Week 65

14th March, 2010

Happy Mother’s Day

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Today was a beautifully sunny and warm day. We drove over to Oldham. We ate lunch in the flat and had Cod in Mornay Sauce with home-made chips. Before Pauline’s Mum could say she was ‘stuffed’, she was force-fed Apple Crumble with Custard. While John & Pauline struggled with ‘seconds’, Mum stumbled to the toilet and then puffed back to her chair. As she fell back into her chair, she switched on the television and adjusted the volume to level 34. Right, are you going? she said and Mother’s Day was over.

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15th March, 2010

Blood coagulant check showed everything stable. One more visit the day before we leave for Greece and the it will be down to phone calls from the island. Had a nice email from Bob today. More than twenty years ago, I asked him to be the Executor of my Will. Fifteen years later, following the build of our Greek house, I sent him a Codicil. As we prepare to leave the real world for six months, I felt the need to check that everything was in place. Pauline knew exactly where to find our copies of the Wills but I wondered if Bob would remember. He is only young don’t forget. His response was delightfully reassuring:

Thanks for this.  I do still have all the paperwork you sent me (and I know where it is)

Stay well – enjoy your time in Greece – and smile to yourself when you think of me commuting each day on the treadmill in London

Best wishes

Bob

16th March, 2010

We set off to Hull exactly four weeks today. I have been buying seeds, onion sets, seed potatoes, etc to take with us. I’ve got to hit the ground running when we get there because we are right at the end of the sowing season in the Mediterranean.

17th March, 2010

Two more hospital check-ups for Pauline’s Mum this week and one more next week and we will have almost seen the end of them before we go.

Article from the front page of a Greek Newspaper today:

No cabs on streets tomorrow

There will be no taxis serving the capital and other major Greek cities tomorrow as cabbies stage a 24-hour strike. Taxi drivers object to government plans to make them issue receipts, keep account books and pay tax according to their income. The cabbies are protesting despite the government’s decision to postpone the implementation of these measures, originally planned to take effect immediately, until 2011. Under the current system, drivers pay just over 1,200 euros in tax each year, regardless of what they earn. Cabbies staged two 24-hour strikes last month and have pledged to continue their action until the government satisfies their demands.

This gives you a flavour of what the Greek Government is up against. Some echoes of this, of course, are to be found in the BA strike and the Unite Union’s relationship with The Labour Party not least with Mrs Har-person.

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18th March, 2010

I wrote to Cal wishing her Happy St Patrick’s Day and including her essential emblem:

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She wrote this back to me:

Thank’s! I had a grand day. I didn’t bother with green sausages this year just my usual bowl of Flahavan’s porridge. Then I had a lovely day in the garden planting 3 apple tress and finally getting my goosegog bush in the ground. Anyway, of course we had the bacon and cabbage with floury shpuds and parsley sauce probably like the whole nation on Patrick’s Day and a few scoops alright of the aul fire water, poitin.

Beamish and Murphy’s are the Cork stouts not that nonsense (West Brit) Dublin stout-Guinness.

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I did have a right aul head on me the next day at work but I was instructing a yound lad of 18 who is totally blind to make pizzas, I am getting him ready to start Uni in Sept, he is doing his leaving cert at the minute and I have been instructing him in Braille and long cane for the last year and then I had to go to a 5 year old who is totally blind also and do long cane training with him, he has a global developmental delay also so he can be a right little bugger when he wants.

Life is mental at the minute as of course you know this time of year is so busy in the garden. I spent the whole of last weekend disinfecting my cold frame and pots before I go planting my veg seeds. I am doing carrots, parsnips, potatoes of course and all the usual suspects of the salad world.

Got to run I am instructing 16 volunteers in sighted guiding on Monday morning at the Uni before they support a group of 8-14year olds doing beep baseball and goal ball at a Camp Ability we are running at easter.

Yeah, I know the Toon should be going up but I don’t think they’ll stay up unless that stupid southerner Ashley buggers off and money is spent on players. My beloved Rams are doing reasonably well but they won’t be going up…………..Yours, on the brink. Cal x

PS: I am certain now that I was mixed up on the maternity ward in Derby City Hospital and given to the wrong family, ewe’s are all too weird for me to be related to any of you!

19th March, 2010

I was just about to email Jane for a photo when I received an email from her:

Subject: FW: Photo

Hi John – a photo of me. First year in the High School they discovered that I had no hand/eye/ball/bat coordination for any sport but I could memorise the rules for most games so they made me junior referee for the hockey matches. This is me clearly looking slightly anxious prior to my first refereeing the home game against Derby Girls High. Some might say my life script is being a “referee” .

Sorry we have not been able to get together before you go off to Sifnos. David and I fly to Athens this weekend – first time we have been back since 1980. So am looking forward to visiting the Acropolis Museum and sitting in the sunshine etc.

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20th March, 2010

Pouring with rain today. The Saturday Times brought new delight. In 1994 I was the first person in my area to access the internet. Sixteen years ago, of course, it didn’t look anything like it does today. It wasn’t a graphical medium. It was dial-up and a 14.4 kbit/s modem which had formerly powered a fax machine. I remember making my first connection and accessing files from Manchester University. I was so excited I went screaming over to demand that the current Headteacher (who was subsequently sacked for incompetence) came to witness the earth shattering occasion. After four unsuccessful attempts to connect, it was fifth time lucky. He took one look a the string of text appearing slowly on the screen, said, Humph! Is that it? and walked off. I must admit that I hardly noticed. I was on a different planet. Ever since then, I have dreamed of and agitated for all interaction to take place on the net. I worked towards a virtual school until I finally the Learning Platform adopted in my own school.

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It is now a requirement for all schools. I have long believed that access to services – local and national govermental as well as commercial – should be accessed over the web and I was pleased to see the Labour Party is flagging that up in The Times today.

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