Week 331

26th April, 2015

Up at 6.00 am and out on the M25 by 7.00 am. en route to Yorkshire. It is rather a struggle for Pauline because of her ongoing operation wounds but she’s managing. We have a structured five days of property development visits and meetings with friends and relations. Property Developers are available on Sunday when the rest of the world is not at work so we will do some visits today.

We are looking in a reasonable radius of Leeds for new-build properties. We know almost immediately if a location is right or wrong for us so we easily dismissed a Taylor Wimpey build at Crigglestone and another at Whinmoor, a Ben Bailey build at Crossgates and a David Wilson build in Wakefield. We were quite taken with Harron Homes, a Yorkshire builder’s development in Horbury and may well return to it when more properties are finished.

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The weather had been beautiful, sunny and warm throughout the day and the M1 was incredibly quiet so the three hour drive was delightful and relaxing but, after an additional five visits to housing developments, we were ready for a rest so we drove on to our hotel – the Holiday Inn in Brighouse for our one meal of the day and a bottle of wine. And so to bed.

27th April, 2015

Don’t you just love Mondays? We do and especially this one. The weather is beautiful. We are free in sunny Yorkshire which fits us like an old shoe and we are going to see friends. But first we are property searching. Harron Homes in Blackley and Redrow in Horsforth were on the list and the latter was a pleasant surprise.

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We drove on to Huddersfield to visit our old friend and Honda car dealer, Chris Wood. We spent and hour or so with him and then back to rest before getting ready for the evening. We were meeting our friends, Margaret & Tony, for dinner at the Golden Cock, Michelin starred restaurant in Farnley Tyas.

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It was great to see them and the meal was wonderful. They’ve just bought a property in Spain and are setting off to drive there in a couple of days. We are envious and can’t wait to set off on our travels as well.

28th April, 2015

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Be very careful if you go to Greece this year. Don’t pay up front for anything. Don’t put money in a Greek bank account. Don’t forward pay hoteliers. There is a real risk of default and you losing all your money. We have been so lucky to get out in time. This week, panic set in across the country as pensioners feared not being paid, raided their bank accounts and risked a run on the banks’ reserves. The coalition government are scrabbling around to find the cash and trying to call it in from the country’s institutions and local government. They are constantly running to keep up and losing the race, as The Times cartoon pointed out yesterday:

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We feel so sorry for our friends on Sifnos and particularly for our special friends, two proud, middle class Greeks who depend largely on their pensions to get by week to week. Got a lovely email from Elerania this morning.

Drove over to Bolton this morning to visit my beautiful and very young-looking sister, Ruth and her wonderful husband, Kevan. They live in a gorgeous, penthouse apartment in which they look so happy and comfortable. We only stayed an hour because they are busy people but it was lovely to visit.

29th April, 2015

Today is going to be tiring. We are driving over to Oldham in Lancashire to meet our friend and ex-colleague, aka Little Viv who has become a full time carer for her aged mother. There are some good people in the world – certainly much better than me. We had coffee in the new Library coffee shop.

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It was nice coffee but rather harrowing hearing Viv’s woes. She could only manage an hour away from her Mum and then she was off. We drove on to Shaw to visit my old friend, Brian and his wife, Val. We spent an hour with them and then drove back to Oldham to visit Pauline’s relatives, Joyce & Harry, whose kids we taught but are now 50 and 55 years old. Time just continues to fly. We drove back to our hotel and collapsed, exhausted. As we approached the M62, there was a warning on our car’s media screen saying 6 mile tailbacks ahead. We took the moors road instead. Even that was beginning to get busy. Thank goodness we did. Two lorries had crashed through the central reservation and nothing moved for seven hours.

30th April, 2015

Up a little later at 7.15 am this morning because we were so tired. After breakfast, we set off for one more property search at Skelmanthorpe – a Redrow development – which turned out to be very close to Emley Moor.

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Although the countryside is beautiful, it is too high, exposed and remote for old codgers like us. We set the sat. nav. for Woking and did the most delightful, problem free drive back up the M1 that you could imagine.

Arriving home and opening the garage gates remotely – I got out because the codes have been changed – I noticed that one of my sidelight bulbs had gone. Trip to Honda tomorrow. After a lovely meal of chicken and roast vegetables, Pauline stacked the dishwasher and put it on only to find that it wasn’t working. Have to call out the Hotpoint service engineer tomorrow. At least we can make coffee – no we can’t. The coffee maker is showing an error and refusing to budge. Lovely to be home.

1st May, 2015

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Welcome to May! It’s started well for us. The dishwasher has righted itself. Pauline had rushed switching it off before we left last Sunday and it just needed to complete its electronic cycle before being restarted. The coffee maker just needed emptying of coffee grounds  in order to proceed and a quick visit to Honda will get the bulb replaced this afternoon. We’ve done a Waitrose shop and bought the world’s total supply of cod, hake, trout and tuna. Now I can settle down with fresh coffee and watch The Daily Politics.

Went back to Honda this afternoon and they talked amongst themselves a lot before deciding that no bulb had gone. It was just a trick of the adaptive headlights which come on the right when you turn right and turns on left when you turn left. So, three problems all evaporate!

2nd May, 2015

Pleasant day without too much sun. Our neighbour has asked us to do cat-sitting duty until Monday so we feel the weight of responsibility on our shoulders. It is a day of newspapers and correspondence as well as Test Match and football. Because we’ve been away and I found it very tiring, I haven’t been to the gym for a week. I start again tomorrow although Pauline will be another week at least.

Pauline has cooked the most wonderful meal of roast loin of cod with roast vegetables – asparagus, shallot, red pepper, fennel, celery, chestnut mushrooms. I couldn’t have done better myself.

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