Week 118

20th March, 2011

A lovely day with sun and blue sky for the Spring Equinox with the Sunday papers. Found two cracking photos – a spineless hedgehog with a homemade jacket and a very friendly robin – while researching something else. Thought you might like to see them:

hedgie.jpg  robin.jpg

 21st March, 2011

Athens is still in the grip of the unions as the government tries valiantly to press on with privatisation.  It means that public transport is constantly disrupted. Medical services, pharmacies, legal services, schools and universities are all subject to strikes and protests. At the moment, garbage is piling up in the streets and a series of general strikes are planned to paralyse the country. To add to the woes, strong winds have closed down all the ports today.

athens_trash.jpg  rough_seas.jpg

22nd March, 2011

Another lovely Spring day. What is happening to the British weather? It is unbearably good. Had a look round our local park today. We’ve lived here for eleven years and never been in to it. The main reason was because it was so run down that it didn’t look very inviting. The Greenhead Park is the main park in Huddersfield and has been open to the public of Huddersfield since 1884. It was created on land which was originally open fields, and was used for public meetings, concerts, galas, firework displays, and even balloon landings. On opening, the Park offered a range of genteel pursuits for visitors, including a series of five ornamental lakes and lakeside viewing arbours, a bandstand, the ornamental bedding and fountain of the Italian Gardens, together with a raised terrace which was planned for the construction of a glass pavilion.

Sadly, the park had deteriorated by the time we moved near to it. It was, perhaps two or three miles from our house and closer to the town. The grand, stone houses of the rich merchants of nineteenth century Huddersfield were being split up and turned into student lets for the University. The wonderful, glass pavilion was in a state of disrepair to the point of near collapse. Suddenly, £5.5 million was found from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  The work began 18 months ago and are due to be completed by July. We won’t be here to see it. We went to see where they were up to:

park1.jpg  park2.jpg

park3.jpg  park4.jpg

23rd March, 2011

The Spring weather just gets better. Yesterday afternoon touched 20F and today promises even more. March is looking as if it could be the driest on record here in Yorkshire. Fortunately, Sifnos appears to have had a really wet winter. The underground aquifers should be nicely full to guarantee a reliable water source for the rest of the year.

As it was so lovely outside, we took the car to be cleaned and polished – only £6.00 – and then came back to the shoe box to clean and vacuum the inside. It’s only three months old and only done 3000 miles so the job was easy and enjoyable. With the temperature reaching 18F, it was quite warm work outside.

24th March, 2011

Pauline & I haven’t rented any type of property since the early 1970s. The last five months in a rented shoebox has been interesting but STRANGE. One thing has changed since our student days. Protection for the tenant is much improved. We have been the first tenants in a new-build, two bedroomed, unfurnished flat. It has fridge-freezer, dishwasher, washer-dryer, oven and hob and costs a snip at £550.00 per month. We paid six months rent up front and are leaving one month early so we are hoping to get a month’s rent refunded. We also paid a £650.00 bond/deposit at the outset. Nowadays, this is not just additional rent for an unscrupulous landlord. The money goes in to an official deposit scheme which has to have the agreement of both landlord and tenant before the money is re-released. One week tomorrow we will hand back the keys and claim our deposit back.


25th March, 2011

Shopping day today after an early morning Diabetic Clinic with our wonderful doctor. She provided me with a prescription to cover all necessary medication for six months. Off to Sainsburys where the chemist could not cope with the size of my prescription. We left with one carrier bag full and another one to collect on Monday. On to the garden centre to buy bags of seed potatoes and onion sets to take to Greece.

After lunch I took Pauline to the Beauty Parlour to have a facial before I take her to Sassoons tomorrow to have her hair cut. We had to rush home to allow a viewing of the shoebox. We took a phone call from a friend and ex-colleague of ours in which we discussed the recent fallout from the achievement of Academy Status of our old school and another across the town. After the early redundancies which we took advantage of, such prospects appeared to have been shut off to others. Then the Coalition announced austerity measures. Our Academy escaped by the skin of its teeth. Suddenly, the money has started to dry up and 30% of the staff are going to be ‘dispensed with’. Who knows on what terms?

26th March, 2011

Another early morning start – off to Leeds – to take Pauline to Vidal Sassoons for her hair cut. I had a nice hour reading the papers while she paid up £64.00 to have her hair trimmed. We will have to go to Athens for the next one in June. That will cost £100.00 just for the ferry. I’ve offered to cut her hair myself but she didn’t seem keen. Pauline has a ‘Top Stylist’, whatever that means, and when we move, the nearest Sassoons is Sloane Street, London where the equivalent stylist will cost £120.00. The last time I went to the barber, it cost 10 shillings.


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