Week 441

Sunday, 4th June, 2017

A slightly fresher feel to the day which is also a little breezier. Only 17C/63F in pleasant sunshine. We are going to the health Club for another workout this afternoon. We’ve found that the weekends are currently quieter than during the week so the experience is much more enjoyable.

I rarely go to see the doctor. Other than ongoing treatment, I feel remarkably healthy. My blood pressure is 112/72 with a pulse of 68. However, recent chest pains have returned and Pauline is going to seek an early appointment tomorrow just to eliminate any concerns. With a father who died very young of a heart attack and a younger brother who had a heart attack in his mid-30s, it is sensible to be cautious. The fact that I am on permanent warfarin should help but I may need an ECG to put my mind at rest. It’s amazing how a small seed of doubt can grow into a central concern.

Salmon & Asparagus – Marriage made in Heaven!

Well, we’ve been to the gym and done 90 mins hard workout without any signs of distress so I think things must be alright. We’ve decided not to seek a doctor’s opinion at the moment but to monitor the situation. Came home and had the most wonderful meal cooked by my wonderful wife. It did include sin but who wouldn’t on a Sunday. My sin was to have fresh asparagus which I’m not supposed to eat because of its high vitamin K content. Boiled and dressed with Kalamata olive oil plus lemon juice and cracked black pepper. The taste is nigh on orgasmic. Asparagus with roast, wild salmon just cannot be beaten!

Monday, 5th June, 2017

Yesterday it was reported that we had had one of the warmest and driest Springs on record. Today started fresher and breezier and, although we got to 18C/65F, by late afternoon we had persistent, light rain which is continuing as I write at 10.00 pm.

Health & Safety Gone Mad!

This morning, I spent a couple of hours searching through my store of old, family photos for some things one of my sisters had requested. Just by the way, I came across this early snap of my father in around 1929. He is middle of the back row in a white shirt. It looks as if he is 13-14 and is a less beautiful version of me. What struck me was the diligent attention to Health & Safety policy. Who carried out the risk assessment?

I also found four, long letters that I wrote in 1993 from the Cycladic island of Folegandros to my mother. We started to spend a few weeks there as Hotel Kamari and Sifnos started to become uncomfortable and noisy. If you are looking for a quiet, unassuming, traditional Greek Island, Folegandros could well be for you.

Did our third, consecutive day of exercise at the gym. We are talking about extending our sessions by adding work on additional pieces of equipment. Last time I used the rowing machine, I was too enthusiastic and pulled a muscle in my back. We are considering trying again but working our way in to it more carefully. I would like to build the circuit up to two full hours eventually. If I give myself a few minutes of ‘recovery’, I feel that I could go again but I am relaxing in the Jacuzzi by then. Must try harder!

Tuesday, 6th June, 2017

A blustery but mild night with sporadic, driving rain. One of the few mornings that I haven’t got up and walked straight outside barefooted. Surprising how wet rain is! Turned my mind to other things – barefoot in Tuscany, gadding about Genoa, Touring in Turin – and feeling optimistic. What more could a man want?

Tomkin cherry tomatoes

If we are what we eat, I am a tomato. They are my go-to food of choice. I have eaten untold kilos of Piccolo cherry tomatoes  over the past two or three years. Usually, they originate in Italy or Spain. I have found a new variety which, I hope, will become a staple. In Asda, I speculatively bought a pack of Tomkin tomatoes grown in Lancashire of all places. They are sensational in flavour, sweetness and skin toughness. If Brexit does actually happen, at least I will have a source of tomatoes. Some consolation although not much.

Wednesday, 7th June, 2017

Mild – 18C/65F – but breezy day. I pushed myself to work harder. I spent 2 hrs fully valeting the car. Working outside in the sunshine was enjoyable. We spent the afternoon at the Health Club where I was keen to increase my output. I’m going to do it incrementally rather than all in one go. Increased the time on the running machine to 45 mins and on the bike to 25 mins and then did some weight-stress pulley work ( I don’t know what the apparatus is called really. The one pictured on the left is rather like a ‘home’ versin of it.) for 10 mins followed by 25 mins in the pool. It left me about 20 mins in the Jacuzzi/Hydro Massage Centre.

What I was particularly encouraged about was that I recovered quickly from this routine and started thinking about doing it again tomorrow. I came home with the intention of spray treating the lawn which I wouldn’t have considered until recently after exercise.

Over today, we have moved closer to making a decision about going away to the Canaries for November. It may turn out to be Gran Canaria where we’ve found a nice, 5* hotel. It has two, heated, outdoor pools, a gym, two restaurants, lovely big suites with fridges, tea & coffee making facilities, a sofa and easy chairs, flat screen television with satellite channels, Wi-Fi, safe, sea view balcony with table and chairs and sun beds/parasols. These are the things we look for in a month away so we can continue our life but elsewhere. Is it worth £6,000.00/ €6,907.00? We think it probably is.

Thursday, 8th June, 2017

A lovely day which saw the breeze drop and the temperature reach 18C/65F. It was shopping day for us – Asda, Waitrose & Tesco. It took two hours and felt like it. Another session at the Health Club left us feeling fairly self-righteous and clean but tired and aching. We’ve done 7 out of the last 9 days.

The day started, of course, by going down the road to the local Community Centre to vote. Let’s hope Jeremy appreciates our support! Just as the election campaign was announced, a middle aged woman called Brenda was stopped on the street and asked if she had heard about it. Her response to the interviewer went viral both as a source of ridicule and a symbol of the person in the street’s indifference. Oh, not another one, she exclaimed. It’s ridiculous. There’s just too much politics now.

This is important!

People like me despair at that sort of response. The idea that politics is something you do for a few minutes every five years is the great problem with democracy and the reason why so many politicians are able to take us all for fools. Politics affects every single phase of our days and our lives from the price of our weekly shop to the cost of our house; from the safety of our movement on the streets to the effectiveness of our transport; from the quality of the air that we breathe to the safety of the water that we drink. Politics ensures our dust bins are emptied and our fire brigade comes to save our burning house, that police face off terrorists and catch our burglars. Politics addresses the privileges of the rich and the needs of the poor. Brenda would be the first to complain if these things went wrong for her and so should we be. Go out and vote and change the world!

While I was in the gym, I was watching Countdown, the alpha-numeric quiz show which helps me concentrate on mental exercise while I’m doing the physical. The presenter, Nick Hewer, volunteered the fact that he couldn’t see the point in food other than the necessity of life. What it was he ate was of little importance to him as long as he maintained his energy levels and his health. For us, this is so perverse. He may eat to live. We very definitely live to eat. The joy of travel is the food. The joy of cooking is the food. The joy of shopping is the food. I didn’t marry a cordon bleu chef for nothing ….. as well as her astonishing beauty.

It is now just after 10.00 pm and the Exit Polls suggest that the Tories may lose seats and not have an over all majority. There may be a god after all. Of course, as the night develops, this projection may not be sustained but whatever happens, The Labour Party are back on the scene and can affect the Brexit negotiations. I might need a banana to cope with this!

Friday, 9th June, 2017

Just an hour after the polls closed last night, the heavens opened and thunder and lightning tore the skies asunder. It was a Shakespearean harbinger of a UK political storm. The Exit polls predicted that the Tories had failed to force their ‘nastiness’ on the country. Everyone was laughing loudly and declaring that it just couldn’t be right.  It was and you don’t have to look far to realise why. Public Sector workers have seen their pay cut for 8 years. Young people have been saddled with life-changing debts just for the sake of an education which didn’t give so many of them reasonable jobs. A large proportion of the country didn’t want a ‘hard’Brexit out of the Single Market and it looks as if they now won’t get it.

The Labour Party are on the march as we return to two party politics. They have polled 40% of the vote. UKIP are finished and the Greens have made no advances. The Liberals threw their big chance for returning to prominence although it was good to see them gain a few seats. What this does mean is that the Tories are beholden to the Irish who don’t want a hard border and will mean compromising on Freedom of Movement and the Single Market. The DUP want to keep the Pension Triple Lock amusingly. They are also opposed to the Climate Change movement. They will extract a tough penalty for their support.

Saturday, 10th June, 2017

Gran Canaria

Surprisingly lovely and warm day reaching 22C/70F with clear blue sky and strong sun. Almost no breeze today. Tonight, the sky is bright and clear at 10.00 pm and still rather muggy at 18C/65F. We have been to the Health Club for a couple of hours and then cooked Calamari and Greek salad out in the garden. It has felt like a lovely day over all and you can’t ask more than that.

Tonight we booked a month away in Gran Canaria for November. We have never been there before so it will have novelty value at least. It has a gym, spa, two heated, outdoor pools and lots of walks so we can continue our programme as if we are at home. It also has the all important Wi-Fi in the suites so normality will reign.

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