out and about

Beautiful spring day today, and we decided we needed a treat, so we took ourselves off to Hornsea, stopping at the Great Satan Tesco (how I wish there was a Sainsburys in Hull) for some cinnamon tablets (which they didn’t have) and some cereal bars – they had Jordans at 2 packs for 2.50, so I stocked up – and then into Wilkos for a new lasagne dish, as my beloved and elderly white one cracked last week.

Hornsea is a lovely little place – there’s a mere, which today had lots of water birds milling about; ducks, swans, geese, etc.  I took a load of photos, but haven’t looked at them yet.  We wandered around there, then walked through the town to the sea front, which is pretty kiss-me-quick, and was really quite busy. We wanted lunch out, but for someone who is newly diagnosed diabetic and trying to do a low fat diet, there was really nothing.  In the end, we had fish and chips; I picked all the batter off the fish, and ate about half the chips. In future, I’ll take something to eat with me, because we love going to the coast, but food wise it seems to be a bit of a minefield.

When we got home, I made bread dough (wholemeal!) for tomorrow, boiled some eggs, put some chickpeas in to soak.  Cooked a Madhur Jaffrey recipe of cauliflower with fennel and mustard seeds, with rice and split peas for supper.

the silent epidemic

I don’t hold with doctors – haven’t been to see one for about eight years, so I suppose I should be grateful that my contact lens contract with SpecSavers requires me to have a sight test every two years. The glaucoma puffy test threw up a reading that was just over the limit, and the optician has to write to my doctor.

So I went and registered with a doctor, and had a first appointment with the nurse, and the sample says “diabetes”. She was very soothing, said it might be a spike, said to drop of another sample in a week. But I’ve done a lot of research, and I’m in no doubt; I have loads of symptoms, apart from the eye pressure, all of which I put down to just getting older and being overweight; constant tiredness, tingling feet, excessive weeing.

No doubt it’ll take a while to properly diagnose, and no doubt they’ll tell me to try diet and exercise first. Ironically, I’ve started exercising – doing the Couch to 5k running thing, and working out with the Hannah Waterman DVD. I shan’t be hanging about with regard to diet either – I’ve already embarked on a suitably low fat regime.

It’s very frightening; I wobble wildly between thinking “oh I can manage that” and panic and rage. But really, mostly, I’m awfully glad I found out now.

this morning I did something astonishing

I went out for a run. Yes, me. Honestly.

I really do need to get a bit, well a lot, fitter, and I’ve been reading up on the Couch to 5K programme. “Surely even I can do that”, I thought.

I dug out my old trainers, some jogging trousersand the sports underwear. I downloaded an app for my iPhone. I thought about it some more. “How hard can it be?” I thought.

This morning I woke at 6.30 – it was a beautiful crisp morning, sun coming up, light frost on the ground. And so off I went.

I managed 7.5 out of the 8 x 1 minute runs (ran out of steam half way through #4), but I DID IT. Pete, of course, slept through the whole thing, even my triumphant, if rather breathless, whoops when I got home.

I need some proper running shoes, which I will sort out a.s.a.p., but I think I might actually stick to this.

selling by inertia

We moved house in November – I phoned Saga, our contents insurer, the day before, and gave them the new address details. “Oooh” said the woman on the phone – it’s going to be quite a bit more. She promised to phone me back the following week, but didn’t, and I never got round to chasing it up.

This week, I finally got around to doing the domestic paperwork for the first time since the move, and discovered Saga had put the insurance premium monthly payment up from £55.25 to … wait for it … £139.20. I rang, and was Polite. The chap I spoke to had great sympathy, said that of course I should have been phoned back, that they had sent out a new pack with details to this address (I never got it), and that if I wanted to cancel a) there’d be no refund, and b) there’d be a £35 cancellation charge, just to add insult to injury. He advised me to write in with the details, which I have done, and they can sodding whistle for the cancellation charge.

We were also paying £23 per month to Northern Rock (god bless ’em) for house insurance. They wrote and said that they were now moving it to Axa, who would bill direct at £28 per month.

So I went on to confused.com and got a quote for contents and house insurance. Have just signed up with someone for £48 per month (which is a substantial saving of *£119* per month, which I find utterly astonishing.

So fuelled with success, I dug out the car insurance renewal docs (it falls due on Tuesday); last year I cut about £300 off the premium using Confused.com, but we had a much less sedate vehicle then. But I thought I’d have a look – saved £120 by moving from Chaucer.

So that’s FOURTEEN HUNDRED QUID saved this year by just not accepting these things – insurance companies make their money from customers’ inertia, so don’t let them!

droning on

from the Guardian

Merseyside’s gaffe gave rise to headlines that their drones may be grounded. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is the advance guard of surveillance technology and it is already being widely operated across the country, although this has prompted little debate.

Writing to Them

Dear Diana Johnson,

I’ve just used the excellent writetothem.com site to contact you regarding photography and the Digital Economy Bill.

I was somewhat startled to receive an automatic reply stating that “If you have contacted me with an issue that I will need to take action on you should expect to receive a response within the next 3 – 4 weeks.”

I have only recently moved to Hull (in November 2009), and prior to living here I was in the Woodspring constituency in North Somerset, and represented by Dr Liam Fox.

On the occasions I contacted him, I _always_ received an individual, personal response from his office within 24 hours, and if more information was required it was forthcoming in a far more timely manner than three to four weeks. Despite being shadow Defence Secretary, Dr Fox always found the time to deal with his constituents’ correspondence promptly.

I’m disappointed that you seem unable to do the same.

Yours sincerely,

Mac Jordan

weekend 14/15 feb 2010

Nothing posted for a week – shocking.  That’s because there’s nothing much to report.

We had a quiet weekend – strolled over to the Library on Saturday afternoon to return, renew and collect books.  It rained on us, of course.   Did a load of winemaking stuff, which is surprisingly time consuming. Slumped

On Sunday we went to the market for fruit and veg, and were home by  10 a.m.!  Cooked a huge fry up, dithered whether to walk down and have a look at Boyes, and decided that the weather was too changeable to do a 4 mile round trip, so sat at home and watched the Olympics and other assorted televisual wallpaper.  Had a nice baking afternoon accompanied by Johnnie Walker on Radio 2. Ate too many cinnamon buns.  Slumped.  Quite nice to have a really lazy Sunday.

And now – it’s snowing again.  Bah.

weekend 6/7 Feb 2010

“Quiet”, would best sum it up, I think.  Stuck a ham hock in the slow cooker in the morning, then took the car out for the first time in a fortnight(!) for the monthly Big Shop, and sallied forth to Makro (mainly for cat food, plus some other bits), Pets at Home (for cat litter), and Asda, for the stuff we couldn’t get in Makro, and also I wanted a basil plant.  We bought a few bits and pieces, and forgot the bloody basil plant.  Then to Grain on Newland Avenue, which we don’t like much, but is the only purveyor of Pete’s blackcurrant juice we can find in the area, and the butcher and greengrocer.

On Saturday afternoon, Pete put up a hanging bracked for the £3 hanging basket (planted, too!) we bought at Walton Street Market on Wednesday.  And then we slumped, apart from trying to work out how Reactive Cooking got hacked, and how to fix it … fix it we did, but how it happened is a bit of a worry.

Watched the last half of Independence Day on C4, which was entirely down to inertia, as the DVD is on the shelf!

On Sunday, we:

  • cooked a big fry up for brunch
  • made a slow cooker’s full of Gujerati beef (recipe to follow)
  • turned 5kg of carrots into wine – well, the start of wine; a couple of quid from Makro for a huge bag, had to be done
  • made some carrot soup with the stock from the ham hock
  • made cheese scones for Sunday tea
  • bottled 11 bottles of red wine

We also got up to date with Brothers and Sisters, which we really like – this season might have new writers, because it seems much wittier this time round.

And that was that.  Tonight we’re off to the Eagle on Anlaby Road to investigate the Hull Transition movement – we go out far more often here than we ever did in Long Ashton!

plunging stats

I’ve just taken a look at the Google Analytics for this site – it was never busy, but it has now plunged almost into negative figures! The majority of visitors came in from Google, looking for photos (which have now all moved to Flickr, and I suspect it will take a long time for Google to reindex, and the traffic to build up again. If it ever does.