Week 366

27th December, 2015

Welcome to the start of the Blog’s 8th year. A particular welcome to the Poison Dwarf. Can’t wait to meet up. Let’s make it a New Year’s Resolution!


At least Christmas is over for another year. Stress levels are dropping and we are off for a workout in the gym. Of course, it is this time of year when the number of Health Club members suddenly leaps as resolutions about health, fitness and weight loss are made. We regulars know that, by mid-January, the pressure rapidly decreases. Of course, as retirees we are lucky to be able to do everything off peak. Many would say we are past our peak as it is but Pauline would never admit it.

28th December, 2015

Officially, today is Boxing Day. Unofficially, it’s Monday. The day opened at 6.00 am with the most wonderful sky of glorious colours. When we stepped out, it was sunny and incredibly warm. By 10.30 am, it was 16C/61F. We went to the Health Club and the exercise felt glorious. I watched Bolton Wanderers beat Blackburn Rovers while I was on the jogging machine.

Bolton Win!

Bolton is Ruth’s team and they are broke and bottom of the Championship but, today, I thought they were excellent.

We returned and made a meal of tomato & cucumber salad with smoked salmon, prawns and crayfish tails. Absolutely delicious. We spent the rest of the afternoon drawing scaled plans of the rooms in our new house, cut-outs of scaled furniture and positioning them in various ways. We’ve decided from this, for example, that we will have 2 x 3 seater sofas + 1 x 2 seater sofa in the lounge. We are making a second trip to Sofaworks tomorrow to do a confirmation of our choice.

29th December, 2015

Set off for Slough – about 16 miles away – in strong sunshine and 13C/55F  to visit  Sofaworks again. As we drove through Windsor and past the Great Park which has been carpeted with daffodils for weeks, we were shocked to notice that they were going over.

Windsor Great Park

Spring in Windsor is almost finished. Apparently, we have had the warmest December for 70 years. The warmest in our lifetime.

The whole trip took half an hour. We checked the sofas, confirmed what we wanted, found out that the lead-in time is 11 weeks and agreed to phone our order when we’ve made our next visit to the house next week. At least the rains and subsequent flooding have not visited us down here. Our old stomping grounds of Lancashire and Yorkshire have been and are continuing to be hit by wet problems. This is Delph in Lancashire (formerly Yorkshire):

Delph Floods

and this is Brighouse, West Yorkshire:

Brighouse Floods

Water is so essential but so destructive if not controlled.

30th December, 2015

A mild but breezy day to celebrate our 37th Wedding Anniversary. Where has the time gone? Unfortunately, we are celebrating it by doing our latest round of bowel cancer screening (aka pootest).

Bowel Cancer Screening Test

I know it’s not the most romantic but needs must if we want another 37 years. In searching for a graphic to illustrate this (I’m not in my own home and couldn’t scan it in.), I found it on a site entitled Older People’s Voice. We really don’t think of ourselves as ‘older people’ but I suppose many would.

The other activities on this auspicious day include:

  • Spring Cleaning the house. (P&C are away for a few days so we will do our duty.)
  • Having my haircut by Pauline.
  • Going to the gym.
  • Shopping for our meal.

I’m really missing my Sky Sports particularly when England appear to be winning the first Test in South Africa. ………….. No sooner have I written that than THEY’VE WON! Finn took 4 wickets.

Finn takes 4 wickets.

How did you spend your wedding anniversary? Oh, I was hoovering the house, stain-cleaning the carpets and steam cleaning the oven. Well, everyone’s got to do something.

31st December, 2015

The death knell of 2015 is sounding on a bright, sunny day of sharp blue skies. Anticipating the new year, we are in optimistic mood. We will take possession of our new house in about eight weeks. Four of those we will spend in the warmth of Tenerife.

Meanwhile, a chill wind blows through Greece and its islands – literally and metaphorically. Freezing temperatures in Athens and reaching down to the Cyclades has made life difficult for the thousands of displaced migrants still arriving on the islands and roaming the capital’s streets. At the same time, the Greek people themselves continue to suffer relative privations as a result of their post-crash crisis. As Kathimerini reports:

Greece has the unenviable distinction of having the second to worst performing residential property market in the world this year, according to data up to the end of September.

Greek property prices continue to plummet!

A Global Property Guide survey shows that the annual price decline in Greece came to 6.03 percent. Among European Union member-states, Cyprus was a distant second behind Greece, with a 2.2 percent annual decline in home prices, while Spain was in third after seeing a small drop of 0.45 percent. …The central bank forecasts that the slide is unlikely to reverse in the coming quarters, as the factors that have led to it have not been eliminated.

There was an equally depressing article by Richard Pine in The Irish Times a couple of days ago. While it would repay reading in full, it essentially argues that Clientelism and Plutocracy are so embedded in the Greek political system that to change it would require heart and brain transplants in the corridors of power. It concludes that yet another general election is almost inevitable within the next three months. Life will continue its intolerable, downward spiral for ordinary Greeks while we celebrate the new year in relatively high spirits.

1st January, 2016

Καλή πρωτοχρονιά! / Bonne année / Feliz año Nuevo / Ein glückliches neues Jahr / Happy New Year. Welcome 2016!


The Blog wishes all its readers an interesting and enjoyable New Year. Our approach through the Blog to 2016 will be based on Kierkegaard’s view that:

Life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards.

In 2016, the Blog will support that life-defining principle. In that spirit, we completed our bowel cancer tests on the last day of 2015 and posted them off today. We will see the results returned this month while we are abroad. Bet you didn’t want to know that!

Went to bed at 1.00 am this morning after watching, what we thought, was a poor and chaotic firework display on the Thames embankment. The television commentator kept telling us how spectacular it was but we’ll be the judge of that and it wasn’t. Listening to Radio 4’s Today programme at 6.00 am; up at 7.00 am and doing the housework by 9.00 am. Out at 9.30 am to Tesco for essential supplies. The carpark was quite quiet – I’m not sure why. Now we are off to the Health Club for our first workout of 2016. Got to keep moving forward.

2nd January, 2016

The end of Year 8/Week 1 already. The Christmas period is always a strange and disconcerting one – never really sure what day or time it is. Most of the working world will go back to the coal face on Monday while we prepare for our second month in Tenerife and the last few weeks before we move in to our new house (hopefully). It’s been a grey, damp and cool day and thoughts of a Canarian climate are pleasing.

Tenerife Sunshine Beckons

Newspapers, radio and television are predictably greeting the new year with new ‘diets’ which are guaranteed to lose 7 pounds in a week/a stone in a month/4 stones in six months, etc.. I’m glad I don’t even consider things like that anymore although we are renewing our self control and I am going to try to do another 6 months without alcohol. I did it a couple of years ago and, after the first week, didn’t have a problem. I’m pretty sure I can get through to July without it. We don’t do a great deal wrong with our food choices although it wasn’t so easy to maintain over Christmas and we certainly need to re-address our portion sizes. We do more than our fair share of ‘set exercise’ in the gym and the pool but retirement is not conducive to activity throughout the day and we have got to find a substitute for ‘sitting around’ during large sections of time.

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