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.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

They Live In Another World...

I was watching the tv series Food and Drink on Monday. One reporter was criticising our return to "Comfort" food. Well, I like it. It is simple, tasty...often less expensive and it does not necessarily mean it is unhealthy. During the last war when food was rationed and people mainly ate vegetables it is said we were probably were more healthy.

Michel Roux Jr made a version of Shepherd's Pie mainly vegetable based. Then we had some pretencious wine expert suggesting what drink to have with it and one of her choices was some fancy Champagne. How often would you get "Champers" out to drink with such a meal?

Probably costing for one bottle what many people may have to spend for a week or more on food. It turns out that this expert happens to run her own business selling wines etc...

The other night I took ages to decide if I should treat myself to some cider £2.49 for four cans...They will probably last me at least a month. My other pleasure has been closed to me, though not a big drinker I was happily having an odd can of larger/bitter for 25p a time.

I would love at least one cooking programme that would show quick and simple food. Thankfully, I know most of this anyhow...but a lot of the charities, though their hearts are in the right place there is a limit what they can do...all they do is state the obvious like wearing lots of clothes and using hot water bottles to stay warm and having lot of warm drinks but they can't put more money in your pocket so you can buy good food.

Though I hate this Government and what they are doing and they won't be worrying about what they eat or the heating of their homes etc...and they even  have a food allowance as part of their set up, even they could be doing more to promote healthy easy eating on a budget either in leaflets, on websites or other ways...

Even the official Government backed plan to get people eating better push meals that are quite expensive and many of the plans to improve health cost money to do. We really need to learn from the past.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

If This Continues...

I'm getting up...I want to go to bed...but all I am doing is coughing...we'll see how it goes...

You know there are so many places I'd love to travel locally but because the public transport is poor, it is difficult to connect. I would even occasionally consider staying overnight in a hotel and come home the next day...that is not as easy as it could be either otherwise I could see some cracking shows that will never happen locally.

Anyhow another show has been pencilled into the local theatre's itinerary for April. on this tour it is fairly basic just him and a guitar rather than with a band. However, all being well I have booked a ticket. He is better known as the lead singer with Dr Hook. He gave them their sound...

It's Dennis Locorriere. So we'll see how it goes...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Still Got My Head Cold...

And given in to buying some sweets to ease the throat(it's not sore)but when I get the tickle...I sure can cough! I may stay up tonight as I cough less when not in bed and I must have driven next door bonkers with all the coughing I was doing overnight. I can at least go to bed during the day when they are out and try and sleep.

I may take some paracetemols and do my own version of Lemsip later(after all)all it is is warm lemonade and paracetemols and you pay silly money for that. I can do it for approx 20p a drink. I assume there is something similar in the US and other countries...

As such I don't feel that bad considering, its more annoying than anything else.

The Food Programme...

On BBC Radio took the subject of whether eating three square meals a day at a set time is no longer happening and that people are spending their time snacking or grazing and that sitting at a table and having a meal with "The Family" is a thing of the past.

I have yet to hear the programme for myself(it is available on line to listen to or download)The Death Of Three Square Meals Its available for approx one year from now...

I would say that it is probably true and I can think of a number of reasons off the top of my head.

Working strange hours.
Many of us live alone.
Many are on a low income.
Many no longer feel that they need three meals so often can survive on one or two meals daily.
As you get older and more sedentary in your lifestyle you do not feel as hungry.
However, it does not necessarily mean that you will not get all the vitamins and minerals your body requires daily or the calorific value.
Also you can top up your vitamins/minerals with some supplements.

If you have a close family and do live together or close by it is nice to share a meal but modern life makes it very difficult.

And the only we become many of us end up in care either in a home or have carers coming in o our homes. And again because of time restraints the food that is served up unless you are pretty wealthy leaves a lot to be desired.

I eat when hungry. I don't worry what time of day or night it is. I don't worry if I have what would be seen as a proper meal or picking on throughout the day as most what I eat will be salad or fruit based anyhow.

Today, was not a bad day in the reduced area of the Supermarket and I timed it right...I found £20($30.38)of salmon for £2.10($3.19)£2.50($3.80)of potatoes for 75p($1.14)and £5($7.59)of sausages for £2.50. So that seemed quite good to me.

I am thinking of making some home made fish cakes(flaked salmon, leeks, mashed potato and cheese)coated in egg and bread crumbs...

And possibly another quick meal Scrambled Eggs with some flaked samon included.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I Don't Know Why But...

feel at my most peaceful and as though nothing can hurt me during the evening and into the early hours and I dislike and am at my most unhappiest during the daytime. And it must be a subconscious thing but I feel worse as it approaches the weekend and Sunday, I start to improve as Sunday comes and goes. I suspect if I was put into therapy they would say it coincides with the fact Mum passed away on Sunday.

I've spent most of my day fighting off a head cold that came on suddenly but so far my eating lots of fruit and vegetables, drinking lots of fluids and yes taking my vitamin supplements. Lots of staying cosy under the duvet and listening to easy listening music. Fingers crossed it will leave as quickly as it arrived.

I don't feel as "Bunged" up as I did and if I can shake off the tickle in my throat so I don't cough I'll be fine...so far I have avoided the throat lozenges and cough mixtures...for the first time I have some Ecninacea which so far I have not opened the box.

If I fight it off as quickly as it seems, it is kind of funny that considering I suffer from an Immune Definciancy disorder on top of other medical problems yet I don't get many colds. That could be because I do not get into many situations where I am with a lot of people socially unless you count the supermarket and recently some of the theatre shows I have managed to attend lately. When you that and are on steroids you are supposed to avoid situations that compromise your health.

I want to shake this off as I don't want to attend a comedy show this Thursday with a cough...If I still have it I'll pull out attending it.

How Countries End Up...

I have said before that history repeats itself...

I came across this quote on the internet today about how countries progress and it seems awfully close to what we are witnessing. Extremes of political dogma whether left or right are dangerous and are similar in that both result in the masses being controlled.

You tend to find countries with the most freedom start having it removed and those with the least freedom eventually get more...even if it takes years...

Here's the quote anyhow...

Stage 1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
Stage 2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
Stage 3. From courage to liberty;
Stage 4. From liberty to abundance;
Stage 5. From abundance to complacency;
Stage 6. From complacency to apathy;
Stage 7. From apathy to dependence;
Stage 8. From dependence back into bondage;

1887 Alexander Tyler

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I Won't Comment...

but came across the following articles and feel they deserve to be forwarded. I am trying to look at them unbiasedly and keep politics out of it. Looking at it moralistically. How society looks after its own...or doesn't.

Callum's List

Food Poverty

Should you read the link on food poverty what stood out in the article for me was the following "The report noted the "staggering" fact that one in 10 families in Canada lived in food insecure households. It found that charity-based food aid had proliferated and nearly 900,000 Canadians were accessing foodbanks each month."

And in the case of the UK...

"One of the most robust sources of food poverty data is compiled by the Trussell Trust, which currently oversees 309 foodbanks and is opening new ones at the rate of three a week. In 2010 it fed 60,000 people. In the last 10 months it has issued food parcels to 245,000"

"For the first time in the UK you have got a developed country, the seventh richest in the world, unable to ensure working people can feed, clothe and shelter themselves," said Jamie Burton, chairman of Just Fair"

Only a few media outlets are giving publicity to the problems we face and often it falls on the internet to get the word out but that can give such stories a feeling of being subvasive and almost as though it is being done under cover and there is something wrong about doing so. That many genuine people are seen as being extreme. Most are just genuinely concerned citizens.

Sometimes...You Find An Article That You Can Emphisise With...

And by chance this happened during the early hours of this morning. It was written three years ago...so isn't new. The person mentioned is appearing here in my town in a few weeks, it appears that she is on a circuit where she talks to people in a semi religious way at churches, this particular event includes some kind of meal but I don't plan to attend on this occasion. I am also a little surprised that the tickets are costing £10 in such difficult times.

However, in approx 60 days Mum will have have been passed away for a year, where has the time gone? We are not all fortunate to have a close family and have our loved ones throughout our lives and I hate to compare whether loss in early life is worse than later. No time is good. I'm not sure that I will ever accept being totally alone but just have to try and come to terms with it. It comes to us all in time.

I came across the following. So understanding. Comments show that many people feel in a similar way. Of course a few comments are negative and not everyone will feel the same but I think it is worth reading.

Mum's Empty Chair

Friday, February 22, 2013

I Ended Up At The Supermarket Again...Sorry.

And managed to kill almost 2 hours which considering that I know it like the back of my hand, have a limited income and buy very little, I don't know how I make time drag as long as I do.

I don't buy newspapers and magazines(sweets rarely)as the money can be spent on food and made to stretch further. I still try to buy one magazine and hope that I always can as it helps make my time on the internet better. That's my treat!

I found a chicken dinner worth £2.50 reduced to 46p(It did)but I have had better I have to admit(I am happy that I did not pay the full price)it had two small roast potatoes, sliced chicken and vegetables. If I was going to pay full, Bird's Eye do a better meal which has more ingredients and is presented in a nicer way. I found some more bread buns for 21p(not as good as the other night 5p)but still a bargain.

I wanted some skimmed milk(I can buy in another SM)4pints for £1 but not in this one but for some reason Semi-skimmed can be purchased at that price so this time I decided to go for that.

Generally I am working my way through some of what I have in my food store and using up some of the items that are getting a bit past their best before dates and will build up a new selection again...

I can't make my own sausages but have some in the house which I opened up and turned into meatballs(I am going to add some apple)and make my own version of what would cost me much more if I purchased them in the supermarket.

Always learning and doing what I can to save money...Lately the supermarkets are selling higher quality sausages at half price so you get better one's for what you'd pay for the not so good one's IYSWIM.

The Young 'Uns...

Wednesday night I was at the local Town Hall watching a trio of male singers who are in great demand around the festival circuit. They sing a variety of songs mainly unaccompanied and accapella.

I can't say that I knew any of their material as much of it was either self penned or from the folk song catelogue.

It should have no bearing on the group whatsoever and they don't make a big thing of the fact that one member is either blind or partially sighted(why should it)but though I have never ever seen them until Wednesday I feel that I recognise David Eagle from somewhere but cannot place where. Or perhaps I am just imagining that I know him.

They were very good and well received. The opening act(I forget his name I'm afraid was very good too)he sang mainly self penned songs accompanying himself on guitar and he sometimes appears at the free music club on the town which I now try to attend weekly. Most who appear there do so for no payment but a few guests do appear that need financial support and then there is a small cover charge. We have secured a band that are touring and that night you need a ticket and there will be a charge of £5.

Well, the temperature went down to 8c in the house I was going to go to bed, dive under the duvet(and have the electric blanket on)and possibly watch a little tv on the laptop and probably before I know it fall asleep. That was the plan but instead I carried on putting my music collection in order on here and listening to Solid Gold Gem AM on the internet as overnight it really is easy listening/no commercials/no DJ's overnight. But when there are presenters most don't talk over the music. And lately some new programmes are being added to the schedule. A country show on Saturday nights and soon a nightly one featuring the music of The Beatles.

I've had some small danish pastries and some coffee to warm me up. And a few minutes ago some toast and Marmite. And I may later this morning stretch to some porridge and fruit...

Feature on The Young 'Uns

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Today Is The First Birthday...

of Mum's that I have been without her.

It has gone better than feared but then again, I have done very little...

It started after a night at...yes another musical concert and by the time I reached home on the last bus I decided to pop into the supermarket.

Midnight came and Mum's birthday came and I started it as we always did and I will do the same as Midnight approaches tonight by singing Happy Birthday to her as I always did and will until the day I die.

I spent the early hours messing around on the pc trying to tidy up files and add more music to my mp3 collection. Next thing I knew it was 5am. I went to bed and have slept most of the day away. If that is my way of coping so be it. It wasn't planned I just did. It went better than I thought it may. There was another dreaded letter on the mat but if there are no errors and I have read it correctly some more of my worries have been lifted so perhaps someone is watching over me.

I miss her and always will and the unconditional love that I was given.

God bless you Mum.

All I Ate On Monday Part Three...

A charity that tries to advise or help the elderly has sent an information pack on how to stay warm and eat well. To be honest its stating the obvious and most of it I know or could tell others the same.

The wearing of more clothes(hats, gloves, bed socks, scarves, thermals)layer clothing. Use hot water bottles or an electric blanket, drink warm drinks and have at least one hot meal(eat a decent variety of food)but the heating on and keep the main living room at 21c and bedroom at 18c.

At 15c they say there is a risk of hypothermia, heart attacks and strokes.

Well, once bills that cannot be avoided are paid often people are unable to afford to eat well/heat their homes, if they could they would not be wearing the extra clothes and avoiding using heating in the first place.

The average temperature in my own home is 10c-12c so it is already below what is considered safe.

So I laugh when they keep telling us to put the heating on regardless...someone has to pay it back, they are not going to give it for free.

And having seen the price of energy increase something like 150% in the last ten years but the profits of utility companies increase every year we have now been told that power stations are being taken off line early and the new policies of the Government for greener energy and building of nuclear power stations they say that we will need to import more gas so we will see bills increase which will cost more and as we cannot afford to pay now, I do wonder where we will be expected to find this extra amount.

There are only two options...don't use it, use it sparingly. But most companies have a standing charge so they still get money and if you use less they raise prices and take it off those who still use their service.

Prices never come down and by the time the new power stations come on line, I will either be so old and probably in care that I will see little if any benefit. Or will have long since left the planet.

All I Ate On Monday Part Two...

Now many have add a reduction in help with the rent of between 14-25% with the new bedroom tax, and there is absolutely nothing spare for any treats, repair/replacement of items that wear out, clothes, shoes or to travel via public transport. It is very likely you will be spending more than they give you. It was already tight but now it is obvious why many will end up homeless or in rent arrears.

So this so called life of luxury the media and politicians portray for many is so misrepresented. You do need to be ill to hopefully be entitled to a little extra and to survive an already difficult situation.

But as we know benefits have been frozen for the next 3 years. And had that not happened any increase at best would have only been 1-2% which isn't much but is better than effectively being taken away. The rates would be better set to at least £100 but we are in very difficult times.

I believe that the threshold on savings is too low before help is given is too low. A more realistic figure would be around £20,000-£25,000($30,515.40-$38,144.25)for decades it has been £16,000($24,412.32)

I am sure that some very difficult times are ahead for many of us and we can only live a day at a time.

All I Ate On Monday Part One...

was either cheap or reduced at the last minute. Apart from the items that are marked *

I have also given an alternative currency so prices can be compared and decided the US dollar was probably the one to go with...

I have to say this may not be exciting food but I did eat well even if it is mainly reduced fare. And it is two meals worth.

But how many can keep popping into the supermarkets for the few items reduced to "silly" prices and time their visit to coincide with such reductions? The more that do, the fewer of these bargains there are to go around.

I reckon my whole budget for food came in at around £2.50 unusual and I see as a failure as I usually eat and spend for less.

3 Sausages 54p(82c)
Mushrooms, vegetables and sweet and sour sauce 80p($1.22)
5 Bread rolls 3p(5c)
1 slice of cheese 8p(12c)
Tomato 16p(24c)
Watercress, spinach and rocket 20p(31c)
Spring Onions 16p(24c)
A danish pastry 15p(23c)
Coffee and milk 40p(61c)

Other days I try to counteract such expense. If I have had such items in store and they have been allowed to build up it allows for days where I eat reasonably well. But without the reductions I would have spent approx another £2($3.05)

My average spend is more nearer the £1($1.53)mark give or take 20p(46c)There's no way I could pay approx £20($30.52)a week to feed a single person like myself with the changes coming and as prices continue to rise it may become difficult not to.

You can see why many who depend on state help are scared of where we are going...

I found a website run by Jamie Oliver the cook/chef and he says that a school meal costs on food averages "52p per school dinner in primary school and 68p in secondary school" per student and I believe the average amount charged of parents is £2-£3($3.05-£4.58)so most is going on labour and to pay the contractor. I did hear the other day the average cost of feeding a patient in hospital daily is £5($7.63)but I don't know if that is for the whole day or per meal and I don't know how much is given to the contractor and to the staff who serve it.

The average weekly help that is given in the hand is approx £72($109.86)for those who are classed as working age and not ill or disabled(in the hand)I do appreciate that if you work, you too have to pay bills and budget accordingly. You know what? I suspect many who do work are probably living on similar amounts. Not everyone using food banks are on welfare.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Wondering How Long You May Expect To Live?

In your part of the world...

Try this link

I looked and the prediction is that the age we are expected to live to has reduced by four years. Am I surprised. No.

Am I bothered? Not really. So living longer doesn't really mean that much as far as I can see if you are likely to need more care, utility and food bills continue to rise but incomes remain static it will be more like an existence and a case of filling in time. I don't mind simple but we all deserve a little treat, its good for the soul and our wellbeing.

Fantastic! The statistics from the above site don't sit comfortably.

The increase in gas and electric have been blamed on greed by many so far, often because the companies can and have to please shareholders or that is how the public in general feel. Lately, they have blamed the new greener policies of Governments...now the problems are being blamed on a shortage of certain resources and a delay in the building of new power stations whilst taking existing stations off line. Possibly too early.

If we are already struggling to pay and many are, this will only get worse. I doubt that I can cut back any further.

Food In Space...

The openess of Commander Chris Hadfield on the International Space Station has been wonderful, he has used social networking in a way that has fired the imagination and interest of the public again in space which has been lacking for quite a number of years but he has held video and audio conferences with schools and other interested parties, shared images of the Earth and space, twittered and explained all things space inbetween all the tasks that have to be carried out on the station but I think the following is kind of fun so post a link here...

Space Kitchen

Having dealt with food...we may as well answer the other obvious question...

Space Toilet

Monday, February 18, 2013

I'm Not Going To Worry About It...

But my sleep is more restful and easier. To be honest, I like sleeping and its often a nicer place to be. I often go off and don't realise that I have. However, when you wake often you come back to life and still have to face a world that is full of woe. Even if you are happy with a very simple basic way of life.

That happened today as once again another favourite of mine was mentioned as the opening of the radio news and that sadly means only one thing...that they have passed away. Few if any of todays singers, actors or public figures install the affection or respect in me. He had such a gentle attitude and open face.

So today it was Richard Briers. Some I like as people, some I know are good at what they do and I know that they are even if I have seen little of their work.

There are many websites you can find out more of him and his work but I've linked to three...

Richard in his own words on Desert Island Discs...Listen or download.

Also sadly Derek Batey has passed away...Sometimes you forget just how good and how much these people did. Part of my early TV watching.

Sadly they keep on coming Elspet Gray, it has been a bad week so far.


How To Store Fruit...

so that it lasts longer.

There are many more tips on the internet but even in this short video I was surprised how apples, oranages, peaches, limes and especially tomatoes which can be made to last longer especially when they have gone soft. In the past I have either used them that way or thrown them out but they can be revived...

Store Fruit Tips

The UK In The 21st Century...

I get a bit scared writing anything political because we do have different views depending on our circumstances and life experiences, who said life had to be fair? but happens is very much due to what parliament does...especially as we get older and incomes reduce.

A friend finds stories ignored by the media of what is happening in Greece, I feel with a few exceptions our own media avoids stories that should be being told...such as the following...

The Relocating Of Locals

You know what will happen...rents will increase in these alternative locations so any relief will be temporary. Also what happens to the services, properties and jobs available to the local population?

The movement of people around the UK has always happened but when you move a lot of people in one go It must have some affect. I wonder how(though they must have said that they will accept these people)local councils and people feel. I can see why it is compared to ethnic cleansing and comparisons to the immigrant debate.

And I am not saying that as some little Englander or with any racist slant whatsoever. I have not really thought about how people moving to another country or coming here affects it socially. Why because my area has not changed much perhaps I'd feel different if I was in a larger town or city.

I also came across this today about the new Bedroom Tax(that is the unofficial name it has been given)The Government prefers to say it is a penalty for unoccupied rooms.

Would a simple way of reducing the cost of HB be that landlords, HA's and councils to reduce their rents accepting that people are struggling especially in these times? Or is that unfair or too simple as a solution. I am bound to have missed something important.

Also being on benefits or a low income does not mean that these people are the dregs of society as often the media makes out. Many are decent but all get tarred with the same brush because it easy to do so.

It's a hot topic and will polarise opinion depending on your circumstances.

The Media May Be...

talking about the inclusion of horsemeat in some of our food. I think what concerns most is the deception on cultural/religious grounds. It has become seemingly apparent that many people have eaten horsemeat(probably when on holiday abroad)and in all honesty don't mind it. It has been suggested that as meat prices increase they might even happily eat horse if it was on sale in the UK.

The question is more why has is it not on sale and I cannot again decide if that is due to some kind of ban or the belief the demand isn't there. It has fallen out of favour it cannot be denied.

I don't know enough of what happened in what have become to be known as the great world wars. In fact I know very little. But I have heard that when meat was being rationed and popular favourites were in short supply we substituted and started to eat items we would not consider. I know we started to eat fish not normally available locally(I have sadly forgotten what it was)but horsemeat was also for sale.

For different reasons and yet there are simularities to what is happening now after following this twitter feed as I sometimes do. I tried to link/post directly as I am told that I can but without success. So I give them credit.

WW2 Tweets From 1941"Dozens of butchers in Japan have been arrested for selling dog meat as "beef"- food rationing has left Japanese hungry for black-market meat"

It kind of proves that history does repeat itself and the old adage that there is "Nothing New Under The Sun"

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Proud Or Ashamed...

I have said before that I have mixed feelings that in the 21st Century that many countries seen as rich economically like The States and various European countries have people in need and dependent on an increasing network of Foodbanks. Often those already operating are struggling to keep up with the demand. Anyone of us could need to ask for help from an ever increasing network of these banks that depend on the generosity of others. I have given myself and probably will again. Often those with the least themselves give the most.

When our PM said that he would visit one after a question put down in PMQ's I predicted it could go one of two ways...that the only people present would be those running the scheme or it would be orchestrated with limited press involvement.

It has happened. No media was present and in the circumstances perhaps that was the right thing to do but no one who uses them had any contact either and that makes it seem like an empty gesture.

Foodbank Visit

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Charity Shops...And Diets.

I purchased two books at the charity shop today(I may have to curtail that pleasure when income reduces in April)

One was "The Student Cookbook - Great Grub For The Hungry And The Broke" and though you can look at sites on line there is still something about having a book in your hand...

The other was "The Herbal Drugstore"(It tells you which herbs help work for various illnesses and conditions, alternatives to medication, how they work with or against medicines from the Dr)

There is again lots of interest in the 5/2 diet which will allow you to lose weight but the real reason for its popularity is it generally improves your health and you eat virtually whatever you wish and really the only difference is that you eat smaller portions on two days. Or rather you can eat what you like and be full but you restrict your calorie intake. So if clever you have no reason for feeling hungry and your body will adjust.

It was featured all week in the Daily Mail newspaper and was in the Daily Mirror newspaper today over 2 pages.

However a free newspaper, The Metro, which I picked up on a bus earlier in the week explained it all in a box measuring 3inches by 2inches.

I don't really do diets and it is a pity that diet is now associated as always about losing weight when whatever we eat and drink is our diet. It is a word that has been hijacked but what word could be used as a substitute I am unsure.

Friday, February 15, 2013

I Like Music But...

Am not really a fan of the musical. I do not have any desire to see Les Misérables on stage or the new version for the cinema. Though from what I remember it was a pretty good book and I heard a radio darma of it from the 40's starring Orson Welles(I think)which still sounds good. Click on the links...and listen. It really is a crime that the advent of TV killed off a wonderful medium that offered so much.

So I surprised myself by being in the audience at a local theatre last evening watching what was basically four unknown singers(well unknown to me)I still didn't know their names when I started this post. They were supported by six dancers and a four piece backing band. Theymainly sang the back catalogue of the group Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. They did stray into some music of 50's and 60's that was not Four Seasons material.

It was pretty good and they did a fair attempt at singing the songs(trying to look like the group)and give a feeling of the time. New Jersey Nights is doing good business in the States(according to the publicity)and this version seems to be packing them in across the UK. I think the review of the show in the Scottish paper I have linked to is pretty fair and close to what happened when I saw it and how I felt. I don't always agree with critics even though I guess that seems contradictory as often a blog is opinionated and critical.

By the end of the night the audience were on their feet clapping and moving, cheering and whistling their approval. Which must make the cast feel very good.

I do wonder if they get an emotional high(as many stage performers do)what they do when they come off stage and how they wind down especially in a town like Darlington where there is very little to do even for the locals.

Even the buses are virtually all off the roads between 10pm-11pm and taxi's are only available if you phone for one. You'll be lucky to find one on a taxi rank.

And in these austere times people are watching the pennies so businesses are struggling to attract people out of their homes. I think I was confused as I was thinking it was a touring version of The Jersey Boys which features the music of The Four Seasons but also tells their life story.

The group itself I have discovered are doing a limited tour later this year. The concerts will sell out of course but when most of the shows I attend cost between £8-£20 it is interesting comparing prices...using a venue I remember well, the Bournemouth International Centre the tickets are starting at £45 and £55 but if you go through a ticket site the prices get crazy. I think they have shows also in Manchester, Edinburgh and five or six in London.

All in all though it was a reasonable way to spend approx 100 minutes and luckily as it finished in time to catch a bus home earlier than expected and not have to hang around for 30 or 40 minutes and was home by 10.30pm rather than usually getting in between 11pm or later.

Well, It Looks Like We Are Still Here...

The media has been going on about an asteroid as large as an Olympic swimming pool that was to  pass by the Earth at a distance of just 27,700km (17,200miles) - the closest ever predicted for an object of that size.

You know what? I forgot all about it and though fascinating in another way I don't really care as our time on this planet is so fleeting and sooner or later without any of us this planet will not exist.

People were still watching tv, listening to the radio, going to the pub, the theatre, shopping, giving birth and dying etc...

I was getting ready to do a small shop and more concerned about getting some food reduced in the Supermarket. And happy to find some bread and buns worth £3.50 for 17p and some vegetables worth £4 for 60p.

Here's a link about it...no doubt there are others...

Asteroid comes close

What was purpose a bit weird and a coincidence(though they say the Earth is often hit by such subjects continuously)

Russia was struck by a Meteor and did injure(they say)1,000 peopleand some damage was caused to property earlier in the day so this one sneaked through the Earth's atmosphere...

Meteor Strikes

Another Video of the Meteor

Kind of puts man's place in the universe into perspective whether one has a religious faith or not.

And this story has also broken today...It's all about Space it seems...The Planet Mercury a story on the radio suggests that the planet nearest the Sun may not have always been there but once it reached that point, it kind of stayed there.


Don't know how many read my blog outside the UK or know that in the last 3-4 weeks a story broke that when peple have been buying beef in the shops and sometimes eating out, they have been getting to a lesser or greater degree something extra...Horsemeat!

Originally the suggestion was that DNA from horses or pigs were to be found in beef products...

Probably this was just a case of the same machines handling one meat being processed not being cleaned as well as they might so there were traces from one animal being mixed with another.

Not unlike the warnings/information given on confectionery where they warn that the factory may have produced items that contain nuts so a product that should not have any in them, could have traces and if you have a nut allergy that could have serious consequences.

In this case it might have consequences more on moral grounds if you dislike certain meats or avoid them on religious or cultural ground so it is more a case of clear information not being given on the packet or container.

So Muslims and Jewish people probably have the most reasons to be angry or upset over this. Because again the story originally was about pork getting into other foods.

And in many parts of the world(even Europe)Horsemeat is eaten with no problems what so ever. And since the story broke many British interviewed/surveyed have said it does not bother them eating horse.

Perhaps this is a new market that could be tapped into...I understand that during the war Horsemeat was sold when other meat was in short supply. I am guessing it will have similarities to venison.

Well after all the politicians making their views known and the media getting stuck into the story often making the situation worse or lots of feeble jokes being made where references to horse could be included in the article and playing on words...

Tests have been carried out and though many more need to be done in the coming days...it would appear that overall the statistic of products containing Horse so far is 1%. So not excusing that it was wrong to have it included...

Just maybe it has not been going on for years as many fear and it was coming to an end naturally.

We await to see if it happened by accident or was done intentionally. Also whether "Big" crime was involved.

I would suggest it is more likely to happen in processed foods(that are produced inexpensively)so you might say go to a butcher or go  to the meat counter in the supermarket and I suspect when you see Lamb, Pork, Chicken, Turkey, Beef, that's what it will be. But we must not  forget that many are struggling to survive on low wages, benefits and their incomes are getting lower and so some will have to look at cheap food.

Don't I know it!

So I probably have eaten Horse and may still have some in the freezer for all I know.

What I try to avoid and would like more information on the item is to avoid mechanically recovered meat, now that really is disgusting.

Then again due to cost and health reasons I eat very little meat these days and what I do is stretched to do more more meals and it really is a case of smaller portions and padding meals out with lots of fruit and vegetables. Not on religious or cultural grounds. And where possible though it is getting more difficult because more people are having to do so I try where possible to get better quality fish and meat by looking for offers or hoping I can time it just as the Supermarket dicides to Yellow Sticker something and reduce the item to a silly price which often means it should be used on the day or within 48 hours but I try to freeze it and make it last longer and sometimes ignore the date going by smell, the look and feel of it.

At least that way I get the chance to have better quality food for the amount that I would normally pay. Yesterday I found some sliced Pork worth £3.50 for £1.05 and had started to walk away from the area and I saw someone bringing more items, returned and got some cider ham worth roughly the same amount so though I spent around £2.50 in total, I saved approx £4.50 and I know I can get approx 4-5 meals or approx 16 sandwiches/rolls out of what I have purchased.

Another example is finding a Tuna steak in the past worth £7-£8 for under £1, even if I was flush for cash there is no way I would pay the normal price for one piece of Tuna. We didn't when Mum was alive and financially we were better off. Perhaps we should have.

I am harder up regarding staying warm and socialising, eating well and keeping a roof over my head and yet in many ways Mum missed out on so much compared to me. And I guess there are people having a worse time than me.

Having access to the internet 24/7 unlimited she could have watched more tv or listened to a greater choice of music than even I was able to supply when she was alive via the laptop. But back then I was paying more for dial up and I am for broadband. The killer is the cost of the phone line rental. As Mum paid that and now I have to add that into the equation.

But  you can't change things.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Shrove Tuesday Becomes Shrove Wednesday...

And an amended plan...

Stirfry and pancakes today.

Possibly the same again on Thursday(Valentines Day)as I have so many pancakes to use up and the same with the stir fry and to be honest it does not bother me having the same meal over a few days...the stir fry may differ in that I may have prawns instead of chicken and put a different topping on the pancakes.

OK I am cheating. My pancakes are already made. I am not using a home made batter, they cost no more and saved me time. I just have to warm them up and add whatever topping/filling that I wish. And yesterday I found some crepes filled with lemon and they can be done in a microwave within thirty seconds and are already rolled.

Officially I don't do Lent. I never have, so I am unlikely to start now. But the media always goes about giving something up and usually food is mentioned. It does have some connection historically/religiously. Read about it here

At the weekend I may have a slice of Pork and Stuffing Lattice which I managed to buy earlier in the week for £2($3.13)I can get 4 meals out of that easily. I also found(reduced)twelve expensive pork sausages for £2.25($3.52)instead of £5($7.83)so they'll be made good use of too.

Yes,I admit that I do enjoy my food, whether it is simple fare or on the days when I bother a little bit more. Food is my luxury and I hpe will always be so.

I have spent the last few days tidying up hard drives on my PC's which have got out of hand. I cleared almost 100GB of clutter this past day(and there is probably more I can salvage)and continue to tidy up my music files and back  them up on DVD's case a hard drive fails. I did ages and used many discs but this time they fit across 20 discs and that's almost 17,000 tunes/songs so far.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bumped Into Someone From The Care Home Where Mum Was...

So much I wasn't told...

It appears they were told that Mum had only six weeks to live when she went into the home for care. No one told me. I was always given hope and the possibility that Mum would get back into her own home. They were surprised that mum passed away as soon as she did.

The information keeps trickling through...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

That Stir Fry Is Getting Closer...

I spent tonight shredding/chopping up all the vegetables that you can imagine(enough for at least two meals)I only eat small portions. Just have to decide whether to add pork, chicken or prawns. Its been one of my snacking today.

Exciting life I lead, doing that whilst at the computer and listening to real easy listening music. Not available on normal radio but via an internet radio station. Oh its so dreamy(Keely Smith, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Ray Conniff, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett...the list goes on and on)

The weather is said to get worse over the coming days so they say...it's been raining so we'll see if we get the snow that we are promised.

OK I may be alone but thankfully I still have my interest in radio and music. And am getting more adventurous in the kitchen. Me doing a stir fry...really?

So on Tuesday its Shrove Tuesday so as said I plan to do some pancakes and try and think of something nice to have for my meal and then I have my very welcome music club to attend.

On Valentine's Day...I have plans to have something special(not sure what as yet)possibly raise a glass of something and in the evening all being well to raise the spirit I will hopefully be watching a show that is doing rather well in America but I must admit I got mixed up thinking it was a touring version of Jersey Nights(the story of The Four Seasons)but this I think is just a show with the music of the group and people who are are a fair facsimile of them. It is called New Jersey Nights. Should be good though and better than just staying in.

I am virtually a vegetarian in reality with only small amounts of meat/fish. I should up the fruit a little more. With the carry on at present over mislabelled meat in the UK where horsemeat has been sold as Beef or has been mixed in certain quantities but I think the problem affects ready meals or probably mince rather than what you buy at a butchers or on a meat counter. I suspect this story will in the end will affect most of Europe.

This happens at time when I have to watch the pennies and have even gone back  to eating a little beef which I haven't in years. So I would not be surprised if some meals in these past few months have had horsemeat included and there are still some in the freezer. Well, I don't plan to throw anything away.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Older Parents...

Dad's in particular.

They come in for some stick especially in the media. The entertainer Des O'Connor became a father when he was 72 and it has been announced today that the nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow(there are a few ages being given so unsure which is accurate)but it could be 72 or 74.

I don't particularly have a problem myself over this. Though it may be sad that it is likely that said parent may not live to see the child become an adult and if the relationship is good between the child and parent it will be sad for the child to lose a parent.

Then we have the question over the health of the parent who could end up in care or have dementia.

Well, people much younger have health problems and die. And when we are being told that many live longer and their health is said to be better and medical science has improved, is it wrong to have children so late in life. Is it more a problem of attitude and changing the perception we as a race have?

I may get shot down in flames here but it is not unlike the uneasiness there is about older people(parents in particular)still having a sex life.

And another thing that comes to mind and I am not an expert but genetically a man can sire offspring at any age but a woman does have the disadvantage that as the years go by there are complications that can result in a child being born with various medical problems and if she does not have children by a certain age there is the menopause.

Now we come onto something that is probably the most contentious of all. I throw it out into the ether with no strong feelings as such.

It is more a case of can you afford to give the child the life it deserves but then who can ever say we can afford to have a family whatever our age. The difference here is that...

People generally in public life, celebrities, politicians etc...probably are financially sound and will not be dependent on the state. So if unfortunately they do not live long enough the child and assuming there is a partner they will be cared for.

Using myself as an example I doubt that I will ever be in a situation where I will meet someone to have a relationship with and certainly not young enough to have children with. I am not financially secure, have health problems and no way am I an Adonis. If I was a father now, I would be in my 70's so would be "Oldish"

Now again, a lot of older men in show business are married to younger women. They move in different circles. Often they have had a few relationships and children. And they want a family. And if they wait it may be too late. I seem to remember Des O'Connor saying something along the lines that he was unsure, he had children from previous marriages and because of his age whether to start a family again but as his wife was younger was it right to deny her the right of a child. Because hopefully it is planned and not an accident or just the man's decision.

And again it has to be said most of those who have children "Very" late in life especially in the media(not always I'll admit)are in pretty good shape physically and can pass for being younger whereas many of those I see in my world do not. This could be for a very of reasons including the type of work they have perhaps had to do...an example? Building roads is different to standing in front of audience telling jokes.

Is it different inheriting children as a step father? And if it is why is it? I won't give another celeb's name but he is 70 and his step daughter is 14 so by the time she is an adult he'll be in his middle 70's.

Then again perhaps there is a certain age that we are not allowed to reach in any circumstances.

I'm not saying that I am right, it's a personal thing in the end. I hope that I have been respectful of those I mentioned in my examples.

And it's not something I see myself ever having to consider. They say our world is very tolerant but often our prejudices show through.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Tony Blackburn At 70...Fantastic!

Tim Blackmore interviews radio legend Tony Blackburn.


the situation is frightening, I still fear that we could see it getting much worse here...

It will to a greater or lesser degree with the changes already mentioned but many of the austere measures happening in my country do not kick in until April, then we'll see what happens.

Will those who are hurting just accept their lot with a resigned sigh and shrug of the shoulders or will there be unrest? I don't know.

Food Fight In Greece

More Positive Today But Will It Last?

Guess it depends if/ what drops on the mat regarding forms I filled in at the end of last year...not worth going into unless the *hit its the fan!

Slept reasonably well...but had another dream, a couple...all mixed up, nothing specific but I was in a new location which I did not particularly like or want to be...that is apprehension over the changes coming(even I can see that)I invent people and places that I often don't know. The other was more of a nightmare but it did not wake me up or really disturb me. It did have a lot of rats in it though.

Spent yesterday picking on this and that but today I will try and have proper meals...

Possibly some salad at lunch. Then something a bit more adventurous for my evening meal.

I am planning to have a go at my own stir fry soon too, I have plenty of vegetables and meats to include. Haven't decided which combination to go for.

I have invested in quite a few packet mixes to add to my meals too(I went a bit crazy)and spent a fair bit but they all serve 4 people so if I measure the contents I  can make them last perhaps 4 meals for me and that means they will only add 10p-20p(16c-33c)to the cost of my meals. Some are limited editions too. It will add more flavours to meat and fish dishes. Some are for vegetable and potato meals. It seemed easier and not cost really much more than buying jars of herbs or spices.

It's Pancake Tuesday next week so I will treat myself and could make my own but to be honest, I could not be bothered and I managed to find 8 ready made pancakes for £1($1.57)and a box of pancake mixture with such a long best before date at half price 50p(79c)that makes up to 10 pancakes. It also has a lemon syrup included in the box. The discount retailer has the same product in store and there it is approx 30p(40c)more expensive.

It feels calmer today but could be the calm before the storm as I said when I started this.

An astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield on the International Space station is tweeting and posting images of Earth and space, his fame and images are being followed by the media now and sometime today there is a chat(that can be watched)between the stations commander and...the actor William Shatner(Capt Kirk of the original TV series Star Trek)

Whatever next...

Watch the broadcast here

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Slept Reasonably Well...

but sorry to say that it is one of my down days(which considering that I think I have been reasonably positive of late)is bad but I have to accept this is likely to happen probably more as I get older.

I did have a dream this morning but cannot really remember much about it and though it seemed to last ages I think the time period suggests it only lasted 30 minutes, well, what I mean is that I was asleep for thirty minutes but the dream may have been much shorter.

I remember walking around with a laptop, that my Father tried to pick me up in car(but I don't remember actually seeing him)he had to disappear quickly as the car started to become flooded with water inside.

Another part of the dream I did see Mum but can't remember if we spoke, I think I have the impression that she looked happy and was younger in years. I seem to have the impression I was introducing Mum to a popular tv/radio presenter at this present time in the UK called Clare Balding.

And before that or afterwards I don't know I was in a kind of large car with Clare but inside it was huge and was nothing like a car and was more like a very big room. There was someone else in the car/room and they decided that they wanted a newspaper and I offered to get out of the car and go into the shop to buy one but they were not bothered what paper I purchased.

Also later on when Clare had got out for some reason I realised that I had not given her the change from buying the paper and she had not asked for it so I placed it near where she would be sitting when she returned and she would find it.

Why I just did not give the money to her directly I have no idea.

I also seem to remember a dog of some kind that was wanting me to stroke it and wanted to be in my company.

Now I have no idea why Mum and Dad were in the dream or why the car driven by my dad became flooded. Or why I was buying a newspaper.

I can perhaps understand having a laptop. The dog, well there is talk that after 2015 all dogs have to be micro chipped to make it easy to trace lost dogs and who they are owned by also for situations where someone is attacked etc...I do see quite a few tweeter accounts and Clare's is one of them. So I guess that my brain has taken some of this in and come up with it's own mixed up take on things...

I doubt that there is anything that can be read into my dream or that it indicates any deep anxieties unless some dream analyst could prove otherwise.

A Friend Who Has Been So Very Kind...

She introduced me to a free music night on the town that gets me out of the house once a week and gets me into company. It does guarantee one night where I can socialise if my other treats have to be reduced/stopped.

Tonight, she surprised me with a book written by a great food writer who was used by the Government during the war to teach/inform the public how they could eat well and survive on rationed food.

And many these days are for a variety of reasons are looking at recipes of our past and rediscovering many of the meals that our parents and grandparents ate...her name is Marguerite Patten.

I will be reading and hopefully using and adapting many of the recipes inside. I don't remember doing it before(but must have)I have been soaking some potatoes to get rid of some of the potassium and need to use them up...so I am going to either par boil them and turn them into mashed potato or...have a go at doing my own roast potatoes. So again another couple of ideas that I can use to give me a change to my range of culinary skills. I can already do bubble and squeak and other variations.

I have also decided another time to do my own version of roasted vegetables(much cheaper than the versions available in the supermarkets)so a few ideas to have go at...

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Just Been Thinking...

I really love my food and would dread the day if I had to avoid certain foods on health grounds. I like looking at cooking books and tv shows even if I'll never ever get around to making the recipes and I know what to mix and choose for a good and varied diet and yet...

Though not starving myself and through not being bothered. I eat much less and wonder how I ever used to eat breakfast, lunch and evening meal(possibly something like toast or whatever)before bed.

I don't know whether I have got out of the habit when caring for Mum and we kind of ate when we felt like it. My meal portions are smaller too.

I sometimes think convention has a lot to do with when we eat and if we have perhaps work or other commitments that take up your time...

Breakfast and perhaps a light snack to set you up for working the morning and afternoon and then if you have a partner/family perhaps come home to a meal...

Now whether it is thought of as wrong, I sleep when I wish and eat when I want...so sometimes what I eat may seem unusual to some...

I was eating a bowl of beef, vegetables and gravy at 8am yesterday morning, once I would never have been seen doing that at all. Yes I might have thought it odd myself.

Today, so far all I have had is some marmite and bread. Having said that I did have some more of my stew(or is that casserole? what is the difference?)at 9pm last night.

I like not being tied to the clock.

Update:Someone has kindly explained the difference...a casserole is cooked in an oven, a stew is cooked on the hob.

Eye Stye...

It has almost gone...but I'll use the ointment that I was given perhaps for a week. I haven't needed that much at all and have not needed to put it into my eye under the eyelid as instructed which would make the vision blurred.

Lazy day today...the weather isn't very nice outside. It snowed a little overnight but so far I don't think any more has fallen.

I've known it be warmer indoors but I am reasonably cosy...well, I would be if I bothered to put my fingerless gloves on. I am under the duvet and my electric blanket is on gentle heat. I still have enough of my slow cooked stew for another couple of meals...that always fills my tummy and keeps me warm. And I don't get tired of sometimes having the same meal for a couple of days.

And to get the goodness of the vegetables I use the same water to make any stock or gravy that I have.

And once cooked in the slow cooker I just take a portion and cook it until it is piping hot in a saucepan which takes minutes.

I have some potatoes that have been soaking to get rid of the potassium and think I'll have a go at some home made mashed potato soon or turn them into bubble and squeak/patties...

This afternoon I may have a couple of scones with some orange jam I have open and perhaps a weak cup of tea.

I have some small low fat yogurts and fromage frais that I sometimes have...though sometimes dairy products are to be avoided with kidney problems, I do remember when I first took ill many years ago being given a yogurt on the kidney ward so I guess they think that they are ok. They were on offer and I have enough to last me through February(I spent £6)but saved £7.50 and so each pot has come down to approx 25p as opposed to 36p, it all helps...

I have switched to skimmed milk and don't have much milk anyhow but apart from the colour of tea and coffee I don't notice any difference in the taste though I can see the benefits for anyone who is healthy and able to drink semi or whole milk.

I also have some new breakfast biscuits they too were on offer. There is no way I would pay the full price of £2.39 for 24 biscuits that's approx 10p per biscuit but at present they are on offer for £1 so that brings them down to approx 4p per biscuit. Which is a little better. Besides at full price its easier to have a bowl of porridge oats and add some fruit. You'll feel fuller, warmer, I suppose the only avantage of the biscuits is that you can take them with you if you are not at home and "On The Go!"

Only I could go from a health ailment to food...

By the way all the snow has disappeared.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Considering How I Expected Today To Turn Out...

It wasn't that bad...I was eating casserole/stew for breakfast and there is plenty left for later)Not as crazy as it sounds as I had been up in the early hours trying to tidy the house ready for a visit from the contractors who were calling today. I can never decide whether to what the difference is between casserole or stew.

The electricians arrived and checked the electrics out and were pretty quick. I would say that they took around 50 minutes(Not two hours as the letter suggested it would take)and all was well except for one socket and after mentioning it being faulty they replaced it in seconds...it was a case of when you plugged something in, it would not always touch all the contacts.

I had a rest afterwards and suddenly found I had fallen asleep. And just managed to make it to the Dr's for my appointment. I asked the nurse if she thought that I had wasted their time(It had improved earlier this afternoon)but I was told that I had done the right thing and if it doesn't improve to go back.

I have been given a kind of anti-biotic ointment to apply 4 times daily to the stye and also put in the eye too...

I found my mobility was poor today and I was very slow...so it's good to be home at last. The weather is cold, blustery and wet, there is talk of snow returning. We shall see.

Oh and it is 29 years today since my dear Father passed away...

Sunday, February 03, 2013

It's A Busy Day Tomorrow...

The Housing Association wants to do a check of the electrics on the house which I could do without(I'd already delayed this visit once and cannot do so again)and now I have to make an appointment with the Dr's as it seems I have a stye, something I have never had before and not sure I have ever seen one before. I'll try and be seen in the morning and get myself sorted out...

I've some final tidying up to do and I have a meal cooking in the slow cooker which I can make into a few days worth...there's a final bit of meatloaf in there and lots of vegetables(Potatoes, swede, carrots, mushrooms, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, garlic, sweetcorn, peas, red onion, onion, parsnip, celery, leeks)

Marty Wilde...

Well I wasn't disappointed...Only a couple of hours ago I was watching one of the original British Rockers of the music business. From what I overheard the show was scheduled to finish by 9.35pm and we were given another 25 minutes. Marty did the second half around an hour and his backing group The Wilde Cats did the first half approx 50 minutes.

We were treated to some great guitar music by the group and Marty sang many of his hits but also quite a selection of songs from the 50's and 60's sung by other performers of the time, he sounded as good now as all those years ago and live as opposed to on record.

And I hate to mention age but in a few months he will be 74 years old. I have remembered some of the songs that were featured in the show. He said that he would be doing 40 songs(He didn't)and perhaps what he meant was altogether adding in the work his backing band had performed earlier it came to that amount of songs...Be Bop A Lula, Somethin' Else, Johnny Remember Me, Hey Baby, Come On Lets Go, What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For, Last Train To Clarksville and numerous instrumentals.

I've had a think and Marty performed the following Endless Sleep, Rubber Ball, Sea of Love, Are You Lonesome Tonight, Jezebel, A Teenager In Love, Bad Boy, Halfway To Paradise, Rock Island Line, I Remember You, Only Sixteen, Summer Holiday, Ghost Riders In The Sky, The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Any More, Viva Las Vegas, Rawhide.

He was given a standing ovation...He admitted that he doesn't get the chance to visit the North East much but he was doing a trio of shows Fri-Sun South Shields, Durham and Whitley Bay but he has 22 dates for this year and a couple of shows even further North.

The life of an ageing rock n roller...word reached me that after the show, Marty was asking for a cup of tea and as I left, having difficulty getting one...it wasn't that late to be honest but in general most shops, cafés and takeaways are closed. In the city where the show took place, the only businesses doing any trade were the pubs and clubs which other towns around here are struggling.

I would hope that someone in the theatre was able to make him a tea.

I usually take something myself to drink and eat during a theatre show these days and I had a lucozade energy drink and a bottle of water. And for the first time I had taken a couple of small pots of Fromage Frais and it was not unlike having an ice cream in the interval.

And may do so again...