Week 370

24th January, 2016

We are just starting our 7th week in Tenerife and today has been our first overcast one. It was delightful. One can always have too much of a good thing and a day without hot sun has been a pleasant change. Many will know of the difficulty in reading an iPad in strong sun. If you have a cloudy day, choose a Sunday papers day. Read your iPad in the shade.Also, of course, there was the Marr Show to watch followed by Andrew Neil and The Sunday Politics. This afternoon was meant to showcase Premier League football but the Everton v Swansea match hardly took off and the Arsenal v Chelsea game was punctured early by a sending off.

Still, all round, an enjoyable and different day. Just two more weeks left here and back to moving arrangements. We have planned as much as we can so far. Lots more to do when we get back to the real world.

25th January, 2016

We have been forced to suffer a return to hot and sunny weather with the temperature reaching 27C/81F. My foot is black and blue still but will be ready for a return to the treadmill tomorrow. Today, we’ve gone back to the pool and done a hard, 25 lengths – just under a kilometre.

Don’t book a Greek Ferry to Sifnos.

We are already planning our return drive to Sifnos in the Spring. It is the anniversary of Tsipras and Syriza’s election. Unfortunately, Greek travel is not advisable to the unwary or inexperienced at the moment. The roads are increasingly being blocked by farmers’ tractors and the seas are about to be closed by the seamen’s union. Both are protesting about cuts to their pensions and/or extensions to their working lives. Medical and Legal services are also still up in arms as are Pensioners. At the same time, they hear Television News pedalling the government mythology of ever increasing tourism figures. New Democracy will be back soon with Dora’s brother.

26th January, 2016

Interesting day of delightful, Summer weather. I have to admit that we put off going to the gym until tomorrow. My foot is taking longer than expected to feel comfortable enough for the treadmill. We put in another long, hard swim. I wondered why my arms were creaking.

BT phoned me again this morning to keep me up to speed with the installation of our phone line and Fibre Optic Broadband. Because our house is a new-build, they find it a little more long winded ensuring all the infrastructure is in place. However, three contacts in the three weeks since I ordered it is quite impressive and suggests I am likely to get it on time. With only a couple of weeks left here and then three or four weeks to our house move, I have completed a lot of the preparatory paperwork.

In the wider world, Schengen is disbanded – ostensibly for two years but in that read ‘in perpetuity’ –

Greece has failed to cope with a huge influx of migrants.

and it looks as if Greece will be forced out altogether. With a shambolic migrant management system cracking under intolerable strains and lack of government finances, Germany, amongst others, want Greece to be sealed off from the rest of the EU. It is unclear how this will affect the tourist industry. It could badly reduce it, limit it to Eastern Europeans or just destroy it.

The EU proposal is for Greece to host huge detainment centres/POW camps housing up to 400,000 migrants. It all has a tinge of Nazi nostalgia which is not lost on the Greeks and probably won’t be on Angela Merkel. It won’t do much for happy holidaymakers either!

27th January, 2016

Negra Grande Grapes

Today has been the hottest and sunniest day of our seven weeks here so far. It was so hot that even the ‘orange people’ were heard to complain and seek shade. We did a bit of shopping and a lot of swimming. We lunched on huge, locally grown red grapes – sweet and as big as plums. Just a handful are enough to get one through the day.

I watched Prime minister’s Questions and witnessed ‘Call Me Dave’ seriously rattled by Corbyn  as he picked away at the sore of corporate tax avoidance, the ‘Spare Bedroom Tax’ and the news later of the faltering energy policy. The Tories general lack of empathy with the common person was laid bare. Osborne trumpeted the ‘success’ of the Google tax deal’ yesterday only to see it crumple all over him today as it became obvious that the settlement was paltry. At the same time, the High Court judgement acknowledged what most thought that poor people living in modest accommodation were being threatened by rich posh boys. The Tories were being depicted in the age-old way as on the side of the wealthy and not of the poor. The irritation of Corbyn’s questioning brought a slip from ‘Call Me Dave’ which betrayed the-self-beneath-the-smarm. He blurted out that Corbyn had met a bunch of immigrants. It didn’t really offend me but it showed a latent insensitivity.

Greek Farmers appealing for new subsidies.

Meanwhile, any useful, political consensus was completely breaking down in Greece as ferries were tied up in ports because of the second 48hr seamen’s strike this week. Motorways are being blocked as farmers have stepped up their protests against the government’s plans for pension reform, increasing the number of blockades on national roads with hundreds of tractors converging at key junctions and disrupting traffic. Notaries, Lawyers, Engineers, Doctors and other self-employed professional are striking and taking to the streets. Greece is a country slipping back into crisis. Tenerife seems so calm!

28th January, 2016

Today started a little cloudy and took some time to get going but get going it did with strong sun and no breeze.

Condemned to a life without lettuce!

Had a bit of a shock this morning. I self-test my INR for blood coagulation every couple of weeks irrespective of my official test. My target is INR 2.0 – 3.0. I manage to keep it within that range for months on end and take pride in hitting INR – 2.5 although I know it isn’t much to do with me. I have had to cut so many vegetables that I love out of my diet because they mitigate against my Warfarin medication. Celery, peas, green beans, cabbage, broccoli, sprouts, lettuce, samphire, asparagus, avocado, green herbs like parsley are all high in vitamin K and banned from my diet. It does make my low calorie drive a bit more difficult.

Self-tested this morning and had a reading of INR – 4.8. It absolutely shocked me and I tested again an hour later to check. It gave me INR – 4.7. I emailed my Woking hospital and within an hour or so I had a very reassuring reply and dosage advice. I know how stretched the Anti-coagulation Department is but how wonderful is their response!

29th January, 2016

A day of exercise and enjoyment in the warmth of Tenerife. We are currently being told that we should put in 30 mins of moderate exercise around 5 times per week amounting to 150 mins.. Walking and swmming are the recommended forms of achieving that and we feel gratified to be in step with the advice. Of course, the advice may change and often does but we will attempt to keep up with advice.

Canarian Foundation and Backdrop

We spent more than thirty years looking at the ancient rocks of Sifnos and dreaming about the tales they could tell. We have spent the past couple of months doing something similar with these black, harsh, volcanic formations. The name Canaries has nothing to do with birds even though the islands are home to lots of exotic looking birds. The name Canaris came from the first explorers finding the islands home to packs of wild canines. The name was derived from the latin – Canis. In nearly two months here, I don’t think I have seen more than one dog. Interestingly, we have seen virtually no insects – bees, wasps, even flies. How can that be?

30th January, 2016

The sun goes down over La Gomera.

A gloriously hot and sunny Saturday with clear, blue skies and strong sunshine during the day and long, slow, backlit skies at the going down of the sun.   The day reached 28C/82F but the intensity of the sun was too much for Pauline and we retreated to the shade. We did an hour’s exercise split between the gym and the pool but lost a lot of liquid because of the ambient temperature. The transition from the steamy gym to the cool, salt water pool is delightful and reviving.

Transition from hot day to cool evening.

One of the problems with the iPad – and I love mine, would feel lost without it and am already thinking of upgrading it to an iPad Pro – is the fact that it is useless in the sun. This is a limiting factor of smartphones and other tablets as well but not a problem for the paperwhite screen of the Kindle. It means that one can either enjoy the bright light or read. It is limiting and a source of frustration that will, ultimately, have to be addressed. The iPad Pro, on the other hand, will help me to leave my laptop behind and do serious work on the tablet enabled by the larger screen, cover-cum-keyboard and some sort of pointer/mouse.

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