Week 170

18th March, 2012

Happy Mothers Day.

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Pauline made a huge, cream-filled Victoria Sponge while I read the Sunday Times and then watched Man. U. humiliate Wolves 5-0. While I was still singing songs of celebration, we drove over to have a late lunch with Mandy and her boys, Phyllis & Colin.

19th March, 2012

The day of the year so far. Clear blue skies and brilliant, strong sun all day. The newspapers are full of the Tories and the Liberal Democrats shooting themselves in the foot/feet. It is reported that 50 doctors are preparing to stand for parliament against government MPs who vote in favour of the Health Service Reform Bill. Now the Coalition is threatening to cut income tax for the richest while foisting Road Pricing, cuts in Pensions, frozen Wage rates and reduced social benefits on the Majority. In my view, this really is The Longest Suicide Note in History.

It was rumoured that sales of the New iPad would be oversubscribed as prospective buyers camped out on the streets to get their hands on those that were available last Friday. I’m not that desperate and, with two weeks left in UK, I though I would have to wait until October. I rang round, speculatively, this morning and found there was no problem. Currys told me they had ‘loads’ in the warehouse and would deliver one to my door tomorrow morning. I ordered a black, 32Gb Wi-Fi one for £479.00.

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This afternoon we went into town to speak to Santander Bank about ISAs. We have one full cash one each maturing on April 5th – the day after we have left UK. We want to transfer it into Santanders 2 yr fix at 4.00%. We also want to take out another full cash ISA each on April 6th – as we board a ship for Greece. Fortunately, Santander are desperate and are prepared to let us do all the paperwork in advance. On March 30th, Pauline has an appointment at the hairdressers in preparation for travelling. She is going to risk Toni&Guy this time which just happens to be next to Santander. We have made an appointment to tie the investment ends up.

20th March, 2012

Bought a cover for my new iPad today. There seems to be only one style available at the moment because iPad3 is larger than the older and much inferior model. I’ve order it from Amazon, like most things.

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My iPad has arrived fully charged. I love it. I am writing this sentence on it now.

Spring has also officially arrived. Today is the Spring Equinox – a word that means equal night – when day and night are of equal length. For most of us in UK (& USA for that matter) Spring arrived just after Autumn. We didn’t have a Winter this year. I didn’t miss it either.

21st March, 2012

Lovely day again. Budget Day today. Three years ago, today, we were approaching our last fortnight of teaching. This year will see a pay freeze for teachers and regional pay bargaining for those where we were working. For us, we get a 5.2% increase in our pensions. Can’t be bad! Of course, we are no longer Higher Rate Tax payers and we don’t pay National Insurance which is something we hadn’t anticipated. National Insurance is 14% of earnings so it is a significant amount. The tax band is being raised increasingly to £10,000.00 per year over the next two years which is also rather nice.

The Chancellor has attacked Pensioners although I did think that age-related tax bands were something of an anomaly. I wouldn’t have benefited for another four years and, with my memory, I’ll have forgotten the whole thing. I think that I have lost out on £200.00 per year. I’ll cope.

22nd March, 2012

The morning started off sunny at 7.00 am but has rather clouded over by 9.00 am. After doing some office work, we are going over to see Phyllis & Colin. Phyllis wants to buy an iPad and would like some help in the process. When I phoned Currys on Monday, they said they had lots in their central store so I will advise her to get it from there.

The weather just got better and the temperature reached 22C just after mid day. We sat outside for a while and fought hard to avoid opening a bottle of wine. Had a lovely meal of smoked salmon & scrambled eggs with toasted home made bread.

23rd March, 2012

Glorious day reaching 22C today. I subscribed to The Times with Pauline’s Kindle but found it a disappointing experience. All text and no graphics or graphical layout somehow destroyed the newspaper experience. It was better than two day old newspapers on a remote Greek island but not in UK. I’ve now taken on The Times on the iPad and it is a different experience altogether. I’ve only really been buying paper news at the weekends recently and reading the on-line version of The Telegraph but I’m really getting in to The Times on the iPad. I expect to enjoy it even more on a rock in the middle of the Aegean.

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24th March, 2012

Perhaps an even hotter day today although Greece is forging ahead with wonderful weather now.

We have spent the day speaking to our neighbours about where we will be and when over the next six months in case of emergencies. Across the courtyard from us is a Probation Officer. She will have a set of keys in case the burglar alarm goes off. Vicky, an ex-army medic, who lives behind us will be an emergency call too. We have our alarm linked to a Call Centre monitoring system and Pauline’s sister is the first person they call but we could do with some back up if they go on holiday.

My iPad has a lovely self-photo gimmic. These are my favourites:

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