Tuesday, 4 October 2016

A special Day Spent at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey

I did go away for a few days recently, for my   birthday, which  was fab. I was at the monastery  http://throssel.org.uk/gallery/
 deliberately I made sure only a few people knew it was my birthday, so as to avoid a  fuss. There was a young guest in her early 20’s who appeared to  have trouble believing I didn't want anything special or the day to be announced. I had my favourite food on my birthday, probably by chance, which  was Tempeh https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempeh

 in sauce with vegetables. During the day on my birthday I was timing the meditation periods for the lay guests and working  in the kitchen. So it was a special day, and at the same time, it was nothing special.

creamy pea vegetable curry

Some family members (non vegetarian)  visited and I made one of my own recipes for them. It was very well received and I was asked for the recipe.

3 medium brown onions,
2 medium carrots,
4 florets broccoli,
2 cups frozen peas
1 sachet "Pataks" creamed coconut sachets
1 teaspoon garlic powder,
1 teaspoon turmeric powder,
1 teaspoon paprika powder,
1 teaspoon coriander powder,
1 teaspoon garam masala,
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 packet "Oatly" cream
1 teaspoon cornflour and a little water.

Chop the carrots and broccoli and microwave in some water until par- cooked.
Set aside.
Chop the onions. Fry the onions in the vegetable oil until they begin to brown. Add the spices and salt and continue to fry, taking care not to burn it.
Add the par cooked vegetables (drained) and peas and cook for half an  hour on low heat.  Then add the Oatly cream and cook for another half an hour. When all the vegetables are soft add the cornflour-water mixture, waiting until the sauce has thickened.
Next add the coconut sachet and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the coconut has dispersed.

Gardening in small spaces

Today I liked these bean flowers growing in a planter outside the Time Exchange front door, and some sunflowers in a tiny space on Nun's Moor Road.

Marbles, buttons, stainless steel

Since I have last posted, I have had been involved with recycling  and re-homing many objects.
Just one of the many objects was a collection of marbles, which had been sitting around doing nothing for many years, and found a new home with a small girl who likes to play with them.
Also I found a new home for antique pegs, a big tin of buttons, various mid twentieth century stainless steel kitchen objects, and lots of clothes, tea towels and more.
I also was inspired to have a paperwork purge. Most of the paper went straight in the recycling  bin or shredder, some I took a photo of before throwing it away.
These have all gone on to new homes now, where they will actually be appreciated and used.
A while ago I read that when you consider that it actually costs you financially to store unwanted items, because you are providing them with housing, and housing costs, ether rent, mortgage or utility bills, so unwanted items are not helping financially. Most importantly, when other people actually need the items, which I have no use for yet are storing, it makes sense to let them go.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Newburn Riverside

Jeff took these photos at Newburn Riverside where we did a short walk on Monday, very beautiful and peaceful too.

Visiting Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey

Earlier this month I stayed for a few days at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey. If you have been to an introductory retreat there you can request to visit when there are no retreats on, if you wish. The schedule when there isn't a retreat on tends to involve less time in sitting meditation periods and more time on working meditation, and you can discuss with the guest department how much you want to do. There are also more non-silent meals with fellow lay trainees, so its a bit more sociable.
It was very enjoyable. We has a massive thunderstorm with power cut to the whole of the valley, which was quite exciting. I had the opportunity to borrow and wear a much-coveted head torch while working in the kitchen, as there was no power for the lights and the storm had caused dark clouds to block most of the daylight.

What bliss to work
in the monastery

no electricity today
great valley storm
gave us the medieval once again
blessed and dear kitchen monks
provided all we needed
head torch and suitable work
even tea break time as usual

Dogen tells us "The marvelous spiritual ability manifests its enlightened functioning
In our carrying water and our hauling firewood."

Decluttering the Self

Today I cleaned up my noticeboard and took down some things which had been pinned up from earlier in the year. Also stored away in a desk tidy. Its good to keep receipts for a while in case the item is faulty, or if its paid remotely such as parking meters, to make sure there is no query about whether you paid. For people who are not confident about their memory, its also a useful way of remembering when you went to a place or when something happened.
Its also a way of building up your story and constructing a Self.

To do this decluttering method, look around for items you have hung onto for these reasons. Take a photo. Upload the photo to your computer or blog. Then throw the item away, recycle where possible.

What is going on with this term "self?"

Heres Ron Crouch's description:
"As a therapist and a meditation teacher, I live a surreal life. At the office I’m helping people to gain greater self-esteem, more positive self-regard, and encouraging them to see themselves as competent, empowered and strong. But when I teach meditation I strongly encourage people to see that the self is an illusion. On the outside it could seem as if I’m working against myself."

What would life be like if you couldn't recall much of your past? Would it matter or not?

Jeff and I did a trip to the North West in 2014. Definitely time to recycle some parking tickets!

A family member was in hospital in Stockton earlier in the year. We went to visit regularly, and I hoarded the parking tickets. Yes, I confess I am a hoarder. My hoarding tendencies are specific and don't interfere with my life, but hoarding parking tickets, is... Hoarding!

Only one of the parking tickets, just to remind me when this event happened, also a key cut receipt for the relative's home.

Also earlier this year the landlord arranged a quality control visit from the company that does the annual gas safety checks. I had already had a check, but the first one must have missed something on his checks or perhaps a resident had made a complaint! The engineer checked the boiler, took it apart, put it back together, checked the gas flow from the meter, told me that various electrical upgrades should be done by the electrical contractor, and gave me a carbon monoxide detector, which I have never had before. We put it up on the boxing-in near the ceiling.
So, I don't really need the manual, as I will be able to look on the internet as long as I know its name. All I need to know is that at some point in the future the battery will fail and an alarm will then sound, but I will probably have a new one before then.

I am going to put all those things in the recycling bin NOW!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Inspired by a library book, I decided to try to make a Bakewell Tart.
I thought it would be a bit tricky as I am not that good at baking so I enlisted the help of a Time Exchange member. We made it in The Time Exchange kitchen.

The Ultimate Book of Vegan Cooking: Everything you need to know about going Vegan, from choosing the best ingredients to practical advice on health and nutrition Paperback – 28 Dec 2012
by Tony Bishop-Weston (Author), Yvonne Bishop-Weston (Author)


Jeff sent this photo of Gallowgate with Sandman Signature hotel (exactly where Newcastle "Brown Ale" Brewery used to be), and St James Park with student flats in the background.

Vegan Tofu Fish Sticks

The Vegan Fish and Chip Shop Project continues with an attempt at Fish Fingers
We followed the recipe exactly, I had even got kelp powder off eBay, but the fishy taste was minimal if at all. It was great fun making it however. I think we may have had misunderstood the recipe re breadcrumb quantity.

Should you wish to recreate this delicious plate of veggie heaven, clockwise, Tofu Fishy Fingers as according to recipe in above link, tinned mushy peas (Tesco), broccoli cooked in microwave (Tesco), steak-cut oven chips (Tesco).
2 good protein sources for vegans are tofu and peas (any kind of peas will do).

The Most Beautiful Laburnums Live in Leazes Park

This year has been fantastic for the Laburnum trees around the Leazes Park area. Just a few for you I saw in the last few weeks...

Monday, 13 June 2016

Vegan Fish and Chips Tofu

At the weekend we had a go at making the tofu fish and chips using this recipe...
click here

The batter was good, we used vegetable oil in a non stick pan which worked quite well, however despite marinating the tofu in vinegar and seaweed for about 6 hours there was no discernible fishy taste! The mushy peas are a value range Tesco tinned variety and the chips are McCains. The tofu was from Cauldron Foods.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Leazes Park Safety Funding Investment

From Newcastle University Student Union News...

"Secured a £90,000 investment to improve safety in Leazes Park, this will be particularly helpful to first year students crossing the park for Castle Leazes and Richardson Road."
This is very interesting and I have not been able to find any more information on this, Northumbria Police has a mention of the attack on some students in the park on their site, however it would be interesting to learn more about this investment, who it is being awarded by and who will be doing the improvements. Hopefully it will actually bear fruit and park users will benefit. Could be that the shrubbery work we have seen this year has been part of this However its a lot of money to cut back shrubs...?
In my opinion the work on shrubbery will help safety also signage and lighting. The amount of rubbish and broken glass is also a problem.

Trent House

Some upcycled containers including Jack Daniels tubs, and an old water cistern, are making the front of the Trent House look very lovely

Friday, 3 June 2016

Light at the End of the Tunnel

This was a shot through an alleyway on Gallowgate looking towards the direction of Strawberry Place...

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Futuristic Pitt Street

Pitt Street, new flats and public toilet list

This is what you see if you stand at the bottom of Pitt Street and look towards Westgate Hill.

The public toilets opposite the bottom of Pitt Street have recently been demolished. They were quite unpleasant smelly toilets and I doubt anyone will miss them... If you need to go to the toilet in this part of town, there is probably one in the high rise buildings around you, maybe in the football stadium or student flats?
The Strawberry Public House on Strawberry Place has a toilet, also Newcastle Arms Pub on St. Andrew's Street, also nice toilets in Eldon Square, Eldon Garden and The Gate. You don't have to spend money "to spend a penny" (old term for using the toilet). On this subject we have noticed the public toilet in Leazes Park is also closed at the moment. I know some people will be in the park and desperate to get to the toilet. If this is the case, the nearest toilets are in the Royal Victoria Infirmary near the Leazes Wing and Victoria Wing main entrances.

Use our Loos has a further list here

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Some Greenery in Leazes Park

water droplets from the previous nights rain shine in the centre of the greenery

Leazes Park Coot Family

A pair of coots have a handful of chicks and here they are getting fed. The chicks are learning how to forage for their own food by copying the parent bird.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Nun's Moor, Lilac bush

A beautiful lilac bush on Nun's Moor, which I saw today, on the site where an old house used to be, and in the background you can see across to Studley Terrace

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Leazes Park, Geese, Lake, Rhodedendron

The Lake Island with St. James's Park stadium in the background

Canada Geese and pigeons chill out enjoying the peace and quiet. Do you see how a lot of the geese are standing on one leg, they are sleeping... but keep one eye open, just in case. If any danger comes, one of the geese who is awake will sound an alarm call.

Rhododendrons near the wild garden area, looking very lush. Behind this is the Castle Leazes Little Moor and Castle Leazes Student flats

Carliol Square

I was attending a meditation evening with Newcastle Serene Reflection Meditation Group we meet in Broadacre House. and this view from the window of the opposite side of Carliol Square, with the distinctive building, I believe is called British India House. Built in the Art Deco style and housing a large array of businesses.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

New student flats in Newcastle city Centre

Here is a list of some of the the new student flats in Newcastle which I have just been reading about

Almost 1,300 ensuite student bedrooms on the Richardson Road site;
A 223-bed complex standing seven to eight storeys high, on Former Tyne Tees Television site;
46 flats for students at 4-6 North Street East, part of which has been used as offices for Northumbria University Estates team;
259 studio student apartments and six two-bedroom student flats on land once occupied by Westgate House;
575-bedroom student housing on the site of the former Newgate Shopping Centre;
Plans to demolish part of Northumbria Police’s former Newcastle city centre offices to create a 10-storey student accommodation block with 275 bed spaces for students;
Wordie – a Glasgow-based group which has appeared on the Sunday Times Rich List – plans to expand in the North East by demolishing Manor View House in the Manors area of Newcastle and building a student housing scheme on the site with 407 bed spaces;
Plans to convert Clough House and create 353 bed spaces;
Proposals to demolish 1 Kings Manor and build a property to house 462 students;
The former Chapman's Furniture store on Market Street East is to become 248 student flats, construction is well underway at this moment;
Last month the Liquid Envy club on New Bridge Street - previously the Oxford Galleries ballroom - was recommended by planning officers to be flattened and converted into student flats with 329 bedrooms...
In Strawberry Place car park, 9-10 storey block of 331 student flats;
St James’ Point, Pitt Street offers 216 student flats;
The View, part of the Downing Plaza development in the city centre, provides 444 student bedrooms in a mixture of cluster flats and studio rooms...

Tesco Delivery Grocery receipt

Here is my receipt from my last grocery delivery.
The Old El Paso Smoky Bbq Fajita Dinner Kit was supposed to go with the refried beans.
Unfortunately we thought it was nasty.
All these items are suitable for vegans anyway.

2 Loyd Grossman Tomato And Chilli Sauce 350G £2.00 £4.00
1 Tesco Whole Cucumber Each £0.42 £0.42
1 Tesco Little Gem Lettuce Twin Pack £0.80 £0.80
1 Old El Paso Refried Beans 435G £1.36 £1.36
1 Tesco Growing Salad Cress Each £0.24 £0.24
6 Tesco Carrots Loose £0.05 £0.27
2 Tesco 6 Wholemeal Pitta Bread £0.50 £1.00
1 Alpro Longlife Soya Cream Alternative 250 Ml £0.85 £0.85
6 Tesco Longlife Sweetened Soya Milk Alternative 1 Litre £0.75 £4.50
1 Tesco Broccoli Loose £0.43 £0.43
1 Tesco Hot Salsa Dip 300G £0.79 £0.79
2 Tesco Everyday Value Dark Red Kidney Beans 400G £0.30 £0.60
2 Tesco Frozen Mango Chunks 500G £2.00 £4.00
1 Clipper Organic 80 Teabags 250G £2.60 £2.60
1 Oatly Longlife Alternative To Cream 250G £0.75 £0.75
1 Tesco Sliced Mixed Peppers 500G £1.00 £1.00
1 Oreo Vanilla 154G £0.54 £0.54
1 Old El Paso Smoky Bbq Fajita Dinner Kit 500G £3.19 £3.19
1 Alpro Peach And Pineapple Yoghurt Alternative 4 X 125G £1.80 £1.80
2 Cauldron Foods Tofu 396G £1.50 £3.00
1 Tesco Wholefoods Pecans Nuts 250G £3.80 £3.80
1 Highland Spring Sparkling Water 12X500ml £3.99 £3.99
6 Tesco Everyday Value Longlife Sweetened Soya Milk 1 Litre £0.59 £3.54
1 Tuklok 20 Bin Liners 50 Litre £1.00 £1.00
2 Colgate Max White One Luminous Toothpaste 75Ml £2.00 £4.00
1 Tesco Apricots 320G £0.69 £0.69
1 Artisan Grains Nut Roast Sundried Medium Tomato 200G £2.50 £2.50
2 Tesco Caramelised Onion Houmous 182G £1.00 £2.00
1 Tesco Brown Onions 485G £0.59 £0.59
2 Tesco Everyday Value Ruby Red Grape Fruit Segment 538G £0.40 £0.80
1 Ecover Toilet Cleaner Ocean Waves 750Ml £1.75 £1.75
1 Tesco Sliced Leeks 700G £1.00 £1.00
1 9 Bar Original Carob Hit 5X40g £2.50 £2.50
1 Tesco Meat Free Butternut And Kale Nut Roast 500G £3.00 £3.00
1 Tesco Free From Toffee And Vanilla Cones 4 Pack 440Ml £2.00 £2.00
2 Tesco Free From Assorted Splits 6 X 75Ml 450Ml £2.00 £4.00
1 Tesco Recycled Toilet Tissue 4 Roll £1.75 £1.75

Monday, 23 May 2016

Nun's Moor Park

Some greenery in Nun's Moor Park.

Studley Terrace, Arthurs Hill

The terraced streets of Arthur's Hill looking really nice now the trees are coming out. This is what you see if you stand near the Nuns Moor Centre and look towards the West Road. A patrol car doing the rounds or on a policing mission. Seen on the Sunday of the Rugby Magic weekend.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Tesco frozen mangoes and avocados

I have also been using these frozen mangoes and avocados, which I am totally converted to. The avocados are an important part of the vegan diet due to the heathy fats they contain. However I find it difficult to get them ripe without bad bits in. These frozen ones are ready prepared (peeled and stoned) and perfect every time. So I mainly use them to make vegan guacamole, which I make with vegan soft cheese, salsa, and just mix it, delicious and healthy.

I put the mangoes in the microwave with some frozen berries, cook on high for a few minutes, then let it cool for a delicious porridge topping. Mangoes are also a difficult fruit to get right,when fresh, they are very difficult to prepare and rarely ripe. So both of these products work out good value for money and good for the environment.

Story about that covered by a few newspapers, read it here

Dairy free Vegan Ice Cream treats from Tesco

I have ben trying a few of the vegan ice cream products from Tesco. Very rich, creamy, delicious.

BBC iPlayer and TV Licence

Just recently I was at the hospital and in the waiting room the TV was showing BBC news, about the changes to the TV Licence rules, which is saying that people who watch catch up TV on BBC iPlayer but have no television and don't watch any live tv, will need a licence or face a prosecution case.

I am totally disgusted by this, as I do fall into this category, not even watching the BBC that much but now and again a few programmes, on iPlayer, even though I do believe it is biased to the Establishment.
I have used my (free) open dns account to block the BBC from my network, I prefer Channel 4 anyway which is not part of the BBC and has better programmes. I have also signed up for a (free) trial of Netflix.

Town Moor Cattle water trough

Another group of town moor cattle with their new water trough. Its important that farm animals have access to fresh drinking water. They are going over to drink regularly throughout the day.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Artwork in Wallsend Hall Grounds

Jeff spotted this art in Wallsend Hall Grounds recently

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