free pancake

13 Feb

london 7.45pm 6.1C rain tuesday 2018 shrove tuesday.

reading a blog i was reminded that tomorrow is valentines day, and today is shrove tuesday, or mardi gras , which is big in rio de janeiro, it brought back memories of my time there , long ago, when i was a month there, and did brazil. and we are also having chinese new year too on friday. so this week is full of festivals. i got my pancakes too. for some reason shrove tuesday has something to do with pancakes. but my pancakes are from a restaurant in butler’s wharf, south of tower bridge, the one with the drawbridge. i went too early, at about 11am. i asked if i was too early, to be told they open at 12noon.

so i had to hang around that area, and it began to rain quite heavily. so i walked under the tower bridge along the bank of the thames to city hall.

that was when i noticed there are not many places to take shelter in that park like area round city hall, nor are there many cheap cafes there. it is very touristy. i saw some ladies with pans and  plastic bottles of milk weighing down balloons. one told me they are waiting for 12noon when they will be demonstrating and making pancakes. the rain has put a damper on things i would imagine. 

there was a museum of some sort by the bridge and i entered and they have a souvenir shop, with the entrance to the museum starting from and ending at the souvenir shop.

it makes for a time wasting filler to browse there. pricey stuff of course, £10, £20 and up that kind of price range. they have a reduced price shelf, you can get something for £1, reduced from £3. i forgot what it was now. haha. all the stuff they sell have the tower bridge picture on them. they sell pens for £1 and key rings. if u want tower bridge souvenirs (though why?)this would be a good place to get them. 

this pancake was a free one to mr hyde readers. it is a newsletter that  tells you of freebies and events to go to in london. 

the restaurant was crowded when i returned at about 12.30pm. huge groups of office workers who are all very well dressed in suits. i think they too were there for the free pancake. there was a chinese lady sitting on her own in the middle of the space, i was seated by the wall behind her.  and she looked like she was the only solitary person there , apart from me.

i showed the waiter the voucher email i got from mr hyde, and there was a choice of 3or4 pancakes, i chose the italian one, just guessing what it was because in his recital i could not make out what it was , it had a italian sounding name, later i realise it was a type of soft cheese, which is rather nice to spread on the pancakes and a good savoury choice, instead of the others which are sweet.

i was expecting two pancakes , but there was only one so it was quick to eat it. or rather, i was quick to eat it, the lady was still eating it when i left. somehow i have visions of stacks of pancakes haha. when they showed me pictures in their website they showed stacks of pancakes….but on looking back, i think it was just as well there was only one… the pancakes do not look like nor taste like the kind i make myself at home. and absolutely needs a topping to make them nice to eat. you cannot really eat them on their own, unless you pour maple syrup over them; unlike home made pancakes which is delicious just with a sprinkle of suger on top. i make mine with egg, so maybe that is the missing ingredient…

usually around this time, the city of london organises pancake races. but with this rain, i wonder if it had been cancelled. well, tomorrow’s papers would tell me if no pictures of them shows up.

as for valentines day tomorrow, i will pass on that. haha. the funny thing is valentine greetings are supposed to be sent anonymously to people they admire. no one is supposed to know who sent it. so inviting someone to a valentines dinner seems to defeat the purpose. dont you think?

then for chinese new year, the ex members of the east west group that i used to belong to which has now broken up and no longer exist, but we still meet… i was told they plan to go eat in a restaurant on thursday, instead of the usual meet in a pub.

i am not too sure about that… eating in a group in a restaurant is fraught with dangers. a lot of things can go wrong, usually with not being able to find an empty table for a big group.

they wont know how many will turn up and so they cannot plan ahead and pre book a table. usually with the usual meetings, we turn up whenever we like after the start time of 1pm, but if they are planning on going to a restaurant they will have to insist everyone turn up at 1pm. i find it very bothersome to have to be punctual. so i might give my excuses even though i did promise to turn up. lets hope the others too dont like it, and we revert back to the usual … this reminds me how thankless it is really to be the organiser of these outings, esp if it involves eating in a restaurant. it is a lot of trouble really to get everyone together. but perhaps it will sort itself out, in that we all meet at the pub, and then those who want to can wander off to wong kei, and just go there to eat. it should be easy to find a table at wong kei , because they make everyone share tables. haha. and you order individually so there is no problem with the bill. but the food is so salty, i am not really keen to go there, if i can help it.

i have to admit it is getting predictable and boring , this regular meet of ours. is it just me i wonder, but i find there is nothing to say. we lead different lives, and dont talk to each other outside of these regular meetings.

it is just like my old friends, i have drifted off from them, so that now we dont meet or talk to each other anymore. of all those friends, i only keep in touch with two of them. if i can do that with my old friends who i have known for many years, i realise what am i doing meeting up with these guys who i dont know at all…

with this group, i have not met them during the time when the club was active. i dont know why i have not met them before in the club. it might be they were active there at a different time from me. i only know the organiser , because he was organising the club even in those days. but the others i dont know them at all. so you can see this regular meet up is all for  a sense of nostalgia, trying to regain that old atmosphere of the club that we all belong to at one time. but time moves on, and it is not possible to get back the feeling of those times again. the main reason being we all have grown old and our old selves are strangers to our young selves, nevermind each other. but i think we will continue with our meetups. somehow we need the human interactions. 

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looking forward to more sun as spring approaches.

12 Feb

london 6.38pm 6.3C dark , dry night monday 2018

we got a really lovely blue sky morning today. i tried to grab a bit of sun by sitting outside the library in pimlico and then sitting in the bus stand, where it gets the full sun. i have to grab the sun whenever i can. there were clouds that block its rays and when that happens it can get really dim, and cold. but when it does shine i can sit out on it, without fear of getting sunburnt. 

met up with ian at about 3pm, on our monthly meetup. this time we met at the ageuk cafe in tavis house, near tavistock square in bloomsbury. i think tavis house is their headquarters.

the cafe sells really the cheapest coffee i know in central london, only 50p for a mug of filter coffee. and their lattes and capuccino is £1.20. and we were about the only ones there, apart from two others. one thing though, groups book the tables for later that evening, from 5.15pm, all the tables have small cards on them telling us they have reserved those tables from 5.15pm. so you will be tuft out for them. but we are ok, as we will be ready to move when 5pm comes round. 

actually tavistock square is a really nice square to sit in, at least the glimpse i had of it when i got off the bus before i cross the street to the ageuk building. this area of bloomsbury  is rich with squares, russell square is nearby too. i can see they will be perfect to hang around in during summer, though london is full of squares and so i can most probably find plenty nearer to where i live. 

in fact, i was telling ian that i should sit out in the sun more. and this brings to mind that i should take up the habit of going nude sunbathing in hampstead ponds once march comes round. just to get my dose of vit D. something to look forward to i think. not this month of course, as it is still cold. but March would be a nice time for it.

what is needed is some kind of windshield. if u can find a warm wall, that blocks the wind as well, whilst facing south to catch the full rays of the sun, you will be cosy. i should keep an eye out for such a warm corner hidden away somewhere so that there is plenty of privacy. and near where i live so dont have far to go. 

if the sun is shining, it is really lovely to go there and bring along a packed lunch and coffee in my thermos, and soak up the sun. and there wont be any danger of sunburn.  all the nicer because it wont be crowded, unlike in summer. 

i have been mildly wondering at the happy happenstance that this month, february is so short, so we can have a short winter as it were. or make ourselves feel that we have a short winter. it might well be 1st March and it may still be very cold but psychologically we can make belief that spring has come. later tonight, i see a tv program by mary beard talking about julius caeser , and she mentioned that it was he who invented a new calendar to replace the old roman calendar, and it is his calendar that we are using now. i wonder if it is deliberate of him to make february ,a winter month in the northern hemisphere, so short, really way shorter than all the other months.  

 

 

presentation , how do u rate it?

11 Feb

london 2.10pm 6.7C sunny sunday 2018

i got back from the library and from the virgin lounge, to find simon going off to the sainsburys looking for reduced prices. he goes to buy meat. he too have found their reductions are great for stocking up on meat. he came back with half priced joint of rump beef, and pork chops, though he is not so fierce as i am, who look for £2/kg . he is happy to go for the cuts that sell normally for £10/kg. it is very nice meat, i grant you, and the chops have v good fat layer with the lean meat. but to me not enough to justify even the reduced price. still to each his own. maybe because i tend to cut mine up into small pieces as i stir fry them, so keeping the meat in chop form is not that important for me. that is the problem if you want it to look nice. you pay more for it.

some people are very influenced by how a thing looks. like when they go out to eat, they want the food presented in a fancy way and would rate the restaurant highly just for that. whereas with me, the taste of the food and a large amount of it, is what will impress me and make me think it is good. 

 

bargain rice

10 Feb

london 11.40am 6.6C cloudy saturday 2018

i was at asda in clapham junction on thursday and saw they were selling 10kg of kohinoor light basmati rice for £10. i had not got my trolley with me, so did not buy it. later, i see from their website that it is a reduced price , usually £19. i have not seen this type of rice before, but do like the brand, as i bought that brand before.

today, i thought i shall go there with my trolley to buy it. i was disappointed when i got there to find the shelf empty of this rice. it has all sold out it seems. but i know that they keep extras on the topmost shelf, in fact, it is on the top of the shelves, and sure enough i saw three of these and i clambered up and it was just manageable to maneuvre them off the shelf. so i did and bought two. it was as much as my trolley can take really as well as just heavy enough for me to handle on the way back by bus. hope it is just as nice as their other rice, since i have never bought them before. £1/kg of rice is a good price anyway. 

 

the extra fine silver one (the expiry date was 2020) is what i bought today. the other , gold one was bought before in a sale too. both cost £10 for 10kg. dont quite know what they meant when they said those were extra fine. i guess i shall find out when i cook it. with us chinese, rice is our staple, and the saying goes that if u got rice, you wont go hungry.

3.30pm rain 7.7C

considering chinese new year is only a few days away, 16th feb, it is a nice treat for them to let us have a cheaper price. i have a feeling that it is not linked to their chinese new year offers. its a coincidence that it is reduced around now.

here, (i mean in the uk) people dont really gear their business to the chinese new year festival. christmas, and easter are more likely to be built up here, with price increases around that time. this is v different from s.e.asia, where prices rise when chinese new year day comes.and there are 15 days to celebrate it, so even more need to buy food and stuff to last 15days, with the 15th day another day of big celebration.

it is the only chance for businesses in s.e.asia (or china , taiwan, for all i know) to make profits because so many households will be spending either to prepare for the family reunion meal, or going to restaurants for it. not only food, and food related businesses will benefit, clothes and stuff will also feature, not to mention all those angpows given out to the children will get spent too over the following weeks after the festival. oh, a lot of money will be spent on cleaning products, because of course every household will be doing a thorough clean and new stuff  for the house. its a fun time to be a kid. how can it not be so, you dont have to bother with all the cleaning, and cooking and spending money, and shopping.

added. 9.08pm,rain, what a strange world, the temperature is 9C now.  at this time of night! and forecast to hit 10C at about 11pm. to me i expect warmer temperatures to occur in the daytime, not the middle of the night. that is why uk weather is really peculiar.

back in malaysia, we expect daytime temperatures to be the highest, and it always gets cooler at night. but here in uk, things are topsy turvy. 

money bills

9 Feb

london 12.32pm 5.4C overcast (that means cloudy) friday 2018

its actually quite pleasant outside, i was out earlier and it felt fine, but of course i was well wrapped up with my woolly beanie, and my scarf and my thinsulate gloves. all items that i found over the years. haha. and i take them out every winter to put them to good use.

this year is mild, i did not have to put on a lot of layers, nor use a heavy duty fleece jacket with a hood and which  comes right down to my knees;  that i keep specially for very cold winters. but this winter i did not have to use it at all.

i have used up all my old £10 notes today. used them to pay in advance my flat service charge fees. they sent us the bill every six months, and the next one will be due in March, but the old £10 notes will cease to be legal tender on 1st March. so i thought i better pay it in advance of the closing date and get rid of them that way. 

i think using up my old £20 notes when they expire in 2020 will be much more of a chore and bother. i have many more £20 notes than i have got the  £10 notes. they are the notes everyone go to if they have bills to pay and they want to use cash. and i think the treasury will have a job printing a lot of new ones when they replace the old ones. a lot will have to be printed to satisfy demand.

so from now on i am using the £20 notes every chance i get , that means every time i buy something . haha. i wonder whether others are doing that too.

maybe not, as most people dont plan so far ahead.

i think if i were to be overseas and have these british notes i would be very irritated that i have to change them and keep pace with all this issueing of new notes. maybe that is why people prefer to deal in US $s. the USA never change their notes do they. so it will be legal tender like for ever. the same might be said for the euro. with the added advantage that the euro have 500 euro denominations bills. that is great for money launderers. i am sure the euro must be their currency of choice. and it also explains why people quote everything in US$s. also the £ tend to go up and down in value, and trending generally downwards. so better to use the US$ instead, or euros.

that reminds me what is the price of gold now? $1249.50 per ounce. £1=US$1.38 though u never get these rates when u go to a money lender. 

dow jones index 23860

FT se 100 7107

 

 

just shopping for bargains

8 Feb

london 1pm 7C overcast thursday 2018

i see it is snowing in paris, it seems quite unusual, that it snows , and coming after the highest water level in the seine, parisiens are having an interesting life as the chinese would put it haha.  (it is 4C now in paris, with lows of -6C forecast for tomorrow morning,)

 i have a suspicion that france (even truer of northern france) is not that warm in winter, even though their summers are really warm.

those trying to escape our british winter cold might be better off going to live in london, (as the queen is doing, i read a report that she has come down to london recently from her winter stay up north where she had been there since christmas; or go and live in the  south coast of england instead of the continent.

used to be that people winter in the south of france. i wonder does Nice still have nice winter weather, or is it just that the english winter has become milder nowadays. i see it is 11C in Nice now, 2pm their time.

they have better weather than paris, Nice’s forecast weather is 12C/5C for the next few days, unlike paris where they will get 5C/-2C the next few days. with london forecast of 4C/1C i suppose u could say london is not doing any better, but it is nothing extreme. at least it is not freezing. haha. so Nice still have nice winter temperatures. i wonder whether there are any brits still doing the winter run to the south of france, or have they all gone to s.e.asia, india, or to spain. 

anyway life here in london is very pleasant. i was at the circuit training yesterday, 6 people , and new people too; so the attendance figure is holding up. and now when i come out , even after spending time in there afterwards enjoying a long hot shower, the sky is still bright, sunset being at 5pm now.

this morning i went to the asda in clapham junction to buy their egg noodles, it has gone down to 59p, when before i bought it for 65p a 250mg pack. so useful for a quick meal as it is made up of 4 bricks of noodles; each brick is about 50mg. 

 i found a reduced price 3kg pork shoulder joint  from £10.50 to £6. it expires today, that is why it is reduced. it is quite a good price. came to £2/kg, where the normal price is £3.50/kg. it has very little fat over it, which is the case when u buy a more expensive cut. (the cheaper cuts sell for £2.75/kg, but with it u get a lot of fat).so it is now chopped up and in my freezer, i filled 6 plastic takeaway containers with it. i find pork is such a versatile meat, it can be used in a lot of dishes and the variety of cooking it is enormous. 

Digital StillCamera

the stir fried noodle dish i made. those greens are really delicious. in the past i did not like them, because i stir fried them from the beginning. now i steam them first and cooked them before i add them to my stir fry. and with oyster sauce they are heaven. 

added. 4.27pm 7.8C dry cloudy. this article came up in my wordpress reader and i realised it had fooled me too. it says the winter olympics hosted by south korea is in a town called pyeongchang, and people have been fooled to think it is pyongyang, which is in north korea. i had put it in my diary as pyongyang too, as in ‘pyongyang winter olympics start today’ and thought north korea had got it…like russia, which is communist and so i figured if russia can host the olympics it is not inconceivable that north korea could too. its only reading that article that it dawned on me that it is south korea that is hosting it. i think this hosting of the olympics is a bit of nonsense really. just a big waste of money by the host country who are wasting their people’s cash.

If PyeongChang wins, South Korea will become the second Asian country to play host to the Winter Games; Japan held them in 1972 and 1998. That would help South Korea market itself as an affordable winter sports destination for a potentially huge market in Asia, attracting Chinese, Singaporeans, Malaysians and others from hotter climates who have never seen snow, let alone skied. link

they want more tourists, but i am malaysian and i am not that interested in skiing, because we can never get to learn how to do it seeing our country has no snow. we like to see fresh snow, and play in it. but that is all. maybe put us in a sleigh ride over snow, that would be nice. but ski down a steep mountain side, with the danger of being buried in snow… no thanks. that is a bit of reality too far. 

economics

6 Feb

london 3.6C cloudy tuesday 2018 12.12pm

still 3.6C even though it is noon allready. i was out just now and it was not really that cold, no strong wind that is why. as long as you protect your head and hands, and get a scarf round the neck, it is comfortable. i am now long since consider anything above 0C as not cold at all. lots of warnings of snow up north and forecast of more to come, but here in  london, we dont get any of it. they say this feb will be cold all month long, and even stretch into march, but i dont think it will really go below zero C for long, and so i dont think it will be cold. this i can confidently predict for london. 

Digital StillCamera

this is what it was at about 10am when i set out.

stock market has gone down all over the world, started when america sneezed, now the rest of the world got a cold. haha. i suppose a correction is due since the stock market shot up like crazy recently.

it is one of those funny things, where fear of increased inflation and subsequent interest rate rise cause this panic. yet increased interest rate is good for savers, which have been shafted for a long time now. but nowadays govt can print money, so they dont rely on savers to fund their borrowing. so borrowing has gone through the roof…

The EU have been printing money , huge amounts of it, for ages, yet it does not seem to cause any panic. and yet when america hints that inflation may come and it may  have to increase interest rate, and their investors start selling , you get all this panic.

something has been keeping prices down even though the govts like america, uk, EU have been printing money like mad, what is it i wonder, but whatever it is, it is now unable to maintain it. the received wisdom is that if u print money, inflation will automatically rise… (you just have to see germany doing that before the world wars, massive inflation they got.)

in recent years that does not seem to apply, but now that wisdom seem to be still valid, we are seeing all that quantitative easing coming to roost. does any one have any explanation to why inflation has been so low for so long, even though the world have been printing money like crazy… if u can explain why, you might be able to predict what will happen in future.