Week 215

27th January, 2013

This time four years ago, we were preparing for our latest and last Ofsted inspection. Pauline & I were checking that all our policy documents were current and available and staff were asked to hand in Lesson Plans prior to the inspection days. How far away those days feel now. Almost immediately after Ofsted had found us Satisfactory (the new fail) than I came down with an horrendous bout of flu. The next week I went for a heart scan and they confirmed atrial fibrilliation. Half term holiday was just two weeks away and I was longing for it.

28th January, 2013

Skiathan Man is running out of tea bags. When an English man is reduced to drying tea bags on the wood burner, something has to be done. We have gone on a mercy dash to our local supermarket to buy him some. I found a suitable box and printed off some address labels. We went swimming. It was excellent and we both felt good after it. On to the Post Office to despatch the teabags. He will soon be able to breathe easily again.


29th January, 2013

We are driving back to our much missed Yorkshire tomorrow. Because of our diets, Pauline is preparing a picnic to be eaten with a flask of fresh coffee sitting in the car high up on the moors between Huddersfield and Oldham. I’m really looking forward to it. We are taking Pauline’s sister, Phyllis, who is going to visit her friend who is in the final stages of terminal cancer. It will be a harrowing visit for her. This afternoon, Pauline is cooking Chicken drumsticks, sausages, asparagus and we will eat it with some salad. We had to pop down to Waitrose to buy our supplies. Amazingly warm out today – 15C/59F. In Athens it is 8C/46F.

Booked a couple of trips to France this afternoon – in February and in April. I had received a £23.00 return trip for car and occupants offer. How could we refuse?

30th January, 2013

Up at 5.00 am – dark wet but warm and clear morning. Out by 6.15 am and off to pick up Phyllis. On to a static M25 brought to a halt by an accident. Three and a half hours later, we were entering Oldham. One of our intentions was to take Pauline’s sister, Phyllis, to visit her friend who is in the final stages of terminal cancer. We arrived at her friend’s front door at about 10.30 am to be told we were half an hour too late. She had just passed away. It was a sad and difficult time for Phyllis saying goodbye to her friend. Pauline & I spent an hour visiting old haunts and then picked Phyllis up. We drove on to the moors where a gale was blowing heavy rain against our car. We parked up and ate the picnic that Pauline had prepared: sausages, chicken drumsticks, salad and hot, fresh coffee. It was lovely and so was the scenery.


After lunch, we drove to Huddersfield to visit our old neighbour, Jean. It was lovely to see her. I had asked if I could have a few framed photographs back that we had given her when we left. She kindly agreed and after a very brief visit, we left for our drive back to Surrey. All the time, we carried in our heads the thought of another human being – someone I didn’t even know – having left the world today. It both saddens the mind but sharpens the senses. As we move through our sixties, we become only too aware of our mortality.

We were home for around 5.30 pm.. I was tired after 500 miles of almost continuous driving.

31st January, 2013

January going already and February is so short. It’s scarey! This morning, we’ve had an email from a couple who we haven’t seen for thirty years. I remember going to dinner with them in their first home – love’s young dream – as he trained as an accountant. They are younger than us. They look old! What does that tell us about ourselves?


At least the last day of January has opened with clear blue sky and sun. We are told, however, that the colder weather is returning this weekend. We will see. I’ve just read that we chose the best time to be in Yorkshire and Lancashire this week. Both the Oldham Chronicle and Huddersfield Examiner have told stories of damage done by strong winds which were rising while we were there but became distructive and caused damage and injury later as we left.

1st February, 2013

Happy New February. White Rabbit.


Unlike Skiathos, the month has started with dark clouds and a bit of rain. We don’t care. There is so much to do indoors today and we are going swimming later. It always makes me laugh that Pauline has a raincoat and umbrella to get to the swimming pool. Clearly, she has appropriate wet and inappropriate wet. We are now completing the fifth week of our self-denial. My clothes are beginning to feel a bit too big. My face is changing. I’m losing my fifth chin. Only another year of this and I might have done the job.

2nd February, 2013

We had a chat with friends from the island today. They rang us because they had picked up our electricity bill which we had already paid through the bank. They were shocked to find we hadn’t been charged the property tax like everybody else. I wasn’t. The final stages of our authorisation were just too late to be registered for this year’s charge. That’s saved a bit of cash. I was shocked and saddened to hear that their pensions had been reduced again. Originally, they had amounted to €2800.00 and now are exactly half that. They are really going to feel it. We would love to help them but they are proud people. To compound their misery, the ferries which are poor enough at this time of the year are on strike for four days.

Today – a beautiful, sunny day – Pauline is going out for a pedicure with her sister while I watch the 6 Nations rugby matches. It is the Calcutta Cup today.

Week 214

20th January, 2013

Snowed all day from 8.00 in the morning until 6.00 at night. Everywhere was silent as people hunkered down in the warm. Pauline made delicious casseroled rabbit with banana shallots and girolle mushrooms. Celery and turkey stock gave it the most wonderfully deep flavour. The perfect meal for a winter’s day.

I spent the morning writing up my first entry for the Family History page. I have now re-designed four pages and two Blogs. I have one more to restart soon.


The enjoyable day was a little tarnished by an injury time goal scored by Spurs to hold Manchester United to a draw which they didn’t deserve.

21st January, 2013

Huddersfield and the Pennine route are snowbound this morning. It is a wonderful feeling not having to try to get across the moors to a school which is devoid of pupils who have all gone off sledging. The Daily Telegraph reported that today is Blue Monday. It isn’t if you’re retired in Surrey. Went to the Health Centre for a swim and found half the population of Surrey bunking off work to lounge in the jacuzzi. I don’t know what the world’s coming to. No one wants to work nowadays! Anyway, we got our 600 metres done and tottered home, glowing. We are also glowing with pride for having completed three weeks nil by mouth to alcohol and carbohydrates: bread, potatoes, pasta and rice.

My wife has made pea & bacon soup today. It is delicious. I’m going to work on some web-based albums for my website this afternoon. I have just read my Blog entry for this day four years ago. In 2009, we had just started our final term of teaching and I wrote: Just heard this afternoon – Ofsted in on Monday. Can life get any better?

It really has!

22nd January, 2013

Snow lies all around and a new fall is forecast for this afternoon.  It is 0C/32F outside and 14C/57F on Sifnos. The airports – particularly Gatwick & Heathrow – have been on reduced service and many schools across the country have stayed closed. The public and press are up in arms about it. We will brave the road for a trip to the Health Club and hope that most people have gone back to work today.

Like me, my Dad loved cars. Long before I was born, he was renowned for being the first to own and drive a green, open top sports car in the village. I learnt from cousin David that it was a Morgan. I think I have suddenly stumbled on a possible reason why. In 1887, an innovative engineer called W. J. Stephenson Peach set up engineering workshops at Askew House on Milton Road opposite Desford Terrace, a terrace of houses that our family built and owned. Boys came from all over the country to be trained and Repton School was in the forefront of public schools in its attitude to engineering as a discipline. The range of products emerging from the workshops by the boys — was considerable and included oil, steam and gas engines, road rollers, motor cycles and eventually even simple cars. The chassis was produced at the workshops for the first Morgan three-wheeler, unveiled at the 1910 Motor Show.

Presumably, Desford Terrace was named after the origins of Great, Great Grandfather Richard from Desford in Leicestershire. I remember that two of Sanders & Son’s joiners, Dick Bowring (famous for his grampagrowlers) and Harry Gaskin (who taught me to sweep up) lived there. Below is Askew House as it was. Today it is on the market at £650,000.00. The picture of Desford Terrace is current and one cottage is currently on the market for £235,000.00.

askewhouse.jpg  desfordterrace.jpg

Pauline served up braised pheasant with rosemary and customised ratatouille of peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and beetroot. It was out of this world. Greek yoghurt and raspberry coulis for sweet just finished it off perfectly.

23rd January, 2013

Snowing lightly this morning. It is 1C/34F here and, in Greece, 15C/59F.  ‘Call-me-Dave’ Cameron finally made his speech this morning. It is the first step of the Conservative party sleep walking out of Europe. An in/out referendum by 2018. What fools! I’m going swimming.

I’m getting too good at this swimming. I’m going to have to up the distance. The Health Club restaurant were advertising Homemade Tomato & Red Pepper soup – £1.95. By pure coincidence, Pauline had made exactly that for our Lunch when we got home. We worked out that two huge bowls each had cost £1.00.

Yesterday, I watched the magical performance of Bradford beating Aston Villa in the semi-final of the League cup. This evening, Pauline cooked cod loin with garlic prawns and sugar snap peas for dinner. I knew there was a reason why I married her. After Dinner, I watched a brilliant performance by Swansea City against a dismal Chelsea. A lovely cup final for two sides who have won almost nothing throughout the histories.

24th January, 2013

In the Summer of 1990 (and I have to force myself to acknowledge that it is nearly 23 years ago), Pauline and I had been visiting Sifnos twice a year for five or six years. We felt we knew the Cycladic islands quite well. We had visited about ten of them. We thought we should experience the Dodecanese. I looked at brochures. Laskarina was the top (maybe only) tour operator going there at the time. I thumbed through the brochure pictured below, got an idea of how to get there and what properties were available and we just found a phone number for a travel agency on the island.


Fighting with little Greek at our end and little English at the other, Pauline managed to negotiate a price to rent a house for two or three weeks. This was quite a daring and unusual approach. No travel agent, no charter flight, no travel rep.. We flew through the night to Rhodes and got a bus to Mandraki harbour. We sat drinking coffee for hours waiting for the boat to leave. Even so, we arrived on the harbourside at 12.00 mid day in August heat – shattered. I remember that we waited for nearly an hour for a pickup truck to arrive and we and our bags had to sit in the open back on a makeshift, wooden bench as we were driven up to the Hora.

Twice a day we descended and ascended the Kali Strata, the huge, polished stone steps leading down from the Hora or Chorio to the harbour. I have never been so fit as then. It was fascinating to experience a different Greece, a different approach to building, to cooking and a different feel to life. As a news addict, I had my short wave radio with me and remember listening to reports of the release of Brian Keenan from captivity after being held hostage with Terry Waite for nearly five years.

Simi is still there. There are obviously lots of chances for good holidays on Simi. I remember Tony Banks, former Labour Minister for Sport almost adopted Simi for his holidays in the late 90s. You will notice that I follow a Blog maintained by a lovely bloke called James. I sent him a few of our 1990 photos out of interest and, today, not only did he bother to feature them but he gave our house sale on Sifnos a plug. When it has sold, we will have to rediscover Simi.


25th January, 2013

The Sanders family have played a central role in the life of Repton village since the mid-19th Century. There are dozens of newspaper cuttings in which the are mentioned. Today, I brought some of the more significant ones together in a pinboard presentation of the website.


If I like the look of that, more will follow. Watched a bit of Murray beating Federer in Australia and then went swimming. The Nuffield Health Club is full of fit, young things running between meetings in one room or another. I think that if they don’t run everywhere saying, How are you? Good? all the time, they are sacked. Why don’t they wait for you to say, I’m absolutely knackered or Actually, my back aches or Have you got a bottle of Red? Today, one of the young lads – about 18 with scars all over his knees where he came off his bike in the Iron Man Challenge– said to me, You’re getting faster! It used to take you hours when you started. I forgot I wasn’t in school and gave him a slap. I felt so much better.

26th January, 2013

Our former haunts of Yorkshire and Lancashire were hit by extreme snow yesterday evening. Multiple accidents occurred on the M62 and M6. It was one of those situations where, to get anywhere (like home), one had to put one’s life and car in jeopardy in the knowledge that travelling the next day would see the risk gone. We usually took the foolhardy choice rather than miss our home. Here in Surrey we had nothing.

I feel rather lethargic today. It is lovely and sunny outside and yet I don’t want to engage with it. We are in our 26th day of nil by mouth for alcohol and carbohydrate. I think it is making me rather lacking in energy. I’ve spent the day writing emails and letters. I love writing.

Week 213

13th January, 2013

Quite a nice coincidence – Week 213 starts on 13th January, 2013. The omens are all good. And so it is proving. Today, I received information from cousin David about my Great, Great Grandfather, Richard Sanders (1821 – 1891). His wife, our Great, Great Grandmother, was Ann Newbery (1828 – 1898). Notice that they both lived to 70 years old even then.


Above is Great, Great Grandfather, Richard Sanders (1821 – 1891) resplendent with his Newgate Fringe. This was the description given to his beard style expropriated from the convicts of that prison who grew their beard hair between the chin and the neck. It was so called because it occupies the position of the rope when men are about to be hanged.He was born in Birstall, Leicestershire but moved to the flour mill in Repton which went on to be the Sanders Family home until 1938. Richard, it appears, was an illegitimate son of a stocking seamer, Jane Sanders, who went on to marry a man called John Kilby, also a stocking seamer in Birstall. Below is a photograph of Ann Newbery. She looks a bundle of laughs.


Finished the day, happily, watching Man.U. beat Liverpool.


14th January, 2013

The tables are turning – cold here and relatively warm in Greece – so the heating is on and soup is for lunch. Fantastic swim today left us both glowing.

More from cousin David who is mining a rich seam. It appears that illegitimate Richard gained a stepfather when his mother, Jane Sanders, married neighbour and fellow stocking seamer, John Kilby. By the time he was 30, Richard was living in Swepstone (Measham/Swadlincote) at ‘Clock Mill’ which is now a listed building and may have later become known as Desford Mill. Within ten years, he had moved the relatively short distance to Repton in Derbyshire, a journey of 20 miles but one which in those days was quite adventurous. With his wife, Ann Newbery, who had been born in Desford, 10 miles from Swepstone and 30 from Repton. In the 1851 Census, they had one child, Elizabeth aged 1 year. They had two more children who I haven’t yet discovered names for but born in 1852 and 1854. All three children died in 1860. There was an influenza pandemic in 1859/60 which would be a plausible explanation for the loss of all three. I found a photograph of Desford Mill and a painting of it. Sometime after 1851 (yet to be established), Richard, Ann and family moved to the mill in Repton. This mill was at the bottom end of Repton on the way to Park Ponds on the opposite side of the road to Grandad Sanders house. The mill is pictured below and the Sanders family lived there until 1938 when they moved to the new house in the High Street.
desfordmill1.jpg    desfordmill2.jpg  mill_sandershome_until_1938.jpg

Twenty years after they left it and I was living in High Street, I remember going ‘fishing’/exploring with friends at the bottom end of Repton in an idyllic, weeping willow fringed stream and coming across a ruined building. When I recounted that tale around the dinner table, Dad told me that I had found the ‘old mill’. If only I had understood the significance of it.

15th January, 2013

It seems that there is no stopping cousin David. He has discovered the most amazing story about Richard Sanders’ stepfather, John Kilby. When he was 41, in 1842, he was arrested for ‘feloniously killing a sheep with intent to steal’ and, at Leicester Quarter Sessions on March 2nd of that year, he was sentenced to transportation for fifteen years. He was taken from Leicester jail to a hulkship called Justitia at Woolwich. He was kept there for a month and a half – one can imagine in what conditions – and was described in the ledger as ‘bad in every respect’. He was taken to Plymouth from where he set sail in the ship, Susan, on April 21st. After eight weeks at sea, he was landed in Van Diemen’s Land, Tasmania on 24th July, 1842.

John Kilby returned to England – not on the 1851 census – maybe in 1857 after serving his full time. He is back in Leicestershire – in Belgrave, a parish of Barrow upon Soar. In 1851, his wife, Jane, is Head of the family and aged 52, living with her family of four. Jane died in 1856 and by 1862, John Kilby is living alone. It is possible he never got back in time to be reunited with his wife.

16th January, 2013

Temperature in Surrey this morning -3C/27F and in the Cyclades islands 17C/63F. Even so we went for a fantastic swim this morning and then got into conversation with an old chap who usually comes to swim at the same time as us. I have always had a fault/character trait which can get me into trouble. I am absolutely fascinated by people and their lives. I remember meeting an old lady in an old people’s home a couple of years ago. I got chatting to her and, after fifteen minutes, she said, You now know more about me than anyone else in this building and I’ve lived here twenty years.

Well, the poor old chap got into the huge jacuzzi where Pauline & I were luxuriating. When he escaped, ten minutes later, I had drawn from him the fact that he was 72 years old. He went to Oxford and then trained as a doctor in St Thomas’ Hospital in central London. He went on to become a specialist clinician but I don’t know what in yet. I didn’t get round to that because we learnt that, in 1962, he and his wife drove to Greece in an ancient Austin 8 motorcar. The didn’t stop in Athens but continued right on to the Peloponnese. Where did the stay en route? Oh, they had a tent with them! This is so far from the approach of Pauline and I as to be an anathema. Every hour of our journeys is mapped out and recorded. We don’t just stop off at a hotel; we book it months in advance and ferry crossings similarly. We are the last people one might describe as ‘intrepid travellers’.

Enjoyed United beating West Ham in the FA Cup this evening. Particularly, I enjoyed Old Man Giggs getting Man of the Match at the age of 39. The old ones are always the best ones.


17th January, 2013

I make no apology for stealing someone elses Blog entry today. This is why I read The Skiathan first of all blogs on Greece. Today Skiathan Man has summed up an important thread running through Greek – and particularly island – life currently. We knew it would come. We knew many Greeks were in denial. It has arrived:

Judgement Day

Many long faces here on the island at the moment, as seasonal staff make their way to the town hall, to enquire about their unemployment benefits. This year the rules have been tightened, and many staff who work seasonally are being informed, that they will not be getting any unemployment benefits payments. The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly here, Finish work in September or October, lodge unemployment claims within one month, with the OACD (Unemployment benefits office at the town hall – often wrongly confused with IKA) Then nearly three months later, you get a letter saying claim denied. For many this means, another four and a half months until gainful employment resumes. Rents still have to be paid, bills too, and money to warm cold concrete apartments. Only today I have seen two cafes, that have dispensed with expensive electric (Prices up 11%) heating for old fashioned, and in one case – antique wood burners. This loss of unemployment benefits, could have a knock on effect, as landlords, not always progressive at lowering rents – thus leading to the seasonal merry-go-round, Now find that they are not going to get paid either. Or that the tenant departs quickly for lands further north, via the ferry when the landlord is out at the ouzeria or visiting friends on the mainland. 

Greece is tightening up the rules, what was taken for granted is now paid for by the EU, and overseen by the Troika. The writing is very clearly on the wall, there will be much tougher times to come

This is exactly the sort of writing I want from a Greek Blog.

18th January, 2013

Today the snow is falling. Not in Yorkshire Pennine terms but light, fluttering small flakes. When we were teaching, a foot of snow over the moors was acceptable; any more might mean the school being closed. This morning we heard that Surrey schools were closed in anticipation that snow might fall. We’ve cancelled our trip to the Health Club, not because of the roads but because it will be full of kids bunking off school. I don’t know what the education world is coming to!

We had to read our electricity meter today for Scottish Power and return our reading on-line. The bill was returned instantly. We worked out that our annual electricity bill here is about £400.00 which means that the Heating Allowance I received pays for half of it. If you take into account the cost of our hot water and central heating which comes through our service charge, out total yearly outlay is about £550.00. Looking back to our bills in Yorkshire four years ago now, this represents one third of our previous costs. There are real advantages to downsizing.

19th January, 2013

No snow today although it’s forecast for us tomorrow morning. The sky looked full of snow and the light was poor. 0C/332F felt like -4C/25F. It was a day to be indoors and to do a bit more research.

I told you earlier in the week that the step father of my Great, Great Grandfather, Richard Sanders was convicted of stealing a sheep and sentenced to fifteen years which were to be served in Tasmania. Between being found guilty at Leicester Quarter Sessions at the beginning of March 1842 and being shipped off from Plymouth on HMS Susan towards the end of April 1842, Richard was incarcerated on a hulk ship prison moored just off Woolwich. I managed to find information about the hulk ship which was then called the Justitia. First purchased by the Navy in 1804 from the East India Company, the vessel went through a number of names and services before ending up as a hulk at Woolwich.

I found an actual partial illustration of the Justitia which is held by the National Maritime Museum but is also on sale at …………………Amazon.


I know this is a fragment but I did find something else of interest to counter balance cousin David’s deliberate attempts to render the Sanders family as illegitimate criminals not entitled to the name Sanders. We may be all of those things but we have a connection across time with William Bligh, the unfortunate Captain in the Mutiny on the Bounty and Captain Cook, the explorer.

When the Justitia was first built out of teak in 1799, it was known as Admiral Rainier . In 1804, the vessel was commissioned by the Royal Navy and renamed HMS Hindostan. The most notable service the vessel saw was sailing to Australia in 1809 bringing Governor Lachlan Macquarie to replace Governor William Bligh after The Rum Rebellion. Bligh turned out to be a very unlucky man. After surviving the Mutiny on the Bounty, he was the Governor of New South Wales who presided over The Rum Rebellion of 1808 which was the only successful armed takeover of government in Australia’s history. More of this will feature on the Family History page very shortly.

Week 212

6th January, 2013

A lovely, quiet and very warm day. I’ve spent it working on Sanders Site. Most of it is up and running now. Only the Family History pages are to be developed and uploaded now. They will be on-going pages anyway and constantly changing as we discover new things in our research. At the moment, I have addressed three pages – At Home, Abroad, & Links – plus providing access to the Blogs – Hellas Blog, Greek Island Living & Pauline’s Recipe Store.

7th January, 2013

In Greece, instead of Birthdays, the celebrate Name Days. The custom originated with the Greek Orthodox calendar of saints and, across Europe, with the Catholic calendar of saints. Name Days are more or less significant in more than twenty European countries. Today is my Name Day – Giannis/Ionnanis/John.

Happy Name Day to me, Happy Name Day to me,…………

8th January, 2013

Lovely warm day in Surrey. Woking is 50F/10C this morning. Athens is 37F/3C. Skiathan Man is reporting snow over night. He has posted this photograph in his Blog today:


Other Greek bloggers report urgently searching for wood to keep fires going. For years in our house in Yorkshire we maintained an open log fire during the winter months. We had cut down a number of thirty foot ash trees and had them logged but we were amazed at how quickly an open fire can eat logs up in cold weather. This is why we chose our log burning stove which can survive on a couple of logs for a long time.


This urgent trend to wood burning in Greece to reduce the cost of heating is bringing immediate and unexpected consequences. eKathimerini is reporting today that a “group of scientists from seven research centers will be taking smog readings in a number of Greek cities from January 10 to February 10 to gauge the environmental impact from the increased use of fireplaces and wood-burning stoves”. Also, they are reporting heavy snow in Athens closing roads and schools.


Even so, I know where I’d rather be at the moment.

9th January, 2013

Like so many others after Christmas indulgence, we have entered a chosen period of self-denial to open the new year. No alcohol and no carbohydrate are the principles at the centre of our hair shirt and we are almost enjoying it. Not one to be known for masochistic tendencies, I am actually enjoying testing myself against the frugalities of this new regime. It is also posing an interesting challenge and opportunity for Pauline. She loves the idea of inventing new meals because she is so skilled and ingenious in that regard. We have just started our second week of no alcohol and no carbohydrate which we are combining with our daily swim.

At the same time, Pauline has launched her new Recipe blog which will begin with Christmas food but move rapidly to inventive meals under the new regime. It is very current because of its timing and the media’s focus on it at this time of year. We have just watched a three part series about cooking and dieting featuring the Hairy Bikers which didn’t really break new ground other than their attempts to recreate old favourites in new, low calorie format. To all intents and purposes, this is what Pauline is attempting.


10th January, 2013

Watched The Iron Lady – played by Meryl Streep – last night. I didn’t enjoy it. It took me almost the whole film to get in to it. I didn’t like or approve of her view of the world yet it was impossible not to feel real sadness at her decline in the film. And it just underlined Eliot’s words in The Hollow Men that opens with:

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

and ends

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

It was in my head all night.

Up early. Cold morning. First INR test of the new year. Having stopped alcohol for ten days, it may be skewed a little. We are told that cold weather is on the way – maybe even snow. At times like this, it is good to be living in Surrey.

11th January, 2013

A wonderfully bright and sunny day. Not hot – 5C/41F at 9.00 am – but very inviting. Not quite the same on the Greek island of Simi this morning where a Simi blogger writes:

There are heavy grey skies this morning and the sea is the colour of a battleship. I don’t really have much news as I wake up and start to warm up in the very cold front room.

I am watching England amass a large total in the first one day against India while having my hair cut by Pauline. Can life get much harder? Well, we will have to go swimming in a couple of hours.

The Tory led Coalition Government in Britain and rapidly digging their own graves. Their mission is to paint the Great Unwashed as lazy shirkers on whom money should not be wasted. Cutting income tax on the rich incentivises them while those lazy scroats on the minimum wage need a good dose of deprivation to shake them up. At the same time, they try to set the Middle Classes in opposition to the poor. You work all day only to keep those no good idlers in clover. The posh boys of Torydom who don’t know the price of a pint of milk are trying desperately to reassume the mantle of The Nasty Party. And next, lets attack the pensioners. They’ve got it rich. We can’t allow that. Free bus passes, heating allowances, free tv licences, we’ll take those back.

Mistake! Yes, Pauline & I don’t need our Winter Fuel Allowance; we don’t need a bus pass or a free tv licence; we don’t even need our State Pension but, like everyone else in this country, we have contributed every penny of our dues in income tax and national insurance for the best part of forty years and we expect the other side of the contract to be honoured. Unlike the callow youth, unlike the hardpressed middle aged, we have the time and the bloody mindedness to lobby and to vote. This government – already doomed – will write its own suicide note if it frames its next manifesto with cuts to old age promises!

Lovely cartoon in The Telegraph this week:


12th January, 2013

A cold morning – 3C/32F – and rather grey. The focus this morning is sorting Pauline’s laptop keyboard out. It is starting to intermittently fail. Sometimes the occasional letter prints twice or doesn’t print at all. The shift is starting to be a little unreliable. It is a two year old Toshiba Sattelite L670. I first thought it was dirty and sticking. I tried to clean it but without any noticeable change. After all, Pauline is clean. Unlike me, she doesn’t eat peanuts while typing or spill the odd bit of red wine on it while trying to shake toast crumbs out of it. After consulting the internet, I realise that it is a problem with this model.


Incredibly, a brand new, model-specific replacement can be had from Amazon for £25.00. I’ve already ordered one.