Category Archives: Shopping

No End In Sight

England will be closed down for months to come

some would say that’s being flown the wrong way up

Despite flashes of official optimism following the first vaccinations against the coronavirus, it would seem that there is no end in sight to the manifold miseries of lockdown, self-isolation, and national shutdown.  Scotland faces a national shutdown from midnight tonight, and there is no doubt that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will very soon follow suit for England.  He is making a televised statement at 8 p.m. this evening, and Parliament is being recalled on Wednesday this week, presumably to ratify whatever draconian new measures are announced.

Even harsher coronavirus  measures than before will mean that UK borders will be closed, international travel stopped, all stores except food stores and pharmacies will be shut, all schools closed, any and all household mixing will be banned, and people will only be allowed to leave their homes for one of a specified list of essential reasons, such as food shopping.

Despite these draconian emergency measures the numbers infected with COVID-19 will keep on rising, and more and more people will die.  There is nothing politicians, health officials, or medical science can do about it.  The coronavirus will mutate faster than vaccines can be developed to prevent each new strain.  Once a virus is loose in the general population there is no way short of Divine Intervention of controlling it.  And, who’s to say that God didn’t inflict this on the world?

The virus will eventually burn itself out, as all pandemics do.  But, this could take months or even years.  Until then we will all just have to suffer.

Good luck to us all.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

best to bar your door and fort-up ’til spring

How to Stop Wasting Time

stop wasting valuable time on worthless people places and things

Everyone, and I do mean everyone, wastes a hell of a lot of precious time.

If you have been working from home, or not working at all because you’ve been in lockdown, or just got back to work; then the amount of time you waste every day should have been thrown into sharp focus.  For example, most people who work from home manage to get a full week’s work done in about 20 hours instead of 40.  And, if you have just gone back to work you might realise just how often you are interrupted, or have to do utterly pointless time-wasting crap.  The worst is that you may have been utterly idle during lockdown and filled your entire life with utterly pointless crap.

So, here are a few very obvious suggestions to allow you to have more time to do what’s important to you;

  • Make some lists instead of charging around aimlessly and forgetting things;  a to-do list and shopping list are very efficient and helpful.
  • Stop chatting with people who call at your desk.  Usually they are time wasting jerks.
  • Don’t go to most meetings.  In my experience meetings of more than 3 people are a complete waste of time ~ on-line meetings doubly so.  If you are not the most vital person in a meeting you probably don’t need to go.  Just read the minutes instead.
  • Stop multi-tasking.  Do one job from start to finish, concentrate on that task, and don’t try to do something else at the same time.  That means don’t read emails or surf the internet when you’re supposed to be doing something important.
  • Finish what you’ve started.  Unfinished tasks are a congregation of fighting alligators in your mind, bothering the hell out of you and stopping you from really being effective and efficient.
  • Be neat, clean, and tidy.  Some people think living and working in a mess makes them productive ~ it doesn’t, it just means you’re living in a swamp.
  • Do the very simple ‘couple of minutes’ jobs first, get them out of the way, and then do the worst, nastiest, and most difficult task ~ from start to finish.
  • Stop answering the phone, unless you’re expecting a call.  Calls out of the blue are hardly ever important.
  • When you are not at your job, you are not at your job.  So forget it and forget the people there.  Your employer only owns your time for your exact contracted number of hours.
  • Take all your breaks, and get outside into the fresh air and sunshine if you possibly can.

Some say the work-life balance is important.  And some go into the ‘office’ when they should be at the beach.  All I know is too much work will kill you.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

When you’re up to your ass in alligators it’s hard to remember that you’re supposed to be draining the smegging swamp

Vacation Thoughts ~ Nightlife

at night this place really comes alive

The nightlife here in Oludeniz is crazy.  Live music, laser light shows, karaoke bars, dance bars, cocktail bars, beach bars, sports bars, restaurants of every ilk, tattoo places….

Parties on Pirate Ships, beach parties…

The food is fabulous, the shopping is fantastic, and the people are fun.

Some women were having fun wearing very daring outfits.  The weather is very warm and the booze is very cheap.

Kinda wish you were here with me

Just bring a summer dress, and a bikini, it’s all you’ll need.

~

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

At midnight, in one or two of the bars here, she’d be quite overdressed.

Food on Friday ~ Arugula

arugula is an American made-up modern word

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs is an absolute mine of information when it comes to the annual weed we call by a variety of names, including roquette, rocket and arugula.  Mind you, anyone with an ambition to be an herbalist could do no better than to begin by following the brilliant website.  This cruciferous Mediterranean salad green has a stack of health benefits, and for most men is a much preferred alternative to kale.  (My straw poll tells me that Kale does seem to be much more liked by the distaff side of the table.)

Parmesan Chicken Arugula

Our first new recipe this week is from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats and it’s especially for those who may have just stopped ‘working from home’ and gone back into the office.  So, for breakfast or lunch how about a Gruyere, Fig Jam and Arugula Sandwich?

Gruyere, Fig Jam, and Arugula Sandwich

This looks tasty from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower, Sun-Dried Tomato Pistou Pasta with Arugula.  This seems to be really easy, using only a few ingredients you may already have in your larder.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pistou Pasta with Arugula

You can’t get anything much easier and tastier than this Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan from Heidi at Foodie Crush.  (Actually you get 3 recipes for the price of one here.)

Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan

Our first collection this week is from delish; 15 Ways to Add Arugula to Everything.  I found this super looking recipe for Pork Chops with Arugula Pesto and Roasted Cauliflower.  (OK some don’t like pork chops, but some love them.  And there are another 14 recipes in this collection).

Pork Chops with Arugula Pesto and Roasted Cauliflower

The second collection this week is from Cookie + kate who offer us 29 Epic Salad Recipes. which includes an Arugula, Dried Cherry and Wild Rice Salad with a Zippy Lemon Dressing.  How pretty!

Arugula, Dried Cherry, and Wild Rice with a Zippy Lemon Dressing

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

for a change, some kale

blackened shrimp kale caesar salad

 

Songs on Saturday ~ Geordie

howay man, wesa gannin doon the toon

Yesterday I went shopping in Newcastle.  Not only does the place bring back so many memories, it’s also the best place to go shopping outside of Italy.  I always spend far too much there.  Here’s a little song to remind me of the toon.

Although Newcastle never really was my home town ~ I was born in a far more ancient and much smaller pit village.

Please listen with a smile.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

the monument

The Cashless Conspiracy

Life is like a cash register, in that every account, every thought, every deed, like every sale, is registered and recorded.  ~ Fulton J. Sheen

There is a conspiracy at the highest levels of government and the banking industry that wants to do away with cash ~ that is the notes and coins in your wallet, purse, and pocket.  Here in England our Treasury Department, The Bank of England, (which is really another branch of government), the large high-street banks, and the major retail store chains are doing all they can to bring about the complete end of physical cash.

In the UK the number of free-to-use cash machines, (ATMs), is dwindling at the rate of about 250 every month, and that leaves shoppers and small businesses struggling to get hold of any cash, (source ~ consumer group Which).  Add to that the number of bank branch closures which adds up to about 1,000 a year over the past 3 years, and one can see that the finance industry is just not interested in anything but card payments and electronic banking.

The thing is, cash is utterly reliable, whereas electronic payments systems can and do crash from time to time.  Also some small businesses cannot afford the trouble and expense of installing a card reader and becoming a card merchant, so they are reliant on cash payments.  In addition, for very small payments, a card is just a stupid way to pay.  (And what stripper or hooker will accept anything but cash?)

However, the Government, the Bank of England, and the rest of the finance industry are doing everything possible to either promote cashless payments, or force cashless payments upon us.  Electronic swipe cards are now the norm, which means no signature or PIN is required to make a purchase, just wave your card at the reader.  Trust me, as a guy with 30 years experience in Banking and Finance, electronic swipe cards are not and never will be secure.  And just you try getting your money back from your bank if you have been a victim of card fraud.

One high street bank in the UK is trialing a system which will allow customers to authorise card payments for any amount just using their fingerprint ~ and that is also totally open to a number of easy frauds.

The thing is Governments, Central Banks, the Tax people, High Street Banks, Major Retail Chains hate cash because; it’s expensive for them to handle, they cannot monitor your every payment and spending pattern if you use cash, and they have absolutely no control over your earnings and spending if it’s in cash.

If we are not all very careful, then very soon Big Brother will be watching your money.

These comments apply to the banking and finance industry in England, which I know a bit about, but they also apply in equal measure to the USA.

Some say that Cash is King.  And others, that Cash is Dead, card and electronic payments are the real future.  All I know is I can get cash-back from my favourite store if I just make one tiny card purchase.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

The Bank of England is just another arm of Big Government

Ordering On-Line

a flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and a man cannot live without love ~  Max Muller

Yesterday I committed the cardinal sin for a guy ordering a gift on-line.  My gift to a friend of mine arrived on the wrong day!

A bouquet of flowers I ordered from a great florist in California arrived on February 11th, and not on Valentine’s Day.  That is so very bad.

It was also completely my fault.  In completing the long and complicated on-line order form I neglected to enter the day I wanted the damn flowers delivered ~ so of course they were delivered immediately.  Bummer!

If a guy is going to order flowers for Valentine’s Day, then they should arrive on February 14th.  Similarly, if a guy is going to order flowers or a gift for a friend’s birthday, then that should arrive on her birthday, and not some random day near her birthday.

Only at Christmas is it permissible for flowers or a gift to arrive early, because nobody actually delivers on Christmas Day.

So, my hugely expensive bouquet for Valentine’s Day is slightly wasted.

Men can be such fools at times.

Some say it’s not the gift that counts, but the thought behind it.  And that a kind word is worth more than any mere bouquet of flowers.  All I know is that I hope my friend isn’t too disappointed.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

a man can’t really go wrong sending flowers to a woman

 

Rose Petal Tea

The Healing Powers Of The Rose.

Herbalists and witches know that the rose is a very useful and powerful medicinal plant, and that one of the interesting things you can use it for at this time of year is as a remedy for coughs and colds.  A very easy way to take advantage of the natural healing power of the rose is to make rose petal tea.  Well, the petals do contain vitamin C, which helps combat the common cold, but the petals also hold some powerful polyphenols and antioxidants.  Ideally one should use the petals of the wild dog rose, rosa canina, but I also use the petals from garden hybrid roses.

dscf0012Try making rose petal tea with just a handful of fresh rose petals, and a very little sugar or honey, (don’t use a lot of sugar or honey as it will overpower the taste).  Personally I just scald the petals, but some suggest simmering, (stewing), for 5 minutes.  Some also suggest removing the white portion of fresh petals, although personally I wouldn’t do that.  The white area does impart the tea with a slightly bitter, tannin taste, but I firmly believe that’s also where most of the good stuff is concentrated.

Scientifically, the principal qualities of rose petal tea are that it has; Laxative, Opthalmic, Diuretic, and Linthontriptic virtues.  I firmly believe it’s a lot more complicated than that.  For example, you should find that rose petal tea will slightly numb your mouth and ease any sore throat and cough you may be suffering from.

Among herbalists it is widely accepted that rose petal tea boosts the immune system and has beneficial effects on the following problems;

  • anxiety, depression, and stress.
  • arthritis.
  • constipation and other digestive problems.
  • coughs, colds, and sore throats.
  • menstrual cramps and pain.
  • skin and hair problems ~ the tea is said to relieve the symptoms severe acne.
  • urinary tract infections.

dscf0016If that wasn’t enough, drinking rose petal tea is supposed to help ward off cancers due to its beneficial effects on the immune system.  Some say that drinking rose petal tea also promotes weight loss ~ I couldn’t promise that, other than you may use much less sugar and cream than if you were drinking coffee instead of this herbal tea.

You can make rose petal tea either with fresh petals, (make certain they are pesticide free), and you can also make a green tea with dried rose petals.  You can buy dried rose petals mail order from all kinds of places, including Amazon.  As far as I’m concerned, I think it’s better to collect fresh rose petals, and keep a few handfuls in the refrigerator.

There are a couple of things to be careful of.  Firstly, drinking more than three or four cups of this stuff a day is likely to give you diarrhea.  Secondly, most really effective herbal remedies for menstrual pain are also female aphrodisiacs as they affect the production of oestrogen~ don’t say you weren’t warned.

~

p1050056Aphrodite’s Herbalist, jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

aphrodite

Black Friday

Today in America it’s all about shopping.

b5tr9uvigaaduqgThe Friday after Thanksgiving, is the start of the Christmas shopping season in the United States.  Some say the reason it’s called Black Friday is because this is the day retailers in the USA start to turn a profit for the year.  All I know is that if I was made to go shopping to Macy’s, JC Penney, Saks, Sears, or Wal-Mart, or anywhere else come to that, at some unearthly hour the day after Thanksgiving, then I’d be in a pretty black mood by the close of play.  Most manly men don’t go for the frenzy of naked consumerism and implausible bargains on offer today.

dscf0015Even though we don’t have Thanksgiving in England, most retail outlets here are trying to introduce the idea of ‘Black Friday Shopping’ to the English.  Like most things which cross the Atlantic from West to East, (American cars, American Halloween, American humor, American Presidents), the materialism of Black Friday doesn’t really work well here.

For a start, unlike a lot of people in a lot of US states, nobody here has today as vacation, so we don’t have to find something to do with our time.  Secondly, we English are a cynical and untrusting lot, and generally think the Black Friday hype is just an attempt by retailers to increase sales volume while at the same time offloading all the crap they can’t sell at any other time of the year.  (Black Friday ‘deals’ are almost inevitably at the rip-off end of the spectrum.) On top of that, November really is a little too early to be the start of the ‘Christmas Season’.

PyewacketAnd, what the average American may not know is that we English have had our very own Black Friday for centuries.  In England Black Friday is any Friday the 13th, and that is a day on which bad things happen.  Nothing good ever happens on any Friday 13th, and it’s become a day to be dreaded; ladders, mirrors, and black cats especially.  There’s even a name for the fear of Friday 13th paraskevidekatriaphobia.

I’m pretty certain that a lot of American men also dread their very own version of Black Friday.   This is a time when all good men really need their urban survival skills.  They could always say they can’t go shopping because they suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia.  Maybe not, it’s a very long word.

~

flagHappy Holidays

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Despoiling Mother Earth

trolley

~

Governments, Big Business, Small Businesses, You, Me, Them, Everybody…

Everywhere I look there seems to be a casual disregard for the sanctity of this planet and everything that lives upon it.  And yet, for the forseeable future this is the only planet we have to live upon.  Why is it that so many seem to care nothing for the Earth, and so few try to preserve and repair this place we call home?

P1040973Forget the big stuff for a while, and take one small piece of casual waste, one tiny instance of wilful vandalism ~ the damned abandoned shopping trolley, or as the Americans would have it shopping cart / shopping buggy.

All over this one-donkey town there exist randomly littered and abandoned shopping carts.

Why do people take them out of the store car parks in the first place, and why don’t they return them?

Do these morons think that shopping carts can find their own way home?

Are there jerks on this planet who actually believe that shopping trolleys can swim?  If not, why do some wassocks chuck shopping carts into the sea?

This is just a metaphor for the total disregard some / many / most people have for the environment.  I could ask if these people would treat their homes like this, but what’s the point?  The answer is that some jerks do treat their homes like dumps / tips / dumpsters / skips…

Then there’s my role in this.  I take lost trollies back to the store they came from.  Not as a crusade, and I don’t go looking for abandoned shopping carts, but when I find one on my daily stroll, I do take them back.

Does that make me public-spirited, or a damn fool, or both?

~

P1050001jackcollier7@talktalk.net

liebster-12

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