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This is the UK website for Peter and Maureen Scargill. We live in the Northeast of England and also Andalusia in Spain.

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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Our hard working but badly organised NHS

Despite all the wonderful hard work of individuals in the NHS and our medical industries, there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Our bolthole in Southern Spain

Every single day I take several pills and have done for years in order to keep nature (I get SO sick of people saying that if it is natural – it is good – what a load of bollocks) from killing me.

No doubt about it, the pills, along with some lifestyle amendments are keeping me fit and healthy – but at what cost to the environment? Each pill is tiny and having listened carefully to the doctor’s advice when they were first prescribed, I have no problem at all taking the right pills at the right time – and yet every month, the new packs (all of them) come complete with endless packaging along with a totally un-necessary set of comprehensive paper instructions.

Worse, the pills are inefficiently encased, sometimes only 7 at a time, in oversized metal and plastic. A month’s worth is then wrapped in ANOTHER metal and plastic pack and the whole thing comes in a massively oversized cardboard box. You should see the stuff I end up throwing away when decanting these pills to my 2-week handy re-useable container.

This applies to almost every pill I take – the same prescription every month, the only exception being the sensibly-packaged American-bought, glass-containered aspirins. We told the doctor we’d organise these ourselves.

While on a short visit to the USA last year (Walgreens?) we picked up a glass container of 1000 80mgm aspirins with no extra packaging, no wasted paper instructions and no plastic other than the lid, for a mere few dollars. Now THAT’s the way to do it – if for any reason I SHOULD want to read more, I simply go online where endless medical information can be had without any waste.

This is Willow Cottage in Bloom – Early Summer 2020

Maureen’s been out in the front, gardening. Nature does it’s best to turn the garden into a vast unkempt forest but there’s an art to keeping only the flora we find pleasing – and a lot of hard work. Personally I’m easy to please and love having lots of magenta coloured flowers.

Willow Cottage Garden

The Simplest Pleasures of life – Chocolate and Soap

My wife just bought me some of this in Hexham – Beanies Mint Chocolate Instant Coffee. Not cheap, but very pleasant. I recently had a fad for cinnamon in my coffee and will likely go back to that after a while.

Meanwhile – this is a short video I put together about my experiences with a new hands-free infra-red foaming soap dispenser and my not-that-new infra-red water saver. It’s all in the video.

Holiday Quantum Reading Matter – Sean Carroll’s Book

I’m less prone to reading books than I am watching videos but in this case, I think Sean Carroll’s book “Something Deeply Hidden” could be worth sacrificing some of my holiday time for – ok, so it is freezing cold anyway.

Something Deeply Hidden

Sean makes relatively light work of getting your head into Quantum Mechanics, but more importantly Sean is very honest and open about the fact that although we use this very effectively to get real world results in a variety of disciplines, we don’t actually entirely understand the how and why. But then we made GREAT use of Aspirin long before we knew how it worked.

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Weekend Trip to Newcastle to see Holly at Work

As another decade draws to a close, I don’t do that many family updates in here so I figured as I was up early I’d put in a word for my granddaughter Holly and her new job at “Bar & Block” in Newcastle.

Having gotten used to inexpensive, cosy Spanish restaurants over the years I’m not that keen on UK city centre bars any more but this place in Newgate Street in Newcastle (Upon Tyne) wasn’t bad and service was good yesterday lunchtime. You might think they’d be chocker full around Christmas but early afternoon on Dec 29 things were nice and quiet.

Aside from the usual parking nightmare, a pleasant trip out and a nice break from the computer.

Bar & Block

Autumn 2019 in Wark

The weather since we came back to the UK has been pretty crappy generally but just for the record in case I forget, yesterday was LOVELY. I took this little number down by the riverside as Maureen and I were taking the two youngest grandkids for a walk along the waterfront.

Wark in Winter

And today, on the cards is a trip to the new B&M store in nearby Kingston Park. Well, it beats visiting garden centres…

The LED Lighting Sunday Lecture

Good morning all…

Benefit from my mistakes?.. in modernising our house lighting both here in the UK and over in Spain, we have totally gone over to LED lighting of one kind or another. Having been used to compact fluorescents, I kind of expect a couple of years at least, before lights give up.

LED lighting is currently a choice, it won’t be for long as supplies of older alternatives dry up.

The first thing I learned when fitting LED lighting is that manufacturer specs are rubbish, blindly copied from the actual LED design specs by the lamp manufacturers/sales people. The specs refer to LEDs running at reasonable (warm) temperatures. Typically, household lighting gets HOT due to poor ventilation. LEDs don’t like to run HOT so forget your 13 year life claims but 2-5 years should be do-able..

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Back to Wark

Despite the unbelievably poor state our ex-tenants left the place in (hard to believe that there are people with so little regard for where they live) the cottage is starting, slowly to take shape thanks to lots of hard work, help from friends and lots of money…. the man-cave should be largely functional within the week, the house itself will take somewhat longer. not the best of times to be recuperating from a stroke nor preparing for a carpal tunnel op but then no-one ever promised life would be fair.

The Big Change

Looks like the last time I wrote in here was late last year.  That might seem odd to some of you so to clarify, I spent much of December, all of January and part of February 2018 in hospital following a stroke in mid-December. I have since then been incredibly hard at work performing a mix of official NHS therapy and my own home brew therapy concentrating on getting my lost keyboard skills back.

The stroke initially took out my entire left side but that is now largely reduced to weakness in my arm and hand and a slight inattention in my foot and will improve in time. My back is weak but that isn’t stopping me getting around. The big one for me is the left (writing) hand which is very much a work in progress and I’m using it to type this blog, but not without hard work.

For no reason other than getting a head start when I was out of action, I’ve dropped my weight by 20% with more on the way, helped no doubt by having no desire to consume alcohol.

A shame it took something this dramatic to get me to lose the weight but there you are. I’ve only just started to resume blogging and the hand still needs lots of work but I’m making a start. Maureen is also losing weight which makes it easier for me.

The Colours of the Rainbow

 

Little did I know when I started the annual discussion with my (art degree) wife about colours that I would start a whole feud off about the subject. This blog entry is a TAD technical but hopefully not enough to put you off – if you think the 3 basic (primary) colours are red, yellow and blue then you really DO owe it to yourself to spend a moment to read on… with an open mind you’re about to learn something new and interesting…

So the argument goes that red, yellow and blue are indivisible – they’re the colours that can’t be made. So how is it that every printer on the planet makes red from magenta and yellow?  Caught your attention? Read and learn…

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