Random Jottings Of Gildersleeve

My Photo
Location: United Kingdom

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

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Its Halloween...

So Happy Halloween for those who have some thing planned with your children and grand children(notice I avoided the term kids which I dislike)

I'd be lying if I said I do not miss having children of my own but you cannot change how your life has ended up and I guess in the end though for most of us having a family enriches it, that is not always so and more than ever these days when they fly the nest even with access to the internet they are usually living miles away and often abroad.

The sun is out and it seems almost a pleasant day. I know as a child I did a couple of Halloween(Christmas Carolling too)Back then it was not known as Trick or Treat(That dates me)I'm not even aware that I dressed in a costume or took a lighted pumpkin/turnip either and I only did so a couple of times. I don't think I ever did "Penny for the guy!"(For anyone reading from abroad that is another event of an Historic nature in the UK known as Bonfire Night)Not sure as the memory is a bit cloudy. I know that we never put Halloween decorations up nor carved a lantern.

It just did not seem to happen around here.

Having said that for years we had callers but for many years it has been so quiet for any of the traditional events like this even though the amount of stuff on sale in the supermarkets are up. I suspect and its a bit sad but understandable many parents host their own parties and invite friends and family where they know everyone will be safe.

I'm thinking(and it will cost me a little bit of money)if I can find something reduced even better. I'm going to look this afternoon to see if I can find something edible with a Halloween theme(cakes/biscuits)to take a long to my little bingo club tonight. If I'd thought sooner I could have made something myself. It may come to nothing but we'll see. It may turn out to be too expensive. We usually average around 26-30 people.

I have a diced chicken breast casserole in the Slow cooker(with added cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, swede and leeks)so something warming to go out with. And I may have some more for supper when I come home again...

I was thinking of popping through to a market being held in Darlington with a Halloween theme but I don't need anything and the specialties on sale will probably be quite expensive even if nice but the Supermarket may have some items on a kind of buy one get one free offer or where for an extra 50p you get another box of something.

I will head out shortly and see what I am able to find...

Update:Found some shortbread fingers, they'll do...anything with a Halloween theme would probably be costly.

Had to speak to the neighbour earlier as we had to pass in the street. I phoned the water company earlier today as it happens who still say that there is there is nothing wrong, that I have nothing to fear. She says the water company are going to look down the drains with a camera. She wasn't here and I know which direction they cleared the drain. She was not here but claims they did the clearing in a different direction. So who knows what happens next. The only thing that we agree on is that the HA says it has nothing to do with them.

But that means until things progress still further there is no point contacting even the CAB for advice.

The water company wanted things left until they came out but its been cleared, I assume they've taken photo's.

I will go and play bingo and forget about things.

Update2:Played bingo but did not win. The shortbread was popular but there is some left so I can take it again next week. There were some sausage rolls and birthday cake as it happened tonight when I got there.

I was given some raffle tickets to sell to go towards some Christmas Hampers etc...but as I know no one to sell them to, I purchased them myself, I may be lucky...who knows. If I win a bingo game between now and the end of the year I'll have got my money back. I gave my chocolates too. The night only lasts around two hours but it gets you into company.

I'll not say there were a lot of children out for Halloween but as I made my way to the club I did see some making the effort and parents close by(some parents were dressed in costumes too and going along with it)so its not totally dead. It probably depends where you live on a town as whether many do it.

I think some will wait until the weekend and have a party.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ho Hum...It's Wednesday...

I slept reasonably well...

It seems a decent day outside but I have put off the trip to Roker Park and the illuminations of Alice in Wonderland until Friday or Saturday which will be the last chance to go.

I have packed all of Mum's clothes into sacks to go through. Will I keep something as a memory? What should I if I do? Unsure to be honest.

I think I'll cook something up in the slow cooker, the weather is right for a casserole of some kind...and perhaps I can store the extra for another meal or two. There are a few options beef, chicken, sausages. And lots of lovely vegetables.

Having one of those days where I feel a bit apprehensive but cannot pin it down to anything in particular.

But like most things...it will pass. I have hit a brick wall. But when I get out on my travels again I will have more images and tales to share. It picks up again in November and December all being well. However, there are not as many shows I wish to see during the first six months of the new year but if I put money aside I will be ready for those I do wish to see when announced and in the meantime I will continue to support the music nights at the town hall in Bishop Auckland which are also much cheaper than most of the theatre shows. If nothing unexpected happens I know there are some cracking shows lined up for the New Year.

I gave three purses of Mum's away that I found that will go into raffles, tombola's etc...and benefit some of the clubs that I attend. I won a raffle at the music club last night but put my prize back into the system so it can be used to raise more money. So in a round about way its my way of donating something for another one and purchasing tickets too. I gave up a bottle of wine and another person gave up a lovely box of luxury chocolates.

Update:I've been out, its turning nasty so its good to be home. I found a wooden block of knives for £5 and purchased a little gift of luxury chocolates as it was someone's birthday today. It was a silly price £1.50 but for an extra 50p I could have two making them both £1 or one for £1.50 and the other 50p. I will give them tomorrow.

It means that I can have one for myself too. I don't buy much chocolate and not the luxury stuff.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ho Hum...Its Tuesday...

I cancelled my appointment with the CAB as nothing much has changed.as yet and I want to see what happens with my housing association after the next visit as that will determine if they get included in the mix too.

Its sunny but chilly and you know many throw their windows and doors open and get fresh air into their homes but my HA would probably be going on about the place being cold if they called. I'm not cold, I've been snugly in bed, have warm drinks and meals to hand and can put an extra jumper on...I'm OK.

Getting back into sorting Mums clothes and getting ready to let go of more items.At least that's the plan.

Oh and now the vacuum is repaired, give the house a good going over. There is not much else to report at present, its better that way but I know it won't stay like that, life never does. If I talk of something else it will probably be a rant against the Government and I tend to do that on Twitter...

The person taking the garden rubbish found that it was in too large pieces so is coming again on Sunday and during the day time so he can see what he's doing.

The good news is that tonight, I have been invited out for my Christmas meal on Christmas Day so I won't be alone this year. How thoughtful is that?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Its Monday...

A new week begins...

I could go on about the battering the UK has taken in the last twelve hours or so, its been reported in the media(I've only heard a little of the coverage)and seen images online but without playing the effects of the storm down as lives have been lost we have been fortunate that the swathe of damage and destruction has been minimal and affected the far south of England the most, also passed over land quite quickly.

Most of the problems would appear to have been caused by fallen trees across roads and railway lines, onto cars and onto property.

My own experience of the approaching bad weather was limited to yesterday evening between 7pm and 10.30pm and it was pretty nasty with deserted streets and debris and leaves flying everywhere but it was virtually gone as I returned home and so calm overnight.

Today, its just dull. Is it cold? Chilly, I'd say and an extra jumper, some warm food/hot drinks will help or diving under a warm duvet/blankets.

Debating if I still need to attend the appointment about the drains which was arranged for tomorrow with the local branch of a national advice service that exists in the UK...whether just to see if it pans out. If I attend wondering if I should keep quiet for now about being overly visited by the Housing Association or again to keep quiet for now.

I'd like to give them warning of cancelling but will decide in the morning. The appointment is not until tomorrow afternoon.

I don't have to go out but will decide later on that, thinking I could do with a new knapsack and a discount supermarket seemed to have a good deal on one of their special buy promotion.

I am rearranging the airing cupboard and wardrobes at present and once again sorting out clothes belonging to Mum which I feel I will pass into the charity shop chains again I can't put them to any use and they are so lovely and bring memories of Mum. But I'm not sure I gain from keeping some of them and what would I keep?

I have turned a wardrobe unit into one that now has all my clothes in it(coats, jackets, shirts, jumpers, trousers, gloves, hats, scarves, thermals, pyjamas, dressing gowns, shoes and slippers)Have I missed anything? I have managed to stash my store of toilet rolls in there too.

The airing cupboard now has bedding, pillows, tea towels, towels and the like. And there may be room for some extra items in time.

Another inbuilt wardrobe has become my foodbank space and if I free up some more space in another I may be able to share that food store over a couple. And the inbuilt one in my other bedroom may be used to keep my magazines and books safe.

So I'm getting there...I always was on top of things and continue to be if I am allowed to do things my own way but as was said the other day on another post in the comment section...all these people who call to check on you(just like when you attend these medicals to prove if you are entitled to benefits due to illness/disability)you have to fit a criteria and they have to tick boxes. If you do not fit, you are criticised or seen as weird or awkward.

People will interfere.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I've Mentioned I Need New(ish)...

Carpet and furniture but am working my way through everything in my own time...and this also gives you an idea why I do not need anyone calling all the time...I don't mind asking for help or someone checking but I also have access to a home care service via a phone with a big red button or a wristband that you wear.

 http://yfrog.com/0r6ofyj Front garden almost sorted for Winter and the New Year.

Front garden only needs a little more basic treatment and the rubbish taken away which will be soon.

http://yfrog.com/ghkxlhj Back garden getting into shape for winter and the new year.

Back garden just needs a little more work for Winter...but is being pulled into shape, needs some lawn care to kill off moss and then little to do until March.

No Sign Of My Gardener...

I'm in the middle of going through more of Mum's clothes for the Charity Shop. She had some lovely clothes...I'm moving my clothes in the wardrobe unit and hanging more of them, coats, shirts and jackets as I purchased wooden hangers which are stronger.

In the compartments above I have hats, gloves, scarves and socks and ties, PJ's and thermals in the next, jumpers and T-shirts in the next.

There is more room in the airing cupboard now for towels and bedding etc...I've given myself a job but once started...

I did not hear it but the gardener phoned last night(he's supposed to come here today)I missed the call and so far my calls have not been returned.

I'm ok about it as the garden is levelled and leaving it a little longer may mean the leaves from the trees will drop and can be raked up.

If it dries up we are putting some stuff on it to kill the moss and encourage grass to grow ready for spring. It won't grow much now anyhow.

He wants to do some painting around the house but that can be done anytime during Winter so no rush there either. I'd rather wait.

The clocks have gone back an hour so shorter days and longer dark nights. So far I have left the clocks on British Summer time, I'm actually two hours aheadon European time...and it means it will be dark around the usual time. And I can get up a little later in the morning just need to remember when I go somewhere.

I may just have an easy day mealwise. And tonight I'm away to the club for bingo and a turn. That will give me something to look forward to.

I have discovered that the light festival in Durham is on for four days in Novemember and I can visit without a ticket as long as I avoid the central area before 7.30pm so I can make a few journeys(I was afraid the camera battery may fail before I get lots of images and videos)and I don't know what the weather will be like. Lots to see...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Had Another Little Shop...

Hasn't chicken become expensive? So I have some reduced meat from the supermarket and I'll spread what I have and of course there will be small portions and lots of fruit, vegetables, cereal, seeds etc...and the meat content when used will be limited.

I purchased some pork steaks with apple sauce, chicken breasts with a leek and cheese coating and another couple of chicken breasts with garlic mushrooms. Spent approx £7 and saved approx £7.

And I decided to buy some more wooden clothes hangers. And I have moved some clothes over from the airing cupboard and hung them in one of those old wardrobe units and I'll move my hats, gloves and scarves into the upper compartments of the unit then the airing cupboard is free for storing only blankets and towels.

So its another step in getting things together even if somewhat mundane...

I Talked To Two Neighbours Today...

One lives seven houses down and in the last six weeks had a similar situation to me with the drains. A neighbour of hers tried it on. The other neighbour says every other garden has a drain for rain water and another for "Stuff" so no wonder my other neighbour did not have a blockage because his is for rainwater. I think I have that right.

So it looks like all will be well even if we end up "Not Talking?"

Here's something as we head for Halloween that may make you smile and possibly laugh from The Simon's Cat series.

It still makes sense without sound(I know some cannot listen to video's posted)

I'm Going To Make An Assumption...

Just as the two who visit from the HA do about me. They are probably on very good wages unlike many of those they visit and probably more than many others who work at there. Not forgetting those who relie on various benefits and allowences from the state or survive on a state pensions. So I am on the side of those who are working hard and those less fortunate, its not a blanket criticism of all who work day in day out in a social worker type capacity within the community.

They may think that I am strange because I have what may be seen as an old style attitude(there are more of us around especially if they could go into private homes)who buy clothes from charity shops, make and mend, making simple meals(batch cooking)looking for offers and reduced sections of the supermarket, have a food store, careful how much they use the electric and gas etc...some just do as it is their choice and some do because they have to.

Some don't have there own transport and many are unable to get access to a bus pass and the service is often poor and expensive so many have to spend many hours indoors and often they don't have family living nearby for a variety of reasons.

The other day they started looking at my CH system, its fine and very good. In time it will need replacing but its un-necessary. Even if it was upgraded I would not use it anymore than I do now...you can have the most efficient system in the world and the extras like double glazing, loft insulation, cavity wall insulation etc...but if the energy prices continue to rise and your income cannot cover the prices it means nothing.

Even charities and the Prime Minister say eat and drink more hot meals, put an extra jumper on etc...to stay warm. I know people who are living in rented accommodation(even from the HA)who never receive a visit. People in their own homes who people may think are ok who are economical with their heating and perhaps put it on for an hour in the morning and perhaps a couple of hours at night.

I know of people who go to bed early and keep warm using lots of fleeces and duvets, have thermals, dressing gowns, wear hats, gloves, scarves, socks in the home, some families wrap themselves in duvets when in the living room, boil a kettle only when required(keeping spare boiled water in flasks for later)hot water bottles and so on. Its not just the elderly, sick, disabled etc...I've talked to people who work in the call centres for the energy companies who admit that they economise too.

It should not be that way in 2013 but for many it is. You work with what you have. I have said it before, the census comes around and one question is "Does your home have central heating!" You can tick yes or no but there is no way you can add...its installed but its too expensive to use. But when the statistics come out the Government can say look how many of the population has central heating.

My system has a timer and I can set it to come on at various times or all the time. I can heat the water or heat both water and the house. One of them could not grasp that. Then he looked in the airing cupboard and saw a switch and couldn't grasp that is an immersion heater. Just another option to being totally dependent on gas(not that I use it)he couldn't get that either and admitted being confused. And kept asking where the water tank is...hello, its in the loft.

The guy I saw originally about the drains in their office greeted me by saying "I know you" "I keep trying to get you to upgrade your heating system" He doesn't...he only mentioned it once. Its a good system. Heated water stays hot for ages and if you don't run it all off it can be reheated in a few minutes.

Whilst here they asked about the heating system? Coincidence? A friend asked me why I allow them to look around as they do and so often...because I feel that I have to.

So On The Way Home From The Dr's...

I made my way to Tesco's(anyone outside of the UK)it is a large supermarket chain. There were bargains to be had in the reduced section. Anyone with a freezer could have stocked up for months ahead. If it was later and anything remained it probably would been reduced still further but I restrained myself, put some things back to avoid over spending but did come home with a package of free range chicken drumsticks and thighs from the Finest Range worth £6.80(I paid £3.60)and two beef steaks worth £4 for £2.40.

I can get quite a few meals out of those and if I dice the beef that will give more options and is better for me than sitting down to a big steak. On a limited income that's quite a chunk of money but if I am not spending on other items and spread what I have over a number of meals with vegetables that can be made to last and batched cooked I can do a decent meal for around a £1 or less daily so its quite inexpensive in the end.

The chicken package that was reduced was actually cheaper than the usual chicken on sale elsewhere in the store.

I've already had two servings of what was in the slow cooker...dare I admit? Should I? The chicken breasts I used were not in the freezer section of my fridge freezer and they were dated for June. But they smelt, felt and looked fine. They were cooked until they were piping hot and tasted great.

And I am still here.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Under The Radar...

I can understand authorities wanting to watch the vulnerable to see they come to no harm but my experiences with authority over the years I prefer as little contact as possible and I am sensible enough to ask for help when required. I now have a variety of people who would miss me if I was not around. Who phone me. See me at a couple of social type clubs on the town etc...

Therefore I do resent the way I am spoken to and treated by the two "Goons" that visit from the Housing Association all too often these days.

I was allowed a life before losing Mum and for some time after but now there are a pair that visit and come across as awkward, troublesome and a bit skitty in their manner. And though they said they'd leave me alone unless I made contact with them until next year for an annual visit. When here yesterday they insisted on looking around the house again. What are they expecting to see? Its the same as the last time which they were happy with.

Clothes are hung in wardrobes/in cupboards, two bedrooms are practically empty of any furniture, lounge only has a small cabinet, TV and sofa, dining room has a small table and chairs. The kitchen has the usual stuff. Its not cluttered and when they originally called some months back I was castigated for actually having a clear out.

The garden has always been tidy and looked after. Only a little untidy in the last 4-6 weeks mainly caused by the weather and getting a new gardener. And already we're on top of that within two days. I can tell you there are homes in the area(one across the road much worse than mine)

Most people think I am being intimidated and its disgraceful(I feel I being treated like an idiot)as though I'm not all there or don't fit a stereotypical view of someone. I have no idea why. I think I am switched on and dare I say intelligent.

I have an appointment with an advice service about the drain situation next week and I am seriously thinking of bringing this up with them whilst there. I am with my Dr this afternoon and may mention it to him if there is time...I like as many people to be in the picture as possible.

I'm not paranoid or imagining what's going on and though anecdotal I am not alone regarding the dislike of the Housing Association we now have to deal with. I have overheard too many stories over the years for them not to be true.

I can add that I have the support of my Dr and details are on my medical records so I have someone and somewhere to go to if I need help. Blessed with a good Dr(I dread when he decides to retire)and I don't mind it being on my records. He also supports my stance to avoid being forced to accept help from Social Services etc...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Home Again...

No win at the bingo(close a few times waiting for one number)

I came home and placed two chicken breasts wrapped in bacon into the slow cooker with two small sausages and some broccoli, potato, leeks, carrot, swede, cauliflower and some gravy. Don't know how long it will take to cook or how successful. I'm in no hurry...I would list the ingredients and recipe but what do you need to know? I threw anything I had to hand into the cooker, in quite chunky pieces. What's to tell?

I'm settled, rested and reasonably cosy. Don't need anything in particular. Debating whether to go to the light show in Roker Park but think I'll wait until next week as when the clocks go back it could mean the evening starts to get dark earlier so if I go through I can get the effect earlier.

I will just have an easy weekend and do a little more tidying up. There is so little to do. And most rooms are quite empty so I still can't understand the constant check on me and what I do...

Update:Boo the slow cooker meal is cooked and delicious...but its the middle of the night so I've turned it to low and will perhaps have it for lunch and save the rest for another day. Its cooked quicker and easier than the home made soup. So the SC is not always that slow in reality.

I Like As Little To Do With Authority As Possible...

The garden is coming on in leaps and bounds(but come to a halt)until Sunday, the gardener needs a better lawn mower and to lend a chain saw. The moss in the garden needs to dry out.

The person from the Housing Association came today, my dear friend who I met at the Music Club and through this forum gave me a bit of a different viewpoint on the two that called(the same couple who called during the clearing of my house)but again he took it as an excuse to look around the house...again. So much for leaving it until next year.

Now he may have said he was coming out to see all is well regarding the drain problem/neighbours but he's talking about coming again in Novemberwhat's the betting he want's another tour of the house...again! As my friend says they may be watching out for my well being but I do wonder if there is an underlying reason.

He mentioned the house was cold(ish)I forgot the doors were open for the gardener and the thermometer is next to the front door so what do they expect? Remind me to mention that was why the house was cold next time he comes. I'm £450 in credit with the utility company so can afford to use it more during the Winter(having saved up during the Summer)

I'm in credit with the rent until January(he wanted to give me a refund)but it will reduce soon enough and I am not paying rent/water at present so that's like getting the money back each week anyhow.

If I feel there is a rabbit off I'll maybe contact my MP again. I pulled out of doing so the last time.

Always glad to see the back of them.

Update:My day has been made by such a kind gesture from my gardener...he was concerned about the visit and gave me a phone call and thinks I am being intimidated, he's not a fan and has to deal with the same HA. He has said next time they come he is willing to be here as a witness and give me support, now how kind is that.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

In Three Hours...

The difference to my garden is amazing. Its been bucketing down and still the lawns are cut and shrubs cut back and the back garden is much lighter. And said person is coming back to continue the work either tomorrow or the weekend.

One less thing to worry over. I might have left one shrub as protection against a fence blowing down in strong winds but we'll see how it goes. Just happy to see it tidy.

I was in time to visit a concert in Coxhoe as last month but decided to miss it this time. And take it easy. May go out later and see if anything nice has been reduced for a meal. Its a break from being indoors.

Think I'll have a nice coffee(I've found my cafetiere again)so may try some ground coffee from my food store eventually. I'll have another banana sandwich(at least I am eating fruit again)and I have my soup for later.

And I think its time to take my medication...

Its not warm but I have known it be colder(not wearing any thermals yet)so that's good. Any saving on the central heating is welcome.

The person doing my lawn was drinking a cup of Costa coffee and admitted to having two most days. Spending £2.35 on each. One of those is often more than I spend on a meal. That's around £35 a week on coffee!

Update:I had my second portion of home made soup and it was lovely. I also managed to get myself a ladle and two knives(a vegetable and a cooks knife)and I only spent £2.65.

Oh and though I haven't much hair I decided to have a haircut and that will last me another 3-4 months and for the first time ever in my life, she tidied up my eyebrows.

Taking it easy now.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Not An Exciting Day...

Unless something unexpected happens or its not a nasty surprise.

Poor sleep, well...I did get off but found it difficult to get comfortable.

So far I've stayed close to my bed. It doesn't look too good outdoors.

I've had a banana sandwich and a cup of coffee. So far the bags I purchased to keep bread fresh for longer seem to be working so it should save me some money. Hopefully they'll work when I make my own.

If anything else happens I'll add to the post.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Small Steps...

My garden is overgrown and I called someone and was quoted around the £225-£240 mark but it does involve a lot of work I don't know if I am being done. What do I know. I used to have a gardener that Mum knew so he was inexpensive but it has to be done. I hate seeing such a sum having to be used for such a job.

At least once its tidy there is nothing to do until March.

Now by chance I have found someone willing to do my garden for £150 and take everything away just have to make the phone call to cancel the original person.

Isn't it funny my HA has nothing to do with the drain problem and wanted nothing to do with it when I made the effort to see them today but are now kind of helping in a round about way...They phoned the water company and say someone(I assume the water company)will do a survey of the neighbour's property.

I may not care for him but the guy who called and had me do the clear out some months ago is calling on Thursday to have general chit chat about it all. I am guessing unofficially.

I sound quite worried and yet am quite calm if I am honest and will drop it for a while now. I guess I am looking for a definite end to matters.

The water company looked at the plans for this area and I appear to be in the best position for being near the sewer. So should have the least problems of everyone.

I have put my vacuum cleaner in for repair but will decide whether to buy a new one. The £20 charge can go towards the cost of a new one or the repair of the one I have already.

So a couple of bits of better news?

Update:Since writing the above I suddenly decided to go and book the final few shows at the local theatre that I wanted to see. So all is sorted well into next year. I used my complimentary tickets towards the cost. Not so many I wish to see at present.

It really was a struggle and my mobility was poor but at least I was ok on the bus there and back. I was able to get another to take me to the theatre so I only had to walk from home to the first stop in the journey and when I returned here. Oh and how easily pleased I am these days. As I came home I called into a well known discount supermarket and purchased some wooden coat hangers. I have never purchased a coat hanger in my life. But now I can hang my heavy coats and jackets also some trousers, I'm tired of the wire and plastic type that just break. At £2.99 for six I may buy some more before they sell out.

I discovered that the Sage Gateshead at the great idea of putting two concerts of John Wilson and his orchestra playing music of Hollywood and at last I may be able to attend because one is on an afternoon. But the seats have all but gone and I'd be at the back and really high up but then I looked at the price approx £50. So on this occasion I'll pass. Perhaps one day I will go. Maybe when I have not seen many other shows during a year and save up for what is a truly special event.

When Its Not Your Doing And Bother Comes Looking For You...

My HA...did not want to know.

They say the water company does all water/sewage work. If it is seen as a dispute between neighbours I have to go to the county council. Again they don't want to know about that.

They even suggested that the neighbour coming into my garden and opening the drain/taking photo's is not trespassing so by that line anyone could enter my property.

I came home and tried for legal aid at the only solicitor on town and was given a number to call who put me in touch with a National CAB advice line costing 5p a minute.

Thankfully after it costing £1 they went away to look into my case and phoned me back. No real joy on that score either

The only kind gesture today was the bus driver who took me to the HA offices was doing the return trip and saw me struggling to get to a bus stop on the other side of the road quite a distance away and he pulled into the layby and waited for me. I did not know it was him and thought the bus had arrived early so was catching up on time. And he'd pull away as I reached the bus.

But he was waiting for me...

Been back in touch with the water company, tried to go higher up the chain but was still passed to the call centre. They suggest seeing a lawyer. Phoned another one to see if I can get free advice and it looks like I have to pay but have no idea how much that will cost me. And it won't be cheap.

I feel like a good swear for what good it will do...

Up And Ready...

Not sure what the day has in store but I am dressed and ready to be out the door and on my journey to the offices of my housing association. I am also waiting for 8am and the water company to open its call centre so I can try and find out what they have told my neighbour as its different to what they have told me when I have phoned and talked things over.

This will either be a good day or a very trying one...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Drains 3...

Well I've come back from a reasonable day out to worry and my Housing Association and water board cannot be contacted until Monday.

I got a lot of assurance from the water board last week after the carry on about the drains and was told not to worry.

I even received a letter that has been sent out "It says" to a number of properties giving general info about what not to put down the drains etc...none of which I do. And never have.

My neighbour has put a note through my door telling me something I have no knowledge of.

As far as I know it has happened twice(after Mum passed away and not before if my memory is correct)both times as soon as I knew and was told I called my Landlord out.

The first time they did it. This time they passed it to the water company.

Now in this note and I have no idea which incident this refers to of the two I know of or if its an incident I have never known of but the neighbour is claiming that they came into my garden(no knowledge of this)lifted the drain cover, took out "Adult" nappies and took photo's of them. When did they enter my property?

I/we have never ever put any kind of nappy in the system.

Why have I never been told any of this out of decency? Its all news to me. Even the people who came out to unblock the drains never said anything like that was in the system or took them out of the drain to show me.

So now they are talking of contacting my landlord via their solicitor for compensation. But again why are they sending notes and not talking to me?

I only have contents insurance.

Morning All...

I have slept like a top and woke in a positive frame of mind...was that because I had a small bottle of Magners Cider? Or another reason...read on.

I had a restful Friday and made my way to the concert as planned which turned out to be mainly gospel based. Before the concert, I remembered there is a smaller branch of a supermarket near the venue where I probably could buy more of the Christmas boxes of chocolate biscuits whilst on offer to donate to Christmas Hampers.

And at £2 instead of £6 that is quite a saving. Really they are probably overpriced anyhow so such a reduction is great but when added to a hamper anyone who knows they usually sell at £6 will feel they have got something worth a fair price if accompanied with similar items. And it will be special.

The weather was grotty and wet. But there was a good turn out for the event. I can always spot something I have missed before and will post an image soon of a commemorative stone I found yesterday which I bet few even notice, someone who wrote many compositions for brass bands.

I thought that the concert would be a mixture of music, it was all gospel and preaching. Some of it was ok and I could identify with what was being said about how finding "Jesus" has made a difference to their lives but sometimes what may be genuine can come across a little over the top and one of the performers was very animated(trained actor)it came across as though you were watching a play. Perhaps that's just me and unfair.

Then again every so often things happen in life, big and small, that make you think, "That has to be more than a coincidence" And someone helping to organise the event arranged to get me home(instead of waiting for a bus for an hour)Was someone watching over me, keeping me safe?

I came home and had lovely corned beef salad and slept really well so had the event had calmed me?

Well today, I'm going to make the journey to Durham again, no plans to buy anything but if I see some jam or chutney that is a bit special I may buy it to give to a charity draw or the hampers as well as the biscuits or instead of. Perhaps I'll keep those for me

However, its all about apples in Durham today and someone is demonstrating/cooking with apples, lots of free samples and some warm apple and spice drinks on offer too. Any excuse to go. If I do I'll leave it until lunchtime and take the morning easy. I've only to get dressed and go, little else.

Will wrap up warm...

Update:Much as I love Durham, it was a disappointment. I found no cooking demonstrations or the drinks. I did come home with some items for my own cooking including some bags that claim to make bread, fruit and veg last longer and some cutters that can be used to make biscuits/scones etc...I then travelled to Darlington and found a new discount book store and found some with lovely easy recipes aimed at children but I think I can do and another full of different types of biscuits.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Little Bit Of Toast...

Morning...Three slices of warm buttered wholemeal toast with orange marmalade. So far that's as exciting as it gets.

Afternoon...coffee and cake. There is a pattern to today, food.

Evening...Bacon Rolls, coffee and cake.

It was bingo night...its a cheap night really but as I rarely win I am probably out of pocket. An occasional win I would break even. Someone on my table did well winning twice and walking away with £19. That would pay for approx five weeks of me attending. Some do seem to be able to win every week. Random luck.

Two of the three clubs I frequent are doing raffles/hampers and they are appealing for items to include so I give with one hand and may possibly take with the other.

One club is giving each of us £5 of tickets to sell but I don't know anyone to sell them to except my fellow members so I may have to return most of them but buy a couple for myself.

Its silly spending loads on items to put in the hamper but I'm thinking whilst they are on offer perhaps I'll buy a couple of boxes of those biscuits and give one box to each.

Nearer the time I may buy something from a local Farmers Market(Thinking jams/chutneys/cheese)If I do that they'll have done well and I'll have done my bit. I think I will donate to a local food bank too.

More instances of the "Big Society" doing for itself(for those reading outside the UK)that is reference to a campaign/idea of our Prime Minister which many dislike.

Early Again...

but its ok...I have slept. And there's still today.

Yesterday was a bit manky. I was feeling down and the weather did not help. But as the day progressed my mood improved. So by late afternoon I felt more positive and my usual self. And I still do.

I did not shave for going out as my whiskers were barely showing, I dis not look scruffy but I changed my clothes. I decided to take a cushion with me, the only thing that spoils a show in the local town hall is that the seats really are hard and uncomfortable. I remembered it u until I was out the door and down the street and could not be bothered to return home for it.

I made it to the bus stop with seconds to spare. I was not late but thought it was not due for a few minutes and as it did not leave for some time I guess it was early. I was 45 minutes early so got off the bus near a supermarket because I wanted some sweets just in case I coughed during the show. There were loads to choose from and yet the choice was somewhat limited(if that makes sense)I ended up something not that nice but they are ideal as they soothe the throat(not medicinal though)a kind of herbal affair. They'll last me ages.

I found a date and walnut loaf that had been reduced to 25p(a friend has been praising it to me)so thought I'd try it. I haven't found my marmelade and Marmite at home so purchased some supermarket brand versions of both so I can have toast again. And I gave in...at the music club in the raffle there was a box of biscuits for Christmas that I hoped to win which I didn't!

I found them in the store but at £6 no way would I consider them. However, for a limited time they are on offer for £2. So I have a box and will keep them back as a treat until Christmas or next year.

I arrived at the town hall with minutes to spare. The supermarket is further away than I realised. Found my usual seat at the front of the hall. Settled down, ear plugs in and...the show began.

The first act to warm up the audience is someone I see quite regularly at the music club on my town John Weighell, good set and humour between the songs and then it was the trio The Jaywalkers.They are classed as Bluegrass Folk but are much more. They comprise of a female bass player/vocalist, another who plays guitar, violin and sings and a male vocalist who plays guitar and mandolin. Some known and original music in the set.

They played a selection of blue grass, blues, folk and Brazilian music. Instrumental and songs both fast and slow. All accomplished musicians, engaging and open faces that showed how they enjoy doing what they are doing. See them if you are able.

I only had a very quick chat but in the interval they did not disappear but sat at a table and interacted with any audience member who wished to talk with them.

I rarely have a drink when there as they really are expensive, I have been known to take a bottle of water but last night I decided to have a tea. It cost £1.40 but these days you can pay much more. It wasn't bad value as you were given a little teapot and it contained enough for two making each drink 70p.

I hear that provisionally two of the acts lined up for the New Year(coinciding with Burns Night and St. Patrick's Day)are Isla St. Clare and The Happy Cats. I've seen the Cats before but they're good. Last time a kind of supper was included we'll see if that happens this time.

The show lasted approx 150 minutes including the interval and that gave me enough time to catch the last bus home without rushing. I was home just before midnight.

I had a banana sandwich and a coffee then settled down to watch via the internet, a tribute to a UK singer most popular in the 60's as part of the Liverpool explosion. Cilla Black became more of a TV presenter for the rest of her career. It was celebrating her 50 years in showbusiness.

And later today I hope to catch up on a radio concert Paul McCartney recorded earlier in the day for BBC Radio 2. All these just happened to fall on the same day as the concert I had booked.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I've Awoke...

and seem to be in a bit of down mood. I haven't had bad dreams and have slept a fair bit. I am reasonably warm in bed but feel down and can't hang it on anything in particular.

I managed to get to the music club and made the effort to do something when I came home. Two bacon and tomato rolls and some chips. I even treated myself to a coffee during the night. And I did not even have to go downstairs to make it.

Hopefully I will start to feel better as the day goes on.

I think it has cleared but when I looked out of the window a couple of hours ago it was quite foggy. And when I went out last night it was quite cold and the sky was clear of any cloud we almost had a full moon so perhaps its been a little frosty. I suppose Autumn has well and truly arrived.

And yet there is talk that it may be warmer by the weekend once more, anything that avoids the need for using the central heating a little longer is acceptable.

I think I will have some porridge and fruit this morning, its nice to have something warm to start the day as the seasons change. Toast might be good too but I need to find my jams, marmalade's and marmite in my food store for spreading on it, not all at the same time of course.

Update:Scrap that...I'm having my porridge for supper. Have eaten some trifle sponge cake with a coffee this afternoon. Naughty but nice.

Think I am slowly coming back to a happier frame of mind. Mind its taken until mid afternoon. Its getting windy out there so I'll wrap up for my journey tonight.

I am seeing the Jaywalkers.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Drains 2

The way the water company talked to me today, they more or less put my mind at rest and said don't worry, I think the neighbour is looking for someone to blame. Also as said how do you prove whose sewage belongs to who.

Me out shopping at 7am? Still I have shopped at 1am before so...

I never would've before losing Mum...

A quick shop today they had "Finest" bread with discount so purchased a wholemeal loaf and a Pumpkin seed loaf. Some rolls(I want a bacon roll)but will stick to the original plan I am thinking of having that meal I mentioned for teatime. Could I make the bread cheaper...probably not. Anyone in the UK knows with that branding what supermarket I was in...they've increased the range.

There were some "Finest" brand oven chips selling as cheap as McCains too. I also purchased some corned beef, spring onions/mixed salad so that should keep me going for a while. It still cost around £9.

Its nasty out there but I popped out and put some money into my bank to cover possible direct debit payments that may be due. I got some potatoes too. I'm resting again. Doing so means I can do a little more.

Exciting life...


More worries...well I hope not...As I went out for my shopping trip I found a note from my neighbour saying that her passage has been flooded with raw sewage and seeped under laminate flooring and she's had to throw out carpeting and they want to know who is to blame as the persons responsible should replace and pay for the cost.

This assumes I am to blame especially as I called the water people out and they assume I was the cause of the blockage. I did so because they know I rent(I assume they thought if I report it as I rent it costs nothing)

But it turns out if the other neighbours(at least 5 properties)knew there was a blockage the water company told me that they should have called them out and sooner. That I should have nothing to worry about.

That I could have called them out myself instead of going through my landlord and their repair service but I did what I thought was right by calling their repair service. They came out yesterday morning then passed it onto the water company who came out within four hours of them being informed.

They were only with me a few minutes and spent more time further down the street where we did not even know of a blockage.

I have contents insurance but not building insurance so I assume I am covered by the insurance my Landlord has on its properties.

The Water Company says I do not need to inform my landlord as it was their responsibility to clear the drains and there are all kinds of reasons a drain can be blocked often its just unfortunate and where its often not any particular person to blame.

I do know there were not any blockages until they moved in and had a conservatory built(he's a builder)and I know he did something with a drainpipe not long after moving in(could that have something to do with it)who knows?

I do know they changed their back garden a lot and added more paving tiles and removed a lot of the lawn etc...that probably hasn't helped either.

Always something to worry.

A New Day Dawns...

I signed up for the new energy plan so that's dealt with for the next three and a half years.

Eventually, the drains were sorted and I decided to go back to bed and have a rest, the weather was horrible outside and I had been up for quite sometime. That sleep turned into seven decent hours. Probably helped by finally getting the right bedding on my bed and being cosy.

I have some little tasks to do today and will finally get my shopping in.

As I live close to the supermarket I may go in the next hour or so as I am awake.

For a change I am thinking of a proper couple of meals and perhaps setting it out nicely orange juice, fruit and porridge, toast, tea or coffee. In the afternoon perhaps mushrooms, bacon, tomatoes, eggs.

Later after going to my music club I may have a bowl of soup.

This afternoon Paul McCartney launches his new CD with a question and answers sessions on line but I have already heard it on Spotify, I still like him and the fact he tries so many styles. So far I'm not sure about this new venture "New" It could still grow on me.

He has a concert on BBC Radio 2 tomorrow night but I am out at a concert myself. So I will record it and listen later. I understand he is also on BBC6 Music tomorrow morning too, also it will be shown on BBC Digital via the red button facility and on line on various BBC websites.

My bingo club on Thursday night.

On Friday it is the concert and talk by ex Manfred Mann vocalist Paul Jones and his wife.

This all depends on how I feel. But that makes it a busy week but its not very physical. And lots of opportunity to rest.

My attempts to see the lights at Roker Park near Sunderland I will put off until next week, you can only do so much.

My compensation has come through for the concert that was spoilt and I have vouchers worth £10 towards another of my choice but they have to be used by the end of January next year. Not much I want to see between now and then. Some performers I have seen before and I try to use my money to try something different.

So I may book for a night of traditional Jazz and Blues with The Big Chris Barber Band. Otherwise I am thinking a New Year Viennese Spectacular with The London Gala Orchestra.

Finally some of the acts have been announced for the tribute concert for Graham  of the comedy band The Grumbleweeds who died earlier in the year and its a chance to see some variety acts that probably are coming to the end of the long careers(have come out of retirement for the show)and I am looking forward to it unless I can't make it due to unforseen circumstances...confirmed acts include Brian Conley, The Krankies, Chico, Bernie Clifton, Sam Kane, Michael Lancaster* Zuka* Haurel and Lardy* The Chippendoubles* and Explosive Productions Dancers and Singers*

It will be fun...I hope its well supported...

*Acts I haven't seen before/don't know...

Monday, October 14, 2013

I Haven't Really Slept But...

I get plenty of that anyhow and I can sneak a nap during the day.

Getting ready for the visit from the people coming to clear the drains...Hoping its quick and easy.

Then I want to get out and buy some bread and rolls which I am out of and though I plan to make more of my own for quickness, its easier to go out and buy it.

Today I plan to concentrate on having some nice meals and bother a little more today.

Oh and I will have to sign up to a new energy plan. I wish to try and freeze the prices because they will definitely increase possibly in the next week or two. I can secure them for one or two years but if I am prepared to pay an extra £3.50 a month I can secure the price until late 2017. The prices will never go down so that seems the best deal. I get some discount over the year and can leave without a penalty clause.

If I continue to use as little as I do now and my income doesn't drop much more(other bills rise)I may not miss that extra charge. I hate having to sort out utility bills. However, if I have read my latest online bill correctly I am nearly £500 in credit so if I suddenly cannot pay, I won't be without electric and gas immediately. I'll keep paying my monthly charges and let it build up. In theory one year I could stop paying and have enough to pay for one year without paying each month.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Night Is Cancelled...

Well, that's my night cancelled...I was about to go out to the bingo and my neighbour informs me that the drains are blocked and at least 6 properties are affected. I believe that they hope it is mine as I rent it will cost them nothing but if it isn't, the Water company gets involved.

However it means I have to wait for a phone call and then be told what happens next.

I was going to leave access to the garden and still go out but as I have to wait for the call I have given up on the night. I'm glad that I wasn't seeing a show or I was out for the day.

I had to phone where I was going so they could cancel a taxi that brings me home and so they did not think I missing because I am ill again.

Being single(not a family)I haven't cooked anything in fat for ages but I would never put such items into a drain and it would always go into the wheelie bin so I have no idea what's happened.Most meals are not cooked. And again the toilet is not overused with not having a family. And I don't need to do a lot of washing up.

It takes forever for me to fill a wheelie bin.

Update:The phone call never happened I was promised never happened so I chased them to be told that they are not coming until morning so I could have gone out after all...

This is an emergency service. With half a street having blocked drains, surely there is a risk of it getting worse and you don't want sewage etc...backing up and yet we have to wait until morning. Not sure what would happen insurance wise because of a delay. The house on the other side of my property is unaffected though that neighbour had some rods and if there was a blockage cleared it. I seem to be the last in the line.

Don't Think It's As Cold This Sunday...

Then again, my bedding is better and I have socks, gloves, hat and thermals on. Not too hot or cold, just right.

Just to think what to eat...and taking things easy. And hopefully getting to the club on Sunday night.

As nothing exciting is likely to happen today perhaps you may like to see a sculpture near The Gala Theatre in Durham City and just outside the Clayport Library of St Cuthbert's body being carried by his monks. I usually have a look at it when I am in the vacinity. If you click on the images you will be redirected to a site where you can enlarge them and see them in very great detail. Even down to the cigarette dump at the feet of one of the monks...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pacing Myself But I Dare Not Plan Too Far Ahead...

But quite busy next week...

Tomorrow night at the local Navy Club for bingo and a "turn" earplugs at the ready!

Tuesday the music club on the town...

Thursday, bingo again...

Friday a concert but peppered with what religion means to vocalist Paul Jones and his wife.

Somewhere during the week or so I want to travel(if up to it)to the illuminations/lights in the theme of Alice in Wonderland in Roker Park near Sunderland. Wondering if I could go there on Monday or Wednesday. So a fair bit to be going on with.

Lots of rest inbetween...

Cracks In The Ceiling And...

I made the effort at last and am quite happy with the result, was done in seconds with the best tool of all...an index finger. Yes to some extent you can see where I have repaired it but its not as prominent as the crack. What I have to do now is keep an eye on it and if it stops appearing/growing I'll check it out and I'll invest in that special paint and cover the whole ceiling in time. Now its dry I may put another coat on.

So that went easier than I thought it might. I have a couple of smaller ones that I dealt with years ago I may tidy up too.

Well, I am having a reasonable day again...I was thinking of having a quick shop but am staying put.

There is a special buy in the discount supermarket at the bottom of the street that looks promising yes, its a hat and gloves combo but at £2.99 and to get both as a set is the best deal to date. I like having a variety then I can decide what suits me at the time. I am definitely a hat wearer.

The other item is in another well known store close by...I have decided I can't garden(mow the lawn)but if careful I can keep it low and tidy by using a trimmer so am trying to decide which to go for before Winter sets in...that will be good enough for me.

I eat at strange times and just grab what is at hand, its mostly good stuff but already I started today with a sweet and sour flavoured noodle mugshot. And a packet of pickled onion crisps. Later cheese and tomato sandwiches.

Its a really dull and miserable day, cold too. Worse since leaving the bedroom light off. Before too long it will be dark anyhow. To be honest I could do worse than have a sleeping smiley face emoticon

Update:The plan was to have fruit with or without cereal/porridge and from nowhere I want a bacon, tomato, lettuce and spring onion sandwich/roll. Ended up finishing off some thin sliced chicken and no fruit but there's always tomorrow...exciting eh?

Lunchtime Concert In Durham City.

It took place at the Gala Theatre in Durham City, on 11th October and was the second of a series of monthly concerts. It was very well attended. I guess the audience was mainly mature. That could be because of the music being played but I guess at that time of a weekday many others could be working or looking for work, have other commitments.

I suspect most of the audience were retired or able to make it because of working different hours to the traditional 9-5 stereotype or perhaps from a household where one partner is working. Or they could be singles for one reason or another.

It took place in the intimate area called The Studio on the very top of the building.

This time it was the Roly Veitch/Sue Ferris Trio.

Roly Veitch - Guitar

Sue Ferris - Saxophone/Flute

Andy Champion - Bass

The style was quite free form where each person goes off the general melody and does their own thing. It had the feel of a jamming session. After each performer had done their solo piece the audience would do their polite applause but occasionally become confused and find they were a lone clappergiggling emoticon

The selection of music played...All of Me, Beautiful Love, There Will Never Be Another You, My Romance, A Day In The Life Of A Fool, Autumn Leaves, In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning and Sandu. The session lasted approx. an hour.

A pleasant way to spend an hour and I'll do again...possibly in November but if I am still ok I have a ticket for December's show.

The Next Day Was So Different...

I am doing my repairs over the weekend.

So just talking about Friday...

I got up and was shaved and out the door by 11am, missed a bus by seconds but during the day they run every 15-20 minutes so another arrived quite quickly. Upon arriving I crossed over the road from the bus station and approx ten minutes later boarded a bus that takes you to the market place and saves you having to climb quite a steep winding bank. I hate to think what it is like when icy.

Thinking about it, as that area is mainly a series of cafés and shops that I am unlikely to frequent it is a good idea to use it if possible.

I made it over to the Gala Theatre for the lunchtime concert.

I was number 35 but the place was virtually full by the time it started which pleased everyone and that was around 100. It was a reasonably intimate space too. It lasted approx an hour.

I came out and slowly made my way back to the bus station, its easier going down the bank but will use the market place bus next time. I was tired yes but safe.

These past few days and the coming weekend there were some continental market stalls but for me much of what was available did not appeal to me on taste and cost. A small loaf of bread costing £3.50+ as an example and some of the food(and I don't have a strong sense of smell)that was being cooked seemed a bit sickly to me.

The weather has turned and its quite cold indoors tonight but with enough bedding and my thermals on I'm ok...will have to dig out the hot water bottles again...and perhaps start wearing gloves again if my hands are outside the bedclothes to keep fingers warm.

I have noticed a Man's clothes shop in the Gates Shopping Centre. I'll admit the clothes are lovely and the male assistant I saw today as I passed by is immaculately dressed. Not a thing out of place and everything coordinated but I doubt I could afford what they sell(usually the shop has been empty when I pass)but I assume it sells enough to stay in business. Some blazer's in the window were priced at £225.

I can only guess what the shirts and ties cost.

However two retail units further down, a new shop is opening offering up to 70% of what it sells and it looked as though they had some lovely clothes for sale, so I thought that will be competition for them.

It turns out it is run by the same company...so I wonder just how expensive clothes will be with the discount. I would not enter the first shop on cost and its very formal but the new shop is more open plan. It looked as though it was more casual wear.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I May Be Missing For Sometime...(Ammended Post)

I have a hernia some of you know that(hows that for honesty)which I have been able to manage reasonably ok for a number of years. Caused I suspect by water retention/extra weight due to various medications I have been on. I have taken the weight off and am a reasonable weight.

Having it seen too was put off especially whilst looking after my Mum who became terminally ill and passed away April 2012.

Today I had to go out for a number of reasons and all seemed to be going better than normal because I have paced and rested myself so mobility wise I was happy, buses ran well etc...

But by the time I was on the last bus home(expecting to do a small tidy, repair the crack that had appeared in the ceiling, rest and attend my bingo club at the sheltered housing) I was in agony and could not fix it.  So instead I was rushing around packing a rucksack with all the things I needed for a hospital visit at short notice(pyjamas, slippers, dressng gown, medication, socks, shirts, flannels, shaving gear, money)probably missed something and had convinced myself that I had to go. Made my apologies to a few people explaining why I would be missing.

I feel like the boy who cried wolf as I was almost at the point of making a phone call ti arrange things or my own way to hospital, it settled down again.  But I know it will have to be seen to. Sooner rather than later but if I can get away with it a little longer(I come first)I'd like to get to my concerts tomorrow and Wednesday(having purchased tickets)and leave my home tidy and have that repair finished.

So if nothing goes wrong again I hope to deal with it going through normal procedures not being rushed in as an emergency.

But as said in the original post if I disappear, you know why and hopefully it will go well and I won't be away too long.

If it is a reasonably uncomplicated problem I hope they'll allow me home but there is no one to care for me unless neighbours pop in. But if I got into difficulty I have one of those phones where you hit a button or wear an alarm on the wrist so I can summon help.

Getting Up Early And Out And About...

Hope to be in Durham around 9am...into the post office, then Pound World, another discount place, Wilkinsons, into the theatre for a ticket for a lunchtime concert tomorrow...back to Bishop Auckland for some more tickets for a show later in the month and December. Then home for some salad stuff and the some unexpected repairs to my home that does not mean something serious.

That's why I am going to Wilkinsons for some ready mixed plaster in a tub which I need for my bedroom. Maybe I have been unobservant or its just happened but I have a nasty crack in the ceiling plaster. For now I am going to try and repair it and hope that will be enough for now...

I'll worry later...I should get it painted and perhaps use some of the new products that exist. If I feel up to it I may have go later in the year or get someone in...

I may spend the afternoon on it but then try and forget about it as the bingo club is tonight.

Then I have a clear time ahead if I need to take it further...

There's always something...

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

A Day I Wasted...

I have slept the day away...

Then again at least I do go out and still prepare meals so its not done in place of things that have to be.

I will later on, go go onto the main PC and start getting things in order converting and burning files, that is always a long job that takes hours. I will cook a meal too.

Speaking of food...when I came in from the concert I took a fresh vegetable soup mix I had purchased. Emptied half into a pan, added a ham stock cube into some water, covered the mix, simmered it. Fifteen minutes later a kind of homemade soup. I added a little meat too. In reality because I was generous with the mix it was more like a stew/casserole. How easy is that?

Later on I made a tomato and beef sandwich, again a change to salad and so easy.

I'll do both of them again very soon. Quick, simple but quite tasty, nor did it break the bank.

The sun was out today and yet indoors it is colder and yet the weather service I use suggests unlike what the BBC forecast says to expect for the next four or five days here aren't going to be too bad. I've no doubt its coming though.

The Hollies In Concert.

Back from The Hollies concert annoyingly I was sneaking photo's "here and there" expecting to have the hand of an usher on my shoulder or the group saying stop but no one did. So they could have been better and I could taken loads.

 The concert was great. Annoyingly(for the second time)I missed a bus to the concert by seconds(I did not know one was scheduled at that time)and was in a different road but the bus stop was just across the road. I went to my usual stop and the same bus was sitting there as it was slightly early, it pulled away with me only seconds away so I missed it twice.

The one I was going for(5 minutes later)I found has been withdrawn so I would have to wait until 19.10 but the concert started at 19.30 and it takes at least 25 minutes to get there and then 15 minutes walk if you don't connect with a town bus that runs past the theatre.

So I reluctantly went to the taxi rank on my town, no taxi's. The local taxi office was closed. Coming home was wasting time so I went to Tesco's to use the free phone(the earliest one was 19.25)I phoned another firm and he came for me within five minutes. He got me to the theatre with five minutes to spare. And managed it without speeding but was lucky the roads were not busy.

Fortunate that he knew me as a regular customer(well I used to be)when Mum was alive and income was not as tight for a variety of reasons. Officially, he was waiting for another taxi to come back to my town and he was meant to provide a service on the town but waived that rule to get me there.

They performed all of their hits, some extras, some different versions of some hits and the concert lasted two hours. Most of the band have been together for many years so have earned the right to call themselves a "Hollie" but only two were there at the start but they all are between the ages of 53 and 72. Its the music that speaks.

But I did not expect having to add an extra £13.50 to the night with the taxi. At least the bus home was free...and I now know the new bus schedule I'll see that doesn't happen again. I have a little spare amount of money saved because I am so in advance on my rent/water rates but I'd rather have it for a rainy day or for some unexpected bill so it could have been worse.

The present line up as seen this evening but on a recent TV show in Germany. Don't know why our own TV stations never have such shows.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Little Things Please...

The electric and gas meter have been read.

I have found a lost front door key and my ear plugs(handy as its the concert tonight)

The bad news...its going to take most of the day to have a real good tidy around and as I have piled everything onto my bed it has to be done otherwise I don't sleep tonight.

But all rooms are tidy except for that one and all clothes, bedding, coats, hats, gloves and towels are in wardrobes and cupboards so I'm getting there.

Think I'll put my bus journey to buy tickets until later in the week.


I keep saying I'm not into poetry etc...and its been some time since I read a book but I realise how much I love the English language and how it brings to my life.

I listen to a lot of speech radio and really value BBC Radio 4.

If I don't know that much poetry its probably because there seems to be very little of it performed locally. Or perhaps its in my soul and i've grown up with it and I know more than I realise.

And yet earlier this year I went to the theatre in Durham and had a wonderful night which flew by all too quickly with Pam Ayres.

And I have rediscovered Ian McMillan who I mainly know for a wonderful series of documentaries on radio. he's my kind of poet in so many ways. Well, all round broadcaster.

Now I have found out he is to appear in Barnard Castle in a couple of weeks. There are tickets available. I can get there reasonably easily. At a push I could possibly ask if I could stay overnight in Barney as my last Auntie and Uncle live in the town. But if I don't go down that route the last bus back my way is around 9.30pm and I guess the show could run until 10pm so I'd have to arrange a taxi and the last time I did that it came in at around £25-£30. Added to the price of the ticket that makes it a very expensive night.

I now wonder how often I may have missed Iain over the years and have to hope that just maybe he'll play nearer to where I live sometime such as Durham, Darlington etc...because I fear that too many venues around here would still be difficult because of public transport and taxi fares would be similar. Not so bad if you can share the fare but on your own...

He's co written a great humorous book about the hat most associated with Yorkshire. The flat cap(all made up)its really funny. he was interviewed on BBC Radio York and I tweeted in under my persona and was mentioned, it was kind of a thrill even if it was not my real name. They liked my name and were kind about my Tweet. I said "Fantatic...that made me smile. Its taken me 55 years but I got my first cap a month ago"

I'll hunt it out later and record it. May see if I can post it on audioboo if that's allowed.

101 Uses For A Flat Cap

When Alone...

You can do as you wish...so they say...I don't remember ever being stopped from doing anything so nothing has changed.

However, at 3am I was having a cup of coffee and a few slices of Lemon Drizzle cake purchased at the food festival I attended in Alnwick a few weeks ago...lovely! A liitle luxury...earlier I had one of my salads again.

I've been looking at local events and whilst I am able I have five concerts to book(reasonably inexpensive)and as they are spread over four months that's not bad and is approx £1.50 per week. And with the other three already booked I have something to look forward to. Some extra events are free(ish)

Almost Done...And Dusted...

I have found these past few Autumns/Winters I have tended to hibernate. Oh I'll go out if there is a reason to and plan to this time but not through depression but being on my own I see nothing wrong in resting/sleeping. Staying cosy where possible.

I'd like to report that something interesting has happened here(but it hasn't)and I should get back to my occasional rants on something in the news and perhaps I will again. Got to keep my readers interested, I'm sure there will be more events and personal things to talk of soon.

Such as The Hollies concert tomorrow.

I have to be around in the morning as they want to read my electric and gas meters but could call anytime between 8am-1pm.

Now, I have had some comments about my bread...including from my friend Ann. I have finally got around to trying it and it tastes fine so I guess its a successand a good start. I totally agree about it needing butter and now probably a variety of spreads, jams etc...its quite small so probably unsuitable for sandwiches but I have baked a traditional loaf before so that will be my next experiment.

Having said that if I can continue to get some of what is baked in the supermarket and especially when they are reduced in price, I could not make them any cheaper but its good to know you have a skill and you'll never run out of bread as long as you have yeast, flour and water to hand.

Of course I have forgotten that I now have a bread machine so I could make life even easier for myself because I could let it make my loaves. Or mix the dough in it and take it out and use the oven. And the bread machine is said to be cheaper to run than the main oven so a few options are open to me.

This perhaps sounds strange but as I have run out of space in my kitchen I often make my bread and some meals in my bedroom(but that's only making my home like a bedsit)If I can stay put and afford the bedroom tax I have been thinking of turning the small bedroom into a mini kitchen containing a microwave, my electric kettle and a mini fridge or freezer(possibly a mini oven/grill)which would sometimes save having to go downstairs at all.

Monday, October 07, 2013

I Suddenly Got The Urge...

To have a tidy around so I have all my blankets and clothes in the wardrobes and cupboards. I did that in the middle of the night. I am about to dry my washing. Between now and 9am I will have a quick tidy of the bathroom, hall and my bedroom which leaves only a quick dust and attempt to vacuum. And I guess I'll find out if I need to invest in a new one or should get it repaired.

I hear the weather is to start to turn cold...gales, frost(Snow on high ground in Scotland)and I guess quite soon I will find out if my plans to keep warm work any better than last year as for anyone reading from abroad we are reasonably close to Scotland.

Whilst having my tidy up I am happy to say I have found my missing pom pom hat that I could not find earlier in the year so I have quite a selection of warm hats, socks, scarves, gloves, jumpers, thermals, pyjamas and dressing gowns...

And of course my new winter duvets. I'm now looking for flannelet blankets for my bed(I believe they are known these days as brushed cotton)

Thinking of soup today using a chopped up vegetables mix that I have and adding a stock cube. I will have to decide whether to do it in the slow cooker or on the hob, also whether to leave the vegetables in pieces or to blend them.

I'll take it easy tomorrow as I have to be around for my gas and electric meters to be read. Then I may go for a bus ride and buy my tickets for the concerts at the Town Hall for this month and December. And for the lunchtime concert this Friday.

I'm not too worried about the weather but the person I sometimes go out is already worried about being unable to get home even if a small amount of bad weather happens. If I was stranded I would find a hotel but I keep up to date with weather conditions and stick to main routes, naturally if it was really bad I would stay home too. Its commonsense. I don't want to risk a nasty fall. I fear ice on paths more than I do snow.

My Bread Is Made...

I'm getting there. It has been better but I'm making attempts at home made bread again.

Its not quite as it should be but the loaf's texture is so close to being what it is supposed to be.

It still seems heavy but it appears to have been baked correctly(nothing sticking to a knife I inserted) I think that I may be better baking "Normal" bread and avoiding sourdough loaves but we'll see.
The texture is so close to being as it should be but is just not quite right(I think that there is supposed to more give and more holy) but it is edible.
I missed my bus tonight(my own fault)so took a taxi, which added an extra £3.50 to the night. But as I won £7 at the bingo last Thursday and I won't be at the music club this week so not buying raffle tickets and drinks means in a way I have got that back. Also, my table won the quiz at the other bingo club tonight so that has a small prize of £5 and as there are five of us. We are saving it until next Sunday and it will pay for each of our decks of cards for the Sticky Thirteen game.

If you don't know that game, you have a hand of thirteen cards(a mixture of suits/numbers)and someone puts a selection of cards down and every time cards match you lose one of your cards. Until your hand is played. Tonight the prize was won outright and was £30. In reality you are out of pocket over the year and never win back what you spend but its a bit of fun and you socialise a bit.

Its strange I rarely make a spelling mistake at home or on here but for some reason, my spelling really suffers when I write the answers for the quiz but that could be because the questions are quite difficult and though I hear the words I rarely see them in print.

I had a quick meal when I came in and just cobbled something together, it was all out of date but as it was cooked thoroughly it was perfectly fine. Bacon, eggs and a kind of mixture of broad beans, cabbage and runner beans(worth approx £2.50)reduced to 25p.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

It's Late...

But I have just attempted to make some bread again...will it work? We'll see...practise makes perfect they say.

I'm kind of following the basic sourdough bread recipe by Paul Hollywood this time. Debating whether to be clever and add some seeds so its more of a granary loaf but I'll walk before I run. I used to manage baking bread so not sure why I've hit a bad patch. I perhaps should have gone for an ordinary white loaf. But I had some sourdough culture to hand so...

Whether my attempts work or fail I'll add images and tell you if I think they are worth trying and whether they failed because of me.

I mentioned making some shortbread so I'm looking at the following two possiblities...but wanting to be different by adding a light tasting of ginger.

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread

Nigella's Shortbread Fingers

My good friend on Twitter, Ann said do put up some recipes so why not. In fact I think tomorrow I may have a go again at doing some home made soup, otherwise the mix of vegetables will be wated or just steamed/boiled and put on a plate with meat perhaps. The other option would be a stew of some kind perhaps in a slow cooker. We shall see.

I'd still love to run a foodie blog but there are so many great blogs/websites its easier to pick recipes out and link to the original source. I'll try and find ideas that are nice but won't break the bank.

Generally, I think what is expensive is having to use a stove(electric or gas)especially the oven so if possible its handy if you can add a few items in there at whilst you are doing the main meal. To save money if you own a slow cooker, pressure cooker, microwave or halogen oven seriously think of using them or adapting your recipes so they are cooked in such gadgets.

Update:The bread I made in the early hours had risen quite well by 10am, I knocked it back, gave it another quick knead, placed it back in the bowl and its doubled in size again so I may give it a go in the oven around 4pm and keep my fingers crossed.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Do I Stay Or Should I Go Now?

I wanted to go out this weekend. Not sure that the old body is up to it. Its been a day of sleep and little energy, I forced myself to go out for approx one hour at 8pm to get my computer magazine and came back with some butter/caster sugar so I can make some shortbread. If I do that, I must be serious. I needed some razors and though I have lots in my store(when I find them)five for 15p isn't going to break the bank.

Besides I have managed to make the previous packet last nearly two months!

I was sent two credit card statements today(Its been a while)and found I am almost £30 in credit. So I can leave it there for a sudden purchase. Or buy almost six months of the advert free/unlimited version of Spotify the music service. Or depending on whether I buy one or two tickets of the Euro Millions Lottery per week giving me 7-14 weeks as though it was free.

Don't know what I am doing when walking but again I have found the right trainer shoe(the second time its happened in months)is split across the area under my foot so where the left one would last ages yet and the rest of the right one has lots of wear in it, I will have to buy another pair. More expense.

I keep hoping that it happens to the left shoe so I can make a pair up but so far no joy.

What is putting me off going out later today is that I am going through a period where I am very slow and its more painful to walk than other times. So its tempting to give in but the spirit is strong.

So in the next few hours I will decide whether to stay home or go out just for the bus ride. The killer is walking between changes of bus routes(if you can call it that)and the initial walk at the start of the journey from the house to the bus stop.

If I do decide to go and there is anything worth taking a photo of I'll put some images up.

Even if I end up just in Durham and look for some more items for my baking of cakes and biscuits(there appears to be a very good stall in the indoor market offering more items than some others)but I was planning on going to the market town of Morpeth. But I have to go through Durham to get there anyhow.

Will take my painkillers with me and perhaps make up a salad panini roll and I have some fruit salads I found reduced from £2+ to 20p.

Today I kept my meal simple, I had a few(not many)salt & vinegar twirls, a pork pie, panini roll, sliced beetroot, watercress, spinach, rocket, tomato, celery and spring onions.

Update:I did not go...I slept well and feel rested which is more important. There's always next week and I have the concert of The Hollies on Tuesday. Possibly a lunchtime concert next Friday.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Another Bad Weather Day...

It has rained all day...I missed the bus to the bingo club this evening(its a self run community one)with small prizes but almost managed to get there only 5 minutes late but I then took a wrong turn and I found that there was no alleyway to connect to the street where I wanted to be so I arrived even later I found myself walking into a kind of woodland area which had no lights and was taking me onto a main road, so had to turn around and go back the way I had come. I'd missed my turn off by such a small amount initially.

I was there for the second half...spent £3.50 for a raffle ticket and my bingo books but won £7 so at least I was not out of pocket.

Even wearing a heavy coat I was soaked, it looks like more bad weather tomorrow so I'll stay close to home.

I did not say the other night after the music club I did a quick shop and managed to end up on the floor of the supermarket, I had gone down to the lower level of the shelves to get an item I had forgotten, my legs were not strong enough to stand up again and I struggled. I had to use my arms to lever myself using the shelves. I nearly pulled the shopping trolley over on myself. The rucksack did not help but on the other hand I went down to the floor rather gently and as it was full of shopping it acted like a cushion and protected me.

Tomorrow, thinking a lie in, some tidying up and if I have the time I may have a try at making some ginger shortbread. I get these sudden urges. If it works I may take some along to share at the Bingo club next week.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Am I A Scrooge?

This was written elsewhere and I thought it was so like a blog entry, I would put it here too...

My heart is in the right place. I am a sucker for all the sugary sweet programmes and stories associated with Christmas, Santa Claus, Pantomime and also the real reason behind it. I think I will again attend the late Christmas service at the church(I wonder why I seem oblivious to danger walking alone at such late hours)

The family orientated image Christmas is given in the media(for many)is stressful and nothing like the image that we are supposed to live up to and trying to keep it special for children is hard.

The media these days does less to make it special and for many it is just a holiday and the media seems scared of upsetting those who do not believe in it or are of a different religious persuasion.

I love the sparkly decorations and yet...living alone I have no intention of buying or putting up a Christmas tree/lights/decorations for myself. I don't suppose I will buy the chocolates and fancies either. I may give in and buy some of the Christmas pudding/Stollen slices though.

I am determined to make a Christmas meal this year, it didn't happen last year as planned. I'm not sure why.

The music club I attend will have a buffet and show a few days before. The same week the bingo club I now go to will have a Christmas Dinner at a local pub with some entertainment so that will get me amongst people even if I return home alone. It can be a happy but sad time for many and probably is a nostalgic fest for many of times gone by when there was family and friends around.

But in November in memory of Mum and myself I will start to play all my Christmas music, I have so much of it and so many different versions so you don't tire of hearing the same arrangements and singers. I'll stick it on shuffle and let it go...that was another part of Christmas I neglected last year.

So not totally a Scrooge?

How Did That Happen?

I was at the music club and saw a flyer for the next concert at the Town Hall. Different to who I was seeing...so I mentioned it to the person who runs the shows at that venue(but does the sound at our club)asking has the act been changed for some reason...

No, that was not the case...somehow I managed to buy a ticket and forget to go to the show. I'll see that doesn't happen again...still unsure how I did that. As I knew I had a busy week and had it in my mind for ages. It was the same week I went to see The Osmonds.

Update:Worked out how I missed the concert, it was the same day as the concert I saw at Coxhoe and because I was with someone else I was distracted. I knew I had to see the afternoon show and I catch a direct bus for the other concert. Instead I was in a supermarket doing some shopping.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Knights In Durham...


Here is a short video of an event I was at on Saturday in Durham Market Place, The Knights Of Destiny. If I had been alone I would've hunted out a better view, moved in closer. Being short I sneak into fairly small spaces.
Also I would have been there before the crowd became so large but I had to get who I was with to move along but he was looking in shops, wanting a meal first and there was loads of time to do all that afterwards. Perhaps next time.
Below is an image of some of the Knights lining up as they are introduced. If you follow my Twitter Feed. They often appear there first and then will be posted here.
Being introduced to the crowds at Durham City - The Knights of Destiny September 2013