Week 200

14th October, 2012

A quiet day of Sunday papers and some time developing a new web for a special order. I use Macromedia’s Dreamweaver and Fireworks usually but I am trialling a new piece of software and finding it very exciting. It’s nice to find you can’t do something and have to fight to understand it.

15th October, 2012

A nice, sunny morning. Pauline has gone off to her Pilates class with her sister. I’m getting on with my web design. In my email this morning I received one of these regular offers for a day return crossing of car and passengers through the channel tunnel for a total of £22.00. We booked our monthly shopping trip immediately.

I am beginning to get really concerned by time. I’m sure it’s speeding up. Today, it was announced, is the 25th anniversary of the Great Storm which Michael Fish denied and we woke to find trees blown down everywhere across the south of England. Twenty five years!


16th October, 2012

Fascinating focus in the media today. We’ve been talking about the lack of reciprocity in Europe vis a vis Health Treatment. Britain is such an easy touch. Wherever one goes in Europe, one is asked to pay up front and possibly claim some of it back through the EHIC card.


Up until now, British doctors and hospitals seem to treat anyone free of charge. Well soon it may be closing that open-door policy even for ex-pat British passport holders. The pressure on the NHS is so great now that rationing is being openly employed for British taxpayers. Essential things like cataracts and hip replacements are being put on hold for lack of funding. The Tory Government are looking at policing Healthcare access and confining it to those who can prove they have spent at least 180 days each year living in the UK. We know people who live abroad for all but the odd week back in UK but who expect their country of origin to provide the healthcare when things get serious or expensive. The government must cut that out.

17th October, 2012

Still working on this new website today. I’m really enjoying it but it is intricate and labour-intensive. We are going away for a few days tomorrow so it won’t be finished until next week.

We’ve been in Woking, officially, for a whole year now and I haven’t actually seen a doctor at our new practice. I see nurses for blood tests, etc. but nobody of real substance. Today, I am going for my Annual Review with an actual doctor – a cardiac specialist. That will be interesting. I’m bound to have my blood pressure checked. It won’t be good. I’m watching England being run ragged by Poland. What are they doing?

18th October, 2012

This morning we drive to Lancashire. It is the second anniversary of Mum Barnes’ death. She would have been 98 now.


We are going to the Crematorium to pay our respects and to remember her. En route, we will stop in Repton to visit my Mum’s grave.


Neither Pauline nor I believe in an after life but we still feel the visit evokes the memory more than just a thought. While in Oldham, I will visit my old friend, Brian – ex Drugs Squad, ex Murder Squad. He is the most wonderful man and about the only person (other than my wife) that I would trust with my life.


We got off at 5.30 am and had an excellent journey in fine weather. We felt that we were a bit under pressure to get everything done and decided to visit Repton on the return journey. On reaching Oldham, we went straight to look at the new school buildings going up all over the town at a cost of tens of millions of pounds. This is how our reborn school will look as Waterhead Academy with its 2000 pupils. The photos below are poor because I took them on my iPad but you will get the idea.

wa1.jpg  wa2.jpg

Appropriately, we went on to see Kath (aka The Maltese Falcon because she was born there) who was my cleaner in school and who went on to clean for Pauline’s Mum and adopt her as a surrogate Mother. When we arrived, on the second anniversary of Mum’s death, Kath and her husband had ‘lit a candle’ in memory of her. It was very touching. We went on to see all the other friends and relatives we had arranged and then drove back to Huddersfield – actually, Brighouse where we were staying at the Holiday Inn. It’s not a brilliant hotel but, for years, we visited it five or six times a week to use the Health Centre – pool, jacuzzi, gym, steam room, etc. It was familiar and comfortable.

At 6.30 pm we drove down to the most unlikely and unprepossessing part of Huddersfield fringed by the railway viaduct to visit Bradleys Restaurant. Until weeks ago we knew nothing about it and we have been kicking ourselves having long decried the lack of good restaurants in Huddersfield. Apparently, it has featured in the Good Food Guide for seven, consecutive years. Our friends and ex-school colleagues met us at the door and we went in to a lovely interior. I asked how long the restaurant had been there and was flabbergasted to be told that it was nineteen years. We have to get out more. The meal was absolutely wonderful. I had pigeon breast and black pudding to start and it was a revelation. Designer Belly Pork on a bed of garlic mash was fantastic and tarte aux pommes with elderberry ice cream really finished it beautifully. The amazing thing was, after paying European and Surrey prices over the past twelve months, the bill for four people each having three courses and sharing two bottles of wine came to just £93.00. Quite amazing for that quality.

It was a lovely end to the day with lovely, wine, food and friends. Tomorrow is Yorkshire day.

19th October, 2012

A beautiful, sunny day. We were up fairly early and had quite pleasant, buffet breakfast although we were still full from the night before. We set off for Bolton to visit my lovely sister, Ruth, and her friendly husband, Kevan. They seem very happy and relaxed in their new apartment. They seem to have coped with retirement and down sizing rather better than Pauline & I on first impressions. Driving back, we returned to our old house to visit Jean & Perry, our former neighbours. They are the most delightful friends and had lots of tales to tell us. Perry is a lecturer at Bradford College. He would like to retire but is in his mid-50s and feels trapped until his mid-60s. Jean is already in her 60s. We lived in a former quarry and often speculated about the security of its 35 ft. wall.


When we returned we were told that, shortly after we left, a huge block of sandstone cracked and fell on to the back lawn. Nobody could crack or split it and no one could move it so they’ve decided to make a feature of it with shrubs and trees around it and insurance companies will be told that it has always been there.

We left Jean & Perry and this is where we made our great mistake. Over the years, we have built up a strong friendship with Chris, our Honda salesman. Yes, he is a salesman but we have bought cars from him over more than thirty years. In fact, we have bought twenty five new cars during our thirty two year marriage and nineteen of them have been from Chris. We have had a new Mini, a Nissan (Datsun) Cherry, a Nissan Stanza and then in 1984, we bought our first Honda. It was an Accord and cost £7,400.00. We kept that for four years and then moved on to Preludes. We bought a new one virtually each year until we started driving to Greece in 2000 when we moved on to 4×4 CRVs. We just popped in to say ‘Hello’ although we did know that they were launching the latest model of our car today. When we arrived, the launch party hadn’t quite started. By the time we left, half an hour later, they had just sold their first car of the new model and we had just bought it. Our first new car back, in 1979, cost just over £1000.00 and we struggled to afford it. This new car costs a little bit more at £32,000.00 but they begged us to accept 0% finance. How could we refuse.


We have to return in a month to pick it up. Should be an enjoyable trip.

20th October, 2012

After a light breakfast from the buffet – I had yoghurt & berry compote – we made an early start. First we had to nip off to buy a batch of Hollands Pies for Colin who gets homesick without them. By some, strange coincidence, they had just been reduced from £1.53 to 50p each so we bought the shop out. Let’s hope his freezer’s big enough.


The weather was sunny and the motorway quiet. We have decided to visit Mum’s grave when we return next month. We were home for 1.15 pm. It was only then that I realised how tiring the three days had been. I fell asleep through the Chelsea v Spurs match.

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