Sunday, 30th October, 2016
October, 2016 has almost slipped off the end of the conveyor belt of time. Although we will welcome November, the loss of another month must be a source of sadness. The worst thing is that it will soon be forgotten. This Blog is one person’s attempt to shore our memories up against the erosion of time.
I have to make a stark admission this morning. I am what is known in the North of England as a SCRIKER. I cry at the drop of a hat. I have known it most of my life but it has got worse with age. I have always been reduced to tears by music. A Chopin Nocturne invariably gets me. I can dissolve over a Mozart violin section. Opera is the worst. Puccini and Donizetti destroy me. I watch performances on the Sky Arts channel. Last week, I switched it on as background in the Office while I wrote emails and letters to people.
While I was working and half paying attention, it changed to a Chris de Burgh concert and, without focussing on the music at all, I found myself in floods of tears. The heady mix of Irish sentimentality and easy lilt stirred something in me which I couldn’t hold back. You may think this is ‘cheap’ emotion and I have thought about it long and hard. I don’t know the answer but maybe my Irish, maternal ancestry has brought the susceptibility through my genetic makeup. I’m not ashamed of it although it can be a little embarrassing at times. I try to explain it by saying that I am in touch with my feminine side.
Monday, 31st October, 2016
Well, October is going out with spectacular weather. Warm and sunny with clear, blue skies only smudged by traces of planes, high up, leaving and approaching Gatwick – which is what we will be doing this afternoon. We are bound for Tenerife where the temperature is forecast to be a steady 26C/79F all week. It will do just fine as we swim in the salt water pool and stroll along the countryside roads.
Thought I’d share this photo with you that I picked up on some Twitter-feed and which really amused me.
Of course, you can substitute for elephants, Irish and Blacks from the not-so-distant past.
When we sold our Greek house two years ago, even the Notary was surprised to find that we didn’t have to pay any Capital Gains Tax – the difference between the ‘declared’ cost of building and the ‘declared’ price of selling. I use the word ‘declared’ advisedly. It was a wonderful surprise because, until then, CGT had been at a punishing rate of 20% of any profit. It was dropped in the months before we sold but, in January, it is going to be re-introduced. There is a God! (Well, maybe not.)
Kathimerini also reports more bad news about the Greek economy:
Retail sector suffers, as supermarkets see turnover slump almost 8 percent. Not only is the slump in sales across all sectors of retail commerce showing no signs of recovery, but entrepreneurs are saying that the worst is yet to come. It appears there is no exception to the phenomenon, as it has not spared any section of the market, be it stores selling electronic goods or clothing shops and supermarkets.
Who’d have thought that Greeks wouldn’t have lots of money to spend?
Tuesday, 1st Novcmber, 2016
Happy November, 2016 to most people!
A very early start for the first day of November at the Holiday Inn, Gatwick. Up at 4.00 am and out at 5.00 am. We take the shuttle bus to North Terminal and go to the No1 Lounge for quiet, relaxation, free bacon sandwiches and coffee and strong internet signal. At 8.00 am we fly and at 12.30 pm we are in Tenerife South airport terminal collecting our luggage. We have a taxi taking us to our hotel and then we will relax.
And relax we did in 26C/79F with lovely sunshine flooding across our generous balcony which is furnished with two sun loungers and a table and chairs. We drank the complimentary bottle of Tempranillo with some roasted, salted sweet corn ears after which, we felt even more tired.
We went for a walk around the hotel complex to familiarise ourselves with the facilities. We found the three pools, three restaurants and the gym & spa. We were given two, complimentary hours in the Spa. We returned to make a cup of tea and watch BBC News. We can receive BBC1, BBC2, ITV and Sky News. It’s enough to keep in touch with the world.
Wednesday, 2nd November, 2016
The backdrop to the day has been similar to yesterday. Blue skies, strong sunshine and 26C/79F. Towards the end of the day a bit of hazy cloud developed but I am writing this at 20.20 hrs and it is dark outside but still 23C/73F. We have the air conditioning on. In UK, the temperature has suddenly tumbled and, at home, it is now just 2C/36F. Sifnos is an uncomfortable 11C/52F.
I know that’s enough about about weather but, when you come somewhere like Tenerife in the Winter, it is mainly for better weather. We travelled yesterday and we can feel that in our bodies today. It has been a relaxing day sunbathing on our balcony. The view from the balcony
We walked out to the nearest supermarket and bought out their supply of sparkling water and mouthwash. When a bit of whispy cloud cover came over in late afternoon, we walked up the coastal path to explore…..absolutely nothing. Tomorrow, we will start to use the fantastic, state-of-the-art gym.
Thursday, 3rd November, 2016
A little bit of cloud this morning and 25C/78F. We went out for a good walk along the coastal path. By its very nature, the path is a roller coaster of steep descents and just as steep inclines. It has no comparison with a treadmill in the gym. The effort – and we pushed ourselves – combined with the heat and humidity left me soaking wet by the time we got back to the hotel.
Got back to our hotel room, made a cup of coffee and was about to shower when BBC News reported the best piece of news we’ve heard for months. The High Court has ruled that The House of Commons is supreme and not the Tory Cabinet. We can now tell the idiots who voted to leave that the majority of those they elected to represent them voted to remain. We must repeat the Irish experience and get them to vote again and again until they get it right.
We watched the Daily Politics programme on BBC2 as the ‘frustration of Brexit’ discussion really cheered us. We then set off for the gym which here is delightful, well furnished and stocked with machines. It’s attached to a Spa which we will also use. I will sit in the jacuzzi while Pauline has beauty treatments even though she is so beautiful that there is no more scope for improvement. At least she can enjoy treatments she rarely indulges herself in at home. Probably this won’t go further than manicure and pedicure but we will see. As long as it makes her happy.
Two or three, additional, throwaway observations complete the Blog tonight. If you find the presentational effects even more rudimentary than usual, it is because I have chosen to do the whole thing on my iPad Professional while away. It is less precise without a mouse but it saves carrying a laptop around. The food in the three restaurants here is absolutely wonderful. Tonight we ate plates of the freshest, tastiest salad accompanied by plates full of king prawns in their shells. This was followed by grilled veal steaks and cauliflower gratin. The whole meal was accompanied by ….. a bottle of sparkling water. That is the third point I wanted to raise. The first full day here was marked by my decision to give up alcohol for a few months. I have been drinking too much wine and must stop. I’ll keep you posted.
Friday, 4th November, 2016
The Weekly Politics show on BBC2 is always on ridiculously late. It begins at 11.45 pm and ends at 12.30 am. I invariably say I won’t watch it but I always do. And so it was last night. The alarm went off at 6.00 am this morning and so did the Radio 4 Today programme. These are exciting, political times and not to be missed. While drinking morning tea, I took the photos on the left from the balcony. You will soon get (already be) bored by them so I promise to limit future shots.
Yesterday, we looked out over coffee and watched a huge shoal (pod?) of dolphins swimming playfully past. There must have been twenty or thirty. I took a photo but, as so often happens, the lens didn’t reproduce what the eye could see and not a single dolphin was close enough to discern. I will have to train them to be more photo friendly.
Our room is very comfortable, is cleaned daily with fresh towels every day and the bed linen changed every three days. We were offered every day but thought that excessive. Every evening, they still do that quaint, old thing while we are out at Dinner, of coming in, ‘turning the bed down’ and placing a chocolate on the pillow. I think it’s weird but not a problem.
What is really impressive here is the internet feed. We have two iPads and two smart phones connected permanently to the wi-if and the speed is absolutely excellent. So many hotels nominally say they offer wi-fi but it would be quicker to wade through treacle than browse the internet. Here, the speed and broadband width is excellent. We have a relay point actually in our suite which serves just our requirements. I can send 5mb graphics without any problem. It makes life so much more enjoyable.
Saturday, 5th November, 2016
Remember, remember to go away in November. We left home on Halloween Day which saved us seeing lots of children. Brr! Children! And now we are avoiding the fireworks hype. Brrr! Guy Fawkes. In replacement, we have had a wonderful, wonderful day. We went out for the morning, leaving from our hotel on the ‘free’ shuttle bus at 10.30 am by which time the thermometer was reading the statutory 26F/79F. We went to Costa Adeje town where our hotel has a sister establishment.
The pretext of our journey was to look for some soft, leather shoes for me to supplement the ones I bought here in January. Ironically and, perhaps, perversely in this weather, we came away with two, thick, hot, woolley cardigan coats for Pauline. I can normally manage about ten minutes shopping before I am tired and bored. Today I managed nearly two hours and I was close to death!
It was very hot. One of those automated weather data display ticker tape things showed 30C (86F) although I can’t confirm that. The nice thing about Adeje is the yellow sand instead of black, volcanic stone which just doesn’t feel right. It is November and Adeje is very, very busy with tourists. Stavros would give his right arm for this if he could cope with such demand.