Week 273

9th March, 2014

Summer has arrived. We are told that we will be warmer than Greece today and that everyone in the South is heading down to the beach. Can’t think of a better reason not to go there. The record High for this day is 15C/59F. At 10.00 am this morning, we have already exceeded it.

Happy Birthday to Catherine. I’ve made and sent her an e-card.


I was shocked to work out that, with all the age upgrades, she isn’t entitled to her State Pension until 2021 when she will be 66. However, looking as she does, it shouldn’t be a problem.

10th March, 2014

The media told us that we reached 20C/68F yesterday and it was certainly a warm night here. This morning opened a warm and sunny 15C/59F but clouded over by mid day as we were going out. We had an appointment at the Halifax to discuss moving ISA Funds in from Santander but they left us waiting for 20 minutes without explanation so we left giving them a flea in their ear as old people are inclined to do.

The Doctor’s Surgery phone me to say that my Blood results were back and fantastic. They are completely removing Pioglitazone and reducing my Metformin by 25%. There is actually a belief forming that, if I can lose four or five more stones in weight I could cease to be Diabetic. This will be fantastic although I’ll probably be dead from a heart attack. The results of the ECG will not be back for a while.

As we drove to the Health Club today, it was striking how a warm weekend has brought everything out. It was just waiting to display itself.


11th March, 2014

A rather overcast and cool morning for our trip to London. On this day last year, snow was falling in Surrey. Half an hour by train from West Byfleet to Waterloo followed by a couple of Tube journeys to Pimlico. I was visiting the Dentist in Chapter Street, Westminster. It looks innocuous enough but it cost us £8.00 for two coffees nearby.


Jane lives just across the river and, unbelievably, the Dentist lives just down the road from her and her Uncle lives in an Apartment in Imperial Court.

We left home at 10.00 and were home by 4.00 pm. We go back at the beginning of April to have the crown fitted.

12th March, 2014

A grey, chill start gave way to sun and 20C/68F by the afternoon. On this day last year, cars within twenty miles of here were stuck in thick snow. I know which I prefer.

We had a couple of trips out in the car to do shopping but sharp chest pains deterred me from visiting the Health Club today.

13th March, 2014

Beautiful, sunny day reaching 17C/63F. It seems to have shot past. Why does time do this to one’s life? After a series of fairly innocuous and mundane activities like shopping and walking in the sunshine, it’s suddenly tea time. There is something suspiciously wrong with the chronology of this world!

The evenings are staying lighter and lighter as March marches on. As I write, at 9.00 pm, the temperature outside is 16C/61F whereas Skiathos is only 14C/57 and Athens is a cold 9C/48F. All around us the gardens are full of heady Springtime. Blood red Camelias and pink tinged Magnolia jostle for the eye with Flowering Cherry and the carpets of daffodils. Mum would have loved it.

camelia magnolia

14th March, 2014

The day started off chilly and with fairly thick fog at 7.00 am but has soon given way to blue skies and beautiful sun. It is forecast to reach 16C/61F. This day in 2011, it was -5C/23F.

However, today is a sad one. It was announced this morning that one of my life’s heroes had left the world over night. Anthony Wedgewood Benn (Tony Benn) has died aged 88 years.


I suppose one shouldn’t be sad. He led a wonderful life and lived to a good age but it is always sad when a character of real influence departs. I was born in to an essentially middle class, Tory voting family, did an arts degree in English Literature and joined a middle class profession in Teaching. Hearing Tony Benn speak, I was galvanised by left wing analysis – essentially, Marxist Dialectic. I needed to understand it better and had to go back to its origins, its history. I found a young man at Huddersfield University – Dr Bill Stafford, who was looking for people who were interested in the History of Ideas, had an initial Graduate qualification and were prepared to research part time in the evenings. The overt prize was a Higher Research Degree, a Masters in the History of Ideas. The immediate prize for me was the introduction to a world I could otherwise only have dreamt of.

I read Marx’ seminal work, Das Kapital, I read Tonnies’ Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (Community & Association), Max Weber’s Community & Society and this led me, ultimately, to the life and works of R.H.Tawney. Having been brought up a Roman Catholic and having rejected it completely in my teenage years, I was particularly interested in the relationship between Religion and Politics. R.H.Tawney addressed this. I read Religion and the Rise of Capitalism: A Historical Study on a beach in Greece. It was riveting! I began to consume Tawney:

The Agrarian Problem in the Sixteenth Century
The Acquisitive Society
Education: The Socialist Policy
The British Labor Movement
Land and Labour in China

All of this time, I was teaching a full day, going home and reading and thinking. It rather got on top of me. I hadn’t been looking for another qualification just some understanding. It was Pauline who pushed me on and past the winning post. She sat and typed and printed out my whole dissertation – R.H.Tawney & the Medieval Tradition on our trusty Amstrad PCW. It was a labour of love and I was awarded my Master of Arts in 1988 when I was 27. It really should have been awarded jointly.

tawney       amstradpcw

I’ve just done The Skiathan’s Greek God Test and I’ve, worryingly turned into Athena!

15th March, 2014

A delicious Summer’s day in Surrey. Everything looks so much more alive in the sun. Freshly squeezed orange juice, freshly poured Yorkshire Tea, freshly brewed coffee and newly downloaded copies of The Times …. these are a few of my favourite things and then I don’t feel so bad. Still got three 6 Nations Rugby Matches and two Premier League football matches to watch. It is too much for one man. By mid-afternoon, we have reached 20C/68F which is not bad for mid-March.

The other job on my list for today is to continue my research into the Farrow/Houldsworth family lines from which Pauline was derived. I’ve got it back to the 1840s and one more Generation should be possible before we hit the difficult stage of few, available records. I haven’t been helped by a Census Recorder or a subsequent transposer listing Farrow as Farraw and Houldsworth being occasionally recorded as Holdsworth. I have been helped by the families’ propensity to remain centred in Oldham something which was still noticeable of our pupils in Oldham Education during our teaching days.

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