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.


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