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
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