Monday 27 Jan

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day in the UK. Our local church is organising a remembrance service and this evening there is a dinner with a speaker who claims to be a survivor of Auschwitz camp.

Although I don’t doubt that there was a Holocaust, but there are one or two things that puzzle me about it. We all know that the Germans are very methodical in everything they do, good or bad, and in Nazi Germany they kept records of practically everything to do with the time they were in power and during the WWII.

For instance every Jew, Gypsy, Dissenter, Jehovahs Witnesses and other undesirables were documented either before or after they arrived at the concentration camps. All the Jews had to give details of property and money they owned, what their trade or job was, family details etc. These details were entered into ledgers and other documents against a number and the number was then tattooed on their arm. Now if the Nazis intention was to gas them or kill them anyway it seemed a bit pointless to document them as this could be used as evidence against them in the future, and was. This is true because the Russians released all the paperwork they had managed to retrieve before the Germans had time to destroy it. Some of this paperwork is on display at the Memorial Museum.

There is a lot more about the Holocaust I cant get my head round, but I wont bore you any more with this topic. It happened, and now it’s over and just another part of history. Like so many things in the past, we will never know what really happened.

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Today I decided to clear out all the rubbish in the outhouse to make room for all my new rubbish, sorry, junk. Junk is useful, rubbish is not.

I took several carloads of black bin bags to the local rubbish tip “Refuse and Recycle Unit” as it is now called. It’s an amazing place, there are huge containers marked “Garden Waste”, “Domestic Waste” (for landfill), “Electronic Equipment”, “Scrap Metal”, “Paper & Cardboard”, “Flat Glass”, “Recyclable Waste” (?), and the most appalling one, “Organic Waste”.

waste-foodThat one was overflowing with waste food, some of which still looked perfectly edible. My guess is that it came from local supermarkets, because a lot of it was still in those plastic containers they use. There were bananas, apples (still in plastic bags), prepacks of potatoes. onions, carrots etc. When something goes a day past it’s estimated ‘use-by-date’ it’s considered unconsumable and thrown out. I couldn’t get close enough to read the labels to see which supermarket it came from.

Disgusting, when you think that nearly half the world are on a starvation diet. To make matters worse, most of the dumped fruit and vegetables are probably grown in the third world countries and then imported here for us to waste.

Sunday 19 Jan

~~~~~~Very early, about 10 am ~~~~~~

Today I decided to do a few odd jobs around the house that had been pending for quite a while. I am one of those people who keep a “To Do” list on the kitchen notice board, sick I know, but with a brain like mine you need something to remind you.

Now, where was I, oh yes, I was going to catch up on the more urgent jobs like washing the cat’s dishes; I should imagine she’s fed up with the dried up remains of last weeks meals stuck all over them.

Then there’s “Sweep the chimneys”. No, I don’t think so, maybe some other day. “Repair the ironing board”, noooooo, I don’t think so, then it would mean I would have to iron the enormous pile of shirts, sheets, unmentionables and socks. “Clean out the fridge”, well, it doesn’t smell too bad, and after 4 years it can’t get any worse; I’ll leave it until the cheese walks out in protest.

I know! I’ll make something to eat, like a nice salad and some bread. There’s some tomatoes in the fridge, a bit elderly though, and some onions if I cut off the long green shoots, a wrinkly cucumber, and some fresh parsley on the windowsill.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Later ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It didn’t turn out too bad (1). Then I made the bread (4) just to try out some wholemeal flour (3) my friends had brought back from their holiday abroad; the rainy and windswept Isle of Wight. I can’t say I was impressed with the quality, because I wasn’t; it didn’t rise properly. I think it must have been well matured before she bought it because it tasted VILE. Groo!
montage
1) Tomato, cucumber and onion salad with fresh parsley and a French style vinegrette.
2) My everyday white bread, made as a ‘bunloaf’*.
3) The wholemeal flour my friend brought me from the Isle of Wight.
4) The bunloaf, or sample if you like, I made from the wholemeal flour.

* ‘Bunloaf’ – Bigger than a Bun, but Littler than a Loaf.

Saturday 18 Jan

Yesterday I was reading about obesity in this country, it seems that most cases of obesity are caused by a person eating more calories than they burn off, and the unused calories being turned into fat. Apparently modern lifestyles do not help, as there is now easy access to cheap, high energy food that is often marketed aggressively, just look at the adverts from McDonalds, Burger King etc. Well, it saves slaving over a hot stove and cooking something doesn’t it? The nice takeaway delivery man brings your whopping great pizza right to your door, so all you have to do is sit on the couch and stuff your face whilst watching the Jeremy Kyle Show or whatever.

Jobs are much less active than in the past, most people now work in offices and sit at computers all day, or even working from home where it is easy to sit watching television, playing video games and just browsing the Internet.

People drive around or use public transport and tend to walk a lot less than they used to. I used to walk a lot, rather than get the car out for journeys of less that two miles. I never used public transport because the fares always seemed exorbitant to me. I would walk to the local supermarket (2 miles) and catch the bus home only because of carrying the heavy bags of booze groceries.

I can’t walk far now due to arthritis, but I do try to walk as much as possible because I think it is essential to keep moving for as long as I can.

Anyway, I digress. Several weeks ago I found a page, see here, which gave tips on how to reduce your food intake. Pay particular attention to the video on the left hand side of their page. They suggested using a smaller plate for your meals; assuming of course that you still know how to cook ‘like what I do’.

dinner-platesSeveral years ago I bought a modern dining set which included dinner plates, side plate, cups and saucers and I have used it ever since, thinking nothing of just filling the dinner plate with loads of my super-delicious home cooked food. In fact the plates are so big that if I put one in them in the microwave slightly off centre it catches on the sides and back.

When I read about the size of modern plates I remembered that I had some dinner plates stored in the outhouse under my workbench. They were in a box of stuff I had salvaged from my mothers house when she died. I thought that the things might come in useful one day, but they have lain forgotten since 1998.

When I retrieved them I was surprised at their size compared to modern dinner plates. I remembered eating of those plates in the 1940’s and early 1950’s. Since retrieving them I use them all the time now, not because of nostalgia but I find that I do eat less because those plates always look full, but with less food on them. I suppose it’s physiological really, but I do feel satisfied by eating less.

What’s more, the gravy doesn’t spill over the edge of these old plates onto the carpet when you pick them up!

Monday 13 January

my-journalWhen I designed this blog my intention was to dedicate it to articles about handwriting and calligraphy. Then I checked around the Internet and found hundreds of blogs and static pages doing just what I had intended to do, and no doubt there are thousands more that I don’t know about so I decided to use this blog for something else.

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When I was in the Army I always kept diaries and journals and having got into the habit I carried on writing up to the present day. I’m the only one who ever reads them and I keep them away from prying eyes. Just as well because some of the entries are a bit too “flowery” to be made public and the evidence in them could be used against me and I would probably be blogging about “Life in Prison” now.

So I thought I would write about the daily life and tribulations of a typical old git with a mangy fat cat, who lives alone in a scruffy old house, and who the neighbours choose to ignore; in other words ME!

180px-The_Play_What_I_WroteNaturally I will leave out the Anglo-Saxon words so as to not to offend the sensitivity of any ladies who might stumble upon this blog whilst looking for Mills and Boon romantic novels.

I don’t profess to be a master of the correct use of grammar, and sometimes I write like what Ernie Wise did, and I have been known to make smelling pistakes occasionally.

So without further ado, just what have I done today? I had planned on making some bread so I laid out my stall. Let’s see now. . .flour, yes. . .warm water, yes. . . salt, yes. . .pinch of sugar, yes. . .mixer with dough hook, yes. . .proofing oven on, yes. . .yeast?. . .Oh NO! I forgot to buy some.

I’ll just go to the shop and get some instant yeast. Yes, that’s what I’ll do. Won’t take five minutes.

[RING RING] Oh for F . . . Heavens sake! Who can that be? Opening the door I was greeted by “Hi Keith, I wonder if you could do me a favour?” That was it, I was trapped. I let her in and we spent about three hours searching the Internet for some wool of a certain green she needed for a project; something like a cross between Lincoln Green and Squashed Frog poo. Needless to say I couldn’t find anything and she accused me of not trying, and stormed out. I shouted “Be off with you then wench, and don’t slam the d [Bang!] oor. . . too late!”

Ah well, there’s always tomorrow to make my bread. In the meantime I just have to have some ginger cake with my tomato soup.

‘ave a nice day, y’all.