Tag Archives: london

perks to living in london

5 Apr

london 12.05pm 13C sunny friday 2019

5.16pm 12C cloudy

7.29pm 11C cloudy. sunset 7.40pm

i have not been out all day and wondering if i should go again to the supermarket, maybe sainsburys, to buy something, usually i  would buy the milkpowder, and the frozen fish, which are still good value for money. the milkpowder especially is the cheapest. i find i use so little of it, that it lasts me 1.5month instead of 3wks. i stopped putting it in my oats, and just use it for my coffee. the frozen fish is about the same price as tesco, but i will buy it from sainsburys because there is a offer of a bonus 50 nectar points for every purchase in sainsburys this week. on the whole sainsburys are more expensive than tesco. whilst i go more often to lidl now to buy my basic foodstuff. though i still go to asda for their toilet paper, still the cheapest . but it is no point going to the sainsburys at late evening, as they dont reduce their food prices at the end of the day. so it looks like i shall be staying in all day and not bother to go out. i like staying in london, but not for all the touristy stuff that abounds here… like the art exhibitions … the van gogh and later in the year the william blake exhibition, touted as the largest exhibition of his works to date. i have long ago not bothered to go see art.

i know, i am in london… the home of the biggest , largest and most famous works of art in public view, and i dont go and see it. people might say what a waste , and maybe scold me for not really using my position living in london to the best advantage. people come from all over the world travelling far and spending lots of money to come here to see these things, and here i am not bothering to go . but that is life isn’t it? i see it so often i am not interested anymore.

instead i just enjoy the small pleasures that living in london, (and any big city) will give  to its inhabitants. and extra unique items that only in london do i see offered to us living here. such as free public transport on trains, buses, tubes for over 60s,

the extremely drastic slashing of food prices at the end of the day by the supermarkets(i have never seen this in any city anywhere in the world). also dont forget there is no vat on fresh food, so that it makes these fresh foods very cheap. and helped by lidl and aldi with their changing  6 items of low priced foods every week. and the basic items in other supermarkets that have low prices. 

free food and coffee offers  and such like offered by restaurants as they open new branches, or promote their businesses.

free newspapers with special offers with coupons like the £1.99 beefburgers and fries from macdonalds, or subway (the food chain) offers.

then there is the free libraries, where can borrow books to my hearts content or read the newspapers free.

also the free wifi that is available all over london , so it is easy to get online free anywhere in the city.

and vast network of buses and tubes so that it is very quick to go anywhere using public transport. and hardly any long waiting times either, as they come so quickly and at such short intervals.

then there are the surprise finds in the recycling bins of really useful items for the household. i dont know anywhere in the world where u can find this perk, i have furnished my flat using the finds that i rescue from the recyling bins over the years.

and dont forget the tv . very watchable and interesting programs from the bbc and commercial networks that do not require a paid subscription. though u could say the bbc is a paid subscription as the annual license fee is compulsory so that is not free. but if u are renting a room, you dont need to pay that , as it is the landlord who will pay it. but you could argue that it is paid for in the rent. haha. mustn’t forget the huge amount of flowers and plants that people grow in london, you dont need to go to the countryside to see them, and enjoy them close up and right by where u live. spring especially will find lots of flowering plants right in the heart of london where u live, you dont have to go far to see it and feel it even. there are so many public gardens, every housing estate has one or even more, where the gardens will have changing plants growing with the seasons. 




a day of free meals

28 Sep

london 8.02pm 13.7C dry night friday 2018

i got a email from steve, this morning, when i woke at 10.30am about a free mac and cheese lunch at debenhams, oxford st starting from 12noon today. i allready have booked  a free meal this evening at a pub in elephant and castle. i was half thinking of giving the lunch a miss, but then i realise it is so near me, it does not take much effort to just wander there. so i did. and steve was there, near the head of the queue. not many when we arrived, but it later got busier. it was a very filling meal, it was macaroni pasta in melted cheese topped with meat , or veggie. mushrooms was one of the veggie options. i got a spicy chorizos with halloumi, which turned out to be melted as well. so not a good choice as it made the dish very salty indeed with so much salt in those cheeses. it costs about £5.59 usually. if u are hungry it would really fill you up. actually when i compare to what they are charging for mac and cheese in spitalfields market, this one is quite low priced.

then i went to liverpool st, spitalfields market to get the free icecream given away. this icecream is not sickly sweet, so i like it. they will do this promotion for another two days.   there were lots of people there, sitting around eating, listening to a band playing. i passed a stall selling brisket of beef. it looked very good, piles of meat . there was a sample board and i took two slices to eat. and found out they are very salty. they look so tempting, but the salt puts me off so that i lost all desire to eat anymore.

i might go again tomorrow, to get another eat of icecream, and visit the library there to see if they are open and have the daily papers.   i went in there to read them today after eating the icecream. those papers look unopened and it seems not many people go in there to read the papers.

the free meal at the pub in elephant and castle was very filling too. for some reason they gave me two portions. each portion consist of 3 small burgers, with different meats. and i got another tray of it . steve and his wife were there before me. they were sitting with me after their meal, for us to chat, when the food came and we were all surprised at me getting double rations. they were too full to eat it so i had to eat it myself. 

i thought i would be very slow getting served as there were two large tables with huge numbers of people allready there, and they were drinking beer and wine. but they never did get any burgers. so i dont know why , because they had numbers on their table just like us. so they must have ordered the meal.  still i am glad the kitchen was able to cope with the large numbers.

in the end, i was so full, (made worse because that mac and cheese really filled me up), that i just ate the meat and left the buns. as i noticed others have done the same too. it has been ages since i went south of the river, to elephant and castle, and the whole area  has certainly risen up in the world. so many high rise, and they got a sainsburys!! and the central roundabout, that used to be such a mess of underground tunnels for pedestrians was no more. they have buried all those tunnels  and just made the whole thing above ground now.

the actual shopping complex in the old elephant and castle building does not look at all as if it is lively. the building is all dark and looked closed. i wonder what they have planned for it. i was expecting it to be pulled down and a new classy building rising up in its place.

in the past, it housed the clothes stalls, and food stalls, run by small businesses. i was thinking they will be turfed out to make way for more expensive businesses i expect. though i hope it wont happen and they try to retain the market stall groceries and small wet and dry market type businesses.

not much profit in those unfortunately, if u want to preserve the low prices you will have to charge low rents. that is why those kind of markets are doomed to go extinct. 

added 3.10.18 a clever way to make mac and cheese for one. 

mundane things

27 Aug

london 18C dry bank holiday monday 2018

i just had a thought, just now. i was thinking if i were in malaysia now, i would be thinking of going out to eat, and deciding which of the many hawker centres that i can go and maybe even thinking of calling some buddies to see if they will join me. but here i am in london, and i was wondering what places will be open on this bank holiday monday and cannot think of any except the chain restaurants like kfc, or macdonalds, or pizza places like pizza hut, pizza express. but the choice will be limited . as for calling friends to join me, forget it. here if u dont make an appointment days in advance, no one seem able to just join you on the spur of the moment… you could say it is because most of us here will have plans allready made, unlike most malaysians who are not so organised, nor want their days planned so well, so they can allow for friends calling them up on the spur, or even they themselves doing it. that i notice is the difference between people in s.e.asia, and over here. perhaps life has changed for people in malaysia now, and that kind of impromptu calling up and meeting up is no more. but i dont think so, somehow i have a feeling that people are more people orientated in the east. we like the face to face meetup i think. or at least that is what i think i would do if i were ever to find myself living there.

its possible that people like to meet up because  the tv programs in malaysia are awful, so that is another reason not to stay at home. here, it is not so, the tv guide does throw up some interesting films or programs that i find i would stay in for.

also i think in malaysia, people are not so tied to a fixed tv schedule. they can watch films on demand, or buy dvds. in other words they can stop and view at a time of their choosing. here we can do it too if we subscribe. but spur of the moment phone calls to meet up are not encouraged here. at least in my experience.

one thing i suspect might affect meeting up in malaysia, is if it is rainy season, when it is too wet to be going to the late night hawker stalls and drinking teh tarik and gossip.

but i wonder if that is a vision that i have that dont exist anymore in malaysia, and people there are just like here… keeping isolated and surfing the internet for porn and finding sexual contacts to fill their leisure time. haha. 

added 9.33pm hmm, i am seeing a tv program on bbc2 by adrian chiles about his drinking. i dont drink, but i can see how most people here will be like him, socialising in the pub with friends and drinking heavily. or rather, drinking normally, because if he were not questioning it all, he would have considered he is normal and have no drinking problem. because the old idea of alcoholism, is some one waking up in the gutter and not knowing what happened. during the program they were drinking 7pints in the pub. each. how anyone can drink that much water is beyond me… the trouble is , even on his high drinking, his liver function is normal… only on scanning do they find his liver has fibrosis, and fat. so i can see why others watching this might say all those scientist saying only allowed 14units a week, may not be correct. and it seems different countries advocate different limits. which suggest no one knows really what is the optimum limit. (some of us might say no alcohol is the only limit to say to people. that alcohol has no health benefits at all.) but i can see the socialising is all centred round pubs, and if u stop drinking, your social life may die, just like that.

28.8.18 added here is a review of that program.

15 Aug

london 12.13pm 21C cloudy wednesday 2018

i am waiting now for the talktalk manager to call me to ask how the problem with my landline went. actually it is all solved and no problemo. my broadband is back and the phone is working as normal now… and i hope to tell him to stop the call divert on my landline, if they had not allready found it out and stopped it allready. 

if i dont hear from him, i shall call the helpline myself to ask them to close it. then the phone saga will end and life goes back to normal.

and i hope simon will finish his cleaning mania and stop cleaning the kitchen. and i can get into it to cook my lunch. i suppose it is nice to have a grease free kitchen. but it will all get greasy again.

life here in london is very quiet until yesterday when i saw live on tv, in the good morning broadcast on itv, where they caught the assault on parliament live on tv. it is quite a coup by itv, to have a reporter and tv cameras so nearby, to be able to catch it all live as it happens. fortunately no one got killed, and the assault does not seem to be planned very well, with the car stopped by the barrier, and luckily no bombs involved.

life goes on as usual with us meeting up at the pub for our usual old ex members of a east west club get together. and because august is a dead time, with no news, the car incident took up a lot of news space. thank goodness in a way it is such a minor episode. unlike that bridge in genoa collapsing and killing so many. how is it possible to have such a thing happen in this day and age… bridge building must be so old technology, we should be able to build a bridge without it falling down nowadays. that bridge is only 50yrs old. its 12.30pm now and still no ringing from the talktalk people. looks like they have forgotten… or maybe they assume everything is fine and so no need to call me for feedback.

i am hesitant whether to call the helpline and tell them of the call divert. if i do and they call, that call will be diverted to my mobile and register as engaged. ah well, it is a small problem. 

added 12.49pm. i got a call just now and i thought it was the talktalk people, but it was from brilliant energy… my electricity supplier, and they were calling me to give them my meter reading. i have been trying to avoid doing it, because i have been using a lot more than they have guessed, and i had hoped that if i delayed it for another quarter, my usage would have dropped to compensate for the excess usage i have been doing for the spring and summer quarter. ah well, once they got me with this call, i cannot avoid giving it to them and so i gave to them. but fortunately, i have reduced my usage a lot and so the figures now conform to their estimate. for the previous two readings i have gone over by about 30kwh , but now i have gone under by 30kwh. and i think the next quarter, the autumn , i shall use less too and that would square me with the total for the year. it is about 1200kwh a year. 

that means that they will continue with the direct debit of £15.59 that i have been paying monthly instead of increasing it. i have a feeling i shall be using even less electricity this autumn. 

added 1.57pm. well finally the talktalk manager called me. and i asked him to remove the call divert which he did there and then. so that saga is now completely resolved to our satisfaction.

also, i see that this company is giving away free coffee… they call it vegan coffee, but really all coffee is vegan. when i first heard that term i thought they did something special to it to make it vegan… until i realise hang on, coffee beans are vegan… there is no meat in it. but if u put cow’s milk in it… can u call it vegan? or is vegan means it includes dairy products… 


Differences Between Vegan and Vegetarian. … Some vegetarians also exclude dairy, some don’t, and some may consume eggs. Likewise, vegans avoid meat, poultry, and seafood, but they also take it a step further by eliminating all animal products from their diet. This includes any type of animal milk and eggs. quote from wikipedia.

so when they say vegan coffee, they must mean they use soya milk or almond milk, not cow’s milk. i wonder if it will affect the taste of that coffee.



20 Jul

london 11.25am 25C cloudy friday 2018

a random shelf in the library travel section.

everywhere u can see signs of travel, urgeing you  to go wandering, seeing new places, it makes people feel they should be out there doing all those things, so that anyone who likes to stay put is made to feel they are missing out. it does not surprise me if the number one desire nowadays when u ask people what they want to do, is to travel and see the world. 

6.43pm 20C cloudy .

I have been to the age uk canteen to meet with ian. we usually meet once a month. he had just got back from a holiday in croatia. on the bus there i noticed the roads are uncrowded and no traffic jams; and i realised today is the beginning of the long summer holidays. why it should bring fewer traffic in london is a mystery. surely there are not that many who have school kids doing the school run, and are now all on holiday and left london. and it seems not only traffic is less, but places are less crowded too… restaurants, etc seem to have lots of tables free. i dont personally know of it, as i dont eat in restaurants or go to places of entertainment, but i read in the newspapers articles from writers of the social pages saying so.

its a cloudy day but it was warm so we decided to go to tavistock square nearby rather than stay indoors. and sat on one of the benches there and talked whilst being entertained by two squirrels, cavorting about under the base of a maple tree, under a sign that says  it had been planted on a year of peace in 1986. the squirrels are grey, but have tinges of red breast on their bellies. ian has a theory that grey squirrels gradually evolve into red squirrels over time as they adapt to the local colours. sounds like a nice idea. certainly these ones we see are a mix of grey and red fur and are full of life.


chinese wedding photos with london as the backdrop

22 Jun

london 4.50pm 22.7C sunny friday 2018

i live in london and i forget how exciting it can be for those who have never come here before. and it is nice to be reminded of it when i read this article about chinese couples , men and women, coming to london in their wedding finery to take pictures posing in front of london’s, and uk’s scenery as background.

i have seen these couples of course, when i am out and about… though usually on a gloomy day, with the bride carrying her wedding gown waist high to avoid it dragging on the ground, whilst  a man carrying camera equipment and woman fussing around them taking pictures. the groom usually is not dressed well, looking scruffy, only the woman looking all dressed up; and very often i see the white gown having very muddy hems, looking very soiled from being dragged around so much. haha. i hope their photo comes out nicer than it looked… and they are able to hide all the mud. perhaps it is a bride only photo shoot , so the groom need not look his best yet. 

i used to think when i see these couples out and about, trying to take pictures amidst all the other tourists milling about the area that they have gotten married recently  and so taken some of the time to go round the london landmarks to take after -wedding photos. but this article tells me that actually they come here to take photos before they are engaged even, going through the whole thing just so they can show these photos during their wedding day in china or hongkong. it seems there is some kind of social cachet to it. and looking at one of these links, the photos look very classy, makes the bride and groom look real romantic and dashing… come to think of it, i am sure they must go all round the world doing this, taking wedding pictures in all the famous landmarks all over the world. or is it something they do only in london and uk… because london has a special meaning for them…? i am thinking it might work well if they use them as honeymoon pictures, to show when they get back from their honeymoon.  it must be something to show to the people back home when you come back from the honeymoon. even though the pictures are taken before the engagement even. 


21 Apr

london 2pm 22.5C sunny saturday 2018

7.23pm 19.1C sunny sunset at 8.07pm.sunrise 5.52am.

i think the heat is abated. highest temp today was 23.4C . its very pleasant. not too hot .

it was very sunny in the morning, so i went walkabout, doing my migratory route daily to the library, today i went to the marylebone library. after which i went into the waitrose nearby just to see what is there. i had a sample of japanese sushi rice they they were giving out to taste. very nice of course . it was supposed to have avocado inside, but i could not taste it, not that avocado has any taste… this sample has chili powder on it , which is not usual in japanese cuisine. but nowadays we have fusion style cuisine, so anything goes really. 

the store was quite busy, i guess people were enticed to come out of their houses and flats, by the good weather.

on the way back, the bus swept by a  crowd demonstrating and marching on the side of park lane. protesting against the genocide in algeria,armenia, according to the placards. (thank goodness they were not blocking off the road for it) and in the green grass of hyde park on the other side there may well be men on horseback gathering around, still there from earlier this morning, when i saw them. i guess to celebrate the queen’s 92nd birthday today. it is her real birthday, not the official one which is in june. added 24.4.18 tuesday . i read that armenia’s president has resigned because of strong protest against him extending his tenure beyond the 2 terms. he resigned in today’s news.(i got it from the new york times newsletter… did u know that cher, and the kardarsians are descended from armenians?)  so it could be the protest is about that, and the placards may be referring to the  genocide of armenians by the ottoman empire. 

there is a very nice sunset that i can see from my kitchen window. the rosy tinge is making everything inside the flat take on a glow. and i got to borrow this book about pooh bear, called the best bear in the world.a collection of four stories inspired by aa milne. i think people like those pooh bear stories so much that they want more of it. and they illustrate it in the style of the original too.



a page from the best bear in all the world

added. i see in the daily mail a report that the next generation may lose its ability to cook, because takeaway meals are so popular. i remember when i was growing up in malaysia, i did not learn how to cook. firstly my mother did all the cooking, and we never did need to learn how. also hawker foods were so cheap that hardly anyone wants to cook at home. so i know what that society is like, where no one cooks at home or at least most dont. i know my family is an outlier, because my mum cooks for us and hardly buys from hawkers. when i came to london it was so expensive to eat out all the time… even in those days when price wise it is quite cheap compared to the average wage; but we are fresh from malaysia, and in those days when we convert to ringgits it sounds very expensive as the exchange rate was like £1=Rm8 (i think). now it is Rm5. but if what they say now is correct, that the young generation are buying home delivered meals, instead of cooking themselves, are we breeding a whole bunch of people who dont cook at home any more? i dont think so, because it is still more expensive to buy food to be delivered… rather than just cook the food from scratch. but it is a circular arguement, it might well be if u dont know how to cook, you will not find it cheaper to make food from scratch because u dont know how. so we might have a generation that is forced to buy meals to be delivered, and forced to spend more on meals than if they can eat cheaply cooking it themselves. but, you know what? i think people will learn to cook if they have to, just like i did when i came to london. there are cook books, so people can learn from them. the skills of cooking wont get lost.