Archive | September, 2019

this and that

30 Sep

london 12.12pm 17C cloudy monday 2019

i was earlier, around 8.30-9.30am in victoria station, and was able to see what the rush hour crowd is like. a very long queue 3-4 people deep,stretching out of the tube station and into the rail station itself. so many commuters coming in by railway, and heading straight for the tube to continue their journey to their offices or place of work. many might be shop assistants, as i read somewhere they are the largest numbers of workers in london , about 1million of them. next i suppose must be office workers.

there was an announcement over the tannoy that the gatwick train is not running, due to a tree on the line. i was thinking my friend who is visiting me fr usa, will be leaving tomorrow for home at around this time and if he will miss his plane … until i realise he wont be travelling via gatwick, but via heathrow and the tube lines wont have trees falling on them.added. actually he tells me that he is flying from gatwick, a direct flight to tampa. i thought it strange that he can get a direct flight, it is BA, so maybe that is why, as BA would have its home airport in london. he says tampa is getting quite international now, to be able to provide direct flights. 

the newspapers are forecasting floods and storm , either yesterday or tomorrow… or today… my weather website predicts a huge rain tonight. 20mm it seems will fall. will be interesting to see what it is like tonight. yesterday was the matsuri festival , and they were doing it in trafalgar square. lots of queues for the food stalls, selling japanese food, and a stage with drummers, and other shows. when i was there, it was someone doing an exercise class, and trying to get the audience involved.

it was raining slightly, but not enough to cancel it,because it was held on dry land;  unlike the thames river regatta. it was cancelled because of the rainwaters swelling the waters, so that the normal closure of the thames barrier cannot take place. it seems if it was able to close, it would allow a period when the waters will be very calm, with hardly any current in the river, and that would allow anyone to float on the river, with kayaks, or even floating boards and they hope then to hold the regatta, with people doing processions on the river, but all that is made impossible because of the rains, or so they say. forcing them to cancel the regatta. 

service charge 1oct19-31march20

28 Sep

london 5.17pm 18C cloudy saturday 2019

estimated cost £510. half yearly. so roughly about £1000 a year. hmm, it was about £1200 last time. so maybe this is an underestimate. this is the cost of running the housing estate.

cost of council tax for my flat in band D is about £710 a year.

so that is the total  cost of service charges of having a flat here in central london.

there is water charges £320 a year , utilities like telephone(broadband) £240 a year. and electricity £1200 £216 a year.  but those are variable according to usage, and that is it. another £2000 £800 a year would cover all that. i think. so total £3700 £2700 for a year. so roughly about £7.40 a day. (i am really surprised why i made that mistake with the electricity costs. i think i confused my usage of 1200kwh, for the cost, so i recalculated. all in total cost in running the flat £225 a month.)

of course, most people will be paying more because of rent or mortgages. not me that is why my impression that it is very cheap to live in central london might  not be normal. i dont know how much rent a 2bed flat in central london costs nowadays.(at a guess perhaps £2000 a month here in westminster, that would be a hefty £24000 a year. a sum that i cannot imagine paying. i can understand how and why the rent is the biggest expense for everyone). but i think if i were renting on my own, i would go for a room , and that would be about £800 a month. i think, inclusive. it wont be so easy living, as i would have to share with the owner, and a lot of people are not that easy -going to share a kitchen with. but you can see, if i dont allready own my flat outright, i would never be able to live in london, with an income of about £666 a month .

even my food bill and household bills (cleaning , eg washingupliquid,laundry liquid,toiletpaper,that kind of thing) is very low. they total about£40 a month average i think. and i get free transport too. so all in all, it is really very cheap to live in london for someone like me. and i dont even deprive myself of anything.

are there a lot of people like me i wonder? i mean all people over 60yrs in london gets free transport. and i know of some pensioners who live around here who have rent controlled flats which are kept low because of their age. and there is even a govt scheme to top up a old person’s income if it is below a certain level so that they get it increased to about £600 a month. i just happen to get that from my various pensions, so am not eligible for the top up. even then , the income is more than adequate for my daily expenses, in fact, i save a lot of it, without even trying. this is because there is nothing i want to buy … perhaps it is because i dont have bad habits, like drinking and smoking… those two habits can really make u spend and spend. a bottle of wine is about £5 upwards. average about £7. and it is real easy to finish a bottle, if u are a drinker. and the sky is the limit isn’t it, when it comes to drinking alcohol. i am just glad i dont like the taste of alcohol. haha. but in life, we all want something more. we dont like to just exist, do we? so some eat, drink, have sex, travel, what else can a person do to enjoy life?



life is free doughnuts

26 Sep

london 9.35am 18C rain thursday 2019

SUN                       Madrid      Paris           Berlin         NewYork   LasPalmasdegrancanary
RISE 6:54AM        8:06AM      7:43AM      6:59AM      6:48AM      7:53AM
SET   6:54PM        8:08PM       7:43PM      6:58PM      6:48PM      7:55PM

its all man made really, the clock settings , just so we get the sunrise times that we like. haha. and i suppose it gives endless fun to people who like to see the way time can be manipulated all over the world. 

2.41pm virgin lounge haymarket 19C.

earlier, i was in chinatown, trying to get free dumplings. it is dumpling day today and the restaurants there are giving away free dumplings, unfortunately it runs out very early. i was queueing in the dumpling legend restaurant queue, and saw plenty of people walkng by eating dumplings which they got from other restaurants, and then half hour after it dished out the dumplings, the man from the restaurant went down the queue saying they have run out , so all our waiting was for nothing. i wish they had told us earlier, then we could at least have gone to other places. i dont even know what they are giving out, to make so many join in the queue for it. but luckily there was another place giving out free stuff, it is a place selling doughnuts. and it was nearby in soho. so i went there and queued up and got mine. it is a bourbon doughnut. and took it to the virgin lounge, and there met some of the malaysian women who do these freebies, and they did not know of the doughnuts. so they went there hoping they are still giving it out, but they returned to say they missed it, only 200 given out. 

anyway, it is all best not to be too obsessed about getting these free food, nice to get it , but it is ok if you missed it. after all, if u really want it you can always buy them. i must say it is very nice life i lead, if all i need to worry about is to get these free food. haha. i think of it as just a bit of fun. 

this is thursday so lidl will be changing its 6 bargain price vegetables , and i see they are selling celery 35p,brocolli 59p, mixed salads 55p, which i shall buy . i fancy vegetables. added 7.55pm, the salad mix was mainly spinach, i thought it was salad leaves like various kinds of lettuce, rocket,etc that kind of thing, but it was mainly spinach, so i did not buy it. if i wanted spinach it is much better value to buy bags of spinach.

i have dinner of the veg that i bought, and it was very nice. because i used oyster sauce, and barbecue sauces and ketchup , those combination seem to make a very nice tasty sauce. when u cook vegetables, the sauce is important, the veg gets their taste from the sauce, because vegetables by themselves dont have any taste at all really. they have texture, and that is what u get with vegetables.

added 4.44pm . came back from my lidl shopping. i went there straight after the virgin lounge, as the bus 88 goes there, there being the lidl in stockwell. anyway, it has made me buy a lot more other things whilst i was there. so it certainly seems to be a good strategy, to offer lower prices just to get us to go there, and once there we tend to buy other stuff that we need too, and in my case even when it is cheaper elsewhere. for eg, i bought onions from lidl, even though i know that aldi sells it cheaper. but aldi has only very limited number branches in london (only two in fact) and the nearest branch from me is in tooting broadway , a long way away from me. lidl is so much nearer, a short bus ride from me in stockwell. 

Digital StillCamera

Digital StillCamera

the bourbon is in the creamy stuff in the middle, to me it just taste bitter. all liquor tastes bitter to me, so that it is wasted on me, i just dont appreciate it. 


25 Sep

london 10.31am 17C cloudy wednesday 2019

Actual Time
6:53 AM
6:56 PM
Length of Day
12 h 3 m
Tomorrow will be 3 minutes 54 seconds shorter

so even today it is not yet 12 hr day and night. tomorrow will be the day when it is equal day and night. i think. it does not make much difference really to the perception. the day dont feel like it is equal day and night, because most of the night we are asleep, haha, and it will depand on when we wake up. if we wake early say around 6.53am then we will get to notice the sun coming up. otherwise not. i woke today at about 8am.

i remember growing up in malaysia we are never aware of the length of the day or night. it all seems the same and very few of us are aware of it. i think it is because it is always 12hrs long, so nothing serves to jolt our perception of it. 

over here in london we are not even aware of the rain, as there is no monsoon season here. people may like to think there is one because of global warming, but really, it is either very heavy downpours, maybe noticeable because it lasts 6hrs, or drizzling rain which is more the norm, and no one bothers to note it. there is no yearly drought, which is what makes those places with monsoon rains so noticeable. the drought gives the rains when it comes a greater significance. 

take for eg today, all that rain yesterday is a bad memory now. no signs of it having happened. that part of victoria station that was shown in the picture all flooded out,  is now as if nothing had happened. and that is what it should be. if the city is well run, these floodings would not do any permanent damage and will come and go without any problems. it will only be inconvenient. and that is why i like living here. no drama to whatever the weather throws at it. the press would like it to have more drama, and tries to play it up, but as long as we keep reminding ourselves that it is fake news we should keep things in perspective.

added 5.58pm 19C cloudy, i had a look at the next day’s data, 

Sun 26.9.19
set 6:54PM 

so that is spot on, equal day and night. but it took so long to get to it, 26.9.19. 

raining all day in london

24 Sep

london 2.36pm 18C cloudy/rain tuesday 2019

its raining very nicely outside, and very nice it is too. no thunder though, even though it was forecast. i could see in the weather website that other parts of london are experiencing very heavy rain, the colour code it and some parts are green, yellow, and even purple (in romford now, with the gauge shooting off the chart at over 30mm/hr. must be quite a lot of rain, though not much wind. i like it even though they are all give dire warnings and used words like ‘danger to life flood warning’, which is overly pessimistic i think. it cleans the air, which i think those people in indonesia and malaysia would welcome it. it gave a red haze in indonesia, it was that bad the haze that they are experiencing now.  

added.00.34am 25.9.19 wednesday here are some nice pictures of the flooding/. i see the neighbourhood cat sitting on the courtyard, staring down into the grid where the water drains into, and i wonder if it is thirsty, so i cut out a squash bottle and fill it with water and took it to the cat. it did not drink it, but i left the container by the wall, in case it gets thirsty later. i know dogs drink water, but i have never seen a cat drink water. they like milk that i know, and would drink it, but i dont have milk. 

compare london and madrid at the equinox

23 Sep

madrid   13C  9.02am

access_time 7:51 AM CEST on September 23, 2019 (GMT +2) |

Actual Time
8:04 AM
8:13 PM
Civil Twilight
7:36 AM
8:40 PM
Nautical Twilight
7:05 AM
9:12 PM
Astronomical Twilight
6:32 AM
9:44 PM
Length of Visible Light
13 h 3 m
Length of Day
12 h 9 m
Tomorrow will be 2 minutes 39 seconds shorter


london 14Csunny monday 8.02am

access_time 7:53 AM BST on September 23, 2019 (GMT +1) Updated 3 minutes ago

Actual Time
6:50 AM
7:01 PM
Civil Twilight
6:16 AM
7:34 PM
Nautical Twilight
5:37 AM
8:14 PM
Astronomical Twilight
4:56 AM
8:55 PM
Length of Visible Light
13 h 17 m
Length of Day
12 h 11 m
Tomorrow will be 3 minutes 54 seconds shorter

in both places, it is not equal day and night. its a mystery to me, but i am sure there is a scientific explanation for it. haha. but if i were living in madrid now, i would get sunrise at 8.04am. so since i just woke up , and it is now 8.07am, it would be quite dark out there, with the sun just risen. instead it is bright sunlight  now with the sun peeping over the roof top of the block in front of my lounge window. i would find it very weird really, and it is going to get worse as winter comes, or maybe not, i dont know how madrid will be affected when the clocks go back… on oct 27.

in 2021 or 22, the EU will implement their new policy about clocks not changing. so look out for fun and games then, all this can really do your head in dont you think?

only the canary islands (of all the places in spain)keep the same time as uk. 

las palmas de gran canary 22C

Actual Time
7:51 AM
7:59 PM
Civil Twilight
7:28 AM
8:22 PM
Nautical Twilight
7:00 AM
8:50 PM
Astronomical Twilight
6:33 AM
9:17 PM
Length of Visible Light
12 h 54 m
Length of Day
12 h 7 m
Tomorrow will be 1 minutes 39 seconds shorter

it is so near the equator , it is practically always 12 hrs long day andnight all year round.

added 9.31am victoria station, knots pretzal

i redeem that voucher for a free pretzal , and when i asked what i can get for that, the first helper said anyone , but before i could chose one of the bacon pretzal, another lady came who looked like the boss, and she said i can only get the cinnamon one. even then from force of habit, she said what do i chose…anyway since i have never tasted any of the pretzals, this one is new to me. it is coated with suger, but they warm it up in a microwave first so it is quite warm and soft. its costs about £3.40, and is the cheapest item. oh, i just remembered, this must be what they call invasion of privacy, in that they can get access to you via your logging onto their wifi. but to me, i am all for it. haha. if they all give me free samples of their products that is a good thing. 

Digital StillCamera

i took a bite out of it before i remember to take a photo of it.

added 7.52pm 16C rain . i read in the papers of a fire in a chinatown restaurant on sunday. i was there, and saw the road blocked at the eastern end of gerrard st, i thought it was road works, but it seems early on sunday morning about 9am it started, there was a fire on the 2nd floor of the restaurant at the corner there. it is new chinatown restaurant. by 2pm when i was there, the fire was out, because there was no smoke that is why i did not think that a fire had happened there. 

fairy tales

22 Sep

london 2.17pm 19C rain sunday 2019 virgin lounge haymarket

after the library, (i went to the paddington one because it is the only one of westminster libraries that open on sunday morning), i went to the virgin lounge in haymarket to see the film, beauty and the beast. it is the live actors version of the cartoon made in 1991. they kept quite close to the story line, but introduced a lot more of the furniture characters. and it is very dimly shot, supposed to be candle lit, but i find it difficult to see. i was half thinking maybe they do it so that they dont have to make realistic furnishings, it could be a paint job, and the dim lights will not show up the defects. the castle was supposed to be fabulously furnished with ornate gold decorations, in the baroque style. the credits mentioned a stately home , so maybe they used a real building, and its furnishings, but the dim lighting makes that not necessary, and they can add extra scenes with fake scenery and we wont know the difference really. i am surprised that the beast dont look like the cartoon one. this one got horns, and look quite scruffy, even after he had been brushed up for the private dance  between them. 

i noticed that the mary poppins remake is also very dimly lit, so i wonder if it is something that is necessary, to mimic the atmosphere of the cartoons.

at the end, the credits listed the people behind the scene, and there were plenty of them, it surprised me that there were so many people back of camera making all these scenes work. i wonder which is easier to make, the cartoon or the real life movie. though i definitely can tell it will be more expensive to make with real life actors. 

added 4.17pm home, when i got back  i find in my email box one from knot pretzel , i have been using their wifi for getting online in victoria station, and they said they just want to give me a free pretzel. that is sweet of them i think. 

added 10.43pm 14C

Actual Time
6:48 AM
7:03 PM
Length of Day
12 h 15 m
Tomorrow will be 3 minutes 54 seconds shorter

i thought today is the autumn equinox, equal day and night, but it does not look like it according to today’s weather website.

google says the autumn equinox  is 8.30am tomorrow 23.9.19 this is when the sun is directly over the equator.



more free eating

21 Sep

london 11.38am 20C sunny saturday 2019 victoria library

yesterday i was at a free food pre christmas buffet, at a pub in camden to publicise their christmas fare, for office parties. one of us booked a table, so we get to meet up with a lot of the regular freebies goers. it was a popular pub, very crowded with regulars, as it was a friday evening, and you should know by now that office workers in london seem to like gathering in pubs after work esp on fridays, which means the start of their weekend off work. this buffet ordinarily costs about £20 each. it is meant to let people taste what is on offer so that they can decide to hold their office christmas parties here. it’s a fun way to spend an evening.

i went there by tube, because the bus system is completely disrupted due to a global climate change demonstration in the centre of london. fortunately the tube was not affected, though later i heard that the central line was not working because of a body on the line. this is the euphemism for someone who had committed suicide by jumping in front of the train. it was in lancaster gate tube station. and one of us said that might explain why her sister did not make it to the dinner. she had to rely on the central line to get from her house.

on the way back, i found there is a bus stop just outside the pub where the 88 passes on the way back to london. so that was what i used because by the time i finished at the pub it was about 7pm, long after the demonstration in parliament square was over. so one bus to take me right back to my flat. very pleasant that. and very enjoyable to watch people on the pavement from the top deck of the bus.

so you could say yesterday we got everything… a personal tragedy with a person who is so driven as to end their life , a global tragedy, if u believe it, of doom to come with climate change, and ordinary life where things go on normally with us having fun.

i think if u are a sensitive soul you will be quite depressed really. but i am glad in a way that i am not. i thank goodness for that. 

added. the news in the papers is about thomas cook asking the govt to lend it £200million for its cash flow problem. or it will go bankrupt. i find it amazing that a big company and founded 175yrs ago can be so cash strapped, and in trouble and can go under for a relatively small sum of money. though i gather it has allready got huge debts on top of it. their holidays are not cheap and yet they cannot make money. i wonder why ? i see in 2011 they had the same problem. so it looks like the company is in trouble long before this. 

added. i found this article about its demise, terrorist attacks and arab spring seem to have destroyed demand for its holidays. but perhaps underlying it , but not mentioned, is the fact that it is real easy for everyone to book their own holiday these days, (air bnb must take a lot of credit for that i think)without need for a package holiday provider anymore. but what do i know, it may well be a large proportion of holiday makers stillprefer to book a package for the convenience. but it got competition in another company tui.

 added 11.25pm 17C dry . highest temp today was 26C at 2.20-.50pm. after today it is forecast to rain all week and beyond.






19 Sep

london 7.40pm thursday 2019 17C dry night

its been a very nice day, cloudless blue sky and all that.

we have been out and about a lot, eating free food, because there have been a free aubergine promotion in camden market, they give away a aubergine for u to exchange for a aubergine based dish in those restaurants that are around the north yard in camden market.

we got our aubergine quite early at about 10am when they first start giving it away, and the restaurants dont start their kitchen till about 12pm, so we decided to bus to goodge st, to a shop near it, who are giving away yaar quark bars, it taste like cheesecake, and is sold as a snack, though here they give us free samples topped with various things. it is quite nice actually as a snack.

it  is on tuesday too, and some friends went there to get it, and we met them at the virgin lounge and i got one to taste. it is quite nice esp with coffee. this time, we ate it sitting near there, and we had no coffee, so it did feel a bit too sweet, but the taste and texture of cheesecake is rather nice.

since i ate that blueberry cheesecake from john lewis’ cafe, i seem to have a liking for it now. i can see how someone can get to start eating it a lot, and upping their suger in their diet. i even went to the supermarket , lidl , and bought their frozen cheesecake. so it even got me too. for someone who normally dont like sweet stuff, it seems to have got me even… but i think i wont be eating anymore of it, not even cheesecake, because i am not buying anymore of it. haha.

i guess the downside of all this free food and samples they give away is that you do get to eat a lot of suger. like today when we went back to camden, and  i exchanged my aubergine for a vegetarian pizza… the cheese in it was lovely, all hot and gooey, and so salty, which is nice, but i can see not something you want to be eating everyday. i could only finish half of it, and pack it to take home to eat later… it was so filling. though my friend, she ate all of hers in the restaurant. and so quickly too… it just shows me up, eating mine so slowly and being full so quickly. last i saw of her, she was in another restaurant , so she was still going strong eating her way . she is 25 so when i was her age, i too could eat a lot. it seems it is true that when we get old, we cannot eat a lot anymore. but then, i know of a friend who is fat, and he is older than me, so it never is good to generalise.

 there are a lot of free eats around, i thought at first that it would die down, but no, it seems the restaurants want to advertise their christmas office parties, and are giving us free food to show us what they have, hoping that some of us would go back to the office and recommend them and so they get bookings  for the office parties. there must be plenty of offices in london all looking for venues to host their staff christmas parties. i think they make their profits from the drinks bill. i know that it can be as much if not more than the food costs. and the profit from drinks is very high and easy to serve as it hardly needs any preparation or cooking unlike foods.

its no wonder pubs were so plentiful in the old days, where someone can make a profit just by selling nothing but alcohol. except now everyone have been told how bad alcohol is for us, so like cigarettes, people have moved away from just drinking only. now they need eating as an excuse to drinking. haha. so now you not only can get to destroy your liver from alcohol, but can destroy a whole lot of other organs  from overeating too. it seems no one can win. haha. life is a losing game. and we all lose in the end, because we all die dont we? i guess we can win if we enjoy our life as much as possible between being born and death. maybe travelling for leisure is a good way of enjoying life. jetting off all over the world, seeing sights and meeting people, and eating your way through all those cultures, that is a way of spending and enjoying life i guess. 

Digital StillCamera

Digital StillCamera

there are some small pieces of aubergine in there. but it is nice for the cheeses in there. later, i found out from one of the others that the shop gave them the aubergine after removing the stickers and she got 13 aubergines, which she gave away to friends to cook dishes with it. i myself would not mind having a few , because they are nice in mackerel fish curry. and they go well in lasagne.

free chicken,and other things

17 Sep

london 2.40pm 19C sunny tuesday 2019 virgin lounge haymarket

i have been rather naughty , a bit, by queueing up many times for the free chicken pieces that slim chicken were giving out today just outside  russel square station. they are rather nice not to mind me doing it, haha. its solid pieces of chicken, not reconstituted meat as they have in nuggets. they are promoting their new branch, opening on 27 sept in the bruswick centre. and giving out free sauces too. i find the ranch dressing and the mayonnaise- like dressing is very good for salads. i was joined by the others in our gang, two chinese ladies, and a white girl.

we thought another place in liverpool st was giving out free burritos too, but when we went there and ask them, they said it was last week and not today. so that was rather a let down, but we went back to the chicken place and queued up for more chicken. haha.

it was just as well that one of the ladies i was with went to the counter of the store that was supposed to be giving out free buritos at 1pm  to ask about it, if it were me, i would have patiently waited till 1pm,when it was supposed to start.  but as it was we found out there was nothing happening there and so saved us waiting around there for nothing. 

there was a waitrose in bruswick centre, so i could go there to get a free coffee,( i had a empty thermos with me) which i can get because of my waitrose card, but i decided to go to the itsu shop just in front of where we were sitting, to refill my water bottle that they gave me.

one of the girls saw me taking a sip from my ikea bottle, and  said they had a allergic reaction to the alluminium in the bottle. it really puzzles me why and how allergic reactions come about. i had no trouble with it, so it puzzles me when someone says they get an allergic reaction to it. i am rather glad i dont have allergies of any kind. it makes my life much easier, because i can eat anything. haha.

i forgot the store has free water dispensers, until one of the girls reminded me of it, because i mentioned i wanted more water, and wonder if there are any free water dispensers around.

the chickens were rather salty so you can get real thirsty if you  eat it.

then one of the girls asked me what i intend to do after this; and  reminded me about the virgin lounge and asked me if i were going there, because she can come with me as my guest. so i agreed, and we went, and she also said  before that we could go see  an exhibition near there in the bafta headquarters building, showing clothes worn by one of the actors in the tv series called killing eve and she would like to see it. so we went, and saw it. they must have spent a lot of money making those clothes. like a fashion show it seems. linking the style of clothes she wore to the mood of the moment when she did the killing. the actress took the part of a cold blooded killer , killing on demand and without any compunction. 

i had liked the first series, it was quite new and well written, but i got put off at the end, when the story skewed into weird territory, with impossible and illogical story lines that seem to be put in just to shock. that was why i did not bother to see it when the second series started. but it got a lot of praise and won quite a number of awards at the bafta.

so now here we are in the virgin lounge, downstairs , there is a film going on, with nazis. haha. with james coburn and steve macqueen. there was coffee, for me, and other drinks for my friend. but no biscuits because it was all eaten.  i went into the virgin lounge website to see what this film title , but there was no mention of it, instead i found this coming sunday they are showing beauty and the beast, presumably the live actors version instead of the cartoon, and i have not seen that film, so i might come and see it on sunday. 


pink elephant in the brunswick centre courtyard. and the slim chicken pieces. 

added. 9.36pm ,14C dry

day length rise set
Actual Time 12h 34m 6:40 AM 7:15 PM

i notice that the day is getting to be equal. so that means the autumn equinox is coming soon. 23.9.19 .that means in about 6days  it becomes equal day and night.  the day is shortening by about 4mins everyday.