Category Archives: Random Musings

Stray Aid, County Durham – Coins for Canines

During the year we collect all of our spare coins in a large glass jar, until the jar is full, and then we put the money to good use.
Last year we gave the coins directly to the Stray Aid charity shop in Easington Colliery. This year we decided to convert the coins into food – food for hungry dogs.
IMG_3865I bagged up the coins and took them to our local Asda in Peterlee, where there’s a cash convertor machine. I poured the coins into the CoinStar machine, which converted them into a voucher valuing £10.29. It’s not a bad amount considering I rarely use cash to buy anything, which means I don’t get much loose change. IMG_3864
IMG_3863Then I used the CoinStar voucher to purchase a 12k bag of Wagg chicken and veg complete, and a large can of Chappie.IMG_3862
On the drive back home from Peterlee, I dropped the food off at the Stray Aid shop in Easington Colliery, so that they could forward it on to the rehoming centre in Coxhoe.
It was only a small donation, but every little helps, and if only 10% of Stray Aid Facebook fans did the same, they would equal a whopping 12,000kg of dried dog food a year. This roughly works out to feeding 60+ dogs every day for a whole year.
Hopefully I’ll collect even more loose coins next year, and be able to purchase even more food for the dogs at Stray Aid.

The Mrs and I adopted our two gorgeous dogs from Stray Aid. Barley the Lurcher and Porter the Rottweiler have changed our lives in so many ways, all for the better, and we can’t imagine life without them.
Stray Aid is a truly wonderful charity, they work very hard, and do so much to help abandoned and straying dogs, so if you ever want to add a furry friend to your family I highly recommend paying Stray Aid a visit.

Blog post by Richard Randall

Quayside Sunday Market, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

For the last few weeks we have been checking the weather with regards to visiting the Quayside Sunday Market in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Up until yesterday it had been raining most Sundays, according to the forecast. Yesterday the weather forecast was good, which was ironic because when we departed Easington Colliery it was lashing down with rain.
Thankfully by the time we arrived in Gateshead, and parked near the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, the rain had stopped, but it was still very overcast, and there was a chill in the air.

Gateshead Millennium Bridge
Gateshead Millennium Bridge

We parked up and walked over the Gateshead Millennium Bridge into Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.
It was our first ever visit to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, despite having lived a mere 30 minutes drive away for nearly two years now, but we do not believe in rushing things.

Tyne Bridge
Tyne Bridge

We had a wander along the stalls in the Quayside Market, which was a little smaller then we’d expected, then we veered into to the town for a little while, to have a look round and take some photos.
If the weather had been sunnier I would definitely have shot a lot more photos, but even though it was very dull and cloudy I still managed to snap quite a few shots; mainly of the buildings near to the market.
Mini photo safari over we headed back to the market to do a little shopping at some of the food stalls.

Bessie Surtees House

Sage Gateshead

Sunday Morning left-overs after a Saturday Night in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

Back in the Quayside Market we got stuck into mass consumerism, well, maybe mini consumerism is a more accurate description. First on the list of purchases were some sausages from the Geordie Banger Company. This was the main reason we wanted to go to the Quayside Sunday Market; to buy some of these tasty bangers. We had picked-up some of their fine bangers when we visited the Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2015 a few weeks ago, and they were mighty tasty.
We’d purchased the Geordie Banger sausages the first time, so this time I wanted to try some of their other sausages.
They sell three packs of sausages for £10, I chose a pack of the Venison, Broon Ale, and the Black & White sausages.
I cooked one of each of the different sausages last night for me and Laura to share for our dinner, all of which were very good, we especially enjoyed the Black & White, which is pork with black pudding – very tasty!
Next purchase were a couple of Pastis de Natas, a Portuguese custard tart. Many years ago when we lived in little Lisbon (Vauxhall) in London, we would often have one of these with a coffee for breakfast in our local cafe.
These were equally as good as the Portuguese custard tarts we’d eaten in London, or indeed the ones we enjoyed in Portugal. Having said that, I’m pleased I only bought us one custard tart each, because they were very sweet.
I think it’s because our tastes have changed, we don’t have much sugar in our diet now, and in London we always ate our Pastis de Natas accompanied with an espresso, the bitterness of which balanced the sweetness of the pastry.
Pastis de Natas
My last purchase of the morning was a selection of cheese, from one of the two cheese stalls at the Quayside Sunday Market. The stall had a decent choice of cheese, of which I chose four; a cheese with charcoal; which is reportedly good for the digestion, another was called Black Bomber from Snowdonia, plus a soft goats cheese, and a cheddar with chilli in it.
Thankfully we’re not lactose intolerant.
As we wandered back towards the car Laura vanished from sight, she had found a stall selling stuff for pets, and she is a real sucker for buying treats for our Lurcher, Barley. He ended up with a Tugg Plus chew bone from Husse. The chew bone is made with chicken and green tea, and is all natural. Hopefully Barley will enjoy it, and it will help keep his pearly whites clean.
It was an enjoyable morning. We got to see a bit of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and we come away with a few goodies. Best of all – we kept dry.
Blog post by Richard Randall

StrayAid, County Durham. A donation

Christmas is coming, the Lurcher is getting fat, please put a penny in StrayAid’s hat.

Over the year we’ve been collecting bits and bobs that have come our way. Now it is time for us to donate them to the StrayAid charity shop in Easington Colliery.
The gorgeous Lurcher in the photo below is our boy Barley, who we adopted via StrayAid, posing with just a few of the items we’ve collected.
There are lots of brand new, and unused items, which I’m sure will make great Christmas gifts. Good for StrayAid, and good for the local community.
Brand New (unused) items:
Equine Products UK Garlic Granules for Horses 1KG (RRP £5)
Equine Products UK Garlic Granules for Horses 2.5kg (RRP £11)
Rowen Barbary Carrot Mash (Horse Feed – RRP £4.99)
Orchard Toys Jigsaw Puzzles (Age 4+) x 3 (RRP £7.50 each)
The Hunger Games metal pin badge
Hemp Purse (RRP £10)
Samsung Phone Case (£10)
Beanies Yogart Starter Bundle (£25)
Mens Wallet (£5)
Cupcakes DVD (£10)
White Women by Chromeo on Vinyl (£25)
Coleman Weekend 4 Tent (£60)
QUECHUA QuickHiker Ultralight III Hiking Tent, Grey (£200). Only pitched once (tent was up for about 30 minutes) for us to take photos for a product review.
Fimo kids Robot Form and Play Set (£10)
5 pack of Millamia Naturally Soft Merino Wool (£25).

Used (opened):
The Borgias Final Season on DVD
Low Winter Sun Series One on DVD
Devoured on DVD
The Moaning of Life – Karl Pilkington DVD
RoboCop Trilogy on DVD
Julio Iglesias – CD
The Battery on DVD
Debug on DVD
Lilting on DVD

Older Items.
Also being donated are lots of other older bits and bobs of ours, that we hope will help the StrayAid Shop a little bit as they continue the wonderful work they do raising funds for the StrayAid rescue centre who care for stray dogs and cats in County Durham.

Haswell’s Homer Hill Farm Shop, County Durham

Yesterday we decided to head to a farm shop, a short drive from us.
We picked up a few bits and bobs. Our purchases consisted of some beef which is reared on the farm, some local cheese, and a few bottles of cider and beer.
All was good. Well, apart from the fact that the staff at Haswell’s Homer Hill Farm Shop are possibly the most unfriendly and indifferent bunch of people we’ve ever had the displeasure of being served by.
It is not the only local farm shop within a short driving distance from where we live, and it is safe to say we will definitely not return to Haswell’s Homer Hill Farm Shop ever again.
Haswells Homer Hill FarmHaswells Homer Hill Farm
Haswell’s Homer Hill Farm
Pittington Road Rainton Gate,
Houghton le Spring
Tel: 0191 584 1941

Blog post by Richard Randall

Bread, Beer, Beach and Baloney

Breaking Bread
I’ve not baked any bread for a while. I’ve just not been in the mood. The other day I decided to change that and knocked up a couple of loaves.

Sun Dried Tomato Bread

Olive BreadIMG_2286
This lager is a blast from the past. We drunk bucket loads (literally) of Tiger Lager while staying in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur. I picked up this bottle of Tiger Lager from our local Co-Op in Easington Colliery and supped it at home.
Not quite the same as sitting in Petaling Street, enjoying a decent meal, a few cold beers and people watching, but it did bring back some fond memories.

Easington Colliery Tiger Lager
IMG_2278A Tiger Lager in Chinatown, Kuala Lumour

Tiger lager

Entrance to Petaling StreetChinatown, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Crimdon Beach
We have been heading down to Crimdon beach of late with a friend to exercise our dogs. I’ve taken loads of photos of the dogs running and playing, and blogged them. I thought I should redress the imbalance and post a few none doggy photos.
Crimdon Beach is fantastic. It is long, wide and sandy. Best of all, not many people use it. In fact at times we have had it entirely to ourselves.

In the News
A little rant on a few stories that have caught my attention these last few days:
The Vicar of Billericay. Lee Stephens a Pentecostal priest got pissed out of his brain, crashed his car. He then told police he had IRA connection and was going to have them killed. What a twat, but I bet his sermons are a real hoot.

George Osborne is an idiot. He wants to turn the North of England into an economic “powerhouse”. The Chancellor is a deluded fool. Wasting £15 billion of tax payers money building new railway connection, roads and other infrastructure projects is missing the point. A no point does he mention job creation and you can bet all the contractors for these so called projects will not be from the North of England.

Lady Warsi. She resigns from government. She states it is because of David Cameron stance on the conflict in Gaza and Israel. I don’t think she made the decision on moral grounds like she is saying but rather it is a cold and calculated political move on her part.

The Union Street Guest House. A fine hotel. A $500 fine hotel if you write a negative review online. Union Street Guest House are so stupid. I’ve never heard of such a sure fire way to destroy your business. Apparently it was meant to be a joke, but putting it in your T&C’s which is a legal contract, is not that funny.

Blog post by Richard Randall

Car M.O.T.

Yesterday I needed to get an M.O.T. done on the car.
I didn’t have to go far, just up the road to Gary’s Auto’s (Seaside Lane, Easington Colliery, Tel:01915271300).
I left the car at the garage, and then walked home. They said they would phone me when the car was ready. It was a phone-call I was dreading.
I was expecting the car to fail its M.O.T. not for any specific reason, and I’m a pretty positive person not given to negative thinking, but because the car has clocked-up a lot of miles, so I wasn’t looking forward to the phone-call from the garage. I thought they’d say it had failed its M.O.T and when I returned to the garage to pick-up the car I’d be given a big long list of the repairs needed for the car to pass its M.O.T. and more than likely a big bill too.
Thankfully my negativity was unjustified. It passed!
My wallet gave a big sigh of relief.
To celebrate the car passing its M.O.T. the next time I’m at a petrol station putting diesel in the tank I may just run it through the carwash, and who knows the inside may get a vacuum too.

Blog Post by Richard Randall

Flickr Upload

Last week I retrieved an hard drive from my parents loft. It had been living up there for about 3 years and holds all of my old photos. Needless to say it has been a very busy week for me. I’ve uploaded just over 3000 images to my Flickr Pro account, which was a slow process because of the lacklustre internet speed I get. I now have to go through my old videos and reedit them, so that I can upload them to my YouTube account. No rest for the wicked.
Time for a glass of wine to motivate me into firing up iMovies.
Wine Glass

Abstract Weather

It is a cruddy day weather wise today, so I did not take any photos on my morning walk with Barley the Lurcher. I was more intent on keeping dry and I’m sure Barley would have been less than happy having to stop in the wind and rain while I took a few snaps.
I was still in a mood to take photos when I got back home, so I decided to take a few pics in the kitchen while my coffee was brewing. Abstract was the theme that sprung to mind.
Blog post by Richard Randall

E.T. Phone Home

Twice over the last 10 days we have lost phone communications. Weirdly it seemed to be for no logical reason. It was not weather related because we have had relativity clement weather compared with the south of England. On the positive side, on both occasions I contacted TalkTalk on their website, and the next day an Outreach engineer arrived to fix the problem. On an even more positive note, we did not lose our internet connection. 🙂

Blog post by Richard Randall