Week 405

Sunday, 25th September, 2016

mobilecaseWhat a lovely, lovely day! Blue skies, strong sun and warm air reaching 21C/69F. Everywhere looks so much more optimistic in this weather. Hope Ruth’s getting used to the snow in Puerto Pollensa. Sundays are political programmes – Marr, Peston and Sunday Politics with the incomparable Andrew Neil. At the same time, The Sunday Times fills the spaces. We went off to the Health Club for a couple of hours between 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm and got back just in time to watch West Ham. thrashed by Swansea. It could have been anyone. We all hate West Ham..

Pauline likes to put her smartphone in a leather case. I prefer mine lighter and unencumbered. Ordered an orange leather one for Pauline. She will be a happy girl. She made a wonderful tomato salad, a beetroot salad, skordalia and cold garlic and tarragon chicken. I love that sort of meal nowadays. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have entertained it.

Monday, 26th September, 2016

Interesting day – a little fresher than yesterday but still reached 20C/68F. Our conveyancing solicitor wrote to us with our final house documents (only 6 months after completion) and included a cheque for £80.00/€93.00 which was left over after disbursements. We were just planning where to spend it on a meal for Pauline’s birthday when we found a parking ticket on our windscreen. We were parked in what we thought was Waitrose carpark while we shopped for about ten minutes. It turned out, it didn’t wbbelong to the supermarket and there was a special ‘badge’ scheme that we should have joined. We had a £25.00/€29.00 fine to pay.

We drove home feeling a little aggrieved. Soon after we got home, we were informed that one of our investments was paying us a bonus of £1250.00/€1441.00. It is all tax free and feels so much nicer because it was unexpected. We ended the morning £1305.00/€1504.00 up. Could be worse.

We should have gone to the gym but chickened out today. Instead we made a meal that the Skiathan would be proud of. It included crispy whitebait with garlic sauce plus fresh crab salad washed down with a tangy and chilled white wine. This is how retirement should be!

Tuesday, 27th September, 2016

A mild but cloudy day. I have set my self the task of giving the car a full valet before we go to the gym. I vacuumed inside, cleaned and treated all the leather, cleaned and shone the glass inside and then gave it the full treatment outside. It starts with a pressure wash to get the loose grime off followed by shampoo and wax spray and a water brush off with a final jet wash to finish. I enrol my assistant to help with the wipe dry and shine. About an hour and it’s done. We go in for coffee and the rain begins to fall. Great!

The trip to the gym was more successful although it was remarkably busy for a Tuesday. We are beginning to find our current routine a bit too easy although tiring. We’ve decided to up our time on the equipment from tomorrow – only by 5 mins – for the rest of this week and then by another 5 mins next week. We are going to France for a few days so we will have a little time to recover.

protestMeanwhile, Greek Police, Fire Brigades and Coast Guard gathered outside the Defence Ministry on Tuesday morning and demanded that Minister, Panos Kammenos, restore wage cuts and avoid further cuts on special payrolls. Thessaloniki bus workers walked off the job for the 11th day in a row on Tuesday, demanding three months in unpaid wages. Almost half of Greek workers fear being sacked in near future. This is not a happy country.

Wednesday, 28th September, 2016

Glorious and warm, sunny day with clear, blue skies. We are told we will reach 24C/75F today. Currently, it is 21C/70F and delightful. I have already cut the lawns this morning and ordered my minion to dead-head the potted geraniums. Everything looks pristine and we can sit in the sun to avoid catching SAD.

Ruth on the right & Lizzie Dripping on the left.








Who needs a remote control on their phone? Good fun, though!

Spoke to Ruth this morning just after she returned from Bolton Hospital Eye Unit where she was having her second cataract operation. She sounded very chipper and said the operation was very straightforward. She’s only been back from her holiday a few days and she sounds happy and vigorous – for someone so old. We are going for coffee at her penthouse apartment in Bolton when we go up in about three weeks. First, we have a trip to France to celebrate Pauline’s birthday.

As a fan of gadgets, I’m really enjoying my new smart phone. It has so many apps available that I’m still learning and learning is what I enjoy. Today, I have found the Peel Smart Remote app pre-installed on my phone. It allows me to control all the televisions in the house – switching on/off, changing channels and volume. We have plenty of remote controls anyway but it’s just nice to do it from my phone. It will also control the air conditioning – but I haven’t got any.

Thursday, 29th September, 2016

What a difference a day makes. From cloudless, blue skies yesterday to grey, damp and overcast this morning. It is still mild – 17C/63F at 7.00 am. We are reacquainting ourselves with the supermarkets this morning – Asda, Sainsbury’s & Tesco – all for carefully researched items. They are all close together but it takes about and 90 minutes. By the time we get home at 11.00 am, the sun is out and the patio starting to dry out.

A cup of coffee and listening to an important speech from the Secretary of State for International Trade. It is important for clues to the Government’s thinking on Brexit ytnegotiations. The importance of Free Trade is being stressed, suggesting that membership of the Single Market is going to be lost on the alter of abolishing Free Movement.

Do you like tea? I drink a lot of fresh coffee but I also love tea. I love Yorkshire Tea and have done for years. Strangely, our water in Surrey didn’t suit Yorkshire Tea and we had to find an alternative. Here in Sussex, we have returned to Yorkshire Tea and it tastes wonderful. It is so thirst quenching. Yorkshire & Sussex is a marriage made in paradise.

I am dying. Well, we all are but I have been given a timescale. My expected lifespan is between 76 – 79 years which gives me a remaining 11 – 14 years of healthy life. The NHS heart age calculator uses things like my atrial fibrillation and weight and height plus blood pressure and family history of heart disease to predict the age at which I could expect to experience a heat attack or stroke. It is quite shocking although useful to know. The interesting thing to me is that losing more weight would make no difference to my life expectancy at all.

Friday, 30th September, 2016

September 2016 leaves on a warm and sunny day that brought us a few, momentary showers as well. Pauline suddenly became social and attended a Macmillan for Cancer coffee morning at a neighbour’s house in our street. I didn’t. I phoned friends and updated my Facebook page. Now that’s what I consider being ‘social’. I also did the vacuuming of the house. We are so clean and tidy here that there is little to do in that regard.

Another trip to the Health Club this afternoon. It was really busy – on a Friday? That’s unusual. Pauline cooked a delicious cod loin with pesto topping which we ate with cucumber and cherry tomato salad and balsamic vinegar beetroot. Absolutely wonderful. Good, healthy food makes one feel really happy.

As we enter October, we realise that we are away from home for five and a half of the next eight weeks. It’s going to be an interesting time.

Saturday, 1st October, 2016


Happy New Month. White Rabbit! It’s going to be a busy one. We are going to France and Yorkshire. Let’s hope we can tell the difference. Actually, the weather is forecast to be lovely next week in France which will add to the pleasure.

The Northern Echo – October 9th, 1969

It was 47 years ago this week that I was preparing to leave home. I was 18 years old and had spent my post-school holiday working at Pirelli in Burton-upon-Trent and saving money for my future. I thought Pirelli made tyres but it turned out that they also made slippers and it was in that department that I was put to work, packing them in to 80kg boxes and stacking them on shelves in the loading bay. Eventually, after three weeks long experience, I was moved into the loading bay to stack boxes of slippers on to lorries. Before I left, after ten weeks’ work, I was about to graduate to the job of Export Manager but that would have been a step too far. I managed to save £430.00 which was exactly the equivalent of my first term’s grant.

Idyllic Ripon

I was leaving home to go to Ripon Teacher Training College. It wasn’t my first choice by any means. I had pinned my hopes on reading English Lit. at Newcastle University but they wanted A/A/B at ‘A’ Level and I didn’t make it. I spent most of my Sixth Form career playing Contract Bridge in the Prefects’Room. I had always wanted to be a teacher but not yet. I wanted to meet the girls of Newcastle University first. Instead, I had to settle for being one of the first 20 men amongst 600 women to attend Ripon. I loved it and never went home again apart from for one, Summer holiday. This photo from The Northern Echo featured the only 20 men at the, previously, all-womens college. I don’t know how but I am dead centre of the photo next to Kevin.

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