Week 438

Sunday, 14th May, 2017

What a glorious morning. The garden and patio are bathed in hot sunshine. The increasing collection of herb pots is visibly reaching to the warm light. We’ve planted out the basil today – a mixture of large leaf, Italian sweet basil and small leaved, Greek basil. We are not going to get frosts but whether it is warm enough for basil to prosper yet is debatable. Today, we are only touching 17C/63F so we will see.

Just watched a dispiriting United performance against Spurs in the last game ever at White Hart Lane after 118 years. Although Rooney was the last scorer of a goal there, his performance over all was poor. Hull were relegated yesterday. Hull is one dismal place – home to Prescott, the Poison Dwarf and a relegated football team accompanied by high unemployment statistics and extreme poverty levels. Can’t decide which is worse. Lovely bridge, though.

Monday, 15th May, 2017

Warm but wet this morning although the light rain stopped as we left the house at 9.30 am in 17C/63F. We drove to Worthing to return ‘stuff’ to M&S, walked across town to the sea front store. The town looks shabby and many of its inhabitants rather ‘on the edge’. We drove back to Littlehampton calling at Sainsbury’s and Argos, Tesco and Wickes. We got home 4 hours after we had set out and I had done 7000 paces already.

After a drink, we set off for the Health Club and did a couple of hours by which time my paces count had reached 14,000 and we were both absolutely done in. Roast salmon and salad for our meal and then relaxation. I was catching up on reading – newspapers English and Greek, Blogs English and Greek. Things are looking badly wrong for Greece again with sentiment moving them back towards the exit door.

As Syriza is forced to contemplate doing what they came to power pledging they would never do – legislate to impose harsh austerity measures, so the hard-pressed population is reacting. There will be a general Strike on Wednesday although ferry boats will be out of action for Tuesday and Wednesday. If you’ve booked an island holiday beginning or ending on those two days, tough. If you’re stuck in Athens, site-seeing may be hindered by Strikes of buses until the weekend and don’t get ill because the action will also affect hospitals.

Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster, trumpets: Greek economy slides back into recession. The Guardian in Britain says: ‘From bad to worse’: Greece hurtles towards a final reckoning. They argue that agreement between the Greek government and its creditors is stalling and the population have given up hope of a resolution. They conclude:

Even if the latest impasse is broken and a deal is reached with creditors soon, few believe that in a country of weak governance and institutions it will be easy to enforce. Political turbulence will almost certainly beckon; the prospect of “Grexit” will grow.

What should be most worrying for the country is the prospect of nationwide strike action harming the golden goose as services which directly affect the tourist industry are affected.

Tuesday, 16th May, 2017

Here it has been sunny, hot and humid. At 7.00 am it was 17C/63F and by mid-afternoon it was 23C/73F. I cut the lawns in strong sun and we did a full exercise routine which finished with a lovely swim outside. For the second, consecutive day, I easily achieved 14,000 paces. I even vacuumed the house when we got home and griddled chicken and courgettes in the garden for our meal.

It feels as if we have been active all day again which is more than can be said for Greek seamen. Their strike has been extended until Saturday. The islands are cut off and any tourists on them stranded. The weather in the Cyclades has been gale-force winds at Beaufort 8 which makes the seamen’s strike seem opportune but can’t be helping the tourist trade. Imagine you flew out to Athens for a week expecting to catch an island ferry. You will now be stuck in Athens with strike action paralysing that city too.

Wednesday, 17th May, 2017

A warm and muggy day that saw some much-needed rain. We had quite a few jobs to do today and decided to give our aching bodies a day off in order to do them. It is one of the joys of self determination in retirement. We are well in to our 9th year of retirement and have packed an enormous amount in to our first 8 years. Two sets of our friends, married couples who are of broadly similar ages to us are just  embarking on retirement now. We reflect how lucky we have been to stop working early in good enough health to enjoy it.

We have been looking at Canary islands for a month away in November. Having done 3 months in Tenerife last year, we have been casting around for a different one. The only other that we have direct experience of is Fuerteventura which we stayed on over 20 years ago. We have been struggling to find a really good hotel with all the facilities we want and, preferably, adults-only. We think we’ve found one but back on Tenerife in Los Cristianos which is busier than we would normally choose but is an adults-only hotel which should be quieter and more ‘select’.

We are hoping to make a decision tomorrow which will virtually tie up the rest of this calendar year. We were reflecting on how quickly 2017 is already disappearing. By the time we get back from Tenerife, Christmas will be upon us and the year will be all but over. And then came 2019!

Thursday, 18th May, 2017

Honda DAB/FM Radio/ CD / Bluetooth Mobile / Internet / Sat. Nav.

No sooner are drought conditions mooted than it rains …. and rains. Today is warm and wet. The lawns are looking more emerald green than ever. The atmosphere is humid and the plants outside appear to double in size each day. Honda phoned this morning to say our new media/comms. unit was ready for fitting. We will go in tomorrow for that and to have our Year 1 Service done. Both jobs will take a couple of hours so, instead of a ‘Courtesy Car’, we will take our iPads and relax with Honda coffee. Everything is ‘free’. We have a 5 Year Service Agreement with the car and a 5 Year Warranty on everything to do with the car. Our Sat.Nav. is almost the first thing to go wrong in the past 30 years.

We are definitely getting fitter. We did another strong, 90 mins workout in the gym culminating with 30 mins in the outside pool under warm, gentle rain. It felt wonderful and I could have done it all again.

Friday, 19th May, 2017

Out early this morning on a bright and fairly warm start to the day. Had to be at the Honda Dealership for 8.30 am to have our First Service which comes at 12,000 miles or 12 months which ever is first. We are a couple of weeks off the first anniversary and have only done 5,800 miles but our media/comms. unit was being replaced so we killed two birds with one stone. It was needed for 2 hours and, rather than taking out a courtesy car and going through the rigmarole of transferring our insurance, we sat with a lovely pot of fresh coffee and our iPads using the garage’s Wi-Fi and reading our newspapers.

It was soon done and we were on our way but the weather changed and the heavens opened. Honda give us a complimentary valet but the rain soon washed every inch of the car and left it sparkling. Honda reset all the radio presets for us. We have DAB, FM and Longwave. We have been told for ages that FM was going but DAB reception is still a little flaky in some places whereas Longwave is still the best bet to pick up the cricket commentary on Testmatch Special while driving in France. Now we have to redo all our Favourite Destinations by saving our locations when we visit them. I have to pair up our mobile phones and iPads via Bluetooth as well. Still it’s good to be back in working order.

Did our last 2 hour session of the week at the Health Club and our last swim in the outdoors pool for quite some time. The health Club inform us that while repairing the crack in the pool’s floor, they are going to take the opportunity and completely refurbish it with new tiling throughout. It could be late August before we get back in. For some reason, the indoor pools just don’t give the same experience. Perhaps it is the over fluorinated water that we find off putting.

Saturday, 20th May, 2017

A lovely, sunny and moderately warm day of 15C/59F. We have spent the day at home doing jobs. I have been potting new plants up, weeding flower beds and sweeping the patio. I also had to reacquaint myself with the car’s automatic tyre pressure deflation warning system which came on when we were recalibrating our tyre inflator machine. This is the sort of thing that comes up so rarely, one forgets the process and the handbook really becomes important. I learn so many things while looking it up. For example, my tyres will give me a visible indication when they are close to needing replacing. The indicator is a triangle that appears on the wearing tyre. I’ve only once had to replace a set of tyres on the car because we replace the car so regularly. I was shocked to find that 4 tyres cost nearly £1000.00/€1,164.00.

Pauline cooked the most wonderful meal of roast sea bass on the bone accompanied by roasted cherry tomatoes in tarragon. Absolutely wonderful. As a one-off, we had green, French Beans which I’m not supposed to eat.

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