Week 199

7th October, 2012


The trees at our front door are showing signs of Autumn and an army of squirrels believe it to be true as they scurry underneath to hide nuts in a store for the winter.

Drove over to Epsom this morning – not to the races but to our nearest branch of Staples. I needed a new colour printer. I have a Brother Mono Laser printer which has been a wonderful workhorse for years and backed it up with an inkjet colour because I used it so rarely. I think the inkjet printer cost less than £50.00 which is really a throwaway price. The last colour laser bought for school, I remember distinctly, cost £3,570.00. I remember because I had a tussle with the Local Authority about which one to order to use for publicity work. I chose a Kyocera and it turned out to be a wonderful quality but one would never pay that for it now. It was as big as a dishwasher. Even the toner cost £400.00. It’s rather like OCR software which, in the 1990s was the holy grail and cost hundreds of pounds, now comes free with a scanner.

Anyway, I chose a Brother HL-3040CN colour laser because it was being advertised by Staples on-line at £107.00. I thought it was ridiculously cheap and, when I got there, it turned out to be so. The store had it advertised for £237.00, which is still unbelievably cheap. When I showed the Manager my web printout, he said it must be a typing error but he had to honour the lower price. Set up and used as soon as we got home, it looks a good buy.


8th October, 2012

The skies opened this morning soon after breakfast and rain poured torrentially. It was a delight to see after months of strong sun. Spent my morning writing to people in Sifnos – emails and hard copies. I interspersed this by watching coverage of the Tory Party Conference from Birmingham and a pretty sterile and tawdry affair it is. They are a caricature of 1970s Toryism. We are still, according to them, all in this together. Later in the evening, Channel 4 ran an investigative piece illustrating the hugely divergent and continually diverging levels of reward between those at the top of companies and those at the very bottom. It really did little more than reiterate the involvement of cronyism on Remuneration Boards but it did serve as a counterpoint to a Tory Chancellor looking to cut Welfare budgets.

9th October, 2012

A delightful day. I drove Pauline and her sister to Guildford. It’s less than ten miles away and is a charming place with much of the charm of somewhere like York.


For Pauline, it was like a walk through all the clothes catalogues that arrive so regularly in the post:

The only shop I accompanied them to was Lakeland because I wanted to look at a Sousvide machine but it was disappointingly missing.


10th October, 2012

The day has opened with beautiful, warm sunshine. The squirrels are going wild. The morning was spent helping Phyllis & Colin book a break in Tenerife. We used three, separate methods – internet helped me isolate the sort of holidays available. All websites offered internet reductions. Hard copy brochures had the same holidays but at even cheaper prices. Phyllis ultimately booked the holiday by phone and got it cheaper again. What was interesting was to find the internet site and the brochure disagreed about the flight times and the final booking confirmed different flight times again.

This afternoon a friend from Sifnos phoned with exciting news for us. She also said that, although the weather had been wonderful since we left, there was a lot of illness going round. Her children had been ill and she now had it.

We are driving up to Lancashire & Yorkshire for a couple of days next week and we made some phone calls to make arrangements to meet family, old friends, ex-neighbours and ex-colleagues. Every minute of the two or so days is now fixed up. We will be exhausted by the time we leave for Surrey.

11th October, 2012

Had to be at Woking Walk-in Centre for 9.00 am for my blood test. We then drove on to our dentist’s appointments. Pauline needs an expensive veneer on her front tooth to replace the one that she lost while in Greece.

We drove home through increasingly heavy rain and prepared lunch. We roasted red peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic with oregano and later made soup from them. I then did the most ridiculous thing. I applied for my Winter Fuel Allowance. I qualify for £200.00 per year. I don’t need £200.00. Last year our total heating bill was about £100.00. Even with our underfloor heating for a month in Sifnos we wouldn’t have spent £200.00 but, because we are entitled to it, I have applied for it.

Honda have invited us to preview the new CRV model out next month. I’m trying to resist it. I’ve had a new Honda most years over the past thirty. I occasionally have a hankering for a change of maker. These are the models I would consider at the moment:

  • The new CRV
  • The Volvo XC90
  • The Land Rover
  • The Range Rover

car1.jpg car2.jpg car3.jpg car4.jpg

12th October, 2012

Had to visit Honda this morning to show them stone chip we got to our windscreen on the way through France. It seems it’s not as bad as we feared and can just be filled and buffed away. Autoglass are coming round this afternoon and will do it for free. The wine merchants I visit in Calais have sent us free return tickets so we will probably use them in November. I got an email from Friends Reunited yesterday saying someone had uploaded a photograph which featured me. When I found it:


I couldn’t remember a thing about it other than it was in Masham where we used to visit Theakston’s Brewery which, in those days only had an outlet in two or three pubs. Nowadays, you can buy it in Supermarkets across the country. The trouble with the photo is that I am surrounded by youngsters who I have no memory of. I can see Chris Tolley in the background, leaning against the wall. I can see John ???? in the door of the pub but the others are distant memories. It must have been 1971/2. Now this next one, I remember well. I’m the hairy monster with his hand up surrounded by some of his closest peers. I suspect this was 1970/71. There is Judy, Christine, Bill & Nigel in the back row and Anne, Kevin, Robert & Me in the front row.


Where are those days? Well the times are certainly changing. The Autoglass man who came round to fix the chip in our windscreen turned out to be a 40 year old, bi-lingual law graduate who had fallen on hard times and was driving round the south east of England, filling or replacing windscreens. Quite amazing but he did an excellent job for me. Strange to think that my pension for doing nothing is greater than his take home pay for five and a half days work.

13th October, 2012

A lovely, mild, Autumn day of sun and showers. All the lawns were cut yesterday, stray leaves vacuumed up and the rich, green stripes look great in the sunshine. Although we are doing fairly mundane things today, after six months in Greece, a trip to Tesco is magical.

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