Sunday, 24th September, 2017
Another lovely day of warmth and sunshine. We’ve spent quite a bit of it – after three political programmes: Marr, Peston and Sunday Politics – outside in the garden. The topic of conversation today has been an alternative to our cancelled trip to Gran Canaria. At this, fairly late stage, it hasn’t seemed possible to find a good enough hotel with a room for the month of November to make us book again.
Actually, having planned out our year’s activities, I was feeling a little disorientated by the late cancellation. Pauline has sensed that and come up with a real plan. We wanted sun and warmth in the winter months. The Canaries almost guarantees that which is the only reason we chose it. Pauline has suggested an ambition we shelved a few years ago while tied up with our Greek home. We are seriously considering going to Australia for the month of Jan/Feb 2018. We would fly to and stay in Melbourne. It happens to be where two of our oldest friends from school have moved out to be near to their son. It also happens to be somewhere Pauline has family connections.
Monday, 25th September, 2017
A warm night – 16C/61F – ended with a warm but damp morning. Weak sunshine arrived in early afternoon and a temperature of 21C/70F. We did our first full gym session for over two weeks and it felt hard. We did the full 60 mins in the gym and followed it with 30 mins in the outside pool but I had to push myself each bit of the way and I’m sure I’ll feel it tonight.
Watched a fascinating speech by the Labour Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, at the start of the Labour Party Conference. There really does seem to be a lot of optimism around that the Tories are falling apart and that Labour’s time is coming. There certainly doesn’t appear to be much to beat at the moment.
This day in the afternoon 5 years ago we boarded Superfast IV in Patras to sail overnight to Ancona as we left for the winter in Surrey. There was a seamen’s strike about to start and we were on the last ferry out before everything tied up for 48 hrs. On board, we dined on grilled salmon with a bottle of red wine and failed to stay awake long enough to see the ship dock at Igoumenitsa en route to Ancona. Only 5 years and yet so long ago. So much has happened in that time. Calculating the ledger of experiences, we are definitely in a better place. Fitter, healthier financially and physically. So much to look forward to.
Famous last words!
Tuesday, 26th September, 2017
We were up an out early for Pauline’s annual health check at our local doctor’s surgery. It was amazingly busy for 8.30 in the morning. It is one of the problems with the burgeoning development around here. Infrastructure rather lags demand.
Another lovely day of warm sunshine reaching 22C/70F by mid afternoon. We have just finished our second day returning to our exercise routine and I’m absolutely knackered. Pauline griddled the most wonderful Tuna steaks out in the garden and topped it with a delicious Balsamic reduction which was accompanied by tomato salad and cannellini bean salad dressed with garlic, lemon and olive oil.
In free time, we have been continuing to research a trip to Australia. We have decided that spending a month in Melbourne would be more rewarding by renting rather than staying in a hotel. We have found a lovely apartment overlooking the harbour and which has a pool, gym, all our home facilities including Wi-Fi and allows us to control our own food and cooking. It is near the ‘free’ tram system so we can have easy travel most of the time and just rent cars for special visits.
The flights, on the other hand, are difficult and complex choices. There are 33 different airlines that fly London – Australia. They have different and different number stopovers . Most do 1 or 2 stops of differing lengths of time but some do 3. Seat comfort is clearly important and seat width and legroom differ quite a lot. Luggage allowances are fairly similar but some offer free Wi-Fi and free film choices. Some agents mix and match airlines over 2 or 3 legs and prices vary massively. For someone who likes to be in control of all the facts, to feel organised and make rational and informed decisions, this is quite mind blowing. Must try harder tomorrow.
Wednesday, 27th September, 2017
Out early on a pleasantly mild morning which reached 21C/70F by mid afternoon. Pauline had been urged to have a chest xray during her GP annual review. Worthing Hospital has plenty of parking which is unusual and it is very cheap to park in it.
The one thing it isn’t is quick to get to from our house. On-line route planners say it is 7.5 miles away and would take 21 mins which is bad enough in emergency. Drive through early morning rush hour traffic and you can add half that time again. This doesn’t feel comfortable if you are rushing a critically ill partner to A&E. When we got there, the service was fantastic. We didn’t have an appointment. It is a walk-in service. We were directed straight into the Radiology Dept. and asked to sit. There were about 5 people also sitting and waiting. After 2 minutes, Pauline was called and she returned 5 mins later smiling and ready to go home. What more can you ask of a Health Service which is free at the point of delivery?
I drove home to cut the lawns, watch Corbyn’s quite impressive speech to Conference and then set off for another 90 mins full-on exercise. The last 30 mins outside in the pool were, once again, delightful, refreshing and relaxing. I can’t think of a nicer way to exercise. I always finish with 20 mins of Jacuzzi and water jet massage. As I drive home, I feel really good but, after a couple of hours my body acknowledges what it has done. Today it did 15,000 paces.
Thursday, 28th September, 2017
Out early again for a trip to the Doctor for my Annual Review. My appointment was for 8.40 am but I wasn’t seen until 9.20 am. The doctor didn’t get in until 10 mins after her first appointment. This was the repeat of the pattern on Tuesday when Pauline had her review. When I got to see her, she asked me what she could do for me and, after I had pointed out that she had requested the meeting, demonstrated repeatedly that she hadn’t read my notes and was ‘winging it’ a bit.
I’d had a fasting blood test a week ago and my results were excellent. My diabetic results for blood sugar were even better than last year. Liver and kidney function were excellent which is surprising although I have stopped alcohol which will have helped. I had to talk about the persistent pain in my upper arm. I had asked this doctor about it a year ago and she had sent me for physiotherapy. It really had no effect.
The arm improved over the summer but, what I had thought was a muscle tear or a trapped nerve, spontaneously returned about a month ago and is currently limiting and debilitating. I did some research of my own and came up with the diagnosis the doctor gave me this morning. I am suffering from ‘frozen shoulder’ or adhesive capsulitis and it is particularly prevalent in Type 2 Diabetics although no one really knows why. It can last up to 5 years and there are very few effective treatments.
I can have no complaints. Type 2 Diabetes, Atrial Fibrillation, Hypertension and now Frozen Shoulder are all my own fault – the wages of a dissolute life, eating and drinking too much and not getting enough exercise. I clearly deserve all I get. At least I won’t let them beat me. I have already had all Type 2 Diabetes medication removed. My diet and exercise has meant my Blood Pressure is well under control to the point of being on the low side and my medication is all but removed. I am not allowing this latest diagnosis to limit me. We did our 4th consecutive 90 mins routine at the gym and in the pool. Today, we swam under the sun in a temperature of 21C/70F. Quite delightful. It feels like being on holiday.
Friday, 29th September, 2017
Hot, muggy night has opened to a very wet day. Typical after such lovely weather of the past week because three of my sisters are coming for coffee this morning and then back for Dinner this evening. It is an historic day. Ruth is staying with us for a couple of nights. It will be the first time we have slept under the same roof for nearly 50 years. No gym for a couple of days but I have done the vacuuming which was exhausting and, in this extremely humid atmosphere, rather moistening.
The girls arrived just after mid day and had coffee before being taken by Catherine to look around the coast and beaches. We had Dinner shortly after 7.00 pm and it was strange to sit around a table as a family albeit part of what we knew 50 – 60 years ago. Missing were the twins, Liz & Mike, and Caroline. Pauline cooked a very pleasant meal which centred on salmon in filo parcels with pesto. Strange to eat pastry even if it was just filo after all this time. She had spent many hours researching alternative dishes for Catherine who is a vegan and I think that went down well.
We have met and talked so rarely over the years and, when we do, I am always amazed by the blood-letting tone that the conversation turns to. We have all carried similar if different bundles of angst around with us over the years since our childhood. I always thought it was just me. If I had met them more and talked about it, maybe it would have faded in time. There again, it is so embedded, maybe it wouldn’t. I am past caring now. It is what it is and will remain.
Saturday, 30th September, 2017
The girls are going to Brighton today. Unfortunately, they are too late for the Corbyn rally but they are visiting the Pavilion and then going up British Airways Brighton i360 which is like a vertical cable car with viewing platform, bar and restaurant. I must admit, we haven’t been there ourselves and it doesn’t particularly interest me but I’m sure they’ll enjoy it. I drove them to the station for 9.30 am to catch the train. They won’t have to worry about parking or driving.
Back home, I am going to carry on researching flights to and from Australia. We are a little daunted by the length of time in the air and think we may aim to break it up with a couple of days in Singapore so that is my job to investigate this weekend as we see September out. The girls are having Dinner in Brighton this evening so I can indulge myself with a couple of hours of fantastic football – Chelsea v Man City. Ruth has texted to find out the results but she doesn’t want to know really because she is a Bolton fan and her team have just lost their 8th consecutive match and gone 8 games without scoring a single goal.
As I suggested, we have done some more ‘Australia trip’ research today and think the only way we will cope with flight length is to break it in Singapore and have a few nights in Changi. A 12hr flight followed by 2 or 3 days relaxing in a super technology city like Changi would be interesting and give us time to get out of our ‘compression socks’ and re-channel the blood supply around our bodies.