The Anonymous Widower

Vitamin D And Me!

On Tuesday, there was this article on the BBC, which was entitled Vitamin D ‘heals damaged hearts’. This was said.

Vitamin D supplements may help people with diseased hearts, a study suggests.

A trial on 163 heart failure patients found supplements of the vitamin, which is made in the skin when exposed to sunlight, improved their hearts’ ability to pump blood around the body.

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals team, who presented at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology, described the results as “stunning”.

I have been discussing this with two of Europe’s top cardiologists and we’ve come to the conclusion, that I don’t get enough vitamin D.

And would you believe low vitamin D can cause; bad nails, conjunctivitis and plantar fasciitis.

I have all three!

One cardiologist pointed out that gluten-free bread and breakfast cereals aren’t fortified with vitamin D, like normal ones are.

No-one; coeliac, doctor or dietician, had ever told me that before!

So I get my vitamin D from the sun!

But as the devil has switched it off this winter, no wonder I’m in poor health!

That woman doesn’t like me!

On the other hand, I’m a London Mongrel of German Jewish and French Huguenot roots, with quarters of stubborn Devonian and solid Northants yeoman stock thrown in. A large proportion of my ancestors are also real East Enders and of course my father was a genuine Cockney.

So I hope I can give her a fight!

Incidentally, this winter, I’ve never found so many other people suffering from plantar fasciitis, so are we all suffering from a lack of sun and therefore vitamin D. Two of the sufferers were people, who had indoor jobs, that involved a lot of standing and walking.

Intriguingly, the only other time, I had bad plantar fasciitis was the winter of 2004/2005. I’m still looking for data on that winter’s weather, but this article on the  BBC from 2006 says this.

Deaths in England and Wales fell to 25,700 last winter, a decline of 19% on the previous year.

Office for National Statistics data shows the rate, which hit 31,640 in 2004/2005, is back to similar levels as the previous four years.

Statisticians look at deaths between December and March, and compare them to those during the rest of the year.


I shall not be surprised if 2015/16 has been a bad winter for the deaths of the elderly.

For myself, I’ve started taking a vitalimn D supplement as I have been advised.

I’d sit in the sun, if that woman would let it out!

You might ask, why I don’t go to the sun for a week, as I can certainly afford it.

But when you don’t like taking holidays in the sun on your own and can’t walk long distances to explore interesting sites because of the plantar fasciitis, your stumped!


April 7, 2016 Posted by | Health | , | 5 Comments

Three Good Gluten Free Links From The Londonist

I was looking for some gluten-free teryaki sauce and found these pages in The Londonist.

I shall be exploring.

March 25, 2016 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

Serial Cooking – Smoked Haddock And Curried Rice

This recipe is another from Lindsey Bareham in The Times.

Lindsey called this an incredibly lazy twist on kedgeree. I have tried to make it even lazier.


  1. I started with a single Marks and Spencer’s smoked haddock. Just two pounds and no bones or skin.
  2. I hard-boiled an extra egg for the fridge
  3. I used an onion instead of shallots.
  4. I didn’t have any fresh chives or coriander

I rather liked it for a New Year’s Eve supper.

December 31, 2015 Posted by | Food | , , | Leave a comment

A Christmas Gluten-Free Sandwich From M & S

I was looking to buy a sandwich for my lunch tomorrow in Marks and Spencer in Islington and couldn’t see any bright green packets.

The reason was there were only two and several of these Christmasy sandwiches.

A Christmas Gluten-Free Sandwich From M & S

A Christmas Gluten-Free Sandwich From M & S

I’ve seen gluten-free Christmas puddings and mince pies, but I’ve never seen a seasonal gluten-free sandwich before!

Perhaps things are getting better!

December 21, 2015 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

An Alternative Source Of Celias

It would appear that Waitrose are no longer stocking Celia gluten-free lager.

As I can’t live without them, I went to the Celia web site and searched for an alternative supplier near me.

I found Harvest E8, just up the road from Dalston Kingsland station.

It certainly is a well-stocked organic shop.


December 3, 2015 Posted by | Food, World | , | 1 Comment

Serial Cooking – Chicken, Leek And Bacon Shepherd’s Pie

This recipe is another from Lindsey Bareham in The Times.

The main ingredients are a Waitrose pack of roast chicken thighs, 75g of bacon lardons, 500g potatoes and 200g trimmed leeks.

It was a very simple and good shepherd’s pie.

November 14, 2015 Posted by | Food | , , | 1 Comment

Breakfast By The Don

The Meadowhall Shoppin Centre in Shefield sums up what is right and wrong about shopping centres.

To like it has a big Marks and Spencer by the train station, so I can can get gluten-free snacks and sandwiches on my travels. It also has a Carluccio’s for something a bit bigger and like today, I can walk out by the River Don to have my breakfast.

As this is the site of the Tinsley Chord, which is supposed to be built by 2017, there didn’t seem  much going on. This article on the BBC says everything is starting to run late.

Other than that there are no maps, so that once they get you inside the doors, you get lost and hopefully for them, you buy something you don’t need.

It just makes me angry and I hate the place with a vengeance.

But then the only reason, I go there is to get fed! Or change trains or between a tram and a train!

October 21, 2015 Posted by | Food, Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Back From The Hague

Before I left on Thursday, I wrote Off To The Hague Today and started the post like this.

Is there any other train journey between two capitals in the world, that is more difficult now than it was six or seven years ago?

It certainly doesn’t get any better.

Arriving in Brussels, the hourly train to Antwerp and The Hague left in half an hour, so I thought if I could get a ticket to The Hague, I might go direct.

So I tried a machine. But these only sell tickets to Belgium.

Ticket Office?

The queues were horrendous, so I got on the train to Antwerp as my Any Belgium Ticket would get me there!

At Antwerp, I took half an hour to buy a ticket and after a lunch of nuts and the worst coffee, I’ve ever had, I caught the next train to Den Haag HS, where I changed for Den Haag Laan van Nieuwe Oost Indie.

Express train it is not! On this main InterCity route, some of it has a speed limit of just 100 kph. Even London to Ipswich is a 160 kph line.

Coming back, there were a few delays and it took exactly four hours from the time I got on the InterCity train at Den Haag HS before I was on my on-time Eurostar leaving Brussels. Admittedly, forty-five minutes of so was checking-in and waiting for the Eurostar.

Incidentally, Den Haag to Brussels in 172.9 km. and can be driven in two hours.

London to Birmingham is actually slightly further and Virgin does it around 85 minutes.

If that isn’t a disgrace, I’m a Dutchman!

What wasn’t a disgrace was the food on Eurostar!

I’d forgot to ask for a gluten-free meal, but I was assured the main course was gluten-free. I’m pretty certain it was and it was also delicious.

So at least the last part of the journey went well and we arrived in St. Pancras on time!

Passenger services through the Channel Tunnel opened in 1994, with services to and from St. Pancras starting in November 2007.

The new Class 374 trains to start a service to Amsterdam and Cologne are now sitting in sidings, with services supposed to start at the end of 2016.

Judging by the history of the development of services to places other than London, Brussels and Paris, I suspect that date will slip to somewhere about 2026 or even 2036.

The biggest problem seems to be the multiplicity of different electrical systems between France, Germany and The Netherlands. At least we chose our 25kVAC overhead system is the same as the French and has been since at least the 1960s.

I despair, that I’ll ever take a High Speed train direct to Rotterdam and then take a local train to The Hague.

No wonder the EU is such a mess, if the UK, Belgium, France, Germany and The Netherlands can’t agree on something purely technical like a connecting railway.



October 11, 2015 Posted by | Food, Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Marks And Spencer’s Gluten Free Food In Stations

I regularly travel by train and visit stations, outside of my normal patch of London. Once away from the capital, often the only substantial food I can get as I pass through the station are Marks and Spencer’s gluten-free sandwiches, a drink and perhaps some fruit.

At some stations, you can rely on gluten-free sandwiches being available most of the time. In this group would be.

Birmingham New Street, Cambridge, Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Oxford and Reading

Then there are important interchange stations, where possibly unless you’re there before nine, there’s never any gluten-free sandwiches.

Cardiff, Edinburgh, Sheffield and Newcastle

The worst major station for gluten-free food is Nottingham. The food shop is a Morrison’s, which I’ve never used. To get any gluten-free food you need to go to the city centre, which is a long walk or a return on the tram.

Other stations to avoid if you’re a coeliac like me, are Blackpool, Derby, Doncaster, Huddersfield, Ipswich, Norwich, Middlesbrough and Preston.

The last two are places where it is very difficult to buy any gluten-free food at all.


October 6, 2015 Posted by | Food | , | 1 Comment

Meandering Around Lancashire

Yesterday, I went to Ipswich Town’s disastrous match at Blackburn.

I went via Liverpool, as I had at one point intended to get a flight from Liverpool Airport to Poland on the Sunday to start one of my Home Runs.

But circumstances intervened and so I was left with only the first leg of my trip – A First Class ticket to Liverpool.

These pictures tell the story of my journey.

Note :-

  1. Norton Bridge Junction is The  Two Hundred Million Pound Railway Project Of Which You’ve Probably Not Heard.
  2. Where were all the Class 319 trains in Liverpool? Only Northern Powerhouse was sitting forlornly in Platform 1! Normally, there’s half a dozen!
  3. The New Platform 7 at Liverpool Lime Street has been planned for years. And still nothing is happening.
  4. Blackburn station had no information on buses.

I’d actually taken six trains during the day.

  • A Virgin Pendelino from Euston to Liverpool
  • A Northern Rail Class 156 train from Liverpool to Wigan North Western
  • A Virgin Pendelino from Wigan North Western to Preston
  • A Northern Rail Class 156 train from Preston to Blackburn
  • A Northern Rail Class 142 train from Blackburn to Preston
  • A Virgin Pendelino from Preston to Euston

The trip up was by a roundabout route, but in some ways it illustrates the problems of trains in the area.

  • Liverpool to Preston is fully electrified, but the service is run by diesels, although from Monday, it will be run by Class 319 electric trains on a half-hourly basis.
  • As Preston to Blackpool is not electrified, usually the onward journey is a tired diesel.
  • Preston to Blackburn and Burnley is not electrified and is generally run by antique Pacers and a few Class 156 trains.
  • At the moment due to the Farnworth Tunnel problems, Manchester to Preston is not a journey for the faint-hearted.

Hopefully, it’ll all get better, when the Manchester to Preston via Bolton electrification is complete, but that won’t do anything from Preston to Blackpool, Blackburn and Burnley.

Whoever wins the new Northern Rail franchise is going to be mandated to buy 120 new carriages.

Surely, these should be Aventra IPEMUs and they should be used on these lines from or through Preston.

  • Blackpool North to Hazel Grove
  • Blackpool South To Colne
  • Preston to Barrow
  • Preston to Blackpool North
  • Preston to Leeds via Blackburn, Bolton, Halifax and Bradford
  • Preston to Manchester Victoria via Blackburn, Burnley and the Todmorden Curve.
  • Preston To Ormskirk
  • Preston to Windermere

They would probably be used on other lines in the area.

  • Liverpool to Manchester via Warrington Central
  • Manchester to Southport

These services might only need some platform lengthening, adjustments to track and signalling and a small amount of extra electrification.

The longest  section that is not electrified is that between Preston and Bradford, which is probably less than sixty miles. If necessary the gap could be shortened by  electrifying between Preston and say Rose Hill, where the Colne branch divides.

What surprises me, is that Bombardier haven’t created another demonstrator to prove the concept, just as they did at Manningtree.



October 3, 2015 Posted by | Food, Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment