Tag Archives: free

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. 


the future is here, but it looks like the same

16 Nov

london 9.50am 11.6C cloudybright thursday 2017

i was at the chelsea library yesterday and wanted to borrow a sci fiction novel , but the machine wont let me, saying my library card will expire before the return date, and to go see the desk about it. so i did and the librarian extended the date to 2020. i could see her doing it on the computer screen and it struck me that i have arrived at the future. haha. actually i have seen this date before, when my freedom pass was renewed and the expiry date was 2021. but it did not register in my mind; but now it struck me i have arrived at the future.  

we sci fi fans have always thought of the 2020s as the future. and we are getting to that soon. but when i look around me i dont see any futuristic things , have you? where are the flying cars, or robots, and flying skateboards, or future clothing… everyone looks ordinary wearing clothes that are not much different from the 1920s, people still wear heavy overcoats. though the fashion is for michelin man duvet style jackets now. hardly futuristic, as michelin man has been around for ages. and footwear has become trainers now.

but isn’t it strange that there is nothing futuristic to look at. what is futuristic is the internet, but it is not visual. even the so called updated advertising board in piccadily circus looks like the old one…

it is kind of comforting for people like me, that the future looks very much the past. i dont have to make much adjustment in my life. but perhaps there are others , of the younger generation who lives in houses that are so wired up that they do live like in the future. they can talk to their homes, and call the house for all kinds of things just like how we imagine the future to be like. but i think unless they invent the all purpose robot, things will not look very futuristic. 

added. 11.42am 14.2C brightcloudy i was coming back by bus 2 and saw this cadbury milk tray chocolate box , along with 2 other smaller choc boxes in the metro newspaper box. their plastic seal is still intact. i wonder who left it there, obviously to let people pick it up along with the free paper. i thought this box is more desireable, as it contains a selection of their chocolates.

its unusual to get this happening… free chocolates on the bus. haha. and another surprise, i thought the box is rather deep and wondered if it has a double tray , and sure enough it has. two trays of assorted chocolates. isn’t it great! 

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afraid the top tray has two chocs missing, i ate them, before i thought of looking underneath that tray …

added. 17.11.17 i thought i shall find out how much it costs normally, and was looking all over the box trying to find how heavy it was, it was 360g,googling it i found it normally costs £3, but guess what , i saw the expiry date it was 13.3.17… so that is the reason why it is free. haha. but i am glad that person decided to let us have it, rather than throw it away in the bins. even though expired, it tastes good. 

easy living

3 Nov

london 1.28pm 15.5C cloudy friday 2017 virgin lounge

2.47pm back home now . sunny now 15.9C

last day of the free breakfast sandwich at shoreditch boxpark. the chunks of beef that they put in it makes me go back everyday for it. haha. to put meat in it is hefty for breakfast, which usually will have only egg in it.

its not really very cost effective if u have to pay for your tube and bus fares. it would cost you £6.50 to get there and back. (£5 rtn on the tube, and £1.50 on the bus to and from liverpool st station.)not to mention you will have to face the crowded on the tube. but i get a freedom pass so it is free to me. for £6.50 you can get some really great beef and cook it yourself. or pork belly, which simon cooked for me when i got back. or get a £5 chicken kebab in the lunchtime stalls in the street market in pimlico if u live near there like i do. 

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he offered to defrost some buns for me, to go with the fried belly, but i did not want it. just want to taste the pure unadulterated taste of fried pork belly. for £6.50 you can get two whole chickens.

but strangely, all those people streaming out of the shoreditch train station do not bother to stop and get this free food. the queue is not long . in fact, when i was leaving with my free food, there was a chinese guy walking by, and i told him, its free, and he decided to turn back and join the queue. it was not a long queue, either. they can serve 4 people at one go, so the queue can move very quickly.

its a lovely life in london i think for retired people like me.

after that freebie, i went to the virgin lounge and got myself a latte. and fruits and biscuits. haha. and the morning papers. 


another free burger from a new opening

8 Sep

london 6.58pm 18.3C cloudy friday 2017

this is to commemorate the opening of the new restaurant ichibun in chinatown. 500 free burgers to be given away. the name sounds like itchybums. but maybe that is just my dirty mind. haha.

just before 5pm when they start the free offer, they did an opening ceremony in front of the entrance, and gave out free glasses of sake. i did not take any, as i dont really like alcohol. but my fellow queuers did, but i think it might be rather strong… at least from what they tell me. 

inside there was a ground and lower floor,the ground floor contain the kitchens, slap bang in the middle of the floor, so quite a change from hiding the kitchen away… i was seated at the bar area in the lower floor. the ceiling was papered with drawings, and the walls lined with liquor bottles. every inch of space was decorated that might explain the long time it was boarded up …the renovations took so long.

  i googled it and saw an old picture in google of the previous business , hk diner, that it replaced.

the place was supposed to be japanese, but the menu is not very … it has burgers, which is hardly japanese , is it? i ordered the hokkaido, it is a double (meaning there were two of them) 90gm beef patties, with mushroom slices on them, the mushroom were called white truffles at least that is what it says in the menu. but it does not have any smell nor taste of what i had thought truffles smell of… i mean these were like ordinary shitake mushrooms. the lady sitting next to me agrees.

she too was on her own and we started chatting. she heard of this free offer from the londonist. i heard of this from time out. the selling point of the burgers was that it was made from wagyu (wag means japanese, yu means cow or so they tell us in their website) … but once it is minced i think it has lost its uniqueness, that marbling effect of fat and meat that characterises it. at least that is what i think it is unique about it…

(since then i read this that it is aged angus beef with truffle oil. i thought with that japanese sounding name that it must come from hokkaido or at least come from japan… but i should have known that japan has not got enough land to rear beef cattle in enough numbers to make its mark on the world.) just goes to show if u call it by some japanese sounding name, it seems to increase its cachet. 

though what do i know. haha.

just purely from what i tasted, it did not taste any different from all the other beef burgers of the other high end restaurants that i have eaten. but perhaps it is just me with my peasant taste buds that wont know anything even if it hit me. that is why i dont think i shall buy truffles, or wagyu beef, it would be wasted on me.

but it is the first time in all my eating at these pricey burger places that i was able to hold the burger in my hands and eat it without the contents falling out all over the place… so maybe that is a record. haha.

it does mean it is not overfilled , unlike all the other £11 burgers that i had eaten in the free openings of various other burger restaurants… where there are so much stuff in it, you have to eat it with knife and fork. haha.in fact,  i prefer those,  after all, if i have to pay that price i would want it overstuffed with ingredients.

chatting to the lady next to me, she said i should check out the toilet, it has the japanese water closet with all the buttons … i said i must do that before i go, and later i did. and it was really rather nice to have water shooting up my bum like that.hahah. (ooops, skip that bit if u are a eating your dinner now haha.)

when u open the door to the toilet, the toilet seat cover mysteriously rises and the whole thing switches on and lights up…. you almost expect a fanfare to sound as well. what a performance. i wonder if it also automatically closes the lid when you exit and the door closes. and hey, maybe in the women toilet, it does the opposite and brings down the seat when u open the door. or perhaps it never lifts up at all, ever.

when i left the place,after about an hour, the queue outside was still long, and stretching way round the corner. it is certainly worthwhile to arrive at the head of the queue when u attend these free bies…  not so long to wait.

i enjoy these freebies, so dont think i am ungrateful for them. the lady next to me ask me if i would come back, but i think you can guess what my answer is .

there have been a lot of these burger high end restaurants opened in london, and i even heard some of them are feeling the pinch, so this opening might be a bit late in catching up with the trend. still it seems this chain of restaurants are very big worldwide, and it is only now that they are bringing it to london. the bartender says they are opening 2 more branches in mayfair etc. i cannot imagine how london can support so many branches. but then they must know something i dont. the backers it seems are past masters as they are the owners of wagamama and other high end restaurants in london. the names of which i failed to catch when i was told it during a conversation with one of the bar staff; while waiting for the food to come. i had a chat with the lady next to me as well. it is fun to just do that with fellow solitary diners. that might explain why i never go with friends… it is too much bother to try to interest them with this and to arrange to meet and all that. 

maybe these places are just an excuse to drink… because the central well contained the bar, and the diners sit round it. so it might be trying to mimic the japanese bars that abound in japan, where locals sit around and make it their regular drinking spot, to go to meet friends and drink, or more likely interact with the bar staff behind the counter.  and have the occasional meal. are there enough japanese people to support it i wonder. but this place dont have sushi nor sashimi or tempura at all… just maki. so maybe it is trying to attract westerners and make this their drinking den. it might work if u can get those drinkers in… that is where the money is i think. 

even the front facade is made to look like a traditional bar in japan. 

this place was supposed to open june 2017. and i found out ichibuns are in subang jaya too, though that opened in 2015 and is closing soon. they seem to have a different menu from this one… it seems they serve buns, hence the name perhaps. so this burger place is a move away from their signature dishes. one wonders whether they are related, or what. or have they been bought and the new owners are changing its style and menu.

added. i have just got an email from byron, giving me a buy one and get one free hamburger, and their menu says theirs is 6oz , whilst this one 90mg is 3oz. so no wonder the hamburgers were so easy to handle with the hands… they are smaller. i did wonder why i felt more full when i ate the double hamburger in byron’s, rather than this one. because even though their double hamburgers cost about the same,  the byron ones are two 6 oz. whilst the hokkaido is two 3 oz.

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.

experiences vs things, but if u get them free,

3 Jul

london 12.25pm 22.3C cloudy monday 2017

well, here i am again in the primeburger place in st pancreas station, and have just finished my free milkshake, strawberry and a large one costing about £5.40 usually. it was very nice. and i am happy to have got it. and whilst drinking it, i happen to read this article about buying experience rather than things. people advise that if u want to be happier, u should spend on experiences rather than things. but this research trying to find out if there is a significant difference, shows there is not a lot to be noticeable. but what is this recent experience of mine? which category is it. for one thing, i got it free, so i did not spend money. also i got a thing, something to eat, so i guess it is an experience. it was lovely but it is finished now so i kind of feel sad it is finished and that there is no more. it is really that nice. so an experience dont last long. so why do they say it is better than things. ? with things i can use it again and again and get the pleasure of it everytime i use it. with experiences it is once only and then gone, and it is hard to get that feeling again. it is not easy to bring back that feeling. that is why i used to wonder why they advise people to go for experience, over things. now we have this study showing there is not much difference. 

but i notice something in this study. it seems happiness is just in spending money. that is the common factor in both those actions… so does it mean u can simply find happiness just by spending money, does not matter what u spend it on? or does it mean u get definitely more happiness if u get both or either experiences and things free.



added. 2.59pm 22.4C sunny. follow up on this happiness thing, and whether u can be happier if u spend money, or happier if u dont spend money and still get things or experiences.

i have another free experience. i am now in the virginmedia lounge in the haymarket, near picadilly circus. i have seen it many times as i pass by to catch the bus 88 home, and see people inside through the glass window, reading the papers, drinking coffee/tea and biscuits.

one day , a few days ago, i decided to go in and ask them and it seems i need to be a virgin money account holder. it so happens i had a statement from the virgin pension fund that i put in £3000 years ago, and had not bothered to redeem it when i got to retirement age and it said it is a virgin money account. so today i gave them the number, and it works, i can apply to use the lounge. and so she gave me an ipad with a form to fill in, and took my photo and gave me a card to use whenever i use the lounge. it is a really pleasant space, free coffee/tea and biscuits to help yourself and lots of today’s newspaper. there are young people and old people here. i wonder how come i have not heard of this place before.

there dont seem to be any virgin media business being done here. (later, i see there is a bank counter of some sort, a small area hidden away in a corner. ) at least not that i can see. though the form did say virgin media will send me stuff via email if i agree to  use the lounge by becoming a lounge member. 

 there is this young chap sitting across from me, i noticed him using his smart phone and plugging it in to charge. anyway, he started to put on a hoodie, and i was so surprised i asked him do u feel cold? he said yes. but it is so warm here, i was sweating buckets when i first came in. anyway we fell to chatting, and i found out he is from manchester, here for adele’s concert which she cancelled. but he had allready paid for his hotel room and train fare so came to london anyway. so today he will be going back, having come on saturday. imagine all that money spent to see a concert that did not happen. i bet the concert costs a bit too. now i am aware of it, i see the other two young people sitting around me, and i wonder if they too are refugees from the adele’s concert. haha. 

on the bus back, i was reading the metro  and saw this article. 



so that is how much the tickets cost for the concert. seems like a lot of money. and you cannot really see much when u are seated so far from the stage. unless these are very close to the stage. but i remember when i saw madonna, for much less than this, we could only see her on the screen,if we want to see her  close up, when in reality, she was a small dot on the stage far away. she got many dancers prancing about energetically on stage so much of the visual entertainment was from them.

i asked him how did he know of this lounge. and he said it is all over the country. in big cities,like manchester and edinburgh.( he said the edinburgh one is very impressive and much nicer than this one and told me i should make a trip there to see it. haha. i said i would not go there just to see the virgin lounge … and i mentioned that there isn’t much to see in edinburgh… apart from the fringe. he said there is plenty to see, and that the beach is nice … mention of a beach in edinburgh surprised me because when i was there long time ago, i never knew it was near the sea. he showed me the beach in his smartphone. amazing that i never knew it when i went there…i have always thought edinburgh as being inland.)

and it seems when he started up his bank account with virgin they told him of all these lounges. its quite possible that when i started the pension fund they have not got these lounges set up and since i only put in the money once and never add any more money to it, i guess i was not in their books for them to update me on the news. 

i asked him what is downstairs, as the staff had asked me if i had been downstairs when i was at the coffee machine,  as if there is something to see there… so i asked him what is downstairs and he said it is set up to be like a aircraft cabin. with aircraft seats… well i shall pop down and see it, because the toilets are down there too.  but it is surprising that i did not know of this place… just goes to show a lot of things can go on hidden away. this is the hidden life of cities that can be hidden even from long time residents like myself. added. i did go down to see the  downstairs. it is very nice, like a aircraft cabin, with aircraft seats and another coffee machine and biscuits, and even a fruit bowl, with bananas , apple. and have woman attendants dressed like air stewardesses. 

added. 8.39am 6.7.17 thursday sunny 21.6C . read in the metro today that they now allow advance train tickets to be bought 1 hr before departure. so u can buy advance fare £37 one way manchester-london instead of the full fare £83. i still think it very expensive at £37 one way. you can fly to europe for less

free fries

26 Jun

london 3.04pm 22.3C sunny monday 2017

monday is a lot of fun now that primeburger is giving out freebies. today it is free chips, and include their loaded chips, with cheese and bacon. quite a meal in itself actually. the sun is really out in full force, but yet, the weather website says it is only 22.3C. funny that, i would have thought it is warmer. in fact, i am dressed only in a t-shirt and football shorts. and glad of the airconditioning on the top deck of the new style doubledecker bus. 


quite a lot of chips. but then so it should be, it costs £4.50 normally. i wonder what next week’s freebie will be. milk shake maybe.