubt his programmes are shown around the world)but most of his meals are not fancy, quite easy and he tends to use what happens to be in the fridge/freezer. They are meals you think anyone could do. Anyone abroad you should be able to find his recipes and probably some videos on You Tube.

A lot of my meals are simple and similar but at least they are good and wholesome. I can make meals stretch. Earlier I did a casserole and I think I have enough for another couple of meals left over...

It has diced/sliced celery, potato, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, turnip, leeks, mushrooms, carrots, onions, sausage and some turkey steak and gravy. My other staple food is salad. So I guess I am at least getting all the vitamins and minerals that I should be...but I am going to try add some extra variety in my diet again...I have some nice fish(salmon, sole, mackerel, prawns)and meat(chicken, lamb, pork, turkey)but I also have cereal and porridge too, salad and fruit, various fresh vegetables too. So why not use what I have...

I'm going to try and come up with some sandwiches with different fillings. Even if I copy what they have in the supermarket, I am sure mine will be as good and probably cheaper...

So at least I am trying to keep body and soul together.

I managed to get my Turkey Roast for Christmas the other day, I was resigned to just having some sliced to use for the Christmas meal but found a joint worth £6 yellow stickered to approx £2 so that is now in the freezer. Sometimes there really is a bargain to be had and then other times the reductions are poor and all they'll knock off is 50p. And sometimes they leave it really late to reduce the prices when the supermarket is really empty like 9pm. On the other hand you may find you are too late and should go in around 8pm. it really is pot luck.

So for now perhaps I can keep my shopping costs down and just buy salad vegetables, fruit, bread and milk. And of course on Thursday the new discount Supermarket opens...the same day that I go to the hospital for my check up.
(Update November 4th, 2012)Go figure...last night into this morning I did nothing different regarding what I wear to bed or the bedclothes(I did not have the heating on or use a hot water bottle)and it was so cold outside there were clear skies and a frost on the roads, cars and roofs of the houses and yet the house was not as cold and I was lovely and warm in bed. I'm not complaining but when I would have thought I would be at my coldest I felt reasonable. I hope that there are many more times like that.