Random Jottings Of Gildersleeve

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Location: United Kingdom

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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Soon It Will Be New Year...

new year confetti emoticon
I send all my friends my best wishes as we end what has been for many a very difficult year and hope the new year is much kinder. Cheers!

champagne toast emoticon

Want To Make Some Bread?

There are so many types(perhaps it is easier just to buy it)but how easy is this? One recipe by a favourite TV cook of mine...no yeast and no waiting hours for it to rise. Made and baked within an hour.

Nigel's Lazy Loaf

May give it a go myself...You can use unflavoured(live)yoghurt instead of buttermilk.

It May Be Seen As Weakness

but thoughts do pop into your head. From where who knows. And I got to thinking I know many in society are by others and authorities often have no choice but to take action if the actions of one can affect the safety of many. And it is heartbreaking if someone you love is destroying themselves by using some form of recreational drugs whether that is drink or some drug that is smoked or taken into the bloodstream.

If addicted which is usually the consequence this is so difficult not least for the person taking the substance.

I don't think that I could criticise anyone who commits suicide, you must be so troubled to go through with such an idea. If yosu have not experienced depression or a mental illness it is too easy to dismiss.

And yet...feeling as I do tonight I can't condemn or put down anyone looking for a way to blank out emotional pain. I can quite understand how being able to dull thoughts, possibly sleep or live in another world appeals even if for a short period of time and you have to come back to reality.

Then again, I am not the kind of person who would get blotto or looking for someone to supply a fix. Am I stronger than others, I don't believe I could say, just that it is something I would not consider. Besides. I would be more scared of the consequences should I survive and find I had done myself damage which I would have to live with. And I suppose we all have to live through pain and grief finding our own way through it.

There was a programme on BBC Radio 4 yesterday "Something Understood" talking about letting go the programme can be heard anywhere in the world via the link but only for the next 7 days should you wish to listen but I may try and load some clips after the date via Audioboo...if I can see how that works...That is allowed I believe if you don't post large amounts of audio. And I will give credit to anything I post.

The programme quotes from Leonard Cohen's song Anthem "Don't dwell on what
has passed away, Or what is yet to be!"

Mark Tully(The presenter)as he makes  his closing pitch says that nothing is permanent so we are constantly letting go all the time whether we like it or not, people, experiences and things will go away but perhaps if we accept that we will worry less about what is to come but it is not easy when it is the pain of losing a loved one. I can give comfort, sympathy and support to others but that is still not the same as being the person who is feeling the experience for themselves.

A contributor who's husband passed away says something along the following lines.

Often after someone passes away, the next year you may find yourself measuring time by saying "Last December 25th we did this together etc..." and pick out various events shared perhaps a meal, going to the theatre etc...even time spent caring for someone but...then you enter a time where you cannot do that because that person did not see or experience that time with you or share the experience so your point of reference changes.

Perhaps this is how we learn never to forget but find a way of peace and acceptance, a way to go on...I mean Mum was around last February for her birthday and passed away in April this year that won't be the case...so I may say "This would have been Mum's birthday" but that's just it, would is not the same as "It is!" and of course I'll remember the day I lost Mum but that also is in the past now.

This is not meant to sound miserable or depressing. Perhaps it is a way of accepting things.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

I'm On Twitter...

But I read more than tweet. Well, when not much is going on and what I comment on needs more than a few characters it is not suited to me and as I post from the PC I am in the same surroundings. If I used a mobile phone every tweet would cost at least 12p. Now how quickly would that add up? Seven would be the same as 24/7 access to the whole internet.

It has allowed me to contact some of my favourite radio, tv and theatre personalities direct though who often kindly reply so that I do like about Twitter.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Many Years Ago...

they launched Voyager 1 into space...1977 I think. It's still going...so Marcus Chown tweeted the following image. The little dot that is circled...that is the planet we are all sharing.
                                                  This image was taken recently.
The image that I remember most is below taken by Apollo 8 in 1968
I also remember the crew of Apollo 8(Jim Lovell, William Anders and Martin Borman)quoting verses from the Bible and Borman ended by adding "And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you - all of you on the good Earth."

A Bit Political Again...

If you are reading this outside of the UK you may be unfamiliar with our political system. I'll link to some sites so you can should you wish to look in greater detail(but not official websites)as all that will get you is the official and biased line each party wishes to put across.

Get this, a Memo from some Lib Dem advisor has been leaked and mentioned in the news. The suggestion is that they must attack their Conservative coalition partners in the new year.

That the Conservatives can't be trusted to build a fair society. They praise themselves and say until the Lib Dems got into government, no one could stop the Tories from looking after the super rich.

It's a bit late now...Many feel that the Lib Dems can't be trusted and have not acted to put the breaks on the plans the Conservatives had and that all they were and are still concerned about was the fact that they had the chance to taste being in charge of the country(even if they had to share with another party)after many years in the wilderness and because it may not happen again, they gave up on their principles. They have already had to apologise on at least one of the policies they left behind in their manifesto. Someone even made a joke video of the Lib Dem leader's apology. Publicly he had to react to it and be gracious.

The hurt is happening and the policies that will really hurt the guy in the street have been given their support hence what is happening in 2013. Many will find income reduced whether in work or not as most of the essentials we need in our daily lives are continuing to increase(rent, utility bills, water rates, council tax)but they are introducing new charges and fees that will reduce a households income still further and may see some struggling to keep a rood over their heads and much of the help that people depend on from the State is being frozen, removed or replaced but they say that they want to keep the Conservatives anchored to the centre ground.

Mind they also say that Labour cannot be trusted to run the economy...make what you will of that looking at where we are at present.

It is damage limitation and they are watching their backs for the run up to the next election. I doubt that there are many more important policies to be released between now and then. The Conservatives have managed to get all they really wanted through Parliament and the Lib Dems have not put up much of an opposition. So even if they try to halt some of the remaining plans or amend them, most of the population could care less about what remains on the agenda.

Over all if you visit many sites, forums or watch political programmes the opinion of experts and the public that speak few if any believe that the Lib Dems will do well in the coming years if ever again.

Our main parties are now too similar in nature and most politicians are seen as professionals who often have no experience of life outside of an elitist education, they are usually from a business world often with inherited wealth(quite a few in the Government at present are millionaires)so that causes accusations of being out of touch with most of the population and many who go into politics are younger these days and then manage to stay their for decades.

But the only alternatives to me that are sometimes put forward as a way to worry and give the present parties a bloody nose lean the same way and could be even more extreme than what we have already.

Those are the BNP and UKIP.

Interesting but troubled times...I dislike where UK politics are at present and wonder if there is for good or bad a change coming and whether I will live to see it or will leave the world as disillusioned as I feel now. Or being the age I have reached if I am really bothered.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Had A Wander To The Supermarket...

I needed some eggs...whilst there, I managed to get a small container of Blueberries reduced to 20p(approx 40c)and two onions, one swede, one parsnip and three carrots reduced from £1.50($2.41)to 15p(approx 35C)

Yes, I guess that I really find it hard to believe that I go out looking for such bargains...even more harder to accept that is if I ever have to move further away from my present home(and my mobility is difficult now)food at a normal price would cost so much more if you add taxi/bus fares but if I had gone by taxi from my present home I would have added another £6($9.67)to my shopping bill. I'd rather save that or put it towards more food or something essential like rent or heating. But just think my bargain tonight would have cost so much more.

I see two more public figures have left us...

Fontella Bass(Soul Singer)have to admit I only know one song of her's "Rescue Me"

General Norman Schwarzkopf

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Circle Of Life...

I see that we have lost some greats again from the world of films and music around this festive time...Jack Klugman(TV's Odd Couple and Quincy ME)but known for his part in the film Twelve Angry Men. Charles Durning,Richard Rodney Bennett and Gerry Anderson.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Because It's Christmas...

Only 365 Days To Go -  Brad Paisley happy holidays text emoticon

The Queens Speech...

Every Christmas at 3pm across virtually every broadcaster our Monarch gives a speech with her kind of take on how things are and wish her subjects(us)well.

But the way it works these days, she is not supposed to say anything controversial or give an inkling how she leans politically.

There will always be arguments as to whether "She" writes her own message. Whether it has to be cleared with the Government. Whether they write it for her. I always hear what has been said but gave up a long time ago on actually making the effort to watch or listen to it specially. Not that I am anti royalist as such. I probably don't have strong views either way. I still think I prefer having a Head of State rather than a President but our Prime Ministers behave like Presidents anyhow and they hold the real power anyhow. I do understand why many ask "But what does the Queen do?"

I don't think anything the Royals do affects my life in any way, usually we hear that she brings in a lot of tourists. If that is so perhaps that brings more money into the economy but whether it is invested in a way that benefits the population, I have no idea. I'm not sure how you could prove it.

But I do think that this year she fell into the trap of going on too much about the Olympics and Paralympics* and probably just repeated the same mantra that the Government did when they took place. They were used as a smokescreen to hide a lot of the problems this country is facing, lots of stories have come to light that throws much of what we told about the positives of the event at the time were not as we believed.

It was a success because a lot of unpaid volunteers were involved in the organisation, our armed forces and police too. Many tickets were unavailable for the "Ordinary" members of society and given to corporate or VIP's and often were too expensive anyhow. It looked good on TV around the world. It is possible to be too cynical but equally many have been taken in by the spin.

At a time when many of this country are struggling on low wages, trying to keep their jobs, are unemployed, may lose the roof over their heads with all the changes coming in etc...we needed a speech(even if just said cosmetically)to try and give the population at large some hope regarding the hard times we are facing.

This is why in so many ways the media, politicians and the establishment are seen as being out of  touch with so many of the population.

*Who believes this survey? They asked the grand sum of 1,002 respondents...and we have a population of 60+Million. It still does not dispel the possibility that people have bought into the propaganda that was being put around by the press and media. You could feel how if you had a negative view of the event, broadcasters did all they could to avoid putting you on air or make you feel as though there was something wrong with you.

Christmas Day...

I should have continued to clear rubbish away but will do that in the next few days...TBH, I couldn't be bothered.

I took ill and was really out of it once I reached church last night, I sat for most of the service but stayed having made the effort. I felt really strange. I was disorientated. I also had a tingling sensation in my right arm and hand(thankfully not the left which is associated with heart attacks)

I did not take my communion either but will next time that I attend.

I slept best part of the night away and have most of the day. I am much improved. My first Christmas without Mum and alone but I am quite positive, not too sad and reasonably calm. I feel quite peaceful.

I have spent the day listening to the radio and found some programmes that would have pleased Mum but I don't feel sad. The music that we both loved. TV has not really served up anything special. I am sure if I had turned it on I could have been taken in and found enough to watch but again too many repeats and a lot of the light hearted shows that made Christmas special just are no longer made any more. It is all soaps and films.

I have had to re-arrange my fridge/freezer to avoid some items becoming out of date and that means I have had to let a few things go...to save the more expensive items so I have thrown out some fish fingers, Yorkshire puddings and a bag of rice.

I have delayed my Christmas meal and kept it simple and gone for a small salad, a yogurt and a mug of coffee. But nothing will be wasted. I will probably have chicken, vegetables, potatoes and cranberry tomorrow. Perhaps followed by Christmas pudding or a mince pie. If what I have is still used next year that's OK...

I could change my mind of course and go for one of my usual stews in the slow cooker, you know... lots of vegetables. But I can cook a meal very quickly using saucepans, that way vegetables remain sepertate. Most can be cooked within 10-15 minutes and potatoes in around 20 minutes. The time can be speeded up and amount of energy reduced if I start with hot water rather than warming it up from cold on the hobs.

Update:I decided to have some of the fishfingers for supper with buttered bread and so I have not thrown out that much in the end.

Who knows what this year will bring, I hope it is not as bad as feared but I think many will find it a difficult one and many will be suffering. But at least Christmas has passed much better than I thought that it would.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve...

It's cold and windy outside...but still plan to venture out to church for the Service around Midnight and yet..I dozed off and woke with a start. Doing that more and more of late...

Been getting a tinge of stomach ache these past days. Enough to know its there but not enough to say I am in a lot of pain. Hope it goes as quick as it came...can't blame eating too much...

Its kind of tradition on Xmas Eve around here that Santa goes around the streets in a kind of open top van with lights and bells shouting Merry Christmas and waving. Gives a few sweets away and some children have a photo taken. He's all over the town and I think it is a free service.

Thought I'd missed him but as I walked up my street after being in the SM who should be parked virtually outside my home? But Santa who waved and shouted Merry Christmas to me too.

For a little while things seemed almost like old times and this big kid of mature years was waving back and shouting "Merry Christmas Santa" as enthusiastically as anyone. One big softie!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Back To My Usual Self?

Well, I am managing to take an interest in some TV and Radio again...I am sleeping reasonably well, when I can get comfortable.  It's funny when you have a health condition how it can vary and every day is different.

Early yesterday afternoon I had to send in some dreaded forms that may/may not see me continuing to receive the help I need from the State. Having to have a medical. I was like a 90 year old man, shuffling along and in pain and taking ages to get where I needed to go. Sorry that is unfair to some elderly who are quite fit and can give youngsters a run for their money.

I went out around 9pm to a local supermarket and though not brilliant the difference was noticeable.

Well, it looks as though I will have a festive meal on Christmas Day with all the trimmings but not necessarily Turkey, it could end up being chicken or pork. I have quite a lot of meat that I have acquired when the supermarket reduces items near their sell by date. I have even wondered if I should have fish...I have lemon sole, sea bass, salmon, tuna streak and mackerel.

I have quite a few options. Tonight I made some meatballs. Now this was done in a way I had never thought of before but I have seen a few TV cooks do this...They have been splitting sausages and taking the meat out of the casing. You know what it was only four chipolata sausages but I was amazed how much meat was in there. I'll do it again and do something perhaps more adventurous. I just had baked beans, sliced mushrooms and fried eggs...

Next Year...

Many will tighten their belts. Struggling to keep a roof over their heads and seeing their income(working or not working)for whatever the reason but please lets hope that most of us spending time with loved one's, friends or alone can have at least a rest from the worries of this year and what the future may bring.

I wish all a Happy Christmas also a peaceful and better New Year.

I plan to have a quiet time. Somewhat reflective I suppose. I am fortunate in that I have plenty of food in the fridge/freezer, in my food store and can make something nice either from scratch or by cheating using a combination of items and being single I can prepare my meal very quickly and decide on the day.

It may not be Turkey or Chicken I don't know, I have some nice fish or alternative meat that was on offer that I am still working through. But I will accompany it with all the "Trimmings" and I also have plenty of cake, desserts and Christmas Puddings/mince pies etc...to get through too. And though not a big drinker, as I originally purchased some to celebrate and share with Mum for her birthday and the Festive season(but never did)I have quite a lot to choose from(including some champagne)which I would not normally buy and probably will not consider in the future. I may not be able to afford or may see it as a waste of money.

But I will have a little tipple and raise a glass to my friends on here and wish everyone the best. I may also light a few candles.

And I will do much as I do any other day...have a sleep, try and stay warm, listen to some radio and try and watch a little TV. There is nowhere to go, no public transport and everywhere is closed.

For readers abroad many in the UK have had their festive season and plans to be with loved ones disrupted not by snow but due to rain and many areas have suffered flooding. Here, my garden is waterlogged but so far any flooding has not happened. Around 2am this morning without warning gale force winds came from nowhere and it was a wild night but it has helped drive the rain away and the sun is shining. It has not totally gone away but it has died down quite a bit.

I am hoping to attend a carol service early this evening all being well and may attend the late service tomorrow on Christmas Eve into Christmas Day around Midnight.

So once again Happy Christmas to you all...smileys singing carols emoticon

For Christmas...

Is Christmas Time...a time lapse video. Why is it here? Just because I like it! I think it is so clever.
Much busier in London than here and the neighbouring towns that's for sure...

Monday, December 17, 2012

This Is A Quiet Area...

Normally it is but as I was about to go out for a little shopping on Saturday afternoon(nothing exciting)just some mushrooms, brussels sprouts, leeks and celery. And there was a knock on the door and the shout of "Police!"

Turns out one of our next door neighbours had his car broken into and as he's a builder an electric or power drill had been stolen and no one had heard or seen a thing. I don't understand anyone leaving such expensive items in a car when they are home. It transpires and this is even worse to me and tempting fate...he had left his wallet with cash in the car and even digital cameras.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

One Of My Not So Good Days...

They come and they go. I can't really afford to spend money at present and knowing how tough it is likely to get doesn't help. Had a letter from the council that gives me an idea how much extra I have to find weekly to live from April(It won't be easy)think that will be another £22 per week but with the worry that income will be reduced or scrapped means that other ways to absorb some of the extra outgoings may not be possible.

I have my forms which will have to filled in during the next few days whilst try to hang onto hope that the dreaded letter or phone call that follows the assessment will not be"Bad" news... 

Many have/are going through the system already and those of us who have to take the Government's shilling due to illness, caring for others etc...I know others are struggling, many who are working and because wages are too low, many are still having to have their wages still made up by the State.

I was talking to an employee(ok anecdotal)in a national retailer's yesterday. Luckily, her husband has a job that is offering a full time job but without her part time job, they would not be able to manage but equally if she worked more hours they would actually be worse off.

So a catch 22 situation. They keep saying that there are more jobs now and more people in work but recently there have been a number of reports that kind of contradict what the Government says and the statistics that they put out.

The truth is most of the jobs are temporary or part time and so there is little security for the employee and as they are part time less money is coming into the house. And here is the twist, you have to work thirty hours before being entitled to any help. So unless you can find two jobs you could be in real trouble.  And if you have a less than reliable public transport service so you can get to work or can afford to run a car(which is not a luxury any more)you are stuck. It's quite frightening.

The problem is that most of what is earned goes to paying rent, council tax and soon the bedroom tax. And then for many it is a decision of whether to heat or eat.

OK I managed a little treat out last night but that was because I cut back on other things, just to get out into some company for a couple of hours helps stop me feeling depressed or worrying(but you still have to come back to reality)

Even the event I attended cost approx £12 by the time you take in the bus fare and ticket. That is quite inexpensive by today's standards and I doubt you could get a night out for much cheaper especially when you have to include the cost of getting there and home. But on what many are surviving even that can seem quite costly.

Where others were having a few drinks from the bar I did without. I took myself(and wasn't stopped from doing so)a couple of small bottles of water flavoured with Vimto squash(and a couple of packet of crisps)

It was a lovely couple of hours and everyone was happy...Jez Lowe and The Bad Pennies.

Remember when I said Darlington looked dead the other night? I do wonder how businesses are staying open. Even in Bishop Auckland going to the show I had to pass some very big pubs and they looked warm and inviting and remember we are talking a Saturday night, some were empty or only had at best three or four people propping up the bar.

When you are having to pay for staff and keeping the place warm, lighting, rent and rates etc...is it any wonder so many places are closing? Once again, even the takeaways were all empty as I passed them. It's quite miserable really.

Many places are not surviving, I purchased an Alice band for Mum last time I was in the same town centre(It sold all kinds of costume jewellery and fashion accessories)when I went past yesterday it had disappeared and had become a mobile phone shop.


Unrequited Love...

Was it? Is it really Unrequited Love? Who knows...It wasn't to be, so in the true sense of the word as I never made it obvious or did anything about it at the time perhaps it could have been, might have been returned had I made it obvious. She was at school, but had a boyfriend. Decades have passed.

I have never heard or seen her or most of my school friends since leaving, chances are they all moved away and made a life for themselves. Most have married and had children of their own.

Did they do all they hoped? Fulfilling their dreams? Or did things not go as planned? Did they have joy or sadness in their lives or both?

I'll never know. My best friend probably has money but is he really happy? He returned some years ago and hunted me and Mum out. It was almost as if it was something that he had to do. He has a broken relationship behind him, a child he confessed to having and the last I heard he had a job as a holiday rep.

Is he happy? Is his life worth more than mine? Probably not.

What will be, will be.

I awoke feeling wistful and why because I have dreamed of the one lost love I had(well never had)from all those years ago but in my dream I came as close as I ever could to succeeding. I had almost confessed in a note after meeting again some years later of my feelings and had the blessing(Kind of)of at least one of her parents. I even overheard that I was in with a chance...then I woke up!

That happens in dreams...

"Let no one who loves be called altogether unhappy. Even love unreturned has its rainbow." JM Barrie(Author)


Thursday, December 13, 2012

I Got My Christmas Cake :o)

and a few extras besides...of the Yellow stickered variety.

The check out girl said if it is too much I can freeze it into portions and make it last longer. That's good to know. I have some Mr Kipling Luxury Mince Pies £1.80 for a box of six but for an extra 20p there were two boxes so that's twelve pies which seemed a better buy to me. Also some Mr Kipling Winter Warmers on a similar offer. So I will try and have a Christmas full of nice things to eat and drink and put the effort in. Of course I am missing the most important element but will do my best.

I managed to fall on the way home. I am sure if anyone was watching me attempt not to, I looked as though I was drunk. I'd like to blame the icy paths but I think I just lost my balance, the only good thing is that I fell on grass not on the path or road itself.

Tonight I managed some more "nice" things and though I spent around £6(I saved approx £7)and I can stretch the roast sliced pork and prawns over a few meals and sandwiches. But I have something worth £4 which cost me £2(a little more than I normally budget for food for one day but something I would not normally consider it is a treat a kind of fancy Roast with potato, butternut squash, pine nuts, port and other ingredients)

It's a bit fancy TBH.

A brass band was in the entrance of the supermarket playing carols and it gave me a melancholic feeling, I suspect that they always will...I found myself thinking of when I was a child and I felt safe as though I could come to no harm and all was well as Mum and Dad were there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's A Cold And Frosty One...

I managed to get through to the remembrance service in Darlington and it took place at a church I have seen for decades but have never ever been inside(but hey there are many I have never entered around the country and never will)St. Cuthbert's Church is approx 800 years old. It was emotional and again I found my voice breaking as I attempted to sing the carols but I did find the strength to sing some as strong as I ever have. A dedication was hung on the Christmas Tree to Mum and Dad and we were able to light a candle in memory of our loved one's.

I did not stay for refreshments, the bus service is rubbish and to stay could have meant hanging around for perhaps another hour or so on what was a very cold nght. To be honest it was pretty cold in the church and I had on thermals, thermal socks, two scarfs, a shirt, a thick jumper, trousers(of course)and a jacket for the service but I never got out of wearing the coat. And as soon as it was over I was back into my woollen hat and gloves too.

I managed to time it so I did not have to wait too long for a bus home but passed some businesses close to the church for such a vibrant town as I remember it, especially the retail centre of the town it is "Dead!"  There was what looked like an ice rink in the market place with people ready to help the public and security staff...no one using it.

A jumping horse carrousel closed and desserted. Another Christmas themed area in another location was desserted too. The little supermarket had perhaps one customer as I passed by, most takeaways empty with staff standing around, a resturant had two couples and again staff looking for something to do. How are these businesses surviving? People aren't spending.

It all looked so folorn.

Well I caught a bus that brought me back to town via a route nearest to the new "Live" music venue I have found on my town and so I qlighted at the stop nearest to the club where it takes place. A small walk and I was in the warmth of this club with such friendly people. And there was still virtually two hours of entertainment, all local people, many are not professionals or they used to be but the quality
of these performers is great. So I purchased a raffle ticket and a drink which lasted that time. By it was cold last night. Even on that short walk to the club from the bus stop and with all my extra clothes I was cold.

When I came home I made myself some pease putting and ham butties and made my way to bed. TBH I have stayed there as it is so cold and there isn't much to do at present.

Think I'll have a look out and claim my small win on the Euromillions(it's only small but it will pay for the next three draws)and it saves me paying new money. Also, I hope to buy a cheap Christmas cake. And buy some of the vitamins I mentioned in the previous post. The only one's I think I will have difficulty getting in town are the Ginger capsules.

So I'm off for a hot mug of coffee and away...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A New Day...

Sunny but it seems very chilly.

Bit of a late night night watching a little TV on the laptop in bed. Mixed variety of choice. I gave a new edition of the TV quiz "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" for Christmas with so called celebs but it has lost it's appeal and in 45 minutes few if any questions were asked and there was a lot of the time full of small talk. I don't think I'll bother again.

I watched a lighthearted but usually good programme that advises you how to save money and make your money go further but again there wasn't much to help people like me. They told how to save and make money out of interest but if I save more than £6,000 I lose help financially, I am not allowed to save even for the future even if I promise not to use it now.

I could not afford to save because income is so low and if I had savings unless it was won or inherited and it was silly money I could easily spend £200 a week if very frugal but in reality to have some kind of life with some fun nearer £300. So that's £15,600 annually! Spent on essentials nit luxuries(Rent, council tax, utility bills, food, bedroom tax, perhaps running a car, paying fares for a bus ride/taxi ride, insurance etc...)

Even if you found yourself with a gift of £50,000 in someones will that's all very nice and who would turn it down? But that would at best last you two to three years. You also need not to be paying a weekly rent or mortgage and have savings more in the £250,000+ range to really benefit(That would only last 15 years)

Is it any wonder savings are hard to build up or have there for a rainy day/later in life? No wonder so many of us need help or so many honest people have to be a little dishonest so they can survive(you know those who share wealth with family and friends, if they have any)or hide it(remember the stories about older people who used to hide it in the mattress)or those who do some work and are paid cash in hand.

Most are not hardened criminals just struggling to get by from day to day.

So again, I'm not sure of the worth of such programmes. In my circumstances I have not been able to pay into a pension scheme either so if I live long enough to retire I suspect my income will be pretty low too.

I forgot my troubles by finding an early screening of a special of Rod Stewart(with guests Kylie Minogue and Michael Bublé)with a show set in a castle in Scotland and mainly Christmas standards which is also quite a good promotional vehicle for his new Christmas CD. It is kind of funny though having someone ask what he and his wife how they celebrate Christmas time and what gifts they give "To someone who has everything!" and you hear that his wife gave him a boat for "The lake " they have at one of their homes in England.

It may not be as grand as it sounds but how many of us have a lake at our property? I'm not envious but in these austere times...

My final viewing was by chance and of happier times I found a comedy series from 38 years ago. Where did all those years go? I was still a teenager(and still had not started working)Mum and Dad were still in my life and it was quite gentle humour. In the States it was remade as "Three's Company" but over here starred Richard O'Sullivan, Paula Wilcox, Sally Thomsett, Yootha Joyce and Brian Murphy and was known as "Man About The House" so I watched a couple of them.

Well, I'm going to get myself dressed and shaved. And get ready to go through to a neighbouring town and attend a memorial Christmas carol service to remember Mum and Dad and put a little dedication on the Christmas tree. If I get there a little early the theatre is nearby and I may go and collect my tickets for some shows I am hoping to see next year(they are all paid for)

Then if I can get back to town in time I hope to attend part of the live music night I have found on the town(I manage an hour or so if I am lucky)but the the service may over run and buses are not very frequent any more and only one of them goes on a route that is near to the venue.

As difficult as things are I am trying to improve my health in little ways by eating the right food(even if smaller portions)and also trying to add some vitamins etc...to the mix so I have a mineral and general vitamin tablet daily and I also have added Ginkgo Biloba which is good for eye health(macular degeneration, glaucoma, Reynaud’s disease)and I do have eye problems and have had occasions where my fingers and toes are cold and numb. Glucosamine to try and help my joints which can be painful especially my knees. Ginger to help reduce cholesterol. So we'll see how it goes.

Well, I'm away to get ready, have something to eat and I have to wash my trousers(yes I said trousers)I managed to get some paint on them when I did some painting over the weekend and being emulsion hopefully it will come out of them.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Mixed Day...

Tried to do a little shop and have some time out of the house, that was a struggle, I don't know how I made it back home, I am now having a lay down and plan to stay put for at least an hour.

I managed to spend more than planned but have some nice things that will make a few meals/sandwiches. In reality I saved approx £8 even though I spent £11.

Eight chipolata sausages, jaffa cakes, eight limited edition yogurts, turkey and pork sausage, milk, four beef steak burgers with vintage cheddar cheese. A non food item of sewing needles. When I have those beef burgers(and I thought long and hard before giving in)it will be the first time I have eaten any beef for almost thirty years. Unless, you include my recent eating of corned beef.

I must admit I avoided it on health grounds. And still will have to be careful due to my kidney problems I eat smaller portions of meat anyhow. But my reason for avoiding it was the stories of how some people lost their body and brain functions. I am still a bit wary but think that I may risk it now. They say if you eat protein the best choices are chicken and turkey or fish.

I will have to try and finish my tasks around the house, I only have approx 40 hours to get everything sorted. I think I can complete the little bit of painting and clear the rubbish in the outhouse by bedtime tonight. The kitchen might take an hour to tidy.

Then a quick vacuum and I can do no more. But I am reasonably prepared for the visit that the Landlord is supposed to be making here. The one job that may not be completed is the rubbish I was going through on the landing so I may have to bag that up again and go through that later in the week but I have managed to fill four wheelie bins so far.

One sad aspect today is that not only was John Lennon assassinated in 1980 but the first real accident that affected Mum in her last few years happened in 2008 when Mum fell downstairs and crushed a vertebrae in her spine. And it was a very scary time. Little did we know what the coming years was to bring.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Can't Help It...

Bought myself some clothes at the charity shop. Well, at 99p how can I be robbed? I have three nice  jumpers to keep me warm and even found a men's dressing gown. So that's all for £3.96 and I also found a grey and black pom pom hat at the discount supermarket for approx £3.50.

So I think that is reasonable value.

I have had to go slow and could not do such tasks on a regular bases but I have almost cleared the rubbish in the house, painted the radiators where some paint had come off exposing the base metal. I probably should have painted the whole radiator but they look better already. Good enough for me. I had one strip of wallpaper to paint(that's done)and managed to plaster a couple of small cracks. Not great DIY but again good enough.

All being well next week I have two memorial carol services to attend where I can remember both Mum and Dad. On my town this Sunday and in a church at a neighbouring town on Tuesday. I still hope to get back to the music club afterwards. Next Saturday I see Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies in concert again at Bishop Auckland Town Hall. Hopefully, I will still find some joy at this time of year. My first Christmas on my own...

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Price Of Dying...

During my clear out of rubbish I came across a statement from the Funeral Directors and how much the service and cremation of my 103 year old Auntie cost in 1997.


My dear Mum's service and cremation in 2012 and virtually the same £1,300. So what's that? A rise of approx £85 year on year. So if I survive another 20 years mine will come in at around £3,000.

I'd like to pay it off now but I am allowed £6,000 of savings in my bank so hopefully there will always be enough to cover my demise. For now any money I have is better spent on me trying to stay warm, keep a roof over my head, eating reasonably well and paying for an odd treat. Sod what happens when I am dead and gone...I won't be there if you see what I mean.

Update:I think I may have look at this again, I found a document of Mum's estimated funeral costs and it was just under £3,000 and I think that sounds right so the increase of funeral costs therefore is even worse. And the two that seem to have pushed the cost up is what the crematorium charge and the fee the vicar charges. Mum was worth whatever it costs and if money was no object I'd happily spend more. But many do think that at a time when we are at our most vulnerable we are taken advantage of.

Was Lucky Again On The...

Yellow stickered stuff again at the supermarket yesterday but the trouble is that where some stick to the same time of day for putting the food out, mine varies which makes it difficult to hit the store at the right time and they seem to favour around 5pm more. Now that is ok as I can go there anytime. But if I was working on a low wage or on some kind of work training programme I would lose out.

Anyhow, if I had the room in the freezer yesterday some of the bargains were great but as I haven't I could only buy a few items...I risked some items that I might normally have thought twice of purchasing...A Tuna Steak, Fresh Mackerel, Dover Sole and sliced Roast Pork with stuffing. All worth £10.16 and I paid £6. It all helps.

So unless I can get that into the freezer perhaps I will have to think about fish for the next few days and/or sandwiches to use up the ham and pork I have in the fridge. I still have some slices of corned beef to use up and I have used that longer than I was supposed to(I don't stick rigidly to dates on food)but even I think now I'll let the few slices that remain to be thrown away for safety. May give it to the birds...

Well, I'm away to try and declutter my home for a few hours and see what rubbish I can get rid of and I may have a look out on my town tonight there is a  sports club/pub tat has a regular sort of music night if my mobility was better I'd walk but it is quite a distance away and the buses are not regular and it still needs a little walk from the nearest stop. So I may have to use a taxi which will add £5 to the cost but I think the night is either free or costs perhaps £3 or the price of a drink and raffle. So for me I may have to spend £10 others may be spending nearer £5.

I'll see how I feel about attending as the day goes on. Tonight's guest plays guitar and sings songs mainly of the 30's and 40's.

Update:Made a start on the rubbish and managed to get rid of quite a bit, I am going to the show, I will have a drink and there may be a raffle so I may by some tickets. After all I will be expected to spend something, that's the idea of getting entertainment in after all. I will do some more work when I come back in.

So I'll have a meal at 5pm...think I'll have chips, garlic sausage and eggs, then I'll get myself tidied ready to go out. A simple meal because of speed but also I had to create space in the freezer to put things in but that meant taking things out. For date reasons but also what is now in the freezer is worth more.

My new(but cheap)wristwatch packed up last week so I went down the small market and found the guy who replaces watch batteries, thankfully that's all it was.

The weather is improved a bit today but as it is late afternoon it is starting to get dark and I can feel it is getting colder. My hands are cold. May have a nice hot mug of coffee.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Another Day...

It's quite pleasant outside, pity there is nowhere to go and if there was it costs money to get there, even if it was a walk through the park in a neighbouring town.

The Food Bank was collecting again in the local Supermarket and I did not quite catch the deal but they were matching what is given by those who donate food in some way by 30%(not sure if that is the value of goods or money)

Found some yellow stickered items(sausages, ham, mixed salad)worth £17 and I paid £7. I can get quite a few meals/sandwiches out of that little lot.

Went to the new discount supermarket and got some extra items for the cold weather(a woollen hat, a pair of gloves with that thinsulate stuff in them which makes them warmer, a hat that is made of similar material and for a change to wearing a scarf, a fleece neck warmer.

Biggest mistake in a long time...I allowed my supermarket vouchers to expire by two days...but worse, they had reprinted vouchers not spent previously(I don't think they arrived the last time that they should have)so value wise how much do you think I have lost out on?

£28.50($45.64)!and if I could have doubled up(and that was on offer in November)that is nearer £60($96)

I could have purchased more food or something a bit special, clothes, CD's...who knows what...

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Food Banks...

Not boasting or trying to be better than anyone else but in a local supermarket on my town I found they were collecting for a Food Bank. So I did not buy anything for myself but had a little shop just to give to the appeal.

In passing I asked where they were based...

I am proud(but ashamed)that it is based on my town at "My" church. I had no idea that it existed. I'm only ashamed in that it is so sad that they are needed in a supposedly rich country in the 21st Century which they say the UK is. And more of them are opening all the time.

The people giving the most are those who have the least to give themselves.

A church is so much more than a place of worship but as numbers dwindle even they are trying to do so much with a smaller amount of money which they need for repairs, heating, electric and no doubt other expenses that I have not thought of.

It is ironic how much food is wasted and thrown away by many supermarkets, yet the best place to catch people to ask for a donation of food is the supermarket.