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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Hotel Gym
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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.

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