Missed it …

It appears that on the last day of Winter and for “One Day Only”, the gods of WordPress were offering a 30% discount on upgrade plans. That would mean that I could upgrade to a Personal Plan, with all the benefits that comes with it for only £25.20 instead of the usual £36.00. And I missed it!

I’ve been undecided on whether to switch to a paid plan for sometime now and had I seen this offer, it would have been the push that I needed. K*** fails to understand why I would want to change. She doesn’t get the idea of my own domain name and more so “…why pay for something you have for free…” I explain all the reasons but if falls on stony ground I afraid.

But I have decided that I will upgrade. But it’s now a matter of when and not if!

Watch this space.


Must be getting soft …

I recently decided that I needed a Bluetooth keyboard for my iPad. Never really liked typing on screen as I have more or less grown up with ‘proper’ physical keyboard. So I scoured eBay and found one that looked to Keyboardbe just what I wanted. Not the cheapest and not the most expensive either. It was about the price I was willing to pay so I ordered one. It duly arrived on time and I quickly read the instructions for setting up and pairing with my iPad. That done, I began to look at the features of the keyboard and its basic operating procedures. The first thing I needed to do was to charge it with the ‘ … enclosed micro USB to USB cable …’ and here was a problem. There was no cable! I was not worried as I seem to have more than my fair share of these cable which seem to come with everything. But, I thought, if there is one supposed to be included then there should be one. I decided to message the seller and advise them that the cable had not been included.  I told them that I did not need a cable and that I was just letting them know so that they could contact their supplier in case there was a problem. After a few days I received a very polite reply, apologising for the delay and asking me what I wanted to do. Did I want a full refund or did I want a replacement? The caveat was that I would have to dispose the first unit myself. I emailed back and explained again, that it was only the cable, that I didn’t need another and wasn’t seeking a refund or replacement.

The email had only just been sent, when I had one of those “Doh!” moments. What had I done? The guy was going to either send a second unit or refund my payment. He didn’t want the first one back. So I would have had either a free unit or two units, and I turned him down!  What can I say? Either getting soft or getting too old.

Small steps …

This is going to be a little bit techy/geeky, so feel free to move on.

For a long time now, I’ve been wanting to learn a computer programming language. I have had a free programming environment (Visual Studio Community 2017) on all my computers for many years but simply have not had the inspiration to get on and learn something. The bad weather on Thursday suddenly gave me that inspiration. I found an online tutorial called Home and Learn, that went through the basics in Visual Basic.net, but at a pace that wasn’t either too slow or too fast. Many of these tutorials show you how to create the ubiquitous “Hello World” programme. As much of a novice that I am, I think I was past that phase.

So by the end of the day, I had completed a few exercises and had started on a project to build a basic calculator. AndVB Calculator I mean a basic calculator. A calculator that only had a single function … addition. Nothing else … just adding up numbers. By Friday evening, after a few false starts I had successfully built this very simple calculator application. I was feeling very pleased with myself. This self-smugness left me feeling that I could do more. Knowing what I had learnt I felt that it would be not such a difficult task to add another function, such as subtraction. The main issue I had was how to use the coding that I had spent so much time on without losing the initial work. What I needed was a ‘Save as …’ option. But could I find one? It seems that there is no ‘Save as …’ in this version of Visual Studio. I searched the internet but was coming up with various ways that didn’t seem to work for me. I then realised what I needed to do. All that was required was to copy the original project to it’s own backup folder, in another area and then I was free to use the original.

VB Calculator Ver 2Well I won’t bore you with any more details, but after even more false starts than before and a lot of brain-racking I managed to get the subtraction function to work and the calculator now has both an addition and a subtraction button. Can you imagine how much the smugness factor has risen by! I even managed to find out how to make the buttons look like raised buttons instead of the default flat style that seems to be the fashion these days. The next challenge is to add a multiplication and a division button. I’m even thinking ahead for things like a percentage button, but I’m not going to get too far ahead of myself.

At the end of the day though, this not going to get me anywhere. It’s just another hobby that I can enjoy and get satisfaction from.

Pet hates and things …

You may have seen the TV programme “Room 101” whereby so called celebrities talk about their pet hates. I got to thinking about my own pet hates and thought I might share some of them with you. So in no particular order:

People with little or no spacial awareness.You know the type I mean. People who are so wrapped up in their own space, that they forget that the rest of the world exists. There was a few examples yesterday like the man rummaging around in the charity shops with a large rucksack on his back. Bumped me twice and nearly knocked a china tea service of one of the display cabinets. Just didn’t seem to care! Then there was the two shoppers at the supermarket entrance. One had full trolley and the other had an empty one. They stood there chatting whilst at the same time blocking the entrance to the shop. Other shoppers were struggling to get in or out as this pair just would not shift. I had the same experience when a person stopped at the top of the escalator to answer their phone. The rest of us could just get past, but it could have been dangerous.

Parents who let their offspring take toys to the shops. Now this really does wind me up. I can understand a Stupid Shoesyoung girl taking her dolls pram round the shop. That might be a learning opportunity, but I don’t see there is a need for a child to take his scooter, or worse a bicycle around the local supermarket. Then there are the kids wearing those shoes/boots that have a wheel embedded in the sole. Roller shoes I believe they are called. Why wear them to shop in? In fact, what is the [point of them. I’ve even saw a wandering around with a football whilst the parent was Googling which wine to buy.

Inconsiderate parking. Especially those with large vehicles that park at the side of my small one. When I parked yesterday, there was nothing at either side of me. When I returned about an hour later there was a huge Range Rover to the left and what seemed a very long Volvo to the right. I just could not see to reverse out. Then there was the car that parked on the exit road from the bus-station in Wetherby. He was on a double yellow line, with his flashers on and the driver had just nipped into one of the local shops. What they didn’t seem to understand was that the parking restriction is there so that the busses can get out easily. Then there are the idiots who stop on blind bends just to answer their mobiles. Okay don’t answer whilst driving, but find a safe place to stop. Safe for you and for the rest of the road users.

To all of you, just think of what your actions are causing for other people


I’m tempted by one of these. This particular one is only around £6 or £7 from eBay and I’m trying to convince myself that I need one. My car doesn’t have the facility but I think it may be a good idea. K***s initial reaction was to laugh and then laugh some more! You see, I don’t use my Hands Freephone that much to make calls, and not many people seem to want to call me. Everyone seems to want to use text, Facebook Messenger and now WhatsApp. I tend to only answer calls if I know the number. I’ve had some many calls in the past where the caller either hangs up without speaking or they try sell me something. My idea is that , if it is important, then they will either leave a message or call back and they never do. To prove my point, the last time I answered an unknown number, I was advised “… the chances of successfully win my damages claim was around 95% …” I had no damages claim. It was a scammer. I let them go on for a few moments and they described my recent motor accident (which I have not had). It was when explained that all I needed to do was log onto a certain website and the $1,000,000 (dollars not pounds) would soon be in my account, that I decided to hang up. I blacklisted the number along with all the previous ones, after looking up the number on one of those “Who Called Me ..” websites.

Don’t believe them …

I used to be a cook. From 1971 to 1986 I was a cook at the Leeds General Infirmary. In fact from 1983 to 1986, I was the Head Cook in the staff kitchen. All this is a little bit of background information for what I want to have a chat about. That chat is about pastry. Specifically short crust pastry. Now, when you watch these famous TV chefs preparing pastry (and I’ll not mention any names here) they will always tell you that it has to be done by hand .. No mixer/processor allowed!!! .. They will tell you that your pastry will be tough/dry/chewy and any other descriptive term for ‘bad’ pastry they can think of. They will tell you that you have to make it by had, if you want the best pastry. I want to tell you that’s a load of rubbish. When you are making enough pastry to cover pies that are going to feed 300+ people, making it by hand is a non-starter. Can you imagine trying to ‘rub-in’ 20lb of lard/margarine into 40lb of flour by hand!. You have to use a machine. If it works for large volumes, then it has to work for smaller volumes too. So here is my recipe for short crust pastry in a food-processor:

  1. weigh 8oz flour into your food processor with a pinch of salt
  2. dice up 2oz of cold butter and 2oz of cold lard into 1/4 inch dice
  3. chill butter and lard in freezer for 15 minutes
  4. add butter and lard to flour and process until looks like breadcrumbs
  5. add 3floz of very cold water and use the pulse function until the pastry starts to come together
  6. tip out onto a lightly floured worktop and gently kneed for a few seconds until all mixed
  7. wrap in cling-film and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes
  8. use as required

They key to this is the speed of the processing and the coldness of the fat. I takes less than 2 minutes to go from fat and flour to pastry, which means that the fat is still cold. I can assure you that it does work.


March is going to be an expensive month I think. Firstly, there’s Mothers Day and then there’s K***s birthday. This is one of those significant birthdays too. The big ‘six-zero’. Looks like I may need to move some cash from my savings account, but it should not be a problem really. We are going away for a couple of days on the weekend before the big day which will be nice. We’ve been to the hotel before a few years ago and it was a nice place. Good food, good scenery and it will be relaxing break for both of us. R*** is away for the weekend, so there are no worries about getting back for him. Just got to hope the weather is better than present. It has got a lot warmer overnight which has led to the snow staring to melt into slush. Much fun!




FrontBackNow, here’s a poser. Which is the correct way? Front or back?  Is there a right or wrong way? I have no real preference at all but I know how K*** feels about it. For her it has to be Front. There can be no argument and it can lead to a lot of tutting if I put it the wrong way around. I’ve been in houses that drop down the front and houses that drop down the back. I’ve also been in places that have different preferences in different rooms. I’ve also been in houses where the loo-roll is sat on the cistern behind, which is an odd if not difficult location. So this is not a poll, just wondering that’s all.



It finally hit …

I refer to the so named “Beast From The East” weather event. Up to last night, the bad weather was more like a “Wimp From The P1020182West” as it had not been as we ha been advised by the TV weather gurus. But from about 22:30 it started to snow a little heavier than before. This morning we awoke to this. Must be about 10cm or 4” in old money. We’ve had some heavy bursts and some lighter ones, but it hasn’t really stopped. R*** has not gone to his day services today. S**** had told K*** that the motorway was quite bad, so we decided it would be better if he stayed at home. He is not good when it comes to traffic holdups and can get quite aggressive if there is any kind of delay. Its one of the main reasons he get transported in a mini-bus. He knows he has to have his seatbelt fastened and from the middle seat of the bus, he is not able to reach either the escort or the driver.

K*** has an appointment at the eye clinic today, and with the problems she has been having, decided that should keep the appointment. I would have tried to cancel it. It’s not a good driving day.

Better not speak to soon …

Well, the weather has not been as bad here as was forecasted. We had a bit of snow first thing yesterday morning, but it had gone within an hour or so. This morning there was more, but most of that has gone now. We keep getting the odd 10 minute shower, but we’ve had nothing like what seems to have been happening in other places. Looks like we might be in for another shower in the next hour (15:00 now). Some rather ominous grey clouds seem to be drifting in from the North East.

Now although, our weather has not been bad, in the five mile drive between here and Wetherby this morning, I did run into quite a heavy shower of snow, which  needed the wipers on at double speed to clear the windscreen. Bearing that in mind, you would think that motorists would drive with  a little more caution than usual. Not here they don’t. The road, a single carriageway, has the national speed limit along most of the route, only dropping to 40mph as you approach the roundabouts. This speed limit appears not to apply to some drivers. On the longest straight stretch, I was overtaken by two cars going at least 70mph and probably more. I have no idea why they need to go at that speed at all, especially as when I got to the roundabout, they were still waiting move on! I joke with K*** that it is ’… because their cars are bigger and more expensive than mine, that they in front of mine …’ but it could be true.

It’s 15:20 and those grey clouds have delivered. It’s gone from sunny to heavy snow. But now, P1020181only 5 minutes later and it’s stopped again! It was heavy enough to give a covering to the car though. Its strange, because the sun is coming out now and the sky is once again blue. It’s very confusing to an old ditherer like me. Still, the youngest lad will be in his element. He loves watching it snow. He’ll flit from room to room, looking out of the windows, just to make sure that it is snowing everywhere. It can be so funny to watch him at times like this. He should horse-riding today but I wonder if he has gone. It is one of his favourite activities, but he hates getting rain on his face so we are hoping that it will be different with the snow. You can never tell.