Sunday, 22nd January, 2017
Another bright, sunny but coldish day. The temperature reached a dizzy 6C/43F. I was completely sedentary today. I valeted the car yesterday. Today, I watched 3 politics programmes, 3 football matches and read the Sunday Times. I ate a wonderful. roast dinner of chicken and sage & onion stuffing. I hardly moved from the sofa. I did measure up and plan out shelving for the storage room under the stairs but it hardly counts for activity. Back to the gym tomorrow!
The Donald started weird and will probably end weird. His inauguration speech would have made Hitler preen with pride and his ending may well be in a bunker of sorts. I predict that he may well not serve one full term never mind two. If he does stay in office for four years, he may well compromise the world’s security with his relationship with Russia or his lack of relationship with China, Iran, Korea, etc.. It is so good to see that more people came to support him in Washington than any previous President elect. Not!
Monday, 23rd January, 2017
As forecast, we woke to thick and freezing fog with a temperature of -4C/25F. It was slow to lift and, when we left for the Health Club at 1.00 pm, the temperature had only reached 3C/37F. It is said to be getting warmer towards the weekend. Before I continue, I’d like to share a lovely and humorous chart of Modern Art Explained that I found on Twitter.
Someone had plenty of time on their hands. They could be, of course, retired like us. We are beginning to turn our attention to installing some hard landscaping in our back garden. At the moment, we just have a 6ft, tanalised fence enclosing about 250 sq.m. of luxurious grass. we are thinking of bordering the fence with raised beds with planting to soften the fence. The web has quite a few examples of the type of thing we are envisaging:
We will invite quotations from 2 or 3 of the myriad of groundwork companies that look for work around here and consider work starting in the Spring.
Tuesday, 24th January, 2017
Cold start with frost but no fog. However, the strong, winter sun did help the temperature to reach 7C/45F. The morning was spent at home because Pauline’s new laptop was out for delivery. By 11.00 am, it had been delivered, unpacked and I was setting it up.
All the simple stuff like basic settings – time, place, language, etc. – went smoothly but email has become a nightmare with web-based mail which comes with Windows 10 and which we use to synchronise across platforms. Our email accounts and on-line diaries can be accessed from our desktops, laptops, iPads and smartphones which require an i-Cloud account as the bridging mechanism. I did all the right things but without all the right reactions. Having established the accounts on the new laptop, email suddenly became slow and reluctant and diary integration became sluggish to synchronize. This happened last time we did this and I panicked. This time, I shrugged and gave it a few hours. I was rewarded with working systems by late evening.
I have a Norton security account with 10 device installations available on it. That had to be downloaded and installed. In order to do that, I had to take the temporarily ‘free’ MacAfee software off. Next, I installed, Ms Office Professional which will provide most of the software Pauline will need. This is followed by Adobe Acrobat Professional and a printer driver and scanner driver.
We drove over to Littlehampton in the middle of the day to visit the Physiotherapy Dept. to discuss a long standing problem that I’ve had with my arm. It’s been giving me serious discomfort for almost 12 months. They told me that I’ll have to wait to be seen. It looks as if it will be a few more weeks yet. Back to the gym tomorrow.
Wednesday, 25th January, 2017
The first dull and overcast day for a long time. Quite cold but as bad as recently. By 7.30 am it was 2C/36F and, eventually, we reached 9C/48F. We have had a really good day although it would be hard to convey why to an outsider. I have written before of an accounting programme we have been using for nearly 25 years but which was no longer compatible with the current Windows 10 platform. So many other people have bemoaned the loss of such an important facility that I had a hunch Microsoft might address the problem. They did it once for me personally. I tried to install the software and, lo and behold, it went on a ran perfectly first time. I kissed my wife.
You see! I warned you that I would find it hard to convey the true import to outsiders but, to us, it was a massive pleasure to find that our detailed, financial records of so many years will carry on long in to the future. Now you know, you can kiss your wife. Of course, there is always something bad around the corner. No sooner had we celebrated our success but a note came through to me from a news blog I follow informing me that HP laptops were subject to immediate recall because batteries were spontaneously bursting in to flames rather like the Samsung phones. Fortunately, I removed the battery immediately, checked the serial number and made sure it wasn’t one of those to be recalled.
We have a central heating company arriving tomorrow to give our boiler an annual service. It costs £120.00/€141.00 but means that everything is guaranteed for the first 5 years of its life. We’ve also got an electrician from the site. He is commonly known as ‘Surfer Dude’ by his fellow builders but to us he is Paul. We have asked him to put an extra spotlight in Pauline’s bathroom so she can see her wrinkles better and shave more effectively. We also want some 3-pin sockets replaced with new ones incorporating USB charging points and we want a weather-proof socket for outdoor cooking which we do a lot down here.
Gradually, as we live in the house, we realise there are things we can do to make life more comfortable/enjoyable. The additional electrical facilities, storage facilities and garden landscaping are, of course, a bit self indulgent but useful and enjoyable all the same.
Thursday, 26th January, 2017
An early and chilly start today. The Boiler Service man was arriving at 8.00 am and I had an INR test at 9.00 am so it was all go. Outside, it was 0C/32F at 7.00 am and is still that as I write just after 10.00 am. All things boiler are sorted out and my INR test – my first in my new surgery – was completed although in the old fashioned way by giving an armful of blood. I’ve got so used to a pinprick on my finger that it came as a bit of a shock. Also, the sample is sent off to Worthing hospital and they contact me (probably by carrier pigeon) with the result and warfarin dosage advice.
Received a phone call from the Physiotherapist in Worthing to ask about my arm pain. After answering about 50 questions about the problem, I began to wonder if he couldn’t have made better use of his time examining me. He did tell me that it would be about 20 weeks before he could see me – if I’m still alive. In the mean time, he has diagnosed the problem remotely and will send me out some exercise suggestions to tide me over. He suggested that, by the time I am called for treatment, I won’t need to go in. Let’s hope so.
Friday, 27th January, 2017
We have gone tropical! It’s 7C/45F today and I’m sweating. Heard from Mastercard to inform me that the fraudulent sale of shoes which we bought on-line from UK (Shanghai) has been recovered from the Chinese Bank and we will not be expected to pay. Pauline immediately ordered another pair from Sarenza, a French company. We have bought from them before and know they are trustworthy.
Had a personal ‘valet’ this morning. Haircut by my wife plus all the embarrassingly ‘old man’, tell tale signs of ear hair and nose hair trimmed. The older I get the more coarse the bottom of my feet become with really solid, callous-type, skin. I had it all shaved off with a liberal covering of soothing cream applied. Too much information? Tough! This is my diary.
We drove to Worthing B&Q to collect some shelving we had ordered and then on to the Health Club. We did a good work out even though it was full of OLD PEOPLE!! After driving home, I cooked Duck Breasts, mushrooms, onions, and peppers. I was quite pleased with it. The Worthing INR confirmation letter had arrived this morning and I was shocked to read that my next, ‘official’ test is not for another 10 weeks which is the longest, untested spell I will have ever done. If I wasn’t also self testing, I would be seriously concerned.
Saturday, 28th January, 2017
Clear skies, strong sunshine and 7C/45F at 7.30 am. At the equivalent time of day 9.30 am on Sifnos, the temperature was 2C/36F. Let’s hope the underfloor heating is still working!
It’s not just the temperature which is cold in Greece. According to Politico Blog and many Greeks themselves, the viability and commitment of the Tsipras government is very much in doubt. Having promised high, Syriza quickly caved in and went low. Consequently, citizens who voted with high but totally unrealistic expectations are disillusioned and lashing out. Currently but symptomatic of the Greek political scene, farmers are protesting a range of issues including pension cuts, tax rises and social security reforms by blocking highways with their tractors.
The government is mulling over a way forward after Thursday’s Eurogroup meeting which piled more pressure on Athens to legislate measures now for the period after 2018, when the country’s third bailout ends. To make matters worse for the government, it is not just the IMF that is demanding these measures, but all creditors involved in the Greek bailout. This brings the central problem in to stark relief. Tsipras is telling the electorate that the results of Thursday’s meeting will have no impact on his resolve to stick to his pledge not to legislate any measures now for the period after 2018 while all the time being told that that is exactly what he must do. He is caught between a rock (aka farmers, doctors, pensioners, et al.) and a hard place (aka Greece’s creditors).
Tsipras sees his economy tanking under the continual economic thumbscrews. Last year saw a new low in the creation of new enterprises in Greece, confirming the impression that going into business in the country is neither easy nor a way out of unemployment. Even fewer new enterprises were set up than in the politically and financially turbulent 2015. Investment in homes by Greek households has fallen 85 % since 2008 and the slump in household investment brought about an even greater decline in investment by constructors.
As a desperately sad coda to this already sad summary, the Lambrakis Press Group (DOL) which was founded in 1922 and grew to become one of Greece’s main media groups, also owning a stake in Mega TV, announced on Saturday that, after a failure to reach an agreement with its lenders, the publication of Ta Nea and To Vima newspapers will cease immediately. Who will speak for this country?