Week 480

Sunday, 4th March

At home today. Political programmes, newspapers, football matches and then Pauline is emptying her wardrobe to donate to British Heart Foundation collection box at our Health Club. It is a symbiotic donation in that Pauline gets rid of unwanted clothes, the BHF gets clothes to sell. Pauline gets an empty wardrobe and the chance to say, I think I need new clothes.and I get to answer, Of course, Darling, if you need them. When I have a triple bi-pass, Pauline will be able to say, my clothes contributed to the research on that. Most of us are winners!

While that’s going on, I’ve been investigating replacements for my increasingly clunky Macromedia Dreamweaver MX. It’s a school copy and, like so much of my inherited school software, is feeling out of date. I can cope with writing some Html but, in retirement, I prefer wysiwyg software. Dreamweaver falls largely in to the latter category but things have moved on so much in the last 10 years. I stopped keeping up and developing just as CSS or Cascading Style Sheets became de rigueur and any re-entry into the market must include that.

At the same time, ten years ago, I was just designing for Desktops and Laptops. Now, websites need to work on Tablets and scale down to smartphones. I have found a wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) designer software that provides CSS and scalability for differing platforms. It costs $180.00/£150.00 so I will have to negotiate with my wife against the cost of her new wardrobe.

Monday, 5th March

Beginning to feel a bit like Spring at last and the birds are very active. A beautiful thrush has adopted our garden for his food shopping. Down in the village, there are small hints of the change of season. The daffodils are out and the air is pleasantly mild. The pollarded trees haven’t got the message yet.

I really am a creature of habit. The trick is to get me hooked on good rather than bad habits and I find it hard to change. I know I love exercise but the weather has caused a slight hiatus in our programme and going back to it today has been an effort. As soon as I started in the gym, I loved it and came home glowing after our outdoor swim followed by a sauna session. It is great to be back. I read that exercise releases endorphins – one’s body’s feel-good chemicals – which can lift one’s mood and improve self-esteem. I would say that it definitely does all of that for me.

Tuesday, 6th March

Our new, local Aldi.

Lovely, warm day. We were out early to collect 8 pairs of shoes for Pauline from Next. She has been looking for this style of shoe for quite a while, apparently, and when they appeared on-line, she ordered four pairs in four different colours and in each of two, different sizes. We went to  the store and she tried them on. Both sizes were wrong. Fortunately, they do a half size and Pauline has ordered another, four pairs to fit. As long as she’s happy, I am.

Perfectly pleasant Aldi presentation.

We shop at Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose normally but we are increasingly going to Aldi. They have some excellent quality produce at excellent prices. We particularly like their Smoked Salmon, Parmigiano Cheese and Kalamata Olive Oil. We went there today to stock up. In fact, our meal was smoked salmon, large prawns, cold salmon with pesto topping and salad. It felt right in this opening of Spring.

We did our second day of full exercise this week, finishing with ¾ of a kilometre in the outdoor pool. It felt absolutely fabulous and we drove home in high spirits. This has been only our 4th exercise session in the past 7 days but we intend to do every day until Sunday so that will really put us back in the groove.

Wednesday, 7th March

An absolutely lovely day but one in which I struggle to identify any real achievements. It has been warm – 10C/50F around the pool this afternoon – with blue sky and gorgeous sunshine. We did do a full exercise regime again today and swimming under a warm sun felt like being on holiday.

I spent part of the morning going through the old software on my desktop computer and looking for prices to update it. It is 9 years since I retired and I have been using a copy of Microsoft Office Professional 2010. There is nothing wrong with it and, I must admit, I do really only use Word & Excel on a regular basis. However, I do like to have the choice of building a database with Access and I would like to have the email client, Outlook, as a backup to the web-based client. The last time I bought this suite of programs, it cost hundreds of pounds. In those days, it came in CD format and took a few days to arrive. Today, I bought it for £25.00/€28.00 and it came an as immediate download with a ‘key’ accompanying it. So much change and so much for the better.

Thursday, 8th March

Beautiful day of blue sky and sunshine which reached 10C/50F. We did some shopping this morning which allowed me the opportunity to challenge my little brother, Bob, at photography. Bob is regularly posting lovely, landscape photos that have obviously taken a long time to scope and set up. I, on the other hand, eschew all that malarkey and shoot from the hip with spectacular effect. I won’t brag but leave you to judge.

Bob’s picure hasn’t even got a title!
The immortal ‘Sun over Asda’.

If you’re wondering about the UFO in the top left, it’s my thumb. You have to admit, I’ve really got the hang of composition. Please don’t tell Bob.

Shattered after another full workout. We will force ourselves to do Friday and then have a day off. I was pleased to find today that I have lost 1.5 stones/9.5 kilos since 1/1/18.

Friday, 9th March

A grey and cooler day which didn’t get above 8C/47F. We went to Tesco for our weekly shop and it afforded me the opportunity to produce another entry in my much-acclaimed photo series.

The eternal: ‘Grey over Tesco’.

We went to the Health Club and did our 6th exercise routine in the past 7 days. Our limbs really began to feel it and will welcome tomorrow off to rest and recuperate. We will return to work on Sunday. This past week has featured an item that the BBC headlines as: How exercise in old age prevents the immune system from declining. The fabulously named, Prof Norman Lazarus, aged 82, of King’s College London, who took part in and co-authored research, said: “If exercise was a pill, everyone would be taking it. It has wide-ranging benefits for the body, the mind, for our muscles and our immune system.”

We’ll be the judge of that!

Saturday, 10th March

We’ve certainly chosen a good day to stay at home. Outside it is grey and heavy, fine, ‘wetting’ rain is falling. I know you will be excited to read that I am going to tidy the garage. It is already tidy in most people’s eyes but I have been instructed to find storage space for preserving jars which have been slowly accumulating over the winter and starting to out grow the Laundry room storage areas. That is my task. If I don’t complete this Blog post, you will know that I have been denied access to the televisions to watch Rugby and Football matches because of failure to complete prior instructions.

Job done but England lost to France and so to Ireland. A disappointing end to the day …. if it wasn’t for Aldi. I love and am nearly addicted to smoked salmon. This week we bought a pack from Aldi. They may not be your first choice for quality products but suspend your scepticism. This 200g pack of smoked salmon was one of the nicest I have eaten for a long time and I’ve eaten a lot. Not only that but it was exceptionally cheap – comparatively. This 200g pack from Aldi was £2.99/€3.37 whereas a 200g pack from Tesco would have been £5.50/€6.19. I would recommend it on quality alone.