Week 261

15th December, 2013

Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday Dear Blo-og.
Happy Birthday to you.



Actually, the Blog began on Christmas Day, 2008 but, arithmetically, it has now been going for the equivalent of five, whole years. It has come a long way in that time along with our lives, making some laugh, some cry and some spit blood and feathers. Long may it continue!

16th December, 2013

Thank you to all those readers of the Blog who sent their congratulations and best wishes for the future.

Another mild day here – 14C/57F – although there was a little, light rain early on. We were out early to do a bit of shopping. All the hype about booming sales for Christmas has been punctured by the reality which is poor sales. The Times carries a headline today: Retailers cut prices by half after sharp drop in footfall. Certainly, advertising through all media has intensified until it borders on the ridiculous. It is as if retailers are in the middle of an absolute panic. Of course, if one’s got money, one’s in the driving seat.

When we got to the Peacock Shopping Centre, it was certainly quiet for a week before Christmas. I was going to one of my favourite shops – Maplin. Basically, it is an electrical store majoring in computing. I bought a Broadband Delivery Extender which connects to my router and uses the apartment’s electrical sockets to transmit broadband round the property. It can be accessed via wireless or Ethernet cable which will improve the service to Pauline’s laptop and to our mobiles and iPads.


I’ve set it up and the performance is absolutely excellent. Broadband speed downstairs is just as good as connected to the hub upstairs in the Study.

17th December, 2013

Did a really hard session in the gym yesterday and I’ve been absolutely knackered ever since. Even this morning I’m still feeling it. However, I told Pauline that I want her to force me, however reluctant, to go every day this week because I know we will have a couple of days off next week. Why did I say that to her?

18th December, 2013

Went out early to beat the rush hour traffic and ran straight in to a thirty minute jam. Eventually got to the Surgery to pick up my prescription and then to Tesco Pharmacy to pick up a shopping trolley of drugs. Haven’t been feeling well for a couple of days. I have had all the symptoms of low blood pressure without the statistics. Chose to miss the gym after all and spend the day analysing the Development’s end of year Accounts and Projections for 2014. You can’t get more riveting than that.

Even though we are in the second half of December, we still aren’t using the heating at all. It really justifies buying new-build with the most up to date insulation. We have had heavy rain and strong winds today and a football match in Stoke was temporarily abandoned because of a white out hail storm.


19th December, 2013

Up and out by 6.30 am to be first in the queue for a blood test at the Woking ‘walk-in’ Hospital. Arrived at 6.45 am and was second. Beautiful morning with bird song greeting the light of a nearly full moon in a cloudless sky. Even so, at that time, it wasn’t especially cold.

The nurse took three goes stabbing the crook of my arm with a javelin before she go enough blood to test. I will get my result by post on Saturday. I have more or less decided that I will buy my own testing kit. The can be expensive but the price has come down considerably since I first looked. There are many machines available for Home use but the best seems to be made by Coaguchek.


If you buy it through Amazon, it will cost £585.00. If you buy it from Coaguchek, it will cost £358.00 and to me it will be only £299.00 because I don’t pay VAT. Those on long term warfarin are VAT exempt. The test strips are also quite expensive (particularly if you make a mistake) but from Amazon they cost £2.91 each whereas the Coaguchek price is £2.75 each.

It’s turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day and relatively mild at 10C/50F – almost exactly the same as Athens. Squirrels are chasing round the oak trees outside and the birds seem to think it is Spring. Their songs are gorgeous! Am I beginning to sound old?

20th December, 2013

I will always think of this as Pay Day. For forty years our salary was paid into the Bank on the 20th of each month. Unfortunately, not any more. Not that I’m complaining. We are incredibly lucky but I still have that ‘institutionalised’ streak in me. I’m waiting for the Lunch Bell to ring!

We think we know why I’ve been feeling strange recently – I’ve dropped half a stone in weight over the past few days and my body has been telling me.

Glorious morning with strong sun although a little cool at 5C/41F. We were out early again today. First to Waitrose at Goldsworth Park to buy all the final elements of the Christmas meal – fresh cranberries, vegetables, Pancetta lardons, bacon, sausages and sausage meat, a lobster, chocolate, fresh, double and clotted cream, etc. With all the shopping done by 9.30 am, we escaped a rapidly filling car park.

By 10.00 am we are back home, unpacked and drinking delicious, fresh cups of freshly made cappuccino in Humbug Towers. I managed to phone Ruth at last. It was nice to hear her voice but I don’t think she really wanted to talk. She was busy and about to go out. She has her life to lead just as I have mine.

21st December, 2013

A wet day today. Most of the working world will be out shopping so it feels wonderful to have done all ours during the week. I’m settling down to an excellent match between Liverpool & Cardiff where the sun is out. I’m also catching up on correspondence. Heard from my old Assistant at school this morning with lots of news about ex-colleagues. I am hungry to hear such news.

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