Random Jottings Of Gildersleeve

My Photo
Location: United Kingdom

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

Saturday, January 31, 2015


I may have a go at baking bread tomorrow(not going anywhere and have plenty of time)been thinking that if I take a basic bread recipe anyhow its worth taking a chance on the bread machine. What's the worse that can happen?

Still intrigued by the about what I hear about bread in a machine having a hole in it!!! But now I have access to a small oven that works quickly and has less space to heat up, that works well. I may just need to dig out my loaf tins again or make a loaf that can sit on a baking tray if it keeps its shape and doesn't spread because the mixture is too runny.

If it works/if I do decide tomorrow is the day, I'll post some images like the old days. These past days I have been enjoying white sliced bloomer loaves from the discount store Aldi's TBH and they seem good value at £1 a loaf. From past experience I like home made bread and have usually been successful but I can never make mine as soft as those in the shops.

It is cold and blustery outside but no sign of any more snow since Tuesday or Wednesday, there could be some rain going on...looking at the window. Biggest problem for myself has been the ice that has remained on some paths or roads where you need to cross. But each day that has continued to improve. The main roads seem OK and if you are heading to a city or town centre they are mostly kept free of ice and snow. Its the housing estates and side  roads that are mostly affected.

I hope it stays that way as Durham City(where I am planning to be tonight)is high, open and very hilly. I may have spoke too soon. I can now see sleety snow being blown around.

I may have a corned beef pasty for lunch. Already had coffee, marmalade and toast. And my meds. I may still watch some TV later but I have a few programmes downloaded which I may watch in bed where its cosy. I don't think there is much on Freesat/Freeview worth putting the main TV on for. But I will look through the listings just in case.

Update:Had a quick look around the TV Channels, gave up...Did have a pasty(tasty)but it contained very little corned beef(more pastry than anything else)had some potato wedges too. Followed by rice pudding.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Of Course Its Coincidence...

but what life chucks at you...

I am friends with two elderly people and their special needs son. They've helped me in recent times and in a small way I have helped him. One of his parents is in a bad way health wise and age is not helping so last evening I went to the little bingo club his Mum runs and she was dashing out the door to go home where there was an emergency. It was assumed it was his dad. Turns out it is him and he is in intensive care.

Still don't know what is wrong but it shows how life changes within seconds and how more worry is piled on people already coping with big issues.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Feeling Slightly Down...

wasn't sure why and perhaps its too easy to pin it on what I am about to say but it could be that subconsciously I know that it is coming around to the anniversary of my Father's passing and Mum's Birthday in February. Even though it is around 31 years since my Dad died I still miss him.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It Really Sounds Nasty Out There...

There's talk of snow but we'll see. I may stay indoors. At best I may decide to pop out for my PC and TV listings magazines(the only publications that I purchase)in money terms that comes in at approx £1.50 per week.

I don't have to go out, I could see how the weather goes, wait until another day where I will be going somewhere. They never sell out. I am toying with the idea of having a meal using either the beef or pork mince today. A ready meal may've been a cheaper option but I have all the vegetables and meat that is needed. The mince I have is quite lean, not as much fat but not sure that bothers me, it just is.

Cooking smaller portions(being single)and using ready meals as a guide there is no reason why it needs to be in an oven for ages, I have cheated before and may very well stick it in the microwave. If I make two I have meal that just needs reheating another day.

Most recipes need to be guessed on how much you put into the dish or changed from the instructions because they assume that you are cooking for 2, 4, 6 or even 8 people.

I guess an alternative could be for me to make my own burgers/meatballs. Perhaps an idea for another day.

I am still gearing up to baking bread again and trying something more specialist. I wish I had done much more imaginative meals for Mum and myself though I think that I was a reasonable cook and we had nice meals. Whether I make my loaves by hand and use an oven or the bread machine if I can work out how to use it without the manual.

I'm about to have breakfast...I'll keep it simple toast/marmalade and coffee. Meds already taken. Lunchtime I think its time that I had salad sandwiches again and using up tomatoes, spinach, watercress, rocket, cheese perhaps some ham.

Later I may decide to have a dessert after the main meal(thinking Apple Pie)and custard.

I guess its a day of thinking about food. I would guess for the whole day that will come in at around £2-£3.

Update:Still learning how to cook mince and think I can do better. However, it came out OK and actually tasted better the following day, why, who knows. I also ditched the salad idea and went for corned beef pasty and baked beans for lunch.

We've had a little snow overnight but not a massive amount and the weather is bright and sunny so nothing more has fallen but then again not a lot has thawed either. Slowly getting ready for the bingo tonight but it will be interesting to see if everyone turns up.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Had My Kind Of Burns Night Celebration...

Later than planned because...I went to bed and fell asleep early on and had around 8 hours sleep. My reckoning is that I needed it.

I tried the new slow cooker and its OK. Its too small but you can just about manage two bowls of food. And as I eat less I can make that do at a push. It will be used. I enjoyed the beef stew(lots of vegetable choice included...Leeks, onion, carrot, turnip, swede, celery, potato, b sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower)The beef was nice too. I'll leave the remaining portion on low and perhaps have it for lunch as a kind of soup with a bread bun.

I wasn't up to the walk to the afternoon Bingo session, I got outside and had walked only past a few houses and thought I can't do this...and head back home and ordered a taxi. I won £1(Big money)as I shared with someone else on a line. If I'd won on my own I was only £1 down using the taxi. A house would seen me breaking even after sharing a taxi home.

I had receipt from the supermarket saving 62p off my next shop so that almost paid for my loaf of bread coming home and I only had to find 12p. I've paid really but its like getting it for free.

Its milder/warmer tonight(indoors anyhow)I can tell that it is because as I am tapping on this keyboard I am not as wrapped up as usual and my hands are warm(no gloves required)and a quick look at the thermometer says 14c/58f but I have the bedroom door closed which helps.

The rest of the house will be warmer when I have new lined curtains up at the windows and new carpet laid. There are other little tricks you can make a home warmer...foil behind radiators, draping curtains behind them too. Some people put bubble wrap on windows. You can't see out the windows but...it only looks a bit like frosted glass. Modern window blinds work too.

I've nothing much planned for this week, the big night John Shuttleworth(actor Graham Fellows)at a local theatre on Saturday. Otherwise I'm on the town until then. Mainly at home. Perhaps out for 6-7 hours.

I'm thinking of having some of my home finally pulled around after the recent upgrade. I'll leave the big stuff until when the weather improves and I am also hopefully better off financially but I may have my hall, landing, dining room and the small bedroom painted.

I have some curtains for the hall which need hanging across the front door which again will add to the appearance, keep it warm and offer privacy as it will cover the panes of glass in the door and surround especially in the evenings. I tend to keep most curtains drawn especially at the front of the house. It helps to avoid getting caught by people who arrive by surprise(usually selling something)and if its an official they have to leave a card and rearrange a visit and it means I am more prepared.

Update:By 9.30am today I have had my second portion of beef stew already and enjoyed every mouthful. I may do some catching up of TV.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Exciting Weekend Ahead?

Not really. I can stay indoors except for approx 3-4 hours on Saturday and Sunday evening but I am being tempted out by finding the soups and turnip I could not find. I'd like some more food container boxes(nothing fancy)not bothered if they have lock down lids. I need some yeast to for my bread making.

Debating how far to go off town and which retailers to visit. I was amazed that Heron, Iceland, Tesco's stores that I tried didn't have any. There is a Farm Foods/ASDA approx 5 miles away so I am wondering if I should hop on a bus, its an hourly service in either direction and the bus stops virtually outside their shops.

Slept well but had strange dreams(mainly forgotten)but the last one had the actor Jim Dale in it and it was mainly about me trying to take photographs of him after I discovered I had my camera with me(which initially I thought I had forgotten)and then all the best times to get great images had passed. Why?

I've had coffee, toast and marmalade. Taken all my meds. Later I am thinking garlic and herb fish coated in bread crumbs with vegetables with a few roast potatoes that are leftovers from earlier in the week for my next meal in the afternoon. It will take perhaps 25mins in the small electric oven compartment(hopefully it doesn't use too much energy)I think that the thermostat drops every so often and being smaller oven there is less space to heat up.

I have to be on the way to Durham by 5.45pm because I won't get the theatre on time if I go later,

I think its another cold day but its not raining, snowing or windy so that's welcome.

Update:I have everything now. I was there on one bus, back on the next, I have turnip and soup. Yeast for my bread. I have lean beef mince so I think I will have a kind of stew which like a thick soup/hotpot anyhow. I will use the smaller slow cooker on for a couple of hours and add the mince later after I have browned it. Unless I decide to have diced beef*. Like many I think I shall wait until Monday being that I am out this evening and tomorrow night.

*I did and I have purchased some as I went to the theatre(could do with some chunky veg)Casserole type. I reckon I can get 6-10 meals out of what I have purchased in meat and with other ingredients I'm talking £1.50-£2 and I think thats quite good.

Friday, January 23, 2015

I Try To Avoid Painkillers...

so they don't lose their effect by becoming used to them but they can make a difference when they kick in. But I take strong ones. I really struggled when I went out but was determined I would take the bus and not pay for a taxi but I had to give in. Finally, the tablets worked but I was coming home by then and I had a free lift nearly to home.

I watched only a little TV. I was very pleased with my attempts of having a nice meal. It took little if any preparing. The longest item was the roast potatoes in the small oven(approx 60mins)but I cooked more than I needed so I have some for another meal. The vegetables only took approx 5mins the microwave. Instant gravy granules ready in seconds because I have a rapid boil kettle that I can boil really small amounts of water in(often less than the guide on the side of the kettle)

It all came out perfectly. Hot, tasty and the vegetables were the correct consistency,not hard, under cooked/overcooked)

I obviously haven't lost my culinary skills nor does cooking have to be complicated. You can cheat a lot. I would've been more than happy to share my meal with others.

I've never really eaten food associated with/celebrated Burns Night* and though I will avoid Haggis I am wondering if I can think of anything suitable to make for the event this Sunday. I don't do offal. I may at least raise a glass and have a whisky.

I have managed to throw out a fair amount of rubbish for the recycle collection today. I may attempt to put out a little more, there is time but I may be just as easy to wait until the next collection in a fortnight, its only cardboard packaging and a few plastic bottles, its not that much but perhaps seems as though it is because its been needing to be thrown out for a couple of years. By the next time the wheelie bin may be usable and that will make it easier to put out and will give me a container to save things up for a month or two before putting it out.

I think I will go to the supermarket in a few minutes and buy some sliced leeks(they're as cheap as buying Fresh leeks)that need cutting and washing and turnip too. I would like some Yorkshire Puddings again. Its not worth making them. I will do a wash whilst I am out when I return I will have a quick look at any food that needs using up/throwing out and then take the rest of the day easy.

As I have made the effort to get up and do something and had a good sleep I think I really will watch some daytime TV for a change.

I made the effort to watch some new TV series' when I came in last night and I could become a regular viewer but I cannot be bothered to become addicted to what I watched. One favourite that I do watch "Gotham" was taken off after only half a series aired and the TV station is rebroadcasting them again so its going to be nearly another three months before it resumes and a comedy series I watch has been played over and over again daily but the new series has only reached episode nine(I think)and though its been off since last year, I caught a new one and then was told its taking a break for a while so again, old episodes are airing but the new one comes to an end abruptly.

A quick search suggest that whisky is a must, that I could start with scotch broth or cock a leekie soup, then choose any type of meal that has Beef or Venison and accompany it with lots of root vegetables like "Neeps" and "Tatties" If I can find it I know I have some whisky marmalade or honey somewhere in the house.

Update:What a cold day it is out there, no matter how many layers of clothing you have on, you are freezing, you can feel the ice in the wind but so far no rain, sleet or snow. I don't know if its because of Burns Night but I could not find any frozen turnip or cans of Scotch Broth/Cock a leekie soup. I found everything else on my list.

When I came home it looked as though my rubbish had not been collected and I almost brought it back into the hose until the next time but luckily I that I didn't, they came around again an hour or so later and took it away.

I have watched the last of the new series of Father Brown on TV and am about to watch two old Westerns starring Robert Mitchum/Marilyn Monroe followed by one with James Stewart. Then I shall have a cosy evening in bed listening to BBC Radio 2.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Wednesday Turned Out To Be...

A Lazy Day...weather wise it started out horrible. The snow eventually cleared but wet and if you didn't have to go out, one worth staying in.

I've been tempted to go and see Count Arthur Strong(A character played by actor Steve Delaney)in March appearing at a local theatre and been talked into it by Twitter pals. There are still 63 seats remaining even though I'd be quite a long way back in the stalls the views and sound is still good. Its rare that I am further back than the first five rows. I never choose the front row.

In a previous post I mentioned that my love of food has resurfaced(it was never far away)so having said that I shall add my George Foreman Grill and Mandolin slicer to the kitchen I am going to add a small slow cooker for when the larger one isn't required. I did not realise how it is. I have cleaned up a hardly used and in good working order, sandwich toaster which I can use to make quick snacks.

I mentioned that there was no room for my food processor, well I am thinking of trying to find a small high table to put that on or may as I rarely use it, put it on the table in the dining room which is very close to the kitchen. Then everything is in easy reach and is used. Most of what I own doesn't use a lot of electricity and during Summer many meals are buffet type like salads etc...I cook hot meals mainly between October and April. I use just about every kitchen gadget that I own.

I am thinking of baking my own bread again...because I can and for fun. If I can work out the bread machine without its manual I may use that(looking for the manual online)or use the little oven that's part of the cooker. I hear that you can also bake bread in a slow cooker. I'm still thinking mainly of Soda and the one where you keep the yeast going in a jar(I've forgotten what that's called)often bread can be made quickly and does not always need to be kneaded.

Today I will clear some items so they can go out for recycling on Friday, tonight its the little bingo club. The weeks fly by.

I've decided as I can go to the Brass Band concert in Durham via Bishop Auckland on Saturday, I will leave my little shop until then, perhaps bet there for 4pm(early enough)that way I can pop into the discount shops(hope there are some bargains and more plates to match what I purchased a week ago)put them in my knapsack catch a bus from there around 5.30pm and arrive in Durham City perhaps by 6.30pm and be at the theatre for when the doors open at 7pm and I think I could be out before 10pm and on the way home by 10.15pm. That way I still have most of Saturday at home.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It Did Get Better...

But yesterday wasn't particularly enjoyable. I dragged myself to a neighbouring town and found everything I wanted to buy was unavailable. It was a waste of three hours. I could've stayed closed to home and purchased vegetables and my TV listings magazine.

I tried to find the two colours of tinsel I was short of, some wafers I promised to get a friend who liked them at Christmas(they no longer stock them)and I purchase more plates/bowls but the branch that I went into didn't have them.

I was tired when I came home so took to my bed. I should've taken some pain killers but try to do without if possible.

I have had toast, marmalade and coffee already. Tonight's evening meal is virtually sorted and just needs putting on the plate perhaps a little reheating. Roast potatoes, vegetables, lamb and gravy followed by a comforting dessert(something like apple pie and custard or creamed riced pudding)costing around £1.50 for the whole meal. Cooked in the slow cooker(meat and potatoes)and microwave(vegetables*/dessert)

I am thinking of adding to the kitchen my Mandoline slicer, George Foreman Grill and second(smaller)slow cooker. It offers me various combinations for the preparation of meals and cooking of them. )Only three items remain in their boxes(in a cupboard)a food processor/a juicer and a Soda Stream.

I went along to the Music Club and we were entertained by a local group called "Loose Connection" There is a great music gig tonight starring "The Happy Cats" reluctantly I am probably going to pass on that show. I have seen them three or four times in the past couple of years, its cold and the weather could turn icy and I can save a little money. I will probably regret later that I haven't. But it can be difficult getting home from the venue.

*That's more like steaming them.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Day And Night Indoors...

They tell me the weather has been bad here today. I have no idea, I had a late night and slept most of the day away. Now everyone has cried off from our usual Sunday night bingo, I could go alone but I won't we don't miss many and to be honest I quite like having a Sunday in. Its a good night for radio listening. And bed is cosy.

May have something nice to eat later or just toast and marmalade. Still getting ready to post a review of sorts of the shows on Friday and yesterday.

Update:I'll combine Monday with Sunday's post. As it was another slow day. I looked out in the early hours and could not decide if we had ice or snow laying down but my goodness nothing like other parts of the world or the UK have had or are experiencing but I wouldn't fancy trying to walk on it.

And yet by lunchtime there was no sign of it, I didn't feel good for walking still so called a taxi. Sometimes you just have to give in and put yourself ahead of money. Not going out yesterday evening I saved money so I just transferred it and it paid for my bingo session, my small shop when I came home(milk and salad items, kale)I managed to get a lift back to the shops so avoided the cost of a return taxi or waiting for a bus.

It was a day of bacon sandwiches and toast with marmalade. Nothing I really wanted to watch on TV(I have broke the habit again)so inbetween sleeping, I have been listening to the radio and keeping cosy in bed. Today may be the same, I don't fancy doing much when its very cold, I have some lamb shoulder cooking in the slow cooker. I may turn that into a stew or cut it into slices, store what I don't use in a food box and either have a few meals from it or put it into sandwiches. It was reduced when I purchased it.

I have some TV and radio to catch up on via the internet. An undemanding little "whodunnit" type series on similar lines to Agatha Christie's mysteries written by GK Chesterton(rathere based on the character of)Father Brown. They are appearing on BBC TV in the afternoons but I seem to miss them and they deserve to be seen in the evenings in a peak slot in the schedule but with catch up its not a problem.

I missed series one and two but an actor in the series informs me that when this series ends this week series two will air again. Lets hope they do the same with series one. They are on DVD but I rarely buy DVD's and watch where I spend my money. I think the setting and detail of costumes etc...are pleasing on the eye and the cast are well chosen. I do wonder how they manage to make them toi a constantly high standard and pull them together in seemingly such a short amount of time.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Very Quick Post...

I found all the colours that I was missing in tinsel at a branch of Wilkinsons in Durham except blue and green. I saw the show at the theatre(More on that later)

I bused into Bishop Auckland and the Wilkinsons there had very little tinsel left and what I already had. I found my electric socket extensions at a branch of the store that I was going to in Darlington so I did not need to go there early.

At the same place I found some lovely bowls, side and dinner plates and two of each only came to £5. I had chipped a plate the other night when a mug fell on it. The mug did not break but the plate did. Pity they did not have any matching cups/saucers.

I said that I was buying cheaper toilet paper but I found some better quality(3ply)being sold for the same price too.

I am now heading out for show number two and time is tight...speak soon...

Update:A disaster turned out OK...I waited for around 15 minutes for a bus, on a route saving me a longer walk(I was tired)I put my arm out in good time to flag it down and being a nice straight road, any driver has a good view of anyone wanting to board. The driver did not put his indicator on to say that he was pulling in to pick me up, I even moved towards the road and made a lot of movement and still he drove past with an empty bus and someone standing at the Driver's cab talking with him. For a split second I thought he had realised as he did pull up but then went on his way again.

I had to give in and go to the stop I had tried to avoid. Fortunately a bus did arrive after ten minutes and that driver saw me, saying that I should report him, I haven't decided yet. The bus arrived in time for the theatre show but if there had been no bus scheduled to arrive as soon the next was too late. I would have had to get a taxi. However, when I alighted from the bus another was parked in front and hadn't pulled away, that it goes past the theatre so I was able to board it and save another walk. In the end missing the first bus did me a favour.

Coming home the driver of the bus I was rushing for saw that I was struggling but was also quite near and waited for me. That's the difference between drivers. Most are OK and look after me. In the evening with traffic being light, buses less frequent the time can be made up easily. Normally I get on great with all of them and most have time for a chat. I think they like the fact that I treat them with respect. Most know me quite well.

I'll write about the shows I saw later today...I'm going to get nice and cosy in bed. And do very little today.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

OK Today I Was Aches And Pains...

but last evening the effort to reach Durham and see the musical "Anything Goes" was worth it. The Gala theatre never ceases to amaze me, the range of productions it secures and how it adapts the venue to suit whatever they are showing.

Basically it is an upper circle and stalls plan but wherever you are you get a good view and good sound.

I have seen a live event relayed onto a big screen.

And last night they had removed the first three rows of seating from the stalls and made an orchestra pit. When I first went into the theatre I wondered where my seat was because I was in row "D" and my impression when I booked was that rows A-C had been booked, it turned out because of the band, my row was the front and I was practically centre of the row so I had a perfect view of the production.

It was performed by the Durham University Light Opera Group(that has existed for around 80 years)and it was a quality production, the chorus is important to any musical but there was at least one performer that we can safely say will make it into show business and appear in lead roles and I suspect there will be talent spotters/agents watching. The music and dance routines were great even if the story is paper thin. Then again its a vehicle for the music and dance.

Thankfully the weather was kind going but was horrible coming home. It was raining and very windy but then again Durham gets windy anyhow if the weather turns bad. It was luck that we were not getting sleet or snow. It really blows you around when you hit the more open spaces such as outside the theatre and walking across Framwellgate Bridge. For all that there were a few women braving the weather and dressed in the stereotypical way that many talk about of people who inhabit North East England wearing short tops and skirts and showing a lot of flesh. I was well wrapped up against the cold.

I wasn't sure that I was going to make it to the bus station in time for the bus which would've meant an hour's wait in the bus station but I made it with minutes to spare(getting blown around a fair bit)and when mobility is poor and you are using a walking stick, its even more of a problem.

Today I took it very easy and stayed indoors.

Tomorrow its worked out that I have two shows to see...a lunch time jam session in Durham and a 40th anniversary show by the Houghton Weavers in Darlington in the evening. My plans are if I am up to it...

Travel to Bishop Auckland and see if I can find any tinsel in green, blue, red and pink at some shops that may have some still in stock and reduced in price. Then catch a bus from there to Durham to see the show but if I have been unsuccessful on finding tinsel, there is another branch of one store in Durham on the way to the theatre. I no longer bother about buying the best toilet paper either. There's only me, it lasts ages and I can buy 6-8 rolls for as little as £1.  After the show I can get a bus home, drop my gear off and perhaps have a snack.

Then I will catch a bus to Darlington and do the same again if I have been unable to get the tinsel, I will buy my electric extensions* and one of the shops** I plan to visit doesn't close until 7pm so I can stay warm and it is situated near to the theatre and with the new traffic layout there are shortcuts to the venue and back to the bus stop afterwards. I can rest whilst watching the concert and be ready to get to the bus stop and get my bus home.

And if the weather is bad on Saturday I shall stay close to home until I go out to the Brass Band show in Ferryhill on the evening. I can catch a bus reasonably easily before the event and I have my taxi booked at the end of the concert.

It has worked out quite well how both the shows for today and shopping trip have come together. And the show tomorrow has fallen into place.

*If memory serves me correctly and its large enough I believe a branch exists in Bishop Auckland and if I can get what I need there I may be able to go to Darlington even later than planned.

**TKMax A store I have never entered until around Christmas even thjough its been in Darlington for years. I always thought it was a fashion store but it sells more than that.

I have perhaps come up with a better idea for my day out...Firstly go to Durham at 11am or earlier(shop and see the show)travel to Bishop Auckland if I cannot get what I want, then either go straight to Darlington or drop off here and go to Darlington later than planned. That way I get an extra couple of hours before going out and I don't have to hang around in Darlington as long. How good is that?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

There Are Still Kind People Out There...

I decided to book a taxi to the Music Club earlier, the weather was cold, flurries of snow and ice on the paths. I promised one for 8.30pm, at the latest 8.40pm at 8.55pm when I phoned I got an apology and was told they weren't coming for me! A kind person going into the supermarket asked if I was alright going in...coming out he offered to take me home or as it happened to the club. Turned out that he had been to see a friend in hospital a fair distance away and though he is a minister in a church in a neighbouring town(approx eight and a half miles away)he lives on my town.

I was getting very cold waiting around for the taxi.

It was a good night at the club. It always is. The club hosts cricket and football matches for a local team and they were out in that horrible weather tonight. They had baked some spare jacket potatoes and brought them into our club, I had one with baked beans.

Considering I was planning on having one when I came in from the club with cheese/bacon filling and baked beans. I have not had to do that now. So I can have that later today before heading out to see the musical in Durham.

I hope that the weather is better by then. Though compared to many areas my town is still having a reasonable Winter...so far.

I called off the planned trip on Monday I will do some of the shop on the way to the bus to Durham and obtain the remaining item eventually. I can manage without for quite a long time.

That's as exciting as it gets unless something unexpected happens for good or bad.

Monday, January 12, 2015

I Spoke Too Soon...

about the weather...Its continued off and on over the weekend and into today. Earlier on I was blown around a fair bit and almost opted for a taxi to get me to the Monday bingo club but I stuck at it and used the bus and with a very small couple of wins it reduced the amount I spent. I was only £1.90 out of pocket.

I can hear the wind more around the home as I have said because the new combi boiler's flue must have a different design and it blows down the chimney. At least the airing cupboard where it is has a door you can close and its self contained.

You may've seen my spend on Christmas items in the last week or two. I have saved a lot and what I purchased are still bargains but you never know when you buy if items will be reduced further in price, that the items you like will remain on the shelves because others have purchased them or the shop removes them because they don't want to reduce them any more or they want to bring in new stock not associated with Christmas.

However, a lot of what I purchased was still available today and come down even more so I would have saved perhaps another £10 but I still should not feel bad having saved what I did.

I found some decent tinsel which will finish off my Christmas Tree I paid £1.49 for six different colours(12metres)originally I would paid another £4.75. I also have a glitter tree star for the top of the tree worth £1 for 50p.

I don't know what has happened but the quartz wall clock in the living room, the battery ran out of power. I put a new battery into it(which is ok until 2017)and for some reason it is gaining 30 minutes for every three hours that it runs. So I found another clock today, its smaller and cost £1.99. If the original continues to play up I will switch to the new one. If they both go wrong, at that price I won't feel robbed and I am not bothered about buying an expensive one anyhow.

These days you have access to the time on mobile phones, computers, radios, TV's...just about anything. Even should I change the wall clock, I may still see if the original will work in my bedroom. I don't know why location should affect how a clock runs but stranger things have happened.

On the food front, I am eating better and more regularly again. Sometimes healthy foods, other times the meals are still good even if a bit sparing on the green stuff. Last evening within 15 minutes of coming home I had a hot meal of baked beans, sliced chicken breast, potato and bacon bites(mainly potato, I couldn't even see any bacon)and a wholemeal bap. Followed by a small and light in calories dessert.

Rediscovering the small oven built into the main cooker has been helpful and given me another option in the kitchen alongside the microwaves.

So much choice foodwise...people can laugh...let them...when getting my Christmas stuff and clock I found two jacket potatoes with cheese and bacon filling reduced to 88p(Two meals 44p each)I can always add some baked beans.

Update:With the amount of decent sleep I have had I got up in the night and did some housework...the outhouse is almost clear of untidiness and rubbish. I can access the recycle bins and crates again so hopefully some items will go in there. My booze will stay in there(not in the house)and most of the time it is cold out there and reasonably dark. Rubbish is in the passage alongside the house and again I hope I can put that into normal rubbish collections over the coming weeks but some items may have to be taken away specially and that will  cost money so I hope that I can make any collection worthwhile.

All pots/pans/crockery/dishes and cleaning products are now in the kitchen cupboards and out of sight. Some equipment that there is no room for, may have to be placed in the pantry.

Later today(its now Tuesday)I may have a look out for a very small shopping trip(in a neighbouring town)I am able to get a three way electrical socket extension for as little as £1 each and a couple of those could be very handy. A friend had some little highlighter pens and for some reason they have dried out so I'll get him so more(they are only £1 for ten)for some reason my pens have not dried out.

And at Christmas he liked some chocolate mint wafer biscuits so I'll get him a tin of those(again they only cost £1)they are really meant to be put into ice cream when its served in a little serving dish or one of those tall glasses. He likes them as they are. I guess that means I shall only be spending £4 and half of that on someone else.

I have a mild case of gout so I will go back on the meds for a couple of days. Its a bit tricky but the brass band concert on Saturday to avoid adding a lot of extra cost I shall have to leave early and catch the last bus that stops almost outside of the venue. Hang around probably for 30 mins until the doors open.

The last bus back to where I can catch one home could be after 11pm and mean hanging around for ages so if that is the case I shall catch a taxi back into the town centre and connect with a bus that runs more regularly(though only once an hour)but at least I am only using the taxi one way. And back to my town which would really increase the cost of the evening. If you are not near a main bus route going out without your own transport isn't easy.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

How Lovely To Have Virtual Silence...

After two or three days and nights of gale force winds. I may have double glazing but I could still hear it. Heaven knows what it was like in other parts of the UK where it was even worse. I was fortunate that I am able to avoid going out at all. Many are not.

I hear strong winds more in my home since they installed the combi boiler in the airing cupboard next to my bedroom. And after many hours it gets annoying.

I have stayed indoors today and been cosy in my bed but may have a night of watching movies in the lounge, cook a nice meal for tea and start cooking/preparing my buffet for tomorrow night.

Resting and being warm has helped me physically so hopefully I will be ready for my week of being out more most evenings which I mentioned in an earlier post four nights of musical entertainment, a lunchtime jam session and a small bingo session between Tuesday and Saturday. I have to pace myself.* Thankfully buses/taxis get me virtually from door to door and if I have to walk it is not too much distance and there are seats where I can rest along the way.

I am hopeful that most of my house work(Clearing the outhouse)will be completed before the weekend is out. Getting rid of it is the biggest problem if I have to pay for it to be removed(there is some old carpet and backing)the rest I may be able to have taken away in the recycle bins etc...All my pots and pans, cutlery, crockery etc...and cleaning items are in the kitchen cupboards and pantry.

Spare food is in one of the inbuilt wardrobes in a bedroom(in crates)away from any chance of rodents. Most of that food is canned anyhow.

The rest are in the remaining cupboards/drawers/pantry. Fresh goods in the fridge/freezer. All my kitchen equipment except for my food processor is now in the Kitchen. I don't need much of a preparation area when cooking for one. And I can work on the draining board or on top of the cooker if its not being used.

Still thinking of having a basic microwave in my bedroom for quick snacks especially during the Winter seeing that I have a kettle upstairs too. I haven't bothered with a toaster...yet!

Its no different to anyone living in a flat or a bedsit. And with all the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms wired into the house, perfectly safe.

*My illnesses, conditions and disabilities will not improve, they will get worse and I have no idea what the future holds if any of us do. I have kidney disease, medication has slowed down what I fear the outcome will be on that score, my immune system is shot and again that is helped by meds, the meds have probably played their part in causing other problems and we're playing one off against the other.

I have one leg shorter than the other, it hurts and does not always do what it should, the other locks and the same applies, it clicks and sticks and hurts like hell to get it moving again and I suspect my uneven gate when attempting to walk is playing havoc with my hip joints and lower back which are making noises that suggest bones are crumbling and/or wearing out. My left arm has limited movement and cannot be fully raised. But like everyone you do what you can. These past few days of rest have made a difference and I will have to do the same many times in the future I am sure. Also fatigue and tiredness,

Update:That toaster I was thinking of having upstairs is now reality. I took at look at the old one that I had ditched and had been outside my home since the house was upgraded around September/October. Cleaned it up and its practically as good as new and working fine, kind of happy I didn't throw it out now. So I have the newish one in the kitchen. A spare for when one fails(but that is a four slice toaster)those in use are both two slice toasters.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Its Strange...

I've had a night where I did not go to bed but I'm not tired nor cold. The amount of sleep I have had recently I cannot complain. If I wish I can have a nap in the afternoon. Making more progress on clearing out rubbish and tidying after the house upgrade last year.

A lot could be completed before the day is out but I am going at a leisurely pace.

I'll miss a fair few and there could be only a few remaining. I do wonder how many I have missed but I had no idea that another channel had taken up the showing of the western TV series Gunsmoke and in the early evening. A search on the internet tells me this was the final season and I think there are only around 18 to air. And as I am out quite a lot in the next couple of weeks sadly I'll miss around 12 of them.

Ironically, Gunsmoke has been airing on the CBS delivered TV series in Europe via Freeview/Freesat and it did air on that network in the States. Last evening on one of the breaks which Tru Movies 2 did not take as it might've in the States originally a caption came on screen with the CBS logo saying Sponsors message and that's where an engineer would've played in a pre-recorded advertisement. It has been running on another channel that I am unable to access Turner Classic Movies. In fact a few movie channels are including TV programmes in their schedules.

However, the series does seem to be doing the rounds across many stations so I'll probably see them all, eventually. What I don't know as yet is whether the stations have or plan to run the whole series or if each has the rights to only certain seasons. Also some stations show some episodes that look pale and worn. Others seem to have stock that looks as though they have been remastered. Lately the same situation has been happening with the Sci-fi series Star Trek.

At present we are being treated to a re-screening of the British TV series(in B/W)from the 1960's of The Avengers.

Tonight the little bingo club that I attend starts again so I guess this means that things are finally back to normal after Christmas.

Update:Like the Python "Dead Parrot" sketch, my laptop is similarly disposed. It will cost so much to repair, I am thinking and it won't be easy, lets have a new one. Glad that I have a computer expert to help me.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Plans Change...

minuscule changes I'll grant you. Its cold and blustery "out there" I planned to be out between 8am-9am posting New Year cards and picking up my very inexpensive TV/Radio listings magazine. Then homeward bound...now I may go out between 3pm and 4pm.

I had a late breakfast of jam on granary bread toast and a coffee(plus my meds)Its likely I'll have a simple snack later using up what I have in the fridge. No plans for purchasing any food.

I have become a fan of Father Brown the series running the afternoon daily over the next three weeks. So I may watch it live today. I have watched the first few online.

Its going to be a quiet day and only something unexpected will change things.

Update:As my leftover food is still OK I am using up a fair bit of stuff. Comes down to cold temperatures in the fridge/freezer, the pantry and kitchen in general prolonging the life of food. Probably added preservatives that a lot of food contains these days, food lasting longer than the dates manufacturers put on their food for legal and safety reasons and also using the good old tested skills many had to use for centuries...the smell, taste, look and feel of food.

Quite excited as I am going to have something I haven't had in years...sliced banana with custard.

Hey, Its Wednesday...

A final shop for Christmas crackers. Whilst I was there they were reducing takeaway stuff and I managed to get Cornish pasties, sausage rolls and cooked chicken worth £6 for 80p. That was a bargain. OK for quick snacks in the coming days.

When I came in from the Music Club I had the remainder of my ham baps but added tomato, peas pudding and iceberg lettuce so virtually a salad sandwich.

It was a cold one yesterday so I stayed closed to home and wrapped up well. However, I misplaced my bus pass and this week I felt well enough to walk to the bus stop if I took my time and save the cost of a taxi to the Music Club but I couldn't find the pass. Later on I did after two and a half hours and had probably walked past it a number of times. So I had to go to the club by taxi in the end. I knew it that it had to be in the house because I managed to get home from the concert yesterday and had used it then.

The good news is because I was late into the Music Club I won a prize with the raffle tickets I purchased. From a local brewery based at a local pub a few miles away but difficult to get to without your own transport and I rarely go into a pub, let alone on my own anyhow. There are three in the box. I'd guess that they are worth at least £6 and my tickets cost me £2.

I haven't looked at the TV since coming home and instead even though its late I'm going to watch some dowloads on the computer and get nice and cosy in bed. Its just starting to feel a little bit chilly. I think I shall do a hot water bottle too. I have a couple of cookery programmes showing inexpensive easy meals and snacks that I could probably manage and a couple of small dramas with the character Father Brown which is someone I do not remember ever reading or watching before but I have a feeling that years ago I may have listened to some radio drama's based on the character. 

I don't mind having a late night because I have had a lot of sleep these past three or four days and I can have a lie in, in the morning.

Still no sign of my laptop returning and now this desktop has crashed a couple of times and telling me one the drivers isn't behaving so it could fail any moment. Either way if the laptop comes back or has to be replaced, I may have to have this one looked at as well.

Later today I think that I shall cook either my gammon joint or the Turkey one in the oven(now I know it has both a small one as well as the large one)or use the slow cooker . And start using them in sandwiches, salads or meat, vegetable and gravy type meals. Today is a good day because I have no plans for going anywhere.

Monday, January 05, 2015

A New Week Begins...

Not a bad start unless something nasty comes through the mail...

Had a decent sleep. About to have a coffee. I will wait until later in the afternoon and have one of my ham baps remaining from last night perhaps two.

I have managed some more tidying up around the home and have some old carpet and backing to dispose of. Probably tomorrow I shall bring into the hose more of my crockery and cleaning items from the outhouse and put them into the kitchen cupboards.

The worry about two theatre shows clashing has been successfully sorted. I can now see both. I switched the musical Anything Goes to a Wednesday instead of Saturday so I can see the local Ferryhill Town Band and a special guest on the Saturday now.

That will be busy week then because there is my music club on the town on the Tuesday, Anything Goes on the Wednesday, little Bingo club on the Thursday, Friday a lunchtime jazz session with Djangologie and then in the evening the 40th anniversary concert with The Houghton Weavers finishing with James Stretton and the Ferryhill Town Band.

Tonight I am seeing the New Year In Vienna Concert so I will pop into the supermarket on the way for the bus and buy a few small items and put them in my backpack(a couple of felt pens for marking CD/DVD's)a small jar of coffee and two small boxes of those Christmas decorations. Perhaps a bottle of water.

Tonight when I come in I'll catch up on some cards I need to post because I missed sending Christmas cards to a few people so I am sending New Year cards out.

Update:My final Christmas shop ended up including Christmas crackers(unless I buy tinsel next December)I will keep them away from heat but though I have no one to pull crackers with in general...I know they can look nice amongst Christmas Tree decorations so to go with the lights and decs I got these at half price. In total I have saved on everything in recent days £55. Suspect all I have will outlast me and not need replacing.

Also back safe and sound from a lovely concert of Viennese music to let you forget all your cares and think of times gone by. Some favourites included in the selection but some lesser known pieces included too. The new road layout in Darlington town centre may/may not have been improved since the road works have been completed.

I haven't seen it completed until tonight. Nor driven on it but there are more pedestrian crossings which saves a fair bit of walking which when you have mobility issues is very welcome and coming back to the town for my bus from the theatre it was easier than it has been in years. I have more chance of making it to the bus stop than usual.

The truth is that I struggled getting there but was better on the return trip even though there was a hint of leg cramp. As late as it is I was quite hungry so I had some more ham baps but added some tomato and peas pudding. I also had a couple of chicken noodle cup a soups too. I was prepared to have a look around the TV channels to see if anything took my fancy but gave up and went to bed where its cosy and I expect I'll doze off quite quickly and I'm listening to the BBC World Service.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

I Gave In...

Well, everything was reduced and cost half or less than the original price. I started with some mini Christmas Tree Decorations. I am careful when choosing but a couple have got slightly scratched but rather than go back to change them I'll turn the scratches inward when on the tree and being reduced to £1(that was not the reason)I'm not complaining. 

The gold ones were reduced to 50p(that's 160 decorations for £6)a saving of £10. It may've happened when a box fell on my head and onto the floor and they may've bumped against each other in the container. Perhaps when I open them next Christmas when I put them away I'll wrap them in tissue paper to protect them in future.

Then I thought that I had better buy a Tree. That was half price. Its a 6ft re-useable tree.

Finally, after finding more cracks in some of my coffee/tea mugs, I came across some mugs reduced to 50p but worth £2 each(saved £6) Sadly, they had sold out of the red ones. I decided against the pink coloured ones. I also found a set of stackable mugs worth £8 selling for £4 so saved £4. I will use my older mugs first and keep these all back for best or as replacements.

All I need now are some lights for the tree and/or to decide if I need any for the lounge. I don't think I can be doing with lights that constantly go on and off. Its too late for this year but if I find any lights on offer in the next day or two I'll buy them so I am ready for next year. If I am still here I will put the tree in the hall or in the lounge(if the latter probably in the corner beside/behind the TV)That way its near a power socket and being near the TV I'll see it. 

There's only me after all, I nearly didn't bother but then I thought why not, lets not be Scrooge like. Even if its twelve months away.

Update:I have some lights...couldn't decide on a single colour and which so went for multi coloured LED lights and as they were half price and most people I've talked to think a few could be lost on a 6ft Christmas Tree I purchased three sets(each have 100 on them)If there are too many I may have small tree in the hall or keep one set back in case one fails in the future. As my tree decorations are small I may buy two final boxes(that's only another £1.50)Then I'm sorted.

Friday, January 02, 2015

A Day Like Yesterday...

But I will post anyhow...

Watched a old western(off and on)did not give it my full attention and kept missing some. "How The West Was Won" I have prepared a kind of meal(not sure what to call it)diced beef and onion, sliced b sprouts and carrots, broccoli, garlic with gravy topped with mashed potato. Later, perhaps some Christmas Pud with hot Cornish custard. Most of my meals are one course and cost approx £1-£2. Tonight this will cost an enormous £4.30 approx if I don't halve the portions.

Debating whether to it in a pot type dish in the microwave for 12-15 minutes or leave it in the foil dish I have used putting it into the main oven for upto an hour. That's more expensive. If I learn how to use my combination microwave being smaller I could probably cook such a meal in there and for a change not use the microwave facility and being smaller it will cook quicker.

If I am using the main stove tonight I will guess how long to cook it for and the temp by going from the experience of cooking ready meals. I am thinking 190c.

I want to go out but its dark and I have no reason to. I'd only be going to a supermarket if I did. I won't bother. Perhaps tomorrow...I may go and collect tickets I have purchased for shows in 2015. Already I think one clashes and I will have to drop one(luckily one ticket is only reserved)I did not realise because the stock of physical tickets were not available when I booked and my purchases are on their computer.

Update:There was enough for two meals and I changed the dessert to an apple pie instead of Christmas Pud. I cast a shadow over the images. They may not look special but they tasted good.

The beef dish before being eaten.

A portion of it on a dinner plate.

Apple pie and Cornish vanilla custard.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

What Can I Say?

A day for sleeping/staying cosy. Its horrible out there, blustery, wet and dark. I had planned to watch films I had not seen in years Ben Hur or The Big Country and watched neither. I started watching a new animated computer driven version of Tin Tin and watched half of it and got distracted and never got back to it.

I'm half listening to a radio drama that has taken over BBC Radio 4 for most of the day of Tolstoy's War and Peace but I need to give it the attention it deserves so will listen over coming days at my leisure.

Cooking diced beef in the slow cooker for use in perhaps a stew or something over the weekend. I've just been eating what's left of the buffet from yesterday. It was quite mild indoors without the central heating yesterday and earlier in the day but even with double glazing/wall insulation and better doors tonight its quite cold but with plenty of blankets, hot water bottles and warm drinks I will soon be warm again.

The only thing I really want to see tonight and I think I will be able to give my full attention to is a network premiere of Dark Knight one in the ongoing series featuring Batman(I have missed many in the series)and haven't seen this one.