Week 379

`27th March, 2016

We have two days to finish our personal pack, Spring Clean our hosts’ house before they return and then drive down to Sussex to start our new life on Tuesday. We know so little about our new area so we are excited to explore. Just down the road and within walking distance is this scene:

Angmering Beach

Beachcombing may well become my new occupation. Here, everything is ‘lasts’. Last trip to the Health Club tomorrow. Last trip to Tesco tomorrow. Last sleep in Surrey tomorrow. Not that we’re sentimental.

28th March, 2016

Happy 62nd birthday to my sister, Jane.


East Hill 28/3/16

Pauline & I blithely slept through what was purported to be a wild night. We slept well and woke early and refreshed although we did find the dustbin on its side when we got up. Today is our last in Surrey. We will sleep in our new bed in Sussex on Tuesday. It is 10.30am and, while the workers enjoy a morning in bed, Pauline is cleaning and I am packing the car. We have to be in Sussex by mid day tomorrow to receive a delivery. We’ve already decided that we can’t make the Health Club today so it is finished.

Did some final shopping and, because we were passing, couldn’t resist going to say goodbye to our former home in Maybury. As we drove away down East Hill, we found it blocked by a fallen tree caused by last night’s winds. Let’s hope our new house still has a roof!

29th March, 2016

Well, what a day. We were up at 6.00 am and cleaning the house. After a cup of tea, I packed the car while Pauline made our hosts’ house look respectable again. We drove down to Tesco to pick up a ‘last’ prescription (the useless chemist there didn’t disappoint having kept us waiting for three days, he still didn’t have a full order.), fill up with petrol for the last time and drive off into the sunset.

Al fresco indoors!

We arrived at around 11.00 am because there was a problem on the road and we were sitting in a jam for half an hour. Only at 4.00 pm did we realise we hadn’t eaten. We broke the rule of a lifetime – well the last three years – and drove down into the village to buy fish, chips and mushy peas. The sell mushy peas even down here! Our dining table and chairs don’t arrive until next week but our garden furniture has. That’s what we put in the kitchen to eat our meal. This is one of the amusements of moving house.


Our televisions haven’t arrived and Sky has not yet been installed so we were reduced to watching television on the internet using my laptop. We have to keep telling ourselves that things will get better and they will. I haven’t needed a lawnmower for five years. I need one now and I’ve ordered a cordless one from Gtech. It has a detachable power pack which provides 40 mins of mowing. Who could mow for that long?


I pick it up from Halfords in Rustington on Thursday and, with the weather set fair for the next week, I’ll soon be doing 35 mins of mowing. I’m just starting the final week of my 64th year and life is good.

30th March, 2016

My new bean-to-cup coffee maker

A long day today. It has been sunny and 12C/54F but there was a real chill in the wind. We continued to unpack boxes. A hall ‘console table was delivered this morning and then I went out to collect my new coffeemaker and a new monitor for my new computer. No body told me that new computers don’t use VGA monitor leads and sockets. It’s all HDMI now.

This is the problem with selling everything, you have to buy it new again later. Tomorrow, the new lawnmower will be delivered. We’ve got a man coming to measure up for additional wardrobes, drawpacks and dressing tables and an additional kitchen unit is being delivered.

31st March, 2016

Quality made in Oldham?

A long, tiring but enjoyable day. Got up at 7.00 am as usual and, while drinking tea, read the instructions in fifteen languages for setting up and using my new bean-to-cup coffee machine. Having had one before, it was easier than I thought. The first fantastic coffee for six months tasted wonderful. By 10.00 am, the bedroom furniture designer had arrived and was measuring up. We have wardrobes in the Master bedroom but want a run of draws and kneehole dressing table plus drawers either side of the bed. The other three bedrooms need wardrobes and bedside drawers plus dressing tables all built in.

The designer was from a company called Betta Living. We were astonished to find that they were from Oldham where we worked for 40 years. Pauline spoke to the company in Oldham this morning only to find that the woman who answered said her mother was taught by us. That doesn’t inspire confidence. I have a recurring nightmare in which I wake during brain surgery and the surgeon tells me to relax and not worry as I realise he is one of my ex-pupils!

While the bedroom designer was with us and drawing up his plans, the Blind Man came to measure up for the kitchen blinds. No sooner had he left but the lawn mower was delivered. and all day long, the sun beat into the kitchen through the conservatory doors. It felt so hot although it didn’t actually get above 14C/57F. Our back garden is South-facing and very sheltered.

compwhiteAll the time this was going on, I was trying to set my new, desktop computer up. Mainly, this involves installing Ms Office, Adobe Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Flash and Adobe Acrobat Professional plus the drivers for a mono laser, a colour laser, a label printer and a flatbed scanner. This takes quite a long time and I was doing it while the designer was discussing plans with Pauline but I was constantly being asked for my opinion. The designer quoted a price of £12,000/€15250. After negotiating a discount, we were so exhausted, we accepted and the furniture will be built over the next month and fitted within five weeks.

1st April, 2016

Pauline & I – Nest Building

Happy April to you all. I must apologise that the white rabbit came late. We are so wrapped up in establishing ourselves in our new house and our new area that All Fools’ Day completely passed me by. Silly old fool!

Gull Watch

A gloriously sunny day with blue, cloudless skies and no breeze. We went out early to the Post Office, to the fish shop on Littlehampton Pier Road and to Tesco nearby to buy in for the weekend. As you can see, Pauline’s shopping was monitored by the seagulls. The area is proving delightful although the traffic is still quite busy.

After driving home, we set out to look for light shades. We haven’t got any yet. We couldn’t decide in spite of the fact that there are hundreds to choose from. Moving house is proving very tiring.

2nd April, 2016

‘Sky’ Man Cometh!

For the second time in a week, the Sky Installation Man cometh. AND NOT BEFORE TIME!!!!!! I’ve been surviving on internet television for FIVE DAYS!!!!! He came a week ago and told me he couldn’t possibly go in the loft – it was against Elth & Safety. Today he returned and scrambled across the loft like a mountain goat. Sky boxes plus a satellite dish installed. The Sky Man left and left me happy. Unfortunately, all the new televisions don’t arrive until tomorrow morning. Currys will deliver and install in the morning – just in time for the Man. Utd. match in the afternoon. Can life get any better?

Week 378

20th March, 2016

The start of our last full week in Surrey. Next week we move to Sussex. Lots of people have contacted us to wish us well in our new venture and I am in the process of contacting everyone I know and some I don’t with our new address and phone number. It will take me some time because the next few days will see us shuttling constantly between locations.

We have about three or four more Health Club visits before we join the David Lloyd in Worthing. Pauline is just informing our Doctor of our imminent move and getting our last ‘Repeat Prescription’. We have quite a few ‘lasts’ coming up over the next few days. I must admit, I don’t feel sentimental about it like I did on leaving Yorkshire after more than 30 years of moorland and dry stone walls. I am actively looking forward to the move, embracing change and going forward.

The car is loaded up and we are off early to Sussex tomorrow to await delivery of our new Lounge furniture. We are going to test out our new kitchen and showers in the bathrooms. I am going to build my temporary desk and use my new internet connection.

21st March, 2016

Up at 6.00 and out by 7.00 am. The morning started cold and grey but, by the time we reached our Sussex house – just after 8.00 am – the sun was breaking through. We spent an hour or so unpacking crockery and cutlery and putting into newly cleaned kitchen cupboards. My bean-to-cup coffee maker came out at last but I didn’t have any beans so we had to survive on instant – again.

By 11.00 am, the sofa company were phoning us for details of our address because our post code is not featuring on sat navs yet. The soon arrived with two 3-seater settees, an armchair and a footstool. They unpacked it all, put in to the Lounge and gave us some aftercare advice along with a pack of ‘problem solving’ potions – for cleaning various stains off. As soon as they had gone, I was able to watch the Daily Politics on my iPad followed by the disastrous Budget debate from Parliament. I also called a television installation firm to come and advise and quote me for work in seven rooms.

We were back in Surrey by 3.00 pm and eating Crab Salad and Tuna Pâté with Greek Salad. Then I packed the car ready for a repeat trip tomorrow.

22nd March, 2016

Up at 6.00 and out by 7.00 am again this morning. We are back down to the new house in Sussex. Today we are receiving the new beds – Bensons for Beds are delivering in the morning. The removal firm will be bringing the contents of our storage pod in the afternoon. It is a beautiful, sunny day. The road down is quiet and strewn with dead badgers, dead rabbits, dead pheasants – in fact Sussex is strewn with road kill.

When we arrive, sun is streaming through the windows of the Kitchen/Breakfast Room. I snatched some photos on my iPad. The first two made quite nice compositions taken from the corridor through the kitchen door.

kitch8 kitch7

The bed company arrived right on time, unloaded, hauled three, huge beds upstairs and assembled them. The left, taking all the packaging with them even though our new Recycling Bin (what are they for?) was delivered this morning. The fourth bedroom will become the Ironing/Sewing Room without a bed.

In the afternoon, Aspen Movers brought the contents of our storage pod and put it all into the garage for me to move at my ‘leisure’. We chose the right company quite out of the blue. The service was excellent and only cost £420.00.

23rd March, 2016

Another lovely day and we were out early again but to the Surgery for a repeat prescription then shopping for a snack to take to the new house and petrol which has just gone up to £1.01 per litre at Tesco. All this driving means I’m getting through a lot of it at the moment. Anyway, we set off for Sussex at 9.00 am and the drive was good but a little busier.

The Dining table hasn’t arrived yet so we have ordered garden furniture which may arrive first. Al fresco dining may be what happens for a few days.


Pauline is just about to order an extra wall cabinet for the front left above the coffee maker and the wine cooler. Symphony Kitchens supply them at the cost of £730.00 for a double wall cabinet. Are they gold lined? Anyway, it’s what Pauline wants so it is ordered. I also ordered Sky Multi-Room with Sky Sports in three rooms and BT Sports in three rooms so that must have been the trade off.

In the afternoon, the Blind Man arrived to fit blinds in every window apart from the kitchen. It took him two hours and we didn’t get away until 7.00 pm as it was beginning to get quite dark. Our first drive back to Surrey at that time of night was made more interesting as the country roads leading to the M25 have absolutely no street lighting. Now I realise why I see so much roadkill in the mornings. Just before we left the new house, an envelope was pushed through the letter box. It was from our neighbours across the road welcoming us and introducing themselves. That was nice.

24th March, 2016

A grey start to the day which deteriorated into rain – fine turning heavy. We are surprised it is only Thursday. It has felt a long week and we are tired from the stress of trying to get things right. The Sky installers will come to the Sussex house on Saturday and the patio furniture will be delivered. Today, we have been out to buy the televisions, a condenser tumble dryer and a replacement desktop computer from Currys. The computer will be delivered on Tuesday and the rest five days later. After months of relaxation, arranging all this has been exhausting.

It is extremely tricky making qualitative choice ‘off-plan’ and co-ordinating them. We have been relieved to find kitchen units work with work surface and floor tiles. I particularly like the stair carpet which also runs along the upstairs gallery landing.


This is the view from the Lounge looking across the corridor running from front door to the kitchen. It just feels a bit ‘funky’ for an older couple.

This afternoon, we drove to a leather restorer’s premises in Chobham taking the detachable arm of a leather swivel chair belonging to P&C. We didn’t damage it but its condition has got worse on our watch so we though we would have its condition restored while they are away. Fascinating, multi-process old works staffed by very young people. We wait to hear if it can be done.

25th March, 2016

A  gloriously warm and sunny day reaching 15C/59F. It is really our last quiet day before we move. We went out to buy sea food – prawns, crab and smoked salmon for our meal tomorrow plus a leg of lamb for Sunday. Since returning, we have been trying to find a suitable sideboard and coffee table for the lounge. We want to avoid too traditional – go mildly modern and have been struggling. Today, we think we might consider these:

Coffee Table

The light wood is contrasted with polished, dark concrete. You can’t get much more ‘modern’ than that.

This afternoon we’ve been changing our address on numerous websites – banks, credit cards, supermarkets, etc.. Tried to change our driving licences and the car tax, etc.. Usually do this on the Government Gateway. We store the details digitally in the cloud but use them so rarely that it is always a fag to find and retrieve them. We must have re-registered half a dozen times since it started. This time, in spite of logging in correctly, we couldn’t update our details because their database couldn’t find our new build’s post code. Not surprised because the Post Office struggled until recently. The DVLA are closed today (ridiculous!) so we will revert to phoning in a few days.

26th March, 2016

An expensive but inoperable media distribution panel in the Lounge.

We had a really early start this morning. Up at 6.00 am and driving down to Sussex by 7.00 am. The Sky installers were due to arrive between 8.00 am – 11.00 am. We were there on time. The Sky man didn’t arrive until 10.00 am. After doing most of his work, he found that the distribution centre in the loft was not completely connected to sockets in the rooms. I have to get the builders to deal with that before the work can be completed.

Had to drive back to Surrey to watch a famous and well deserved victory against the Germans. It was well worth the drive to see really high quality goals from England.

Week 377

13th March, 2016

Another new Desktop PC

Lovely sunny day and reasonably warm – reaching 14C/57F. I have to say that it didn’t start well as I discovered that my PC had been infected with a Trojan Zlob virus. My virus checker recognised it but which is annoying. failed to clear it and, I got into an infernal loop of restart / close down which I couldn’t recover from. It means I need a new hard drive at (isn’t it always) just the most awkward time. I haven’t lost anything because all my ‘stuff’ is saved in the cloud but my software all has to be put back on to a new machine which is tiresome and it will cost me £500.00/ €650.00. Never mind. Life is too short. Anyway, all my early PCs cost me around £3000.00/€3890.00 per unit so this is decidedly cheap by comparison. For the moment, I am surviving with my laptop.

14th March, 2016

Tunnel Crossing

Up early on a grey morning that is expected to develop into bright and sunny skies. We are driving down to the Tunnel for a short break in France before we move in to our new house. It will take our mind off the waiting. We cross around 10.00 am and do some shopping before checking in to our hotel. I’m not bothering to take my laptop with me so the rest of this Blog will be completed when we get back to Surrey.

Our Hotel in Lovely Grounds

The sky brightened; the sun came out and this beautiful weather lasted for two days. The Channel Shuttle was very quiet and almost empty. We left early and arrived early and drove straight to the Calais Wine Store. We were buying wine for P&C who have put us up for six months. It is to say thank you in part. After that, we bought things for our meal and drove to our hotel to relax for the rest of the day.

As soon as we were settled in our suite, we received a call from the MD of our builders to confirm ‘completion’ on Friday and another from our Blinds fitter to confirm his day for installing the window blinds. Immediately afterwards, we had a call and emails from our solicitor to confirm the settlement and details for closure. This is great news.

15th March, 2016

Auchan – Temple of French Produce

Up early although we didn’t need to be. Old habits die hard! Breakfast in the Dining Room and then out to Auchan. Because we are near to moving, we couldn’t do a major shop. In fact, we just bough enough for a couple of meals. A couple of dozen snails in garlic butter looked irresistible and lots of prawns and crab meat.

Snails on the table not just in the garden.

We drove to the Tunnel with not a single migrant in sight although there were lots of new, barbed wire fences. We didn’t see any lorries either although, when we rolled off in Folkestone, the motorway was extremely busy with freight from Italy, Poland, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Holland, Germany and, of course, France. Nobody can argue that these companies will cease to trade in UK if we vote to leave the E.U..

Of course, the economic argument should not be the decider of EU membership. It should be about cultural and humanitarian collaboration first and foremost.

16th March, 2016

Gorgeous Spring day of blue skies and strong sun although chilly in the breeze. We only reached 11C/52F and it felt a little cooler than that. It was a busy day of arrangements. At 8.00 am, we were at the Storage Pod meeting a Removals Firm boss. He looked at what we’ve got – which is negligible – and agreed an excellent price of £350.00 to transport it down to West Sussex next week. We gave him a key and the door entry codes. He will do the rest.

Delicious Food

We came back to draft a letter for our storage provider, cancelling our contract from next week. We delivered it and saved ourselves £200.00 for another month’s storage. We went on to the bank to transfer hundreds of thousands of pounds (scary or what?) to our solicitor’s account for ‘completion’ of our property purchase. This was at 9.30 am but we had to wait until 12.30 pm before we received confirmation of its receipt. Anyway, it’s done and, although we are much poorer, we are very happy.

We went to the pool for a swim but the water was so cold that we had a Jacuzzi, shower and came home. I cooked tarragon boned chicken thighs with some roast root vegetables, shallots and mushrooms. It was delicious and we ate too much.

17th March, 2016

On a cold day with a biting breeze we ventured out at 7.45 am to meet a Removals Man at the Storage Pod. He viewed our goods for removal and transporting to Sussex and quoted us a very acceptable price. We agreed it on the spot. It will happen next Tuesday.

Our new local fish shop.

Tomorrow, we will drive down to the house to meet the site manager to be walked round the house and inducted into the operation of central heating, burglar alarm, etc. Afterwards, legal ‘Completion’ will take place and we will get our key and take walk-in possession of the property. Over the next week, our new furniture will be delivered and the window blinds fitted. In order for this to happen, we will drive down almost daily to meet the deliveries. We will move in immediately after Easter.

With all these changes buzzing round our heads and through our systems and making us both feel rather unsettled and less inclined to go for exercise. We are still going to the Health Club but rather going through the motions. We look forward to being settled and getting back into our diet and exercise regime. To that end, we will immediately join the David Lloyd Leisure Club in Worthing and shopping at the fish shop on Littlehampton docks which sells freshly caught fish from local boats daily.

18th March, 2016

Angmering on Sea

Out at 7.30 am and down to West Sussex. It was a cold morning and the atmosphere was bitingly penetrative – rather like a cold day on Sifnos. We approached our new home at about 9.00 am. As we did, our solicitor phoned Pauline’s mobile to inform us that our funds had been transferred and our property purchase had been ‘completed’.

We met the Site Manager who walked us through the technology of the house – services gas, electricity and water, central heating, burglar alarm, etc. We received about eight sets of keys and a welcome hamper containing wine, a jar of coffee plus two mugs, biscuits and a fruit cake. It felt a bit bizarre but nice all the same. We unloaded the things we had brought from the Storage Pod – the broadband router was first of all. I had a phone to plug in as well. A temporary desk to get me through until the Office is fitted out and the ‘Richard’ chair which represents my link with my family’s past.

We had three keys for every lock and, with eight locks, had twenty four keys to juggle, try out and label. Our central heating has zoned controls which allows us to control temperatures upstairs independently of downstairs and water separately from radiator heating. The whole process was explained in about five minutes and we struggled to absorb the process. Left alone in the house later, we struggled to get to grips with it. We will try again next week  having read. The Lounge furniture will be delivered on Monday, Beds on Tuesday plus everything in storage and window blinds will be fitted on Wednesday. The Dining table and chairs will follow after Easter.

Only as we drove back to Sussex did I realise that I hadn’t taken a single photo for my Blog. I will have lots of time to do that next week.

19th March, 2016

New Home – New Phones

Today we picked up a new set of cordless, digital phones to take down to the house on Monday. Getting the services up and running really makes us feel better. This set include answerphone, call monitoring and call barring to get rid of nuisance and cold calls.

Interesting report in The Times today. It involves Oldham in Lancashire where we worked for almost 40 years and Woking in Surrey where we have lived for the past five years. The report was from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) and its examination of relative deprivation. It found that Oldham is the most deprived across the metrics of employment, health, education and income. It found that Woking came top across the same metrics. We have obviously experienced the lows and highs of life.

Week 376

6th March, 2016

winetrebMothers’ Day. Forget it! Pauline & I haven’t got one.

We’ve had a pleasant day reading the Sunday papers. We had a session at an empty Health Club and came home to a steaming bowl of Revithia – or chick pea soup. Pauline made it this morning. This will tide us over until we go out to eat this evening at the local Trattoria – That’s Amore. …… Lovely meal. Pauline & I both had a starter of Kalamari with Tartar Sauce followed by a main course of steamed sea bass with steamed vegetables. A nice bottle of chilled Trebbiano helped it all along.

We drove home and downloaded Call the Midwife so I could have a good cry and Pauline a good laugh.


7th March, 2016

Magnolia buds are bursting.

Well in to Spring already. Today is beautifully sunny with blue sky and fluffy, white clouds. Daffodils are still flowering. The birds are beginning to believe it’s Spring as their pace of life quickens. Camellias have been in flower for a few weeks now and magnolias are just about to burst into their full glory. We are looking forward to seeing Spring in Sussex.

We are pushing hard to get a completion/’move-in’ date and so are many of our suppliers. We will have the blinds fitted on Friday and hope the completion date will be no longer than a week later. Pauline is ordering her new kettle in readiness.

8th March, 2016

Turkey 10 – Greece 0 is the score from the EU leaders’ meetings last weekend.

Greece has been given a task which means harbouring all their migrants as borders close or returning them to Turkey. How they could possibly do the latter, it is impossible to know. They are hardly going to volunteer to go back to Turkey. Turkey gets billions of euros and a planned process for sending ‘legitimate’ migrants to Europe. The Greeks get their historical enemies being offered visa-free access to Europe and accelerated access to the European Union membership process. Just to add to Greece’s joys, Wolfgang Schaeuble has pledged to oppose debt relief for Greece as he vies to replace Merkel.

9th March, 2016

Security from Death?

Received a phone call yesterday from someone who had just been informed of my death – and it wasn’t the Poison Dwarf. Apparently, Facebook was alive with ex-teacher colleagues and ex-pupils of mine fuelling the myth. It may have been wishful thinking but, like Mark Twain, reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

We were promised torrential rain last night and again this morning. Neither has materialised. I’ll have to pay to have the car washed instead. My main computer was hit by a blackmailing virus yesterday. Many people will recognise a message which popped up to tell me a virus which was disabling my computer could only be removed if I rang this phone number and paid for someone else to clean it out. It’s a well know scam which I wasn’t falling for. I’ve no idea where I picked it up from. I ran my Norton Security which it had obviously got through already but it had no effect. I downloaded an old favourite – Adaware – to see if that would work but nothing doing. As a last resort, late into last night, I chose a ‘restore point’ from a week ago and, ‘Bingo’, with one bound I was free. I’ve had to do a bit of tinkering round the edges but it’s all back up and working.

10th March, 2016

This has been a good news day. Today we learnt that our new house build has been signed off by the Managing Director of our building firm. He phoned us personally to inform us. It has allowed us to proceed with delivery dates for a lot of our new furniture. We will not need to do anything until the end of next week so we have booked a few days in France on the spur of the moment. We will go through the Tunnel on Monday morning.

Things were fairly hectic today so we missed our exercise regime. We did go to Curry’s to collect a new kettle and toaster and tomorrow we will go to the Storage Pod to end our contract after hiring the Furniture Removers next door to move our ‘stuff’ in about ten days. It all feels good – as if someone has fired the starting pistol and set off a long-awaited chain reaction.

11th March, 2016


An absolutely delightful day in so many ways. I am writing this Blog entry at just before 5.00 pm. The atmosphere outside is like an early summer evening – windless, warm and sunny. The atmosphere inside could be described as very happy because the Chief Executive of our building firm telephoned to say that we will ‘complete’ and can move in from next Friday. We have had to go into overdrive with arrangements. We have:


  • Gone to The Storage Pod to cancel our contract.
  • Selected a removal firm to empty our pod and transfer the goods to our Sussex home.
  • Contacted our insurance company to arrange house and contents insurance.
  • Arranged for the beds to be delivered.
  • Arranged for the Dining Table and chairs to be delivered.
  • Arranged for the Lounge furniture to be delivered.
  • Opened a bottle of wine and breathed out.

The workers celebrate the weekend and we just celebrate life. We are celebrating it especially because Pauline asked our current insurance company – LV – for a quote for building & contents insurance. They quoted £650.00. She then did an internet search and came up with a rather better terms insurance policy for £232.00. Guess which one we went for!

12th March, 2016

Blog Spot

The morning opened misty and cold but developed into a beautiful and mild Spring day. We were out early to contact the removal firm and check out our storage pod. We are meeting our potential remover there on Wednesday to get an estimate for our pod being emptied in about ten days.

We are having our Study/Home Office fitted out professionally but will need temporary arrangements until then. We have two filing cabinets in store but I have had to purchase a cheap computer desk to tide me over until that can be done. I picked one up from Argos and took it to the pod. It only cost me £40.00 and I’ll give it to the Hospice Shop when my office is fully fitted.

We did an hour or so at the Health Club and then came home to Greek Salad and fishcakes. The latter were Crab & Prawn and Cod, Haddock & Salmon. They made a real change and were delicious.