The Anonymous Widower

Am I The Supermarkets Worst Customer?

There has been a lot of reports lately about misleading special offers in supermarkets, like this one in the Independent.

As I’m a 67-year-old widower living alone, who because I don’t drive, has to carry everything home from the supermarket, I only rarely buy any bogofs, but then only with something that doesn’t have sell-by date like washing tablets, soap, tissues or bottles of cider or olive oil.

If I’m cooking a casserole that needs one onion, one carrot, a leek and say two hundred grams of mince then that is what I buy.

I also have given up on fresh herbs and use the dried ones in pots , as I don’t like throwing the unused ones away.

As I regularly complain about the bags in Waitrose at the Angel, they must consider me a bad customer, especially as I usually enter with a half-full bag of bread, biscuits and lemonade from the Marks and Spencer next door.

April 21, 2015 Posted by | Food, World | , , | 1 Comment

A Surprising Election Leaflet

I have got quite a bit of electoral junk mail this election, but one today was different.

It was the usual A4 or A5 well-printed flyer, from a party I have voted for in the past, but my name and correct address was actually printed on the glossy paper.

Admittedly, they had used last year’s register with my incorrect name, but that was understandable, as the register was only finally corrected a couple of weeks ago.

Perhaps, we need a law to say that nothing goes through a letter box, unless it is properly addressed.

I’d probably get about four letters a week.

April 21, 2015 Posted by | World | , | 3 Comments

Do We Featherbed Groups In Society?

I got my monthly State Pension today and at £677.16, that will do me for my day-to-day expenses for the next month. It doesn’t cover trips out of London, but it does allow me the odd light lunch in a restaurant.

But I also get other benefits just because of my circumstances, as a 67-year-old man, who lives alone.

I get a Council Tax discount because I live alone. But is that right as I live in a family house with a garage in a desirable part of London? If I didn’t get it, I’d still live here as that would be my choice, but I am blocking someone more worthy than me of buying this house.

I have a highly-insulated house with an efficient boiler, but should I get a winter fuel allowance?  It would be better if the money was not paid at all, but used to improve our housing stock’s energy efficiency, so that those on a pension actually saved the money all through the year.

I have a Freedom Pass, which gives me free transport on buses, Underground, Overground and trains within the Central London area. This is one of the reasons I moved to Dalston. But is it too generous on the one hand and not universal enough on the other? Surely, a better system, would be one where you nominated your bank card as your transport pass and in the free areas, the system didn’t charge you. The advantage of this would be that London could enter into reciprocal arrangements with areas like Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle, so that we could use each other’s concessionary area at a discount. Would this encourage more of us to travel to explore the country and perhaps spend money in attractions, cafes and shops, we wouldn’t dream of visiting now?

This morning according to this report on the BBC, the Liberal Democrats are saying that those who have a second house they use in a beautiful area, should pay double Council Tax on their second home. Here! Here!

I live in Central London and I am starting to resent the traffic. Not because I drive, but because of the pollution and noise often put out by cars used as glorified shopping trolleys and baby buggies. We let all drivers get off too lightly with the problems they cause in cities and if they got the message, we may see more cycling and walking, and better air quality. We might even see better delivery systems for goods, where transmissions were hybrid or electric, like London’s newer buses.

It will happen eventually, that all cars pay road charges based on mileage, fuel used and congestion. But I doubt we’ll see it soon, as there are no votes in it. It’ll probably be introduced in London first, as cycling gets more common and Crossrail shows everybody what real railways can be like.

But would a city like Birmingham, where the car is king, and pedestrians are targets to hit when crossing the road, accept charging to pay for the updating of the numerous railways and more trams in the city?

And then there’s lifestyle, fitness and health!

Many people drink, eat and smoke too much and governments don’t really discourage it forcefully. It would be an interesting exercise for a town or city to declare a city centre non-smoking and see what happens. I can remember, when ahead of the smoking ban the landlord of my local pub in Suffolk declared it a smoke-free zone. He got some moans, but not from his bank manager.

The NHS is in crisis, but this is mainly a problem of the irresponsible patients making. So if we can get people back to the straight and narrow, we might help the dear old NHS out.

For a start, I would like to see a law, that no-one could stand for elected office or sit on the board of an NHS body, if they were a smoker!

I could go on a lot more. But we must all change our lifestyle, if we want this country to be a place, that is really worth living in.


April 21, 2015 Posted by | Health, World | , , | 2 Comments