Thursday, 31 December 2009

Central Heating Boiler and weather

We had a lot more snow here and this morning I was woken up at 6.40 by the sound of my Baxi Solo 2 central heating boiler in distress.
It was so cold during the night it was really having a hard time getting going, and was making this worrying cracking sound as well as its normal clicking sound, as it tried to ignite, like... click.. cracklecraclecrack!
Then igniting and going off again.
It kept doing that for a few minutes as I stood in front of it feeling cold and hoping it would be ok, it was like it was desperately trying but could not quite manage.
I actually started talking to it and telling it to be good and behave itself.
So now it seems ok, except a couple of the radiators are not heating up properly.
I have turned the controller to constant heat (its thermostatically controlled and switches off when it gets to the desired temperature),and will keep it like that until I have decided what to do. I don't want it breaking down over New Year and trying to get an engineer out.
It was checked in the summer and received a perfect health certificate, so let's hope it is just a bit tired with all the work its having to do.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Vegan Rashers

Here is an image of the Redwood Cheatin streaky style Veggie Rashers.
Available direct from the Redwood Wholefood Company or many shops in the UK.
Previously we have used these to make vegan all day breakfast, with a fry up including things like mushrooms, scrambled tofu, tomatoes, veggie sausages and baked beans, but they also work well in sandwiches. I will definitely use them in soup again as they gave it a pleasant smoky flavour.
Today I noticed our second "Christmas Waste skip" being delivered. Residents on the estate generate so much additional waste over the festive period that the housing association now provides skips to take the extra rubbish generated. This was one of the motivating factors behind my "frugal Christmas".


The later part of December has been mainly spent at home.
This year I had decided not to make any special effort for the holiday and not to buy any Christmas gifts.
Certain people received gifts from me from items I already owned which I decided to pass on. Mostly they were wrapped in paper recycled from last year.
The Wednesday before Winter Solstice I had noticed the 5 day forecast for some very freezing and icy conditions and snow. So I went out in the rain to post my Christmas cards, and take my recycling to the recycling point on Beaconsfield Sreeet.
The next day, the snow and ice began.
Each morning I got up early, opened the curtains and saw ice and snow.
The Winter Solstice went by and still I could not get out the house for the snow and ice.
Jeff bought cat litter to spread on the steps, as no grit or rock salt was available.
I went to my hospital appointment at the RVI on Tuesday 22nd, in a taxi, and had a walk through the hospital corridors to the letterbox to post some last minute cards. the most walking I had done for days.
The following Wednesday the snow was totally compacted and no gritting had been done anywhere locally, so I had someone collect me to go to the Time Exchange Festive Meal.
Vegetarians were offered Shepherd's Pie and Veggies.
Christmas Day and Boxing Day were spent at home with Jeff, as the roads were too bad to go anywhere, and the pavements completely iced over.
In the last few days the weather has got a little milder and the rain has melted some of the snow and ice.
However the forecast is for more snow, sleet and ice with well below freezing temperatures at night.
My neighbour has been providing me with some interesting scientific papers to proof read and in return I am getting lots of complicated vegan dishes made from "A Vegan Taste of the Middle East" by Linda Majzlik and some shopping done.

Creamy Fakon and Vegetable Soup

Creamy Fakon and Vegetable Soup

* 2 strips Redwood Cheatin Bacon Rashers;
* 1 tablespoon chopped onion;
* 1 tablespoon chopped mixed peppers;
* 3 sticks chopped celery;
* 1 tablespoon split red lentils;
* 2 heaped tablespoon marigold vegetable bouillion powder;
* 2 teaspoons tofutti sour cream
* 1 litre water;
* 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Fry the rashers and onions in the oil then add the peppers and celery.
Fry for 10 minutes on a low to medium heat.
Add the lentils and coat them in the oil, then add the water and cook covered until the lentils are soft.
Then add the boullion and cream. When it is dissolved turn off the heat and let the soup cool.
Add it to a blender or food processor and blend until totally pureed.
Return it to the pan and reheat gently. Serve with toast.

More or less water can be added depending on how thick you want the soup.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Artichoke and Tofu Yummy Rice

I bought a lot of stuff from the Suma catalogue this month. Thanks to Tamara from Time Exchange for helping out with collection.
So here is what I cooked:

1 tin Cooks and Co Artichoke Hearts in Brine;
2 onions;
2 trimmed leeks;
2 carrots;
1 pack Taifun Graffiti Tofu Terrine (pictured);
1 tbsp olive oil;
1 tbsp frozen peas
2 portions Suma Fairly Traded Brown Basmati rice
1 tbsp frozen mixed peppers (Iceland sell these in the frozen Veg aisle, they are better value for money than fresh peppers);
2 tsp Marigold Reduced salt Vegetable Bouillon powder.

Saute the chopped onions and leek in a large pan then add the finely chopped carrots.
Cook until tender then add the frozen veg and the tinned artichoke hearts.
Add the bouillon powder now.

Simmer with the pan lid on, on until it looks like everything is cooked. Then add the terrine, chopped into large chunks, and the rice. Stir together and serve.

Makes 3 portions.

Could also be known as Painter's Reward!

Kitchen finished

At last the kitchen is finished. After waiting for the new plaster to dry, Jeff, 2 volunteers from the Time Exchange, and myself put a few coats of paint on, and today Jeff moved the fridge freezer back into the kitchen.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Tokyo Sonata

At the weekend we watched Tokyo Sonata, a film about a Japanese family. The trigger event is that the father, Ryuhei Sasak is made redundant, for reasons which are not made quite clear.
His struggles to come to terms with the loss of his high status job and the role it confers, cause a knock on effect in his family.
As he comes to terms with the event and re-adjusts, his family and he all go through a process of change, in which they all run away from their appointed roles.

Quick and Easy Beef Style Jalfrezi

Jeff and I cooked this delicious dish at the weekend using ingredients mostly purchased at Newgate Street Co-op.
It takes about an hour to cook, with about 10 minutes actual preparation time.

This is my own recipe but feel free to copy it and try it yourself!

Quick and Easy Beef Style Jalfrezi

You will need:

1. 3 leeks:
2. 1 tablespoon frozen petit pois ;
3. 1 carrot;
4. 1 pack Grassington's Beef style Veggie "meatballs";
5. 1 jar Co-op Jalfrezi sauce;
6. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.

* Fry the leeks and carrots in the oil in a large saucepan until they are starting to go a little crispy, then add the frozen veggie balls.
* Continue to cook on a medium heat until the balls have softened and look done, about 15 minutes should be enough.
* Then add the frozen peas and sauce and cook for the time it says on the jar... another 15 or 20 minutes. Cover the pan at this point.
* Stir occasionally to make sure the sauce does not stick, reducing heat if necessary, and adding a little water if required.
* Serve with rice or nan bread.

A little salad goes very well with this meal, we had sliced tomatoes, sliced chinese leaf, and sliced cucumber in a light french dressing.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Moss and Lichen

Jeff saw these beautiful mosses and lichens in September on Bute's rocky coast.

Meditation retreat

I recently spent some time at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey
It was a challenge to get up at before 6 am and go to meditate for what seemed like a fairly long period. Before dawn until full daylight. On returning home I found getting up in the mornings much easier.

reading material

At the moment I am reading "Spiral"

by Koji Suzuki

which is the sequel to "Ring", a very creepy Japanese film.

Finish off damp repair

Today was the last day of the damp repair.
It got postponed again because the person who was scheduled to do the work was off sick.

Our other joiner, who usually works in South Sheilds, has given me some information about the cause of the damp. As before its due to a lack of complete damp proof course.

The repair he has done using a water repellent plaster. "dry- or dri XXXXX" whatever-it-is may not stop the rising damp traveling up the wall permanently, and in a few years may need a proper dsmp proof course installing. The door which was there before post war renovations to the building meant the damp proof course was not installed at that point. If the switch trips and fails, affecting the fridge, it will have been due to water traveling up the wall and rusting the switch plate.

Thursday, 5 November 2009


I am really into the Wallander series at the moment, but it is difficult to get them at the library as they are popular. I have just finished "The Pyramid" which Mankell wrote in response to demands from readers who wished to learn about Wallander's life before the first book in the series.
I am also reading "Roar of the Tigress" Volume 2", by Rev. Master Kennnet which is about Zen Buddhism.


Jeff and I went to Newcastle Empire cinema on Tuesday to see Up, which is a Disney story about various issues, including adventure, dogs, getting old, attachments to your possessions and memories, and letting go of attachments to find release, friendship, the natural environment and threats to it, and probably various other matters.

Jeff still has not shaved his beard off and it suits him more and more.
Later we went to Nudo on Low Friar Street, I had a Aloe Vera drink and some shredded tofu salad, then some spicy Edame and a mousse.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Resting waterbirds

Lots of water birds are chilling out around Leazes Lake at the moment.
They don't seem bothered by people getting close to them as they know they are likely to get food, and even take food out of people's hands.


This is a flower of some kind, on a tree near the Richardson Road entrance to Leazes Park. I am guessing a type of cotoneaster? Very Georgeous!

Autumn Mushrooms

The mushrooms around the trunk of the tree in Leazes Park which I saw yesterday have been damaged, but I found these near the entrance to The Royal Victoria Infirmary. I had an appointment at the New Victoria Wing, but I have found a way through inside the building from the Peacock Hall entrance, for use on days of inclement weather.

Leazes Park

I believe this is the Leaning Poplar which is scheduled for "removal" aka felling, as it has diseased trunk and roots.

Pure View

This was a most tranquil scene, on Bute.

Bute so beautiful

Bute is said to be the most beautiful of the Western Isles!
This path was too muddy to venture far beyond where I stood.

Still on Bute

While on Bute I found this ladies' toilet festooned with knicknacks and decorations, it is in a remote area without an attendant!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Bute Postbox

This postbox is a Victorian one in Rothesay on Bute, which we noticed on our holiday. That day was a beautiful September day, sunny and mild.
Here on Tyneside we now are really at the end of autumn and getting into winter, the days are short and mushrooms can be seen growing on and around the trees in Leazes Park and Castle Leazes. I will attempt to get some photos.

what do vegans eat anyway?

Yesterday I had one of those packets of prepared stir fry vegetables which I stir fried with sesame oil, then I added Sharwoods plum sauce, and some leftover chicken style granose nut loaf. I then added some cooked white rice and baked beans.
British Summer Time ended last weekend and I am finding it difficult to adjust.
Its nice that its a lot lighter in the mornings but its getting dark soon after 4 pm and I am feeling so very tired in the evenings.
I now have a date for the completion of the damp repair in the kitchen. November 16!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

At last the surveyor visits

Today the surveyor visited as arranged and waved his damp meter over the walls in the kitchen.
It is damp but he is not saying what kind of damp it is.

The mess and holes in the wall by the by the boiler needs a repair in his opinion and he has made a note of it. It depends on what kind of boiler it is how this should be done.
Now he needs to discuss with Colin what work has already been done to see if a full repair of the DPC with injections will be needed or if it can be done more easily. He would like to see if the guarantee for the DPC can be found as it should still be valid.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Rothesay Harbour

The weather on Bute was perfect for most of our holiday. Here is a view of the Victorian port of Rothesay on an idyllic September afternoon.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

29th September

29th September is a special day for Jeff and I. We celebrated by going to the Tyneside cinema and then for dinner at Nudo Noodle House on Low Friar Street. The film was Jeff's choice, "The Soloist" a hard hitting poltical drama.

Rhubodach Ferry

This is Bute's second ferry, linking Rhubodach in northern Bute with Colintraive on the Cowal Peninsula.
If travelling round Bute in a car, this is as far as you can drive, and then the road runs out. We left the car and had a bit of a walk up to some old woodland.

Wemyss Bay Ferry and Railway Station

The Railway Station at Wemyss Bay is very Victorian. It's where we got the Ferry to Bute.
The Ferry takes cars, goods and foot passengers.

More Bute Photos coming soon!

A book I read recently

I recently borrowed this book from the library "The Mother Factor: How Your Mother's Emotional Legacy Impacts Your Life".
Check the title link for a link to this book on Amazon.
I thought it was really interesting for anyone who wants to understand how their minds work, and it is relevant for anyone, man or woman,whether one's parents are alive or not, but perhaps would only appeal to those with an open mind and patience for self help books! The author, Stephan B. Poulter has written a similar book about fathers, apparently.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Cholesterol and updates

Recently we have been on holiday in the Western Isles, well one of them, Bute to be specific.
We had a great time and some photos will be showing soon once I get round to uploading them.
In the meantime I have had a birthday and will have to get used to adding one number onto my age.
I have been hearing some news about cholesterol levels.
There is a lot of evidence showing that removing animal products, including dairy products and fish, from the diet has a very beneficial effect on lowering cholesterol levels.
or clink on the link in the post title.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Light and dark

The kitchen windows look towards the North East and Jesmond, the Sun seems to rise over the City Centre and coast area.

The kitchen is always bright and sunny in the early morning and the light is not so good in the evening, which is why the photos of the kitchen seem dark.

sorbet flavoured walls

I am still waiting for the landlord to arrange for the damp patch on the wall to be treated. Landlord's Housing Officer is having difficulty getting any news for me about when it might happen. I am calling in to see her on a regular basis now to try and get it sorted out.
Jeff and I have put a couple of coats of this... "ECOS Feng Shui is a multi-surface coating for walls and woodwork which lends a uniquely harmonious feel to the home".

The fridge is now hiding the patch of damp, as you can see.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Gallowgate, Chinatown Gate and City Wall

The New Chinatown Gate at the junction of Gallowgate and St. Andrew's Street, with the new building and crane in the background.

Looking west towards Bath Lane we can see a large section of Newcastle's old Roman City Wall and the well preserved moat

Ready to begin painting

We have now finished coating the walls with the stabiliser and ready to paint, hopefully at the weekend. I have bought the paint from and its waiting, ready in the hallway.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

College Days

Recently I continued some decluttering and came across a 21st Birthday card from Jenny, in which she mentioned booking Canes.
Ah yes... Canes being a place to eat in Bangor. Doing a google search I see that Canes is still open, as is The Greek Taverna, another place my associates and I were fond of hanging out at.
There were a few more, I can't recall their names at the moment. Lots of pubs, I liked a drink in those pre-teetotal days, Union Garth, Belle Vue, etc.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Stanhope Street furniture

As we walked back from the new recycling centre on Dunholm Road (which looks really cool with it's wooden panel surround and quirky signage... unfortunately I forgot I had my camera, I was so keen to see which items of recycling it would accept) we stopped off at the Brighton Grove Oriental Food Store where I bought pistachio nuts, a pack of my favourite fresh Iranian dates and some Zest Vegan Pesto.
I really like this shop as it has lots of vegan goodies like what I bought today, dried veggie mince, fantastic range of pulses, herbs, spices, sauces etc.
Then we stopped for a rest beside the junction of Dilston Road and Stanhope Street. At all the junctions new stone seats, signs and planters have been installed.
Then we called into Hutchinson's Fruit and Veg for tofu and cucumber, Iceland for frozen diced onions (these are excellent for those of us with reduced hand dexterity who have trouble chopping onions) then, rather hot and tired, went home!

Gravel Garden, Brighton Grove

Today has been really fine and sunny, quite a typical August day. My young neighbour Abdurhman who is 9, and I went to check out the new recycling centre on Dunholm Road and do a bit of shopping.
Abdurhman asked me to take a photo of this neat little garden on Brighton Grove.
Brighton Grove has an eclectic mix of small front gardens, some have nothing at all in them, some are semi wild and overgrown with flowers, bushes and hedges, some are paved over, and some have been used to grow fruit and vegetables, such as rhubarb, spinach, and strawberries.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

In Gratitude

I would like to publicly thank the following people for all their help so far with my kitchen.
First of all Vix helped with the loan of a large ladder, and a small electric sander.
Jeff has helped with all the work above 6 feet where I cannot reach.
Arthur's Hill Time Exchange arranged for a volunteer, Alan, to help with sanding the areas I could not reach. Alan brought his friend along too!
Again a helpful neighbour removed the paper from behind radiator and behind the boiler pipes.
Jeff moved the fridge-freezer around the kitchen a number of times so we could remove paper from behind it, and then moved it out of the kitchen completely, each time managing to level it perfectly on the uneven floor.
Landlord's repair help line organised for a professional to check the damp behind the fridge, and landlord will be paying for all the structural repairs to the wall.
Thanks to Colin for checking the damp and explaining what will be happening with the structural repairs. Thanks to Jeff for volunteering to sand the wooden boxing in.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Distemper and Damp

The landlord's joiner arrived today to look at the damp in the kitchen. The bit which looks like rising damp.
He is sure it is damp, he said he could tell just by looking at it. But he is surprised where it is because he reckons that is a "solid" wall where damp should not be.
Therefore, it needs someone higher up the chain to look at it and tell him what to do. Whatever it is... the wall obviously needs treatment and will have to be drilled.
The outside wall where the radiator is is fine and has been treated, the greyish patches is "dead" mould.
As for the bit near the boiler apparently that's classed as "decorating" and is the tenant's responsibility.
The green stuff which looks like the mould that grows on bread is distemper, possibly applied during World War II when paint was in short supply.
I have been told the work will not cause much mess or dust so I can continue to prepare the rest of the room for painting and even start on the painting.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Update on Newgate street construction

The work on the extension to Eldon Square Shopping Centre is still going on, and when I went to do my shopping in the Co-op yesterday I found most of the roadway
area blocked off, as there are safety fences up.
This is looking towards the crossroads of Gallowgate, Newgate Street and Percy Street, from outside the Co-op building.

Update on new building on Gallowgate

A few months ago I posted a pic of a new building going up on Gallowgate. The building has come on a lot since then and this is what it looks like now! If you have a look at the older shot you'll recognise the same crane which has been working hard the whole time.

Black Bull, Barrack Road

This pub is a local landmark and is quite old. Its one of the oldest buildings in the area as it was preserved when post war demolition works were being carried out. Mostly its a quiet local pub but gets very busy on match days, being near St. James Park football stadium.

Renovation work on Queen's Court, Barrack Road

Thee is a lot of scaffolding on Queen's Court, the council are working on some renovations.
This building was erected in the 1950's and is a very popular place to live. It's owned by Newcastle City Council.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Cone and Wormwood

Today was sunny and fine so I decided to have a walk down to Newgate Street co-op and get some shopping delivered.
The wormwood on Barrack Road is reaching its flowering peak at the moment.

When it starts to dry off the whole area starts to stink of wormwood. I can smell it on a warm day if I keep the windows open.
Here are a few bushes of it, with a discarded traffic cone, in what I call "the hedgerow". That narrow area of wooded land between Barrack Road and Castle Leazes.
There is another plant there with small dark leaves, which looks a bit like Yew?

Update on kitchen DIY

We have made a bit progress on the kitchen.
Vix from upstairs did some magic behind the radiator and the boiler and got the paper off from the hard to reach places.
Alan from Time Exchange and his South Walian pal arrived with rolls of sandpaper and sanded the walls.
On Sunday we have to move the fridge so the landlord's damp man can look at the rising damp.
Then, once he has dealt with that, we can wash the walls with sugar soap, apply a coat of ECOS stabilising solution (this stops old plaster deteriorating and breaking up when you paint it and allows the paint to go on smoothly, its a bit like a clear undercoat),
then 2 coats of paint will finish the job!
Here's what it looks like now...

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Lower Shaw Farm

Earlier this week I picked up an email from a mailing list I am on run by
In it they mentioned Lower Shaw Farm.
Here is what I wrote back:

"Thanks for reminding me about lower shaw farm.
I went on a fungus foray course there in the mid 1980s!
I remember the event and that it was in Swindon, but had completely forgotten the name of the farm until I read your newsletter!
I've had a look round their website and see they have expanded what they do.
I wonder if the same people are running it? If so you can ask them if they remember 2 teenaged girls,, one with short punk style hair and one with long dark hippy style hair, on one of the fungus forays, I think it would have been around 1984? We would have probably been the youngest there at the time."

more recycling in NE4

I have recently been informed that we have a new recycling point near where I live.

The recycling point is at Ozanam house at the bottom of Dunholme Road near the junction with Clifton Road. It also takes other stuff like glass, paper, cardboard, cans etc.
This is within walking distance so I will be using it next time I have some recycling, if we get a fine day sometime soon.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Update on Ventilation systems

Interesting comment from Will about Envirovent , the old unit which broke down a few years ago was an Envirovent, it could not be repaired.
I looked at their website, seems quite a good company to work with.
Here,the landlord decides which product to use so I didn't have any say in it. In fact I had been chasing them up for a a whole year to get the replacement put in. The landlord has certain contractors who they deal with, again, the tenants don't have any say in it. At least we don't have to pay any separate charges for such expensive repairs, it all comes out of our rent money!
The contractors, Warrens,who are based in 'Boro, did a really nice neat job and the vent is already making the place seem fresher.
Keep windows open as much as possible, try not to dry clothes indoors, keep bathroom and kitchen doors closed when doing anything steamy.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Anti condensation unit Flatmaster 5+ nuaire

This morning I had my replacement anti condensation unit replaced. I had been waiting for this for over a year as the old one had broken down and could not be repaired.
The new one will need the filter changing or cleaning in 1 to 2 years.
Apparently the new unit ensures a constant supply of fresh air, and "the result is improved indoor air quality and an environment in which condensation dampness cannot exist."Let's hope it works!

Monday, 20 July 2009

Step by Step DIY in Kitchen.

To sucessfully complete my DIY project I need to complete 8 or 9 steps.
1. Remove all paper.
2. Call landlord's maintenance service about mould, rising damp and plaster which has broken up beside boiler pipe.
Structural repairs and rising damp are the landlord's legal responsibility.
3. Fill holes with filler, where larger holes exist pack with dead matches first then apply filler.
4. Sand walls and lightly sand glosswork on wooden boxing in of pipework.
5. Wash walls and all wooodwork with solution of sugar soap.
6.Phone ECOS paints for delivery of a tin of non toxic paint.
7. Check all repair work has been completed by landlord's maintenance service man.
8. He may wish to treat the green mould himself, if he doesn't do that I have some Polycell Mould Killer which will need to be painted on to the mould.
9. Apply paint!

External wall of kitchen

This wall seems to be free from damp and mould, as it is an external wall the damp proof course is probably correctly installed and intact.
We have finished stripping the paper from this wall and I will start filling some of the small holes and cracks with filler.

Damp in the Kitchen

I noticed a while back that the paper was coming loose in the kitchen. As it has been on about 9 years I decided to take it off and paint.
Unfortunately there appears to be some rising damp in the corner where the fridge was.
I phoned the landlord's (who shall remain anonymous for now) repair line and they are sending someone out to look at it on August 3.

There is an internal wall (shown with ladders resting against it) where we can see a lot of green mould and some rising damp near the skirting board.So far we have managed to take off the majority of the paper. There are a lot of drill and nail holes in the wall which will need filling.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Our Holiday in Norfolk

We had a week in North Norfolk in May, staying at a holiday cottage in Swanton Abbott.
Visited Norwich for the first time, had a really tasty vegan Meal at Pulse Cafe Bar, The Old Fire Station.
We also visited Wroxham, a curious little town, and went on one of the Norfork Broads river cruises, which I highly recommend too.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

May in Nun's Moor Park

The purple bush below the Laburnum provides contrast.
On sunny Sunday afternoons the Park is popular with people sitting around socialising, having barbecues and picnics, playing drums and juggling, doing dance classes, and sunbathing.

Laburnum in Nun's Moor Park

We enjoyed the early summer in Nun's Moor Park recently, and there was a profusion of beautiful laburnum.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Coconut and Sweet Potato Curry

I made this curry from what I had left in the cupboard and fridge.
I didn't think I had enough spices left to get a nice tasty curry flavour but this turned out really well.

You will need:
2 medium sweet potatoes (chopped);
3 medium onions (chopped);
1/4 lb frozen cut green beans;
1/4 lb split red lentils;
1 tbsp creamed coconut;
1/4 1b texturized vegetable protein
3 tsp marigold vegetable boillion powder;
1 tsp cumin seeds;
1 tsp whole pickling spice;
1/4 tsp red chilli powder;
1/4 tsp ginger;
2 tbsp vegetable oil;
1 litre water (approx)

Fry the spices in the oil, then add the onion and fry till golden brown.
Then add the potatoes, lentils,creamed coconut and texturized vegetable protein, also the water, and cook covered on medium heat till the lentils have softened and swelled up and looking mushy.
Then add the green beans and boillion powder and continue to cook uncovered with the saucepan lid off until most of the water has evaporated and the curry is the consistency you like.
You can serve it with white or brown rice or indian bread, a chutney goes well with this dish.

Town Moor Cattle

Some of the Town Moor Cattle are curious to meet passers by.

Ponteland road Footpath

On Bank Holiday Sunday we had a walk up the footpath beside Ponteland Road. Almost all the trees are now in full new leaf, making a tunnel of green light and shade

Friday, 1 May 2009

Fenham Road, Arthur's Hill, NE4

Shoots of Japanese Knotweeds are vigorously sprouting in an untended spot on Fenham Road.

Looking south on Fenham Road, the local post office does a good trade at the counter and the staff are very friendly.

The are a number of sari shops and shops selling dress fabric in Arthur's Hill.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Toasted Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

You will need:
2 slices large Hovis Rich and Roasted Seed Sensations Sliced Loaf;
Whole Earth Smooth Peanut Butter;
1 medium banana (ripe).

Toast the bread slices and apply margarine to them both.
You can use dairy free margarine such as Pure or Vitalite.
Spread peanut butter thickly on one side.
Slice the banana and place it on top of the peanut butter, it should be covered thickly with banana.
Place the first slice of toast on top of the one with the peanut butter and banana.
Squash it down and then cut the sandwich into 2 halves.
Place them on a microwaveable plate and microwave on full power for 3 seconds, this will melt the peanut butter and give the banana a caramelised effect.
Wait a minute or 2 to let the sandwich cool so the filling does not burn your mouth.
Now you can enjoy it!


I decided to give the rest of my cassettes to the charity shop.
Sisters of Mercy: Some Girls Wander by Mistake;
Patti Smith: Horses;
Kraftwerk: The Mix;
Kraftwerk: Radioactivity

Cassettes originally purchased from Cob Records in Bangor, some time in the 1980's.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Favorite scambled tofu

At the moment this is my favourite dish.
It consists of plain tofu sauteed in sesame oil, with pak choi, celery, mixed peppers, sweetcorn, brown rice, turmeric and marigold vegetable bouillion. The brown rice is cooked separately and added at the end.

It's a bit like scrambled eggs. The boullion gives extra flavour, the turmeric gives the tofu and rice a yellow colour.


We had a drive over towards Cumbria, Scottish Borders and Keilder.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Gnome meditates under juniper tree

I noticed this gnome sitting under a small juniper bush in a garden on St. Thomas's Crescent.
Nearby on St. Thomas Street a demolition is under way of old university buildings.

Time Exchanging

Today I had 2 exchanges, Julia came to help work on my bathroom cupboard and get some information, and Katarina and Fay moved my cooker ad cleaned behind it. Thanks to all, and the info about damp is lower down the page.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Corporation Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE4

Looking down Corporation Street, NE4, we can see the cleared site of the Newcastle Brewery behind the green fence, the Brewery office building still standing, and the roof of the People's Kitchen. A poster board is on the left showing the advert for Science City.
St James's Park Stadium in the background.

back Diana Street, NE4

Another warehouse on Back Diana Street, this area is very neglected and overgrown, going back to nature.

back Diana Street, NE4

This building on Back Diana Street looks like it was once a warehouse. It's now getting overgrown with greenery.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Bankok MiniMart, Low Friar Street

Thee are a few new businesses on Low Friar Street, this one is Newcastle's first Thai minimart.

April Leaves unfurling

These leaves are unfurling like green Spring jewels, on a tree on Bath Lane.

more on Low Friar Street

Another new eatery, mainly offering sushi has appeared on Low Friar Street. As it has a good veggie choice we will be trying it out soon!

Breadpoint, Low Friar Street

Breadpoint is a fairly new cafe and bakery on Low Friar Street, selling lots of freshly made sweet and savory buns.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Damp in houses

This is for a fellow Time Exchange member who was asking about damp in her house.
Having dealt with damp and rot in my hallway last year this is something I now know about.

If the walls do sometimes appear wet or have visible moisture on them it may well be due to condensation.
Untreated damp can lead to health problems worsening such as asthma.

If the walls are mainly affected below one metre it could be related to rising damp.
Rising damp is common in houses with no damp proof course or a failed damp proof course.

There is a lot of information on the net about this, you can work out the probable cause of the damp in your home using google searches on damp house, condensation, rising damp etc but ultimately you may need a surveyor to diagnose the problem and save you spending money on inappropriate work.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Spring Blossom near Leazes Court

These white blossoms seem to be the first to show each year.

A building going up on Gallowgate

This shot was from the Chinese Gate near Newcastle's Chinatown. Please visit there for latest news from Herbwormwood