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.

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