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!

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