Week 489

Sunday, 6th May, 2018

The sun changes everything and so it does today. I’ve got so much free time that all the garden jobs have been done already and I can sit out in the sun with a coffee and the Sunday papers. Actually, the papers are almost impossible to read on my iPad in strong sunshine but I’m sure I will catch up later in the day. The poor neighbours are still having to catch up with car cleaning (Mine was done by Honda as part of the Service.), lawn mowing (I did mine to make up paces during the week.) and plant watering (I have to restrain myself from overwatering.).

Tarragon, Dill, Oregano, Marjoram, Greek basil, Italian Basil, Thyme, Chives and Rocket

Today might appear to be one for going to the beach but there will be hundreds of others with that idea so we will go to the Health Club which should be all but deserted. That sums us up perfectly – crowds go one way and we head in a diametrically opposed direction. After a couple of hour’s exercise, I will griddle chicken and peppers in the garden and then water the herb pots before settling down with the newspapers.

Monday, 7th May, 2018

As we move into the hottest Bank Holiday Monday since records began, – only since the 1970s – we were up early and out to the beach. We spent an hour walking along the beach path before most of the world was up. Shopkeepers – Shellfish sellers, flip-flop, sunglasses and Worthing Rock sellers, deck chair renters, etc. – were just thinking about opening up. Families, keen to establish their pitch for the day on the beach, were arriving with children, parasols and dogs. The temperature at 9.00 am was 22C.

We drove home by 10.00 am and had coffee before doing jobs. I had to sand down our outdoor cooking table which has served as the base for Griddle, Deep Fat Fryer, Pressure Cooker and outdoor Hob. It took me a couple of hours sanding by hand. I should have bought a power tool but thought it was a bit indulgent. Tomorrow, Pauline will revarnish the wood to get us through another year.

Yesterday reached 26C/79F. This morning was 20C/68F by 9.00 am and reached 29C/84F as we left the Health Club at 3.00 pm. Now, at 7.30 pm, the temperature is still 25C/77F. We will keep these temperatures for another day before returning to the season’s norms.

Tuesday, 8th May, 2018

Another wonderfully warm and sunny day. We spent the morning gardening – mowing the lawns and trimming the hedges – as well as watering potted plants. I’ve got my automatic watering system out ready to set up for next week when we go away. I was tired by the end of the morning but we were determined to do our exercise routine and we were rewarded with a quiet gym and a fairly quiet outdoor pool.

As we drove home through the village, we couldn’t help reflect how beautiful it is. Particularly, at the moment, so many houses are festooned with the most beautiful racemes of wisteria. It grows and flowers particularly well down here and, as a result, is very popular. As the evening came on, the temperature became quiet oppressive and the house felt uncomfortable. We walked outside under the stars. Quite magical!

Wednesday, 8th May, 2018

Another lovely, warm and sunny day. We had to do some shopping and the trip out was delightful. When we got home, we did jobs outside in the sunshine. I prepared the meal for the afternoon. It is going to be my version of Bouillabaisse consisting of Salmon, Cod, Scallops and Tail-on-Prawns. They were set in a sauce of shallot, garlic, celery, white wine and chopped dill with cherry tomatoes.

In spite of the lovely weather, our exercise at the Health Club began to take its toll today. We have been pushing ourselves quite hard over the past week. In the past 7 days, I have completed 95,500 paces which is an average of 13,650 daily. In the past week, I have covered 50 miles. As Pauline pointed out, if someone said that I should walk just over 7 miles each day for 7 days, I might balk at the suggestion. Still, I’ve done it.

On this day 9 years ago, we were in hunkered down in our Greek house and suffering strong winds and violent hail storms. Symbolically, today in Sussex has been calm, warm and peaceful.

Thursday, 9th May, 2018

Lovely morning. My exercise app awarded me a special flag for achieving 8 hrs sleep for the first time since I’ve been using it. I spent the morning doing some I.T. work. I’ve needed a photo manipulation app for my iPad for some time. I never take my SLR camera with me now when we go abroad and my smart phone camera is better than my iPad camera by quite a long way. The problem is that my smart phone pictures are so huge – up to 7.5 mbs – that I need to reduce them without compromising quality. On my computer, I use Macromedia Fireworks or Adobe Photoshop but these are not available for the iPad. I have managed to combine two apps – Image Diet and Affinity Photo –  which will allow me to do the job and complete my Blog with illustrations of a 100 kb or less which is what I aim for.

I decided that I needed a day off from the health Club and the weather immediately heated up. Strong sunshine and 18C/65F made the day seem really relaxing. We did a spot of shopping and a trip to the garden centre. Pauline griddled Tuna Steaks in the garden which she served with lemon and olive oil dressing accompanied with tomato salad. It was absolutely delicious. We having been eating so much fish and, consequently, drinking so much white wine – mainly sauvignon blanc – that we are rapidly running out. We are going to have a day trip to France to replenish our stocks shortly after we get back from Valencia.

Friday, 10th May, 2018

Lovely warm and sunny day after quite a chilly start to the morning. We reached a balmy 19C/66F as we swam outside this afternoon. The day had started off with a quick trip to Tesco. This week we needed little because we are off to Valencia at the beginning of next week. Did a full exercise programme including a full swim outside and came home for a delightful meal of smoked salmon salad eaten in the garden. Sometimes, one has to be so grateful for these experiences.

Tomorrow, I have to set up the automatic watering system for all the pot plants. The lawns need to be cut and the bags prepared for packing. We will do two more trips to the gym and there is an excellent gym and two pools at our hotel so we will need our exercise clothes.

Saturday, 11th May, 2018

We are off to Valencia for a short break next week. As soon as we get back we are going on a shopping trip to France. After using The Calais Wine Superstore for about 25 years. Even in these straightened times, we still get wine around 40 – 50% cheaper than in UK. I haven’t bought a bottle of wine in UK for over 30 years. As the Pound has weakened and the Euro strengthened, people have been less inclined to make the trip across the Channel in search of duty free booze.

As a result, the Calais Wine Store has teamed up with Eurotunnel to offer ‘free’ crossings in return for a guaranteed purchase of £250.00 of wine. We’ve never bothered to use it but, for the first time, we’ve taken advantage of the offer. We will buy around £500.00 of wine which will save us around £400.00 on UK prices and then save £60.00 on our return Tunnel trip which can’t be bad for poor, old pensioners. Can it? This time we are going to do a one day trip instead of having a couple of nights in a hotel as well. Crossing the Channel at around 9.00 am, we will be home by about 4.00 pm. Just in time for tea (or cheese & wine).

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