Week 51

6th December, 2009

We want to downsize, to take a chunk of equity out of our house, to move South for better transport links, to find somewhere which is new-build and more manageable when we are out of the Country for half the year and to have security over that period. We have found an apartment which we think fits the bill but can’t sell our house.


We are not so desperate that we will sell cheaply or buy expensively. In fact, I intend to be a cash buyer when we do go and to extract the full bargaining power that that includes. It did make us a bit depressed today, however, to find it advertised in The Sunday Times & The Sunday Telegraph.

7th December, 2009

We have yet another skip on our drive.

skip_1.jpg skip_2.jpg

Slowly but surely we are throwing away our past. We are known as The Skip People in Quarry Court, not because we live in one but because we are always hiring them. This time it was for emptying the attic, tidying the garden and clearing out umpteen things we brought away from school. Folders of Policies, policy documents, if we’ve written one, we’ve written forty.

  • Anti-bullying
  • Dealing with Racist Incidents
  • Individualised Learning
  • Incorporating new technology into pedagogy
  • Using the Virtual Learning Environment

And so on and so on. And why? Did it really make any difference? Did it hell! All those hours, all those late nights. What a lot of nonsense. We are so pleased to be out of it. With every skip we feel lighter.

8th December, 2009

I’m thinking of applying for a mobile home in Oldham Hospital car park. I spent another five hours there again yesterday. Pauline’s Mum was taken ill again and an ambulance had to be called. She was suffering from severe dehydration last time and imminent kidney failure. As a result, she was told to eat and drink more. She always does as she is told and has been eating and drinking a lot more but severe dehydration and imminent kidney failure were diagnosed again today after six hours of tests. She is being kept in over night. I just got home to watch a few minutes of Man. U. and Gerry Robinson’s investigation into Dementia Care Homes. Life is just one bundle of laughs.

9th December, 2009

Great swim, toast & coffee and then off to see Pauline’s Mum in Oldham Royal. Yet another accident had blocked the M62 and we had to go across the Moors instead. The Motorway is blocked a couple of times a week regularly because of the pressure of numbers.


Pauline’s Mum is being kept in for more tests but, having been rehydrated, she is bouncing around like a two year old and managing her own care.

Received an email from Jonathan Kelly today. He is a three years older than me and has been living in the US – Masachusetts – for 27 years. He has worked at Foster-Miller, and engineering research and innovation company all this time. Ironically, this company was bought out by a British one called QinetiQ six years ago. Jonathan tells me that he won’t be able to afford to retire at least until he’s 67 because he will lose his Medical cover from his firm. Employers don’t run pension schemes in America. Employees are expected to make there own provision. To make things worse, Jonathan’s Employers are suffering badly in the downturn and going through swathes of redundancies. Jonathan says that they are all permanently on a knife edge but he has survived so far. It doesn’t sound like the great, capitalist dream is quite doing it.

10th December, 2009

Pauline was awarded the Life Saver of the Day award at the Health Club. We were luxuriating in the jacuzzi looking over a totally empty pool. (One of the benefits of being free during work hours is that the facilities are so quiet.) The pool surface was glassy and undisturbed. Suddenly, something broke the surface and zipped across the pool. It stopped. Pauline dashed over. It zipped across the surface, rippling the pool again. Pauline leant forward and, skimming with her hand, pulled out a fly doing the backstroke. She flipped it over on the poolside and, after a couple of moments reorientation, the fly flew off. Pauline was wildly applauded by me from the jacuzzi.

Pauline’s Mum has come out of hospital. The verdict is that, because she is 95, her kidneys are not working efficiently and so she becomes dehydrated. We have no idea or advice on how to deal with this.

I learn today that John Humphreys has a grown up son called Christopher. He is a professional cellist who lives and works in Athens. In the past ten years, Humphreys and his son have bought land and built a house on the Pelopponese. As a result of that, he and his son have contributed to the collection of books that I will feed in to by writing a book about their experiences of building in Greece.


11th December, 2009

It was actually dry all day today – but dark and foggy and uninviting. Wrote a long email to Jonathan Kelly today. I was trying to describe events in my life since I last saw him in 1975. Found myself refering to Middle & Working Classes and realised he would have little memory or concept of that. Jonathan has a SIP  to look forward to when he retires in his mid to late 60s. With the current state of the Markets, it probably won’t be worth much but it is a fore-runner of the pensions for all state employees very soon. Like Jonathan, many Public Sector workers are seeing pay freezes or pay cuts for quite some time to come – maybe three or four years. Final Salary pensions, I predict, will go in the life time of the next Conservative Government. This has to happen. We just can’t afford it. Public Sector pay must be slashed and many jobs must go. We just can’t afford to support them on our pension. Thank goodness we are out of all that. I am thinking of joining The Pensioners’ Party. I might even put myself forward as a parliamentary candidate. Quangocracy, Local Beaurocracy must go! Let’s have slash & burn Conservatism!


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