Week 462

Sunday, 29th October, 2017

Lovely sunny day and surprisingly warm in our garden. Pauline’s been cooking all morning again with supplies of sauces and pickles streaming from the kitchen. I’ve been watching political analysis programmes and reading the papers. Someone’s got to do it.

We’ve done a session at the Health Club which was surprisingly busy for a Sunday and then come home to eat homemade fishcakes which Pauline made from trout. We ate them with broad beans and broccoli. If anyone ate at a better meal today, I’d like to see it.

Watched Leicester beat Everton this afternoon. Why does it take the sacking of a manager to motivate them? Once again, they looked a changed team and Vardy, in particular, looked much more committed.

Monday, 30th October, 2017

What a glorious day – warm and sunny. I spent a couple of hours fully valeting the car under sunny, blue skies and a temperature of 16C/61F. We did a full exercise routine but swimming outside in strong, low Autumn sunshine was magical.

We have been buying and driving Hondas since 1984 when we first bought a new Accord. Brand loyalty over 33 years has had its benefits and we have even been offered places on development committees in Swindon in the past. Currently, we are driving a CRV and it is our 12th or 13th. It is a 2.0 ltr., petrol, automatic. We’ve had it for about 16 months and done only 11, 500 mls./18,500 kms.. It is well kitted out with leather seats, sat.nav/infotainment + wifi centre, climate control and cruise control. However, we are always on the look out for new models with new gadgets and, this morning, we received the latest news of a new CRV which was exhibited at the Tokyo Motor Show.

A sign of the times, Diesel has been completely dropped but a Hybrid is being introduced. I would consider that if it doesn’t limit the distance I can drive. If the petrol engine contributes to the charging of the electrical power and the two work symbiotically, I would seriously consider buying one. It wouldn’t be for the ‘green’ credentials but for lower running costs. We do a lot of short journeys interspersed with huge drives. Most days, we do less than 10 miles whereas, sometimes, I want to be able to do 700 miles in a day. The short journeys mean our petrol consumption is dreadful. With automatic transmission and permanent climate control on, our consumption averages 22 mpg. On a long journey, we can get 33 mpg. If I can improve on that, I would really consider hybrid.

Tuesday, 31st October, 2017

A surprisingly warm day that touched 16C/61F once again. The breeze made it feel a bit fresher as we walked outside to the pool and walked back dripping wet.

I have been plateau-ing with my weight for quite a while but, in the past month or so, by not drinking alcohol and by just tightening up a little on my intake allied to my exercise, I have lost just about 3 kgs. It has given me the incentive to push on again and I am going to use the month which we should have been spending indulging ourselves in Gran Canaria to be increasingly circumspect and determined to edge my weight down some more. In fact, we are going to hold on to that determination as long as we can through Christmas and New Year and on until we start travelling again which should be March/April time.

It is another of those commercial captures of pagan/folk/religious customs which in this case is called Halloween. The indulgence of parents in their children is incredible to behold. I begin to think the parents get more out of it than their kids. I remember that, as an English teacher, I was told that kids love literature based on ghosts, supernatural events, etc.. They may do but I could never get interested in it myself. I always wanted fact-based reading. While others read sci-fi or fantasy, I read biography or history. My objection to religion always was that it was akin to believing in fairies.

Shop in France this week and you will never get away from Halloween paraphernalia. I believe that is the same in the USA. Around us parents have been decorating the outside of their houses with ‘ghostly dressings’ to demonstrate their commitment to positive parenting. We are expecting knocks on the door from some softly spoken, middle class kids shyly enquiring, Trick or Treat. I am desperate to answer, Trick, just to see what they will do but Pauline won’t allow me. She has bought a basket of revolting sweets to make them sick. They are ready on the hall console table waiting for the bell to ring.

Wednesday, 1st November, 2017

We said Goodbye to October 2017 with a very pleasant day and we are welcoming November 2017 with an absolutely beautiful morning. Clear blue skies, strong sunshine and a temperature of 13C/56F at 8.00 am. We are having a day off from routine and going shopping in Worthing. I hate shopping but I have to support Pauline in one of her pleasures.

As we ambled through Worthing town centre, we happened upon Maplin. It is one of my favourite shops because it sells all sorts of electrical and computer gadgets. I’ve been thinking of extending our home Wi-Fi so it can be used in the garden and I had been looking at solutions in Maplin online.

Today, for the mere outlay of £60.00/€69.00, I bought a Wi-Fi power line solution. It consists of a plug-in hub extender or hotspot which is connected to my hub by Ethernet cable and the house electrical circuit by three pin plug. I have two, additional mini Wi-Fi hotspots which I plug in to an outdoor socket and another in the kitchen.

I’ve used these before and found them very annoying because we had to set up new hub identities and make sure our mobile apparatus are constantly re-switched to the appropriate hub. This one now allows me to clone my hub settings to all the hotspots which alleviates that problem. I have yet to test the strength outside but I hope to when the strong sun allows me to see my iPad screen.

The temperature in town reached 17C/63F which is not bad for the first day of November. The newspapers seem to be full of dire warnings about this winter being the coldest and hardest for over five years. We may really regret giving up our Canary Island trip after all.

It always shocks me that our multi storey carpark looks out over the sea. Living here, one often forgets how close we are to the shore as we go about our everyday lives. We always park on the top floor (roof) of the carpark and the views are lovely at any time of year. Today, late autumn sunshine bathes the sea and the roof tops, backlighting the wind farm off the coast line and the hazy cloud that is gathering from Brighton in the east.

Thursday, 2nd November, 2017

Beautiful Autumn Day over the South Downs

A gorgeous, gorgeous day from start to finish. Blue sky and warm sunshine throughout.  I mowed the lawns. Morning was shopping and afternoon was exercising.

Today

The changing season means that the strong, low sun dips behind surrounding hedges and buildings as we swim outside in the pool but the clear, blue sky is constantly reflected in the warm water. I do 0.5 km per day and 5 sessions per week after an hour in the gym. I manage my 10,000+ paces at least five days per week and try to supplement with other activities on my day off. It certainly feels good. Today was a delightfully quiet one at the David Lloyd Health Club and we had the pool to ourselves.

We drove home and griddled chicken out in the garden. It is hard to believe that we are in to November. Actually, we should have arrived in Gran Canaria today for a 28 day indulgence in the sun. We are not there because we had deliberately booked a 5* hotel which was closed throughout the summer months for total refurbishment. We thought it would just be opening, freshly minted, as we arrived. Unfortunately, redevelopment hit a snag and the reopening is delayed. We were forced to cancel because we didn’t want the alternative offered. We are trying to use that change to work on our fitness and weight loss.

Friday, 3rd November, 2017

Worthing Panorama

Early out to Worthing this morning in lovely sunshine which quickly clouded over as we got there. Took a widespread shot of the streets below us as we parked on the top of the multi-storey. Buying Christmas cards today. If you get one, it will feature a robin so be prepared. I must admit I would email everyone but it doesn’t quite seem socially acceptable at the moment. I think that five more years may see that change.

The sun came out again as we drove out for another lovely session at the Health Club. That is five this week and we may do Saturday as well. My body seems to be holding up better now so we will try.

Saturday, 4th November, 2017

The local rugby club held its annual firework display last night. It was a lovely, moonlit evening. They certainly made a good decision because this morning has opened with torrential rain. Although it feels like a day to stay in doors, we may make a trip to the gym but miss out the outdoor swimming today.

Pauline is busy making chutney. The kitchen is pervaded with the aroma of raw and cooking onions. She is looking like an advert for perpetual motion and is in complete contrast to me at my keyboard. This is one of the reasons why I always have the tendency to put on weight while Pauline remains sylph-like. My interests are basically cerebral, sedentary ones whereas Pauline loves practical activity. I’m going to have to get a walker to stand on while I’m writing and reading.

Wonderful food of Bologna!

Pauline and I have always lived to eat rather that eaten to live and it is ironic now that I live on permanently restricted foods and calories. Foods are restricted because of my life long coagulant control medication which means I can’t eat much of all those lovely, low calorie things like lettuce, cabbage, sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, etc. These are high in Vitamin-K which counteracts my medication. My calories have to be restricted to 1800 per day because I am retired and not constantly running round buildings shouting at people. I do contribute 600 calories 5 times per week by exercising which allows me to eat a bit more but I try to ‘bank’ those to encourage my weight loss. We did our 90 minutes in the gym and pool this afternoon by the way.

Beautiful Bologna!

Pauline has a room lined with cookery books and we are cookery programme addicts on television. I always appreciated the permanently inebriated Keith Floyd who really set the standard for modern cooks to follow. Elizabeth David was just a bit early for us although it is her style of Mediterranean cooking that we prefer. I love the soft, gentle, natural, slightly unvarnished flavours of the Med. where the strongest influence in flavour seems to be olive oil, garlic and tomato. I can’t abide the brash, palate-destroying flavours of chilli pepper or curry powder. Fish has become our passion in retirement and Rick Stein is a favourite chef of ours (although he has gone through a phase of destroying dishes with chilli flakes. An Oxford graduate, he combines intelligence, literary knowledge with simple cooking. This morning, he was presenting a weekend of exploring food and cooking in Bologna. As it is only just over three months since we were there, the shots of all the lovely places we explored brought back delightful memories.

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