27th February, 2011
The Sunday papers felt thin and poor today. Fortunately, Birmingham beat Arsenal and England gained a moral victory over India. It really should have been declared a victory as we had wickets to spare but we have to subsidise the Third World as in everything else.
I watched the autistic people of Kirklees, young and old, protesting outside the Town Hall that funding for their Day Care Centre was being withdrawn and that they would become housebound because of this as would their carers. The passion with which they expressed their plight was extremely moving and persuasive. I would prefer that my taxes were spent here than on relieving poverty abroad. For example, we are, even now, giving oversea aid to China. It will cease in April but it is happening now. Read about it here.
28th February, 2011
The last day of February! Can you believe it? I thought time would slow down when we retired but it is actually speeding up. In five weeks, it will be exactly two years since Pauline & I last set foot in a school and since we caught any sort of infection at all. Lovely quiet swim today after cleaning and tidying the shoe box because a couple came for a viewing this morning and another will come tomorrow.
Ordered a new telephoto zoom lens for my camera today. The camera itself was courtesy of school and cost £750.00 when I first bought it. Now it can be bought for £500.00. The lens is less than £150.00 for a Canon ef-s 55-250mm f4-5.6.
This will give me great fun, particularly in Greece.
1st March, 2011
March hares abound on white rabbit day. It has been a beautiful Spring day. We were basking in sunshine through the glass around our pool today. Swimming felt vaguely Mediterranean this morning. The Health Club was almost empty and we had the pool to ourselves.
While we were out swimming we allowed our Letting Agent show another client round the property because we are keen that they let it for the month of April and will, therefore, refund us a month’s rent. As soon as we got home, I cancelled my BT account for phone line, calls and broadband from April 4th. I’ve only had it for three months of an 18 month contract and those first three were free so, of course, I’ve had to pay a cancellation charge of £120.00 but, when I get back in October, I will use Sky to supply my services.
2nd March, 2011
Pauline reckons she gets through a bottle of SPF30 Sun Cream in less than a fortnight. In Greece, each bottle would cost 18.00 (£15.00) and she would need 15 – 20 of them. £300.00 on sun cream does seem a little excessive. Instead, we wait until it is discounted in British supermarkets – at least 50% reduction. Today we went to Asda and bought each bottle at £5.00 or one third of the Greek price. The other big purchase today looked like this:
Yes, we ordered two toilet seats for the bathrooms in Greece. Greek toilet seats are cheap but nasty and very uncomfortable. Our bottoms deserve real English class!
3rd March, 2011
Some disappointing news this morning. Our completion date has been postponed by two weeks from March 18th to March 31st. This is annoying because the builders were particularly forceful about insisting that we agree to their initial completion date and now it is they who are holding us up. They say that hard landscaping and planting will not be finished in time and they want everything to be perfect before anyone moves in. Fortunately, we will not be greatly inconvenienced by this but people with dependent property sales going through will have real difficulties. We have to rearrange the fitting of the blinds but that is all.
Greece is still wracked by strikes. Today and tomorrow State telephone company workers and the police are striking and rallying in Syndagma Square over job cuts, wage cuts and pension cuts. On Monday, Trolley buses in Athens are cancelled. On Wednesday all modes of public transport are on strike throughout Greece. On Thursday, all postal services are on strike protesting against privatisation. However, if you could travel to Cape Sounion south of Athena you might just see this night view of a cusp of the moon through the Temple of Poseidon:
4th March, 2011
Sainsburys shopping on Friday morning although all the dozy old biddies seem to be there by ten o’clock. We had to go to Staples first to buy new packing boxes for despatching to Greece. They need to be quality, double skinned, reinforced cardboard to withstand a battering. Then off to buy four new pillows for Greece and on to Sainsburys. After doing a week’s shop, we fill up with Sainsbury’s petrol. When we were working, we would do 250 miles a week at 27 mpg. Our bill would have been £55 – £60.00 per week. Now it is less than half that.
All the time we were out shopping, I was itching to be trying out my new telephoto lens that arrived at the beginning of the week but I hadn’t had time to use. I thought I would combine this with my sentimental need to record the ‘shoebox’ for posterity before we leave it. It is not particularly a place I will recall with affection but I would like to be, at least, able to recall it. The longer lens was, of course, wholly inappropriate for this job but I was determined to try it out.
When we first moved in here in early November, ours was the only car. We were the only residents. Since then, the flats have gradually been solved as the prices have been reduced from well over £100,000.00 to the final four being advertised at £73,000.00. We believe these four have been snapped up as a job lot by an investor. We worked out that with the rent they are charging, the yield would be about 8.5% which is, currently, very good. Behind the flats, in the back of the courtyard, are what they laughingly call ‘coach houses’ in which the accommodation is on two floors over the garage. We think they initially went on the market at £180,000.00 two years ago but they have all been sold for just over £120,000.00 which anywhere else would be ‘cheap as chips’. The development still has a lovely view over the Colne Valley.