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something i do to while the time away

29 Sep

london 12pm cowcross st, farringdon station thursday 2022

sitting outside the pret, enjoying the sun shining down on this side of the alley. i just had my free lunch given by kerb, to publicise their new street market opening at cowcross yard.

i took the new elizabeth line to get here, first time i been on it since it opened. it was the same width as the other tube trains. i had thought it was wider, the pictures that i saw were taken wide angle i think, that gives it a wider look. the carriages are all one seam less carriage, and it was very quiet.

this time kerb has a new system of voucher giving. before they would give us  the voucher before the market opens,  and let us go to any of the traders there to redeem it, with the proviser that the vouchers are worth £8, so if any of our choice is over that , we pay the difference.

this time, they ask us to pick a voucher, and there is the name of the trader written  on it, and that is who we should use… and no need to pay any extra…i picked it, and found i picked two by mistake, and both have the same trader on it. haha. she took back one. and i went to the trader… it was a venezuelan food stall, on a base of corn , and top up with meat and cheese , or beans and cheese. i chose the pork, it came as shredded pork, and it was laid on top of the corn . quite nice actually, but not sure it is worth £9. i saw another guy eating a nice looking dish, and asked him where he got it. it was a filipino stall, his was chicken, but had a red look, i thought was charsiew, or pork. it was £10… on a bed of rice and salad beside.

i ask myself is there any demand for such fare provided by the traders there  i wonder. would anyone want to pay £10 for lunch? maybe so, because when i went back to the station, i saw a japanese takeaway called mugen, and i went into the shop to look, they had boxes of tempura prawns over rice, chicken over rice for £7.80… and i thought the prawns look good. 

 

well, this going to freebies is the way i spend my leisure now in london. haha. i had wondered what people in other countries and cities or towns do to amuse themselves, and i can tell you here in london this is one way. of course the other tried and trusted ways living in a big city are always available, clubbing, eating in restaurants and cafes, or regularly going to your favourite coffee place, 

oh look, two of the pret staff came and pulled the shade over us, just when i was a bit disturbed by the bright sun, shining in my eyes and making the chromebook screen look dim… so it was welcomed that they pulled the shades out; though once they did it, the sun went behind a cloud and we are now the whole alley and area are in  shade anyway… but still, it is nice not to have that strong sun on me making it so difficult to see the screen. jsut goes to show a little bit of something good is a good thing, but more is not better. 

its very pleasant sitting here outside the pret, and the nice thing is that the staff did not shoo me away for not buying anything from them and still use their table and chair.it is one of the nice things about london, this allowing us to use it without being so bossy about it being for customers only. it is something i love about london. and not something u are aware of until it happens to you in other cities, where u are chased off for sitting on their chairs, or even eating sitting on the kerbside  or in the squares in public… like some cities in italy, where they wont allow u to eat your food in public squares. 

am sitting right across that mugen, japanese takeaway and i can see a long line of people queueing out of the door… so it is popular with the lunchtime office workers here. 

i got an email from battersea power station news letter, saying they are opening the place officially to businesses and the public on oct 14. the developer there is a malaysian company, they even got a square there named merdeka square. and i got a notification by a eating out website, saying one of the eating places , all about pancakes, are offering £1 pancakes dishes all day on that day when they officially open. they have breakfast pancakes with all the trimmings for £12, so if u can get that for £1 that is a bargain. i have erased that email sent to me telling me about it… so i cant prove it… to show it to them on the day in case they decided to cancel it as it is a generous offer. i erased the email becasue i thought i wont need it, as i am not a keen fan of pancakes. haha.

the notice inside the elizabeth tube . no staring. there was another saying press… no pressing against other people. sounds like nagging really

what can u freeze

27 Sep

london 11.26am 13C cloudy tuesday 2022

the freezer, built like a shed. we enter via a door , you can see it camouflaged but the handle gives it away.

we are allowed two items, one from the meat , fish section, the other from the veg, dairy section. so i got the salmon, and the frozen eggs. the container for the eggs was what attracted me. as well as the zip plastic container for the fish. i did not know that u can freeze eggs, but u got to crack them open first.

i went first thing today to the shoreditch boxpark, to see that sainsburys pop up freezer. i went just before 10am when they open. and there was a queue. but a short one. when they opened , they only allow a few , 2 at a time, to go in, and it is a box like enclosed space, like a big walk in freezer. it was quite cold and enclosed… no windows, so only artificial light, and quite dim ones too. we were given a freezer bag each, before we got in, and were told we can take two items, one each from the meat/fish section and another from the dairy/veg section. they got all these containers to put those items in, and they are quite nice containers. though they take up space. the more practical zip bag they use for the meat, fish, is more useful. i use the takeaway plastic containers that simon gets when he buys takeaway food. they are very useful and last quite a long time.

the first few went in unsupervised by the chap at the door, but when it was our turn, myself and the lady who was in front of me, he let her in first and then followed her in, then he turned round and asked me to go in as well. and i did. but i wonder if i should have done… two men inside a dark enclosed space with a woman??

(added much later 28.9.22 the next day… and what if he had gone in with her on his own. hmm, you might think it farfetched, but what if that woman is a fantasist or an opportunist, a chance here to make some money. accuse that man of assault while they are inside, it is his word against her… usually i never think like this… but i saw this article today 28.9.22 .

 

if that woman who was with us inside that freezer wants to create trouble for us both, she could have done it, and accuse  both of us… we  would be f##ked…you might think i am being too imaginative… but i think not. our souls just dont want it that is all, but it is an opportunity there.  that freezer is opened today 28.9.22 also. though i suspect the queues will be very long, and so he might never have an opportunity to let in a single woman in with only himself… hope so for his sake. 

 

i had wondered when i saw those people coming out wihtout anyone checking their bags that letting people in unsupervised might tempt them to take more than the allocated 2 items, and i think he might have realised that too. haha. the lady in front of me did not take anything… perhaps he joined us to act as a chaperone, when he let me in… though it might be for his own safety too, seeing he is going in there with a woman… hmm, could it be if i were not following that woman, he might have let me go in by myself??? haha, and would i be tempted to take more than two items, if i were alone in there… haha. i dont think i shall. no need to be greedy about htese things. haha.

but i am glad yesterday when i went to the local sainsburys near me that i saw and bought their taj brand ginger and garlic paste. they were 400mg and frozen. and were £1 each. i had wanted to buy them but could never find them till now. asda sells them at 85p, but when i went there they were no where to be found. frozen garlic and ginger pastes are a good idea, saves having to unpeel and smash the fresh garlic and ginger , and can keep for a long time too unlike the fresh ones. and at £1 each, much cheaper than the fresh ones. 

 

i thought they might be in this pop up freezer, but no, this pop up is to show people how to pack small leftovers to freeze for another meal . or what they can freeze of fruits, or veg, or meat, fish,eggs, etc so they dont go bad and have to be thrown away. so this pop up do not  show what frozen products that sainsburys sell.

i saw grapes being frozen in there. not sure they will be nice to eat once unfrozen. i think soft fruits are not really good to freeze. if they wish to show people that soft fruits are nice after freezing, than people should be given those frozen fruits to eat and see for themselves. i htink they will be good only to make smoothies.

 

new electricity tariff from 1 oct 2022

26 Sep

london 8.37pm monday 2022 12C dry

Your new prices
Current prices until
30th September 2022*New prices from
1st October 2022*
ElectricityStanding Charge (per day)32.14p/day old rate £117.31/yr
new rate from 1 oct 2022 33.15p/Day £121/yr
old rate (per kWh)29.632p
new rate from 1 oct 2022 35.797p/kwh

i got an email from scottish power, my electricity provider, giving me the details of the tariff. the new rate from oct 2022 means £121/yr… fixed standing charge, plus 0.358p/kwh. effectively i will be paying 0.43p/kwh , if i include that standing charge. but  what we will actually pay in terms of money, will depand on how much kwh we use calculated on a yearly basis. 

added. 27.9.22 11C cloudy tuesday 

 

scottish power says it will increase my bill by £120 a year. that is quite a drop from what i calculate will be if the full forecast price is implemented.  so it looks like the govt capping it has drastically reduce the effect of the gas price on electricity on us the public users. and now it seems that high gas price has come down, suggesting that the big spike in the market is due to speculation, or the panic buying of the europeans to store up for winter. now that they have done it, filled their storage tanks, they have stopped buying, and the price has dropped as a result.

frozen foods

25 Sep

london 9pm 13C dry night rain forecast from 3am to 2pm . sunday 2022

i went to chinatown to buy their frozen fish balls. again. haha. i had finished that earlier buy at the beginning middle of this month. i rather like putting 3 balls added to my instant noodles and they warm up and thaw out in the hot water that i pour over the noodles. they make for a very nice snack. (the fact that i have to buy another pack so soon will tell u that i have been eating a lot of it. its a 400mg pack, £3.09.)

anyway this time, i got a dodgy looking £1 coin given to me as change. i bought it to the attention of the till server, and she said it is ok. i went to another chinatown grocery store to buy flat noodles, and the server wont accept it. so i had to abandon the noodle, and go back to the first store, and ask her to exchange the coin she gave me, which she did. initially i approach another person, she was manning the same till that i used earlier, as i did not remember who served me that time. she indicated the lady sitting on the first till, and said go to her. that was when i noticed that lady had a name badge with her name, rui on it. i have to confess i did not really know what she looked like. haha. with me, i hardly notice them. i wonder if others notice who serves them at the till. i confess i dont . i hope they dont think i am arrogant or what… but it is not a habit for me to notice these things. i am very bad with faces even with my friends, nevermind total strangers at the cash tills. 

i saw a few of the customers giving £50 old notes, to pay for their purchases. and the staff were meticulous in checking that they are genuine, by running a marker pen across , whcih brngs up a mark if it is not genuine. it is the first time i noticed the chinatown servers so fussy about money… maybe because the deadline for the old notes expires end of this month, and a lot of people must be using it to get rid of it before then.

the asda i found out have stopped taking them in their self service tills, but sainsburys are still taking them, which makes me look at them with more favour and does influence me, in that i shop with them a lot more than with the other supermarkets. actually i am minded to buy more frozen stuff that will act as instant additions to make up a quick meal. maybe instant frozen veg , or frozen seafood, or frozen fish, which can all be thrown into the hot pot straight from the freezer, without need to thaw, to make up a meal.

sainsburys are doing a pop up of their frozen food store, on tuesday, wednesday, in shoreditch boxpark, and they are giving the food free, in an effort to advertise their frozen foods … so i will go there and see what ideas i can get for making instant meals from frozen ingredients. 

added 9.24pm.

i just saw an advert on my tv , domino giving 50% pizzas. but i saw only a glimpse of it, before the advert ended, so not sure when it starts or ends. but it was false hopes … i went to their website and found that you have to order £35 worth before u get that 50%. but i dont really eat pizza so i dontknow why i am attracted to it. jsut goes to show advertising can make a person want something that they dont know they want. 

23 Sep

london 8pm 17C dry friday 2022

my life is very satisfactory, things are going well and i am happy about it. i have filled my days with just eating and sleeping, and surfing the internet, and reading the news and seeing lots of dilemmas that seem to exercise so many people. not only individuals, but also nations, grappling with all those changing events .all those problems do not affect me that is why i can look at all of them with equanimity. 

i have been reading , and watching films on tv and of course all those dramatic things happening in the novels and tv are fiction so do not affect me either, and i can enjoy them without feeling bad about them.

what is big news now is the govt budget. it is an extremely daring budget, slashing personal income tax to 19% , and 40%.  and keeping business tax at 19%. i dont know how much their national insurance will cost. that is essentially a income tax actually. but thank goodness i am not affected by it at all. the budget has triggered a fall in the value of the £ to us $, 1.09, because of the huge borrowing ?. i think it is due to the strength of the US$. (benchmark US federal interest rate is 3-3.25% now. uk interest rate is 2.25%). all other currencies are falling against the US$. however, the uk wont feel this effect that much because it borrows money in £s. this is where having a currency that is a world currency is useful. 

 

the govt is hoping this budget will stimulate growth in GDP, and bring in increased revenue that way. there is the fear that the high cost of living will make people eat%% out less, or buy fewer takeaways, or buy fewer goods and services. lets hope  the budget stimulates growth. 

 

seeing east ham in the night

22 Sep

london 10.38am 17C sunny thursday 2022

yesterday i went to that free chicos opening in east ham, in east london. i was in two minds about it, but decided to go just to see that part of london and to go out and mix with people. it was an unusual time for me to attend these freebies, this one was at 7pm, which is not a time i usually like to go out to these things. i tend to go attend them when they are at lunch time… it ws a nice night, warm, not raining, and i arrived very early, at 6.30pm and the guy standing outside the entrance told me there is another guy waiting inside and asked if i want to do so. so i did and sat at a table.

i wanted to continue reading my ebook, the secret princess by melanie cellier; about a fairy tale that is a variant of the goose girl.  usually i can read it offline, but for some reason this time my chromebook wont continue the story off line, and i found out that area have no wifi. that is unusual for london, but this part of east london seem to be an area where the businesses dont provide wifi to their customers.

it was a colourful event . most of the guys queueing up were indians . only myself and the guy who was first there were different race. he was black, and i am chinese. and none of my usual gang of freebie people turned up at this do. not surprising because i was told they wont be here earlier when we met each other earlier that day at the other freebie place in northlondon.

and they were giving away their nashville chicken burger. i brought it all the way back home to eat it. first time i was out so late, i mean it was dark , the sunset was at 7pm. it was an interesting event, in that it is the first time i have been in that area… and at night too. it was very safe of course, and interesting to see what the place was like after dark. apart from everyone i meet being indian, and the shops have that eastern flavour; it was no different looks wise to any other part of london. but the indian vibe makes me think it is india… or what i think india might be like. but i dont think it is really, because the streets were not crowded with people. and no litter…  in india i know there will be people everywhere and noisy. 

this brings to mind that we dont get pictures of people living their daily lives nowadays… because of privacy concerns. i recall a filmed documetary of a nanny , vivian mier, who took street photos and had a huge collection of these which publicised her andher photos.  in those days it was a camera that took films, so they need processing to see the image, and it seems she had lots of negatives whcih were never processed, and someone bought it when she died and her stuff got disposed off, and now the negatives have been processed and the images were discovered to show a long lost view of a past and they were considered to be quite a important collection of photos. but i was thinking we wont be able to get the same views nowadays as no one seem to be taking such photos of daily lifes anymore. but here is the think, i know one blogger doing it. so maybe there are others like him… but keeping it secret and doing it on the sly, taking photos of people in the streets without them knowing , or asking them permission to do so. nowadays cameras are so small and so powerful, you can take a picture and blow it up to get the smallest details in sharpest definition. so there must be some one, maybe quite a lot, of people taking secret photos of just ordinary folks doing their thing , showing images of daily life lived by ordinary people in these times we live in now. and maybe they will be discovered years from now and people will have some idea of what it is like now. 

more free food

21 Sep

london

i have gone out for another freebie. a shawarma bowl meal, on the opening of the first london branch of this company, operation;falafel from dubai. it is near chalk farm , just north of camden market. there was no indication of what is on offer, the server had to inform each customer, so that it makes for a long queue. luckily we were the first there, and i just let steve go ahead of me, telling him so he can order and i will just say i will have the same as him. haha. he has similar tastes to me, he too wanted a bowl, rather than the pita bread. so he ordered the chicken shawarma, which is like a doner kebab, they have a stack of this , standing upright and in front of a grill, like a doner kebab, but instead it was chicken, and they used a machine to shave off the grilled bits. and he wanted the falafell pieces, and they gave him a soft drink. so that was what i got too. and it was rather a lot and filling… i would have preferred a proper meat doner kebab. but this place isnot it. later when i was walking back, i passed a traditional kebab place, where through the window i saw a big doner kebab column of meat in front of the grill. now that would be a proper doner, shish kebab place. but anyway this one was free for today and a long queue had formed . but we all got ours as we were first in the queue. and it took a while for them to fill up the orders, so there was a bit of wait for all the others in the queue behind us, not only to place the order, but to wait for the order to be fulfilled. the workers were working flat out we can see, because the kitchen was an open kitchen. they even gave us free soft drink too. whcih was very much needed, as these things are quite salty. 

it was while we were all waiting for the place to open, that the others told me of another freebie, tonight… at chicos, in east london. starting 7pm. i am in two minds about going. it is a chicken burger place. and only steve’s wife knows of it, because it was on instagram, and she was the only one who is on it. i was able to see their instagram page and it looks quite good, and it might persuade me to go. we shall see .

 life is very peaceful nowadays, for me anyway, as i did not join in all the funeral goings on over the weekend just ended. by all accounts it was an impressive show that the british put up, full of pomp and circumstances all smoothly conducted and choreographed to perfection, and displaying how well the british can do this kind of thing. 

2.08pm. i just now got an email from ian. it was headed mum, which makes me fear bad news. and it was. ian said his mum died yesterday, peacefully. she was very old. she must be about the queen’s age. 

wanted to buy fish balls in chinatown, but abortive

16 Sep

london 13C 9.41am friday 2022

wordpress has told me that my stats is booming, my blog is getting lots of traffic. and when i went in to look at the details, it seems it is just one person visiting, but taking 70views… hmm, someone must have discovered my blog and checking the past posts. haha. it began on sept 12.100views and then 14sept 112views, and yesterday 75views, and today 45views so far.  he or she is in the usa. its nice that someone likes reading my past posts that much to do it for so many posts. takes a lot of stamina really to read all those posts. unless it is a spam bot doing it. haha. it looked like the newcomer has started from the beginning of my blog, as all the posts are in 2012. when the blog began.  the posts are listed in wordpress statistics, and so i was able to re read those posts, and i was able to journey back through memory lane.  it feels so long ago. and so it should, 10yrs old those posts. 

and now the queen had died, and long queues forming outside the estate where i live. we are just behind the tate britain, and i was surprised to see this queue snaking past us , a bunch of us , strangers to each other  were waiting at the bus stop. this is the disabled queue, supposed to be a shorter queue for the disabled and the very old and separate from the longer queue for everyone else that has now stretched to southwark. the police are saying that is it, no more are allowed to join that queue. it has closed. 

so early in the day  and this disabled one  was allready snaking behind the back of the tate britain and doubling back. ah well, whatever rocks their boat… right?

my journey to chinatown to buy fish balls was abortive too. the whole area round chinatown has been roped off by police and no one allowed in. i saw this article about it . a police woman and a police man were stabbed at 6am in that area. between shaftesbury ave and windmill st. it is not terror related or queen related. when i went there it was about 1.30pm, and the area was still blocked off… such a long time to keep people out of that area, you can sympathise with the businesses there…

how other people live

15 Sep

london 6pm 18C cloudy thursday 2022

i have often wondered how other people pass the time, or what they get up to , how they live their lives. and the unspoken feeling is that they are living more interesting lives than myself… i bet plenty of people feel that way, that others are having more fun and getting more out of their lives than ourselves. 

and today i can see what many of them are doing… queueing up for hours just to pass by the queen’s coffin. so that is what people do. so all that FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) feeling, is needless fearing.

you just  have to see the live videos on utube of those queues, and the line of people actually in the Hall, where the coffin is, to see them lining up to take their turn, and then for just a brief moment, pausing beside the coffin and then walk on, and i imagine having a  look on their face  like ‘is that it?’

actually they are no-where near the coffin, it is not that they pass near it at the same  level… it is placed on a raised platform, quite a high rise way above their heads;  and quite a distance away, so that u can hardly see the crown that is placed on top of it, it is raised that high up ; and there is a flag placed over the coffin too, hiding it completely. and then you see people approach it, and  hesitate and not know what to do… and all of them dont use that moment to pause there for a few seconds, and then  move on. very few stay still for long on the spot ,which they should in my thinking;  that should be the time to pause and contemplate …but it is only possible to do that if u are alone and unhurried,  not when you are conscious of huge numbers waiting  behind you and looking at you and you can almost feel them all  silently saying hurry up…

when i saw  it , i cant help feeling ‘is that it?’ it does not seem worthwhile to have queued so long, for that brief second or so for that moment by the coffin raised so high above you. 

i have also been looking at utube of some millenials telling about their day in london. these are people who have been living in london and telling of their experiences, renting a flat, etc. and i was able to see how they live… i had expected that their lives are eventful and fulfilling but  of course it is just like what everyone else does… i had a look at some of them in their videos of their expenses living in london as they show theyselves shopping for groceries, working, travelling on the tube, and show their expenses, there are a lot of time showing them  buying coffee and drinks , and buying lunch, and later buying dinner… eating out with friends . considering they have just spent money going grocery shopping, none of them would make their own lunch to bring to work, or make dinner at home…it is understandable because u dont come to london to live just to cook your own lunch and dinner. or stay at home all the time…  haha

perhaps even if they do spend a lot of time at home, that day they make the video was not a day they stay in to make their own dinner. i suppose it would be a dull video if they just show them staying in all day , working from home… and cooking their own dinner… so they will pick a time when they are doing something … like meeting a friend for lunch, or go with them to a fancy restaurant… there is something to show in the video… but generally they seem to spend about £1300 in rent , council tax, gas, electricity, etc.. and another £1000 roughly in food, transport, eating out etc. i think this video shows a woman living on her own, in a rented flat, so she is not sharing the rent with another; and eats out in restaurants.

there is another video , a guy, who shares his flat with another friend, and he pays about £1000 a month ;his share of rent etc, and spends £800 on living expenses.  he says his groceries are £20 a week, so he might have a more stay at home cooked lifestyle. he wants to travel, so may be saving his money for that time when he wont be working but travelling. so looking at their videos gives me an idea of how the other lives live. 

i think i can understand the wanting to drink coffee all the time. i do it here in my flat also. i want to do something… and eating is too much work, you have to cook something, or i am not hungry … but drinking water, that is quite a quick easy thing to do, so making a cup of coffee is very convenient, and sipping it takes time so that use up some time… before and during getting back to writing up the blog some more, or continue surfing the net… the downside is drinking so much coffee at full strength makes me very hyper.. so i solve that by drinking very weak coffee. and it also makes a jar of coffee lasts a long time… so a win-win. 

oats , as porridge and as muesli

13 Sep

london 11.32am 17C cloudy but rain forecast next hour and last all day and night. tuesday 2022

huge rain cloud over south england today

i rather enjoy the rain, so looking forward to it coming down. we all know about the govt capping the energy usage to £2500 a year,it will apply till oct 2024. at present we are on the  £1900 a year tariff. that means 29p/kwh, 23p/day.

yesterday i got the email detailing what the tariff is to us. starting oct 2022 it is 34p/kwh , 46p/day standing charge. if it were the £3400 a year it would be 51p/kwh, 46p/day. so 17p/kwh difference.

so now it all depands on how much we use. i dont know how much i will be using as the lodger is a unknown factor. but i am not worried. his rent more than covers any amount we use. 

added.12pm  oh, the rain is here now. lovely.

simon has been buying milk, to drink , and i have been taking a bit for my cereal oats. it started when i used up the old box of blue berry wheats that i found lying around. it must be very old but surprisingly edible, for all that. and that got me hooked on these cereals with milk. now i have finished that box, but i found i can use my porridge oats , instead of heating them up, i can eat them cold with milk, with some sultanas added. it is quite nice actually, the milk made a big difference. it is full cream milk, and tastes great. before i used to drink the skimmed milk and that has not got such nice mouth feel so i never realised it can taste so good. ah well, another rediscovery of an old favourite. haha.

milk makes me constipated, but i found out if i dont drink a lot of it, it does not matter. and if i make sure i eat a lot of fruits and veg, it will negate it. so i can indulge occasionally with milk. and i think eating it with oats or wheats can offset the milk effect. come to think of it, oats are what they make muesli from, but the cost difference is huge. 1kg of sainsburys porridge oats is 70p, compared to the same oats in  muesli … 1kg for £2.25. just with added hazel nut and dried fruits.  i admit i have not realised before that i can eat oats without cooking them…