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.

Friday, May 30, 2014

What A Way To Spend My Birthday...

Doing nothing...

Then again the weather is cold and dull. If I went out its too late in the day and it would just be a trip to the shops. So all I have done is sleep the day away.*I-) sleepy

I may pop out to buy some fruit later and though I rarely do so I may buy a lucky dip in the Euromillions draw. There is a big roll over and wouldn't it be nice if I was lucky on my Birthday?*&lt:-P party

However, as I may have said earlier I do have some planned outings depending on my health and the weather...

This Sunday I hope to see a local Brass Band in concert in the grounds of the Durham Light Infantry Museum in...Durham(naturally)

I have plans to visit the Durham(Gay)Pride event in Durham next week(though I am straight)don't know what to expect...nor how successful it will be.

There is a charity show a few days later in Durham hosted by a local comedian Bobby Pattinson...a legend in the North East of England. I only have vague memories of occasional appearances on local tv shows as I grew up and he probably was better known for appearing in the local club scene around Newcastle.

A quick internet search suggests that he is actually 79 years old. Another stalwart of the showbiz world. And at least I can say I have seen him perform on stage.

In approx a fortnight we(I was originally going alone)but I hope to visit a steam railway and on the same day there is a vintage vehicle rally so hopefully images and some video will follow.

Some other unexpected events have come to light so all being well there are some nice events ahead, some happening in July. I do hope once again to attend the Durham Miners Gala event and though some of the vintage car rallys are difficult to get to without your own transport, there is one that finishes in the grounds of Durham Cathedral and another takes a route that looks as though it comes near my own town. So we won't have to go off the town.

Update:I'm not being charged for the broken glass door and they are going to bring the replacement door which was due to happen later in the year forward so it could be happening quite quickly.
*:) happy

As for the kitchen I have decided  to not have an extra storage unit in the kitchen and move the fridge freezer into the space that will exist where the gas boiler is at present, if I can move the tumble drier into the outhouse that will give me my dining room back(not that it gets used anymore)

Yes I have a ticket for the Euromillions(I can dream)nothing special on my wishlist other than what many would do. Buy and do up my home and if I had enough have a few holidays/see a few more concerts, give a little to friends and charity.

Purchased some fruit. If I haven't said already on another post the luggage I purchased approx 3-4 weeks ago has now been reduced by £5.50. 

Not much energy today so have stuck to beef sandwiches which are easy and fruit. One of those days where my thermostat is not working correctly(by that I mean my internal body one)and I came home from my short shopping trip drenched. Can't say its boiling hot outside, I'd guess its around 62c/34f. If I know I am not coming home I often consider taking a change of clothes with me.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

What A Way To End The Day Before My Birthday...

Around teatime whatever that is. Around 6pm I managed to put a hole in the glass of the front door. A door that has been on the house for over 60 years. It is being replaced later in the year anyhow...whether the work can be brought forward I am unsure.  It was silly how it happened, a trainer shoe fell down the stairs bounced on the carpet in the hall and smashed the glass.

It is now boarded up...

The other thing to mention is that though straight(and I rarely talk of such things)I am down for attending my first and perhaps only "Gay" event next Thursday when Durham hosts its first Gay Pride event. I will no doubt mention it on here and post some images. As its mainly an open air event we just have to hope that the weather is kind. I never thought I would be attending such an event nor what to expect but I am open to and experiencing what events are happening around me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

More About The First Official Darlington Food Festival...

Yesterday was spent at a new food event in Darlington but by then and after it being on over the weekend many stalls were empty or had left. A good sign I guess of success and a learning curve for both organisers and customers alike. I will, all being well attend next year.

Some great street entertainers were there to make the afternoon, if I had not been distracted by finding some people I know interrupting me when trying to take images I would have had the chance to get some better ones and of the event. I missed seeing some of what was going on and also the chance to talk with some of the performers too.

It was good to see Jean and Morag again(I last saw them in Saltburn)They have a blog and facebook and do so much more than I have witnessed to date. 

I would've liked to see more of Birdie(the 8ft Irish Tea Lady)walking on stilts on a variety of levels and types of pavement and isn't easy so to dance is even more exceptional.

We were then entertained by two members of Granny Turismo(they have a website and are on facebook  who were highly original and fun. Riding what look like large shopping trolleys, that play music, have sound effects and who perform a comedy and dance routine. All are appearing at various festivals and events across the UK and Europe so do watch out for them.

There are reasons for the layout of this post being slightly different as I cheated, taking it from another service on the internet for speed but jt saved having to write it all again...

Video of some of the event

Monday, May 26, 2014

I'm Tired But...

rested and the day has been quite pleasant. The weather was kind. I went to a food event in Darlington but though it appears to have been a success, there really was very little left for today for the Bank Holiday. Few if any stalls and the few remaining were selling bread and that was about it. Some stalls were empty.

However, we(I was with someone else)did see a parade and some street performers. I had difficulty getting into a suitable location and my best chance was spoilt somewhat because someone I know started talking to me and distracted me. I hope to post some images soon. I will add more details too. I have video but when music is used sometimes you can post it and all is well, sometimes you are not allowed to or are asked to remove it if on line. Its very difficult to know what is OK.

I have survived on the beef sandwiches I still had from yesterday and tomatoes. So my food has been easy today.

My blood pressure has been a bit off these past few days but it seems to have settled down again which pleases me.

Its good to take it easy as the next three evenings there is a music night, a one woman show with Pam Ayres and bingo. For my birthday on Friday "My" friend wants to take me to Durham.

I know the city quite well and there's not much I haven't seen by now but if it makes him happy I'll go along with it...he wants to have a tour of the castle but as it has many steps that are also uneven so that may not be possible for me...price wise it is only £5 which is quite cheap for a tour of an ancient monument. Of course if it rains we may call it off.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Horrible Day...

Its cold, wet and windy...summer? Where did that go? Too late to trek out anywhere...where am I going to go anyhow. If I do there's only the supermarket and that means spending money. I don't want to spend any more. I don't need to.

My hedge has been trimmed and this weekend I will chase up my gardener. At the start of the week I'll buy some flowers and make up the tubs...

Not one of my better days...but I'll snap out of it. What have I to feel down about compared to many who really have big difficulties to deal whether its hunger, homelessness, war, illness and so on. Going to pull myself up by the socks soon. Listen to some radio perhaps watch some TV. Surf the net and...perhaps have something a little different for a meal tonight...may post an image and go into greater detail.

And I know they say don't but I may have a can of cider later in the evening.

Update:I did snap out of it early evening and have continued to feel fine since...

Made Myself Do Something Yesterday...

Often felt like giving up. But quite pleased. It helps when the buses run as you hope and they stop virtually outside where you are trying to get to.

So first up I was at a lunchtime "Jam" at the Durham Gala theatre watching The Swing City Trio. But I really felt spent afterwards and was to head home. The weather was anything but Summer like, it could have been Autumn to be honest.

But I got back to the bus station and saw that one bus was running approx every quarter of an hour to Gilesgate(a part of Durham)I have never had reason to visit(most visitors to Durham probably only see the city centre or go to the country areas. It is a suburb as any area in any town or city is. A place where many live and has a few little shops that serve the local population.

So I hopped on the bus for what a way to discover the area, how close it is to the city centre and hunt out a new music venue that I have discovered. I'd say its about a mile and a half out of the centre but the buses take longer to get there than coming back from the venue which takes a more direct route. It helps when you don't hit the peak of rush hour.

It has to be one of the most unusual venues for offering entertainment because it is a...Launderette. Yes, you heard correctly...it started off as a cinema and it appears it actually closed in 1958 but no doubt has been used for a variety of purposes since.

But someone with vision and it deserves to survive and thrive has refurbished it, offers a small place to meet for coffee with friends, a place to hold birthday parties and get togethers, offer laundry facilities on a large scale and for the general public and...music entertainment(even recently a play)in the evenings. Yes, you sit in an area surrounded by the washing machines and the performers play there too.

It is an intimate venue but is managing to attract some pretty decent artists and not just from this country. I am hopeful of making the effort now that I have discovered it and as long as I can access public transport especially late at night as without it I would be stranded in Durham, have to leave early or use a taxi to get home which would cost me £35 and that is not practicable.

It really is a jewel in the crown and just looking at it yesterday, it was inviting and I had an affection for it, thinking about its past history and how it is still being used as part of the local community and hopefully is being supported. Long may it be so...

If you live in the North of England, have access to transport do consider supporting this enterprise it deserves to succeed and we have someone with a vision.

The Old Cinema Launderette

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Its been a day of coming and going...the kitchen colour scheme and design is sorted. This afternoon they came out to measure up for the internal/external doors. So we are getting a new bath/toilet and the bathroom will be decorated. New boiler/possibly new radiators, rewire of electric and were there are single sockets they will become double. So quite a bit of work to be done they reckon around September/October time. I will see if I can get a bath that is more adaptable having physical problems and with the boiler being taken out of the kitchen there could now be room for an extra wall cabinet.

I will give a review of the concert last evening soon and hopefully post some images...yes, I missed the last bus home but the alternative plans worked perfectly. And I suppose if you allow for waiting around for 15 mins the journey time only added an extra 15 mins to the usual journey. I was the only person on the late bus from Durham but as the driver said many people who may like to use it don't know about it yet.

The driver said he's sure it will be popular on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays...I hope so.

I'm due out for the bingo soon...I've had bacon, watercress, tomato and spring onion rolls. Also strawberries and honey loops cereal. So if I have nothing more today I won't come to any harm.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Another Shop Yesterday But I'll Stop Now...

Some great bargains on fish this time...too many, too good to go into details again.

Got some bank business sorted.

Was a night at the music club but diplomatically it can be difficult in that a friend who can be rather loud sometimes speaks when the "Turns" are performing, he also has a speech problem so I worry that he'll disturb the acts. I have to concentrate to understand so with the added music I am afraid that I am not answering him correctly.

He is a little bit of what be classed as "Special" needs these days though he is able to manage to live a life alone though he still lives with aged parents. Its not a problem between acts. So its difficult. However, it was a good night for all that...We were down on numbers this week audience and acts wise but still a great night to be had.

As I am out this evening and have to leave early due to a lack of buses I will stay close to home today and besides I have to be here as my hedge gets cut this afternoon(all being well)I have another bit of financial business to sort out and my computer magazine is on sale today. What will be fun is that I have a bus for home at 22.45 if the show ends in time for me to get to the bus station. Or because the rival bus company now has a late bus from Durham to my town I can catch a bus to another town at 23.10 and have window of 6 minutes to connect with that bus to bring me to my town. If it runs late I have to use a taxi. But if it works it allows me a little more time to see a concert and get home even though I am adding twenty minutes and an extra five miles or so to my journey.

I will have to do a little tidying up to do in the kitchen because I was sent a letter and at short notice they want to visit tomorrow to discuss colour schemes etc...as they have me down for a new kitchen interior. I won't say no even if its means some extra mess and I assume it can be done very quickly. Its only a very small kitchen anyhow. If it took a few days I can survive using a microwave or have cold meals...I do that now.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

On The Cheap...

Thinking of budget spending...you have the big cosmetic companies advertising their wares and at present my shaving cream costs 26p a can, five razors 15p, deodorant for approx 30p and soap probably about the same...even the shampoo is similarly priced.

Another Struggle...

Either my energy levels were down or I did too much yesterday.

I really had to push myself to get to the theatre from the bus stop nearest to the theatre and there are major roadworks going on so you have to take a route that is indirect and adds extra distance. Coming home I had to go as fast as I am able(not very fast)to catch a bus to avoid a wait of an extra thirty minutes.

How tired was I? I went to bed and slept the night away virtually as soon as my head hit the pillow. And I lost approx fifteen minutes of the concert as I fell asleep in the theatre too. That's not good when you are in the centre of the fourth row. Also, I was having problems with my legs during the second half. At home you can move around.

I don't suppose it being the hottest day of the year(according to weather experts)helped.

I'd say it was a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. Some of the performers I believe have appeared on the regular radio programme "Friday Night Is Music Night" If I am honest I thought the female singers were better than the men...they were all singing in a vocal style of light operetta. Rather than singing the songs as a mainstream singer may like Sinatra, Streisand.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A New Week...

An you never know what each will bring...even if not exactly exciting...

I'm going to pay a month's rent/water rates...

If my pin number arrives for a debit card I had replaced after misplacing it, I will withdraw a sum which was refunded by my housing asociation that I received a few weeks ago, it will not happen again and will be spent within weeks paying bills but any rebate is always welcome.

This afternoon I am at the afternoon bingo session, the prizes are really, really small and even if if you win a few houses you only get your money back. You are just moving the same money around.

Then when I come home a neighbour has offered to cut my hedge and I feel I should give something for his kindness, I would pay cash but he says a few beers will do so even if I buy half a dozen or so because it takes quite some time to grow again, even if initially it costs a little bit over the weeks I have the better deal and it means I have more money to afford for my back garden to be tidied up.

I may have a meal before I go out this evening, I can have a salad or use up one of my meals that are in containers from the slow cooker and I'm thinking I may put the stew into a couple of Yorkshire puddings...being quite warm it may seem inappropriate but they are not big portions and I'll eat anything in any weather.

Indoors at this time it is already 22c(72f)Then no later than around 6.15pm I will have to catch a bus through to the neighbouring town and head for a theatre show of musical songs from the songbook of  Rodgers and Hammerstein so I assume we'll hear songs from The Sound of Music, South Pacific, The King And I, Oklahoma, Carousel, State Fair. It will be interesting to see what is left out of the selection.

Also how many songs are sung as individual numbers or as a medley. I believe they are professional singers(not the local operatic society)and a fair orchestra backing them*. I hope the theatre is reasonably full as it adds to the atmosphere. Of late sometimes it is...sometimes it isn't.

If my hedge was not being cut and the bingo was not this afternoon I would have gone onto Durham city and spent the day perhaps down by the river, collected the tickets for the show in September and then caught a bus to the theatre tonight but that's not practical so if northing stops me and the weather is nice, perhaps I'll do that tomorrow. And come back in time for the Music Club on my town.

I'm thinking as I am awake of going to buy the beer/cider now for my neighbour and I'll come home and get shaved and tidied up so I have little to do later in the afternoon.

Update:I went to Durham this morning and had the tickets by 10.15am. At lunchtime I was back in my home town and had the beers. I used a voucher so it was like getting them for nothing.

After bingo this afternoon I popped back to see if all the chicken breasts had been reduced further...you could not move for them at lunchtime but they had only been reduced by from £4 to £3. There were none remaining. So that meant that they had sold at that price or had been reduced further.

Then out the corner of my eye I saw that they were being reduced again so I waited and they were now half price £2. Two breasts in a container so that's £1 each. However, as they had originally been on offer when at full price if you purchased two containers, they still honoured that so in the end, they came out at £1.50 for two breasts(75p each so instead of paying £8 for four breasts they were £3, a saving of  £5. Its knowing when to stop on such bargains...

*It was a seven piece ensemble taken from a larger audience and one of the male singers I had seen at a previous concert for the Proms. We had a narrator of the story of the composers with both historical and anecdotal tales of their careers. He also sang with the remaining singers(in total they also numbered  seven)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

I Mowed The Front Lawn Yesterday...

but I struggled. And I mean that in every sense, I was shattered. It was out of hand. And the gardener I had last year left his mower in my garage luckily. But the back garden needs to be strimmed before any attempt is made to mow it. I will have to be getting in touch over the weekend to arrange a tidy up. Find out why he has not returned for his mower.

I needed to rest and  I was virtually asleep as soon as I came in from the concert.I managed three hours. The meals I put in containers are superb...I had a meal within 4 minutes of walking through the door once placed in the microwave.

The venue of the concert was packed. Some familiar faces in the audience and performer wise we are fortunate that some come to my music club on Tuesdays. Or appear at the few venues that offer live entertainment. The headline act being the Happy Cats. Preceded by the John Wrightson Band and Jack B. Burness.

Update:Considering the distance from the stage and lightening I have some images to post and on the original Facebook I uploaded them to first...the biggest compliment is that the Happy Cats liked them. With more time I probably could've got more and perhaps better ones.

The difficulty of booking shows ahead is that occasionally another is publicised after you have your ticket. And when I watch a music hall night hosted by Roy Hudd in July, round the corner we have another veteran comedian Jimmy Crickett is appearing. Had I known I could have gone to a matinee performance of the Music Hall and seen the other comedian in the evening. I could probably still change the tickets but I think I will leave things as they are now.

However, though not everyone's cup of tea I now know of a comic play based on Robin Hood in September starring some elder performers of TV/Variety is happening so I have booked a ticket and have someone coming with me but his family are keeping it a secret. It stars Su Pollard and Cannon and Ball.

And thanks to the late bus changing its schedule, it leaves at 11.15pm so if the show finishes late we can get home. If it finishes between 9.30pm-10pm we still have a bus around 10.15pm if we can get to the bus station. I would rather hang around the bus station and know that I will get home eventually than leave early and miss a show or some of it.

We are lucky that there is a theatre in Durham and Darlington and now there is a bus that will mean we can go out for a show. There are a couple of other venues nearby but the bus service is a problem. I would consider staying overnight. But a quick look on the web shows that many places are already booked and yes much more expensive than a taxi fare even if you find an offer.

Friday, May 16, 2014

If You Do Not Tire...

of sometimes having the same meal for a few days(or organised and able to store a variety of meals in a freezer)a slow cooker is great. I had a bowl of my stew when I came in tonight, it was tasty and warming and three hours later I still had such a feeling inside. But I have emptied the remaining contents and filled containers which has given me another four meals.

I only need to heat them which will take a short time(as it is already cooked)I still have three options at my disposal for that. Quickly in a saucepan on a hob, microwave or even back in the slow cooker as as they are smaller portions that will take very little time.

I understand that even if stored in a fridge they should be safe for three or four days but if heated so they are piping hot that is what matters when serving up.

That's five meals including the one I have eaten and I still have potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, garlic, carrots, leeks, onions, turnip which I have not even used. So how cheap is that? I am getting better at organising my food preparation, storing it and coming up with a variety of meals and using up as much of what I buy as possible to keep costs down.

Being single(and even if I was not)you do not need massive meals. Sometimes fewer meals spread over the day works better. Especially, if you are not having to fit the meals into a set daily routine perhaps because of work shifts etc...

But sometimes when you get a bargain of reduced food  in a supermarket you cannot beat such savings...today sweet and sour chicken worth nearly £4 for...39p! One fairly basic, the other has rice too. Also a decent container that can be reused. It can be heated in a saucepan or the microwave. And even if that means paying for the energy to do so, you saved the initial cost on the food in the first place. And if supplemented with salads, sandwiches, buffet type food, costs come down.

From Monday(change of topic)the final bus from a town I visit(sometimes for theatre shows)and in the Summer I perhaps would like to stay out longer but find the last bus does not bring me back to my town or connect to another one to complete the journey its awkward/restrictive. Now, it is to continue to my town and not stop 5 miles from here. I cannot use it much more than I do but I hope the change stays and others make use of the improvement in the service. I am almost tempted to use it even when I do not need to, just so it is not taken away again.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

As I Said...Taking It Easy...

Bit more comfortable now, so I won't be surprised if I take a nap later...weather wise yesterday was better. It seems both colder and duller out there.

I have made the effort and already filled my slow cooker with lots of ingredients for a lovely stew(?)which I will set away around 2pm and have it for my supper when I come in this evening and perhaps put what remains into containers for other meal over the next few days. I could not get anything else into it if I tried.

I'm not sure what the meat is...it could be diced lamb...but vegetable wise it has, brown and red onion, shallots, celery, garlic, turnip, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, leek, sliced mushrooms and cut up Jersey potatoes in gravy. I will do some of the Yorkshire puddings to have with it.

A Long But Interesting Day...

Yesterday started early...The buses ran like clockwork,the weather was kind by being warm and sunny and stopped  outside the venue of the meeting I was attending about local services that the National Health Service provides but in hindsight, there was little if any substance. I left kind of thinking what have I been listening to for approx 90 minutes? I say 90 minutes but until you saw the plan of the event it looked as though it was scheduled to last 210 minutes in total.

However 30 minutes at the start was refreshments, later another 20 were given over to refreshments again and yes another 45 minutes at the end but everyone had virtually disappeared before that last session was over. That left approx 120 minutes for business...but not really because we again lost time by the time speakers introduced themselves and we had a kind of role play exercise which nearly everyone acted like sheep except for three(of which I was one)I don't role play and I think it shows that I have a mind of my own. So that shaved another 30 minutes off the event.

Some of the speakers represented organisations that cover a lot of the North East/nationally and the county that I live. But in reality the meeting was aimed at an area further North to where I live so probably was not appropriate to me...I wasn't the first to decide that. It appears where I live is neglected on this score and falls between two stools and does not have an equivalent way of involving the public by informing them what is happening or receiving input from those using the service.

At the end of the meeting a local school appeared and did a performance banging on a variety of drums and in the enclosed hall it was b***** loud. They all wore earplugs to protect their hearing but as for us the audience we had no such protection. Well, not strictly true because I happened to have my own plugs with me(I tend to have them with me at all times as they are in a little container and it has a key for my home attached.

Earlier when they did the role play exercise it resulted in a cacophony of sound with the chatter of everyone talking at once, you could not pick up any individual words just noise. I even put my plugs in for that. If I'd had my camera with me I would have taken some images for my blog.

Best speech of the day was a lady who was profoundly deaf and explained what it is like, how it affects her and those around her.How much support she receives or doesn't as the case may be.

When I came out I had the option of a round about way of coming home or being so close to Durham it was easier to go into the city and then get a more direct bus home and as I wanted some fruit, there is a pretty good greengrocer next to the bus station...so I purchased a Honeydew Melon, Blueberries and Strawberries. I popped into the shop that sells items cheaper than other places on cakes and biscuits finding some luxury biscuits from America and I am thinking of taking a packet to the bingo club on Sunday and/or perhaps offer them as a donated small prize in a raffle. Or as some small Birthday gifts and to also say thank you.

When in my town, the shops are near the bus stop so I found some Blackberries, I picked up a new batch of meds at the chemist and I convinced myself I was going to cook a kind of stew in the slow cooker and I decided to cheat and buy some Yorkshire Puddings that you just warm up, I haven't had them in ages. In the end I did not eat that meal...perhaps tomorrow.

I purchased some small soft drinks to take to the concert on Friday.

When I got home I had tea and a nice ice cream lolly covered in white Belgium chocolate.  And not so long ago I made some tomato and spring onion rolls...also had some Southern Chicken Straws.

I have managed to sleep quite well since getting back here because the early start and long day for me tired me out. I use more energy and stamina to do what is probably easy for others. Though I will admit once again that sleeping was not easy because my joints were aching and hurting. And if you think that you have found a comfortable position when you know that you have to move, you know its going to really hurt. It takes a lot not to shout out when that happens. You try to lay your legs flat and they hurt so then you try to bring them into a kind of kneeling position and then that hurts. As does moving them into a position in the first place. They can lock too.

Today the plan is to take it easy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

At Least Its Not Raining...

We had an absolute downpour last night(I missed most of it by sleeping through it)we had the lot...rain, hailstones and thunder. It was at its worst when I was due to attend the music club. I was about to get the bus(missed it)attempt to walk slowly with walking stick and try to hold an umbrella with the other arm which has restricted movement. But it stopped raining...then I decided walking was too much of a struggle so booked a taxi.

We are sorted for Friday...my friend and son are taking us to the concert thus saving taxi/bus fares and we are coming home with the person we thought was taking us there...It will be a great night and I understand there will be 350 in the audience. Not bad for a parish hall in a village(but its a decent sized village)

I am now away to get shaved and set out on my travels to that meeting about the NHS so its been a quick(if strange)breakfast, not what I planned I have to admit...an apple donut, a couple of sausage rolls, a banana, a cup of tea and my meds...right...I'm away!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Could Hear Some Banging And Clanging...

Went out to find my old garage door being taken off and taken away, repairing of the frame that goes around it(which is rotten)and a nice new door to replace it. I doubt it will last as long as the one being taken off(its been there for over 55 years)but it may outlast me...or how long I remain in this property. If I can stay put I will.

A Reasonably Easy Day...

Spent the day(yesterday)picking at what would be seen as buffet food. Went out to do some business at the bank and to the afternoon bingo session. Won one house so broke even...cost me nothing but did not really win either. I won a cheapish prize in the raffle too. At least I was not out of pocket.

Been sleepy...been on the painkillers today and they seem to have helped and kicked in. Plans for Friday's night out have been thrown into confusion as we believed that we were contributing towards the cost of a lift to and from the concert but we only have a lift after the show and the taxi(one way even if shared)isn't cheap but we're working on an alternative plan...if it fails, well so be it. I will give a review/have some images I hope to put up here.

The train spotting may/may not happen this weekend. The company seems to have re-arranged the tour and times have not been posted yet.

Another event to do with changes to the National Health Service happens on Wednesday morning but for some reason its being held in a community centre in a village(even if its quite a large one)rather than in a big town which has a more regular bus service for those without access to a car. Also, a taxi would be expensive and if I was not fortunate to have a travel pass for now it would cost me at least £7+ to get there and back. 

I will still have to contribute to the cost of the journey because of the early start(I think a little later would have been better)not starting at 9.30am and to be there in comfortable time I will have to leave home no later than 7.20am and change buses enroute. I must be keen to be bothering.

I am ex directory phone wise and with few if any friends or family to phone me you'd think that I would receive few calls and really I don't, I tend to keep it on silent and if I find a number I do not recognise I won't phone back. I check where possible where the call comes from(not always easy when a number isn't left)but if they are not good enough to leave a number why should I want to call back anyhow?

I am signed up to a service that supposedly stops unsolicited calls. But many still manage to come through...I have had debt collectors, solar panel installers, legal companies offering help to get compensation for a variety of medical ailments but usually its someone selling something. We were always told to announce our numbers when answering the phone, now I rarely do that, if I do answer I wait to see who is calling and give no clues.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Its Too Late Now...

I probably should've purchased a ticket for the National Lottery or Euromillions draw...I mentioned that I won at the bingo last Monday(small prizes but a number of times)I won a house on Thursday and tonight I won the sticky thirteen card game. Even after the taxi fares, a drink, bingo and domino card were taken into account, I was £18 in pocket. Its a little bit of excitement.

Plenty of food to pick on at came home with me from the club. Generally, I cannot eat big meals, I struggle. I had two cracker breads, four pickled onions, eight cherry tomatoes, some cheese, six cocktails sausages, two small sausage rolls and some of that was eaten when I came home. And as an update...I have nibbled off and on since through the night following the eat less but more often plan.

The entertainment was acceptable as the singer sang songs that the audience knew, wasn't overly shouty and was not as loud as some acts that are booked.

Guess What?

I slept, I did some train spotting and purchased some bread/bread buns. That took care of Saturday. I avoided the big annual event held across Europe "The Eurovision Song Contest" I have heard the winning song and seen the winning contestant...not impressed with either but the trending on Twitter suggests it was the one most wanted to win who voted.

I can't decide if this was because it was the best song of the bunch. Were the rest so poor? The suggestion is that it may have been chosen to cause controversy. Why? Because it was performed by a bearded drag queen. That's all I know. It has caused some difficulty because the media seems to be having difficulty which term to use "He" or "She" I have not seen any reference as to whether the singer is gay and unlike a performer many years ago this person is not transgender where you do use a specific reference to being a "He" or "She"

I also understand that the beard is not real but make up or paint is used, you'll have to forgive my ignorance because its the little I have picked up on the internet and what I have heard on radio news programmes.

I can remember when for decades like many I used to watch the contest every year but now I give it a miss. And not for any of the reasons above. Just generally I often don't identify with the songs that are submitted and I become bored.

I did not eat much yesterday, having a kind of ice cream lolly for my but later on I did have some yogurts, tomato and spring onion rolls, even later some chicken and stuffing sandwiches with wholemeal bread. I feel full so if I stay that way I will wait until this evening to eat again. Unless I have perhaps some kind of treat with a cup of tea in the afternoon. I have some small apple donuts.

I have put 2lbs on but that won't be difficult to shift.

In the early hours I found myself packing all the food into containers ready for this evening so that's another job done. So if I wish to I can relax for the whole day and listen to the radio. Plenty of time for shaving and getting dressed. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Things That You Do When Alone...

Middle of the night and there I am tidying my food store in the dining room and clearing food from the fridge that has gone off. But I can sleep when I wish.

Early start was planned, I haven't been away from home much this week, just on the town...and I will need to rest by this evening and on Sunday but its raining so if the trainspotting is on that's what I will do around teatime.

Dawn has broken and I can hear birds singing but so far Summer has been disappointing. I hope as May continues there is more going on and an excuse to try and do something. After all before we know it we'll be  heading back into the fall and those dark nights again.

There are some events to tell you of and they'll start towards the end of next week...mainly music based.

Friday, May 09, 2014


I've done a lot of that today but I did make the effort to go out around 8pm. I decided to get some general provisions in...milk, cheese and tomatoes. Then I thought whilst out to get some items I know will mean if I get caught short say of fresh food, I can go to alternatives say like long life milk.

By chance they put some late food reductions out whilst I was there but annoyingly two rather large men blocked the area and grabbed what they could stopping everyone getting a fair share, when I take anything I think of others and am unselfish. One of them snaffled a lot of beef and sandwiches, the other took organic chicken breasts worth approx £21 for £4.20. Its there right but when they block others its annoying.

I did get a few bargains though...a quiche, fruit salad. two chicken breasts, cocktail sausages*, some sandwiches and some sausage rolls with added tomato ketchup*(these were a bargain as I will take these to the bingo club on Sunday)potatoes, cheese. Not reduced some jacket potatoes, long life milk.

However the best of my selection means that I spent £7 but saved £19. The difference is that I often find "Cheap" food of poorer quality but this is food you'd usually pay more for. Hopefully, some items I take on Sunday will come home with me so I will have more snacks and meals from what I have purchased.

Its rare to see much food reduced so late in the day...normally the window of opportunity is between 4pm-6pm.

I've eaten not a great deal today but I thinl quite healthily. I have had a couple of yogurts and later on I am thinking muesli and fruit for supper.

I have discovered that I am to be given a new garage door and because I am still unsure how my answer phone facilty works I had a message telling me so which was left on Tuesday. I will phone them back on Monday.

I have signed up with my internet provider for another 18 months so have a small discount of £3.50 per month. Because I paid for the line rental in advance I saved approx a similar amount but both have increased by approx £1 compared with the last time I had to pay. My telephone/internet/broadband/TV licence comes in at around 99p per day and this gives me unlimited TV/Radio/telephone and internet access. What can you do for such a small amount of money to entertain yourself. You could pay that for a chocolate bar.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside...

Well, I haven't had a real holiday for perhaps 15 years though I did manage a little holiday to Blackpool in perhaps 2010 with Mum and her last remaining sister. Both have since passed away. Well, all being well I find myself on holiday again near to Blackpool in August Mon-Fri but as we travel there on the Monday and come home on the Friday its more like a three day break. I have a big heavy case that was used by Mum and Dad, too much for me. Then again that had clothes for two people. I am not planning on bringing much back with me, if at all. Those I am going with I think will do some shopping. They always do...

So I have treated myself to a medium sized soft sided case. It has numerous zipped compartments, its expandable, two handles, an extending trolley type handle that has two settings and wheels. All for £21 which I did not think was a bad price. And if it is never used again I don't feel I have wasted too much money.

The larger size was £24(13 litre) and a smaller one that might be classed as an airline bag(same design is £18 for 7 litre)so I think that 10 litre capacity is ideal for me. I hope that it is. In reality we often take more than we need when packing a suitcase. You can usually get two to three days out of a combination of T-shirts, shirts, a couple of pairs of trousers, a jumper, coat, hat, gloves and underwear.

But you have an idea what the weather is likely to be and on this trip we will probably be in the hotel at night as after the evening meal you have entertainment on the premises. A TV in your room and I'll probably take a radio and there are tea making facilities.

New Luggage View One. New Luggage View Two.

New Luggage View Three.

I was tempted to get the airline case too but cannot justify the cost. I do have a holdall that will still be ok for trips away even though it doesn't match...I can remember how much I was able to put into it when on holidays with my parents. It doesn't have wheels or an extending handle though. But does have a shoulder strap. I say that I cannot justify buying it and yet a decent shop on food or a night out would be the same cost.

I had another win on the bingo tonight(£6)so it was a free night or I was £1.40 in pocket but its like getting the luggage for free with the recent wins of late.

I was talking over the new music club I have found out about and may have others interested in coming along for a change from the bingo. Especially, if it falls on a different night.

I was going to have something for supper when I came in but I'll wait until tomorrow now. Health permitting I shall take it easy tomorrow and then on Saturday its the campaign to keep the NHS out of private hands again and some more train spotting.

Perhaps if I am careful with money maybe I can start to think about having a few weekends away or go on some of those coach trips that seem good value if not this year, next year. The other idea is to find a guest house on spec and stay perhaps overnight or for a couple of nights which would work for me if I was wanting to visit locations in Northumberland or Yorkshire.

I have had some tomato, lettuce and spring onion rolls since writing the above. My milk has turned sour so have had to use powdered milk but now I think about it, I do think I have some long life milk downstairs so I have an alternative.

Not Much Happened Yesterday...

At best I managed to drag myself out to buy my computer magazine around 9.30pm...yes that late. I could not upload that train video no matter how I tried so its now on You Tube. If you love train videos there are dozens of them on You Tube that beat my own...with wonderful scenic views and some documentaries and some feature the engines I have seen recently.

I started yesterday with muesli and a banana and ended it with sliced chicken, a jacket potato and salad. In between I did a lot of sleeping.

Its funny how some days whether sleeping or awake a day can drag and other days you do nothing different and it seems to pass by much quicker.

Today, I am going to either attempt a meal of meat, vegetables and perhaps gravy or baked beans, egg, tomato, mushrooms and bacon. Something warm.

Yesterday, I discovered another music club on the town and it is reasonably close to where I live. Not sure if its been going for sometime or has taken on the club because another venue just off my town has/is closing, this move is better for me. The bad news(not sure if this will always be the case)the next few shows happen on a Sunday and that means it clashes with my bingo night. But the acts are so good I am tempted to miss the Bingo occasionally. Then again if the music club switches to Mondays again...no problem. Its another night out. At a push I may be able to walk it. Its nearer than the club I go to on a Tuesday. Its in a pub that has been on the town as long as I have and yet I have never ever been inside...we're talking of over 50 years.

It has acts that are new to me and some that come to my club or the town hall in the neighbouring town and it appears the admission charge is around £5(there is a raffle)and obviously you have a drink and decide what you have and how you make it last.

I have discovered in april I could have seen a trio from the States called The Short Sisters and one member is a relative of the famous Seeger family. What have I been missing? There is little or no publicity for this place, I only found out by chance myself.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Yesterday Went Quite Well...

The gas boiler, smoke alarms and Central Heaating was serviced with ease and all was well. I was told the gas boiler I have is very reliable and will last many years and beats the newer combination boilers the Housing Association would like to install so I may try and hang on and not have alterations done just yet.

I'm still not a fan. A year ago my electrics were checked and came out in tip top condition. They also checked how many sockets;light switches I have. I'm all for being looked after and them keeping things in working order but already(and I was not down for a check, nor told they were coming)I found a card through the door telling me that they had called(again)so far those I have mentioned it to in passing think it un-necessary, strange even...

I slept well...had a great night at the music club. I did not take videos at the club of the acts. Where I sit I usually find people going to the bar so they walk in front of the camera and battery power does not last long and the memory card is almost full of images and videos. But as my friend was away on a small vacation I took some images of the night.

I did a very small shop of some salad items and treated myself to some Jersey potatoes as I came home.

Not my best day for eating healthily but I can put that right today...I survived on cheese scones, cheese straws, sausage rolls and tomatoes...ironically I had one of my best blood pressure readings I have ever had for months.

I have been having difficulty posting another video of the train I saw on Sunday but will post when possible.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Another Weekend Has Passed...

So its Bank Holiday Monday...doesn't make a lot of difference for many I suspect. Without transport many will at best see many pottering around at home or visiting shopping centres. At a time when some people are given a day away from work and time is spend with family many can't go far because public transport runs a reduced service. If anything a decent schedule is needed on such a day so you can perhaps make memories by visiting a place of interest, the countryside, the seaside etc...

So I was going to have a lie in...listen to some programmes on the radio that are a bit different than normal which often happens in the UK but I find myself committed/invited to be playing a light game of bingo again in the afternoon and then having tea with the person whose birthday it is. So I suppose its a bit different.

I'm very tired so am catching up on my rest...

Here's a video of my short train spotting excursion yesterday with the Union Of South Africa Locomotive. Also a still image. I say on the video its Ferryhill Junction but it is Ferryhill Station where it was calling in for a water stop.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Sunday Morning...

I'm rested...reasonably positive, calm and happy. Overnight I was playing games on Facebook, posting on Twitter. I listened to the radio...I rarely use bad language but I found myself shaking my head with disbelief. Around 3.30am BBC Radio 5(a national UK station)was carrying a comedy routine from the US President for a dinner held annual for the Washington correspondents. I suppose it was delivered ok and well written but one joke used a mild swear word about "Pissing" someone off.

At that early hour its a fair bet the listeners were mainly adult. And you'll hear stronger language in many films or drama's broadcast but the presenter sitting in the studio in England actually cut into the speech to apologise for what the President said. Then he added he thought it means something different in the States to hear. How naive. It means exactly the same. How delicate does he think we who listen to current affairs and use social media networks think we are?

I had some bacon sandwiches(not as difficult or time consuming as they could've been)the bacon was already cooked. It was purchased that way, it was reduced in price in the supermarket so how easy is that?

I'm relaxing, laid in bed, listening to the radio and getting ready for the omnibus edition of the long running Archers drama series, I may have some fruit and cereal later. Just have to get shaved and dressed around 1pm and then around 2pm we head off to see a steam locomotive in action passing by and stopping off for a water stop.

Then home until tonight.

You are suddenly given a jolt and realise how quickly time passes by...they were doing a little feature on the radio about the Eurovision Song Contest...it is 40 years since Abba sang and won the contest. I was 15 years old.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

I Know It's Wrong...

and at least I know that it is...

Today(so far)I have only eaten two hot cross buns and had a cup of chicken noodle soup. The plan was that I was going to make the effort and make a meal that I have not had for months, perhaps longer than that...bacon, eggs, mushrooms, tomato and little sausages. I haven't.

I will...I promise to myself, you and the memory of my Mum.

At least I did eat salad yesterday, I have eaten muesli and fruit in the previous days. And there is the buffet tomorrow night.

I did not go out, nothing was needed and I wasn't upto it. I washed out all my food storage boxes ready for filling(exciting eh?)so I may start filling them with their contents soon. Another job done. Sorted.

Birthday card is written for giving. The person who will get this card has kind of decided that I should be given a small gift or a surprise when mine comes around so I have to reciprocate. Its kind but a card would be sufficient. Especially when income is limited.

To be honest, not getting out lately, I have forgotten to get anything and being Sunday tomorrow and then a bank holiday weekend its a bit difficult coming up with an idea. It will have to be belated as his birthday is on Monday. Monday I think will be treated like Sunday Service so you are limited where you can go.

Friday, May 02, 2014

How Are You Doing?

Is it really four days since I wrote anything here?

Well, firstly we've had technical problems. My internet went "Funny" on Wednesday night and even around 5am this morning it was still playing up. Websites would either refuse to load, would partially load or take forever. I finally did some speed tests and it was woeful.

I have been getting at least 14+mbs download speed(whatever that means)and I now know that my landline is meant to accept speeds upto 16mbs. So you can see that a speed of 0.19mbs is really slow. So I phoned my ISP and we came to the conclusion that something was wrong. I was told to test the speeds today at say 9am, 2pm and 7pm.

But the feeling was an engineer may have to call. I went online around 10.30am and guess what? Its as good as it ever was and slightly better almost at the full capacity my line allows. So whether the fault is an ISP one or the network that all companies have to use in the UK British Telecom I don't know.  But we were talking of around 36 hours and I just kept hoping it would come right as often problems with the internet often do. If an engineer calls there is always the provision in the conditions that there could be a £60 fee. Ouch!

As long as I stay where I am I lucky in that I have a telephone junction box approx six houses away and there others closeby. And the local exchange is 0.9 miles away. So many things are in my favour.

Good to have everything working again...

Has much happened in the last few days? Not really. Have I been ok? I have had some black moments where I have been down(but can't pin it to anything in particular)mostly been fine. Had another good night at the music club on Tuesday. It was packed and for an open mike night there were so many performers present they could only do two numbers each. And the night lasted almost three hours.

Then on Wednesday afternoon I was at an afternoon concert with a nine piece female voice choir "Stardust" who performed for perhaps 70 minutes and sang a variety of music genres mostly unaccompanied.

Last night was the bingo session at the local sheltered accommodation, I did not win...

This Sunday a couple of us are taking some extra buffet food in(its someones birthday the next day)so I am taking tomatoes, cheese, pickled onions, crisps perhaps some cake. The other person is doing volauvents, sausage rolls that I know of, possibly something else and bringing napkins, plates etc...

I have other things in the house that I could take along. We'll see.

I haven't eaten a great deal these past days but I'm fine...when I have its been good stuff...fruit, museli, salad.

I haven't been far from home, not been upto it. But I have another stint at trying to get signatures on a petition for the saving of the NHS tomorrow and a little bit of train spotting on Sunday afternoon. So I am taking it easy until then.

I don't buy them often but I have purchased a Euromillion lucky dip ticket for tonight. I would not say no to a share of the jackpot that has accumulated. I think that brings us upto speed.