Week 397

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Sweet Basil & French Tarragon

Lovely morning. We drank coffee on the patio and watched our tomatoes ripen. The Sweet Basil and the French Tarragon have been a real success and, this morning, Pauline has cut the Basil right back and will make enough Basil Oil and Pesto to get us through until we go away. The French Tarragon is a wonderfully fresh, aniseed flavour and, we believe, is rather more vibrant than the packets of cut herb to be bought in the supermarket. It’s probably just biased opinion but it makes us happy. The tarragon is used three or four times a week in cooking at the moment. That is more frequent than we would normally do but one feels duty bound to use it. When we go away, it will be cut back savagely and the cuttings chopped and frozen. Frozen tarragon is incredibly successful.

We have more or less booked up our travel for the year. We are going to Greece August-September followed by Yorkshire in October and then a month in Tenerife in November. By December, we will be pleased to sleep in our own beds again. Next year, the plants will lose out because we intend to drive across Europe for two or three months. It will be nice to see Sifnos again and meet old friends.

Monday, August 1st 2016


Can you believe it? August 2016 already. Have a happy month especially all those environmentalists everywhere.

retinaWe have quite a light week so there will be plenty of trips to the Leisure Centre. In mid-week, I have my annual eye test at the hospital which will mean driving to Ashford Hospital. Ashford Hospital is situated on the A30 to the West of London, close to junction 13 of the M25 and Heathrow Airport which will take us about and hour and a quarter. Pauline will be driving because I have to have very strong drops in my eyes which will allow them to photograph my retinas and will stop me seeing properly for about three hours.

I’ve been having this wonderful service since I was first diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic about seven years ago. Although I am no longer in that category, I was able to secure the annual services of eye and foot care in case of ongoing problems. What disappointed me was the lack of continuity or joined up record keeping as I moved from Yorkshire to Surrey where they didn’t receive my photographic records and, therefore, didn’t maintain a developmental record. I’m hoping things will have moved forward now we’ve come down to Sussex.

Tuesday, August 2nd 2016

I’ve just admonished the postman for the current weather. The first day of August was greeted with persistent drizzle and the night was windy with really heavy rain. August in England’s reputedly sunniest county! The postman looked suitably hangdog and apologised immediately. He wasn’t enjoying it either. The tomatoes and peppers absolutely hate it. Actually, we were feeling very tired this morning having been woken by the burglar alarm going off at 1.30 am. Woken from deep sleep, we both charged downstairs to find no explanation. All windows and doors were locked and there was no sign of attempted entry.

We had a cup of tea and chatted. By 3.00 am, we were back to bed but took a while to get back to sleep. We were still up just after 7.00 am having had about five hours sleep or so and were feeling it. I have been shocked to find that my older self adapts far less well to shortage of sleep than when I was in my twenties. It is still damp and blustery now although very warm. We will only venture out to the leisure Club in the early afternoon.

In the meantime, I am trying to get round the paucity of Hockney prints on the market by looking at alternatives. The one Hockney we are going to buy is The Arrival of Spring – something we always look forward to.

The Arrival of Spring – David Hockney, 2011

I have always like this by Paul Klee and I think I can persuade Pauline to put it in the Lounge.

Small Picture of Fir Trees 1922 – Paul Klee

Pauline is keen on the Klimt so there will something of a trade-off. Actually, I like it very much too. It reminds us of the trees around our very first house in Meltham Mills, West Yorkshire.

Beech Forest 1902 – Gustav Klimt

I also rather like this which is called Morning Luster. It has absolutely no provenance but it just appeals to me. I don’t think I will get away with this in the bargaining process.


Wednesday, August 3rd 2016

I would like to have met Sod. I definitely believe in his Law. It is proved so often in life. Regularly, I go to the Leisure Club, get changed in the Locker Room which is invariably empty, and go in to the gym to exercise. When I come back to shower and change, there is only one person in the room apart from me and it is Sod. By Law, he’s chosen to use the locker immediately above or below mine. There are 200 -300 free lockers but Sod chose that one and we jostle for space to get our clothes out.

Today, Sod was working for the Ashford Hospital Appointments Database. My annual Eye Test was at 3.30 pm in Ashford, Middlesex. We had to leave at about 1.00 pm to allow for hold ups on the M25. Actually, it only took an hour and a quarter on a lovely, quiet and sunny afternoon. But Sod had already arranged that two deliveries designated for our house would arrive at 1.10 pm and 1.15 pm precisely. How does he do that? Fortunately, he hadn’t considered our neighbours who, kindly received the parcels and had them waiting for us when we got home. We were tired and frustrated after our return journey which coincided with rush hour and took an extra hour than the outward journey.

bowl_tomsFortunately, the trip to Ashford Hospital Ophthalmology Department was very successful and will be my last. Two years ago, I ceased to be Diabetic. A year ago, I ceased to be pre-Diabetic. Today, I was signed off by the Ophthalmology Department and declared completely free of all symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy. When we got back from that good news, we celebrated with a bowl of our own, home grown, cherry tomatoes. I would like to say they were incredibly flavoursome. They were nice and we grew them but they didn’t have the explosive sweetness of some that we buy in the supermarket.

Thursday, August 4th 2016

A pleasant, warm morning. We went out at 9.00 am to do the weekly shop. I was looking forward to watching a bit of the Test match until I watched a bit of the Test Match, Where did that England team of last match disappear? At 1.00 pm, we drove to the Leisure Centre and did a hard hour’s work. This is our fourth session this week. We will do our fifth and last tomorrow. Saturday will be a rest day and then it all starts again on Sunday.

Honda Camera Assisted Parking

We have had satellite navigation in our cars for about fifteen years and a reversing camera built in for about the last ten of those years. It has got to the stage where I would find it difficult to reverse without one now. It is particularly useful in reversing into a car parking space. The driver makes the yellow lines on the camera line up with the white lines on the carpark and Bob’s your uncle (or brother in my case).

Our new car has many improvements but Honda have ‘upgraded’ the reversing camera to default to a ‘dynamic’ setting which makes the whole process scarily difficult. For the past six weeks, we have been trying to adapt to it but failed. Today, after consulting the impenetrable handbook, I finally found how to switch this new function off. Life can be wonderful.

Friday, August 5th 2016

While we were driving to Ashford Hospital on Wednesday, a tyre pressure warning light came on. We pulled off the carriage way and tested the pressure of all four tyres. One was 0.5 psi below the others. I reset the warning system and we carried on our merry way. sncrvToday, we went in to the Dealership to speak to them about it. They told us that it was sensitive enough to be triggered by such a small deflation and there was nothing wrong with our tyre. As we were leaving, we noticed that our old car was still on the forecourt unsold. Rather cheered us up!

The satellite navigation system that we’ve had in Honda cars for the past fifteen years has been replaced (upgraded??) by a Honda version of a ‘Garmin’ system. It is not as friendly although it does provide us with five years of free upgrades. Pauline’s hobby is arguing with the sat. nav.. Mine is slavishly following it. If I’m driving, I have to do it against the background of two women arguing constantly with each other. It’s easier to let Pauline drive so she is too busy to argue with anyone. We completed our fifth session of intense exercise and both felt absolutely shattered. Tomorrow is a rest day.

Saturday, August 6th 2016

winekessLovely day. Hot and sunny with clear, blue skies. It is our day off from the gym although I did cut the lawns and strimmed all the edges. We sat outside with a bottle of chilled, white wine and some garlic stuffed olives. It felt decadent but delightful. Actually, in a bid to get my vitamin D content up, I had a little too much sun.

I retreated into the kitchen to watch the Test Match. It was certainly worth watching. It is nice to think we have a team to be proud of nowadays. Let’s hope it rubs off on the Football team. I’m afraid I can’t get excited about the Olympics and haven’t been able to do for quite a long time now. The systematic, State doping of Russian athletes isn’t a factor in this for me at all. I just find I can’t get interested in the events with some exceptions. At least the English Premier League begins again next weekend. It will help fill in some of the gaps left by the prorogation of parliament and accompanying political discussion and analysis.

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