Week 204

11th November, 2012

Today, I had to turn my mind to finances. Since we retired, it has been hard to know where to invest money. The stock market has been weak and savings account rates low. We have had a policy of always saving the full ISA allowance each year for both of us. We also run an on-line investment fund which we can drop money in to at any time. It is a good discipline and means we never worry about money. My mother lived on her investments alone for much of her life and could talk knowledgeably about companies and their share earnings. She kept tranches of Blue Chip shares for long periods. My approach is small beer in comparison and I don’t take any risks that I can avoid and just try to get ahead of inflation. It is becoming harder. The bonus that comes with popular investment accounts usually lasts for a year and so I am regularly looking to reinvest at this time of year. I didn’t come to many conclusions before the football started.

Having watched Man. U. make Villa look distinctly ordinary yesterday, I watched Man. City just beat a remarkably poor Spurs who are definitely still missing Harry. Chelsea v Liverpool weren’t so much better although it was good to see Liverpool with a bit of fight back.

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12th November, 2012

Went to bed at 10.00 pm last night and the radio came on this morning at 4.00 am. By 5.00 am, we were in the car with Phyllis & Colin and two, huge cases en route to Gatwick Airport. The road was busy but we arrived at about 5.40 am and were going round Tesco by 6.30 am.

Off to the Health Club at 1.00 pm and we managed a half kilometre swim which really made us feel more lively. I got back to find a Facebook request from a lad I haven’t seen since 1972 at college. It turns out, he has been living and teaching quite near me in Kirklees for a long time. It will be interesting to hear his story:

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By coincidence, we will rehearse the early morning process again tomorrow but drive to the tunnel and across to France.

13th November, 2012

Up again at 4.00 and on the road at 5.15 am. The drive down to the Tunnel wasn’t quite as straight forward as usual because of some early morning fog patches which slowed traffic down but we were still at the tunnel for around 6.30 am. It’s all so much easier than in the early days. I book on the internet and enter my car registration and get an email confirmation. As I drive up to the unmanned check-in booth, a camera reads my number plate and by the time I get to the machine’s screen, it reads, Welcome, Mr Sanders. I press a button and it prints my paperwork out and off I go. I must admit, it doesn’t speak to me which I miss because I’ve spent the Summer shouting back at the speaking toll booths, Arrivederci.

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This was just a shopping trip today. We didn’t buy wine for ourselves because we didn’t need any but we drove over to the Calais Wine Superstore first to buy a little bit for Phyllis. We then went on to Cité Europe (which was almost deserted as you can see below) and walked round the large Carrefour. The quality of fish, meat, cheese, butter and vegetables is wonderful and €250.00 later, it was time for lunch. A pleasant little bistro provided us with a two course lunch of soup – onion for Pauline and crab for me – followed by Beef Bourguignon and french fries for Pauline and Roast Lamb with a garlic cream sauce and Duchesse Potatoes for me. Delicious! Unfortunately, because I had to drive home, I could only drink sparkling water but that was ok.

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We lingered so long over lunch that we only just made our departure time of 3.40 pm but, with the hour difference, we were back in UK by 3.15 pm and home in Surrey by 4.30 pm. Cheese and biscuits and a bottle of red wine for Supper and an early night.

14th November, 2012

Today is the most beautiful, mild, sunny day you can imagine for mid-November. It is one of those days when one is glad to be alive – to be retired, free and alive is a real bonus.

I even enjoyed the goals scored against England in the evening. Ibrahimovic showed that there is no substitute for talent with a wonderful hat trick topped off with a brilliant fourth goal.

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12th November, 2012

Another lovely day apart from the fact that we were up at 6.00 am and in a hospital queue by 7.00 am for my INR blood test. I was feeling shattered after ten minutes in the queue but I couldn’t show it because standing immediately in front of me was an 86 year old little old lady with a tube up her nose attached to an oxygen bottle that she had wheeled with her on a trolley. She didn’t complain so neither did I.

We went off to the Peacock Shopping Centre at 10.00 am because Pauline was desperate to look for a new bag. She had browsed the internet for hours and identified two, particular bags – one from Debenhams and one from Lewis’s. The bag has to hold a Kindle, an iPad, passports, tickets, currency, keys and mobile phone plus sundry other things. It must have a long enough strap to go diagonally across the chest with central and internal zips. She doesn’t want to pay much more than £100.00. We went to the relevant shops to look at these bags:

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Of course, non had them in stock. The internet has reduced these once great shops to husks.

This afternoon I took Pauline to Woking Walk-in Hospital for a small operation on a cyst on her toe which had been increasing in size over the summer. I wasn’t in on the action but they split open the cyst and squeezed some jelly-like substance out of it. I don’t know what flavour.

This evening, we have to go to a Management Committee Meeting for the Development within which our Duplex lies. It will deal with the Annual Expenditure of our Management fees which amount to nearly £2000.00. This includes the on-site biomass as well as maintenance of the grounds – trees, grass, fences, lighting, etc..

Got a note from John Ridley this afternoon suggesting that he and Nigel (Nigel!) should act as estate agents for our Greek house. I can’t see it myself but it was nice to hear from them.

I’ve just been reading Skiathan Man and he’s been watching England cricket. Where’s he getting that from on Skiathos? Surely not from Nova.

16th November, 2012

Today there were three by-elections all won by Labour including the weather-vein constituency of Corby where the star-struck Louise Mensch had run off. Bad night for the Tories but even worse for the Liberal Democrats who will be annihilated at the General Election for reneging on their election promises. At the same time ‘Police Commissioner’ elections were mocked by the electorate as irrelevant and, at a price of £100 million, a costly waste. It was pleasing to see that Prescott was rejected by the impoverished, sink area of Humberside. Little good ever comes out of there!

Skiathan Man – always an interesting read – quotes a Greek teacher: ’17 demonstrations planned in Greek cities on Saturday, bring your own Molotov’. It demonstrates how far Greek society is moving away from the civilised mainstream even if one acknowledges why. He also kindly explained how he watches the cricket. I’d forgotten that normal people have broadband. When we are in our Sifnos house, we only have a 10Gb dongle contract for internet access. I once watched a day of cricket from ‘Sky TV’ and used 6 of my 10GB allowance for the month. Nova did televise England in South Africa but it’s a long time until that comes round. I envy Skiathan Man and that at least.

We are going up to London on Thursday. It takes about 20 minutes on the train. We went down to the station this morning to purchase Day Travel Cards. For £ 13.20 our cards will allow us to travel to Waterloo and back and anywhere on the underground. If we look like making it a regular trip, we will probably invest in Senior Rail cards which, for £28.00 give us one third off all rail journeys even first class. Actually, we are planning Harrods, Fortnum & Masons, Borough Market and, possibly, the Tate Pre-Raphaelite Exhibition – Victorian Avant-Garde.

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17th November, 2012

A fairly grey and overcast day. We had just had breakfast when the dentist phoned to say Pauline’s re-worked veneer had arrived and she would fit it in the next twenty minutes if we could make it. We got there and the job took more than an hour. The original price for the job was £350.00 but because of the problems the surgery had in sourcing the correct veneer, the price was reduced to £230.00.

While Pauline was in the surgery, I sat in the car reading notes of research done by David Pritchard into the Sanders Family history which he did eight or more years ago. At the time, I was deep into work and gave it a cursory although enjoyable perusal. Now the time has arrived when my genes are itching to take up the baton and I hope I can build on David’s work. His research took the family back to the 1770s. I have the time and the inclination so, amongst other projects in Surrey and Greece, I hope to report new discoveries in the next few months. What has particularly spurred me on was as the result of some early enquiries I made at the beginning of this year. I was struck by the name of my Grandmother who I didn’t meet. Dad’s Mother who was called Flook. I thought this was quite a strange name. In fact, I thought it might be German but found it was listed as an interesting and unusual surname derived from the Old Norse personal name “Floki”, which was originally a byname meaning outspoken or enterprising. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes Flooke, which was dated November 24th 1609, marriage to William Huffe, at St. Dunstan’s, Stepney, London, during the reign of James I. I also found that the Flook name was/is heavily clustered around the Bristol area.

I contacted the Bristol & Avon Family History Society. I knew Grandad Sanders was a pilot in WW1. I knew Mabel Lillian Flook came from Wickwar in Goucestershire where she married Grandad in November 1914. I asked myself how a solidly Midlands-based man could find himself marrying in Gloucestershire at the beginning of a war that he survived, against all the odds, as a pilot. I thought that, if I was sent to train and/or be stationed in the Bristol & Avon area for an activity that gave me a life expectancy of about seven weeks, I would look to pass on my genes immediately. Grandad Sanders didn’t hang around and Dad was born in 1915. When I got back from Greece, I received this quite explosive letter:

Chipping Sodbury
Bristol
South Gloucestershire BS37 6LQ

September 2012



Dear Mr Sanders,

A friend of mine has showed me the request that you had included within Bristol and Avon Family History Society journal, for September 2012, about the information within your request for help, about your grandmother and other relations.

Your Grandmother is my aunt, Mabel Lillian Flook, Mabel the older sister of my father, Norman Albert Flook. I have been steadily working my way towards you and your siblings. However, I am stuck now, trying to discover the second marriage of Lily Catherine Sanders nee Coghlan, to Gordon J. Bennett, the death of Lily Catherine Bennett, the birth of Ronald Albert Wilson and finally the death of Ronald Albert Wilson. However, as soon as I have managed to discover these four certificates, then I will move onto their children.

Going back in time, I have managed to get back fully to Samuel Flook. Who would be your great great great grandfather. Samuel Flook baptism took place within the Parish Stapleton in 1812 and his wife Sarah Breddy. Sarah baptism took place in 1814.

I also have discovered the names of Samuel Flook father and mother. However, I have not researched them at all yet. Therefore, I may be able to carry on going back. Your other great-grandmother was Martha Ann Cratchley. She was born on the 25th February 1870. I already have extra layer of information on the Cratchley, right back to the second Samuel Cratchley. Who was born in Randwick Gloucestershire, at about 1778.

So if you would kindly let me know. What information you require. Then I will gladly provide you, with anything that I am able.

W. A. Flook