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.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Storm Frank...

fizzled out around 1pm yesterday, it stopped suddenly. It was as if it never happened.

I felt not too bad and the weather was mild so I took a bus ride.

The cough and cold improved but it turned into a chill.

I was cold and shaking initially and then I became hot. Not enough to say I was sweating. In the end I was quite cosy. I went back to bed.

All I plan to do today are some light meals and my buffet later. But plans can change.

If I do disappear I'll see you next year(in reality we're only talking hours)

Wishing you all the very best for 2016.

Update:I popped out for my computer magazine but will probably stay indoors until Sunday night and the usual weekly bingo and turn. Monday I have my Viennese Music Concert at a local theatre.

I don't think I will eat everything I am about to list in my buffet selection tonight but I have salt and; vinegar twists(or maybe they call them twirls)turkey and stuffing pasties, hog roast sausage rolls, cheese, crackers, mini savory eggs, ham baps, mini pork pies with chutney, cherry tomatoes, chocolate and prosecco cake. I don't think that's a bad variety*

*Not forgetting various chutneys, pickled onions and on the cracker front I could've purchased more(I didn't)various boxes of crackers with a variety of biscuits in them reduced in price after Christmas. An example? Jacobs Brand £3 now £1.50 a box. Another supermarket was still selling them at £3. I did miss out on some expensive chocolates they went very quickly and some people had four or five boxes.

I let myself down this year on not having any trifle or desserts.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Cold Is Lasting A Little Longer...

than 24 hours but generally it helps that I am able to have long periods of sleep. I have a coughing fit and then quite some time where I don't or can control it.

I've had worse to be honest.

I gave away some of my party buffet at the Music Club and still came home with some so I can snack throughout the day and still have my own New Year's Eve buffet tomorrow. Its difficult to accept that in a few days this will be my fourth New Year on my own since Mum's passing. Ditto Christmas but it is still not a full four years in total.

It does seem wild outside and some parts of the UK are getting the effects of the latest storm(the UK now names them all)like the US does. Frank this time. Again, perhaps I am located in a kind of corridor where compared to elsewhere we are unaffected as much as other areas.

I am fortunate that I can stay indoors and do "not" have to go out. And there is still Thursday if I feel I have to go somewhere even just to the shops near where I live. A loaf of bread is all that comes to mind.

I may take something else to put in the freezer with the joints of meat at my friends.

Be a pity to waste it.

Not a great deal happening today, probably just some reheated meals and radio listening.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Honestly...I Am Not Feeling Sorry For Myself...

I turned a Beef and Vegetable casserole with Ale Gravy serving four into four meals, there's a surprise(I added extra veg)and button mushrooms. Its worth £6(I paid £2)I ate one portion last night and have three still enjoy. Even with my additions that's approx £1 per meal and portion wise enough.

Perhaps I knew something without realising it...I was in bed around 6pm yesterday and slept most of the night away. I have a tickly throat which is now a tickly cough. I have a slight sniffle too. So yes as the last few days of the year play out I seem to have a head cold. What I dislike when I get a cold and it turns into a cough is that when I do my joints hurt especially my knees when I am in bed.

Lots of self induced TLC required. Its not Man Flu. I will have lots of warm drinks and perhaps call into the supermarket tonight for some sweets to ease my throat. Whether they are made for the purpose or just boiled sweets.

I have the Beef casserole but I do have vegetable soup mix and chicken so I may have a go at some home made chicken broth(chicken the "cure" of most things)

I have some reduced priced meat joints which are now safe in someone else's freezer. A rack of pork and a 5 bird roast. That person has given me so ideas how I can make them last a lot longer and get many meals from them. A bargain. A couple of small one's in my own fridge which I will cook in the next 48 hours and then take the advice given or ask if she can put some of the meat in her freezer. I'll portion it out in slices.

I think that I shall be OK for tonight's music club. I will take it easy for the rest of the day. I will take some party food for our table. I still have some for my New Year buffet for myself.

I purchased some New Year cards yesterday which I will drop off at neighbours homes soon for those I did not get Christmas cards for(and mail a couple off to those who live away)and I can still remember the address of(I have misplaced my address book)so some will not be included.

Its quite mild and it was through the night without any need of central heating, it was 20c/70f. More of that please.

Time for a coffee and my meds I think.

Update:Staying in...until tonight. Close to my bed...doing OK. Should anyone knock at my door/ring the doorbell I won't be answering. Surviving the cold quite well, just my knees giving me jip(when I cough)I'll take painkillers around 5pm and perhaps some more at the club.

I have some sausage rolls, cheese, pork pies, mini turkey and stuffing pasties perhaps some little cakes for the buffet. I left crisps with my friend which she will bring tonight.

You do wonder where you catch colds when you don't mix with others that much but in a supermarket or travelling on a bus its understandable. And I do have an immune deficiency problem anyhow.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Its A Bit Like Being In Limbo...

Not for those who are working or are caught up in the nightmare scenario of the floods happening across much of the UK but though many days seem the same for me, sometimes the Festive period does make you stop and ask "What day is this?

What should I do?

I am going to consider some more washing of clothes. Cooking of some meals. I think that I may take some more party food with me for my club tomorrow night(enough for my table)

If I have a look out today I shall buy some New Year's cards(Christmas cards are no longer suitable)and I will send to those I missed and still have addresses for but sadly a few will not receive any acknowledgement unless I can find my address book or details somewhere on the computer.

It looks damp and cold out there but I don't think its raining at present.

I cannot see any point going anywhere for the sake of doing so. Perhaps I'll catch up on some TV I have missed via the internet.

I can get away without shaving today and my whiskers have not grown that much to look scruffy. A day for doing not that much to be honest.

BBC Radio 4 is getting a little stuffy and disappearing up its own bottom this morning so I will look for something else to watch or listen to. As we are still in a kind of limbo there are still a few "Different" things to see and hear on TV and radio.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sunday Is Almost Over...

Changed plans...through missing a bus...I travelled to a neighbouring town and found unlike many towns using Sunday trading hours many shops were either closed or opening 11am-5pm not 10am-4pm so I hopped another bus to Durham.

It was a really beautiful sunny December day and hard to believe the weather and flooding affecting so many but the clues were there. Fields with water standing on many of them.

Upon going out tonight it was raining again and coming home its misty.

I don't need clothes, electrical items, little food and the buying of a computer/laptop and/or furniture will happen later in the year.

I purchased my vitamins and minerals and Christmas wrapping paper, cards and bags(I may have enough to last the next two Christmases)I spent £9 and saved £20. An example? I found high quality wrapping paper this time worth £2 a roll for 50p.

I was walking better today too. Mind I had taken painkillers.

I had chocolate cake and coffee when I came home and put a small party food buffet together for the night out this evening but plenty left to bring home. So I can snack as and when.

I need no food and can make some lovely meals(salads and/or meat and two veg type meals)and fruit.

For someone who tends to avoid TV I have a fair bit of catching up to do and some promising shows starting in the New Year. I may as well get something out of my TV licence.

I had a couple of vodka and lemonades tonight so I am quite relaxed, it doesn't take that much.

I Was Sleepy By 9pm...

last evening so gave up my TV watching which was sad as a film I planned for days to watch was missed. I also missed an adaptation of an Agatha Christie thriller. Some comedy. I'll try and see some of these on catch up later.

I watch an interesting mash up of Charles Dickens novels where someone has managed to weave characters from all his novels so they are interconnected which is a bit of fun and so far I think I shall stick with it to the end.

My fancy last night was a small bowl of chips and gravy. How simple is that?

I am heading out soon for a bus ride and a small look around the sales. And there's the clue "Looking" Going early I will probably be back early too.

As I write I realise I forgot to watch the brass band I follow trying to broadcast on Christmas night on the internet. Its a bit late now. I remembered most of Christmas Day so to forget is more than annoying.

Well I better get going...I'll shave later the whiskers have not quite grown enough to make me look too scruffy.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Boxing Day...

I sometimes think being with others as I was yesterday can actually have two effects perhaps even more. You feel part of someone's family and it creates memories and lifts your spirit. It can make you appreciate how lucky you are.

Then again, it can also bring home to you that you still return home alone.

There are times where being on your own can be positive experience and if you like yourself, are comfortable in your own skin that's no bad thing.

I came home quite "Chipper" and listened to the radio. Got cosy under the duvet. I watched a couple of TV programmes on catch up via the internet too. I forgot about a programme I wanted to hear on the radio but will attempt to hear that later(if my internet allows)I keep losing my connection.

I watched a kind of documentary(more like a collection of thoughts of friends and family of singer Cilla Black)who recently passed away. I wish no harm and I was obviously interested to watch so that says something. Not really a fan, I can say I particularly liked her as an artist but I grew up in a time where a lot of her music was played on radio and TV and she had big shows on national TV on Saturday night. I never purchased any of her music but I do own some of her music when they have turned up on compilation albums of 60's music which was mainly her time. As I say later about a friend's reaction to the new Elvis Presley release music is a very personal thing to each and everyone of us.

I have slept well but today I feel a little deflated. Not in a major way but when you've been part of something one day and the next is quiet you are going from one extreme to the other. That can be good though.

For one day(Christmas)you can put all the usual things on hold. Then for many everything picks up again practically straight away. Many are back at work, doing what they do 364 days of the year and the news/media goes back to its normal mode.

The Christmas lunch was lovely and I was made welcome. I think I was eating duck breast(I've not had that before)there was a little turkey, the usual trimmings and followed by Christmas pudding and custard.

Then a couple of hours resting before coming home.

That weather changed and we've had a fair bit of rain coming down but nothing like what many are experiencing across the UK especially in other parts of Northern England/Scotland where they have had so much water in recent weeks causing floods and loss of property and businesses. The ground is so saturated it is unable to cope. A month of rain falling in 24 hours.

I know I sometimes get criticised for my honesty but the main present for a friend(anyone reading back knows the situation)was not as liked as We/I hoped. He is a big Elvis Presley fan. There is a new CD out and cynically some will say its a way to cash in on his name. Others will say its a new way of hearing him and something he might've tried had he lived. With clever and careful use of technology they have lifted his voice from original recordings and combined him carefully with new arrangements of some of his popular sings performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Perhaps its takes some getting used to and isn't for the purists.

You cannot make people like music it is a personal thing to each of us. He kept saying its not Elvis on his own. Well it is, its just not as stripped back as his early material as in session/studio musicians. After all as he progressed he did concerts on Las Vegas with a big band behind him. This time it is a big orchestra.

Its difficult to explain, the reaction is more than just "Not liking" you can tell comprehension is missing. And no this not criticising him or showing a lack of understanding. I get it!

With no bus service today I shall potter about today. Rest. Sleep. Listen to the radio. May watch a little TV. Bother to make my own series of meals and snacks(descriptions and images may follow)and I may relax with a drink later. I can make cocktails or go for a cider or have something like a vodka and lemonade. Why not?

Remember the balls in the tumble dryer? As long as I am here I'll still make use of the washing line weather permitting but yes I do believe they make a difference to how quick clothes dry and how wrinkled clothes come out. I have my clothes to put away later. Another little task.

Update:Amazingly though I love in a fairly important part of the North East of England(even allowing for the weather)and that could've changed things anyhow...I discovered that some locations were running bus services today we were not even offered a Sunday Service. I hate to think tomorrow with all the rain that has been falling what services will be available and if my own area has been affected. I am quite near Yorkshire(I know that has been badly hit)I know Bishop Auckland and the like suffer regularly and its a fair bet Durham will have been once more.

I may take a walk down the town for an hour or so soon. We usually only have some minor problems if drains cannot cope. That's not to say that some parts of the town do not suffer from flooding. There is a lot of countryside that surround us.

I have listened to some interesting radio, drama, comedy and documentaries(the latter mainly nostalgic)one was about the TV programme The Magic Roundabout and I am now watching a programme about an animation studio that has made and continues to produce many popular characters.

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Little Extra Time...

An insight to a Christmas on my own...

I laid in bed for another hour or so listening to the radio and a repeat of a programme called Desert Island Discs which has been going for something like 60 years. A guest(usually a public figure)chooses 8 favourite discs that means something to them and they talk of their life. I'd slept through it a week ago. The guest this time was the Astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield.

I nipped downstairs to start the dryer off to finally dry some clothes and added the new(did I mention them before?)something called Tumble Balls. I try not to use the dryer these days having set up a washing line in the garden again. However, when the whether is bad as it can be in the Winter its handy. Then again for the rare times its used it probably makes little difference to my electric bill anyhow.

Back to the balls. My energy company spent ages talking me through ways to save money and every time they suggested a tip, I was already doing it. The only thing I had not tried was putting "balls" into the dryer. Its said that it reduces the time the dryer needs to be on and improves static and reduces the wrinkles in clothes.

We'll see, I have them and they are being used. They already cost me approx £3.50 so I am already out of pocket. The power company mentioned that some pound shops and supermarkets stock them so they could be cheap. I tried a big supermarket and two pound shops without any luck. By cnance I found them in Home Bargains.

I am sitting here having a coffee and couple of biscuits, I will probably play a few Facebook Games, tweet a little and then around 9.30am get shaved, dressed(put on a Christmas jumper)of course.

Wash some food containers out to take with me to my Christmas invite for bringing food home.

If I can free some space on my computer I'll record some radio whilst I am out to listen to later, if not I'll listen online later.

I have some TV and Radio to catch up on if the computer does not decide to break on me later.

Mainly documentaries on entertainment figures and comedy shows I have to admit. I'll probably snuggle under the duvet to do that. One of the few occasions I bother with TV and there is not much I am truly interested in this festive season. It would appear so when you pick and choose and are able to watch one thing after another.

The weather has improved outside, there is blue in the sky, some fluffy clouds, the roads and paths are drying out too, No one about at present but no doubt as the morning progresses people who have arranged for family get together's will arrive and there will be many parked cars.

Happy Christmas!

For anyone who should stumble across my blog, who has read it and/or has commented thank you and may I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas.

This blog post is quite short because its still early and I am returning to bed(just got up to have medication and a coffee, a little later I will be getting shaved and dressed. Then hopping into a shared taxi to have Christmas Lunch possibly tea with a few others kind enough to have invited me and then home.

I hear different reports of the weather depending on where you live in the UK but here the rain has stopped but it does sound quite blustery out there but yes its mild and so far unlikely there will be snow.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Could Not See The Tree...

from outside so I have dragged it to the window so at least half if it can be seen. None of my windows are full length. But OK finally an image of my Christmas Tree.

In the meantime...I have sorted the Christmas Presents out. I managed to ease into the supermarket "Dead" easily. I have prawns...and after hearing a friend talk of a full English Breakfast some lovely streaky bacon and mushrooms(I have everything else here)Its been ages since I had that.

I also found some salmon fillet and a beef and ale casserole(serves four)worth £6 for £2 and it won't be wasted. My friend's Mother is offering space in her freezer's for many of the items that I have but cannot fit into mine. So I'm taking some items with me tomorrow when I go for my lunch and...I#ve been promised some food to bring home. So today has turned out well.

So I may have a salad later(keeping it light)I may also have a drink this evening too.

For now I am going to have rest, listen to the radio and have a coffee.

Tasks For Christmas Eve...

I will see if I can find any prawns to add to sandwiches/salads. They'll go mad today in the supermarket(they open again on Boxing Day)Unless you are entertaining as long as you have bread, milk, tea and coffee(leftovers from Christmas Lunch)or soup, baked beans etc...in the cupboard you'll survive.

I'll go to my friend's house(he's out)as his Father...I am to sort out my presents so I know who is getting what and to write on the tags. I haven't all my cards sent out this year(not many were missed)and I have to pop a few into the letterboxes of people who live near me. I may wait until its dark to do that task.

Feeling quite good. I'll have a quick tidy around of the house later in the day and re arrange the storing of my food that is not in the fridge/freezer and get it into the pantry so its not on show in the kitchen.

And I'll make the effort to have something nice for my evening meal(and perhaps supper later)I don't usually do supper.

I may watch the Christmas service on the TV around midnight...I don't think I'll venture out this year to my local church. Not that I feel unsafe, I have done it before(I have memories of going with Mum and Dad and coming out into a stillness and freshly fallen snow)then walking home and then maybe having a chicken sandwich and a cup of tea(I don't remember having turkey)and we'd open our presents and then go to bed. It seems such a long time ago.

And here's a thing for many years my best friend used to go with us and...though born in this country he was of Indian decent and he was never told by his parents not to attend and they also celebrated and embraced Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Eight Hours...

That's approx how long it took me to assemble and decorate my Christmas Tree. If I am honest I am still unhappy with my effort. You have to learn though. I wasn't rough with the tree but a branch did snap off annoyingly.

Also without making the branches smaller, I cannot get it through the doorway so it will have to stay in the spare bedroom(box room)and I do hope that some it can be seen from outside.

If they do a deal and reduce the prices of trees again this year I may purchase a smaller one which may be better for other rooms in the house and that one can be placed where I can see it.

It may considered bad luck but I may cover the tree with a sheet and leave it decorated until next year. The thought of decorating it again is not appealing. I may snap more branches too.

I have 80 decorations that I cannot use but they will be spare for breakages or to be used on another tree. And to be honest they were really cheap as they do were reduced in price when I purchased them.

Hopefully an image will be posted soon and I'll add more to this post later.

Update:Fun they say...I haven't quite distributed the lights as I should've. And the 100 strand isn't enough so do I re-arrange what is already on the tree? Then add another set. I have another two(in the house)another 100 will be enough. I may just continue from where the first set ends this time. There's always next year.

Funny to think I have more than enough decorations(too many)but the opposite is true with the lights.

Update2:Another set of lights have been added and it was easier and quicker to add those than the first set but...I still could've done with spacing them better or another 50 lights to complete the task well. It has improved matters(the part of the tree that is unlit has been turned so its out of sight)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Quite A Busy Day...

Doing little tasks...I wrapped all the Christmas Presents. Thanks to my shopping trolley I got them all over to my friends where Christmas Lunch happens on Friday. I never realised how heavy presents can be. I had to make two trips and use the town bus twice(which luckily stops outside the house)

I have to write on the tags and then everything is done.

Coming home I was sat on a bench and heard an almighty thud. A car had knocked over a young teenager on a zebra crossing. Later investigation suggests he was on a peddle bike. Also and this does not surprise me it is likely he was speeding across the zebra crossing and the driver did not stand a chance.

An ambulance arrived approx 15 mins later with sirens and lights flashing and it went away in a similar fashion which does not bode well.


Having a little rest before heading out to the Music Club. I will have a coffee soon.

Monday, December 21, 2015


to say that you are finished with shopping. Technically...I am but a change of Christmas presents for a couple of people means that I "have" to do another trek into retail.

So its a smaller bottle of vodka, soft drinks* a slow cooker, some boxes of shortbread(I'll have a couple)and give a couple for stocking fillers. These biscuits are good value(decent size and price)from the Coop, its a pity they decided to print the price on the box(they only cost £1)I'd like to find a calendar featuring trains just to top up my friends selection.

Some of the people I have purchased for have had a reasonable amount spent on them but because the gifts are small it looks a though they've been given less. But it should not come down to that...a gift is a gift. Its more than money.

It gets difficult when three of the people you are buying for due to health and age issues(can't eat/drink certain things)there is a young teenager girl. That leaves one who is OK with booze and another who you can choose anything.

Its like me...for now I can eat/drink anything but some things have to be in moderation...it may not always be so.

Anyhow, I am going to try and do it all today. That leaves the next four days for pottering around at home, No shops until the New Year. I suspect I will be avoiding every sale**. Again unless I pop out to get bread. I have 6 litres of milk in the house(with good dates on them)Fresh/filtered, long life and powdered.

I tried out a reduced chocolate and Prosecco cake last night(reduced in price)and found it was nice...so the rest of it is going to the music club and on to our table(a friend is bringing some nibbles)I have one of my own in the house to have with perhaps a cup of coffee or tea. The price of the two still worked out cheaper than paying for a full priced cake.

*For me.

** If they reduce any left over Christmas lights. trees, decorations and cards that is all that I may give in on so I can perhaps put something around a window for next year. But I won't be putting lights on the exterior of the property.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Trip Yesterday Changed...

I missed the early bus by seconds. I sat in Tesco's which is near by for almost an hour until the next. As I said I stuck to one supermarket and came out, caught the bus home(I could not get anymore in the shopping trolley or my back pack)and I did not want to drag them around.

I made it home and this happens a lot. On the way here my mind was wandering on the bus and I was thinking of someone. Within seconds of getting off the bus a car pulled up beside me and "That" person was in the car and brought me to my house...with my shopping.

OK its only a couple of streets but it made a difference and was very welcome.

I put everything away, took painkillers and headed back out and just caught the bus service I had only used perhaps an hour ago. This time going back in the direction I had been earlier. I was slightly away from the stop but the driver pulled in and gave me time to board.

I called into a shop and purchased baking/roasting trays/tins and then caught a bus to Darlington. I found the Christmas cards I wanted, small stocking fillers, my Christmas jumper*(its lovely)it was reduced and actually cheaper than another I was thinking of getting elsewhere and nearer my bus stops so I did not have to walk as far as originally planned.

I caught a bus service that stops near the Tesco's on my town(exciting this tale isn't it?)so with shopping trolley I got the booze for a person's Christmas gift and thought I'd treat myself. I purchased bread/bread buns, garlic, blackberries, grapes, cream, milk. Everything fell into place.

The coming week therefore should run like clockwork. As for saving on Taxi fares over Christmas...I would've walked to my Christmas Lunch and back home(slowly)but a taxi has been booked and I am sharing so though more expensive than normal fares, it will be less and from door to door.

Yesterday was certainly mild. Though windier than expected. That kept changing through the day. Later in the day though it did not rain there must have been dampness in the air because the pavements and roads had a kind have had a greasiness about them.

If it stays mild and I feel as I do I may have another look out today as the week goes on I will probably not bother, as I said having all I need I can avoid the shops on my town too, there isn't really anything much on my town than shops. There doesn't seem to be any events taking place either. I have no idea where I am travelling to either. Or how long. I may just ride the buses. As long as I am home by 7.45 I can share a taxi with my friends to our Sunday evening out.

It was busy but busier than normal I am not really able to say. Perhaps it depended on the time of day and which shops you were in.

*The impression is that I have many Christmas jumpers...I don't but if I spread the wearing of them over December and get them out annually, as the designs change mine are unique within a year. Some are just a winter design/pattern so are OK for wearing during Winter,

A couple of my jumpers play music not that I use it. Luckily I can unpick the compartment containing the music gadget so I will be able to wash the jumpers and stitch it back into place if I wish to. It must be a big problem for anyone who buys a jumper containing little Christmas lights. I guess those have a limited life. As they are unwashable and chances are eventually the little wires/bulbs stop working.

Update:A spanner in the works I purchased someone a large bottle of vodka for Christmas(she drinks it)but tonight she said the last "Big" bottle she had she gave away. She does not know I have purchased one. So now I am thinking that I may buy a smaller bottle but what to give to make up the value. What I am thinking of is not exactly personal...I wonder if I should buy a small slow cooker as an alternative like the one I have just purchased for myself. The large bottle of vodka won't be wasted as I can use it!

As for the bingo there was just two of us, I won and we now share, we almost broke even. I think I was approx £4 down. But that's better than being down by a lot more and in the end, it was a night out.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Weather Seems Mild...

I think I have paced myself quite well this week so having slept well and staying in for most of the week I'll head to Spennymoor around 7am.  After a very small shop in the supermarket there(I like certain products that retailer sells)I'll pop into some local retailers and see if I can find my last small Christmas gifts. I need Christmas cards. And cake for the buffet tomorrow night. Crisps too(I'll see if any are on offer)if I find some I'll get them so I have some for the next few buffets and keep some back for my New Year spread.

If not on my return bus ride I will stop off in Ferryhill which by then shops will have opened and see if I can get some fresh vegetables from a fruiterers and something from another bargain retailer there. A bus will then either bring me home and I will drop off what I have purchased and perhaps do nothing else. I could be finished by 10am. The rest of the day is free.

Or continue to Darlington without coming home but it may be easier to get rid of what I have purchased and start afresh.

Not expecting the day to be that expensive. The most expensive item will probably be some booze for someone for Christmas Day. That may be easier to bring home and cheaper if I wait until on my own town. And that can be purchased next week.

This time I am going to take my shopping trolley which I haven't used for quite some time.

For tonight's meal I am cooking chicken casserole in the slow cooker, there could be enough for two meals.

At this rate I won't be spending or buying much and able to stay out of the shops until after Christmas and as my regular reader says I won't be taken in with the hype of over buying on food. After all one big supermarket is open again the next day on my town. Only streets away but if I have bread, milk, a little meat and vegetables I can avoid going out on Boxing Day too.

And I have the day planned out reasonably well. If I do tire myself I can take it easy from now on. There are no bingo clubs until January 7th but the music club is continuing without a break over the festive period. And my next theatre visit happens on January 4th, a night of Viennese music.

Update:Still mild out there but I think that I can hear a wind blowing so I'll wrap up well(just in case)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Don't Think That I Won A Fortune...

on Monday at our very small bingo club but I won nearly every house on the bingo. I actually missed one. What are the odds on that? It seemed like more because the last Bingo sessions of the year are played for free. I won £5 last night too. A little buffet was put on at both meetings.

I could go out on Boxing Day evening and New Year's Eve but my little gang are not going, no one else has offered to share a taxi or give me a lift there and back and taxi fares go up and if you don't book in good time "You won't get one!"

The tickets at the club are reasonable but add the fare, drinks and cost of bingo etc...Its going to be more than £20 for both nights. I can save that or it will pat for any remaining Christmas gifts I have to find or towards my Christmas food.

And the Sunday's after Boxing Day and New Year I'll be there with my chums again. If they don't turn up I at least have access to a free bus that stops near the venue.

Though there is not much I want to watch over the festive period on TV I have spotted a film I'd like to see on Boxing Day evening.

I have had a rethink of my Christmas food plans(one supermarket opens again the day after Christmas)and I can access its limited opening hours. If there are any sales/shops open in neighbouring towns I cannot visit as there are no buses or trains and I will not add £30(return taxi fares)It could be more than that if the rates have changed. I'll have to miss the first day of sales(if I was interested)and they are running a Sunday service again. Its been said on the radio that sales and discounts may be happening before Christmas.

I thought that they might come to an agreement on Boxing Day being a Saturday with their drivers even if it resembled a Sunday service. I can live one day without retail therapy.

For Christmas I have fresh vegetables(Sprouts, parsnips, carrots, broccoli, potatoes, cauliflower)all that came to £1.95 and it wasn't a discount store. Makes you wonder if they can match the popular discount food stores we now have in the UK why they don't do that all the year around so people can eat well. It would also mean less food being thrown away.

If they would do that, we probably would not need the discount retailers.

I have fancy stuffing, potatoes for roasting(in Goose Fat)carrots and parsnips for roasting(all prepared)just stick them in the oven. And as there was an offer of buying two items and the third free I saved £1.50. I can make a few meals from that too. As the supermarket is open on Boxing Day(they may reduce some festive fare in price)I don't need some items immediately(especially for my N Year's buffet)until a day or so before so they can keep things chilled for me. And the dates will be fresher.

I'll have had a Christmas lunch(and may be given food to bring home with me)I will have fruit and perhaps some small desserts in the fridge. I have pigs in blankets. Some sliced meats and a small ham joint.

So I don't need to clear out as much as first thought. If I use some of these items before Christmas at the prices they are offering I can replace for quite a low price.

Buying a joint of meat seems expensive but when you work out what you pay for sliced meats its actually a good idea to buy one. Then you can use it with main meals, in sandwiches. with salads.

I must learn how to use my combination microwave ovens better. My halogen oven too. But for warming food and cooking smaller portions I can make use of my slow cookers. They are very versatile.

I think that I shall have a reasonably happy Christmas all in all.

Update:I haven't space in my freezer but I have had a clear out and created space in the fridge for chilled goods. So I may be able to buy some trifles and salad stuff/spreads after all. What I have got rid of has gone into the wheelie bin to be taken away.

Debating whether to have a look out this afternoon and split the tasks between today and tomorrow or do it all in one day. Not much food required now. Its silly going over the top especially for one person...me. I am also debating whether to get myself another Christmas jumper.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

That Went Well...

Sort've...there probably was a good reason but I haven't got to the bottom of it. The bus did not turn up for the the trip to the carol service.

The following one was late...now the roads were clear and the fog had virtually disappeared.

This bus decided to put on speed and occasionally had passengers being thrown about.

The service started at 7pm I was getting off the bus at...7pm and still had to find the church.

Thankfully even at my pace I was there for perhaps only 5 minutes late. There was space but I slipped in at the back. It is very close to the market place and where all buses stop.

We were finished around 8.15pm so I was on my way home approx 15 minutes later. It was not worth staying for refreshments.

It was a bit of a struggle standing for the carols and having to stand and sit(I wish that I had taken some painkillers)

Earlier in the day at our bingo club, I don't know how I won virtually every house that was called and actually won one that I missed calling on. Sometimes you feel like not shouting when you have a day like that.

I had a happy day yesterday, I feel much the same today and I slept well. But have to admit around Midnight(I have no idea if I had been dreaming)or it was for another reason but I had to get out of bed and seemed to be having something that resembles a panic attack. After a few minutes I was able to go back to bed and resume sleeping until 6am this morning. I guess these are things you just have to accept and come to terms with.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Last Saturday It Was Windy And By The End Of It...

The weather had caused much flooding around the UK. Misery, upset and the ruining of much property and loss of livestock for farmers. Also happening at the time it did, it coincided with a big event taking place with approx 190 countries discussing Climate Change in France.

As the two weeks of that world event came to an end this Saturday(yesterday)many areas of the UK had...snow. I guess the fear is that as it thaws it will add to the areas that are flooded woes.

I woke around 6am and though I'd slept well, I felt a bit low. I thought lets get out and do something but at that hour I went back to bed.

Next thing I knew it was almost lunchtime. I looked out of the window and snow was really falling but also being blown about.

I felt happier and thought, I'm not going out in that. If it improved possibly I would go and buy some milk.

Hours later I put that idea on hold. To be honest, I decided I would go today. Approx two hours ago I had managed to make the little milk I had last until then and again stayed indoors. I only went out Sunday evening to the Bingo. No more snow has fallen since Saturday. It looks as though it is thawing but that also means its wet and overnight it will no doubt freeze. In fact there is a freezing fog out there.

Not many miles away some towns are clear and roads are fine, others look as though they have hardly been touched by gritting lorries or crews making roads/paths safe for many. Some I understand why(and though this not a rural area)and there are major towns here, there are a lot of country areas.

And with the Government taking away a lot of money from councils, they are cutting back on many of their services.

Some people found they had to take alternative routes to get places, some simply could not get where they wanted to. Some had to abandon their cars and walk back to their homes. Some taxis called off their services and the same was true of buses.

On Friday night it was a Christmas Party of a little bingo club I go to so we were lucky the snow held off as some people would not have been able or wanted to be there. And the entertainer came from an area that approx twelve hours later was cut off.

Today, I am throwing rubbish out and having a tidy up. Getting change at the bank for a friend so she can run her clubs between now and the New Year in case the weather is bad and banks are often closed. I'll get some for myself. A little shop(including the milk)A game of Bingo in the afternoon.

This week the town band I follow are holding two Christmas Carol Services locally at churches. I saw one in 2013. I missed it in 2014(I forgot)This year one clashes with my music club's Christmas party on Tuesday. Luckily, the other one is tonight. So if buses are running(though they only run hourly)I should be able to get home, directly or via a different route. Depending when the concert ends, if I time it right I won't have to stand around. It may even be worth catching the bus that takes me home as it travels to Durham and comes back this way just so I am in the warmth.

As it starts at 7pm(even if they perform for 50 mins each half and take a twenty minute interval)I could be out between 9pm-9.15pm and the bus back here is approx 9.30pm and the church is near the bus stop. If I go to Durham from Ferryhill I can catch a bus every 15mins.

I can also go to Bishop Auckland every 15mins but again have to connect with a bus that comes back to my town once an hour. Or go to Darlington and come back to my town via a bus service that runs every half hour. So I do have a few options. Not many direct services though. They don't make it easy.

I think the service is free but if not it won't be very expensive. There will probably be a raffle too. It will be my first and perhaps only carol service. If I want to go to a Christmas service I have a church a few streets away but it mans being out very late and either walking around Midnight unless I can secure a taxi(probably on a higher rate)or the kindness of someone who may bring me home(that doesn't happen very often.

And the service on Christmas morning is held at a church on the town that is too far away when mobility is an issue. Again a taxi both ways is silly and costly. I don't know if there are any. Naturally there are no buses. If I could walk easily it could be done but I would have to allow at least 30 minutes(probably more)

Friday, December 11, 2015

That Flat I Was Offered...

I'll stay put if I am able. I've always thought that though the properties aren't bad to be honest and I was once in one perhaps 45 years ago because I knew someone. They have all been refurbished(I have not been too keen on who seems to live there)and when talking about them tonight with people I know they all said "No, don't do it if you don't have to" So I don't now know if the suggestion was genuine from the Housing Association or they are still trying in a roundabout way to get me out.

But for now I'll stay as long as I may.

The present Government keep piling on more stress...this story broke in the media earlier on Thursday. Many who live in the UK know, privately owned property is often more expensive to rent and you have less rights. Many tenants are afraid to report things that are wrong with property as some Landlords would rather get rid of them and get someone else in.

Now when people find their circumstances change and they live in what is know as social housing(perhaps someone dies)or a child goes to university but plans to return(after studying or in the holidays)if a room is seeming being unused the government brought in something called the Bedroom Tax and you pay for bedrooms not in use(they see them as spare bedrooms)because no one is sleeping there.

Some people need the extra room for medical equipment or when someone stays over occasionally to care for them or they want a spare room for a guest or a visiting grandchild/relative. But you are expected to pay. Some rooms classed as a bedroom are often more like a box room. Still expected to pay. Sometimes a person cannot sleep with their partner for some reason but as you are a partner or married you still pay for that room.

Some Housing Associations and councils have helped tenants by knocking two bedrooms into one and taking away the dividing wall but not all authorities/associations are that helpful. I haven't heard of it happening in my area.

Also there are many towns that don't have smaller properties that you can move into. Or they are out of the way. That flat I was told about I'd still pay for a spare room. Also you pay more for the first room than the second room if you have more than one spare room(in their defintion)

Now the government is trying to introduce 5 year limits on new tennacies. They probably will succeed because they have a majority in Parliament.  If they force people into the private sector as you saw by the first paragraph of my post...the rent will increase and rights decrease.  One reason they could attempt to move you on is if you manage to increase your income.

So why would you want to improve your situation if it means moving and paying more. Paying more rent could mean you are back to square one financially so you may as well stayed where you were. What do they call being better off? Who makes that decision?

Some have said if you think or know you'll be moved you won't invest in your home because you'll be constantly moving around so why would you keep spending money on furnishings/decorating and the garden. If you put down roots you'll bother more if you have security.

Many are against the idea but if you have the power to get policies through and can't be beaten you are stuck with it.

This is again another idea that seems to affect only England but not the other countries that make up the UK as in Scotland and Wales(I don't know the situation in N Ireland)

There are many policies that seem to affect England and often in a bad way compared to our neighbours. Often we look at them with envy.

I just have to hope I can weather the storm ahead for approx the next 4 years. For the reasons in the last blog post and take each day as it comes.

The alternative party wanted to get rid of the Bedroom Tax and I assume/hope that they feel the same on this but we don't know and it depends if they are voted into power. By then I won't affected by the bedroom Tax but I'll have paid it for 6 years and if I manage to stay after 2020 I'll be a pensioner four years later.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Got More Support From The Housing Association...

than I expected(depends who you see)and who comes to see you. Been told to enjoy my life and not worry about my neighbour. Put my TV and radio on etc...and live. If I can pay my rent they will not force me out of the property. Been offered/suggested a flat with no garden approx a street away(near the shops)but I'd still be paying for one room via the Bedroom Tax. But property keeps coming up all the time.

If they'd stop charging me for what is in theory a box room here, why would I want to move? If I can manage to pay and stay as I am I stop paying Bedroom Tax in approx 4 years. Then 4 years later I am a pensioner anyhow.

If I get my garden sorted which I will in 2016 it will take little or no looking after and the same with my home. Tidy a room every couple of days takes little if any care. I could even perhaps get someone in occasionally to do a little light cleaning.

They are(I'll probably have to pay)going to remove my garden rubbish for me too. The person who came to see me kept saying "Don't worry"

So for now I feel a little more happier with the situation. Better than yesterday. Perhaps things are coming good.

Monday, December 07, 2015

I Was Expecting To Come Home And Have A Meal...I Still Haven't.

You don't know me so why should you believe me(you're only getting one side)I have lived here for over 55 years and had decent neighbours(lucky I guess)but in the last 5-7 years or so the new(ish)neighbours gutted their house and took virtually all the green from the back garden and altered the front garden too. Built a conservatory and a wall.

Well, a couple of years ago they tried to blame me for blocked drains and damage to a passage that runs along the side of their house. Flooding and sewage etc...Mine is a basic passage that opens onto the garden or front of the house.

They've apparently, made it into something fancier. They made my life hell and worried me to death but I talked with my H Association, they said that my Water Authority deal with drains(not them)and the Water Authority said similar and not to worry(but you do)They also said with a shared system the blockage could be from anywhere. There is a bit of an incline and I am kind've at the bottom of the run.

They came into my garden(The neighbours)unknown to me and inspected my drain and said they took photo's. They claimed that there were padded pants which I don't use. I've never seen the images nor know if they ever showed them to my H Association or the water company.

It seemed to get sorted out until now...

Getting notes through the door again telling me of another blockage this time they said wet wipes. I don't use them. That the Water Authority had come out again, they blamed me again but again it was sorted and the Water Company did not come and see me or for all I know did not come into my garden.

Today I have come into my home quite happily and another note from them, now claiming my drain is blocked with lard. She had been in touch with the Water Company and expected that they would come out tonight(they did)but as soon as I got the note I contacted them myself.

The engineer said there is no way they know where its coming from unless they actually see it happening, it could've come from anywhere, its not necessarily lard and my drain isn't that bad to be honest. He's seen much worse. Its a shared system. What he has done tonight he reckons will last OK for at least up to 18mths. Camera, pressure clean. She in the meantime keeps threatening/blaming me(and going on about the cost of repairs etc...)She's going to contact my H Association in the morning(causing me more concern)and going to take(it sounds like legal action against the Water Company)

To be honest they caused Mum and me problems when they moved in and continued to in her final months(she was terminally ill)and since she passed away...its still going on. I get notes every so often. Its one thing after another and just when you think all is OK, it flares up again.

Its awful when you are alone, quiet, a good neighbour and have never had issues before. So I guess tomorrow will be taken up dealing with this again...The Water Company tells me not to worry. And last time so did the H Association.

I went to their office the last time and they seemed not that concerned. I will go and see them again so it will be an early start on the buses again. I don't want to have this all escalate out of control. I like as little to do with the Housing Association as I can. And the same with my neighbour.

One of My Late Nights/Early Mornings...

Talked to a friend on Twitter. Had coffee and finished off the remains of the buffet I took to the bingo. We've started sharing if we win now. So far in two weeks as my partners have won I have broke even so a cheap night.

I've wrapped up my Christmas gifts...I am now about to start writing Christmas cards. I still have to possibly buy three small presents. Then I'm done.

As I am awake I may go to the supermarket when they open and buy some milk. Its all that I am short of.

Horrible Weekend For Many...

thanks to a very strong storm over the UK and many areas are flooded and the consequences will continue for months and years no doubt. On both a personal and national level. I'm surprised that no one has tried to tie the event in with Climate change and the conference that has been taking place in Paris.

I won't say that "Man" has not affected the climate but equally I hate to say it that nature and events out there in space will play their part/have played their part. One day nothing the Human Race does will stop the Earth from being destroyed in some way. The Human Race and/or animals/vegetation may or may nor survive in some way or not until the end or be long gone before the Earth is totally nothing more than a rock floating in space. Or obliterated.

I slept most of Sunday away and did not go out, other than for my usual bingo and turn.

I did went out on what was the worst day of weather(Saturday)and remarkably the bus service was able to keep going with what was thrown at it.

Any delay was minuscule and I'd say time was made up without risking the safety of passengers. Yet for the first time in decades a bus inspector boarded a bus I was on and had the driver sign his report which included that he was late which is unfair with road conditions, strong winds and rain. Many areas were flooded too.

This particular bus was probably no more than 3 minutes late and within minutes was back on time. I thought the inspector was more than harsh. Being near the driver I heard what was said. I also gave him some change when I reached Durham as he was very short. Everyone seemed to be giving paper money and wanting day/weekly tickets.

I cannot believe how much distance and where I reached was covered by me. Approx 77 miles. I reckon taking out the waiting for connections, travel time was around 4 hours.

I stopped or passed through Sedgefield, Stockton, Middlesbrough, Spennymoor and Durham.

Bring unsteady on my feet I was occasionally at risk of being blown off my feet or slipping especially in Durham and when I did get home I discovered how badly affected the city was by exceptional issues. Generally I was close to it all but somewhat unaware. Again, someone kindly offered to help me down an incline, I thanked them for their kindness and took the walk very, very slowly.

The main problem was flooding due to river levels being higher than for some time. It was too dark for me to see and without fear of my own safety. But areas I know well were off limits for many, water was high up the bridges and some areas where there is a walkway near the river Wear in front of some shops and restaurants.

I was unable to get the bus to the cathedral and to catch a shuttle bus I did not know was running, So I did feel let down but I now totally understand why. They were not at the place where the bus usual starts its journey and you only found out that they existed once you had got part of the way to the Cathedral ans it doubled back on itself and used a complicated route of winding roads so I was too late to attend a carol service. There was no information at the bus stop where the journey starts and no bus employee to explain.

I thought that I would go today(Sunday)But I decided staying indoors in my cosy bed was a better option.

I was going to look at the situation with the floods in daylight. Locally the winds have disappeared and it has stopped raining. But many areas are really devastated. The cathedral managed with great difficulty to keep some of its events going...services and  the special children's service about St. Nicholas(I have a feeling but could be wrong)that it was shorter this year(perhaps because of the weather?)

There was a local food market in the cloisters and as its open the wind was blowing through and as one of the exits was directly into the cathedral it was blowing away just about anything not fastened down and to be honest out of respect I did not wear my hat but I was frozen. That was when wearing a heavy coat, scarf. thermals and gloves. Thankfully that door was closed when the service began. But many of us had sat shivering for around an hour.

I found the visit to Middlesbrough easier than when I went with the group a few weeks ago. All the shops I needed to visit turned out to be virtually next to each other. I was there buying two Christmas gifts, Christmas Cards and I needed some new trainers. As usual I have worn out the right shoe as I always seem to.

On the way home from Durham in the evening I interrupted the journey and popped into a supermarket in a neighbouring town and I now have some salad and casserole vegetables for more stews and the like to cook in the slow cooker.

I am looking at some new serving dishes on sale at a discount supermarket this Thursday and wondering as I have a habit of returning to meals they have a kind of buffet server. But that may be a waste of money. I'll think about that. Another idea is the pot that you have in a slow cooker but this one has a divider so you can keep food separated or cook two different meals at once.

I have a pork mince and vegetable stew that just requires warming and this time I think I may put some mash potato on top. I also have chicken, fish and salad for the coming days too. And I am looking to create space for Christmas food in the fridge freezer. So I won't be buying much for the coming fortnight.

I also have my fruit and porridge for breakfast. I don't need over purchase at Christmas because most food shops are open again within a couple of days. As long as I have bread/milk I can get by.

I may be attending some carol and services in the next couple of weeks, more details will follow.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

I Saw The Plays In Durham Last Night...

A small audience. The plays were well acted but surreal and went over my head. The Real Inspector Hound was written by the famous Tom Stoppard.

I was surrounded by people who seemed not to know the protocol of being in a theatre(I think some near me)thought they were in their own homes watching a TV and they kept moving and blocking the view of those sitting behind or talking.

Its a very wild night especially since I got home and its good to be safely at home. However, in amongst all the people going between clubs/pubs and restaurants. Streets lit with Christmas lights, decorations and Christmas Trees at 10pm and street buskers nearby in the entrance of Edinburgh Woollen Mill was a homeless man bedding down for the night.

It could be happening near to where I live but I have only ever seen it in Durham because I have started going there these past few years and often I am there quite late in the evening.

I found my recycle crate missing when I got home form the porch(I don't think I'll see that again)but I have known it be as bad as this before and its never ever blown away or been removed so I am more than surprised.

Update:More later but remarkably the crate has turned up...

Friday, December 04, 2015

Disappointed But Not Surprised...

at the outcome of a big debate in the Houses Of Parliament. I listened and watched most of it...all 10+hours of it.

Can you believe I had to get out for a break and I was in my local supermarket at around 1am yesterday morning? Good job that I feel safe on the streets.

I didn't buy a lot but spent a fair bit. Cherry tomatoes, clover spread(1kg)size(spent £4)saved £4. But I purchased another Christmas gift(OK it was the supermarket brand)but I got a large bottle of vodka.

Those remaining socks perhaps today. Then my friend wants a CD/DVD cleaning kit which I am unable to find locally so I'm thinking a trip to Middlesbrough. Had I known a shop there sells them and I was looking in their window when I was on that recent trip there. So who knows I may take a bus ride later today.

Then I think I need two more gifts and then everyone is sorted out. One its a token gift and he likes booze so that's quite an easy choice.

Its not cheap but being careful with money I am going to clear out/make space in my freezer and get food items in for Christmas and if I am still eating it next year so be it...

I always do myself out of Christmas treats. So I plan to have a variety of vegetables/stuffings and meats(ham, turkey, pork. lamb, gammon and possibly a three bird joint)sausages wrapped in bacon and a selection of cheese. None of the meat will be the traditional shape. Therefore it will be easier to cook and cut when its cooked. The fancy word I believe is carve.

I will eat small portions so I do not overwork my kidneys eating lots of protein. They are more concerned with red meat.

I'll also consider having some drink in my home too. Not a lot but some. And like last year I will also do myself a buffet for New Year's Eve and toast the New Year when it arrives even though its just me.

I assume I am still on for my Christmas lunch but my friend has an infection and may need another op. We are hoping not but if so it does not mean he is in hospital for Christmas.

Another slight change of plan...I may go and see the play at Durham tonight. But otherwise the day at Durham Cathedral remains the same on Saturday but it means I can come home earlier and not be doing too much in one day. I have now discovered there is Christmas Carol Service I did not know of. So its a Cathedral Day. Services and a market all within the Cathedral. And I can come home at a reasonable time.

I'll probably go around lunchtime to be sure that I secure a decent seat. Last year I saw nothing.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

I Hear You Knocking But You Can't Come In...

It was such a polite little knock and done only once therefore I could not be bothered to go downstairs to answer it. I know the people that may be known to me would call by phone or contact by the internet first so its a fair bet its someone I don't want to see. Possibly selling something.

I've listened to some of the debate in Parliament(slept a fair bit)I'll take restful sleep when I can get it. I have witnessed the best and worst in those who represent the public in the House Of Commons. Of course I am biased. But I notice The Prime Minister would not apologise for some inflammatory remarks made the previous day and the leader of the opposition was heckled and had to try and speak over a barrage of noise. Just how I saw it.

Looking at the weather and the time of day. I'm staying indoors...not going out for the sake of it.

But all the tasks I mentioned doing in the previous post are still on for being completed.

As for those socks. I'll wrap some of them up for Christmas later today. I was thinking ten pairs each(I have five pairs at present)but I'm now thinking of eight pairs for each person. They are in a pattern and in shades of blue and or grey. I will make certain they get both in the package.

Time for coffee/meds and some Rocky Road Bites.

The simple things of life...

In The Great Scheme Of Things...

There is little to cheer us up as we head for Christmas. Not as a nation anyhow...Food banks, people having to decide between heating and eating, many struggling to care for loved ones and a Government determined to push through austerity plans even though we keep being told that we are one of the richest economies in the world...and now by this time tomorrow we may have heard our Parliament has taken us into another war.

Even though the majority of information about public opinion and many of those who represent us in Parliament are against voting for a motion that will escalate matters further.

There are some things that we are unable to do much about though we can keep trying and have to hope all will turn out fine.

In some ways the rush to push through the vote and the time of the year(and with other news stories that are happening)it may favour the vote being successful. Its often down to tactics and timing. I hope that I get a surprise.

I'll take to my bed and hide under the duvet. It was a good night at the music club(you can forget what is happening)and everyone is happy. I probably paid for it but money raised goes towards helping the club survive...I won a tin of Christmas Shortbread Biscuits in the raffle so we both win.

I got an OK on the socks so as suggested I may buy some more. And give them as presents. The weather is horrible outside and the wind is blowing though the weather forecaster has just said on the radio how mild it is...if he thinks so...fine...I don't.

I think I shall have a coffee and make up a hot water bottle again. I have thermals on(well the top half)so I may put some brushed cotton PJ bottoms on. My woolly hat too. This is early(ish)for me. As I am staying in...I think I will make it a day for washing/drying clothes and putting them away. Washing and putting crockery away in cupboards. Throwing some rubbish out and yes I will decorate my tree.

I will also set up another meal in the slow cooker for later and perhaps have soup for lunch. And porridge and fruit for breakfast. I can do it the microwave but as I am not in hurry I may use the slow cooker instead. If its only a small amount of liquid a slow cooker is not that slow to be honest.

I don't think I will get it done before the New Year but I may look into getting one of those lights for the front of the house that lights up if someone is near for both security and safety but I need someone to fix it onto the property. I may let them choose it too...I have no idea what is a good product. I don't know if it should be connected to the electric or solar/battery power could work as well.

I have a porch light but that has to be switched on manually from inside and therefore it doesn't light up automatically and the other option would be to leave it switched on for hours and hours.

Mot that many people call but it would act as a safety feature for me when coming home late at night, others that pass by/call. As it is quite dark around my home. Though I leave lights when I am out at night. Always the landing light with internal doors open to other rooms and that one light therefore lights up three bedrooms, a bathroom, the toilet, kitchen, hall, lounge and landing.

Only one room is missed and that's the dining room which is at the back of the house and surrounded by a secure garden with fences and other property that faces on to my home and properties on either side. And doors that stop entering the passage that runs alongside my home.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

I Have Socks...

A good old standby for Christmas. I can wear more or less any kind. Thermals/cotton or ankle/trainer/longer socks. However perhaps due to medical reasons or choice a friend and his father prefer non elasticated socks. I'm going to show some I have purchased to my friend's Mum and if she says they are OK I'll give some pairs as a Christmas present with the new Elvis CD I got for him(he's a big fan)If she is happy they are suitable for her husband I will find out if she still wants to give them as a present to him or...allow me to give them as a gift myself.

So far I have five pairs for each...I purchased all that the shop had. If they get more I may because they will be used buy more and give a decent selection to last awhile into the new year.

Its a mild day weather wise even if damp but it started off very wet again. I have had two bowls of sausage and vegetable casserole so I feel warm.

In the process of getting ready for the music club.


Monday passed by. The weather was still as awful. But still nowhere as bad as further North. Over the weekend Christmas Markets were called off but not without them being wiped out by blustery winds. Even a massive passenger ferry broke its moorings and was possibly damaged.

The UK now has name for storms, I did not know this new one was so bad it had been given a name again.

Here it was just wet.

I played bingo. I almost broke even winning two houses and a line. But as I shared a taxi home and caught one going there I was £2.70 out of pocket.

I purchased some vegetables to have in casseroles and stews via the slow cooker. Too late(but I know for another time)one of the discount supermarkets is doing a meal of chunky freshly prepared vegetables with chicken thighs/drumsticks for £2.49 and all you do is put it into an oven or a slow cooker. I can get two meals from that(not bad for a single bloke)its ideal for Winter. At a push I can do that myself by buying individual ingredients if they decide to discontinue it but that's a good buy to me.

I have been surfing the internet most of the evening, listening to the radio and now I am going to turn in and hopefully get a good night's sleep and start afresh in the morning.

Not much planned for the week ahead or different to any week. Music Club tonight. Bingo Thursday night but I hope weather permitting on Saturday to go to a market in the cloisters of Durham Cathedral, then get there reasonably early so that I may witness a special service where a procession of children enter with lanterns, there is a little play and an appearance of St Nicholas(last year I could not see anything)

If time allows I'll catch a bus and take some images of the Cathedral near the college I was at the weekend then go back into the town and to a little theatre near the Cathedral where two plays are being performed. And then finally home probably on the last bus I suspect. I'll take it easy the days before and on Sunday.