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?

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