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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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‘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!

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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.

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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.

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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.