Week 50

29th November, 2009

Pauline’s Mum was just preparing to be discharged from hospital when she had an angina attack. The clinical team decided that they would have to do more tests and keep her in over night again.

30th November, 2009

My turn to go to hospial today for the anti-coagulant clinic. Everything is fine. After lunch it was off to pick Pauline’s Mum up from Oldham Royal. This is it but look how dark it was at 2.30 this afternoon:


I had to drive round for about a week before I could find a parking spot. I drove past all the main car parks which were full. I drove through the reserve car park, the reserve reserve car park and the reserve, reserve, reserve car park and still they were full. I returned to the front entrance and dropped Pauline off. I continued to drive round and round for 40 mins without a single space becoming available. Bear in mind I could have parked in any small corner on double yellow lines because I had Pauline’s Mum’s Disabled Card in the car. As it approached 45 mins of driving, I found a space right outside the front entrance but by this time, Pauline was phoning me to say Mum was not being let out today. I read The Times and listened to Classic fm. Pauline appeared and we drove the 35 mins home.

We had just driven in to the garage when Pauline’s mobile went. We could pick her Mum up. She was being released. 70 mins driving later we got her back to our house where she will spend a few days recuperating.

1st December, 2009


Cold – very cold – and bright this morning. How wonderful. At last we can get in the garden to do some tidying. We’ve had a skip on hire for more than a week and we haven’t had one dry day until this morning. Still had to do the obligatory day’s work at the health club followed by a huge bowl of porridge. Outside for a couple of hours in the garden. The news told us that November has been the wettest on record. That wasn’t news to us.

Many, many years ago – maybe fifty, Granddad Coghlan woke Robert and myself and I think, possibly, Jane at 5.00 am and took us out across the fields to pick mushrooms. I have no recollection which fields we went across but I remember coming back with an empty basket ready for breakfast. The problem with wild mushrooms is not just where to find them but would you trust them. One of our lawns has suddenly become a mushroom farm.

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As you will all know, these funghi look quite like chanterelles but who would trust them enough to taste them? Not I. I will kill them with weed killer to get my lawn back.

It’s 9.00 pm and Manchester United are thrashing Spurs once again in torrential rain.

2nd December, 2009

Retiree’s dream – mild, dry and bright – did some gardening.

Good luck, Ruth, in the Turkish Belly Dancing Championships. I already have before and after photos.

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After  ruth_belly.gif

Well done, Ruth. Let’s hope Kevan is proud of you and your accomplishments!

3rd December, 2009

Took Pauline’s Mum home to her flat today. She wasn’t completely ready but it is doubtful she ever would be now and I couldn’t stand any more Home & Away, Emmerdale, Deal or No Deal, etc..

4th December, 2009

Lengthy swim today. Found myself in the changing room with two 80 year olds. Told them that when I was their age, they would be 100. We agreed to meet in the Gym on my 80th. As well as exercising my body, I am also exercising my mind. I am preparing to write a book about our experiences as travellers in Greece over the past 25 years. It is a period when Greece has moved from being a third world country almost to the first world. They are members of the European Community and of the Euro although they are under great economic pressure from the EEC at the moment. There is a whole oeuvre of writing in this area. I have twenty or thirty books about people adopting Greece, at least temporarily, finding and renovating or building a house and living in Greece for a while. Our building of a house in Greece started when I read a book by Austen Kark. He was the husband of Nina Bawden, a children’s author who had featured heavily in my early teaching. She wrote books like Carrie’s War, The Finding, etc..


Austen Kark had been Managing Director of The BBC World Service after being manager of its Eastern European Service.During that time he fell in love with Greece.


He and Nina Bawden bought a ruined old classical house in Nauplion (pronounced Nafplion) on the Peloponnese.


Austen Kark wrote a book about the experience of restoring his Greek house. He and his wife would fly out to Athens regularly and stay at the Electra Hotel, Athens.


I was captured and, since then, harboured the ambition to build a house in Greece. We also made The Electra Hotel  our regular haunt when we visited Athens. I also decided that there was a book I could write about the journey to a life in the Cyclades and on Sifnos. Currently, I am reading and analysing other people’s books. This week I am reading a book by Fionnuala Brennan, currently a lecturer in Dublin City University’s Business School. She is married to poet, Rory Brennan, with two daughters Orla and Fiona and they lived on Paros full time from 1971-1979. To be honest, I think I could do a much better job than this.


5th December, 2009

Lovely day today. Man U. beat West Ham who I’ve always hated and Man City beat Chelsea who I’ve come to hate. Happy Days!

paulscholes.jpg  tevez.jpg

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