Week 430

  Sunday, 19th March, 2017

Will it make me fitter?

It is strange how the thermometer can read the same temperature on different days and yet the days feel very different. Yesterday’s 12C/54F felt so much warmer than today’s 12C/54F. Must be the sea breeze but it feels on the wintry side of Spring today.

Meant to tell you about my new watch. It is called Pebble and links via Bluetooth to my smartphone. This is ‘useful’ because it flags up calendar events, texts, messages and phone calls. It also doubles up as a fitness monitor with steps taken and heart rate monitored over the day. The only trouble is that every time an email comes in, my watch vibrates on my wrist and I receive about 50 emails each day. It can be quite tiresome keeping track of them particularly because the screen is just at the limit of readability for me without glasses. I have become a man in perpetual squint, staring at his watch. Will it make me fitter?

Monday, 20th March, 2017

Coldish and wet – fine rain in 10C/50F. We set off early to drive to Surrey. It turned out to be a bit of a wild goose chase and we came home feeling unfulfilled. We arrived just in time for The Daily Politics at 12.00 pm. Just as we thought the Summer was approaching, the Winter bites back.

Economic Winter is threatening to bite back in Greece as Syriza are caught between a rock and a hard place, with their rhetoric and the reality clashing remorselessly. The Government fails to implement the lenders demands on Labour Reform because they know they are putting their necks in the electoral noose but, in doing so, they are bringing the country’s economy closer to serious danger. At the same time we are told by Kathimerini that:

Hundreds of thousands of properties around Greece are at risk of seeing their value plummet even if the economy returns to steady growth in the coming years. Consequently, these properties may even be put up for demolition.

If that wasn’t enough, a sharp increase in migrants reaching Aegean islands from Turkey has been noted in the past couple of months and the good weather hasn’t even started. Hold on to your Καπέλα!

Tuesday, 21st March, 2017

Beautiful if a little chilly start to the day. Brighton Pier looks imposing in the sunlight. Pleased to see that the Butcher of Belfast, Martin McGuinness, who got his ultimate come-uppance today, didn’t arrange to have that blown up as well as The Grand Hotel. Few rational people will mourn his demise not least among the families of those he murdered or arranged to be murdered in the duplicitous name of Roman Catholicism – just like the paedophile priesthood and the nuns of the Magdalene Laundries ‘caring’ for ‘fallen women’.

This is how The Times saw it.

Inflation is finally showing the Brexit effect as it hit 2.3% and is forecast to touch 3% by year end. I hope it is by September because that is the month when our Teachers Pensions are inflation upgraded.

We are going to hear the Brexiteers begin to squeak as the pips of the economy – food prices, fuel prices, etc. – are squeezed and raised. Now we have officially invoked Article 50, all sorts of demons are going to emerge to bite us. It will be the poor who will feel it first but it will get all of us. Hold on to your hats.

It is exactly a year since we got the keys to our new home. In one sense, it has gone quickly but, in another, it feels like we’ve always lived here. You will know that experience. Today, in the tranquillity of sunny Worthing, we ventured out to the Health Club for a big session of life affirming cardio exercise. Did 650 calories today followed by some dumbbell work on my injured right arm. Not sure if that has helped or not.

Wednesday, 22nd March, 2017

Horrible, dark and wet day here. After PMQs, we are off to the Health Club again but it won’t be a pleasant walk across the huge carpark at David Lloyd’s. Heads down and in to the driving rain – rather like Brexit!

Today, details are revealed of the plans being drawn up for a white paper to be published this summer on what post-Brexit border controls will look like and who will police them. The climate is going to turn radically colder. Apart from controls on our physical borders which will clearly be strengthened, a form of ‘stasi culture’ is to be enforced by making landlords, employers, Health Service officials, Higher Education institutions, etc., be the gatekeepers to our society. The stress will be on Britain’s needs in the labour market. This will be chilling and systematic and single out those not working and paying tax in this country. The real question will be concerning Europe’s response in terms of ex-pats living abroad.

I’ve been with BT Broadband/Phoneline/Sport for a year now. I get completely free, landline phone calls, half price calls to mobiles with call identifier, Fibre optic, superfast broadband and BT Sport. The whole thing was costing us £63.99/€74.00 per month. It is currently supplying me with broadband speeds of 34mbs download / 12mbs upload which are reasonable but not the best. One soon gets used to improved speeds so only the best will do.

At our 12 month contractual anniversary, BT have  (surprise, surprise) written to me to offer an new, upgraded Infinity 2 hub which they guarantee will give me a minimum of 47mbs download and reduce the price as well. Who could refuse. Well, they do want to tie me in to an additional 18 months contract but (whisper it quietly) I was staying with them anyway.

Thursday, 23rd March, 2017

The day has started off wet but soon turned sunny and bright. It is relatively mild at 11C/52F. We are waiting for a carpet fitter to address a small problem with the carpet on our landing. It should only take half an hour before we do our weekly shop and then go on to the Health Club.

The effect of water hardness.

We are having a bit of trouble with the quality of the performance of our dishwasher. Things that are taken out after washing have a ‘granular’ texture to them as if they are carrying a calcium deposit. We have had to check the precise ‘hardness’ of our water supply from Southern Water. Hands up those who know what units hardness is measured in. I certainly didn’t. There are many. Our own water supplier lists 5 and our dishwasher handbook refers to 3 of those. It turns out that our water is pumped from underground sources in the chalk at Burpham, Angmering and Patching. This produces a water quality, on the broadbrush descriptions of Soft/Moderately Hard/Hard/Very Hard, of Hard. It is specifically measured on the Clarke Scale of Water Hardness as 19.95. Bet you’re glad you asked!

Friday, 24th March, 2017

The day has been a glorious one of clear blue skies and strong sun. The temperature only reached 13C/56F but it felt warm and Spring-like. Angmering is full of beautifully flowering Magnolia trees. Surrey was so full of Camelias but Mum would have loved the flowering trees of West Sussex. Our new village is a constant contestant in the Villages in Bloom competitions and the village council work hared along with dozens of volunteers to plant up, water and maintain flower beds, roadside edges and hanging baskets throughout the year. It really is a lovely place to live.

Easily do my 1000 steps.

My new BT router (hub) arrived this morning. A new hub usually meant connecting to my Desktop computer and setting up on the software. Today, it meant linking my Desktop and Pauline’s Desktop via Ethernet cables to the Router and then our two iPads wirelessly and then our two smartphones wirelessly and then six televisions wirelessly. It became a morning’s job. Still, it’s the sort of job I’m happy doing. Just wait until the ‘internet of things’ needs the router linking to the fridge-freezer, the microwave, the washing machine, dishwasher and the heating. We’ll need a weekend to connect a new router. Joy of Joys!

We left for the gym at 1.00 pm and really did a hard session. Usually Friday is a quiet day there because the workers are all too knackered to exercise. Today, it was packed. After an hour in the gym, Pauline swam outside in the heated pool while I relaxed in the Jacuzzi. I had already done my 10,000 steps for the day and could be expect to be carried for the rest. We were home by 3.30 pm to have our meal of smoked mackerel, tuna pate and prawns with tomato salad. I love this sort of food.

Saturday, 25th March, 2017

Oh what a day! We were off to London although not to march on parliament in support of Remaining in Europe. We were helping P&C celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary and it was their idea to go for a meal and then go to a show. We were leaving from Angmering Railway Station on the infamous Southern Rail. It takes about and hour and a half from Angmering to London Victoria and costs around £22.00/€25.50 return.  We added travel on the Underground to our tickets which cost us just short of £48.00/€55.50 for the day which is fantastic. Well it would be if it worked.

The day opened with beautiful sunshine from blue skies although the breeze was chilly. We haven’t used a train in Britain for so many years – maybe 20 – that we drove down to the station and parked our car to make sure we did things correctly. The small, provincial station in Angmering is grubby and run down. The train arrived, was reasonably new, clean and empty. We got seats with a table so we could put our iPads and phones out although the passing scenery was distractingly interesting.

Of course, we arrived with over an hour to spare before we were to meet the others at the Raymond Blanc restaurant, Brasserie Blanc in Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia near the theatre we were going to – The Dominion. We stopped off for a coffee nearby and then went on to join everyone at the restaurant. It is a trendy, little bistro which is relaxing, informal and serves fantastic, quality food.












Having lived together for almost 40 years, Pauline and I chose exactly the same courses. We ate:

  • Rainbow beetroot goat’s curd salad ( smoked gold, candy & red beetroot, goat’s curd, beetroot crisps)
  • Herb-crusted Cod Fillet ( with smooth mash, mussels, saffron sauce)
Herb-crusted Cod Fillet – Delicious!

We did differ on our choice of Sweet. Yes, we ate Sweet for once. Pauline chose Normandy Apple Tart with double creram (Calvados buttered apples, almond cream filling, vanilla ice cream) I chose Chocolate & Almond Torte (vanilla ice cream, crème Anglaise, toasted almonds)

I had eaten two bananas and a few cherry tomatoes that day. I was really ready to eat when we got to the restaurant. It really was a wonderful meal and I ate every bity of it but, on reflection, I didn’t feel uncomfortably full at the end – just nicely satisfied. That is the skill of a professional restaurant.

We left and walked across the road to the theatre. We were going to watch An American in Paris with the delightful Gershwin melodies. We’ve been to The Dominion before to watch We Will Rock You which I hated but this was really enjoyable and well produced with fantastic sets. The Theatre was packed full and no wonder.

I have virtually never taken a ‘Selfie’ because I am not self-obsessed so, when I tried it, it was a disaster. I won’t be trying another in a hurry. I did spot a rather strange boy behind who was trying to get in to our picture. He is known as ‘Bumface’! I suppose it’s better than being a Poison Dwarf.

After a lovely show and a wonderful meal, we said our goodbyes at around 10.20 pm and nipped in to the underground to Oxford Circus and changed for Victoria. All going well. The illuminated board at Victoria station announced that there were two trains returning to Angmering – the 11.07 and the 11.37. The second one was suddenly cancelled but ours was ‘on time’. We waited to be told which platform. And we waited. Suddenly, a worker started shouting that our train had been cancelled as well. He told us that we must take an alternative to Gatwick and Three Bridges – a place I had never heard of.

Of course everyone going to Brighton, Horsham, Gatwick, Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, Hassocks, Billingshurst and Pulborough as well as Angmering were urged on to that train. We were crushed, standing, airless and sweating for around 30 minutes to Three Bridges via Gatwick Airport. We didn’t really know where we were going or what to do when we arrived. We had been told at Victoria that there would be buses at Three Bridges to take us on to Angmering. When we got to Three Bridges, harassed guards were urging people on to the Brighton bus. When we asked about Angmering, they looked blankly in to the middle distance.

We went outside where there was a busy taxi rank and I picked the first available white black cab and asked to be taken to Angmering. By this time, it was just before midnight. The driver turned out to be a delightful, Sri Lankan lad who was worried we didn’t realise how far the journey was and how much it would cost. Fortunately, we were reasonably clear about both and we wanted to get home although, what we weren’t aware was that if we had got in to the cab 10 minutes later, the price would have doubled. We arrived back in the Angmering station carpark at almost exactly the time our train had been expected to get us there originally. It cost us an extra £85.00/€99.00 in taxi fare but we made it and by the time we got to bed, 1.00 am had instantly become 2.00 am as the clocks went forward.

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