The Anonymous Widower

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

A Design Crime – The Average Smoke Detector

On Saturday Evening, the smoke detector in my bedroom decided to go off.

I was able to silence it about three times, but it refused to go off permanently.

I then decided to take it down, by standing on the bed.

Unfortunately, I slipped and broke the detector.

It is not the first altercation, I have had with the cheap and nasty smoke detectors in this house, which were probably bought in Istanbul market for a few pence.

  • In my view, there is a need for a superior type of smoke detector wired into a building in a better way.
  • It should be possible to replace a failed detector, like I had on Saturday in a simple operation without any tools.
  • There should also be a master switch in the house, that switches off all the smoke detectors.
  • Instructions on how to deal with the smoke detectors in case of failure should be in an obvious place in the house, like on the door of the meter cupboard.

Smoke detectors are too important, to be designed down to the cheapest possible station and most are a true design crime.

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

Could I Survive Four Months Self-Isolation?

As I am over seventy, it is quite likely that if newspaper reports like this one in The Times, which is entitled Coronavirus: Millions Of Over-70s Will Be Told To Stay At Home For Four Months, prove to be true, I shall be spending at least four months, alone with my television, my books and the Internet.

These are a few thoughts.

How Does My House Get Cleaned?

When I moved into this house, I decided that I didn’t want to have anything to do with cleaning the house, so I hired a contract cleaning company, who come every Monday.

I also reduced my cleaning utensils to those that I would to clean up a spill.

  • A dustpan and brush
  • Kitchen roll
  • Washing-up liquid.
  • A portable Dyson vacuum cleaner.
  • A few sponges.

At least I don’t spill much.

How Do I Get My Clothes Washed?

My clothes washing arrangements may seem strange to some.

  • The cleaning company also looks after my bed-linen and changes it on Mondays.
  • Most of my clothes like underwear, shirts and jumpers are washed by a lady, who collects them from my door and brings them back a few days later.
  • I take trousers, jackets and suits to the dry cleaners.

Since my washing machine packed up about three months ago, I haven’t replaced it and I use a pair of new socks every three or four days. It’s cheaper than buying a new machine.

I can see problems arising, as my lady, who does the washing, is not in the first flush of youth or good health and may be told to self-isolate.

But I can afford to get more clothes delivered.

How Am I Placed For Home Deliveries?

Despite my front door virtually opening onto the street, I have problems with home deliveries.

  • Inevitably, they come when I’m out! But that won’t happen, if I’m confined to barracks!
  • But the major problem is that I share a post-code with the mews that runs down the back of my house and drivers relying on sat-navs inevitably end up in the mews. It happened last week and only because I’d given the company my home phone number, which the driver rang, did I get the parcel.

I should say, that most things that I need I collect from shops, because of the delivery problem, which inevitably means I have to collect it from a Post Office or depot a short or sometimes long distance away.

I Like A Daily Paper

I buy The Times most days and I also have an on-line subscription.

Being brought up in a print works, I like the feel of papers and as I do most of the puzzles in The Times every day, I don’t have to print them out. Not that I can print them out at the moment, as no-one can work out how to drive my printer from this terrible Microsoft Surface Pro Studio computer.

If anybody knows how to drive a HP LaserJet P1102w from one of these awful computers please get in touch. And if you are anywhere near London N1, there will be a beer waiting if the fridge or a boiling kettle, if you turn up.

I buy the paper from the shop round the corner, but I can’t find anybody to deliver one!

It sounds like there’s a business there to deliver papers to those, who the government insist are isolated in their own homes.

What About My Food?

At the present time, I shop most days and generally keep the following in the fridge.

  • Two bottles of milk; one in use and one full.
  • Some fish pate or M & S salmon parcels.
  • Several small pots of M & S Luxury Honey & Ginger yoghurt.
  • Three pots of cut fruit from M & S, which I usually eat at a rate of one a day. Sometimes with the yoghurt.
  • Benecol spread instead of butter.
  • Two or three ready meals.
  • Two packs of M & S gluten-free pasta, which has a two months life. I cook it with peas in a yoghurt sauce, with each pack giving two meals.
  • Three bottles of Adnams 0.5% beer from M & S. I’ve also got plenty of this in store.
  • Some eggs and cheese.

In various store cupboards, storage jars and bowls I also have the following.

  • Several bananas.
  • Lots of dried apricots
  • M & S gluten-free bread.
  • M & S gluten-free ginger snaps.
  • Plenty of tea bags.
  • Tins of sardines
  • Tins of baked beans,
  • M & S gluten-free granola, which I eat with yoghurt and apricots
  • M & S gluten-free porridge pots, which I eat with honey or strawberry jam.

I should say, that most days, I eat breakfast out either in Carluccio’s or Leon.

You will notice that I shop extensively in Marks and Spencer. But I have one only about five hundred metres away in Dalston and in Central London, you pass one of their food stores very regularly.

I can also go to their two larger stores at Finsbury Pavement or The Angel, if I am able to risk the bus.

  • It should be noted that I have strong connections to M & S at The Angel.
  • My paternal grandmother used to shop there before the First World War.
  • C and myself used to shop there in the early 1970s, when we lived in the Barbican.

There is also a Boots next door, where I get my prescription drugs, which was also used by my grandmother over a hundred years ago.

How Will I Get To The Doctors?

It’s walkable!

Conclusion

I think, that I’ll survive.

 

March 16, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Food, World | , , , , | 1 Comment

A Medical Bulletin On Myself

About two on Saturday morning, I got out of bed to go to the toilet and tripped into the en-suite bathroom causing myself a serious head injury. I also cut my hand, but what on I do not know! I suspect, that I knocked myself out and when I woke up, my bedroom and living room was like a murder scene with blood everywhere.

The Royal London patched me up, putting a large plaster on my left hand and I stayed Saturday night in the hospital.

My son brought me home on Sunday and I slept that night at home.

On Monday, the cleaners tidied up the mess.

Tuesday, I called 999 again, as I was on the point of falling over and the Royal London found my blood pressure was low, when I stood up. It had been like that, when I had my stroke in Hong Kong and they had to resort to using old-fashioned mercury blood pressure meters.

There was no extra damage and I came home in a taxi.

I’m a bit more normal today, although I seem very sleepy and my INR is just 1.2. 111 told me to start Warfarin yesterday. Which I did!

I shall watch the football on the television and go to bed tonight.

 

 

March 4, 2020 Posted by | Health, Sport | , , , | 9 Comments

All Cleaned Up Now!

My house is now all cleaned up!

Thanks to the good people at myhome.co.uk.

March 2, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , | 3 Comments

An Accident In My Bedroom

I awork on Saturday morning to find myself in a bedroom covered in blood and a living room next door with half as much.

It appeared, that I’d fallen over the bathroom step in the middle of the night and banged my head on the toilet.

I ended up spending a night in the Royal London Hospital and they fixed me up well!

It is now Monday morning and the first picture says a lot. Note the the mat by the step is out of line. It slipped, I then tripped over the step and hit my head on the basin. There is olso an overturned stool in the bathroom, which I must have fallen on and this probably did more damage.

March 1, 2020 Posted by | Health, World | , , | 11 Comments

My Bus Stop At Moorgate Has Been Reopened

The easiest way to get to my house is to get a 21, 76 or 141 bus from outside Moorgate station. All stop within a hundred metres of my house.

For several years the stop has been a temporary affair, whilst Moorgate station is rebuilt.

But now it’s a proper stop with a next bus display and a shelter.

Much of what I need in life, is available close to this stop.

  • On the other side of the road is a Marks and Spencer store with both food and clothes.
  • Within twenty metres of the stop, there are Boots, Hotel Chocolat, Pret a Manger and Leon.
  • There’s a PC World and a Rymans around the corner.

And underneath it all is Crossrail!

I will have my own personal frequent bus route to London’s new rail line!

December 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

House Prices And Stations

I clipped this from the Evening Standard.

Enough said!

I purposely chose my house to be within ten minutes walk from the two Dalston Overground stations, that would open a couple of years after I moved in.

  • It is also within walking distance of twelve major bus routes. All the routes can carry wheel-chairs, if I should ever need one!
  • Five routes have stops, within a hundred metres, serving Bank, British Museum, Euston, Harley Street, Kings Cross, London Bridge, Manor House, Moorgate, Piccadilly Circus, Shaftesbury Avenue, St. Pauls, University College Hospital and Victoria.
  • I’m only fifty metres from a major cycling route between the City and White Hart Lane.
  • I even have a garage, that opens onto the street! But no car!
  • My road is wide and there is usually plenty of parking space for visitors or on-line deliveries.
  • A taxi ride from Euston, Liverpool Street or Kings Cross is usually under fifteen pounds at all times.

It will get even better!

  • When Crossrail opens, I will have 10-12 buses per hour to the Moorgate/Liverpool Street station.
  • Dalston Junction station will get a frequency of twenty trains per hour to and from Canada Water, Shoreditch and Whitechapel, that fan out to a selection of places in South London like Crystal Palace, Clapham Junction, Peckham and Penge.
  • Dalston Kingsland station will get a frequency of twelve trains per hour to Stratford in the East and Camden, Clapham Junction, Hampstead and High Speed Two in the West.
  • I will probably get a series of electric car charging points in the parking spaces in the road, where I live.
  • I could put a personal electric car charging point in my garage.

I’m told the value of my house has risen well in the almost ten years, I’ve owned it.

Did somebody once say, that the location of a property, were the three most important things about it?

Conclusion

Make sure your next property has good access to public transport.

June 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My Main Electricity Supply

This may be a strange thing to post, but the company installing my smart meter needs a serties of pictures, so this way they will be easily available.

The pictures are in top to bottomn down the wall.

December 21, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Home To A Kafkaesque Situation

I got back from holiday last night and with great difficulty managed to get in using my key, as the lock was so stiff.

I then found getting the key out was extremely difficult and after about ten minutes of pulling, I was able to get it out by using a screwdriver through the hole in the key.

I dare not go out, as suppose the key broke getting back in, then I would really be in the doodah.

As I’ve just returned from holiday, I’ve got no food in the house at all.

I actually think the problem could be just down to the heat.

June 26, 2017 Posted by | World | | 3 Comments