Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Oh my.

I'm a little tired, so I wont be posting any pictures tonight. Maybe tomorrow.

Meanwhile, It's snowed continually for about 36 hours in Sheffield. Being a bit of a weather freak, I can tell you that so far where I am it's at 8cm, the temperature is minus 1.7 °C (29 °F) and 994 Mb pressure at a height of 139 m (456 feet) above sea level.

I understand from one of my nieces in Jump, Barnsley, it's much, much worse.

My road is ungritted. That's because some pillock has been driving up to the yellow bin at the end of the road and emptying it into the back of his 4x4. Anyone try's that again, their going to get lynched.

Not by me. By t'fella across road who insists clearing the road, pavements, and paths is HIS job.

And it's still snowing. And I love it. Stupid the Dog has been has been demanding to go out. Sticks his nose in the snow, and ploughs it. Then dumps a load at my feet going "Ha Ha Ha". Yeah. Right :)

Ruins my view :)

Monday, 29 November 2010

Nah then, nah then.....;)

Very interesting phone in this morning on BBC radio Sheffield about attitudes to disability as part of the BBC's Access All Area's campaign.

Invariably, a lot of people with mobility problems phoned in with some distressing stories, after all, it's when someone is out and about that they get to meet the public.

My experience has almost always been positive. Mobility is a bit of a peculiar issue for me.

I'm not allowed to drive, and it's unlikely I'll ever get my licence back. I'm not allowed to travel alone, which is an interesting little problem, because being the kinda chap I am, I wondered how that could be enforced. So I decided to nip out for a paper without telling anyone......

I quickly found out. Within five minutes Bear had a phone call from a neighbour to say I'd 'escaped'. Someone shouted "Nah then wally!", and another "Oy, who let you out!". I was treated to quite an amusing disagreement between her and her partner about whether that was a nice thing to do :)

When the police car crept up behind me, wound down his window and coughed "Ahem!, Sir?" I took the hint and about turned. He kerb crawled me back.

Throughout the day, I had a string of neighbours knocking on the door asking how I was/telling me off/upset. Later that evening, I was unceremoniously escorted, flanked by a couple of local ladies to an impromptu party, where six husbands whistled the tune from "The Great Escape" and lots of jokes about "how honoured" they were by the visit, and 'what a chuff' I was :)

Following day, I had an inbox full of concerned emails and more tellings off. Ye small gods. Word travels fast on 'tinternet.

Sounds awful, doesn't it? Human rights, freedom and all that. No it wasn't awful. I was deeply, deeply, touched. I don't see my neighbours one day to the next. But they thought I needed them.

Never found out who informed the local bobby.

Here's the odd thing. Was I in my wheelchair? Nope. Can I walk? Indeed, though I tire quickly. It's nice to have someone to lean on and I wobble a bit. You couldn't tell I have a mobility disability by looking at me. I don't have any mental or intellectual impairments. I rarely do fed up, and don't do depression, and have never had any psychiatric or psychological treatment or tablets.

Bear says I wander off looking in shop windows when a bus is due - but who wouldn't if they don't get out much?

My GP says. 'All things are possible, but not all things are wise'. I recognise that. It's a paraphrase of the bible's Paul of Tarsus, 1 Corinthians 10:23.

So dear reader. It takes a 'H' Bomb to upset me. Feel free to throw one if that's what it takes.

Is there any indication in my writing why their so protective? Am I not as lucid as I think I am? I'm missing something - I just can't figure out what.

Sunday, 28 November 2010


As usual, I was up at silly o'clock this morning. Me time.

I have a little wireless weather station in my back garden - temperature, wind speed, rainfall, barometric pressure. Nothing posh. I'd love to have something that connected directly to a computer, but such stuff is horribly expensive. A peculiar British fascination, I'm told.

Here in Sheffield we tend to be surrounded by hills - a proud boast is that we have more than Rome :). So most Sheffielders tend to protected from the worst of the weather by a hill. Somewhere.

I've kept a casual record for 5 years. This morning it was minus 8.6 °C outside, which I recorded at 05:30 am. I've not had a reading that low.

We've had a whole inch of snow. Well gee. More has been forecast for days, but hasn't materialised.

Glum. I love the snow. Wheelie Weather :)


Daft chuffin' dog. Sigma (don't ask, I didn't name him) is now 9 months old.

It's his first snow. Thirteen year old Tots spent the day yesterday throwing snow balls at him - he loved it.

So early this morning, he staggered down from the foot of Bears bed, wanting 'out' to do his thing. Bear was up 5 mins later. Meanwhile, I put my feet up on the sofa, drowsing.

I had a rude awakening. One dog, one rather large gob full of snow, all over my head. I swear that idiot dog laughed at my reaction.

Saturday, 27 November 2010


Referring to my last post.

It occurred to me that debt collection agencies often use dubious methods to track and collect.

One problem with that. We don't have any debts. Unless you count paying the phone bill when it comes in as a debt. I'm very old school. No such thing as loose change. I'm a great advocate of pennies make pounds.

Want a plasma TV? Easy.

Say, for instance, an average price is about, I dunno, £700? A modern TV lasts about 6 years. That works out at £58 a year, or if you like, about a quid a week, per year. Put £3 a week in a jar when you buy a new TV for 6 years and you have £936. Quids in. Big jar tho'. :)

Fuel bills? I probably pay more than I should, because I refuse to use direct debits, internet payments and pay a little extra for transcash through the post office. However, since I don't pay overdraft fee's, use credit, and could never get into paying someone else to look after my money, the small difference is offset. In addition, I keep track of what I've paid in previous years, note percentage increases, and pay a regular amount......er..... regularly, mindful that by the time the bill comes in, I'm in front.

We live in a rented property, so Bear always pay a couple of quid more than we should, same with Council tax (do they still call it that?) Over time, we end up in front. They owe us :) The overall trick is to pay more than is asked.

But watch it with when you pay. Some providers are slaves to their computers. Pay too early, and they'll take your payment as an addition to the last payment, and won't take it as a present payment. Their computer will show the call centre monkeys that you have defaulted on the present payment, and even though you are technically in credit, they'll send you enforcement notices for £0.0p. because, in their computers 'opinion' you haven't paid.

So no. No debt collectors.

Friday, 26 November 2010

All very odd..

I'll be editing this post and going into more detail later when I've done a few more checks.... At which point this line will disappear. :)

I've had the strangest (number withheld) phone call from a pleasant young lady calling from "The Disability Allowance Office", informing me their calling everyone who has recently claimed DA that they're required to go for an interview, with a view to "helping those who wish to work off the benefit and into work". Among other things.

She gave me a date and time for the 'interview' and politely warned me that if I didn't attend I "could lose the benefit"

Well, that's utter rubbish. As anyone who receives 'Disability Allowance' will tell you, it isn't 'Disability Allowance'. It's Disability Living Allowance. There is no Disability Allowance office.

Secondly, the phrase "helping those who wish to work off the benefit and into work" is cobblers.
It isn't means tested.

Those that receive DLA can work as much they want, as long as it's within the constraints of their disability. Another way of looking at it, is that DLA is paid to enable those who have limitations as a result of disability to have help with their care and travel to enable them to live as normal as possible. Whatever 'normal' is.

At a certain level of DLA, you can even get Jobseekers Allowance. Which I don't need to claim, and never have, and couldn't if I wanted to.

It's totally different from Incapacity Benefit, (for new claimants, called Employment and Support Allowance, or ESA) which I don't get.

For more information, check out The Department of Work and Pensions. In short, I could be a multi-millionaire working 100 hour weeks, and I would still get DLA.

I wouldn't expect to get a phone call from The Department of Work and Pensions - the real name of the department that deals with DLA. I'd expect to be told by letter, who's letters have a few nuances I'll not get into here.

More interesting, I don't claim DLA. I receive it, yes. But I don't have to claim it, and haven't had to for quite some time.

So what's bothering me? The phone call was a fake. DWP have confirmed they haven't contacted me, and they don't expect to.

The young lady didn't ask my name, address, or any other personal or bank details, for instance. All I said was "well, ok, thanks" at the end of the her spiel. As far as I can see, all the information she had was my ex-directory telephone number, and that I was on a disability benefit, and she couldn't get that right.

All the info she's gained is that the person she's telephoned didn't contradict her. The info I've provided here is no more than you can get from any web search engine.

So where's the gain for her? Is there a gain? Could someone could please enlighten me? I'm flummoxed.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

The Foody

With Christmas coming up, (for those that celebrate it) if like me you love to cook, it's useful to have weight, fluid and oven temperature calculators. Heck, I still use a pounds and ounces brass tray scale - straight out of an old corner shop. Remember those?

A handy source of recipes doesn't go amiss either. Years ago I searched for a source of some of Mrs Beetons recipes, and came across The Foody.

It's doesn't have posh video's, its quick to load - important if you have an elderly or slow computer, or you want to access it on a less-than-current mobile phone now and again. Like mine :)

More importantly, it has lots of recipes, from do it yourself Acid Drops to Steak and Kidney Pud.

Compared to overtly commercial sites like Delia-Online or the Blessed Jamie Oliver, I find it a breath of fresh air.

The Foody Conversion Calculator.

Saturday, 20 November 2010


Someone shouted at me today.

It was most odd.

There he was, a bloke perhaps a little older and shorter than I, in his nice suit, waving his arms and legs about, jumping up and down, pulling strange red faces and making lots, and lots of noise. It seemed to go on for quite some time.

I was quite worried for him at first, but eventually I couldn't suppress a chuckle. That was a mistake, he just became even more lively, and though I was absolutely fascinated at the show, I became worried for him again. Thought he might do himself an injury. Anyway, he seemed to get tired eventually and stomped off, got into his rather expensive looking car, and drove off.

Apparently, anyway, I'm of questionable parentage, should procreate more often (very kind of him), and I resemble various human body parts. I rather hope not. Anyone with bits of anyone that resembled me would be of great scientific interest.

Obviously, it's a technique he's used before that's got him results. It was equally obvious he had no idea it's not something that's ever worked with me.

Something about I'd "never worked for him again" and "He'd make sure I'd never, ever work for anyone ever again" and I "I'm fired and I'll be paid for the work I've done over his dead body...." Indeed.

Which is all well and good.

Because I've no idea who the bloomin' heck he was. He sadly neglected to leave a card or tell me his name. I've never worked for him, I'm quite, quite sure I have no intention of working for him, and if I'm due an income for something, I'd be aware of it.

Someone is going to be quite embarrassed in the morning, and it won't be me ;)

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Unsung Hero's.

People can be quite odd, can't they? I mean, I know I'm one to talk, but even I'm amazed....

It seemed perfectly innocuous. Bear sorts my tablets out once a week. I have one of those four-compartment a day things, which have to be loaded with 19 tablets a day, for seven days.

That works out at 133 per per week, consisting of the sequence 10-1-1-6-1, which translates as 6am, 9am, 3pm, 6pm, 10pm. Yup, that's more than 4, but, needs must. If you think that 133 tablets a day is a lot, (or if you prefer, 6,916 per year) Notice that the major intake is at 6am.

No way do I expect Bear to be up before 6am to do 133 tablets once a week. In fact, I'm just grateful she does it at all. She does it because she sees it as her duty. And because the regime is so strict and some of the tablets so dangerous in the wrong combinations that I'm not trusted to do them myself. Rightly so.

Amazingly, she can sort out all the complex combination's, for a week, in 10 minutes.

Bear gets Carers Allowance. Feel free to check how much that is on DirectGov, but for her, it works out at £0.74 per hour, and she has to be available to me 35 hours per week.

With me so far? :)

Bear was sorting out my tablets, and we had a visitor. One of those is Folic acid - commonly given to pregnant women. It's been shown that it can hep prevent the risk of further stroke. Our GP had mentioned it to us, but said he'd prefer not to prescribe it, but he thought if we didn't mind paying for it, based on his research, every little helps. It's only a couple of quid per month.

Our visitor noticed that the little plastic bottle of folic tablets was on the table. He asked why Bear (straight over my head) why I was taking 'a vit'. I replied it was recommended.

"If he just needs vit's, why's he taking all that stuff?", he asked, ignoring me. Bear patiently explained all the boxes strewn across the coffee table. It took some time.

"Thats all very well" he said. "But nobody needs vit's and tablets. Nobody needs that many tablets. There's something funny going on here. I've got to my age, and all I need is a statin at bed time. My mate had a stroke, and they only gave him two tablets". His mate, my Bears great uncle, died at 76 , 15 years after his stroke.

I sat, quietly, and listened. His pain and his anger was obvious - you didn't need to empathic to understand his pain and grief and his fear.

For more information text 'STROKE' to 82010

Sunday, 14 November 2010

An unashamed plug.

Henderson's Relish, beating Marmite, has won the Vegetarian Society Award.

Report from Sheffield Star here :)

I'm an unashamed fan of The Dark Stuff. Their website is Here

However, I'd just like to add I'm neither an employee, advisor, or related to anyone at Henderson's. I'm just an avid user.

Gorgeous with a home made Steak Pie, Chinese, Korean meal or with Sushi, and a great (and cheaper) replacement for Soy Sauce. Add to sauces and gravies, and heck, I've even baked a Henderson's Relish Bread. I love it.

Friday, 12 November 2010


There's a rum do.

After a bit of digging around, I've discovered that someone had indeed phoned my surgery and made me an appointment. It seems it was a woman, which they wouldn't have thought was unusual.

Carers tend to be ladies, and it's quite common for a carer to make appointments or collect prescriptions for their partner/clients. Likewise, if a patient employs a different carer, the surgery is often the last to be told.

If it'd been a fella, they would have been more suspicious - mainly, it seems, because I have a distinctive voice - compared to the thousands of other patients on their list. Apparently :) In that case they would have phoned me to confirm.

There's no chance of mistaken identity - I have a pretty unique name for a born and bred Yorkshireman.

The question that remains is - why? For what purpose? What's the gain for the caller? It hardly inconveniences Bear and I. We had a joint appointment some hours earlier, and only we knew of it, well, other than the surgery that is. It isn't that they'd know where I'd be at a time of their choosing, as I'd have know about the appointment they'd made. Which we didn't.

The only thing I can think of is that, unaware we already had an appointment, whoever she is thought we'd get into some kind of bother with the doctor's. Highly unlikely. The question remains, where's the gain?

Questions, questions. I'm puzzled. I'm open to any suggestions/speculations of a motive.

Many thanks.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

It's all very odd....

......the silly season has definitely started.

I have an excellent relationship with our GP Practise, and they have been very good to Bear and I, particularly when they realised I was a 'plopper' - their term that refers to the very solid fact that if there's a hole in the system, I will fall through it, with spectacular results usually. Any system :)

So they are very efficient at covering all the bases. But this week it's all gone pear shaped.

Bear had an appointment a couple of weeks ago, and was asked to make a repeat appointment with our favorite practice nurse. As I was due to go in for my influenza injection the same day or the day after, to save unnecessary travel, they suggested she make a joint for both of us, so we could deal with Bears appointment, and we both could have our 'flu 'jab'. Very thoughtful.

So far so good. Bear watched as they put it on the computer, printed out the appointment......

So off we went this week to the appointment. "Eh?" said the practice nurse, when she saw me. We showed her the printout, but she seemed totally distracted when she was sorting out the Bear. Though we all chatted amicably, she looked visibly confused. Eventually she said "Are you sure you're only here for your jab?" Yes love, I said, cracking some lame joke about two for the price of one offers.

"Only" she said "I don't have you here (on the computer) on a bog off offer. In fact, I don't have you as making an appointment for the jab. In fact, I have you down for an extended appointment in four hours time, alone" She paused. "It's all very confusing. I know you Never come on your own anyway, when we can drag you in" I showed her what we had about the appointment., and she agreed it was correct.

"What's annoying is, " she explained "I now have at least half-an hour today, when I was expecting you and The Bear as your chaperone. Are you sure you haven't made another appointment. Ah, you don't use phones do you? And you don't go out alone do you?" Correct.

There's the clue. The way their appointment system works it would have to be changed manually. And there was no record of an influenza appointment.

The only way it could have happened is that someone had asked to cancel the joint appointment, which I admit is unusual - my carers don't announce that their going with me, it's just expected that they'll be there - indeed, some have a different GP. In this case, it was actually Bears appointment, with me tagged on for the jab. In this case, whoever it was, was probably unaware I have the multi- influenza injection. I'll get to that in a min.

But then whoever it was, went on to make a new, and separate appointment for me, while keeping Bears. I'm very, very confident it wasn't a computer fault at the GP's.

If that's confusing, I don't blame you. It confuses the heck out of me. Mainly why, for what gain?

From my point of view, if I want an appointment now, I've had to arrange to quote my full name, address, patient number and a regularly changed password if I need an appointment. I can can only do it by phone, and only, as it'll be a carer that phones, after the phone has been passed to me to confirm it is a carer. I Hate phones :(


The 'Flu Jab'. There's a Government campaign every Autumn for women over 60, and men over 65 to accept the multi-flu jab. But what's little known is that the offer is also open to anyone under that age if they're in a 'vulnerable group'. That includes me, and Bear as she is my primary carer.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Courtesy of Mike Harding (You young 'uns won't remember him)

I was watching Pans People on Telly the other day wi' Granddad, and he said "Eeh, lad, I wouldn't mind being Casseroled with that....."

"Casseroled Granddad ?" I said puzzled. "Don't you mean incarcerated?"

"Nah, lad" says he, eyes glued t' idiot box. "Casseroled"

So I looked it up in the dictionary. Casseroled, it said.

"To be done slowly for 4 hours....."

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Bags for Life

I was leaning on a lamp post outside our local Tesco's a few days ago (yup, I went out - Doc's is nearby) and an attractive brunette tapped me on the shoulder and asked "Didn't you used to be famous?"

Couldn't help myself. I just blurted out "Waddya mean, used to be?" with an approximation of a smile. "Can I have your autograph?" she said, producing a notebook. Eh? I signed it 'Dray'.

"Wow" she said. "Thanks Wheelie!", and giving me a peck on the cheek, picked up her shopping, got into her car and drove away.

Heaven help us. Blog Groupies! I'm not sure whether I'm pleased or not. Used to be famous? :)

I told Bear when she staggered out laden with two Bags For Life. "Tut. Not another one"

That's marriage for you. :)