13 Aug

london 10.30am 21.5C sunny morning sunday 2017

blue sky and all that this morning, sun streaming into my living room. it is worthy of note because it hasn’t been like this recently. it makes you appreciate it. and that is the nice thing about the weather here. the contrast makes u aware of nice days when they come. though for me, even the cloudy days are nice. i like both kind of days. so that it is not an issue with me. i think to enjoy living here u need to adopt that kind of attitude. otherwise u will be a very sad sack. haha. 

added. 1.02pm 23.4C sunny . paddington library.  i found 2 chairs in the recylcing. they are kitchen chairs. shall put up a picture when i get home. i was going to the library when i saw them, and had to carry them back to the flat before i could go on. i am in the library now, and i sat next to a lady who asked me if i was homeless. it seems she is a tenancy lawyer but spent her time helping out the homeless. when i sat next to her, she said her friend is now at the waitrose getting her a drink . and i found out she told me, that she would go there and get free coffee without anyone stopping her. it seems she got a load of old waitrose cups, which she use. so that is how you can get a free coffee without buying anything … but i did buy something this morning when i went there. they had brocolli reduced to 25p, so i bought two and got a free coffee cup.

i dont really drink coffee from them, nowadays. even before the rule that u must buy something to get your free coffee, i have not done it much. i just am getting free coffee everywhere, and i am not that keen on drinking coffee anyway. though i have to say i think they are very good to provide free coffee to their customers. it makes me feel good about them. even now when they bring in this rule that u must buy something from them, but as u can see, u can circumvent it, but also there is no minimum spend to get the free coffee. the lady who was sitting next to me, also told me a tale of how she was helping this homeless man, who is from the states, and is staying in uk illegally, and recently she asked him to look after her things while she goes to the toilet. it seems in this very library. she had asked him before to look after her things, and he had always asked her if there is any money in there… and she had always said no. but this time, she had gone to the bank to get £450 to pay for her storage and he stole it , along with her storage keys which were in her purse. i told her she had put a temptation in front of him and he just could not resist. but now she had lost her keys and had to pay £80 to the company to get another. it seems she pay £1400 a year for the storage, and this £450 was part payement. now she is debating whether to report the theft to the police. there was cctv pictures of the man stealing from her purse. she said she cried for days when it happened…

i suppose when u help the homeless you must be savvy and not be so naive as to wave huge amounts of money in front of them. it is unneccessarily testing their honesty. and many will be unable to resist the money. so dont tempt them, because when they fail you will lose your faith in humans, when really u should expect them to steal from you.

people who are homeless are obviously people who dont really have a strong mind, or discipline. a generalisation of course, but mostly true. and so u would not expect them to be able to resist temptation. of course we have read of the odd one who have returned huge amounts of money they found. it is newsworthy because it is rare. even amongst those of us who are not homeless… 

i found this book, by robert winder, the last wolf in the library today. so i borrowed it. it was mentioned in reviews as the cause of the shaping of the english landscape, when the extinction of wolves in uk, led to sheep farming. 

2.28pm 23.5C sunny home

 

i think i shall use tomato puree to make tomato ketchup.

12 Aug

london 7.12am 17.8C cloudybright saturday 2017

i dont use tomato ketchup , as they are so dilute and watery that they really taste of nothing but suger. its the colour that i like about it, the red colour brightens the food and makes a sweet and sour sauce looks nice. but that is really all that is good about it. i read this today that heinz sales of their ketchup is decreasing. people either go for spicy sauces, or buying the own brand ketchup.

it is no wonder really because heinz are really very expensive and somehow its owner, a big conglomerate, has destroyed the old recipe and it is not as thick and rich as before.

 ( i sometimes wonder if the original owners keep back some secrets of the sauce, when they sell the company to these conglomerates so they dont really get the real sauce. that is why the sauce changes and not always due to the meddling of the recipe by the new owners.)

people do notice these things. it does take time though for the public to notice, but once  the rot starts, it goes down fast. i think people have finally got wise to it. not to mention we all hate that they keep reducing the size of the bottle whilst charging the same.

reading this article about it, makes me realise the ketchup nowadays have been very watery ,not only heinz but the own brand ones too; so much so that it can fall out of the bottle very easily unlike the olden days when u have to shake and tap the bottom to get it out. maybe the manufacturers thought that it is a good thing, easy to get out, but to us the public, it seems like they have reduced the tomato content so much that it is like water now.

the ingredients list tomato puree, as the first ingredient. so we dont really know what is the percentage of tomatoes is in it. would it be better to buy the tomato puree itself and make your own ketchup? i think i shall do that from now on. lidls sells tomato puree, 200mg for 23p. but that might be old price, i have not checked in the store. if it is that price i shall get it,  elsewhere they are  about 37p. compare that with the ketchup price of about 44p for 500mg,though most of it is water.

unfortunately, we here in uk dont really benefit from the glut of tomatoes like they do in europe. i read with envy blogs that talk of it, the abundance of tomatoes at this time of year so much that they can afford to waste it in festivals where they throw tomatoes at all and sundry. what a waste! 

added. 15.8.17 to be fair to heinz, i was at the waitrose in marylebone high st, and had alook at their label, and see that it has

Ingredients

Tomatoes (148g per 100g Tomato Ketchup), Spirit Vinegar, Sugar, Salt, Spice and Herb Extracts (contain Celery), Spice

i have often wondered what it means. you often get this label in products containing tomatoes. how do u put 148g of tomatoes inside 100gm of ketchup? its been years since i tasted the heinz ketchup. perhaps to be fair to them i should try it just to see if it has gotten worse. i wonder if it does taste better than the ordinary ketchup, seeing it is made of tomatoes presumably concentrated,  and not puree in the cheaper own brands. i tried to find out what is in puree, but apart from them saying its consistency is thicker, they never mention how much tomatoes is in it. but maybe puree is pure tomatoes, and so no need to list its ingredients. heinz puree.

tourists trouble in spain, but not here.

11 Aug

london 4.35pm 21.9C cloudy bright friday 2017

9.15pm 19.2C dry night. well, its been a pleasant day today here in london for me.

and all these stories i read about tourists getting it in the neck by the anti tourist gangs in spain. haha. the locals or so we are led to believe are revolting against the huge influx of tourists, but i think it is political…  it all started in the barcelona area and we all know that part of spain have always wanted to secede from spain, and now they are being very aggressive in their attack on tourists and the touristy trade that caters to them. it is a way of drawing attention to themselves.  the central govt have categorically told them no… and so  to hit back at the central govt who refused to allow them to leave and gain independance from spain they are starting this strategy.  many of them are now branching off to the southern areas of spain and even the islands and start their agitating disruptions there.

i suppose they have some sympathy from the locals living there esp those who dont benefit at all from the influx of tourists. those who dont work for the tourist trade, or own restaurants or hotels, or rent out their flats via airbnb. but left to themselves these people wont be so upset as to get aggressive about it.  they realise that the whole economy benefits from the tourist trade.

but maybe the brits should just go elsewhere. come on, when u get it so crowded that even the locals are asking you to go elsewhere, just heed them and go elsewhere.

you can tell even though the £ is weaker and so it costs lots more to go there, we still go there. some people got more money than they know what to do with. or else, the increased costs is not that much to deter them. they can still afford it.  that is why i dont have much sympathy with people who say it costs more , let it cost more, high time these tourists pay through the nose for their holiday abroad. they are giving money to those foreign countries at the expense of their own country. now i come to think of it, the spaniards must have raised their hotel charges and other charges and still the tourists come… just goes to show u can charge very high, it does not deter the tourists… they are immune to high prices.

and what is this about their liquor prices. even though they charge high, it still remains cheaper than what people pay here in uk. just goes to show how much the british govt tax the alcoholic drinks here in uk. and cheap booze means a lot of bad behaviour due to drunkeness. a combination of cheap booze and sunshine means those places will always remain popular. perhaps that explains why those boozy tourists dont want to go elsewhere in the world. where else in the world is so easy about nudity and sexual behaviour than in spain… right?  one sure way of killing this golden goose is for the govt to put a huge tax on the booze. make it as expensive as in uk, that would kill it at once. haha. so that is what they should do if they are really serious about limiting the numbers.

but no one really wants that do they? tourists are like the wildebeest, they are the walking prey for everyone around. haha.

anyway here i am in london miles from all the tourist shit in europe, so enjoying life here. it may sound mundane taking the bus, going to the library, going to the supermarket haha. but it is quite enjoyable. i dont know why there are people who hate supermarket shopping for food. but they seem to have convinced themselves that it is a chore.

oh, yes, there is also the news about the eggs contamination by some thing or other originating from the netherlands. (and they are blaming each other for it amongst the european companies) and it is eggs from europe. haha. another knife into europe and their reputation for being very good about sticking to regulations . they have been caught spreading this all over the place and many of it has come into uk. ha. so i noticed the sandwich shelves in the supermarket are reduced , and that explains why. it is not the eggs as such, that is ok, so fresh eggs (they are british)are left alone; it is all the sandwiches made with eggs , and plenty got mayonnaise in them, hence they have to clear the shelves . 

added. 12.8.17 saturday. looks like the egg scandal is going to spread to desserts, cakes as well. 

 

 

 

how to make money by gaming the system

10 Aug

london 8.16am 13.6C cloudybright thursday 2017

the common wisdom is renewable energy is a good thing, wind farms are a good thing, lets build more of them and scotland got a lot of wind, so build in scotland.

this article shows how people are using this to make money. it seems too much energy is produced by these wind farms, and , get this, it cannot be sent down to england , so it gets shut down and the wind farm owners get compensation that is worth more than what they would sell it for. its a crazy system, but there is also another way … more wind farms are planned , because the scottish govt is letting them proceed, because it does not have to pay for it out of its budget. the english taxpayers pay for it.  its all a scam and we are all paying for it. no wonder so many say those climate change enthusiasts use it to propagate schemes like this to con the public. and no wonder our electricity tariff keeps rising, even though we are using renewables. 

added. one way to fight this is to use minimum electricity. at the moment i dont have to pay standing charges. so if u use very little electricity u dont have to pay those costs. once they bring in compulsory standing charges than we all have to pay those costs, whether we use little or a lot of electricity. but i fear in future we will find all of us will have to pay these costs. may have to accept it as part of modern life and keep finding ways to switch everything off or reduce the amount of electrical appliances we use.

added. 1.50pm virgin lounge. today there was pieces of chocolate cake , and i found out when  saw a intact birthday cake with happy birthday o it,  that today they are celebrating 2yrs of virgin media. and downstairs they have muffins with maple syrup and mixed fruit salad. i was too full to eat the muffins. 

and showing avatar on the big screen, with subtitles so it was easy to keep up with the dialogue. the sound was not clear, so it was not easy to hear what is said. or maybe it is just me and my deafness. but now i am seeing it in big screen and it shows up the beauty of the images.

4pm. home.  i did not stay till the end. its one of the modern things now, i find i dont have the patience to see things to the end. maybe in the old days when we see films in the cinema it forces us to see it out to the end. but with the tv, there are too many distractions and we, or i, have got into the habit of switching from channel to channel. anyway i came back and it is really a nice day out there… so blue sky and sunny. seems rather a shame to be spending it inside in a basement room watching a film. 

i like it raining in london.

9 Aug

london 5.02pm 15C rain wednesday 2017

they forecast today will rain a lot, like a whole month’s rain in one day and they were right. haha. it has been practically raining the whole day. but i dont mind. i know there are a lot of people lamenting that summer is over, and where has summer gone? but it is not really that bad. even the temperature is not cold, i was able to walk about and go to the gym in my shorts, and a lightweight gym top. and it is only for one day, the rest of the week it will be dry. 

last week it was raining too when i went to the circuit training, but this time there are 4 of us. and i think our trainer made it a bit easier for us, 10 exercises instead of 12 like last time, and simpler exercises too. so this time i was able to complete both the sets without feeling faint. also i remembered to take it easier, do the exercises slower and taking deep breaths all the time. it was a very nice feeling being able to stretch and work out the muscles and i noticed i like the ones that stretched the back and strengthen the arms. i find i could do them very easily. and there were a lot of exercises for the stomach muscles which is great as it would get rid of my tummy . so all in all, i am very pleased at how it went.

and i shall go swimming at my local sports centre as well. and get back into the exercising thing and get back into shape again. sigh, i realise gyms are necessary. theoretically we can all exercise at home, no need to go to a gym at all, but it is one thing to say so another to do it. i could do all those exercises at home but it just means i never do them. lazy or what.

 

 

art tour of the V&A, chinatown

8 Aug

london 4.13pm 19C cloudybright tuesday 2017

i went to a tour of the Victoria and albert museum, organised by one of the tour guides, it has a gayish slant… meaning we get to see a lot of naked men. haha. its been quite some time since i visited the V&A so it was nice to see they have lots of new stuff on exhibition, which reminds me i must go back again as it would deserve a 2nd visit or more, if ever i find myself at a loose end. 

then i went to a meetup of gay guys( east and west) in soho, quite a large gathering this time, some came from thailand and penang, on holiday here.  long ago there was a group for   white guys who like chinese guys and vice versa. it was like a nursery, for me when i first cameout on the gay scene. for some reason it ended. though i hear in paris it still goes on.

anyway, i was chatting to the white guy who lives in thailand and is here on a visit, and some of the chinese guys in the group were trying to persuade him to come to uk to live, saying he must miss the company of his fellow white compatriots and also being able to speak english to others, but talking to him, i realise he likes being in thailand, where he says he is the point of attraction for a lot of thai guys, whereas over here, he is just another old man. haha.

after which some of us went to chinatown to the fresh noodle factory,in an alley near gerrard st.  i have not been there before, and they showed me where it was, and we bought fresh flat noodles£1each, and cheung fun£1, and i bought 6 char siew pao £2.50.  and i took them to new loon moon, where i bought another 10bihun instant noodles. and so did the others on my recommendation. it was almost sold out. the instant noodles are dry ones, not soup, and are rice vermicelli. i like the taste of them, as they are malaysian tasting. 

i have rejoined the sports centre

7 Aug

london 3.53pm 20.9C cloudybright monday 2017

i used to be a member,it is in a sports centre near me and it enabled me to use their swimming pool free , and to use their showers too, which was a real plus, because the water jet was hot and gushing…. that was about 2yrs ago when i just stopped going. too lazy i guess.

but now i am kick starting my fitness regime, with a all men only circuit training, and the shower in that gym reminded me what i was missing… those showers are real refreshing.  i thought i better rejoin.

i had lost the membership card i had last time, but fortunately heard from my friend from usa who on his visit here, managed to get the free membership and it is opened to westminster residents. the swimming is free, and the gym sessions are £3.50 which is something new because when i got that free membership last time, there was no such reduced entry to the gym.

it was a very quick painless affair to register for the membership card. all i had to do was let them see a utility bill, i gave them my electric bill, showing my home address… and my passport. and that is it. i got a card that presumably let me in free. i have yet to use it, as i decided, instead of going in to swim straightaway,  i thought i shall go see the hokusai exhibition at the japan embassy, and i am glad i took the passport along, because to get inside i have to show them a photo id, and have my bags scanned. wanting to see photo id is not usual practise to see an exhibition. the advert whcih told me of them did not mention this.

the exhibition is showing the original prints that he did. so not what  we would think of as original art, as it is reproductions from woodscreen. and not all the scenes that he made of mt fuji were shown. i dont suppose they got the original drawings that he must have made before they were transferred to the woodscreen. now those would be extremely precious, if they exist at all.

it featured the great wave, and the red fuji. the great wave is well known. some would know the red fuji too. 

this article shows how people use it in street art . some artist painting it on the wall of his house in camberwell.  and the article also mentioned a hokusai exhibition going on at the british museum now till 13aug. i did not know that. you have to buy a ticket to see it, and you have to get a time slot. but it seems according to their website, advance tickets are all sold out and u have to buy the daily tickets, a limited amount each day and u got to queue up each day… whilst the exhibition in the japanese embassy is free and when i went this morning, not many people. it goes on for a week i think. perhaps i am a phillistine, and dont know how to appreciate art, but when i see the woodcuts prints they look like prints… i mean you can see them in pictures and they wont look different. they dont have the texture of drawings and paintings on paper… which gives that special effect to viewers. these look like printed works, which of course they are… so seeing the original printed works dont really strike you. only when u remember that these prints were produced in the early 1800s, they are very old, and their colour is still so vibrant, that it catches you , or it did me. they look like they were done recently and that is why it does not strike me at first… it is a strange feeling you get, looking at them, thinking what is so great about them? i mean apart from their subject matter and the skill in the execution which is really striking , until you remember these are 200 or more years old and their colours are still so vibrant and  look like they were printed yesterday.