Tag Archives: wine
13 Nov

london 5.09pm 7C cloudy dark wednesday 2019 victoria library

i have been to the followup appointment for my prostate in chelsea hospital, to find out the result of the psa from the blood sample i gave about 2wks ago. it was about 5.9, a considerable drop from last time, 13, and before that 30. so the doctor says it looks like it is going down, to normal which is about 4 for me.

he suggests another test about 6months from now, but to let my GP do the blood test instead of the hospital. i am glad it, the psa, has gone down. i feel fine as far as the lower plumbing is concerned. by that i mean my pissing, no problems there anymore since i am taking tamsolusin. 

so i am glad that i am getting back to normal.

earlier this morning, i found out that giraffe, a chain of cafes, was giving away free takeaway coffee, because today is world friendship day. so i went there to get a cappuccino. its nice to be able to get free coffee, though if there isn’t any, i am ok with it too. this is because i like the weak instant coffee and prefers it , so this means i can always make my own and dont have to buy it from coffeeshops. in fact, none of them make coffee from instant anyway. haha.

sometimes when i happen to pass these coffee shops i would stop briefly to look at their menu, just to see what they sell to eat. i had a look online at the giraffe menu,  and though sometimes it does seem quite tempting, i know i can easily go back and make my own, or simon will be cooking something up and i can eat what he cooks. and it is delicious too. and i am always glad to go back to eat esp when i see the prices they are charging. £12 for the main dish nowadays.

i was reading a newspaper article about the menu del dia, in spain. they were saying it may be dying out, as many of the old hands who do it die off and their children dont want to follow in their footsteps. it seems long ago when people take long lunch breaks and cannot go back home, they rely on these cheap menu del dia ,3 courses, started off at 6euros, but now going up to 8euros during the time i holiday there (torrevieja), and now 13-14 euros. when i was there, in the mid 2000s, it includes wine too, but i wonder if they still include it now. i remember it includes the tips and vat. so very good value for money actually, esp for those who drink. my friends drank my share. the wine is for 2 bottles for 3people. if u like to drink wine, spain is just wonderful for getting your fill of it quite cheaply.

in london, i was looking at the menu of a place just outside the chelsea hosp, when i was coming back, and i see they have a 2course for £12, 3course for £14. so comparatively very similar to the spanish menu del dia, though it does not include wine nor tips. 

added. i found a 2020 calendar, not that i need it as i have been using my own home made calendar for ages now. but the pictures of food are very nice to look at.

the space for each date is not big enough to write things on it. so i shall continue to use my own homemade one i think. and just hang this up for the pictures of food.

i was browsing the magazine section in the sainsburys, and saw this this calendar came with a food magazine called good food. the cover costs says £8. but u can subscribe cheaper. i thought £8 is a lot , but of course most people will subscribe, then it is £5 for 5 issues then £21 (about) for the next 6. and you get a free bottle of wine as well. or you can go to the library to see if they get it, and then u can read it free. haha. 



pleasures that i miss out

19 Oct

london 1.22pm 14C sunny saturday 2019

i went earlier this morning to the italian exhibition , it was showcasing italian goods, from what i see, wine, cheese, olive oil.

i ws given some olive oil to taste, and even though they tell me it was special, i could not tell the difference. in fact they had no smell or distinctive taste. i would blame myself, for not being able to detect the difference.

later i stood near a stall, and the owner asked me if i want to taste the olive oil, and i said, i am afraid it is all wasted on me. i just had an experience with another stall, and they showed me their different vintage and i could not tell the difference. he asked me to smell one which was harvested recently and another which was 1 yr old, and i immediately said i can smell that , and it is exactly what i like about olive oil. the recently pressed one was cloudy, whereas the 1yr old one was more like what we think of as olive oil, it is clear, yellowish, and smells like the real thing. so it looks like i would like a year old olive oil, and forget about all the others. 

added. home 2.44pm i had a look at the olive oil we have at home. it is extra virgin olive oil, product of spain, by sainsburys. it says store away from light, do not refrigerate, and itmight get cloudy at less than 10C. this is normal and the oil will clear on warming…so does the cloudying he showed me with the freshly produced olive oil, a natural thing or what. i certainly like the olive oil smell. so the expensive oils i tasted earlier, with no smells, seems to me a disadvantage. i like my olive oil to smell of olives. dont everyone? so why do those expensive vintage oils that were sold have their smells removed? also, how can olive oil be kept for so long? the english stall told me that olive oil has a sell by date, and he pointed that his has a sell by date of 2021. so how come those vintage oils have such long years. might their lack of smell mean they have long expired and lost all their flavour… that might explain why they are so mild. i do think olive oil is not like wine, where it tastes better the longer it is kept… or so they tell me. i think with olive oil , longer does not mean better.

this bottle of sainsburys olive oil that i got in my kitchen has no ingredient list, it is just olive oil. no other added stuff. and that is what it should be. keep it simple and sell it cheap. that is what i say. just cold press olives and no matter what olives they are, the oil should be pure olive oil and should be delicious. it expires 2020.

he was english, and i guess he knows what the english like. we like that smell of olive. maybe we are so used to cheap olive oil, which have a distinctive smell, that we associate all olive oil with it, and cant appreciate the finer smell and flavour of the more vintage and specialised ones made from named olive species. but whatever our tastes, we know it is not much point buying more expensive olive oils, because we just wont appreciate them. also i was thinking, we all never drink olive oil by itself, we always mix it with other things, either in cooking , or as a dressing, and once we add the other ingredients any slight subtle flavours in the olive oil will be swamped. so not much point buying expensive olive oils when we will never get to taste or smell it. i would say the only time when i would use olive oil by itself is on a dish of mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil. a grind of pepper and salt ; then the taste and flavour of the olive oil is quite important to the dish. 

i went round and tasted the foodstuff. there was wine, and they provide glasses for you to take around, so u can sample the wine. but i just did not bother as i know the wine will be wasted on me. i can never tell the difference in all the various types of wine. i only know red from white … and that is all. sometimes i wonder whether it is a blessing that i dont know the difference… i can never get addicted to wine. that is a blessing. but the downside is that i can never know the pleasure of drinking a good bottle of wine.

added 11.50am sunday 20.10.19 11C sunny . paddington library.

i was reading the saturday times, in the library, and came across an article that says killer bug is destroying italy’s ancient olive trees. it is so bad, that the country is having for the first time,to import tonnes of olive oil because last year its harvest fell by 60%.  the bug’s effects first made its appearance in 2013, in south italy, puglia region, where the best olive oil is it seems. the price of olive oil is not affected , due to increased production from morrocco and tunisia.


price of wine in uk and in france

29 Oct

london 9.09am 15C cloudy saturday 2016. such a mild weather we are having. some high pressure hanging around and preventing the cold north wind from coming down south.

wine prices here in uk has always got me puzzled why it is so much more expensive here than in france or spain. i mean u can get £1.50 ( maybe a bit more now that our £ has dropped) bottles of wine there, and it seems very drinkable. not that i know of course, seeing i dont know my wine at all, and they all taste rather bitter to me. haha. well i happen to come across this post talking about the price here vs france, and it is the duty that the british govt imposed on the wine. £2 plus vat. so £2.41 ( will be more now , that post was in 2014) straight away on a bottle before it is even on sale. no wonder no bottle can be bought for less here.

just to check, i went into lidl online just now to find out what is the cheapest wine they got. it is a white wine, £6.49 for a reisling ernest wein, alsace 2015. cant say i know what it is except it is a white wine. ( correction, the cheapest is £4.79 ribeiro casal de rio,spain2015; this one pedro jimenez 2013 £3.99 even got a good review in 2015 but possible with our low £ now u cannot get it at that price now) i can remember u can get cheapest wine for about £4. not any more it seems. still can… just, though the quality of wine u can buy with it now as opposed to those long ago days may be different.i suppose one good thing about it is that it might make someone less likely to become alcoholic, if the wine is so expensive here. if wine is £1.50 a bottle, it is tempting to drink a lot of it, and that will ruin your liver before u know it.

i have to say all those names in french gives it a mighty sounding resonance to it all, and makes anyone holding a glass of it, and sprouting it sound learned and clever and sophisticated. its a nice image. 


wine and pub

17 Sep

london 2.36pm 16.1C cloudy saturday 2016

I think it very english to go to a pub after work near the end of the week. i see it on friday, when the pubs are so busy they spill out into the street. 

i took these at about 6pm on thursday and allready the pub near me is crowded with office workers, spilling out into the street. i thought it usually happens on friday because last friday i saw the crowd outside the pub too; but it seems office workers start celebrating the weekend  on thursday.

 just standing around nursing a drink seems to be the way to socialise. i think that is unique of british  people. and i would even hazard a guess  that it is also seen in british derived cultures like canada, australia. tell me if that is not the case, all of u lot who live in canada, or australia. what about in america, do all those workers in new york hang around like that after work?

i saw this row of pinot (pee not haha) grigio on the tesco shelf. whenever i see this drink i just have to laugh. there were others , tesco labelled ones selling for £4.40. glad i dont like drinking alcohol otherwise i shall be very sorely tempted by all these wine and hard drinks. 

if u dont drink alcohol…

22 Jul

london 3.51pm wednesday 2015 22.5C cloudy

i dont cultivate a alcohol habit. but i think i might pretend to after what happened just now.

you see, i got an email saying they want people to do a survey by john lewis, and you will be entered for a £100 voucher in a draw. well, i dont mind winning a £100, so i clicked to enter the survey. unfortunately i was too honest and ticked that part where they ask how often i drink. i ticked seldom. and that go me kicked out, saying i am not eligible.

oh dear, we non drinkers really get left out of a lot of things. which makes me believe that is why there are so many alcoholics.

 right from the start, society seems to favour the drinker. in the recent past it also favours the smoker, but that is now completely about -turned and the smoker is now a pariah. but drinking is still rather encouraged.

we get so many articles about wines, and how to drink it, and also reviews of wines with all their flowery phrases, always likening them to fruits, which makes me wonder why not just eat the fruit instead of fermenting it and drinking the fermented products if you then end up comparing the fermented product to fruit flavours.

i was wandering around in my supermarket the other day and saw the wine section, and all the prices ranging down the aisle, £5, £6, £8, for a bottle and i was thinking i am glad i dont drink, all that money spent on drinking these small bottles of alcohol flavoured drinks. they keep telling me it tastes wonderful, but i know they dont. i have tasted them before and no amount of propaganda will convince me they taste that good. haha. so anytime i feel i am losing out when i hear or read someone praising the wine, or luxuriating in it, i can say, pull the other leg, because i cannot deny my own experience of it…

if i  did not know better, and be firmly confident of what i can see and taste with my own mouth,  i would be envious and feel i am losing out, but i have seen through the scam. it is a very successful scam by the wine manufacturers to get people to drink their products. all they have to do is to design a great looking label and concoct a fantastic sounding name and then start their propaganda.

its amazing how this fear of missing out can make people behave in a way that is opposite to what they can know from their own experience. they can be made to deny their own experience , to doubt what their tastes buds tell them, and to like something that tastes horrid. 

its raining outside

6 Apr


thank goodness, though it would have been more welcomed 2days ago, at the height of the sand smog from the sahara. in fact by yesterday the smog was clearing. i know because i can see the clouds and sunshine was getting through . during the smog, the whole sky was a uniform hazy brightness. it certainly brings us an experience of what it is like for malaysia and singapore when they got the haze from the peat fires in sumatra wafting over them. or people in chiangmai area when the farmers start burning their fields every feb-april.

what i find surprising is that the sands can remain suspended till they arrive in the uk. how come they dont fall in europe for heaven’s sake. even the sand wants to settle in uk, travelling all the way over the vast expense of europe to drop in here.

 it is the first time that we got this sand. at least for as long as i have lived here, i have not seen this before. the scientists are saying dont be complacent, it will happen more often in future. hope they are wrong. And i think they will be wrong, because our prevailing winds are from the west. it must take a once in a blue moon strong wind that will shoot the sand fr the sahara so high into the stratosphere that it lands so far north. that cannot be usual so i would not expect it every year no matter what they say.

i read in todays paper that the brits wont pay more than £6 for wine, that the govt takes 60% in duty and so there is no money to be made selling wine in uk. i know now why wine is so cheap in europe, it is the govt tax here that keeps the price high. no wonder all french cooking involves wine, it is so cheap there. i used to think what a waste of wine to cook it, the alcohol gets driven off so what is the point of it? right? but when u realise that wine is really very abundant in europe, so much of it is produced that if u dont find ways of using it up , u will have to pour it away. i bet in europe they dont need to use beef,or chicken stock , they use wine instead.

the brits drink more instant coffee than anyone else.

Yesterday i took the bus to trafalgar square, because i was restless and just wanted to go out. there were lots of young people carrying pillow cases. and there were lots of feathers on the ground and a large group were flailing their pillows up by the entrance to the national gallery. the central square where the fountains were have been closed off and cleaners spraying the area and sweeping the feathers.

I asked one of them what was going on. she said it was a pillow fight. is it a protest or something? I asked. no she said. what surprised me is that so many of them were using pillows filled with real feathers. i see many pillows being carried with the primark brand, and those dont have feathers, but since there were so many feathers about, i imagine quite a number of them must use feather filled pillows and that must cost a bit.

ah well, the exuberance of youth u might say. haha. nowadays with twitter and such it is easy to get a crowd going .

i have to say it is very efficient of the cleaning company to be cleaning away so quickly. just as well otherwise the wind will blow the feathers about and spread it wider. these guys dont realise somebody have to pay for their bit of fun. it will be us council tax payers i guess. Or maybe we council tax payers many not be affected… it might be included in their cleaning contract.

Generally,  i think it will be to london’s advantage… see,this event brings them to central london on a saturday, they will go out to eat and go shopping and generally patronise the businesses in london and pay through the nose for the food, goods, entertainment etc and london will make its profit and also make sure people keep coming to london .

London is always busy with lots of people on the streets. when u consider an equal if not more people are in the shops, u can hardly imagine the numbers of people in london . and it is all good. it makes the place so vibrant, keeps business tills ringing away and gives it a good atmosphere. I love the hustle and bustle of it.

i was looking at the crowds of people from where i am in the bus and i see so many are dressed so drably. all dark clothing and the uniform of the day… duvet style jackets and jeans, and trainers. everyone , even the women. considering they must be buying lots of clothes where do they put them since they are not wearing them in their daily lives.

I have finished reading ‘bangkok days’ by lawrence osborne, ‘eat pray love’ by elizabeth gilbert, interesting to me because they talk of expat life. both depict expats who have fallen into a lotus land where time is forgot and they stay so long they are in suspended animation.

added 13.4.14. here is an interview with osborne in the observer today.

‘quote from pray eat love. ‘I’ve been watching the expatriate society in Ubud… Everywhere in this town you see the same kind of character- Westerners who have been so ill treated and badly worn by life that they’ve dropped the whole struggle and decided to camp out here in Bali indefinitely, where they can live in a gorgeous house for $200 a month, perhaps taking a young Balinese man or woman as a companion, where they can drink before noon without getting any static about it, where they can make a bit of money exporting a bit of furniture for somebody. But generally, all they are doing here is seeing to it that nothing serious will ever be asked of them again. these are not bums, mind you. This is a very high grade of people, multinational, talented and clever. But it seems to me that everyone I meet here used to be something once (generally ‘married’ or ’employed’); now they are all united by the absence of the one thing they seem to have surrendered completely and forever; ambition. Needless to say, there’s a lot of drinking. ‘ unquote.

that really sums up expat life in these places very well indeed.