Week 163

30th January, 2012

The M62 in West Yorkshire was closed temporarily by snow last night. Here in Surrey, the days are still mild with a little edge on the breeze. We certainly haven’t seen any snow and it is our ambition to go for a whole year without seeing any. We are going through fully blown Spring inside our flat:


The morning started badly with England throwing a victory away and capitulating to Pakistan


and then got worse with United throwing an easy victory away and letting Liverpool in.


31st January, 2012

Last day of January – can you believe it? Cold and frosty outside this morning. In fact, my computer said it was -4C this morning when I got up. We keep hearing that snow is on the way but there is no sign so far. In Greece, for the fourth consecutive year, they have snow. People have been told that they can only drive with snow chains on this week. When you know the poor quality of some of the older houses, they must be freezing.


The debt negotiations seem to go on for ever but really are on the brink of conclusion. You still don’t feel that the Greeks are really meeting the rest of Europe half way but that is duplicitous Greeks for you. The EU said – You must privatise your Nationalised industries. Against their will, the Greeks agreed. The electricity generation industry was opened up with new companies coming in to challenge the state provider. However, the market was so skewed that the state company kept all its advantages of customer list, etc, as when it was a monopoly. As a result, the  competitors collapsed within months and they are back to stage one. Very little else has been achieved in the privatisation process.

Fantastic game tonight in which Everton beat Man. City. It was a really enjoyable match made better by United winning and Chelsea drawing. The icing on the cake was Ashley Cole being sent off. Poor old Mancini blamed himself.


1st February, 2012

Happy February to you all.


Nine weeks until we leave for Greece. With freezing temperatures in Greece and heavy snow in Italy, we have to hope the weather improves rapidly.

Had to do a bit of shopping today and, although the temperature was hovering about 4C, it felt much colder in reality. We should have been going swimming but a delivery – of a new vacuum cleaner – which should have been yesterday and failed to turn up is now rearranged for today. Once again, they have failed to give us a specific time band in spite of bragging on their website and on their answerphone that they do. They even swore blind that they did turn up yesterday and put a card through the door but they are lying. Let’s hope they turn up today.

Phyllis and Colin are coming for Lunch tomorrow so Pauline is busily cooking in preparation for that. I have been replying to a woman from The Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London. She is doing a Doctorate on Green Stuff. She is interested in our exciting experiences of Heat Exchangers and Biomass Burners and how it has made us so much more aware of and responsive to Global Warming and Climate Change. Poor girl! She is in for an interesting afternoon. I think I will open a bottle of red wine to soften the blow for her. She is Norwegian, poor girl!

2nd February, 2012

A day cold enough to take your breath away. By 6.45 am I was queuing outside the walk-in hospital. The doors open at 7.00 am. In that temperature of about -4C, it wasn’t easy standing outside. The doors open at 7.00 am and I was 4th in the queue. Even so, I was home by 7.15 am. and eating breakfast. We had to be out again at 9.15 am for Pauline’s appointment with the doctor to review the results of her x-ray which show early signs of arthritis but nothing much more which is pleasing.

Phyllis & Colin are coming for lunch today so it is my job to dop the hoovering. The new vacuum we ordered has still not arrived so we have borrowed an old Dyson that weighs five tons for me to use. After completing my work, I have a lie down while Pauline completes food preparations. The meal turns out to be wonderful – Steak pie with new potatoes, snap peas in garlic butter, green beans and delicious carrots. Colin was driving but Pauline, Phyllis and I shared a bottled of iced Pinot Grigot. Phyllis and Colin lived 60 years of their lives in Oldham so Pauline tries to create things for them that they can’t get in Surrey. So, she made Holland’s Pies (a mixture of pork and beef in water crust pastry) and ‘Japs’ (a type of multi-layered macaroons) which remind them of their past.

hp.jpg  japs.jpg

We had a lovely meal and Phyllis could hardly walk as she left.

3rd February, 2012

A very cold day. When I went down to the garage, the car read -3C. I drove down to the paper shop on heavily salted roads and the car read -6C. We went out later to do shopping at Tesco and had the car cleaned. I couldn’t imagine what their hands must have felt like in that temperature.

4th February, 2012

I had entertained the hope that I might get through the winter without seeing snow at all. Unfortunately, today a light smattering of snow has fallen. It was very warm in our flat but it is amazing how cold outside affects the psyche. I made Cassoulet for our evening meal – a real, hearty winter warmer.

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