coffee in simit sarayi

23 Jan

london 1.12pm 3C cloudy wednesday 2019

it seemed it snowed in london yesterday. not where i live, but it seems out in the suburbs. and these pictures shows how light the snowfall was. i guess by now the snow would have all melted. 

6.55pm 2.7C dry night

it hadn’t changed much in temperature from earlier today. there was not much wind, which makes it very pleasant to be out , it was not cold , if u dress warmly, but without the wind chill factor  you dont feel it cold.

i was out today to chelsea, first day joining the circuit training class since my foot fracture. i was at a meetup with my other friend ian, yesterday at the ageuk canteen in tavistock square, and he reminded me that i should be taking more exercise that is why i decided to start going to the circuit class today… and then everyday from now on i shall do the exercises at home, first thing in the morning, rather than get online straight away…

there were 4 of us,at the circuit class;  and david my friend who lives in brixton was there too and he said he wants to give me a treat to a coffee afterwards.  i chose to go to simit sarayi, in chelsea, and it was a very nice place to chitchat.

we both have cappucinno, and when it came time to pay at the end, i was real surprised that it came to £2.50 each. that is very reasonable for a cafe where u can loiter for as long as u like, and they have nice cushioned seats too, instead of just hard wooden chairs. and they close at 9pm too, so we dont get this feeling of being rushed. they dont have the menu prices listed on the board above the counter, so i asked why is that and the cashier pointed to a stack of menu cards near her. well we were allready on the way out after paying so i did not linger to look at all the things they have but it would be worth a look another time.

the other coffee shops nearer the chelsea sports centre close at about 5pm or 6pm and because only the owner was there minding the store, he does not make very good cappucinno. so that our first time we went there was the last time.

the days are lightening, because when we got out of the chelsea sports centre after our shower, it was still very light. sunset was at 4.33pm so we must have come out before that. nice to still have it so light when we get out. 

we were chatting about the crime punishment system in the uk, and comparing it with the singapore system. there is news of that ex-public-schoolboy found guilty in singapore of having drugs, and being sentenced to 20 yrs and 24strokes of the cane. people say it is barbaric, but i cant help thinking well here you have young kids being stabbed and killed all over london , drug related gang warfare . do u prefer that? , as the price of the liberal system here so that you can pride yourself on being civilised… whilst  the kids get killed continue to get killed. i think i prefer the singapore system. dont you? 

added 24.1.19. its interesting that they describe him in the headlines as a schoolboy, but this morning i find he is 29yrs old. hardly a school boy. and he was lucky not to get the death penalty, because the amount of drugs he had on him was less than a certain number. 


it costs a lot to call from my landline

20 Jan

london 10.21am 4C sunny (low this morning 1.6C) sunday 2019

i got a email from talktalk my landline provider, saying call charges are going up. 

calls to landlines will go up from 15p to 16p a minute. calls to mobile will go up from 15p to 18p per minute. our standard connection charge will go up from 20p to 23p. 

i never use my landline to make calls nowadays, i use my mobile instead as i have a pay as i go sim card from asda, and it is only about 8p a minute to make calls (no difference in cost whether u call a landline or mobile) and 4p for text. whereas if i use my landline each call will cost me at least 35p now and 39p from feb. it is no wonder everyone has stopped calling from their landlines.

i think if not for the phone companies linking their broadband packages to the landline, we will all have abandoned our landline phones. in fact i remember reading that BT makes it compulsory for all their broadband packages to include line rental. 

nowadays you can get internet without a landline. and it is faster too. i have to admit for me there is an additional factor in keeping my landline … nostalgia really. it is a link to the past. it gives people information of where you live. the first 4 digits gives what borough you are in. it also seems like a more permanent link to my home. one that wont change, unlike a mobile , where it is so easy to change your mobile number whenever u get a new sim card.

you can ask them to transfer your old number of course to the new sim card, but it is a bit of a bother.

but i think if it is cheaper to get my broadband without a landline connection, and if it is faster too, i think i will eventually abandon my landline too. it looks like a landline is doomed and will be another old thing consigned to history.

more of that landline calls

17 Jan

london 9.44am 2.7C sunny morning thursday 2019

i had thought of going to upton park , in east london today to the fresh market there to buy veggies, but i got a call just now, on my landline , fortunately the caller said something about a hospital appt, so i did not hesitate to take the call.

my gp had referred me to have a scan. so i was expecting a call like this. though i was expecting a text message because that was what the gp told me they will do. and the appt was for today in the afternoon. later after the call, i thought i better make a note of their phone number,just in case, and so i type in 1471 on my phone, which would bring up the number of the caller, and guess what, i got the same number as yesterday’s call, the one which i ignored.

that number was registered to be from high wycombe , so not a london number, but then so many of these companies have outsourced their appointment bookings to out -of -town nowadays… 

it looked like they tried to call me yesterday to make the appt, and the man then who made the call, just gave his name and the name of the company. this time, the woman who made the call was more savvy, and said her name and  the reason for the call, which makes it easier for me to decide whether to take the call or not. so now i know who that call yesterday  was from.

ah well, i am glad i did not miss it again and also just as well i am awake to take that call when it came today. i thought they will text me on my mobile, but i guess it was such short notice they want to find out if i can make it. and it was not at the hospital, but at some place in kentish town.

i think from now on i should just accept any call on the landline, no matter who calls, because it is sometimes very difficult to hear what that person is saying when they identified themselves, or if they just give a name and a company name. better to just accept the call and deal with it. i think with the extra step they have to go through, to identify themselves any scammers would not proceed anyway so it is a good filter. 

added. 11.16pm i went to the appt. it turned out  it is an ultrasound scan. and they require me to drink 2pints of water an hour before the appt, (it was at 2.50pm) as they want my bladder to be full. so i was really uncomfortable and wanted badly to pee, when the time came. i was holding it in, and when my appt time came i went to the reception to ask them to call me quick. haha. and the receptionist said they dont really handle that dept. luckily whilst i was at the desk, a lady came out and shouted a name, and asked is anyone waiting for a scan? so i went to her and told her i need to get that appt at once, as i am desperate to pee. so i was immediately brought in and dealt with. haha. they will send the results to my gp and then i will be able to find out what the findings are. 



just pondering on friendship

16 Jan

london 3pm 9C slight rain, wednesday 2019

i had a phone call on my landline this morning, and because talktalk, my telephone provider had put in place a new system to ask callers to identify themselves first, to let me decide to accept the call or not, i had to either press 1 to accept the call, 2, to accept the call for this time only, or 3 block it entirely. or i can ignore it by putting down the phone. i heard the caller identify himself, but i could not recognise the name and i thought it might be the person from a financial services firm that have been calling me before, so i decided to put down the phone. and ever since then i have been a bit worried that i had missed an important call. haha. simon was expecting some response from his passport application, and i thought maybe it might be from the passport people.

so i spent the whole morning being very unsettled so much so that i did not feel like going to east ham, in east london to the fresh market there to buy vegetables. esp chillis, garlic, ginger, and i am running out of those too. 

but luckily around now, simon told me he got word from the passport people that they will cancel the passport they said they sent but which we never received and to issue him with another one, and this time for him to collect it at the passport office in victoria instead of them sending it to our flat.

so i am glad that is sorted out and the phone call was not important after all. but it made me wonder if all this new security features on our phone, whose purpose is to stop cold callers, is not stopping us from being contacted by friends, and making us more isolated than ever. some friends might even be put off by having to identify themselves first before they are connected and might not call anymore.

i am hoping that they will still email me, something that i prefer actually. and i think that is what my friends would do with me anyway, as i am never a fan of phone calling. it is because it costs money to call people, or text them… but it cannot be the only reason because there was a time when i got a package on my landline where i get free calls and free texts and i still did not bother to call people to chat.

i notice i have gradually lost touch with friends. i think it is because i am a bit of a hermit, i have always been self sufficient and not like being sociable and it seems to have become worst as i get older. and i follow solitary pursuits, so dont really rely on another person. in the past i at least have some friends to go holidaying with, but i have not felt the urge to travel anymore , so all those friends have fallen by the wayside.

travelling is a very good hobby … new sights and sounds, keeps you interested and delighted. but i think to be practical, when you get old, there are lots of things that will negate travelling. health concerns, travel insurance (it gets more expensive and sometimes may not even be able to buy any), vaccinations, (recently a prominent scientist died from a yellow fever vaccination that is risky if you are over 60yrs old.) and you might lose the ability to withstand the rigours of travel.

you might consider travel if u just like to go on a cruise, or live in a warm climate, now that would be doable. most of us would consider it a reasonable travel wishlist, to just go to live in spain, or spend time there and just do whatever they would do if they were in uk, but instead of in the cold, they will be in the warmth of spain. but they might be living all by themselves there , so being alone might still apply even if they are in spain. with the language barrier, they might find it less easy to find friendship with the locals and have to rely on fellow expats and it will be very lucky to find fellow expats that you like. in a way, cruises are the most likely places to find company and friendships, or at least find people to do things with. no wonder so many old people go on cruises.

added 10.40pm. i read a blog where someone said a friend just used them to gain business contacts and i was thinking maybe friendship is overrated. maybe practically all friendships depands on what advantages each can get out of the other. be it material, or emotional advantages. and maybe that is how friendship works. after all i remember a friend saying he has friends that he can rely on in his time of need, or to get support from, and who he would do the same if they need it. whereas for me, i dont see my friends like that. i fervently hope that i never have to depand on them. and at the same time, i hope they never have to depand on me. why cant our friendship be based on mutual liking each other’s company and companionship? i believe it can be done but maybe mine is a minority opinion, and that is why i dont have many friends. haha. 


business outsourcing BPO

15 Jan

london 11.18am 8.6C cloudy tuesday 2019

such a mild weather we are having now in london. when i read that europe is experiencing snow storms, some even said the worst in 200yrs, (i dont believe that). yet here in uk it is so mild. they predict it will get colder to 1C, even 0C in london in the next few days, but i shall believe it when i see it.

yesterday i caught a tv program on the dave network, called world’s most dangerous roads and it featured a BBC program of angus deayton and mariella frostrup (2013) driving up madagascar’s eastern coast. it shows a very poor country. yet we have seen so many nature programs on its wild fauna and flora and how wonderful and unique they are. its biggest export is vanilla.  its all very well, but i was thinking i bet the people would wish it to be richer in jobs, infrastructure etc.

today i read this about how french speaking businesses are using it to outsource their services. it seems it has the fastest internet speed in africa, and faster than uk, france… and the french spoken by the locals is softer and more pleasing than that spoken in morocco, which is the currant leader for french speaking business processing outsourcing (BPO) . so it looks like this business is creating a wealthy middle class in madagascar. good luck to them.

india and the phillipines cater for the english speaking BPOs. it makes me realise there is a big market for other languages outsourcing… who caters to the german speaking businesses? and spanish ? maybe they rely on their own countrymen. 

properties and their service charges

14 Jan

london 3.10pm 10C a bit of sun/cloud. monday 2019

i got a letter from the housing estate saying they have now renewed the building insurance for another 5yrs, with a new contract, having put out for tender when the old one expired. and the amount i have to pay is £265.70 a year. the estimated annual cost  is £2,362,417 a year to insure the whole estate. it is the rebuild insurance, in case of destruction of the building, so is quite unlikely. it is such a lot of money isn’t it? but maybe there is also other damage that it insures against, because there is a  £100 excess per flat. they mention terrorist damage, and subsidence, so those are the other things that is included. anyway, that is the incidental cost when u own a property and it is a compulsory thing, every estate have to have building insurance. i am thinking thank goodness it is not a house i have got, otherwise i have to pay all of the building insurance for a house and that must be quite a lot of money. as it is , the cost is spread out and shared for all of us living in this housing estate so it is manageable. though they did say it is likely to go up year on year. it will all go into our yearly service charge.

i still think it is quite a lot of money to pay for insurance of this kind. i mean it is rare for a whole block to burn down. grenfell tower is an exception it seems, and yet the building insurance do not cover their rebuild… why is that? isn’t that exactly the kind of situation which the insurance is meant to cover?? you can see how lucrative the insurance business is , can’t you? 

it is still better than renting i suppose. this 2bd flat i am in will most probably have a £1800 a month rent and i certainly wont be able to live here if i have to rent it. as it is i can only live here because i own it outright,  rent free, and mortgage free. 

am seeing a tv program, a place in the sun, about flat hunting in murcia.spain.  their budget is £55,000 which makes me marvel at  how cheap it is , quite nice flats too. they are seeing a 2bdroom flat for £57000 now. and later they are seeing a 2bed bungalow in balsicas, furniture included for around their budget price, but it is inland. its a new build and no one lives there since it was built. this program is recent, 2018/19 and still got such low priced properties. or maybe brexit is making those places hard to sell, and so if u dont mind the uncertainty of brexit, there might be bargains to be had.

no  wonder so many brits are buying there, but  brexit is coming so people will have all that being denied them…  people must be looking back on all this with nostalgia and regret i bet. but if my experience with my flat is any indication, it is likely that once u have bought the place, they will start to hike up the  service charges and insurance and all that will rise and you will be locked in and have to pay those charges.

at the end of the program, the buyer decided to rent one of the apartments she liked for 6months, so that she can live there and get to know the area rather than make an offer. (pity they did not say how much she rented it for) perhaps that is the best thing to do, after all why bother to buy when it may not be possible to live there all year round when we brexit, so just go there for a few months holiday by renting a place without all the bother of the cost of owning property there.

the most important factor is that health care in europe may not be free to the brits living in the eu countries once we brexit. though to my mind all it needs is the uk govt saying they will reimburse the EU country for the costs… but it will be dangerous to say so, because then the costs will be very large as they all bill the uk and  inflate the charges.

and health costs can be very high.

when we age , and i am using my own experience as an example, we use more health services. right now, my doctor has been taking blood and doing tests to see if my markers for prostate cancer has dropped. it had been high when i got that bladder infection. and now he has said he will refer me to have a abdominal scan of the prostate. before he decides whether to refer me to the hospital for a specialist in prostate cancer treatment. it might all turn out ok and the scan shows no growth and so no need for any treatment… i hope so, but there are all these tests to be done. imagine the costs if it were done in a spanish hospital and they bill it back to the govt. not the first time that i am glad for the nhs.


i changed my electricity provider again.

12 Jan

london 6.39pm 9.9C dry night saturday 2019

i am really enjoying sitting on this cushion that i found. it is interesting that i was quite happy sitting on the old foam mattress that i was using. just goes to show if u dont know any better you can be satisfied with what is, until u get a better thing and then u realise how comfy the new thing is. one thing for sure, i wont want to go back to the old cushion.

i am also enjoying the adidas shoes that i found. they are so comfortable that after i used them once, i just wanted to wear them all the time, rather than the old reebok trainers. the funny thing is this… the reeboks are my size, in fact too close to my size so that they fit very closely. but the adidas shoes are size 11. can you imagine? i thought they will be too big, and had thought ok i shall just use them if i dont find any other closer to my size, which is 7. but surprisingly i find wearing these oversized shoes they are very comfortable. i thought my feet will be slipping and sliding inside them as they will be too roomy inside, but i think they are laced shoes, so i can adjust the tightness of the lace to fit my feet and so they sit very snugly inside, and there is so roomy inside that my feet do not feel cramped , unlike when i was wearing the reebok trainers. so it makes me feel that those who buy trainers might like to buy a size or two larger than their usual size, they might be pleasantly surprised at how comfortable it can be. and i have a feeling that these adidas shoes are smaller than their printed size on the shoe. i dont think they are really size 11, that is why i think the previous owner may find his size 11 feet are too big for it and so it is so uncomfortable to wear he hardly wears them and finally throws it out. 

yesterday i changed to a new electricity provider. i joined the mirror newspaper which set up a group to find good deals with the power suppliers, and they sent me this one from utility point. they offer a 18month contract on a plan that gives me 13.354p/kwh, standing charge 15p/day, exit fee £30, so i decided to take them up on it.

the present one i am on has just started this month, they are more expensive, 20p/kwh, no standing charge. i hope they dont mind that i have only been with them a month and allready wanting to leave them. but if it saves me money, i will move. no loyalty nowadays to any one provider anymore. anyway with this new move, i will not be looking to move again as there is a £30 exit fee if i do . i think it is the best deal i can get anyway. in a way it is nice to not have to bother with this electricity thing nor think about it for another 18months. haha.