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.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Plans Changed On Sunday Too.

I stayed home. It was cold and blustery. Other areas had it worse but I wasn't going out in that. Only ventured out for the bingo this evening. The turn was good too. My group was almost back to the usual numbers but overall the amount of people there was down.

I sometimes wonder how they survive.

I had a nice meal earlier all cooked in the slow cooker. Amazing what you can do. Had some of the buffet for supper when I returned. Going to have a coffee and climb into bed now...its got around to almost 1.30am.

Makes you think(but it won't affect me)the last story from a newspaper on the Midnight radio news was about how we can expect to live past the age of 120.

That's fine if you are healthy, happy, financially sound and have loved ones around you but...much as we are told how great medical science is and how lucky we are living longer there are practical issues to be dealt with.

  1. How many and what jobs will be available when already many are low paid, often many people end up on schemes just stop them being idle and seen to be claiming benefits. Where many jobs are now service based and as more technology is used there is often less need for Humans to be in a work of place physically. 
  2. How will all these people living longer survive financially as government keep pushing the age of retirement further back(they are already doing that)they dislike and probably cannot afford to pay a state pension that may have to be paid for 50+years. So though they keep saying how wonderful medical science is that we live longer, its creating a headache. And there will be many more issues that they have not thought of or if they have they don't want to admit to having to deal with.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Plans Changed...We're Talking Saturday...

at 4pm. I discovered a Durham college was performing a kind of farce The House of Dracula. So I took off at short notice. Panic set in when at Durham Bus Station a bus that runs past the college left earlier than it should, the next did not turn up and the following one was late.

Then when I alighted the bus there were no signs to direct me to the college. I was going in the wrong direction and it was almost starting time. I found someone who was able to direct me there.

It went well and I caught the last bus to connect with another to get me home. I had to hang around in the bus station for almost an hour though. I treated myself to some chips, many do when waiting for a bus and there is a fish and chip shop nearby.

It was quite easy to get to the theatre from the main road and now I know where the college is I will be OK if I go again. Coming back was a killer because there is a very steep hill/road to be climbed to get back onto the main road from within the college and I got cramp in my leg. Perhaps next time I can find an alternative route. I wonder how the students cope when the incline gets icy, there isn't a fence to hang onto. Its not friendly for the disabled that's for sure. Naturally easier going in the opposite direction.

I am taking to my bed now and having a rest.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Late Night And A Rare Night...

well, its an early morning of watching TV for me...a special with the music of Burt Bacharach from the Festival Hall in London and followed by a documentary about what I call Easy Listening music.

I am happy, quite warm. I have eaten well, I poached salmon in my slow cooker and it worked. So that's what I will have today either with miniature potatoes and vegetables or salad.

I believe I am staying home but if the weather is  kind my local Brass Band is doing a show in front of a Town Hall in a town called Crook on Sunday I can get there reasonably easily. That is the plan.

Update:I didn't dive under the duvet as mentioned in the previous post and the reason for not having the salmon was because I was finishing off corned beef that was open. Its great when you can quickly switch plans and have the variety of food in the house to do so.

Now that its mid morning, its chilly outside(I know that it is)and there is a blustery wind blowing. A day for staying home. I doubt that I will consider venturing out at all.

I luckily have my buffet items already for tomorrow night so I will put it all ready before I go out and then if time is tight I can literally pick it up at the door and jump into the taxi to the club.

I am sure that you are riveted to know that I have crisps, cocktail sausages, cheese, cherry tomatoes, baps(I haven't decided what's going in those)and chocolate swirl bites(or rock road bites)I can use the stuff if its not used(it didn't work out that expensive either)

Friday, November 27, 2015

That Friday Feeling...

Not happy with the budget that was announced on Wednesday. All lies and "Smoke and Mirrors" was it always thus. I dare not look too far ahead. Much lies and spin and that comes from the media as much as anyone.

But as it takes time to filter into our lives at this time nothing seems to have changed. So I feel quite positive.

You saw what happened on my shopping trip on Wednesday. What I did not add is that people seem to come to me and tell their troubles and seem to feel better afterwards...and it only enforces what I know already...that few are living the "Perfect" life.

A lovely lady started talking and was waiting to meet her daughter off a bus...turns out the daughter and her partner/husband are having difficulty finding work and what little they have is poorly paid. They are having problems with all the new rules our government has regarding help(now called welfare once called social security)and no neither Mum or daughter looked or sounded like the kind of people featured in those horrible programmes that air on British TV and cause many to believe that all who need help are wasters and are all living on massive handouts.

The Mum looked well dressed and probably reasonably OK financially but she too has to watch what is spent, she wears extra clothes in the house to stay warm(even fingerless gloves when on the computer)and her husband has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. So now someone has to be there for him when she needs to go out. They can no longer use the car(that has been sold)and where they go does depend very much on bus services.

Another person opened up to me last evening(not known for doing so)if anything this person comes across as strident and quite strong. Not really compassionate to those who struggle. However, her work time has been cut, some help she was getting has been cut(the department who deals with such matters)says they were overpaid so whilst paying it back that means income is even lower. Her husband cannot work due to health issues but his help has been withdrawn too.

Earlier in the week another person was telling me how they had invited an ill friend around for a meal and sent him home with various goods to see him through the following week...his money has been reduced to something like £49 per week.

No wonder so many people are stressed out. These are not as I say the kind that you see on TV. "There but for the grace of God go I" That could be me. And who knows where I will find myself.

If I tried to explain in greater detail to anyone reading from outside the UK what was announced in the budget I would be here forever, it would become complicated and if you were reading this months and years ahead it would not mean much. There are dedicated blogs that do nothing but political stories daily and many are very good too. Often better than what is broadcast on TV and radio or in newspapers.

Anecdotal perhaps but I find talking with people is the best way to appreciate what life is really like. An awful amount of TV(and I can understand why)is escapism from the humdrum lives many live. And many don't want to watch others living the lives that they are. They want to have something to aspire to, the hope things will improve.

TV unless you are watching documentaries presents generally a world where most people are dressed well, look fantastic, eat the best food, drive beautiful cars, their homes are equally desirable. Generally, its a make believe world.

For all that I have written I really am OK. Honestly. I don't know where all that came from it wasn't planned.

Yesterday, around 2.15pm I decided to take off to Durham and pay my insurance. I missed the bus by seconds and thought should I give up I can go tomorrow. But when you have made your mind up to do something you have that mindset so the next bus arrived...late. It was already 3.10pm and for various reasons it was held up and I kept thinking I can't make it. Luckily the office is next to the bus station. The buses usually drop off passengers at the bus station entrance(even better for me)mine took me right into the station to its official bay and typically other buses kept holding mine up.

So I had to walk the full length of the station and a slight incline to reach the office, I got in with three minutes to spare(it closes at 4pm)

It won't mean much to anyone else...I came out and hopped on a bus to Bishop Auckland but thought whilst I am on lets do a small shop(get some salads in)but these buses come into Bishop Auckland away from the supermarket I wanted to visit. So I hopped off en route at Spennymoor where another branch of the same retailer exists.  It is quite near the bus stop. I popped in, got what I wanted rushed back to the stop as quickly as I am able)the bus was 5 minutes late so I caught an earlier one to what I thought that I would. That took me to Bishop Auckland and the bus station there.

I had to wait twenty minutes and caught the bus back to here and that bus gets me almost to where my Thursday night bingo takes place. I alighted at 6.40pm and got there around 6.50pm with ten minutes to spare. So I managed all the bus rides and shopping in the space of  150 mins. I really was pushing my luck.

I won a house so I was not out of pocket. I did not make a loss nor did I profit. And it fills a couple of hours.

Today is Black Friday(anyone know what that is?)Basically it came from a America internet and retailers supposedly offer discounts on various items that are said to be out of this world and last year it got out of hand with people fighting over goods. This year we were told it would be handled better. I don't know as I have avoided doing any shopping myself. I have not heard any reports of how its gone,

Sometimes they only have a few items at special prices and when they are gone, they're gone. Some items no one really wants but because the price has been reduced they'll buy it anyway, And some retailers have decided to extend the idea so it lasts over the weekend or will run for a week,

But there will be other sales after Christmas anyhow.

I have nothing planned over the weekend so I don't know that I will be going anywhere possibly I may go to the memorial service at my local church on Sunday to remember Mum and Dad. I haven't decided yet.  You sing a couple of hymns and hang a kind of message on a Christmas Tree. Perhaps I'll decorate my tree and start playing Christmas music at last. I think I shall clear out the fridge freezer and try and create some space for some special food usually only available at Christmas and should I still be eating it in 2016 so be it. "Enjoy Yourself its later than you think!" "For tonight we'll merry merry be, tomorrow, we'll be sober"

Update:Two big retailers still had loads of stock for sale at 7pm on my town and it was selling steadily but not at a massive pace. Perhaps it did first thing this morning(I was cosy in bed at 5am)I did not buy myself. The media says it was a massive success.

I'm cooking salmon and thinking of having a salad and miniature potatoes with it. In the meantime I am thinking of diving under the duvet.

I haven't decided about tomorrow...I may stay home. The weather was wet when I was out earlier. I still have no idea how I managed to make two hours pass by doing virtually nothing.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I Can't Believe That I Am Still Up...

at this late hour. Then again I do get plenty of sleep so not overly concerned. I have been sleeping quite well. I did have a troublesome dream this morning which I had difficulty coming out of. Not a nightmare as such. I will go to bed in the next minute or two and manage around four hours. I better get up around 7am to be sure I am on time for the bus for the shopping trip. I hate rushing around and being late.

I have already packed my rucksack so just have to get shaved and dressed. Just hope the weather stays fine. Though of late it has been quite cold so I'll make certain I wrap up well.

Update:I called at a supermarket and was given £10 I was owed and they'd been keeping in the safe. That paid for a CD, a new one of Elvis Presley for my friend who is a big big fan. I did buy when I was out but all I came home with was cheap kitchen and toilet rolls.

I went to Durham this evening for an open air food and music event in the market place but there were only a few people turned up(lack of publicity?)the band was good but around 8pm it was drowned out as the church next to where they were perfoming started bell practice. I came home.

I found some great theatre productions are happening in 2016 so whilst I can afford to I bought them. For one night a West End production of the Charlie Chaplin Story. The Syd Lawrence Big Band(I never get tired of seeing them)a local theatre's own Big Band made up of local musicians and that Student Drama Groups version of the Broadway musical Kiss Me Kate.

Its quite cold now so I will have coffee/cake and take to my bed. I feel quite tired and am ready for a sleep.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Wednesday Could Be A Long One...

As said I don't think I want to buy on our trip. But when I get home after a short break I may be hopping on a bus straight to Durham. There's a street market promoting food. But also "Live" music. The weather looks as though it will be kind. There are seats in the market place too. Good for me.

I believe its on between 4pm and 9pm I doubt I'll stay that long I probably will have seen everything in minutes depends if I decide to drag the time out and enjoy the music(?)I can go a little late or come home before the end so I catch an earlier bus and am not coming back here very late.

I was surprised to see the other events in Durham are taking place so early in December but I guess once the month arrives time will move very quickly.

Update:The music club was quiet tonight(numbers have been down in recent weeks)but hopefully it will pick up soon. I would miss it. It was still an enjoyable night. We seem to have lost some performers but gained some. The same can happen with the audience. On the way there I purchased coffee(I was low on that)nothing fancy, mine costs only costs 50p a jar and last me ages. I wanted something to add a bit of taste to my turkey sandwiches so found some sweet sandwich pickle that was 60p a jar and I know I have some in the house(but I am unable to find it at present)microwaveable porridge.

Its time to get energy levels up and be warm in a morning so I purchased some more packets and found the supermarket has a new range of its own which is as good as the usual brand even when that's on offer as it usually is. Various flavours Golden Syrup, Original, Apple and Blueberry and Barley 10 sachets in a box(I purchased four boxes)that's £5.80 instead of £8 for 48 sachets the other brand)So I have enough for the next 40+ days. I can always add other fruit to it if I should wish to. Its quick too. I purchased crisps to share at the Music Club but someone else beat me to it so I'll use them another day. Nothing is wasted. And again I usually look for offers and or the supermarkets own.

The crisps can be used on Thursday at the other little bingo session and there will be enough remaining for Sunday. I have nothing to buy for Sunday's buffet as what I have is still OK and was not used last weekend as I was on my own.

I said that I won't buy anything tomorrow on my trip but I do plan to pop into a supermarket that has £10 of mine in its safe and I will either take the money or treat it as unfounded money and perhaps buy some food or Christmas items if something is on sale there.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Broke Even...

Won a fair bit on our little bingo session today. Made up for last night. Could've kept it in my pocket but it paid for my milk, bread, strawberries, blackberries and more wild red salmon(reduced)so I'm eating well again.

I rarely use my main cooker anymore. I have my combination microwaves. I have my slow cookers and though not used yet I have a two hob gadget that I could use to fry/boil food on when needed.

So now I'm thinking for use upstairs and not taking up much room and I could work between the two(I have a slow cooker here already)and it saves me always having to keep going into the kitchen. A multi cooker unit that steams. cooks, roasts, sautes, soups, curries etc...and can be easily programmed. Its a fancy slow cooker I suppose. A little more versatile. My present slow cookers are very basic. At £40 it doesn't seem that expensive when a small slow cooker costs around £10-£12. I'll think about it. They can be easily hidden away and are portable unlike a microwave.

It turned into a horrible night of weather upon coming home...freezing rain. I was a little cold earlier on but with my extremities covered(hat, fingerless gloves, slippers and dressing gown)and lots of hot drinks I feel quite warm. I'm warmer now than earlier that's for sure. Even been able to remove some items. I had all kind of plans for meals when I came home but I have made do with coffee and cake.

As said earlier I dread what we'll be told after the budget on Wednesday(not as if we can change what he has planned)just have to try and live on less no doubt. I'll not find out what the damage is until I get home from our trip (mentioned in the last blog entry)Its always been bad even when Mum and Dad were alive but some extent I was protected, now that safety net has been removed.

There is a Christmas market from Thursday in Darlington's Market Place(they are switching on the Christmas lights that evening)but I can't stay to see that. It could turn out to be quite busy but we have no idea what the weather may be like. I don't mind a little cold, even light rain, snow won't keep me  away but if its another like today I'd rather be home.

There may not be anything being sold to interest me. May be too expensive too. The last few times they've advertised a special market I have turned up and found nothing there. It is said this time nearly all the pitches have been taken so we'll see.

Don't have many events, trips planned and Christmas is creeping up on us all...I may decorate my tree this weekend. I may attend a memorial service at the local church for loved one's no longer with us on Sunday. There are a couple of Christmas "Parties" due soon(December 11th/15th)and a few outdoor events around Durham I may try to attend.

And perhaps in the next few weeks I'll try and play some Christmas music which I have neglected since Mum passed away.

I Went Out...

and though you can say I was not exactly a stranger in the club, it was different going in on my own. The buses ran to time and its just fortunate that one bus that runs through the town passes the club and stops near(ish)my home. That though only hourly it arrives outside the club around 7.45pm the same time as the taxi I usually share and the one home leaves around 10.45pm which is roughly when we leave by taxi.

The turn was quite good tonight, I almost won £30 and was waiting for one number for ages(I started to think I was meant to go tonight)No joy though.

The weather has stayed fine but is frosty so had to be careful walking.

I had some more beef/vegetable stew when I came home and now when I have heard a documentary on the BBC World Service I am going to bed.

I will travel to the local(ish)insurance office tomorrow morning in Durham(its next to the bus station)How handy is that? And then return to my afternoon of bingo in my town. I cannot really go much further with the days drawing in and having plans for the afternoon anyhow.

I wore one of my new(but purchased from a charity shop tonight)quite please with it and it was warm enough.

We have a shopping trip(an outing on Wednesday)with the afternoon bingo group but have nothing much I want to purchase but just maybe I'll see something to buy for Christmas in case I am invited to my Christmas meal again this year. Its a little change to my week.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Durham Trip Called Off...

I was staying at home and then discovered an event taking place on Newcastle Quayside from dusk until Midnight(I can't stay for more than a couple of hours)so I am off now to catch buses there. More to say later so this post will change upon my return. Wish me luck. There could be images and possibly video.

Update:I did not need to stay that long and made tracks home sooner than planned but did see the display that was put on for the 15th anniversary of the Millenium Bridge. I found myself chatting with someone for a little while. Amazing how many did not know of the anniversary nor realise the change in the lighting pattern for "One night only!"

Good job I came home when I did as it became decidedly colder and in the early hours we had...snow. That turned to freezing rain.

On Saturday evening I went to a village approx 3 miles away but to avoid extra taxi fares I had to take a detour by bus of approx 13 miles and add an hour in each direction. There is no direct bys from my town there(not even one that takes a slightly different route)I used to pass through the village quite often in the days when I used to drive a car. I also had to pass through the village to take Mum to see her sister who used to love even further out of the way but its years since I actually spent time there and it was my first time in the village hall.

I saw the Durham Miner's Association Brass Band and very good it was too.

(Tonight's bingo, Sunday)has been called off by friends and I am tempted to stay home but I'm going to get shaved and go on my own. Its a look out. Luckily there is a bus runs past the club and the times match so I can get there OK and home afterwards.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

An Early Night For Me...

I gave in and took a taxi to the bingo but was given a lift back home...I broke even on the bingo and could've kept the money but decided to buy food...essentials like bread, fruit and salad. Some mixes to put in the slow cooker when doing a stew etc...but how could I let a £6 cooked chicken go when it was being sold for around £2.50.

Lots of meals/snacks and sandwiches to be had and no cooking either.

For me I'm going to have an early night and get cosy in bed. I may go to Durham tomorrow and pay my contents insurance for the year, its due for renewal in a few weeks. Then all my bills are paid for this year.

They're Creepy And They're Spooky...

and lots of fun.

I went to Durham for the opening night of the musical The Adams Family performed by Durham University's Drama group. I don't do musicals but this is the second production of their's that I have seen. And I am being won over. I was already impressed with Anything Goes in January and the next production I believe also in January(next year)is Kiss Me Kate. It was a great night of entertainment. Much talent. I wish I lived a little closer to Durham but if the public transport stays as it is or ever improves I can manage.

What is awkward is that there is a direct bus to Durham every 20 minutes or so. Then around 17.40 you have a bus to Durham(a little early for theatre shows)the next only goes halfway, so you are stuck between destinations. The next goes to Durham but that gets you there too late for most theatre shows. Then though hourly the rest all go there. Luckily, I can usually catch that early bus. I fear that they will change things. There are alternative ways but that means changing buses and adding extra miles.

The show started a little late but that was due to the fact that so many decided to go to first night. I avoided dashing down to the bus station for the bus at 10.15pm no way would I make it, The time went reasonably quickly. I caught the last bus 11.15pm into my town by 11.50pm. A quick shop at Tesco's and home by Midnight forty. By then it was getting quite wild out there and I was walking into a strong wind.

Coming back over Framwellgate bridge I could see how fast the river was flowing and how high it is. To me quite near to washing over the walkway near some of the retail area but so far it hasn't happened.

Its a cold day today even though my thermometer says 18c in my bedroom. Time for extra clothing I think. I have had two bowls of beef and vegetable stew. Plenty of coffee and as I am going out soon I won't be bothered too much.

I had look out the landing window an hour ago and found though sun was shining there was frost on the garage roof and roads so I guess that proves just how cold it is. It won't get any better now as the night draws in. There is talk of possibly snow for tomorrow, we shall see.

I was slow but thanks to painkillers and taking my time I did manage reasonably well, better than at the Lumiere.

Monday, November 16, 2015

I Seem To Have A Habit Of Attracting...

kind people. Especially in Durham city...

What does that say about the townsfolk? They could be residents, visitors/students. I don't know. Coming back to the bus station on Saturday night, a young lady(well much younger than me)walked me into the bus station, would not leave until I insisted I was OK and could manage and...gave me a warm pasty she had just purchased in a local bakers that was open late to serve all the extra people in the city for the Lumiere.

I haven't posted any images(I'll see what I can do)but my own are few and could be better. I did not see everything but there was a sequence of animated shapes on the roof, the full length inside Durham Cathedral, another on the outside of the cathedral, another being shined onto the side of the Castle from ages away.

A car that lit up if someone sat on a bike and peddled like mad. A kind of garden with lit flowers and lights hanging from the branches of trees, appropriately but by chance a red/white/blue of a bike(I assume with some connection to the Tour De France)coincidence after the tragic events in Paris over the weekend(terrorism where many were killed and injured)like many events and countries across the world was worked into the sequence the Durham Cathedral display, the colours of the French flag...

Another clever animation was projected onto the railway bridge which had a variety of people climbing up the bridge, hanging from the top of it and some climbing over the top.

As feared the weather did mean some displays around the river were cancelled on Sunday, others were said to be under threat. Unfortunate that the weather seemed reasonable before the event and it looks as though its going to be improve now that its over.

Another in the market place, I now know was meant to take off and float or fly but perhaps due to the weather of previous days(wet and windy)just stayed on the ground and did...nothing unless you include a subtle change of colour.

It would appear there were twenty nine pieces of art and I reckon I saw ten. Then again it could also depend how they are counted.

Update:Another horrible day of weather...if I thought the rain on Saturday was bad its much worse now. As I hope to be at the the theatre in Durham on Wednesday night, I do wonder if the river that runs through the city is still swollen or the levels have dropped. The theatre is not at river level with and I believe the bus station is far enough away from it and the route to the theatre is safe(ish)I'll find out soon enough.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


If I'm honest...my music night on Friday could've been better and I appeared to be the only person in the room not as impressed by the headlining act. But I'm not going to mention the name of the act nor the venue. I don't deliberately do that kind of thing.

I managed the Durham Lumiere event but was battling against the terrain, my slowness, the crowds(naturally)but mainly the weather...constant rain. Some people had umbrellas, I tried to use my brolly(occasionally)but it was a losing battle. I was going to get wet whatever I did. And its going to take a while to dry out the clothes/heavy coat I had on unless I stick them in the Tumble dryer which has just crossed my mind.

If I had not had other things on(Thursday/Friday)and today(plus Sunday Bus Service)I may've returned to see what I actually missed. I did not see everything. I am unsure how much I missed(I don't know how many pieces of art were on show across the city)I believe that I managed perhaps ten in total.

And though the buses home compared to other areas were fewer(some areas were having more frequent services put on)but on my route they were running double deckers so one bus was the equivalent of two.

You can't stop it happening but as virtually all buses pass through the centre/suburbs of Durham City the locals can catch any bus which can mean that those who need to travel further out to neighbouring towns may find it difficult to find a spare place on a service that is more more limited than others.

I managed to get the 10.15pm out of the bus station. I would've loved to have sat on one of the few seats that are in the building but was afraid of losing my place. And my other option of sitting/kneeling on the floor(and I have done that before)was out because the floor was all wet and dirty from everyone's shoes with all the rain that had come down for hours.

By chance I discovered that I had missed another play in Durham the other week by only a day. However, the Durham Students who have a big input of high quality talent have(again I discover by chance)another production starting on Wednesday until Saturday so I plan to be there. I can go any night but Thursday. I don't know if its an adaptation of a TV script or the film but they are doing the Adams Family.

As I write its not raining but it still could start again tonight(the weather forecast is not good)and I have my bingo night anyhow. Rested I feel I could go out again but where do I want to go with the days shorter and I don't want to spend un-necessarily. Its good to have a lazy "pottering" around the home day. There will probably be many more of these days between now and April.

Its funny Thursday night I slept badly and in pain(and can't say I did a great deal during the day)I even felt quite good when I went to bed. Yet coming home from the music club and even after the Lumiere I slept well(and the pain level was much improved)

Oh regarding my Hospital appointment on Thursday...this new consultant is very approachable and friendly. I have found out ways/means to work around my condition and the meds I take. I do hope he'll be as supportive as my own Dr's if things get difficult with those who send forms out and test whether you are fit to work/what you can do/what you're entitled to. The future is uncertain for many on that score. And the media/some politicians and uninformed people are causing stress for the genuine people(of which there are many more)it appears to be called "Hate" crime these days.

What I have discovered is that if I think I have gout...statins can interfere with their affect so my consultant does not mind me dropping statins for a week or so whilst taking the gout tablets. This assumes I don't get into drinking cherry juice again(which is more natural)He says I can take occasionally breaks from statins without the effect of managing cholesterol being affected. Though I forgot my bloods they were taken after we'd talked and he did not envisage much change but said he'd phone if there was anything to worry over.

Another point was blood pressure. Officially most charts say they want you(diastolic reading of 80)you should fall between the 90-120 systolic range. But you know what? I often fall between 120-130 which pre high blood pressure so I have been doing all I can to be nearer 115. When I talked with my consultant he said that he is happy even if I am even as high as 130. In fact he said if I was around 113 he might be concerned that my blood pressure is too low and around that point it is likely I'd feel "Dizzy" So I'm going to accept and not get too concerned if I am in the 120-130 range.

If all is well I don't see him again until March.

I think I'll be warm enough if I go back to bed or should I stay up put extra clothes on but even without the Central Heating on in my bedroom the temperature has crept up to just under 20c/68f and don't they say that's the setting for CH when you do put it on?

I may have some soup later on(and set another meal away in the slow cooker)If that isn't eaten today at least it can be warmed up tomorrow. And its a quick and tasty meal. Probably two or three meals.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

What An Idiot!!!!

I'm up and ready for my hospital appointment and I have just remembered that I have forgotten to have my bloods taken which usually means my consultant has all the information on me when I arrive.

So today all he can check is my blood pressure and urine sample. Therefore a bit of a wasted journey. I'd cancel but its too late. My own fault, so I'll have to have them taken at the hospital and then wait and hope that all is well when they are checked.

I can't understand why I forgot as I always have my bloods taken before I go and I have had plenty of time to do so.

Update:For what its worth I'll update what happened at the hospital probably later in the day.

Fortunate that I can and yes I am on my own...but I have plans to get the Christmas tree I purchased decorated quite soon(even if I don't display it until December)This year I will make the effort to play the Christmas music I have on the PC(1,000's of tracks)and perhaps add more to the mix. I have avoided playing it for three years after Mum's passing.

And yes I have purchased a few luxury food items to enjoy over Christmas. The dates are good right until 2017 to be honest so they won't be wasted. Such as Mulled Punch, Christmas chutney(plum/apple/spices and orange zest)Spiced fruit chutney(Cranberry, apple, white wine vinegar, prunes and figs)Three jars of conserve Strawberry and Champagne, Cherries and Brandy, Orange and Whisky. Paté in the following varieties...Salmon with dill and lemon, Duck with orange, Venison and burgandy wine, Pheasant with Italian Truffles. And a luxury Stollen cake with cherries, almonds, marzipan, spices and Jamaican rum. I have tried to make an effort this year.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sunday Became Wild Weatherwise...

But even wilder as Monday arrived. A day for staying mainly close to home.

Now in the small hours of Tuesday morning if anything its worse.

I managed to get to the Remembrance Service in Durham Cathedral which because of a variety of reasons and it being packed I ended up in extra chairs that had been installed and I saw nothing...I could only hear the service.

I did manage to see some of the parade as the armed and emergency services marched away from the cathedral. I will post some images on here soon.

Possibly add more observations too.

Earlier today details were announced of the funeral of the lady from my bingo club. I don't have to go but I liked her and so this Friday morning I will attend the service. Allowing for health and weather the rest of the week is quite busy so I will be resting between all the events that are planned. And will pop back to put up images and observations where possible.

Update:It may've been Midnight but I have just eaten my home made Shepherd's Pie(there a small amount remaining)Really tasty and warming. I cooked the mince in the slow cooker and drained off the fatty water. I added diced vegetables from a soup mix and when served up added mashed potato on top, If I have nothing else until I get back from my planned excursion later today...I'll be fine.

Then its the early start on Thursday at the hospital. Out patients...I hope. My friend goes in for his op tomorrow(they say its routine)but it sounds a bit more complicated than that. If all is well he may be home by Friday/Saturday.

I'll get my head down ready for my trip later today. As it will take me a couple of hours to get to my destination I must leave no later than 9.30am. I probably should leave a little earlier than that but we'll see.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Sunday I Will Go To The Remembrance Day...

services regardless of the weather. I do hope for all the preparation it is not affected badly. I will put a heavy coat on if required, take a brolly. I don't need anything else. The weather could make up my mind what I do. If it stays fine I'll try and watch the ceremony in the market place(the salute)If it rains I'll concentrate on the service in the cathedral.

I've just opened the bedroom window and its raining heavily so I'll move today's trip to Newcastle to Wednesday and try again.

I hope its better than this for Durham's Lumiere next weekend.

I have food(a pork casserole for later)I can rest, I'm in a positive mood. I may do a little tidying later. The brass band concert tonight. I have to leave at 5.30pm which will get me there 45 minutes before it starts. I could risk a later one but pushing my luck for a decent seat and being there in time.

Coming home I think I can hit a bus at 9.50pm otherwise I have to wait an hour(and there's nowhere to go)Just to save standing in the street under a bus shelter(if I miss that)I'll catch a bus to a neighbouring town at 10.10pm and connect to another that hopefully will arrive here for 11pm which is still thirty minutes sooner than hanging around in the street for the last bus where the concert is held. However, I work it I'll always be between services and have some waiting. If there are refreshments after the concert I may be able to stay in the warmth of the church rather than out on the streets.

Update:Great concert and selection of music for the Brass Band Concert. I had a great seat too. And one of the band was very kind and brought me home rather than have me wait for a bus. How kind is that?

Friday, November 06, 2015

I Had A Little(And It Was Small)

win at the bingo last evening so the night only cost me £2.30. Sadly and it is part of life, one of the gentlest ladies I found had passed away on Wednesday evening. I hadn't seen her seven days(because we did not have an afternoon meeting this week on Monday)but she did have a couple of wins on the last time she was present. I have no idea what was wrong(no reason why I should)I have heard but no idea if its true that she has left her body to medical science. We're waiting to see if she had a cause she wanted a collection/donations towards.

I'm back on my stews and soups. I have one ready in the slow cooker. I have some Irish Beef Steak mince now so have an attempt at my own cottage pie or Spaghetti Bolognese(that will be a first)I could've gone for extra lean beef but what I did buy is still quite lean(not that much fat, less than 15%)and being reduced in price I managed to get a much larger amount for my money(600g)

Oh and I don't know if I'll enjoy them but I also have some Toffee Apple Pork Sausages to try.

I've wheedled out some of my food store and thrown some items away(not that much actually)I have some of those packet mixes(they were on offer)to make the meal a little more tasty(I have some in the house(I can't find them)I'll look over the weekend.

Its another dull day weather wise, it has rained and no doubt will again. Temperature in my bedroom has creeped up(without any central heating to 18c/66f)and whilst I'm not warm, I'm not cold either. I hope this Winter will be mild. Its easier to stick a jumper on, have a hot drink/a warm meal.

I have another hospital appointment on Thursday, not really something to look forward to but they have to be done. I'll not get better but as long as I don't deteriorate to any great sense that is something.

Update:I think my plans remain the same but I can see the museum and Fenwick's window more or less any day I choose. I now find out I could attempt to see a flying display of birds of pray again close to home on Saturday so wonder if I should go there instead and the brass band concert in the evening. Or proceed as I was going to. I/we'll know soon enough. Midweek may not be as busy for Newcastle as a Saturday will be.

You Never Know What Is Going To Drop In Your Lap...

I believe that I mentioned going to Remembrance services in Durham on Sunday weather and health permitting. And then by chance later today a big departmental store in Newcastle upon Tyne reveals its Christmas window display. I remember seeing "some" of them as a child and it was something many looked forward too.

Fenwick's window is something still appreciated by the public and they still continue the tradition. Its been decades since I saw it or gave it a thought to be honest. I suddenly got it into my head that I would go and see it again(a bit of nostalgia)

However, tomorrow and into late January of next year a museum in Newcastle I have never visited before is looking at 40 years of Fenwick's Christmas window displays. How important it was/is to the company/city/people of the area.

Also the toys sold in their big toy department over the years. I thought that I could see both and perhaps visit on the same day so that's Saturday taken care of. Being in the city I thought I could divert in the early evening back to the Quayside and experience that in the now dark evenings and see it illuminated which I usually don't have the chance to for the usual issue on lack of public transport back to my home.

But the early onset of night during Autumn and Winter allows me to get around that. That plan has been changed now as I know of a concert being given by Ferryhill Town Band at a local Methodist Church so I will come home in time to see that and go back to the Quayside another day quite soon.

I may've been trying to do too much. And I can rest on the bus journey home and take a bus that will bring me to the town the band are playing. And the concert should finish so I can catch a bus home before the service ends for the night. A taxi would be too expensive.

Next weekend its the concert in Sedgefield and the Lumiere event in Durham City again. More on those later.

Therefore I will spend today close to home, do a little more tidying. I have cleared some of my food store away for the rubbish collection day and I think I'll make another meal in the slow cooker.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Taking Off To See...

A matinee of the play The importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde starring Nigel Havers, Martin Jarvis, Sian Phillips, Rosaland Ayres, Christine Kavanagh, Carmen Du Sautoy, Nigel Anthony and David Shaw Parker. I'm bound to have missed out someone. They don't all get a mention on the posters and flyers. It starts in approx two hours so must dash. I have managed to find a seat in the third row from the front almost centre. Its a little cheaper being a matinee and I have secured a concession too. £5 is £5 after all.

Update:If the play comes near you and you can afford a ticket, do go and see it. The set magnificent and the production is superb.

There is a twist...should I say what it is? Oh alright then...the play is performed straight as Oscar Wilde intended. However, it starts off with a set of actors meeting to rehearse the play which gets around the fact that the cast(in real life)are older than the characters they are playing.

After all, the last time that Nigel and Martin were in this play(together as it happens)was 33 years ago.

They had a little chat with the audience at the end of the play(well four of them did)but out of the above only Nigel and Christine took part(and could be called central to the play)Not having a theatre programme I was not familiar with some of the cast. I have a few photo's, I could've taken more but kept it to a few.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Autumn Is Here For Sure...

I keep saying I dislike this time of year. I do probably because it means either being cold or weighing up the cost of putting the heating on. As in staying healthy and seeing no damage to the property. I still dislike the early dark nights and darker mornings.

On the other hand if/when the sun does shine for the few hours we do see it I will concede that with it being weaker it has lovely glow about it and that extends on whatever the rays shine upon. And who could not enjoy seeing the change in the colour of the trees though until my shrubs are sorted...its said to see eventually so much of the area with nothing growing. Colourless.

I will also perhaps admit for the short period of time they are allowed. It is nice to see some of the illuminations and lights that decorate streets around Christmas time.

And yes if you live near an event like Blackpool illuminations or as I managed recently a smaller event at Sunderland Roker Park and hopefully what is promised in Durham in approx a fortnight "The Lumiere" I suppose it makes this time of year less daunting and miserable.

I was listening to a couple of older people a couple of days ago, my memory is failing me and I cannot for the life of me remember where and yes, they still ride on buses to get out of the house to feel as though they are part of the community, they still go the Library(if one is open)or go to a local Café and make a cup of tea last ages because its warmer and they can save the cost of heating back home.

Last evening it was not quite dark at 6pm but here we are coming up to 4.30pm and already the night is drawing in. I'm complaining but for those living further south, it will be darker around 30 mins sooner than for me.

I was going to make the effort to go out and get some vitamins and my computer magazine(I forgot to buy it a fortnight ago)the new one is out tomorrow. However, I decided as I pass the supermarket to reach the bus stop for the music club I will go out a little earlier and pop in then.

Its been quiet but I have had a couple of cheese scones and coffee in the afternoon. I made the effort but that's when you miss a loved one(as in my Mum)and shared an afternoon tea. I do think you bother more when there is someone around. I have some of my pork stew which I will warm up and have around 5pm. I'll shave. I'm dressed. I'll take my small rucksack with me and take some crisps for tonight for those on my table. Get the magazine/vitamins and perhaps some more food containers.

If I can find my Tesco vouchers I can double their worth and use them for some Christmas decorations and I may buy a smaller tree to the one I purchased when reduced at the start of the year.

I'm thinking that I may put that tree(when decorated in my bedroom)seeing I spend much of my time in here. I'll only see it. If I get a small one I may stand it(decorated)in the small bedroom near the window. So it can be seen outside. They have some very good offers and a variety lovely items for Christmas this year.

A Beautiful Service...

at Durham cathedral but it went on longer than I expected and there was no way I was going to make the 9.15pm bus so I didn't try. It is still misty but not as foggy as yesterday. I caught the 10.15pm bus but for some reason we were diverted so that bus was late home. I lit a candle for loved ones that have passed away. I was thinking of Mum, Dad and my Gran. I could've taken communion but decided not to make the effort with my mobility issues. I was there and that's what matters. The sermon was very interesting and spoke to me. I was in the same seat as yesterday.

I reached home after 11pm.

Taking my time from the Cathedral to the bus station I called into a supermarket and managed to get 6kg of quality potatoes worth £6 for...32p. Some Belly Pork too which had been reduced. My slow cooker is still bubbling away and I'm hungry. As I am not going to bed yet I will have a late supper.

A kind person carried my shopping for me. There's still good people about.

I did some shopping earlier in the day(milk/bread)and brought that home first. Saved having to do it later and again I hit the right time and managed to get some good quality scones and bread also reduced.

Today I will take it easy...Seems milder/warmer than the past day or two both outside and indoors. Though slow coming home, the painkillers masked any pain when walking so I did quite well*

For those who have read a long way back you may remember a Walter Mitty type character that kind've latched onto me. You may remember(or I'm not sure if I mentioned it)he moved but is now based in...Durham. Somehow...he seems to hone in on me. I say he's based in Durham...he was but now he's living in a village and as buses don't run as regularly I may not see him as often as I was doing so.

I managed to make my excuses and chat seeming to be interested.  He says that he's appearing in a music production at a big venue at the end of November and hopes that I will go(and buy a ticket)but its a Sunday, buses are difficult, the tickets expensive and the last time he said he was taking part in a production and he did get me to go...he wasn't in it. I was lucky to get home that night. So you won't be surprised that I will not be going. I did not promise just said I'd make a note of the date and it would depend if I had other commitments.

*I have slept very well and pain free too...so a good result all round. To be able to put my legs in any position(steady now)without aches and restlessness is very welcome.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Monday Morning Blues...

I was dead to the world...slept but was too deep in sleep to wake up and take pain killers(but it was nagging away in the background)I was in a world of my own and dreaming my own personal hell. It seemed to go on for hours. So I haven't woke in the best frame of mind. It will improve as the day goes on.

Its a misty, dull kind of a day weather wise. Going to have my meds. I have had coffee, toast and marmalade. Though the date on the milk is fine and the date too. I think its going off. So I will have to consider buying a new one and throw this one away.

I think I shall put something in the slow cooker late afternoon, take off to Durham and attend the "All Saints Service" this evening. Due to bus services though it will be over by 8.30pm I probably won't be home before 10pm. That will give me 45mins to get from the cathedral to the bus station.

I may've said before(and I'd forgotten this trick)but when making soups/stews in the slow cooker stock however its made is often watery. Even if you use those packet sauces. So I cheat using gravy granules. Another trick is(and I discovered it on line)to add some instant mash flakes to the liquid. It doesn't spoil the taste. As I write another idea(if its to be a soup)would be rather than leave it chunky...to mash up the vegetables which again would thicken up the liquid.

I may have to go online and investigate further. I never know what to call my slow cooked meals because they could be seen as homemade soups/casseroles or stews. Thankfully, I don't tire of them especially during the colder seasons.

I saw a programme on TV the other day and the cook was using mutton chops. I have seen lamb and mutton mince sold as a combined mix in a supermarket but never seen any mutton on its own. I haven't seen it in any of the local butchers. Perhaps it depends where you live. In these days of people making do its a bit surprising someone isn't selling it.

Well, I shall away and get shaved. Dressed, prepare my meal and make certain I am out in good time. The latest I can leave is around 5.30pm(which means I am in Durham around 6.30pm)and that gives me 45mins to be in the Cathedral or possibly I may be able to connect to a bus that will get me nearer to it and save me walking part of the way,

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Staying Home Sunday...

I feel like resting. These past days I have managed reasonable sleep over night. Avoided surfing through the night. Its milder this weekend and warmer indoors too.

I survived the party, I'm a friendly guy but generally don't "Do" parties.

Earlier in the day I listened to a tribute to Valentine Dial(an actor)who became associated with radio associated with a horror slant.

Then I went to a neighbouring town where it was said some Halloween stuff was going on(including a market in...the market place)Naturally, where else would it happen.

There was very little happening and as for that market...the market place was empty. To some extent a wasted afternoon. Unless you consider I made an effort to go out and not stay indoors.

Weather and health allowing I have plans for next Sunday which I will mention later. Right at this early hour I will go back to my bed.

Update:I tell lies...the weather improved. At short notice I bused into Durham and went to the Cathedral and sat near the choir and clergy with the Cathedral's Organ Pipes directly in front and slightly higher than where I sat. We had a combined Evensong and All Soul's service. I don't believe I have ever been to such a service before. I understand there is another tomorrow night "All Saint's Day" so I may attend that one too, I have nothing planned.

The weather turned foggy on the journey home. And that hung around until 11pm but seems to have improved. I broke even and won a house on the Bingo this evening so I can keep it or spend it. You could say my ticket to see Lulu next year is paid for or...I could treat myself to see a play by Oscar Wilde with a stella cast...or buy a couple of clothes items I was thinking of. Nice to have good decisions to make. Oh and I timed reductions at a supermarket in Durham and found £8 of diced beef for £1.60. So I will eat well this week.