Week 459

Sunday, 8th October, 2017

Stop me if this gets boring but I need to record it. I am currently well into a no-alcohol period that I intend to maintain until 2018. I’m not finding it difficult at all. I don’t need the alcohol although I do enjoy it and love the taste and effect of wine with my meal. However, I found myself becoming too dependent on the expectation of wine with my meal and had to assert my self discipline. I drink sparkling water with food and really enjoy it. I am saving lots of calories that way. However, for variety, I have been drinking Shloer. I don’t know if you’ve tried it but it is said to be made from grape juice without alcohol. I drink the Shloer (light) red and white. It is just 22 calories per glass. The downside is the taste which is too sweet.

Shloer costs between £2.20/€2.45 – £3.00/€3.35 per bottle normally. One of my obsessions is bulk buying bargains. Occasionally, the supermarkets loss-lead Shloer and today was such a day. Asda was advertising it at £1.20/€1.34 per bottle. That was a signal to swoop and corner the market. When we got there this morning, I cleaned them out of Shloer (light) red & white. It was about 40 bottles with which I can decorate the walls of my garage. However, while we were there, we noticed that Asda had introduced their own-brand. It was priced at £1.00/€1.11 per bottle. I bought a couple of bottles of red & white. As soon as we got home, we did a blind tasting. The Asda own-brand is miles nicer. It actually tastes of grape, is only 22 calories per glass and is not sweet. I will have to get some more. My only problem is consuming the 100 or so bottles of ‘sweet’ Shloer that I’ve got in the garage first.

If you think this is all too weird, you are not alone!

Monday, 9th October, 2017

Early start under grey skies. Pauline had a hair appointment in Worthing at Toni & Guy. I spent my customary hour at Starbucks with my iPad and a large café latte which cost me £3.20/€3.60. Can you believe it? Home via the Doctors’ Surgery to book Flu jabs. Pauline is having her anti-Pneumococcal injection as well. I had mine a couple of years ago. This protects against pneumonia, septicaemia, and meningitis. Later, the Health Club will dominate over 2 hours of the afternoon.

Luxury accommodation on Samos.

We are just starting to notice the changing temperatures although we are told that a significantly warmer patch is arriving towards the end of the week. Meanwhile, the last (tourist) stragglers have left the Greek islands – they left Sifnos some time ago – and those remaining are beginning to get ready for colder and wetter days. In anticipation of this, migrants have been making last attempts at safe-ish crossings to paradise (aka Greek islands, aka Europe). Over 2,200 people are staying in and around the Samos migrant camp even though it’s capacity is for 700 people. UNHCR have observed that overcrowded Greek refugee camps are ill-prepared for winter. They might note how much many poor Greeks themselves are prepared for the cold months to come.

Tuesday, 10th October, 2017

Another overcast morning although not cold at 14C/57F. I’m going to cut the lawns again today because they are still growing at quite a pace and are luxuriantly green. Before that, I am indulging another of my addictions – buying watches. What is wrong with me? Perhaps I’m just too self-indulgent.

Five years ago, I bought a simple, Casio Digital Watch that read my heart rate from a chest strap when I was exercising. It was waterproof so I could keep it on all day including when I was swimming. I moved on a couple of years ago to a Pebble watch which pairs with my phone and tells me how many steps I’ve taken. It is waterproof but doesn’t give my heart rate. I tried to buy an upgrade but found Pebble had gone out of business in the two years I’ve owned the watch. Because of all my searching, the algorithms picked up my obsession and directed me to Curry’s who have a special offer on a Garmin watch which does everything I want and I bought it. What will I do with my other two watches? Well Christmas isn’t far away. I’ve got time to wrap them up.

When I went for my annual checkup with my doctor, it was acknowledged that all medication had been removed for treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and that Blood Pressure medication had been reduced. My blood pressure is still persistently on the low side of average so it was suggested further lowering my medication levels of Doxazosin. I’ve done over a week with a halved dosage and found no change in my blood pressure at all. I am working towards ridding myself of all medication apart from a statin.

Wednesday, 11th October, 2017

The temperature didn’t fall below 16C/61F throughout the night but didn’t rise much during today under grey skies. The temperature made 18C/65F at peak and we did get an hour of sunshine at the end of the day but that’s not much use. At least swimming outside this afternoon was enjoyable.

My sister is trying to kill me. I wouldn’t call myself an athlete these days like I was in my youth. I have lost quite a lot of weight but from a disgraceful degree of obesity. However, I do around 8 hours of, for me, reasonably strenuous exercise each week. I certainly feel much fitter than I was even a couple of years ago.

Unfortunately my sister, Jane BG, is very, very fit. She is a ‘runner’ and skinny as a stick. She recently won Sports Coach of the Year at Farnham Sports Awards and has been chosen to represent her country in the Home International in Derry next month. However, she is not content with that, she is trying to entice me in to running outside. I’m afraid, it’s not going to happen. I am happy doing what I do. Jane, on the other hand, seems to get great pleasure out of being a member of the ‘running community’. She is obviously very good at it but then she is so much younger than me.

It always happens when one is nervous and it did today to me. I closed an on-line investment account when the bonus ceased and opened a new one. It meant moving a large amount of money. I did what I always do. I set the transfer process up, sent a £5.00 tester which arrived in the other bank’s account within 2 mins and then sent the large amount with confidence. After 5 mins, it hadn’t arrived. After an hour, it hadn’t arrived. I was getting seriously concerned. The phone rang from someone purporting to be from the Fraud Department of my bank and asking me to provide security information of my account. I was immediately suspicious and said I would phone them back.

When I phoned them back, they kept me waiting for quite a while as they examined my account. Then they passed me to the Fraud Department. You can imagine how I was feeling. After they asked me a string of security questions and telling me my answers had ‘passed the test’, they said an attempt to move a large amount of money had been attempted and flagged up by the computer which automatically blocked it. After I confirmed its legitimacy, it was released and immediately appeared in the new account. And Breathe! What’s the point in on-line banking?

Thursday, 12th October, 2017

Big shopping day. Sainsburys followed by Morrisons, Tesco and Asda. Picked up my new smart watch from Currys and headed home. Glorious weather – like summer revisited. It was so nice that we thought we would go for a walk on the beach. The water was really warm to the touch. The temperature outside was only 18C/65F but it felt very comfortable.

The sea front had plenty of locals walking, playing with their children and dogs. The climate is so benign that one can imagine how healthy this atmosphere is for older people.

We were walking for about an hour and then drove home to enjoy the sunshine in our garden. Today was a non-gym day. A muscle recovery day. Tomorrow will be lawns mowed, car cleaned and full Health Club routine. We are told that he weather will get warmer down here throughout the weekend and beyond with Monday possibly breaking the record for mid-October figures on record.

We are making a pilgrimage to Yorkshire next week as part of our annual calendar of royal visits. We are hoping that the warmer weather accompanies us across the countys’ borders.

Friday, 13th October, 2017

A mild night has led to a mild day which hovered around 18C/65F but under grey skies. Things which looked like they were preparing to shut down growth for winter have started growing again. The tarragon which we had savaged and processed for ‘the last time’ this year is beginning, once again, to get bushy and thick. The lawns are incredibly green and lush. I cut them today and they are looking lovely and healthy.

Did a really hard workout this afternoon and felt absolutely exhausted as we drove home. We are looking forward to visiting old friends and old haunts next week. I am particularly looking forward to revisiting the moors. I love their daunting beauty, their solitude and savagely expanding loneliness.

The contrast with West Sussex is stark. The gentler, softer, green expanses of the South Downs envelope one whereas the Yorkshire Moors almost challenge one to survive in spite of them. In many respects, I found strong echoes of the moors of the North in the expanses of the bleakness and barren views on a Greek island at the end of summer.

Saturday, 14th October, 2017

Pensioners’ Outing today. It was warm over night – 16C/61F – and the day has felt unusually warm although it didn’t get above 20C/68F. The sky was fairly grey and sea mist has descended this evening. We went out to our local GP Practice for our Flu jabs. Our appointments were for 9.15 am and 9.30 am but we soon realised that those times were irrelevant. As we approached the car park we were confronted with two things: firstly there were no parking spaces in an area with more than 100 designated spots and secondly, a queue of grey-haired, old people snaked some 100m from the Surgery door, down the steps and right across the car park. Everyone was there for a vaccination and some for the pneumonia one as well. They all had similar ‘banded times’ to us.

Actually, it didn’t take long and we were on our way. You won’t want to know this but I did a trip to our local garden centre to buy Autumn dressing for the lawns. It feeds grass to get it through the winter and kills off any moss or broad leaved weeds that might have arrived over the summer. Actually, mine are so healthy that they will only need the nourishment but that is what will keep the grass green and growing throughout the cooler months. To cover both lawns only costs about £10.00/€11.24.

It has been a relaxing day to remind us that it is Saturday although I did spend a couple of hours valeting the car in preparation for our voyage to Yorkshire next week. Even so, I only accumulated 7000 paces as against 13000 yesterday. I am slowly getting to grips with the functionality of my new, smart watch and its interface with apps I use like myfitnespal.

Pauline griddled Sea Bass on the bone out in the garden and, just as she finished, the sun came out and bathed everywhere in weak, warm light. These really do feel like bonus days.

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