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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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