Random Jottings Of Gildersleeve

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Location: United Kingdom

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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Shopping done within an hour or so. Everything found quite easily, food, disposable crockery(I avoided the glasses and mugs)I can use the real things if required but I may just have coffee or tea. The New Year cards had almost sold out. I hope that I have enough but a quick list suggests that I could be short by two.

The weather isn't bad which will please anyone who is going out and celebrating the coming in of 2014.

So I'll start getting things ready around 8pm and use lots of containers which seems the easiest way to present everything and then I can put it all away in the fridge. Its more a case what not to put out. I'll use kitchen roll sheets as napkins.

I have a ticket for the Euro millions lottery tonight so another little thing to check.

I have a little tidy up to do, a load in the washing machine, yes it really is a normal kind of a day.

Not Really Much Bothered About New Year...

It really is just another day.

I am an expert at filling time and the trip to the supermarket lasted nearly two hours. Sad eh?

I found salad items(tomatoes both cherry and plum)spring onions, lettuce/spinach, tonic water(may use that again to help me sleep and ease my legs when in bed)kitchen rolls(found some 3ply)that did not break the bank(KR are always so expensive)or poor quality. Some cheap lemonade/cola.

Some bread buns and my computer magazine.

Lots of healthy stuff there if added to my other items in the house.

I found some Christmas cards reduced(of a better design/quality)thirty for £2 but I forgot that I have twenty at home for £1 and perhaps sixteen of some purchased earlier in the year but hey, I won't need to buy any more for at least the next two or three years.

So when I buy my final few N.Year cards today, some sausage rolls, strawberries, cheese straws(perhaps napkins and disposable plates/bowls)I am finished spending.

It may seem a weird time to eat but I am heating up my leftovers from Christmas and planning to have my meal in the next few hours(using the slow cooker)then I shall wait until tonight and the buffet.

I think that I can do all that I wish by just staying here. I may have to go out early just because the baker's may sell out of what I need. But many shops are open on New Year's Day.

Monday, December 30, 2013

How Did That Happen?

Found some comments that had been sent to my blog but had not appeared in my e-mail notifications and so they have been published now if somewhat later than they should've.

Well, eight N. Year cards have been put through letterboxes. I have to try and send a fair few via the mail(and need to purchase another four or five)to those I already have in the house being written.

Upto date with my bills and debts.

Just need some basics to top up the groceries...you know the type of things Kitchen rolls and a few items to supplement the buffet tomorrow night.

I have also discovered that I forgot to buy the last issue of my computer magazine ten days ago, I hope that I can still find a copy on sale.

Update:Have been indoors all day but think I will have a quick look out now. Whilst the wind and rain has stopped. Then it doesn't really matter what I do tomorrow on N. Year's Eve.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Quiet Day...

Not much happening...been reasonably cosy but now heading out for the bingo and turn in the next thirty minutes or so. Will deliver some New Year cards as I go.

The weather is not too bad for now...Have some cheese, tomatoes, ham and pease pudding rolls and some chocolate rolls for tonight if they are wanted. If not I still have them. So not wasted.

Many of my radio shows have been missing today and my favourite afternoon show is moved to tonight whilst I am out so I will record it and listen to it later.

That's as exciting as it gets today...unless I have a win at the Bingo.

Update:So I came home with a little extra food than I went with regarding food. Or broke even. And have eaten a mini salad since coming home. And I have had three measures of vodka(in lemonade or cola)either at the club or since coming home and I am relaxed and lightheaded(It doesn't take much)I can say that I like vodka(in a measured way)I suspect that I will sleep well. Perhaps that will be my choice of alcohol for bringing in the New Year.

It will be very quiet here and being in the back bedroom there will be no lights visible from the front of the house. I have since had a cup of coffee and am cosy inside and out, I'll admit temporarily I have a beanie hat and some fingerless gloves on but will remove them soon.

I may have a look out tomorrow. We'll see...I have been known to change my mind. Sounds like it could be getting wild again weather wise.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

After Approx 36 Hours...It Seems Calm Outside.

Finally the wind seems to have abated. For my own area the weather service I use suggests that it will stay quite calm until Tuesday when it will be a little breezy. Temperatures around 7c(42f)generally a bit cloudy but no warnings of snow. I suspect that will not be the case for the whole of the area. I have said before I think a lot of weather passes over my area and I think we are located in a bit of a dip.

It can change drastically within 3-7 miles.

In fact there is a bit of a blue sky and the big tree that I am able to see from the bedroom window is almost still. But before we know it, it will be dark again.

I fear that once again within days many around the UK will be not so fortunate.

Today, it was cheese and bacon quiche for my menu. Oh and crisp sandwiches topped with tomato ketchup.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Can I Take That Again(Reference To The Previous Post)

I nipped out whilst the weather improved briefly. And spent a little...I know, I know.

It's rare for me but I have done a lucky dip on the Euro Lottery for tonight and Tuesday and the National Lottery for tomorrow. Sometimes they do a special for Christmas and the New Year. I forgot about the one on Christmas Day. Any win would be welcome.

Alone on New Year's Eve so I decided to still do a little buffet for myself and what isn't used will be used afterwards.

I'll bring the trolley table upstairs into my bedroom(its like those that go across a bed when in hospital)and if there is not enough room, I'll find a tray to use too.

I have some pork pies, mini turkey bacon cranberry pasties, sausage rolls, bacon and cheese bites, bacon and cheese straws, cocktail sausages, cheese, cheese and bacon quiche, ham, cherry tomatoes, eggs, salad, pickled onions, cheese straws, crisps, fruit and a couple of drinks. And this time not sausage rolls from a freezer or prepacked from the Supermarket, I'm buying from a baker's(either Gregg's or Coopland's)

Perhaps some Christmas cake or some rolls too. I found some Christmas cake bars worth £2.50 each reduced to £1. I'll just eat a small amount and nibble here and there. I may not use some items on the night. Which just gives me more choice in the coming days. I'm either putting out small amounts of everything or fewer items but more of those, if that makes sense.

Making better use of containers and wrapping that keeps items longer and easier to store. Some items already in the house, some were purchased today(reduced/on offer)

Hopefully I'll lay everything out reasonably presentable. I may even post an image. I have yet to decide if I will use crockery I have in the house or go for some paper plates etc...May as well do it right.

I will put up some ham and pease pudding rolls for Sunday, our group will be missing three this weekend as it is the Birthday of one and his wife/stepson will be staying home as there are also some relatives visiting so they will be entertaining at home.

So I guess that is me all up to date now unless I have a look out tomorrow for no particular reason.

Oh I purchased my New Year cards today(not cheap)now if I can find the address book and mail them in the next 10 days or so(put them in letterboxes where that is appropriate)

I'll see how that goes...

Simple fair today...I've had beef spread in some bread rolls and later the last of my food from the Christmas night out for the bingo club(chicken and gravy)followed later with a couple of little mint chocolate rolls.

I'm getting caught up on what's in the fridge and getting back into the fruit, vegetables, grains and seeds.

I Need Nothing...

It is so blustery and wet out there unless it changes by early afternoon I am staying in the back bedroom, in bed, cosy and relaxed. If there are any bargains left in the shops I don't know what I am missing and I will stay safe.

The New Year cards if on sale will still be there tomorrow but they may well be trying to clear all the Christmas cards first. I have thirty of those still unused so I don't need to buy those even if they are reduced ready for next year.

I have food, booze, tea and coffee so all is well on that score.

I may buy some little bits for my own little buffet on New Year's Eve and make the effort for a drink to bring in the year and try and have a small table or tray with some sandwiches, cheese, small pork pies/sausage rolls, cherry tomatoes etc...I may have something sweet too and what I don't use is there for the next day...and the next...and the next.

I hope all reading this are safe and those already affected from earlier in the week with the weather already and now this latest spell will see an end to their worries and all problems come good soon.

Your Life Flashes Before Your Eyes...

Google put this together from some of the images I have posted over the previous year...What will the New Year bring? In no particular order locations featured include Darlington, Durham, Bridlington, Saltburn, Whitby, Sedgefield.

Thanks Google!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

So What Is Everyone Doing?

Not much here...I have slept a lot. Eaten little. Been cosy. Not been out yet...

Any shops open in my town will only be open for another 90 minutes or so...

Update:I got into the supermarket and I guess any bargains had been snapped up earlier in the day. I have found a Birthday card, some cheese laced with whisky half price and some biscuits I thought I may give as a gift because I did not send a Christmas card(they did and thought of me)and I keep promising to visit but never do, so I think it is time to put that right.

I go out in around 15 minutes for a game of bingo, sticky thirteen card game, domino card, a small drink and there is a turn.

I have lost some of my raffle tickets so if I win I may not know that I have...oops!

I hear others are taking some food for a small buffet so I have just popped some cheese into a container also some mint chocolate rolls. I have the Birthday card which I need to give ready for a birthday on Sunday.

I shall see you when I return home.

Update2:The night went well, the turn was a bit "iffy" but the majority of the crowd enjoyed it and probably the drink helped. But better than staying indoors. Remember I said I was to resume my interest in cheese, I did that tonight. Lovely.

The weather was starting to turn as I came home and since getting in there has been rain and its quite blowy. I feel quite upbeat so that's good.

Don't know why but most of the night I have been unable to shake off the feeling that today was Wednesday.

Cheese And Biscuits...

Going to get back to having some again like I used to...seemingly a long time ago. So I think tomorrow I shall take apart my food store and look for my biscuits/crackers again.

Just had my very first mention on BBC Radio 2...YESSSSSSS! animated smileys laughing 11Spur of the minute thing, though I did try yesterday and was unsuccessful. But we're talking decades here...Now I'm saying its my first mention but just maybe I was mentioned over 40 years ago as I suggested guest for Pete Murray's Open House and received a letter from that guest thanking me for suggesting him. But I was at school so have no idea if I was mentioned. Don't ask me why I suggested who I did.

Who was it? Danny Le Rue...of course I never heard the interview myself and as the letter arrived afterwards I am unsure who else heard it and back then we did not have the access we have these days to downloading/streaming on line.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tell Me Again...

how did I put away all that for my Christmas meal? I say I eat small portions and struggle to eat that much. Today, I ate some duck, beef and turkey with all the trimmings. Followed by Christmas pudding. However, in my defence having not eaten breakfast/anything since I probably have not overloaded and will return to normal by tomorrow.

I have been in bed for three hours and slept almost the whole of that away in a peaceful slumber.

Taking it easy listening to the radio when not dozing.

Many thousands have had a bad time this festive period the electric off, homes flooded and now it is said that power will not be restored until the weekend. So I appreciate how fortunate I have been.

I was even included in the present giving and came home with a selection of items(that pleased me)some men's toiletries, a Tetley tea mug with some teabags, wallets, a diary, some blank CD's. One of the wallets had a personal inscription inside too.

I'm off out tomorrow(I think)to find a Birthday card for one of the people I was in the company of(his Birthday this coming Sunday)and will see if there is anything that catches my attention in a sale tomorrow. If so it will only be something small and inexpensive. Will I travel off town? I don't know. Probably not because I don't think that public transport gets back to normal until Thursday.

I don't have strong feelings for or against The Royal Family but saw the Queen's Speech for the first time in years. I found nothing that I could relate to and probably few of this country's loyal subjects could either. The main thrust seemed to be that we need to reflect on our futures and have hope.

I think hope is about all that is left for many but in the current climate both politically and economically many, are finding it even more difficult to see a future and hang onto hope. Times are hard and even those who look as though they are doing alright...are not.

I have done and will again give to charity and yes that will include the ever growing number of food banks. I so appreciate my own food store which some that know that I have one find eccentric or strange but when you do mention having one the reactions are usually that it is a good idea, that others will do so and an admission that they also have their own store of food/household goods.

If some kind of cooperative could be started where the ordinary members of the public could buy at discount and in bulk how would that change things?

The following blog makes interesting reading whatever your political stand point.

What to do with a tin of beans?

As another Christmas comes to an end I feel a bit reflective and though its been good and I have been fortunate, I feel a little deflated. But tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Is It Really...

Only five hours to Christmas? Yes, I believe it is.

I have to laugh, I have been talking about the Crusts Away bread...why not just cut them off myself...doh!

I'm feeling good(except for my knee that is playing up)but I forgot to look out for the traditional Christmas Eve tour of Santa around the streets of my town perhaps the first time ever in some 50+ years, I have always given a wave and shouted Happy Christmas but with the wild weather perhaps it was called off. Being in the back bedroom with door closed perhaps I just did not hear him.

I've found some biscuits, half covered in chocolateanimated smileys laughing 12

My chicken stew is taking longer than planned to be ready, the chicken and gravy is fine but the vegetables will be a while longer...(I've had some...its great)

Oh by the way for anyone kind enough to follow me, read my thoughts or leave comments and e-mail...

I wish you and those nearest and dearest to you a Happy Christmas and hopefully a kind and peaceful New Year.

animated smileys christmas 4

Early Morning...I Felt Cold...

I made some ham, lettuce, spinach, tomato, cheese sandwiches, mugs of tea...I stuck on a beanie hat and fingerless gloves. Within seconds I was so warm. Before long they had to be removed. So I guess the adding of clothes really does work.

I'm rethinking the day...

I have not gone shopping off town, I may have a look out this afternoon, if there is something on my list that is still available I'll get it but not overly concerned, mainly going to collect my prescription.

I'll make some phone calls to the few people who have phoned me and early evening drop off any Christmas cards that can be popped through letterboxes.

I may not go to the church service around Midnight its late to be alone on the streets and the weather is bad this year. I can listen/watch a service on radio or TV.

I may even call off going out at all except the mailing the cards because I can survive until the shops open again on Boxing Day or Thursday because I have enough food options and meds already in the house and its taken care of with being out for my meal tomorrow.

It's a "may" do kind of a day.

Monday, December 23, 2013


That's what I could do with...for my jumpers especially the thicker type. Folding them doesn't really work. I am short of drawers.

Some bread and milk. So I may have a look out, nothing else seems to be pressing and with most food shops open again the day after Christmas, I will not starve. Some shops are now opening on Christmas Day itself. But I am unaware of any locally, perhaps that happens in larger cities.

However, I will hang around to see if there is any reductions later today/tomorrow.

I hear of severe weather for the holiday starting today but I am fortunate I have nowhere to go except on the town on Christmas Day and I can get there within twenty minutes or so. Its said my area will see this late in the day. The South suffers this from now.

Otherwise, its much like other days for myself with much radio listening.

I am well fed already from what was taken to the club last night and what I had when I came home.

Though the thermometer says it is only 14c(56f)in the bedroom, I am not cold. And in the night I was able to take off some bedding.

Am I full of Christmas spirit? Well, at least I am not feeling the opposite. I am calm and untroubled. That's ok for me.

The three events that are planned is a church service at 11.30pm Christmas Eve, Christmas meal on Xmas Day and a look out on Boxing Night.

Perhaps more to add here as the day goes on.

Update1:I did not go out after all but I may do so in a few minutes as the wind has dropped/rain has stopped and perhaps tomorrow will be my main quick look out whilst there is a bus service of sorts until around 7pm. But the rest of the post above stands...

I had some sliced roast chicken that I purchased last week(reduced)but I sliced it thinner and with a decent knife it is a better buy than it at first seemed to be. It made quite a few sandwiches. So its been mainly chicken and salad sandwiches, sometimes cheese too.

This is not food related...like many I have for years been using various items for cleaning the toilet but I used some cheap supermarket bleach and its done the trick very well so in future that will be what I will be buying. It isn't even thick. It will save more money especially if I can move the liquid into a smaller bottle as the original bottle is too large to swill the contents around the bowl nor does it have a nozzle. It may be easier to pour some into a kind cup of some kind. I get 2 litres for 29p and the problem of bottle size means I ended up using half and I know I can use much less.

Update2:Back from the shopping trip...I have bread and milk(enough really for the next few days)but if I can get one of my favourite loaves tomorrow I will(I like the one without the crusts)but I managed to find what is meant as soup mixes(various fresh vegetables that are diced)but are perfectly ok as a side item on a plate or put into a slow cooker for a casserole. In fact they could go into a container with mashed potato on top or a pastry top so it becomes a pie. I suspect you could make your own pasties. Now there's a thought.

They normally cost around £1.50 but were reduced to 56p which was a bargain to me. However, I came past the area later and they were reduced to...6p so I had mine reduced again and picked up another couple of packets. I also found some danishes, fresh fruit salads and bread reduced and ended up with £20 of goods and paid only £4 for everything.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

So Its The Weekend Before Chrisrmas...

I had a word with the person I was supposed to go to an event with at the local railway museum and all is well. It was the right decision.

Quite upbeat and relaxed. Getting ready for the omnibus edition of The Archers, Desert Island Discs, ISIHAC, The Food Programme so that takes care of my entertainment until early afternoon. I'll run a load of washing later and get it all put away.

Another task sorted, sorry I still do not do ironing.

Its been a wild night of wind and rain. But milder indoors and my bedroom is warmer. Its approx.16c(50f)but my bed is much warmer this year even without the use of a hot water bottle or electric blankets. I have a duvet(or is that a quilt?)I am using another I found to lie on and fleeces. Its cosy. But if I do (because my head is cold)a lack of hair, I can dive under the blanket(you'd be amazed how quickly that warms you up)and the standby is a hat. But if it gets too warm I can remove something easily.

It is wild again outside so I shall warm my coat, scarf, hat and gloves before going out tonight and battling against the wind and rain.animated smileys christmas 5

You know that I purchased a Christmas jumper(well two)all because I had difficulty finding something suitable, then found a one in a charity shop for 99p and then had something that works for the season in the wardrobe(I went for ones that work all Winter long(some may appear in the charity shops if people tire of them)but for some reason I did not consider a cardigan.

Who set the craze for Christmas jumpers this year? And why did I want oneanimated smileys laughing 1 I suppose mine are more like those worn in the ski resorts because they don't have Christmas or a Santa on them and a reindeer can be ok at anytime. Having taken the scarf off its little hanger I have found it is reversible so like two in one so can be mainly black the pattern in white or the opposite.

So ok with the price of gas and electric many of us are keeping warm with jumpers etc...but is it an age thing. I don't remember wearing that many until recently. Now, I quite like having lots of jumpers to choose from in different colours, styles.

Staying well fed with corned beef rolls with added salad and a fair few mugs of tea or coffee.animated smileys eating & drinking 9

Not as bad as I thought it would be...just heard the single released by Susan Boyle dueting with Elvis Presley(deceased)Come All Your Faithful. Earlier, I had a quick mention on the radio this afternoon and I may/may not have been mentioned last week, I have to go through the recording and see if a record was played for me.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Today I'm Staying Put...

and going nowhere...not up to doing anything. Come the afternoon I might be but I am fatigued out. I was supposed to be at the local Railway with a kind of friend but he likes to go a really early hour whenever he goes somewhere and often there is no need to be. I have since found out the event may not be free and cost close on £10 and is geared towards children as it is all centred around Santa Claus.

The main trouble is without your own transport, there is quite a long walk from the nearest bus stop or railway station to the museum and I just don't think I am up to it. Especially as I will have to do it again when I leave.

There is nowhere that you are able to sit and to be honest not many seats in the museum itself.

I may keep adding more to this post later.

Update:Just as well I made no attempt to go out, I have slept for another four hours so I must have needed it.

I am so behind on my Christmas cards that need posting. I think that I shall keep what I have for next year and buy New Year cards and the postage stamps will still be used...I just have four or five to put through letterboxes locally which I will do tonight or tomorrow and not need to use the mail service.

Unless I find addresses between now and Monday(as my address book seems to have be misplaced)

I have had something to eat...from the buffet stuff I brought home with me...some sandwiches of egg and then tuna. Still have much to choose from for later, I could look for some more reduced stuff but it may be a good idea to wait and see what is on offer on Christmas Eve or after Christmas in the sales but I won't benefit if the best sales are in neighbouring towns on Boxing Day because there is no bus service.

Its evening and "The weather outside is frightful and the fire is so delightful but since we've no place to go let it..." rain(there's no fire either)Its batten down the hatches weather.

I've had some corned beef, spring onion, tomato and mixed lettuce/spinach baps. I was going actually make the effort to watch some tv in the lounge but there isn't much I wish to see this evening so I am staying warm and cosy in bed, I have some catch up TV to see which I can do on the laptop. And the radio is on.

All I need(perhaps)for Christmas may be some bread and milk. Tomorrow its the bingo and turn night so I may put my new Christmas jumper on and if I have to walk or wait for a bus my Christmas scarf.

I don't know if its the weather but my left knee is giving me some problems at present and I think I have some tinnitus but that could be a side effect of the medication I have to take. But as my hearing is precious I am pleased that I use ear plugs when I go to any music event. Rare occasions that I do hear any music without them sounds so loud.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Today Went Smoothly...

I put out my wheelie bin, managed to catch a bus to Durham around midday, no hold ups on the way, arrived at the studio in the Gala Theatre with 10 minutes to spare and I had my choice of seats to choose from.

We were entertained for almost an hour by The Ruth Lambert Trio. Personally, it was a pity the hour passed by so quickly. My kind of singer and music. I'm sure that Ruth wants to be seen in her own right but think of Diana Krall and I think you are pretty close. Lots of information on Ruth and examples of her work here. I suspect I have not heard of Ruth before because a lot of her work is across the UK and the world but locally more in the Tyneside/Northumberland area and we are less well served in my location.

Ruth Lambert performing at the Durham Gala Theatre lunchtime concert. December 20th, 2013

Ruth could not really fail with her choice of music and anything would have been good taken from her CD's and repertoire but today we had Porter, Berlin, Jobim, Cahn, Styne, Carmichael amongst others and the selection included the songs "Let's Do It""Skylark""Blue Skies""Time After Time" and the Christmas fun song "Santa Baby"

Guitarist Giles Strong and Mick Shoulder double bass player I should be seeing again all being well as they perform a kind of tribute to Django Reinhardt in a group called Djangologie and they are joined by James Birkett(another guitarist)and Emma Fiske on violin. They are appearing at Bishop Auckland Town Hall. But a week later are doing a lunchtime concert at the Gala. It is a pleasure to hear musicians who are masters of their instruments.

Guitarist Giles Strong at Durham's Gala theatre's Lunchtime concert as part of The Ruth Lambert Trio December 2013

Ruth Lambert with Double Bass player Mick Shoulder performing at Durham's lunchtime concert December 20, 2013

I came out of the theatre to a wet and windy Durham. I decided to pop into a shop I have looked at often but discounted entering because I just knew as an exclusive coffee/tea shop what they sell is out of my price range and some items are £15-£20 and more. But I ventured in today and a lot of items are no more expensive than some of what you pay and find in the supermarket and I save money elsewhere I think I can treat myself occasionally in the future...more about the retailer here. I hear there is a sale after Christmas so I may be popping in earlier than planned in the hope I can find something for myself.

I actually purchased some instant coffee this time which has an Irish Cream flavour and should make 42 cups of coffee(I could probably make double that amount)but that's around 10p a cup. I have purchased as a gift for the person who invited me to my Christmas meal instead of biscuits alongside a small bottle of vodka. I was told she likes vodka but took a chance on the coffee.

I called into the post office...I am really behind with the posting/writing of cards this year. But purchased some postage stamps and nearly fell through the floor when they asked for £7.20 for 12 first class postage stamps. Yes, we have the internet and e-mail but to receive a card is nice but that is a lot of money to find.

I then found one of those shops that appear for a few weeks and disappear again at Christmas and they were selling some very good jumpers, hats, scarves, gloves etc...all with a Christmas theme. I now have another jumper but the design means I can wear it through the whole of Winter and probably a few years to come.

My new Christmas jumper but one that can be worn through Winter not just the Festive Season.

I went the whole way and got myself a scarf of a similar design too. Image below. The image is the wrong way around and this time I am unable to turn it around perhaps later...

I purchased a hat last year never thinking about Christmas but it also goes with the season(I have some gloves too)so they've all matched up rather well.

So my shopping spree was not over...I called into a shop that sells popular items cheaply(mainly cakes, biscuits and the like. I found various Cadbury's rolls at silly prices and with good dates on the boxes and later saw the same items in a national supermarket next door. I paid approx. £3 and in the "Other" place the same items would have cost me between £9-£11 if at full price or whether you purchased them in a kind of offer that was on.

Then outside the bus station at the greengrocer's I purchased some pears, strawberries and don't ask how I got them home(without my shopping trolley)a 7.5kg bag of premium Maris Piper potatoes that cost only around £2.25 so at that price a bargain. I was flagging in the end, the bus station was near the greengrocer's but at this end I was struggling.

When I reached home I had a coffee and my sandwiches(I've got through them now)and a couple of small cakes I had brought home from the music club buffet. 

And now as the wind blows outside and it rains, I am cosy in bed listening to some festive music   type programmes on the radio.

As I won a house in the bingo on Sunday and was given back £10 at the end of the year at the Bingo Club Xmas party last night(we all get that)most of my shopping today was taken care of.

Ahh, yes the Bingo Club Xmas do...it went well, there was a game of bingo(yes, even there)some got up and had a dance, there was a turn and a very big buffet and a lot of stuff was going to be wasted so I have to admit to filling up a few containers and bringing items home with me which will keep me going for quite some time.

There was still some items remaining but I came home with sandwiches and some sliced chicken in gravy so if put it with vegetables its going to be like having a number of Christmas meals.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

So Much To Catch Up On...

Where to start?

So yesterday(well, that's Tuesday now)I did not bother to do that much except a little attempt to tidy the house. It got that late that there was no way I was going to catch the bus to the Music Club on town so I bit the bullet and ordered a taxi(I was not up to the walk)However, the same taxi driver was to pick up my friend from the Music Club so the ride was combined and that way cheaper for both of us.

The Music Club was packed and an enjoyable night was had by all and the buffet spread was incredible. I did not eat that much and where others went back for second/third helpings I had a container with me and brought some home. And even then not as much as some. The John Wrightson Band  played most of the night(except for some of our regulars who filled in to give them a break)and by the end of the night some of us(not myself due to health issues)were up and dancing.

A great night at my Music Club for Christmas 2013

Wednesday, I was at Coxhoe to see The Silver Belles at the Active Life Centre in the town. I have only been a couple of times but its like going to see friends and the staff are all so welcoming. The only thing wrong is that it is not closer to where I live or vice versa. It deserves all the help and success it is able to get. They host entertainment events and also physical exercise at a very well equipped centre. Again, I would love to do more there but public transport and again medical issues does not allow me to.

The Silver Belles were a mature group of ladies who sang a variety of songs(and they really did pick a varied programme)of songs, yes there were familiar songs but some less known songs but by that I mean not heard as often. They also performed some comedy too and it was an enjoyable afternoon.  They were elegantly dressed and had lovely scarves(difficult to describe)around their necks with a musical note design in a kind of red colour. They had travelled quite a distance to perform for us.

I was sitting like a lemon when the raffle came up with the last number of the draw and I had a winning ticket. Doh! I am very happy with my gift. A set of Porcelain egg cups with a Marmite logo on them, they are a bit different. And they may encourage me to start having a light boiled egg again. Its been so long since I did that for a snack with toast soldiers of course.

Yay! I won a prize in the raffle at Active Life Centre Coxhoe yesterday. So happy with my Marmite egg cups :-)

We were given refreshments, a lovely cup of tea or coffee after the concert and were given Mince Pies. How good is that? My first of the year.

When I reached the bus stop in the dark I took a slight detour, I had to decide was I going to...travel to Sedgefield and change to a bus for my town. Use the same bus and change at Ferryhill and come home. Or stay on a bus straight through to Bishop Auckland for tonight's concert at the Town Hall but that meant filling in approx. two hours and as most shops close by 5.30pm where was I going to go? But if I came home I no sooner would be here and I would be going out again so I opted to stay on the bus and travel to Bishop.

I passed a house with a lovely original Christmas display in a bow window with figurines rather than lights(worthy of a prize/image taken)a bit different and original.

I seem to be very good at filling in time. Well, for starters I had food in my rucksack and ate two quarters of bacon and egg quiche on the bus. I had a pack of sandwiches which I ate when I reached my destination a deserted bus station.

I found a shop that was open until 6pm so did a browse and a kind of Window shop. Then found another shop open until 8pm and dragged the time out and came home with some more Christmas cards and a Birthday card. I was the only one shopping and I felt it for the staff having to stay open. The town was dead and the weather so bad few if any would venture out. But this shop is so near the Town Hall so ok for me. But located far from any others that were open like supermarkets so unlikely to attract many shoppers.

Some of the time I sat huddled on a seat in the open area outside the Town Hall with my scarf, gloves and hat on hiding behind a big lamppost to shield me from the wind. I had a banana at that time.

The Town Hall Bishop Auckland on a cold windy wet Winter's night in December 2013.

I have booked all the shows that I am able to for the first three months of 2014 and it only works out at less than £3 per week so that is not bad. It is hoped that in the New Year some of the people who go the music club may start to go to the shows at the Town Hall helping secure its continued success and if we share the cost of a transport home it will allow for shows that overrun and avoid the chance of missing the last bus home which is now earlier than before.

Though that could give the service the excuse needed to drop it altogether or move it to an earlier time. But as that bus only cuts a swathe through the middle of my town and stops in the town centre, it is no good for many. Many venues may have to start looking at some kind of scheme like this to continue.

Tonight it worked out ok as the show started at 8pm and finished around 10.30pm which gave me 15 minutes to reach the bus station and the last bus home.

It was a great night and starred Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies. You never know what songs Jez will decide to play. I have a few images that I will try and post soon. They did not seem to mind photo's being taken and I only took mine after a couple were taken with flash(which I did not use)but I think that they have come out OK but this is the best one I think. You can catch Jez all over the UK and the world. And next year he again takes part in the BBC Radio Ballad series on Radio 2 and the theme will be connected to the 100 year anniversary of WWI.

Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies performing another great show at the Town Hall Bishop Auckland December 2013

So I now have two shows to see in Darlington, one in Durham and four at Bishop Auckland Town Hall.

I had a pot of tea that's two cups for £1.20(that's quite reasonable)a good strong brew and was lovely and hot.

I just have time to have a rest and before I know it, it will be time to go out for the Christmas night with those I usually play Bingo with on a Thursday.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Troubled Dreams...

The last couple of nights I know I have had dreams that may be classed as nightmares or bordering on being so even weird but luckily was able to go off back off to sleep fairly quickly and don't remember what they were about.

Today, I am realising just how behind I am on the simple tasks and I think the few people I should be mailing cards to are going to be disappointed. I think that I may have to send out New Year cards in January.

I am going to rearrange some bits and bobs around the house(like the fridge/freezer)

I saw something that I fancied in the supermarket but cannot justify a ham joint with a topping of some kind of apple and spiced chutney topping to glaze it with but it costs £9. But for one person? I'm tempted to say go on...enjoy whilst you may but when there is only yourself? I could get many meals/sandwiches out of it and I bet I'll waste the same amount on other items. It could go in the freezer but I think that I shall pass.

I also am going to wind down what I have in the fridge/freezer which will save me some money for a few months(mainly freezer stuff)so the only things I will be buying are fresh items. And I'll build up with new items again.

I think I am quite organised.

I have eaten a triple pack of egg and cress sandwiches. To be honest there is a buffet on at the music club tonight and "Its free!" and if I eat too at home, there won't be any room for that.

One of the media stories that has been running for sometime involves a person who to be honest I am unsure where she suddenly appeared from. I suspect it was because of a blog she wrote about coping on a low income and making the money stretch but still trying to eat tasty, good food for herself and her child. Others felt they were in a similar situation and in time the media at large courted her but lets be fair she deserves the interest and to do well.

She is true to her convictions, she has said that fame and a modest increase in income is not guaranteed and why if(I feel this too)you find yourself in a better place can you not still appreciate that others are not in that place and you may be able to help others and by continuing in a similar way that you have known does you no harm either. But naturally with the positive response the media has given some have also gone on the attack. I don't know why this happens, a lot of what is written is just nasty and un-necessary. Nothing to do with any work, causes, projects or campaigns she is involved in.

Well, after a blog, a Twitter account, radio and tv appearances, a small column in a national newspaper, a national supermarket has now made her the public face of the company and dropped a long standing tv chef who has fronted their campaigns for years but that's commercialism.

They are tapping into a feeling that they perceive the British public is into at present with times being tight for many but obviously they still want to sell as much as they can but they can also lock into a "We're all in this together" stance and that they are like us.

But all companies keep changing their image especially when they advertise and they will do so again at some point in the future.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Not Doing That Much...

The plan is to take it easy until perhaps 4pm, get dressed and shaved, call into the supermarket on the way to the bus stop, catch a bus around 6.15pm which will get me to Chilton for perhaps 6.25pm at the latest. Walk some of the main street that runs through the town.

It is a town mainly of estates with a main road that runs through the middle. Take some images of the Christmas lights and a light sculpture that is there all the year round. But unless its dark you don't see the effect and as the bus passes it so quickly you don't really get the effect. I may take a short video.

Update:I'd like to visit the church again. The service went well and the church was packed. We had at least 10 carols plus readings. There were approx. 10 rows of pews with local dignitaries but still a good turn out of local people including The Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs Sue Snowdon who also gave a reading.

St Aiden's Parish Church Chilton December 16th 2013 getting ready for the Town Council Civic Carol Service

Interior of St Aiden's Parish Church Chilton. There's still something about an older church.

We were entertained by a choir from Chilton Primary School and it is with mixed feelings I was both touched and saddened to see the innocence of children but also knowing that will be lost. Precious whilst it is there.

There was a child band(maybe from the same school)playing steel drums too. And of course the Ferryhill Town Band always good. You really have no idea how much power there is when a brass band plays.

Half a Brass Band is better than none. Ferryhill Town Band at the Civic Carol Service, Chilton 16th December 2013

We also had chance to sing carols too...Once In Royal David's City, It Came Upon The Midnight Clear, O'Little Town Of Bethlehem, Away In A Manger, While Shepherds Watched, Hark The Herald Angels Sing and O Come All Ye Faithful.

Standing up and sitting down was a bit on the painful side between the songs.

I was going to stay for refreshments(many did)but I slowly made my way to the bus stop for the bus home. And strayed into a convenience store to stay warm for a few minutes and I found something not in my town's supermarket...Lotus Caramelised Biscuit Spread. I have had the biscuits in the past but never the spread which they say can be put on toast as an alternative to chocolate spread or peanut butter.

I listened to the radio again upon getting home and had some free range egg mayonnaise sandwiches with tomatoes, lettuce and some oven chips. It was a light meal and I was not going straight to sleep.

Well You Learn What People Like...

I went for some egg and bacon quiche last night for my club and I was the only person who ate it. Having cooked two, I have one and three quarters of quiche left for the next few days so it will go with salads or quick snacks. Its been a while since I had quiche so I don't mind. I also have quite a few cherry tomatoes and cheese too which is ok as they can make a quick salad/snack. No further cooking involved.

Still eating sandwiches purchased 8 days ago and they are fine...lots of cheap meals...oh and though you probably spend more than you win(well I know that I do over the year)I won a house on the bingo last night and won the princely sum of £22. Not to be sniffed at! With a couple of drinks, taxi home, bingo, sticky thirteen card game and one domino card entry...I suspect it costs £520 over the year. But more importantly you are socially getting into company.

I'm on for the carol service tonight so something to look forward to and it will set the week off to a good start.

I was home around half ten, we're only there for around three hours, and was ready for the last of the Sunday radio music shows. Sunday is a day for relaxed music.

Lorna is right about music in a comment on a previous blog entry. There is good music still being produced but its finding it. And then a lot of music from the past is ignored/neglected and in general but when you do you realise how much is not heard on radio or available in the shops and this is the advantage of the internet. Radio wise unless you have access to the internet, it is still the BBC that offers most choice but even they have a habit of cutting back on certain types of music.

One of my favourite programmes has disappeared from Sunday night(well two actually)One was unavoidable because the presenter David Jacobs passed away. Having said that we have a programme almost the same and it is hosted by the lyricist Don Black who plays similar music, knows music and does not talk over it.

The Clare Teal Big Band show has been extended but has more talk than before and some of the content could possibly be seen as not being big band so it has changed somewhat but still listenable.

But we have lost a real gem Russell Davies who found music rarely heard by songwriters/singers and was always able to find stories behind the songs. The excuse given was to save money but I'm not really sure where the saving comes from. Unless the extra talk means avoiding the paying of royalties on the music played.

As Russell has been moved to Monday's and the show is now mainly an interview programme with little music included and whilst Russell interviews well enough its the music that I miss and all three presenters are still being used. Though I understand Russell will be doing fewer programmes across the year.

Back to Lorna, she mentioned having the chance to see a concert by a popular group in the 1980's a they've got together again "Adam and the Ants" Should she go and see them again, will she be disappointed and its best to have your memories.

Well many bands do come back and as good as before or take a new direction. Many bands have never given up performing and have taken original fans with them and attracted a new audience too. Some play the big stadiums, some have gone onto the theatre/cabaret circuit, some do the lot.

I never got to concerts as a teenager and when older most were too far away/expensive but in the last couple of years I have seen quite a few and they are still as good as they ever were even though most would be officially classed as pensioners. They often give more to an audience than performers that are younger.

Should Lorna go and see Adam and his Ants, that's a difficult one. And as I have found myself, how many of the original line up will be on stage? Does it matter if some members are missing?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I'm Quite Upbeat Today...

Nice music on the radio and I admit its what I really call easy music, nothing shouty and a mixture of both familiar and some I have not heard before. I should stay in and listen but am going to pop out for an hour and resume listening when I come home and hear what I have missed later. The older I get I do prefer what for some may be seen as music for the old folks Smiley Its difficult to really give a fair list of who is played on the programme Brenda Lee, Frank Sinatra, Vaughan Monroe, Perry Como, Peggy Lee, Ronnie Hilton, The Beatles, Glenn Miller, Jo Stafford and so on.

I haven't gone to the town's Christmas show in the Leisure but am going to the carol service in the church at Chilton at 7pm tomorrow night(approx. 5 miles away)only approx. 15 mins on the bus. The Ferryhill Town Band are playing. I wanted to take images of the Christmas lights in the town too so I can do both.Smiley

Buses run every hour(Twenty minutes to the hour)back home so depending on when I come out of the concert I won't have too long to wait. If I do have to wait too long I'll catch it up to Durham and come back on the same bus(that way I am warm and not having to stand around)

Thought that I may get some items together for the club tonight(there may be something nice I can find reduced to save me preparing anything)I suspect I'll probably take the old standby's cheese, tomatoes, some kind of roll or sausage rolls. Its difficult to vary it that much when its a bit like a buffet and has to be easy to take along. I usually put everything into a rucksack.

The weather has improved a little compared to yesterday too. I have some 38 points or so to be added to my Tesco card for the crockery I purchased and I don't want to waste any I am entitled to as my vouchers are not worth what they once were through buying less and reduced items at that. Then again Swings and Roundabouts if you are spending less you are saving anyhow.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

When I Say I'll Do Something I Do My Best...

not to let myself or others down but I have called off my trip to Durham and taking part in supporting a demonstration against Austerity measures being taken in the UK by the Government, my little political stance but I'm not up to the effort today...yesterday perhaps, tomorrow perhaps, possibly this afternoon but all the local events are over by then. I haven't missed many events in recent times.

Not going anywhere today at all, staying indoors...not even down the street. Its raining and getting quite windy out there too.

I am a bit achy and it doesn't happen often but I have a headache. And I am tired too. So in case I am going down with anything I shall take it easy. No time is good for feeling ill but not the week before/over Christmas. Not when I have two concerts on Wednesday, a Christmas party at my music club on Tuesday, possibly a concert on Monday with Ferryhill's Town Band if its not out of the way where its located, Its in Chilton which is a little nearer than Ferryhill, a Christmas party with the bingo club I attend is on Thursday.

The Christmas events are not formal meals but buffet affairs. So I won't be overeating.

Think I shall have my meds and a cup of tea to start the day.

Then to decide what to have for my meals...I have so much to choose from...and lots to use up. Details later, I bet you can hardly wait.

Update:Dug out my dressing gown, first time since last Winter and am sitting at my desktop PC having had a cup a soup , I suspect my meal will be similar to yesterday, sandwiches(they are too good not to use)and I'll finish off the oven chips and have some fruit today. I have been throwing out too much lately. Mainly bananas.

Meds have been taken, painkillers too and starting to feel better, I was right to stay home. Generally with a impaired immune system and on steroids you are supposed to try and avoid colds anyhow.

Mundane tasks ahead, washing, making my bed(slept well)but wonder what I have been doing the state it is in. A few Christmas cards to write and some rubbish bagged for the wheelie bin. Will I shave? May leave that until tomorrow.

There's a town Christmas concert in the afternoon tomorrow which I may go along to(I never have before and its free)and only a few streets away.

The weather is getting worse out there, it certainly is Winter. Because of the concert tomorrow and the bingo club I may have to have it late in the day unless I prepare it earlier in the day but its been months since I had a meal of vegetables, chicken and gravy so tomorrow I think I'll give it a go. Even though in theory I guess that you could say its really a Christmas meal in all but name. I can have it all done within 20 minutes at the latest.

I Know That One Of My Readers...

loves Durham, I can do better now that there is nothing in front of the cathedral green so I can move further back and get some better images but these are some of my first attempts at taking photo's of the cathedral and remember I have not been in the cathedral for around 30 years

 Another night view of Durham Cathedral.

A view of Durham Cathedral at night,

I think that I am seeing the world through new eyes and go virtually everywhere with a camera on my person just in case. The panoramic view if you click on the image you can see it larger.

Friday, December 13, 2013

It's All Jumpers At Present...

Thinking...folding up jumpers isn't really working in the wardrobe so I will get some more hangers. On the way to dropping off my donation to the food bank at the supermarket and after being the bank I dropped into a charity shop next door and purchased three jumpers for approx. £3. Two are large and one is extra large but as said earlier baggy clothes do keep you warmer. And I can always pull the sleeves up. But at those kind of prices how can you lose?

And the extra large jumper has a kind of Christmas look about it. I am going to watch to see if any turn up over the year if people decide to let them go to charity.

See it below...

Extra large but at 99p and with a Chrismassy look...what a bargain!

Then I found a pure Lambswool jumper in a beige colour...looks better on a hanger or worn.

A beige lambswool jumper which though thin will probably be warm...

And finally this jumper which I now remember Mum had herself and I am now wondering if I already have this in a cupboard somewhere or have I purchased the same jumper which I perhaps gave away when I was giving away some of Mum's clothes to the same charity and what goes around comes around or perhaps I have two now...its an M&S jumper.

Final jumper in the trio I purchased at the charity shop.

The angle gives an impression that it is squashed, it isn't.

So then into the supermarket for some cherry tomatoes and eggs. I did come out with a couple of extra items but they will do for Christmas or beyond if I freeze them and I thought the price was not bad and an ideal size for a single person such as myself. They only take 30 minutes to cook and I can make sandwiches, meals with or without gravy and I suspect that they will last a fair while.

What is it? A turkey joint topped with bacon and it has some pork, sage and onion stuffing through it.

My Christmas meal sorted.

When I came home I cooked some oven chips, added some ketchup, had some of the reduced priced sandwiches that I purchased earlier in the week(bacon and egg)in wholemeal bread and two mugs of weak coffee. I really do find it difficult to eat as I used to and that will probably do me until tomorrow.

Unless I have a biscuit and a drink for supper.

And now I am cosy in bed listening to the radio though perhaps later I may go online and listen to some Christmas music.

Relaxed, not really thinking about anything in particular...oops forgot my meds, I will take them now and some painkillers to ease the old knees. Sometimes get comfortable or so you think and then you need to move and you know its going to hurt. But I have talked about this with my friend Andrea and I may be trying a new remedy in the new year, I think I will be safe to take it but with Kidney problems I'll ask my Dr but I suspect I will be told...go for it. No foods/vitamins/minerals I have taken so far have I been told not to.

Being Lazy...

Well I have done nothing all day but am now going out for an hour, I had no reason to but a little break does you good. I'll visit my bank and put some money in to cover my Direct Debit for my gas/electric. I'm £314 in credit and that will allow me some extra use over Winter and by paying my usual monthly amount I will keep the credit up for when times become more difficult but if I can keep paying it will be even better for next year. Not only are my prices frozen but talking with the call centre today the credit they give me annually for paying by DD will now be given back by not paying the standing charge so I am paying for what I actually use.
I found the following in the wardrobe...its a bit big large but they say baggy clothes/layered clothing keeps you warmer so I can live with that. Its not really that Christmassy but it could do? What do you think? It is certainly a jumper that looks right to be worn through the Winter season.
Found this, I forgot about it and cannot remember when I got it. Its a bit large but still ok for Xmas?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I Have My Christmas Jumper...

Details in the comments section of the previous post...

My Christmas jumper for 2013, Yes I gave in...

How different a day can be...I had to go to Bishop Auckland to find one similar to what I was looking for and luckily there was one size that fit. I say it was different as people did not look so down, it seemed busier and even the bus journey did not seem a chore.

All the bargains I found today were food based...

Earlier in the day there was some cheese in the reduced section of the supermarket but it had only been reduced by 30p if that so I decided not to bother. I called in on the way home from the bingo club and there had been a mix up and the cheese had been missed when everything was reduced to silly prices so I called someone and it was all reduced to 9p-16p so I paid 79p and actually received £10 of cheese.

I also found some potatoes and salad items and saved a lot again.

On the earlier trip I found sliced chicken, mulled wine and orange ham, corned beef  worth around £16 for approx. £5 So I am doing pretty good.

The bingo was free tonight and we had nothing to pay...again I was close but not close enough to win.

I took my big box of half covered chocolate Christmas biscuits by Cadbury's but they were not needed so I will hang onto them and if I keep them in my airtight box I can take them again or use them myself.

Whilst in Bishop Auckland(just because the boxes were damaged) I got 5 boxes of Lime and Lemon Jaffa cakes(17 in each box)selling for 25p per box and also elsewhere I found some Jamaica ginger and rum cake worth £1 for 49p so I purchased some of them too. Dates are fine on everything.

Originally there were 18 boxes when they announced the Jaffa cakes and I was across the other side of the store by the time I reached the other entrance there was 6 boxes left and someone else dived in and I thought she was going to take the lot but she only took one box so I purloined the remaining 5 boxes.

Back On Track...

Reasonably happy and calm...

Already started on the medication and vitamins/minerals. The plan today? Possibly the Christmas jumper hunt and the best of what is left would appear to be in ASDA(readers out of the UK that is a national supermarket chain)going by the website but going on Lorna's comments on the previous post about how popular they have become where "Once you would have been disappointed to receive one..."

They are selling out fast and I probably should have been quicker off the mark either buying in a shop or online. But wanting one was a spur of the moment decision. Also, whether to go for a general design so I can wear it anytime in Winter or specific enough for approx. December and the festive period. Also deciding how novelty I want it to be.

If I get one I'll post an image but not necessarily a selfie, for now I still remain a little bit anonymous but over the years I have probably given enough clues of my identity and location.

It looks cold(don't you love that expression)you feel the cold, having said that, I think it is warmer than yesterday.

I may add to this post later...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I Won Something...

Well, by the law of averages I guess it was bound to happen eventually. I came away with a kind of hamper at the Music Club. I can make use of most of the contents and/or as I said I would as its my nature I will donate to the local foodbank as it may help others.

I did a little bit of work today on the PC, looked at the clock and decided to go out. I had no idea just how cold it was. I could feel the frost in the air. With thermals, hat, gloves and scarf I was still frozen so who knows what it would have been liked without them.

I found my computer magazine on sale a day early and finally the double edition of the main listings magazine "Radio Times" in the UK is on sale in the North East of England(we're always a few days behind the South)And you know how people often turn to the back page when they buy a newspaper...well all  I have had a quick look at so far is what is on radio over the Christmas period, not TV. Being out on Christmas Day I will have to leave my computer recording what's on and listen later. I could do catch up but live via the radio is better quality.

Still no joy on the Christmas Jumper even though I now have come up with some other retailers to consider.

I found some cooked turkey from deli in the supermarket(reduced)so made myself some salad and turkey Panini rolls, I really do find small snacks are easier than sitting down to full meals, I still had to leave some which I may have to finish off later.

Now I am under the bedclothes and reasonably cosy. I will see what tomorrow brings and I decide to do. Difficult to believe Christmas is almost here.

I've only been taking my medications for some 15 years and I have forgotten to take them today...I could start now but think I'll start afresh tomorrow. If I take anything I'll just take my vitamins and minerals.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I Know How To Pick 'Em...

I looked up Earthenware on the internet and find it is the easiest of pottery to chip*X( angry *:( sadI'll worry about that when the time comes.

 I have not gone out, I will look for the Christmas jumper in the next few days, I saw one on Darlington Market I may consider that says Happy or Merry Christmas all over it. The other option is just a general winter type scene. That kind of image allows you to wear it after Christmas and through the winter.

Now you know that I am into my Christmas music but you have no idea(perhaps you do)just how many artists are out there with Christmas songs to their name. I didn't until I had access to the internet. And yes new songs are being composed alongside the songs we have heard for many years. But there are many recordings of artists from the last 50 years or more that are never played.

And if they were given more publicity and airplay on the radio just maybe people would not be tired of Christmas music or sick of hearing the same version of a particular song.

This morning I came across a new CD by Johnny Mathis. Five tracks on his own and seven are duets. The guests are Billy Joel, Natalie Cole, Jim Brickman, Gloria Estefan, Susan Boyle, The Jordanaires, Amy Grant and Vince Gill. But there are new singers that have brought out Christmas selections such as Mary J. Blige. I have yet to hear that.

Johnny Mathis' CD has four tracks that are new/almost new "This Christmas" "Sending You A little Christmas" "This Is A Time For Love" "Merry Christmas Darling" "Decorate The Night" 

For the older selection there is "The Christmas Song" "Mary's Boy Child" "Do You Hear What I Hear" "Home For The Holidays" "I'll be Home For Christmas/White Christmas"

And the last song could be played any time of year I suspect "Count Your Blessings" which again shows that some songs associated with Christmas could be played long after the festive period.

Update:Before my free listening on Spotify ended earlier today, I managed to hear all but four songs of Mary J Bliges' Christmas album, its my first time of hearing her and its pretty darn good!

They've Done It Again...

The pesky bus service have now moved their last bus from another town where I see some concerts to an earlier time by 14 minutes which could see me having to use a taxi to get home(at great expense)or coming out of a show before it ends.

Found out by chance as the changes to services were supposed to be introduced in October but these all seemed to have happened later than that.

I could have quite easily found myself at a bus stop with no bus.

Its been a nice peaceful easy evening, just dozing inbetween listening to the radio and not thinking too deeply about anything in particular. Though I have just taken a couple of pain killers to ease my knees in bed, they may just be enough to help when I attempt to sleep again.

I discovered that the annual Royal Variety show was on tonight but after 15 minutes or so I gave up. I also discovered too late that the Ferryhill Town Band had played at town's Mayoral carol service and it would have been easier to attend as the church is near the town centre and the bus terminal but I did not know. I like a church carol service and the added enjoyment of a brass band would have been magic.

The salad I was unable to use/leftover has been salvaged and turned into something similar to a "subway" roll and the remainder is in a food container. I can live the whole of this week on the sandwiches I have purchased and if I wish I can add extra salad items and I don't worry about the dates.

So the search is on again to find a Christmas jumper that I like...I was defeated today because some designs that I like were not in the shop though images are on their website and a couple I may've liked to buy were not in my size.

I'm running out of options and time. I may go on another hunt later today. Must remember to write some Christmas cards too to hand out at the Music Club.

Oh, I managed to book two shows for next year(April/May)Pam Ayres(the seats are selling fast so I am further back than planned and off centre)but still not bad. The other is the Syd Lawrence Big Band and I have my usual seat five rows from the front and in the centre.

Update:Painkillers appear to have worked but yhere are alternatives, the spice Turmeric would appear to have many claims about how good it is at preventing certain medical conditions(I have read a lot on the internet and books)and my friend Andrea has started taking small amounts which seem to helping with joint pain.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Well The Sun Is Shining...

and I can stay put or do something.

I think that I will have a look at the Christmas stuff I mentioned, it will fill a few hours. I may not have much chance to do a lot of visits to local towns soon and there is little room now in the fridge/freezer for food so local shops in my supermarket streets away will do.

I have booze that needs using up and is in the pantry going back a few years which should still be ok. So perhaps after this weekend I will not have to spend anything and well, after all there is only me.

Today is a fruit and salad day...and I will have that for tea/early evening...Its all prepared for me and still ok even though it was reduced and purchased on Saturday. I will add celery, spring onions, a pork pie and a small portion of chips.

And I still have all my sandwiches from yesterday, well I say all, I did eat a triple wholemeal egg and cress last evening. Not bad at 16p.

So I had another look at my new set of crockery. What do I know? I have had porcelain and fine china but these are Earthenware. I have no idea what that means or how good they are with that description. I probably need to do a search on the internet. Did I ask what you thought about them?

I will never need to buy any crockery ever again unless I have a really big accident and everything is broken.

I am up to date with most of the menial tasks, the most exciting thing this week will probably buying the Christmas edition of The Radio Times but unlike the past where I used to highlight all the programmes I wanted to watch/listen to as we used to do when we were children. I will probably watch/listen to less and sit there saying "Seen it" or "Not interested" Then again perhaps I will have a blitz of the media and enjoy more than I have all of the year so far. The Radio Times is already available in the south of the UK but here in the North we have to wait officially until Wednesday.

Well its almost early afternoon so I better get away. At least I am dressed and my whiskers have not grown enough to warrant a shave so I can be away in minutes.

Update:I did get away...and came back with some more reduced sandwiches, too good to miss. I was going to come home with the Christmas jumper but designs I wanted were the wrong size or were out of stock. Couldn't find the Christmas gloves and hats. The throw wasn't impressive. I did come home with my Christmas Santa Hat but that only cost £1. Its in black and has "Bah Humbug" across the trim. Just to be different. So a cheap day.

I had a salad when I came in and I don't think it was that big but you know what...I had to leave some of it. I am unable to eat large meals anymore. Perhaps stomachs do shrink when you get out of the habit of three main meals. But I get all the nourishment that I should and still enjoy my food.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

That Went Well...

The Christmas Memorial service, we had a couple of Christmas carols, lit candles for our loved ones and hung a message on the Christmas tree.

Before I called into the supermarket and there was little if anything in the reduced area and by chance I came past the area a few minutes later and found loads of sandwiches knocked down to silly prices like 16p-20p and I paid approx. £2 for all I had but they were worth £14. So that was a real bargain. Someone I knew said he timed things just right the other day and managed to get £50 of meat for £5.

If anyone thought we were to have a respite from the bad weather of late think again, it is really blustery out there and cold with it so I will do all that I can to catch the bus up to the club, don't fancy paying for a taxi or trying to walk it.

Some Images Of Durham Cathedral Yesterday...

An interior shot of Durham Cathedral.

I believe that Durham Cathedral dates all the way back to 1018 and the time we were ruled by the Normans...I have been looking as to whether I can attend a service or two in the future and again depending on Public transport is a problem. However, the good news is that there are some later services between Mon-Fri and other church events at weekends. What once was known as Evensong takes place quite early too so perhaps something I can do occasionally in the New Year.

Some basic but important parts of daily still depends on transport these days. Even in my own town I am fortunate to be so close to the church that I attend but if I wanted to attend the church where Mum's funeral took place, no bus runs to catch the early service on a Sunday and its a fair walk. And the taxis there and back would work out at around £10 and we're talking long ride. Less than five minutes and a direct route.
A time piece in Durham Cathedral.
A Magnificent Clock in Durham Cathedral(Depending on the setting of your monitor this could be very dark, I will try and do better another time or see if I can mess about with the image with some computer software)

While I Am In A Spending Mood...

and trying to get some Christmas spirit I am going to do something I don't remember doing before and because most of what I want is quite well priced I don't mind spending on something I can only bring out at this time of the year.

So tomorrow(its too late today)I am thinking of going into Primark for some gloves/socks with a Christmas design, a throw and a Christmas jumper, I can do the lot for approx. £24(the jumper is the most expensive item at £15)without that I would only be spending £8.40.

Then I shall wear said jumper for the few occasions I am out during December...if I choose the jumper carefully and it is not too specific to Christmas it could still be appropriate across Winter in general.

Looks a bit cold out there but I have a church memorial service to attend at 4pm. And I will do my best not to be rushing there at the last minute as I usually do. Thinking that I will have a salad when I return from the service I have a couple of hours before I go to the Bingo club again. If I have salad and fruit there is little if any cooking to be done.

I will get dressed and shaved in good time too. I have been known to put that off too. For the memorial service I have been known to put on a dark jacket, white shirt, dark trousers and black tie but today being cold I will leave my coat on and wear(at least until in the church)my scarves, hat and gloves. And so I may wear the shirt I will wear tonight(small black and white checks)I may but a small jumper on too. I don't normally say this and it may have nothing to do with the cold weather but my fingers seem a bit stiff. So anything that keeps me warm is welcome.

Here's the new crockery that I said I would show...The plates and soup bowls are the same design...are they OK? The white is a little more creamier in real life.

Living alone I thought I'd invest in some new crockery, I have the lot soup/cereal bowls, mugs, side/dinner plates

All the clubs and social events that I attend are starting to wind down only two more music clubs, one bingo club and possibly three of the Sunday nights remain if you include tonight. Then nothing until the New Year. Though I have one more concert the week before Christmas. And this year(though no bingo is played)there is an event on Boxing Day night where I usually go to on a Sunday.

Guess its time to make some effort to get ready and have everything found so I can leave without looking for what I need later tonight.

Durham City Part Three...

In Durham market place amongst the many stalls was the following...wonder why I have never thought of doing this at home before...they all cost £3 but I resisted.

Don't know why but I have never thought of Hot Chocolate with Brandy or Bailey's on sale in Durham Market place.

Around the city were a variety of small groups of musicians(probably students from the University)playing trumpets, trombones etc...I assume to raise extra money towards their courses and playing Christmas music.

On Framwelgate Bridge there was even a fairground organ playing music.

I had chance to ride on one of the new buses on the route between Darlington and Durham...very nice, more room, bus stops announced and watchable on a monitor. It has access to Wi-Fi and power points to charge phones, tablets and laptops up for free.

However, on the trip back I had a long chat with the driver and on the journey before mine, a teenager or minor had been caught drawing on the back of one of the seats and could give no reason why, just kept saying sorry. Well, the driver says they will follow it up, they will trace him via the schools in the area and they have CCTV footage.

New buses in the area with announcements of bus stops, Wi-Fi, charge points for phones, tablets and laptops...

They've only been running for two or three days...

I came back to the supermarket when I got back on my town...I know that some bread I like was going to be reduced but just could not wait around for ages...but I did find some salads reduced from £2.50 to 26p, various fruit pots worth around £2+ reduced to 15p-30p and packs of four Panini Rolls all worth £1 per pack being sold at 10p each. Spent around £1.20 in total but saved over £8. So not a bad shop.

All the salad is prepared just to be eaten either from the container or put on a plate or into a bowl. If I wish I can add a couple of items from home like celery, egg, some of the pork pie in the fridge etc...perhaps a portion of chips. The fruit can go into a bowl for a fresh fruit salad later or with yogurt, porridge or cereal, so many options...but virtually no cooking.

Finally I went back to my original choice of plates that I nearly purchased in the last day or two...

I found a box containing soup bowls, side and dinner plates(12 piece set)Buying them in a box was cheaper than buying them individually. And unlike other sets they had those shallow soup bowls you see in hotels etc...But the box was reduced in price by £5.

The money saved meant I was able to it towards cereal bowls and mugs. And again there was another reduction so these extra items cost me less.

So I now have matching mugs, soup and cereal bowls, side and dinner plates which allows for me being able to serve meals on matching plates if anyone ever does share a meal in my home and/or I have enough spare items in case I break something. I could have gone cheaper plain white but I want something nice to eat my meals off. Presentation makes all the difference.

Some sets are even more expensive than mine so I feel fine about it. Hopefully they will last me years. I was lucky that I can afford them but that's through being careful with money and not wasting it. And there is no way I can guarantee that would be possible in the future.

And saving money on the food in the supermarket meant I diverted that towards buying my crockery too.

I will post images of them and see what you think, I like them and hope that you do too. I was going to go for two tone colours or white with a kind of coloured hoop/stripe of say an inch around the outer edge but my set is called "Circus" and has a design of small coloured spots in pastal shades dotted everywhere.

Durham City Continued...

I made my way up to Durham Cathedral's Green where I expected to see the parade of children carrying what look like lanterns with candles in and was told carols would be played by the Sally
Army but I had a quick look in the Cathedral's cloisters where some lovely regional food produce was on sale but to be honest there was nothing I needed but they seemed to be doing very well and selling all that they had. They needed to as this was the last of their two days in town and in the Cathedral.

On the way in to the Cathedral, I took the following image looking over a wall...

It looked more twinkly to the naked eye.

An image of Durham from the Cathedral as dusk fell, I hope it works...

So when I came out of the cloisters with the market, I found the children wandering into the main area and masses of people, they were getting ready for a small carol service so I thought so will I. I was sent to an area with others as seats were getting filled but later if I'd stayed where I was going I could have been in the first pew with a first class view. I ended up on the side looking at a pillar. So saw...nothing but hey its my first ever service in Durham Cathedral and only my second visit there in almost 30 years. I was led to believe you cannot take photo's so took a couple in a subversive way.

Later on I realise I could've done so or no one was stopping images being taken. They did a little play between the carols telling the story of St. Nicholas and the following was the best I managed to take(not great)Pity he did not turn around so everyone got a view.

Not the greatest image but someone played St. Nicholas in a carol service today in Durham Cathedral.

Later on I lit a candle and wrote a note asking for a prayer to be said for Mum and Dad. I did see some others that were in the basket written by others...most appeared to ask for health and happiness.

In the other church where we had tea they were handing out little angels to be placed on trees later on.

I made my way back to the town centre and the bus station for home. I have some images of the Cathedral to check out for posting but as there was a big marquee full of people selling various crafts,gifts and clothes I could not get the whole of the cathedral in the view because I needed to step back so it may be better to try another time. I knew that there would be very little in the marquee that I could justify buying but because I have no one close to me, it seemed crazy paying a £3.50 admission fee. I saw some couples enter, not realising there was a fee, suddenly they were parting with £7.

I managed to get 10-15 minutes in the marquee as the place was closing and there were enough retailers still selling to last minute shoppers(and I sneaked in for free, others were)It was all lovely and I expect anyone would be very happy to receive any of these items for Christmas or whenever they are given. Spoilt for choice.

Looks like I need to take this to a third post...

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Durham City...

was heaving with people today. The weather was reasonably mild and fine so I was able to give up the gloves, scarves and hat. I might have thought otherwise if I had not had the thermals and socks on.

I firstly visited a fruit shop outside the bus station and purchased some strawberries but though expensive and only a few in a box I also purchased some Pineberries. I had come across them on the internet only a few days ago(and thought I'll never see any around here)Why are they called pineberries...because it said they have a similar taste to a pineapple. I have tried one, they still taste of strawberries but there is perhaps a hint of pineapple there.

Well, I never thought I would find these today in Durham City...Pine Berries that look like a white strawberry.

I took a shortcut into Wilkinsons to look at plates again but decided they would be too expensive but too heavy to walk about with/carry on a bus.

Made my way into the market place and had a quick look at a kind of market that had set up stalls(what would you expect in a market place?)and made my way to the area where a selection of performers were taking turns to entertain the public. I had just missed a choir of young adults and the Salvation Army was about to play.
The Salvation Army play in the Market Place in Durham City...you know Christmas is coming.

It feels like Christmas is coming when they play carols for the public and they do so much good in many communities.
I did not get the chance to enjoy their concert and saw very little of it because(and you would need to be a long time reader of my blog and also a forum I used to frequent for the full story)but to back track I attracted someone who has some problems and is a bit of a Walter Mitty character and fantasises and over some months my feelings/suspicions were confirmed. And I have managed to keep a low profile and avoid much contact.
But though he does not live in Durham City by chance we have bumped into each other approx. 3 times in recent months. Once on a bus in my town I boarded to go on a shopping trip and he was getting off to go to the Morman Church that is on my town.
Then the night I attended The Lumiere in Durham City as I struggled to get home in the bus station and guess where he was today? The Market Place where the Salvation Army was playing.
I gave him some of my time and we had a cup of tea in a local church that was having some kind of event raising funds and when he came out he legged it at some speed without checking I was keeping up with him(and as I have my own mobility problems)I went in a different direction and should our paths cross again I'll say I looked for him(a little white lie)

Again, there are some things he said today that don't add up and you have to have a good memory to be a good liar. As I have said before, I don't know if it is done deliberately or because of problems he has. But those who watch over him must think he is able to live a life on his own and they allow him freedom to go where he wishes but again I have heard tales by chance which show from someone who dealt with him at school and I have witnessed incidents myself.
I'm making no judgements on anyone's faith/religion its personal to each individual and you have to decide what is right for you but it came out today that he was going to try and get me into attending the church too. He said today he no longer drinks alcohol and that today he had broken the rules by drinking tea.
I took a different route and popped into some shops I have not visited before in the town and found something I have not been able to find in the past, it is a kind of cutter and scraper that you cut dough with when making bread but I have seen them on so many cookery programmes. Its only a bit of thin plastic(professional bakers use metal versions)

And too late for this year, I found some Christmas cookie cutters for a reasonable price(holly leaf, snowman, star)I forget what the fourth one is as I write this.
I finally saw the Christmas Tree that was originally part of the Lumiere a few weeks ago(which I had missed)made from plastic shop carrier bags(it looks much different when darkness falls)but when I caught it, it was still quite early in the day.

I  did see this Christmas Tree in Durham City. It looks different when darkness falls, it was part of the Lumiere,

This post is long so I will continue in the next entry...

Six Years Ago...

Tomorrow around 8am, it was the start of some pretty difficult times ahead for Mum and myself...

It was a dark Winter's morning, Mum had walked along the landing and leaving the toilet to go back to bed for a while longer...fell down the stairs and blacked out. She managed to go to bed and to rest but we knew by early evening it was a hospital situation and in the early hours we were in an ambulance.

A broken back and yet within days home and on the road to recovery. And a perhaps a few weeks later after an appointment with a consultant, luck was on our side.

Little did I know a year later another fall would see a hop replacement and then approx. two year after that cancer. And now already come the end of April next year it will two years since Mum passed away.