The Anonymous Widower

Coronavirus Lockdown In Sweden: a New Take On Safe Shopping — No Assistants

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on The Sunday Times.

It could be the way, that convenience stores will be going! Even my local Marks and Spencer in Dalston, allows you to scan using an app, put the goods in your bag and just walk out!

I must try it, as it would mean that I would have to touch less equipment and won’t have to stand there like a wally, whilst the assistant verifies my age, after I have purchased low alcohol beer.

There could also be little robots like Daleks or R2-D2 wandering around, who you could ask questions, like “Where is the Adnams 0.5% low-alcohol beer?”. They would reply “Follow me!” and lead you to your next purchase.

April 19, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Surviving Lockdown

People ask if I am surviving lockdown.

I am lucky in several ways.

Housing

I live in a spacious house, which is comfortable.

Although, it does have problems.

  • It was built by a Turkish Jerrybuilder, who bought fixtures and fittings at the cheapest price possible.
  • It gets too hot.
  • The plumbing is suspect.
  • The air-conditioner is broken and the service company, have had my money to fix it, but won’t come.
  • The smoke detector above my bed is just hanging there, as I wrote in A Design Crime – The Average Smoke Detector

Hopefully, when we beat COVID-19, I’ll be able to move.

Finances

My investments give me enough to live comfortably. If you call, living in two rooms, never talking face-to-face with anybody living comfortably.

Exercise

I am still fit and can exercise as much as I need and is recommended.

I have a workout that I do twice a day, which includes movements like press-ups, stretches and single-leg stands.

I can do two dozen press-ups straight off or walk three miles, if I need to.

Health

My health is good, despite being a coeliac and suffering a serious stroke ten years ago.

  • I test my own INR.
  • I seem to have survived my fall of a month ago.
  • I only go to the surgery for B12 injections, drug reviews and the odd problem.

Other than that I just suffer from the problems of a healthy man of 72, like arthritis and hay fever.

I do have a strange skin, that leaks a lot of water and doesn’t bleed, when I have an injection or a doctor or nurse takes blood. I never have a plaster after either procedure.

Food

I am a reasonable and very practical cook, or so my son and various friends tell me. These are some meals, I’ve been cooking under lockdown.

Sardines And Baked Eggs

Pasta With Yogurt Sauce For One

Goat’s Cheese, Strawberry And Basil Salad

Cod And Tomato With Basil

Lemon And Spinach Cod Gratin

Smoked Haddock And Curried Rice

I shall add more here.

I won’t starve!

Shopping

A Marks and Spencer food store is fifteen minutes walk away, so I can get all the food I need.

I also got plenty of Adnams 0.5% alcohol Ghost Ship beers direct from the brewers delivered last week.

Their beers have been a lifeline, as they are gluten-free, thirst-quenching and don’t get me drunk. Even in quantity!

I also have safe delivery without any contact, as the couriers just ring my bell, we chat through the window about three metres away and they leave the goods on the step.

I didn’t think about lockdown, when I bought this house, but it is ideal for safe COVID-19-free deliveries.

Lockdown Practice

There can’t be many people, now going through the COVID-19 lockdown, wo have locked themselves away so many times in their life as I have.

  • At the age of about six, I spent three months or more, in isolation because I caught scarlet fever.
  • For the summer before A-Levels, my parents went to their house in Felixstowe. For part of the time, I locked myself in my bedroom and read up on my A level Physics.
  • A couple of times at ICI, I self-isolated with a computer to get important jobs done. How many have used an IBM-360 as a PC?
  • I self-isolated to write Speed, my first piece of independent software.
  • Pert7 and other software for Time Sharing Ltd was written overnight sitting in the window of their offices on Great Portland Street.
  • Artemis was written in an attic in Suffolk, with no-one else around for most of the time.
  • The special PC version of Artemis, that was a combined project management, database and spreadsheet program, was also written under lockdown.
  • After Celia died, I wrote Travels With My Celia(c) under lockdown. You can download the pdf file here.

Lockdown has almost been a way of life for me.

But on past form, I certainly have the mental strength to get through lockdown unscathed.

Conclusion

There must be a lot of others in much worse situations than myself.

 

April 18, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Food, Health, World | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Queuing For Marks And Spencer In Dalston

I took this picture of the orderly queue waiting to get into Marks and Spencer in Dalston.

It does appear that everybody was obeying the rules and I only took twenty minutes to enter the store.

  • The store was well-stocked, although there were very few ready meals with long Best Before dates.
  • Gluten-free bread, biscuits and cereals were at near normal levels.
  • There were about a dozen bottles of Adnams low-alcohol beer on the shelves, which I reduced by a couple.
  • There were no gluten-free cakes. Not that I buy them often.
  • Some lines like gluten-free sandwiches seem to have been dropped. Not that I wanted any, as I won’t be travelling.
  • The staff were being very professional.

I was able to get enough food in my bag to get me through to the middle of next week.

April 9, 2020 Posted by | Food, Health, World | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Marks And Spencer In Dalston Was On The Ball

This morning, I walked to Marks and Spencer in the Kingsland Road for essential supplies.

I got more than I needed and now have enough food in the fridge and my cupboards for the next ten days.

The hold-up in the store were the tills, but one of the assistants had taken control of the situation, by marshalling customers to spare self-service tills, scanning goods and helping to get the customers out of the store as fast as possible.

It was real East End spirit in action.

Remember that the BBC soap, was nearly shot in a real square close to Dalston and in some ways the chivvying and banter could have been transposed.

Is EastEnders dealing with COVID-19? I doubt it!

March 31, 2020 Posted by | Health, World | , , | 4 Comments

This Is My Second Lockdown

I can’t be the only person, but in the 1970s, I has locked myself away for nearly a year before. I did it to write the first version of the Project Management software; Artemis.

There are some differences between my situation then and my situation now.

  • My wife was alive then and we saw each other for perhaps two days a week.
  • I could drive and I occasionally went down the Clopton Crown for the odd pint and meal!
  • I hadn’t been diagnosed as a coeliac, as that happened in 1997.
  • There was no Internet or social media.
  • There was no Radio 5 Live.
  • I am a better cook now, than I was then.
  • I am within walking distance of a Marks and Spencer Simply Food store.

I think the rules for surviving are as follows.

  • Eat and drink enough.
  • Have entertaining radio or television on.
  • Break the day up with a bit of exercise.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Arrange good weather.

Let’s hope this lockdown turns out as well as the last.

March 31, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Health, World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Daily Exercise

My father always said I was born lucky!

When I bought this house in Dalston after my stroke, I bought it because of the location.

  • There are four London Overground stations within walking distance.
  • Four bus stops are within a hundred metres, which are served by five bus routes, one of which goes to King’s Cross, St. Pancras and Euston
  • There are more than ten bus routes within walking distance.
  • I have three bus routes to and from the Angel for the shops and Chapel Market, where my paternal grandmother, used to shop before the First World War.
  • If I walk the other way, there was the rather run down Kingsland Road with a Sainsbury’s and lots of unhealthy takeaways.

But then Marks and Spencer opened a Simply Food store in the Kingsland Road by Dalston Kingsland station.

  • It is about a fifteen minute walk from my house.
  • It has a full range of their gluten-free food.
  • It stocks everything I need regularly.

It was certainly my luck, that they opened this store.

Today, I took my daily exercise by walking to the store and bringing home enough food for a couple of days.

  • Is this killing two birds with one stone?
  • The walk along the Balls Pond Road was notable because there was only little traffic and few pedestrians on one of East London’s main arteries.
  • A sizeable proportion of the shops were shut.

It was also very breezy and was this good to protect me from COVID-19, by blowing it away?

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport, World | , , , | Leave a comment

A Glorious Sight In Marks And Spencer In Dalston

I get through almost a dozen bottles of Adnams 0.5% alcohol beer in a week

Marks And Spencer in Dalston has both varieties.

As my body says the beers are gluten-free, I am grateful for small mercies.

But then, I’ve been drinking Adnams since I was about fourteen!

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Food | , , , | 1 Comment

UK To Raise Contactless Card Payment Limit To 45 pounds In April

The title of this post is the same as that of this report on Reuters.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Britain will raise the spending limit for contactless card payments to 45 pounds ($52) from 30 pounds on April 1 to support consumers during the coronavirus outbreak, the UK Finance industry association said on Tuesday.

I think this is a good thing.

When I go to Marks and Spencer to get my food, I have found that for the goods I buy, their average cost is two pounds. It is annoying the number of times I buy sixteen or seventeen items and I am just over the thirty pound limit.

So from April the first, I will be using chip-and-pin less often.

Surely, you’re more likely to pick up COVID-19 with chip-and-pin!

March 24, 2020 Posted by | Finance, Health | , , | 4 Comments

My Essential Foods

These are my essential foods on which I base a lot of my diet.

Note.

  1. I find most flavours acceptable.
  2. I prefer honeydew melon, mango, pineapple and strawberry, but hate watermelon.
  3. The honey and ginger flavour is best and makes good pasta sauce.
  4. Blueberry muffin and cocoa orange are my two favourite flavours.
  5. Most Marks and Spencer bread is good, but this is my staple.
  6. I add to the granola – C would be surprised that apricots are on the list.
  7.  With two eggs, a tin makes a good quick meal.

Most of these foods seem to have come from Marks and Spencer

March 22, 2020 Posted by | Food | | Leave a comment

Put Thameslink On The Tube Map Says London Assembly

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Ian Visits.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A report on improving accessibility on London’s Transport services has called for the fully accessible Thameslink line to be on the Tube map as a matter of some urgency.

I’m all for this happening.

I use Thameslink quite a bit, as if I’m in some places South of the River and am coming home, taking Thameslink to West Hampstead Thameslink and then using the Overground to Canonbury, from where I walk home, is a convenient route.

  • It is step-free.
  • There is a Marks and Spencer at West Hampstead, where I can do a bit of food shopping.
  • Walking from Canonbury station to my house is gently downhill.

These are some other thoughts about Thameslink,

The Underground Train With A Toilet

Sometimes, I also find it doubly-convenient, as I need to spent a penny or more. Often, the toilets on Thameslink trains are free in the tunnels under London!

How many other Underground trains have toilets?

Obviously, Eurostar does, but does anybody know of any other trains that run deep under the surface, that have toilets?

Do Thameslink Want The Extra Passengers That Being On The Map Would Bring?

This may seem a dumb question, but sometimes, I do wonder, if the answer is that they don’t!

Thameslink Would Surely Make A Good Travel Partner For Eurostar

Increasing, many visitors from the Continent to London and the South East are travelling across the Channel using the excellent Eurostar.

As the Thameslink and Eurostar platforms at St. Pancras International, there could be mutual advantages to both companies to be partners.

Suppose you were travelling on these routes.

  • Paris and Gatwick
  • Brussels and Greenwich
  • Amsterdam and Brighton
  • Rotterdam and Luton Airport

And for one reason or other you didn’t want to fly; climate change, you like trains, awkward baggage or just plain fear of flying.

Surely, using Eurostar and Thameslink would be the obvious travel companies.

Note that Thameslink have posters, saying that they are the ideal way to get to Luton Airport.

Do they have posters, saying they are the ideal way to get to Eurostar at St. Pancras?

If I was running Thameslink, I’d do the following.

  • Make sure, that all Thameslink stations accepted contactless ticketing using bank or credit cards.
  • Put information and advertising on Eurostar trains and stations, telling passengers how to get to and from any Thameslink station without buying a physical ticket.
  • Devise a simple add on ticket, that would be printed on your Eurostar boarding pass or held in Eurostar’s app.
  • Market Thameslink to the French as the UK’s answer to the RER.
  • Put travel information in at least Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish, at St. Pancras station.

I would think, that a properly thought-out plan, could be a nice little earner for Thameslink.

 

March 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments