Week 392

Sunday, 26th June

I managed to get through 391 weeks of The Blog as a European but, before I could start Week 392, I found myself flailing around and unsure where I belonged. The country has voted to leave. I didn’t. Those who had nothing, had nothing to lose and went for it. The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid. The terrible thing about Democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid. And they took that chance. It will change life in so many ways and many for the worse.

Spare a thought for the expats at this time. Call-me-Dave ‘reassured’ them on Friday that for

British nationals living in European countries and European citizens living in the UK there will be no immediate changes in their circumstances.

Note that the key word is  immediate and the value it carries. It implies that there will be one but not yet. He went on to say that

There will be no initial change in the way British people can travel, in the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold.

We are the Greeks biggest trading partners and their second biggest source of tourists. Already at a weak ebb, the Greeks are worried about the impact of Brexit on their economy and rightly. Just the effect on the Sterling-Euro relationship is enough to put many off buying Greek products and booking Greek holidays. They would only need a reduction of 2-3% to make a major difference.

Monday, 27th June

I have always been a gadget enthusiast and an I.T. enthusiast. For years I’ve loved new cars and the rolling technological developments that they have embodied. Many won’t even know what it is like to be driving with one hand and trying to wind down the window with a plastic handle on the door with the other. I longed for electronically controlled windows. When I got them, I also got air conditioning at the same time.

Web access in our new car.

When I took delivery of that car in 1984, it was rumoured that something called ALB was available on higher end models. Anti-Lock Brakes became standard on our Honda cars by 1992. We started to replace tape decks and separate radios with Digital units combining CD players with radios. we got charging points around our car that allowed us to run an electric cool bag and USB points to charge phones and iPads. We got satellite navigation integrated with entertainment.

For the past seven years, we have had reversing cameras and surround parking sensors. I would find it hard to operate without. We have had electronic, memory seating. Now we have internet access and, therefore, the ability to search vital information on our journey although not, I hasten to add, while we are driving. With every new car, I take a few days exploring its potential. It has taken just five days to get this up and running. I am delighted but will soon take it for granted. Can you imagine driving without air conditioning now?

Tuesday, 28th June

euroSince selling in Greece, we have had an account with a foreign exchange company. I haven’t needed their services very much for a couple of years but, ironically, I needed them today. I only bought £1000.00 worth of Euros to be delivered to my home but I managed to buy them at 1.18€ = £1.00. This includes the cost of having them delivered to my door. It’s not terrible but it is a sign of things to come. Brits are cancelling European holidays in their thousands and not just because of the football. We’ve booked a shopping trip to France next week and we think currency fixed at our rate will be better than credit cards fixed at their rate. Who knows how a volatile commodity like the £Sterling will fluctuate.

Wednesday, 29th June

As the Brexit caravan rumbles on, two groups are becoming increasingly nervous. Those immigrants, both EU and otherwise, who are working and residing in Britain and are feeling unloved and unwanted – how ever mistakenly -and vulnerable to abuse and opprobrium. Those emigrant ex-pats across the EU who now have to consider the consequences for the domicile. As reported in national press, British expatriates may have to stop living abroad in European countries like France and Spain when Britain leaves the European Union, the Government has suggested.

Although we had the unedifying sight of Farage rebuking the European Parliament, the Euro Bureaucracy didn’t help itself with a kneejerk closing of ranks and excluding others at different levels. The 6 original members met alone, excluding the other 22 members. Then Britain was excluded as the other 27 members met. They never learn. Lack of democratic accountability was one of the key planks of the ‘Leave’ campaign. The Times reports this morning:

A continental split has opened up over the response to the Brexit vote, with Poland and Hungary leading calls for a new-style European Union amid claims that the founding member states are trying to call the shots….Austria and Spain were among nine countries which joined a meeting in the Polish capital on Monday for those that had not been invited to the founder members’ ministerial summit at the weekend.


We already know that the Greek economy is susceptible to the Brexit fallout and today we learn that Greece’s primary supermarket chain, the Carrefour-badged Marinopoulos, has filed for protection from its creditors. The firm is thought to owe more than 720 million euros to some 2,000 suppliers and could face closure if a court on Friday decides not to accept its request for protection. The company’s total debts, including what it owes to the state, reach 1.3 billion euros. Marinopoulos employs around 12,500, whose jobs are now in doubt unless a solution, which could include a buyout, is found.

Thursday, 30th June

Had to buy Euros from our Foreign Exchange dealer – Moneycorp – which I used for repatriating the sale of our Greek house. It was delivered by courier to our house this morning. The rate was €1.18 = £1.00. In the circumstances, it wasn’t bad but I predict that continental shopping is going to nosedive. We are shopping in France next week but I bet we will not have many others around us. It doesn’t take much to change sentiment and everything will now become more expensive.

Friday, 1st July


Happy new month. Happy July if we ever see the sun again! My tomatoes and peppers demand it. The fruits are set but they need sun to grow and ripen and they need it urgently. We are cutting and cooking with our Basil and Tarragon plants. This day last year was the hottest British day on record. Surrey reached the lower 30Cs/upper 90Fs. Today, in Sussex, we have struggled to reach 20C/68F.

Saturday, 2nd July

Goring Fisherman
Goring Fishing Boats

A free morning with pleasant sunshine and high clouds moving quite quickly in a gentle breeze, It meant that the landscape was alternately bathed in strong sunshine and dark shade in quick succession. We thought that would continue in our quest to explore the area by driving to Goring-on-Sea, down the coastal road to Worthing and then on to Lancing and Shoreham-on-Sea. We turned around there rather than go on to Brighton which would have been heaving at this time of year. The coastal road was busy enough as it is. There seem to be plenty of people who are just happy to holiday by the English coast. They probably voted BREXIT as well! It certainly wouldn’t do for me. There is a distinct whiff of seedy decay in all of these places.

Goring Beach

What they do have is daily, fresh fish catches on sail. In Goring we found fishermen’s boats up on the beach being mobbed by seagulls hungry for bits discarded as the catch was being prepared for the shop. We bought shellfish – two crab for our meal today and Huss to serve as goujons tomorrow. We walked on Goring beach and I took some photos with my phone which explains the poor quality. I must start taking my camera with me again.

Week 391

Sunday, 19th June

As yesterday went on, a terrible pain developed in the outer section of my left upper thigh. It began to feel like a dead-leg or the early season consequence of a heavy rugby tackle. I had no idea where it originated having had no incident during the day to bring it on. By the time I had to walk up the stairs to bed, I was in agony and, in bed, I couldn’t get comfortable. I sleep on my left side and I couldn’t bear the pain when I tried that. I tried the right side but it was just as painful. I spent the night fitfully on my back and got up at 7.00 am still very tired.

Worthing Promenade

As soon as I started walking, this morning, the leg freed up and I was barely aware of it. After half an hour sitting down, I was reduced to the gait of an old and infirm man once again.

We chose to go out for a walk. The weather was beautiful and my leg demanded it. We drove to Worthing Promenade – about 15 mins away – and Pauline picked up an order from M&S. That shop really does have an air of the past about it! The walking definitely helped and I will go to the gym tomorrow to continue my exercise.

When we got home at about 3.00 pm, we griddled Hake fillets and courgette slices out in the garden and Pauline cooked garlic, button mushrooms but, by the time we had eaten our meal, the clouds were beginning to edge in. It got increasingly murky throughout the afternoon but we only got a light shower of rain at about 8.00 in the evening.

Monday, 20th June

Woodhenge on Worthing Beach

The joke of the day, which opened with torrential rain, is that it is Mid-Summer’s Day or summer solstice. By 11.00 am, the sun was out from blue, blue skies but mid-summer? Worthing Beach marked the day with this structure featured in The Times this morning.

Part of the process of buying a new car has been, for us over the past 20 years, transferring our ‘cherished number plate’ from the old car to the new. Today, the DVLA documents arrived and we took them in to our new Dealership. They removed our ‘cherished plates’, replaced them with those required by the DVLA and told us our new car would be available in a couple of weeks. It is all a very smooth, if bureaucratic, operation in contrast with procedures we experienced in Greece and which Bloggers in Greece bemoan on a daily basis. There, Bureaucracy rules.

Tuesday, 21st June

Summer solstice evening on the Pennines

Lovely bright and sunny morning. My sister, Mary-Jane, once told me she was ‘too busy for weather’. I have been amused to notice that, like me and particularly since retirement, she has been tweeting pictures of her environment and weather around her Yorkshire Pennine home. It comes to us all with age.

From the right: Tarragon, Sweet Basil, Tumbler Tomato (red), Tumbler Tomato (yellow).

I have been cutting the lawns, weeding the beds and mulching with chipped bark and feeding the patio plants. the tomatoes and peppers are covered in flowers although there does appear to be a worrying lack of pollinators flying around. The tarragon and sweet basil are romping away.

A phone call from our new Honda Dealer says our new car will be available for collection on Thursday and we need to go in and complete documentation today. We agree to visit en route to the gym. Outside, the road is being tarmacked so our current car is parked off-site. Things are certainly coming together. As soon as we get the referendum out of the way and see how the land lies, we can get on and book our winter holidays.

Wednesday, 22nd June

roadA grey and misty but warm and sultry morning. The contractors have been finishing the tarmacked road outside. I have been stripping the car of all our personal possessions in readiness for taking it in to the Honda garage tomorrow morning and driving away with a new one. Pauline, meanwhile, has been changing over the insurance. Our insurance company have made a complete mess of the process. It hasn’t been helped by transferring on the ‘cherished’ number plate but, for car insurers, it shouldn’t be rocket science.

In Greece, Bank restrictions are still in place after almost two years. Yesterday, the President of Greek Banks Association, Louka Katseli, said that the Capital Controls would be lifted by end of the year. Today, Fitch, the Ratings Agency, said Greece’s four main banks would default if Capital Controls are lifted. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose or what ever the Greek is for that.

Thursday, 23rd June

lightning London
London’s Sound & Light Show

Over night everywhere was pressured washed cleaned by torrential rain and flood-lit by extensive and prolonged lightning displays. In London, it was quite damaging with trains cancelled and roads flooded this morning. Here, we were lucky and everything was refreshed.

We went out to deliver our car and collect the new one at 10.00 am. It was ready and waiting. Dealers always feel that have to make it a special occasion. We’ve had so many now, it felt no more special than a trip to Sainsbury’s but it is nice to be driving a new smell in a younger body with a tighter construction. The front end has changed and become a bit more American and macho which doesn’t really do it for me. I’m macho enough already. Otherwise, nothing much has changed about the construction of the car.


The media centre will take some getting used to. The previous model had retained its built in sat. nav. system over 15 years with only a few, minor alterations. This new one is also built in but is Garmin-derived and very different.

When you’re used to something for fifteen years, it becomes part of the fabric of one’s automatic thought patterns. Over the years, moving from one Ms. Windows platform to another always aggravates the smooth completion of work activities until the user ceases to notice by which time, they have to cope with yet another  Ms satnav2Windows platform. So it is with this satellite navigation system. Fifteen years with one has made its operation automatic. One has to keep the mind open and embrace the new while fighting the inclination to compare it with the previous regime.

I see it as an exciting challenge which may well move me forward in thinking and activity. In the past, one just had to grapple with the idea of linking a mobile phone by bluetooth with the car’s media centre. Now I’m trying to work out how to run the car’s internet system from my 4G mobile phone.

Friday, 24th June

The Lunatics have taken over the Asylum!

The world has changed. It will never be the same for Britain again in my lifetime. The lunatics have truly taken over the asylum. Forgive them for they know not what they do. Instability, danger, not only lurks around every corner but comes up and stares us directly in the face. It is hard to find light relief in such gloom. I did read a tweet at 5.00 am today when Sunderland declared a ‘Leave’ vote. One wag retorted – The people thought they were voting to leave Sunderland.

brexit1Expats across the continent will be nervously examining their options. Cosy, dual-nationality options will be seriously up in the air. Reciprocal agreements on Healthcare and Pensions, Travel and Security will be up in the air. Great Britain will almost certainly collapse because the Scots will seek referendum negotiations to get back in to Europe but that presupposes there will be a Europe to get back in to. Already other countries are demanding their own referendums – notably Holland immediately but also Italy and France.

brexit2‘Call Me Dave’ has called it a day and announced his resignation. Gobsborne will not be far behind. I don’t think he will enter the leadership race because he has no chance of winning. They will have to appoint a Brexiteer to lead the negotiations. The nightmare scenario of a Prime Minister Boris and President Trump summit meeting is lurching sickeningly towards us.

Back in the real world, we were up at 4.30 am listening to the nightmare unfold. Out on shaky legs to Tesco at 9.00 am and now, back home, we are trying to assume some semblance of normality by contacting Honda Finance to pay off our twelve hour borrowing which provided us with an extra £3000.00 discount from the on-the-road price. Then we can move on to book our Winter holiday in a collapsing world.

Saturday, 25th June

rocanivariaYesterday finished with us successfully ending our twelve-hour finance agreement with Honda. The result was that we now own the car outright and the £34,300.00 vehicle has cost us £13,170.00. After 4 years of driving and almost 30,000 miles, we think that is very acceptable.We spent the savings on a month in a 5* hotel in Tenerife. We are going for the month of November to Costa Adeje and have booked a double room with sea view and half board in the Adrián Hoteles Roca Nivaria.

Blue Sky Babe!

Here it is warm with blue sky/clouds/blue sky/clouds, etc.. We drove down to Littlehampton Pier where there is a good fresh fish shop. It’s more like a cabin or shed, actually, but it sells the day’s catch which is nice. Particularly, they sell fresh and dressed crabs, lobsters, John Dory, Turbot – things that are not always available in the supermarkets. It turned out that we were a bit late for the best choice and we didn’t buy but we did go for a walk down one of the piers.

At the seaside 1 – Littlehampton
At the seaside 2 – Littlehampton

It is a working and a pleasure port. On one side there is a golf course and on the other a marina. Boats tug in from the sea and up and down the estuary which takes up the excess high tide.

Week 390

Sunday, 12th June

The morning started very warm but rather damp with light rain. Fortunately, for our next door neighbours, who were holding a garden party out on their lawn, the day soon turned to hot and sunny blue skies thus rescuing the day for everyone. Our neighbours have just returned from their honeymoon (They are in their late 50s.) and were holding a get-together for friends. They had invited us, out of civility, but we already had plans. We just called in to wish them a happy day and went about our planned day.

West Quay – Southampton

Actually, we are still tired from going to bed at 2.00 am on Friday Night/Saturday morning. Old people like us really don’t cope with late nights so well. Ridiculously, we were having a delivery of some mirrors this morning and the delivery slot was 7.00 am – 11.00 am. We were to get a call one hour before. The radio went off at 6.00 am as usual but I didn’t jump out of bed until my mobile rang to say they would be arriving in 10 minutes. I can shave very quickly at times.


After the Marr Show and The Sunday Politics, we left to drive to Southampton. It is 47 miles away and takes about an hour to drive. Like so many drives around here, the scenery in the warm sunshine is delightful. Neither of us has ever been to Southampton and we were going to the West Quay area.  It was easy to find. We were looking for a last bit of bedroom furniture – including mirrors and came away with exactly what we wanted. The last bit will be delivered on Tuesday.

Monday, 13th June

The day has started damp but warm again and, once again, it all soon dried up. We were supposed to be going to the gym but an expected delivery came late and then we had an crv_newunexpected visit from the Builders who are addressing some, minor, ‘snagging’ issues we had raised. Consequently, we stayed at home.

We used the time at home to have a ‘family conference’ about buying a new car. We had a vote and the motion – This house believes a new car purchase would be beneficial to our welfare. – was carried unanimously 2 – 0. I used the discount new car site – CARWOW – to get quotes from all the Honda Dealers within reasonable travelling distance. The best quote came from a dealership only 2 miles away. We tried it on with our regular dealership in Yorkshire and it still looked very good. We made an appointment to visit on Thursday.

The Brexit debate seems to be drifting inexorably to ‘Leave’. The Germans want us to stay which is rather counterproductive merely provoking the question: What are they after? The magazine – Der Spiegel – has an amusing front cover and it contrasts even more amusingly with an earlier front cover about the Greeks.

dspaa   dspdg

The Greeks are going to get a complex at this rate…… Oh, they already have!

Tuesday, 14th June

brexit_pollThe day is grey again and is set to stay that way in a lot of the country for most of the week although we can expect quite a bit of sunshine. We are going to the gym so we don’t care although my tomatoes and pepper plants do.

Four Referendum polls published today have the Leave campaign well in the lead. The Times features a poll by YouGov which has the Leaves ahead by 7%. An ICM poll shows Leave with a six point advantage. The Sun newspaper has come out strongly in favour of ‘Leave’.


The Sun newspaper with echoes of the 1990s headline ‘Up Your Delors’.

Call-me-Dave has produced the perfect storm with

  • Tories fighting Tories – never confidence inspiring.
  • The Government taking what they see as the high ground and hectoring the common man at his garden gate about impending economic implosion. This is like a red rag to a bull and a real chance to give the Establishment a good kicking and to hell with the consequences. Even I, who will vote a resounding Remain, are sorely tempted to do the opposite just to ditch the Tories.
  • Failure to address the big concern of the Great Unwashed – Immigration.
  • Reliance on Labour and the Unions and their members has proved unwise and illustrates the yawning gap between the political elite and the electorate. They are likely to drive Labour voters into the arms of UKIP.
  • You know it’s bad, when they start threatening pensioners.
  • You know it’s really bad when they wheel out Gordon Brown.
  • If the vote is (just) won either way, there is a strong chance of a rising up of the Far Right or the Far Left or both.

Wednesday, 15th June

cfA lovely, sunny morning. Woke up to some interesting pieces of news. Newspapers and the broadcasting media are trailing the information that the deceased comedian and broadcaster, Clement Freud, grandson of Sigmund Freud was a paedophile and that two, fairly elderly ladies were testifying to their abuse by him. More interesting to me was the news that Gobsborne, our current Chancellor, whose own brother was struck off from his post in psychiatry for inappropriate sexual relationships with a vulnerable patient, was threatening everyone in the country with an emergency budget if they voted for Brexit. Amusingly, 57 of his own MPs immediately issued a letter pledging to vote it down if he tried it.

aa_strikeHad a phone call this morning from our Yorkshire, Honda Dealer who is making a bid for us to buy our new car from him. What it has done is give me a baseline upon which to negotiate with my potential, new Dealer in Worthing. We are visiting him tomorrow. Meanwhile, there will not much travel to Greece next week. because OSYPA, the union representing Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority staff, called a five-day walkout, starting on June 20. The protracted strike action is expected to affect both domestic and international flights. At the same time, OSE Rail workers are to continue with rolling work stoppages that are to culminate in a 24-hour strike on June 22 while workers of the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki are continuing their strike action.

Thursday, 16th June

Interesting day – 16/6/16. We received a phone call from our local, Honda Dealer offering the top of the range car for nearly £4000.00 / €5050.00 less than our regular, Yorkshire Dealer. Both were already offering nearly £3,000.00/€3,800.00 discount initially but our new dealer’s offer meant we had no choice but to accept. I feel incredibly unfaithful to our dealer of 30 years but  £4000.00 / €5050.00 is  £4000.00 / €5050.00. He offered us an extra £1000.00/€1262.00 for our car – £15,000.00/€19,000.00 instead of £14000.00/€17,680.00 for a 4 year old car with 28,000 miles on the clock. He also offered a brilliant wheeze for saving an extra £3,000.00/€3,800.00.

Jo Cox M.P. – Murdered in Leeds

For customers who take out Honda Finance, the company contribute an extra  £3,000.00/€3,800.00 towards the cost of the car. Honda get that back through the interest rate. The Consumer Credit Act allows a 14 day ‘cooling off period’ in which you can change your mind, cancel and pay back the loan. Our salesman says we can cancel in that time and still keep the £3,000.00/€3,800.00 manufacturer contribution. So, our £34,000.00/€43,000.00 new car will actually cost us, with trade-in, £13,239.00/€16,740.00. Can’t say fairer than that. We should have it in a couple of weeks!

Terrible and shocking news about Labour MP, Jo Cox being gunned down and stabbed to death in Birstal, Leeds. On all accounts, she was a talented and caring woman with two, young kids. The man arrested for her murder is described as a ‘loner’ with ‘history of mental health problems’. While mad men are free to walk the streets under the money-saving guise of ‘care in the community’, these acts of irrational violence will never be far away.

Friday, 17th June

miniOn this day, 36 years ago, Pauline and I came as close to dying as we ever will without actually being dead. We were driving our first brand new car, a ‘pageant blue’ mini as British Leyland described it, to school at the end of school exams. A man driving the opposite way in a works, Ford Cortina, went out of control on a bend and cut our car in two. The ambulance men thought I was dead and I was in hospital for two weeks after not being aware of my surroundings at all. The recuperation took another year. The only upside of the event was that I never got to mark the exam papers. I apologise if this is repetitive for regular readers but when we reflect on all the life we have enjoyed in the past 36 years, we realise how lucky we have been and need to reflect it. I only hope the Skiathan and his wife have such a reprieve.

elphHad to write a ‘Dear John Letter’ to our old friend and Honda dealer in Yorkshire – although his name is Chris and it was an email – telling him of our infidelity in buying a new car from someone else. I found it difficult and am genuinely uncomfortable after a 30 year relationship. I am on his jokey email list. We were invited to his 60th Birthday celebration. He is a big wildlife fan and sponsors an elephant at Chester Zoo. I regularly send him funny pictures of elephants from the web. He took it well and by email reply declared undying love!

Although the European Stability Mechanism approved the disbursement of 7.5 billion euros in bailout funds for Greece on Friday ensuring that the country will meet debt repayments that come due next month, the IMF made sure the appreciation was muted by pouring cold water on Greek hopes for debt relief. Effectively, this is European ‘kicking the can down the road’ policy. It really tells the Greeks to Remain in Jail and don’t collect €2billion. However, they are still being fools to themselves.

cruiseThere is an early heatwave hitting Greece at the moment with temperatures upwards of 40C/104F. The ports are being privatised and port workers are unhappy about it so are on long-term, rolling strikes. Unfortunately, a significant element of the tourist industry caters for cruise ships. Not for much longer. The striking port workers are refusing to allow coaches to collect or deliver cruise passengers anywhere near their ships. Much of the cruise demographic is elderly and they are being forced to walk long distances between their transfer transport and their ship carrying all their luggage in 40C/104F. Elderly, often overweight and carrying heavy weights mixed with heatwave and walking = heart attacks. Cruise ship operators are already starting to question the wisdom of calling at Piraeus.

Saturday, 18th June

A dry day but rather overcast for much of it and only reaching about 19C/66F. We have spent it quite quietly. I’ve actually had time to read The Times completely for the first time in the last six months. We have been doing a lot of forward planning in the spare time between reading and watching football matches. We have started to select destinations for a month in the sun in winter but won’t book anything until we’ve seen the effect of the referendum on currencies. There’s no rush and we will be off to Greece before that anyway.

Week 389

 Sunday, 5th June

Apparently, today is Sunday and a day of rest although you wouldn’t know it if you visited any major supermarket. I marked the day by getting up early and mowing the lawns followed by cleaning the car inside and out. Didn’t you just want to know that? The day was blue sky and bright sun from the moment we got up at about 6.30 am until we came in from playing outside at 7.00 pm. As forecast, the temperature reached a warm 24C/75F but felt hotter because of the humidity.

The iPad Pro with integrated keyboard cover

Now there’s nothing much more to buy for the house, we can now look to indulge ourselves with GADGETS. I love GADGETS! In March 2013, I bought my first iPad and it revolutionised my life. Instead of going out every morning for a copy of The Times and paying £1.00/€1.28 for each copy. Now, by the time we wake up, we both have a full copy of the newspaper delivered to our iPads and those copies are updated throughout the day. The cost is £26.00/€33.00 per month for both our copies plus full access on the web to all ‘Times’ web material. Before the iPad, I would access our bank account on my desktop machine once a week or so. Now, I have accounts in four different Banks all of which I can access from my iPad or my phone and I do every morning. Before the iPad, if I couldn’t think of something as I go about my daily life, I would shrug and put it down to senility. Now, wherever I am, I can and do immediately consult my iPad, interrogate the web and pretend I remembered it all along.

Today I ordered my third iPad. I bought the first in March 2012 for £482.00/€617.00 and my second in August 2014 for £499.00/€639.00. Today, I ordered an iPad pro – 12.9″. It has a considerably larger screen and a much quicker Wi-Fi service. It also takes a keyboard which is integrated in to its cover. This will allow me to leave my old laptop at home when we travel abroad and to Blog, etc. on my iPad. Mind you, it is much more expensive. The iPad costs £679.00/€868.00 and the keyboard cover is £111.00/€142.00 so the total cost is a considerable £790.00/€1011.00.

Monday, 6th June

rspyosUp early on a hot and sunny morning. The sky was pure blue and, by 9.30 am, the temperature had reached 22C/70F. We were at Roundstone Pick-Your-Own Farm at that time (about 3 mins from our house) and in the middle of a huge field of first-flush strawberries. We spent about 20 mins there and another 20 in the rhubarb field. In this weather, it is a delightful activity.

Back for coffee and then out to Littlehampton beach – on Sea Road. It was amazingly busy as the sun brought out  visitors. We walked along the beach road. past the colourful beach huts that seem to be privately owned and down to the East Beach café which is actually a highly acclaimed restaurant. Just a mile and half walk with the same back was lovely in the sunshine and the sea air.

pbeach2Pauline went down to the sea’s edge to test whether it was warm enough for her to force me to swim. As I didn’t do it in Greece until the end of June, there is little chance here although she did declare it warm. I was taking photos on my phone and asked Pauline to re-stoop to the water so I could photograph it. Unfortunately, at that very moment, she was hit by a breaking wave and got her shoes and feet soaking. She took a while to calm down.

Actually, she took it very well and liked the photos which is very unusual. Having dried her off, we took a slow drive home and drank tea in the garden sunshine. I don’t know if I mentioned but I am three weeks into a no-alcohol spell.

pbeach3 pbeach4

huts pbeach5

Tuesday, 7th June

clocksGorgeous day. We were out at 9.30 am in brilliant sunshine and 22C/70F. Humidity was already rising. Off to Currys in Littlehampton to collect my new 12.9-inch iPad Pro and two radio alarms for the bedrooms. On to Worthing sea front and to M&S to pick up some garments that Pauline had ordered. We were home by 11.30 am – just in time to receive delivery of an interesting chair that Pauline had ordered for her Sewing Room. It was ordered from Wayfair – an American concern at a cost of £150.00/€192.00 and has an interesting ‘bentwood’ construction.

chair2I know the Blog has degenerated in to a catalogue of unfettered consumption over the past couple of months. I tried to resist it but that is was what life has been for us over that time. After six months homelessness and a previous six months divesting ourselves of our possessions, we arrived here with virtually nothing apart from sentimental objects and our clothes. Everything, everything from furniture for every room to cooking pots and pans, bathroom furniture, bedroom furniture, lightshades, everything had to be sourced anew. We arrived cash-rich but effects-poor. To some that may seem an exciting challenge but it is not all fun, I can tell you. I for one, am heartily pleased that it is nearly over.

It seems rather obscene to switch from that to the Greek economy (although that is one of the sources of our cash) but Kathimerini reports that the value of Greek supermarket sales posts record decline of 8.8% in March. The first three months of this year proved to be one of the worst quarters ever for the supermarket sector in Greece. Sales value fell 6 percent in January year-on-year, followed by an 8.3 percent drop in February and topped by an 8.8 percent slump in March. Consumers are cutting down on even the most basic of commodities, ranging from milk to washing powder.

If that isn’t a sign of serious decline, Greek cruise ship operators are worried of a lasting impact on the sector from an ongoing strike by port workers protesting the sale of the country’s biggest port Piraeus to the Chinese shipping giant, Cosco, while much needed Chinese tourists will not be arriving in Greece this year as China Airlines cancelled planned scheduled flights to Athens because the Greeks failed to agree to their landing rights.

Wedesday, 8th June

Honda Accord 1984

Hot and humid night in which we heard some rumbles of thunder but saw no rain. This morning, at 9.30 am, the temperature is 24C/75F and sticky. It is a big day for me. I’m having my haircut in the garden. It has to be done before Prime Minister’s Questions at 11.30 am. We are also going to address the issues of (Beware Obscene Consumption) a new car and a winter holiday.

Honda Prelude 1988

I have always bought Honda cars since buying the first in 1984. We took delivery of a brand new Honda Accord and I immediately became addicted to the smell and feel of new cars. The Accord was our first car with power steering and air conditioning and Anti-Lock Brakes. I was hooked. We had just bought a big and expensive new house and we kept the Accord for almost four years. Looking back, I can’t believe how ‘boxy’ those cars were. We traded it in for a Honda Prelude which looks incredibly dated now although I remember being so proud of it at the time.

Honda Prelude 1994

We were feeling richer and we changed the car virtually every year with about 12000 miles on the clock. We always used the same dealer and the same salesman who remains a friend today. I think we had six, new Preludes, gradually moving on to automatics and then Chris phoned us to say that Honda had brought out their first 4-Wheel Drive, utility vehicle and asked us to come and look at it. This was 1995/6. We were in our mid-40s and looking to ‘break out’. We bought the first CRV to arrive in Huddersfield. It was bright, metallic orange. Once again, we replaced it every year and our second was metallic yellow. We drove it to Greece for the six week holidays and that was it. We’ve driven CRVs ever since. We changed them virtually every year until 2009 when we retired. We’ve only had two since then but this one is ready for a swap. It’s really getting dirty.

Honda CRV 1995
Honda CRV 2007
Honda CRV 2012

I intend to keep the new one for another four years so I want as many gizmos as I can. I love gizmos! This one will include on its media screen/sat nav.:

  1. Traffic Sign Recognition
  2. Lane Departure Warning
  3. Blind spot Monitor
  4. Forward collision warning
  5. Collision Mitigation braking System
  6. Lane Keeping Assist
  7. Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control

The whole package will be about £34,600/€44,300.00 and our current car with 27,000 miles on the clock will knock about £14,500.00/€18,600.00 off that.

My driving style has changed immensely since retiring. While working, I drove everywhere at top speed. Have to get there now! I didn’t worry too much about speed limits including on my long drives across Europe. I collected a couple of speeding tickets over thirty years in UK and paid one, on-the-spot fine on the French-Swiss border for driving  at 120mph/193 kph on a 80 mph/130 kph motorway. It cost me €70.00 and a wagged finger. In retirement, I don’t have to get anywhere soon. I actually want to slow my arrival at destinations down – particularly the grave. I use sat. nav. for almost every journey which involves leaving my garage and set Cruise Control or Speed Limiter immediately when I can. To have Cruise Control automatically keep my distance from the car in front would be good. May be it will provide me with a taste of driverless cars in preparation for my ‘gaga days’ in 2050.

Thursday, 9th June

Pottering in the Office

Another beautiful day, warm and sunny, reaching 22C/70F. Pauline has been busy cooking and perfecting lovely dishes. I’ve been pottering. I spent the morning in the sun bringing my new iPad Pro up to speed with my app. requirements and reading the paper.

This afternoon, I’ve weeded the front garden and cut the lawn as well as sharpening the edges with a half-moon tool. I mowed the back lawn  and watered my extensive plant collection. It is so extensive, I need three photos to illustrate it. This is gardening on a grand scale!

Sweet Basil
French Tarragon
Sweet Bell Peppers & Tumbling Tom Cherry Tomatoes

They are loving this sunny, warm weather and both peppers and tomatoes are just beginning to flower.

In the really ‘big’ world, things are distinctly precarious. The three most recent opinion polls in UK are showing an increasing desire to leave the EU. Not only that but a poll by Pew Research Centre in Washington DC and reported in The Times today says that the French are second most hostile nation to the EU, beaten only by the Greeks. The French want us to leave Europe and the Dutch are pushing for a referendum after we go.

Kathimerini reports:

Fears are rising about the possible breakdown of a deal between the European Union and Turkey for the return of migrants after legal committees in Greece upheld dozens of appeals by refugees against their deportation…..Meanwhile there are also concerns about a pickup in arrivals from neighbouring Turkey.

With thousands of migrants already camped out on Greek islands, in Piraeus and the old Athens airport, bookings are inevitably suffering.

….The total number of refugees in Greece is 57,458, according to government figures made public on Tuesday….migrants are living in makeshift camps or state-run facilities on the Aegean islands or mainland Greece….. tensions have been rising. On Tuesday suspected far-right protesters attacked a group of migrants near a state-run camp on Chios…. On Lesvos and Samos, brawls between groups of migrants have escalated in recent days, with protesters setting fire to bedding and tents in camps.

It is a parlous state from which there is little view of an early resolution.

Friday, 10th June

Slightly cooler and more cloudy morning. Just the weather to get jobs done in. First up, we must wish Pauline’s brother-in-law, Colin, happy 80th birthday. This year he’s sharing it with the queen.

European Health Insurance Card

First job this morning is to renew our EHIC cards which ran out in January and which we had forgotten about. In fact, our second month in Tenerife in Jan./Feb. wouldn’t have been covered by it. Fortunately, we have comprehensive health cover any way but it is better to be safe. We rather forget the European Health Insurance Card because it was useless in Greece. There was little healthcare on the island and, what there was, we had to pay for. It is different in more developed countries like Spain, France and Italy, although the whole thing may become a moot point in a couple of weeks if the vote is to leave the EU. Optimistically, I’ve set up a reminder in our on-line diaries in 5 years time to tell us to renew our cards.

Drove back to Surrey this afternoon to help Pauline’s Brother-in-Law, Colin, celebrate his 80th birthday. Pauline’s niece, Mandy, had set up a surprise party with lots of his old friends attending and his favourite artist, Rod Stewart, performing in the garden. Well, actually, Rod was otherwise engaged so a tribute act from Grimsby had been booked. He turned out to be amazingly good and the older people there really enjoyed it.

Mandy had supplied more food than could be needed for feeding the 5000 and Pauline spent two days making sweets for the buffet. Strawberry Tart, Lemon Meringue Pie, Chocolate Torte with Raspberries and whipped cream, Blackcurrant Cheesecake, Coffee and Hazelnut Meringue Cake. They looked delicious. It was a warm evening and the party went on until nearly midnight in the garden. We drove back to Sussex, watched a Brexit Referendum Interview with Farage and got to bed about 2.00 pm.

Saturday, 11th June

We were tired this morning but the radio didn’t know that and came on at 6.00 am as usual. Weekend shopping is not usually great and we try to do it on Friday before the Great Unwashed are out but we were busy yesterday and it had to be done. It is an incredibly hot (26C/79F) and humid morning. It was so noticeable as we walked out of  air-conditioned Tesco and into the atmosphere. It was like walking down the plane steps into the Mediterranean climate.

This place that we have chosen to live in is reputed to be the sunniest in Britain and we are beginning to believe it. Two miles from our house is the Highdown Vineyard which describes its climactic advantages:

The open site enjoys free draining chalk soil and gentle westerly breezes, which ensure a good airflow through the vineyard. Its proximity to the sea means it doesn’t usually suffer from the late frosts which beset so many English vineyards. The site also benefits from being in an area with some of the lowest rainfall and highest sunshine in the country.

Highdown Vineyard Shop
The Vines and their Owners

Maybe I could get in to a new career! They’re bound to need a taster. I’m experienced.