Week 324

 8th March, 2015

Supposed to be warmer than the Mediterranean today. It’s certainly sunny but there is a distinct chill in the air and we’ve only reached 14C/57F. Sunday is ‘papers day’ but we also found time for an hour at the Health Club and some hard exercise. It’s Sunday so Pauline made Chickpea Soup. It was better than at Simos’. Spent the afternoon going through old photographs because Catherine has requested one. It made me rather maudlin the further that I went through the piles of dog-eared snaps of yesteryear. Still it has to be faced. Found this one of Catherine winning a fancy hat competition at the local fete and being presented with her ‘certificate’ by a television personality although I can’t remember who she was. The photo appeared in The Burton Mail & Observer.


This was about 1960 and I was shocked to find my, young face in the back right of frame.

9th March, 2015

Happy 60th birthday to Catherine. What’s happening to us?


It has been a thought provoking day. I learnt of the death of my friend, English teacher and Rugby Coach, Vic Roebuck. He was 84.


I went to Burton upon Trent Grammar School between 1962 – 1969.

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Vic was my hero. The one teacher I looked up to. He gave up his time to drive over to Repton and visit Mum when Dad died. I never forgot that. He gave up his weekends to take us to play games across the country. He gave up five evenings a week to take training. He made personal sacrifices that no teacher would do now for no additional pay. I will never forget him.

10th March, 2015

I have written to the Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, this morning telling him that I would be an ideal candidate for his band of ‘tourist tax spies’ because I know exactly where the bodies are buried.


I had first hand experience of it and could help in his honest-payment-of-tax drive. You would have thought that Greeks would want their government to succeed against the threat of European bankruptcy. The way they can avoid that is to pay the taxes they have been withholding so their country can buy more time for negotiation but so many, like Hardouvelis, their previous Finance Minister, have been spiriting their cash abroad, denying their own banks and countrymen of liquidity. The first signs of the effects of this policy are reported to be shortages of imported goods and services. Market professionals have told Kathimerini that there are already some problems in the cases of mechanical equipment and electronic appliances, while in the food and drinks sector there are shortages in certain premium products such as a well-known Belgian beer. This, of course, will have a knock on effect on the big earner – tourism.

11th March, 2015

Finally set my new colour laser printer up last night. It is a Brother 3150CDW and a full set of toners costs less than £50.00/€71.00.


I have a mono laser – Brother 5070N – but the new one is wireless and Pauline can print from her laptop elsewhere and we can both dump prints from our iPads and smartphones. Next job was to drive to our local recycling dump and take our old, colour laser. There must have been forty other ones in the skip where I threw it. At least it’s gone. Called in at the bank to pay in a cheque for rebate on our Service Charge. We pay £500.00 up front for all our heating and hot water costs and then they give us half that back when we don’t use it. It’s called ‘enforced saving’. Pauline has got the date for her operation. It is in a few weeks’ time in Ashford (Middlesex) Hospital. Ironically, I have to go there to see a Consultant Ophthalmologist in the next few weeks. We drove out to find the place this afternoon. It is a brand spanking new facility about 11 miles from our home.


Unfortunately, we have to drive two stops down the M25 to get there. Fortunately, today was one of brilliant blue skies and sunshine with temperatures reaching 15C/60F. It made the trip more enjoyable.

12th March, 2015

Lovely, sunny morning which has reached 15C/60F again.I’ve been sitting out in the sun today. Sainsbury’s did a delivery at 11.00 am. Supermarket shopping seems to have got out of hand in our household. We were going to Sainsbury’s anyway but Pauline was getting about 15% off a ‘free delivery’ shop so she bought expensive ‘staples’. Later, we took advantage of their petrol offer which supplied unleaded to us for £0.99 / €1.39 per litre.

Kathimerini reports today that Greece’s jobless rate increased in the fourth quarter as the economy began shrinking again and a political stand-off rekindled concern that the country could leave the euro area. Adult unemployment now stands at 26.1%. At the same time, the German Central Bank said that Greece had lost the trust of the Nations of the Union which will not help them.

13th March, 2015

Most things are on hold until Pauline gets through and recuperates from her operation. Although it isn’t inherently dangerous, all general anaesthetic operations have their dangers and we are both concerned about it. Waiting is the worst part. We would be starting our journey across Europe in a couple of weeks and we have had to delay it now. In just the same way, we were hoping to go up to Yorkshire soon but we are postponing for the moment. I heard from my friend, Brian, in Shaw who I am looking forward to seeing again but it will have to wait.

Pauline’s three nephews go to the fee paying school in Weybridge. Two are in the senior school and one is in his last year at the Junior building.


Today, we were pounding out kilometre after kilometre on the treadmill, mindlessly watching the mini television sets on the machines when BBC London news announced an explosion and subsequent fire in the roof of a Weybridge Junior School. It turned out to be the school attended by her nephew.


After our exercise, Pauline phoned her sister to establish everyone was fine but it had looked quite spectacular at the time.

14th March, 2015

Yesterday was Spring in Surrey and Winter in Yorkshire.

aspring asnow

We went to the Health Club in 14C/57F of sunshine, did a little workout and came home to roasted, North Sea salmon with pesto crust and hollandaise sauce. Delicious!

This morning is chillier and greyer just to cheer all those workers who stay in bed late on Saturdays. We never did that. Life is too precious for sleeping.

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