Friday, 29 June 2012

How very odd. I have paw prints half way up the outside of my back window.

Dog prints. Big ones. Too big for Scruffy The Fox. The problem is, the window is 7 feet off the ground, and the paw prints are 4 feet up the window. So that's a dog, presumably 4 foot between back paws and front paws on it's hind legs that can jump 7. Medium woofler that thinks it's a kangaroo. Weird. A Woofleroo.

Ha! got my medic mates on this one. I'm a whisker, including whiskers, under 6 foot and weigh 13 stone 4oz. Under the old Body Mass Index (BMI) system, that makes me a tad overweight with a score of 26,18 to 25 being normal. "Nah, not bad!" I was told. "Don't worry about it" However? I queried. "Having a bath might shave a point off. Ha....err, waist 36 inch.". Ummm? Yes, about right. And a chest measurement of 44". "Really?" Yup. Really. "Well, Dray, You could lose an inch at least off the waist"

Ahuh. So. You suggest? "Usual. Eat less. excesise more." Strokie, I reminded them. "Ah, I remember, ex body builder. Overdid it" Yes. "Still, um, y'know" Yes. Left arm. 10% of left on right supported. Don't want one tit bigger than the other dont'ya'know. "Pecs?" Indeed. "Mobile?" A little, supported. By 5 foot wife. Want to know her 'Pecs?'. "Err, no, not needed". It was a joke. "Yes. So eat less?"

Gottim. I eat once a day, in the evening or not at all if left alone, because I don't ever, ever get hungry, and won't remember. Besides, eating makes me feel uncomfortable. Either way, when I do, it's no more than 8oz, half of which is protein. Works for me. Blood sugars, liver and kidney functions super normal, no diabetic neuropathy, nuthin. Sweeteners, naturally. That and 8,030 tablets a year. Eight Thousand and Thirty.

Upside is I can get someone to cook me something really posh, that would otherwise be really expensive.

For the record, not recommended. 

Beat that, I said. Totally straight faced they said "Thars y'problem guv. You're on 500 calories or less a day. You need to be on somewhere between 1500 to 2000"

How much? Gulp? It seems if you don't eat enough, your bod goes into emergency mode, and stores some of your intake as a fat, the wrong sort, usually around the waist. Effectively, eating too little is as bad as eating too much. Too much waist fat can cause heart problems

So I've agreed to eat breakfast. (ugh!) starting with the recipe below.

Ouef Brouille (scrambled eggs)

Serves one.

2 eggs
4 tsp butter
Pinch of black pepper
Chopped handful of fresh herbs.
cream or milk (optional)

Interesting technique. Bear would normally just chuck it all in a microwave. No butter. Or herbs.

Whip up your eggs, and place a  bowl over a pan of simmering water. pour in your eggs and whisk them slowly until they start to coagulate, then add in your butter and turn off, while continuing to whisk until the eggs are cooked and set. At this point you can add in a bit of cream or milk to stop the cooking.
Stir in the herbs.

You do know that scrambled eggs continue to cook between cooker and table? Hence the cream.

Good cholesterol, low in saturated fat, and if served with a chunk of wholemeal bread and smoked salmon will give me about 350 calories. Dunno about the salmon. Rather over rated in my opinion. Floppy, wet, and tasteless - unless you know different?

Upshot is, to lose weight I have to eat more. Shrug. 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Olympic Torch

The Olympic Torch came past my teens school.........

Bear and I took a wobble down. Quite a sizeable crowd, lots of excited kids and a chatty, party atmosphere, 

We managed to get a brief glimpse of the top of it.  The runner was hidden from view by all the marshals, police cars, police motorcycle escorts, police vans and cars. Yup. More coppers than a clippies* handbag. 

However, the police didn't try to hold anyone back, and the spectators didn't seem to care if they saw it or not. At some point someone shoved a can of cold lager in my hand and gave me a hefty slap on the back, said "Who let you out of your cage?" and promptly disappeared. No idea who it was still.

The kids absolutely loved it and whooped and cheered and ran around on the pavement, shop keepers stood outside their doorways beaming. And as quick as it was there, it was gone, and the crowd broke up, drifted away and headed for the shops :)

*Clippy. A female bus conductor. When we had bus conductors.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Oddly Pleased.

Sigh. Spoke too soon. Referred a couple of people to SOAR for food packages. My mate Mr. T, widowed, in his sixties with an unemployed teenage daughter at home, wasn't so lucky. Lent someone 40 quid and wasn't repaid. The bloke (disabled pensioner) can hardly afford to feed himself and his responsibilities, but insisted on repaying me 60 pence he borrowed for a loaf, the chuff. That's twelve bob, that is!

I find it really distasteful when people 'tap' uninformed and naive disabled. 

I'm not a big fan of the present government. But I had a friendly chat with an aged MP friend, who told me that he thought many had 'lost their moral compass'. I agree.

There was a time when people thought 'Hmm, perhaps I shouldn't do this'. Now in a drive to self affirmation and improvement, there's a swing back to the late 70's - early 80's 'I'm entitled' generation.

I have no probs telling you I come from an era of Whitsun Parades, Boys brigades and shared Tin Baths in front of a coal fire, nutty slack, 'black clocks' in the cellar and the ticking of beetles behind the wallpaper, and parents on 15 quid a week doing the best they could.

Have you listened to L'oreal adverts lately? "Because you're worth it." "It's all about you". You have to be selfish, get what you want, when you want, and have a so called 'perfect' body image. Whatever it takes to service yourself and your needs, and pay for it. The L'oreal generation.

Whatever it takes. Pffft. 


Just chatted to my son on the phone. He called me 'mate' and 'bro'.  I'm oddly pleased about that. 

Monday, 25 June 2012


I somehow managed to fall asleep during the England v Italy match.

Had a houseful that left when I fell asleep, and the ladies returned for the last half hour to teach me, at full volume, lots of new words, and descriptions of what horrible things they'd like to do to various players that I thought were physically impossible. Apparently not. I gather they didn't like the outcome. Heh :)

I was half expecting a few loan requests this morning, as a few around here 'like a flutter' (a bet) and probably lost. That and the Natwest/RBS/UB bank fiasco. But as it happens, I was repaid £20 and was only asked for £1.60. 

Not a betting man myself. I just hate giving money away. It wasn't always the case. Many, many years ago I used to play poker at a casino with a bunch of workmates, and very, very good I was too. However, being frequently mugged in the car park at 3 am when you have to be up for work at 5 am is excellent aversion therapy. And banks are legalised mugging anyway..........


For some odd reason its only just dawned on me that we have a remarkably eventful and sociable life. Listening to the ladies last night I noticed that apart from the normal bumps, scrapes, ups and downs of family life, most of my neighbours have quite mundane lives, toddling along before realising that their biggest complaint is being isolated and bored. 

I can't remember what bored feels like. Bear says (tongue in cheek, I hope)  that I'm too thick to get bored. I dunno. My first instinct if I don't get at least three visitors a day is to wonder if someone is ill - and I'm rarely wrong. There's always something to do. I don't get time to get bored.


If I may dip my toes gently in politics?

If I hear one more politician claiming that unemployment and 'benefits' are a life style choice I'm gonna....

Sure, I know those who have been on benefits long term with drink or drug problems that make them unemployable. It grates that as a result of the disabilities those addictions cause they get extra income that gets spent on the very things that cause the disability. 

But such people are a very tiny minority.

Those people have complex problems underlying their addictions that need to be addressed. It's bonkers, and I understand those who resent it. 

For those who are unemployed and on Jobseekers Allowance, the idea that they can remain on it indefinitely is laughable and quite frankly wrong and rubbish. It isn't going to be a new measure that they lose benefits if they don't or won't find work.  Don't look for work, no money. End of.  

It's been that way for many years. 

Populist politicians playing on peoples need and greed may sound good, but they really do need to keep themselves up to date with that already in place. Both the politicians and their supporters.

There is a lot of help for people to find work or start their own business. Don't take advantage of that, you will lose government help, and rightly so. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

My other side

My favourite story of the week 

Housing group’s guerilla gardeners strike by night


Bit of an awkward situation this morning. Couple, late twenties came round for a chat. Sort of. "I want you to know, Wheelie" hands on hips "I didn't ask to come here". Oh, ho. She called me 'Wheelie'. That's the neighbour version of when The Bear calls me by my first name.

Then she launched into a furious argument. She. Not him. Which was nice. Seriously, it is nice. I don't know them that well, but they obviously trusted I wouldn't jump out of my chair and give them both a good clip around the 'earole.

Jump up and down, turn purple in the face and wave your arms around at me, and I'll mentally just distance off, with the image in my head of a rather demented Chicken. 'Ooh, look. A chicken' I've learned NOT to burst out laughing. Try it sometime.

It quickly became apparent it was a daft disagreement. He was giving - nay - sneaking - extra pocket money to their three young daughters. 'Cos he's a softy like that. She, thinking that wasn't very practical, (umm, agreed, sorta, blush!)  had found out. I think the clue was overhearing him say "Don't tell your mum". Oops.

I realised very quickly, as a virtual thunderstorm flashed above their heads,  that they came from very different backgrounds. He comes from a family of brothers who were encouraged to sit down and chat about problems. She comes from a family of sparky's where everyone went 'Boom'. Effectively, argue and sort it. Whoever won the argument got the reward. Conflict management.

Anyway. Sorted. Some of my views didn't go down too well. Man the head of the family anyone? (translation :- he who has final responsibility) But don't mess with the 'sisterhood'? C'mon, do I have to explain that? The ladies know. 

The kids are going to get an extra £1 a week, and a lockable box each. And I'll go through the families  finances for them.

Why me? I have absolutely no idea. I get it a lot.

You'll never guess what I'm having for tea. Kerrluk. :)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Whoo Hoo!

Got one :)

Cheeky buggers :)

Feet Up.

I've tried to get out a bit more with The Bear, just to the local shops. I've loved it, but over the few days I've done it it's left me absolutely shattered. I have a particularly pig-headed and stubborn streak, which got me into this mess in the first place. 

A neighbour, chatting about his army service, suggested I just keep trying a little bit more at a time, so I get used to it. I couldn't agree with him more in principle. Been there, done the long, sometimes 24 hour days, grabbed a couple of hours on workbenches, travelled 8 to 10 hours to a job, burned the midnight/midday oil. Not complaining. It was magic. The difference now is I have bits of my bod that aren't entirely under my control, and grey matter that when it's had enough will just shut down. I mean. Poof! the lights go out.

But despite all that, it was nice to feel the old circuits click in. Masochistic, and pleasurable. 

But (sigh!) I'm told I have to pull back a bit, or it's the 'H' word (spit! hospital!) Apparently they can do that. Whoever ''they" are. Noted.

 To quote Terry Pratchett, "it's an embuggerance".

I'll never cease to be amazed of his humour and uncanny insight well ahead of today's socio/economic world,  all wrapped up in a flat world carried on the back of four elephants, on the back of a rather large turtle. Before you think "Nah, not my thing" -just try it. One book. Any. Please.

If you've never read any of his books, particularly his fiction series such as Discworld. I promise that if you don't end up giggling to yourself, you need two pads on your chest and someone shouting "Clear!". Actually, you might anyway :)

Dray xx

Friday, 15 June 2012

Furniture Tetris

Ever played 'Tetris'? Been like that around Wheelie Manor the last couple of days.

A new central heating system has been fitted. Out with the the big plastic tanks in the loft, the copper insulated tank in a cupboard in the bedroom (who's pump was forever getting clogged and went 'gronk, gronk, gronk' all the the time)  Out with ye old Thermostat in the hallway, control system in the kitchen, and a boiler that misted up the back window.

In with. New everything. No more tanks. On-demand 'instant' hot water, new radiators, pipework, and they didn't even rip up my wooden floors. A controller that is so comprehensive it makes my lasses lappy look a wimp. "It's all done by the boiler now mate".

It's taken two days with the Leccy on and off, and it's given me the opportunity to have a darn good clear out, and shuffle around on my bum sorting out the fluff monsters lurking behind sideboards and TV's.  They've even redone the washing machine fittings. More, there's an after-care team coming around that are going to fit shelves in empty spaces, lug the washing machine back in AND refit it,  and plaster and repaint where required.

A bit suspicious I asked - is this because I'm in Wheels? "No mate. No idea 'till we got here. Besides. Anyone who can sort out that spaghetti behind a TV must a have a decent brain. Except for those washing machine connections you did. Crap mate" 

Aww. Sweet :)

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


Sod free speech. I just hate internet trolls.

That comment is (c) Wheelie from my "What the heck is he on about?" collection.

Moving on......

08:00 Tot's, where's Bear? "Asda. It's 24 hours you know".

08:30 (muffled) What's with the oven chips in the freezer? We don't do oven chips? "Asda. We do now"

08:32 Sliced loaf? "Asda"

 'spiced bread crumbs oven chicken'? "Asda. special offer. Bye dad"

09:40 Anyone seen Bear. "Yeh. Just passed her with Charlie (granddaughter) in the pram"

Going....? "To pick up some stuff from Asda" 

10:36. Errr, (Pats pockets. It looks silly, but it's a man thing) Don't suppose anyone's seen my wallet?

"Yeh mate" Points south, and grins "Asda"

Monday, 11 June 2012

Good and Sad

That's satisfying. A neighbour  bought an ancient laptop (40 Gb hard drive, 1.2 Mb memory) from a local library that was updating, for £120 for her youngster. It developed a lengthy shutdown problem, quite common with Windows XP and earlier. The Microsoft fix is here, if anyone's interested UPHClean 

I have to say it was a pleasure to work on. Whoever was responsible for clearing and updating the little beastie for sale (except for the clanger) did a really good job. They even installed a both a modern version of Microsoft office and a free-ware office suit too. Some of the lappy's I'm asked to fix - it keeps me mentally agile - are real horror stories. Downloaded infected porn being a bit of a bugger. 

Can I give you a tip by the way. If you get the chance of a lappy from a skip? Don't do it. I've dealt with a few machines that could get you a banned from working with kids for life, that I had no option but to pass on to the police. Good job I don't care about being popular. Sure, it could be argued I can wipe the objectionable stuff. No-one would be wiser. But I would. I'd know.

I have the advantage of working with people, including a niece now in her twenties, who have been abused, sex industry workers, both male and female, and I have zero tolerance.

On Friday morning a good, young mate died from a cardiac arrest. Karen Sherlock and her hubby Nigel were on Employment Service Allowance and..... Rather than trying to explain it, read this, please do. 

Sorry for a downer post again. It's raining tonight, again. I love the rain, and starry nights. Think I'll ask my Bear to walk me through the showers to the shop for a beer.

Sunday, 10 June 2012


My girls have at long last learned that if you lend people money regularly, they not only think you have lots of spare cash, but they don't rush to pay back on time either. They may even come back to borrow again before they repay. It's also clicked with her that the borrower is always up a few quid, and the lender down by the same. "I know it's not much", Bear grumbled, but "it's the principle". 

Huh. A few quid. Try catching a bus without it............

What's annoyed me is that someone said within my earshot "but isn't Dray's DLA due?", and went on to explain what they thought I was given in DLA and how much. But worse, they thought they'd worked out when I was paid it. Utterly wrong, and not their business anyway.

DLA, Disability Living Allowance, is paid every four weeks. Thirteen payments per year. I have middle rate care, (three levels, higher, middle and low) and lower rate mobility (two rates, higher and lower). I have lower rate mobility because I don't get out much. The idea behind DLA is to enable me to live as normal a life as possible. Go figure.

It's no big secret. Feel free to check it out on the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) website my payments. It's hell to get, and hell to keep. 

I chuckle when I read or hear about on the news about austerity. I've always been austere. I can't stand clutter or waste. I'm a "couple of quid in a jar" person.

But that's not the point is it? When someone (or more) thinks you're an easy touch because you get a disability benefit, that's supposed to make my life easier, isn't that a form of abuse?


I've had a lot of fun playing with my 20 month old granddaughter.

She has an 11 year old cousin who's profoundly deaf and signs. So to granddaughter, learning to sign comes just as naturally as learning to speak - so she does both simultaneously. Her hearing is perfect.

If she says something and doesn't think she's been understood, more often than not she'll repeat the hand sign  rather than repeat the words. And it occurred to me she's worked out that signing is often clearer than the words. It's quite amazing how fast and fluent the signing can be, particularly if she gets frustrated or grumpy. Flippin' faster than I can :)

I've discovered that....

It's just about impossible to put a 'ties back' in your hair with one hand - I have long grey hair. I've also learned to check in a mirror after some joker does it for me. Bright pink, purple or flowered 'scrunchies' do nothing for me.

Grilled liver with tomatoes, cucumber, chillies and sumac (or lemon) in home made pita is surprisingly nice.

Youngest daughter innocently said in front of guests that "If I need to know anything medical, I ask my dad".  If I hear the phrase "Do you have anything that'll make me go" again, I'm gonna.... Actually, there is. Jump out from behind a wall and surprise yourself. Works every time when you aren't expecting it.

Thinking of surprises. Five hulking great teenagers sitting on the same dining room chair together seemed surprised at the result. Oddly enough, I wasn't. "Good job it wasn't a new one" quipped one before legging it. He'll go far that young man. I'll make sure he does, when I've finished epoxying myself to the remains.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Steam Punk

My lasses little net book has developed some mechanical faults - I mean mechanical rather than anything electronic. As it is, it's unusable.

Rather than see it going to waste. I'm going to steam punk it. It's a build where you take something and make it look Victorian. Love the image.

Something like this, though perhaps not quite as complex. But you know what these little projects are like....  :)

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


 Bear and Tots are out  doing what passes for  'camping'  nowadays with son'o'mine at Ingomells for a couple of days. Laddo says that she's very much in demand for Karaoke.

"I can sing, can't I Dray? she asked  on the phone. Actually sweet heart, you can. Despite being 80% deaf, she really does have the voice of an angel. One of these days I'm going  to have to post a clip of her singing. She really is very good. Understatement. And I'm not saying that just because she's my missus.

I went alone to the shop a few hours ago. I will never, ever, do that again. 

It was ok going down the field, and when I got there, the shop keeper said "Oh, Dray, you bloody idiot, you should have phoned!" which was a bit of a surprise. I needn't have been. I'd forgotten how strong and inclusive the bonds are in the Pakistani community.  If I did phones, they told me, they really would have delivered, free of charge, however small.

The way back was really tough. Uphill all the way. I'm not ashamed to say I was in tears when I got back. Stupid idiot fruggin' body. It's not like I could plonk my arse, because that would mean trying to stand up again.

I grabbed a couple of hours sleep, then I've had a steady stream of neighbours bending my ear. O.k. I get it, bless 'em. Amazing.

But I did it. I did :)  

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Chuckle! Bears and Tots are away for a few days. Naturally, Bear didn't tell me she had me covered, so I've had a  steady stream of visitors all day, knocking on the door. Bless 'em. The one that got five stars today was the young 'un that asked "Hey' Dray, have you learned to use chopsticks yet?". Nice try :). And nope :(

But, shhhh. Don't tell anyone, but I'm quite enjoying the peace and quiet. Between visitors. Ahum.

Much of  Her Maj's Diamond Jubilee celebrations have passed me by. However, Ma'm impresses one simply because of her selfless hard work, charity, duty, faith and authenticity. What you see is what you get. She just gets on with her duties. I like that. Her comedy sidekick hubby tickles my chuckle muscles too.

But most of all, bless all their Royal Socks, They've given an unspoken permission for Brits's to do  what we do best. Grab a beer, chill out and knock together something tasty.

We brits are a bit funny like that. We need an excuse to enjoy ourselves.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Top Tip

I don't know about the recycling in your corner of the UK, but the private firm here have this quirky little rule about not really allowing the plastic tops on soda, milk bottle tops et al. The reasoning being that it's a different type of plastic, so you have to remove them, and throw the tops into normal waste. Daft.

Now that's a real pain, because as anyone who recycles knows, you can get more into the plastic recycle bin by crushing the plastic bottle to force the air out of it, and screwing the lid back on. Needless to say, most people ignored it.

With a twinge of conscience, right? Much to my Bears relief, who strongly objects to being thrown head first into the plastics bin to crush it down a bit, a few weeks ago, Sheffield Diabetes Group did a deal where clean plastic Milk container tops, collected could raise funds.

This has now been extended to any CLEAN plastic jar top - for instance, plastic coffee jar tops, nutella, spring water, 'pop' bottle tops ect.

For more information, contact Sheffield Diabetes Group

I mean, ok. You still won't be able to get someone to crush your bottles for you, but you can now cheerfully now chuck YOUR Bear into the recycle bin to crush your plastics with a clear conscience.

Feeling Groovy

Pipe joint tightenerThis is a little something I asked a friend to pick up. Only cost a couple of quid. 

You'll probably have to click on it to see it clearly.

Technically, it's a thingy to tighten plastic pipe joints. All it is, is a rather large and thick rubber band in a shaped holder. But it's much more.

It's great for undoing jam jars, sauce bottles and the like. You wrap the band around the top/lid, pull it tight, lean the protrusion (bottom right) against the band, grip it, and turn. 

In my case, I hold it between it between my thighs, grip it in my left hand (calm down, madam) and pull quickly to one side. A deceptively simple device, but very useful.  

Highly recommended. Oh, and the elastic band in the middle is my adjustment. Stops it slipping out of those grooves.