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.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I've Invested In A Man Gadget...

Steady...don't get any ideas. This was one item I said that I would not buy. A pair of bathroom scales...well they are a little more than that. I could have possibly made a better choice but I'll stick with them.

There are some that give you a body mass index reading. These only give weight, body fat and water reading. The annoying thing was that for some reason I kept getting an error reading when I tried to take my body fat/water reading*X( angryand the solution? I have to have slightly moist skin on the souls of my feet. It sends a little electric current through my body:eek:they say is not harmful.

I'll keep it, I don't need to check those too often. And the scales weigh ok. I can work out my BMI via the internet and once I reach my ideal weight I can manage without doing that as I know below 9st-8st puts me into the range of not being underweight or overweight but I am not obese.

It appears for my height and weight I am at this minute overweight but I have the problem of water retention with kidney problems so that can to some extent give a wrong reading and it could be to blame. I am not obese.

I am 9st 7lbs. If I lose 7lbs my BMI would be fine but I need to lose approx 14lbs)but I am approx 23% body fat and 53% water which seems to be fine and within the acceptable range for my age/sex and height.

It is said that you should not weigh yourself every day and when you do you should do it at the same time of day/week and try to wear the same clothes.

I have heard it said the best time of the day to weigh yourself is before you have your first meal or drink of the day and not until your first visit to the toilet for either function, it can make quite a difference. Then again it can become an obession for some as can dieting in general.

9st is good enough weight but if I want to be really spot on 8st 7lbs(119lbs)would suit me and that allows 7lbs to play with so you can eat a little more. I have to admit having said all the above, I don't sit analysing this. I just eat what I wish and how much too.

You can see how I am doing by the Fitness Pal panel on the left of my blog*:) happy

I Know Not Everyone Has Transport Or Can Get Around Easily...

And my blog sometimes talks about events that many in other parts of the world or the UK cannot reach but I implore you to search out your local food producers and visit their markets when they are in your area to keep them alive. To buy on line if they have a website and if there is not a market nearby do what you can to see if those who can organise such things try and bring one near to you.

It gets people out into parts of a county they might not usually see, it might encourage more business into an area that is suffering economically.

I wish that especially in the spring and summer that more bus services were laid on to get people out of the towns and into the country areas that I miss seeing these days like the Dales etc...

Remember the old coach trips many of us used to go on as children with our parents? How about some that could be arranged to go to events like the Food Festival in Tynemouth as an example...they've been clever to have some events that you pay to attend but to also have some that are free...my fear is that many getting into this are now seeing it as a cash cow and will start charging so much that the producers will have to pay far too much to set up a stall(that includes the Government)and money that could be spent on the produce is already spent before anyone thinks of buying what's on sale.

Already my own town has no green grocer and its down to the supermarket. But my visit to Stockton on Tees yesterday(mainly to see the Farmer's Market)showed me that there is a vibrant market with lots of well priced fruit and veg that could mean I eat well and can have a varied diet as long as I can afford to travel(especially having access to a bus pass)and health allows...also a number of other stalls that have goods that cost much more in a supermarket. To be honest there was much more choice than the supermarkets on my town. Best thing I ever did was to buy a shopping trolley and a rucksack.

Thinking ahead as I get older this could be a way that those on a limited budget and the elderly get access to better quality food. Well everyone to be honest if those who decide the social care of our nation. There always seems plenty of talk but not much action.

I Am In The Process Of Launching A New Blog...

that will contain news that I can find about food...my views, images, links to websites, producers of local fare, recipes and hopefully good news. It will be aimed at a specific theme so that it does not get mixed up with unrelated topics which can happen on a blog that covers many topics or personal views...

I can't come up to the standards that some long established sites have achieved but I feel that many local producers are being given a raw deal in many cases. And I have taken such an interest, its a passion for me. I am not only enjoying the goods being produced but I am interested in what is going on behind the scenes. Not just turning up at a market and buying the goods. I want to know the positive and negatives of trying to produce that special something.

I actually feel that a couple are friends and it gives me pleasure and satisfaction when they are doing well and I also feel their fears when obstacles get in the way. I get the impression that some local councils really go out of their way to support and others almost go out of their way to see such projects fail. Also not helped in these difficult times by some of the so called "Quango's" that existed to promote an area being dissolved. Something along the lines of the tourist board.

Thinking of the recycling aspect of things, it has crossed my mind that to help reduce costs there might be something in returning items that can be(not unlike the old refund on an empty pop bottle)I would happily return bottles and jars for free to a producer.

I really enjoyed today and not only purchased some goods from my now good friend who runs Gingerbread Mam I was able to have a really good chat. Not only friendly but Liz really believes in the concept of local food production of quality and what is being offered is pretty exclusive, it is not being done by others...and other items are being tried and added to the range.

Take a look at the Twitter feed for really up to the minute news and contact...

https://twitter.com/gingerpokey

I came away with a bottle of home made Ginger Wine which I am looking forward to and some Sticky toffee butterscotch sauce. Oh I almost forgot some cinder toffee with the added ingredient of ginger of course hence the name ginger pokey.

I want to praise the local branch of  Fenwicks, a store that has been in Newcastle Upon Tyne for decades as it has decided to stock some locally produced food in their food hall. I will be making the effort to visit the store at the earliest opportunity. This should happen much more across the UK. In fact I think the time is right for more food cooperatives and they should be using local producers too.  In a way these are replacing or could replace the loss of local retailers and put new life into the high street.

The extra business might mean greater success for the producer because a larger order can be secured and costs might be reduced so everyone wins...

It could also mean food does not need to be transported over such great distances.

This is giving me something to think about. Not sure how long it will take to launch it though...

I have come to this late but am making up for lost time...I missed a similar food festival event in Durham  City in October and Christmas last year but all being well will not miss this years events.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Want To Lose Weight Or Reduce Calories...

This seemed quite a good article flagged up by Readers Digest...

Thought that I would share it...

100 Easy Ways To Reduce Calories

Uses For Garlic

Today was different to what I had planned. I woke in plenty of time to attend the Farmers Market in Sunderland and have a day out. I decided to turn over and go back to sleep. Around mid afternoon we had an almighty downpour which turned into hailstones and the first sign of sunshine appeared around 7pm. Which considering the sky looks pretty dark I suspect it is because the sun is low in the sky ready for sunset.

I had a look out and succumbed to buying some reduced items. Well who wouldn't? I found two large chicken pies with creamy sauce and short crust pastry worth £3($4.64)each for 75p($1.16)each. I can get at least two meals out of each. And two blackberry sponge puddings worth £1.80($2.79)for 59p(91c)

It might be nice to make my own pies etc...and that way I know what is in them but I doubt that I could make them much cheaper myself but I will have some of the chicken, veg/gravy topped with puff pastry from the other night soon. And may follow with one of the sponges with custard for a treat.*^O^||3 eat That will not be too bad calorie wise because of my eating less/smaller portions daily.

Did I mention I spent nearly £5.67($8.78)on yogurt*:-O surpriseI can't move for it but they were a good quality brand, nice flavours, 18 pots and half price so normally that would have cost £11.34($17.55) so that makes them 31p(48c)a pot instead of 62p(96c)

The following article Families wasting £50 a month throwing away food, says minister highlights the amount of wasted food is that is thrown away(another such feature)not in this house. And I rarely pay attention to dates.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

They Say Bread Goes Stale Quickly...

if its home made, well the soughdough loaf that I purchased on Sunday is still ok and since last night I have eaten nearly the whole thing.

Now in general I have followed the intial recipe for my own as shown on Paul Hollywood's tv series but the loaf I purchased and hope to make will look more like the one featured on the site below...I will adapt the instructions slightly and here in the UK most ovens use centigrade rather than farenheight. The loaves shown on tv always look more burnt.

Simply Soughdough

And for those who have difficulty kneading bread this looks interesting...

No Knead Bread

I am actually thinking of making some this weekend...time permitting.

Feeling A Bit Better...

These past few days I have been sleepy and not fully awake...I will pick up again I'm sure.

I did make the effort last night and cook a meal...the plan was to have vegetables and a chicken and veg pie with gravy, topped with Puff Pastry. I could have got 4 meals out of it but as it was worth approx £5 and I paid £1.15 it was good value. It was a family pie aimed at a family of four.

I ate half and did not add anything else. Today I will split it and make a smaller portion. The downside, it had to be cooked in the oven for 45 minutes. Then again the previous night I was cooking fish and chips in the oven...that took 25 minutes. And if I plan to make my own bread that will be another time I will be using the oven.

Annoyingly I discovered on Tuesday night that I had lost a glove(perhaps over the weekend when I was last outdoors)but surprised that I did not realise sooner so that's some more money I will have to spend and I just hope that they are still in the shops and not been withdrawn because its coming into Summer)and mine are more suited to the fall/winter. Not sure how it happened as they were placed in a closed shopping trolley and I did not wear them.

I may have a look out today...need some extra mixing bowls and tins for the oven if I am to do some homemade food...

I was thinking of possibly going to see an event at the weekend, some land sailing on Redcar beach but I forgot I have to be back to see a local concert by a tribute band to the Beatles and the bus service on Sundays is poor so I may have to give up on that idea.

I may not spend anything tomorrow and Saturday but may just get out for the sake of it and have a look to see what two other Farmers Markets are like to see who attends and how big they are and whether they are worth visiting again.

But having been in touch with more directly with some of these producers directly and having previously mentioned the store in Newcastle called mmm...I have found out that the big departmental store Fenwicks are stocking local produce in their food halls so if getting to the markets proves difficult perhaps I can make one trip and visit these two retailers to get all that I need.



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

As I Have Been Doing So Well...

Why do I feel down? I could go out and walk around the supermarket and that will probably involve spending money(not good)and well its becoming darker anyhow...its quite dull outside, its not been a sunny day.

Considering I have managed to get out of late should I be feeling like this? Then again don't we all at sometime even when as is well? No, I'll stay indoors. Perhaps, if I cook something it will divert my thoughts a little...not really thinking of anything in particular but usually when I feel like this something happens that I can do without, a letter or a phone call.

I think it is because I know I have start dealing with Mum's estate soon and cannot keep putting that off and that my relatively untouched life will change and where things would have been ok for a little longer, I will come under the new rules and have to jump through all the hoops and the newly introduced conditions. Perhaps that has something to do with my mood. I wasn't thinking such things until I started writing this or perhaps I was and did not realise.

Time is still on my side so I may still let things go for another six months but then I really will have to move things along.

Doh! Or Is That Dough?

What an idiot! Just about killed off my Sourdough Starter...well, hopefully not. Just put the progress back and at least I did not throw it away...

It became watery and I could not think why...

I weighed the flour and added the grapes but because I was using a new water jug and was unfamiliar with the measures on the side I decided to weigh the liquid and can you see what's wrong with that idea? I think the problem is you weigh dry goods but go by volume with liquid.

So I have added more flour and fruit. It seems to be getting its stretchy consistancy again, we'll see.

Do you get my little joke at the start of the post? Doh as in stupid(Homer Simpson)or dough as in bread :o) Not good when it has to be explained...

Oh Dear...

A lot of my previous posts could be obsolete about local Farmer's Markets/Food Festivals. Why?

Its an excuse to get out but there is some great news...just that a limited income means I cannot buy all that I wish to but I have found an outlet in Newcastle Upon Tyne that seems to stock just about any produce from local businesses around the North East and beyond. It may mean that I can go to one location for everything.

It also means that no journey will last longer than two hours by bus. If I make one big shop and take my rucksack and shopping trolley I can do it occasionally. It will also be good when the weather turns nasty during Winter. It appears to stock jams, relishes, chutneys, artisan bread, alcohol and much more even the cordials I have become a fan of and even their own website does not show any stockists in this area.

The shop is called mmm and they also have a twitter account...

Did I Say?

I hope to attend another Food Festival on May 4th and will have to be up very early to get there to catch it and...possibly see the seaside. It takes place in a town/village I do not believe I have been before Tynemouth. Could take me approx 3 hours to get there(ditto coming back)hope that the weather is kind...

If I lived around Durham or Newcastle I could knock approx an hour of my journey time, would access to more buses and local train services and I could visit more place in the North of my region but be near enough to reach areas that I do now...but some places I wish to visit can take upto six hours to get there using buses. I'd be more centrally based.

I may in those cases have to look at seeing if there are any cheap day returns on the trains or coaches or see if there is a cheap B&B I can stay for a few days so I can be in the area or use that as a starting point explore neighbouring areas.

We have ordinary markets and now Farmers Markets. I understand we've had them for just under 20 years...and in the US they started approx 40 years ago so we have some catching up to do...

They are some lovely meats and sweets but have to admit I am getting back into a side of food I have neglected and that is jams, chutneys and relishes...there is one company I hope one day to see in a shop or on a market which I have linked to my blog for years and if I don't I may have to buy something on line...Hawkshead Relishes...the more you buy the better value they offer...

I would love to try the homemade beers, wines and ciders but they are a little expensive...perhaps I'll have to start and make my own again...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Isn't It Good To Know...

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Christmas Countdown...whatever next?

Not much happening today. Hence the above trivia...

Been looking at where I can go in coming weeks...restricted because some journeys by public transport take too long or are impossible because there is no service to speak of. Unless I can find a service similar to National Express where you travel a more direct route. Must look into that...even if it costs money. Or look into cheap rail travel but that usually means booking well in advance.

If there are fewer theatre shows of interest in coming months I will divert the money spent to travel or days out. And my real luxury of trying to eat well.

I can just about manage 3 hours travel to somewhere and home but after that it becomes difficult.

Food...did I tell you? I managed to find two pork pies(reasonable size)from the supermarket delicatessen reduced from £3.00 to £1.20, Fish and chips from £2 to £1.00 and a bacon, sausage and tomato quiche from £3+ to £1.15 and a carton of pea and asparagus soup from £1 to 50p yesterday.

I suspect as they are getting past their dates to prolong their lives I will have to move items around the fridge/freezer or buy extra time by cooking some items.

So today I am thinking soup, salad with pork pie or quiche and later I will cook the chicken and veg pie(possibly have that when I come in from my music club)Must east some of my bread, don't think I'll get through it all but I find it lasts longer than the date on the warppers and does not go stale or mouldy. As most was purchased at a reduced price I won't lose much money wise.

And now I am suddenly into the baking of my own again. That's going to plan and I have not managed to kill my sourdough starter so far.

Will hopefully take some photo's and post them...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Thinking That It's Almost Time To Feed My Pet...

Well the sourdough starter...I hope its working.

My meal worked out fine last night. Next test will be cooking chips that have not been par boiled first.

I have quite a lot of bread to get through including those I purchased at the Food Festival so probably lots of sandwiches these next few days...

Revised what I planned for my meal tonight...I have eaten Tesco Finest Pasta, Spinach and Pine Nuts salad, no way would I pay the original price but at 25p...was I impressed? No but I can say I tried it and I don't mind wasting 25p. Today I found chicken and stuffing sandwiches(3)for £1.49(saved £1)and added some tomato, spring onion, cucumber and pea shoots. And a small strawberry cheescake reduced by half to approx 35p. Still eating items past or near their dates...

The latest on the fresh milk is that I am nearly through my 4 pinter but I can report that though it is not treated in any way and has a use by date of 9th April it is still ok. That's 14 days over the date! And with milk you can always tell if it is off by all three senses.

It smells, it looks wrong, tastes sour and if added to tea or coffee it curdles immediately. Commonsense as always...

Sorry to go on about food, no doubt I will move onto other matters. And as I get out and see more and can add images there will be more to post.

I still have to go to more theatre shows, food fairs, I want to get back to Saltburn, Chester Le Street (for the first time)and the  Angel Of The North...just when I say that I will, something else comes along.

Its A Year Today...

Since Mum passed away...where did that go?

Ask me how I feel at the end of the day. I feel quite calm at this time all things considered. That's either the grieving process working as it should or the medication has kicked in.

I know there are things that will happen in the future to fear and worry me(that will happen to many of us)and I may still have my moments over Mum, I'll just live for the day and look no further.

Update:Had a couple of "Bad" dreams but don't remember much about them. One had Mum in it but I can kind of understand why that would happen, the other was just weird. Nightmares are rare...

Came across the following by pure chance on this day and was not looking for such an article, interesting but in some ways stating the obvious and making out that it is easy to reverse and find happiness. I'm not so sure it is quite that simple.

Top Five Regrets Of The Dying

Simple Diagram Of The Regrets

Lets Give Some More Publicity...

To those companies/individuals trying to promote quality foods on a smaller quantity...

The other day I purchased Strawberry Jam with Champagne and Sweet Cider Chutney from a stall run by Cherry Tree Preservatives but the nearest they come to this area is Catterick in Yorkshire. I now understand that these are franchises and there is another to be found in Durham Market square most Saturdays so that can be found again...Durham also has a Farmers Market.

So some of the food producers I mention may be near you or something similar...

It would appear that the best one takes place in Barnard Castle and it attracts a very big selection of food and drink from 4 counties(Yorkshire, Durham, Cumbria and Northumberland)I hope to attend that soon.

The other producer that was immediately interesting is Kitty's Ginger Wine based in Blyth in Northumberland. They don't have a website as such but they do attend some food festivals and seemingly Durham at certain times in the Cloisters of Durham Cathedral.

I see that they are attending Alnwick Food Festival in September...if money was no object I would have come home with a bottle or two it was very nice...

Now to publicity for a local brewery that deserves to be a success and is only 7 miles away The Black Paw Brewery is based in Bishop Auckland Co. Durham, website is being redesigned at present but it has a facebook account and a Twitter presence. And at least the brewery is getting out and about in the community.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chips With Everything...

Not quite but experimenting...

I have cut some Desiree potatoes(leaving the skins on)boiled them which happened very quickly.

Later on I will fry them in olive oil either in a frying pan or saucepan. It has proven how quickly potatoes cook if made smaller and to be honest even if I left them as chips but as boiled they were actually quite interesting.

I will use the vegetable water in my gravy and add the mince to the gravy which I have already browned. The vegetables and mince unused will go in the fridge for another meal tomorrow. Either the same or I might turn it into a Shepherd's Pie or something else.

Oh I'm thinking of having a go at making a wholemeal sourdough loaf and one with added spinach and cheese, getting adventurous in my old age.

The Starter Dough Is...

continuing to ferment or whatever the term is...getting closer to the next stage of baking my loaf.

In the meantime I did attend the second day of the Food Festival in Bishop Auckland. I found out too late that the Beer Festival was now free and I was already home when I found that out. And thanks to the bus service ending at 6pm I cannot return and take advantage.

I did spent a little more money...so now I will avoid spending for a while. I am happy with my haul but it was not inexpensive...but what I have will last me because I'll make it last and what I have will be a treat.

There was a great stall selling cordials and they are beautiful, I could only afford the one and sadly the company only appears at Food Festivals and not many in the North of England. You can buy on line and some retailers in the South stock them. He is appearing at a festival in May in Tynemouth, I may try to visit the event and buy a few more...

I chose English Elderflower And Bramley Apple.

They are seriously wonderful...

Mr Fitzpatrick's Vintage Cordial

Tynemouth Food Festival

The other stall holder that really needs mentioning is Just Williams. I love that play on the name associated with the children's series of books written by Richmal Crompton called Just William.

My marmelade and jams are usually really cheap often not even as much as a £1. But these jams are special and they will be lovely on my home made bread.

The flavours are different, a lot of care has gone into the product and I like the person who is running the business, to some extent he is local so hopefully I can buy some more of his range again. He does get to some of the markets in the area and also has his goods on sale in some stockists.

Even the jars look different and are sealed in a different way to those you find in the shops. I was spoilt for choice and though I probably could only afford one, I decided to buy three and saved £1.50.

They have a long date on them so I will wait before using them...

I chose for Rhubarb and Stem Ginger, Summer Medley(made with Redcurrents, Blackcurrents, Whitecurrents, Raspberries)and Brambles, Crabapple and Eldlerberry's.

I will try and find a use for the jars or am tempted to return them to be reused. If we all did this it could help keep his costs down.

Again you can buy online or if in the area perhaps you may find the jams on sale at a market or in a local shop.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I've Made Some Sourdough Starter...

How easy was that?

I thought my Kilner jar was big enough to contain the dough but it has already filled the jar that I have and as it has to rise I have had to buy a large one. My original jar was too small though I thought it was originally ok.

Here are some links in case you would like to have a go yourself...you can make it as difficult or as easy as you wish...I made my dough around two hours ago and already it has taken hold. It is very stretchy and that means the Gluten is happening. The next step for me happens in three days when I have to feed it again.

I have used the method as broadcast on Paul Hollywood's TV series...see the first two links.

Sourdough Starter

Classic sourdough loaf

Alternative site dedicated to Sourdough Bread

I managed to buy two loaves of bread(whilst buying the larger glass jar)this evening and paid a total of 17p.

The next idea is to try and make some Soda bread.

Food...Yum, Yum...

I wanted to take my time at the Food Festival. Sit in the sun. Look at all that was on offer, when not on your own you sometimes feel rushed so hope to go again Sunday. I did come home with some treats(Raspberry Curd, Sweet Cider Chutney, Strawberry Jam With Champagne)and a Sourdough Bloomer Loaf but probably missed something.

I spent too much but if I avoid spending on other things...use the food I have in the house and buy whilst I am able, its good to treat yourself. Really the most silly purchase probably was the bread but I have never had such a loaf before. I am thinking of making my own in the next few days. And I thought if I try one first I can decide if I like it.

The jams and chutneys were not any more expensive that what you buy in a supermarket unless you usually purchase the range that is around 39p-59p. But they are special because they are homemade and not on such a grand scale and the variety of  flavours not usually available. They cost between £2.70 and £3.50. I can make jams and chutneys last ages. And until opened they will be still ok in 2014/2015. The sweets and alcohol looked lovely but sadly they really were too expensive.

When I came home I bought a cheap/small roasting dish and oven tray...its good enough for me. And some washing items for the washer were on offer at half price.

I was so slow and wanted to keep having a sit down(but some areas had no seats or walls)and being with someone else I felt a bit rushed and had to keep going...in this updating of the post...I found I was unable to sleep very well as my legs were restless, uncomfortable and I was in pain. I did return on the second day...it was more relaxed, I saw more and was able to rest.

Also my companion wanted a meal(I didn't)and made do with a cup of coffee...I reckon with his beer and meal he spent £10. That is approx 3-4 meals for me or extra shopping on food.

And if I am saving on bus fares and watching my budget though a meal is nice, it defeats my being frugal. I planned to eat when I came home but I am more likely to take some home made rolls and some drinks in a rucksack which will do me. Or I would look for the traditional cafe doing simple fare like beans on toast.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Sun Is Still Shining...

Please let this mean tomorrow will be kind.

Yes, I sadly doubt I will be buying that much. With a full food store, fruit and vegetables, a fridge/freezer packed with fish, meat and cheese cupboards full of soup and various tinned goods and a pantry full of cereal and booze there is not much that I need.

So I may just look for some chutneys and jams, bread and cakes this time. Or just look this time.

Use it as a kind of learning session, seeing what is out there and taking any leaflets available.

So I had a look out this afternoon. I found a much better green grocer than on my town so I may make an occasional visit there(I had left it a bit late)so I only came home with strawberries and some Cornish new potatoes. Now that's not strictly true, I have a habit of attracting people who want to talk to me and I think that they go home feeling better but because I care...it means that I often do not manage to do everything that I plan to do.

Oh I found for £1.50 two silicone egg poachers that will work in a saucepan of water or a microwave, usually I drop an egg in water but this may keep it together and tidier. I found a CD by a peformer Mum and I discovered not long before she passed away so I treated myself. At £5 I did not think it was too expensive and its been months since I bought a CD.

I was then delayed coming home as...the bus arrived at the stop and was out of action needing to go back to the garage(problems with brakes and air presure)and the next one was 15 minutes late. One poor passenger finished work at 4.30 and found because of problems until nearly 7pm to get home. The bus was driven back by a mechanic...he must have decided it was safe to do so but with such failure, really?

Breakdowns do  happen and cannot always be avoided.

They Don't Miss A Trick...

I purchased a prepayment prescription certificate card to save on prescription charges because I was afraid that I could not afford my prescriptions as circumstances changed when Mum passed away.  I paid approx £100.

I never used it but not knowing if I may have to I kept it by me. Then I forgot about it, misplaced it but found it again. Submitted it and asked for a refund. I have got one...

Unfortunately, even though I never used it...they are only giving me a refund for the unexpired months so I am being given approx a refund of £17. So they have kept approx £80 and I am the loser.

That stinks...but what can you do?

Has The Weather Broken?

There is some blue sky and fluffy white clouds and no blustery winds so just perhaps the Food Festival this weekend will be fortunate.

Its a wonder any event or business survives these days looking at the cost of running a car or a bus.

To travel approx 7-12 miles can cost upto £10 one way. So unless you plan for a day, return or a weekly ticket...or have access to a pass due to illness/age I really wonder how most people manage to afford it and is it any wonder more people are stuck within a small area and stay at home as they do...

My trip to Saltburn last weekend without any help and travelling one way and having to change buses could have cost approx £15 so adding in the return journey home that's £30! If you are able to restrict yourself to one company and buy day ticket you can bring it down to approx £7.

So sometimes if you intend to travel only one way it is better to buy a day ticket if you change buses but are using the same company. There could even be a similar argument to purchasing a weekly ticket. That costs approx £26.

The difficulty is often you are unable to stick to one company all the way through your journey in neighbouring areas. The advantage of the bus pass.

Travel costs must be helping to kill off business and the social benefits that getting out does for our well being.

Thinking Of Food...

And what to have later...

Porridge, fruit, toast and tea for Breakfast.

Small salad for Lunch.

Then the plan was home made shepherds pie but I am thinking for ease and quickness, I will do mashed potato, some swede, carrot and onions. And serve the mutton and lamb mince on a plate or in a bowl and add some gravy but not that watery kind...I want it a little thicker, may add a Yorkshire Pudding or two...

That's quite a lot of effort for me.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I Gave In...

Well I was buying my computer magazine, my treat to myself...and passed by the reduced area in the supermarket. Oh if money was no object and space in the freezer. There was so much lamb and beef. I came away with £6 of beef for £2. If I portion it out that will do 4 meals if added to vegetables. I can do stews/casseroles and various other options. With my medical problems I am not supposed to eat lots of red meat. I may be able to stretch it even further.

I needed some more tomatoes, cucumber and grapes. When I go to the Food Festival(I so hope the weather improves)at the weekend I really doubt that I need that much. I am thinking...cakes, bread and jams/chutneys. Its an excuse for a day out.

Last night and today has been very blustery and I have been blown all over the place.

Found this...and though aimed at Farmer's Markets in America it is true of such markets anywhere...

13 Things You Should Know About Farmer's Market

I am seriously thinking of baking bread again or if I buy because I can make a loaf last between 1-2 weeks its not costing too much. I have decided that probably my favourite loaves are(or what I want to try are)Bloomers, Sourdough, Soda and soft Farmhouse Batch loaves.

Last night I purchased my first glass Kilner jar. Why? To store the sourdough when I start to grow my live culture that you feed and use to make the next loaf.

I Like This Quote...

Paul Gambaccini broadaster and DJ tweeted this earlier today...

"We become more enraged at injustice as we age as we realize we are not God and never will be, and we will leave Earth in an imperfect state."

Kind of says it all...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Eight Hours Later...

I slept through the Funeral of ex prime minister Margaret Thatcher but I wasn't going to follow it anyhow. The plan to buy some new trainers instead changed as I found some similar to those I usually purchase were available on my town again. Unbranded and where even with discount designer branded trainers would be at least £20 per pair.

I found a pair for £9.99 so whilst there in case they disappear again I purchased two pairs. They'll last me for quite some time. Also found some vitamins/minerals reasonably priced. Still managing to avoid buying un-necessary food. Bills were paid too. All sorted and back home within 45 minutes

Still on for this weekends Food Festival.

Out tonight for a concert. Will have to get ready soon...thanks to the buses dropping off after 5-6pm which could mean arriving late...I'd rather be early.

How Weird...

The things you discover by accident...the plan was that one day I would order lots of my favourite sweets online as there are so few traditional sweet shops(but there are more these days)than there used to be.

I don't go to the local town of Shildon because many of the shops seem to be closing and the choice limited. Its not helped by the fact that the route the bus takes from my town stops at a kind of mini terminus that misses out the shopping area.

I have on my blog a link to a site called "A Quarter of Sweets" where you can purchase all those sweets that you remember from your childhood. I was looking to see a sweetshop I found in Redcar but did not visit on Saturday with no luck but Google flagged up the above and...

Then showed me that the same business has a shop under a different name...and it is in...Shildon. Approx 3 miles away...It is next door to one of those old fashioned but highly valued iron mongers, that is next to a traditional greengrocer which is next to a traditional butcher and though not massive there is also quite close by a reasonably sized supermarket run by Morrisons.

Virtually next to that is a business that sells discounted furnishings, household goods, clothes and footwear etc...(that is where the original trainers I was having difficulty finding)are stocked. Oh and it has something else that my town no longer has...a shoe repairer.

Also there is a food retailer that stocks some heavily discounted food items or offers larger items at low prices. So I am starting to think I should consider having another look quite soon.

I started looking for something unconnected and I found all this right on my doorstep.

If I Eat Less Today...

I'm doing fine...still have some diced lamb to use, lamb and mutton mince, chicken breasts and sliced Turkey. Roast potatoes and a family sized chicken and leek pie. Working against the dates and juggling food around.

I'm determined to win...

But yesterday I did have more than usual...most of this was food that was reduced or on offer and slightly out of date...

Cereal and milk.
Chicken, bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches in granary bread, a custard donut.
Venison sausages, scrambled eggs and sliced potatoes.
Mugs of tea.

So far this week I have spent nothing on shopping other than some bread and milk on Sunday. And found that I can fight the urge to have to go out.

I am seriously thinking of having a go at baking bread again...that Paul Hollywood has a lot to answer for...

I can bake a basic loaf(white or wholemeal)a bloomer is quite easy but I think I would like to have a go at a sourdough loaf and soda bread as both need little if any kneeding or yeast so are easy. If/when I do I will post recipes and pictures on my blog.

In The Last Few Years...

I have taken to wearing trainers...Not bothered about them being designer gear and to be honest they are too expensive. I have such a job doing up laced shoes but reaching down to tie them up...what a carry on, even attempting to cut my toenails is a major task. I have been thinking of using a chiropodist.

I tend to purchase trainers that have Velcro strap fasteners and I usually pay between £10-£15.

 I found a shop in Darlington last year that sold discounted designer sports clothes and footwear. I could not find my usual trainers and they had a pair of green and white Lonsdale's worth £55 for around £20. Opened the box today to start using them as the two pairs I am using are cracked, the heels are worn down and one pair has holes at the front where the toes are.

Still usable for the shops nearby but they are done. I found their website and they have some thing similar in black and white reduced at present but you have to pay delivery charges...their shop has closed in Darlington. I found a branch in Redcar on Saturday so thought I may have to return in the next few days but there is a branch in Bishop Auckland approx 30 minutes away so I may go tomorrow and see if they have any in the shop. Whilst I am able I may buy two pairs.

These are approx the same price as the previous pair(reduced by 80%)but they have no laces or Velcro straps. They are slip ons....I may still thave to look for the strap design because should your feet swell you can slacken the straps and get some extra room though I do like the idea of just slipping your feet into them.

If unlucky I believe I have found another local outlet for the trainers I usually buy so I have another option if my first fails.

As I rarely wear shoes any more I have a new pair and another not used much so they should last me years.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On Saturday I Attended A Show...


 
Darlington Civic Theatre, you can look at the history of this venue at the Highlighted link.

Redcar...Near Saltburn


I have heard of this being done but never seen it for myself. Most of the shops in Redcar's retail area are occupied.Not sure how well they are doing as it is hard times but(rather than have empty or boarded up shop fronts)many towns have been putting pictures on the empty buildings. Does it work?


As you can see there is a lot of work being carried out, lots of iron fences, walls, bollards etc...the work has been going on for ages and even the bus shelters are in a variety of designs.

 
Redcar's new virtical pier which is illuminated in the evening. More views below.


 



 
These wind turbines really do dominate this area of Redcar and are virtually in front of the virtical pier and seem large when you stand on the beach. Considering I have not been to Redcar a lot and as its been years it is difficult to sometimes compare the difference and it will be interesting to see how it looks when all the alterations are complete.

(Remember that you can click on the images and see them larger and in two different sizes)to return to the blog use the back button on your browser.

Saltburn By The Sea...

I live in the neighbouring county of Durham and yet keep thinking...am I in Teeside(Cleveland)or Yorkshire when I go here. The bounderies have changed a number of times over the years and it is just inside Yorkshire.

 
 
 
It is said to offer the best surfing conditions outside of Cornwall, these are things that you hear but I am unsure how true this is but even on the day I visited there were quite a few people with surfboards and the obligatory camper van. 
 
 
This is Saltburn pier, I had intended to walk along it and perhaps sit for awhile on the seats that are there but to be honest I was really tired and gave up...perhaps next time. There is a bus that runs regularly down the very steep bank and up again so next time, I'll catch that. Especially whilst it is free.
 

 
Looking this way into the distance it is too far to see the wind farm out to sea and further on there is an industrial area that can be seen towards Redcar and Seaton Carew but they do not dominate the skyline of Marske and Saltburn.
 

 
This view is looking down from the cliffs and shows the lower lift station at the pier/beach. The three buildings in front of the pier from memory are shops but I'll check next time I am there.
 
 
The lift has been going up and down the 120ft cliff since 1884 and works via a water balance mechanism, the oldest remaining working one in the UK. It costs £1 per journey.
 

 
It is said that each car can take 15 passengers but that is a tight squeeze and when I was there last weekend it was never that packed, people were going in two and threes. Occasionally a family perhaps.
 
 
The little hut that contains the lift's operator and the controls etc...but as you'll see from the next image you enter from the side and you can see the mechanism that fills the car with water.
 


 
Another view of the pier said to be the most Northerly surviving pier.
 
 
A view of the pier from ground level.
 
 
 

 
 
Above three views of The Ship Inn...said to date back to the fifteenth century and part of "Old" Saltburn and used by smugglers(perhaps I'll get in there some time)and have a drink. It seems quite popular.
 
 

Many of the properties are fortunate to have a commanding view of the sea and coast.
 

Perhaps if I was to explore the parts of Saltburn where most live there are newer houses but the area that most people visit they are old, solid and expensive, I'm guessing probably Victorian as you can see.
 
This is perhaps the biggest hotel in the town, The Spa and for me, too expensive to consider staying but then again most of the hotels/guest houses and self catering properties are and they are usually booked well in advance.
 
I'd say that there isn't much to do in the town, perhaps that is the attraction but that's unfair. Like any town it has a community theatre, some public houses of course, lots of organistaions and a community spirit lacking in perhaps some of the larger towns, mine included.

I've Won A Prize...

I attended my first Farmers Market at the weekend as you know and had the chance to revisit some childhood memories...the prizes were not arranged by the market. To get to Saltburn you have to go through Marske, often in my really young days, my parents and myself would go there.

My memory is a little hazy, not sure we went on the beach that much, we'd have a radio on in the car(have a flask of tea, sandwiches and cakes etc...)look out to sea, have a little walk. Occasionally, I remember going with relatives who travelled in their car and we'd meet there(my cousin, Mum's sister and Dad's cousin)

I hoped to win a hamper in a free draw but there was a Twitter Draw too...missed out on the first option but...have won a prize in the second which is some kind of travel prize.

If it is free travel...I have that with my bus pass but if it is something a bit different(I hope that it is)I'll not complain. If its free travel(perhaps to travel for a week etc...)I've not gained anything. Won't know until it arrives. Must not be ungrateful.

If that's what it is, it would be handy to have if you don't have a pass. Then again, if it means I can have a train ride that could be a change and a bit of fun...

Must get those photo's uploaded that I promised at the weekend. Another bad day weather wise though some sun is finally starting to show. Temporary I am sure...its blustery and seems cold out. Still wondering whether to remain indoors having avoided going out yesterday or to go out for the sake of doing so. But as I have food it really is unnecessary.

Especially in this weather. Not as stir crazy as I sometimes have been in the past few months. I am at the music club tonight. So will be out for a few hours. Also tomorrow night at another musical event. Of course come Monday it is a year since Mum passed away, hard to believe that much time has gone by.

The house has been warmer(I have no idea why)even without the central heating on.

Overnight and this morning the thermometer was saying 18c(66f)and I have managed to avoid wearing as much clothing and the usual hats, scarfs and gloves. I was even able to take some clothing off.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Told You I Don't Take Notice Of Dated Food...

I had a late lunch of two ham, cheese and pickle sandwiches in granary bread(reduced)purchased on Friday for use on that day...I'm still here.

Now I am about to have two chicken, bacon, tomato and lettuce sandwiches(reduced)same date. Followed by the second of my mint chocolate dessert(same date)and I am sure that I will be fine...

Also had a custard donut earlier...

Today I had coffee...oh and my milk is six days over the date and I only opened it yesterday...living dangerously? No, just realise that looking, the smell, the feel says a lot and many foods that need cooking if piping hot will kill off anything harmful. Plus my fridge is very cold and I have a thermometer I can check.

Avoided the temptation to go out and spend or look for more bargains...thinking of this weekend's Food Festival. If the buses run on Sunday and I can get home I may attend both days and pace myself rather than try to do it all in one day...perhaps I can take some photos and video's for my blog. Perhaps I'll find some nice food to bring home.

And this weekend I am not out in the evening so can rest when I come home.

Having salads too and have the usual mixed and watercress but getting into a Sainsbury's meant I have for the first time purchased a bag of pea shoots, not heard of any other supermarket selling those.

The Division That The Funeral And Media Coverage...

has brought about regarding the passing of Margaret Thatcher has caused strong feelings and shown how some were affected by her and her Governments policies directly but also the media which has probably whipped up the furoré which in turn keeps the story alive.

Hopefully, if I have talked about it on Twitter or here I have been reasonably balanced and respectful, mainly unbiased or if I have passed an opinion I have done so in a way that is not inflammatory.

I said in a previous post I only remember two funerals of importance in my life but am unsure if this is my memory playing tricks or I just did not bother to take notice when others took place. I have lived through the passing of at least seven ex Prime Ministers.

One was the "State" funeral of Winston Churchill. The other it turns out was not a "State" funeral and that was Diana Spencer the Princess of Wales.

I don't know why I don't remember Princess Margaret's or The Queen Mothers funerals.

I'm not so sure about the honour the country is giving Margaret Thatcher, I have mixed feelings and as has been said at this time of austerity for many.

But I found the following feature which is interesting to see how previous Prime Ministers of note have been treated/remembered which may answer those questions. Not all of them are included.

Prime Ministers Funerals

I May Push My Meals Back...

So that Breakfast is Lunch, Lunch is Evening Meal and Evening Meal is supper. Or as I planned to have porridge to start the day, have it to end the day. My weight still seems to be constantly maintained so that's good. Then again eating many foods that are not as high in calories and eating less will be playing its part.

Some days my calorific intake will be less but often I hit the amount a male adult should eat or eat more but it evens out. I don't sit and count calories I just approximate mentally. I know fruit and veg is low, meat a little more and sweet items...a lot.

I don't cover cereal and porridge in sugar so if they are high in sugar content already I am not adding to it. I do add sugar to coffee but since Mum passed away I use sweeteners which have no calories and am used to the taste so that saves adding extra to my daily intake.

When I do go out because mobility is poor and it takes a lot of effort to walk a small distance it is more like an exercise work out and I am tired quite soon and certainly when I get back home so I don't need a gym and that probably burns off a few extra calories a few times per week.

Food and music are my main interests in life so I am thinking of posting recipes again and trying to make the effort to do a few special meals again even though I live alone. Just have to be careful about breaking copyright perhaps but we all adapt meals and once out there being shared by many how can you say it is a direct copy of someones work.

That would only be so if you reproduce the work word for word...and I always try to link or give credit where its due.

We'll see...often its easier to direct people to a website...I may try to include images too...I'll never be able to do food justice as there are many brilliant sites out there. There many blogs that knocks my own into a cocked hat...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pleased With Myself...

I cooked a meal of potatoes, broccoli, swede, cauliflower, sliced beef(I cheated)that was already cooked and gravy. Plenty left to have tomorrow with something else. I had some ready made Yorkshire puddings too. All steamed in the microwaves...

Followed by a mint chocoate dessert. Just resting in bed listening to the easy music on the radio now...the simple things of life. If I can do that I'll come to no harm...

And yes, I think I'll have some breakfast for a change tomorrow morning,  perhaps some porridge with fruit, toast and a nice mug of tea.

You learn though...I don't eat a lot of it...before I had not done so for years but you'll notice I had beef. Three slices(quite thin)and that being reduced cost £1.20(it usually sells at £3 so a saving.

However when I see a joint of beef priced at £5 and more I think how expensive it is. When in reality it is a better buy. Trouble is that is a lot for a single person to get through. So I may have to think again and buy a piece of meat.

Try and portion some and freeze some...and/or cook some and freeze some of the cooked meat in slices, put it in containers or freezer bags and defrost it for other meals when required...over a month.

Having a second freezer rather than one attached to the fridge is starting to look like a good idea if the cost of running it is not excessive. I don't care that it takes up room in the house and which room it is in.

The dining room already has a food store, tumble drier and fridge freezer and I do not use it to eat meals. I have access to a kind of table that fits across a chair or bed. The kind seen in hospitals and unless I have to use the oven I could and do sometimes put my meals together upstairs(I already have a kettle)

If I can stay put, I could consider putting a microwave in a spare bedroom and use that room as a mini kitchen come dining room and move the kettle in there. Even adding a mini-fridge and mini oven grill.

Been looking at that bedroom again wondering if I could have it redifined as box room, something for the future perhaps which could mean the bedroom tax could be reduced but that will depend on the rules and whether the Housing Association is willing to help(some are more approachable than others)then I'd only be paying for one spare room. I am still on for having a water meter installed to reduce the water rates by approx half...it all saves money.

Having Problems Uploading Images...

As I wish to but lots of Saltburn By The Sea coming soon...

There are a few of the coast. A cliff face lift that is powered by water and has been there over a century. I did not use it myself(I never have)whilst I have access to a bus pass, I was able to board a bus and travel up and down the very, very steep incline/bank and avoid the many steps and travel along the top of the cliffs back to where I had started from.

I don't think the images need any captions as they speak for themselves...its coast, Saltburn Pier which is basic and the lift. Oh and there are some images of the Ship Inn which is pretty old and was once connected as many such places are with Smugglers.

I am really tired and it took some getting around yesterday ...I will be taking it easy for the next few days and having a rest.

The weather was kind and considering how cold it has been I was blessed but by last night it was wet and quite blustery. And it is cold again today. Update:As usual as often happens the sun has come out but always late in the day 5pm. And on a Sunday when buses are even worse.

Hope the weather picks up for the big two day food festival being held in Bishop Auckland next weekend. This will probably mean my planned visit to Chester Le Street to see the high street and ordinary street market will have to be put back as also the following week there is a show with a Beatles Tribute Band happening locally and travelling there and back is pushing it.

But it gives me something to look forward to...and I will try and take some images/video of the Angel Of The North whilst in that part of the area as promised a while back.

I have found out the Farmers Market hamper at Saltburn was won by someone other than myself...am I surprised.

I have lots of food to go at so will hold off on the reduced stuff at present and should I create some space in the coming days I hope to buy some treats at the two day food festival next weekend being held locally, except for bread and milk I probably could manage for over a month. Its just that it gives you an excuse to go out,

Also perhaps reach some of the other Farmers Markets around the area. I may just have to buy some fancy bread, cakes and chutneys/preservatives. Yesterday, the wine looked interesting but at £6.50 a bottle...no! I am seriously thinking of brewing my own again, it was easy and it tasted great(cheaper than the shops too)

I could not make larger as cheap as I can get it in the supermarket but if it goes up in price I may have a go at brewing some of that too...

I can reach approx four markets reasonably easily and if careful quite a lot of what is sold is not much more expensive or is similar to what you pay at the supermarket but a bit special and that goes for quality. Two of those markets are the same one but in different locations. But until I visit I won't know if any extra stalls are there.

Of course this assumes that I will always be able to use a bus pass(and have mobility)otherwise I'd be paying money I could spend on food on just getting there. It also assumes that I am around on the days that such markets are held. And yesterday as people arrive early what I might've purchased had already been taken.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

That Was A Long Day...

I think that I will sleep well tonight. My expedition to places I have not seen in years went reasonably well and my connections with buses were good. I was not left hanging around and to be honest I did not always check the times, I just arrived at the bus stop and fell lucky. Its a pity that the service declines in the evening...
 
So I started out in Saltburn and visited the Farmers Market hoping that just perhaps I have won a hamper. The market was smaller than I expected but the items on sale were reasonably priced and next time I attend hopefully I will buy more. I came home with a jar of homemade honey with added whisky. It is suggested on the jar it can be added to tea/coffee or with a hint of lemon you could make a hot toddy.
 
I took quite a few photo's of Saltburn and planned to walk on the pier and have a sit for awhile as I have never done that before but may next time I visit. It was quite warm so I sat in an area designated for having a picnic and had a good view of the coastline whilst I ate the bits and pieces in my rucksack. Then took a very slow walk(stopping regularly)I will post a selection of images that I took.
 
As I had seen everything quickly I decided to take an earlier bus and go back to Redcar just a little way up the coast.
 
The shopping area hasn't changed but the promenade has...I hope that it will be possible to see the sea and sit down but they have built big walls to defend against the sea and there is lots of fences and barriers as the work continues and parts of the promenade blocked off.
 
One area also has some wind turbines out at sea which dominate and are very big but they don't show up too well on photo's/videos but they are in the following video in the distance also a new observation building which I understand in the evening is illuminated. I hope the video is not too shaky.


 
 
I treated myself to a little gift in Redcar. I found for a mandoline slicer for £5.99 which is said to sell for £30 and a quick search on here on the John Lewis website has it listed at that price Zyliss Folding Mandoline there was a more expensive one for £10 but I thought this good enough for the amount of times I'll use it. I can cut/slice various vegetables and fruits in varying widths. I also found some extremely long matches approx 18 inches long.
 
There was no point coming home to go back to Darlington for the show so I popped into the supermarket for some vegetables and bread but I still forgot to buy the bread as I have all day. But it filled the time...
 
So to the show...
 
Boogie Nights, a musical and an excuse to sing many disco hits of the 70's and early 80's.
Some of the audience really got into it and most seemed to be enjoying it but to be honest I was disappointed and bored. I must have been because I started thinking about what meal I was going to cook for Sunday and what should be used up first. I'd booked this ages ago and it wasn't cheap but three of those who were supposed to be in the cast were missing...three of the Osmonds Brothers. And that was my main reason for booking.
 
I'm tempted to say as they pulled out the price should have been reduced as I suspect the price was higher because they were in the show. That's just my own opinion and I could be totally wrong.
 
Anyhow here are some videos from the production(no sound)which they said we could take images(as long as flash photography was not used)
 
The fact that I have said so little about the show you can tell I was not impressed. I discover the original Boogie Nights had more of a story, this should have been advertised more as a concert featuring Disco hits of the time. Or did I miss that?
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, April 12, 2013

I'm Considering Whether To Have A Holiday...

whilst I am able whether because income drops because of daily living costs or changes in the ideas the government has planned. Some will say if you are unable to work or accept help you should not have one I haven't for perhaps 12 years or more. My Dr says I should for my health.

It may not happen but am thinking of staying reasonably local...possibly Saltburn, Whitby or Scarborough. If I leave it too late there may be no rooms available but I prefer to take off at a minutes notice. The cheapest I have found would be in June/July B&B for £25 daily. I could even consider just a couple of days...and use my bus pass whilst I have access to one.

Or take a coach holiday and many coach companies include and own the hotels that they use.

We'll see nearer the time...I may have to go into hospital for an op either by me asking or the decision being made for me...better dealt with whilst I am considered still young. It will be scary being alone.

Busy day tomorrow making my way all being well for a trip to Saltburn(anyone who does not know the town)it is in Cleveland and is a seaside resort and was considered quite exclusive in years past. There is not much to do but sit on a bench and watch the sea, for hours and hours and hours.

There is also a big park and on Sundays during summer usually band concerts in a bandstand...unfortunately there is no bus service on Sundays...the day I always thought was traditionally when families tried to go out together.

There is a Farmers market taking place tomorrow. I suspect what is for sale may be too expensive for me and to be honest I am quite well stocked up with food in my freezer/fridge, kitchen cupboards, pantry and food store. So I may only buy some bread and chutney/pickles...but it will give me an idea for the future what to expect. I am entered into a draw to try and win a hamper of some kind so that would be a nice surprise if it came off.

I have also found out this market comes to another town once a month(nearer to where I live)Stockton where I was last night for the concert. Another happens in Darlington(even closer)and Durham so there are a few to choose from.

Next weekend Bishop Auckland has a two day food festival I have never been before but I may try and make the effort if my health allows, I can plan but never know until the day how I will be and afterwards may need hours/days to recover. Again what's for sale may be too expensive or not much use as a single person. Then again quality may be worth considering over price.

If so if I wind down the contents of my freezer I may use the markets more in the future. However, the amount of reduced items tonight at the supermarket, I spent around £10 and saved £10. If I portion the items it was a good buy...

Lamb and mutton mince reduced to £1.20, roast potatoes in goose fat 65p 6 wholemeal Kingsmill rolls 55p 6 Kingsmill white rolls 45p, two mint chocolate desserts 50p, two chicken breasts £2, chicken and bacon sandwiches 90p ham, cheese and pickle sandwiches £1, mini pork pies 65p Some loose tomatoes and some mixed salad.

I don't worry if I use some of the items past their use/sell by dates where possible some items go into the freezer and what doesn't will not go off immediately especially if well cooked in an oven or frying pan/saucepan. Having a good fridge/freezer and colder house(not forgetting the weather is not warm at present helps make food last longer so it has its advantages.And you know my views about best before dates.

Its a busy day tomorrow as I have to get back to this part of the county as last year I booked to see a musical and if I leave it too late I could miss it. Originally the Osmonds(Alan, Merril and Jimmy)were in the cast but their names have disappeared from the posters so I suspect they will not be appearing now. If I had known sooner I would not have booked to see it but it could still be fun.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Back From One Of The Best Concerts...

I have ever seen(not that I have seen that many)

The opening act was good but sorry to say(it rarely happens)I was bored.

But after the interval...wow!

Graham Gouldman(ex member of 10cc and Wax)and composer of so many songs that I have grown up listening to for it seems forever. Writer of songs for many groups and artists for around 50 years. Often I have probably had no idea he was responsible. What a back catalogue he has but he hasn't stopped writing and his newer material is just as good. He was well received and it was the first night of his tour. He opened with a song from 1966 "Pamela" which Wayne Fontana had a hit with and I saw him sing that last week. A performance stripped back to basics and done acoustically.

And he wrote songs for other well known groups of that time like Hermits Hermits, The Yardbirds and The Hollies(who unless something unexpected happens I will see in October)It appears his favourite song is "Bus Stop" which they had a hit with.

Their set lasted approx 90 minutes. Most of the recent shows I have seen have had a break of twenty minutes, here it was thirty minutes.

All venues now allow drinks in the theatre area and many sit sipping wine and larger but tonight a few of the audience had a bottle of wine with them. I haven't seen that before.

I tried to take a photo but frankly they are rubbish(not helped by the fact that I did not use a flash)and so you have to remain still for longer so it is a blurred image. Its not your eyes.

It was my first show at this venue and what an intimate theatre. I had a great seat approx 5 rows back on the end of the row and because the next row was a step down I could see everything easily.

I managed to get to the venue reasonably well with lots of time to spare, if I did not have to wait and change buses it took approx 45 minutes and not too many stops along the way. Unfortunately, no buses home even though the show ended 30 minutes earlier than suggested. But the taxi office was virtually next to the theatre and I was home within 30 minutes. The taxi driver would not take a tip and he did it for the lowest price possible. I had been quoted £18-£20.

If I'd had to pay for my bus there and back I would have spent around that so the taxi was no more expensive. But a bus would have been free.

 
The Arc Stockton On Tees
 
 
Told You The Images Were Rubbish
 
 
I Was Closer Than The Image Suggests
 
 
Also I Kept The Camera Low And Heads
Are In The Picture But Were Not In My Way
 
Stockton is changing and it is obvious that money is being spent on it but it is in a bit of a mess but though it could be nearly 30 years since I was last there the high street hasn't changed a great deal from my memories though I am sure certain shop have come and gone. I seem to remember it was said to have the longest high street in England but that may have changed over the years.
 
I know in the 60's and early 70's it had the best night clubs and all those that were anyone in show business comic or singer/group and the same was true of the local theatre that was there, not just from the UK but big names from the States. That theatre has been empty for years and been allowed to deteriorate but we keep hearing that it is to reopen...not yet! And the nightclubs have long gone.
 
 
Stockton High Street One Way
 
 
Stockton High Street The Other Way
 
Just maybe if the centre is revamped and it may become busy once more. The bus service may be more in demand. These views were taken from the bus shelter where I sat and ate the food and drink that I had in my rucksack.
 
Remember if you want to see the images larger and in greater detail click your mouse on the image, you can make even those images larger by clicking on that image as you will see a little magnifying glass with a plus sign in its centre, when you want to return to the blog or another image press the back button on your browser. I just did so myself and they looked better. Not those of the concert though...



Protest Songs...

Is anyone writing them any more? Or do they just get ignored by radio stations...

There were so many when I was growing up usually against war and poverty.

Then in the 1980's in the UK at least it was more political and aggressive.

Now many people are unhappy and grumble about their lives and what Governments are doing but its mainly all done in private amongst friends or people(me included)making our views known which perhaps gets rid of frustration but that's all.

On the back of the death of a Prime Minister(loved and loathed)in equal measure it appears(and it probably is in bad taste)that this weekend the number one song in the national charts will be from the old film musical The Wizard Of Oz "Ding, Dong The Witch Is Dead"

It has emerged that the BBC may consider not playing it. They'd say out of respect but if it does succeed in being high in the charts/number one it should be played. If played without any comment it is just another song(even if we know the reason behind it being there)and it will still be there whether played or not. It will soon be forgotten and perhaps by not playing it gives it more kudos.

Update:It will be played on the chart show on Sunday but only for 5 seconds! The track only lasts 51 seconds...to me that is one of the silliest decisions I have come across.