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.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Music Is A Personal Thing...

I went into the concert of Vin Garbitt with an open mind and no knowledge of is work(I did not do a search on the internet)and I suppose people attending were fans. I know so as someone in the row behind me joined in with every song and was so loud I heard her as much as him*:-&lt sighBut I liked him and his personality but the concert did not work for me. It doesn't happen that often. I have been surprised and pleased by most of the shows that I attend. And believe in trying something new.

We all had a good view to start with but one person was having difficulty sitting(not her fault)and because she chose the front row centre instead of the end of the row she did end up blocking the view for some who ended up switching seats with their husbands, I couldn't switch seats and I could not lean slightly to the side as they were chairs without a space between. Oh well...

I came out of the concert to an all but deserted Darlington town centre and for a Friday night at 10.30pm many places you'd once expect to be busy were closed or only a handful of people were propping up the bar. Does a 24/7 society really exist across most of the UK, I'd say only a few areas.

It was cold. It was windy. I took a few images of the Christmas lights before boarding my bus home. I will post some images soon(Update:I have seen a few other small town's attempts at Christmas lights, some have really tried their best)

The only people around were a couple of bikers using the steps, seats and containers of plants as an obstacle course to do tricks and probably damaging the place at the same time. No one around to put a stop to it.

But my own town centre has just had a £7million revamp and has already had problems of a similar nature according to articles/letters in the freesheet.

However, had I been around in Darlington approx. 3 hours later there in the very area that I was a mysterious band of people appeared to decorate the town centre in a similar manner to Saltburn pier. I hope that they survive and I am able to see them soon. Now that is the nice side of things.

The Mystery Stitch Bombers(Newpaper article)
Stitch Bomber Video

The Plan Was...

cook chicken casserole, eat some...save some for another day...

In reality I had two days of eating virtually nothing but chicken casserole. Lucky that I don't easily tire of eating the same food over a few days. Then again there was more vegetables than meat.

Have I had enough of chicken? Well I have some chicken drumstick and thighs that need using up. I was about to "Roast" them in the main oven but of course I can cook them in the slow cooker. So I'll go for that option and will decide whether to keep it simple or add some kind of coating/marinade.

I may do a variety of meals from chicken salad, sandwiches, chicken and chips and so on. I'll have a look on the internet. I could go through my cook books but...

I'll probably set everything away around 10am then I can decide whether to have something before I leave for the concert. But the option is there to have a little supper when I come home.

Update:Ahead of myself...the chicken is in the cooker and its coated in a kind of chasseur style(I would need to add onion/sliced mushrooms to be authentic)and I probably won't bother this time. I have four drumsticks/four drumsticks. When the meat falls off the bone, as it will, I will use it in a variety of ways.

When I went downstairs to prepare it, it sounded as though it was raining hard outdoors but from the bedroom window, the sky is blue with whispery clouds but a blustery wind. Perhaps that will drop later.

Someone was kind yesterday, knowing that I need a wristwatch again as the one I have is not working as it should, she gave me one of he late husbands(she has a few saved in her jewellery box)and that is a kind gesture. I cannot decide if it is a battery/quartz model or a wind up as it has no indication on the dial but then again, the winder is not hitting a point where it cannot wind up any more. So we'll see. It is quite fashionable and so far keeping good time.

I have talked to the kind person who will take me from Ferryhill Town Centre to the concert and back and that is fine. Depending on when the concert ends will decide how long I am in the open and hanging around the bus shelter. The buses run approx. hourly near the half hour so the wait could be more or less. I will make certain I have my thermals, gloves, scarf, warm socks and hat. It is a very open area so if it is windy it will be cold. It was last weekend at that was only around 4pm.

I won't venture out until I have to this evening for the concert in Darlington and I have three buses between 22.15-23.15 to reach my town and the stop is only 5 minutes from the venue. If it was always that easy.

Funny so much is going on and yet today I wake and find myself having one of my so so days. Something feels wrong but I cannot pin down why exactly. It will come right as the day passes no doubt.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

I Have Seen Some Biscuits I'd Like To Attempt To Make...

They are meant for Christmas but the main problem for me is...I need to freeze the dough after it is mixed and...there is no room in the freezer. However, I may still have a go even if it is not Christmas after I create some space.

If anyone is into baking and would like to make some in the festive season, here is a link directly to a video. They look really easy.

Cranberry and Nut Cookies...

Basic recipe:
550grms of flour.
A pinch of salt.
350grms of unsalted cold diced butter.
Rub it through until its like breadcrumbs.
Add 250grms of caster sugar and a sprinkle of water.
Then add 60 grms of roughly chopped dried cranberries and the same of pistachio nuts,

When all the ingredients are combined, take the mixture and turn it into a sausage shape. Wrap it in cling film. Put in the freezer, when it has cooled down and is more solid, take the dough and cut into slices, place each slice on a tray and give them 15 mins in the oven at 180c/398f.

Of course check with anyone you may offer these to if they are allergic to any of the ingredients or have medical problems.

There Are Still Some Kind People Around...

I have discovered we have a brass band approx. 6 miles away(probably my fault for not knowing)Ferryhill's own Town Band has quite a reputation and they have a Christmas concert this weekend for the mayor's charity. I love a brass band. But the dilemma...where it is happening is approx. 1.5 miles out of the centre of Ferryhill.

And yes you guessed it...the bus service is poor/non existent and the main bus happens to be the onee one that runs from Durham and let me down after the light festival the other week to come home. So it looked like an event I would miss(what have I missed over the years already)then again I found out about it by chance anyhow.

Someone has kindly offered to get me from the town centre to the hall and back in time to connect with a bus home(all done on trust and faith)

So though nothing was planned for this Saturday evening it looks as though I will be watching them*:) happyso I am out for the next four nights...totally unexpected but very welcome.

How nice it would be to have more entertainment events put on in our own town and avoid depending on public transport to get to these events and often having to give up. If there could be some kind of scheme where those with transport could offer lifts and people like me could share the cost but it would be cheaper than using a taxi. So everyone wins.

These local concerts usually are priced around £4-£7 and are reasonable in comparison to those held in local theatres that are usually £16-£27.50.

I Have Managed To Sleep...

most of the night away so more back into the usual cycle we are supposed to follow.

But sleep is something that I am not deprived of*I-) sleepyunless I am unable to get comfortable or I know certain movements are going to hurt but I know that I have move and am unable to avoid doing so.

I have had two portions of my chicken casserole too, both nourishing and warming*^O^||3 eatIt has been a success.

It's funny how I can be pleased by small inexpensive purchases, I decided to buy some cocktail sticks(something that I rarely buy)for the eating of the silver skin onions/diced cheese on Sunday(rather than use fingers)when taking them from the container. After all by the time we arrive our hands are probably quite unclean. I knew I could find 200 cocktail sticks for 39p but in Home Bargains yesterday for an extra 20p I found a container with 500.

All I have to buy today and I may go out early again(like in the next hour or so)for some garlic, pease pudding and my computer magazine.

Then its home and an easy day planned until I trek to the bingo club. It would be lovely to have a good win but unless its the snowball or final flyer we're only talking an average of £3-£4 for a line and £7-£8 a house and most who attend end up out of pocket or break even after purchasing their books. I think I have managed to £6 in three months, its more of a social thing.

I said that I plan to do nothing much but I may move some of the crates around in my food store so I can access more of my biscuits and cakes and can have something when I have a tea or coffee(and dig out my supply of coffee and teabags)and put items that I use less in crates further down.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

If It Wasn't For The Distance...

and a lack of access to a car, I was amazed today how many good retailers were in such a compact centre in Hartlepool.

(Stores I am about to mention are mainly in the UK)

The day started with me preparing a quick meal in the slow cooker and then calling into Aldi's because it is so close to the pick up for the coach for and I have all my fresh veg and bread for around £3 and sorted. So I did not have to buy any in Hartlepool, walk around with it and come straight home afterwards. I saved a couple of quid by doing so as they cost more in the shopping centre's market. There is an area which like a market and the rest has national retailers.

I could have spent nothing but I gave in as others had a meal in a restaurant so I spent £5.50 but it was nice not having to prepare and cook a meal for once. I had some lovely fish and chips, mushy peas and a pot of tea(which gave two cups)I avoided having it with a side salad(that would have added another £2.30)and I did not have any bread and butter. It was a decent serving and was not greasy.

There was a Home Bargains in the centre and though it is not a retailer like Pound World/Pound land/99p stores(who were also in the centre)it was the largest branch I have ever seen, the nearest to where I live is small, the choice of both popular branded items and brands unknown were well priced and of good quality. I could have done with longer to look around HB and I did not manage to go into all of the above discount stores.

Then again that meant I spent very little. I came home with two packets of cereal from Home Bargains who have a fair amount of items at £1 or less but items that cost more are still well priced.

Both cost £1.39 and granola based, one has pomegranate and blueberry, the other has cranberry, raspberry, strawberry and chokeberry. They were manufactured in Poland. I've never had chokeberry before.

I still have the casserole on low heat so can grab some later.

Still feeling quite calm and positive so I have hit a good patch at present. Just relaxing in my bedroom, reasonably warm in bed, listening to the radio.

I would like to go back to Hartlepool again but next time go to the coast to see the sea again, possibly the headland and the Marina area which will be all new to me. And not shop. I wish the retail centre was nearer, it beats many of the places I go to on ease of access, choice and value.

We were blessed with mild, warm sunny weather, in some ways it was a pity to be indoors.

Thinking Ahead Again...

The supermarket chain Tesco's is running a Fri-Sun nationwide campaign once more to raise awareness and donations of collected food for food banks. For what shoppers donate, they will match like for like. As my friend Andrea said tonight(like myself)we'll do our little bit to help others but what an indictment it is that food banks are needed.

You think of the great depression in the US and similar world events or those caused by a natural disasters, wars etc...but many see what's happening in the UK as more due to political ideology.

I help certain charitable causes and would do more. But its impossible to help all the many worthwhile causes that exist.

There was a local event on the previous weekend on Teeside where approx. 100 people were sponsored to sleep outdoors overnight and amongst the causes are again helping those who are struggling to feed themselves/families and scared of becoming homeless. Money raised will help many between now and March when another event is planned. The money is going to seeing that vulnerable will be given some rest from the worries of being alone, staying warm, having access to warm meals.

Its good to see that there are still people who care for others as there are signs of some very hard people who are unfeeling towards others. And this comes from our present Government and down society and there is a nasty streak running through much of the media in the UK but it can be seen in many countries so it is not exclusive.

I have decided whilst I am able to take some things to the next couple of evenings I am out at my local social evenings...I have some oat crunch biscuits for the bingo club on Thursday(that works out enough for approx. 30 members)and 6p per person and if any are left I can bring them back home. It gives something for them to have with a cup of tea in the interval.

And I'm going to take something for Sunday again...so I can do(there are seven of us)a bread bun with some pease pudding and ham, some cherry tomatoes, some cheese and silver skin pickled onions for approx. 50p per person.

But in truth there will be some cheese, tomatoes, onions, ham and buns left over for myself so really that 50p marker will be nearer 25p per person because I will be able to do a further 5-7 portions for myself to use at home. At present the cherry tomatoes are half price, a jar of silver skin onions are only 39p and the cheese I found was an expensive brand, David Stowe on offer at half price. Even the ham was on offer when purchased.

I take turns with the others and I think that is a fair thing to do where possible.

There is a Christmas Fayre event on Saturday mid morning in the same location as we hold the music club which I have kind of said I will attend but I really don't have anything I need or want, after all there is only myself, my fridge/freezer is full as are my cupboards and food store. I don't mean to sound scrooge like but I don't need anything Christmas like either. I won't be putting up decorations or a Christmas Tree even though I still have that side of my nature that remembers the happy times this time of year evokes, I like to see the lights and events that happen but equally it brings home how sad and lonely this time of year can be for many.

I have the concert of Vin Garbutt on Friday so I will be home tonight and Saturday with nothing planned. There is another memorial service at my church on December 8th which I will attend again. It gives me some closure and a chance to remember Mum and Dad. I suspect I will be doing that for quite some time. It gives time to reflect and find some peace.

If I can make it I will attend the Christmas service on Christmas Eve usually held at 11.30pm but with no access to a car and taxi's I will carefully walk there. I am amazed how these days I seem to be out on the streets at such a late hour often on my own. Something until recently I would have avoided doing. If I am lucky someone may offer me a lift home.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

That Went Reasonably Well...

It was fine getting around the supermarket.

I found a £6 novelty jar of Bassett's Jelly Babies at half price(so that will make a change to a selection box)as a gift on Christmas Day for the Grandchild who will be where I am having my festive meal and though I found it on offer, it would normally sell at double the price. So its a decent gift*:> smug

I had to buy some wrapping paper and wanted it look nice so what I saved helped pay for that. I suspect it will last me for a few years...so I am prepared for next year. All sorted. Now I can take it easy. I will need some gift tags to write on the gift.

I found some decent multivitamins(with added minerals)though it did not say they had minerals until you read the list of ingredients...they were on a 3 for 2 offer and I could have done a better deal but I purchased two packets of them(that came to £9.98)they'll last until the end of January and another item I wanted was therefore free so I saved £3.45 on that. So it works out around 17p per day. Not too bad, though over the year that is still £62.

But in general I think it actually was cheaper than the last time I purchased vitamins because they have more in one tablet so I do not mean as many separate ones.

I decided on grated cheese, it was the same price as I would've paid for cheese slices if I had purchased two packs of sliced and same weight. Spring onions, cheap razors, powdered milk, milk, bread buns, peppers.

I'm still on for the casserole*:) happyshifted things around so my fruit and porridge will be in the afternoon(late breakfast)I have had some wholemeal sandwiches with chicken, lettuce/spinach and marmite substitute. I had a banana sandwich in the early hours so I'm getting all my vitamins and minerals.

Tomorrow at this time all being well, I'll be off on the coach trip to Hartlepool. We should be home around 3pm I would guess.

Good Morning...

Its early but I often find myself an early bird these days. Who would have thought I would be usually found listening to a farming programme and a news most days.

Can't believe that I am thinking of popping down to the supermarket before 6am and doing my small shop and then getting home for the rest of the day. I cannot think of a reason to travel but I am debating whether I should go to the coast in the next week or two and see it during the colder winter season rather than in the Summer time.

Also whether I should pay a final visit to one of the local farmer's markets for this year(possibly Stockton or Saltburn)even both. The latter would get me to the coast. Or perhaps trat myself by popping into Newcastle and the big store Fenwicks and bring something back for Christmas for myself or to donate to a Christmas Hamper. We'll see. I haven't pestered my friend Liz who runs the Gingerbreadmam but I know that there are some lovely items in the Food Hall at Fenwicks. If you are in the area and are looking for that special something...take a look.

I let myself down yesterday and did not get my slow cooker casserole away but today I will...I have some chunky chicken(already cooked)just have to add some vegetables(stock or gravy)herbs, garlic and let it do it stuff. You can take your pick whether its a soup, casserole or stew. One day I'll have ago at dumplings again.

If I make it later this morning I have something warm and comforting for early evening before I go to the Music Club.

My shopping trip is fairly mundane...I want some minerals/vitamins that I have run out of, some powdered milk, I use that much more than fresh milk though lately I have purchased some milk that lasts at least 7 days after opening(often longer)its a little more expensive but as it lasts me longer because I use less than some people as I am not throwing it out and wasting it. Its not UHT milk but I do have some of that too...All eventualities are covered. Its rare that I ever run out of it.

I don't use a lot of sugar and have kind of become used to a sweetener in my coffee, so all I want after that is some cheese, bread(I will make some of my own later this week)I know I can still do better, bread buns, spring onions and that's about it.

I have heard that for Christmas I have access to most meats you can think of where I have been invited to(except Turkey)and that I could even be given some food to bring home with me for another day.

When I come back this morning from my shop, I am going to make the effort and have some porridge and add a variety of fruit(sticking to berries...strawberries, blackberries and blueberries)It may even be a double portion and on such a cold day a good way to start the day. I looked after myself after Mum passed away and I ate lots of fruit/cereal/porridge and I think it is time I did so again. Also time to dig out the fruit bowl and see it always is there when I need something to snack on.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Any Plans For Monday?

Not really. But my friend Ann on Twitter has given me the push to make a casserole/stew in the slow cooker again so I have a nice warm meal for the evening. Possibly, I can freeze or keep some for another day in the fridge. I have a lot of meat* and vegetables to use up.

Also, if it is not too late I could do with following Ann has been planting up some Winter Pansies for colour in the garden. I could do with something similar. The shop that I buy my bedding plants from has closed. It was also a green grocer. This could be a problem now that I will have to go off town.

The best greengrocer is now approx. 3 miles away. For flowers...I don't know. Probably 7 miles away and a nationwide retailer like B&Q.

I've had a quick tidy already and a kind of soup that is a kind of paste in a mug and you know what? Even compared to a mug of tea or coffee I have a lovely warm feeling inside** so just maybe I will have these more often, its also getting some nourishment into me. I have a cupboard of soups to get through and now find its really easy to make my own...lets be honest with a variety of vegetables, some meat, stock and slow cooker, its much the same. And it makes more than a can and is cheaper too.

*Mainly chicken. **Still warm 90 minutes later.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


I can stay in or could pop out for something to take to the bingo tonight, I shall decide later. I can keep things really cheap by using something in the fridge and just buy some bread buns if I choose to. Or not bother this week.

If I can stay reasonably positive as I have these past days I will be doing well.

Some things are planned this week but planning and doing is different. Bingo tonight and Thursday. Music club on Tuesday. A concert with Vin Garbutt on Friday(not sure what to expect)but I hear that he is good and he is known for his protest songs. And some of his material is on You Tube.

On Wednesday there is a small coach trip to Hartlepool for Christmas shopping for some but I don't have anyone to buy for. So I may window shop or disappear to the harbour or sea area for some photo's but the weather may decide what happens on the day. I don't want to walk very much. And yesterday in Durham and Ferryhill was bitterly cold.

I have just found that a place I visited in September for an afternoon concert had sent me a Tweet in October asking if I was going to the next concert in October(which I missed because the gardener who came did so the same day)and then had I known sooner that he was leaving early afternoon I could have just about made it there. Mind the weather was atrocious(hence the reason the gardener left early)

But I now realise I missed the concert in November last week and was thinking...why?

Because once again the weather was similar so stayed indoors but I also had the show in tribute for the comedian who had died in the evening. However, there is no real  areason other than forgetting about it. I was going all that month.

But I now realise these afternoon concerts always seem to fall on the same day as the monthly evening ones in another town(that's how I forgot to go to one of those)so unless things change, I will be seeing two concerts on the same day. But I will have to remember that so I don't miss any more. They are very well priced too.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I Was Able To Do My Small Shopping Trip...

Within feet of the Town Hall in Durham where the meeting to try and save the NHS was taking place and most of it fitted into my back pack.

It went up slightly to what I had planned...but will last a fair while...shaving gel was one extra item.

A new shop has opened selling many items at reduced prices and some items near their dates but perfectly safe but some people do worry...I saw someone decide not to but some Kit Kat biscuits but they are ok for ages and especially when its a Best Before" date. I found some cakes and biscuits to have occasionally with my tea/coffee. And all what I purchased are still ok date wise. In the past I have eaten Kit Kats well over their dates and they never hurt me.

I purchased some more fruit(blueberries/strawberries)some salad(lettuce/spinach/spring onions/cucumber)sweet pickle and a supermarkets own version of Marmite.

I have rested and slept since coming home so I did not watch the 50th anniversary episode of the TV series of Dr Who. I know enough of the series and have seen it over the years even if I have not followed it like many have over that time. I do remember the early years and though young I never remember hiding behind the sofa because I was scared.

I'll watch the episode online later...it seems to have been well received.

Where I Was Earlier Today...

Inside Durham Town Hall(my first time ever in the building)and listening to enlightening, erudite speeches from the following panel.
It was a cross party selection of speakers(the five holding the banner)with Joanna Adams, Rehana Azam who is involved in the NHS and active in the GMB Union, Natelie Bennett the leader of the Green Party in England and Wales, Debbie Abrahams Labour MP and PPS to the Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham and Dr Jacky Davis a consultant radiologist in north London, co-chair of the NHS Consultants' Association, and an executive member of the National Health Action party.

Embedded image permalink

So much is not being reported in the media about what is going on and what will happen if certain amendments are passed in Parliament. As Dr Jacky Davis said "Much of the plans of this present coalition are being rushed through because its unlikely they will win the election in 2015"

Debbie Abrahams said when her party is voted in, just like the Labour party have promised to repeal the Bedroom Tax within days of being elected, many of these changes to the NHS will be where possible.

Joanna Adams spoke from the heart with a personal example of how the NHS had supported her sister when diagnosed with lung cancer but how other aspects of the coalitions tightening of the screws and no doubt this goes back to the so called health and care act which is disliked by many(except the coalition)takes away support at the most difficult times and actually increases stress when its least needed. A few of us have stories of our own.

Rehana Azam who stepped in at short notice told of the fight to save an A&E department in Lewisham which talked of in the media and was successful but we know that they will go on with their plans and if the closure is unsuccessful, they go looking for another victim. So we have fight even harder.

All speakers mentioned an amendment that the Government is trying to get through Parliament which if passed would mean they can get their own way virtually every time.

Some of the pressure on the NHS is coming from Europe as a certain percentage of service have to be offered to tender even though many of its services are run more efficiently. It also seems that you can ask for information and openness from the NHS that is in public ownership but the companies that are awarded work within the NHS are allowed privacy and secrecy. I assume the excuse would be on the excuse od their commercial interests being compromised.

There was a lot to take in.

For such a meeting the turnout was quite encouraging(I would guess there were approx. 100 present) I do hope the numbers continue to rise as events increase and publicity gets out there.

No doubt it is a topic I shall return to...it is too important not to. Again, you know it is when an senior physician with many years in the system is fighting for the NHS's survival and says we are going down the route of private medical insurance as they have in the US. 

Yesterday Was A Good Day...

In that I was able to think about the time I was living in and not dwell too much about the past nor look too far into the future which can be easily done if in your own company for hours. I did not feel the urge/need to go out.

I always used to be able to occupy my mind and not become bored so perhaps its another step in the right direction.

Today in approx. two hours I will be getting up. Then get ready to travel to Durham and show my support for a demonstration to support our National Health Service. I am fortunate in that the bus ride is quite short, there are seats in the location which allow me to rest and they take me to where I need to be.

And I can rest when I come home again. But I have goal, an objective to the day.

Whilst there fresh veg and fruit is reasonably priced so will get some spring onions, strawberries and pop into the supermarket for some Marmite(or shop version)and make something nice when I come home for my dinner/supper.

I could take something with me but I don't plan to stay the whole day and I have had something earlier in the morning overnight so I am not starving...

Friday, November 22, 2013

Durham Lumiere...Kennedy Anniversary...

Is it really a week since I attended this event...in hindsight though it hurts that I had to pay £35 to get home from what was meant to be an inexpensive night, I feel more positive about the experience. I reckon I was closer than I realise to a couple of exhibits and I think I saw sixteen of the twenty seven displays.

I also realise that my few images of the night were as good as any taken and others were having problems getting them right. I don't want to take credit for them or fill the post with too many so I will link to the site direct on facebook.

Lumiere Durham 2013

Today is a day in reverse...I have slept during the day and likely as not I will be awake for the night. The temperature is warmer this evening for some reason, not necessarily across the whole house but in my bedroom its 20c(68f)

I have had a mug of coffee and made myself a Panini roll with a salad filling, it was a case of grabbing what I had and no real preparation needed, so it was some chicken, tomato, lettuce, spinach, spring onion and sweet pickle/chutney. Its good that I don't tire of salad...

A contrast to last week, I am listening to a kind of reconstruction of the events(in real time)of the assignation of President John F Kennedy in Dallas Texas USA on this day fifty years ago. It is supposed to be in real time but as it has a lot of retrospect material it is different as all such historic events are in hindsight.

My memories are vague because I was so young at the time. I'm not sure if I was watching the news, I believe Mum was working at the off licence at the bottom of the street where I live(still there today)but run by a different company...and my Dad phoned her to tell her the news. I am unaware that we ever phoned each other with events taking place in the news.

Then again back then telephones were still quite rare, news was available by TV, Radio and newspapers and in general it was still quite slow to reach the public, today we would have access to the internet, social networks, digital media, mobile phones, 24 hour rolling news etc..and it would be so much more immediate.

Also in hindsight we have a habit of idolising some public figures and can be afraid to be critical of them just as some can be vilified in life and later we can understand more why decisions were perhaps taken in good faith at the time. Also memories can be affected over the years. It is a fine line that we tread.

Who amongst us are perfect?

I have just come across the following approx three hours after writing the above and I think it is a fair, thoughtful and measured piece...


Whilst I Don't Want To Put Lots Of Weight On...

During the less busy time of the year and when its usually most cold, it has been said extra body weight can be good for you to stay warm.

So I am once again, going to introduce certain foods back into my diet and that includes more warming meals such as stews/casseroles(mainly comfort food)and put cereal/porridge/fruit into my daily menu. And sometimes when I want a hot drink, I may go for a bowl/mug of soup.

If I able to organise the contents of my fridge/freezer better I will do some batch cooking or try and have some meals that can be home made and microwaved/heated up, even cutting back on preparation time.

There are so many reports on what foods are good for you and the latest media frenzy and the BBC even lead with this one on both their World Service and domestic radio services(I would guess it was also featured on TV too)

So what the latest fad or genuine study? That eating nuts may help people to live longer and benefit health in general.

I have some nut and seed mixes so may add more into the diet too without going crazy and I am more likely to chop them finely rather than eat them whole.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Yes I Have Health Problems.

The transport service arrived later than usual so I was sat on the stairs by the front door off and on for almost two hours and when I arrived at the hospital the surgery was being out by colleagues of my consultant.

The future could be more difficult but lets say they are happy with my tests today at the hospital. I supplied him with home readings from blood pressure readings taken on my own machine at home and he thinks that is a good idea. Yet its taken me 17 years to buy one and no one suggested that I should buy one. Were they available years ago?

I am not leaking protein into my urine/blood(but I have and probably will again)He says as long as I don't eat lots of meat in one day(not really a good idea even if you are seemingly fit and healthy, it puts a strain on various organs of the body and portions are often too large.

 I am doing well by eating a little less(so keeping the weight maintained)eating the variety of fruit/veg/chicken/fish but he said "A little of what you fancy" etc...and though leaking of protein is not good, the body need some to work properly.

I asked about the report I had come across in the media about the drugs I am on for blood pressure as there is the suggestion that they can cause kidney failure(mind I have been taking them for 17 years)that suggestion is unfair.

It appears that the drug I am is not only keeping my blood pressure safe, it also offers protection for my type of kidney problems. Where it can go wrong is if you have a food bug, are off food and drink and become dehydrated or have food poisoning. Should that happen you should stop taking it for a couple of days. So in my own case I should carry on taking it because of the extra protection it offers me. So that is different to how it was reported in the media. And until I asked today I did not know and had never been told.

I made my way to Durham after the hospital appointment and paid my insurance. So that's sorted.

Tonight there were dozens of prizes in the Christmas Raffle Draw at my little bingo club(I did not win anything)and it was my best night so far for ages with many bingo games seeing me only needing one number to win but you may as well be miles away.

I called into the supermarket for some milk and missed some really decent reductions and I really mean so much food was reduced to silly prices. And as late 9pm. Now that is unusual. People had shopping trolleys of minced beef and more selling for as little as 40p.

I did find £2's worth of Panini Rolls for 20p.

Seems another cold night so I'll dive under the duvet and put the heating on to take the chill off the bedroom.

The radio has a documentary about Dr Who as it's celebrating its 50th anniversary and its part of a series of documentaries looking at the events of 1963. I don't know a lot about Dr Who and haven't watched that much of it. It seems the media is also going into overdrive on the assignation of President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas in 1963 on November 22nd.

I have vague memories of the event but I was very young, I am unsure how much of my memories are from various programmes that have been broadcast already over the last 50 years.

I Stayed Up. It Hardly Seemed Worth Going To Bed...

I had a snack when I came in...put images on my blog(last post)and have just had a mug of coffee, put the heating on for an hour and am running a load of washing through the washer.

I am dressed and ready for the hospital. I have taken a blood pressure reading which seems good and have my water sample too. I may have a ride to Durham rather than come back home from the hospital to pay my contents insurance which I was unable to do last Friday. I'm in Durham all being well on Saturday(giving my support to the campaign to save the National Health Service)but the insurance office is not open at weekends.

Amazing what a difference an hour of the central heating and a mug of coffee can do on a night/morning like this.

My watch has stopped again, this will be the second time I'll need a battery in months...I may have to consider getting another watch but in the meantime I thought(mainly for catching buses)I need a substitute and possibly a good old fashioned wind up watch...so I am wearing a very small faced gold  bracelet Rotary watch that belonged to Mum which still works and fits my wrist. Its hidden under my shirt cuff so for now it will do. Is my wrist really that thin?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What A Night To Go To The Theatre...


Thunder and Lightening.

Update:Arrived at the theatre bedraggled. I was like a drowned rat before I caught the bus but it was a great night, a benefit night for Graham Walker of the Grumbleweeds who passed away earlier in the year. The show over ran. So this time I accepted that a taxi home would be needed.

The show ended with the following image on stage on a chair with a spotlight on it.

Tribute to Graham Walker of the Grumblweeds. Image left on stage on a chair with spotlight on it.

The older performers once again showed themselves to be more approachable than the newer acts and still know how to entertain.

Sadly Brian Conley did not come into the bar to meet the few who stayed behind and it was not a massive crowd to deal, most had left the theatre earlier but as I had missed the bus home I decided to go into the bar and meet those who decided to come in after the show.

Bernie Clifton appeared and disappeared before anyone had a chance to speak to him. I appreciate they have a long way to travel, some are getting on in years too. The weather is really bad and they may have other appointments too. Have seen how bad it is since coming home and looking at the internet.

Robin Colvill the remaining Grumbleweed who I met after the beneficial to his friend Graham Walker.

Robin Colvill was approachable(the other Grumbleweed survivor)he was good especially as he is now working alone and he looked well too. I never saw The Grumbleweeds on stage but did see most of what they did on TV and listened to all of their radio shows.

Ian and Janette "The Krankies" after a benefit for Graham Walker of The Grumbleweeds. They are great to see.

What can I say about The Krankies. Janette had time to talk with me. I hold them with great affection and appreciate the hard work their act takes and its very physical. Also still topical with their material. I have had a photo taken with Robin and one with The Krankies but modesty prevents me putting them on line(and I still keep some privacy as to who I am)

These people have a long pedigree in the world of variety/show business and have nothing to prove. They able do cabaret, pantomime, television, cruises, radio and more. Television rarely gives air time to many of the greats and they are having to go back to playing theatres where you really see how they have crafted their skills.

Had I met Bernie I would have mentioned the radio documentary he did a few weeks ago about the tenor Richard Tauber.

Brian Conley has not forgotten how to entertain and put on a first rate comedy routine, he also included a selection of songs from the musical he appeared in of Al Jolson's life story. The Krankies as polished as ever. Bernie too and a Zooka and Suzie Q a magic act appeared and they squeezed a lot of illusions into their time on stage and were very tight with their routine. They appear around the world and amongst their regular shows appear in the Hilton Hotels. 

One act that was billed to appear did not, for whatever the reason. I am sure that Bobby Crush was there too(in the bar after the show)but I did not approach in case I was wrong as he had not been given a mention but there were times where a piano was played off stage so it is possible.

It was cold and damp and the town deserted as I came out of the theatre and it kind of reflected the night of how for a few hours we forget our troubles and then in the cold light of day...but at least it had stopped raining(but it had started again as I reached home)

I have to be up in approx. 5 hours for my appointment at the hospital. So lets hope that goes reasonably ok. Its an early start, the appointment is for around 9.30am but the patient transport service can come as early as 7.30am so I have to be ready.

Interview from 2010 Robin is right about variety(Brian Conley said something similar on stage)
Interview from 2013 Interview after Graham's passing.

I'm Ex Directory...

so if anyone phones me I have...
  1. Given my number.
  2. The person or company took a chance.
  3. They had the number from ages ago.
So on the automatic answer facility I found a lady had phoned yesterday morning. She gave her name and phone number and said she was replying to a letter she had received and would they call her.

I thought I could leave it or call her to let her know that she had phoned the wrong number and that I had no connection to who she was trying to call. Also  it gave her the chance to recall the company again.

She had no recollection of making the call or what it was about. I am now wondering if she possibly has dementia or some other problems. In fact as I write this I seem to remember this person has called months ago(but did not leave a message)and could not remember calling.

I may have to accept these odd calls but ignore them, could block her from calling me or try to have someone follow this up. I don't want to change my own number that would cost £35.

Update:The internet provider suggested talking with the police/social in case she is in trouble and they have a facility that blocks calls for £6 per month(but I don't need the extra cost)

I finally talked to the police and they say...consider a phone that shows the numbers of callers or ignore the calls, if I answer the phone let the caller speak and do not give my number and can put the phone down but if the calls become more frequent they may look in to it again if I contact them but not to worry that the person is "Confused" and leave it. It is not my concern. I tend to leave my phone on silent and it has a message service where people can leave messages anyhow.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Anything Happen Today?

More of the same it would appear across the world. I've slept through most of it. Will get ready for the music club soon. Take my meds.

I hear the weather is about to change and become much colder. I did notice frost on cars and roofs when I looked out early this morning so it doesn't surprise me.

Sometimes a dream makes some sense(I forget some of what I did dream)but for some reason I was travelling daily on a train from London to home. I found a key on a path and wanted to return it to its owner and had to use one of those intercom systems you see outside apartments.  The only person who I could talk with lived in another of the flats in the building but he could not decide if I was genuine and wanted to think about it.

Even though I said "Why not see if the person is in and has lost their key" The key was number 17. I also had an inquisitive person close by asking me what I was doing who I refused to tell but said "If you stay there you'll hear when I talk to those concerned on the intercom"

Not an exciting dream and some other details lost but where did it come from? A reasonably normal one too.

So There I Was Eating...

a snack on a bench in Darlington near the theatre before the concert. It was quite dark and a bit chilly but ok. I had taken a penini roll with lettuce/tomato/egg and chutney filling, some sausage rolls. Later I had some crisps.

I went in to the theatre foyer and there was Chris Barber virtually alone...I went to the toilet and kept thinking, at the end of a show it gets so busy and crowded and I am against the clock trying to get a bus home and its a little bit of a distance to cover. But with ten minutes to go I expected he would not be there when I came out...He was.

So I took the rare chance and managed to get the photo in the previous post. I would have loved to be able to put a couple of images of him and his band in action and always take them without flash and avoid interfering with other audience members views but the theatre can be pretty hot on the taking of photo's. Video's I can understand, audio recording too but an odd photo? Some performers do mind but its difficult to second guess if they don't make it clear. The theatre has a blanket ban but again sometimes you are allowed or a blind eye is turned. Sometimes you are told.

Only today on the internet I saw two images of some old Rock n Rollers which capture the atmosphere of the time...one of Buddy Holly and the other of the bass player in Bill Hayley's Comets.

Its great if you can get a photo as I did this time in the foyer which is rare. Some manage to get into the picture too. But I digress...I have gone away from my post about my eating.

I came home and still had some lamb casserole from last week so I ate two portions of that when I came home.

I called in at the supermarket. I love tomatoes and spent £4 on them! However, they will make meals/snacks/sandwiches and I got quite a lot for my money...Cherry tomatoes were half price, plum tomatoes were less than half price if you purchased two containers and eight salad tomatoes instead of six. I also got myself some spring onions and a packet of mixed lettuce and spinach which I can stretch over various meals/sandwiches.

May keep it light for the next day or two as I don't want to add a lot of weight for when I go to the hospital on Thursday for my check up.

The Big Chris Barber Band...

Wow! What a night. Ten on stage, many able to play a variety of instruments and genres of music, some well known pieces but some carefully chosen but unknown/rarely heard pieces.

Practically two hours of music that flew by.

Chris is a people person and I rarely say this of many performers but he is a gentleman. He lets his music speak for itself and I hate going on about age but he really is amazing, his memory only let him down a couple of times(mainly song titles)but you can see that the members of his band and the audience hold him in great affection and look after him. Mind he's as sharp as a button and he really can play the trombone, he still sings and even played the bass. Heck who doesn't have those momentary lapses, I know that I do.

All of the ensemble are at the top of their game and they played with no musical scores in front of them.

Hard to believe Chris is eighty three years old, it is obvious that music has kept him young at heart and been his life...sixty four years in the business.

You really know when you are hearing musicians at the top of their profession. They probably play in a number of bands around the world and do session work but you can see how much they are enjoying the music and each others company. I am so sorry that it has taken me over 50 years to see him. But I am fortunate that I have. He's booked to appear at Durham's Gala theatre in May next year.

I am now rediscovering a wealth of his music thanks to the internet and there is a lot too, which is fine by me.

He let me take a photo of him and I'm quite happy with it and I did not want to overstay my request by asking for a couple but when I caught him he had no one around him. You can see the openness in his face.

The great Chris Barber before a wonderful concert at Darlington Civic Theatre yesterday evening. Try and see him.

All being well, I'm there again on Wednesday and I am told its going to be a great night and probably will not finish until 11pm so it may a taxi job unless I can get to my stop for 11.15pm.

 I wish I knew someone who was going and I could share the cost of their petrol or a taxi fare but it is difficult to find people, perhaps it will happen one day.

I was talking to someone at the bus stop tonight and it looks as though they had put extra buses on between 10.45-11.15pm the night I was at Durham Lumiere but there was no one ask, nothing on the electronic departure boards and the printed schedule still said the last bus was 10.15pm and it will be so for the foreseeable future. But just maybe I could have avoided paying for that taxi after all.

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Caught Up On Some Music Listening Via The Internet...

Amazed what Christmas music is out there and still being issued but remains unheard on the radio...whatever your view of such music and there are many styles, reworking of old songs, new songs being written, I find out that last year a CD was released reuniting John Travolta and Olivia Newton John and two tracks had guest appearances by Tony Bennett and Cliff Richard.

I have not heard it promoted or played on radio, in a CD store(if you have one still on the high street)advertised anywhere(and I guess there is a limited window where such music can be heard)

Now I must start and play what I have otherwise I won't have any reason for having the music myself. I started to play a mixture with Mum's other favourite music on shuffle which worked well when she was alive and was going to play some last year but was not ready to do so, this year I feel ready to.

I did some PC work(I'm way behind with that)and the next thing  its morning and the sky is light if dull, it appears it has been raining all night too.

The bedroom has been 18c with no need for heating...

Quite a spread of food was brought to the club last evening and I was given some to bring home with me. I still have my sausage rolls...I'll use them later today. There was a lovely home made meat pie, I will have a go soon and see if I can master the skill of pastry making.

I had some salad when I came in...so was well fed. But hadn't eaten much before.

I'm going to have a rest and some sleep, then get ready for going out to my music concert ideally I could leave around 6.30pm but with fewer buses in the evening I better leave slightly earlier but there is no problem getting home afterwards this time as there are approx. three buses between 10.15pm and 11.15pm, I will review the show later.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Durham's Lumiere Festival 2013...

Some final views of the light festival in Durham City November 2013. I only managed to see fifteen of the displays out of twenty seven sadly but as the remaining ones were going to involve a lot of walking and buses seemed to be difficult to find on certain routes I decided not to return much as I probably would have liked to and Sunday is the worst day of all if you use public transport.
Near Elvet Bridge Durham City Lumiere November 2013

Another illuminated phrase at Durham Lumiere 2013 "For the beloved one longs most"

Patience is halfway to happiness(Illuminated sign)Durham Lumiere November 2013

The above illuminated signs were at various streets away from the main retail area.
Illuminated dresses in Durham Cathedral's Cloisters(Kept changing colours)Durham Lumiere November 2013

The dresses above were in the cloisters of the Cathedral and went through a cycle of various colours.

And as my camera was unable to get the exposure right on some displays so I have links to some of those that are better than mine and some of the displays that I missed personally.

I'm trying to give credit to and post some images of what I missed so do check back soon...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The New Yorkers...

I know very little of this entertainment group, perhaps I am looking in the wrong place on the internet or they don't have a website to visit.

The concert started at 6.30pm and there was an audience of approx. 50 people. I suppose the audience was what you would call mature. There were some children/young teenagers but they probably were there with relatives(grandparents and aunties/uncles)

We were entertained for two hours with a mixture of such a variety of popular music, some evergreens from musicals, the 40's/50's/60's,70's, some light classics, comedy songs and some that I recognised but are rarely included in the usual selection that are performed. They had some comedy routines too and also had a variety of costumes to change into. There were five in the group(three females/two males)I don't know if they are amateurs or semi professional. But it was an enjoyable night.

The audience were all sat at tables with tablecloths and a candelabra. Everyone was invited to bring their own drinks and nibbles. I took some sausage rolls/chicken rolls/crisps and some lager but I ended up being the only one eating anything and my companion ended up eating one chicken roll and took his packet of crisps home. Tea and coffee was available so the lager stayed unopened. A decent cup of tea always goes down well.

I'll take the sausage rolls to the bingo club tomorrow night.

I made some more chicken rolls when I came home and had a mug of tea. And am now resting in bed, reasonably warm and listening to the radio.

I Slept The Night Away...

Guess I was tired after last night.

So I did not attend the event a couple of streets away from my home to promote the refurbishment of the retail area and the Christmas decorations etc...its still happening.

I am about to prepare for the concert in the church hall at 6.30pm. That will be more enjoyable than last night. I'm taking some food and drink for myself and who is going with me...a chicken roll, sausage rolls, crisps and a bottle of lager.

It will finish by 9pm I suspect so not such a late night.

So I will start to get myself ready. Will let you know what I think of the show later...

Friday, November 15, 2013

Perhaps Its Just Me...

I don't know what I was expecting with the Lumiere in Durham City but if I'm honest I managed to see approx fifteen of the displays out of the twenty seven. I had to struggle to get around what I did see because of how it was spread across the city and some of the sites were out of the way but once you realised you were committed and when you reached them, for me they were a disappointment.
I won't be doing it again(Never say never)Or I'll stay within the main city boundary. If I had not rested along the way I might've been ok and caught that bus. Some displays were spread out and once you were committed to a route you had to go. You were not always allowed to return from where you had come from. So I missed some I would like to have seen. Some buses to get you to the more far flung locations would have made a difference.
To crown everything off...the bus company let a few of us down who turned up for the usual bus that leaves at 10.30pm because they have changed the times(again)and moved it to 10.15pm and the last one at 11.08pm terminates approx 7 miles from my home. So now you have to leave even earlier than before. This is second or third time in a year the bus service has been pulled back to an earlier time.

That 15 minutes really can make such a difference and may in the future if I want to see an event like a show. So I had no option but to spring for a taxi and I am £35 out of pocket for doing so. I'll make it back up somehow. I am fortunate that I could pay for a taxi this time. What choice did I have? Find a hotel or hang around the bus station for eight hours. Not even sure once all the buses have stopped running if that's allowed.

The annoying thing is had I known of the change I could've taken an earlier bus home or been there for 10.15pm. I only missed it by five minutes as I arrived at the bus station at 10.20pm. I was in a shop next door buying a container of peas pudding unaware that my bus was leaving. That is the most expensive peas pudding I have ever purchased when you realise it meant taking a taxi home.

As my friend Jacky said on Twitter I might have been/will be better off in future using the bus to where it terminates and using a taxi from there. Half the journey and cost.

And they say use public transport and leave your car at home(if you have one)

I'm not happy with the images I managed to take at the lumiere but will try and salvage something to post on my blog, it could be a problem with the camera I have, some displays were too dim, some were too bright.

I want to be positive and in hindsight some of the event was an experience and my images may have some asking why I am so down on the event.

Durham Lumiere 2013 A series of lights made of plastic carrier bags in the town centre.
Lights using plastic carrier bags.

Image preview

Telephone box aquarium in Durham Market Place.

A display of illuminated watering cans on the roundabout near the bus station Lumiere Durham 2013

Illuminated watering Cans on a roundabout near Durham's Bus Station.

A moving hologram of an elephant(there is a back and front view)with sound Durham Lumiere 2013
Moving hologram(with sound)of an elephant.

Image preview

Stick men run, jump, climb and dance on the exterior of a building.

It's Friday...

Wishing all followers(those who read or those who leave comments)that you are all well.

I have already had a quick tidy...a small breakfast. And I am dressed. I don't need to shave as my whiskers have not grown much overnight so I can leave near the appointment time for the Dr's surgery. Then come home, have some lamb casserole(these days stews/casseroles are so similar and even like a hearty soup)

Next time I may use a stock cube rather than gravy...

I have found out where I am able to pay the annual contents insurance payment in cash and its virtually next to the bus station in Durham city, where I can then start to look at the exhibits in the Lumiere and see if I can find the best routes and use of buses and being on foot with mobility problems.

Keeping my fingers crossed that the battery in the camera holds out and knowing that there are more buses to get me there and back home is welcome though I still have to come home by 10.30pm whereas other areas further North have a service until 11.15pm.

But I hope to be home well before then anyhow. But I have to wait until 5pm for the night to become dark enough to get the effect of the displays...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I Did Not Do Anything Really Different Today...

And yet I felt positive and good. Yesterday, I could not shake off feeling down.

All I have done differently was pay some bills(purchased the only magazine I treat myself to)which helps with my understanding of my computer.

I've eaten a really good salad(including found some quiche that was reduced)I've even found some sirloin steak(reduced)

I have a lovely lamb casserole in the slow cooker(with broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, onions, carrot, swede, celery)and gravy. Thinking of having that to set me up for the trip to the Lumiere tomorrow.

I won a line on the bingo tonight(£3)Big Money! I took some gingerbread to share with those at the bingo club which I dipped in chocolate. That win paid for the gingerbread and gave something towards the following.

Its someones birthday so I have found some chocolate on offer and purchased a Birthday card to give this Sunday.

I purchased some Christmas cards(as I have made new friends since Mum passed away)so I do have some to give Christmas cards once again.

Its quite mild tonight(in my bedroom)so no heating needed. Listening to the radio(bit of comedy)and earlier on a programme featuring Beatles sessions at the BBC in the 1960's.

I have to be up and out a bit earlier in the morning as its the day for my bloods to be taken at the Dr's surgery. I hope all is well...I won't know until next Thursday.

Been going through some of the images I've been taking over the year on my travels so I may start posting some of them on my blog over the Winter months....I hope to get some decent images and video's in Durham tomorrow night.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Not Going Out Today...

I haven't when it was light so why start now when its cold and dark? I have food, will find entertainment on the TV, radio and internet and gear myself up to the next week or so as evenings will be a bit busier.

I have seen a test image of one of the light pieces at Durham City's Lumiere on Twitter and its situated as you come out of the bus station. So that will be an easy one to view and probably the first one that I shall see. I hope the rest are easy to find and I can find the shortcuts with mobility being impaired.

Its been quite mild today and I have avoided the need to put extra warm clothing on but its starting to get a little cold now so I have given in and put on a thermal vest. It is amazing what a difference that can make. I will save the heating for later which will then keep the bedroom warm through the night. As one of my friends says as I am in credit...so use it.

It was another great night at the music club on the town, I popped into the supermarket on the way home for a couple of basics(Kitchen towels and teabags)the teabags taste fine to me(and yes, I am able to make at least three decent mugs of tea from one bag)and a box of 80 cost the princely sum of 27p. How old school is that?

Later, I will consider setting away a lamb casserole in the slow cooker. And again there should be enough to make a few meals...I think I spent around £4 in total but the expense will be reduced over a number of days when I spread that and save some in the fridge or freezer, I'm getting better at food management.

I am able to cheat too during the Winter whilst I am able to stay here because there is a concrete passage and out house connected to the house and the temperature is usually so low I can put foods/drinks that need to be kept cold out there if space is getting tight. I am still tempted with the thought of getting another freezer. But that's for the future.

Update:I've eaten ok, I've had a banana, some chicken, bacon and sweetcorn sandwiches to which I added some tomato, cucumber, spring onion, spinach and lettuce. I've had some minced beef bitesize pasties too.

So far I have not needed the heating on as yet. The room is only 2 degrees out from what officially it is supposed to be according to the experts. If I can stay put I want to put curtains up at the front door again and that will improve the warmth in the hall.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Perhaps That's The Answer...

Close down the house somewhat and during Winter live in the smaller bedroom at the back of the house. I did so last night and with the door closed, curtains behind the radiator, I was considerably warmer. Also the hour or so the heating was on did take the chill off the room too.

Today, little is planned but I may go out around teatime so I can take some images/videos of the new Christmas lights/Christmas tree being put up in the town centre ready for the grand switch on this weekend* Also finally all the building work has been removed, the new pavement laid and new seats are in place too.

I'll buy a new hot water bottle, the one I have has failed and is leaking, pay another monthly rent/water rate instalment.

Then see if there is any reduced bread on the way to the music club after 7pm.

It appears there are extra buses being put on during the Lumiere Festival in Durham in the evening so that's welcome but little if any publicity about the event/bus services unless you can access the internet.

*Images/video's taken, I think that more illuminations may be added by the time the "Switch on" happens this weekend. The lights are LED and actually twinkle. There are still some shop units that have been vacated or need occupying. Being a single male quite a few shops are not used by myself and what I do are mainly food based.

 My town's retail area has been refurbished afrer 53 years coinciding with Christmas.

 A kind of waterfall/firework effect(New Xmas lights)being installed around the town's retail area.
Another of my town's Xmas illuminations as the area is refurbished in its 53rd year.

Monday, November 11, 2013

I Am Thinking Of...

making some home made ham and egg tarts. Small individual one's based on the idea of the pie that was brought into the club last night. Just a thought. I will have to adjust the measurements. Even if I bake a pie for myself as most of my books/websites are all geared to serving 4-8 people.

Its something to interest me and keep me busy during these Winter months.

I haven't eaten that much today but I'm ok. Besides I ate well yesterday. I make myself eat(it doesn't take much to do so)as I have not lost my appetite or love of food. But I rarely feel hungry. So perhaps we really have got into eating because of habit and having large portions. I've had a small Magnum Ice Lolly for a treat at teatime but will have some fruit, cereal and sandwiches later...I don't worry about sticking to set times.

I think I eat as well, possibly better than when my dear Mum was alive though we had lovely meals because of treating myself occasionally or finding items worth more being reduced in price.

I remember my parents saying always leave the table feeling that you could eat a little more. There is probably something very sensible about that advice. I have a friend and far be it from me to tell someone how they should live their lives but he does have health issues and is overweight.

I don't know what he does at home(still lives with his parents)and is older than myself by approx seven years but he does eat a fair bit when I have been in his company and can managed to put away 3-4 pints of booze on an evening out.

I manage to maintain my own weight to within a couple of pounds below or above my weight and stay reasonably constant. If I could exercise I could probably lose another half a stone. But I try not to take in more calories than I burn off and when I walk because it is such an effort it is like exercising.

I am sure I could help him lose weight but its breaking the cycle. But he doesn't see a problem and being under medical supervision and he does have check ups, they don't seem bothered on that score.

Update:I have put my heating on for a couple of hours and pushed the curtains behind the radiator so the heat goes into the room(though the bed probably blocks some of the direction it goes)and have now decided to close the door into the bedroom. I've always tended to leave it open so it may keep some of the heat in the room.

I have submitted meter readings for the gas and electric, don't know if its good/bad but in 26 days I have used 48 units of electric and 30 units of gas.

Its time to renew my contents insurance, as most items are old and I can use a charity furniture shop I'm tempted not to bother but its only £49 annually(less than £1 a week)so will do that at the end of the week, I can pay in Durham it appears and as I am there for the Lumiere I'll do that at the same time. Its the day I have my bloods taken too so its quite a busy one.

I have had a Heinz cup a soup(Chicken and vegetable)some wholemeal bread with marmite and two chicken, bacon, sweetcorn and mayo sandwiches in malted brown bread so I'm quite happy with that. I have banana which I may that have later in a sandwich. Going to have a coffee now.

I have decided to have breakfast again and a proper one at that...fruit juice, cereal or porridge with fruit and perhaps toast, marmalade and coffee. Also may add some fibre/seeds that I have. Told you...foodwise I'm doing great! I'm sure that I am getting all my minerals/vitamins.

Another Day I Admit To Doing Little...

But as said I will be out approx nine days in fourteen from tomorrow. So any rest helps.

The ham and peas pudding rolls went down very well at the bingo club last night. And I was amazed how many I managed to get from one small pot of the pudding and two slices of ham per roll I made a total of thirteen costing approx 15p each. Even when the ham goes up in price they'll still only be 23p each.

Another person brought along a home made ham and egg pie that he had made which was lovely and I'll try to make myself some time. Simple and easy food fare.

In reality you lose more than you win playing the bingo over the year but its a bit of fun. I came close a couple of times...

The sky is full of angry clouds and we have had a fair bit of rain down in the last sixteen hours so unsure if its going to be frosty...it probably will be if the rain on the roads and pavements freezes otherwise it probably would have only been cold.

I hope the one night I attend the Lumiere in Durham City on Friday is fine but I'll be prepared(and I will be sure to have my gloves, a hat, a scarf, socks and thermals on)I may take a flask with a warm drink or some soup with me.

I'm going to have my first meal of the day soon and eat some of the sandwiches I managed to get in the last few days. I may do a portion of chips to go with them. I'll take my meds too.

There's been a report about one of the meds I take to keep blood pressure low causing kidney failure(which the idea of keeping blood pressure low)is supposed to stop/slow down happening(catch 22)there are alternative meds so I will see if they think I should switch.

Recently I have been late or forgotten to take them and my blood pressure readings have been good without them. At least I have remembered to get my bloods taken in time for next week's appointment at the hospital.

Have been out and found the town centre is starting to look tidy and after many months of inconvenience with lots of upgrading and they are obviously hoping for a good turn out for the switching on of the Christmas lights, they invested in some new one's, a Christmas Tree which has been finally returned to the shopping plaza. Images/video to appear soon. This Saturday they are holding a switch on of the lights and some music. Don't ever remember that happening before.

I fear someone may vandalise them, I hope that I am wrong.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I Slept Through...

the Remembrance Day service and stayed indoors, my last molar tooth has broken and I have toothache but that will eventually leave. I will have to have dentures and its going to have to be done sooner rather than later and won't be something to look forward to. But needs must.

The painkillers may help I have avoided them for quite a long time and managed over night so hopefully they'll help for the rest of the day.

The sun is shining and it looks quite pleasant but I know that its cold.  I still hope to get out this evening and hope that none of my planned events in the coming few weeks have to be called off because of the tooth ache. We'll see. Fortunately, from past experience it has usually come right in the end.

I will stick to reasonably soft food for the next day or so...

Saturday, November 09, 2013

I Don't Think Its Too Cold At Present But...

A warm drink makes the difference and tonight I have dug out two hot water bottles, the old solutions are the best. But I am ready to give in when the Winter really sets in...

I will not allow myself to be as cold as ice even if it means wearing thermals and a hat, scarf, socks and gloves indoors. I have seen my 95 year auntie wear all of those and a thick coat when she was alive and if I have my wits about me I will not get hypothermia.

I will save during the Summer so I can do more during the Winter.

To Heck With It...

I had a look out and spent a little more than perhaps I should've, then again it wasn't that bad(if you allow my shop was not exactly healthy(but you have to treat yourself now and again)The reduced sandwiches are fine I saved approx £6 and spent £6 but that makes each of them around 40p each and if I eat two each day as a meal/snack that's around 80p per day, that's not bad. And they have good fillings like salad. chicken, bacon, tuna, cheese, sweetcorn etc...

I have managed to get sausage rolls, some turkey ham, bread rolls, peas pudding(all that for around £3)so I have some for myself and enough for two weeks at the bingo club on a Sunday. As there are seven of us in the group that's 42p per person and over two weeks that's only 21p per person.

Its a night of radio for me The British Legion Remembrance Concert followed by a documentary on the evacuation of children during WWII and later some jazz which I have rediscovered. Not keen on the type that goes off the melody but there is so much good stuff to find again.

And now that I cannot afford a lot of music to add to my CD collection thank heavens for the internet and music services so I can hear what a lot of radio stations no longer play.

Its not unusual what I wish to hear either but when they do play what I like they stick to the same songs/play list.

Even though I am on my own I am going to try to have a Christmas meal and play all my Christmas music this year.

The weather has improved so hopefully all will be well for the Remembrance Service tomorrow morning. It always make you think and since losing Mum I try to attend the local event instead of following the event that is televised from London.

Another Day...

Its a horrible day weatherwise. I have seen images of snow in parts of England. The sky has cleared here(so I reckon we'll see frost tonight)but there has been very heavy rain showers so I gave up on the trip to support the freeze the bill campaign but looking around the ineternet it seems to have been a great success, unlikely anyone able to make the difference will take notice in the current climate.

I have to admit that I overslept too. Well its so dark and I was cosy in bed.

I hope the weather for Remembrance Day is kinder, I haven't decided whether to stay in today, I don't have to go out, I can do everything tomorrow.

I'm going to take something in for the snacks at the Bingo tomorrow night. I think that I should. What is not used I can bring home with me. Probably sausage rolls or ham rolls.

I have my sandwiches from yesterday(various fillings of cheese)for today and I can add some salad to improve them.

That's as exciting as it gets I'm afraid.

I have discovered that I can keep oven chips in the fridge part of the fridge freezer...that they do last ok and take less time to cook in the oven. So when the freezer has no room I can still have chips.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Some Days You Are Just Filling In Time...

You are...but you don't feel as though you are. Today is one of those. If I stay in not much is happening, if I go out its the same old shops, fills an hour and I spend money that I don't need to or window shop looking at items I have seen many times.

Its amazing how quickly the time is passing though, it will soon be night time, its already getting dark.

I'm not complaining or feeling sorry for myself though. It is the same for many.

Update:What the heck, I went out and parted with a little cash and found some nice reduced sandwiches so I had some with a portion of chips. And there are some remaining for tomorrow. I may be attending a campaign to promote freezing the energy bills which I did not know is happening in various places across the UK.

I have been looking at the various Christmas Stollen on sale and some are too expensive especially for one living alone but a well known discount supermarket has a variety of different types and I remember last year the least expensive one was quite acceptable so I purchased one approx 750g for £1.99.

The same one in bite size pieces costs the same price but is half the amount. I can cut it into slices or squares myself and have more for the money. I have even been wondering if there was a possibility of making my own but I think this is the easiest option.

So I have given in a little for Christmas and have a box of chocolate biscuits and Marzipan Stollen for the festive season.

All is quiet again but there has been an hour of fireworks going off again between 6.30pm-7.30pm that will probably be the last of them now.

I'm under a nice warm duvet with extra fleeces listening to the radio and looking around the internet. Getting ready to attend the Remembrance Service on Sunday.

Thursday, November 07, 2013


Well, I finally dipped the shortbread fingers in chocolate. I don't believe that it worked out any cheaper than attempting to make my own. Perhaps slightly in that they did not need baking. I say I dipped them in chocolate, I actually brushed the chocolate across the top of them. Now to take them along to the bingo club tonight.

As a treat(for myself)I may call into the supermarket which is next to the bus route that takes me there as it has a variety pack of Jacob's Club biscuits on offer(normally £4 for 24)for £2. There's no way that I would pay the full price.

I have had two salad rolls(I say salad)a mixture of lettuce and spinach, tomato, spring onion and ham (think I'll do the same again later)but I allowed my myself two reduced custard danishes that I had purchased earlier in the week*^O^||3 eat

I've been good for ages, a little extra weight does no harm and I'm only half stone heavier than I have been most of my life but I have lost a few pounds in the last few days compared to that so I'm quite happy. And in general I would say my diet is nearer a Mediterranean one. Meat is kept to the minimum because it is supposed to be on health grounds but also on cost. I eat fruit, vegetables, cereal, seeds, fish and chicken. Not sure that there is much else to eat to be honest*:-/ confused

About to take my meds soon, get dressed and see what change I have for tonight, I now get asked if I can change money for the club so I always take a money bag with me.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Its The Little Things You Sometimes Notice...

educationalist Sir Ken Robinson was interviewed on the long running radio series Desert Island Discs recently and was asked how he would survive on this island living on his own...

His answer was "I would find it very difficult. I like my own company but I'm not great at solitude. I used to spend time at home as a kid in my own room but I knew the family were in the next room" And that is something I used to think when both my parents were alive and its never been truer since I lost Mum.

There were other things I could identify with that he said such as he was in a hurry to get somewhere, a piece of music came on the radio and he realised how much his Mum meant to him and he made a 200 mile detour to spend time with her and have a meal which he no longer is able to do and he had the choice.

Sometimes the series can be superficial but often you really do get an insight into the featured subject, their character and why they are who they are. Why they chose the music that that they have and sometimes see a reflection of yourself.

Often people are very honest and giving. Once again, the wide range of those featured and from many walks of life and society shows  how all too easily people are judged and often wrongly.

Yesterday's Business...

It would appear that London in particular had a big turnout for the day of action against austerity measures being taken and many reports and images can be found on the internet. It was bound to attract the most people and perhaps it helped that it took place seemingly in the evening into the late hours. Such events were being staged in a number of countries including Australia and the US.
Our own  little stand was on a local basis and aimed at the nearest authority we had which was a Town Council. To be fair their cutbacks are because of cuts further up the chain which is the County Council and they are affected by central government and their policies.
Our little event was peaceful, good natured, nice people, mostly quiet except for a few songs and simple slogans...one being "They say cut back, we say fight back!"
National Peoples Assembly Meeting in Darlington outside the town hall November 5th 2013

Symbolically Papers With The Names Of Various Services Being Cut Were Burned.

Sign at National Peoples Assembly meeting outside Darlington Town Hall November 5th 2013

A Sign At Yesterday's Demonstration At Darlington Town Hall. 

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Bit Wet, Bit Cold But Milder Than Yesterday...

I felt like turning over and going to sleep but I promised publicly to attend some of the marches taking place today and also if I don't I feel I am letting myself down.

I have nothing other than myself to take along.

It may seem a strange meal to start the day but it is fuel and will keep me warm so I had some of my beef casserole from the slow cooker which was very good if I say so myself.

Just when you think you've saved some money for an emergency and I plan to spend only approx. £3 today for some raffle tickets and a small drink at the music club tonight the cable that joins my power pack to the laptop has given up. The power unit is alright but the cable has become weak and only works in certain positions and you have to buy the whole unit. I have no idea what its going to cost but it has to be done. So I'll call before I go onto the march, the bus stop is close by.

I have to shave and wash and be away in the next few minutes. Debating whether to grow a moustache for November as part of the campaign to raise awareness of the prostate cancer campaign for men but how many will realise why I have done so unless someone asks why I suddenly have one. The campaign is known as Movember.

So many campaigns really are best known in certain circles of the media. If I was wearing one of those coloured ribbon bows in a lapel or a poppy it would be known immediately.

Update:The first march thanks to a bus driver leaving just before I boarded the bus meant I arrived a little late but I reckon the number was small. I was handed a little flag to wave. I went on to the second march and almost came home as it looked as though it was just going to be me but gave it a chance and we managed approx. 30 people. Who were all very nice and sociable. We may get some coverage in the local newspaper tomorrow.

We've already discovered another library and a railway museum will close early next year unless someone else is prepared to take on the job and within the next 5 years another £25Million is being cut and another 700 jobs lost.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Been A Bit Naughty Today...

Not eaten a great deal but it proves one thing what has been said. It will take quite a long time to starve, become hungry. Don't worry I love food too much. I have set a beef casserole away in the slow cooker(enough for a few meals)diced beef steak, leeks, onions, carrot, potato, celery, swede and gravy. I won't let myself develop a food problem.

Soon I'm thinking of making a homemade corned beef pie, that will be a new experience for me...

Tomorrow is a bit hectic I am attending some political demo's/marches taking place(I won't get arrested)and I will take a flask of tea or coffee and some salad rolls. If I can take some images/video's...I will post them here or on twitter.

These are things I have never done until recently and I have surprised myself. It may be a lost cause but I feel that I have tried to make my voice heard. Whether the media will report the events across the UK is anyone's guess. Just as I have no idea how many will turn up and whether it will be a success.

Told You...

I went straight to bed when  I came home and did not bother to do a meal/snack. But someone had done a couple of small sandwiches and brought them to the bingo session and I added a packet of crisps.

Did I win...of course not...but one of our group did so a little luck came our way. We managed 16 points out of 20 on the quiz but we don't cheat and its an open secret some are using mobile phones to connect to the internet(not sure why that is allowed)we do it without help. Isn't it annoying when you know an answer and can't recall it such as Dom Pérignon invented sparking Champagne but what was his profession? I knew he was a monk but in the end we went for a chemist as our second best guess. Likewise I came up with right answer but it took ages and I used to work in a jewellers "What colour is perindot gem stone?*

I discovered yesterday(how unobservant am I?) My vacuum cleaner has been returned without two of its pieces...the extension and nozzle for running along the edges of skirting boards and around objects so though I have a feeling I will be unlikely to get it back but will phone the shop later today. They found it and its been returned

Found the following on Twitter and its so true for many and poignant...The summery of life. No infringement of copyright intended, can't find out who to credit for the illustration.

Embedded image permalink

* Its green.