Random Jottings Of Gildersleeve

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Location: United Kingdom

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What Goes Around Comes Around...

What's happened since Friday...well, I don't think that I have nothing to fear from my visit to see my Uncle but it went better than I thought that it may. Still could be damaged financially or emotionally only time will tell in coming years. However not going into details it went better than expected and there was some closure. I'd be telling lies that I am not worried what the future holds and its all down to "blastered" money...I wish that it wasn't. I don't like that it is. Its the worry that I won't have enough to get by, that changes are coming that I cannot change and that I will have to make myself poor to hopefully receive help again. And a little windfall which it really is will mean I have lost half my income.

If I do not spend it wisely and follow all the rules and have receipts to prove it wasn't spent frivolously I will see no benefit whatsoever. And then I have to reapply for help but be practically insolvent. No safety net. If I don't I will still be in that situation but perhaps within 18mths anyhow.

I have talked to the relevant departments and spending is the best of the worst options. So I'm thinking as mobility is am issue and likely to get worse...a mobility scooter(me of all people)decorating of the house all the way through, new lounge furniture, vacuum cleaner, a bed, perhaps a stair lift, carpets, curtains(Perhaps a chair and bed could be more fancy than usual)you know the kind they advertise without a price next to the illustration but are good for you if you have medical ailments. That will see the capital reduce. I'd have liked it there for emergencies, my retirement but its too little to last me for years especially as it will otherwise go on utility bills, rent, council tax and food.

This way I see some benefit.

When done visitors will say "He's doing alright!" But its all cosmetic and none of us know what the future holds for any of us.

I got home on Friday and was quite worn out by the afternoon with my Uncle. I went to bed. I discovered the following day I should've not have been in bed but at the theatre in Durham watching a show I had booked months ago so I missed it.

Saturday, I couldn't get peace so took myself off to Newcastle just because I could(and had a bus pass)There really wasn't that much to do and I did not want to spend money, walk around shops looking at what I do not need, I popped into my first Waitrose and though just my opinion I found everything overpriced and not very exciting. I popped into M&S the following day in Durham and found the same to be true of their food(I haven't been in their food hall in years)The quality is there but I'll only spend it there(again)if certain items are reduced on offer or because the sell by date is looming.

I spent around 3-4 hours in Newcastle city centre and came home, not sure how I filled the time. I did spend a little, came home with some beef mince, bread, strawberries and kale. I came home around 8.30pm and had to wait to connect with a bus at Durham and hang around for almost an hour and though not a busy time that bus arrived twenty minutes late for some reason. People were starting to worry it was not going to show. So I got home around 10.30pm.

Sunday I got it into my head to go and see a Palm Sunday service at Durham Cathedral and missed my bus by 30 seconds and with Sunday service I was going to give up and come home. Then I thought I'd be clever and take a bus to a place called Sedgefield and if lucky connect to another bus to Durham. I did. However, two arrived within minutes of each other and they both arrived after a thirty minute wait. Had they been a little earlier I would've made the service at the cathedral but by the time I arrived in Durham and slowly reached the cathedral the service had been going for over 30 minutes. I probably could've gone into it late but decided not to.

I was quite tired so slowly made my way back to the bus station and found a reduced chicken for five reduced in price(that will do a few meals/snacks and sandwiches)and in M&S I found some casserole beef reduced and if all is handled carefully that should give me approx 7-12 meals for around £1 per day. So perhaps not bad value.

When in Newcastle I came home with some thick Chinese noodles from the Chinese Supermarket, I have been putting them in with my homemade soup to help bulk it up and you do get a lot for 99p.

Sunday evening whilst I can afford to(I hope that I always will)I went with my friends to the bingo and turn night)and I'll never be in pocket but I did win on a Domino card...£20 and that paid for my night and the chicken and beef. I was still out of pocket on the mince, bread, strawberries and kale.

However on Monday at the afternoon bingo with the elderly I spent £6.10(bingo/raffle and taxi home)but won £4 so I was only £2.10 out of pocket. And that £4 was a bit like getting some money back on the food I purchased on Saturday. In the end I broke even I guess.

After bingo on Monday I caught a bus back to Durham and as I traveled there the weather turned horrible with lots of torrential rain, I took a short cut to the cathedral(never again)it wasn't much of a short cut and lots of steps but I had gone so far it wasn't worth turning back. I was "Knackered" by the time I reached the Cathedral. Why did I go?

There was an evening service of contemplation and prayer that has been offered since the days of monastic life. The Compline addresses will be given by the Rt Revd Martin Wharton, former Bishop of Newcastle. Perhaps 40 of us attended and we sat in the choir stalls. It was very interesting and very stripped back without any pomp. An address, prayers and hymns unaccompanied.

I struggled going back to the bus station and it took me at least an hour to get there and I haven't seen the city so deserted. Any resturant or pub was lucky if they had a handful of customers, many did not, newsagents and supermarkets practically empty and the rain just kept on coming. Durham makes its money during the Summer with tourists and light evenings, weekends with the people who go clubbing. I won't be spending money in the pubs/clubs and restaurants, most charge far too much. I can make three or four meals for perhaps a fiver but last night a one course meal was £10.

I did well to reach home and where I went straight to bed and slept. My back had started to really ache and was screaming...reminded me of how I felt when I first went down with kidney problems almost twenty years ago. At least I am managing to sleep. I was going to go out today but there isn't any point. Have done some more tidying, eaten some home made soup and will have some more later. More like a stew to be honest, lots of vegetables and added chicken* and noodles.

I am out tonight,  Nothing is free but you really could not have a cheaper night. Usually just a drink, a raffle and nothing more. Tonight a cover charge of £2 and a specific act booked.

*Cheap chicken thighs(six for £3)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Not Looking Forward To Today...

Do not see a good outcome and probably is likely to be the last time I shall see my closest relative who has made my life difficult. Ironically I have to remain civil and getting worked up will not make a blind bit of difference. Trying to get closure. Its taking me a lot of will power to still go and see him. But I will make the effort in the next 90 minutes or so.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Whilst The Future Is Scary...

I'm thinking I have turned the corner on my big worry of late and its not occupying me as it was. Always a good sign. Regarding the actual work I am having to do to close down the final issues with Mum are making good progress and I think that will go OK too, So hopefully I'll be upbeat.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Love Letters...

My parents love lasted the whole of their time together. I wish I knew more or could remember stories told and had paid more attention. Few if any letters survive. Who knows where they went or why they were lost. Or why I cannot find any. Except I did come across some today that were new to me. I am assuming that they are at least 60+ years old and I get the impression they were written not long after they were married.

They are little more passionate and were obviously written even when they were seeing each other during the day. I'm sure like any couple they had their problems but I remember how Mum was devastated when Dad died. And continued to be. She never did get over it.

I remember what a close family we were and even I will always miss him. And we're talking 31 yrs. Heaven knows where that time has gone. I am now older than the amount of time I had him in my life. In a couple of years I will have been alive longer than he was. To live as long as Mum I would have to manage another 29 years. I'm not holding my breath.

Not even sure that I want to live that long when I see the circumstances I will probably find myself. Suspect health will be much worse, income very low, probably alone and in a home. But we cannot choose how long we have, that's chosen for us. Not strictly true I know because many do take their own lives. Not sure I am brave enough or is that a coward. I think I am prepared to go and not bothered if its sooner or later but have to live out how much time I have been designated.

I remember even perhaps 4 or 5 years before he passed away, him having to go on some kind of course to do with his work for around a week and in the evenings he would phone home from the hotel to speak to us. And where the rest on the course would be out probably in a group in a pub, he was in the bedroom reading, he was a big reader and read all kinds of books.

I can remember him falling asleep after reading in bed on a morning after doing a night shift and his book had dropped onto the bed and his glasses were perched on his nose and mum or me would nearly always have to remove the book and glasses and put them on the cabinet beside him. When I pass away this line of the family comes to a close. I have no children, not likely to now. In fact I believe all of the male lines of my family tree that have my surname comes to a stop. Any remaining lines changed through marriage and those relatives having daughters. Its sad in one way. And yet means nothing in the great scheme of things.

Back to that course he went on to do with work. I remember Mum being so excited as the day approached and he would be home again. Even the boss of the dress shop Mum was working in at the time on the town(quite exclusive)said it was like a teenager, young girl in love.

Of course they had problems but they always overcame them. And the vicar when they were married either said it to them privately or perhaps in front of everyone at the wedding in his address. Never go to bed without making up. Something along those lines. I forget the exact words.

In reality I was born quite late in the marriage for the time. They married in 1948 and I came along in 1958. Mum was 32 and Dad 34. And Mum nearly lost her life having me after seemingly a trouble free pregnancy. It was touch and go whether I would survive. But we did.

Again you could not visit as you do these days when someone was in hospital, they were less than happy if you phoned but there are stories of Dad parking close to the ward Mum was in so she could see him from the window.

I also have heard that the Dr who saw Mum through it all had said something along lines that Mum was "Quite a pretty girl now that he could see her" She had been swollen because she had Toxaemia which I have just discovered after nearly 57 years is another term for pre-eclampsia and though I have been told that my health issues have nothing to do with what Mum had I see that condition involves high blood pressure, fluid retention and protein in the urine which can mean damage of the kidneys and what do I have? Kidney disease and I have had high blood pressure and protein. Coincidence? Who knows...

More on the Love Letters soon.

Last Tidy...

Of the house before house is decorated and carpets/curtains are replaced but that could still be a few months away depending how long it takes to have the money to do the work. Looks worse than it actually is. All in one small corner of a bedroom. A lot has been put in the wheelie bins in the past 3-4 weeks.

And one last dress of my dear Mum for the charity shop. There really is very little to prove that Mum ever existed and was part of my life...Only memories and feelings in my mind and heart. And I fear they do dim as the years pass. I sometimes have difficulty remembering how she sounded and what we talked about.

I Think That I Am Feeling A Little Better...

than I was at the start of the week...that is all...

Other than that all Mum's clothes(I did find more)have gone to the charity shop, her shoes I decided were not good enough to go there as well so they have been put in the wheelie bin.

I am even more on top of the tidying up of the house. I have most of the forms I need again to claim Mum's estate but if I do find the original will which should be somewhere in the house I may hit a snag. It could then go to intestate and I fear someone who Mum trusted and was meant to help me could benefit if that happened. So I hope to goodness it comes to light soon.

I hope that I am starting to let go for my ill feeling towards said person. I have to otherwise I will remain hateful and bitter. I don't think that he thinks that he has done anything wrong. I am seeing him on Friday but I think I will not see a solution to the issue and will have to remain civil. Just that I will have little or nothing more to do with him in the future.

I hope my fears of an even more austere life and years ahead(though it will be worse)are less of a problem than I believe at this moment in time.
Update:Found the will!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Home Made Soup...

Needs to be eaten soon...I will have it as a late breakfast/lunch combined...It will warm me up. Tastes better than it looks, I have a little less vegetables in it this time but some chicken there too. This is it in the slow cooker.

Then get ready for the afternoon bingo with my elderly friends. Don't need to shave as I did so late yesterday and whiskers have yet to show. I may get to see my friend afterwards if he's home. He lives over the road from where the bingo happens and should hopefully be home by then(he's at a hospital for a checkup earlier in the day)a big one many miles away in Newcastle.

I'll make certain I catch a bus to the bingo(save money)not planning on shopping at all(save money)use what I have in the house.

I may tidy some more later after cooking another meal for early evening/tea.

I have some TV to catch up on which I did not watch last week. And seeing I watched the series for around six months to suddenly give up defeats the argument and means I wasted my time watching it in the first place. Its the series looking at life in the fictional city of "Gotham" before Batman came to be, its dark, unsavoury and sometimes makes me wince but its well produced, filmed and a quality programme.

I should've taken images of the old police station being demolished sooner so you could see it in stages but I didn't but I did get some yesterday(see below)and when I go for my bus in around 90 minutes I may take some more if the battery hasn't died. I don't really have a reason to go where it is though I could've really as you can catch a bus nearby and board it perhaps one or two stops earlier than where I usually go.

Update:Can't take credit fir the following image but someone else has taken the latest on the demolition of the old  Police Station...

Embedded image permalink

And as mentioned earlier here are the start of my flower tubs but I need to do more work on the borders and lawns, there is an old untidy little tub to be removed later that is still in the image.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Still In A Concerned About The Future Kind Of Mood...

but could be worse.  Been thinking how I would love to go and watch the sea roll in and have peace. But even with a bus pass(whilst I have one)it takes around an two to three hours by bus each way and I have to change buses and hope that they all connect. A train ride would cost money(the bus is mainly free)and with the added walking distance to many railway stations or needing a bus to reach them, no time is saved so its easier just to give in and use the bus services or not bother going. In a car I could probably reach the nearest destination within an hour and the farthest in ninety minutes.

But I want to see some sea and coast, I will do it but I will have to pick the right day and leave early and come home late to make it worth while. That's assuming I can get a bus home, evening buses often mean you have to leave earlier than you'd really like to.

These are all local destinations like Whitley Bay, Redcar, Marske, Saltburn, Seaton Carew and Seaham. Much the same if you want to go to Whitby, South Shileds and if you want to go to Scarbrough we're talking four hours. If I was living in Durham City or in the opposite direction Darlington I could shave approx twenty five to forty five minutes off some of these journeys but I realise this is a simplistic way of looking at travelling because at least my location means I am quite central if I lived at the end of a route I would be adding more time to the journey. I need more express direct services. Not holding my breath.

I did make an effort to go to Richmond in N. Yorks yesterday and it filled a few hours. Next time I go I may stay longer and really have a look around, I sort've went on one bus and came back on next(almost)going took me approx an hour and a quarter(if I time the change of buses better)that could be brought down to almost an hour.

I'd like to have gone out today the way I feel(trying to get my head around recent changes)but its too late really, Sunday services, I don't want to spend money either. The sun is out but I don't think that its very warm. I'll potter about. I'm listening to the Archers and Desert Island Discs. Thinking of doing a salad with haddock. Not really a Sunday meal but...

I am way off being a pensioner yet but its creeping up on me, it will arrive soon enough, if I reach it and things may very well change thanks to Government plans, nothing is in concrete but though I believe I will be lucky to be entitled to one benefit after I am officially retired, I think I will be on the lowest state pension possible(yet that amount they say could change)but if I can still get that too I may have less to fear and would be something. If one stops or the amount coming is low there could be something like Pension Credit or Attendance Allowance so I may still see it topped up. That's all for the future, lets just live for now.

Speaking of which I am now rather than worrying and moping I am going to have a quick look down town and take one last image of a building that is being demolished and has been there for something like 40 years and suddenly its disappearing fast(a police station)its just a shell now. I will see if I can find a new lead to help me record on my computer(I hope it doesn't cost much)Come home and make lunch and then continue my house tidy up. It will stop me thinking too much.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Still Nothin'...

From the Consultant about my blood tests. I've other worries again...which will have to remain and I can't remember ever saying this before off limits. You won't hear me say that too often if at all.

In the meantime in around 90mins I am off to see a little music show, it only lasts around an hour.

Its been a partial solar eclipse across the UK and most of Europe. Here it was not particularly dark, lots of cloud, I took a chance with a fairly basic digital camera and managed these two images. The best that I could. I was not looking directly at the eclipse and it was caught by looking indirectly at the LCD screen on the camera.

Update:Second lot of blood tests have come back as being OK so false alarm...this time...but seeing my Dr tonight and may suggest having a blood test done every couple of months rather than every 4mths so if something is suspect its caught quicker. He may say its un-necessary of course. One problem sorted, now for the problem I dare not mention. 

That I don't think cryptically can be fixed and the outcome will have me seeing a relative in a different light and that will mean I never will be able to be kindly towards him. I hope I can be proved wrong. If not I will have to try and let go and lose what is to be blunt hatred and hurt. The actions will affect my future well being.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Bright Eyed And Bushy Tailed...

Woke in time to get shaved, dressed and catch an early bus to the hospital for my checkup with the Consultant...all was going well until the final minute or two. I was asked to have more blood tests taken, he's afraid that I could be starting diabetes. But hoping its a blip and all will be well when he checks the results tonight. There's always something...

Letter was waiting for me from the Dr's surgery where I had the tests taken on Monday telling me to contact them about the results. It was the same news I had been given at the hospital...two bloods had come back ok but the third was questionable.
Update:No one has called back yet(Good Sign?)Tried phoning the Consultant's secretary...no joy she may've already gone home. Tried phoning the lab at the hospital, didn't expect they'd tell me anything(they didn't)but no results were there in the lab. No word has been sent to the Dr's surgery as yet either. Was told if anything was really bad they keep trying even through the night. Trouble is I go out within the next hour and I am out tomorrow morning early on. I know that I shall be wondering if everything is OK whilst I am...

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Up Early...

I've had enough sleep. To be honest at present I am better off trying to keep busy and do anything to stop overly thinking about things that will/may not happen. I don't know exactly what I have been dreaming but I do know that Mum was in their somewhere. She has been quite a lot these past weeks. Last night I can see the tie in to my worries over finally sorting out her estate and how it will affect me and also clearing out Mum's clothes. One thing I do remember was that Mum was actually alive and not happy that I had taken some items to the charity shop because they were favourites that she still would like to wear and also she now had few if any clothes remaining to wear. I say that it ties in with recent events because...

I took the last of Mum's clothes to a charity shop on the town. They will or will not be used/benefit others and help the charity with its aims. Some items may be thrown away but I'll never know and they can't benefit Mum in any way.

I shall get shaved and dressed. Dry some clothes in the tumble drier soon. Put away what I can. I'm well on with my tidying up and all that is untidy is the room that I am working in whilst I go through my items. I would like to get stuck in today but time is against me because I have to be out by 10.45am and even if I manage to come home again by 2pm I have to think about having a meal and again catch a bus no later than 6.30pm.

All my clothes are now in the wardrobe unit. Out of sight. Though it means they are on the floor(I have room to put my bed sheets and towels in the space that once was an airing cupboard and now contains the combi boiler. So I haven't lost all the space I once was able to use before the boiler was installed.

I have almost a full chicken to cut into pieces/slices for meals and sandwiches. I have some home made vegetable and chicken soup in the slow cooker which I will eat later(I may eat both portions yet)one as a late breakfast and one for tea before I go out to a comedy show in Durham that starts around 8pm. I need cheering up even just for a couple of hours...

All being well I hope to be signed into the local British Legion on this St. Patrick's Day around lunchtime and that there is space for me to get into the venue and see a show that is being staged because its this special day. Its a free event(I will be expected to buy a drink or two)but I'll try and make what I buy last as long as possible.

I'm trying to avoid the news because its all doom or gloom but as I usually say I still have to try and remain clued up in case things happen that can affect me. And I keep finding out things that are scary and worrying that are not being reported by mainstream media. I see nothing really improving whoever wins the UK election and ditto regarding what will be announced in the UK budget tomorrow. Even if I thought my situation could improve it takes years to come into force and if the country's economy improves on the whole, many do not see or feel the benefits within their own households. I'd tell a lie if I said I feel connected to the politicians who run and make decisions supposedly on my behalf. A friend who reaches 80 in October has been told that her state pension will increase by the grand sum of 5p. Wow!

I hear the minimum wage is to increase in the same month by 20p an hour. No doubt because everything else tends to rise...food, utility bills, rent and more that rise will not make any real difference.

On the other hand I could say that last statement can be challenged because of something that happened yesterday. I phoned my utility company to ask if I was paying enough at present to cover the monthly gas/electric bill. The advisor tended to think that I was(I'm still unsure)but they said wait until the next bill which is perhaps six months away. I don't know why but I asked if I was on the best tariff for my situation(I pay by direct debit for both gas/electric)and I had the price frozen until June 2017 but I was told though I lose a year by switching, they had another deal that runs until June 2016 and I could pay less that I am at present.

So now my annual electric has reduced by £122(I now pay £507 instead of £629)and my gas has reduced by £114(I now pay £85 instead of £199)still think that is too high for the little that I actually use. But any saving is welcome. It also means that perhaps I could use more than I do at present and bring it back up to the amount that I was paying.

I am quite sparse with what I use, to be honest its mainly quick meals reheated in the microwave or cooked in a slow cooker. Many in the Summer are cold(salads and the like)I tend to use one computer, one radio and one ceiling light)and still it was costing me £828 and now £592. To think that I had to ask and was not told that such a tariff existed. I am better off for now but I have a feeling by the end of the year as I may not be entitled to a grant I have been receiving because of my low income, I will see the amount I pay rise and the direct debit payment increase. I have managed because I have been in credit and have been given approx £200 towards my bills so that has cushioned me a little.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

I Can't Be Helped...

at present I am in a bad place and feeling "Sorry" for myself but I do appreciate the words of comfort and support shown me. If I feel as I do now I am going to see my Dr in the next week or two. I want to tell him "things" but fear how confidential that term really is and what gets put in my notes afterwards. I know having worked in a Dr's surgery many years ago all kinds of asides are added and opinions of patients.

I'm even toying with going to see my local vicar for a chat because its said that what passes between the clergy and a parishioner is confidential and goes no further, not that I am having a confession of sorts but sometimes you need input from someone that is disconnected to you.

Then again, this cloud may pass and I'm making more of something that is nothing. Now there's a cryptic post if ever there was one.

On the other hand I have finally cleared virtually all of Mum's clothes this weekend and taken them to the charity shop. That is not why I feel as I do. I have approx. 6 outfits I have hung onto and they will be let go of soon.

I think money or lack of it is the root of my present melancholy feeling even though money has never been that important to me nor materialistic things. I have my kitchen gadgets, a computer, a TV, a bed, something to sit on and that's enough for me. I've no one to leave anything to and I can't take it with me. And keepsakes that perhaps meant something to me wouldn't to anyone else.

At least we're coming to the right time of the year.

I am usually very strong and cope with just about anything and out of Mum's belief in me I will overcome this blip.

I've all my tubs planted for the garden and in coming weeks hopefully I will get the borders sorted. And in the coming weeks pull the house around. Not much else that needs doing.

I'm now about to take the clothes to the shop, dry some clothes in the dryer and I'm cooking some chicken in the slow cookers. An exciting Sunday you must admit.

I did receive some bad news yesterday and found out that an Uncle at had a heart attack unbeknownst to me and he admitted that he has lost his confidence and not going out and tomorrow I understand he is to be tested for Alzheimer's.  Doom and gloom but I'm trying to move onwards and upwards and see my glass as half full rather than half empty.

On the plus side it was a struggle to go to and from Durham yesterday but I did it and when I came home I was shattered. I fell straight into bed upon my return home and because the concert overran I did not get home before Midnight and was on the last bus home. However, the brass band concert was superb. Three bands in all The Brighouse and Rastrick, The Veg Vardy(formally the Ever Ready)and the NASUWT Riverside Brass Band.

In the final part of the concert they all played together as one so you can imagine how that sounded.
There was a bit of drama a few minutes before the concert when there was an almighty clatter and I turned to see someone take a nasty fall down one of the main aisles and it didn't look good for sometime but he eventually took his seat and watched the first half  but he seemed to disappear come the interval and second half. He looked quite elderly. Easy for me to say when I'm getting older by the day. They are wide steps, not one after the other...you drop only occasionally and they are not steep so its quite a friendly layout with lots of room.

Update:Feeling more upbeat this evening so perhaps coming out of this without the need to take matters further regarding counselling of any kind.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What A Difference A Day Makes...

Twenty Four Little Hours...Woah!  Lets stop there. This is no song. Yesterday, was a strange one. I tried to pay the TV license and managed to eventually get past all the obstacles on the official website and just as I was about to pay the fee was told that I "Have" to wait 19 days. I am not allowed to pay in advance. Well not that much. I have paid the amount off my credit card and when the time comes around I'll use that amount that is sitting there and its not to find. The same thing happened with my internet provider who said that I could but that I would be better to wait until the end of May(just in case I decide to leave)I only want to pay because if times get any more difficult financially I know that I am alright for at least the coming year.

So when you have money...you can't give it away. I've spent a day working out my finances and with age and health against me...its not good. And likely to get worse. As I don't have a rich benefactor, I'm stuck with it!

I managed to get out during the morning but that wasn't fun. At best it was a fiercely cold wind(I wasn't wrapped up enough  to battle against it)my leg kept locking and took some getting it going again and when I did it hurt like hell. I came home and then the heavens opened, it turned dark and I went to bed. That was quite nice, I was cosy and comfortable. Many hours later except for the concerns of money I felt/feel much better. The rest has helped my leg too.

I think that I shall bother with breakfast today(porridge and fruit)followed by toast and coffee. Perhaps this afternoon I may have sausages, eggs, baked beans, hash browns followed by apple crumble and custard. All quick and easy(If I'd thought sooner I could've thought about a sausage casserole perhaps)

Tonight its "Bingo!" and then upon returning home there is another "Super" Hero film on TV that I haven't seen. "X-Men:Origins:Wolverine" They're all much the same. But it will fill a couple of hours. I'm coming at this late as I often do approx 5 years late. I certainly couldn't afford to go on a regular bases to the cinema so I appreciate the chance to see them on TV. This one is called a prequel. It stars Hugh Jackman(I know the name)nothing else. It could be that even I may decide its not for me.

I'll do a little tidying up as the day goes on but that is probably as good as it gets especially with the horrible weather going on outside(more rain and it looks a bit icy too)

UPDATE:Of course come Saturday Its the Brass Band concert at Durham(Perhaps I should've purchased tickets for the daytime as they do the championships on Sat/Sun)but I'll enjoy the evening.

I've found another occasional music club venue on my town that shares some of the acts I see on a Tuesday at my other club and sometimes they get performers that we don't, must make the effort to go to it soon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


I was sleepy but I have come around after a few hours and feel refreshed. My friend continues to improve so hopefully we will get him home sooner than later and plans are a foot to see if they are happy enough to let him come home. He has special needs but in reality does a fair bit and manages well for the disadvantages that brings and by my standards is quite bright, And when authority figures become involved(I know this from my own experiences of dealing with government departments they can actually create problems/add to them whilst trying to do "The Right Thing!"

And you can and do get conflicts within families especially siblings. But that's all in the future.

I won a raffle prize at the Music Club(third week on the trot)so in the past weeks I've had 4 cans of cider, an Easter egg and now a tin of Scottish Shortbread biscuits.

I have also had word back from my computer guy and he has chosen a Toshiba Laptop he feels will do all that I require so if I go with that it has a saving of approx £50 and comes in at a fairly reasonable price with decent specifications. He reckons that some reviews from the public are over critical(and they don't always see a bargain) It can be delivered or picked up in store and even on a bus there is a store approx 7 miles away. So I may have a look through in a few days and have a demonstration and see it for myself.

I have just about all I need in the fridge regarding fresh fruit and vegetables, meat so I should be able to have some lovely meals. Alongside my store of food that is mainly canned or in packets. I have to buy my latest computer magazine and being awake I think I shall go out early so I can be home in good time.

Debating whether to have a salad or a quick meal not unlike an full "English" Breakfast as it is often called. I have sausages, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes etc...any combination and style.

Most of my bills are paid up for the time being too. Therefore, I am quite on top of things.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Back On Plan...

Cough and cold has now disappeared. After two nights of blustery winds outside that seems to have improved. I'm chipper. Had lots of sleep. Its reasonably warm indoors without any central heating or me being overly wrapped up in extra clothes.

I have eaten well...lots of vegetables and simple food either as stews/casseroles/soups.

Tonight(Sunday)went well, the usual get together at a club on the town. No, I didn't win but luck was on our table as the person who won the sticky thirteen card game last week, won two bingo houses tonight and she had won at another venue on Wednesday so its her run of luck at present.

My plan for Monday morning is to finally go to the neighbouring town and do a food shop(a change to using the supermarket(s)on my town)I reckon for approx £12 I will have approx 10-12 meals that can be heated in a microwave as they are or be added to with fresh fruit and veg. If I leave around 9am I can pick up my prescription at the pharmacy on my town, catch the bus, be into the supermarket around 10.15am, have a leisurely shop and then return my goods to home or stay longer and the same bus will get me to my afternoon bingo session(there's a freezer in the kitchen of the centre* where we play bingo that I can put my food in)and then the taxi I share can bring me straight home.

Tuesday, late afternoon I'll see my friend in his new hospital and then return to the music club afterwards. So that's a couple of days taken care of...

I used the corned beef over the weekend. I have some chicken thighs in the fridge that I may pop into the slow cooker later today. They can be used for a meal or I may take the meat off them and add it to a stew or home made soup. This supermarket is especially good on its fruit and vegetables. I don't why but I haven't bothered much about going off the town to shop and just suddenly decided it was a good idea.

Seriously thinking of potting up my tubs and hanging basket. The pansies are starting to bloom and have large heads. I probably should replace the compost but with added plant food mixed in, I think they'll survive OK. And initially the plants have soil around their roots anyhow which they'll go into the containers with anyhow.

*Scrap that...I'm awake so crazily I'm catching a bus at 7.20am to be there for when the supermarket opens and will collect tablets and change money at the bank when I come home. May have a late breakfast mid morning otherwise, plans are much the same.

Update:It went fine...Have seven nice meals averaging out at around £1.28 per meal(which I can microwave)and add other items to if I want to stretch them further. Was walking around the supermarket at 8am and managed to return quickly and hit a return bus as it arrived at the bus stop outside the store. The same went well with the other tasks. As I reached home I found the weather was deteriorating(snow last week)winds and freezing rain today. I won the grand sum of £1 at the bingo. With all the shopping done I came straight home from the club.

My friend who has been in hospital around six weeks seemingly continues to make good progress. And at this rate he could be home quite quickly even though more work will be needed to be done once he manages to get out of hospital.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Another Blustery Night...

Locked down in my bedroom...I've a homemade vegetable soup in the crock pot for supper and this time I added cream of chicken soup for the liquid/stock. It was on offer in a freezer shop made by Cross and Blackwell and only cost around 25p per can so hasn't added much more to the cost of the meal. In the Summer I may return to lots of sandwiches/salads etc...but I am getting more and more into stews/casseroles/soups/puddings/crumbles. They're tasty and so easy to prepare...and mainly cheap though good for you.

Just for the sake of it, I'll go for a ride on the bus tomorrow. I may return with the meals on offer that I mentioned previously or others I have seen that are three for £4 and that again isn't bad makes them approx. £1.30 and I can always add other items to them. That's a lot of choice and not for much money. Not all ready meals are bad. Its a look out.

Mind what a wild night it has turned out to be and I don't remember the weather people saying it would be like this.

I'm lovely and warm in bed but my tootsies are frozen so I have prepared a hot water bottle  to keep them warm.

Update:It worked been lovely and warm since...weather hasn't improved and my cough/cold neither but I think its coming out. So I'll just shift plans by a couple of days. I will watch a film tonight a sequel to one I saw approx a week ago and have a nice but simple easy meal Corned Beef, chips, baked beans followed by apple crumble and custard.

Don't Know Whether To Stay In Today...

There isn't really a reason to go out. I have food and drink. If I do I only have my new chewable vitamin tablet to collect at the pharmacy. What's another few days delay going to make? After not having it for 18 years?*8-| rolling eyes

I do have a few shows/concerts to see in March but I've kept the amount I am seeing to a minimum and therefore watched the prices too. There is a lunchtime jam session in Durham in two weeks, in eight days a concert featuring top brass bands that are taking part in the North of England Brass Band Championships.

I could've purchased a ticket lasting the whole day and watched the contest taking place but I thought that would be too much. Three days later I see Count Arthur Strong on stage, a comedy creation performed by actor Steve Delaney and finally the month ends with a concert featuring the music of Billie Holliday in Lady Sings The Blues. That will break the month up.

I may make my next shopping trip when I need more food items off the town because where I get off the bus I have two discount supermarkets practically next to each other, across the road two big freezer shops and also a big Supermarket that has good offers regularly and four of these are not on my own town. It can pay to travel this supermarket that is not a discount one can often have good bargains(useful)if you have a freezer I've spotted some lovely ready meals meant for two normally £4 and reduced for a limited time to £2 so if you can store them and half the amount for one person that's coming down to £1 per portion. And because of the original price and range that they belong they are good quality meals.

And the journey only takes perhaps twenty minutes but it only runs once an hour and after approx 6pm its quite a job to come back here. You have to add more time and change buses by travelling on another route to yet another town. But its a look out and change of scenery.

Been Spending Money Again Whilst I Am Able...

I missed my bus to the bingo so shared a taxi but on the way managed to buy my milk and bread. In doing so I discovered that a discount supermarket was selling trays of twenty pansies for £2.69 so I purchased five trays later after I came home from the bingo. When you are unable to visit a garden centre and have to use a taxi or bus to get everything home its costs a fair bit or is inconvenient.

The supermarket was at the bottom of my street. So this year, I will have some colourful tubs and a hanging basket potted up and possibly some spare that I can put in the border at the front of the house. I didn't think that was too bad a price for my flowers. If I can find some inexpensive marigolds, Bizzie Lizzie's and geraniums I'm sorted. All I need do then is keep the lawns mowed. I have snowdrops, tulips, crocuses and daffodils that come out annually at various times of the year. Perhaps for the back garden that no longer has trees and to give local wildlife some protection I may plant some easy maintenance shrubs that offer colour across the year.

I looked after the garden after Mum passed away but last year did get out of hand so this year I'll try and keep it tidy and have some colour.

I managed to bring the five trays home by using a shopping trolley and hanging a carrier on the handle of the trolley. I added a little extra shop in my back pack that will keep me going over the weekend into next week. A couple of fancy fishcakes* that I can have with salad or vegetables, strawberries and another vegetable soup mix.

I did have a small win at the bingo but had to share and with taxi fares I was only £2 in profit but that's better than a loss. I haven't eaten much today but I'm fine. I will make up for it today.

I have had another drug added to my prescription(only 18 years too late)whether that is why I have painful joints and an unsteady gate(one leg now shorter than the other)I'll never know. But its a chewy vitamin C tablet with added vitamin D and its supposed to be taken when you take a weekly tablet for your bones.

I've seen another nice doormat I'm thinking of buying for the hall so may decide to get it over the weekend.

My friend in hospital has now been moved to another in the area where he will receive help with learning to walk again. Not sure how many weeks we're talking of and whether when he returns home he will need a stair lift or a lift that goes in to the ceiling from downstairs. If he can become strong enough, perhaps they won't need any. We shall have to see. And we still don't know if he needs referring to another hospital about the problem that put him there in the first place and if any damage has been done. But its all moving in the right direction.

When I came home from my hospital stay eighteen years ago I developed a cough that took ages to lose. Since visiting my friend on Tuesday, I have developed a cold and a cough so though I only walked the corridors and straight to the room my friend was in(alone)I can't help but wonder if its more than a coincidence. My immune system is compromised anyhow and the meds I take play their part so I'm not surprised.

*They come in at around 65p each but when I more prepared I will have a go at making my own again(not that I expect they'll be any cheaper)made by my own fair hands. But I can decide what to put in them and how much of each ingredient.

You can be surprised how much a small portion of food is actually enough to feed well and who remembers the saying "Your eyes are as big as your head!" My friend(in hospital)forgot to eat a little container of tuna meant for his jacket potato.

It hadn't been touched so I brought it home(waste not/want not)it looked quite small but it actually made two very big sandwiches and they were well packed. I can imagine that if you were opening a can of tuna at home and putting it on a plate you would serve a much bigger portion and think that a more suitable amount.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Lots Of Sleep...

and cosiness today. Seeing I watched a movie recently of super heroes, I may drop down to the lounge and watch the movie that I believe first featured him. Its on at 8pm Iron Man. Its already 5-6 years old. But new to me. And I shall eat my beef stew.

That's as exciting as it gets on this Wednesday. But I'm quite chipper.

Update:Not quite, it did get a little more exciting...I had apple crumble and custard and took a break from the movie and went back for the last 45 minutes on the delayed channel. One day I may invest in one of those boxes that allow you to delay/record programmes and films. The equivalent of the old video recorder, remember how clever we all that was not that long ago?

Tuesday Was Much As I Said It Would Be...

My friend looks to be improving in hospital and my goodness he's shown determination and strength whilst on the long journey of recovery. The long stay in bed means lots of physiotherapy and it is likely he will move over to a another location for recuperation,

I understand that many meals are brought in to many hospitals(often reheated)rather than cooked as such on the premises and in the media over the years there has been criticism of what is offered and how little is spent on each patient on their meals but I have to say when I last stayed in hospital myself perhaps 18 years ago, I found it was OK.

Today I looked at the list of meals being offered to my friend(3 meals daily)and I was amazed at the choice being offered and the rota of meals, portion sizes, quality etc...I would be more than happy to have them myself. And it would be difficult to repeat any meal over a two to three week period. They even have snack boxes for people who are still hungry or who miss a meal for some reason. Tonight he had soup, jacket potato with butter and tuna, followed by chocolate sponge and custard. Also a cup of tea. Tomorrow I know that one course is a ploughman's salad.

Speaking of food *^O^||3 eatI enjoyed my home made soup and its so easy I have already prepared my evening meal for later today, it could be seen as a soup or a stew...lots of vegetables and Angus beef. A slow cooker means the goodness remains and you are getting the liquid its cooked in. Generally, I am able to eat well and have enough for around £1-£2 daily(not quite sure what the energy costs to cook it)

As you know quite recently I purchased an egg slicer, a strawberry slicer and was given a cheese slicer even though a knife will work but a gadget is safer. I was thinking I may look for a tomato slicer but they can be expensive or hard to find. Then I remembered if I can be bothered to set it up I have a Mandolin slicer and that will do tomatoes fine. It has a safety feature so I shouldn't hurt my fingers.

If I use a carton of UHT milk I have in the house, I should be able to avoid going out today. I'm only short on milk.

At the music club I probably spent almost the amount the prize I won would've cost me if I'd bought it but it helps the club stay afloat. I won an Easter egg, the other week it was four cans of cider.

I'm going to rest today. Listen to some radio, watch a film perhaps.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015


Staying in. A quick tidy of the kitchen. A wash and shave. Leave a meal in the slow cooker. Head out to the hospital to see my friend and return to my town and the music club this evening and come home. Its that simple...he said.

I've Just Dipped My Toe...

Metaphorically speaking  into making my own soups again. Its cheaper, you get more for your money, you know what's in it and it uses up whatever you have in your food cupboard either prepared as a mix or throwing in ingredients that might not be fully used up and discarded.

This time I used a couple of stock cubes, threw it into the slow cooker and I thought how can I thicken the liquid slightly and the answer from many on the internet was...use a small amount of instant mashed potato granules/flakes. And...it worked and tastes great.

Really its just a reworking of a stew/casserole and you can make it smooth or chunky. Even add some chicken, beef, ham, bacon or whatever.

In my first attempt of many years it has chunky leek, carrot, potato, swede, celery. I can box it for later use/reheating or make it nearer the time. Set the slow cooker away and its there when I return or put it on a low setting and eat it as and when and a slow cooker uses little if any energy.

Not forgetting that with or without a dedicated soup machine I can always whizz up the ingredients in a blender and make them smaller in size and make the soup more liquid like and if I do that, the consistency can be changed.

I am still learning and I've dug out a cook book with 400 soup recipes not forgetting all the sites on food that exist on the web.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Unusually For Me...

I'm already up and ready to go to the Dr's surgery and see what the message is awaiting me there. I'll call for some change from the bank for this afternoon's bingo and  towards the taxi home, perhaps buy some more Roast Potatoes and a Bloomer loaf.

Upon returning I may decide to do a beef and vegetable stew in the slow cooker. Which will then perhaps be ready when I return home later in the day.

Thinking I will listen to a radio documentary this morning about understanding strokes.

I have started editing and saving lots of audio files I have let get out of hand, it will take forever but it keeps me busy and I can do other tasks whilst the computer gets on with it.

Update:The plan only changed ever so slightly...I phoned the surgery and was told the Dr will phone me in the morning* and its nothing to worry about. Pointless really. In 17+ years I have never been given a Vitamin C tablet in my medication. The chemist did a check recently when I collected my last prescription and thought I should have it added to the list as one drug I take can affect me in some way...now they tell me. Why has the Dr/Consultant not suggested it? And as my check up at hospital hasn't shown anything, why now? Hey Ho!

I didn't win at the bingo. I was going to go to the bank and catch a bus to my destination but took a few steps outside and decided I wasn't up to it so gave in and phoned for a taxi. Then late this afternoon it all went black, the winds whipped up and it started to snow so it looked as though my shopping trip was off but by the time I came home it had stopped and though cold, the sun came out so I did get my groceries. However, by the time I was home I was in so much pain and my limbs were hurting, I got home by determination.

I will now rest and perhaps have a sleep** in my bed. Listen to the radio and have a coffee. Later I will make an effort and have a meal of some kind as I said earlier. I'm not down and am upbeat regardless.

*Think I'll go and see my Dr and book an appointment when the phone lines open. **I had virtually two hours uninterrupted sleep.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

I Think That I Have Just About The Time...

to get washed, shaved before I head out for my Sunday night out. Lets see if I can win something but its a look out. I stayed in and just as well I did...High winds and an absolute downpour.

Call it an evening meal...I am about to cook something like a Sunday type meal. "Dead" easy and hardly any preparation. I have sliced roast pork, roast potatoes, possibly some Yorkshire Puddings if they are OK(they are just to warm up in the oven)and a variety of vegetables that I can steam in the microwave and with gravy granules I'm set.

And a film to watch starring Sean Connery that I have never seen...The League of Gentlemen. That will finish around thirty minutes before I leave.

So my little shopping trip for possible bulbs for the garden and to see if flowers are appearing in the shops will now be a task for tomorrow.

Update:I didn't win at the bingo, I took some crisps and cakes but returned with most of what I took so I get the chance to use it up. I called the meal off as I found my potatoes had gone fuzzy so I had some sliced pork baps instead. May have another go later today at cooking a nice meal again.

I did have another tidy around whilst watching the movie and have almost cleared all my rooms so its tidy(even if carpets have to be laid, some curtains hung and some decorating needs doing)and therefore all my stuff to be stored or thrown out is in one rarely used room which is not blocking any exit or is in the loft and can be cleared at leisure.

I think in case of accidents when painting and to help make the place warmer and look a little nicer, I shall consider painting and hanging curtains first. I need seven pairs of curtains. I have three pairs that are new or I shall wash. I don't use net curtains.

I don't need blinds at the back of the house as its quite private and those rooms are used occasionally(Kitchen/Dining Room)The toilet and bathroom has frosted glass. I don't stand at the landing window and that doesn't face other houses.

I have blinds in the windows at the front of the house except for one and I can have a new one made for that. And again the front door has frosted glass and is mainly solid and when I hang curtains across the door as before they well help keep the hall warmer and act like a blind giving privacy. Perhaps I could hang the curtains myself but I'll probably ask for help.