Week 153

20th November, 2011

This is the week that the apartment finally comes together. Monday – all the fitted furniture is installed and lots of extra shelves are put up in all sorts of cubby holes to help with storage. Even my wine racks are being fixed in the walk-in cupboard in the underground garage. Wednesday – wooden flooring installed in the hallway and carpet throughout the rest of the flat. Thursday – Burglar alarm being commissioned and linked to named phone numbers. Friday – Furniture including new bed delivered. We will spend our first night there on Saturday. Today we are going to spend the day in there so that everything is ready for the fitter tomorrow.

21st November, 2011

The wardrobe fitter was due at 8.00 am this morning. We got up at 6.00 am and left for the flat at 7.00 am.. People on the roads were rushing to work, rushing to beat the traffic jams that soon build up here. We got to the apartment five minutes before the fitter arrived (45 mins early). He is a lovely bloke and very skilled. He toiled until 3.00 pm without a break. By the time he stopped, the bedroom looked great. He will be back tomorrow and then will finish off on Friday. All the time he was working, Pauline & I spent the entire day completing our phone books on our new phones.

Later we went shopping for lampshades in Woking but without success. We seem to be out of step with current fashion. We really do not want chandalier-style light fittings but they do seem to dominated the market place at the moment.

22nd November, 2011

The bedroom fitter was back today to fit shelves in the kitchen, shelves in the cloakroom, a mirrored cabinet in the downstairs toilet, a mirrored cabinet in the family bathroom, three mirrored cabinets in the ensuite, shelves and wineracks in the garage. He even had time to put the kitchen clock up for us.

By the end of the day, we were exhausted. We went out and bought a couple of delicious pizzas. Particularly, we had a vegetarian one topped with crisp broccoli, asparagus and artichokes. We topped it off with Man. City losing in Europe. Brilliant!

23rd November, 2011

Today has been very strange and rather Greek. We have spent most of it sitting in our garden in the quadrangle of our apartment on garden chairs. It wasn’t too hot – about 13C – but it was necessary. Every floor space apart from the three tiled bathrooms and the tiled kitchen is being covered with underlay and carpet or wood flooring. The two young men who came to do the work arrived at 8.30 am and pushed themselves non-stop until 6.30 in the evening. The quality of their work was wonderful. In fact, every craftsman we have employed has been honorable and dedicated and reasonably priced. We have been extremely humbled by the service we have received.

Today is the day the apartment became homely. However, we have one problem. Because all the floors – upstairs and downstairs – are concrete, we ordered extra thick, top quality underlay. As a result, five of our doors had to be taken off and are waiting to be trimmed and rehung.

Another late night, another take away. It was only average so we won’t be going back there. We topped it off with watching Chelsea lose in Europe. Brilliant!

24th November, 2011

Today we met the practice nurse from our new surgery. Then we went on to the apartment to wait for the burglar alarm commissioner to arrive. Our burglar alarm is linked by telephone to three separate people who can take action if they are contacted. We no longer have to tap codes into the alarm but just swipe a digital disc across the alarm box on the wall. It has been a very busy week which will culminate in our new bed being delivered tomorrow. We finished the day with a salad and a couple of dips – taramasalata and humus – with black olive bread sticks  and a bottle of Montepulciano D’Abruzzo.

25th November, 2011

Today the apartment was finished. Our carpenter came and trimmed and rehung the doors after the flooring had been laid. Then our bed was delivered. By the time the workmen had gone, we shut the door and felt we at last had a home. We cleared all the packaging away, hoovered all the carpets and felt that, after twelve months of living out of boxes and suitcases, we could finally relax. To top it all, I got a Welcome to your new house card from my sister. That was lovely!

Tonight is our last night at Phyllis & Colin’s house. How would we have managed without them? We are taking them out for a meal tonight to an Italian restaurant which has rather a good reputation. The restaurant is called That’s Amore. Not very original but this is the menu.

26th November, 2011

Went to Purley, Croydon today to buy a new desk at IKEA. It really gets me that the last time I was in Purley Croydon was 57 years ago. In 1954, Bob & I went to stay with Nana & Grandad Coghlan where they lived in Purley, Croydon. Here I am – full circle. I hate IKEA  and I was exhausted at the end of it but we got what we wanted and it will be delivered on Tuesday. We got back to the flat in time to watch Stoke thrash Blackburn. I sent a text to Ruth thanking her for my card.

I’m just going to have a shower in my new en-suite and go to bed in my new bed in my new bedroom. It all feels nice.

Week 152

13th November, 2011

The weather since we returned from Greece has been incredibly mild and amazingly sunny. Throughout October, we have enjoyed the glorious countryside around our new home. It is incredibly wooded. Living in Yorkshire, we have usually considered the latter half of October to be the height of Autumn with strong winds encouraging brightly coloured but dying leaves to leave their tenure on the trees. Not this year and, particularly, not in Surrey. Two minutes from our home is Pyrford Common Road pictured below. We drive along it every day. It has taken a long time to recognise the onslaught of Autumn.


At last the trees have accepted their fate but the sunshine and relatively warm weather persists even in mid November. Today the temperature reached 17C.


Everywhere we drive, the trees are dominant and beautiful. They must also be very expensive because, as the Autumn deepens, the Local Authority are busy everywhere sweeping, blowing, sucking up and shredding leaves. Arborealists are assessing trees, lopping branches, felling huge and diseased old trees. Log sellers are advertising.

14th November, 2011

Today we had the car washed and valeted for the first time since we returned from Greece. Death on the road was everywhere with Greek flies spattered on the bumpers and wing mirrors. They earned their £30.00. The car cleaning service is in the huge Tesco car park. On the other side of the road is the famous but old and delapitated Brooklands race track.


When we were no longer ashamed of the state of our car, we went off to Honda in Weybridge to book its first year’s service which is due in a couple of weeks.

15th November, 2011

Pauline is a perfectionist. The carpets are being laid next week. Pauline has looked at the skirting boards and decided that she could finish them better. She is repainting the lot today. I can’t paint to save my life so I’m reading the newspaper and making hot drinks. Life’s hard!

16th November, 2011

Today, I took Pauline to the doctors. We then went on to the apartment to meet television engineers. I need remedial work doing in the study so I can receive Sky+. Because we are moving in to a block of apartments with central satellite dish and a cupboard full of cables, this is not as simple as I expected. After hours of investigation, I have to ask the builders permission to run a cable to my study.

Pauline’s nephew, Daniel, is 8 tomorrow. He wants a lemon cake. After a trip to Waitrose, she is baking this afternoon. I’m cooking Sea Bass fillets on a bed of pea & parsley risotto for Dinner.


17th November, 2011

Glorious day today. Bright blue skies, clear sun and 14C. Had to go for my first INR check in Woking this morning. They have a weirdly slow and expensive system. In Huddersfield, I turned up, had my finger pricked, waited for two minutes and was the advised of my warfarin dosage for the foreseeable future. At the same time, I would be given my next appointment. In Woking, I have to turn up and give an armful of blood then go home and wait for a letter to tell me what dosage to adopt. Then, I have to telephone for my next appointment.

The development company phoned to say I could have a Sky cable run from the communal dish to the Study. I’m going to get a huge television stuck on the wall with another Sky HD box so I can watch the football without annoying Pauline.

18th November, 2011

A pleasantly mild day of 14C. For the first time in weeks, we have no commitments. We decide to create our own. We are going to do the Over-60s Bowel Cancer Screening Programme process. (If you’re squeamish or eating, look away now.) What you get is a card with three flaps. Under each flap are two ‘windows’. In total, one has to smear faeces across each window with one of six cardboard paddles. In order to do that, one must intercept a stool from reaching the toilet pan and take samples from different areas of the stool. Surgical gloves are an advantage. Two samples each day for three days have to be stored in a cool place (the fridge?) and then sent back to the labs. Life does not get much better than this!


In spite of some technical difficulties, we both managed it today. We have resolved to eat more onions today to give the testers something to draw on.

19th November, 2011

The wardrobes are being delivered today between 8.00 – 10.00 am. We got up early and arrived at 7.15 am. The furniture arrived 15 minutes later. Two young men carried it in but didn’t apolgise for being early. At least it will be ready for the fitter on Monday.

Week 151

6th November, 2011

Spent the day at the apartment unpacking the last six boxes. It is a bit of a nightmare at the moment because we are waiting for the carpets and wood flooring to be laid and are reluctant to put anything down which will impede the fitters. We are having to cram everything in to kitchen cupboards, on to already tiled floors in bathrooms, etc. Anyway, it is done. I even managed to find time to watch some football on Sky although Wolves v Wigan was not earth shattering.

7th November, 2011

Can you believe it. We are doing our Christmas Cards at the beginning of November. We have the time. Our cards will include a copy of our new home address and phone number. We have had this problem with TMobile’s credit agency. I have written to them clarifying our address and today I tried to speak to them to resolve the issue. I was met with a stone wall. I have to wait for them to deliberate. Very frustrating.

8th November, 2011

One of the real frustrations in a new build is getting the ‘Snagging List’ addressed. This has been exascerbated by the fact that we have been abroad for our first six months of ownership. The first snagging list was done but only after Pauline’s sister constantly nagging the builders. Since we have come back and started to prepare the flat to be lived in, we have developed a new list of increasingly irritating ‘snags’. The Sky engineer found satellite points on the wall unconnected to anything outside. Already, I’m not having a good week!

9th November, 2011

In Huddersfield, Anti-Coagulation testing is very user-friendly with the intention of encouraging warfarin-users to take up their support. In Woking, it seems to be quite the opposite. I have now been to three separate testing centres who are reluctant to take me on because of the pressure of numbers on their service. Of course, non of them can refuse but they don’t make me welcome.

Today we went to a National Health Dentist to try it out. We went with some trepidation. The practice had five dentists listed but we were assigned to the youngest and least experienced. When we met her, she turned out to be a skinny, little Indian girl who could have been a Sixth Former. Actually, she was brisk, efficient and excellent.

10th November, 2011

The telephone engineer found telephone points on the wall unconnected to anything outside. After a while, trying to address these niggly little snags wears one down. When I phone the Developer’s Customer Help line, I always get an answerphone and I am beginning to lose patience.

I have bought a Sky Bundled Package of TV/Broadband/Phoneline. The telephone engineer is from BT Openreach because the local Exchange has not yet been ‘unbundled’. Fortunately, we got an engineer who knew the Development and was able to get in to the central (Dry Riser) cupboards and connect us up. He says we will be up and running by tomorrow. In addition, our TMobile phones arrived. I chose TMobile over other providers mainly because of its reception in our apartment but also because of its generous (unlimited) internet/email provision and no extra cost. I chose an Android-based smart phone over a Blackberry because of its much superior internet facility. Two, free Samsung Galaxy phones arrived today. I set them up and put them to charge.


11th November, 2011

Went down to the apartment. The landlines were working and the mobiles both worked perfectly. The week may be finishing on a better note. Pauline and I cooked Cassoulet for tea. It was very enjoyable to make and to eat.


12th November, 2011

Two weeks today we should move in to our new apartment. That will be seven weeks after our return from Greece. We feel that we will have achieved a lot in a reasonably short time.


Watched England beat Spain tonight. I’m not sure what it proved but it was a pleasing result.