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.

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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.

southampton2
Southampton

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
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
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.

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