This week draws the second year of the Blog to a close. I have never, in my life, kept a journal so consistently and for so long. So many things have happened in these two years. Pauline and I have both lost our Mothers, we have both left our jobs and sold our house. There is only so much dislocation one can take in one’s life and we feel we are on the edge of that at the moment. The new apartment will be ready from mid-March and that should reintroduce a little stability back into our world.
13th December, 2010
Today we have been on a tour of Walton on Thames, Weybridge and Guildford. This was a general tour but with a focus on restaurants and fitted bedroom furniture suppliers. You can’t get more much more exciting than that. It was a delightful drive and remarkably successful. We chose our bedroom furniture from Sharps although they can’t supply it yet. We found more Italian trattorias (including Carluccios)and French Bistros ( including Auberge) than you can ever eat in. Tomorrow we go to France to find a real auberge.
14th December, 2010
Up and out early this morning to get to Eurotunnel. This was just a fleeting visit. Wine store, coffee, Supermarket, meal, home. I usually buy 160 bottles each time but that’s because we live in the North. Now, we can go every month and I will buy half my usual number. Because it is Christmas, we also bought some Champagne. Our first stop was an ex-Oddbins store. It is now called Calais Wine Superstore. The choice and the price was so good that we bought all our wine there.
We moved on to Auchan next for lots of food stuffs. We bought trays of little quaille with their heads dangling limp, packs of wonderful duck breasts, pots of duck, pork, rabbit patè an assortment of cheeses, a huge array of salad things and vegetables, bottles of olive oil and jars of mustard
After a lovely meal, without wine, we drove back to the Tunnel. The arrangements at the Tunnel are so much better than they used to be. First of all, the return journey cost us only £20.00 for the car and up to 4 people. Even though we didn’t make it three or so weeks ago, I just phoned them and they put us on the crossings of our choice at no extra cost. I saved the train fare in the first 5 or 6 bottles. When you drive up to the Check-in, they have dispensed with people. It used to be so slow. Now the have numberplate recognition. The boarding passes are printed out automatically and, if you arrive early, they offer you the next possible crossing. With so few people crossing at the moment, the travel is delightful. The M1 was fine on the way back but I had to have a couple of coffee stops because I was tiring easily after an early start. Because of this, we took about five hours to get home.
15th December, 2010
We got up late today and we were both tired after yesterday. Unfortunately, I had to be at the diabetic foot clinic by 9.15 am so we were in a bit of a rush. After that, we did a Sainsbury’s shop before going to our favourite farm shop in Netherton. We have used Hinchcliffe’s Farm Shop for years. It is huge and the meat is wonderful quality. While we were away in Greece, we read newspaper article about it being burnt down and thought that would be the end of it but they have come back under temporary buildings. We bought pheasants, back bacon, belly pork, and thick, pork sausages. Thank goodness we’re not interested in food!
16th December, 2010
The weather is closing in again. North Yorkshire has heavy snow. It is cold here. Pauline has booked an appointment at Sassoon’s in Leeds for Saturday morning but the weather forecast says that is exactly when heavy snow will arrive in Huddersfield. Pauline always books a ‘top stylist’ and they are usually much less available. Today, Pauline hoped to swap her appointment for this morning and found she could almost choose her own time. Must say something about the economy around Leeds. Ironically, as we drove up the M62, we hit a blizzard – totally unforecast – which reduced traffic to a crawl. It took us an hour to do a half hour journey. Pauline alerted Sassoons en route but they were quite laid back about it. The Top Stylist – Nancy – didn’t seem to have any more appointments. She did Pauline’s hair beautifully.
17th December, 2010
We bought Pauline a new Laptop – a Toshiba Satellite because I think they’re fantastic quality – 17″ Display / Pentium Dual Core / 4Gb of Ram / Wireless Card / Webcam – and we having been using one over the past year. It feels like we have more computers than we know what to do with. I have a desk top in Greece and one here in England. We now have two laptops and a 3G Kindle arriving soon. I spent a chunk of the day putting Microsoft Office Pro (£200.00) and Adobe’s Macromedia Suite (£800.00) (Dreamweaver/Fireworks/Flash) and Adobe Acrobat Pro (£190.00) on it. My software is starting to become a little bit outdated now because it is 18 months since I had access to school funds to buy it but I don’t feel justified splashing out any more.
There is one more piece of software that Pauline must have – Ms Money. It was last released in 2006 but I’ve managed to bend it for a number of different platforms – Windows Mx / Windows 2000 / Vista / Windows 7 – and on each occasion it has gone on after a few tweaks. Pauline’s entries go back to January 1993. Before that she had filled three accounts books in the first 15 years. We hope it will be a while before she has to learn new software.
18th December, 2010
We have woken up to heavy snow. A walk out for the papers and then a day in catching up on email correspondence. The other thing I have to address my mind to today is our investment portfolio. Most of our investments came to the end of their bonus %ages at the end of November. I have to look again. We must use our ISA Cash allowances either side of April 6th. That will make another £20,000.00 tax-free but it will need some research. It is the sort of thing I like doing anyway.