Week 400

Sunday, 21st August, 2016

beanz

A Cheap Date to Feed!

I was young when this started and still working although thinking about retirement. For 400 consecutive weeks – This is the 2,794th consecutive day – I have recorded my life on the Blog. Often it has been useful, fun, amusing (to me) and a way of working out my own thoughts. Occasionally, it has seemed like a bind. Ultimately, it has become a record of the latter stages of my life. To all those who read the Blog and those who comment on it, I thank you. If I can reach Week 800, I will be 73 years old and have a useful tool to rescue me from Alzheimer’s. If I reach Week 1600, I will be 88 and asking my wife to do the typing.

Looking forward to my sister coming for Lunch in the near future. She’s a dog lover so Roast Dog will have to be off the menu. Casseroled Cat maybe? Actually, she tells me she’s a vegetarian which is a whole new can of beans for me.

Monday, 22nd August, 2016

1944

Mum aged 21.

It is Mum’s Birthday today. She would have been 93 today. She died 8 years ago. This is her in 1944. She gave birth to me 7 years later. Lucky woman!

Tuesday, 22nd August, 2016

Haymaking in Sussex Downs

Haymaking on the Sussex Downs

There can be few more delightful and enjoyable journeys than to drive from Sussex to Surrey and back at the height of summer. Today, we drove through the Sussex Downs and the Surrey Hills and back in 27C/81F of strong and uninterrupted sunshine out of azure blue skies. The purpose was rather more prosaic. We were collecting our last ‘repeat prescription’ from our Surrey doctor before moving on to our new GP Practice in West Sussex. We doubled this with a visit to P&C.

The drive takes about 55 mins and is through glorious countryside. It does involve one, short section of the M25 (Junctions 9 – 10) but is otherwise very quiet and undemanding. We arrived home about 2.00 pm and cooked salmon and pesto with Greek Salad using our home grown tomatoes. Four ‘hanging basket’ cherry tomato plants have provided and continue to provide a daily salad of fruits.

It has taken me four, solid days of work but I have converted 400 Blog weeks to 400 PDF records for future reference. It will now be my responsibility to maintain this record as a safety net against the failure of my internet platform provider. I’ve been meaning to do it for years and it feels good now I’ve completed it.

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Week 399

Sunday, 14th August, 2016

It is official. I am no longer dying. In fact, I will return to the gym this afternoon. It is a warm and close morning with some sketchy cloud. I am watering the lawn with a rotary sprayer while watching the Test Match and reading the iPad edition of The Sunday Times. It looks like I will make it to my 400th week edition.

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Revithia Keftedes aka Chickpea Balls

We have loved Revithia Keftedes (Chickpea Balls) or Falafel for many years. We (Pauline) decided to make them today and they were wonderful. They were a starter of forbidden foods. They contain chickpeas, mashed potato and mint, garlic and seasoning. The chickpea balls are deep fried and the potato skins have the same treatment.

The main course was Sea Bass fillets with tomato and cucumber salad. All the tomatoes were from our garden. It was extremely hot. The conservatory doors are open now (at 6.30 pm) and the temperature is 30C/86F. Life could be a whole lot worse. We could be stuck in Greece with the Poison Dwarf!

Monday, 15th August, 2016

pwpA hot day of strong sun and blue sky but no breeze. I worked all morning, cleaning the patio and drive with my pressure washer and then cleaning the car. Later, we did a good couple of hours at the Health Club. It was most unusual but we ate red meat today. Ribeye Steak which I griddled outside in the garden. It was accompanied by a tomato & cucumber salad. We ate outside and enjoyed being a little cooler than indoors.

I received a phone call this afternoon from the INR Testing Clinic in Surrey. I emailed my standard test results on Thursday. Normally, they email me back within a couple of hours giving me dosage advice and a date for my next test. This time – nothing. I emailed again on Friday but got nothing again. I emailed again today and, rather tongue in cheek, said I was feeling ‘unwanted’. This afternoon the Head of the Service phoned me to apologise. I felt awful that I had put them out. I am right on track with my INR and won’t need another test until the middle of October.

Tuesday, 16th August, 2016

lhwbbw

The board walk leaving West Beach, Littlehampton.

Hot! Hot! Hot! and Sunny! Sunny! Sunny! The sky is Blue! Blue! Blue! We are going Out! Out! Out! to Litlehampton Beach. Alright, it’s not Copacabana but it’s quite nice. Actually, it was more interesting than I expected. By 10.00 am, it was busy with tourists, parents with kids needing to run and shout with at least a fortnight of school holidays remaining, Grandads with grandsons learning to fish from the pier and the body conscious teens looking for a deep, rich tan. Then there was Pauline and I. We parked as close to the West Beach as possible and walked along the pebble beach before going up this delightful boarded walk through the sand dunes with the golf course on one side and a strange Victorian structure on the other.

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Littlehampton ‘Palmerston’ Fort

Martello towers, are small defensive forts that were built across the British Empire during the 19th century, from the time of the French Revolutionary Wars onwards. Most were coastal forts. Their aim was, post-Napoleonic wars, to provide for the defence of the island of Great Britain. They were not effective or, ultimately needed, but were replaced by Palmerston Forts in the second half of the 19th century. The Primeminister at the time was, of course, Lord Palmerston. These forts were elegant structures but were heavily criticised in Parliament as they were built and called Palmerston Follies. They proved equally unused and quickly redundant although they were called in to action along with Dads’ Army in the World Wars. Neglected since then, nature – sand and plants have gradually reclaimed the space.

I was immediately captivated by a brick and pebble stone structure rising out of sand. A young man was cleaning the pathway and picking up broken grass but, when I asked what the structure was, he had no idea. In fact, I’m not sure he was aware it was there. Five minutes on the web when we got home revealed the facts and there is an interesting website about the reclamation project. I know you won’t be able to contain yourself so here is the site address.

Wednesday, 17th August, 2016

pwbThe peak of Summer which was wall to wall blue skies and strong sun and reached 29C/84F around 1.00 pm. We went down to Worthing seafront around 9.30 am to check out a restaurant Pauline found on-line. The Crab-Shack on Worthing Marine Parade. It looks interesting and its menu suits us perfectly – It’s Crab. Couldn’t resist a phone photo of my darling wife. She is 65 in early October and we will celebrate with a fishy lunch here.

Back home, we ummed and ahhed about whether to go to the gym because it was so hot. Eventually, we chose to knuckle down and get on with it. We were pleased we did. The Leisure Club was quiet and the exercise was enjoyable. We drove home feeling better when we did going. At home, the garden was so hot that we decided to cook and eat inside for a change. Broadbean and radish salad dressed with lemon, garlic and olive oil starter was followed by roast salmon with pesto crust, roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic mushrooms.

Thursday, 18th August, 2016

An oppressively hot day of high humidity which reached 26C/79F. We had already decided to have a day off from the gym. We’ve already done four, consecutive days and we find our muscles welcome a rest. Even so, we’ve been charging round Tesco, Waitrose and searching out Hospice Charity Shops. We were out between 9.00 am – 11.30 am and then I cut the lawns because rain is forecast for Friday afternoon.

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‘Girl Reading’ by Charles Edward Perugini

All our 19th Century pictures that we’ve collected over 30 or 40 years are going to be disposed of. We have about 30 large, framed prints – Pre-Raphaelite, Whistler, etc.. They really suited our taste and the style of our houses in the past. They are not right for the present and the future. I don’t want to throw them in the tip. I can’t be bothered raising a few hundred pounds at a car boot sale. I am going to give them to a Hospice Shop to sell. I’ve chosen the popular one around here – St. Barnabas House – and made arrangement for them to come and collect.

I have lived with and loved these pictures for more than half of my life. Often, our homes looked more like art galleries because they were so dominated by pictures. Although, on reflection, I have a tinge of regret in parting with them, actually, it is me down to a T. I always feel good when leaving a past and moving forward to a new future, ridding myself of the trappings of my former life and starting again. On reflection, I think I always feel I have failed in my former life and welcome the opportunity to succeed in the new. A tabular rasa on which to start the examination again.

Friday, 19th August, 2016

eurosA slightly damp and humid day. The lawns were pleased to see a bit of rain. Had the painful duty of ordering Euros for the weeks ahead. Currently, £1.00 = €1.16. It is not helpful to make comparisons but it was only two or three years ago that we were getting £1.00 = €1.42. Damn those Brexiteers! I’ve bought just £1500.00 worth at the moment in the vain hope that we might see an improvement. I know it is a long shot really. The next movement in interest rates is more likely to be down from the dizzy heights of 0.25% to, maybe, only 0.1%. That will have a negative impact on sterling. C’est la vie! Sorry, nearly forgot we are no longer European. That’s Life!

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The Coppice & Angmering Medical Centre

We’ve been struggling to find a GP Surgery down here. There is such a shortage of doctors that every available Practice had put up a ‘Full’ notice on their website. Like some aging University Entrants, we had to go through ‘Clearing’ which has eventually allocated us the surgery we expected all along.

We are driving up to Surrey to pick up our last repeat prescription next week and that will be our last time there. I will write a letter to thank the lovely people who have served us there and prepare for the next stage. From Huddersfield in Yorkshire to Woking in Surrey, the medics and their staff have been absolutely delightful. Let’s hope it is repeated in Angmering, West Sussex. We are off to the gym in a couple of hours to get fit before we meet our new GP in the next week.

Saturday, 19th August, 2016

A warm but blustery day with a little rain. We have been at home and catching up on jobs. My project for this week is to make a complete Pdf record of my Blog as an insurance policy and as it embarks on its 400th week. Bound copies will be available at a price even for my favourite English tourist.

floras

Greek Supermarket Sales Plummet

Talking about Greece, which I was doing rather obliquely, some economic signs of the stress the country is under were published in the Greek Press today.

The dramatic drop in the consumption of food and basic necessities by 5 % in the first half of 2016 has revealed how hard Greek households have been hit by the economic crisis.

According to the market research company IRI, supermarket turnover in the six-month period from January to June fell by 8.8 percent compared to the same period last year, while sales volume fared even worse, plummeting 12.6 percent. At the same time, statistics showed that prices per item have risen by 3.8 percent in the first half of 2016. The drop in consumption is linked to consumers’ compromised endurance levels and hikes in value-added tax.

campers

Poor Old Makis

A second and, for Greeks, highly significant statistic reported this weekend is that Campsites on the islands are reporting a 30 percent plunge in arrivals from abroad and, in particular, from Germany, France and Italy. This is on top of UK travellers reigning back on their trips because of the plunge in the value of the Pound Sterling.

One of the consequences of a drop in tourism, in a country reliant on it like Greece is, is the effect it has on the Labour Market. The final statistic reported today is that Greek unemployment in July was up 2.8 pct from June at a time when one would normally expect quite the reverse. If unemployment is up just as peak tourist season approaches, there is a serious problem.

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Week 398

Sunday, 7th August, 2016

You know you’re getting old when your Blog hits week 398. That equates to 7.653846153846154 years. WOW! I was young before this started. It is Sunday. There is an exciting Test Match and Man. Utd. playing Leicester City in the Charity Shield. There are Sunday papers to read. We are going to the gym to earn the right to sit down and relax later.

Kalamata2

Kalamata Dreaming

We are going to Greece soon – Athens and the Peloponnese – well we were. Pauline wants to cut it short and just do Athens this time. She wants to fly to the Kalamata region of the Peloponnese  next year instead. We did book our Athens hotel and with cancellation built in so that will be a job for tomorrow. We will retain the hotel but alter the flights and the dates. I’m not particularly thrilled but marriage is about compromise. I will play my part.

testma

England win and go ahead in the Series.

Really enjoyed the cricket and the quality of the England team. It is 30 years since I’ve been able to settle down to a Summer Test series. Greek television didn’t seem keen on buying it. I don’t know why! It was particularly good to see Moeen Ali chosen as Man of the Match. I never feel he gets full recognition for what he brings to the team. He also seems a bit on the fringes in the group shots. His batting has certainly made a huge difference to England and he took the last, ‘vital’ wicket in the match.

Monday, 8th August, 2016

shampsprayLovely, sunny morning of clear blue skies. Spent it outside cleaning the car and doing tidying up jobs. My new pressure washer comes with two pressure nozzles, a water brush and a shampoo applicator as well as a patio cleaner. In the past, I’ve never had the time to bother with such things and just bunged the local car wash £10.00 each week to do it for me. Now, it’s quite a pleasure to do it myself. I’m not so keen on using the chamois to wipe it off but I’m sure my wife will help.

Half an hour sitting out in the sun and then it will be time to set off for the Leisure Club and another hour’s exercise. In the meantime, I’m looking at the potential for setting up a new (additional) Blog with a view to exploring a specific topic and possibly attracting some advertising. If I decide it is a goer, I’ll let you know.

Exercise was hard today. We left home at 1.00 pm and returned from the Leisure Club at 3.30 pm. We were both shattered. Fortunately, it was Pauline’s turn to cook. She had already prepared tarragon Chicken with a roast onion and fennel dish accompanied by garlic mushrooms. Just a simple, little dish to fill a corner. It was followed by fresh raspberries and strawberries with ginger yoghurt on top. Deeeelicious!

Tuesday, 9th August, 2016

A hot and sunny day that reached 26C/79F in our garden. We spent quite a bit of time in the garden absorbing the vitamin D. In spite of both feeling tired, we went to the Leisure Club and did another session of workout. We were both seriously feeling it by the end of that session. We will do Wednesday – which will make four consecutive days and then have Thursday off before going for our fifth session of the week on Friday. We have the burglar alarm installer coming on Thursday after the alarm went off in the middle of the night and nearly killed us with shock.

Pauline cooked the most wonderful meal that sounds very simple but was just delightful. We ate cod loin with pesto topping and a cucumber and Greek Salad. The pesto was made from our home grown basil and the salad was made of tomatoes grown on our patio. The flavours were outstanding.

Wednesday, 10th August, 2016

A sultry day of cloud and hot sun. I’ve got a sore throat, painful ears and a sniffle. We decided to call off the gym work today and concentrate on more pressing matters. We still haven’t got a doctor down here yet. We have become accustomed to playing the system a little since spending half the year in Greece. Our doctor in Yorkshire though 6 months in our Greek house was a great idea and was happy to prescribe six months drugs in one go so we didn’t have to worry abroad. When we came down to Surrey, they immediately frowned on that idea although one did tell us to stockpile in order to have enough and that’s what we did. The rule is, apparently, that we shouldn’t be out of the country for more than three months or we could be taken off the surgery roll. We managed to persuade them that we were respectable and trustworthy but it was always a bit iffy. Current ex-pats are going to find it much more than a bit ‘iffy’ when Brexit finally hits.

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Doctor Shortages

We identified a surgery down here that we wanted to go to but its website said it currently wasn’t accepting new patients. We have kept our Woking doctor in the dark about our move in the hope that the situation would change. We have returned to Surrey for repeat prescriptions, check-ups, etc. for five months now and things have changed – They’ve got worse, much worse. Every single surgery in our area – and there are five – now announce on their websites that they have no patient places free. We have been forced to go on to an ‘allocation’ system where we have no choice who we visit. Six years of Tory government have brought us to this.

Thursday, 11th August, 2016

alarm

Your 2.00 am call, Sir!

A burglar alarm specialist is here this morning to test the system. We have had one or two problems from sporadic error messages on setting and then a night when we nearly died as the alarm went off at 2.00 in the morning.  He seems confident that he can solve it. Famous last words.

I’m not well. In fact, I think I’m dying. I developed a sore throat yesterday. This morning, I’m streaming with a cold. If I am to live, I will need a lot of looking after. I’ve already told the burglar alarm man not to kiss me because I am obviously infected. Pauline says I’m in a state. As I pointed out, I’m in more than a state. I’m in a country!

After five minutes, the alarm man has concluded that the system wasn’t set up properly in the first place. After five more minutes, he has done the job and is on his way back to Bracknell . We set off to do our weekly shop. I sniff and sneeze around Tesco. Old ladies come up and ask me if I’m alright. When I say I’m dying, they want to pet me. I pretend to be brave and move on although I want petting really. Returning home, I settle in for an afternoon of Test match cricket and drinks from my wife.

Friday, 12th August, 2016

peppersA long, hot and sunny day. I am still streaming a cold and the cricket has been a little turgid. I stirred myself to mow the lawns, pick some tomatoes and the first peppers. We haven’t had to buy tomatoes this week as the plants are delivering day after day.

The peppers have quite surprised us. We had three plants. One has turned out to be a ‘bell’ pepper and two have produced flatter, crenulated peppers. We are looking forward to eating them. Pauline harvested the Basil again today and made another batch of Pesto. I’m hoping to feel well enough to go back to the gym tomorrow.

cartoonKmThought you might like this cartoon from the Greek newspapers. You need to know two things to help you understand it. The Greek economy contracted by 0.7 % year-on-year in the second quarter of 2016 and Anna Korakaki won an Olympic gold medal in the women’s 25-meter pistol. As you will see, the Greek Prime Minister is not much of a marksman in hitting Growth Targets so he evades his failures by glorying in the Olympic achievement. Unfortunately, Olympic medals won’t feed his nation or pay their pensions.

Saturday, 13th August, 2016

Had a disturbed night last night because our neighbour’s burglar alarm went off. They are in Cyprus. There was no sign of break-in and another neighbour had a contact for one of their relations who drove over to turn it off but it wasn’t conducive to sleep.

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West Wittering Beach

Hot and sunny day today that reached 26F/79F in the shade of our garden. The tomatoes are continuing to ripen faster than we can eat them. Everything needs to be watered to keep going. My cold/infection has gone backwards after feeling better yesterday. Today, I’m back to throat soothers, headache tablets and a new box of tissues. I’m determined to go back to the gym tomorrow however I feel.

I have spent the day resting and watching the Test match (ugh!) and the first Premier League matches – Hull v Leicester and  Man. City v Sunderland. Monday and Tuesday are forecast to be exceptionally hot here – possibly around 30C/86F. On Wednesday, we are planning to visit West Wittering beach which is reputed to be beautiful.

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Week 397

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

bastar

Sweet Basil & French Tarragon

Lovely morning. We drank coffee on the patio and watched our tomatoes ripen. The Sweet Basil and the French Tarragon have been a real success and, this morning, Pauline has cut the Basil right back and will make enough Basil Oil and Pesto to get us through until we go away. The French Tarragon is a wonderfully fresh, aniseed flavour and, we believe, is rather more vibrant than the packets of cut herb to be bought in the supermarket. It’s probably just biased opinion but it makes us happy. The tarragon is used three or four times a week in cooking at the moment. That is more frequent than we would normally do but one feels duty bound to use it. When we go away, it will be cut back savagely and the cuttings chopped and frozen. Frozen tarragon is incredibly successful.

We have more or less booked up our travel for the year. We are going to Greece August-September followed by Yorkshire in October and then a month in Tenerife in November. By December, we will be pleased to sleep in our own beds again. Next year, the plants will lose out because we intend to drive across Europe for two or three months. It will be nice to see Sifnos again and meet old friends.

Monday, August 1st 2016

wr_1_8

Can you believe it? August 2016 already. Have a happy month especially all those environmentalists everywhere.

retinaWe have quite a light week so there will be plenty of trips to the Leisure Centre. In mid-week, I have my annual eye test at the hospital which will mean driving to Ashford Hospital. Ashford Hospital is situated on the A30 to the West of London, close to junction 13 of the M25 and Heathrow Airport which will take us about and hour and a quarter. Pauline will be driving because I have to have very strong drops in my eyes which will allow them to photograph my retinas and will stop me seeing properly for about three hours.

I’ve been having this wonderful service since I was first diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic about seven years ago. Although I am no longer in that category, I was able to secure the annual services of eye and foot care in case of ongoing problems. What disappointed me was the lack of continuity or joined up record keeping as I moved from Yorkshire to Surrey where they didn’t receive my photographic records and, therefore, didn’t maintain a developmental record. I’m hoping things will have moved forward now we’ve come down to Sussex.

Tuesday, August 2nd 2016

I’ve just admonished the postman for the current weather. The first day of August was greeted with persistent drizzle and the night was windy with really heavy rain. August in England’s reputedly sunniest county! The postman looked suitably hangdog and apologised immediately. He wasn’t enjoying it either. The tomatoes and peppers absolutely hate it. Actually, we were feeling very tired this morning having been woken by the burglar alarm going off at 1.30 am. Woken from deep sleep, we both charged downstairs to find no explanation. All windows and doors were locked and there was no sign of attempted entry.

We had a cup of tea and chatted. By 3.00 am, we were back to bed but took a while to get back to sleep. We were still up just after 7.00 am having had about five hours sleep or so and were feeling it. I have been shocked to find that my older self adapts far less well to shortage of sleep than when I was in my twenties. It is still damp and blustery now although very warm. We will only venture out to the leisure Club in the early afternoon.

In the meantime, I am trying to get round the paucity of Hockney prints on the market by looking at alternatives. The one Hockney we are going to buy is The Arrival of Spring – something we always look forward to.

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The Arrival of Spring – David Hockney, 2011

I have always like this by Paul Klee and I think I can persuade Pauline to put it in the Lounge.

Klee

Small Picture of Fir Trees 1922 – Paul Klee

Pauline is keen on the Klimt so there will something of a trade-off. Actually, I like it very much too. It reminds us of the trees around our very first house in Meltham Mills, West Yorkshire.

Klimt

Beech Forest 1902 – Gustav Klimt

I also rather like this which is called Morning Luster. It has absolutely no provenance but it just appeals to me. I don’t think I will get away with this in the bargaining process.

mlmk

Wednesday, August 3rd 2016

I would like to have met Sod. I definitely believe in his Law. It is proved so often in life. Regularly, I go to the Leisure Club, get changed in the Locker Room which is invariably empty, and go in to the gym to exercise. When I come back to shower and change, there is only one person in the room apart from me and it is Sod. By Law, he’s chosen to use the locker immediately above or below mine. There are 200 -300 free lockers but Sod chose that one and we jostle for space to get our clothes out.

Today, Sod was working for the Ashford Hospital Appointments Database. My annual Eye Test was at 3.30 pm in Ashford, Middlesex. We had to leave at about 1.00 pm to allow for hold ups on the M25. Actually, it only took an hour and a quarter on a lovely, quiet and sunny afternoon. But Sod had already arranged that two deliveries designated for our house would arrive at 1.10 pm and 1.15 pm precisely. How does he do that? Fortunately, he hadn’t considered our neighbours who, kindly received the parcels and had them waiting for us when we got home. We were tired and frustrated after our return journey which coincided with rush hour and took an extra hour than the outward journey.

bowl_tomsFortunately, the trip to Ashford Hospital Ophthalmology Department was very successful and will be my last. Two years ago, I ceased to be Diabetic. A year ago, I ceased to be pre-Diabetic. Today, I was signed off by the Ophthalmology Department and declared completely free of all symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy. When we got back from that good news, we celebrated with a bowl of our own, home grown, cherry tomatoes. I would like to say they were incredibly flavoursome. They were nice and we grew them but they didn’t have the explosive sweetness of some that we buy in the supermarket.

Thursday, August 4th 2016

A pleasant, warm morning. We went out at 9.00 am to do the weekly shop. I was looking forward to watching a bit of the Test match until I watched a bit of the Test Match, Where did that England team of last match disappear? At 1.00 pm, we drove to the Leisure Centre and did a hard hour’s work. This is our fourth session this week. We will do our fifth and last tomorrow. Saturday will be a rest day and then it all starts again on Sunday.

park

Honda Camera Assisted Parking

We have had satellite navigation in our cars for about fifteen years and a reversing camera built in for about the last ten of those years. It has got to the stage where I would find it difficult to reverse without one now. It is particularly useful in reversing into a car parking space. The driver makes the yellow lines on the camera line up with the white lines on the carpark and Bob’s your uncle (or brother in my case).

Our new car has many improvements but Honda have ‘upgraded’ the reversing camera to default to a ‘dynamic’ setting which makes the whole process scarily difficult. For the past six weeks, we have been trying to adapt to it but failed. Today, after consulting the impenetrable handbook, I finally found how to switch this new function off. Life can be wonderful.

Friday, August 5th 2016

While we were driving to Ashford Hospital on Wednesday, a tyre pressure warning light came on. We pulled off the carriage way and tested the pressure of all four tyres. One was 0.5 psi below the others. I reset the warning system and we carried on our merry way. sncrvToday, we went in to the Dealership to speak to them about it. They told us that it was sensitive enough to be triggered by such a small deflation and there was nothing wrong with our tyre. As we were leaving, we noticed that our old car was still on the forecourt unsold. Rather cheered us up!

The satellite navigation system that we’ve had in Honda cars for the past fifteen years has been replaced (upgraded??) by a Honda version of a ‘Garmin’ system. It is not as friendly although it does provide us with five years of free upgrades. Pauline’s hobby is arguing with the sat. nav.. Mine is slavishly following it. If I’m driving, I have to do it against the background of two women arguing constantly with each other. It’s easier to let Pauline drive so she is too busy to argue with anyone. We completed our fifth session of intense exercise and both felt absolutely shattered. Tomorrow is a rest day.

Saturday, August 6th 2016

winekessLovely day. Hot and sunny with clear, blue skies. It is our day off from the gym although I did cut the lawns and strimmed all the edges. We sat outside with a bottle of chilled, white wine and some garlic stuffed olives. It felt decadent but delightful. Actually, in a bid to get my vitamin D content up, I had a little too much sun.

I retreated into the kitchen to watch the Test Match. It was certainly worth watching. It is nice to think we have a team to be proud of nowadays. Let’s hope it rubs off on the Football team. I’m afraid I can’t get excited about the Olympics and haven’t been able to do for quite a long time now. The systematic, State doping of Russian athletes isn’t a factor in this for me at all. I just find I can’t get interested in the events with some exceptions. At least the English Premier League begins again next weekend. It will help fill in some of the gaps left by the prorogation of parliament and accompanying political discussion and analysis.

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Week 396

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

After another hot and sweaty night, we have woken to an overcast but humid start to the day.  Orange juice and tea followed by the Marr Show and an interview with the superficially affable but ultimately sinister and threatening John McDonnell.

As one reads the Sunday newspapers encompassing international terrorism, European disintegration and British political turmoil, WB Yates’ lines from The Second Coming spring quickly to mind:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
…………….
The darkness drops again but now I know

That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

What is important, to my mind, is not to run away or turn one’s back on this turmoil and to pretend as one so often hears from older people that it won’t affect them. These issues have to be addressed by all of us. Perhaps we will have to send for Cadet D Pritchard!

On a lighter note (Get it?), we received two more table lamps for our Lounge yesterday. We are very pleased with them. We only have one still to be delivered with one more side table.

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Lounge in Progress

The Lounge is still work in progress. We have decided to ditch – after 30 years – our collection of mid to late 19th Century pictures – PreRapaelite, Waterhouse, Whistler, Frederick Lord Leighton, Perugini, etc.. It is time to move on and radically. We are rather taken with the recent work of Hockney since he returned to his Yorkshire roots. Things produced in panel form and, often, using his iPad, like this:

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Kerby after Hogarth – David Hockney

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A Bigger Picture – David Hockney

Unfortunately, they are so new, they have not arrived in print form yet and we can’t afford the originals. I do have a colour laser but, if Hockney is reading this, we are happy to borrow them.

Monday, July 25th, 2016

gbeachI have always thought that it was dangerous for Greece to rely on one, main income stream. Whenever one talked to those in the tourist industry on Sifnos – which just about included everybody – they displayed extreme complacency based on generations of success. The belief was always that although they would have good and bad years, ultimately, tourist income would continue to be their mainstay.

gbeach2I began to believe that this was complacent for a number of reasons. One was generational. Generations before me – for all sorts of different economic and developmental reasons – looked not much further than Britain’s coastlines. The air travel revolution that began in the 1960s and developed strongly in the 1970s, made European shores easily within reach and those of my generation and just before have not, generally, been as tempted by the Long Haul as the current band of 20 – 40 year olds. Ironically, even those on Greek islands in that age band dream of trips to Thailand, etc.

thaiAnother reason was cultural. Many of the generations born since we joined the EU, saw themselves as European and the ‘simple pleasures’ of Greek Island ‘Hopping’ appealed to the 60s/70s ‘Hippy’ Generation much more than to those who feel the need to explore very different cultures than their own. The Far East has long been a favourite destination to sample more exotic cultures and, gradually, the European tourist base is coming and will become eroded. Add into that mix, European instability, wild currency fluctuation and terrorist threats and the trend is accentuated. Tonight, Kathimerini reports this:

Germany and Britain are Greece’s biggest tourist markets, but tourist spending patterns might be worrying. Bank of Greece data for May showed tourism earnings down 10.4 percent year-on-year as visitors reined in spending.

That tightening of the purse strings was most pronounced with a 29.2 percent drop in spending by Britons, where a see-sawing sterling, weakened by the referendum to leave the European Union, made holidays in Greece more expensive.

This may only be a short term manifestation but it will feed in to a long term societal trend which will be underlined by Brexit.

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

I mused over my freshly squeezed orange juice, cup of tea followed by freshly ground cup of coffee that, throughout my working life and even up to three years ago or so my diet was completely wrong for me. I somehow half knew it intuitively without ever focussing down on it. I ate too much of everything but, particularly, lots and lots of bulk carbohydrates which raised my blood sugar only to see it crash as I burnt it off. This made me crave more carbohydrate immediately.

I must be honest with you. I don’t know what I’m talking about. Only girls did Biology in my Grammar School days and they were banished to another school entirely. As a consequence, I never got to understand girls but, more importantly, I never learned how my own body worked. I was basically walking around in a body which I had never been licensed to own.

shreddies

Shreddies – for years my Breakfast Cereal of choice.

After a huge bowl of Shreddies followed by toast and marmalade for Breakfast, we would drive to school, charge round for about 3 hours and I would sneak a bacon sandwich from the Canteen at Breaktime. An hour and a half later I was shattered and ready for lunch which would often be pasta or just a sandwich. At home, 4 or 5 hours later and, maybe after sneaking a few biscuits during a meeting, we would reward ourselves with a big meal. We only ever bought ready-made food on a Friday (which was ‘Chinese Night’) and we both enjoyed cooking for relaxation. I would open a bottle of wine while I cooked, kidding myself that I would use some in the cooking and then open another with the meal which invariably contained potatoes, pasta or rice and lots and lots of meat. Even as I write this, it seems like another world away.

Today, I have a constant battle with my consumption but usually I win. Only liquids for breakfast. If I get hungry during the morning, I resort to fruit – mainly bananas – and then we go to the gym. When we get back at around 3.00 pm, I am af&nhungry but tired and thirsty so I drink bottled water which fills me and then we eat a meal which usually centres on protein (so I’m told) and, almost always fish or chicken. I’m not allowed green vegetables because of my INR so I have fennel, mushrooms, onions/shallots, peppers roasted or griddled or I have Greek Salad/Tomato & Basil Salad. There are always lots of tomatoes in our meal. This is invariably followed by fresh fruit salad with a topping of yoghurt.

That is my meal for the day but, if and when I am desperate for food, I turn to my other ‘new’ failsafe which is nuts. I buy packets of walnuts, cashew nuts but my favourite is a Fruit & Nut selection. What I had never realised, because I knew nothing about the science, was that protein takes longer to digest and sits in the stomach longer keeping one feeling fuller for longer. It’s a brilliant invention and works wonderfully for me. If you’d offered me these products three or four years ago, I would have told you that you were, well, nuts.

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

lamp_last

The Last Lamp Arrives.

We decided not to go to the gym today. We were both feeling a bit tired after 4 consecutive hard workouts and we were expecting a delivery. It came at about 1.30 pm which would leave us time for a trip to David Lloyd but we decided to slack for one day. The delivery today was the final lamp for our Lounge and the final table arrives on Wednesday. Barring some art work on the walls, we are done. We bought two of these lamps illustrated here from a company called Lights on Lights off. They came in enough boxes to fill a recycling skip. Good company though – reasonable prices and quick despatch. These two only cost £200.00.

We’ve had a little light rain this morning on a hot and muggy day. The recent hot sunshine has really brought the peppers and, particularly, the tomatoes on and we will be picking towards the end of this week. Today, we are having a treat – Calamari and Greek Salad.

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

A philosopher (whose name I have forgotten) once said that Life is not so much about Beginnings or Endings but just muddling through the middle. That’s what we’ve been doing today. It was quite an active day. By 9.00 am we were out shopping at Tesco. After half an hour of charging round the store, we came back and I proceeded to mow the lawns. A short rest at 12.00 mid day with a cup of coffee and then off to the gym. We did a couple of hours in a delightfully quiet gym and then drove home.

My turn to cook today. Roast boned chicken breasts on a bed of home-grown tarragon accompanied by roasted peppers and tomatoes plus fennel braised in white wine with sign4tarragon. It was delightful to prepare, cook and to eat. After that, we allowed ourselves relaxation time with our iPad newspapers.

Three years ago this week, we had finished clearing the land around our Greek house. Pauline had just finished painting our big, iron gate with black, anti-rust paint and I had taken delivery of a ‘For Sale’ sign which I attached to the newly painted gate. The very next day, I received a phone call to tell me that a buyer wanted to come and discuss the property. It took almost twelve months to clinch the deal. Three years on, that sign is on the wall above my head while I type this Blog. It all feels a world away.

Friday, July 29th, 2016

JaneBG

Champion!

Happy 64th Birthday to Jane BG. We wish her another great year of winning.

TomCherry

A Prize Winning Tomato

I picked my first cherry tomato this morning and I was going to send it her as a present but, before I had packaged and labelled it, ….. I ate it. Well I cut it in half and shared it with my wife. She pronounced it under ripe and in need of a few more days on the vine. Story of my life – just too eager.

We are in the dying days of July 2016. We celebrated by going to the local tip to get rid of more packaging than I could comfortably fit into the car. I had been storing it up in the garage as we unpacked five lamps and four tables. I had two types of waste – cardboard which goes in the cardboard and paper skip and polystyrene and bubble wrap plus plastic which all goes into the ‘General Waste’ skip. Strangely, having dumped the waste and driven away, there is a pleasant sense of achievement and relief. Maybe it’s just me.

An on-line journal – Keep Talking Greece – features a CitiGroup Bank analysis which

insists that Grexit is a real possibility in the next 1 to 3 years. Taking into consideration factors like deeper recession and new political instability, the Citigroup analysts see increase of the Grexit risk……………………The report is pessimistic about the country’s prospects, claiming the predictions of both the Greek government and its lenders on the course of the Greek economy will be proven wrong. The Citigroup believes the economy of Greece will continue in recession, predicting a 7.1% contraction of GDP in 2018 and a spike in inflation of 47%, based on its evaluation that Greece will have a new national currency by then.

Certainly, the Greek governments propensity to talk the economy up could well turn out to be counter productive.

Satuday, July 30th, 2016

exM2

Sony Experia M2

exxa

Sony Experia XA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strangely nothing day for the penultimate of July. We went out early to the EE Shop in Worthing to look at possible upgrades for our smart phones which are on contract and coming towards the end of their term. We have two Sony Experia M2s at the moment but I am going to receive two Sony Experia XAs in replacement. I will be able to trade our old ones in for about £70.00 which will be fine after two years use.

Fascinating report referred to in this morning’s Daily Telegraph headlined:

IMF admits disastrous love affair with the euro and apologises for the immolation of Greece

It is well worth a read in the original here.

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Week 395

Sunday, 17th July

A hot and sticky day that was 22C/70F at 9.00 am. If you follow the Blog, you will know that I am glued to political programmes on Sunday. The Marr Show had the two, Labour st_7Party challengers. As so many have said, they both look distinctly second division. There is also a thread being spun by the media to the effect that a large proportion of the PLP will move off into a body called ‘The Continuity Labour Party’ if Corbyn wins the Leadership election. With such recent echoes of the SDP, one’s heart sinks but fails to see an alternative. There are no participants with the stature of David Owens, Shirley Williams or Roy Jenkins to lead this break away.

Andrew Neil presented the last Sunday Politics before the summer recess and I will need to find alternative forms of intellectual stimulation for the next few weeks. Failing that, I will have to mow the lawns more regularly as I did this morning. It was so humid that this simple act left me sweating so profusely that I needed a shower before settling down to the Sunday Times.

Talk about sweating profusely, the Greek Hoteliers have a solution to that. In these times of austerity, they are providing air conditioning but asking guests to share. This hotel is on the island of Lefkada in the Ionian Sea:

aircon

It gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘air con.’.

Monday, 18th July

B&T

Tarragon & Basil

An even hotter and more humid morning after an uncomfortable night. By 9.30 am we were reading 24C/75F and, as the day progressed, we saw 27C/81F. It’s actually quite a moderate temperature but the context exaggerates the effect. In Greece, we could have been experiencing 36C/97F but, in the context of a Greek summer, that feels much more acceptable. Tonight our house is hot and uncomfortable. It is 29C/84F in the Study at 10.00 pm as I write. There is a glorious and silver full moon gleaming as it rises above the roof tops.

toms2

Cherry Toms.

We went to the Leisure Club to do a sweaty hour’s work. I had a shower and then we drove the five miles home. By the time we had got back, I needed another shower and now I need another. Before we went out, I cleaned our new car for the first time. We’ve already done 600 miles which seems to have gone very quickly.

The tomatoes and peppers are really appreciating the strong sunshine although watering is crucial. The herbs – Sweet Basil and Tarragon – are really doing well and we have stopped buying any from the supermarket at all. We only have six cherry tomato plants but we hope they will give us a few salads when they ripen. At least they will be ‘organic’.

Tuesday, 19th July

pwpcAt 8.30 am – 22C/70F. By 10.30 am – 26F/79F and by 1.00 pm – 37C/99F. It was uncomfortable but bearable. I spent the morning making sure that plants were well watered and then cleaning the drive after some landscaping over the past few days. My pressure washer came with a patio cleaner attachment which I’ve never tried before. It worked perfectly. I was also provided with a product to put into the dispenser chamber which really seemed to work well, dispersing the grime extremely effectively.

Unexpectedly, two of the five side table lamps arrived for the lounge. They are absolutely delightful. They really add to the room’s atmosphere.

lamps

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are both about 61Cm/24″ high and fit really well with the furniture.

In the incredible heat of the afternoon, we went down to Worthing Beach area but only to pick up some orders of Pauline’s from M&S. The beach was very busy with holiday makers which felt strange and the cafes were packed. They even have a Harry Ramsden’s Chip Shop. We remember the original in Yorkshire. Tonight, we have spent sitting outside in the slightly cooler air. Even now – at 11.15 pm – the house is registering 34C/93F. It’s going to be an interesting night.

Wednesday, 20th July

mattcartoonThe day started dull but warm and just got hotter. My job today was to cut the lawns and then clean the patio. We went out to Tesco to buy 8 Sea Bream fillets for a lunch party tomorrow. The sun was strong and hot by 11.00 am and hit 33C/91F, leaving us tired and listless. Pauline was stripping beds, washing bedding and remaking. Rather her than me.

Watched Theresa May’s first Prime Minister’s Questions from Parliament. She is a distinctly unappealing woman. I once went 10 years without visiting a doctor – aged 18 – 28. The UK is now issuing Medical Practices with instructions to remove patients they haven’t see for five years. It won’t happen, of course, because it will cost practices £100.00/ €120.00 per patient per year. I did like this cartoon in The Telegraph this morning, however.

Thursday, 21st July

A hot and humid, sticky morning. We have front and back doors open to produce a through draft of air. Unfortunately, the air rushing through is very warm. We have guests for lunch so it is all hands to the pump tidying up and finishing off the cleaning.

worthing a&e

Worthing A&E

After all our jobs have been completed, we have turned our minds to a subject we’ve been meaning to address ever since we arrived. Where would we go if we urgently needed an A&E? Where would we go if we urgently needed a dentist? Very quickly, it became apparent that our A&E would be at Worthing Hospital which our sat.nav. says would take 16 minutes to drive to. In emergency, I’m sure that will feel like an age but, in retrospect, it is fairly average for the other places we have lived in Surrey and in Yorkshire. As to dentists, it is a much less certain service. We would like to have an NHS Dentist and lots advertise the possibility but, we know from experience, those possibilities seem to evaporate when they are approached. We will see.

Had an enjoyable visit from P&M who stayed about 4 hours. Fortunately, the temperature abated a little and we sat round the dining table, ‘catching up’ and eating Sea Bass and salad followed by Summer Fruits and whipped cream. That was a treat and beautifully cooked by my lovely wife.

Friday, 22nd July

I’m not a great believer in biblical allusions but, when I think about those who voted for ‘Brexit’, the words – Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. – immediately come to mind. This was a case of the short sighted leading the blind and would have been funny if it wasn’t so serious.

Yesterday, on the last day before parliamentary recess – a great day for burying bad news – the government released this information which I source from the BBC and The Daily Telegraph.

Warning of cuts as NHS told to save extra £1.6bn

Patients face “brutal” cuts and longer waits as the NHS is told to make an extra £1.6 billion of savings this year. Waiting time targets for A&E, routine operations and cancer treatment have been relaxed for many hospitals, in an admission that restoring “financial discipline” is more important than prompt treatment. Regulators have told dozens of hospitals they do not have to meet official targets over the next nine months, at the same time as a crackdown on costs, which has seen bosses warned of fines and takeovers by regulators if they do not meet stiff financial controls.

No one is blaming it on Brexit directly but it is symptomatic of a declining economy. Of course, readers of the Daily Mail and The Daily Express are inclined to believe what they are told and don’t have access to the more serious reporting of the ‘broadsheets’.

This morning the following economic data results were reported and I evidence The Times and the BBC.

Brexit causes dramatic drop in economy, data suggests

Britain’s decision to leave the EU has led to a “dramatic deterioration” in economic activity, not seen since the aftermath of the financial crisis. Data from IHS Markit’s Purchasing Manager’s Index, or PMI, shows a fall to 47.7 in July, the lowest level since April in 2009. A reading below 50 indicates contraction. Both manufacturing and service sectors saw a decline in output and orders.

As both the Financial Times and The Independent point out, Brexit has already led to Businesses freezing hiring and investment plans.

The ‘Get Our Country Back’ brigade are unlikely to even consider things like this. They vote on heart not head. Maybe, they will be interested when their immediate pleasures are threatened. Interestingly, a report in The Times this morning suggests that:

‘Staycation’ boost to UK economy as millions of families shun foreign holidays

Millions of British holiday makers are abandoning plans for foreign travel and embarking on “staycations”, figures show, as economists predict the trend will provide a major boost to the UK economy. Tourism boards across the UK are reporting record-breaking numbers of bookings and inquiries over the past few weeks, suggesting workers will pump billions of pounds back into the UK instead of spending their cash abroad.

bb4

Brighton Beach is popular!

and it will be the value of their currency, the closing of duty-free services and the increased difficulty to cross European borders which will make them, possibly, think again.

Of course, as in the Irish case, I think the question should be continued to be put before the electorate until they come up with the right answer. The Labour Leadership challenger to Corbyn has been hinting at something similar  – maybe to catch the coat tails of those suffering ‘Buyer’s Remorse’ and, who knows, we may see a realignment on the progressive Left with a ‘Continuity Labour’ breakaway party joining forces with the Liberal Democrats. Stranger things have happened.

Saturday, 23rd July

DP_Anniversary

David & Allison’s Wedding 23 July, 1966

Hot and sunny morning down here in Sussex but my mind is turned back 50 years. It was 50 years ago today that I was in County Donegal, Southern Ireland on my first trip ‘abroad’ while a number of members of my family were assembling for a wedding between Alison and my cousin, David Pritchard. David is, of course, about 40 (or so) years older than me. Maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration but he is very, very old.

So many of the family were represented there that I like this photo and will treasure it. Particularly, it features Mum just 2 years after being widowed. It is nice to see dad’s sisters, Marjorie (David’s Mum), Kath (Peter’s Mum) and Edwina (Sue & Gill’s Mum). A young Robert and Peter and Malcolm are standing on the left along with what I think is Aunty Daisy, Grandad Sanders’ Housekeeper. I think it is Gill standing on the left next to Mum and Sue standing on the right next to Colin?? and near Edwina. The husbands – Eric Pritchard (David’s Dad who worked as an accountant for Reynold’s Chains and chain smoked, if I remember correctly), Arthur Stimpson (Peter & Colin’s Dad who was a Science Teacher) and Ron Wilson (Sue & Gill’s Dad who, I think, worked for the Gas Board). I’m ashamed to say that I don’t know Alison’s family at all.

DP_CCF

Click to Expand

As I said, David preceded me at Burton Grammar School where he was particularly known for his musical acumen. I thought I would find a picture of him from Grammar School days. I spent hours searching for music prize pupils called Pritchard to no avail. I waded through and dismissed Rugby, Cricket and Athletics teams but was pretty sure he wasn’t particularly sporty. After about 2 or 3 hours and just about to give up, a page popped on to my screen featuring the CCF of 1958 with this little chap on the 2nd Left of the middle row.

While I was there, I couldn’t resist these photos of Dad  85 years ago and me almost 50 years ago.

Dad_1930-31

Click to Expand

John_1964

Click to Expand

John_1968

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Week 394

Sunday, 10th July

A day at home. Political programmes until they came out of my ears followed by a surfeit of sport with Hamilton winning the British Grand Prix and Murray winning Wimbledon. To top it all, the French failed to win the football and, as everyone knows, we all hate the French!

Monday, 11th July

TMayBritain is doing its level best to emulate Greece in being the most ridiculous state in (or out of) Europe. Until lunchtime, we didn’t have a Prime Minister and then we got an unelected one who will have to negotiate our leaving of Europe even though she wanted to (just about) remain. Of course, ‘lunatic behaviour’ is measured against the ‘norm’ and the Labour Party should be providing that yard stick in Opposition but are managing to look even more lunatic than the Tories, which isn’t easy.

As The Times says this morning, families are asking, Is it Umbria or Cumbria for holiday this year? in the light of the rapid depreciation of sterling. Soon the ‘Got to get our country back’ brigade will realise how stupid they have been as prices rise, companies leave the UK, jobs disappear and the prospects for Britain decline. They won’t even be able to give ‘their country’ away! Plebiscites are ripe country for the electorate to be sold a pup. What makes this one worse is that those dodgy traders of knee-jerk emotions have melted away, deserting their responsibilities and leaving the naive or foolish electorate to rue the day.

Tuesday, 12th July

From the ridiculous to the sublime. We know that we are going to have trouble when we buy a house within a mile of a huge garden centre. We have been gardening addicts throughout our married lives and have deliberately tried to reign in our instincts here. Today, we cracked.

hydrasWe have noticed how some plants do particularly well in gardens in our area. Wisteria is not for us on the brick face of a new build property but hydrangeas are a different matter. They seem to love the terroir in Sussex. We went out on a mission and the garden centre didn’t make it easy. They stocked about 20 different species of hydrangea and we will have room for only 3 or 4. What to choose? These three are the ones we managed to narrow it down to so far.

  • Hydrangea Macrophylla – Lady in Red.
  • Hydrangea Macrophylla – Hot Red Violet.
  • Hydrangea Macrophylla – Hanabi Pink.

Might squeeze one or two more in later. Because we gave all our gardening equipment away before we vacated our last property, I’ve even had to go out and buy a spade.

Wednesday, 13th July

hdccA day largely at home today. We did go out and buy another Hydrangea – Macrophylla – Cotton Candy. We then went on to plant out the four hydrangeas that we’d bought over the past couple of days at the front of the house – around the front door. We had just finished gardening when the sunny sky went dark and threw a heavy bout of rain down on us removing the need to water our new plants in. They looked at home immediately.

Interesting to see that the normally over optimistic National Tourist Office of Greece which talks up arrival numbers all year until the final figures come out and reveal the truth has produced a dose of realism early in the season. Kathimerini reports that: There are signs of fatigue in Greek tourism with hotel occupancy levels in Athens at very low levels. They explain it by referring to the migrant crisis discouraging potential tourists and the American government warning their citizens against travelling to Europe because of potential ‘security problems’.

Thursday, 14th July

gobs

Bye!

A warm and sunny day with no breeze. We were tied to the house by the imminent delivery of four side tables for the Lounge. We had been given the expressly un-user friendly delivery slot of 7.00 am – 6.00 pm. Actually, they were delivered at 11.00 am. Until then, we were glued to the government (night of the long knives) re-shuffle. Great to see Gobsbourne, Gove and Organ Morgan dumped. What about Bambi at Health? Surely he should have been lobotomised.

It was all so gripping that I had to fight with my conscience over whether to watch some of the Test Match. Largely, the politics won although I caught a little cricket at times.  We also did our weekly shop at Tesco. One of the thing about being retired is that one is free when all the grey, wrinkly people are free. One tends to shop while the home-for-the-bewildered releases its residents to shop, urging them to shuffle slowly, bent over a shopping trolley while blocking whole yards/metres of shelving with the help of their friends. Today, because we didn’t get out until mid afternoon, the supermarket was quiet, nearly empty and a delight for energetic shoppers. We have taken note.

Friday, 15th July

phormLovely warm – humid even – and sunny day. I told you that the fight against a desire to buy plants and design gardens was one we were always likely to loose. Today, we went out and spent another £200.00/€240.00 or so at the garden centre. Today we bought feature plants like Phormium Maori Queen and broad leaved, mauve flowering Hebe and three more hydrangeas. We spent two or three hours preparing the ground and planting out.

I now have an established routine in the garden. Each morning I water my tomatoes and peppers which are all heavy with fruit. The sweet basil and tarragon are romping away. We’ve been cutting and cooking with them for two or three weeks.  Twice each week – at least – I mow the front and back lawns and strim the edges. I treat the grass which is lush and healthy recently laid turf, with a green up feed. It grows fast and stays very green. It is completely weed-free and appears to be without the dreaded moss because its drainage is so good. The plants we have added are in beds at the front and side of the house and have been chosen to be self-sustaining so that we can go abroad for a couple of months without worrying.

Saturday, 16th July

erdoganWent to bed last night on the feverish reporting of a Turkish military coup. Erdogan, who has been gradually tightening his grip on power by forcing the secular state to submit to a form of Islamic rule, denying basic rights to some citizens and controlling or shutting down the press, has been provoking this for some time.

By the time we woke at 6.00 am, the coup was all but over. Thousands of military were being rounded up and some being lynched by the mob. Erdogan, from his iPhone ‘facetime’ address to a television station managed to rally citizens to come out and demonstrate support for him. Interestingly, they all seemed to be male. Women, of course, have no political part to play in an Islamic country. They stay at home.

British Airways promptly cancelled all flights in and out of Turkey while EasyJet and Thomson went ahead as normal although they did tell their customers to Turkey to ‘stay indoors’. Great holiday – fly to a war zone and hunker down!

However, you must admit that it’s been a strangely unsettling month. At home, after the sheer madness of UK having voted to leave the E.U., the two, major parties are imploding. Only the Tories innate lust for power has kept them slightly on track. The Labour Party appears to, be in its death throws with no real chance of providing effective opposition. Abroad, a madman (aka sexually confused Asian male) slaughtered 50 people in a US ‘gay’ nightclub and then a criminally deviant Asian male runs a truck over 200 people who are celebrating a national holiday out with their families on the French Riviera. The Turkish army attempt to depose an autocratic but elected State  President of the most strategically important country to the continent of Europe. One is left grasping for stability and certainties however flawed.

hfj

Hardy Fuschia ‘Janey’

We went out and bought yet more plants. Three Weigelas with variegated leaves edged with mauve, which we didn’t intend to buy, were added to a gorgeous Hebe which we didn’t intend to buy. We told each other that we must leave but, like some addicted gamblers, we spotted hardy fuschia ‘Janey’ and we could not resist. Anyone who knows us will also know that Janey was the name of Pauline’s mum. We bought two and she looks great in our garden. Of course, we also needed some compost to help the planting and some bags of bark to top dress the bed. Fortunately, we have no more space and will not be returning to that garden centre – unless something drastic happens like the Labour Party surviving or Erdogan publicly outing himself.

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Week 393

Sunday, 3rd July

A lovely, sunny day – as it should be in July. We are at home with the Sunday papers, consecutive expositions (Marr Show, Peston on Sunday & The Sunday Politics) of the current shambles of the British political scene and a delivery of a new piece of furniture all the way from Madrid. Pauline is feeling a little under the weather and has been for a day or two. It seems to be a touch of ‘flu but it is lingering.

It is nice to have a restful day today because the week ahead is busy. France at the beginning of the week followed by Surrey at the end of the week will mean we are away from home for quite a few days although that may be a blessing in disguise. A ‘snagging’ problem has arisen with one or two of the floor tiles in one of the bathrooms. The builders will be in for about three days and we will just leave them to it.

sideboardOur new sideboard/lounge cupboard was delivered today by two delightful, Polish lads who had been on a terrible journey from Wolverhampton to Southampton and then on to us, arriving at 2.30 pm. They looked shattered and said they had another five deliveries before they could head of back to the Midlands. The M25 had been a nightmare coming down and they were dreading the return.

Now we can look for sidetables and lamps to finish of the room. After that, spending will be complete on the new house until Pauline thinks of something else. I get my own way on technology and she gets her’s on furniture. Reciprocity in all things is a recipe for success.

Monday, 4th July

A lovely, sunny day. My tomatoes, peppers and herbs are rejoicing in sympathy with the Americans on their Independence Day. The only difference is that, unlike the Americans, the vegetables will only be liberated when we eat them.

Theresa May, the runaway Tory Leadership candidate, has said over the weekend, as The Times reports today, that expats could lose right to live abroad:

Millions of EU citizens living in the UK and Britons settled in Europe face an uncertain future after Theresa May warned that their status would be part of the Brexit negotiations.

Ireland_July_1966

An innocent, young 15 yr old tours Southern Ireland in July, 1966

Exactly 50 years ago this month, I went abroad for the first time – to the Republic of Ireland. With others from my home village, Repton, I stood on the station in Burton upon Trent in brilliant sunshine listening to the latest N0.1 Hit Single – Out of Time by Chris Farlowe and then the England win in the World Cup Final. Who chose that day to travel?  We took a train to Holyhead and then a ferry to Dun Laoghaire. I have no idea how much the ferry cost but a return exactly 50 years later only costs £75.00. It takes less than two hours. I’m sure our journey 50 years ago was over night- at least eight hours. I remember that it was a very rough crossing and there were drunken Irishmen being sick everywhere.

When we arrived in Dublin, it was just three months since a bomb exploded on Dublin’s main thoroughfare and Nelson’s Pillar in O’Connell Street was blown up by the IRA. From there we went down to Loch Derg in Co. Donegal where this photo was taken. Dave Beasley (75 this year) is holding the horse. I am sitting – left of picture – and Jimmy ??? is sitting next to me. My boyhood friend, Jonathan Kelly, is in blue standing at the side of the horse. I’ve no idea who was sitting on the horse.

Today, I am still in touch with Jonathan who has lived in Boston, Massachusetts for 40 years and Dave who has lived in Wales for just as long. Jonathan emailed me last week and Dave phoned my two days ago. Even so, I find it impossible to reach back over those 50 years and really reclaim a sense of the times.

Tuesday, 5th July

tunnel

Early at the Tunnel

cwss

Our wines are 50% of the UK price.

A lovely morning began with early mist presaging a hot and sunny  day. We were up at 6.00 am and out by 7.00 am and on the road to the Channel Tunnel. One and a half hours later, we were in checking in to the Tunnel in Folkestone. By 10.30 am (CET), we were driving towards our regular hotel – the Holiday Inn Coquelles. We’ve been going there for nearly 30m years when it was a Millenium CopthorneHotel.

It’s still good but this will be one of our last visits because of the  Referendum vote which will make our trip uneconomical. We drove on to the Calais Wine Superstore, once owned by Tesco, which has already told us that the referendum vote will mean it will have to close in the next couple of years when we no longer are able to buy goods ‘tax free’ abroad. This accompanying photograph may mark the end of the UK in Europe.

Wednesday, 6th July

UK_in_Europe

End of the UK in Europe

Lovely, hot and sunny morning as we rose late at 6.30 am. Down to breakfast at 8.00 am and then out shopping at 10.00 am. Auchan in Coquelles was our shopping centre and we loaded our trolley with duck joints, huge peppers, garlic, shallots, salad vegetables, cold meats, olive oil, and a few cases of wine. The was car loaded up and the we were off to the Tunnel where we got an earlier train at 12.30 am.

All the infrastructure that we have enjoyed for 20 years or more will be deemed effectively useless over the next three years because of a group of career driven chancers. The UK has been cast adrift and left to fend alone. The lunatics truly have control of the asylum.

We arrived in UK at 12.00 am (GMT) and began our drive to West Sussex. We were home by 1.30 pm after a lovely drive in hot sunshine with little traffic. Retirement travel can be delightful!

Thursday, 7th July

winerack

This will get Pauline through the weekend!

A warm and muggy but rather overcast day. We were up at 6.00 am and had a visitor at 7.00 am. The tiler called to complete a ‘snagging’ issue in the Family Bathroom.

I had unpacked the boot of the car and racked up the wine I bought yesterday – just 150 bottles – to see us through the weekend. We also bought 48 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc for P&C. I bought a Chilean one which I know the like for £2.49 per bottle. In the UK, the same wine sells for £5.99 per bottle. I also chose them a Loire Sauvignon Blanc which sells in UK for £7.99 per bottle and we got it for £2.99 per bottle. All in all, we saved P&C £204.00 on 48 bottles of wine. Of course, all this will disappear soon as import duties have to be paid on leaving the EU.

We are in position to complete the Lounge furnishings now that the sideboard has arrived. This morning, Pauline ordered four side tables with a fifth having to wait until it comes back into stock. Some nice table lamps will complete the room.

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Jimmy Frizzel at Boundary Park

When I first moved to Oldham, in 1972, to begin my teaching career, I was a Derby County supporter. A young man teaching History in the same school tried to convert me to support Oldham Athletic (Latics). Actually, they were playing quite well at the time. Peter Corser (who became a curator of museum in Durham and must be retired now) and I spent some enjoyable afternoons and evenings at Boundary Park although our seats were just in front of a ‘pillock’ who took and played his trumpet when he got excited virtually deafening us for hours and, sometimes, days afterwards.

The manager was Jimmy Frizzell who lasted an amazing 12 years in the job. The local ‘rag’ – The Oldham Chronicle – featured him regularly. He has featured for the last time. Yesterday he died aged 79. The conveyor belt of life rumbles on and his final trumpet has sounded.

Friday, 8th July

Up early after a warm and humid night. We set off for Surrey to collect a prescription from our doctor  whose services we have not ‘dispensed’ with yet. We drove on to P&C’s house to deliver their wine we bought from our recent trip to France. In pounds sterling, their 72 bottles only cost £135.00 which is a saving on UK prices of £204.00. Soon, it will no longer be worth making this trip. Those who voted Brexit clearly believe this is a sacrifice worth making. I disagree and so will they as they see their standard of living fall and the cost of their existence rise.

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Fruits of the Summer

The trip to Surrey was delightful and took just an hour. As we drove back to Sussex, we spotted a huge tailback as a result of an ‘incident’ on the M25. Fortunately, Pauline managed to navigate us around this to join the motorway one junction later and missing the miles of stationary traffic completely. Sat. Navs. are wonderful but not as wonderful as wives!

We were back in our Sussex home in good time to make our meal – griddled chicken with Greek Salad followed by fresh strawberries and raspberries with a little, vanilla ice cream. It is amazing. I love going off and travelling – near and far – but returning home is really delightful however recently we established it.

Saturday, 9th July

GH

A little piece of Greece.

Two years ago this weekend, we sold our Greek property and left Sifnos. It would be wrong to pretend that we don’t miss it at times because we do but developments in Greece, in UK and in Europe since then have completely justified our decision.

Not only did Greece totally surrender to the Germans but they are still struggling under credit controls, increasing taxation allied to decreasing salaries and pensions. Having successfully repatriated our house sale to our UK banks (no mean feat in itself), it has provided us with an upsized property in Sussex and comforting liquidity going forward. All of this now has to be viewed through the prism of Brexit which would have really put us in a difficult position and will continue to make life difficult for expatriates. I don’t believe in God/Fate/Luck but we definitely benefitted from something which brought us a good buyer at the right moment. With one leap, we escaped the goldfish bowl and left the minnows gaping for air.

That is not to say that we will desert Greece. We will be going back soon but without the responsibility of ownership or citizenship. We will not be subject to the wilfulness of Greek politicians, the obstinacy of Greek workers or the duplicity of Greek ‘friends’. A traveller rather than a dweller suits us just fine and allows us to dip in and out as we feel like it. A lot has happened in that two years and all (with the exception of Brexit) for the better.

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Week 392

Sunday, 26th June

I managed to get through 391 weeks of The Blog as a European but, before I could start Week 392, I found myself flailing around and unsure where I belonged. The country has voted to leave. I didn’t. Those who had nothing, had nothing to lose and went for it. The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid. The terrible thing about Democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid. And they took that chance. It will change life in so many ways and many for the worse.

Spare a thought for the expats at this time. Call-me-Dave ‘reassured’ them on Friday that for

British nationals living in European countries and European citizens living in the UK there will be no immediate changes in their circumstances.

Note that the key word is  immediate and the value it carries. It implies that there will be one but not yet. He went on to say that

There will be no initial change in the way British people can travel, in the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold.

We are the Greeks biggest trading partners and their second biggest source of tourists. Already at a weak ebb, the Greeks are worried about the impact of Brexit on their economy and rightly. Just the effect on the Sterling-Euro relationship is enough to put many off buying Greek products and booking Greek holidays. They would only need a reduction of 2-3% to make a major difference.

Monday, 27th June

I have always been a gadget enthusiast and an I.T. enthusiast. For years I’ve loved new cars and the rolling technological developments that they have embodied. Many won’t even know what it is like to be driving with one hand and trying to wind down the window with a plastic handle on the door with the other. I longed for electronically controlled windows. When I got them, I also got air conditioning at the same time.

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Web access in our new car.

When I took delivery of that car in 1984, it was rumoured that something called ALB was available on higher end models. Anti-Lock Brakes became standard on our Honda cars by 1992. We started to replace tape decks and separate radios with Digital units combining CD players with radios. we got charging points around our car that allowed us to run an electric cool bag and USB points to charge phones and iPads. We got satellite navigation integrated with entertainment.

For the past seven years, we have had reversing cameras and surround parking sensors. I would find it hard to operate without. We have had electronic, memory seating. Now we have internet access and, therefore, the ability to search vital information on our journey although not, I hasten to add, while we are driving. With every new car, I take a few days exploring its potential. It has taken just five days to get this up and running. I am delighted but will soon take it for granted. Can you imagine driving without air conditioning now?

Tuesday, 28th June

euroSince selling in Greece, we have had an account with a foreign exchange company. I haven’t needed their services very much for a couple of years but, ironically, I needed them today. I only bought £1000.00 worth of Euros to be delivered to my home but I managed to buy them at 1.18€ = £1.00. This includes the cost of having them delivered to my door. It’s not terrible but it is a sign of things to come. Brits are cancelling European holidays in their thousands and not just because of the football. We’ve booked a shopping trip to France next week and we think currency fixed at our rate will be better than credit cards fixed at their rate. Who knows how a volatile commodity like the £Sterling will fluctuate.

Wednesday, 29th June

As the Brexit caravan rumbles on, two groups are becoming increasingly nervous. Those immigrants, both EU and otherwise, who are working and residing in Britain and are feeling unloved and unwanted – how ever mistakenly -and vulnerable to abuse and opprobrium. Those emigrant ex-pats across the EU who now have to consider the consequences for the domicile. As reported in national press, British expatriates may have to stop living abroad in European countries like France and Spain when Britain leaves the European Union, the Government has suggested.

Although we had the unedifying sight of Farage rebuking the European Parliament, the Euro Bureaucracy didn’t help itself with a kneejerk closing of ranks and excluding others at different levels. The 6 original members met alone, excluding the other 22 members. Then Britain was excluded as the other 27 members met. They never learn. Lack of democratic accountability was one of the key planks of the ‘Leave’ campaign. The Times reports this morning:

A continental split has opened up over the response to the Brexit vote, with Poland and Hungary leading calls for a new-style European Union amid claims that the founding member states are trying to call the shots….Austria and Spain were among nine countries which joined a meeting in the Polish capital on Monday for those that had not been invited to the founder members’ ministerial summit at the weekend.

cm

Carrefour-Marinopoulos

We already know that the Greek economy is susceptible to the Brexit fallout and today we learn that Greece’s primary supermarket chain, the Carrefour-badged Marinopoulos, has filed for protection from its creditors. The firm is thought to owe more than 720 million euros to some 2,000 suppliers and could face closure if a court on Friday decides not to accept its request for protection. The company’s total debts, including what it owes to the state, reach 1.3 billion euros. Marinopoulos employs around 12,500, whose jobs are now in doubt unless a solution, which could include a buyout, is found.

Thursday, 30th June

Had to buy Euros from our Foreign Exchange dealer – Moneycorp – which I used for repatriating the sale of our Greek house. It was delivered by courier to our house this morning. The rate was €1.18 = £1.00. In the circumstances, it wasn’t bad but I predict that continental shopping is going to nosedive. We are shopping in France next week but I bet we will not have many others around us. It doesn’t take much to change sentiment and everything will now become more expensive.

Friday, 1st July

wr_7_16

Happy new month. Happy July if we ever see the sun again! My tomatoes and peppers demand it. The fruits are set but they need sun to grow and ripen and they need it urgently. We are cutting and cooking with our Basil and Tarragon plants. This day last year was the hottest British day on record. Surrey reached the lower 30Cs/upper 90Fs. Today, in Sussex, we have struggled to reach 20C/68F.

Saturday, 2nd July

goringfish

Goring Fisherman

goringfish2

Goring Fishing Boats

A free morning with pleasant sunshine and high clouds moving quite quickly in a gentle breeze, It meant that the landscape was alternately bathed in strong sunshine and dark shade in quick succession. We thought that would continue in our quest to explore the area by driving to Goring-on-Sea, down the coastal road to Worthing and then on to Lancing and Shoreham-on-Sea. We turned around there rather than go on to Brighton which would have been heaving at this time of year. The coastal road was busy enough as it is. There seem to be plenty of people who are just happy to holiday by the English coast. They probably voted BREXIT as well! It certainly wouldn’t do for me. There is a distinct whiff of seedy decay in all of these places.

goringbeach

Goring Beach

What they do have is daily, fresh fish catches on sail. In Goring we found fishermen’s boats up on the beach being mobbed by seagulls hungry for bits discarded as the catch was being prepared for the shop. We bought shellfish – two crab for our meal today and Huss to serve as goujons tomorrow. We walked on Goring beach and I took some photos with my phone which explains the poor quality. I must start taking my camera with me again.

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Week 391

Sunday, 19th June

As yesterday went on, a terrible pain developed in the outer section of my left upper thigh. It began to feel like a dead-leg or the early season consequence of a heavy rugby tackle. I had no idea where it originated having had no incident during the day to bring it on. By the time I had to walk up the stairs to bed, I was in agony and, in bed, I couldn’t get comfortable. I sleep on my left side and I couldn’t bear the pain when I tried that. I tried the right side but it was just as painful. I spent the night fitfully on my back and got up at 7.00 am still very tired.

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Worthing Promenade

As soon as I started walking, this morning, the leg freed up and I was barely aware of it. After half an hour sitting down, I was reduced to the gait of an old and infirm man once again.

We chose to go out for a walk. The weather was beautiful and my leg demanded it. We drove to Worthing Promenade – about 15 mins away – and Pauline picked up an order from M&S. That shop really does have an air of the past about it! The walking definitely helped and I will go to the gym tomorrow to continue my exercise.

When we got home at about 3.00 pm, we griddled Hake fillets and courgette slices out in the garden and Pauline cooked garlic, button mushrooms but, by the time we had eaten our meal, the clouds were beginning to edge in. It got increasingly murky throughout the afternoon but we only got a light shower of rain at about 8.00 in the evening.

Monday, 20th June

stonehenge

Woodhenge on Worthing Beach

The joke of the day, which opened with torrential rain, is that it is Mid-Summer’s Day or summer solstice. By 11.00 am, the sun was out from blue, blue skies but mid-summer? Worthing Beach marked the day with this structure featured in The Times this morning.

Part of the process of buying a new car has been, for us over the past 20 years, transferring our ‘cherished number plate’ from the old car to the new. Today, the DVLA documents arrived and we took them in to our new Dealership. They removed our ‘cherished plates’, replaced them with those required by the DVLA and told us our new car would be available in a couple of weeks. It is all a very smooth, if bureaucratic, operation in contrast with procedures we experienced in Greece and which Bloggers in Greece bemoan on a daily basis. There, Bureaucracy rules.

Tuesday, 21st June

pss

Summer solstice evening on the Pennines

Lovely bright and sunny morning. My sister, Mary-Jane, once told me she was ‘too busy for weather’. I have been amused to notice that, like me and particularly since retirement, she has been tweeting pictures of her environment and weather around her Yorkshire Pennine home. It comes to us all with age.

herbs

From the right: Tarragon, Sweet Basil, Tumbler Tomato (red), Tumbler Tomato (yellow).

I have been cutting the lawns, weeding the beds and mulching with chipped bark and feeding the patio plants. the tomatoes and peppers are covered in flowers although there does appear to be a worrying lack of pollinators flying around. The tarragon and sweet basil are romping away.

A phone call from our new Honda Dealer says our new car will be available for collection on Thursday and we need to go in and complete documentation today. We agree to visit en route to the gym. Outside, the road is being tarmacked so our current car is parked off-site. Things are certainly coming together. As soon as we get the referendum out of the way and see how the land lies, we can get on and book our winter holidays.

Wednesday, 22nd June

roadA grey and misty but warm and sultry morning. The contractors have been finishing the tarmacked road outside. I have been stripping the car of all our personal possessions in readiness for taking it in to the Honda garage tomorrow morning and driving away with a new one. Pauline, meanwhile, has been changing over the insurance. Our insurance company have made a complete mess of the process. It hasn’t been helped by transferring on the ‘cherished’ number plate but, for car insurers, it shouldn’t be rocket science.

In Greece, Bank restrictions are still in place after almost two years. Yesterday, the President of Greek Banks Association, Louka Katseli, said that the Capital Controls would be lifted by end of the year. Today, Fitch, the Ratings Agency, said Greece’s four main banks would default if Capital Controls are lifted. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose or what ever the Greek is for that.

Thursday, 23rd June

lightning London

London’s Sound & Light Show

Over night everywhere was pressured washed cleaned by torrential rain and flood-lit by extensive and prolonged lightning displays. In London, it was quite damaging with trains cancelled and roads flooded this morning. Here, we were lucky and everything was refreshed.

We went out to deliver our car and collect the new one at 10.00 am. It was ready and waiting. Dealers always feel that have to make it a special occasion. We’ve had so many now, it felt no more special than a trip to Sainsbury’s but it is nice to be driving a new smell in a younger body with a tighter construction. The front end has changed and become a bit more American and macho which doesn’t really do it for me. I’m macho enough already. Otherwise, nothing much has changed about the construction of the car.

satnav1

The media centre will take some getting used to. The previous model had retained its built in sat. nav. system over 15 years with only a few, minor alterations. This new one is also built in but is Garmin-derived and very different.

When you’re used to something for fifteen years, it becomes part of the fabric of one’s automatic thought patterns. Over the years, moving from one Ms. Windows platform to another always aggravates the smooth completion of work activities until the user ceases to notice by which time, they have to cope with yet another  Ms satnav2Windows platform. So it is with this satellite navigation system. Fifteen years with one has made its operation automatic. One has to keep the mind open and embrace the new while fighting the inclination to compare it with the previous regime.

I see it as an exciting challenge which may well move me forward in thinking and activity. In the past, one just had to grapple with the idea of linking a mobile phone by bluetooth with the car’s media centre. Now I’m trying to work out how to run the car’s internet system from my 4G mobile phone.

Friday, 24th June

ref

The Lunatics have taken over the Asylum!

The world has changed. It will never be the same for Britain again in my lifetime. The lunatics have truly taken over the asylum. Forgive them for they know not what they do. Instability, danger, not only lurks around every corner but comes up and stares us directly in the face. It is hard to find light relief in such gloom. I did read a tweet at 5.00 am today when Sunderland declared a ‘Leave’ vote. One wag retorted – The people thought they were voting to leave Sunderland.

brexit1Expats across the continent will be nervously examining their options. Cosy, dual-nationality options will be seriously up in the air. Reciprocal agreements on Healthcare and Pensions, Travel and Security will be up in the air. Great Britain will almost certainly collapse because the Scots will seek referendum negotiations to get back in to Europe but that presupposes there will be a Europe to get back in to. Already other countries are demanding their own referendums – notably Holland immediately but also Italy and France.

brexit2‘Call Me Dave’ has called it a day and announced his resignation. Gobsborne will not be far behind. I don’t think he will enter the leadership race because he has no chance of winning. They will have to appoint a Brexiteer to lead the negotiations. The nightmare scenario of a Prime Minister Boris and President Trump summit meeting is lurching sickeningly towards us.

Back in the real world, we were up at 4.30 am listening to the nightmare unfold. Out on shaky legs to Tesco at 9.00 am and now, back home, we are trying to assume some semblance of normality by contacting Honda Finance to pay off our twelve hour borrowing which provided us with an extra £3000.00 discount from the on-the-road price. Then we can move on to book our Winter holiday in a collapsing world.

Saturday, 25th June

rocanivariaYesterday finished with us successfully ending our twelve-hour finance agreement with Honda. The result was that we now own the car outright and the £34,300.00 vehicle has cost us £13,170.00. After 4 years of driving and almost 30,000 miles, we think that is very acceptable.We spent the savings on a month in a 5* hotel in Tenerife. We are going for the month of November to Costa Adeje and have booked a double room with sea view and half board in the Adrián Hoteles Roca Nivaria.

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Blue Sky Babe!

Here it is warm with blue sky/clouds/blue sky/clouds, etc.. We drove down to Littlehampton Pier where there is a good fresh fish shop. It’s more like a cabin or shed, actually, but it sells the day’s catch which is nice. Particularly, they sell fresh and dressed crabs, lobsters, John Dory, Turbot – things that are not always available in the supermarkets. It turned out that we were a bit late for the best choice and we didn’t buy but we did go for a walk down one of the piers.

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At the seaside 1 – Littlehampton

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At the seaside 2 – Littlehampton

It is a working and a pleasure port. On one side there is a golf course and on the other a marina. Boats tug in from the sea and up and down the estuary which takes up the excess high tide.

Posted in Sanders Blog - Hellas | Comments Off on Week 391