Week 363

6th December, 2015

A damp but very mild morning. We are going to an 18th Birthday Party this afternoon. I hate parties of all kinds apart from political parties but needs must. The party is for David, Pauline’s nephew. Yesterday, we  went out and bought the dirtiest birthday card we could find and, this morning, Pauline has made his requested cake – coffee & walnut. Quite a sophisticated flavour for a young man but that is what he wants.

cake_beach angbeach

The cake has become an Angmering, pebble beach scene with driftwood shoring up the sides. I’m certain it won’t look like this for long when the gannets see it.

While the cake was being made, I had the arduous task of researching and choosing the fitted furniture for our new, home office. I have decided on this:


7th December, 2015

Incredibly mild for the time of year – 13 or 14C/55 or 57F – although the north of England is suffering with heavy rain and flooding this weekend. We are seeing none of that down here. We did check that our new house was not being built on a flood plain and were reassured that, although it is near Water Road, our house is never threatened. The builders sent us an up to date photo of the build:


At least it is water tight with roof, windows and doors fitted although there is still scaffolding around the garage because they are still doing the roof on that.

Actually, the temperature peaked at an unseasonally mild 16C/61F at 2.00 pm as we left the Health Club. Mind you, we were hot and sweaty ourselves by that time. Earlier, I had been to the dentist to arrange for a replacement crown for the one that disintegrated while we were away in Tenerife. Not a problem but it will cost me £540.00 plus£36.00 for the Check-up. I’ve definitely been in the wrong job all these years!

8th December, 2015

Went out early this morning to New Maldon – a southwest London suburb – where there is a concentration of Lounge and Dining Room furniture outlets. D.F.S., Furniture Village, Sofa Store, Oak Furniture Land. The weather was warm but overcast. After three hours of shopping, Pauline was just getting into her stride but I was exhausted. We drove back to the Health Club and did a couple of hours de-stressing in the gym and the pool, the jacuzzi and the sauna. Later, we had a lovely meal of fresh, dressed crab, crayfish and prawns with Greek Salad and Humus. It is still one of my favourite meals.

I forgot to say that we posted our Christmas cards yesterday morning. The post box in West Byfleet was so full from being stuffed with cards over the weekend that I couldn’t get our 70 envelopes in to it.


I had to go into the Post Office and hand them over the counter. I created and produced the Newsletter. I addressed all of our envelopes with address labels printed on sheets of 21 at a time. Pauline wrote inside the cards. She insists on that since I once wrote in them ‘From Pauline & John Sanders’ which she said was incredibly impersonal. Every year we receive four different cards from Jane & David and then have to guess which particular couple each is from. Still it has relieved me of the task of writing which I’m hopeless at now. Bring on the day when it is acceptable to greet by email or text message.

9th December, 2015

Gorgeous blue skies and strong sunshine this morning although rather a sharper temperature. We were out early to pick up a prescription. The Surgery carpark was unusually packed and hectic. Had a row with the chemist at Tesco. Above the counter, they boast ‘five principles’ one of which says You will never have to wait more than 15 minutes. They routinely say, when one hands over the prescription, ‘Got any shopping to do? It will be 15-20 minutes. Today it was 45 minutes. At our age, every minute counts!


Had the outside of the car cleaned on the way home – £10.00 – and we will clean the inside ourselves this afternoon. I am responsible for cooking again today. I am marinating boneless chicken thighs in garlic, lemon, olive oil and oregano. I will griddle it outside in the sunshine now it has warmed up.

10th December, 2015

Went out early …………… to Slough. Betjeman wrote:

Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
It isn’t fit for humans now,
There isn’t grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!

and nothing has changed. It is a conurbation 20 miles west of central London with absolutely nothing to recommend it apart from a trading park which has a number of sofa and bed outlets. That is why we went. It was a nice day. The shops were interesting but few would argue against the bombing of Slough.


We had driven  through Windsor and past the castle. We had driven through Runnymede where the Magna Carta was signed only 800 years ago. Sounds good but it really doesn’t improve the experience of Slough.

We were back in time to do a couple of hours at the Health Club in the gym and pool and then home to griddle salmon steak outside to be eaten with Greek Salad. This evening will be relaxing. We are tired after a busy week.

11th December, 2015

Went out early in spitting rain under leaden skies to drive to Camberley just next door to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.


More prosaically, we were going to a Next superstore to look at furniture.


Quite nice sofas but not good enough. Saw a Dining Table which has gone to the top of the list although the Dining chairs may come from someone else. I know that I and, therefore, the Blog have become fixated on relatively transient baubles like furniture but that is what we will need soon after we return from Tenerife. We have to do the legwork now.

12th December, 2015

Making a meal for P&C today – Steak, mushrooms, onions and baby vegetables – so shopping was required. Out early and back early but still the supermarket was unpleasant. Don’t you just hate Christmas? People in Surrey shop like they drive, rushing everywhere and giving no quarter.

Spent a chunk of the day trying to resolve an email problem that is besetting Pauline. She is still using Outlook 2007.


It sounds older than it is but is distinctly clunky nowadays. It is my job to resolve IT/Technical issues. I worked on it for about two hours desperately trying not to lose all her back emails. Eventually, I recreated her account using IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) as opposed to the previous standard, POP (Post Office Protocol). The problem had me grumpy and frustrated. The solution produced a rush of released satisfaction.

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