Week 383

24th April, 2016

The last week of April already. Hold on to the handrail! At 7.00 am, the sky was pale and wan, as Yeats would have described it. The temperature was a cool 7C/45F. I watched the morning political slot with Andrew Marr and then we went out shopping. We had ordered a low tog – 3 – duvet and had to pick it up from Dunelm. We went on to do a large shop at Tesco next door. The supermarkets are so busy of Sunday morning. It’s enough to gladden one’s heart!

anspBack home in time to unpack and set up my new pressure washer. It will see use tomorrow. On to the e-Sunday Times with glorious fresh capuccino topped cinnamon sprinkle sipped while I watch Andrew Neil with the combative Dominic Raab and the obstructive Lucy Powel trying to filibuster. Of course, Raab was on for discussion of the European Referendum vote. I find myself in the most deliciously contrary position. I love Europe. I feel decidedly European. I am determined to vote to stay in Europe. However, when establishment people tell me that voting to leave will bring a plague upon my house, it makes me want to vote ‘out’. It must be the natural dissenter in my character.

25th April, 2016

All These Bits!

I am not and never have been a practical person. At Grammar School in 1962, I was required to do one-year taster courses of metalwork and woodwork. I failed in the end of term task to make a ‘pipe rack’ and I failed again in the next term’s test to make a key tag and a coat hook. In practical things then as now, I am a failure. I used to be ashamed of it. Now, I realise, I am good at thinking, writing and analysing and I am happy to rely on my wife for the practical solutions. Pauline will take hours writing a few lines to friends. I will take hours removing my new pressure washer from its packaging and trying to assemble the parts from sketchy illustrations produced by a German company.

Just look at all the bits that came in the box. The illustration doesn’t even show you that I’ve had to attach the handle and wheels already. I’m exhausted and I haven’t even assembled the gun/lance/thingy. After I had finished assembling the whole thing, I connected to our garden tap and power from the garage and proudly called Pauline out to see the demonstration. She turned the power on and I turned the water on. Before I even got hold of the gun/lance, water spouted from every orifice. It clearly wasn’t right. Pauline laughed, checked the instructions and reassembled the connector in seconds. Turning the water back on saw the whole thing work perfectly. Aren’t wives clever? Tomorrow she will let me clean the car.

26th April, 2016

A strange day of brilliant sunshine and short showers including one of hail. It was never really warm – I think it reached 10C/50F. – and often feeling raw cold. In the sunny morning period, I managed to mow the lawns, and pressure wash the patio. In the cold times, we hunkered down in the house, emptying the Office in readiness for the delivery of the furniture. I had bought a cheap, stand-in computer desk while the real stuff was being manufactured and delivered.

Today, two delightful; chaps turned up in a huge delivery waggon and carried off an L-shaped corner desk unit and a straight extension desk unit, a 4-drawer filing cabinet and a 3-drawer pedestal cabinet. They brought out a full height, beech bookcase for the downstairs Office and a white bookcase for Pauline’s ironing/sewing room. The men themselves were almost as interesting as the furniture the were delivering. One was a Bulgarian who had been in UK for three years, taken his HGV qualification, had worked as a courier for CityLink until it went bust, worked subsequently for Hermes and was now working for Office Furniture. The other guy had lived in Worthing throughout his childhood but now lived in Manchester. This is the reverse journey that we have made. Lives are interesting and strange.

27th April, 2016


Mum has been dead for eight, long years today. Eight years! How I miss her. I remember her now. She would be very exercised by the effects of the oscillating weather on her large magnolia tree in her garden. It was her pride and joy but hugely susceptible to frost.

ocsA wonderfully sunny morning with just a hint of light frost on the newly mown lawn. Sun streaming through the conservatory windows made the kitchen a hothouse. It got even hotter when we started to unpack and piece together our new, office chairs.

When we were young, everything seemed to come stamped with Made in Taiwan. Now, everything comes stamped Made in China. There is only one, central reason for this – The incredibly low wages paid in that country. Unfortunately, low wages do not equate with motivated workers and high quality production. If you’ve ever built an office, gas-strut chair, and I’ve built hundreds in my school days, you will know that it should be a fairly simple process with few pieces to assemble. The Chinese seem to have a knack for making it difficult. These chairs cost about £200.00 for the privilege of building them ourselves. That formed a couple of hours of our lives that we’ll never get back. Still, like the pains of childbirth, the angst has gone now we have wheeled them into our office and use has begun. Actually, I’m sure childbirth is a breeze in comparison!

28th April, 2016

Once again, we are treated to a Summer view first thing in the morning. Up at 6.45 am to clear blue skies and strong sun. Cold though and a hint of frost on the lawn and on the roofs once again. The targets for today are getting all our books on to the newly installed bookcases, tidying up the garage of all the empty boxes, visiting the local tip to dispose of accumulated cardboard and just enjoying the day.

bgsmI love gadgets and I have lots. I am what’s known as an ‘early adopter’. I must be one of the few people in the country who is delighted and fascinated by the delivery of the British Gas smart meter monitor, It is on my desk now. The house builder set us up with a British Gas Dual Fuel account from the outset and with that came an expensively commissioned smart meter monitor. We have had earlier prototypes for years. We had one in our Yorkshire house at least ten years ago but this is far more sophisticated. The government are legislating to make them compulsory under their ‘Green Agenda’.

This smart meter monitor uses the power of the internet to wirelessly communicate with the actual meter outside and with the British Gas who will no longer have to employ armies of meter readers who roam the country in all weathers trying to gain entry to old houses to read their meters or who open up the meter boxes on the outside of newer house on an annual basis. Many of us have been reading our own meters and supplying the readings for decades but all of this will fade in to the oblivion of a bright new age. Now we can work out how much boiling the kettle is actually costing us or lighting the gas hob to heat soup. On our meter, the gas consumption and electricity consumption is provided by the hour/day/week/month/year. Why we can’t compare decades, I don’t know.

29th April, 2016

Yorkshire this morning.

We had a little bit of rain last night which has freshened up the borders and the lawns but we haven’t got the view that my sister, Jane, has tweeted from her lounge window in Yorkshire this morning. It is not hot but we have the conservatory doors open to the fresh air and it is perfectly pleasant. I must say, it doesn’t make me long for Yorkshire. As we approach May, it does get close to being all wrong!

As any reader of the Blog will know, we have been buying lots of ‘stuff’ to furnish and kit out our new home. It is costing, quite frankly, tens of thousands of pounds to do – probably reaching nearly £50,000.00/€65,000.00 by the time we’ve finished. On so many occasions in the past few weeks, we have been confronted by a salesman saying that we can pay for our goods on interest-free-credit over a certain period. The weird thing is that it is impossible to negotiate better terms by paying up front. If the cost of delaying or spreading payment is built in to the price of the goods, our view has been – Although we can afford it, the money is better in our investment account than in someone else’s. As a result, the bedroom furniture – £12,000.00/€15,400.00 – will not be paid for at all until May, 2017; the  beds – £3000.00/ €3,900.00 – will not be paid for until March 2018; and so it goes on until the Lounge furniture is finally paid for in March 2020. I will be 69 by then and we’ll probably be looking to replace it.

30th April, 2016

w1The last day of April which here in Sussex is going out with wall to wall sunshine. Not so everywhere, however. It has been a distinctly schizophrenic season in Northern England well illustrated by this photograph put out on Faceache this morning. We have the conservatory doors open to cool down the kitchen. The temperature outside was nothing to write home about – 12C/54F – but the strong sun without a hint of a breeze made it feel so much warmer.

At last,this afternoon, we are going to sign on at the Health Club. It will be about five weeks since we were able to do specific exercise. We have had plenty of exercise but it has all been incidental as we addressed our new house issues. Next week we start the new regime – back to work! Can’t wait.

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