Week 158

25th December, 2011

Happy Christmas to any one reading this. It has been an interesting and low-key day.

Got up late at 8.0 am and had toast & marmalade with tea. Pauline put in a bit of preparation work for food to be taken with us to Mandy & Kieron’s house. I had asked her to keep it simple this year and not put herself under pressure. I spent my time on the internet, checking ferry prices for our Greek trip in April. Usually, I book them on January 1st. Last year, we got a 50% reduction by booking so early which meant saving about £500.00. This year, shock horror, the companies have trebled their prices and early booking reductions are down to just 10%. Last year, a 24hr crossing of the Adriatic in a Luxury cabin cost us just £500.00. This year, currently, it will be £1500.00. I say ‘currently’ because there is no way that they will be able to hold their prices and big reductions will certainly follow. The game will be how late we can leave our booking.

Pauline is caterer-in-chief at lunchtime and takes her responsibilities very seriously – too seriously if truth be told. I suggested that, this year, she pre-made a simple Starter and the Sweet course so that she only had to worry about the main course. She had pre-made two terrines for Starter – Pork & Pheasant and Fresh & Smoked Salmon with asparagus. It was to be served on a bed of green leaves.

meat.jpg fish.jpg

We carry everything over in a huge container in the car. When the time came to serve the first course and as I carried out my slicing duties and placing slices on nine different plates, I suddenly learned that each plate needed either servings of fig & apple chutney or tartar sauce, an assortment of green leaves drissled with a mixture of oil & lemon, cracked black pepper and a gherkin sliced three times and fanned out on the plate.

Anyway, it all got done. The turkey was beautiful. By the time the Christmas pudding was served, like so many others across the country, I was too full to eat it. So, everything had gone to plan. The adults chatted. The boys played with their remote control helicopters, Mandy excitedly unwrapped her iPad and showed it around. Then, like the boring old buggers that we are, Pauline & I escaped to the peace and quiet of our own home some ten minutes away. We opened a bottle of champagne and watched Downton Abbey which actually was lifted by the discipline of a Christmas Special and given more bite. We went to bed, tired but happy, as one should do on Christmas Night.

26th December, 2011

Over the years of travelling, Pauline & I have gathered a huge number of photographs which we thought at the time meant something but, through the distance of history, mean absolutely nothing. We have a huge, plastic box full of them. It is almost too heavy to lift. I managed to get it in to the Study but I have no where to put it since the sofa-bed arrived. We are going to spend the morning together going through them all. 95% will then be binned. The remaining 5% will be scanned in and put into a digital collection. I will cry a lot for my past but that is how I am.

What did I mean, spend the morning. It is six in the evening and we have only reviewed half. We’ve got some crackers, though. This was Pauline & me last summer:

pauline_milos83.jpg  john_milos83.jpg

Well, actually, it was on Milos in 1983 but nothing much has changed. I then found this from 1984. It is the price list for our first Honda – an Accord costing us £7335.00 less £2935.00 we got for our trade-in, a Datsun Stanza. This is the Stanza:


Click on this for the Pricelist. I remember that we were so proud of our Honda Accord. It had Power Steering and Air Conditioning – almost unheard of in 1984. We couldn’t afford a Summer Holiday this year because we had only just bought the car when Slade House became available and we broke the bank to buy it. This poor photo shows the new Accord parked outside Slade House.


Did you see Ruth at the Bolton match? No I didn’t but I bet she wouldn’t have thanked you for waving. She’d probably gone home by Half Time. Poor girl!

27th December, 2011

More photo reviewing today. I am going to start scanning them in for Albums soon and certainly before I return to Greece. I have very few really good ones of Mum and/or Dad and lots of people have said they do. If you’ve got anything, I would be grateful for as high a resolution copy as you can manage.

Half heartedly watched some football today until it got to Norwich v Spurs which I thought was an excellent game. Is it my imagination or is Sky’s football offerings diminished this season? Answers on an email: john

28th December, 2011

Up at 6.00 am and off to the blood testing clinic. Queuing by 6.45 am but there are still three people ahead of me. Back for toast and coffee and then hoovering and tidying. Phyllis & Colin are coming for lunch. It will be their first visit since the carpets went down and the furniture arrived. They’ve only seen a concrete shell.

Received lovely emails from Panos & Rania and from Margharita Katzilieri and all the other girls working in the Accountants office on Sifnos. All wish us season’s greetings and make us look forward to returning.

Just nipped out to Tesco for a few things. Hardly any shoppers at 10.00 am. Are they all in bed still? What a waste of a day. Filled up with petrol before we drove home. It cost £62.00 which is pretty unpleasant but, instead of every week as it used to be, this is spread over three weeks. Two hundred miles in three weeks is almost unheard of in our lifetime!

We did a cost analysis of retirement. We are pleased to find that our annual commitment only consumes 50% of our pension and we feel that is quite a healthy position to be in. We can support two homes and two lives and still save and invest for the future. It feels good and very fortunate.

29th December, 2011

Civil Servants in Greece – about 150,000 adults – are having their salaries cut for the second time in a year. From January 1st, a civil servant with a Degree and more than 30 years service will have their monthly salary cut to just over €1000.00. Prices in Greece are as high as Britain. How these people will live, I have no idea. What effect these cuts will have on the general economy is obvious. Nobody will have money to purchase goods.

After breakfast on a warm day, we went to a place called Knaphill. It’s only about five miles away from where we live but it has a large Sainsburys and a Homebase. We have our little man coming next week to put up shelves and mirrors and we’ve decided to have some more towel rings in the bathrooms. Pauline has bought three more plus a soap, shampoo, and shower gel holder for the walk-in shower area.

In Sainsburys I bought Pauline a big box of Thorntons Chocolates because it is our anniversary tomorrow and we start our new diet and exercise regime on Sunday. We drive home and, after lunch, spend the afternoon doing paperwork. I went through all the Christmas Cards and the only family member I didn’t get one from was Liz which I thought was strange. I did get a text message from her yesterday but I didn’t fully understand it.  Mike’s card just had the word, ‘Mike’ on it but the writing was so bad, Pauline had to tell me what it said.

30th December, 2011

Our Wedding Anniversary. Thirty three years ago today the roads across the Pennines and many other areas of the country were nearly blocked with snow. We had chosen it as our Wedding Day. The Council Gritters had chosen to go on strike. Fortunately, we had a lovely day and everyone who wanted to attend struggled through and made it. We were married in Huddersfield Registry Office although the photo looks a bit Eastern European now

weda1.jpg 2.jpg

and then (to please my Mum) we had a blessing in the Meltham Mills Church just a few hundred yards from our house where we held the reception. Pauline did all the catering and it was brilliant. I had a wonderful day and it was the prelude to a wonderful marriage. I have been so lucky!

wed1.jpg wed2.jpg

31st December, 2011

For most people, this evening is one to spend with others, partying, holding hands and singing Auld Lang Syne. Pauline and I have always shunned these activities and chosen to spend the evening quietly over a bottle of wine together. It is how we came in and, hopefully, how we will go out.

Diets can never start until the New Year in our house. December 30th is our Anniversary and then, of course, there is New Year’s Eve to be toasted in. Already, however, plans are afoot for a new Health Campaign as we cut down on eating and drinking and start to visit Woking’s ‘Pool in the Park’. We have both put on weight since returning from Greece. It is exactly twelve weeks since we set foot on UK soil which means we have about that much again before we leave. Actually, it is looking like we will go on April 3rd. Greek Easter is the week after Catholic on April 15th.

It was nice to read in The Telegraph today that house prices have risen more this year in Woking than anywhere else in the country. We’ve always had these effects on places.

Week 157

Year 4 of the Blog starts here…………….. 

18th December, 2011

2C outside. Heavy frost on the ground. No heating on in the flat which is 22C. We can’t understand how it is like that but we are delighted. In Oldham, we heard that people were ‘snowed in’ but I braved the frost to drive down to the papershop. One has to keep fit, doesn’t one? If only JaneBG could get in to this routine! It beats Nutella on Maltloaf, Jane.

We are still enjoying the spoils of our trips in Europe. Lunch was Duck paté from France washed down by a bottle of Prosecco from Italy. Actually, it may have been washed a little too heavily and three, consecutive football matches on Sky became rather blurred in to each other.

Had a lovely email from Ruth today reminding me that she is my chief Blog reader. She is, of course, absolutely right. Nowadays, I write with her in mind.

19th December, 2011

Today is grey and damp but we don’t mind. We are waiting for more deliveries: shelving and furniture. I’ve forgotten what it is like to sit on a settee. I’ve been living on a sixty year old rocking chair for the last month. We have decided to hang to the Richard Chair for a while longer. We have found just the place for it. While we wait, I am delegated to do the hoovering. We have a Dyson. I hate it. I find it heavy and clunky. On our new carpets, the filter clogs and the motor overheats in minutes. I thought he was supposed to be a design guru.


I don’t think I was made for hoovering especially with a Dyson. The furniture company have just phoned to say that our three settees will arrive on Thursday and they’ve given us a precise time window. It will be between 7.30 am and Midnight. Do wait up.

The Inland Revenue are still pursuing us for £4,000.00 under paid tax from the year 2009-10. It seems bizarre as we have spent our entire lives under PAYE but there it is. It appears that Oldham’s ‘Salaries Department’ were as incompetent as they were stingy. Because we had three separate income streams that year – Teacher’s salary + Redundancy + Teachers Pension – it was all too much for Oldham Accountancy practices. We appealed against the claim but lost although we have managed to delay payment for a year and, now, pleading poverty, we aim to arrange repayment over three more years. It still hurts but it has to be done.

20th December, 2011

A gorgeous morning with clear blue skies and delicious sunshine. First thing this morning, a man from the Developers has been round to investigate a squeak on our stairs. It is on the bottom three treads but, when he assessed it and the upheaval required to our newly fitted carpets to ‘possibly’ erradicate it, we decided to live with it.

Got a phone call from Dave Beasley from his Welsh farmstead where he has been living for the past thirty years with Sue. He will be 70 on Friday. He is fit and well and still goes on long walking holidays, chops down oak trees and logs them for the stove. He is happy and deserves to be.

Another person who deserves to be happy is Ruth and tonight she is. Bolton played well and beat Blackburn. She hasn’t been able to say that too many times this season. She sent me some texts because she knew I’d be watching. She says she will be at the Boxing Day match against Newcastle so all look out for her and give her a wave. I will.


21st December, 2011

Every year, Pauline makes ice cream as an alternative to or supplement for Christmas Pudding. She makes it with double cream and it is so rich, it is impossible to eat a lot without suffering later. Believe me, I have tried many times. She uses an automatic icecream maker which I bought from John Lewis’ Department Store in Manchester 25 years ago. I remember it as if it was yesterday. I was 35 years old, reasonably fit and I was buying it as a surprise present for Pauline. The surprise was on me. The refrigeration unit inside it meant it weighed nearly 50lb and I carried it half way across Manchester to the car. I was nearly dead when I got it there.


Nowadays, we only seem to use it at Christmas for icecream and inter-course (steady) palate cleansers.

Confirmed today that we really do have to pay the Inland Revenue £3,800.00 immediately after Christmas. Well, at least we’ve got it and we’ve managed to prevaricate for over a year.

22nd December, 2011

Joy of joys! Our settees were delivered by mid morning. Two leather settees and a storage footstool for the lounge and a bed settee for the Study. We lounged and lounged. Actually, we didn’t because we had to dispose of the two chairs we possessed which we brought from Pauline’s Mum’s flat over a year ago and which have got us through. One was Pauline’s father’s rocking chair and the other a simple arm chair. We managed to get them in the car and over to Pauline’s niece’s house in West Byfleet.

settee1.jpg  sofabed.jpg  sofabed2.jpg

23rd December, 2011

Gloriously warm days as we near the end of December. Thursday and Friday this week have reached 14C / 58 F which feels remarkably warm. I am in a short sleeved T-shirt and we have used no heating for two days.

Pauline & I are cooking Christmas Lunch for Pauline’s sister, Phyllis and her husband, Colin, and their daughter Mandy and her husband, Kieron, and their three boys, David, James and Daniel. Pauline & I like to cook and it keeps us out of trouble. This year we are cooking a minimalist meal:

To start we are having a choice of terrines on a bed of leaves – pork and pheasant with fig & apple chutney or fresh & smoked salmon with tartar sauce – served with slices of Pauline’s onion bread.

The main course will be turkey with forcemeat stuffing and sage and onion stuffing, cranberry sauce, (No bread sauce because I’m the only one who likes it.), pigs in blankets (my favourite part), sprouts with lardons of pancetta and chestnuts, roast potatoes, carrots and peas.

The sweet will be Christmas Pudding and custard or cream or ice cream or all three or home made ice cream with home made meringues and Waitrose raspberries.

Oh, let it be over!

Today, Pauline made the meat terrine and tomorrow she will make the fish terrine. The ice cream and the Chistmas Pudding is already made. The turkey has been collected from the butcher today. The cranberry sauce has been made as has the fig & apple chutney.

I have been working on something very productive and not before time. I have been redesigning my website. I’ve been aware that it’s needed it for over a year but life has been in the way. It won’t all be done in time for Christmas but it will for the New Year.

24th December, 2011

Nobody will persuade me to worry about the Duke of Edinburgh who is so sick of his family that he had to feign a heart attack.

The turkey got well and truly stuffed today. Everything is better prepared than it has ever been. We even had time for a lovely meal of smoked salmon and champagne. Pauline indulged herself in the kitchen with her cooking. I indulged myself in the Study with my website: http://jrsanders.eu/index.html


Week 156

11th December, 2011

This is the final week of the third year of my Blog. On a personal level, the Blog has recorded some of the most momentous experiences of my life. Its first entry was Christmas Day, 2008. Mum had been dead for just a few weeks and I was hurting badly. Three years on, that hurt is mitigated by the passage of time but she still features in my thoughts regularly. The first day of the Blog featured Pauline’s Mum. She too is now dead and has been for just over a year. Pauline carries her around in her thoughts daily. I, for one, would never have predicted the effects of these deaths on me from my past experience of loss.

During the three years of the Blog, Pauline and I have both stopped running on the treadmill of work after nearly forty years of doing it. Once again, neither of us could have quite predicted the effect it would have on us. We didn’t hate our jobs although we had had enough. We both felt we were good at what we did and could have continued if we had to but, given the chance to stop, would do so unhesitatingly. Well, we were offered that chance and took it just under three years ago and, in spite of being elated with the sense of release, we have also felt a little lost, a bit of a fraud and asked ourselves if we were selling ourselves short. Happily, that phase is behind us and we embrace every morning with huge pleasure as we decided which way life will take us each day.

The third, major dislocation in our lives over the past three years has been our move from Yorkshire to Surrey. We had planned it for many years – hardly believing it would really happen. It has and it is exciting, interesting, challenging. Down-sizing is rarely easy and we have and are still really struggling to get to grips with it. We sold all our furniture but even the merest traces of our past – our pictures, our crockery, glasses, cooking equipment – are causing us difficulties and making us question our move. Interestingly, our energy bills in Huddersfield were £2500.00 per year. In Surrey, by mid-December, we have hardly had the heating on.

For some years we have been looking to spend the entire summer in Greece. Now we have a large house there and spend April – October in Greece. The Greek economy has imploded just like that of so many Euro countries. It is touch and go whether we will sell in euro denominations when we do. In the mean time, we will continue to enjoy our house and life there.

12th December, 2011

Went to Woking this morning. Pauline is trying another hairdressers. It is a franchise called ‘Headmasters’. I sit in a coffee shop for an hour reading the paper. Once again, the haircut cost about £65.00 but is only ‘acceptable’. It looks like we may be going to Sassoons in Covent Garden next.

We desperately need a microwave. We research it exhaustively and settle on a Whirlpool with microwave, grill and steam functions. About £150.00 from Comet. We went down to get one. They only had it in postbox-red and ribena-purple. We go home and order one from Tesco-Direct to be collected in store tomorrow.


Watched Chelsea beat a disappointing Man. City tonight. High level skill in the game. At least it will have helped United.

13th December, 2011

Went to pick up the microwave. It was an acceptable colour but it had no steam function and the touch panel didn’t work. Apart from that it was perfect.


We took it back immediately and got a refund. We drove past Comet, went in, saw a simple, small microwave for £75.00 and said we’ll have that until we could find a better one. When we came to buy it, they told us they had none in stock but could order one. We chose not to accept that. We looked on the internet for someone who could supply it and a Bolton company, Appliances On-line said they would deliver it on Thursday. We ordered it.


14th December, 2011

At 6.00 am we were up and, by 6.50 am, we were standing in the Woking Walk-in Medical Centre waiting for yet another INR test. My results are all over the place at the moment and I seem to be having a test every seven days. At last the new tumble dryer arrived today. It is a Hotpoint. It is not damaged. It works perfectly. We cannot believe it.

15th December, 2011

I stayed at home all day today while Pauline drove over to pick up her sister, Phyllis, and take her shopping for the morning in Woking. She phoned me at lunchtime to tell me that they were eating bacon sandwiches which was intended to make me feel jealous – and it did. During the early part of the morning, our new microwave was delivered and I unpacked it and set it up in the kitchen. Fortunately, it worked fine although, Pauline pointed out as soon as she got home that it was dented. If you’ve bought a microwave recently, you will know that they are very, very cheap. It is hard to pay more than £150.00. For this, very simple model, I was paying half that and, as long as it works, it’s not going back.

With the Study up and running, I spent the rest of the day getting rid of anything that is unnecessary. It is all going to Age Concern – only chosen because it is easy parking on Byfleet High Street.

16th December, 2011

Going out this morning to buy shelving for the Study. We just need more and more storage space. We’ve got a little man coming round in the first week of January to put up shelves, hang mirrors, etc.. The wireless doorbell we bought for £40.00 about five weeks ago has stopped working. We are going out to get a better one this morning.

Got a lovely email from from Jonathan Kelly this morning. Some of you will remember that he was a boyhood friend of mine who lived in Chestnut Way, Burton Road, Repton. He was in the scouts. He married an American girl called Cathy whose father was teaching at Repton School for a year. Jonathan has been living and working in Boston, Massachusetts for the past forty years. He came over to the UK in the Summer – while I was away – and met up with Dave Beasley & Sue – ex of Well Lane, Repton & Scouts – in the Welsh Farm which has been home since early 1970. I last saw Jonathan around that time. He now looks exactly as his father did in 1965. Dave and Sue look older versions of how I remember them.


17th December, 2011

Apart from to get the paper and to screw a new door bell on, I haven’t been out today. It is actually rather pleasant to have a quiet and settled day. Strangely, once again, there is no live football on Sky Sports on a Saturday. There are three good matches on Sunday afternoon. After I have watched them – 12.30, 2.30, 4.30 – I will have cramp, lethargy and be footballed-out. It’s a good job Mum can’t read this. She was furious about sport on Sundays and, as for Supermarkets, there could be no call for them after a six day week. You can’t get in to our local supermarket on a Sunday. It’s only a Tesco Superstore with car parking for 2000+ and, on Sunday, it’s full! Of course, Mum wasn’t too familiar with people having to go to work during the week. Mind you, a two hour walk in the rain with my wellingtons and the family would almost certainly better for me than six hours in front of the television watching football. So, the football wins.

The big news of the year is:   THIS BLOG HAS A READER!

Received a beautiful Christmas Card from David Pritchard. (Didn’t know he was still alive. How old must he be?) He confessed to reading the Blog. Merry Yuletide, David. Glad to read that you are well and back in the Marathon Stakes. I think I’ll be up for the Bypass soon. I will try and make my life a bit more interesting now I know you are reading the drivel I write.

Week 155

4th December, 2011

Just an ordinary day. I’ve just looked back to this day last year in my Blog and my first words were exactly the same but followed by “….surrounded by snow”. We had been snowbound in the shoebox for about three or four days and we were feeling trapped. Quite the reverse this year. We drove out in sunshine through clouds of Autumn leaves to get the Sunday papers.

I watched a poor Wolves v Sunderland match and then continued to set up the Study while Pauline unpacked some of the last remaining items and tried to find homes for them.

5th December, 2011

We got the car ready for a trip to France tomorrow. Made sure we had warning triangle and reflective jackets readily available in the back. Made sure the travel bag contained passports, tickets, insurance documents, etc.. Early start tomorrow and we won’t have time to check things then. I made sure all our destinations are pre-programmed in to the Sat. Nav. in advance.

We drive round to see Phyllis & Colin and take them some cut glassware we didn’t need but we thought they would like. We are going to buy a large, flat-screen television for the Study so we offered them our smaller one and they seemed pleased with that.

This evening, I watched quite a good Fulham v Liverpool match which Fulham won. Earlier night because we have to be up and out tomorrow. Ironically, snow is forecast on our old route over the Pennines tonight. We may even wake up to a bit of frost.

6th December, 2011

Our Tunnel crossing is just after 9.00 am UK time. We set the alarm for 5.00 am, leave the house at 6.30 am and the fields around are showing signs of frost. The journey is quiet and enjoyable. We arrive at the tunnel, go through automatic check-in and park up before heading for a coffee shop. By 9.00 am we are driving on to the train and by 10.30 Central European Time, we are on the French motorway en route to our favourite wine store. After buying our wine, the store give us a free ferry crossing voucher for our next trip. By 12.00 pm, we are in the shopping centre Cité Europe shopping in Carrefour.


We bought a bottle of whisky and a bottle of champagne to say thank you to Colin & Phyllis. We bought joints of pork, duck breasts, chicken joints, fresh fish, wonderful cheeses, saucisons, salamis, tins of Confit of Duck, jars of Paté of different sorts and some more red wine – mainly claret.

We went off and had lunch and then drove back to the tunnnel where we caught our train at 3.30 pm. We were back in UK at 3.00 pm and back in Surrey by 4.30 pm.. It is certainly very different from having to do four hours from Northern England and the same back and then taking a couple of days to recover.

7th December, 2011

Another beautiful day. We took presents round to Phyllis & Colin. I’m going to have to take the ‘Richard Chair’ round to Bob’s house. I haven’t got room for it. One of Bob’s sons has Richard as a middle name and, therefore, is entitled to the chair. I offered it two him a couple of years ago at Mum’s funeral and he expressed an interest but hasn’t contacted me since. I checked Bob’s address and was shocked to find he only lived 17 miles away from me. And yet so far apart.

Something miraculous happened this afternoon. Our broken (new) dryer was collected and we were in to hand it over.

Watched a poor United lose to Basel in Basel. We drive through Basel twice a year and it is a nightmare, a horrible place which is constantly ‘under development’ and has been for more than ten years. Those roads must have got to United!

8th December, 2011

Had to be up at 6.00 am today. Out of the house by 6.30 am and at the Woking Walk-in Health Centre by 7.00 am. It was another INR test because it doesn’t seem in check at the moment. I’ve given pints of blood recently and my arm is constantly bruised and plastered.

Back home for breakfast while the rush hour dies down and then off to Weybridge to have my brake pedal unit replaced because the old one developed a squeak. Coffee, biscuits, newspapers for an hour and then off again.

I phoned to check on the timing of delivery of our settees this afternoon. It was a bit depressing to hear that it would be December 21st/22nd before we got them. Still at least that is less than two weeks away.

9th December, 2011

Today, we had to go to the Bank to get our identity and new address certified. We want to move some ISAs and open some new investment accounts on-line. I had scanned in our passports and driver’s licences and printed out these scans to send off to the financial institutions that I had chosen. We were shocked to find that our bank of 40 years, Nat. West had recently decided to only provide such a service for people who are investing in their funds. This is a change and quite disgraceful and I shall be telling them so.

I have stayed glued to news of Cameron’s Euro nonsense. We are going to find ourselves out of Europe very quickly if we are not careful. How the Lib.Dems. can live with themselves, I have no idea.

We went off to Guildford this afternoon. Pauline wanted to go to Lakeland (the shop she has only ever bought from at a distance in the past.) but we got stuck in a multi-storey carpark which was full of Christmas shoppers and decided that claustrophobia dictated a different action. We drove home.

10th December, 2011

We have been in our new home for just two weeks now and in England for two months. We feel we have achieved a lot.

Today,  we went in to Woking early to miss the crowds. We sorted out some new investments with the Halifax Bank and booked Pauline a hair appointment at Headmasters (ironically!).

Week 154

27th November, 2011

We had a wonderful night’s sleep in our new bed in our new bedroom in our new apartment. We haven’t got a dining table or settees but it is delightful to be in at last. It is still incredibly mild. We just don’t need the central heating on.

28th November, 2011

The flat is full of boxes of stuff. We had to get them off the floor so that the carpets could be laid. As a consequence, one of the bathrooms is unusable until we can find homes for everything. First today I have to see the Diabetic Nurse at our new surgery. I turn up at 9.00 am with urine sample to be told I am overweight. I promise to try harder. Later in the day, we go to our dentist. We both need a filling. It is the first dental work we have had done for twelve months. The dentist is a young (Year 11?) Indian girl. She turns out to be fantastic – super confident, quick and capable. We make a return appointment for March to cover our six months in Greece.

29th November, 2011

Our Lounge furniture minus the settees arrives today. An oak dining table and leather covered chairs accompanied by a tall display cabinet and small sideboard all in oak. We have to be so careful not to over fill the lounge and yet we need storage.

cabinet.jpg  sideboard.jpg

The chairs are covered in a cream leather to keep the room light rather than the dark brown pictured here.

table.jpg  chair.jpg

In the afternoon, the bookcases and desk for the Study were delivered. Things are really beginning to look up now.

30th November, 2011

We set off just after 9.00 am to go to Weybridge to visit Trident Honda for our first major service on the car. This year, for the first time in the past 35, we have driven under 10,000 miles in spite of going to Greece and back. We have always averaged 13 – 15,000. With this car which we picked up on December 1st, 2010, we have three years free servicing (parts and labour). In the past three weeks, we have developed a squeak as we release the footbrake. I expected a dollop of grease being applied. Instead, they are going to fit a whole new foot pedal unit. We have always had fantastic service from Honda. Since the early Eighties, we have always had free replacement cars for the day. Today was the first time we haven’t needed it. We walked a few hundred yards in to Weybridge Centre to Cafe Rouge. We sat outside for an hour in gloriously warm sunshine drinking coffee, eating pain au chocolat and reading the paper. It was the day of the big strike and I knew how we would be feeling if we were still working. We are so grateful to be out of it.

We had a few problems in our drive out because an accident on the M25 had thrown traffic on detours but we had a pleasant drive as we left Weybridge for a giant B&Q in New Malden. We drove the outskirts of Chessington, Epsom, past Hampton Court and near to West Wimbledon. The weather was delightful. The trees in full colour gave the lie to the last day of November. We bought a standard lamp and some ceiling shades. Unfortunately, when we got it home and set it up, the lamp just wasn’t right.


Just as we were cooking our evening meal, the tumble dryer we had ordered was delivered. As soon as we had eaten our meal, we opened the lid of the box to reveal the panels of the dryer were bashed and separated. It had obviously been dropped in store or transit. It had to go back.

1st December, 2011


December and we’re still not using the central heating. It is delightfully warm.

Back to New Malden this morning. While we were away, the van called to pick up the damaged tumble dryer. Of course, it will have to call again.We chose a different lamp in New Malden and, as soon as we got it home and opened the box, we found the first broken piece of the shade. It has to go back. We went to a nearer, smaller branch in Guildford, immediately and got a replacement. Don’t you just wish you could join my jetset lifestyle?

2nd December, 2011

A day at home today. We are going to liberate the main bathroom. All the final boxes are being emptied. I don’t have many baths nowadays. I love the power-shower in our ensuite but it will be nice to be able to see the bathroom back to its default state.

Had to pop out to buy a screwdriver. It took 10 – 15 minutes but, when we got back, we found that they had tried to collect our damaged tumble dryer while we were out. It seems to have been the theme of the week. Pauline called them back and they said the would next be in our area on Tuesday. Unfortunately, we won’t. We’re off to France.

3rd December, 2011

Quick trip to Tesco at 8.30 am before the crowds. Back home to coffee and newspapers  along with ‘Saturday Kitchen’ on TV. I’ve now got a working Study so I can start to set up my computers and get on with projects. The Study has a large, L-shaped desk with a computer chair and two filing cabinets, two full height bookcases and a TV. We have a sofa-bed waiting to be delivered and I will then go out and buy a large TV to mount flat to the wall. It really is beginning to feel like home. Quite amazingly, the temperature has reached 15C/59F and we still aren’t using the heating. In fact, we have the windows and patio door open. A bee came in today. Greece is 18C/65F which is a significant difference but not huge. One thing that I meant to mention. On our road there are two fully fruiting fig trees and an olive tree. You wouldn’t see that in Yorkshire.

fig.jpg  olive.jpg