Week 414

Sunday, 27th November, 2016

A scorching day. We’ve had too much sun. I would like to send some to Ruth but I fear it would have transmogrified into a ball of ice by the time she received it. The Sunday papers in UK seem to be featuring forecasts of exceptionally cold weather ahead. We are hoping to fly home to a freakily warm December/January but our hopes are just that.

In Greece, torrential rain has brought floods to the first island we ever visited, Zakynthos where a man has died in the storm which moved on to flood Athens and looks set to sweep the Kyklades and Dodecanese. Meanwhile, the Greek government are being swamped by fears of new demands from their creditors.

They only have themselves to blame. They agree terms in order to free-up bail out money and, as soon as they get it, they decide the terms are unacceptable and can be avoided. This plays in to the Greek psyche which, as I learnt by experience, takes pride in not living up to commitments. Unfortunately, they have met their match in German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble who is demanding ‘real’ fiscal rectitude.










About 27 years ago, Pauline & I were living up in the Hora on Simi.It was our first experience of the Dodecanese. Labour MP, Tony Banks, Minister for Sport had a house on the island at the time. It was a time of simplicity for Greeks. Their governments felt free to do what they wanted and the people acquiesced. Russia was changing and looked like embracing a bright, new future under Gorbachev and Yeltsin. It didn’t happen but the possibilities were there. Greece, on the other hand was still slumbering in the shadows with its komboloi and a coffee. They dreamed of nothing other than tourist takings. Dream on!

Monday, 28th November, 2016

Our last night of 28 in Playa Paraiso, Tenerife. After a scorching day and a lovely Dinner with

Aeropuerto Reina Sofia
Aeropuerto Reina Sofia

lashings of smoked salmon and salad, we are sitting outside under a starry, starry sky with the crashing ocean waves as our mood music. Tomorrow, it will be time to move on and live somewhere else. After Breakfast and final packing, a taxi will take us the 30 mins journey to the South Airport. It has a private lounge where we can relax until our flight departs. It takes just over 4hrs. Another taxi will meet us at Gatwick and carry us the 60 mins journey to our home.

We are beginning to wonder how easy this sort of travel will be after Brexit cancels the European Open Skies arrangement aka The single EU aviation market. Anyway, next week we are driving to France so that should be alright unless Le Pen has already been crowned. Next Summer, we will, once again, be driving across Europe and hope we can get across Italy before it leaves the EU.

Tuesday, 29th November, 2016

Breakfast at 7.30 am on a cloudy and overcast morning. We settled our bill – €71.00 f0r 28 days worth of sparkling water. Coffee in our room and then down to take a taxi off to the airport. Aeropuerto de Tenerife Sur is 30 mins by taxi away from our hotel. By 2.00 pm, we were in the air and back in our Sussex home by 7.30 p.m. It didn’t feel as cold as we wfpwere led to believe it would be. We did put the heating on for a few hours to compensate for it being off for a month.

The front door was blocked by a mountain of post which had built up over the month. It included announcements of our Winter Fuel Payment which I had already seen on-line in our bank accounts. We get £100.00/€118.00 each. Silly really but means-testing that would be more expensive than paying it out. The best way to economise on heating is to spend a month in the Canaries!

Wednesday, 30th November, 2016

papayaNovember is closing with no Breakfast. It is wonderful and such a relief. I can get back to feeling empty and vigorous. The day is glorious with blue, cloudless skies and strong sunshine. Some cars around us have ice on them but ours is in the garage. We set off to Tesco to buy food for the week. We’re actually going to have to cook for ourselves. In Tenerife, Pauline had huge slices of papaya for her breakfast each morning. In Tesco today, she bought two papaya. They were very small. Later, we went to Worthing to pick up some orders and came across a wonderful market stall selling huge papayas. We bought two more. The photograph illustrates the difference in size and quality.

We had a great time in Tenerife and a month is almost long enough to start to forget you live anywhere else – particularly with my memory – but it was lovely to sleep in our own bed again. Unfortunately, Pauline was in discomfort from a series of, what we thought were, insect bites. They are in a line on her arm and under her armpit. She’s had them for five or six days and they haven’t got any better. Having consulted a chemist this morning, they have decided it is actually shingles. We headed off to the surgery to be told that there was little that could be done because the infection was too developed. She has to sit it out and suffer the discomfort until it subsides.

Thursday, 1st December, 2016


Farewell November and welcome December 2016. Happy new month to most of the Blog’s readers.

Cold outside this morning. The gauge read -2C/28F although there was little sign of frost, strangely. We have had a splurge of consumerism this morning but, first, we had to get some calamine lotion to treat Pauline’s uncomfortable shingles. She is really suffering with it at the moment although it hasn’t spread since Monday which is a good sign.

We have a full height fridge/freezer split 50/50  in the kitchen. The fridge is plenty big enough and we have a separate wine cooler but we need some extra freezer capacity so we are going to put a chest freezer in the garage. These things are so cheap and readily available. We just measured up, drove down to Currys and bought the second one we looked at. It had to be suitable for outbuildings. It has a 145 ltr. capacity and is delivered and installed for £120.00/€142.00. It will be delivered in a couple of days.

gtechhooverWe are going to France on Tuesday so we can now buy food to bring back and put in the new freezer but my main intention is to stock up on game birds. We love pheasant. They are not so easily available in Sussex as they are in Yorkshire. I did find a butcher in Worthing who told me he could get some for £6.00/€7.10 per bird which seemed quite expensive. Today, I found a supplier a few miles away who told me I could have as many as I wanted for £2.50/€3.0 per bird. As soon the new freezer arrives, we will stock up on a dozen or so.

I bought a GTech cordless lawnmower in April and loved it. Why I thought it would be a good idea to buy a cheap and nasty, cordless, VAX vacuum cleaner  I don’t know but it managed just four outings and then died. Fortunately, Argos took it back without argument and we thought again. Today, I spent a lot more money on a Gtech AirRam MK2 + Multi for £299.00/€355.00. Now, I’ll really have to do the cleaning!

Friday, 2nd December, 2016

I wonder if GTech is a Greek company. Certainly, their service is fast and efficient. I ordered equipment yesterday afternoon and received it this morning. It is quite cold here at shloer4C/39F but not uncomfortably so. Still, it’s taking a bit of getting used to after last month. With Pauline’s shingles and the fact that we’ve been away, we are not going to the Health Club today. We’ve got quite a few things to catch up with. I’m not drinking alcohol at the moment and hope to keep it that way well in to the new year so I reach for a non-alcoholic drink like Shloer. Usually, it costs £2.00 per bottle but is currently discounted 50%. We went out to Tesco to buy 24 bottles which saved us £24.00. Should get me through Christmas.

Ironically, I have had to move the wine racks in the garage to make way for the new, chest freezer which will be delivered on Wednesday. They are currently holding 120 bottles of wine and we are going to France next week which will, inevitably, increase my stock. There is a delicious sense of self denial and abstemiousness about storing all that wine but not drinking any of it. This is heightened as I carry it through Christmas and New Year.

Today, we received our first Christmas cards and began to prepare for sending our own. It actually feels a little last century to people who live on the web. We have a database of everyone’s names and addresses which I maintain and keep up to date. Pauline writes the cards. One year, I wrote in them: Best Wishes from Pauline & John Sanders. Pauline told me off for being too formal. I don’t know about you but I find it really difficult to receive a card from Bob & Jane. We know three couples called Bob & Jane. I like to know which is which. So you can see how I’m relegated to label printing. I’ve forgotten how to write anyway.

Saturday, 3rd December, 2016

Pauline is really suffering today and we hope her shingles is/are peaking. She has an antiviral tablets to take three times each day and she applies calamine lotion to soothe. Even so, she is fighting hard to carry on. We have only been out to our neighbours across the road who were holding an ‘open house’ get together. I hate these things but ‘needs must’.

The Christmas cards have started arriving in force. I received lovely cards from two of my sisters:

c_card_jd c_card_cl







They have a slight similarity with ones we are sending. I wonder if you can spot the connection:








I always send ‘robin’ cards and, I suspect, people have started to notice. It is well known that all robins are Atheist and very feisty. That appeals to me. They are the ultimate symbol of Christmas. Of course, now I’ve spoilt it for those who are going to receive a card but it looks better in real life.

I’ve watched Chelsea beat Man.City (Boo!) and Arsenal beat W.Ham. (Hurray!) and England destroy Australia at Twickenham (Hurray!) and now Pauline is watching Strictly Come Dancing. We have eaten a lovely meal of Sea Bass and salad and all is well with the world. We are so lucky. Long may it remain.

Week 413

Sunday, 20th November, 2016

As The Skiathan reminded me, Sunday is for newspapers. It is also for a surfeit of political analysis and discussion. Add to that warmth and sunshine and our cup runneth over. We hope Skiathan Man, his wife and young sprog are having a happy day.

Unfortunately, we have no Sky Sports here so I miss the football and the cricket. Actually, img_0982it is Channel 4 that we miss most. Channel 4 News is fantastic, often cutting edge, regularly abrasive and just unmissable except here where we are missing it. Particularly now, with the political world rocking and reeling and the potential for another three years of it, sharp and independent minds are needed more than ever.

img_0981The newspapers are absorbing reading on Brexit, Trumpism, the Italian referendum. Matteo Renzi is taking a Cameroon suicide pill by appealing to the electorate who look like booting him out. Then there is the French election which, if not won by Marine Le Penn, may force the alternative  (Sarkozy?) to tack to the right. The same will be true in Germany to an extent. Merkel is having to row back on her open door immigration policy in order to nullify criticism at home. Even the Netherlands are seeing insurgency of the extremely right.

However, my pick of the weekend (with apologies to Jane BG) is the Sunday Times article by Dominic Lawson headed:

Trump is dumping the climate fetish. What about you, Mrs May?

He predicts that the Trump team will simply withdraw America from the UN Convention on Climate Change and says that just as Obama used an ‘Executive Agreement’ bypassing democratic agreement to give consent to the Paris Accord, so Trump will reverse it by the mandate of his election which promised to revive coal mining and received full support of the US Rustbelt states. While we are punishing ourselves, China is massively building its economy based on ever increasing coal fired power. As they buy up our infrastructure, we should reflect on that.

Monday, 21st November, 2016

img_0985This time last year we were completing our first month in … Tenerife. I was preparing material for my Christmas newsletter. Today we are approaching our final week of another month in … Tenerife and am preparing material for my Christmas newsletter. I have been doing that for about 20 years now. Once I start a project, I tend not to give up. In just under 4 weeks, the Blog will be 8 years old. There are not so many around who have been so persistent. Some would call it obstinate. I call it tenacious. Today, the Blog ‘memories’ really come into their own as I review the events of 2016.

I have been told off by my sister, Jane BG, for not accepting the prevailing ‘climate change’ doctrine. In most situations, of course, I would defer to her. She knows about weather. She is, after all, a Biologist. What ever she is, she is very, very fit.

Tuesday, 22nd November, 2016

A bit cooler today – only 25C/77F – and breezy in the early morning. It’s been a strange day around. The gardens here are just fabulous. I want to take them home with me. Just a few photos. Actually, some of the most exciting don’t flower but scream out their exotic forms and textures but, today, I’ve just picked flowering plants.

Strelitzia – Bird of Paradise
Aloe Vera
Cape Honeysuckle









Canarian Foxglove













Tourist Infrastructure Development

After walking through these gardens and taking photographs, we walked on up the coast road. We stopped to look at a development of concrete that was being laid just as we arrived three weeks ago. Today it was a swimming pool – not finished but getting there and employing many Canarians. Tourism drives everything here. There is nothing else – which makes it rather soulless but very determined to offer the best product they can. In comparison with Greece where people, places and tradition capture and hold a heart, the Canaries offer fantastic, high quality hotels, fantastic and quality food, wonderful swimming pools and all year round perfect weather – not too hot and never uncomfortably cold. In the Canaries, whether it’s January or July, living outside is a delight. In Greece, the winter cold can pierce to the bone.

As we leaned over the fence and looked at the development, a very pretty, petite lady sidled up and affected to look but clearly wanted to talk. Within 10 minutes, we knew so much about her. It sounds a bit creepy but it wasn’t. If you’d asked me her age, I would have estimated 55 – 60 years. She told us she was 69. Her husband had died of motor neurone disease at age 38 and she was left to run his manufacturing business in Maidenhead as well as bring up two kids. She explained that she has paid her kids way through private education but doesn’t feel they are grateful or even care. She told us that she loved her kids but she didn’t really like them. With a look of shock on her face, she said, I’ve never told anyone that before. By this time, I was trying to decide how much to charge her for the consultation but The Daily Politics called and we rushed off our separate ways.

Wednesday, 23rd November, 2016

I’m sorry to report that, in spite of the warm weather outside, I have been glued to the Autumn Financial Statement. For us, it had little to offer. It confirmed that the band of earning before which tax is first levied will rise to £12,500.00/€14,730 per person. Pauline & I will have our first £25,000.00/€29,460.00 of income without paying tax. Investment income is poor to non-existent currently. The government will offer a bond at 2.3% fixed for 3 years. Unfortunately, we can only invest £6,000.00/€7,080.00 jointly which is neither here nor there. With inflation set to hit 2.8% over the next two years, it is the bulk of our savings we need to shelter. Nothing erodes value more than inflation. Perhaps we should buy another property but we really don’t want the hassle.

A propos of absolutely nothing!

Since we retired, nearly 8 years ago, earnings have remained fairly flat. The OBR forecasts that this will remain the case for the rest of the decade. This is significant for pensioners. Although our pensions are inflation proofed, if salaries go ahead, pensioners begin to feel left behind. Never, in modern times, have earnings remained static for so long. The other hint worth noting but which will have been missed by many pensioners is a rushed allusion to readdressing the Triple Lock on State Pensions after the next election. Some are developing the thesis that the Boomers have had a life in clover and the young have been left out in the desert. The BBC are pushing this thesis almost as hard as their climate change religion. Certainly, it will have to be in the 2020 manifestos of any party proposing it and pensioners will be able to vote accordingly.

Thursday, 24th November, 2016

Our hotel from across the bay.

We have spent the day walking – or so it seems. Went out for a long walk round the headland after breakfast in strong and hot sunshine. It was lovely to feel free and healthy with time to do what we want, go where we want and when we want together. We were out for a couple of hours and timed our return for the start of The Daily Politics.


After that and the BBC News, we set off for the gym. We did a solid hour of cardio-work (See, I’ve even got the jargon now.) on the treadmill and the bike. The heat was so intense we could have done with a mop to clean up the floor around the equipment after we had

Love It!
Love It!

finished. The gym is a long walk across the hotel campus back to our room and we were pleased to observe how quickly we recovered from our exertions.

The OBR has reported today that relative wage growth has not been worse since the 1920s. Partly this is explained by immigration, partly explained by part time, zero hours and poor quality jobs and partly explained by the anticipation of Brexit. This is what I touched on yesterday. The problem is that the static rates of pay are projected to stay up to and after the end of the decade but set against a newly rising inflation rate because of Brexit’s effect on the exchange rate.

Friday, 25th November, 2016

img_1015Lovely morning but a little fresher today – only 20C/68F at 7.00 am.. Looks like it’s going to be a nice day though. I read the local papers from places I used to live in every night. This morning, The Times reports what Oldhamers already knew that Oldham council has bought a new gritter. They really know how to push the boat out there. The council are running a competition to name a gritter, and Gritty McGritface is thankfully unlikely to make the cut. The children in the town have already come up with Gritney Spears and,  my favourite, Freddie Salted.

We’ve done another lovely walk this morning with beautiful views along the coastal path.

img_1028 img_1029









Quite a few tourists had the same idea so it wasn’t as tranquil as we would have hoped but still enjoyable. When we got back, we drank coffee, watched the Daily Politics and headed down to the gym. By this time, the week’s exertions were beginning to be felt and both decided on a shorter session followed by an hour or so sitting in the sun.

Friday, 25th November, 2016

To put things into perspective, this is the end of the penultimate week of November 2016. Just 4 days left of our time in Tenerife. Just 4 weeks until Christmas and the start of the img_1036Blog’s 9th year. Just 5 weeks until our 38th wedding anniversary and the end of 2016.

Feeling the weight of chronology on our shoulders, we ventured out into the day. It was a warm, sunny but breezy day in which the sea was whipped up and white horses could be seen across to La Gomera. We went for a long walk to enjoy the air and spray from the sea and sunshine on our faces. All around the hotel grounds, people can be seen settling down on sun beds and will be there for up to 8 hours as the perma-tan deepens. Later in the day, we, ourselves, sit on our balcony and enjoy the sun but an hour or so is all we can manage.

Week 412

Sunday, 13th November, 2016

The beach below our hotel.

We’ve been here for about 11 days out of our 28. Already, we’ve begun to feel we’ve been here all our lives. Since building our house in Greece and particularly since we retired, we have never felt we were ‘on holiday’ when away from home. Our mindset has always been that we are just living somewhere else. And so it is here. We quickly fall in to patterns of days which quickly feel familiar and ‘normal’. This is encouraged by the weather which seems to be eternally on a diurnal range of 26C/79F daytime – 21C/70F night time. We have half board in our hotel and the food is magnificent. We have Breakfast at 8.00 am and Dinner at 6.00 pm. The rhythm of the days is ordered.

It is interesting to me to set my own, calm and ordered existence against the turbulence of the world’s political turmoil and excitement. BREXIT, Trump, Marine Le Penn, voters in Germany and Netherlands, etc., etc.. Europe is in for seriously challenging times and so are the common standards it has long espoused. Leave aside Trade and Defence, Christopher Booker, writing in The Sunday Telegraph this morning, headlines his column with this:

So farewell then, climate change nonsense;

as he reviews Donald Trump’s policies. I suppose he can’t be all bad! Trump has called global warming a hoax and The Huffington Post and The Guardian are both reporting that

Trump is moving to quit the Paris Climate Agreement — quickly!

So, you see, he can’t be all bad.

Monday, 14th November, 2016

Not so Spermarket.

I knew I’d enjoyed it and now we know that 2016 will be  crowned the warmest year on record. Long may that trend continue. Today has been a very quiet, routine day. We have been reading in the sun and making plans for the future. We walked out to the local supermarket to stock up on sparkling water. True to my need to bag a bargain, I like the feeling of buying bottles at 30% of the price our 5* hotel would charge us.That’s totally unacceptable.

BREXIT in microcosm.

We went for a really good workout in the Spa/Gym. The only problem with exercising here is that, in spite of the air conditioning, the gym gets uncomfortably hot. I end up swimming in my own sweat and my shirt is difficult to lift by the time I’ve finished. Too much information? Tough!

One thing that makes me laugh in this Spanish Gym is the fact they have felt the need to paste translations of the settings buttons/data labels. Only the English would require this. As with all my graphics, you can expand them by clicking but the hotel has helped us with:

Calorias = Calories / Velocidad = Speed / Distancia = Distance / Frecuencia Cardiaca = Heartrate

It takes special intelligence to work these out. Still, when we leave the EU and all holiday in Trumpland, we’ll really need English translations!

Tuesday, 15th November, 2016

img_0946Mid-November and exactly half way through our month away. Goodness, it’s been hot today. The gauge only read the statutory 26C/79F but it felt intense and airless. Every
night, we go to bed around midnight. The sky has been clear with lots of stars and moon shining over the ocean. We went outside to see the ‘Super Moon’ only to find clouds had come over and blocked it.

This morning, Pauline woke me at 5.00 am and told me I must have left the light on over the balcony. I looked out and it was like daylight as the moon floodlit the sea right over to img_0948La Gomera. Unfortunately, I was so drowsy, I didn’t photograph it. The papers, of
course, were full of fantastic snaps. The Times had a lovely one at Glastonbury and another from Athens which appealed to me.

The heat and the early start combined with a consistent run of daily exercise has left us feeling rather tired today and we decided to forgo our trip to the gym. Instead, we went for a light amble around the neighbourhood. Now, of course, I feel guilty. I’m still going to watch the England match!

Wednesday, 16th November, 2016

A cracking day of strong sun and 28C/82F. Apart from the normal stuff which included watching a rather poor PMQs, we walked the extensive grounds of the hotel. Previously, I’ve written about the exotic planting which towers up through the open spaces.


img_0952This concourse is at the crossroads between rooms and restaurants, pools and gardens. In the early mornings, as we go to Breakfast and the evenings as we return from Dinner, the shrill calls of parakeets echo off the walls as they flit through 20ft date palms, banana plants, cheese plants or monstera bushes, umbrella plants or schefflera, etc.The last two, of course, would be very familiar to British homes of the 1960s – 1980s but in smaller, pot form.

Gardeners are working constantly, mowing grass, mulching beds, pruning bushes, sweeping paths, maintaining the automatic watering systems. As they work and like all the cleaning staff, room maids and waiters and waitresses, managers, etc., everyone stops what they’re are doing and acknowledges guests walking past. It can almost become tiresome for people like us who enjoy anonymity.

Thursday, 17th November, 2016

Adeje Sea Front
Adeje Sea Front

Another very hot day again from dawn until dusk with none stop sun and 28C/82F. We chose to explore another part of Costa Adeje and did a couple of hours walking which was plenty in that heat. We called in to a few shoe shops on our quest to find the style I bought here in February. A week ago we drew a blank completely but today we found them.

Unfortunately, they only had them for midgets. These are the big challenges of retirement. Another, is coping with all these old people who are around. When you are retired, the people who are most likely to be on holiday in November are … retired people. They are so slow and infuriatingly indecisive that they drive us mad. In and around the hotel. In the streets and shops. In the airport. Old people everywhere you look.

Don’t get me started on old people in Restaurants confronted by the multiple choice question of Buffet-presented food. They are all suddenly struck down with Dementia.

Prawns or not?
Oh no! More choice.












It is so good not to be old. That is one thing I will never do.

Friday, 18th November, 2016

Have you got that Friday feeling? We haven’t. It could just as easily be Sunday here. The sun shines. The temperature hits 27C/80F and life trundles on serenely. We’ve done our img_0967exercise, read our newspapers and sat and dozed in the sun a bit. We have ten days left here and we couldn’t have chosen a better month if we’d tried. Our old home in Yorkshire has been hit with snow. Now, at 7.30 pm in Yorkshire, it is a tropical 0C/32F. Our new home by the coast in Sussex is not faring that much better at 3C/37F. Even Greece is only 11C/52F. (9.30 pm). Here, it is 22C/70F and will hover around that all night. If warm weather aids life-expectancy, all the Canarians should live to 100. I’ve not seen much evidence of that unless the 20 something looking girls serving in the restaurants are really all centenarians.

No photo tonight so I thought I’d share a picture from my Twitter feed which rather amused me. It fits perfectly with our current polical situation.

Saturday, 19th November, 2016

There is something invidious about us&them comparisons but what the heck. The sub tropical experience is enhanced by pictures and reports of weather back home. The Sussex coast is expecting severe gales this evening. Hope they don’t set the burglar alarm off. West Yorkshire is … well, West Yorkshire-ish. So today’s contrast is:

Playa Paraiso
West Yorkshire
West Yorkshire










After a lovely, relaxing day doing everything slowly, I had to eat Dinner fairly sharpish because Ed Balls was in Blackpool on Pauline’s favourite, Strictly Come Dancing.

Love Sparkling Water!
Love Sparkling Water!
Wonderful 'Starters'
Wonderful ‘Starters’










No wine again,  just sparkling water with Dinner. The sparkling water is lovely.  I’m becoming quite addicted to it. Unfortunately, the ‘Starters’ here are delicious so we both had two – Carpaccio of Beef and Endive stuffed with creamed blue cheese.

Week 411

Sunday, 6th November, 2016

img_0892An incredibly hot and sunny day. We have done all the traditional things for Sunday – watched three, political programmes and some football plus did a strenuous gym work out. Had a bit too much sun and a bit too much Dinner. Pauline watched Strictly results while I have done my Blog. It is like home from home but with unseasonal warmth and sunshine.

Back in our real home, the Brexit debate continues to flip flop around. It is a huge mess made worse by a terrible, Tory government.  My view is that we are likely to end up with an early General Election to resolve the situation and – whisper it softly – I wouldn’t be surprised if we had Corbin government. You know the old adage:

Democracy is far too important to be entrusted to the people.

and Winston Churchill’s view that

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average Voter.

Well Brexit was brought about by the average voter and the next election will be decided by the same, average voter. If you had ever taught in one of our schools, you would know how dangerous Democracy can be.

Monday, 7th November, 2016

img_0894Talking about dangerous things, Stavros, the Greek government have announced a whole, new crack down on tax evasion. Particularly, they will target small businesses and the self employed with much stricter punishments for unpaid tax. Especial attention is being given to those spiriting cash out of the country. Can you imagine people doing that?Things could get tricky.

Coming away has had an interesting effect in rebalancing our lifestyle. We are alcohol free, eating less and increasing our exercise time in the gym. Tonight we ate smoked salmon salad with sparkling water and felt so holier than now. It is a beautiful, warm (23C/ ) evening and, like most evenings here, as the sun goes down, the clouds decorate and graduate the sky. So, no apologies for including this photo.


The world is such a beautiful place and we are so lucky to be in it. Shut up, John, you sentimental, old fool.

Tuesday, 8th November, 2016

Well another lovely day averaging 24C/75F. I don’t think the night time temperature has gone below 21C/70F over any night as we complete our first week. We like this sub tropical climate. It doesn’t get too hot or cold at any time. We are spending our third month here in the last twelve and it hasn’t erred from this theme.

img_0910 img_0911

The sub tropical climate means that wonderful plants grow enormous and for fun. Our hotel really exploits this. The rooms and corridors are built around enormous atriums or atria which are open to the sky and planted so the trees and shrubs reach ever upwards.

img_0912 img_0913

As you can see, the views from the balconies and over the pools to the sea are framed by sub tropical plants reaching out to the bright, warm, blue sky.

I still check The Skiathan’s Blog every day even though he’s currently in UK as his wife fights the terrible blight of cancer. He appears to remain upbeat and cheerful in spite of his (their) difficulties. Every time I eat fish – which is almost every day – I think of him. I was amused today to see that he had two visitors. I was the one from ‘Spain’ and the other was from Glossop. The Skiathan reaches the parts …

Wednesday, 9th November, 2016

Stressing over a Trump win
Stressing over a Trump win

Went to bed at midnight ‘knowing’ that Clinton had won. Woke at 5.45 am to be told that Trump was odds on winner. My Twitter-feed provided the quote of the night in a uniquely British observation:

BRITAIN has woken up relieved to find its idiotic act of self-harm earlier this year is now a piffling historical footnote.

The lunatics who voted Brexit can at least hide behind the mad men of America! What it does underline is the yawning gap between the political elite and everyman. It will happen again across Europe before they actually begin to accept this and begin to tone down the arrogance. It may take our new, American Ambassador to the European Union – one Nigel Farage – to finally bring that home to them. You scoff? Did you scoff at Brexit or think President Trump the most unlikely thing to happen in your lifetime? All the traditional lodestones of political life are being hurled into the sea.

Thursday, 10th November, 2016

img_0920What a gorgeous, hot and sunny day. We took the shuttle bus that links our hotel with its sister establishment. The first picture shows Pauline in the garden at the front of our hotel. We became tourists and travelled to the centre of Costa Adeje.

At first sight, it is beautiful, quiet and refined. We walked past this bay lined with ancient, eroded, volcanic rock formations, over img_0921a ridge and down into Blackpool on Sea. We didn’t stay there long. Pauline had a mission to buy a pair of shoes for me similar to those I bought here in January, They are extremely soft leather, casual shoes made by the Spanish company, Fluchos. We looked in vain and, eventually, took the shuttle bus return to our hotel to enjoy the afternoon sunshine.

As we did so, Pauline found a retailer who stocked the shoes and went online to order them. In fact, she ordered three pairs in grey, blue and tan colours.img_0927

The bill came to £199.95/€230.00 plus £15.00/€17.20 for delivery from mainland Spain. Just as she pressed ‘PAY’, the site froze and my mobile sounded a text coming in. I should have predicted it and alerted them to it in advance but our bank’s fraud warning system went into overdrive and stopped the transaction. Fortunately, a brief phone call freed everything up and the purchase went through. Very impressive on the part of the bank, though.

Friday, 11th November, 2016

img_0924The sun has risen fiercely. The temperature is rising strongly. But Leonard Cohen is dead and, with him, a little piece of my life. In late September 1969, I dragged my trunk up to the attic room of my first College ‘Digs’ and there was Nigel sitting under the table with a bottle of red wine and ‘The Songs of Leonard Cohen’ playing at full volume on the record player. I wondered what I had come to. Certainly, my Mother, who had driven me there, was flabbergasted. So it couldn’t be all bad.

Suddenly Repton, the Black & White Minstrels, The Billy Cotton Band Show, Cliff Richard, et al were jettisoned and a brave new world embraced. The sound track of that Leonard Cohen album – Like a Bird on the Wire, Like a Drunk in a Midnight Choir, I have tried in my way to be Free.  has returned to me many times in my img_0925adult life. Of course, in the hurly burly of working life, there is little time for such self indulgence and it was rapidly pushed away but, in retirement, it is almost unavoidable.

Your eyes are soft with sorrow
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye

I have emailed Nigel who, like Leonard Cohen, became a Buddhist monk briefly but now paints and runs an art gallery in Yorkshire. I haven’t seen him for 44 years. Meanwhile, we move on to another day of sun, swimming, exercise and self indulgence. Hallelujah!

Saturday, 12th November, 2016

Another hot day which read 26C/79F but felt so much hotter without the whisp of a breeze. Lovely end to the week. The only reason I know it’s the end of the week is because of this Blog. My brother tweeted a picture of himself with a pint of beer yesterday evening and extolled the delights of reaching the weekend. One of the losses in retirement is never having ‘that Friday feeling’. One learns to cope with that loss.

Hotel Gym
An Angel Jogging!

We have enjoyed sitting in the sun and reading the newspapers and watching rugby internationals this afternoon. In between those two, different sessions, we spent an hour in the hotel spa and gym. We are almost back to our regular five hours of solid ‘cardio workout’ each week – an hour for each of five days a week. After Christmas, we will increase it again to 90 mins per session. I’ve had a problem with my right arm since February and it has inhibited my swimming so we have had to rely on gym work. My arm isn’t right but I’m determined to get back to swimming next week.

The biggest problem I have here is lack of distraction. In David Lloyd Health Club, I have my own, personal television and I time my exercise sessions to coincide with  an interesting political discussion or analysis. In this way, the time flies by and I’m not aware of the pain. Here there is nothing but some terrible, overhead music system which just increases the pain and lengthens the time to near eternity. I find myself fantasizing about the retribution I would wreak on the creators of this soundtrack to hell.