Week 67

28th March, 2010 

Putting the clocks back and forward used to be such a chore. I am dominated by time and have clocks and watches everywhere. Nowadays almost all of them are radio controlled timepieces. The clock in the kitchen, the clock in the dressing room, the radio alarm by the bed are all controlled and reset by the signal from Rugby. The clock on the TV, the clock in my car are both set by satelllite signals. I love driving across Europe because the Satellite Navigation system resets the clock by one hour in France and two hours in Greece. Having reset our watches, our phones and the cooker clock manually, we were ready to start the day.

It was a lovely, sunny day dominated by the Papers and some poor quality football. I cooked Belly Pork with Savoy Cabbage and red pepper and white wine jus. It went down very well.

29th March, 2010 

The windows and doors were inspected this morning, one or two adjusted and the job signed off. The curtains have gone back up. The burglar alarm man turned up to reattach the contacts to the new back door and patio door and put a new battery into the alarm box. Thirty minutes = £110.00. Just like teaching. The house has gone back to its pristine order.

I’ve found a simple instruction video on the web to teach me how to create a proxy server on my PC so that, in Greece, I can fool the BBC into believing that I am receiving my internet feed from UK and are worthy, therefore, of watching British TV free of charge.

Keep getting emails from Ruth telling me how soft I am. Of course, she’s right. Did you watch Married, Single, Other tonight? I did through floods of tears. What can I do about it? At my age?

30th March, 2010 

For the past 30 years I have been driving Pauline to Vidal Sassoon’s in Manchester or Leeds every couple of months to have her hair cut. That’s all she has and in the arcane gradation of hair dressing salons, she has always insisted on a ‘Top Stylist’ to cut her hair. Recently, that has cost £60.00 but it does make her happy. In return, she always cuts mine herself. The last time I had my hair cut by a Barber was 1968 and it cost Ten Shillings so I’ve been saving that at least. Recently, the ‘Top Stylist’ from Sassoon’s in Leeds left the shop and set up on her own in Farsley, Pudsey. Pauline was so pleased with her expertise that we went today to have her hair cut privately.

I don’t know if you are aware but Farsley is in The Rhubarb Triangle, a 9-square-mile triangle in West Yorkshire located between Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell, famous for producing early forced Rhubarb. If you’ve ever eaten ‘Champagne Rhubarb’, even in a yoghurt, you can be sure it came from the Rhubarb Triangle. Farsley, Pudsey is renowned for Rhubarb or Tusky as Keith Waterhouse  would call it.

rhubarb-triangle-sign.jpg  carlton-rhubarb.jpg 

I have a close University friend called Tash (because he had one.) who was so proud that he came from The Rhubarb Triangle.

Pauline’s hairdresser had set up shop in a flat in the heart of old Farsley. It forced Pauline to break her solemn pledge never to set foot in a school again. Her hairdresser’s flat was in an old school.

puds1.jpg  puds2.jpg  puds3.jpg

We leave for Greece two weeks today which means that Pauline will not have her Sassoon-trained hairdresser for six months. There is no one on the island that she will trust to cut her hair but, as luck will have it, her hairdresser used to live and work in Athens and will provide Pauline with recommendations for a top stylist there. Mind you, it will be an expensive haircut – seven hour, £100.00 round trip on the ferry, £150.00 night in a hotel, £100.00 eating out plus the cost of the hair cut. Still, as long as it makes her feel better!

31st March, 2010 

We could see snow on the Pennines across the valley but we were thankfully free of it. Received an email from Jane on her return from Athens:

Hi John – thanks for posting my photo for a second week. My team who run my office and therefore have access to all my emails think you are as mad as a march hare. But then they now know that to be a family trait

We had a great trip to Athens – the taxi drivers were back at work but the firemen went on strike on Tues and had a demo in Syntagma Square – this was good for us as we were not on fire and their demo cleared the traffic which meant we could walk about without threat from Athenian drivers. Athens is so much nicer than when we last went 30 years ago. The weather was glorious, the hotel was 5 star and we had a suite with a view of the Acropolis and I loved the new museum. We also returned to the Archaeological Museum to see again Agamemnon’s death mask, Zeus and the horse and boy jockey – amazing. The Greeks seem to have learned how to make good wine in the intervening years. So a great success and fortunately I had booked us on Easy Jet  not BA so we travelled without problem and v cheaply – and I have always been snooty about the orange airline. I will be using them and their on line check in and speedy boarding system again

Hope you have a great birthday – does it seem strange to be nearly 60?


I like to keep up with current affairs. Each day I read or browse on-line The Times, The Huddersfield Examiner, The Oldham Chronicle, Kathimerini (The Athens-based English Greek Newspaper), Ta Nea (Greek Newspaper) and four or five Greek Blogs. I found this in one of the blogs yesterday:


1st April, 2010 

White Rabbit! Jane sent me a photo of her and her team. This is Jane and the rest of the The Irish Peatland Conservation Council :


Don’t they look gorgeous. Why are they so weak on Climate Change? Happy April to you all!

Had a meeting with our Estate Agent at lunchtime. Agreed to drop our price by £25,000.00. Told them that we were leaving the country for six months and that all selling would be up to them. They didn’t seem phased by that. They’ll probably do nothing just as last year.

In the afternoon I went to Armitages Garden Centre to buy seed Potatoes to take to Greece. I already have the onion sets. I also bought some asparagus roots and rhubarb roots. I am going to create the rhubarb triangle of the Aegean.


2nd April, 2010 

Hope you read the opening reports of the Shoesmith-stitchup by Ofsted & Balls. Shocking as it is, nobody in Public Service should be at all surprised by the illegal and utterly immoral behaviour of that ridiculous body and their bully-boy boss, Balls. Ofsted is a creature of Balls and Balls is a creature of corrupt power. Rewritten 17 times to erradicate any criticism of police or Health officials, remove any positivity about Shoesmith and deflect all blame away from Balls and on to her, the toady Ofsted Inspectors must be in their last throes of influence. Read the full reports below:


3rd April, 2010 

It was nice to read that I am normal. Not that I doubted it inspite of the chattering classes attempts to re-define the roles of the sexes. The Male Brain, as Louann Brizendine concludes in her sequel to The Female Brain, is ‘marinated in testosterone’ and is hard-wired to cause men to lie and take risks and to be low on personal responsibility and social conditioning. At one time I almost worried that I had a one-track mind. Now I can relax in the knowledge that it’s normal. Thanks, Louann, you little minx!


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