Random Jottings Of Gildersleeve

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Location: United Kingdom

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

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Flare Up Of Gout...

You know I may not have seen the symptoms coming perhaps the clue was that I did not feel up to doing anything. I don't think that I've beaten it but through the night I have been drinking cherry juice and as I write this, I am not in pain. Maybe it does work after all.

I haven't been anywhere until this evening and then just had my little jaunt to a club on the town to have a game of bingo and sticky thirteen card game, No luck.

In a couple of hours I'll watch my block of Gunsmoke, the western TV series. Then have a nap in my lovely warm bed.

I'm still fighting off a head cold and not doing too bad. I think it has been caused by a person sitting behind me on a bus coughing, spluttering and trying to blow her nose constantly. I think that I had beaten the earlier one I thought I was coming down with but they say every cold that you catch is different and a variant of one you caught previously, it is never the same one.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I Didn't Go To Durham...

I wasn't up to it but there are still plenty of chances, all I may lose out on is the candlelight procession on some services.

I haven't decided what to do for my meal as yet and so far I have just had some buttered bread and some salt and vinegar twists.

After three weeks by chance I remembered that The Horror Channel are showing a series that I watched years ago Xena - Warrior Princess which I did not manage to see to the end and I miss on Sundays anyhow through being out and I don't own a TV recorder. I bet they are on the internet somewhere if I looked. What isn't?

Then again I did a quick search and yes a well known site is offering them all for almost £2 per episode. I wouldn't pay that and I couldn't afford to...that would come in at around £100. I will have to depend on catching them on TV or perhaps go for a service like Netflix one day.

I found out that there is only approx 10 remaining to be shown and in the end I went over to Last of the Summer Wine, an age thing?

I've had my supper too...Beans on toast.

I'm Not Really A Fan...

but I find myself watching another James Bond movie...they were special...once! They always ran for a Summer season in Bournemouth and I saw many of them there. I haven't seen any of them since Timothy Dalton played Bond but this week on TV I have seen three of the four movies Pierce Brosnan made. I have not seen any starring Daniel Craig.

Now I have seen them I couldn't sit through them again, once is enough.

Basically everything runs to a formula whether its a weekly TV series or a series of films. Its all a reworking of plot lines. Remember though this is only me talking and others do enjoy them and they will not necessarily like what I do.

I treated myself to a late supper of lemon sole, chips, mixed steamed vegetables with bread and butter. No images this time, The meal came in at around £1.50.

I may finally think of going to bed when this Bond movie ends.

Later today I may decide to go the last mile and buy some unimportant Christmas goodies but they can be used for many years(they'll probably outlast me to be honest)they won't break the bank. Christmas/winter design throws, guest towels and for silliness a kind of pom pom hat that is in the design of a Christmas Pudding. I can't find my Christmas cards(Typical)so may buy some of those too.

Friday, November 28, 2014

I Forgot To Listen To Or Record...

the excellent recreations the BBC have been doing of missing editions of the 1950's radio comedy Hancock's Half-Hour. And that was because I decided to go looking for clothes. In the end I did not buy the shirts, there is still time but I couldn't quite decide what size I should buy. However, I did find the Christmas jumper I wanted and the camera cable that was damaged a couple of weeks ago and made that do. I think that I spent an extra £9 to what I might have on line but I have everything without delay, if adding in postage and packing when buying on line perhaps it was not more expensive in the end.

Its not a very nice day weather wise again. Its good to be home again, I'm tired and there was lots of sitting down as I went about my business. I am not going out any more today. Probably the same tomorrow except I may try to go to a service at Durham Cathedral which is happening either late in the afternoon or early evening. I will have to check later.

My New Christmas Jumper

Last Year's Christmas Jumper

I'd Be Fibbing If I Said Its Exciting...

but there is little going on, then again better than having worries and struggles. I said that I was watching more TV but in reality I am back to listening to the radio more as favourite TV programmes that I was enjoying have seem to have become repeated on a loop or been taken off and I know its down to personal taste but I'm thinking of that song/saying on the lines of 200 channels and nothing on. There is quality but its spread thinly and a lot of programmes just a case of filling in time or finding the least boring of what is on offer. The must see TV programmes are fewer.

The change to my bed has been worth it...its lovely and warm but a Winter Tog quilt has the disadvantage of being heavier. And I dislike that but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Today I kept it simple and did a quick shop on the way home...OK I spent approx £5 but I did for that money get four pints of milk, salad, three loaves of bread, curly kale and oven chips but saved £4.

I have lived on turkey sandwiches today.

I won £4 winning a line on the bingo so broke even...no better off, nor worse off. That win paid for the shopping.

I may/may not go shopping tomorrow and look for "New" clothes rather than using the charity shops...I have found that a retailer is selling Pierre Cardin shirts for £7(don't know if that is a saving on the normal price)Longsdale underwear for £2.99 instead of £19.99 and they have a Christmas jumper I like the look of for £11 so I may treat myself to some branded items for a change. While I am able. Money saved on buying less food and not having any entertainment to go to allows me to redirect where it goes and what my priorities are. I may even buy some throws or bedding with a Winter/Christmas feel too.

I have no clothes that are worn out or worthy of being donated to a charity shop, indoors I don't really care what I wear, if it keeps me warm. Nor how many layers of clothes I have on.

I also needed and managed around eleven hours of sleep but then again it was cold, wet and horrible outside. It was dark for most of the day and my body was aching so I do feel better for it. I also took some pain killers.

UPDATE:Been reading up about the shirts and I think that they have been available for less than £7 and some reviews have been questionable. I will decide later in the day. Cannot get on many websites because something called Black Friday is happening where many retailers are reducing prices on many items and some opened at Midnight and people are virtually fighting for bargains but if you do not have access to your own transport you'll miss out anyhow. Also they are only bargains if its something you want and need. Perhaps wait until the same time next year before I think about buying big items.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It Will Work Or Fail...

I have put together a kind of home made dish. It has a layer of cooked diced Angus beef. Gravy, mixed frozen vegetables and topped with mashed potato. I worked out that it has cost me around £2.40 so no cheaper than many ready meals this time but I know all that it contains. If I find half to be enough, the price per portion will come down to £1.20.

If I add the cost of cooking it, I'm probably out of pocket. Often the cooking stews, casseroles etc...in an oven you have to do so for around 25 minutes minimum and longer. Then I thought...you put a ready meal in a microwave and usually a meal will be ready in 5-8 minutes but being a smaller oven and it using a different form of heating up food it is cheaper.

I am going to heat it up in the microwave...the only thing that won't happen is the potato topping won't brown. I could grill it but I do not mind leaving it as it is.

I may have lost out because I cooked the diced beef in a slow cooker first but it is said that slow cooker uses no more power than a light bulb.

I went out to the music club feeling cold and I was to tired to think of getting a bus and having to walk the distance from the bus stop to the club. It took me over 20 minutes to walk the two streets from my home on the first part of my journey so I decided to take a taxi. Also, I am holding off quite successfully a possible cough and cold so I purchased some Jakeman's honey and lemon sweets...just in case.

It was cold when I went out and was becoming frosty. Indoors the temperature hit 10c/48f but though I haven't the checked the temperature since coming home, I am warm and cosy. I have finally got around to making my bed too(I still want a new bed or mattress)but for now I have a quilt with a tog suitable for Winter and sheets/blankets. I have options to use an electric blanket and hot water bottles if really cold and of course I have central heating which warms the bedroom quickly and if I keep the door closed the room stays warm for hours even if you turn the heating off.

By chance I came across a documentary on the TV in the early hours presented by Michael Grade the media baron all about the almost mythical historical character I know of but admit knew little if anything about but do now General Tom Thumb(Charles Stratton)Interesting if a little sad.

UPDATE:The meal took 12 minutes to microwave. It worked and was very tasty. I won't come to any harm if I have nothing else.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I'm Continuing To Stay Put...

I have found out that I can travel to Sunderland without a break in the journey and having to change at Durham within a couple of streets of where I live but only until approx 5pm. But with an early start...that's not bad.

However, as I have all that I require I think I shall get back to tidying up my home again. I will attend my music club tonight, the little bingo club on Thursday night. Then wait until Saturday and try to attend a service within Durham Cathedral in the early evening which should mean that I am able to catch a bus home. Until last year I had never ever attended a service in the cathedral and that was very short and mainly for children and I was not in a great seat so was unable to see much of what was going on. Perhaps this time I will be lucky.

All my Christmas gifts are finally wrapped and purchased. I am on a short trip(free)Wednesday of next week to Middlesbrough but no plans to buy unless I get myself some stocking fillers and they will be purchased from pound stores. Those silly little items.

I treated myself to some Brandy laced Mince pies. I don't bother with them normally but thought "Why not!" and with the offer of one box of six for £1.90 or two boxes for £2 for the extra 10p it seemed worth doing so. OK they are by Mr Kipling but they make a fair few decent cakes etc...

Monday, November 24, 2014

I'm Going Nowhere...

Doors are locked, I've played my afternoon session of bingo and called into the supermarket on the way home for my bread and milk. I got some blackberries and bananas, diced beef(reduced in price)and I would have liked to taken up the extra items on half price offer of whole lemon sole but buy too many it stops being a bargain and I haven't the room in the freezer, after all I'm trying to clear the freezer not increase what's in it!

I haven't had lemon sole in ages.

I was virtually out of coffee and I've said before that I have no idea what the difference is between all the different brands and types, so I purchased five jars(I thought that I had only purchased four)but at 50p for 100g it did not break the bank. Another brand that is double in price says that you can get 55 servings out of one jar with that amount in it. The way I make coffee I think I can increase that.

I purchased my final Christmas gift too...a £5 box of lager, I didn't want to go up to £10 or more. Its not for someone close.

I decided everything was too heavy to bring home in a backpack and carrier so paid for a taxi home. I suppose I could've used my shopping trolley another day but its all sorted now.

A chicken was cooked overnight. The diced beef and turkey already in the fridge is being cooked as I write.

I may keep it simple this evening and have another can of soup. I am pleasantly tired and at the risk of dozing off.

It does seem to be colder tonight in the house so I shall get all my warm clothes on a earlier than usual.

I'll be warm soon enough.


I'm toastie warm though it is quite frosty outside. There's coffee and just about enough milk to last until breakfast time. I haven't been out since Thursday until last evening and have made good use of what I have in the house.

I'm cooking another chicken in the slow cooker overnight and that will be ready around mid morning...as yet I haven't decided whether I should make a kind of chicken stew or the more usual type of meat, veg and gravy type meal. I think that I shall also cook my diced turkey and beef while I am on. I can put it all back into the fridge and make a few meals in the coming days.

I was thinking I may do an early shop regarding the milk/bread but I am out in the afternoon so as long as I can have a hot drink and toast in the morning I can shop on my way home in the afternoon. I can stay home until lunchtime or go out in the morning but its just for the sake of doing so.

Because mobility and movement in an arm is limited I am thinking of buying a tea trolley that would mean that I can wheel my meals and drinks into rooms, I'd be less likely to drop things and could move more items at once saving making more journeys than necessary. We had a trolley many years ago and let it go because it needed the screws tightening up over and over again. And somehow the use of such an item seemed to go out of fashion, it was the kind of the furniture you brought out in company for afternoon tea. But I don't want to pay silly money.

I have found a basic white one from Argos for around £15. I could probably find others online at E-Bay cheaper and more of a variety of styles. Many are really expensive. There are some that are really aimed at the disabled user...think of it having a look of a Zimmer frame on wheels,but a little more fancy but I may just go for the basic white one. Its only to wheel in meals, tea/coffee etc...I already use a kind of table in the lounge that resembles the kind that go across beds and chairs in hospitals but that does not have any handles.

I am not much into internet shopping though...and don't need that much anyhow.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

More Of The Same...

The weather was horrible, I was tired and overslept. The most exciting part of today? Getting caught up on the washing. It does seem milder indoors which is good.

Been eating chicken sandwiches. Soup for supper.

My friend Andrea is probably right when she says cold, damp weather doesn't help long term health issues like mobility but I can suffer even when the weather is good.

I will regroup and consider whether I should try and go somewhere for a day trip but options are getting a bit thin on the ground when daylight is reduced and you don't want to spend money.

The only days I can consider are Wednesdays and Saturdays if its a longer journey. I'll go and look at some Christmas markets and illuminations and will possibly try and see some carol services*

The trip to the little town approx 3 miles away on Thursday doesn't offer much extra choice in shopping but if I can continue to use a pass there is a great little bakers and I can go there and get home within an hour. Go on one bus, return on another if I want something a bit different. I'm eating a white bloomer at present but unlike some it is soft in texture.

*I may be visiting Durham Cathedral having seen what events are happening between now and Christmas.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Mind Is Willing But The Body Is Weak...

I said that I would go all week...there is a brass band playing, I even went by the church yesterday and called in for details, I have one last bus that I could catch, even a taxi but its cold and wet outside and I felt so tired, sleepy and my joints ache. I did not get up until late afternoon but I reckon the rest was needed. There will be other times I'm sure.

I will see how I feel tomorrow and try to discover if another show in the same town is still on, been cancelled or already taken place. The notice I hoped to see with details had been removed from a supermarket noticeboard.

Or perhaps I'll take myself off for a bus ride during the day tomorrow, a change of scenery not looking at the four walls.

I could not be bothered to watch or listen to my favourite TV or radio programmes earlier.

First meal of the day was chicken noodle soup with buttered toast.

A wasted day? Perhaps. But I feel better for it.

I'm mixed up this evening, not what was planned. I may watch TV, I may cook a meal, I may go to bed again. I don't know. I'll play it by ear.

Tomorrow, perhaps I'll show some spontaneity.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

As Far As My Kidneys Go...

They have not deteriorated any further than previous check ups, both my consultants and myself are pleased at that news. But naturally the illness continues and hopefully the treatment will continue to keep things ticking over. It has come at a price affecting me in other ways. It was a day to say thank you and goodbye as the consultant who extended my life for the last 17 years and came up with treatment not used before, was retiring. I was being seen by a colleague of his and he came in to a personal goodbye to me and shake my hand.

He has been good to me, they all have. Unless something unexpected goes wrong I am not due to be seen again until late March next year. Dates play an important part in my life. When Mum went into the care home for the last few weeks of her life, it fell on was the anniversary of Mum and Dad getting married. My appointment falls on the same date. Coincidence?

I mentioned my flare up of gout and the consultant I saw today has told me they do have a drug to control it should it happen again and this particular one will not cause problems for my kidneys which the one that is prescribed normally at a Dr's surgery would. And he is writing to my Dr to get me it.

It could be drugs causing the problem I have as I write this as I have a rather bad attack of tinnitus. Ironic that I should have that because I protect my hearing wherever possible like at a concert or gig I wear earplugs.

I'm tired so I am watching a bit of TV. I may decide to have an afternoon nap. I have a chicken cooking in the slow cooker that should be about ready when I get in from the bingo club. I have another one for next week. I treated myself to two loaves of bread from a proper baker too, my computer magazine, washing up liquid, more roasting bags and some soup. I am set up again for the next week or more.

I managed to find out more about the concert tomorrow night at the church in a neighbouring town...tickets to be purchased on the door. A church  I have only been in once before many years ago but was the one my Father attended as a child and in his early adult life I would guess between 1924 - 1948. Yes, that long ago. The other concert the notice has been removed so now I am unsure if it has been cancelled. I will try and find out.

If so I will just have a quiet night in on Saturday.

Update:I don't think that I have ever had that before...a can of Heinz Beef Broth soup but it was really warming and tasty. That's tea taken care of.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Day Of Doing Little...

Well, what's to do as we near Christmas, the days are dark, the weather is generally miserable. I decided not to go anywhere. After all, I have the hospital check up in the morning so taking it easy seems the right thing to do...

If all goes reasonably ok I will do all the tasks put off today, tomorrow.

I watched a couple of episodes of the 60's TV Sci-Fi series The Invaders(I was around 9 years old)when that aired. Still looks good after all these years. Frightening where the time has gone. I watched a western with Rock Hudson(I'm not even sure that I have ever watched a film starring him)

He's ok I suppose, no strong feeling either way. The films were adequate and Rock filled the roles in a similar fashion, a mixture of something attractive for the females to look at especially in the 50's equivalent of a "Rom Com" probably under the description of "Beef Cake"

And yet an all action guy for the Male Cinema goer wanting a rough tough cowboy or soldier/hero. And because of the time, attitudes were different and so as far as the public goes and the fear of the movie studios and whether his sexual orientation would affect his popularity and his movies it was kept hidden. It may've done but after all an actor plays a part and live in a world of make believe.

Today whatever your private sexual orientation is, you can mostly get away with it not affecting sales. But there are still exceptions. And its no longer straight forward because a male star will have fans(both male and female)who like their work but may have an attraction to them on a physical level too and the same is true of a female stars.

Some stars, straight or gay accept the adulation from wherever it comes(often because financially it pays)but they don't go looking for it and others knowing they appeal play to everyone. The biggest area that still seems to suffer from discrimination is sport and my observation would suggest it is still
more of a problem in sports mainly associated with/played by males.

Where did that all come from? I had no plans to write that...probably because I mentioned Rock Hudson. I tend to watch films/TV or listen music on face value and not even think about being attracted in a physical way. If I like their work that's all that matters to me.

I found out that as of tomorrow I can no longer watch a film channel on my Freeview TV unless I have access to High Definition version but luckily as I have Freesat I can still access Film4+1 using the alternative system and I certainly don't want to replace a newish TV yet because channels are changing their formats.

I found myself getting into the Christmas spirit by watching a favourite associated with this time of year but I haven't seen it in years. The fact that I was able to this time means that I am finding that I am able to accept this time of year without it being as painful as it once was being on my own.

The film is "White Christmas" starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera Ellen and Rosemary Clooney. Music by Irving Berlin. Classic Hollywood from 1954. Having said about watching without being attracted to actors/actors I watch, the female stars were manufactured to look a certain way by the studio and had to watch their weight, were lit a certain way and had the best make up artists
but the leading ladies(Clooney and Ellen)did look attractive and perfect.

Remember me saying about actors playing parts? Its all make believe.

If this quartet had been getting it together in "real" life(They get together as couples by the end of the film)age wise Crosby(51)was paired with Clooney(26)and Kaye(41)with Ellen(33)

Away from films, the good news is that after checking my blood pressure today I have managed to get it down to 121/71 with a pulse rate of 74. I haven't weighed myself in ages so it will be interesting to see what that comes in at.

I have cooked a meal that I haven't had very often and took little if any preparation, ready in approx 5 minutes. A Chinese type stir fry with pork. It came in at around £1.84 a portion.

Update:Decided to have some potato and leek soup with toast for supper. Been weighed...came in at around 70kg. I really cannot get the weight down any less than that. Considering I try to walk but when I do it takes such an effort that it is like a workout. Generally my food intake is low in calories with lots of vegetable content.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I Am About To Attend The Music Club...

should be a good night, we have Bob Surgeoner, Flossie Malavialle and Pipe Dream. It is raising money for the Salvation Army Anti Trafficking campaign. Maybe I'll have some images and something to add later.

Update:I have some images, not sure how good they are and a friend has better ones because its a great camera and he had a better seat at the venue. But I'll try and put some on the blog. Around £650 was raised for the cause and the night was a great success. The fact is that everyone who appeared was superb. The person who works with the club but arranged the event(because she is employed by or is involved in a local branch of this cause)

She is a pretty good singer too and last night sang a varied a new selection of songs I haven't heard there before. I don't think that she has before and that could be because they were suggested by Bob Surgeoner who always seems to find something usual in his repertoire.

The only downside...I prevented a beer being knocked over by the person sitting next to me and had created space for a couple of raffle prizes on the table in front of me that he had won and it meant my belongings were moved slightly, unbeknown to me and whilst talking with someone he noticed the camera cable that is needed to charge and attach it to the PC had gone over a tea light candle and was melting.

It is quite badly damaged but it works. Without it I am unable to do much with the camera. I may still try and find a new one later in the week. There is always the worry that it may stop working. A quick look on the internet suggests that it will not be too costly to replace and quite easy to find. Certainly online that is so but I hope to find one in a local retailer.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hitting My Second Wind...

I had my bloods taken at the surgery and it went well as far as I know. I managed to bus to Durham and pay my insurance. Luckily the office is next to the bus station so I was back there ready to board a quick bus for the next task but two buses were parked in the bays my bus should've parked. It came into the station but did not stop, disappearing so I had to hang around for another half hour.

This only allowed me 40 minutes to complete my business before getting back to my afternoon bingo with my group. I managed to get my ticket for the Christmas show I mentioned in a previous post. My other plans were a let down.

One retailer had nothing of interest, the other had closed since my last visit and had it not been for the purchase of the ticket, there was no reason/is no reason to go there much in the future as I don't need or buy much other than food these days and most retailers are on my town or situated at two or three neighbouring towns within a five to twelve mile radius.

Not having had much sleep because of my overnight TV watching I found myself falling asleep during the bingo(the heating was on high too)which didn't help. I probably missed winning some games...I did that trick where you doze quickly and wake as quick. I know that I missed a line for definite. I did win one line that I did not mess up and being few in number that was all of £2.

I had plans for a pork stir fry tonight but went back to an omelet containing ham, cheese and tomato. I watched a little TV but took a brief nap. I just fell asleep and had no choice in the matter to be honest. I am reasonably warm and awake again but will probably have an early night or have a longer lie in. There's nothing pressing or anywhere I need to be.

I have perhaps only two Christmas presents to sort out and everything is complete. The housework I will now leave until the New Year.

Today has been difficult. My legs have been giving me real problems and one really kept locking and hurting especially when getting it moving again. And of course I don't have full movement in one of my shoulders but as I have said before I need to pace myself, work out my good days(or rather my better days)and those days, stay close to/be at home. All this can interfere with sleeping in bed too.

I have some good food in the house so good meals continue. Using what I have and then I hope to get some of the little luxury foods they always have in the stores for the festive season.

I think I only need a few odds and ends now...like roasting bags and washing up liquid. Maybe frozen vegetables and more food storage boxes. I may treat myself to one more Christmas jumper and perhaps a novelty hat. I can use them in the future too.

Having An All Nighter...

Not sleepy and I don't have a TV recorder so the only way I can watch a favourite TV Western is between 2am and 6am one night a week. That's Gunsmoke. I never saw it first time around. And I have bloods to be taken almost as soon as the doctor's surgery opens so I'm thinking I may as well stay up now. I can catch up on my sleep easily.

If I haven't already said so I then plan to pay my house contents insurance. It has only gone up by £1 for the year. I still wonder with much of my furnishing being old and the few newer items not being top of the range nothing is worth that much money wise. But hey I guess £53 annually for peace of mind isn't bad.

I didn't win the bingo with my friends yesterday but I had a go at a domino card and wouldn't you know it...the number I tend to choose won...the bad news...my friend's number had been chosen by someone else and so he choose my number and...it won. Typical!

I'll try and post images of the Brass Band concert and the show I saw at Durham of the members of Lindisfarne. I was remembered by a band member who I saw approx 2-3 months ago at a more intimate venue and had promised him then I had a ticket and I would be seeing him. I got a smile, a thumbs up and one of the strongest handshakes ever. A really genuine, warm guy.

I was so close to the Brass Band on Friday, I was almost in it...two really good nights.

Coming home from the concert I again witnessed someone sleeping in the doorway of an unused nightclub near the bus station. When I first started up to Durham perhaps a couple of Christmases ago I came across another such person in the doorway of a national retailer and as rubbish is often left out for early collection the first I realised was when the cardboard moved.

At first I thought the wind was the reason, then I took a closer look. I do see a fair few people begging when I visit. They don't bother anyone or get in your face...they just sit crossed legged on the pavement, usually in worn out/dirty clothes with a hat or something similar in front of them. I don't know their back story, whether they are genuinely homeless, have lost work, have benefit issues, drug or alcohol problems and to be honest...I try not to be judgemental. I know that lives can change in seconds. I never know what the best thing is do regarding giving money. You hear so many stories about money being put to addictions.

I made the effort and did a small amount of shopping yesterday. It was not an expensive day and I was in one of those pound shops and got simple things, you know...a door mat for the porch, a clothes airier that fits on a radiator, toilet and kitchen rolls, kitchen scissors, a chocolate orange(a birthday gift for a friend)Christmas gift tags and wrapping paper.

And I couldn't resist an extra gift for my friend. We're all a bit low income wise but he really is down on his luck and according to more information from a relative the other day...it was conformed what I already knew(he is special needs)he loves trains so for £3 I found a calendar with lots of images of steam trains and with it also 2015 diary. All the gifts I have are wrapped, gift tagged and ready for giving.

More than I planned but not terrifically expensive in reality, helped by many of them(if to be believed)worth more than I paid as they were on offer.

I'm getting into my cooking again and making some really simple but tasty meals, on Saturday I had baked beans, oven chips and a really fluffy cheese omelet. I'm thinking of trying to do a stir fry with some pork later today and I have a chicken to cook in the slow cooker. That will give me a few meals. Anyone who thinks a microwave and slow cooker has limited uses needs to think again.

Friday, November 14, 2014

I Value My Independence...

But generally know what I can/cannot do and I will pace myself. Or avoid some tasks. Yesterday I had to replace two centre ceiling lightbulbs and it was a struggle. Luckily one to replace is rare so replacing two more so. It really was difficult. I may have to consider asking a neighbour to help next time.

Or I need a longer stepladder with a longer rail so I have something to hold onto and not have to stretch so far. I am unsteady on steps if I have nothing to hold onto and then one arm cannot be raised above my head so you can imagine the pantomime trying to remove and replace a bulb in the holder.

I managed on this occasion.

I haven't had to think about buying Christmas gifts for sometime. But I now have some acquaintances and last year I was shown kindness being invited for my lunch and to have a few hours in company. That also meant I was given a few little presents to open and by more than I thought I would so this year I am prepared a bit better(just in case)and yet without going over the top and being careful I will have spent perhaps £80 but with offers on certain items my goods are worth nearer £120. But of course included in that is the ticket for the Buddy Holly show I gave as a Christmas treat.

I am good at picking out quality items and then finding they are a bit too expensive for one person. If it was a close friend or family that would be different of course.

I am not buying much in the way of food at present other than milk, bread and fruit and attempting to create space in the fridge/freezer for some of the special items that come into the supermarkets for the festive time and if I keep buying I will lose out.

Later today I will travel approx 6 miles and watch a concert of a local brass band and local singers performing music from shows and films.

On Saturday I will see two members of the Geordie Band "Lindisfarne" telling the story of the group and singing their music. Then no more big theatre shows are planned until next year. Though I hope to attend a couple of local shows raising money for charity in a local hall and a church. And a Christmas one in early December which hopefully I will attend with my friend Andrea. It is an annual show but though it is done as a festive event, no Christmas songs are sung.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Oh My Goodness...

I was buying a few odds and ends in the supermarket to save having to go out today and in doing so running late for the Music Club...I say that I was late but though I usually get there for just before 8pm because of the time the bus runs, in reality it often doesn't start before 8.30pm. Tonight I got a taxi.

I decided that a chicken is good value...gives a fair few meals/sandwiches so I was sticking to mainly basics...chicken, eggs, bread and some spring onions(they were reduced)when I got to the club they kindly kept them in the cellar to keep them cool.

As I was buying my eggs someone said hello and my name, I turned around to see a girlfriend from years ago...we had a chat, her husband turned up so he was included in the conversation. I tried to think how long ago we are talking of...I believe it could easily be as long ago as 34 year. I can say that because it was around the time CB Radio was at its most popular in the UK and had become legal. We were all on CB back then.

When I came in from the club I had a quick meal prepared in the microwave but in reality it was not a "Ready" Meal. It was frozen veg, potatoes, cauliflower and chicken with gravy. All ready in perhaps 8-9 minutes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

That's My Christmas Good Deed Done...

I treated a friend to a night out as a Christmas treat. I can't make a habit of it but...yesterday started in a low key way...I don't make a habit of it but Sunday morning into Monday I found myself watching four Gunsmoke episodes on the trot. If a repeat had come up I'd have gone to bed but I wasn't cold or tired.

I slept and then made my way to the bingo club for the elderly. Then I was invited for a nice salad over the road, then we caught a taxi to the town to catch a bus to Durham where we saw a concert on the current tour of Buddy Holly and the Cricketers. Apparently the tour has been touring off and on for 22 years. The impression is that present team is the latest incarnation. It was a rocking night and they were dancing in the aisles and because there is a fair bit of leg room, within the rows of seats too.

They were all good accomplished musicians and must end the night feeling high and also physically exhausted. They must welcome the breaks between gigs and the travelling.

The person playing Buddy turned up unannounced after the concert in the foyer in his normal clothes and probably hardly anyone recognised him I suspect. I could be wrong but I think the idea was to get a general feeling of what the audience were saying and get the general reaction to the show. But I have always been good at recognising people. I kidded my friend and gave him a quiz to see if he knew who he was. I had a quick chat. If I'd been on the ball I could have taken a picture. My friend had a word and shook his hand.

Not wanting to annoy others in the audience and not getting the exposure right for quickness inbetween people dancing the images are not the best but here are a few to give a feeling of the night.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

What A Difference...

Friday in a lovely small intimate theatre in Durham City...The Assembly Rooms. An Am Dram version of the play/farce "Go On Jeeves" Very well done, almost a sell out which for a Friday isn't bad. I realised within a short time it had been on BBC Radio 4 not too long ago. so I knew what was coming.

I found it quite easy to find the venue but initially I had been given the wrong directions which added a little more to my effort to get there. I managed to leg it to the bus station...and missed my bus by 20 seconds so had to spend an hour in the bus station until the last one.

I did pay for it today and found I could hardly move and stayed in bed for approx 12 hours. A couple of painkillers and as the day went on I improved. I didn't have the time to make a loaf of bread so had to pop out for one and found they had reduced the bread I wanted from £1.20 to 27p.

I'm not a great sewer but I repaired some tears to my thick warm coat(good enough for me)and most on the inside unseen. And a kind of laundry basket had one of its straps snap so I have repaired that too. I can hang it up again and it is probably stronger.

Tonight it was my turn to see the music play "She's Fired" the last production before it hits The Sage in Gateshead next year. Based on a local mining disaster.

All went well, getting there and back home and the production was really polished, the sound superb. My view sadly was restricted because I seemed to get someone in front of me with the largest head, who kept moving and was taller than just about anyone there. It was a sell out so you couldn't move to another seat. It was a really good night and I was happy to say that I have finally seen it. I was also fortunate to be in the company of my friend Andrea.

The only thing that went wrong was that the return taxi broke down on the way to get us and the replacement could not find us and yet having said that it was only 15 minutes late in picking us up. I hope to post images later today...Mine are not as good as many on the net because of the restricted view and I don't use the flash to avoid annoying people. For the same reason I refused to keep taking images over and over again until they came out better and clearer because I think of others around me.

You sometimes believe that you have a great picture, put it on here finding it is blurred and yet it looks ok on the camera's LCD screen. I am still working out the names of the performers to add to the images.

Toby Hodgson

At the front(with guitar)composer of the songs John Wrightson, play was written by Bob Lowery.

Bert Draycott

George Armstrong

George Armstrong

Toby Hodgson

Joan Edmundson

Bob Tuddenham

Ray Thom

Friday, November 07, 2014

The Day Began...

with me looking out at a dark, miserable, wet windy day after a very blustery night. My wheelie bin was full and I wasn't sure that I would be able to move it from where it was located to the pick up point and I might have to partially empty it and then put the rubbish back but luckily it was lighter than I thought it would be and then the sun came out and it stopped raining. Though it has become dull again.

Had a light lunch...

Found that the film True Grit is on TV. Never seen it before. I realise I haven't seen many films starring John Wayne. Its a fair western and probably was seen as ground breaking at the time.

Have to be out quite early as I have a production of Jeeves and Wooster to see and I am a bit unsure of the location of the venue. Also my legs are playing up.

I'm washed, shaved and dressed.

I was touched yesterday by kindness shown me. There was a really elderly man in a post office, he was almost bent double. And what did I find? After I had been served and taken an age to get myself ready for the cold weather outside, he had been stood for an age holding the door open for me.

I thanked him and passed a few kind words with him. I was most appreciative and I think he was equally touched that someone took the time to say "Thank You"

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

I Found...

And it doesn't mean that I am rich or will not hit problems but I discovered approx £76 in loose change and around £35 in note money in a box. Always welcome and it doesn't mean I have extra just that it has been deferred.

I will use it wisely. For emergencies and/or treats.

For goodness, inexpensiveness, variety, ease of preparation and making it go for further as a single person I am mainly now using frozen vegetables in my dishes when cooking. Or prepared fresh vegetables. Last evening when buying my milk I found sliced leeks, florets of broccoli and cauliflower and one with sweetcorn, carrots, peas and beans. All of them came in at a total of £3 and will do so much. If I go to freezer retailer rather than a supermarket I probably can bring that down still further.

Often one bowl of something like my stew/casserole is enough for a decent meal and that last Lamb casserole I made and mentioned on the last blog entry has made enough for four meals. I would guess that's cost less than £1 per portion. Its difficult to know what to call such a meal(I believe casserole is when you cook it in an oven, a stew when on a stove, in a slow cooker I'm not sure)but it could also be seen as a chunky home made soup.

Later today I am thinking of having salad sandwiches, well baps/buns and in the afternoon(it sounds terribly grand)scones and jam(I didn't make them)but they were spare at the club I go to on Mondays.

I have had toast and marmalade and I may have some fruit and yogurt later. In general I see small portions but often works well. I also find there is some truth in the idea that because plates used are larger, so are the portions so often people overeat.

It may happen one day that I will cook a meal for friends and I have my best crockery set where everything matches but that's boxed and for now I stick to the same few plates and mugs. They do for me.

Coming home from the music club I had someone give me some quick and easy ideas to add to my to my meals. I think I have room for one more kitchen gadget to be put out in the kitchen if I put it on top of the microwave...a George Foreman Grill. Then the only thing that is not in there is the food processor. I could have that there too if I put the small spare table from an old nest of tables in there. But I really could do with it being slightly higher.

I don't need or want much in the way of clothes but I may let my frivolous side come through by getting myself some novelty stuff for Christmas and Winter(jumpers, socks and hat)I have found slippers not unlike some I found a few weeks back...which I paid £12 for but they can be purchased for £6.

If I can time it right I'll try and find something in a sale/reduced. Or in a retailer that does not charge silly prices.

I was thinking as its a nice sunny Autumn day that I should have a look out but I don't really have any reason to do so or what could not be put off until later in the week. I will probably only be window shopping after all. With luck some Christmas stuff may come into the charity shops. Some supermarket chains do reasonable ranges of clothes so I may consider them too.

I have two possible nights out planned that are a little different...

Friday an Am Dram night in Durham where University students are doing a Jeeves and Wooster comedy play and on Saturday night a production of the mining disaster musical "She's Fired" I will say more after the event and hopefully have some images to post here.

Update:I may pop out for my computer magazine later. And earlier today I made those salad baps but what a performance...I decided to open a can of meat and guess what? The can would not open with the key which kept twisting out of shape, then the metal tab broke off. I then tried using a can opener, what's the betting that is now busted. Finally, I had to put a knife into the space created and take the can outside and bang the can on the concrete floor until there was enough space to try and prise the lid away enough to get the meat from inside the can in one form or another.

I am now thinking with what remains of the contents I may make a ham omelet for my evening meal. But not sure what to have with it(It came to me...salad, new potatoes in herb butter,sliced bread)Followed by After Eight Dessert. Cost approx £1.50(US $2.40)

Monday, November 03, 2014

Its All About Food Again...

I was only without Turkey, Venison*, Duck** and Pork in my fridge/freezer so decided to do something about that. I will buy the first three later when there is room to put them in there and as a change but I came across some lovely diced pork for £3 and that will last me a fair few meals the way I will use it. Thinking casseroles/stews/stir fry's.

The Lamb Casserole is in the slow cooker and I will eat it later or have it tomorrow reheated via the microwave and have a spare meal for another day, possibly two.

The weather seems colder today...thinking around 12-14c indoors. I have gone and to get the warm slippers and dressing gown. I do not mind wearing a woolly hat. Its true if your extremities are warm usually you will be too. Its just slightly chilly...Not forgetting warm drinks. If I do all the advice many charities offer I will be quite toastie.

I'm watching the American version of the British quiz The Chase, its OK but I dislike the over noisy audience "Whooping!" and "Hollering!" At 9pm I am following the TV series about the early days of Gotham city and the policeman who eventually became Commissioner Gordon in the Batman comics, TV series and movies.

I played Bingo with the elderly earlier today. I didn't win. I also found that the limited town bus service had changed its operator and times today and it meant hanging around for 45 minutes, had I known I could have gone out much later. It also managed to be late. I'll know for next time.

I think that I am fighting the gout again but at least I am aware of it this time and hopefully I can fight it off with lots of fruit/veg and water/veg juice/barley water. But I am always careful to eat small portions of certain foods and have a variety of foods.

Update:I gave in...my Lamb Casserole was very tasty...Also it seems to have warmed up indoors and I have been quite cosy.

In my casserole...Lamb, garlic, carrot, swede, leek, onion, celery, potato.

*I only buy venison occasionally(and I have only tried it in the past year or two)and I'm not a great fan, its an acquired taste for me. **I have never purchased duck before and only had it for the first time last Christmas.

Almost Won...

the general knowledge quiz last night. My team scored 17 out of 20 and as we did not answer 3 was quite good. In reality I suggested 2 answers for unanswered ones and had they taken notice we would've had 19 correct. The winning score was 18. I wish I'd put my answers down, what did we have to lose?

I took sweet things for the buffet last night...cheese straws, various crisps and tomatoes. And some dark chocolate gingerbread rounds that looked like big Jaffa Cakes. Also some orange creame truffles in white chocolate.

I tried watching a comedy movie I had heard of when I came home but gave up after maybe 30 minutes. I tried to give it a decent chance but it wasn't for me. It didn't even raise a smile. "The 40 Year Old Virgin"

I found myself earlier in the day trying to avoid loads of repeats and ended up watching a film I haven't seen in years and is 75 years old "The Wizard Of Oz"

I was thinking of cooking a Lamb and Vegetable casserole in the slow cooker today but as I am using frozen chunky veg and they only take 5 minutes to cook and I can do them in gravy, if I brown the lamb quickly I can do it on the stove in around 10 minutes. And probably still have enough for another meal that could be reheated in the microwave. I will probably have that for my evening meal.

How quick is that? Can't imagine it using much energy either, may add some potatoes too. If I want to be very quick I can used tinned potatoes or steam some in the microwave.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

I Wasn't Up To The Trip...

and to be honest the evening turned out to be wet and blustery.

I ended up spending nearly three hours in the supermarket down the road and splashed out on items that will give me lots of home made, warm meals for the time of year. That will increase the amount of fruit, veg, meat and salad into my diet.

How did I spend three hours in the supermarket? I know even I wondered that. In reality I have to allow 20-25 minutes to walk the short distance to and from the shops. Allowing for a rest too.

I then could not get out of having a conversation with someone and that added another thirty plus minutes to the time. A discount retailer is next door to the supermarket so my time there has to be added on too.

I had a lovely meal earlier...cod in a cheese sauce, chips and vegetables, followed by cheesecake. All for £2.10

Its quite warm indoors and I am not wrapped up nor is the central heating on. I found myself watching an old movie I haven't seen for 22 years so it was like watching it again for new "My Cousin Vinny"

Did I say I watched a 60's band last evening and they were great. It was a local pub on the town that I have never ever been in before. Its only ten minutes away but I wish I had taken a taxi, I had to stop now and again and at my walking speed(even with short cuts)it took me thirty minutes to get there. I did get a lift home and to be honest I survived on one drink of cola so it was a very inexpensive night. And a change for a Friday night.

Glad that I had earplugs though, I listened without them briefly and it really was loud. At least I left without my ears ringing.