Week 362

29th November, 2015

Nearly the end of November, 2015 and nearly 7 years completed of the Blog. I’m going to dedicate the anniversary to Sarah & Stavros.  The 364th week will end on Saturday 19th December, 2015.

The weather here today was a complete reversal of most days recently. Warm and overcast in the morning turning to warm and sunny in the afternoon. The daily temperatures of 28C/82F of our first three weeks have moderated to around 23C/73F this week – much nearer what we had expected. The orange people were wandering around disconsolately this morning, lost and looking for a purpose. They looked much happier on the sunbeds this afternoon. We did a hard, 40 minute swim in between newspapers, politics programmes on TV and Premier League football in the afternoon. It sounds lazy but that’s how we spend our Sundays.

30th November, 2015

The last day of November, 2015 is beautiful, hot and sunny. We have spent an hour in the salt water pool and a bit of time drying off in the sun. The year is about to open its final act and the curtain goes up tomorrow. Will you be there?

My sister-in-law, my sister and my wife – in fact most people I know – think I am obsessed with the passing of time. I don’t know if ‘obsessed’ is the right word but I do find focussing on the passage of time and landmarks within it helps me to keep a grip on my current position in life. I find poetry really useful in this. A poet I wrote my dissertation on over 40 years ago, Norman Nicholson, wrote about the Cumbrian landscape being ‘graduated by electricity pylons’.


It is an image and a concept that has stayed with me and one I translate into my graduation of time by acknowledging events across it. In the mid-1920s, T.S.Eliot wrote in Sweeney Agonistes:

Birth and copulation and death.
That’s all the facts when you come to brass tacks:
Birth and copulation and death.


and it is this futility, this emptiness which is picked up 40 years later by Philip Larkin in one of my favourite poems, ‘Days’:

What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?
Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.

The units of Days graduate our brief life in the eternal time continuum just like Nicholson’s electricity pylons.


We try to bring more meaning to it by consulting the priests about spiritual longevity and the doctors about mortal longevity but to no avail. We can, of course, just drift through our days but I like to keep a little more control by measuring mine in rather more than J. Alfred Prufrock’s ‘coffee spoons’.

1st December, 2015

Happy December everyone. It is going to be a good one!


Today our 4 week tour of duty on Tenerife came to an end. After Breakfast on a hot and sunny morning, we set off for the airport. We sheltered from the melee of humanity for an hour in the private lounge – Sala Montana Raja – before boarding a flight which got us back on UK soil 20 minutes ahead of schedule.


We were driving out of Gatwick and on the M25 before we knew it. We are back for a few weeks and then return to Tenerife for a second month before moving in to our new home.

2nd December, 2015

Woke early this morning to greyer skies and cooler climes. Not bad though for December. At 6.00 am it was scary but now, at 10.00 am, we have some blue sky and the temperature is 12C/54F. Lots of Autumn leaves still on the trees around here even though we officially starting our second day of Winter.


We have a busy few days ahead.


  • We have to visit the Storage Pod where all our possessions are stored. All our paperwork for Christmas card distribution is stored in the filing cabinets there.
  • We have to shop at Sainsbury‘s. We have £60.00 of vouchers to spend there.
  • We will do a couple of hours at the Health Club.
  • I have to make a dentist appointment to have a ‘cap’ replaced. I didn’t even remember I had one on that tooth until it disintegrated in my mouth overnight of our second day in Tenerife. It must have been there for over 30 years and was, luckily, out of sight and didn’t spoil my natural beauty.
  • We have to bring all our accounts up to date after a month away.
  • Follow the Syria/Bombing debate.


  • Up at 6.00 am and out to the Woking Walk-in Health Centre to have my INR officially checked at 7.00 am.
  • Complete my Christmas Newsletter and write all the Christmas cards, print addresses, stuff envelopes and take cards out to post. Now we’re not in work, we don’t send more than 70 these days. I would do it by email but Pauline insists on the traditional way.
  • Another session at the Health Club.
  • Prepare for Friday morning meeting.


  • Drive down to Sussex to check out the progress in our new house. We have to discuss quite advanced details about electrical socket positions, fitted bedroom furniture, choose carpets, etc.. We are also going to visit some local branches of furniture suppliers for Dining Table & Chairs, Sofas, Beds, etc..
  • Buy a birthday present for Sunday.

3rd December, 2015

Woke at 5.30 am. Got up at 6.00 am. Queued up outside the Walk-in Centre at 6.30 am. Walked back to the car with six, bleeding puncture wounds at 7.00 am. I had gone for my INR test. When I do it myself, I do a simple puncture of a finger and touch a droplet of blood onto a test strip in my machine. Within 30 seconds, I know the result.


At the hospital, I have to have a full needle invasion of the vein in my arm to provide a large phial of blood which is then sent off to a remote Lab. for analysis. They then write to me by post with my result. At least now I have persuaded them to email the result to me but I still have to wait for it.

Today, my nurse – who trained in Leeds – found plenty of veins but couldn’t get any blood. She had two goes in one arm and two goes in the other arm before calling for help from someone who had two goes in the front of my hand. The last one was finally successful,  Each attempt merited a wadge of cotton wool and tape to stem the bleed. It didn’t stop us spending a couple of hours at the Health Club in the afternoon.

4th December, 2015

A glorious day of blue skies, fleecy clouds and strong sunshine. Fortuitously, we had chosen this morning to drive down to Sussex to see the development of our new home. The drive was delightfully quiet and we reached the coast in just under an hour.


We called to see our builder. The house is watertight with roof on and windows and doors in. It has been dry-lined and is about to have electrics installed. We have been told we can go inside and look around in the next couple of weeks, Before the end of February, all the tiling on floors and walls, wooden floors and carpets will be down. Wardrobes will be built in the bedrooms upstairs and Kitchen and  Laundry will be fitted with units and white goods downstairs. The house and all its contents will have a full five year warranty.  If things go well, we will return from our second month in Tenerife within only a couple of weeks of moving in.

5th December, 2015

A very blustery night and day although it is still 13C/56F in Surrey today. I spent the morning completing, proof-reading and printing my Christmas Newsletter and printing all the address labels. We have completed 72 in the end. Trip to Sainsbury’s and then a couple of hours in the gym.

I haven’t got Sky Sports or BT Sports at the moment so I have to be content with the evening highlights. I one-pot roasted green peppers, celery, shallots, button mushrooms and pork chops for our meal. Later we drove P&C out to the Maybury Inn for Dinner with their friends. Pauline has settled down to watch Strictly Come Dancing while I am completing my Blog and researching fitted furniture suppliers for our Home Office in the new house.


Week 361

  22nd November, 2015

The day started off as every one has over the past three weeks here. The sun rises. The sky is blue. The temperature settles at a delightful 25 -29C/77 – 84F throughout the day. We did our normal routine which included watching the  political interviews on the Marr Show and The Sunday Politics. A gym work out and swimming left us tired and we returned to our room to watch Spurs v West Ham on television. Unusually, sitting on the balcony, we felt a light breeze quickly strengthen in to a strong, gusty windy which began to rearrange the furniture on the balconies and verandahs. Huge, white clouds appeared behind the cliffs and a strange, double rainbow appeared in the distance suggesting rain may have been falling somewhere.


We really are becoming more fish than meat eaters. In the last few days, we’ve chosen griddled Hake, griddled Sole with acres of salad. Last night it was a huge plate of langoustines, octopus, clams and mussels – a delicious Fruits de Mer.


Tonight it was Calamari with Tartar Sauce….. and salad. I’m beginning to think that I’m losing my grip!

23rd November, 2015

It’s a weird feeling. I’m sitting in these sunny climes while designing my Christmas Newsletter on my laptop. There will be little time when we get back to England. I keep getting bombarded with emails entreating me to get ready for ‘Black Friday’ or telling me how few shopping days there are left until Christmas. They don’t realise that I couldn’t care less. Christmas is for children. I’m not!

Talking about children, I saw two today and nearly panicked. I suddenly realised that they were the first two children I had seen for three weeks. Our hotel is ‘adults only’ and the area is totally unsuitable for children. The loudest noise we hear is of adults discussing news items in hushed tones or which wine they would like with lunch or dinner. Now that is my sort of noise.

24th November, 2015

On a quiet, warm day of doing nothing in the warm quietude, I was shocked to read an article in Kathimerini:

Greece seems to have passed the stage of the crisis where it was in a prolonged period of decline and has now entered the stage of collapse. The next step after that is of a failed state, and then the game is completely lost………It is impossible to know whether the situation can be remedied now that it has been allowed to degenerate so extensively, particularly when the government in power is in battle with itself, appears incapable of governing and constantly comes up short when the occasion demands some seriousness, be it on the domestic or international front. The coalition government, though barely back in office, is already showing signs that it is on its last legs.

It takes real skill to destroy a once buoyant country but that is the one skill Greece seems to have.

25th November, 2015

A lovely, sunny day which I spent largely indoors following the Autumn Budget Statement presentation and analysis. What fun! We did have a good, long swim in the afternoon but that was about it. You will know that I give a considerable amount of time each day to reading the daily papers, reading a series of political Blogs and to reading a list of Greek (expat) Blogs. Today, the yawning gap between UK and Greek economies could not be wider or more defined.

In UK, the average, annual house price inflation is 10.5% this year, 14% in Surrey where we have just sold a property that virtually doubled in price over less than five years. In Greece, residential property prices have fallen over 40% in the past five years and continue to fall at an alarming rate. Since we sold our Sifnos property, prices have fallen by 20%. At the same time, I know Greeks who tried to shelter their capital from the taxman and a Banking Collapse by pushing it in to property. They will be beginning to regret that decision as they realise the market is not going to be resurrected in their lifetime.

house1 house2

State Pensions are guaranteed by the triple lock. It means that the state pension rises every year by the highest of price inflation, earnings growth or 2.5%. In Greece, the government agreed plans for more cutting pensions and increasing social security contributions. Kathimerini identifies the

alarming state of the country’s social security funds, and the state budget … In total budget spending in the year to end-October was 4.1 billion euros / £2.9 billion short of that foreseen in the first draft of the 2016 budget in early October.

In his Autumn Financial Statement, the British Chancellor announced that he had some £27 billion / 38 billion euros more to spend over the lifetime of the parliament than he had anticipated. The contrast could not be more stark.

26th November, 2015

I like wine. I know a bit about it having tasted quite a lot over the past 40 years. For a long time, I was absolutely addicted to Italian wine – Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, Chianti Classico, Barolo, etc. For no particular reason, I suddenly switched totally to French clarets and that has lasted for five or more years solidly. What I know nothing about is Spanish wine. I have hardly bought a bottle in my life. I did try a couple of Riojas in the past but that’s it. We have been walking to local supermercados near here and sampling different bottles – just in the service of my education. A blind tasting put these two at the top currently.


They are delightful ‘afternoon wines’ and each costs a frightening €2.69 / £1.89.

27th November, 2015

An interesting day. It started off warm and sunny at about 24C/75F but became progressively cloudy although just as warm. We have, correspondingly, had a quiet, home kind of day. We decided to eschew exercise, apart from a short walk, and decided to focus on carpet and settees for our new house. As soon as we get back to UK, we will order the carpet for the Lounge and all the upper floor. We’ve already ordered tiling for the Kitchen/Family Room and Laundry. We’ve ordered wooden flooring for the Hall, Study and downstairs Cloakroom and Storeroom.

We need two sofas plus a chair and a sofa-bed. Currently, we are leaning towards Next Home Furnishings for the sofas. Things like these take our fancy:

sofa1 sofa2 sofa3sofa4

After Dinner this evening, we sat out and watched the full moon come up over the surrounding mountains.


It never ceases to amaze by its speed of movement going from a background glow to a discrete globe above the mountain in little less than 60 seconds. Just to add to the romance of the moment, I managed to sneak the last few minutes of Derby’s comfortable 0-2 win over Hull.

28th November, 2015

A lovely morning of strong, warm sun which clouded over in the late afternoon. I must stop drinking posting wine bottles on my Blog. It gives too accurate a picture. However, it’s all I’ve got to illustrate today. We did our gym and swimming and settled down with a bottle of wine to watch the Murray brothers beating Belgium.


Currently I am watching a lacklustre United drawing with Leicester in pouring, Midlands rain. At least we will have Dinner soon.

Came across an excellent photographic comment on Facebook of all places:


It may mean nothing but appears to say quite a lot.

Week 360

15th November, 2015

An absolutely delightful day. Clear blue skies, hot sun – too hot if anything at 29C/84F – and the Sunday papers in delightful gardens around the hotel. The grounds run right up to the black cliff edge and the planting is sub-tropical and magical. It provides lovely, cooling shade when the sun is too intense.

garden1 garden2

My iPad photos are poor but I include just as memories.

garden3 garden4

These giant, puffball style cactus are magnificent and produce small, yellow flowers. Even this little chap came out to look.


16th November, 2015

Another day of strong, hot sun and clear blue skies. We are on the coast of an island but, unlike Sifnos, there has been no wind for two weeks. There is nothing to reduce the temperature. There are no flies. For relaxation, it is idyllic. We have spent the day exercising, swimming and reading. Normal day really.

Heard a government minister say on television today that ‘We may have been naïve. In retrospect, we should have taken the threat more seriously of ISIS insurgents infiltrating the human tide of migrants flooding into Europe – Trojan horses bringing terrorist intent with them.’ I was almost consumed by apoplexy – a good Greek word. We have been screaming this warning throughout Merkel’s ‘Come one, Come all’ entreaty. Two of the terrorists came through Greece to Europe. What a shock!

The result looks increasingly as if the European Project is imploding. Free movement of citizens is already crumbling as the Schengen Area is seen to encourage free movement of terrorism. France has suspended it for an extended period. Other countries are raising border fences. It is ironic, therefore, that Kathimerini reports tonight that:

One in three young people in Greece aged between 18 and 24 wants to leave the country due to its financial problems……just 41 percent of young Greeks – the lowest rate among the 21 European countries where the survey was conducted – believe they have a chance of improving their lives. The average rate in Europe is 67 percent.

They may have left it too late as the barriers go up across the European Union.

17th November, 2015

A hot and sunny morning gave way to a hot and overcast afternoon and a warm and still evening. I was feeling tired today so Pauline allowed me to miss ‘training’ We sat in the sunshine discussing our new house and going through the rooms, choosing new furniture. We need virtually everything right down to new cooking pans in the kitchen. When we return to Surrey in December, we will go into overdrive searching out suppliers for our requirements.

We eat Dinner in one of two restaurants in the hotel. We prefer the buffet-style restaurant which features an immense variety of salad items, homemade dressings which we can combine with freshly griddled meats and fishes.

restaurant restaurant2

There is almost too much to choose from but its content exactly suits our current dietary style. It is a real exercise in self discipline because one could easily overeat before starting on the multitude of delicious sweets and cheeses with pickles. It is a fight we are managing to win although it is hard some nights.

After Dinner this evening, we (I) watched England beat France while Pauline ironed with the patio windows fully open to capture the merest movement of air. The lights were on inside; it was night black outside punctured only by twinkling lights from the mountains in the distance. It was reminiscent of Sifnos apart from one thing. We didn’t see a single insect – not a fly, mosquito; nothing. What kind of island is this?

18th November, 2015

A day of wall to wall sunshine – hot and hot. We went to the gym and left in buckets of sweat. Half an hour in a refreshing salt water pool certainly revived us while the ‘orange people’ floundered at the side. I read that freezing temperatures and snow are forecast for UK at the end of this week.

I had an email from our Honda salesman offering us cheap money to buy a new car. Tempted though I was, the money is not as cheap as borrowing from ourselves. We have decided to replace our car this time next year. Pauline heard from our builder’s secretary. Things are going well and we can expect an update on Friday.

19th November, 2015

When we woke at 6.00 am, the sky was full of clouds and they were still there when we went down to Breakfast and Pauline had her porridge & prunes while I had a bowl of yoghurt & fresh strawberries. By the time we left the restaurant and walked through the Lobby, the clouds had evaporated, the sky was blue and the sun was shining strongly.


It remained that way for the rest of the day with the temperature reaching 29C/84F. I was reading in my newspaper that snow is forecast for UK as the sweat was running down my face. I won’t bore you with the exercise regime which continues unabated.

Last weekend, a reunion of students from my college was held in Leeds. I would have quite liked to have attended although it would have been a bit of a drive for the privilege. I do feel I have a responsibility to attend and greet people I spent three years with over 40 years ago. I found a photograph on Facebook of men who were highly significant for me at that time.


What really amazes me is that, while Pauline and I haven’t changed since 1972, these chaps have really aged since I last saw them.

20th November, 2015

Struggling to cope with the heat this morning. Struggling to cope with Breakfast. Struggling to cope with the people who saunter into Breakfast each morning and head straight for the myriad bottles of champagne on ice and start their day with alcohol.


How do they do it. I can’t cope with a Buck’s Fizz on Christmas morning although I do force myself. This hotel seems to throw everything any guest has ever requested in to the mix in the hope of satisfying every whim. This makes eating there so exhausting. By the time we have checked out all the options, we need a lie down.

Did  I mention the heat? I would say that this is the hottest morning we have experienced in our two and a half weeks here. I’m going to have to take my clothes off.

21st November, 2015

You’ll be relieved to know, I kept my clothes on although I did have rather a disturbed night and I’ve been reflecting on events all morning. This past two or three weeks have been like inhabiting two, different but parallel worlds.

On one side, I have been getting up, going down to Breakfast, downloading and reading The Times and The Daily Telegraph, going out for a stroll in the sun, watching the Daily Politics, working out in the gym, swimming, doing correspondence, having Dinner, watching a bit of television topped off by Newsnight and going to bed. For me this is exactly what I want from existence with my lovely wife of 37 years. On the other side, we have followed the downing of the Russian plane out of Sharm el-Sheikh, the multiple atrocities wreaked on the people of Paris and the terrorist attack in Mali. It is hard to equate or integrate the two although I would be grateful if nobody actually tried to before I get off the plane at Gatwick.

There has also been the sideshow that is the Labour Party. My Masters research centred around the history of the Labour Party and the ideas that inspired its progenitors. The Labour Party has been dear to my heart for all my adult life but I despair now far more than I did under Michael Foot. He, at least, had the intellectual depth to merit his position even if he was destroyed by the right wing media. Jeremy Corbyn’s slow witted responses to basic questions have brought his party to a state of open rebellion. Nowhere was this better illustrated than his response to the shoot-to-kill policy. He was ridiculed in every corner as this wonderful cartoon from Matt in The Daily Telegraph this morning illustrated.


22nd November, 2015

A hot and eternally sunny day again. Can you believe it? According to the BBC, it may be our last day of full sunshine for a little while although it will stay warm. We are sub-tropical after all. Britain has snow. Our old home area of Kirklees has quite heavy snow. Apparently, even our newer home of Surrey has wet snow. Sometimes things work in one’s favour.

snow sun

As we went down to one of the pools today, a laconic, Yorkshire voice drawled out, I bet it’s not like this in Delph! Delph is a picturesque village at the foot of the Pennines near Oldham. He was sauntering along in 29C of heat wearing a deerstalker hat, quilted hunting jacket and carrying two gin & tonics. Earlier in the morning, I had met a Cumbrian farmer who was desperately trying to buy a copy of The Daily Telegraph. We got into conversation and I mentioned my home village of Repton. He immediately told me his son went to the Public School there. I was just saying that I had once watched Sir Len Hutton’s son, Richard play cricket for Repton when the farmer said that his son played with Hutton in that team. I was still reeling from the coincidences when Google told me Richard Hutton’s age of 73 meant the farmer’s son would have been 15 years to young for the claimed experience.

Week 359

8th November, 2015

A hot and rather humid day. My cold is a little better but we decided to rest from exercise until tomorrow. It felt like a holiday but we both got restless towards the end. We read our iPad newspapers, watched The Sunday Politics, went for a short walk in the sunshine and then returned to our room where I watched a couple of Premier League matches and Pauline read and sent emails. – A typically quiet Sunday. – Home from Home!

9th November, 2015

I am feeling almost completely better from my head cold. I know you will have been worrying so I will reassure you from the outset. Unfortunately, this evening Pauline is showing some signs of picking up the baton but we hope she will wake feeling better tomorrow.

The day has been a lovely one – again. Hot and sunny peaking at 28C/83F. After fruit juice and coffee for breakfast, we went for a long walk as far as we could get before the path ran out. We took this picture on Pauline’s phone.


It shows the black, volcanic rock dropping steeply to the sea, the totally uninviting and tiny black silt beach and the safe mooring where ‘tourists’ go on ‘trips to see dolphins’ and such stuff.

We were back in time to watch The Daily Politics and then off to the gym followed by the pool. We were active for a couple of hours. We are just completing the first of four weeks here and we have fallen into an enjoyable and relaxing modus vivendi. The weather is very much better than we had expected. Although most of the people here spend every minute of every day glued to a sun bed acquiring an orange leather skin which the think will inure them against the British winter and impress the neighbours, that is not our style. Our time in Greece taught us not to take the sun tan too seriously. We have certainly not come here for a tan but the warmth is very welcome and the location is providing us with exactly what we need at the moment. To underline that, we have booked another month here for Jan/Feb.

10th November, 2015

We were up early although Pauline had a difficult night as her cold developed. She phoned her sister a couple of days ago and she was in bed with a heavy head cold as well. It looks like we brought the bug with us. Fortunately, if I am anything to go by, it doesn’t last long. When she is feeling better, she will benefit from a morning in the hotel’s Spa and Beauty Treatment area. I don’t think I would.


We lazed around after breakfast and read the papers, watched (you’ve guessed it) The Daily Politics and then went off to the gym. It is such a hot day again – 28C/83F – that a session on the treadmill here feels a totally different experience to one in Woking. I sweat as I exercise but, in this heat, I look as if I’ve just come out of the pool. Actually, we follow this exercise with 45 mins in the pool. We don’t cling to the pool edge discussing house prices or the latest beauty treatment. We swim solidly and hard throughout our time in the pool. I stop when my arms are aching and we then go back to our room for a shower. (I do sound holier than thou!)

Talking about the heat, I thought that the Canary Islands experienced an even 20C/68F – 24C/75F all year round and that now it should be averaging the middle of that range. A man we met in the lift observed how hot it was and said that these temperatures were very unusual for November. He had been coming here for twenty years or more and had not known it like this before.

11th November, 2015

A hot and utterly sinful day. Hot because we registered 28C/83F again but, with very high humidity, it felt much hotter. Sinful because we didn’t go in the gym or pool and we had a Pudding with Dinner. We did do a two hour walk most of which was solidly up steep hills to Puerto de Santiago which left me wetter than if I’d fallen into the swimming pool fully clothed. That is the only mitigating circumstance I can put forward.

pds lidl

The highlight of the trip was walking round a Lidl to see what Canarians expect to buy which shows you how sad we are. Actually, it put Greek supermarkets to shame for spread of stock and value for money.

12th November, 2015

Hot, Hot, Hot! Today was 29C/84F but not so humid. We did a really hard workout in the gym and followed that with an even harder swim in the salt water pool. Felt good after it.

Our room is huge, spacious, clean-lined, light and with a large balcony which is accessed by full-length, sliding glass doors.


I was struck, however, by the fact that, as soon as we move in, it is covered in electronic devices and trailing charger leads. We are here for a month so I needed my laptop. We both brought iPads. Pauline brought one of her Kindles and, of course, we both brought smartphones. That’s a lot of leads to be plugged in. To accommodate that, I pack a cube, multi-socket which means most things can be charged overnight on one plug socket.


How life has changed since we started travelling and had to queue up for the chance to use one of two international phone lines in the old OTE on Sifnos or for a ferry to deliver a copy of The Times to the Boomerang News Agency.

13th November, 2015

Friday the 13th! I wonder who that’ll be unlucky for. Here it is warm but hazy. Later on, we are going on a long, coastal walk. Hope I don’t fall over the edge. The tickertape header at the Pharmacy announces the temperature is 28C/83F. The app on my iPad tells me that temperature will be achieved every day until at least Wednesday next week. The locals are shaking their heads in disbelief.

Actually, we did a couple of hours walking along the coastline and back. Took this photo on my phone:


I just couldn’t bring myself to swim from what looks like a ‘coal dust’ beach even though I know it is nothing of the sort. We have these three pools at our hotel and the first of which is salt water. There is no comparison.


pool1b pool1c

Joked about Friday 13th this morning. Who could predict the outrages in the centre of Paris this evening? Shocking doesn’t do it justice.

14th November, 2015

As the news of the carnage in Paris becomes a little clearer, it feels inappropriate to sit in the sun relaxing but what would it profit to do otherwise?  What is certainly no surprise is the revelation that one of the attackers in Paris was registered as ‘refugee’ on the island of Leros on October 3rd 2015. The Greek Blog, Keep Talking Greece, speculates that: he had most likely arrived to Greece coming from Turkey.

We have had a quiet day reading the newspapers only punctuated by a spell in the gym and the pool. ~Met an interesting man in the gym who introduced himself as a mattress manufacturer from Belgium. He was skinny as a rake but ate three meals a day and said he needed pizzas between meals to keep going. Makes you sick! I never liked Belgians.

Week 358

1st November, 2015


Happy November to all our readers, Let’s hope it is just as enjoyable as October. We pleasure seekers will be spending it in a quiet little spot on Tenerife, arriving back in the first week of December. Wonder if they have white rabbits in the Canary Islands?

Sun, swimming, exercise and walking will, hopefully, dominate the month away. The hotel we’ve booked is a 4* Adults-only establishment with a gym, Hydro, three heated pools, British TV and free Wi-Fi. The location is Los Gigantes which is in the west of the island, overlooking La Gomera.


We haven’t been there before. Our only experience of the island group was thirty years ago on Fuerteventura. It will be an interesting, new experience.

2nd November, 2015

We are driving to Gatwick this morning – one of the first of the Autumn shrouded in thick fog or so the BBC reports. Many flights are cancelled from airports around the country including Gatwick. Fortunately, we don’t fly until tomorrow morning. We are staying at the Holiday Inn at Gatwick Airport so that we don’t have an early morning hour’s drive tomorrow.

hi1 hi2

It should be more relaxing.

Arrived at 1.00 pm and checked in. Because I am an IHG Gold Member, we were upgraded to an Executive Suite. We dropped off our bags and drove to the Long Stay car park. After parking, we took the shuttle to the airport and then another to the hotel. In the evening, we had a really wonderful meal in the restaurant – Garlic Mushrooms with Stilton Sauce followed by Fish Pie.

3rd November, 2015

We were up at 5.00 am and left our hotel by 6.00 am. We got on the airport bus outside our front door and were dropping our bags off by 6.30 am. We went up to the Aspire Lounge for orange juice, porridge with honey (Pauline), coffee and bacon sandwiches before going down to gate in time for an 8.10 departure. It didn’t happen. We were delayed by one hour because of ‘fog yesterday’. We were relaxed about it. What have we got to rush for? Lovely flight! Four hours drifted away in no time. Bags were off quickly and, in no time at all, we were registering in Hotel Los Gigantes. (We keep wanting to call it Big Beans in Tomato Sauce al la Grecque.

Our room is large and comfortable and overlooks the harbour. It even has British television channels and my iPad gives me Radio 4 so I can want for no more.


Our meal this evening was delightful with more choice than we could cope with. Four weeks here in the sun will be fun.

4th November, 2015

Lovely day. The temperature was a delightful 25C/77F with clear skies and strong sun. After breakfast, we did a walk of the local area to familiarise ourselves with things nearby. We came back for coffee and to watch PMQ’s on BBC2. We went on to spend a couple of hours in the gym and the salt water pool before going back to our room for a cup of tea.

Dinner is eaten out on the terrace looking out to sea and directly at La Gomera which appears quite close. As soon as the sun goes down – at about 7.00 pm – the lights of that small island burn sharply in the darkness.


Our meal this evening was a salad of wonderful anchovies and green beans followed by griddled Hake and Hake cooked in a white wine sauce with mussels and prawns. We made the mistake of being seduced by all the wonderful sweets on display. They were great but we regretted it immediately afterwards. We won’t do that again.

5th November, 2015

Early start to a gorgeous day which reached 26C/79F. We sat in the sun on our balcony for an hour after breakfast reading our iPad newspapers and then spent a couple of hours walking round the Marina/Harbour in fierce sunshine.


After beating a retreat to the shade of our room for coffee and The Daily Politics, we went down to the gym for an hour’s exercise and followed that with another hour swimming across the saltwater pool. The majority of this adults-only hotel’s clientele are on the older side. They are happy to sit around the pools but not to get in them. We spent the best part of an hour in the pool unhindered by any other swimmers. We have now been in the gym two days running without seeing another user.

6th November, 2015

A lovely, lovely day that was hot and sunny throughout. It reached 27C/81F and we really felt it as we climbed out and up from the sea shore and through the black, volcanic hills to get a better view of the surrounding area.

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Actually, I’ve just developed a heavy head cold – my first since I retired nearly seven years ago. I am determined to fight it and not let it alter anything I have planned. As a result, we walked around the area for a couple of hours this morning and then returned to the hotel to watch The Daily Politics.

The heat, the walking and the cold left me feeing fairly washed out but we came here intending to exercise and exercise is what we did. We did half an hour on the treadmill and then 45 mins in the salt water pool. We felt great and returned to our room for a cup of tea. Because we don’t eat during the day, we went down to Dinner at 6.30 am and were both hungry. We ate about four different salads until we felt like bursting and then we had roast duck with more salad. The cooking in the Hotel Restaurant is (too) wonderful.

7th November, 2015

A day when my heavy head cold has really dominated. Like so many men, I am not often ill but, when I am, I go all the way. I wasn’t hungry this morning and only went down to Breakfast to accompany Pauline. I had some figs, dates and cold yoghurt which soothed my fiercely sore throat. After Breakfast, we went to the nearby Pharmacy and bought a nasal spray which eased my breathing and some paracetamol. I tried to ignore it all and went down to the gym. I’m ashamed to say, I stopped after fifteen minutes because I just wasn’t enjoying it. We went down to the saltwater pool. It is one of three pools here.


People do swim in the sea but this is so much more user-friendly. We swam 300 metres and I felt exhausted. As soon as we got back to our room, I fell asleep and didn’t wake for nearly four hours. Currently, it is 7.00 pm and Pauline is watching Strictly Come Dancing while I update my Blog. We’ll go down to Dinner at 9.00 pm although I’m still not hungry.