Thursday, 29 January 2015

Smile please, you're on camera

Hello. I think I should get Nellie Knowitall, our guest contributor, to write this post, it's right up her street, but as she is swanning around somewhere in the Bahamas, I won't disturb her. I am sure I am just as capable of stating the bleedin obvious, so I'll rattle it out myself.
Speeding, what do you think of speed cameras, or any cameras for that matter. There is an article in a well know national newspaper this morning entitled 'Know your enemy : there are 20 different kinds of cameras spying on motorists : spot them before they spot you.' Some are used to catch criminals, monitor traffic, or collect data. But large numbers are used to issue fines, which total £284 million pounds a year. They are despised because most of the money goes to the treasury. Every time you drive you are spied on.

Most of the population of Britain seems to hate them, they are labeled as 'cash cows' for the government. Ok, these are my thoughts, my simplistic way of looking at things. If you don't drive over the speed limit you will give the government nothing. If you don't park where you are not supposed to, you will give the government nothing. I have been caught speeding three times in the 45 years I have been driving, all in commercial vehicles, and all when I had a lapse of concentration for a few seconds. Not slowing down enough from 36mph when I hit a 30 limit, at 6am when there was no traffic about. Passing through a roadworks on an the A1M and didn't get down to 50mph quick enough, on a Sunday when it wasn't very busy. And coming out of a built up area on a wide road thinking the speed limit must be 40 when in fact it was still 30 for a little while longer. All my fault. My licence is clean now, and has been for some time, I have learnt my lesson. Driving over the speed limit costs money, so why would I put myself in that situation now.

You can get a speed camera detector gizmo for your car, it will bleep as you approach one, they can cost around £180. Why would you want to pay that much, when all you have to do is watch for the speed limit signs, make a mental note and adjust your speed accordingly. Simple really, it costs nothing to concentrate.

There are web sites out there which show where speed cameras are located. So, say you are planning a journey in an area you are not familiar with, would you spend time searching a map to find where all the cameras are? What if you decided to go off route during your journey and you didn't have the correct map, you are stuffed then, unless of course you have access to the maps in a sat nav. Jeez, there are enough distractions on the road without introducing more. For safety's sake you are supposed to be watching the road ahead, not eyes up in the sky searching for cameras. Wouldn't it be a lot easier to take note of the speed limit signs, then glance at your speedometer and make sure it is reading the same or less than the speed indicated on the sign. What could be chuffin easier than that!

Then there are web sites which tell you how to avoid paying fines, for goodness sake, you got caught, you pay. Don't speed, you won't get a fine. Simple.

A lot of the comments on the article are from people who object to Big Brother watching them, and I can't understand that. If you are doing something you shouldn't be, or if you are somewhere where you shouldn't be, then you have cause to be worried. Security cameras and speed cameras can work in your favour if you have nothing to hide. My car is street legal, no worries there. I don't mind the cameras in the High Street, I would rather someone be watching out for my safety. I don't mind cameras inside shops, useful tool to deter thieves.

When I retired the pressure came off to drive anywhere fast. I did take some risks, that was the nature of the job, but now I can go about my business in a more leisurely way. I have forgotten how to rush, everything I do is at my own pace. And it's lovely, I have time to smile at the cameras.
Thanks for reading. Toodle pip,

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

A windy walk in the Lincolnshire Wolds

Hello. I've had a smashing day out with my walking buddies, Paul and Paul. It was my turn to drive,  pick the route, and lead the walk, and I chose a ten mile walk starting at Nettleton near Caistor in the Lincolnshire Wolds. I have done this one before, and wanted to make a return visit to the Old Rectory at Claxby. 
Just as we were getting ready this morning it all went black and the rain was blowing sideways. It didn't look too promising so I texted Paul, and rang the other Paul, should we give it a go or would it be best to abandon the idea. We decided to go for it. We parked at Nettleton at about 10.50am and set off down the Viking Way. The path passes a farm gate and this notice caught our eye, and gave us a chuckle.  
The path follows Nettleton Beck for a mile or two, It goes past the old chalk quarry, and crosses a wide track. Several 4x4 vehicles were parked there, and men with guns and dogs were setting off to go and blast some poor defenceless pheasants out of the sky. The beaters were behind the trees down there, where we have just walked past.

We arrived in Normanby le Wold to find the church door unlocked so we could sit inside and eat our lunch. It was a bit too gloomy for me, and I found a bench against the wall in the sunshine. It was nice and sheltered from the wind.

It was a short walk to Claxby, and we made straight for the church where the Old Rectory is behind it. And here it is. If you have been reading my blog for a long time, you will remember I did a post about this building, it was abandoned left to be swallowed up by the creeping ivy and overgrown bushes. I am sad to say, it is still in the same condition, one year and five months later. Such a beautiful building, such a shame. 

If you want to read the post from the 12th of August 2013, it's here. You will see that someone who was a gardener there a long time ago read it and put a comment on it. It really does need someone to come along and look after it. 
We headed north out of Claxby on Pelham Road, and took a path along the bottom of the hill back to Nettleton, joining the main A46 for the last half mile. Mostly it was along the edges of fields, which were very muddy in places. Paul, the one on the left, likes to go wading straight through the mud whereas I like to try and skirt round it a bit. When you put your foot down you don't know how far you are going to sink into it. 

We were well wrapped up against the wind, and got back to the car at 3.50pm. An exhilarating ten mile walk, I shall sleep well tonight.

Thank you for visiting my world, and thank you for your comments. Catch you tomorrow.
Toodle pip.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Create a new way

Hello. Someone very kindly compared my posts to self help books. Wow! I am chuffed that what I consider as my simple way of looking at things, is making some sense with some readers. I don't profess to be an expert in anything, except lorry driving, ha ha, but I like to think that my experiences at the University of Life have given me the grounding that I need to live a contented and fulfilling life.

I have always liked writing, gathering together the thoughts in my head, and putting them down in some sort of order. I wasn't very bright at school, I couldn't be bothered, just about scraped through, and hoped no one noticed that I wasn't taking it all in. I was hopeless at exams and couldn't wait to leave and went at the first opportunity. So for someone to say that a post has more wisdom that ten self help books, makes me very chuffed indeed.

I am sure that many of my readers have a wisdom far beyond my own offerings, going by the comments coming in. I love the little sayings and words of wisdom that you come up with from time to time, I write them down because they trigger more thoughts and ideas which I want to hang on to. You inspire me to explore issues further, to hopefully gain a better understanding of how things fit together.

Something that N said, struck a chord, 'I always make time for things that allow my creativity.'  She was talking about learning new hobbies to distract herself from events she would rather forget about. It got me thinking about how creativity can play a key roll in how we can deal with putting the not so perfect past behind us.

The way I see it, if someone has no creative instincts at all, they mostly rely on learning from others, they see how their friends, family, and work colleagues do things, and they follow suit. This takes less effort than thinking up new ideas. It's like going down a long straight road, and ignoring all the roads off it in favour of keep going mile after mile in the same direction, with possibly no end in sight. Changing direction would require a new way of thinking. I don't know anything about how a brain works, but I reckon that if you only stuck with the road you know, always doing the same thing in the same way, then you are only using half your brain. It's a bit of a waste, not using it to it's full potential. If you are not creative, how are you going to find your way through the ups and downs of life? Relying on others to show you the way will not work, you need to be creative in thinking up new ideas, and new directions.

So, back to distraction, N could have done nothing, and gone nowhere, but she made an effort, she recognized that by allowing herself to be creative, she could move on. Creativity means going in a different direction, give yourself a good talking to, to push yourself into something outside your comfort zone. It could be something quite simple, like bake a cake if you have never made one before. Or sign up for a pottery class at college. Or taking up flower arranging. The end product of creativity is learning new skills and expanding your outlook on life. It's looking at situations from a new angle, and finding a better way to get where you want to be. Surely that's got to be a good thing. Well that's how I see it.
Toodle pip

Monday, 26 January 2015

Budget eating for one

Hello. It's a bit of a mixed bag tonight I'm afraid. There comes a time when I have all sorts going through my head, so I just pick out a few random bits and pieces. People say things, I read things, and I think, oh must write something about that. So, in no particular order.......

Jayne asked for a recipe for garlic mushrooms. My easy way of making them. Mushrooms cut up if big, but small ones can be left whole. Cooked in a small pan in a splash of oil or a blob of butter/marg or both. If a bit dry add a splash of lemon juice, I have a bottle in my fridge. Or you can add a drop of water, or any old juice you happen to have around. I like them quite garlicky so I add a flat teaspoon of garlic powder, or you can use garlic paste. If you don't like a strong garlic taste you can reduce the amount or leave it out. Stir it in while the pan is still on the heat. Then I add some garlic flavour soft cheese spread. two teaspoons should do it. This costs about 45p -55p depending where you buy it. I always have some of this in the fridge because I like it on cream crackers.

Take it off the heat, stir it in, if there isn't enough sauce add a spoonful of plain yogurt. If you want it rich and creamy add a bit of grated cheese. Easypeasy.

Helen asked how many meals do I have a day, and what are they composed of. Thank you Helen for that question. I have three meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast is either porridge or bran flakes. Sometimes with a banana and/or sultanas. I aim to have lunch any time between 12am and 2pm, depending what I am doing, and depending when my stomach is telling me to eat. Early lunch if I am feeling hungry, or a mid morning snack of a banana or yogurt if I am busy and not eating till 1pm. I like to have eggs three or four times a week for lunch, either scrambled, omelette, or boiled.  Sometimes on toast, or with mushrooms, or with beans or spaghetti. I will have a salad if I have any in. Lunch could also be noodles, pasta, or cous cous.

Dinner is mainly steamed fresh veg. If I run out I will substitute frozen veg, I have stopped buying tinned veg, frozen is more cost effective. I make soups, stews, and curries with whatever I have in. I like cheese grated on some of my meals. I don't have puddings because my meals fill me up. If I fancy something sweet, which could be at anytime not necessarily after a meal, I will have half a tin of rice pudding, or some tinned peaches with yogurt. I also put ground almonds into my yogurt to eat with fruit or on it's own. I don't eat much bread, but if I do it's wholemeal or seeded. I might have a cheese sandwich for lunch, or a piece of bread with lemon curd on it. I eat brown rice and wholemeal pasta.

When I go shopping for food I never take a list, I know in my head the main things I need. I always have in onions, bananas, cheese, yogurt, eggs, soya milk, bran flakes and porridge. I choose my fruit and veg by whatever I can get on a yellow sticker, if not much is available I try and buy in season, and look for the best prices. If swede is cheaper than potatoes then I have swede. If carrots are cheap I get some. I like to get broccoli, cauliflower, and sprouts, but if they are too expensive I will pass them by. If you go to the food gallery link at the top of the page, there are lots of pictures of my meals there.

I made some more peanut butter today, but instead of using the food processor I used the stick blender, to cut down on the washing up. I used a packet of ordinary salted peanuts and shook them around in a tea towel to get rid of some of the salt. The blender struggled a bit at first until they broke down a bit. Nothing added, just peanuts. I will keep this in the fridge and dip into it when I want some, won't bother transferring it to a smaller container, saves on washing up. I've been looking for cheap peanuts, but the human kind are more expensive than those you buy for the birds. I read the label on a packet of those, it says not for human consumption. Don't know why, they look like any other peanut. Must be different varieties.

I picket up this packet of maize cous cous when I was last in Tesco, reduced from £2 to 40p. A bargain I thought. Not had it before, don't know what it's like, worth a try.

 And here's the dinner I made tonight. The cous cous is buried in the middle of iceberg lettuce, grated carrot, chopped celery, and cooked beetroot out of a sealed packet, (not jar). The cous cous wasn't that nice, not like the regular stuff, no taste and gritty. I didn't eat it all, got fed up with all the chewing, so I will put it back in the pan tomorrow and cook it up some more with a little oil and garlic, maybe some cheese.

I've just realized, it's all food tonight, how boring, ha ha. There was something else to write about but I've run out of time, so I'll hold that over till tomorrow. I want to catch up with Last Tango now, so I'll say, Toodle pip.

PS. A bag is in the post for Aussie Cheryl, thanks for sending your address. One left for Primroses Attic. I'll hang on a bit longer, but if you don't respond soon, I'll draw another name out.