Week 80

Week 80 – When’s retirement age?

27th June, 2010

If the LibDems managed a football team, this is what they would play like:


I blame the Manager and if it wasn’t the LibDems (and we’ve got plenty on them already) then it must be Capello. Those fantastic players don’t suddenly become rubbish. It is the way they are blended together. They weren’t. They looked and played amateurishly.

28th June, 2010

This has been such a long month. If we had been on Sifnos, it would almost certainly have flown by. Just two nights left in the house and we are off. I cannot wait! This morning we are posting two large parcels to Sifnos. One is the replacement tyre we couldn’t source in Athens and the other is a second and rather unexpected chance to send things rather than wait for next year and carry them in the car. For example, Pauline uses a once-a-day sun tan lotion which she makes us put on immediately after our shower in the morning. It usually cost £12.00 per bottle but in the past couple of weeks has been on special promotion in Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda and Boots at half price. We have been round and cleared the shelves buying up a ten year supply. The consignment cost £110.00 to send but it is worth every penny. It will be on the island on Friday – the day after us.


Also this morning Pauline is having her hair cut. No time for trips to Sassoons now; she is slumming it in Toni &Guy Huddersfield branch. What a nightmare! I’m sure it will be alright. Actually, it turned out that they had reduced their prices because of the Recession ( Recession? What Recession?) and a Top Stylist (Whatever that means.) cost only £40.00. Pauline’s hair looked lovely.

We are down to eating off paper plates now because everything else has been packed. It’s like camping out in your own home. Although, I suppose I’m not camping and it’s nearly not my home. Bacon & Egg sandwiches for lunch. Football and one-pot Pork, peppers & potatoes for tea. Plenty of rough red wine helps it down.

29th June, 2010

This morning it is raining. I can’t believe it. We are rather kicking our heels, now, waiting for the off. We do all our banking on-line and then Pauline duplicates it on her accountancy program. I was on the pilot team for Nat West On-Line ten years ago. Now it is everywhere. Pauline can verify her accounts and forward plan months ahead. And she does!


This means that we can control our accounts from our Greek house as well which is great. Now, for example, the pound is as strong against the euro as it has been in the past two years. It is time to move sterling into euros and put it in our Greek Account at the National Bank of Greece. Of course, we don’t want to move too much in case the whole country goes belly up and we lose the lot. New Democracy, the Opposition party is advocating not cooperating with the EU and the IMF and freeing Greece to sort its own way out. That could only mean leaving the Eurozone which really could mean curtains for the country. Of course, this appears quite attractive to all those who are now having their wages and pensions slashed.

One of the lovely things about banking on-line is the ability to start and stop Direct Debits, etc, at the click of a mouse. When you sell your house and leave an area, it is amazing how many DD can be cancelled. Of course, cancelling the mortgage payments when we paid it off was wonderful and you suddenly realise the mortgage insurances can go as well. Now we have cancelled Council Tax, House Insurance, Water DD, Gas & Electricity DD, Broadband and Telephone DD, Sky DD, TV Licence DD. The list goes on.

Two old friends from school have phoned and said they would like to come over and say goodbye to us. Viv & Margaret have been working with us for about 30 of our nearly 40 years and we will miss them. Since we have left, they have both jumped ship as well. Both have a bit of time to work – Viv is 56 so she needs to do another 4 years and Margaret is 54 and intends to do a bit of part time work over her last 5 or 6 years. Certainly, we have turned out to be the lucky generation. Can you imagine teaching when you are 70? As The Times Leader said yesterday, sitting behind you keyboard in Whitehall 70 seems perfectly feasible. In the real world it is bonkers in the head. Well he didn’t exactly use those words.

30th June, 2010

Woke up from our last sleep in our bed. It was a remarkably sound sleep and we didn’t rise until 7.00 am. We went straight into moving mode after a cup of tea. I dismantled and moved the bed while Pauline washed and dried the sheets. I carried out bedside cabinets while Pauline packed the washing basket up to go. We had showers and a cup of coffee and blew kisses to lovely Jean – our next door neighbour – as she drove out to work. Then, at 10.00 am, we went down in to the garage to wait for the removal men. Two lovely young chaps arrived with a huge removal lorry. They took one look at the house and all its steps. It’s a mansion one said. We’re going to be here all day. When I explained that we had sold most of our furniture and that it was staying where it was and that everything that was going was boxed and in the garage already, they were over the moon. The only thing I had left for them to carry from the house was the mattress. They loaded everything in 45 mins and were off to the store.

We locked up, put the alarm on, said goodbye to the house and drove out. Little did we know that our problems were just beginning. The hire car had to go back to Enterprise and we had a taxi booked to pick us up from there. When we handed over the car and sat waiting for the taxi, Pauline phoned the solicitor to let them know of our position. At that point, it started to go pear shaped. The solicitor told her that the expected ‘completion’ had not taken place. There was a problem at our buyers’ buyers offices and it would, hopefully, happen on later today or, possibly on Friday. If not, our buyers were going on holiday until July 21st and couldn’t complete until after that date. We had cancelled everything – including house insurance from midnight – and provided final readings for everything. We were angry as we were driven to the airport hotel. At 6.00 pm, the solicitor had gone home without calling us. The insurance company were closed. We went to bed with dreams of our uninsured house burning down while we slept.

We had to be up at 3.00 am and would be in the air for four hours.

1st July, 2010


At 10.00 am UK time we were in a crowded and frantically noisy Athens Airport trying to insure a house over our mobile phone. The girl couldn’t find our previous details that only expired a few hours before and was asking horrendous questions like:

  1. How man square metres is the footprint of your house?
  2. What type of stone is it built from?

Fortunately, someone else in the company came to our rescue, found our policy and extended for us. We took a taxi down to Piraeus, bought a ferry ticket and had lunch. There is free Piraeus-wide wireless internet service and I was able to pick up and write emails while we waited for the ferry. It was a slow ferry and we didn’t get in until 10.30 pm. It had been a long day and we still had no knowledge of our house sale. At least it was insured.

2nd July, 2010

This morning we got up early and looked at our vegetable garden in the light. It was doing so well. We picked courgettes as big as marrows, a kilo of french beans, some baby new potatoes and a couple of the dozens of lettuces. Unfortunately, the radishes had gone over.


We were very tired from the stresses of the past few days and decided just to chill out which wasn’t easy because of the heat. Fortunately, the new air conditioning unit that we ordered from Athens on the way home a month ago had been delivered to Stavros who got Frangiskos, the electrician to install. It is a wonderfully powerful Samsung unit that chills the entire lounge-kitchen-diner in minutes.


I had a bottle of wine with lunch and then fought to stay awake for Brazil – Holland. I’m glad I did. I was really pleased for the Dutch. I shared a bottle of chilled claret with Pauline & Stavros over dinner and then fought to stay awake for Ghana – Uraguay. I’m glad I did but I felt so sorry for the Ghanians. Both sides made England look pathetic.

3rd July, 2010

Got up early today. Cleaned the car with the power washer before the sun was too strong. Then we went for our first swim. The temperature was 32°C and the sea was crystal clear and warm. We stayed in for an hour. I hurt my back in the move and swimming has done it a power of good. Had an email from our ex-next dor neighbours.

Hope you are both okay and rested after your journey.

Our new neighbours have been moving in all day.  I haven’t seen them yet but there is a little slide in the back garden and a sandpit on the patio.

B&Q have been round today to take photos of the kitchen.  I used your orange pans on the range to give some colour.  They usually feature them in the brochures.  Everywhere we go in and out of the house we will have memories of you.  We are very grateful of all the useful things you have given us and I will look after them and keep busy with them.

Perry has been in meetings today at work and had come home looking quite content with what is expected of him next year.  I hope that is the case when he returns after the holidays.

Anyway hope you enjoyed your swim today.  It will be our turn soon.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Love Jean

P.S. A little boy has just run into our garden.  I don’t think Daisy approved as she was asleep on the table.

As a rider to that, you need to know that Perry is Jean’s husband – Peregrine – a lecturer in Further Education. He is desperate to retire but has just been made Head of Department. His wife Jean is twelve years older than him at 61. We have given her all household items that we didn’t want including some Le Creuset pans. Daisy is the ‘bumless’ cat. (with no tail). She is a stray who adopted Perry & Jean and refused to leave.

Week 79

20th June, 2010

Seemed to spend the whole day driving – about eight hours in total – and in a rented, manual Vaxhaul Meriva. I was certainly tired at the end of it. We left home just before 5.00 am in beautiful sunshine. The motorway was absolutely empty. It felt like the 1960s. We arrived in Surrey half an hour early and walked round the property. It was still a nice, quality build but, when we got up to the three-bedroomed second floor apartment, we were disappointed with the layout and the size of a number of rooms. There was nothing for it but to say, “No”, and come home.

Got home to find two emails – one from Ruth and one from Jane (1). Ruth said:

Photos taken today  in Bolton Jane came up to run a 5k Masters race. I went to cheer her on then invited her to lunch.We had a lovely afternoon before she caught the train back down south !

I must admit, I remember Ruth as being a better cook than that. It doesn’t look as if Jane (2) ate much.

j2.jpg  rj2.jpg 

Jane (1) said:

Hi John
Hope all arrangements for sale and packing up your home and possessions have gone smoothly? Moving is a trauma – I have done it very few times because I hate the disruption. When do you return to Sifnos?

I had a wonderful time in New York – shopped and bought shoes, handbag, dresses, running gear etc. Went to see La Traviata at the Met, ate in the revolving restaurant in Time Sq and took the boat round Manhattan et etc. It was a lovely interlude from the demands of life. I also got my iPad and am rapidly learning all its benefits. It’s absolutely beautiful. I am sending you this message from it so you have my personal email. Would you you use this from now on when sending me your blog etc.

Work is going to be demanding given how many cases we have on the go. It seems we’re likely to get the new govt’s support but I will be working v intensively to protect IPCC’s budget during the spending review/ cuts. So I am glad we have our next hol booked – 3 weeks in Peru in Aug. David is in Singapore and I hope he’ll be home next weekend. He is then due to go to Ireland again so I don’t think we’ll get much time together over the next month.

Hope all well for you and Pauline and enjoy your return to Sifnos. Sent from my iPad.

Jane’s email address is: jane@janemail.force9.co.uk (You could have a gale of a time with that, couldn’t you?)

21st June, 2010

Still tired this morning. I could never have been a travelling salesman for all sorts of reasons. I couldn’t face any more packing up this morning.

Started to pack up the Study this afternoon. Where to begin. Two desktop computers and a laptop, a mono laser, colour inkjet, a label printer, more speakers than you’d need at a pop concert, two computer chairs, two stuffed filing cabinets, book on books on books, every salary slip and tax return we’ve ever received since 1972. Most signicant Birthday, Christmas, Anniversary cards over thirty years. Two, huge boxes of photographs, dozens of assorted IT leads that I thought might be helpful at some stage.

22nd June, 2010

Heard this morning that our buyers’ buyers have not received their final mortgage offer yet. They’ve had it in principle and it is said to be ‘in the post’. At the moment, this doesn’t threaten our dates but, even if it does, we have signed our side of the contract and will return to Greece, leaving our buyers to get on with it in their own time.

23rd June, 2010

Just as England scored their one, lucky goal, we received a phone call to confirm that our buyers’ buyers had received their mortgage confirmation and that we were all-systems-go for June 30th. Pauline rang our solicitor to give him the news only to be told he had ‘gone home ill’. When Pauline pointed out that it was a bit of a coincidence with England playing, his secretary laughed. I don’t know what the professions are coming to these days! We have one day’s packing left and then we can relax and enjoy the house for its last six days.

What did you think of England? It was better but not that much better to make one convinced they can beat Germany on Sunday. Rooney still wasn’t really there. Gerrard was still quiet as was Lampard. Defoe’s goal was fairly flukey.


24th June, 2010

We packed the last boxes today. We are hoping to persuade our wonderful neighbours to store our widescreen tv and stand but, apart from that, we are ready.

I enjoyed watching Italy go out this afternoon. Slovakia were delightful.

italy_lose.jpg  slovakia.jpg 

I did something wrong today. It is probably because I don’t understand the principles of Facebook. I needed a rest from packing and idly logged in to Facebook. I thought that I might actually fill out my Profile page. When it came to ‘Relationship Status’, I put ‘Married’. Within minutes I go two sarcastic contacts from Jill Wilson saying “Married – and your point is?” and from my friend, Martin, who just said he had thought Pauline & I were just good friends. I then listed my interests as “Travelling, Cooking, Wines, Reading, Writing”. Shortly afterwards Ruth wrote to me and said I had put Reading the place when I must have meant reading. I’m beginning to think I’m on a different planet.

25th June, 2010

I have set today as the last, serious day of packing. I have had enough and I want to watch Portugal – Brazil this afternoon happy in the knowledge that we have finished. Can’t wait to get back to Greece, to swimming in the sea and tending my vegetable patch.

Not a good match. The Chile – Spain match looked better at first but ambled to a predictable conclusion.

26th June, 2010

If you ever wanted to know why the Liberal Democrats haven’t enjoyed power for almost a century, you only have to look at that liar and hypocrite, Clegg. No one in their right minds who believed the Lib Dems when they denounced the idea of a VAT rise could possibly vote for them again. No one who followed their policy of greater European integration could ever believe that they are allied to Hague’s withdraw from Europe policy. The are crooks and swindlers and must be removed immediately. There should be action in the streets. Unfortunately, I will be in Greece. Let me know when it’s over.

Great cartoon in The Times today about expecting the aging population to stay in work rather than draw pension. I remember,  when they couldn’t afford more teachers, the Thatcher government discovered an ‘expert’ who asserted that bigger classes were better for learning. Now they can’t afford to pay out on the Ponzi scheme bigger even than Madoff, they discover that working longer is better for you.


Fantastic leader article in The Times once again about the currupt meddling of Prince Charles. I couldn’t have written better myself.


Week 78

13th June, 2010

Had two emails from Lizzie Dripping today:

R u ok ,no e mail this weekend ?
I am off to Istanbul in the am for a week
Hope all is ok with you and Pauline and house sales
Miss your Sunday message and hope all is well
Coalition Crew will be wreaking havoc on public services when I get back already lost 1.5m from admin via david and nick

The other thing is what do you think about academies and the coalition approach to schools
I have to be a trustee on co op academy for the council ,just starting this sept.
Best wishes Liz

She always writes in this sophisticated style.

14th June, 2010

Spoke to Ruth and we agreed to meet on Tuesday. I am running out of days so this will be our last meeting of the Summer. Ruth’s just come back from a holiday in YORKSHIRE and given me some photos:

1.jpg  2.jpg  3.jpg

4.jpg  5.jpg  7.jpg

Spent the day packing up and cataloguing our pictures.

15th June, 2010

Meeting Ruth this morning in Sainsburys in Huddersfield. She is going on to have lunch with a friend. It is a glorious morning. Ruth looked beautiful. We had our picture taken together but Ruth is so slim and made me look so fat that I couldn’t include it.

Badly presented I know, this is a catalogue of most of the paintings on our walls that are now being taken down and wrapped. The house was beginning to resemble an art gallery and we will have to rethink it if we buy an apartment.


William Callow Venice – The Grand Canal 1854
2.         Dante Gabriel Rossetti Prosperine (Persephone) 1874
3.         Dante Gabriel Rossetti La Ghirlandata 1871
4.         Dante Gabriel Rossetti Study – Jane Morris 1872
5.         Lawrence Alma-Tadema Whispering Noon 1896
6.         Dante Gabriel Rossetti Study – Mary Morris 1906
7.           Ancient Map of Sifnos  
8.         1.       Frederic Lord Leighton The Bath of Psyche 1890
9.         Lawrence Alma-Tadema A Coign of Vantage 1895
10.      Lawrence Alma-Tadema Silver favourites 1910
11.      Lawrence Alma-Tadema    
12.      Unknown    
13.      JW Waterhouse Miranda – The Tempest 1916
14.      Sir William Reynolds-Stephens Interlude 1862
15.      Charles Edward Perugini Girl Reading 1878
16.      Lawrence Alma-Tadema Detail from ‘The Girl in Lemon Tulle’ 1899
17.      James Whistler Symphony in White no 2 1864
18.      Above in situ    
19.      Dante Gabriel Rossetti The Bower Meadow 1872
21.      JW Waterhouse My Sweet Rose – from poem by Thomas Campion 1908
22.      William Holman Hunt Isabella and the Pot of Basil 1867
23.      Dante Gabriel Rossetti ‘Roman Widow’ (‘Ds Manibus’) 1874
24.      James Durden Summer in Cumberland 1925
25.      Arthur Hughes April Love 1856
27.      JW Waterhouse Hylas and the Nymphs – Greek myth, Jason and the Argonauts, as told by William Morris in The Life and Death of Jason 1896
28.      Dante Gabriel Rossetti Beata Beatrix 1888
29.      JW Waterhouse The Lady of Shallot – from 1833 poem by Tennyson  
30.      Canaletto The Palace Ducal, Venice 1735
31.      Lawrence Alma-Tadema A Favourite Custom 1909
32.      JW Waterhouse St Eulelia 1885


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16th June, 2010

It is pleasing to read articles in The Times today and The Sunday Times last week saying that Greek island house prices have hardly been touched by the recession. To add to this, the Greek government have just announced a new law making it harder to build on islands like ours and, thus, adding to the upward price pressure. Read the whole article here:  


We have been negotiating with a building developer in Surrey over a 3-bedroomed, gated apartment. It is a little larger than we wanted and, although we have got them down by £45,000.00, it is still £10,000.00 over what we want to pay. I don’t think we will get them there. At least, not until we are out of the country. I think the double dip recession is a near certainty now the Lib Dems are sleeping with the Conservatives. House prices will come down some more and interest rates will rise. There’s no rush.  


17th June, 2010

The estate agents for Rosemount Point is a company called Gascoigne Pees. We had deliberately tried an aggressive offer by going in at 20% under the asking price for a brand new build. Gascoigne Pees just as aggressively tried to con us in to thinking this would never be accepted. At one point, we even heard an office colleague whispering to the negotiator to see if they could get us up a bit. We said point blank that we wouldn’t budge and left it in their court. Eventually, they phoned back to say that, if we could just go up by two or three thousand, they thought the builders, Banner Homes,  would crack and accept.

18th June, 2010

 The phone went and Gascoigne Pees said they had done really well and got the builders, Banner Homes, to agree to our ridiculously low price. However, they said we were in danger of losing this ‘absolute bargain’ because another couple were going to view it this afternoon. In order to block them and secure it, they said we would need to put down a holding deposit immediately. They were shocked to hear we weren’t prepared to. For one thing, I didn’t believe their phantom new viewer nor do I put deposits down until I’ve made up my mind. We left them to sell it to their phantoms.
I watched but, literally, could not believe the England performance. Rooney, in particular, was abjectly awful. Why has there been all this adulation of Capello? How is it possible to take eleven talented players and blend them in to a pub team? That really does take talent!


19th June, 2010

Against my better judgement, Pauline advertised a string of items that we didn’t want in the Huddersfield Evening Examiner. These items included two double beds that had never been used. The adverts were put in a week ago but only appeared today and I had forgotten. I soon regretted it. The phone never stopped ringing – Has the ladders gone yet? What model is your Karcher Pressure Washer? – What model? What model? It’s a pressure washer that you use on the car and I only want £20.00 for it. I’ll give you £20.00 to take it away. I don’t know what model it is! The worst was the beds. We had not thought that the University landlords would kill for new beds. Everybody wanted them. Eventually, we sold one to a lady who was setting her trainee hairdresser daughter up in her first house on virtually no money. Because she was so nice and we felt sorry for her, we gave her the second bed free plus two bedside cabinets. We felt so much better after that.

And then, can you believe it, Gascoigne Pees phoned to tell us that their phantom buyers were not in a position to purchase (although they were desperate to do so) and asked if we would still be interested because the builders could meet us tomorrow morning. We are not opposed to doing things properly so we will drive down early tomorrow morning to meet the builders’ representative at 9.30 tomorrow morning but, if I see that duplicitous git from Gascoigne Pees, I’ll punch him in the mouth (just as a deposit).

Week 77

 6th June, 2010

Received an email from Jane (1) today:

Hope you’re enjoying being “home” and that house sale goes smoothly.

We’ve been v busy since the election and my strategy seems to have worked – no cuts in this year’s budget – but who knows what the spending review will bring. I am having to cope with the recruitment freeze which will begin to impact soon.

So I am glad to be off on Tues for a few days in New York with my friend Sheila. David is off to Singapore so can’t come with us. We’re flying BA – managed to avoid the strike – and staying at the Waldorf Astoria which I love. Plan to run in central park, drink cocktails in Grand Central, shop on 5th Ave and go to the Met and MOMA.

And I have ordered an iPad which will arrive for when I’m back – did think about getting it there but don’t want to waste time in apple when there’s so much to pack into 5 days! Will let you know when I am set up as I’ll probably use my personal email then as I can access it on the move. I haven’t previously bothered as my blackberry is connected to my work system.  Let us know how the house sale goes and when you are returning to Sifnos.

7th June, 2010 

We have been away from our Greek home a week already. It is still very muggy here but there are signs of rain arriving. The forecast on Sifnos is for a cloudless week with temperatures fluctuating around 27 – 28C. In Huddersfield, we are expecting a grey, wet week at 16C.Our buyers have had their mortgage offer confirmed. It is on its way to our solicitor. We have already signed the contracts. We expect them to sign towards the end of this week. We have said that exchange of contracts must take place on Wednesday, June 30th because we are flying back to Greece on Thursday, July 1st. We have booked the tickets. We have found a removal and storage company locally. Our next door neighbour will store one or two delicate items – TV, Computers, etc.

Wonderful story in Ta Nea (The News) newspaper this morning. It featured yet another workers’ protest and this photograph:The protest was about tax rises and pension cuts and the banner says: We Resist! Unfortunately, the protest was broken up early because rain began to fall in Syndagma Square and their resistance was broken.


8th June, 2010

We have been emptying draws and deciding what is worth keeping, what will we see ourselves wearing again and what must be discarded. Fifty shirts from Charles Tyrwhitt mostly at £40.00 a time. I must have bought double that number over the years. I was one of the early on-line customers in the late 1980s and they gave me great pleasure over the years but what use are they now? One hundred and fifty ties bought from all over Europe. Hanging on a dozen tie hangers, they represented my first dilemma of the morning. In the past twelve months, I’ve worn a tie twice. Most will have to go. Five pairs of unworn Oxford black all leather shoes. I wear casual shoes now almost all the time but I can’t bring myself to throw these out. Pauline is throwing out more shoes from her collection than I have worn in my whole career.


Arranged today with BT for our telephone and broadband connections to be cut on the day we go. Done the same with Sky. I’ve arranged our travel so that we will see all the ‘Last 16’ matches before we leave on June 30th in cluding England (winners of group C) against Serbia (runners up of group D) and we will be well settled in our Greek house before the Quarter Finals when we will probably be playing France. Very strange experience today that almost invoked one of my nightmares. For years I have occasionally had a dream in which I find myself on the operating table of a hospital where a surgeon is about to perform brain surgery on me. As I look at the scalpel, I begin to recognise the surgeon. Didn’t I use to teach you? I enquire with mounting anxiety. The surgeon’s face contorts with a sickly grin and I know at once that he is an ex-pupil of mine. That is when I wake up.

Today, I needed help with a large amount of money coming my way on the day before I leave for Greece. We will not be needing it for some time and I need help and advice in how to deal with it quickly. Pauline and I have done Private Banking for many years without really using its full potential. Now I needed it and I took out the contact details of our Private Banking Manager – one Richard Baines. Now that name rings a bell. I’m sure you are one step ahead of me and realise already he really is an ex-pupil of mine. I was his Housemaster. He was a very nice lad but not terribly bright. I’m going to be trusting most of my money to him until October. When will I wake up?

9th June, 2010

We’ve only been in this house for ten years as opposed to twenty in the previous one but it is amazing what we have accumulated. We have ordered a skip. This morning we found some very old photos in a drawer. This is me in the bath of our first house – circa 1978:


Our solicitor confirmed our sale and our completion date today so the sale is as good as complete. Opened savings account at Barclays and spoke to a financial advisor at Lloyds/TSB. The intention is to split the house proceeds between four institutions we can only jointly hold £100,000.00 in any one of them safely. The money won’t arrive until we are at the airport so our bank manager has to have accounts to put it in.

10th June, 2010

Today has been a defining day. We booked the Removal firm to take our goods to store. We were able to do this because our buyers agreed our choice of Exchange of Contracts date and Completion date. There is little now that can go wrong. (Famous last words!) The Removal Firm will visit us tomorrow with boxes and bubble wrap so that we can start the process of packing up. They will come in on the day and finish it for us.

We went over to Oldham to take Pauline’s Mum out for lunch. Pauline’s Mum had tomato soup followed by fish and chips as she always does. Pauline and I had salmon fish cakes on a bed of rocket salad which was delightful. Pauline then had strips of beef filet in a cream sauce which was excellently done and I had chicken breast wrapped in Parma Ham and Mozarella cheese which was clumsily done and a disappointment. We drank sparkling water and didn’t have a sweet. The bill came to £60.00 which Pauline’s Mum thought was disgraceful.

Another photo from that stash we found in a drawer. It says on the back in Mum’s hand: Sutton on Sea, July-August 1952 – John 1yr 4mnths.


In the foreground is me (I still wear that shirt.) and next to me I assume is Bob. I realised when I blew the photo up that it was Dad in the background playing a game with a girl who could only be Ruth. The only thing that slightly puzzles me is that, if the dates are correct, the oldest I could be was 1 yr 5 mnths and that would make Bob 7 months old. He seems well developed for 7 months. Any views?

11th June, 2010

A friend from school came over to say goodbye. Margaret was the school’s SENCO which, for the uninitiated, is the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator. Pauline was her line manager and they got on well. We used the meeting as an excuse to have cream cakes with our coffee. Margaret brought a wonderful bunch of flowers. At lunchtime, we said goodbye with a real sense that we were going our separate ways and may never meet again. At that very moment, I find the concept almost unbearable but it soon passes. We move on.

In the afternoon, our removal firm brought twenty five boxes for us to start packing. We went out to Staples and bought 120 m of bubblewrap to do the job professionally.


12th June, 2010

A busy day today. Off early to Sainsburys then back to read the paper and get jobs done before the football matches start. Today I am going to document all the pictures we have hanging, take them down and wrap them with bubblewrap. We have about thirty or so. They are each about 1m x 1.5m and cost somewhere between £150.00 – £200.00 each. We have collected them over the past thirty years. We have already taken some to Greece but we hope to find space on the walls of a new apartment for most. The picture catalogue will follow next week.