Week 375

28th February, 2016

The penultimate day of this leap year month and fairly chilly it is. Some sun but a brisk breeze brings the temperature down to a maximum of 7C/45F.

The morning’s political programmes, Marr Show and The Sunday Politics, have illustrated the bitter infighting in the Tory party over Europe. After Call Me Dave‘s petulant performance in the Commons on Wednesday, The Quiet Man savaged him (not so quietly) in an interview with Andrew Marr. The sharp thrust of his argument was:

How could Dave belittle UK in suggesting it can’t operate alone? Why would he want to manage such a trivial country?

I’m an avowed European and I would be very sorry to see us sail away from the Continent but I’m really going to enjoy watching Tories smack lumps out of each other. I think that the balance must still be in favour of ‘Stay’ but more migrant trouble over the next few months and the sort of newspaper blitz that did for Milliboots could easily tilt it to ‘Out’.

29th February, 2016

The last day of Winter – according to the calendar if not the weather. According to the Met. Office, it has been the warmest winter on record. We have learnt that there is going to be a short hiatus before we move in to our property which is causing us some grief. The builders forgot to install some additional electrical sockets in the kitchen which we had requested and then painted and clad the walls in a wrap around glass splash-back. They then sent us a photo expecting us to coo over their handiwork. Instead, we pointed out the error and they responded by saying it would delay us in putting it right. If a job is worth doing…..etc..

BT Home Hub

The knock on effect of the hiatus is that furniture which was ordered some time ago is ready for delivery. In fact, companies are champing at the bit. We are having to hold them off. In addition, today was supposed to be our final one at the Health Club. Today, we asked to extend our membership for an extra month. BT are still attending the house tomorrow to connect the phone line and deliver the broadband router which should mean that, whenever we get in, we will quickly be on-line. For me, there is little more important than access to the web. I’m just about to purchase a load of web-ready, smart televisions so the sooner we are connected the better.

1st March, 2016

Happy March. Our white rabbit is listening, optimistically, to the arrival of the Spring.


We are driving down to the south coast and have a hotel room booked so we can meet a BT engineer early tomorrow to have our landline connected and our broadband installed. It is nice to be feeling optimistic about our new home – still looking forward.

Looking backwards, the National Bank of Greece – Εθνική Τράπεζα της Ελλάδος – announced yesterday that it expected:

the local home and commercial property markets to continue their price slide in 2016.The adverse economic environment, the capital controls and the unstable tax status of the sector continue to hamper the property markets’ recovery.

As the clouds of teargas float around the Greek-Macedonian border, Greece becomes increasingly disconnected from Europe. Ironically, as a reluctant Greece becomes more isolated, the latest British polling by YOUGOV has shown huge swathes of the UK want to sever ties with Brussels.

2nd March, 2016

Up at 6.00 am. Breakfast at 7.00 am and waiting for a call from the BT Engineer. The time slot was 8.00 am – 1.00 pm. No call. We checked out of our hotel at 11.00 am and drove down to the house. We parked up and read our newspapers.  The call came …. at 12.58 pm. He was on his way. He told us that our cabinet had been superfast fibre optic enabled which is good news. Five minutes later, he had arrived, connected the line and left. We drove back to Surrey. Back in Surrey by 2.00 pm, we phoned our new Home phone line. It rang sweetly but unanswered. At least we have it.

Help! I’m going off meat.

Going away out of our comfort and custom zones makes food control difficult at the best of times and with, the stress of being out of our own home anyway, it is doubly difficult. We both feel we have overeaten recently. Today we ate meat!!! I have to confess that we looked at each other over a plate of spare ribs and agreed that it felt rather ‘gross’. We will be back to fish tomorrow. Fish and salad will be de rigeur for some time to come along with some fierce Health Club sessions. We need to be able to fit through our new door when we finally get the key to our new home in the next couple of weeks.

3rd March, 2016

Up early to test my INR. This could be the last in Woking. It turned out to be at the bottom end of acceptable at INR = 2.0 and my email to the hospital was soon replied to with a next test in three weeks. Please let me be a Sussex resident by then!

Thank goodness we retired when we did!

The Greeks are revolting ………… about changes to their retirement pensions. What would they do if they were in England? Here, retirement ages of 75 or even 81 are already being discussed. The Office for Budget Responsibility, the financial watchdog, has forecast that the pension age will have to rise to 69 by the late 2040s before increasing again to 70 by the early 2060s. Future rises will be linked to life expectancy but Royal London, the pensions provider, has just published research suggesting that today’s workers will need to retire as late as 81 to enjoy the same standard of living enjoyed by their parents. The findings raise the prospect of some people having to “work until they drop” to sustain their current lifestyles.

Official statistics suggest average life expectancy is at its highest ever in England. A new report by Public Health England finds that

  • men can now expect to live for a further 19 years at age 65, 12 years at 75, 6 years at 85 and 3 years at 95
  • women can expect to live for a further 21 years at age 65, 13 years at 75, 7 years at 85, and 3 years at 95

As we both hit 65 in the next few months, I can expect to live until I am 84 and Pauline can expect to live until she is 86. I suspect I may go sooner and Pauline go later than that but I have always been pessimistic.

4th March, 2016

Dreaming of Wardrobes?

A beautiful and sunny Spring day. We went out early to a fitted bedroom showroom in Farnborough. Ironically, the company, BetaLiving,  was founded and is still based in Oldham. We met a saleswoman who had never been to Oldham but who now lives near where we are going to live in West Sussex. These ironies in life are delightful. So were the bedroom products on display. In the next couple of weeks we will invite someone to come round a measure up all four bedrooms for fitted furniture and, possibly, to supply fitted furniture to the Study/Office downstairs.

Snow in West Yorkshire

Drove back – and how the sunshine transforms the experience – to watch news of our previous stomping grounds in the North being blighted by heavy snow. Television reports were beamed from a very white Ainley Top bridge over the M62 which always seems to be used by local television crews. More schools were closed in Oldham and across Lancashire than West Yorkshire and there were plenty of incidents on the M62 including one that required a medical helicopter’s assistance. If I am ever sentimental for our former lives in Yorkshire and Lancashire, days like today teach me to keep it in the past.

5th March, 2016

Saturday Rant – Got to get it off my chest!

Most of my adult life, I have opposed, in principle, the institutionalised and formal Charity Sector often known as the Third Sector. Third Sector refers to:

  • Voluntary sector, the economic sector consisting of non-governmental organizations and other non-profit organizations.
  • Public–private partnership, a company jointly owned by government and private interests.

I believe that elected governments  cannot abnegate their responsibilities to their electorate by handing over whole swathes of care for its citizens to the unelected and patchy protection of the charitable sector. How can anyone believe a government is doing its job if it leaves matters like poverty, hunger and homelessness to organisations that rely on the voluntary contributions of the population? Charities tend to target symptoms, not causes. The causes are the responsibility of government to address but they prefer to hide behind the process of charities addressing the symptoms.

In the case of the rise of Food Banks as a result of an increase in poverty, Tories even felt it necessary to criticise the charitable sector for drawing attention to the poverty. It is suggested that Food Banks make even the poor more feckless and less likely to get a job. Treat them mean and keep them keen appeared to be the underlying message. I do not subscribe to that view either. However, I am vehemently opposed to letting the government off the hook. The effort put into charity might be better devoted to pressuring governments to bring about needed change. Governments might be more likely to focus on dealing with poverty if they weren’t being helped by charities.

The relationship between charity and the tax system can do real harm. Tax incentives for charitable giving can worsen social inequalities, by reducing the revenue that the state has available for social projects. It is open to massive abuse at all levels in society. What on earth can be the justification for subsidising Britain’s public schools to the tune of £700m a year? We might as well subsidise five-star hotels. They’re both the preserve of a small, privileged elite, the difference being that five-star hotels don’t shore up a centuries-old system of institutionalised inequality. At the other end of the pile, Charities accused of supporting jihad in Syria and other forms of terrorism have been paid millions of pounds by British taxpayers. Groups under investigation for allegedly aiding Syrian militants have used the Gift Aid system to claim large sums from the public purse.

Equally, I strongly disapprove of the methodology built in to the formal charities structure. I hate their fund raising methods. British people feel  ‘bombarded’ by charity fundraising appeals although most ignore most of the charity fundraising letters and emails they receive, a recent A ComRes survey found. Of the money they do get in, too much fails to reach its stated target. National charities have become third age job prospects. If poor people, heavily cajoled into ‘giving’ part of their meagre incomes, really knew how much the managers of these ‘charities’ creamed off, (Last year 32 charity bosses were paid over £200,000.) they might think twice about donating.

Week 374

21st February, 2016

After breakfast, we stayed to watch the political interviews on the Marr Show and then set off back to Surrey. It was almost as delightful drive back as it was coming up on Friday. We were fairly tired after the weekend and, after Pauline had cooked a wonderful meal of tarragon roast salmon and Greek salad, we set about arranging a trip to Sussex tomorrow. The site manager responded by sending a photo of the wrap around glass back splash which was installed over the weekend.

Quite a clean kitchen.

22nd February, 2016

AEG Tumble Dryer

Set off at 9.00 am in fine rain for West Sussex. We spoke to the site office about missing sockets in the kitchen. We were told, that could be rectified but would set our ‘completion date’ back. We would prefer that it was completed but it is more important that everything is right rather than it is early. We left with that hanging in the balance but a phone call en route to Sussex confirmed that it would be rectified.

We drove on to view the fitted wardrobes we had agreed on. When we viewed them in the showroom, we were both shocked to agree that they looked too old fashioned and we had to think again. We also ascertained that our choice of tumble dryer was too big for our space in the Laundry. We have to think again.

We weren’t able to view the house because the wood floor was being laid but we will go down again in the next few days to monitor events.

23rd February, 2016

A busy day which started with an early trip to Tesco followed by a trip to the Health Club. First exercise for a few days because we have been away. It felt great. Not only was the feeling of exercise enjoyable but the post-activity feelings were gratifying and ones of increased self worth.

My phone is struggling to pick up text messages.

Just when I needed it most, my smartphone developed a problem. I can send text messages but not ‘easily’ receive them. I have to close my phone right down and then start it up again – a really time consuming process – in order to kick start text messages to come in. I’ve already talked to people in the EE shop but it looks like I will need a new sim card. It will mean a return trip tomorrow. I was doing some on-line banking and needed an urgent text confirmation. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to power my phone right down and back on again before it was successful. Still, when one’s retired, time is available in abundance. Today, we even took Phyllis to the Eye Clinic.

24th February, 2016

Returned to EE shop in Woking this morning – a cold, sharp, bright morning – to seek more help with my smartphone. After some fairly poor advice, it was concluded that I would have to perform a full factory reset which erases all my data. Great.

I did the dirty deed, established that my text messaging service was working again and then was delighted to find all my contacts were available to me. I still have to reinstall all the apps but it has prompted me to keep my smartphone cleaner and less cluttered my apps I rarely use. It has taken up a lot of my day particularly because Pauline and I maintain an on-line calendar which we access from our PCs, iPads and smartphones and, when one goes down it, it takes me hours to remember how to resync them. I’ve got more on-line accounts and subsequent passwords which I hold in my head. The one positive I take from a process like this is that I’m definitely not showing signs of Alzheimer’s at the moment. All done now and just in time for our meal.

A pleasure to cook and a delight to eat.

I find cooking a really relaxing activity. Today, I prepared large, Field Mushrooms flavoured with garlic and tarragon oil and topped with parmesan cheese. We ate them with Greek Salad and some steamed vegetables.

I was really enjoying the whole process of cooking and eating until Pauline pointed out that I was in danger of becoming VEGETARIAN. Jane BG will be laughing all the way to the butcher. I am going to rescue myself tomorrow with some grilled fish or, maybe, a rack of spare ribs or a chunk of pork belly. I’m full just thinking about it.

25th February, 2016

The noisy Mute Swan

As we retired, -seven years ago now – we pledged to each other to maintain our discipline. Wake up early, get up early, set goals for the day, month and year and really attempt to achieve them. As a consequence, the radio comes on at 5.55 am and we listen to Tweet of the Day on BBC Radio 4 followed by the News and the Today programme. Tweet of the Day features the call of a single bird species each morning presented by an enthusiast. On Tuesday it was the Carrion Crow and, yesterday, feature the Pied Wagtail. Today looked rather difficult on paper but the Mute Swan isn’t completely silent.

Soon after 7.00 am, we are up and drinking tea. Mum always said she couldn’t face the day without three cups of tea in the morning. One is enough for me. We then agree a timetable for the day with jobs to do. We discuss and decide what our meal will be. We have largely established that a couple of hours at the Health Club is the main core replacement for full time employment. We download our newspapers and read them and emails while drinking coffee. Then jobs begin. Today, I had to create an accurate, scaled plan of the ground floor of the house. I did it using Excel Spreadsheet. The purpose was to ensure furniture fits comfortably. In the meantime, Pauline negotiated dates and events with the Building Site Staff.

Lovely session in the Gym (while watching The Daily Politics) and the Pool before returning to cook roast salmon and vegetables. After that, I retire to my computer to read Blogs and write my own whereas Pauline did more strenuous jobs – washing up and washing and drying clothes. She is, of course, younger than me. Is that a valid excuse. Of course not.

26th February, 2016

Mouthwash Bargain

I have been struck down by Man-‘Flu. I am dying. Even so, we went out at 9.00 am. Pauline drove to Sainsbury’s while I sat in the passenger seat sniffing. I’m a nightmare when I’m ill. Fortunately, I rarely am.

We drove on to Asda because my iPad app had alerted me to a good deal. I use a mouthwash which normally costs £4.50 per bottle. Asda had it on offer at £2.00 per bottle. I cleaned the shelf out. The 20 bottles saved me £50.00 on normal prices. One bottle lasts me two weeks so my purchase will last me forty weeks. I have never bought it at full price. My supermarket app alerts me when it’s reduced and I swoop. I am alright for mouthwash until December. Rest assured, Readers!

We are preparing to go down to Sussex on Tuesday/Wednesday next week to meet BT who are fitting our phone line and broadband. Because they have asked for a 8.00 am – 3.00 pm slot, we have decided to book into a hotel on the Tuesday to be up and out early on the Wednesday.

27th February, 2016

Confined to barracks by my (probably) fatal head cold, I am catching up with my reading. Particularly, I have been trawling the Eλληνικές Εφημερίδες (Greek newspapers). They don’t make happy reading – if you are Greek. This is how one of the Leading Articles opens:

It may be an exaggeration but I’ll use this phrase nonetheless just for the sake of economy of words: Yesterday, the streets of Greece were filled with refugees, migrants and farmers. The first two groups had no other choice but to be there, while the latter claim to have had no other choice. The great big camp that Greece has become today, with scenes of either complete desperation or “uncompromising militancy,” is overwhelming.

and concludes with this:

The Greek Government are trying to make inter-island ferry companies stop bringing the migrants to Athens but keep them on the islands.

The Greek Government are trying to make inter-island ferry companies stop bringing the migrants to Athens but keep them on the islands. For some days now we have been living with news of the myriad problems of thousands of refugees trying to reach Northern Europe, while at the same time listening to bulletins regarding what road the farmers have blocked and where they will be heading next. This country is like the waiting room on a railway platform where the trains have stopped coming… They have bypassed it, taking alternative routes.

You can imagine how islanders feel about that as they anticipate losing tourists. Many islands have more transitory migrants than permanent inhabitants. They have every right to be concerned as these pictures from Lesbos harbour and a Kos street as tourists cycle through migrant groups.

Lesbos Kos

This morning’s The Times reports:

Migrants in Athens

About 20,000 destitute people, mainly Middle East refugees, remain stranded in Athens as Greece grapples with a burgeoning crisis that could lead to the country losing its Schengen status. As other European states close or tighten their borders, the situation in Athens worsens….Parts of the Greek capital resemble a refugee camp. Not only are pockets of Athens turning into cesspools, with migrants receiving no help and or advice, but criminals are seeping through trying to exploit their misery.

Is there any wonder as Europe turns its back on Greece and, almost de facto, rips up the Schengen agreement?

Week 373

14th February, 2016

A cold, bright day. We have given the Health Club a miss and relaxed with the newspapers and the rugby. We have a busy week ahead. Tomorrow, we are driving down to the new house to meet the flooring suppliers and the Hilary’s Blinds fitters. We are beginning to champ at the bit.

15th February, 2016

Up at 7.00 am and out at 8.00 am. We drove in strong sun under blue skies on to a refreshingly quiet M25. The car’s gauge showed an outside temperature of 4C/39F. We were at our new village in under an hour. The flooring contractors were laying the carpets when we arrived at the house. We have wooden board flooring down the hallway, in to the Study and into the Cloakroom and Storeroom. This leads on to tiles on the Kitchen/Family Room and in to the Utility Room. Just as the Floorers were about to collect material for the wood floor, the suppliers informed them that it had been ‘discontinued’. We had gone early to make a replacement choice. An example of our house style is illustrated here from a development about 15 miles away. They have used wood throughout the ground floors. Our interior design will be much more minimalist with tiling like this:

A lot of tiles to keep clean!

The front garden had been lawned and planted up with its path laid. It was too cold for me to take a photo today. The back garden has patio paving laid and the fence erected but the turf has not gone down yet. They have three weeks to complete and then we move in.

16th February, 2016

Up at 6.00 am and out by 7.00 am. Clear, sharp sky presaging a wonderfully sunny day. Very cold first thing at -4C/25F with slushy ice on the car which is currently parked outside. In less than an hour down the M25 – M26 – M20 we arrived at the Euro Tunnel.

Before we knew it, we were driving off in France. From inside the car, it looked like mid-Summer. Outside the temperature was all Winter. For the first time in quite a few years we saw not a single, illegal migrant. We saw lots of these:

fence_mig2 fence_mig1

but little sign of the hordes that have figured in our last few trips. We are told that they are looking to move on to Dunkirk and Zeebrugge and evidence today suggests that could be so.

Auchan Coquelles bathed in sunshine.

We went straight to the Calais Wine SuperStore. where we spent about £500.00/€650.00 on wine and saved about the same on UK prices largely because of the lower tax regime. We went on to Auchan in Coquelles, bought some food and a bit more wine and moved on to Cite Europe for a mooch before returning to the Tunnel and our trip home. Lovely drive back to Surrey and then Fruits de Mer and salad for our meal. It is so delightful and fresh tasting. I love it!

We have a mad dash up the M1 on Friday to check out some furniture in Greater Manchester. Next week, we are considering booking into a hotel in West Sussex to tie up some loose ends prior to moving in to our new house, something which looks like happening in the week beginning March 6th.

17th February, 2016

A cold day which felt colder because of the overcast sky. We were out early so Pauline could go to the dentist for a filling. On to Tesco for essential supplies and then have the car cleaned – £10.00/€13.00.

We decided that we had enough to do without going to the Health Club so went straight back home. En route, Pauline booked a haircut for tomorrow. Posted a birthday card to Bob as he is 64 on  Friday. This afternoon, I’ve got to check progress with the BT installation of our phone line and broadband installation. I’ve got to check with Sky about television provision and with our solicitor about ‘completion’ arrangements.

18th February, 2016

Pauline’s Hairdresser

A warmer day with sun. We were out at mid day for Pauline’s haircut at Macco . It only took an hour. I sat and read my digital newspaper while I waited for her. It was a good cut for a fraction of the price she normally pays at Sassoons.

We then went straight on to the Health Club. We’ve only got about ten more possible visits now and I will be sorry to leave it although I’m looking forward to the David Lloyd Leisure Centre. My INR is back under control thanks to the help of the Anticoagulation Team at St Peters Hospital. They are absolutely brilliant. I only have one more call-in before we leave. I only hope the Worthing Hospital is half as good.

19th February, 2016

Happy 64th birthday to my little brother, Bob. Here are two photos taken 50 years apart. The first is of Bob & his wife, Jane, as he is currently. The second is of Bob modelling his new Levis in 1966/67. He’s barely aged…..really!

bob2b bob2a

These two months when we are they same age always cheer me up.

At 7.00 am, we set off in burgeoning sunrise for The North! We drove up to Yorkshire on a near deserted M25 and M1. Actually, we drove straight on to Failsworth in Greater Manchester and to Housing Units Furniture outlet. We were going to view a dining table and chairs which we had admired on-line. This is a photo from the showroom taken on my mobile.

Reclaimed Wood Table with Leather Upholstered Cantilever Chairs

As soon as we saw it in the showroom, we knew it was right for us. We managed to reduce the price of the 6 foot table and six chairs by £800.00 with interest-free credit and free delivery to Sussex which made us feel good. In total, it cost us £2000.00 and should last us a lifetime – or at least 40 years. It will arrive in West Sussex in the next couple of weeks. We drove to our hotel feeling smugly pleased with ourselves.

20th February, 2016

HOOVER DMCD1013B Condenser Tumble Dryer – £300.00

This is a weekend for us to relax and prepare for our new house. We’ve decided not to visit anyone this time. We will just shop and relax. Today, in wetting fine rain and after a huge, full English Breakfast, we ventured out in search of … a new tumble dryer. These are the life and death objectives I have to meet. Pauline has very exacting requirements. I searched Curry’s and met her demands in full. The Hoover, condenser tumble dryer looks as if it will fit the bill – as long as it fits in the kitchen.

We will be driving down to Sussex on Monday and we’ll arrange for the delivery of our purchases. BT have confirmed a date in just over a week for the connection of our phone line and setup of our broadband. Settees and arm chair suppliers along with bed suppliers are all champing at the bit to off load their wares and we are just as keen for them to deliver. The blind man has fixed a date for installation and the fitted bedroom furniture will be measured up for in the next week. We think they will come from Chichester. I’ve still got to invite Home Office installers to supply ideas and estimates. I’ve also got to choose television sets and a company to mount them on the walls and set them up for me. It is all largely in hand now.

Week 372

7th February, 2016

Tenerife South Airport

We left Tenerife South Airport at 20.20 last night and arrived at Gatwick after a faultless flight at 00.30 this morning. We took the shuttle bus to the Gatwick Holiday Inn and sleeping soundly by 3.00 am. Up at 7.00 am to watch highlights of the Saturday football and then down for breakfast.

By 11.00 am, we were off to the Long Stay Carpark to pick up our car which had been standing there for a month. The car park is vast and looks like this from the sky:

Aerial view of Gatwick Long Stay Car Park
It was almost cheaper – £120.00 – to park there for a month than to take a taxi each way. And it’s so much more convenient to be under one’s own steam and we drove back to Surrey in 35 minutes. The sky was blue, the sun was shining and the daffodils were blooming everywhere.

8th February, 2016

Woke up at 6.00 am after a night of heavy wind, torrential rain and sporadic thunder and lightning. After morning tea, we really hit the ground running. A month of inactivity has left us so relaxed that we welcomed a change of gear. I spent an hour going through a month’s post yesterday afternoon. Our bowel cancer test results were back and we had the all-clear.

I am less than two months away from receiving my State Pension and I had expected some paperwork about it. There was nothing when we got back so I tried to contact them through the government website to find information. As so often with Direct Gov, I was reduced to having to phone them. When I did, the response was wonderful. I spoke to three different people all of whom were delightfully sympathetic and supportive. I was told exactly what day my pension of £500.00 per four week period would be paid. It’s not a lot but not to be sneezed at.

Blinds throughout the house.

We contacted our builders to have it confirmed that we are about four weeks away from moving in to our new house. We can now tell Bensons when to deliver the beds, Sofology when to deliver the sofas and make an appointment to have the windows measured up for blinds. Hilary’s Blinds will be meeting us at the house next Monday. On Tuesday, we will go to France for a shopping trip taking advantage of a cheap, return fare of £23.00 for car and occupants. Tell that to the Greeks! We are nipping up to Housing Units in Failsworth next week to check out the dining table and chairs prior to placing an order. I think we’ll be longing for a return to Tenerife by the end of next week. It’s going to be a few weeks until we see warmth again.

One of the most noticeable things this morning was how light it was at 6.30 am compared to the darkness at the same time a month ago as we were going abroad. Even though we are really feeling the cold today, there are some signs of the Spring coming. Bring it on – soon!

9th February, 2016

David Lloyd Health Club

Bright, sunny but chilly day reaching only 8C/46F. We are really feeling the cold after a month of warmth abroad.

We have reacquainted ourselves with our Health Club and done a couple of hours of exercise. We only have three weeks left there. We will join the David Lloyd health Club in Worthing as soon as we move in March. It is about three times the size of our Nuffield Health Club in Woking and not much more expensive. I think our joint membership will be about £120.00 per month. The amount we will use it will make that extremely economical.

Athens Bourse

The combination of the pressure on global stocks and oil prices with the continued uncertainty over the negotiations between Athens and its creditors led to a bank stocks meltdown on the Greek bourse on Monday, with the benchmark slumping to levels unseen in more than 26 years. It has continued to slide a further 3% today.

It’s not alone. Share prices have been under pressure all round the world. The Chinese stock market has seen enormous losses and the London Stock Exchange has also lost ground. The Barclays shares I sold at £2.62 a few months ago are now worth £1.55. I would like to claim advanced intelligence but I didn’t really sell them for the financial gain.

10th February, 2016

Salmon & Briam

A cold day of lots of small jobs some of which contribute towards our impending move. We have confirmed appointments in Sussex on Monday. While we are there, we can measure up for the dining table and chairs before we order them. We’ve started to arrange our finances for ‘completion’ day. I’ve decided how to deal with the digital distribution throughout the house via a panel in the loft. We got into ‘preparation mode’ and decided to skip the Health Club. I cooked roast vegetables and roast tarragon salmon for our meal. I have to admit, it was delicious and fairly healthy.

11th February, 2016

Ruth & Kevan

Woke up to a really sharp frost this morning – the first of the Winter. The compensation was clear, blue sky and strong, low sun. Happy Birthday to brother-in-law, Kevan, today. Kevan is the one on the right of the photograph. He looks good for 84 doesn’t he? That’s all down to Bolton air and clean living! Let’s hope he has a nice day.

We’ve done an exercise hour, confirmed the ending of our Health Club contract on the last day of February, confirmed meetings with our flooring supplier and Blinds supplier for next week and booked a day in France on Tuesday. We have also arranged a dash up to Failsworth, Greater Manchester at the end of next week to check out a dining table and chairs. BT phoned this morning but I was in the gym so I don’t know if it was good or bad news. I definitely can’t manage without internet at the start of our new residence.

12th February, 2016

A Suspect Tumble Dryer

A bright, sunny day has turned rather grey and damp.

We are returning to our former home this morning. Our purchaser bought all our furniture and appliances including a tumble dryer on which a safety alert has gone out. The paperwork came to us so we have to deliver it ourselves today. The last thing we want is a fire or a death on our consciences. Apparently, the company send an engineer round to make a modification which prevents a build up of fluff potentially catching fire. Until then, owners are advised not to use it unattended.

Off to the Health Club for 12.00 pm and The Daily Politics and then home for chicken and salad for our meal. We have only ten days left to use our facility and need to make the most of it. Then it is on to David Lloyd and the next life experience. We anticipate that it’s going to be fun! Certainly, it will be an interesting, new departure.

12th February, 2016

A day which the Scots would describe as dreek. Very cold and not getting much above 4C/39F with strong, fine rain. Not an inviting day to go out and celebrate the weekend. Of course, we retirees are made of stronger stuff and we drove to the Health Club for an hour or so of brisk exercise.

Pauline cooked a wonderful meal of Cod Provençal which left us feeling distinctly contented. I gazed at the post with a warm feeling especially because it contained a letter from the Department for Work & Pensions which confirmed when I would receive the first instalment of my State Pension. I’ve been looking forward to that for years!