Week 401


Happy New Century Dear Reader. Welcome to Week 401.

Sunday, 28th August, 2016

Very warm but with a little bit of a spitting pleut in the air. Always good for frogs. Talking about the French – You know you love to hate them while enjoying their wine. – I am a little surprised to find myself supporting Sarkozy and in the same camp as yesterday’s man, Call me Dave, in declaring Multiculturalism a failed project.  If they had lived and worked around Oldham and many other Northern towns with their ethnic ghettos for 40 years, they would have arrived at this conclusion much earlier. Trevor Phillips, the head of the Commission for Racial Equality, who has called for an official end to multicultural policy, has criticised “politically correct liberals for their “misguided” pandering to the ethnic lobby and I can think of quite a few of those. Cuckoos and nests are my abiding image here.

barn owl
Barn Owl

I don’t sleep a great deal, as you probably know, although I don’t have any problem in getting to sleep at all. To bed at midnight and awake at 6.00 am is almost ritualistic for me. Occasionally my wife complains but it usually results in maintenance of the status quo. This morning, we were rewarded with a riveting stream of Radio 4 programmes between 6.00 am – 7.00 am. After the all important News Headlines, we had a programme entitled God Loves a Drunk. I thought I was being given divine absolution before I realised it was not quite what I had expected. It intended to examine the phenomenon of divine intoxication – being drunk on God.  They might just as well have been counting angels dancing on a pinhead. This was followed by The Living World: Night with Owls. Pauline and I love owls. At our Yorkshire home, we would be visited every summer by two barn owls that would, uncharacteristically, sit and watch us from the great ash trees at the side of our garden during the daytime as we sat out on the lawn. They were quite unfazed by the daylight or our presence. We were told that the previous owner had rescued one of them and it continued to return and trust humans.

Little Owl of Greece

I learned to imitate the barn owl’s call and used it at night. We were rewarded with an ongoing conversation between us and the owls as they talked incessantly. In Greece we were treated to the Little Owl of Greece or Owl of Athena which visited our land and swooped as we cleared it of thick undergrowth. Once again, this was in broad daylight. It sat on the telegraph wires, gently swaying in the wind or staring at us from a fence post yards from our pergola. I tried my calling trick at night time and it didn’t seem to matter that it was Greek – I was towit towooing in English after all – it still replied and flew around us.

This morning’s programme did something very similar and managed to identify four different owls – the tawny owl, little owl, barn owl plus the cryptic and elusive long eared owl. Our delight in the real world was then rudely shattered by the other, weird world of God Squadders. Well, it is Sunday.

Monday, 29th August, 2016

Happy Sunny Training Days

A lovely, warm and sunny morning with high, fleecy white clouds. It is Bank Holiday. When we were working, it would mark the onset of depression. I notice that most state schools don’t go back for children until next Monday but the staff of our old Authority are in for Thursday and Friday this week for ‘Training’ days. Having been on both sides of the training – receiving and presenting – I know what a lot of bollocks it is! The two days would be better spent in the sun.

Bank Holiday now means nothing other than more people at home and clogging up the roads. We would happily have driven the two or three miles to the beach and walked along the prom. but parking and crowds deter us. We are off to the gym instead for a happily punishing routine. Roast loin of cod with roasted garlic tomatoes (Got to get through them somehow) will be our meal today.

Tuesday, 30th August, 2016

Oh, what an awful day!
I thought I would share it with you.

My contribution to House Cleaning

We decided to order a cordless Vax vacuum cleaner which was advertised ‘half price’ from Argos. By the time we decided to go on line to order it, we found that our router had stopped working. We went out to buy it. They hadn’t got one but could get it from a nearby store by 4.00 pm. We agreed and drove home. The internet still wasn’t working so I contacted BT (in India) who decided that an engineer visit was necessary. My heart sank and even further when they told me it would be Friday afternoon.

As we relaxed and bemoaned our fate at home, I suddenly realised that I couldn’t find my ‘best’ glasses. We both searched the house but to no avail. The only thing I could think of as I retraced my steps was that I had left them in Argos which is sited in Sainsburys. We went back and I had left them there. I must have driven home without realising that I couldn’t see. While we were in Sainsbury’s, we realised that they have fast, wi-if Internet. We need to book our seats for our flight in November tomorrow morning and will be back there for breakfast to do just that.

It is such a hot and cloudless blue sky today that we have decided to enjoy the garden and forget the Health Club. We have eaten lunch early – Prosciutto, Mortadella, Beetroot Salad, Greek Salad and a bowl of olives with chilled Claret. I am writing my Blog entry so I can upload it when we return to Argos to collect our purchase late this afternoon. It may be a little erratic in the next few days.

Wednesday, 31st August, 2016

It’s 8.00 am and I’m in SAINSBURY’S!!!!! At least I’ve got a mug (I hate mugs. I never drink out of mug.) of rather poor coffee. We have been booking our flight seats for a month in Tenerife. The one thing Sainsbury’s do have is good wi-fi. We’ve both downloaded our newspapers, booked our seats and read our emails. Twitter and Facebook can be checked on our phones so we can cope until we get to the health club and their wi-fi.

We’ve got the Internet – at David Lloyd Club

Only when it’s gone does one realise how ubiquitous the Internet is in one’s life. Our on-line, synchronised calendars are not available. Downloading tv programmes is not available. Fact checking is not available. Even our poor mobile signal is not boosted by wi-fi. And we have to wait until Friday! At least I will have time to do the hoovering.

It’s mid day and we’re now at the health club using the wi-fi. I’ve had my haircut outside on the lawn. I’ve done my hoovering. What’s hard about that? I’ve had bananas and Victoria plums for my breakfast. Delicious. In a while we will do our exercise and then go home for roast salmon and salad. We leave for Greece in a few days so packing is the order of the week.

Thursday, 1st September, 2016


Summer is over officially and Autumn begins. Happy September to all our readers. For about a week, now, we have been noticing darkness arriving earlier in the evening. It has arrived well before 9.00 pm and the morning sun is just a little lower in the sky. This morning, I was out picking tomatoes on the patio as usual just after 7.00 am. I remarked that the fruit actually felt very cold to the touch.

How does the world know it is a new season? Perhaps they’ve noticed the excitement on the faces of young children as they prepare for school. Perhaps they’ve seen the fall of depression on the brows of teachers as their ‘training days’ loom. Perhaps they’ve observed the joy in the eyes of the retired as they realise that the world is for playing out in.

Some say Super Sainsbury’s.

It is 8.30 am and we are in Sainsbury’s again to use their wi-if. BT don’t visit us until tomorrow afternoon. We are sitting in the cafe, downloading our newspapers and Pauline catches up on correspondence while I start my daily Blog. It will be continued at the Health Club later.

The day has soon warmed up and we have spent some time absorbing it in the garden. After a while, we realised that, in the distance, we could hear children playing so we had to go in and close the windows and doors. I am writing to the council about noise pollution. We’ve come to the Health Club but there are children here too. Thank goodness school starts next week. Actually, we will be in Greece where school doesn’t start until the following week. Greek children, fortunately, are much quieter.

Friday, 2nd September, 2016

The BT Openreach man cometh.

Here we are again – Sainsbury’s cafe at 8.30 am – under cloudy skies. Hopefully, we will be back on-line by tonight. I’m just hoping the cloudy skies aren’t a harbinger of what’s to come. The BT engineer is arriving in a 1.00 pm – 6.00 pm slot. Never has a man been more welcome at my house.

Because of this vital visit, we will eschew the Health Club today. We don’t usually go on a Saturday anyway so Sunday will be our last before we are exercising in Greece instead. Lawn mowing will be my exercise today. I bet Ruth doesn’t do much of that. I don’t think her grass grows very quickly. It is in Bolton after all. I hope to update this at home in the Office. If it isn’t, you will know I’ve committed harakiri!

I am still alive. The BT man, called Adam who will always be my first man, came and drove off to the nearest broadband cabinet to find my connection had been unplugged in favour of someone else. He quickly restored it and I am back on-line. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hal-le-lu-jah. I will not need to visit Sainsbury’s café tomorrow after all or Panos & Rania’s Pizzeria.

Saturday, 3rd September, 2016

Blue light on the BT Hub means Joy!

A lovely, warm and sunny start to the day. I woke up and thought, I have broadband. I couldn’t wait to get up and check it was still working. We were out early to do a little bit of shopping and then home for Pauline to harvest more basil and make another batch of pesto. The tomatoes are coming to an end now and the peppers are covered in smallish fruit that will probably not now make it to full size. Autumn draws on and we will go away.

As I was driving home, Pauline asked where my glasses were because they were not on my face. For the second time in a week, I was driving the car without my glasses on. It is true that my eyesight is actually improving as I age and the focal length changes but I still should wear glasses which I have needed since I was seven years old. We’ve decided to go to the Health Club today to exercise because we are travelling early on Monday morning and will be rather busy on Sunday.

Week 400

Sunday, 21st August, 2016

A Cheap Date to Feed!

I was young when this started and still working although thinking about retirement. For 400 consecutive weeks – This is the 2,794th consecutive day – I have recorded my life on the Blog. Often it has been useful, fun, amusing (to me) and a way of working out my own thoughts. Occasionally, it has seemed like a bind. Ultimately, it has become a record of the latter stages of my life. To all those who read the Blog and those who comment on it, I thank you. If I can reach Week 800, I will be 73 years old and have a useful tool to rescue me from Alzheimer’s. If I reach Week 1600, I will be 88 and asking my wife to do the typing.

Looking forward to my sister coming for Lunch in the near future. She’s a dog lover so Roast Dog will have to be off the menu. Casseroled Cat maybe? Actually, she tells me she’s a vegetarian which is a whole new can of beans for me.

Monday, 22nd August, 2016

Mum aged 21.

It is Mum’s Birthday today. She would have been 93 today. She died 8 years ago. This is her in 1944. She gave birth to me 7 years later. Lucky woman!

Tuesday, 23rd August, 2016

Haymaking in Sussex Downs
Haymaking on the Sussex Downs

There can be few more delightful and enjoyable journeys than to drive from Sussex to Surrey and back at the height of summer. Today, we drove through the Sussex Downs and the Surrey Hills and back in 27C/81F of strong and uninterrupted sunshine out of azure blue skies. The purpose was rather more prosaic. We were collecting our last ‘repeat prescription’ from our Surrey doctor before moving on to our new GP Practice in West Sussex. We doubled this with a visit to P&C.

The drive takes about 55 mins and is through glorious countryside. It does involve one, short section of the M25 (Junctions 9 – 10) but is otherwise very quiet and undemanding. We arrived home about 2.00 pm and cooked salmon and pesto with Greek Salad using our home grown tomatoes. Four ‘hanging basket’ cherry tomato plants have provided and continue to provide a daily salad of fruits.

It has taken me four, solid days of work but I have converted 400 Blog weeks to 400 PDF records for future reference. It will now be my responsibility to maintain this record as a safety net against the failure of my internet platform provider. I’ve been meaning to do it for years and it feels good now I’ve completed it.

Wednesday, 24th August, 2016

Pictures in our Yorkshire House.

A very hot day in our Sussex garden reaching 32C/90F in the shade and 38C/101F in the sunshine. We spent too long in the sunshine this morning. It is what British people are prone to do because these conditions are rare and short lived. In Greece, we would never sit out in the sun because it was always there and we learnt to avoid it.

A lorry from the St Barnabas House  Hospice Trust arrived to collect our store of pictures that we have been dragging around with us since we left Yorkshire in 2010. They were still bubble wrapped and numbered as Pauline had prepared them for storage all those years ago. It was slightly sad to see old friends leaving us but I also felt the relief of a burden of the past lifted.

After about 30 of them had been taken away by two cheery men who promised to let us know how much they were eventually sold for, we leave for the gym. Although we were going to work up a sweat, the buildings are delightfully air conditioned and cool in the current climate. We had our rooms air conditioned in Greece and we will have to now consider it for two or three rooms here.

Thursday, 25th August, 2016

The temperature over night didn’t drop below 20C/68F and was reminiscent of a Greek sleep. We had the windows open and were woken early by the crying of seagulls all around. We eat (in my case, drink) breakfast every morning at the moment with the conservatory doors open to reduce the temperature. Freshly squeezed orange juice followed by tea for me. Pauline has homemade muesli with banana. The routine follows as Pauline showers and dries her hair and I unstack the dishwasher and put things away. I water the plants on the patio and pick anything which needs it.

tomsa tomsb

Feeling the Love!

We are desperately eating cherry tomatoes for all we are worth. Our plants have produced just over 4 kilos and still have quite a way to go. What it does mean is that every meal for the past few weeks have centred round a tomato and cucumber salad which usually also  has capers and chopped cornichons. I’m not complaining but you can have too much of a good thing. The surprise to us was that two of our six plants have produced yellow tomatoes while the rest are the traditional red. Actually, the mx looks great in a salad. I pick them every morning at the moment and they then spend a day on the kitchen windowsill to add a little extra ripening before we eat them.There is a lot of love in our house and, this morning, I found it had been transmitted to the tomatoes.

A wonderful cup of freshly ground coffee topped with cinnamon and chocolate.

With all my jobs done, I can make my coffee and settle down to The Times for a few minutes before I am hauled out on a round of supermarket shopping. It was a mistake to set up a supermarket comparison app. for my wife. Today, I am having to visit Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and Tesco. Later, I will have to go to Sainsburys. Often, I am only going for one item that she’s found a lot cheaper than in all the other stores. Sometimes, I wonder if it cost us more in fuel than we save in shopping. However, to obviate that concern, I buy in bulk and maximise the saving. Unfortunately, I’ve now got enough bleach spray to clean the entire street and more toothpaste than I’ve got teeth.

Any other sad politicos out there will understand and, I hope, enjoy this. It refers to Corbyn Traingate, obviously:

Poor Jeremy!









Friday, 26th August, 2016

Bags packed for the Gym.

Another hot and sunny day reaching 31C/89F at 11.30 am. Domestic chores this morning. I have cut the lawns and strimmed the edges after picking another huge pot of tomatoes. Pauline has been harvesting basil from our pot plants and has made another large batch of delicious pesto. We’ve had enough sun today already so we are preparing for our gym session. I am treated very well. My wife prepares my bag with towels, trunks, trainers, headphones, shampoo, spare shirt, padlock for my locker and membership card. All I have to remember are my car keys. Where are my car keys?

Griddled Sea Bream Fillets

After a couple of hours workout, my wife insists on cooking – It says more about my cooking skills than her selflessness. Today, in great heat and strong sun, we are having fish griddled in the garden. The starter is Cornish sardine fillets with a broad bean salad dressed with lemon and olive oil. This is followed by sea bream fillets griddled and served with a salad of home grown cherry tomatoes, cucumber and capers dressed with olive oil and lemon.

It has been a delightful day – one it would be good to hold on to and remember. Of course, we will probably forget it by tomorrow but the experience leads us to want and expect more. It is an existential expectation that is doomed to failure.

It is 8.00 pm and a hot and humid 29C/84F inside the house. We have windows and doors open front and back to draw some fresh air through. It looks like we will have a similar day tomorrow and then things cool down a little. It’s been a good day and a nice way to end week 400!

Saturday, 27th August, 2016

Katy & Mump circa 1979

A warm morning following a warm night. The humidity is making it feel warmer. At 7.00 am it is 22C/70F. Breakfast juice with the doors open to the garden. Today is the birthday of Pauline’s Mum, Jane Farrow-Barnes. She died 6 years ago but would have been 102 today. She is always in our thoughts. This photo is of her on the right with her best friend, Katy, on the left. We are not sure exactly when or where it was but, having consulted the oracle, we think she was in her mid-60s (1979-80) and on holiday in Spain.




Sunny Blackpool circa 1956.

On this same day, Joyce & Harry (Joyce is Mump’s brothers child) are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary with the obligatory card from the Queen. They are a nice couple and we wish them a happy day and many more to come. This picture features Harry sitting behind Joyce with Pauline’s Mum back right and little Pauline leaning against the railing with a sign behind her announcing ‘Handrail Wet Paint’. This photo must date from close to their wedding.

I’ve just spent 2 hours valeting the car. Leather clean on the seats and a full vac. and glass clean. Pressure wash, shampoo and wax, chamois down and shine. And breathe! Now the afternoon is hot and steamy. I’ve retreated inside to watch football – Spurs v Liverpool and Hull v Man. Utd. interspersed with England v Pakistan one day cricket. Sounds lazy but I feel I deserve it now. Pauline is cutting, shredding and freezing our tarragon. We have bushes of it and could almost supply Tesco. It will last us well in to the winter.

Relaxing Saturday Afternoon

Week 399

Sunday, 14th August, 2016

It is official. I am no longer dying. In fact, I will return to the gym this afternoon. It is a warm and close morning with some sketchy cloud. I am watering the lawn with a rotary sprayer while watching the Test Match and reading the iPad edition of The Sunday Times. It looks like I will make it to my 400th week edition.

Revithia Keftedes aka Chickpea Balls

We have loved Revithia Keftedes (Chickpea Balls) or Falafel for many years. We (Pauline) decided to make them today and they were wonderful. They were a starter of forbidden foods. They contain chickpeas, mashed potato and mint, garlic and seasoning. The chickpea balls are deep fried and the potato skins have the same treatment.

The main course was Sea Bass fillets with tomato and cucumber salad. All the tomatoes were from our garden. It was extremely hot. The conservatory doors are open now (at 6.30 pm) and the temperature is 30C/86F. Life could be a whole lot worse. We could be stuck in Greece with the Poison Dwarf!

Monday, 15th August, 2016

pwpA hot day of strong sun and blue sky but no breeze. I worked all morning, cleaning the patio and drive with my pressure washer and then cleaning the car. Later, we did a good couple of hours at the Health Club. It was most unusual but we ate red meat today. Ribeye Steak which I griddled outside in the garden. It was accompanied by a tomato & cucumber salad. We ate outside and enjoyed being a little cooler than indoors.

I received a phone call this afternoon from the INR Testing Clinic in Surrey. I emailed my standard test results on Thursday. Normally, they email me back within a couple of hours giving me dosage advice and a date for my next test. This time – nothing. I emailed again on Friday but got nothing again. I emailed again today and, rather tongue in cheek, said I was feeling ‘unwanted’. This afternoon the Head of the Service phoned me to apologise. I felt awful that I had put them out. I am right on track with my INR and won’t need another test until the middle of October.

Tuesday, 16th August, 2016

The board walk leaving West Beach, Littlehampton.

Hot! Hot! Hot! and Sunny! Sunny! Sunny! The sky is Blue! Blue! Blue! We are going Out! Out! Out! to Litlehampton Beach. Alright, it’s not Copacabana but it’s quite nice. Actually, it was more interesting than I expected. By 10.00 am, it was busy with tourists, parents with kids needing to run and shout with at least a fortnight of school holidays remaining, Grandads with grandsons learning to fish from the pier and the body conscious teens looking for a deep, rich tan. Then there was Pauline and I. We parked as close to the West Beach as possible and walked along the pebble beach before going up this delightful boarded walk through the sand dunes with the golf course on one side and a strange Victorian structure on the other.

Littlehampton ‘Palmerston’ Fort

Martello towers, are small defensive forts that were built across the British Empire during the 19th century, from the time of the French Revolutionary Wars onwards. Most were coastal forts. Their aim was, post-Napoleonic wars, to provide for the defence of the island of Great Britain. They were not effective or, ultimately needed, but were replaced by Palmerston Forts in the second half of the 19th century. The Primeminister at the time was, of course, Lord Palmerston. These forts were elegant structures but were heavily criticised in Parliament as they were built and called Palmerston Follies. They proved equally unused and quickly redundant although they were called in to action along with Dads’ Army in the World Wars. Neglected since then, nature – sand and plants have gradually reclaimed the space.

I was immediately captivated by a brick and pebble stone structure rising out of sand. A young man was cleaning the pathway and picking up broken grass but, when I asked what the structure was, he had no idea. In fact, I’m not sure he was aware it was there. Five minutes on the web when we got home revealed the facts and there is an interesting website about the reclamation project. I know you won’t be able to contain yourself so here is the site address.

Wednesday, 17th August, 2016

pwbThe peak of Summer which was wall to wall blue skies and strong sun and reached 29C/84F around 1.00 pm. We went down to Worthing seafront around 9.30 am to check out a restaurant Pauline found on-line. The Crab-Shack on Worthing Marine Parade. It looks interesting and its menu suits us perfectly – It’s Crab. Couldn’t resist a phone photo of my darling wife. She is 65 in early October and we will celebrate with a fishy lunch here.

Back home, we ummed and ahhed about whether to go to the gym because it was so hot. Eventually, we chose to knuckle down and get on with it. We were pleased we did. The Leisure Club was quiet and the exercise was enjoyable. We drove home feeling better when we did going. At home, the garden was so hot that we decided to cook and eat inside for a change. Broadbean and radish salad dressed with lemon, garlic and olive oil starter was followed by roast salmon with pesto crust, roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic mushrooms.

Thursday, 18th August, 2016

An oppressively hot day of high humidity which reached 26C/79F. We had already decided to have a day off from the gym. We’ve already done four, consecutive days and we find our muscles welcome a rest. Even so, we’ve been charging round Tesco, Waitrose and searching out Hospice Charity Shops. We were out between 9.00 am – 11.30 am and then I cut the lawns because rain is forecast for Friday afternoon.

‘Girl Reading’ by Charles Edward Perugini

All our 19th Century pictures that we’ve collected over 30 or 40 years are going to be disposed of. We have about 30 large, framed prints – Pre-Raphaelite, Whistler, etc.. They really suited our taste and the style of our houses in the past. They are not right for the present and the future. I don’t want to throw them in the tip. I can’t be bothered raising a few hundred pounds at a car boot sale. I am going to give them to a Hospice Shop to sell. I’ve chosen the popular one around here – St. Barnabas House – and made arrangement for them to come and collect.

I have lived with and loved these pictures for more than half of my life. Often, our homes looked more like art galleries because they were so dominated by pictures. Although, on reflection, I have a tinge of regret in parting with them, actually, it is me down to a T. I always feel good when leaving a past and moving forward to a new future, ridding myself of the trappings of my former life and starting again. On reflection, I think I always feel I have failed in my former life and welcome the opportunity to succeed in the new. A tabular rasa on which to start the examination again.

Friday, 19th August, 2016

eurosA slightly damp and humid day. The lawns were pleased to see a bit of rain. Had the painful duty of ordering Euros for the weeks ahead. Currently, £1.00 = €1.16. It is not helpful to make comparisons but it was only two or three years ago that we were getting £1.00 = €1.42. Damn those Brexiteers! I’ve bought just £1500.00 worth at the moment in the vain hope that we might see an improvement. I know it is a long shot really. The next movement in interest rates is more likely to be down from the dizzy heights of 0.25% to, maybe, only 0.1%. That will have a negative impact on sterling. C’est la vie! Sorry, nearly forgot we are no longer European. That’s Life!

The Coppice & Angmering Medical Centre

We’ve been struggling to find a GP Surgery down here. There is such a shortage of doctors that every available Practice had put up a ‘Full’ notice on their website. Like some aging University Entrants, we had to go through ‘Clearing’ which has eventually allocated us the surgery we expected all along.

We are driving up to Surrey to pick up our last repeat prescription next week and that will be our last time there. I will write a letter to thank the lovely people who have served us there and prepare for the next stage. From Huddersfield in Yorkshire to Woking in Surrey, the medics and their staff have been absolutely delightful. Let’s hope it is repeated in Angmering, West Sussex. We are off to the gym in a couple of hours to get fit before we meet our new GP in the next week.

Saturday, 19th August, 2016

A warm but blustery day with a little rain. We have been at home and catching up on jobs. My project for this week is to make a complete Pdf record of my Blog as an insurance policy and as it embarks on its 400th week. Bound copies will be available at a price even for my favourite English tourist.

Greek Supermarket Sales Plummet

Talking about Greece, which I was doing rather obliquely, some economic signs of the stress the country is under were published in the Greek Press today.

The dramatic drop in the consumption of food and basic necessities by 5 % in the first half of 2016 has revealed how hard Greek households have been hit by the economic crisis.

According to the market research company IRI, supermarket turnover in the six-month period from January to June fell by 8.8 percent compared to the same period last year, while sales volume fared even worse, plummeting 12.6 percent. At the same time, statistics showed that prices per item have risen by 3.8 percent in the first half of 2016. The drop in consumption is linked to consumers’ compromised endurance levels and hikes in value-added tax.

Poor Old Makis

A second and, for Greeks, highly significant statistic reported this weekend is that Campsites on the islands are reporting a 30 percent plunge in arrivals from abroad and, in particular, from Germany, France and Italy. This is on top of UK travellers reigning back on their trips because of the plunge in the value of the Pound Sterling.

One of the consequences of a drop in tourism, in a country reliant on it like Greece is, is the effect it has on the Labour Market. The final statistic reported today is that Greek unemployment in July was up 2.8 pct from June at a time when one would normally expect quite the reverse. If unemployment is up just as peak tourist season approaches, there is a serious problem.

Week 398

Sunday, 7th August, 2016

You know you’re getting old when your Blog hits week 398. That equates to 7.653846153846154 years. WOW! I was young before this started. It is Sunday. There is an exciting Test Match and Man. Utd. playing Leicester City in the Charity Shield. There are Sunday papers to read. We are going to the gym to earn the right to sit down and relax later.

Kalamata Dreaming

We are going to Greece soon – Athens and the Peloponnese – well we were. Pauline wants to cut it short and just do Athens this time. She wants to fly to the Kalamata region of the Peloponnese  next year instead. We did book our Athens hotel and with cancellation built in so that will be a job for tomorrow. We will retain the hotel but alter the flights and the dates. I’m not particularly thrilled but marriage is about compromise. I will play my part.

England win and go ahead in the Series.

Really enjoyed the cricket and the quality of the England team. It is 30 years since I’ve been able to settle down to a Summer Test series. Greek television didn’t seem keen on buying it. I don’t know why! It was particularly good to see Moeen Ali chosen as Man of the Match. I never feel he gets full recognition for what he brings to the team. He also seems a bit on the fringes in the group shots. His batting has certainly made a huge difference to England and he took the last, ‘vital’ wicket in the match.

Monday, 8th August, 2016

shampsprayLovely, sunny morning of clear blue skies. Spent it outside cleaning the car and doing tidying up jobs. My new pressure washer comes with two pressure nozzles, a water brush and a shampoo applicator as well as a patio cleaner. In the past, I’ve never had the time to bother with such things and just bunged the local car wash £10.00 each week to do it for me. Now, it’s quite a pleasure to do it myself. I’m not so keen on using the chamois to wipe it off but I’m sure my wife will help.

Half an hour sitting out in the sun and then it will be time to set off for the Leisure Club and another hour’s exercise. In the meantime, I’m looking at the potential for setting up a new (additional) Blog with a view to exploring a specific topic and possibly attracting some advertising. If I decide it is a goer, I’ll let you know.

Exercise was hard today. We left home at 1.00 pm and returned from the Leisure Club at 3.30 pm. We were both shattered. Fortunately, it was Pauline’s turn to cook. She had already prepared tarragon Chicken with a roast onion and fennel dish accompanied by garlic mushrooms. Just a simple, little dish to fill a corner. It was followed by fresh raspberries and strawberries with ginger yoghurt on top. Deeeelicious!

Tuesday, 9th August, 2016

A hot and sunny day that reached 26C/79F in our garden. We spent quite a bit of time in the garden absorbing the vitamin D. In spite of both feeling tired, we went to the Leisure Club and did another session of workout. We were both seriously feeling it by the end of that session. We will do Wednesday – which will make four consecutive days and then have Thursday off before going for our fifth session of the week on Friday. We have the burglar alarm installer coming on Thursday after the alarm went off in the middle of the night and nearly killed us with shock.

Pauline cooked the most wonderful meal that sounds very simple but was just delightful. We ate cod loin with pesto topping and a cucumber and Greek Salad. The pesto was made from our home grown basil and the salad was made of tomatoes grown on our patio. The flavours were outstanding.

Wednesday, 10th August, 2016

A sultry day of cloud and hot sun. I’ve got a sore throat, painful ears and a sniffle. We decided to call off the gym work today and concentrate on more pressing matters. We still haven’t got a doctor down here yet. We have become accustomed to playing the system a little since spending half the year in Greece. Our doctor in Yorkshire though 6 months in our Greek house was a great idea and was happy to prescribe six months drugs in one go so we didn’t have to worry abroad. When we came down to Surrey, they immediately frowned on that idea although one did tell us to stockpile in order to have enough and that’s what we did. The rule is, apparently, that we shouldn’t be out of the country for more than three months or we could be taken off the surgery roll. We managed to persuade them that we were respectable and trustworthy but it was always a bit iffy. Current ex-pats are going to find it much more than a bit ‘iffy’ when Brexit finally hits.

Doctor Shortages

We identified a surgery down here that we wanted to go to but its website said it currently wasn’t accepting new patients. We have kept our Woking doctor in the dark about our move in the hope that the situation would change. We have returned to Surrey for repeat prescriptions, check-ups, etc. for five months now and things have changed – They’ve got worse, much worse. Every single surgery in our area – and there are five – now announce on their websites that they have no patient places free. We have been forced to go on to an ‘allocation’ system where we have no choice who we visit. Six years of Tory government have brought us to this.

Thursday, 11th August, 2016

Your 2.00 am call, Sir!

A burglar alarm specialist is here this morning to test the system. We have had one or two problems from sporadic error messages on setting and then a night when we nearly died as the alarm went off at 2.00 in the morning.  He seems confident that he can solve it. Famous last words.

I’m not well. In fact, I think I’m dying. I developed a sore throat yesterday. This morning, I’m streaming with a cold. If I am to live, I will need a lot of looking after. I’ve already told the burglar alarm man not to kiss me because I am obviously infected. Pauline says I’m in a state. As I pointed out, I’m in more than a state. I’m in a country!

After five minutes, the alarm man has concluded that the system wasn’t set up properly in the first place. After five more minutes, he has done the job and is on his way back to Bracknell . We set off to do our weekly shop. I sniff and sneeze around Tesco. Old ladies come up and ask me if I’m alright. When I say I’m dying, they want to pet me. I pretend to be brave and move on although I want petting really. Returning home, I settle in for an afternoon of Test match cricket and drinks from my wife.

Friday, 12th August, 2016

peppersA long, hot and sunny day. I am still streaming a cold and the cricket has been a little turgid. I stirred myself to mow the lawns, pick some tomatoes and the first peppers. We haven’t had to buy tomatoes this week as the plants are delivering day after day.

The peppers have quite surprised us. We had three plants. One has turned out to be a ‘bell’ pepper and two have produced flatter, crenulated peppers. We are looking forward to eating them. Pauline harvested the Basil again today and made another batch of Pesto. I’m hoping to feel well enough to go back to the gym tomorrow.

cartoonKmThought you might like this cartoon from the Greek newspapers. You need to know two things to help you understand it. The Greek economy contracted by 0.7 % year-on-year in the second quarter of 2016 and Anna Korakaki won an Olympic gold medal in the women’s 25-meter pistol. As you will see, the Greek Prime Minister is not much of a marksman in hitting Growth Targets so he evades his failures by glorying in the Olympic achievement. Unfortunately, Olympic medals won’t feed his nation or pay their pensions.

Saturday, 13th August, 2016

Had a disturbed night last night because our neighbour’s burglar alarm went off. They are in Cyprus. There was no sign of break-in and another neighbour had a contact for one of their relations who drove over to turn it off but it wasn’t conducive to sleep.

West Wittering Beach

Hot and sunny day today that reached 26F/79F in the shade of our garden. The tomatoes are continuing to ripen faster than we can eat them. Everything needs to be watered to keep going. My cold/infection has gone backwards after feeling better yesterday. Today, I’m back to throat soothers, headache tablets and a new box of tissues. I’m determined to go back to the gym tomorrow however I feel.

I have spent the day resting and watching the Test match (ugh!) and the first Premier League matches – Hull v Leicester and  Man. City v Sunderland. Monday and Tuesday are forecast to be exceptionally hot here – possibly around 30C/86F. On Wednesday, we are planning to visit West Wittering beach which is reputed to be beautiful.