Interesting …


This is an interesting development from the Daily Mail online:

Shopping Trips

Just over a week ago, I needed to go to our local Aldi. The car park was full as usual, but there is a Screw-Fix next door with  very limited parking and people going there tend to use Aldi for their parking. Now what amazed me was the number of families that were shopping together. Now I can quite understand a single person taking his/her kids shopping with them, if there is nobody at home to look after them. But there can be no excuse for one of the families that was out that day.

ShoppingThe ‘group’ consisted of a man and a woman, I would say in their mid-forties, a youth, possibly aged 14 or 15, two young girls were were probably no more than 7 years and another boy who would have been about 11 years old. These are only guesses at the ages. Now, the two girls were sitting in one trolley pushed by whom I think would be the male parent. The female ‘parent’ was pushing another trolley and loading food and supplies into that. The youth was just moping around, with his ‘ear-buds’ in as if he didn’t want to be there and the 7 year old was racing up and down the aisles on his scooter.

I may be wrong, but I could not see any justification for them all being there together.

 

Interesting days …


Yesterday was a day I was a little apprehensive about. I was meeting up with an old school friend for lunch. We have met a couple of times over the past few years, but I seem to have School daysbeen trying to avoid meeting again. I can’t say why. We both get on together. We have similar interests and both enjoy reminiscing our school days. However, whether it is an age thing we always seem to talk about the same thing … teachers, school-mates, punishments and the general high-jinx we can remember getting up to. We did chat about our current respective jobs, but not much of anything else. Now the problem is, for both of us is a memory thing. He remembers many of the people we were with at school, and I only a few. But then again, I remember things that happened that he can’t remember. So it makes for an interesting lunchtime. We have both promised to ‘do it again, soon’ but I’m not sure it will happen.

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Today was K***s birthday. I did mention earlier that she was having a family break with her sister and father. I was going for the day to celebrate her birthday and have a nice lunch. That was the plan, and to all intense and purpose that plan was successful. The only downside was the location of the lunch venue. It was The Horseshoe Inn, in Levisham and was only 15 minutes away from the cottage Lunchthey were staying at. The place itself was great, and the food was mostly very good. I had Haddock and Chips. The fish was well cooked, but the chips seemed to be in the fashion of triple cooked chips. I’m not a fan really. They tend to be really dark, over cooked looking and not the golden brown chips I was brought up on. Always seem a little bit greasy to me. But back to the down side. The ride to get there was tortuous. It was all narrow, windy country lanes, but the worst part was the inclines and declines. At one stage the road sign said that the incline was 1 in 5 (an old sign which is usually replaced by one saying 20%) which is quite steep at the best of times, but when you factor in the twists and turns of the road, it was a bit of a nightmare. I drove most of the way without getting out of third gear and on the 1 in 5 stage, I was forced to drop to second gear. One of the most scarier drives I have taken, and then I had to drive back.

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K*** is back at some point tomorrow, and I am looking forward to it. I mentioned before about the noises, but not about the silence in between. I do like my own company, but I often find that I talk to myself as if there was another person there. I explain things that I know about, as if there is somebody with me that knows a lot less than me. Sounds a bit weird, but my doctor tells me that it can be quite a normal thing. To cap it all, there is nothing on the televisionTelly that I want to watch. I can’t watch the few programs we watch together, as they are being recorded for when K*** gets home, so if the telly goes on, it is usually and old comedy show or the news. the comedy shows I have watched before, and these days the news is so full of doom and gloom, that it is positively depressive. Still it does give me a little time to write a new blog post.

Birthday and other things …


I went on my old chat site Monday night. It’s a site I used to use a lot a few years ago. It was before Facebook became really popular and I used to chat most nights. But as with all things, it changed, became a bit of a hunting ground for not so nice persons and I kind of lost interest. I go on occasionally, but the people I used to chat to have moved on and no longer use the site. Still it was good to have a bit of a laugh and to lead on the pervs a little. I’ll probably visit a couple of times this week and then lose interest again.

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It’s K***s birthday today, and it’s a biggie. The Big 60 … she doesn’t read my blog so she won’t mind/know about me mentioning. It doesn’t seem to be bothering her as much as the last big one. She got a little depressed when she was 50. I on the other hand had no feelings either way. When I was 60, it was just another day nearer me finishing work. And it did come with some good benefits. Haircuts are cheaper for one, and I can also order the pensioners meals in cafes and pubs. I hate leaving food and some of the portion sizes can be quite large. We shared a sandwich in a local café/bar on Sunday and to be honest, it was a struggle to finish it between us. Don’t know what it is, but I cannot get the weight down. When I came out of hospital in 2014, they had fed me up to get my weight back to the 10 stone that I went in with. Four years on and I’m now just over 12 and 1/2 stone. Well, saying that ‘I don’t know what it is…’ is a bit of a falsehood really. The weight comes from a combination of late night snacking and alcohol which is something I need to deal with. I can do without both and have done on occasions, but when it’s 5 minutes to midnight and you’re waiting for the youngest to settle, there is nothing nicer than a banana sandwich and a not-so-wee dram of whiskey. That’s the problem I need to deal with.

I seem to have gone a little off track here! So what is the plan for the day. Well, I don’t have a plan. Looks like it’s not going to be a dry day so a walk may be out of the question. We shall have a nice lunch somewhere and have a relaxing day. On Thursday it’s the main celebration day. We are going for an family meal at an Italian restaurant in Tadcaster, which should be nice. We’ve never been before, but reports have only good things to say. I shall let you all know.

‘Twas the night before etc etc…


Motifs download - December 10_colourWell, we have got as far as we can. Veg is prepared, table is set and the presents are scattered under the TV. ‘Under the TV’ I hear you question? We have a small fibre-optic tree, which is not really big enough to put the presents under. In the past we have done the real tree, in fact one year we even had a tree that we planted in the garden. But it died! So for the past 10 years or so, we have had the ‘small fibre-optic’ tree. I think though, it is time we sent this one to the great re-cycle plant. I have had to replace the bulb and the whole thing leans to one side. So I think it has passed it’s ‘Display Until’ date by a couple of years.

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I’m not, and I think I may have mentioned this (probably every year) a huge fan of Christmas. I hate what it has become. When I was a child, Christmas was an  amazing time of the year. It was about Christmas Carols, families, pantomime. We never, ever were asked ‘What do you want for Christmas?” XMAS PUDWe got what we were given and were happy about that. We had, what had become a traditional Christmas dinner. Turkey, roast potatoes, carrots, sprouts (ugh) sage and onion stuffing and what seemed like, gallons of gravy. If you could manage it, Christmas pudding followed and in our house we always had custard, not brandy sauce, we were just kids after all. Afterwards, we would watch the Queen, then settle down to watch a variety show.

Now what do we get? It’s called ‘Christmas Lunch’ and although the Turkey is still there, we now see things like Kaletts on the menu. The stuffing has changed to ‘Chestnut and Chive’. Christmas pudding now comes in many flavours, even as an ice-cream. In some places, it is not even served and we get some kind of overpriced chocolate mousse that bears no resemblance to Christmas, apart from the picture of a red candle on the packaging.

I don’t want to get started on television, but … why do we need to see programs that are on everyday? I mean the ‘soaps’ of course? Do we really need to see ‘bumper’ editions of EastEnders/Coronation Street/Emmerdale? Really! Is it also necessary to have ‘Christmas Specials’ of reality shows? I mean come on, Strictly Come Dancing has only just finished and we are treated to the Christmas Special.

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Music. Now there is another cause for a rant. We were at my sister-in-laws for a family get together on Thursday. When we arrived, the TV was on and tuned to one of the many music channels. It was playing the ‘MTV Top 40 Christmas songs”. This in itself is not such a bad thing. It had reached number 5, and they were of course songs from the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, which everybody knows and supposedly loves. This of course finished after they had played the number 1, Band-Aid’s “Do they know It’s Christmas?” A very popular and catchy song at the time and still is relevant today. We were then treated to a few adverts before the next program … ‘MTV Top 20 All Time Christmas Hits.’ I will allow you only one guess what was at number 1.

Tonight, we watched the Christmas Carol service from Kings College, Oxford … do I need to say anymore?

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So now, all I have to say is a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all who read this.

That’ the birthday over …


Well at least for another. The thing that really bugs me is the idea that because it’s your birthday, you must enjoy yourself. There’s time when I just cannot be bothered. Not going to say any more on that one.

This few days has made me think a little more about food. Not the type of food, but basically the amount of food that we eat. I’m overweight. Not hugely, but overweight all the same. I want to get my weigh down a little, but it difficult when people put food in front of you and expect you to eat it all. Then you get the old people telling you about the war years, when you NEVER left anything on your plate. But back in those days, there was not the same amount of food around, so eating everything on your plate was not a problem. Now, there is so much food available that it is simply not feasible to eat everything that gets put on your plate.

Today so far …


A trip to Farndale this morning to see the famous daffodils. I have been before, many years ago, but on that occasion, the daffodils had bloomed early and there was very little to see. More successful today, but they were starting to look past their prime. For me, if you’ve seen one daffodil you’ve seen them all.

After the walk, we visited the Feversham Arms Inn for a spot of lunch and an alcoholic refreshment. My choice of burger was not my best. It sounded good, but was very dry and to be honest, quite tasteless. But everyone elses choice was fine. I will live with it.

As near as vegetarian as I get …..


I am a carnivore! I enjoy eating meat! And fish! I have no conscience with regard to meat or fish, so I’ll get that out of the way first. Also to put to bed is that I have no issue with anyone who doesn’t eat meat. For whatever reason. I’m not a particular fan of vegetables as a food choice. Saying that, there are some vegetables that I   really do enjoy. I like broccoli. I don’t mean that tasteless woody Calabrese that is seen by the basket load in supermarkets all over Britain. No I’m talking about real broccoli. The purple sprouting type that actually has some real flavour. I’m also a fan of Swede, but not Turnip and there are many people that do not know the difference.

My original idea for this post (before I got into the broccoli v calabrese thing) was to explain that I can have food that does not have meat in any form. This delightful looking dish was a Leek & Mushroom risotto. We had some chestnut mushrooms and a stick of leak left over from last week that needed using up. Actually, if the truth were known, they should have been used up before the weekend. Mrs H had spotted them on Thursday, with the ubiquitous ‘best before’ date of Saturday 14th. Too good to miss and too good to let go to waste. We all know what happens to food that exceeds at least one of its dates and if any of our food is going to go to waste, then it will go to waste in our hot composter. I did not have a recipe for the risotto, so it was an amalgamation of three or four different dishes. Unfortunately, I forgot (sieve-head that I am) to make a note of what I used and how I did it. But never mind, it was really enjoyable.

 

Motivational photo ….. 1st go


Well it was my intention to start this thing on Monday 16th, but I have a photo and it’s given me something to say, so why wait?021515_1605_Motivationa1.jpg

The photo is the beginnings of my lunch for Monday. Basically it’s pasta with some bits of beef, mushroom, onion, carrot and mixed salad leaves. There is a boiled egg to add later, with some kind of dressing, mayonnaise or maybe even oil and balsamic.

There is a point to this. Mrs H and I tend to watch these cooking programs that seem to be on every channel at the moment. It kind of annoys me a little when the presenter (quite often not a chef/cook) tells the viewer that they ‘should not buy’ the pre-packed food from the supermarket. Then they go on to explain how much cheaper and more beneficial it is to ‘make it yourself!’

Here is the reality! From start to finish, the whole dish took just over 30 minutes to cook and assemble. It would take me just over 10 minutes to call in at the supermarket (at the top of the street where I work) buy the dish and get back to the office to eat it. As for the cost, in the supermarket, it would be around £2.00 – £2.50 for something like this. Of course it is a great deal cheaper to make it myself! Of course it is, but only if the ingredients I used are to hand. To purchase the ingredients separately would amount to a lot more than the £2.50 it would cost ready made. Aha, you exclaim ….. you have all the ingredients now to make another salad for the next day and the next day and the next day ……. and then what’s left goes in the ‘hot composter’ because it has gone out of date. See my point?

 

Just give up now ….


I don’t know why I do it. It’s never going to happen. It’s just a waste of money. I am of course talking about the National Lottery, or Lotto as we now call it. The chances of winning even the lowest prize are so poor, that it beggars belief why anybody does it. I have a couple of pounds left in my online account, and I’ve decided, that when that’s gone, it’s gone. Mind you, I have said that before and I’m still losing money!!

Earlier this week, I signed up for a WordPress blogging course. Now, I don’t really know what I’ve let myself in for, but if it improves my postings and increases traffic, I’ll be more than happy. My blog tends to just random posts, whenever I feel like it. This one is a prime example. The main reason for posting just does not exist. It’s just a random post about nothing in particular. Just musings from the day and the time since my last post. Random.

Here’s something that is quite random: since my operation, I’ve been trying to eat a little more healthily than before, and I’ve taken to eaten a lot of foods that I would not have opted for before. For example, I’m now eating more salad leaves than I have ever eaten in my life. Practically every day I will have some food that has a portion of salad leaves. Today, seeing as we had a few tomatoes that needed eating, I suggested to K*** that we have them, sliced on some fresh bread drizzled with olive oil. I cannot think of any occasion in the past, when I would have even though that would be an option for lunch. In the end, K*** turned the idea in a kind of bruschetta, which was absolutely delicious.

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R*** has been okay today. He has been having problems with a build up of earwax, which can be quite painful. He had his ears washed out on Thursday and he was great afterwards. Last night, at around 8pm, he suddenly lost it. He was crying and shouting and stamping his feet. I went to see what the problem was and he went for me. It was the usual nipping and grabbing. He is a very strong lad and when he grabs your arm and squeezes, it really hurts. He eventually calmed down after K*** administered his PRN (http://bit.ly/1y4eRZW) but we have no idea why it happened. Today he has been as different again. I suppose it’s just part of his Autism. Something upset him and he dealt with it in the only way he knows. But it is difficult.

Life changer – “T” minus 11


Just to change the mood, only eleven more sleeps until I’m admitted. To be honest, at the moment, I have no worries about this. I say ‘at the moment’ because I’m not sure what the next ten days will bring. I have another appointment at the hospital on Tuesday (note to self – print the proper route!!) the eight days later, I’ll be in and waiting.

I finished the nasal cream last night. There is still nearly a quarter of a tube left, so why on earth I needed two tubes of the vile stuff, I’ll never know. It may sound okay to squirt two match-head size drops of cream up each nostril, four times a day, but take it from me, it’s not much fun. For example, the first thing that happens is you get a persistent urge to sneeze. Then as time passes, you begin to think that the cream is running down your nose ready to drop off your top lip on to your work. Of course, that is not the case, but the feeling is real.

The thing I’m trying to do now, is cut down on the amount of food I’m eating. The hospital information tells me that they will try and ensure I get plenty to eat after the operation. However, I worked in hospital catering for fifteen years and I know the portions are not the same size as home portion. So I need to try and cut down on the volume. I’m also trying to cut out extra sugar, salt and bad fats, but that is a lot easier that not eating when you feel a bit ‘peckish’.

Just one pet hate …..


    Have you noticed, that one of the current trends in so called food journalism, is the ‘rustic look’. It’s that type of food presentation, where the food looks like it has just been dropped on a random plate, usually made out of galvanised tin. Quite often, there are bits of leaves or ground pepper something scattered around that plate. The plate is then presented on an old table and on some occasions is accompanied by a used spoon. It’s the ‘Jamie Oliver’ school of cooking. No finesse, no style, just slap it on a plate/piece of wood/slate and get down your neck. Do you like it? Do you think it is appealing? Does it give you a sense that ‘it’s the food that matters – not its looks’? I (as you may have gathered) don’t like it. When I trained as a chef, some forty years ago, I was told, that your first impression came from the smell of the food, then its look and finally, the taste. The smell and the look entice you and that both prepare you for the next stage, the taste. Well this ‘rustic’ style does nothing for me. So stop it with the battered plates and even more battered old furniture and stick to presenting food in a more attractive manner.

Here endeth my food rant.

    Anyone watch the last episode of Law & Order UK (28/07/2013). Is this where old Casualty actors go when they leave. First we had Ruth Winters playing Kate Barker then Paterson Joseph turns up as Wes Layton. Now this week were treated to Connie Beauchamp (ahhhh) and also Josh Griffin. All we need now is Nick Jordan to turn up as a prosecutor and it will be all sorted.

All’s well (I think)


The first day in the new job went quite well. I say that from my perspective, I have no idea what anyone else thought. I got treated to lunch, which was nice. I do have to talk about this though. When I was transfering some of my stuff on Friday, I was asked if I liked curry. I said I did, and two of the people I’m working with (B***n and R**i) suggested that we go for a curry lunch on Tuesday (yesterday). This sounded too good to be true, and I was well up for it. Back at the old office, D*** was trying to work out where there was a curry house nearby, and was struggling.

So the big day arrives, and I settle in nicely. everyone is very welcoming and any apprehension I had was starting to fade a little. I was given the ‘grand tour’ and the essential places )kitchen and toilets) were pointed out. Lunchtime came and we went off in B***ns car. On the way, he explained, that the place we were going to was a local community centre, Hamara, that served healthy food to the neighbourhood. Hmmm I thought to myself, doesn’t sound like what I had expected. We arrived, and went into what they call the cafe. We got an extremely friendly welcome as we moved towards to serving hatch. “Three mixed” said B***n and he pulled out some money to pay. He told me that he would pay for my first curry. Well, I have never seen anything like it !!! It was a large plate, covered with a fried rice (to the depth of about one inch !!) topped with a Keema type of meat curry, a chickpea curry and a potato curry. This was then topped with mixed salad and an absolute gorgeous yoghurt dressing/riata. Very nice you may be thinking, and it was. The problem, was the amount ! It was a vast plate of food !!! It would have fed me, K**h and S***e, without any problems. I think I managed about one third before I gave in.Ii just could not eat that amount of food on a lunch time. Cost ???? £3.50 per plateful. You cannot even get a good sandwich for that price. I had a very small meal at dinner time that night, I can tell you.

Today was a transition meeting for R**s. It was supposed to be a meeting to sort out the finer points of his care package at the college. We are looking to send him to a day placement college, with an eventual view to him being in ‘shared care’. However, the college dropped a bit of a bombshell today, when they told us that they were no longer doing day placements on the main site. They kind of explained that they had had to have a restructure due to staffing, and they were only offering full residential care. this is not some thing we wanted at this time. However, they could offer the same type of placement at their other site. We did not know what to say. A bit displeased that they had not told us before the meeting, as they had known for a couple of weeks what was happening. Still their other site looks like it could offer a similar care package. We are going to have another look at the place in a week or two, but I think we have no choice. There is nothing else suitable locally, and this company was always the best option. Just not this site. Some stressful times ahead.

It’s Friday (again)


   The software update worked. Well, saying that, it worked on my PC. Everyone else is being updated as of 5:00pm tonight. The project leader, wanted to leave it until 06:00pm, but it seems that the IT staff would be finished before then. So 05:00pm it is.

   Youngest was back from respite today. He seems to have had a good time. I noticed from his notes, that they now seem to be checking on him, regularly through the night. This is a direct result of his camera getting broken the last time he was there. We were a bit concerned, that he appeared to be awake and using his camera at quite a late time. It seemed to us that, once he was ‘settled’ then he was left alone. I don’t think that was the case, but his home notes gave that impression. So now the notes say that he has been checked during the night !!

   The staff night out, seemed to go as I expected it would. Some say it was a good atmosphere, other say it was okay, and some just did not have a good word to say at all. Apparently, the food was not up to much (for the price) and the disco was practically non existent. I don’t think that there was any arguments this year, but I got the impression that they would not be going to the same place next year. The thing is, there is only K****, that is prepared to organise things like this, and it is going to get to the stage, where she says enough is enough … someone else’s turn. Quite frankly, I would not blame her.

A busy day at home


   It was the school Christmas Fayre today. Mrs H was running the Tombola for a change (she is usually in the kitchen), and she had her niece to help her. It is hard work when she is here, as she is quite energetic, for want of a better word.

   Last night of the panto tonight. It all went very well. The first half was not as good as then second half. But Saturday night, all hell lets loose, when the official script becomes a distant memory.

  Heavens only knows what time he will get in. They usually have a wind down session at the end, a bit of food and drink, but it sometimes goes on for quite a while. He has to be back at the village hall at around 11:00 in the morning to help tidy up. They are then going for a meal at a local pub, as a kind of celebration. He says he is going back to his flat in the evening. I think his flat mate is missing him a bit.

   Youngest has not had his medication today. I’m going to try and keep him off it tomorrow too. There has been a couple of minor ‘episodes’, but nothing to really mention. This will be the first full weekend with no medication at all. Fingers crossed.