Random Jottings Of Gildersleeve

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Location: United Kingdom

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

Friday, October 30, 2015

I Could Wait Until Tomorrow...

But I think I will make the effort and travel to Durham and buy my Lulu ticket. I may buy some salad too. Then tomorrow is free. But the weather is really horrible out there, hopefully it will clear out a little by lunchtime. I'll take an empty rucksack. That way I can avoid using a carrier bag which can throw my walking out even more when its full and the other hand has a walking stick. And today I may need a free hand for a brolly. The sky is still colourless but I think it is brighter than it was.

I have had my meds, coffee and toast and marmalade. I don't feel too bad. I know some difficult times are ahead but I'll deal with them when I have to but living for today and now, it could be much worse.

I have some radio I would like to hear this evening and tomorrow...and by not having to go out tomorrow means I can relax(How many times can I use the word tomorrow in a post? Download rolleyes 7)

I may wonder to a local shopping mall and see what they have on for Halloween entertainment but I can head out at lunchtime. Then I have to get home in good time so I am ready for the 80th Birthday party planned for the evening.

Update:The weather turned for the better. I caught a bus to a neighbouring town and had an interesting chat on the bus with a ex soldier who has Bipolar issues and PTS. He welcomed the chat. I popped into ASDA and found some bargains, then a bus to Durham, I now have my Lulu ticket. A bus home and I have had a tomato sandwich and coffee.

Now taking it easy. Not happy though...my flowers and chocolates have not been delivered. I guess I'll have to be there when the florists open in the morning but we've been let down whatever happens.

Late message...they eventually arrived and were appreciated. Relief all around.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Unless I Am Ill And Something Unexpected Stops Me...

I have a seat booked to see Lulu in concert at a local theatre next year. There are many productions more expensive. Further away. That I am not interested in or artists returning who I have seen so to get the chance to see someone I have never seen will be a change.

I have a chance to see Gilbert O' Sullivan but seats are not selling as quick and I haven't decided yet. I shall watch to see if there is a sudden surge of interest, If I put money aside until Lulu's concert its only like saving £2 per week. And by not going in the first two rows I have saved £10 already.

Update:Broke even at the bingo tonight so got my money back plus an extra £8. No Bingo on Monday so money I would've spent there can also be added to the cost my ticket for Lulu. Therefore, I already have two thirds of the cost of the ticket. Been a lucky ten days or so...as last weekend's luck paid for the flowers, chocolates and card for the 80th birthday tomorrow.

What Do You Expect?

Its Autumn for goodness sake...we had rain lashing all day yesterday. Today its dull, cold and windy. Bad enough but yes the rain is back again.

I'll stay indoors until nearer time for my bus and our little bingo club in the early evening. Drink lots of coffee/tea. I may have soup for lunch and something warm in the late afternoon(I have ready meals in the fridge)and reheat one of my casseroles in the slow cooker for when I get home. As long as its piping hot...its safe.

Yesterday though Autumn I was surviving on salad and corned beef buns/baps. Salads are still popular but it really is comfort food season.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bit Of A Boring Day...

if I am honest...plenty of thinking of tasks that need doing and planning. Having said that you can do too much thinking. And the opposite can be true...if you don't you are filling in time. But it could be worse. You can seem ungrateful. I must count my blessings.

Its great that my friend's dad looks likely to come home. But he'll need much care. Its going to cost. Cheaper than being in a home. For both my friends family and the government but they'll be surviving on a very small income. Like many. Without the care allowing a little bit of a rest for my friends Mum she would be caring 24/7 and never get out. And she is in her dotage and has health issues.

Even with the care, its only giving about six to ten hours where she can go out and do something for herself during the week. You may look after your family out of love and put them before yourself but its often b***** hard work!

What a horrible day weather wise. Its pouring down. Its dull and cold. Think its around 16c/62f indoors. I have jumpers and thermals etc...and I'm not afraid to use themDownload laughing 3 Its going to have to get much colder before I'll give in and use the central heating. I have warm meals and hot drinks too. I don't have to go out so if I can resist the temptation I will. Anything I can do today I can do tomorrow.

Tell you what I had last night for my tea(round at my friends house)and it was lovely...homemade shepherd's pie. Mash potato, mince, gravy and a little bit of veg. I'll have a go at that myself its been a while. But it may as easy to buy a good quality ready meal and stick in the microwave. Homemade is no cheaper and cooking time is probably longer. Suppose I could do it in the slow cooker.

Update:Feeling warmer, positive, I've eaten and had four hours sleep. Amazing how a few hours can change things. Even my joints aren't hurting as they were.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Weekend Of Being Out And About...

I made it to the Sunderland illuminations on Friday. I left home early because to be honest I was unsure how the public transport would be. Now that I know its quite easy and could leave later next time. I know which buses to get and where.

I found a shopping mall near the bus station so I was able to fill in time and stay warm waiting for it to get darker.

I have never been in that shopping mall before. I can count how often I have been to Sunderland on one hand. A reasonable selection of shops and two food outlets if you need to do some food shopping before coming home.

They have seats in the mall but something I have never ever seen in any mall...not just bench type seats but couches that are soft and comfortable and your body sinks into. So I was quite happy filling in time and just people watching.

The weather stayed fine. If it was cold my choice of clothes meant that I did not feel it. I had gloves/hat/jumper/scarf/thermals and heavier coat. I changed accordingly.

The illuminations and small fun fair was held in part of Sunderland known as Roker Park. I have discovered another beach that may be nice to visit in the Summer. Or even spend time looking out to see in the Autumn. The park is a little small but pleasant enough. The main theme of the illuminations were Alice in Wonderland.

I can't use many of the images but here are a few. The last were like dancing flowers and trees in a lake and had various combinations of colours and sequences. And the images were reflected in the water.

Coming home I found the bus back to the bus station was only running half hourly and because many were full I was concerned that I may not connect with the bus back to Durham and then home.

Luckily I did. A slight scare on a road between some towns and not very well lit and the bus was travelling at speed. The driver had to slam on his brakes. It was a wide road and as far as I know there was nothing behind us so he could've waited but a man decided to run across the path of the bus. He was wearing very dark clothing too. We missed him but how I will never know.

The safety of the passengers, the driver and him were more important but had he been hit that probably would've meant my being stuck and not being able to get home. Though it has been suggested they might've arranged something.

Sunday at 8am I suddenly decided the weather was so kind I would get on a bus and go to the Newcastle Quayside. I don't know where that idea came from. So after some 57 years that's where I headed for. If I had not been given wrong information, had difficulty finding where the buses from Gateshead's bus terminal left from I could have been there in approx 90mins. But I spent around an hour in the Interchange.

But now as I do the buses in Sunderland, I can work out the services in Gateshead. I was struggling a little walking about but next time I can use the little shuttle service to my advantage, I was able to sit and watch the River Tyne and if I pick a different day it may not be as busy. There was a little market on the Quayside. I've often heard of it but never been there before. I happened to mention it had taken me 57 years to get there. On twitter they said they hope that I will return soon. They found me.

I got up close to some of the bridges and the shuttle bus even goes across the Swing Bridge. If I had not been coming home for the bingo in the evening I could've stayed a little longer. The weather was pleasant and warm so I was able to wear lighter clothing.

That last image is of the popular entertainment venue The Sage. Sadly though prices are quite reasonable because of the times many shows end I cannot get home. So its not a venue I frequent.

I found a stall selling socks at very good prices(a good variety too)twelve pairs for £5 so I purchased some thermal socks for Winter and some ordinary cotton socks for anytime. That's 24 pairs for £10 making them around 41p a pair. I can pay £1 or more for socks. The last Thermal pair cost me £2.50 and they were on offer. They said don't leave it another 57 years and if I did they won't be there.Download laughing 12

By chance as I waited for a bus from the quayside back to the bus station I saw the following on the windowsill of a building which seemed to be keeping pigeons at bay(I assume that's why it is there)

I will return again and try and see the quayside when its dark and the bridges and river are illuminated. I do believe the quayside is nearer to the city centre than at first appears so I could probably catch a bus into the city and still get home quite easily.

Well I better shave, dress and have a quick breakfast in case I get a quick call and have to leave for my friends home.

I'm Sometimes Too Honest...

On here but I want to tell what's happening. Since yesterday I have had a message to say can I go around to a friends house to keep him company at short notice today. This much you do know...his father is in hospital and seriously unwell. And it looks as though an emergency op may happen today.

This in the week that come Friday an 80th Birthday happens(his wife)and a party was/is planned/arranged for Saturday. Difficult times.Download sad 1

So who knows what the next few hours or days hold. I now feel that the flowers I ordered and card may be inappropriate if things turn out badly. But just possibly there is still time to change the order if the worst happens. None of us know at this time.

Update:The difference  a few hours can make...my friend's dad's operation seems to have gone well. He was awake within half an hour afterwards and having an ice cream.

He will need carers when he gets home but that looks a possibility. They were talking of him being home by the end of the week. But he may come into a hospital nearer to home whilst arrangements are made but that's better news than hoped for 24 hours ago.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fortunate That I Am Able To...

I was seriously at a loss what to get someone for their 80th Birthday. They don't need clothes and items for the house. I am a friend but I don't want to spend too much nor look like a miser. I broached the subject and it turns out she likes flowers, So that's what we've decided upon. And whilst at the florists they persuaded me to also have a box of chocolates given with the flowers. They will be delivered to her home. I also purchased a birthday card.

By chance I had a win at the bingo last evening and a win on a Domino card so that meant the evening was free. And therefore the money I won has all but paid for everything and the little that was left over paid for this afternoons Bingo Session and I did not use a taxi for going there and back home. So I was only 30p out of pocket.

I have to tell of my exploits since Friday and hopefully post images. I hope to post something very soon.

Friday, October 23, 2015

That Friday Feeling...

Just been outdoors to get the wheelie bin ready...its B***** cold out there! But though not exactly warm indoors I've known it to be colder and the contrast means I still do not need to put the heating on...just yet!

Two days late and I am on for the trip to see the illuminations near Sunderland. Rucksack is packed with a salad, camera and with various warm clothes in case its chilly this evening being that I am on the coast. I'll wear a warmer coat and if that works I can forget about the extra stuff I have taken.

My meds have been taken(but I shall take some painkillers before I leave and have some with me(just in case)

We're talking of roughly a two hour trip in both directions. In a car that could probably be reduced to an hour or slightly under. Once on the bus I can rest, have a snooze and I find that the time passes quite quickly but if I want to go I have no choice, that's how long the journey is

Even if I'm back late I may have a lamb stew when I am home...I say stew, you could treat it as a home made chunky soup.

My friend's Father is still in hospital and if I haven't said he was moved to a larger hospital further away from home. Tomorrow so he can be visited by his wife and family I am spending the day with my friend. Lately he's been OK for a couple of hours alone but this will be longer. I am having my dinner whilst there too. I am assuming its fish and chips with it being delivered.

Next weekend its my Friend's Mum's 80th Birthday and a party is to be held at a local venue has been arranged(assuming that it can still go ahead)

Did I say(I probably have)I am thinking of getting a compost bin for my garden and fresh food waste then I no longer need worry about having to get it taken away. That will be my next "big" purchase. I want a saw too. I have decided to get rid of two shrubs in the garden and when chopped down I'll treat them with some kind of killer to finish them off.

I will have a rest until this afternoon now and then make my way. I dare not stay longer than 21.30 as I may not get home.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Rain? Head Cold?

Its poured down overnight. It was just a bit drizzly when I came out of the music club but that has changed. I wonder if it will improve as the day progresses. The head cold hasn't bothered me all of Tuesday but bedtime and being indoors I have been a bit snuffly. Still doing OK and that may be it working out of my system.

I still have eleven days for the illuminations but if it stays fine and isn't really horrible I may still head out in that direction today. I'll be prepared. I do believe for all the rain, it seems quite mild and it was not that cold overnight even indoors. However I think that I may think about adding an extra blanket to my bed now.

There's an 80th Birthday party at the end of the month so that kind've cancels out some of the chances to see them(held on Halloween Weekend)and we all know about Sundays and the poor bus service. If I take out other commitments, we're really talking of seven days to see them.

Update:Still on for the trip. I'll wrap up well and eat before I go to avoid taking a lot with me. It will be a long day. Could mean having to leave around 3pm and not being home before 11pm. Being dark on the way home I can always have a snooze on the bus. There won't be much worth seeing out of the window.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

4am And I Am Up Already...

but that's OK I have had eight hours sleep. I had a chicken salad when I came home. The lamb stew is my main meal today now. I only have to heat it up in the microwave and see it is hot enough. That will take minutes. I may cook another such meal for Wednesday as I am still thinking of a visit to the illuminations at Sunderland for tomorrow. Or soup. I can take a flask or a type of hot food container with me.

I have All Bran Muesli and fruit ready for breakfast. The music club in the evening. I may go for a bus ride mid morning. Good job I don't easily get bored on long bus journeys. I might if I was doing the same journey every day Download sad 1 There will be many times soon where the weather and dark days/nights keep me close to home. I do hope that we have a mild winter ahead.

I think I could be coming down with a head cold.Download sick 7 You wonder where you catch these things especially when you spend a lot of time alone but even a trip to a supermarket(and yes a bus ride)its not difficult. You always think of coughs and sneezes spreading germs/viruses but its been said many times that you can pick them up on your hands by touching door handles, work tops, shopping cart handles. It can get out of hand(no pun intended)You'd never stop washing your hands but normal every day washing is generally enough. Hopefully, I'll shake it off quickly.

Update:Holding my own...keeping the cold at bay Download laughing 10 The weather was good today(quite mild)I found a big ASDA supermarket near Stockton on Tees(much like the one that impressed me in Seaham(not as far to travel)and the buses are not that bad to get there and back though the last bus from the location is around 6pm(not that I think I will ever be there at that time)and if all the connections go to plan I can be there within an hour(that's three buses)so I will go there again.

Good on prices, quality and variety. It can take me 40+minutes to travel to an ASDA slightly nearer with much less choice. I have two meals now that have been cooked in the slow cooker which will feed me for the coming days and plenty of salads too.

A reasonably early night for me, going to take to my bed...its started to rain but if it improves I am still on for the trip to see the illuminations near Sunderland. I'll take some painkillers with me.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Sunday Trip Went A Little Awry...

It started well...but I missed the bus by seconds because I bumped into someone on the way to the stop and I couldn't get away. I thought I'd be clever and take a detour so I caught a bus with the intention of connecting to another there.

But its Sunday...I found my connection was not due for...fifty minutes so on a fairly miserable day weather wise I had to sit on a bench outdoors.

I knew when I reached Durham if I missed a bus at least there is a bus station. I had a twenty minute wait but that Sunday service still runs every 10-15 minutes.

I arrived at the Angel Of The North approx 75 minutes later than planned. It was still ample time to see it. Not very well planned though, there is a little car park near the sculpture and fortunately the bus goes past the monument so if you do not have a car you can actually get out and see it. The particular bus I used is specially covered in designs on the bodywork and windows connected to the statue. And a lime green colour. I will post some images later.

The bad news? I notice this more perhaps having mobility issues, the stops could not be further from the statue. Therefore you have to walk a bit. That would be true of anyone. But I can say that I have seen it! Its been there for 17 years. I think I stayed for approx 20 minutes and watching others that looks to be the average stay of visitors.

Getting around Durham most buses seemed to have reverted to an hourly service. That would be OK except most appear to arrive too late to connect to the next so there is a lot of "hanging around" If they would reduce the service but perhaps run every 30 minutes that would make a difference.

An example? I managed to get my tickets for the Lumiere*(there was actually a queue)but to get a bus from the bus station to the theatre would've meant waiting 40 minutes. So I took my time walking it. Coming back to the bus station would've meant another wait and it was not due until 15.31 but my bus home leaves at...15.31! So you either try to get to the station on foot(I did manage with minutes to spare)or wait at the stop and then sit in the bus station(again)for another hour.

Perhaps that's OK when the weather is better, everywhere is open or there is an event happening and you take time. Perhaps making a day of it.

When I reached home the weather had turned a little and there was a chill in the air, the wind was increasing and I was glad of my hat and gloves. It changed so quickly.

At home I rested for three hours. I was so cosy and pleasantly tired I actually would've been happy to carry on sleeping but the bingo was on. Our group numbers were down(one was unable to join us as she was visiting her husband in hospital)and another was ill(she had been not so good earlier in the week)so we were down to three. I didn't have a win but one of us did win a house.

Today, I think I will make another stew in a slow cooker, they are tasty, comforting, warm and good for you. I have nice vegetables, good quality meat(I don't eat large amounts of meat)and as you are using the liquid they are cooked in, any lost vitamins/minerals are in the water. I am thinking of adding some sliced mushrooms this time. I couldn't find my can opener and though many cans these days can be opened without sometimes that is not the case. I have a couple somewhere in the house but not sure where they've disappeared to. If they turn up I can use them again.

I may bother with breakfast later(cereal and fruit)I have a new All Bran Muesli to try and I'll grab a salad and chicken sandwich for lunch. I'll leave the stew on over the afternoon and have that for an evening meal. If I'd made more I could've put some in the fridge or freezer and then just warm it another day but I'm using my small cooker and this kind of meal I find I can eat all of it.

If the weather stays reasonable and now with the dark nights finally here(as I hear it could change by the end of the week)I may try and see the illuminations near Sunderland on Wednesday as I have nothing planned. Friday is another option.

Shopping wise though I can make my own being single sometimes its as easy to buy and I can get a nice soft Farmhouse Loaf for around £1 so on the way to the bingo this afternoon that is probably all I will buy today.

I don't do the lottery that often but I did try the past couple of draws because the prize money was good. I will have a go again this Wednesday but only as its a rollover and under the new rules as I have two matching numbers I am given a free go in the next draw.

*I wanted to attend on a weeknight but it clashes with another music event and a bingo night in November. Sunday the same and as the buses are not so good, I have a ticket for the Saturday night. You don't have to have a ticket but the idea is that they limit the numbers between 4.30pm-7.30pm to avoid over crowding. I hope the weather is kind even if we expect it to be crisp and clear.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Did Quite A Bit This Weekend But It Helps When Much Of The Time...

all you are doing is sitting on a bus.

I had plans on Friday but I shelved them. I got myself ready at a leisurely pace. On the way to the bus for my bus to the music event in a neighbouring town, I seemed to bump into people who wanted to chat. I was convinced I had missed the bus and that meant one final chance an hour later. That meant hanging around and possibly the place I was going would be packed. I nearly gave up but I thought just maybe the bus could be a minute or two late.

I arrived at the bus stop to find someone waiting so I had not missed it. And as I arrived the bus pulled up and I made it with seconds to spare.

Twenty minutes later and I was at the venue and had a pick of the seats. It was a great night, the club has been going for twenty seven years!!

Two of the bands/performers appear at the club on my town(sometimes for free)occasionally they perform for a whole night and there is a small cover charge. The difference is that our club is a weekly one and depends on a lot of goodwill, we need people to purchase raffle tickets and donate prizes so we can have the special nights.

This other club runs perhaps six months across the year. I believe(I could be wrong)that our club is given free use of the room because it brings in extra custom for the bar. This other club probably have to hire the venue. They also offer a buffet and they try to have a headline act for the end of the night and they don't come cheap.

I have had people say the nights there are too expensive but sitting here, writing this if it wasn't the trouble of getting home(so taxis are to be added to the mix)I'm not sure that it is that expensive, Its cheaper than a theatre ticket. I'm paying for my club 52 weeks per year. The other club is approx six to eight concerts per year,

Looked in that way...its not too bad.

After the interval(and buffet)and other acts the night ended with American Roots. An alternative name for a fairly popular and famous band best remembered for their version of a  Neil Young song After the Gold Rush. When singing that and other songs they are known as Prelude. I have seen them three times now in the last three years, they never disappoint. I know that better images exist than my own but if you saw the cameras being used, its no wonder.

On Saturday I just decided to take off and go to Stockton on Tees(now for the boring bit)My usual route is get to Darlington and change to another service to Middlesbrough that calls enroute to Stockton. But I can count on one hand how often I have been to Stockton in 50 decades.

However, I worked out that if I visited the town where I was at the music club last evening, I can travel as quickly and as easily but for some reason its never promoted by the bus company.

I left my town and arrived in Sedgefield. Now, if I stay on that bus I can go all the way to Sunderland and quite quickly(various towns enroute)If I get off that bus I can board another bus that runs between Sunderland and Stockton/Middlesbrough. And they also have another bus that runs between Middlesbrough and Newcastle(and big towns again along that route)and if timed correctly I can catch a bus that will bring me home. So Sedgefield is reasonably served most of the day/evening. The only destination that is not well served is that little jump from Darlington and my town. The last bus being around 7pm. If that could be improved it would offer more freedom locally. This route also takes you through countryside and some villages I have never heard of.

I did not need much shopping wise but all the kind of shops I am likely to want to use(other than supermarkets)were under cover in a shopping mall and were larger branches so they offered more choice. Worth knowing for the future. The bus stops right outside the mall too.

Coming home this bus passes by a kind of butcher's wholesale retailer in Sedgefield which is popular so you can pop in there and buy some meat products. I did today but I'll be honest for the amount I eat and looking at prices I think my local supermarket(Tesco's)and the discount retailer Aldi are as cheap and offer as good a quality. I could not buy any diced lamb today at the butcher's wholesale. And comparing my diced pork and beef at Aldi's it was no more expensive, the quality was as good and there was the same amount.

I have some lovely meals planned and on Friday I again had a lamb casserole cooked in the slow cooker(you could call it a stew, a casserole or a chunky soup)its optional. Again for quickness the ready meals I buy are as tasty, offer variety and probably work out around the same price. But if I want to cook from scratch and use the slow cooker its another option.

Not sure what I am doing today. I could stay home or I may bus ride into Durham and collect tickets for the Lumiere in November from the theatre. They are free. You can watch the event without tickets but if you have them you can go into the area a few hours earlier. I've also suddenly got into my head about going to see the Angel Of The North. The reason is the theatre is not opening until mid afternoon so I may as well fill the time whilst waiting. I can leave early in the morning and then return for when the box office opens around 14.30 and then perhaps catch the bus around 15.15 and come home.

The bingo may be on or off in the evening the person in hospital has been transferred to a larger hospital further away from home and its unlikely that one of our group will get home for the night at the club. So it will depend if enough of the remainder of the group still want to go. If its called off and I know in good time there is an illuminated parade around the river and Cathedral around 8.30pm I would quite like to see. But I won't hang around for hours and if the bingo is on I shall go there instead.

I have had a sleep earlier so at present I am having a bit of a surf around the internet and playing a few games. The last few nights have been milder indoors in the early hours but its a bit chilly again. I may have to put on a jumper, my slippers and a hat.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Weekend Starts Here???

Thursday passed by...because I had to use a taxi the win at my bingo was cancelled out but at least I cannot say that I was really out of pocket. It means that £6 stayed in my pocket Download laughing 6

I had chicken salad when I came home and I have found because I eat small portions I can make a £1 prepared salad last three to four meals so that's good value. I am cooking Lamb and vegetable stew in the slow cooker again(and I can make that go quite a long way)I think it will have to go in the fridge and be eaten on Saturday otherwise there won't be room for the buffet at the music evening I am going to.Download eating & drinking 9It would help if I remembered to switch the cooker on. I thought that I had and found two hours later...I hadn't. The event has been put back from 7.30pm to 7.45pm but I hear its a small venue that gets packed so you need to get there early. One bus is too late, the other means I will be there too early but they may let me in early. I hope that the weather is kind if I have to wait outside. 

I will be prepared...brolly, hat, gloves and scarf at the ready. Creeping nearer the idea of a compositor for the garden rather than throwing out the garden rubbish and some food waste. I may have to order online and have it delivered.

So I may be missing most of today...hopefully all for good reasons.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I Did It...

I was out the door at 7am and feeling cosy in my hat, scarf and gloves. Still wearing a thin jerkin type coat. Then around 9.30am I decided because the weather was so nice and it had become warmer I could pop all of them into my rucksack.

The two supermarkets let me down. What I wanted wasn't on the shelves. I need an even larger branch so will have to look at other towns in future and travel a little further perhaps. Also, on many items(which I did consider purchasing)were too close to their use by date. Many were today's date. Even on offer later in the day I think they'll have difficulty shifting the stock.

However, I found some lovely prepared salads each will do at least two meals and/or can be used in sandwiches. Well priced too. I found some sandwich filler spreads too and packets of corned beef.

Rather than wait for a bus and come home, a bus arrived to go to another town so I hopped on that and it stopped near a branch of the retailer I wanted to buy my garden trowel and fork from. Could I find them? Ask an assistant you say but I had walked around all the garden stuff.

Well, as I was in store and its larger than the branch on my town I decided to walk around the whole store. Just as well I did as I found what I was looking for and found for £3 a manual cultivator. So a good shopping trip altogether.

Hopped on a bus and was home by lunchtime. And I've even had a snooze.

Its getting colder again and though sunny outside I can see twilight starting.

All human life is out there...on the way out this morning I passed a house on my town where someone in his pyjamas was walking his dog. And on the way back a police car shot past my bus with its siren going and later we found it stopped at a bus stop on my route, it had joined another police car and a policeman was trying to save someone's life on the pavement pressing on their chest I have no idea of the age or gender of the person or the outcome(I was on the wrong side of the bus)

Further on my journey another bus was hurrying to the same incident. The town has an ambulance station and big hospital very close to the location of the emergency but it was the police doing what they could for this person. I hope it came out OK.

Because I Can...

I'm going out early, catching a bus to a neighbouring town and doing a small shop. Mainly vegetables and my trowel and fork. I should be home before lunchtime. I can then take it easy, perhaps have a snooze. I may garden a little and do some tasks but no plans to travel anywhere.

I may do that at the weekend. I am thinking of the illuminations near Sunderland. I think it could be getting dark early enough in the evening to see them and still catch a bus home. Later on, perhaps November I think I may do something I haven't before and get down onto Newcastle Upon Tyne's Quayside. I want to see it at night with the effects of the bridges and river lit up. I have seen so many images over the past few years and I want to see it for myself.

I have been surprising cosy overnight whilst online, no heating required. I found wearing a jumper, dressing gown/robe, gloves and a hat have kept me lovely and warm. Almost toastie.

When I come home from my shopping trip I am putting my lamb and vegetable stew into the slow cooker and I shall enjoy that in the early evening.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Well And Truly Dark Before...

7.30pm. I'm not a fan...its funny how even if you have nowhere to go and you are just looking out of the window, how it changes everything. At present I am generally in hibernation mode so I am more involved with things in the early hours and sleep the early part of the mornings away. It seems almost normal after 8am.

I tend to think of food more at this time of the year...what I call comfort food. I was thinking of home made soup tomorrow but now thinking Lamb casserole in the slow cooker...depending on the portion size we're talking approx £1 per meal(4)or at most £2.50(2)

Another good night at the music club and Friday is still on...I have managed to secure a lift home by asking point blank(and its either free)or I will contribute to the petrol. Still cheaper than a taxi. And whilst I have it I have access to a free bus ride there. And the stop is virtually outside the venue.

Music and a buffet. Seeing bands I would not usually see or hear. There is a country band(which is I understand)a famous band been on the go for decades but when they play country they use a different name. Two acts that appear regularly at my club and another that never come to my club and it really is too difficult to get too their venue(lack of public transport)It gets very busy and space is at a premium so getting there early is important.

I was unable to buy a trowel and little garden fork so I will try again tomorrow. And I think I'll pop into the local ASDA supermarket who really offer a great variety of prepared/fresh vegetables at good prices. And if I haven't said so already I am seriously thinking of buying a compositor to turn garden and food waste into something good for the garden. That will kill the worry of trying to get my rubbish away.

If lucky I can get the trowel and fork for approx £8 in one well known stores rather than paying £34 in another. That's for the two.

So at this late hour, I'll surf the net, play some games, leave some political rants on Twitter and have a coffee. And see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Plans Slightly Thrown Out...

Still on for buying plants and some gardening equipment. But the actual garden will not be likely as I have realised that I cannot get that much done as the bingo is on in the afternoon. And I have to be away around lunchtime. And that will no sooner be over and I will have to be thinking of a quick snack before going to see my musical at the theatre. And there is only a two hour window between the bingo and catching a bus out of town.

But at least the weekend wasn't wasted and I was able to catch out on household tasks. So not much more to say until I have seen the show. I'll try and write a review of it later but images will be out this time.

Update:It rained overnight and a little bit this afternoon so I couldn't have done the garden anyhow. Wow! I won £2 for a line at the bingo.

I purchased myself another hat for Winter and replaced some fingerless gloves I'd misplaced(the kind that can be turned into mittens by pulling a kind've cover over the fingers. And found some nice diced lamb to make a meal or casserole in the slow cooker and a honeydew melon.

I have a jumper, one of my hats/gloves in case its a bit chilly when I come out of the theatre tonight, something to drink, a couple of beef and salad sandwiches plus crisps in case I become hungry.

And now its almost time to think of catching my bus.

Update2:The trip went well. I was legging it to the usual bus stop and though the buses on a route nearest to where I live stop by around 8pm and only run hourly in the evenings(if you time it right, you have the choice of two so that one every half hour really)and I suddenly thought "Why do you walk further than you need to?" when you have access to a bus at the bottom of your street. So I went to that stop instead.

Was in Darlington in good time. Went into a pound shop that stays open later than any other shop(until 7pm)to see if I could find a trowel or fork for use in the garden(no joy)then moved to another bus stop to wait for one to save walking to the theatre so was there for around 15mins. The bus arrived around 7pm and though usually it takes a couple of mins to get there, due to roadworks and the driver getting off to go to the office(probably a call of nature)I was in my seat by 7.15pm.

On average if you include the interval most shows last 140-150mins this one started late and was out quite early I'd guess all finished within 105mins. Maybe I'm a softie and getting old but when I came out I can feel a chill in the air so when I caught the bus back to the town centre I put my hat, gloves and jumper on and it made a difference. My bedroom is getting colder as I sit here I think its around 14c/58f. If I stay up a little longer I may put my dressing gown on.

Though buses are again less frequent I managed to get one within ten minutes and then had to wait twenty minutes for the one to get me home.

I have said a little about the show in an update in the previous blog entry. But I will add I do think we had a slightly slimmed down version of the production(maybe because of production cost)size of the theatre. I have seen a promo video with singers and dancers suggesting we may've been four short. As some routines when the dancers split there were more on one side of the stage than the other, But we had five male/five female dancers, three male/two female singers and the couple from Strictly Come Dancing. So seventeen in all. The energy they all have is amazing. If there were any mistakes I never spotted them. I've no right to criticise...its not as if I could do what they do.

Not a bad song amongst the selection. The music of Gershwin, Berlin and Porter.

Now I am going to add that I saw a musical Anything Goes in January in Durham staged and performed by The Durham University Opera Group(I assume)that they all plan to go into the profession and it was as good as tonight, perhaps even better.

However, a good night was had by all.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Rain, Rain Go Away...

Come back another day...

That put paid to trips out or gardening...it will be done...eventually. Also though I could go on my own I can save some money and food tonight(I think)as the bingo has been called off unless things change.

The husband of my friend's Mother(does that make sense?)the one who had the major op in hospital and is in his 80's has been rushed into hospital again. They said they were keeping him in. Then around Midnight when everyone had come home. Around 2am they sent him home again.

By 9am he was back there again and is now admitted onto a ward. I have had a message tonight has been called off which I quite understand. Its easy to criticise and medicine is still not an exact science.

So a mixed day and if things stay as they are tomorrow's little afternoon bingo could be called off too. Quite understandable.

My friend on the other hand though doing well has been told that he will be returning to hospital(probably in November)they say for an op(probably an overnight stay)and done via keyhole surgery. And suffice to say what is planned is very clever and hopefully will stop future complications.

So for the rest of the day I'll potter about, do some more housework and if I am not going out perhaps have a meal. If I don't go out tonight/tomorrow the money saved has paid for next Friday's night out at the music club in the neighbouring town(ticket and a taxi just for me, if I don't share a lift or taxi with someone else coming back this way)Sunday nights are also a good for radio listening which since going out on Sundays I usually miss it. I always seem to forget to use the online radio player to listen another day.

Update:That Putting On The Ritz Music show that I am supposed to see tomorrow at the local theatre starts its short run tonight and a quick look at the venues and dates would suggest there is a regular team of dancers in the cast but the "Main" guests are taking turns and appear in some shows and not others.

In the production I see from Strictly Come Dancing(I am none the wiser)there will be Robin Windsor and Anya Garnis but no clue who else but other venues have more dancers appearing on the same night. Also some venues have Pixie Lott as a cast member. It could be that Ray Quinn could be in the cast, not sure. Our version could be a slimmed down version because of the size of the theatre stage. And our theatre is down for a refurbishment sometime in the future. We've been paying a £1 levy on tickets for ages.

Update2:It would appear that there are various companies appearing around the UK at various theatres and the version at our local theatre unless you include the couple from Strictly Come Dancing were unknown but probably have been seen in many shows and they all worked very hard and  received a warm reception from the audience. Lots of energetic dance routines and costume changes. Any criticism? Could be a problem with the theatre rather than the company.

The theatre at Durham has better sound. That could be because the building is newer. But the local theatre though smaller when it does music I don't know whether the speakers used are too big or the acoustics aren't as good. Or they set the sound wrongly. There is often too much base and it sounds more like a rumble and the singers voices seem to get lost in the mix and are overwhelmed.

Whether this will change when they upgrade the theatre(make it larger)possibly change the sound system. I actually prefer to watch music shows in Durham but you don't always know if/when an artist will appear there.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Still No Sign Of Complaints...

from next door(the lull before the storm?)I still haven't responded to the note or tried to talk to her as I usually do when we have a disagreement. Its always me that backs down. As I write this the house in darkness and her husband is home again. So I assume they've gone out. He's home more at present(that's suggests work has dried up)

Actually, I think there are more complaints if/when he comes back to stay for a while.

Two dreams that are unlikely to happen. If I ever do the Lottery/Euromillions(only occasionally)if I win enough, I'd love to look after people I feel need help but for myself I would either buy a  new home and move(buying either a detached house/bungalow with a prepared garden)or if this property is sound(its big enough for me)and is near everything, I would buy this...soundproof the party walls, have it modernised and decorated indoors and perhaps have the garden professionally designed.

That would be enough for me. If I can be warm, eat reasonably well and have an odd treat. I need no more.

I suspect that is what most people ask for out of life.

Plans are taking shape for the garden and I am now pushing for doing tasks across the whole week during the daytime. Also as my neighbour works that means I can work knowing I have no contact and I reckon I can have the front garden in order very quickly.

I never thought that I would buy roses for a garden and its decades since there were any in my garden but I have purchased two climbers(Zephirine Drouhin and Blue Moon)and two shrub roses(Rosa Rugosa Rubra and Marjorie Fair)tonight.

The weather so far remains fine. A friend has creosoted his shed so if things stay mild, I may still decide to paint my fences this year.

I popped out this evening and bought some staple food items(milk, eggs)and the discount supermarket has started selling vegetable soup mix again so I can make some homemade soup again(more for your money)I used to make it in the slow cooker and may again but I can make it quickly in a saucepan on a hob. I can keep some for another day.

So now its an unremarkable Saturday evening as many are having(I know that's the same for many)the supermarket was quite busy. I shall have a night of radio listening.

Update:They're back(its around 22.45)How do I know? They close doors loudly. I don't even do that. These are good solid houses built approx 60+years ago. Its always been do as I say and not as I do since they moved in, they even used to upset Mum when she was alive. No one else has in all the time we've lived here. Perhaps we were just lucky.

Friday, October 09, 2015

On A Bit Of A Downer...

Oh no...Not again. What have I to complain about? You're right!

On the positive side I have not wasted my time putting myself into continuing to tidy my home...I bothered to have a meal. If it does not rain and stays fine and the grass is dry enough this weekend(Saturday, Sunday and Monday)I am cutting the hedge, strimming the front lawn and possibly planting bulbs and some shrubs. So staying close to home.

This also includes doing flower tubs and a hanging basket. All that will stop me is if we get the "Bad" weather the press and broadcasters have been promising the North of England and Scotland for over a week. The remains of a hurricane from somewhere.

So far I have not heard anything more from my neighbour and have avoided putting my note of reply through her letterbox with my point of view which will either annoy her further or help calm matters down. But its ready in case I have to put my views across.

The tickets for the Lumiere in Durham are now not on sale until next Thursday. All being well I am out on Sunday night(Bingo)Monday a musical Putting on the Ritz(it should've been the Judy Garland Story)but Judy's daughter Lorna Luft took seriously ill. My Music Club Tuesday, Bingo again Thursday and another music do on Friday night. That will keep me busy. I believe I may have a lift home(I'll give something towards the petrol)or if I leave slightly earlier I may be able to share a taxi home.

It will soon be Saturday and the start of a busy weekend(Oh and since writing the above I feel more my usual self again)I wonder if my downers are chemically led(as they can be)or if you believe in that kind of thing perhaps I am susceptible to the reduction in sunlight as Winter sets in...

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Weather Was Better Today...

Having trouble with my neighbours though. Its old news and there are blog entries going back of previous run ins...if you go back far enough.

Lived here approx 50+ years and never ever had problems. Then a few years before Mum became terminally ill someone moved from a house across the road and purchased the semi next to mine. They gutted their house(one of them is a builder by trade)they took away much of the garden, built  a conservatory, put down flagstones and laid a large patio. Built a shed too.

Any wildlife we had disappeared and again without going over old ground they managed to get rid of the dividing fence between my property and theirs, also my trees(which were not near any property)I am such a peaceful soul I just gave in.

When Mum was at her worst health wise we had their Rottweiler dog howling all hours and even karaoke nights until the early hours and barbecues. The dog continued to howl until May when it died.

I'm so considerate I tend to live in my back bedroom. I rarely watch TV downstairs and am mindful of how loud I have the TV because I don't want to disturb anyone. I'll never get the effect of the stereo sound because its so low. I am almost paranoid about being a noisy neighbour.

I moved to the other end of the house because I know she sleeps in the front bedroom. I also know that no one sleeps in the adjoining bedroom to mine. I even check how loud I play my radio(a basic one speaker job)not a ghetto blaster(I don't own a hi-fi)by going into the other rooms to see if its noisy and I keep all doors closed. I cannot hear it anywhere upstairs or downstairs only in the room where it is.

But she's put another note through the door saying she is being kept awake at 4am by my radio. Its on so low even I struggle to hear it. It has a bar of blocks showing how loud you are playing it. Highest is level sixteen. I usually have it on a setting of six. Also I tend to listen to speech not music, When her son was living there he played music at all hours and it was that "House" type music with a lot of base and repetitive thumping. It was so loud my windows rattled and we never said a word.

Funnily enough I was talking to someone about it tonight and he had a few tales about her including a time when she'd had difficulty controlling her dog and it had gone for him and his pet. Why they had to move next to me is just bad luck.

I even had a time where her dog kept finding a way into my garden and leaving dog mess all over the place. They do as they wish but complain of others(well they certainly do about me)I feel as though I am a prisoner in my own home and trying to be as quiet as a church mouse. What an awful way to live.

To happier things...the day went well apart from this note shoved through my letterbox. I managed to win £6 at the little bingo club so that was like getting my bus fare back from last night. I had some nice corned beef and chutney baps(and took some for the person I share a table with at the bingo)and some crisps.

I managed to do some housework too. I haven't decided about tomorrow yet. Whether to stay close to home or go out. I could see if I can get tickets for the Lumiere in Durham(they go on sale tomorrow)or I could try and see the illuminations at Roker Park near Sunderland. I'll decide when tomorrow comes.

A Free Night(Sort Of)Ended Up Costing Me Money...

I started off eating corned beef and tomato sandwiches...cheap and cheerful and I'd forgotten how nice corned beef can be.

I shaved, dressed and hit the ground running. It had rained heavily for hours and I expected to get wet and though I took my brolly...it stopped. And then stayed fine for the rest of the night.

I popped into the supermarket for my fortnightly computer magazine and within minutes my bus arrived at the bus stop close by.

I was in good time for the theatre and decided rather than get the next bus to the theatre I could walk it. I did.

So the show commenced at 7.30pm and we were told that one of the 60's bands had not arrived at the theatre but the show began. We had the Troggs(without the lead singer most of us remember from the band's heyday)Reg Presley(he passed away)some years ago. I suspect we only had one original band member in the group. We then followed up with Badfinger who played all of the hits we know their's and an underrated band at that. I actually preferred their set and performance more than the Troggs.

Two of Badfinger are no longer with us but they wrote one of the most famous songs you'll have heard and covered by many "Without You" they did not get the recognition or money they deserved and sadly both committed suicide. Badfinger were signed up to the Apple record label(run by the Beatles)and you are bound to know other songs they've recorded.

We had a twenty minute interval and then we were entertained by the band that was late. The Ivy League held up on the A1 once known as the Great North Road. Due to bad weather and they said people were getting out of their cars which were in a traffic jam. A trio I only know for a few songs in the 60's(which were all close harmony)and I don't remember when they appeared on TV them playing instruments. But they played drums and guitars tonight and also worked comedy into the act. They had adapted to a theatre audience. And they received a very warm reception. I liked them too.
To be honest most of the acts have adapted to a theatre atmosphere.

We then had a band that had taken their name from the backing group of Gerry and the Pacemakers but again I'm unsure how many were original band members and on their own I was not so keen. They stayed around to play the backing music and accompanying vocals for the final band(well trio)of the band The Tremeloes.

That was a little confusing because we had the original lead singer Brian Poole but some point in the 60's he left and so the other two continued to write, sing and front the band without him. Tonight they were all as one. One member announced tonight that within a few years he'll have been with the Tremeloes for sixty years. So work out his age from that. Another member of the band was due to play a few years ago but had to miss the concert due to ill health.

They went into the foyer to sign autographs whether you purchased anything or not. I cheated and went around the theatre and came in via a different way and avoided the bottle neck of people still coming out of the auditorium. I had a quick look and then decided I was up to legging it back to the bus stop in town but no way was I going to get the 22.45 bus home. Wrong! If I had left the theatre and not gone into the foyer I would have caught it. I missed it by 30 seconds. But I thought I'll catch the last bus at 22.15.

What I did not realise was that my bus pass stops working at 23.00 and I do appreciate having one and know I am fortunate to have it(but I don't take advantage of it)I don't understand why they decide to make you pay for the last bus or ask for a reduced fare. Or let the pass run until Midnight. So for the sake of 15mins I had to pay full fare home.

During weekdays on mornings you pay a small contribution to your bus fare if you travel before 9.30am so even that idea would be acceptable at the end of the day. After all the buses are not busy late and night, not as frequent. So that delay through going to see the groups after the concert cost me money. Still cheaper than a taxi.

They are not great images but as a memory I have the following three. All in all a great night just the same.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Its Been A Good Day...Or Two...

lots of ideas going around my head regarding the garden and the last tidy up before Winter sets in but the weather is not great as I type. Bit wet and windy. Now I hear we may be getting a hurricane of some force anytime from Friday onwards which will be the worst we've had in five years. They're calling it a hurricane in the papers but I suspect it will be nowhere as bad as the recent weather in America or France.

If its bad I'll stay close to home. However, I have something lined up every evening this week. They won't cost much. Friday is the expensive night.

I still have a few daytime trips planned. Not sure where I am going though as yet.

I want to see a local(?)illumination display near Sunderland. I missed it last year. I found out about it too late. The weather was bad in the final days and thanks to the buses if I go too early its not dark enough before I have to come home but if I wait until the clocks go back or let the nights draw in a little more it will be dark earlier so I can see them and still catch a bus home.

In November Durham is holding another Lumiere across the city and it will be darker by then. Buses are more easily available too, sometimes they put on some extra ones.

I believe the tickets(free)went on sale today so to be sure of getting one I may have a ride to Durham today to get one and carry on to the Angel of The North. I feel up to it today if its not pouring down.

I watched a political rally online tonight totally ignored by mainstream media though a big event and my interest has been fired up considerably over recent years. I had a quick look out for some milk and crisps so I have no shopping to do(crisps are for my trips to the theatre. maybe a snack when I am out and about or to share with others when we are together, the milk, well that's for the usual reasons anyone needs milk(tea/coffee/cereal)I was only out for perhaps half an hour if that.

If I do get about I'll try and put some images on my blog. I'd like some of my theatre visit but sometimes you can get away with it. Sometimes you can't. That's why I was unable to put anything on here of last weeks big band concert.

Update:Still going well but the bad weather means a change of plans...stayed close to home. Tickets for the Lumiere go on sale on Friday and the concert I thought was happening the same day is a week on Friday. The Music Club was as good as ever last evening.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Just Could Not Manage To Attempt...

Another look out today. To be honest the weather is not particularly warm and the sun is not shining. I was amazed that I did not feel as tired as I thought I may after my trip out yesterday. It was a struggle at the time and I felt the effect more around 4am this morning. Lots of sleep, some painkillers and a cosy bed have all helped.

I was totally out of it and the plan for Saturday was almost thrown out but as late as 1pm I made the effort to go to Durham. If I caught any of the event it was a bonus. And if I missed it I would carry on to the Angel of the North or Newcastle.

The walk in Durham was longer and steeper than I expected and it was getting close to the scheduled time for the event to end. I missed the falconry display but did see all the birds on their stands and then found a route on the flat for most of the time and shorter than the one I had been advised to take. I'll know for another time. I have never ever walked along the river and my sense of direction was out. I thought that I was going somewhere else.

I was on the side where the Cathedral is amongst all those trees. And if you can look at the larger version of the image I somehow managed to walk from the bridge in the distance to where I took the photo. I was very slow but happy that there were a few seats along the way. I am amazed and pleased that my determination was so strong to have actually managed to walk such a distance.

It was misty all day around my part of the North East, not enough sun to burn it off.

I returned home quite quickly and put off the rest of my plans for another day.

There were as many as eleven birds of pray but I assume they do not all take part in the display. Some may be too old or too young and some at different stages of training.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Oh You Never Saw My Images Of Woodhorn Colliery...

Where I was last Friday...showing the Weeping Poppies display coming off the wheel of one of the winding mechanisms that used to take the miners down the shaft to the seam where they dug for coal. I cannot post them all but here are a few.

On the way I passed by the Angel of the North and managed to get some images as the bus sped past and also the window was not very clean but they're not bad. Luckily there is a bus stop nearby and a regular bus service so hopefully I will get up close soon. I'm even thinking that as I am already in Durham tomorrow(all being well)and that event could be over by 3.30pm(if I have not seen all that there is to before then)I may board a bus and go the extra 14 miles to Low Fell and actually see it for myself. At that time it will still remain quite light for a couple of hours.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

A Great Night At The Theatre...

Lucky for now that I can manage to go occasionally. I appreciate that. Buses ran reasonably well with few periods of hanging around between connections. The weather was good going there and not as cold as the previous night in Durham coming home but I was prepared.

The theatre was packed. Always good to see. I had a good view too. All those people kept the place warm and when I came out I had a small scarf and a thermal hat to hand to keep the head warm. I had gone in a baseball cap...I know, I know...

I popped into the supermarket on the way home...purchased a few ready meals that will keep me fed for a few weeks.

The shrub I had planned to buy had to be changed to a cheaper one from another store on town because the few that remained at Tesco's were looking in poor condition, if I am passing another store I may try again.

Back to the theatre show, another great night of live music from a 16 piece big band in the name of Syd Lawrence who was one of the last respected bandleaders that kept such a band on the road until his untimely death many years ago. Resurrected by and fronted by Chris Dean these days as it has been for many years. He is an accomplished singer/trombonist/musical director and has a big collection/library of musical arrangements. Often bequeathed to him.

The band we were informed had virtually just returned from a 17 day tour of...Brazil. We were told from the stage that my local theatre's capacity is to be doubled in size. Not sure how they plan to do that. It may mean larger productions can be staged that usually go to theatres out of the area but I do worry this mean prices will increase. On the other hand I hope it has the opposite affect and pegs prices somewhat. My concern is that as some shows are not sold out and there are often many empty seats extra seats do not mean extra "Bums" on seats.

So today, taking it easy and in a few hours it will time to play bingo again...come Saturday I hope to be at an afternoon planned by the cathedral in the surrounding countryside which also includes a display of falconry and there are owls too.

Update:No bingo wins tonight...but two reduced cooked chickens on the way home. I cheated and had Chips and gravy cooked in the micro with chicken(cost around £1.30)quick and tasty. And of course no cost of cooking the chickens either. Having a coffee now. Almost the weekend so it can't be bad.