Sunday, 15th April, 2018
The day has opened much cooler and rather grey. I suppose it is only the middle of April but I expect better. I will get better tomorrow, I hear. It was ever thus!
Politics programmes, Sunday papers, blah, blah, etc. You’ve read it all before. Actually, I helped Pauline prepare a document for our Greek friends on the merits of Tumble Dryers (You heard it here first!) and their availability in Greek outlets like Kotsovolos. The cheapest ones can be purchased for just over €320.00/£277.00 which is not too extortionate.
A member of my family then started a chain email concerning the possibility of seeking dual nationality through our Grandparents’ Irish heritage. They were seeking information of the birthplace of our Grandfather. Unfortunately, I was about to dash their hopes because I knew that Grandad was born in Brighton – an irony that is not lost on me considering where I have ended up. Our Grandfather – James, Joseph, Jeremiah Coghlan – couldn’t have been more Irish in origin but he was born in 1894 to Irish immigrants in Brighton. It just goes to show that you can’t even rely on your own Grandfather over Brexit. He is pictured opposite during the First World War when he served in the Cavalry.
Monday, 16th April, 2018
Gorgeous, gorgeous day. Blue sky and warm sunshine. After mowing the lawn for the second time this month, we returned to the exercise regime. It felt great and swimming in the outdoor pool under strong sun and blue sky felt positively Mediterranean.
The first part of the day was taken up with a visit from a painter who was going over the filled and sanded plaster work which had received remedial work. The painter, a lovely chap, did the work – two coats – in just over an hour. We now have the exact name of the paint so that we can do incidental touch-ups ourselves. We have three years left on our warranty but getting people in can be a bit of a pain so it is good to have a supply in the garage to do small jobs ourselves.
We bought a £1000.00 of Euros yesterday at £1.00 = €1.1301 online on Saturday and picked them up today. We will continue to forward buy currency as the rate dictates over the next few months to fund future travel. I use International Currency Exchange and I am an account holder of Moneycorp – both specialist FX Traders – and yet Tesco are currently offering better rates than both.
Tuesday, 17th April, 2018
Another lovely day. The garden was in sunshine. My friend, Brian from Oldham, phoned which was nice. It is one of the penalties of living at either end of the country that we don’t get to meet so often. Another really enjoyable session at the Health Club. The pool was delightfully quiet, sunny and warm.
Strange to think we would now be back, hard at work if still in Education. Members of staff who are still there have been recording the end of their holidays as they dash back from Spain or wherever. Instead, we have meandered through our day indulging our preferences. This life could be so much worse.
My INR, which I test every week, has to remain between 2.0 – 3.0. For many months it has been near perfect. Because of that, I have been allowing myself to eat illicit things like Rocket Salad which contains high Vitamin K that mitigates against the efficacy of the anti-coagulant, Warfarin, I take each day. I used to call green salads Rabbit Food but, as soon as they were prohibited, I craved them. Well, today has proved a step too far as I have fallen to the bottom of the scale with INR = 2.0. All green vegetables are back off again.
Wednesday, 18th April, 2018
Glorious day of sunshine and 72F/22C temperatures. It is really good to see some Summer weather after such a long Winter. For some strange reason, the outdoor pool was madly popular. All the stalwarts of winter swimming were looking at each other and suggesting their fair weather friends ought to have served their time if they wanted parity outside.
We had done a morning of shopping for building/’snagging’ materials plus plants for our herb collection. This year we are going to concentrate on Tarragon (which we already have and has overwintered well), Oregano, Dill, Basil, Chives and Thyme. We can only cope with an assembly of patio pots this year because we will not be at home enough to manage anything else. I use an automatic watering system and all the herbs are regularly cropped and frozen for use across the year. Particularly, we need lots of basil to make Pesto which we use a lot with Salmon dishes and Dill which we use with most other fishes.
Thursday, 19th April, 2018
A beautiful day. The Met. Office says it has been the hottest April day in my lifetime. We didn’t go to the beach because of predictable human behaviour. You can guarantee that hot sunshine will have brought out many sun worshippers on the beach. Instead we went to the garden centre where the other half of the world had considered it a good place to congregate.
In spite of the scorching weather, we went to the Health Club and did our full gym routine but the world had moved from the garden centre to the outdoor pool so we didn’t swim. We rather resented it but it would have been too stressful to fight for space to swim. We went home and sat in the sunshine.
Friday, 20th April, 2018
Well mid-Summer in mid-April is very welcome. We seem to have gone from 0 – 60 in a matter of a few days. The sticks have become hedges all around our village. As I drove, I was accustomed to viewing fields and vistas that now are obscured by burgeoning hedges. One’s heart leaps to see this. Re-birth everywhere. A school of young starlings have adopted our back garden lawn and are learning to launch themselves from the fence. Flowering trees decorate the roads and gardens. Thrushes sing from the trees around. Our fig trees open their beautiful, new year’s leaves and the lawn is blooming with verdant energy.
Looked back in my Blog to 9 years ago. I recorded:
Spent the week playing at being retired: getting up after 7.00 am, reading the newspaper, gardening, shopping off-peak, popping out to the Garden Centre.
Nine year’s on, we ‘popped out to the Garden Centre’ and bought Dill, Sweet Italian Basil and small leaved Greek Basil. We will pot it up tomorrow and look forward to growth.
Saturday, 21st April, 2018
An hot, sleeping out of the duvet, night. We are still on 3.5 tog but will reassess in a few days and look to go down to 1 tog unless, of course, it suddenly snows. Today, we will pot up our Basil, Oregano and Dill plants ready for their Summer encouragement. Other than Tarragon, these are the herbs we use most on a regular basis.
We use so much Pesto that the Basils will have to work hard. This year we have 6 plants and would expect to harvest them at least twice and, hopefully, 3 times. This should combine with pine nuts & Parmisan to make enough Pesto to get us through the year. Pauline separates it into 50g parcels for freezing. When you’ve got a chef in the family, things go very smoothly.
The temperature read 18C/65F at 9.00 am and 25C/77F by mid afternoon. We did our 6th, consecutive full workout and swim and really enjoyed it. Back home, we cooked an old favourite outside in the garden – fried calamari. We ate that for the first time in Sifnos almost 30 years ago. The evening has developed into quite a humid one that is reminiscent of elsewhere.