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.

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