24th January, 2010
For some reason, Sundays are not quite the same anymore. For 40 years I have got up between 6.00 – 7.00 am and urgently gone out to buy the newspapers. It has always been, for as long as I can remember, the most important thing about Sunday. It has been my religion. In the early ’70s, I would get up and walk two miles to the nearest paper shop to buy The Sunday Times and The Observer. Living in Oldham, I had to get up at an early hour to buy these papers because the paper shop would only carry two or three of them. They were not popular in Oldham. The Sunday Mirror or News of the World – No problem. The shop would have hundreds of them but not the ‘posh’ papers. I’ve never had them delivered because they arrive far too late. I read them avidly from cover to cover. They take me about 4-5 hours. If I waited for them to be delivered, I’d never get them finished. In Greece, they cost me about £10.00 and last two or three days.
For some reason, now that I have got all day every day to read the newspapers, they have lost a little of their specialness. I no longer read The Observer, anyway. It hasn’t been the same since Tiny Rowlands relinquished it. Nowadays, The Observer competes to be the most boring paper in the world – and wins. I have had to file it under ‘Life’s too short’. Nowadays (I hate that word.) I read The Sunday Telegraph. I particularly like it for the City/Financial pages. I also find it provides an interesting support in opposing the whole Climate Change lobby.
25th January, 2010
Had the entire Health Club to ourselves today. As we sat in the jacuzzi overloooking an empty and glassy pool, we pretended that we were in our own private facility. This dream was soon shattered, however, when I called the butler to bring us a drink and no-one came.
It is so nice to have the time to explore the world and, in my own small way, document it. I love photographing things. I bought left, a digital camera. It cost £700.00. It is a Cannon EOS 500D and I absolutely love it. I forgot to leave it in my office when I left but never mind.
I used to video everything at one time. I have dozens of tapes of Greek Islands in the 1980s & ’90s on analogue tape. As part of my Retirement Project I have bought a VHS – DVD copier/recorder. School provided me with boxes of re-recordable DVDs, which I forgot to leave in my office. I am starting to digitise the old tapes so that I can edit them on my computer. As a result, I have started to get interested in videoing again. I went out and bought a small camcorder today. It is a Samsung and so tiny you can stick it in your pocket. It only cost about £150.00 which is half the price I paid for an Analogue one 15 years ago. That was huge and cumbersome. If I get in to it again, I will buy a better one.
27th January, 2010
Fun-packed day after a wonderful work out at the Health club. We drove to Leeds – up the M62 – to IKEA. It is always amazing how quickly we can get to Leeds on a weekday off peak time. First thing in the morning, it might take up to an hour but by 11.00 am we can do it in 20 minutes. We want to shade the sides of our pergola in Greece with white, cotton curtains in a tented effect to moderate the sun. Pauline was all ready for buying material and making 15 3m x 1m curtains. This would have taken her a fair while. We suddenly noticed that IKEA sold packs of two, cotton white curtains in exactly the right size with attachments for £10.00. We bought 8 packs. If you’ve ever walked round IKEA, you will know that it is a hideous and extremely trying place. We arrived home shattered and fell asleep.
We were awake well in time for the big match. (well I was) I thought City played well but United were undoubtedly the better team and Rooney, Giggs and Scholes were in a class of their own.
28th January, 2010
Went to Oldham to see my friend and ex-colleague, Brian Robinson. He has just retired too and is completing the doing up of his cottage in the Dordogne. Then we went on to Pauline’s Mum to make Lunch for her. She wolfed down cheese omlette with potatoes and mushroom sauce.
The Pound has strengthened against the Euro so we took the opportunity to send £7000.00 over to our Greek Bank. It always annoys me how much Nat West charge us for the privilege. I also received a phone call from the Manager of Tesco’s On-Line Savings Bank. We had intended using it for some of our regular savings but it’s procedures are so convoluted that we gave up. I am fairly ICT literate and I was even a member of the pilot group for Nat West’s first foray into internet banking about ten years ago. Tesco defeated me and I wrote to point that out. We switched to Principality BS on-line accounts quite easily and told Tesco so. They rang to say that they were going to forward my plans to Head Office. I am expecting a call any day to use me as a National Advisor.
29th January, 2010
Went swimming at 8.45 am. Arrived home at 9.15 am. Pool was full of madly aggressive old ladies. I ran away. Pauline went out to meet a friend and left me quivering in the lounge watching Blair give his evidence to the Iraq Enquiry.
30th January, 2010
Absolutely gorgeous day today. How did I spend it – cleaning the windows! Exactly a year ago we spent about £15,000.00 replacing our sofwood windows with PVCu (dark wood effect) windows. Our house is south facing and the windows had taken a pasting from the sun. Our house is three storeys and the drive is sloping up to a half height roof. These things combined mean that no one in Quarry Court can get a window cleaner to risk life and limb. We bought our replacement windows in the depth of recession on a half price offer from a local and long established firm , Coral Windows of Bradford. They were an excellent firm and we are delighted with our windows. However, Pauline pointed out this morning as the sun streamed in making the windows look filthy, we haven’t cleaned them once yet. Of course, a lot of the time we were in Greece but that is no excuse. We bought designs which open and turn so that the outside can be cleaned from the inside. That was the excitement for the day.