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nectar points

27 May

london 11.57am 18C sunny bank holiday monday 2019

a sunny day , perfect for a bbq if u have a garden.

yesterday i got a free bag of teabags, and ginger biscuits from sainsburys when i went there to buy £1 worth of stuff… this time it was a brocolli 60p and 5bananas,62p. and when i was going out, there was a lady at the entrance giving those two things away, with the message to have tea on them, and to share with the neighbours to celebrate their 150th anniversary.  its rather nice, not so much the tea bags, because i give it to simon to bring to work,so i dont know what they are like; as i have tea leaves usually. the ginger biscuits were very nice though. crisp and crunchy with a hint of ginger.

today i shall most probably go again to sainsburys to buy something. so their promotion certainly is working to get me to buy something from them. normally i find their prices too high really.

and this morning simon had gone to the sainsburys express store near us to buy bread. he does that often, and have been piling up the points for me.  recently i got an email from the nectar points people saying i am one of  their best customer for bacon at their marsham st store, the nearest sainsburys express store near me. i realise it is not me, but simon, he tends to buy lots of bacon from them.

ever since i gave him a nectar card to use in sainsburys he has been the main provider of points to my card. and with it recently i have swap nectar points for 2 packs of frozen giant prawns, 225mg usually £4 each. so i consider that a perk to get this luxury item free. these frozen big prawns are very easy to cook esp in stir fries with veg, or in chinese noodles like char kuey teoh or soup noodles; they give flavour to the dish.

the frozen fish is also a good one for these quick dishes. no discounts there but they are quite cheap anyway at £2.20 for 520mg.  so i buy them a lot.

it is quite easy to find items to buy that will get me the points while this promotion is going on. it ends today. well, now you know what fills my days haha and what i like to do for activity. most people would think it dull. not me though. haha. i am so happy not to have to work and having to get up daily to go to work that everyday i dont work is a great bonus for me. i like my work when i was younger, but when i got to 50yrs old, i find it quite tiring to do it. some might say others might not be so lucky to be able to stop work at 50yrs old. but it is all relative, in that since i only have to feed myself, it does not take a lot of money to upkeep myself. and so i can stop work without any problems.

when you are retired you dont really have work to fill a lot of your time, and i think a lot of people cannot cope with retirement because they want to be doing things, and many things dont seem very urgent to do once you are not working.

holidays are meaningless when you are not working, in that you always have free days, and since you dont need holidays to do anything that u want to do,  the urgency to do them is gone.

for eg, travelling for short city breaks. that is always something you are eagerly looking forward to when you get a bank holiday coming up, to jet off somewhere out of the country to taste the sights of a foreign city. but now i am retired, that has lost all its excitement. haha.

you might say dont you feel sad that you dont have that excitement to travel abroad anymore? hmm, i might feel sad about it if i have never done it before, but i have and gone to many countries and cities and i think i have got it out of my system. it is not as great to go travelling  i have found… the hassles nowadays of travelling, the airport checks, and the crowded flights and unfavourable exchange rates with the £, many other factors seem to me outweighs any enjoyment.

or perhaps as i grow older i find local adventures more to my liking where i can stay in my own flat and enjoy it and appreciate staying put a lot more. 

25 May

london 7.27pm 21C cloudy saturday 2019

its actually good weather for a barbeque today. i had the last bit of bayette, that cut of beef that i got free yesterday. it was allready halved, seeing that i ate a bit of it yesterday in my steamed celery and rice dish.

today i fried it whole, so the outside was well cooked but the inside was medium rare. it was quite nice and not too tough if i cut it in very thin slices to eat. this piece of meat is definitely much harder to cook than the rib eye i had the day before. 

simon had a piece and he said he cannot taste the meat because of the marinade. which makes me think it is not really necessary to marinade the meat. just salt and pepper is quite good enough. i found it not so interesting to eat it , so i mixed it with  fried rice and cucumber and finished it as a fried rice dish. 

then i was thinking if i were to do a BBQ, i would not use these prime beef cuts really. it would make the whole exercise very expensive. i would most probably go for sausages, and hamburgers, or pork chops maybe if i really want to splash out…they are cheaper and also easier to cook in that you just have to cook them well done.added. i just realise that to a cook at the bbq, beef steak are very convenient because they are v quick to cook, because those who like their steak will want it rare, or medium rare, and that would not take long to cook and you can produce a whole lot of it in quick order and everyone can get to eat in a short time. whereas the other meats, like pork etc do take a long time to cook as they must be well done.

with the beef steaks, you have to time it really right, otherwise you will overcook the meat and it will be very tough. and when u consider all this will be cooked over the uncertain heat of a charcoal fire, which you cannot control, you will be setting yourself up for very unevenly cooked beef. added. re reading the above, i realise if u are a good cook, it should not be difficult to cook the steaks. 

 but in uk i dont think barbeques are a tradition. we dont have parks where there are barbeque areas to cook the meat, unlike in australia. in fact they prohibit you doing any cooking in the park, which is a pity i think, but they are saying the cooking smells may offend people. 

anyway i went to the sainsburys early this morning to buy frozen fish, it is from their basic range, basa fish they call it but i think it is pollock haha, £2.20 for 520mg. i like it. this is because sainsburys are giving us 150 nectar points for every time we spend £1 or more to buy something from them this weekend  to celebrate their 150th anniversary. so everyday i shall go there and buy something for £1 or so. you are allowed 3 purchases a day.  and on my way out there was a lady at the entrance giving away a box of teabags, and ginger biscuits saying have tea on us. they suggest you go and share it  with your neighbours.

added. i just noticed this, sainsburys have a basa fillet pack that costs more , the one i bought they call white fish. so maybe there is another fish called basa, and ‘white fish’ is pollock. to me, they all taste the same. it is how you cook it and what you add to it that gives it flavour and taste.

i am in fact enjoying the ginger biscuits with my tea now. though the tea i have is from tea leaves, as that is what i like. simon can have the tea bags.

24 May

london 8.28pm 19C dry cloudy friday 2019

its the 2nd day of the free meat giveaway with bbq sauce. i had a nice time socialising with those ahead of me and behind me. ahead of me were 4 white women who work nearby, they said but able to get time off to queue. behind me were two guys , one of them chinese looking, but later told me he is french, born and bred there. he is in his 20s, studying architecture here in london . when i asked why he chose london, he said it is the international feel of it, and also english language. (perhaps also that english architectural firms are very much in demand internationally? )anyway he said it takes 8yrs to train as one. medics take only 5yrs. so it must be harder to be an architect than to be a doctor. he rents a small room , £750 a month , exclude bills, in a shared student house nearby. we were in the liverpool st area. his friend is french, here on holiday from paris where he lives, to help him celebrate end of his term. he smokes hand cigarettes. he says he gave up for 3yrs  but went back to it because of the stress of his studies. his friend has given up smoking. both have no accent when they spoke english. to me who dont speak any other language than english, i find it very admirable that they can speak more than one language and so well too. perhaps they are typical of the europeans who come here to work or study in uk.

the chinese looking guy says he found a job, working for a high end restaurant. when i mentioned do they do silver service, he said yes, and they are going to teach him, and take him on, because they said  he is so  enthusiastic and his attitude in the interview. he must have impressed them a lot… but maybe also they find it hard to get people with silver service experience and have to train them.

many years ago, i remember watching  my friend practising silver service. he was  an australian blonde guy, (this was when  i was  living in australia for about 1yr,i had intended to migrate there but i only lasted a year or so before scuttling back to good ol britain haha), practising to pick up food on a plate with fork and spoon, with one hand, whilst holding a tray with the plate on it with the other. it looks like a juggling act and not easy to do. that is silver service i told him. i can see why not many will want to go through the training, it just sound like hard work, when u could just wait at table in any ordinary restaurant, and dont have to put too much of yourself into it. 

oh, about the free meat, i found that you can ask for a beer whilst waiting for the meat to marinade and be vacuum packed. it seems before 2pm, they cannot just give it to you,(something to do with the licensing laws) so that if u want beer  you have to ask for it. haha. i did not know that yesterday, no wonder no one was drinking beer yesterday; but since i just dont like beer, i did not ask for it today. the beer would just be wasted on me as i wont appreciate it. so can u imagine it, they are generous … beer even!! 

added 9.37pm . i was making rice and was steaming a plate of celery on top of the rice, when i decided to cut some pieces of the beef i got free earlier today. i chosed another cut, called the bayette, and it looked rather thick, and i heard from steve and his wife who got that cut yesterday that it was quite dry and they burnt the outside when they cooked it to get the inside cooked. i said it would be best if u like it medium rare, than cooking the outside well, would mean the inside will be medium rare. i was wondering how to cook it, then this idea of steaming it with the celery came up and i did it. i cut a few pieces from the main beef, and it turned out quite nice. the meat was not too tough… which is something i was very aware of , if u dont cook it right. 

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the meat does make the dish much more savoury, i put in a bit of the bbq sauce to the dish to season it and provide the gravy. so quite a nice dish and another way to cook the beef.

election day for EU, and lots of freebies

23 May

london 2.26pm

i went early to vote. my polling station is just across the street from my flat, it is a infant school. so convenient for me.

then i went to the street food place in st katherines’ wharf, where i got food vouchers last thursday. today they are doing it again, but this time, i forgot to bring my container, but also the chap who gives it out was not there and i was told he only will be giving it out at 12pm. so i decided not to queue up and abandon it. 

so i went on to the free raw meat offer in truman brewery, liverpool st area. this is a company who makes bbq sauces, and wants to advertise it by this promotion. today and tomorrow they are giving away raw meat, two cuts of beef and pork ribs,(you chose one) and they provide cooked steak , cut in pieces for people to dip in the various sauces they have put out, and eat as much as they want over a short period of time before they go on to chose which cut they want, and which sauce they want their meat to be marinated in (i chose the hot and chilli sauce but i think they did not have it, because when i got it back and cook and ate it, it was not chilli hot at all) and then collect the meat put inside a freezer bag. they will put a bottle of their sauce and a t shirt and baseball cap as a gift.

i must say it is a big effort to promote their sauce. 


i have eaten it allready, and it is delicious. i got the rib eye cut. i think it was their original sauce that they marinated it in, not a chilli sauce that i had said i wanted. but perhaps they were right not to use the chilli sauce. it might be too much.

personally i would prefer no sauce when i eat steak. just salt and pepper is good enough, just to bring up the flavour of the meat. or a small amount of mustard or horseradish sauce and that is it. 

maybe they might widen their appeal to the veggie eaters by promoting the sauce as something they could use over potato chips or crisps, or in a salad (in a dressing)… as well as over meat. well, there is another promotion tomorrow. it does not look like there is a time limit, so everyone can get one. added. 25.5.19. it looks like they limit this freebie to the first 100.

that area was full of people eating lunch, at the many stalls there providing cooked food. the guy just behind me in the queue said he happened to see the queue and checked it out and then realised this promotion was on. he said he lives nearby. i told him it is on again tomorrow, and i asked him what is to stop him coming back today for another go , and he jokingly said ya he could , go back change of clothes, wear a cap, and queue up again.haha.

most of the people there are office workers and dont live there, so i wonder how interested are they in queuing up and having to carry this raw meat around all day or put it somewhere at their place of work before they can bring it home. it might account for why the queue was not very long. and when i left , the end of the queue was allready at the door. perhaps it will get longer when the day is over and they all prepare to go home after work.

its all a lot of fun for me, to get these freebies and also get to go out and about enjoying this nice day and seeing all these people having their lunch and seeing the hustle and bustle of a busy food hall. and sampling their food which they give for people to taste. mostly giving out small pieces of pizza dough. haha.

22 May

london 8.48am 14C sunny wednesday 2019

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this happened yesterday. it was 2000 free chicken wings given by le bun in a pub seabright pub, in hackney. i went very early as i have never been this area of london before. i got off at bethnal green and took the bus and then walked some more before finding a little passage that led off the main street that took me to this pub, hidden away behind the shop houses. 

and saw a chinese guy sitting nearby, and i joined him asking if he was waiting for it. he was. and he gave me his password to his phone wifi. i thought he lived nearby and was using his home wifi, it was only later whilst we were sitting at the benches set up outside the pub to wait for it to open; that he said it was actually from his phone and i was using his phone data. that means he is paying for it. very generous of him to share it with me. but when i realised that, i quickly closed my chromebook as i dont want to cost him money. i am not that addicted to using my chromebook.

there were not many in the queue when we went in finally. it is a old style traditional pub, with hand pulled beer, but there was a bin, lined with a black bin liner nearby filled with cans of lager, and had Vice on it, and the  brand ‘old salt lager’, or something like it. i did not pay much attention to the name. i saw this brand on a  hand pulled lever amongst all the other brands on display in the row of handpulled beers on the counter. so it must have a draught version ( i am not a good media influencer telling everyone about these brands when i cant even get the name right. so sorry if they are the  sponsor of this freebie, seeing the lager was given out so generously to everyone who wants it. they were very generous with it, with many people just helping themselves to the lager cans. even i took one and drank it, even though i dont like lager. it has a bitter after taste, which is normal for lager , or beer, i suppose. it is strange that i normally like bitter foods but i dont seem to like it in a lager.

the food was generous too. they gave us platters of fried chicken wings coated in a crispy batter, and covered with hot sauce, but it was very salty.

one of the malaysian women regulars who come to these freebies and who passed the chinese guy and me sitting nearby in a doorway and recognised me, and so that was how we met; and so we sat together. and were served together. and she mentioned to the server, a very cheerful black guy who was very friendly and gave us lots of servings of platters of chicken, about it being too salty and when he said there will be more chicken wings to come, she ask that he gives us less salt and put the sauce separately. it was much nicer without the sauce smothering the chicken and the batter was real nice , at least to me, as it was so crispy. i enjoyed eating that. 

though i noticed that later when my friends’ friend joined us later, (she too was a malaysian woman, she said she got lost finding the place, that was why she was so late), i saw her removing the batter from the chicken. but i know that the chicken wings have so little meat on them that the batter was necessary to bulk them out, otherwise they would not look like much on the plate.

they were really generous by letting us eat as much as we like. and they were serving newcomers too with the chicken.

later when i left and turned the corner, i saw outside were benches filled with people eating chicken. so no wonder the inside of the pub was relatively empty… the chicken eaters were all outside , so leaving the inside more room to accommodate the customers who were buying drinks from the pub, and ordering the hamburgers that they have to pay for.

i saw the malaysian man who let me use his router , ordering a hamburger and drinks. he was sitting on another table. earlier we found out he is from kl, lives about 20mins from here. but did not find out what he does here or anything else. 

and another guy sitting next to us was ordering hamburgers too. when we were going on about the free lager, he pointed to his budweiser and said he got that free too. i noticed a motorcycle helmet next to him, so i said you are driving… thinkng he was drinking and driving… 

i said to my malaysian woman friend, that he too have free beer, and it is a budweiser, and that was when she said it is a alcohol free beer. and that some pubs give it free to people who dont want to drink and drive. hmm, i did not know that…i think i would have liked it. who knows. haha.

whilst writing all the above i forgot i got my porridge heating in the microwave (it takes 4minutes or rather 4 marks on the dial. not sure if that is 4mins maybe not; that is why i sometimes forget i have it on)and now when i go back to it , it has gone cold and become a solid mass…and i need to add more water to it and reheat it. but porridge is still quite ok to eat when u abuse it like this. haha. 

i got plenty of time

20 May

london 7.42pm 18C cloudy monday 2019

this morning my email told me one of my books that i borrowed from the library is due for renewal. i can renew online but when i did, i find that the book cannot be renewed, as there was someone else has wanted to borrow it and so has reserved it. this means i have to go to the library to return it today. but i have not finished reading it, so i took it out and began to do so. i have allready read half way, and it was quite quick to finish it in about 2hrs or so. and it was still only about 11am. it was a fantasy novel called truthwitch, by susan dennard. its ok as a novel , at least it interested me enough to want to finish it before i return it.

but i was thinking, i have a luxury that i have that not many people get. i mean i got time. that is something we dont think much of until we are so overworked and got no time to do everything at work. or no time at home to do anything we like, because most of us have things or people that demand our time. but not me. haha.

then when i took the bus to come back, the 360 bus came first and that takes me to vauxhall and i decided to take that as i just decided to go to the tesco to buy sultanas, which i have run out of. so that is what i did, at vauxhall taking the 196 bus to the tesco instead of walking there.

the bus services esp the 196, is much more frequent during weekdays so there is not long to wait for a bus to come. there was no bargains so early at the tesco, so i just bought the sultanas.

it is one of the quirks of marketting, that sultanas in the cake section, (so it is meant to be used for baking) is much cheaper than if u buy it on the other sections. the strange thing is this… other dried fruits similar to sultanas, like raisins for eg, are much more expensive. it always puzzles me why it should be so. both are from grapes. i use my sultanas in my porridge so i like the cheapest i could get. 

there was basmati rice laila rice on a special reduced price of £10 for 10kg. it is not always present on the shelf, as it can get all sold out. but this time, there were plenty of bags of it. i had allready bought one before, and thought of buying another. but when i lifted it to put in my basket, it was so heavy that i changed my mind. i can wait to buy it another time, maybe when i got my shopping trolley with me. there is no hurry to buy another 10kg of rice. 



You’re Not Meant to Do What You Love You’re meant to do what you’re good at

19 May

london 6pm 18C cloudy sunday 2019

we have been told about career choices, that we should do what we love. but i think a better advise would be to do what we are good at. this idea was brought to my attention when i saw this article written in 2016, briena weist. and it seems to make a lot more sense, than that old advise. and when i googled it, this one came up, saying if u do what u love, it will still be work, and u might end up hating it.

but what job? and  how do we know if we will be good at it? perhaps the added advise here is to take a job that has potential to earn a lot… because a job is a way for you to earn money. and if u are going to learn to be good at that job, you might as well learn to do a job that has big potential to earn lots of money. then you can enjoy doing it, with the added incentive that u are good at it, and you can make lotsof money out of it. 

i think that was the way my father chose my job for me. given my higher school certificate results, he decided that i have a good chance of getting into dental school in singapore university. he told me he heard an interview with the dean edmund tay, who was the head of hte dental faculty then, who said he will give preference to any applicant who gives dentistry as his or her first choice. so that was what my father did. and so when i was accepted, i did the course and learnt how to be a good dentist, and that carried on when i began work, when i gained experience and improved my skills in it. and because i was good at it , i like it. which is the natural thing , you cannot help liking something that you are good at. this is not only because u get a lot of satisfaction in doing good work, but your results are always very good, and so patients like what you do and the way you do it. for eg, i learnt to give painless injections. you might think it is not really necessary to learn how to do that, and you might even think that it is inevitable that injections are painful, but i know that it need not be painful, because i have noticed very early on in my career, that there are ways to make it painless, and i found out what are the ways from feedback from the patients, when after the injection they would exclaim ‘i did not feel it at all’, or when you notice the look of surprise and delight on their faces when you inject them and they notice it is painless. and it makes the work very pleasurable, instead of having fearful patients who dread the injection, i get very calm patients and their calmness feedback on me, and make me non stressed too. i cannot understand how any dentist can work on patients who show a lot of stress, or pain, or fear… i could not. but i have seen a lot of dentists who would continue to work even though the patient is writhing in the seat and emitting loud cries of pain and fear. 

i dont have any children, so i dont have to give advise to any person starting in life as to what job or career they should have. but i think for anyone who is into career counselling, it might be worthwhile to give this advise.