Week 493

Sunday, 3rd June, 2018

Planes heading over the coast to Europe.

What a gorgeous, sunny day which reached 26C/79F at peak. The sky was blue all day. I sowed some Rocket seeds for Pauline in the hope that they would be ready just before we go away. I will harvest them hard and hope they will be back by the time we return. It is always difficult growing anything when we are away for weeks.

When we lived in Surrey, we were very aware of planes overhead flying from/to Gatwick & Heathrow. We were about 33 miles from Gatwick and 15 miles from Heathrow. Down here on the south coast, we are about 36 miles from Gatwick and hear no large plane noise at all although we see the sort of sky traces illustrated in this mornings photo as planes cross the coast and the Channel. Of course, we see some smaller aircraft from the local, Shoreham Airport but that is rare and no discomfort. We are extremely lucky. In Surrey, we heard the constant drone of distant traffic punctured by a train somewhere off over the town. Here, we are troubled by none of that.

Monday, 4th June, 2018

Another lovely day of sun and cloud which felt distinctly sultry although only reaching 23C/74F. I spent the morning reviewing our power supplies.

We use British Gas for Dual Fuel supply. It costs us just over £1000.00/€1139.00 per year. It has been fixed for 2 years and runs out in July. I am going to fix it for one more year and the cost will be just £4.56/€5.20 more per year. I was surprised after all the price rises that have been announced recently. I will also take BG up on their service to provide a Wi-Fi based and remotely controlled Hive thermostat which will enable us to switch the heating on/off over the Net.

I like reaching the target.

We did another gym session. I was tired before I got there and even more tired when I left for home. I have completed my target every day in the past 7 and 14 out of the last 16. Pauline thinks I am pushing it too hard but I know that, as soon as I make an excuse to myself and chicken out, I will use that excuse to myself increasingly.

This was the topic for discussion as we drove home and then cooked Calamari outside in the sunshine. I have been persuaded to take a day off tomorrow but I might make a late bid for a swim some time in the morning.

Been watching the replaying of the Jeremy Thorpe saga. I remember it clearly in the original and the increasing incredulity I felt at the time. I can’t believe the strength of the establishment cover-up and the slapstick joviality with which it is now reviewed. From politicians to Director General of the BBC to top policemen and security forces, the arms of the national establishment closed around Thorpe to ensure the general population didn’t lose faith in/respect for/obedience to the elite.

Tuesday, 5th June, 2018

Sky Q box soon to be replaced by pure Wi-Fi.

Tuesday, as everyone knows, is a Day of Rest. Well, it is in our house anyway. To hell with the God Squaders! They probably voted Brexit anyway. We have decided not to go to the gym today. Ok. We feel a bit twitchy but our minds are made up. I’ve been examining the process of moving us to Sky Q, a platform which allows us to carry television viewing from room to room. We already have 6 televisions but satellite on only half of them. Sky Q allows us to pause in one room and continue in another or to save to our phones or iPads to watch on the go. Useful but self-indulgent. I’ve decided to wait because the whole thing will be obviated later in the year when Sky service will become totally on line.

After that brush with new technology, I needed a lie down. Actually, I really enjoyed it. I love these new challenges. Now, I have to embrace computerised control of watering systems to maintain our herbs for 5 weeks while we are away. This is what life’s about – controlling one’s life remotely. In just the same way, I tested myself and sent off my INR result this morning and had an assessment within the hour without ever visiting the hospital. Pauline received a phone call from her doctor to resolve an issue which didn’t need to take up face-to-face surgery time. Soon we will never see anyone ever again. How good can life get?

Wednesday, 6th June, 2018

Life rocketing away!

Warm and humid with the temperature reaching 26C/79F, everything is growing. We spent the morning cutting the hedges for the second time this month. Plants have been trimmed back in the borders. Tomorrow the lawns will need cutting again. I sewed pots of Rocket Salad seeds on Sunday and, true to their name, they are up and rocketing away already.

We went off to the Health Club to do a full gym workout and a part swimming routine. Hot sunny weather brings part time swimmers out and I don’t find it enjoyable and relaxing to have to fight for swimming space. We did 10 lengths (250 ms.) and then stopped. Apparently, the UV levels in our region are at their most dangerous at the moment so cutting down exposure is no bad thing.

As soon as we get back from France, we come to the end of our current EE mobile contracts and are entitled to move or choose new smartphones in exchange for another 2 year contract. I’ve spent some time today looking at alternative smartphone models because our EE service is worth continuing. I expect we will just upgrade to a Samsung S9. We don’t make so many phone calls with it but we do text, access the internet on the go and send and read emails. I follow and update my Twitter feed and Facebook pages. I’ve found I use my camera a lot so a reasonable standard will help. The cameras is a 12mp one which is not the best but will certainly do for anything I want to produce. The contract will be for two phones at £38.00/€43.30 each for unlimited 4G calls and texts and 4mbs of data. This will do fine.

Thursday, 7th June, 2018

A bright but overcast and muggy morning. At 10.00 am the temperature is 17C/63F but feels warmer. The Irish Times has reported this morning that the UK Supreme Court has ruled the Northern Ireland abortion law to be in breach of Human Rights. As a life-long enemy of Roman Catholicism, this is another, wonderful breach of that ludicrously anachronistic religion. It is a cause for celebration.

I grew up in a predominantly Roman Catholic household ruled by my mother. All things about life, food, clothing, finances were tied to religious obedience. I cannot believe now that I submitted to such tyranny but times were very different. My hero was James Joyce’s altar ego, Stephen Daedalus who refused, even on his mother’s death bed to acknowledge the ‘faith’ by muttering Lucifer’s words, Non Serviam. I took succour from that while all the time wondering if I was really strong enough to do the same. It is/was a belief system of utter hypocrisy. Witness in modern times the Magdalene Laundries, the plethora of paedophile priest cases, etc..

I was forced to live a lie – going to church every Sunday under threat of punishment, going to confession every month to ‘confess’ a mere confection of lies that I knew and the priest knew were a confection. Being sent to a Seminary totally against my will but arranged and reinforced by a nun in the hope that I would see the light and become a priest. I marched with the scouts on St George’s Day up to but not in to the village CofE church because, to cross that threshold, would be tacit acknowledgement of another, ‘legitimate’ religion.

It always struck me as odd that a dishevelled man on the streets of Derby, muttering to himself about god was dismissed as a madman who should be locked away but a man dressed in a black frock, walking round the outside of a church, chanting about god was considered the ultimate authority and beyond reproach and was to have his hand obsequiously kissed in an act of fealty. A man from Africa chanting and dispensing felicitations by wafting smoke or spraying water on their followers was to be dismissed with amused contempt as an ignorant savage but a man in a church wafting smoke or spraying water on their congregation was to be lauded as the true representative of ‘god’.

Of course, this religion is founded in hypocrisy by appealing to the natural, human condition of searching for something outside one’s self. It led to my final argument I had with my Mother just before she died. As a teacher, I saw it as my mission to redress the balance and never hesitated to tell children that I didn’t believe in god and could see no, logical reason why anyone would. I told my mother this and she was scandalised by that information. I asked how she could believe in imaginary concepts of authorities which were only social constructs. She asked me why I would deny her the comfort, in dying, of belief in god and heaven. This self delusion is the ultimate hypocrisy. So I suppose it was my Stephen Daedalus Non Serviam moment.

The real irony here is that the predominantly Catholic South have elected a gay prime minister and voted to allow abortion while the predominantly Catholic North have a dour, Presbyterian party calling the shots in denying the population abortion. Never has a united Ireland seemed more possible.

Friday, 8th June, 2018

A hot and very humid day. It reached 26C/79F in early afternoon. Of course, this was nothing like Greece which is experiencing its first heatwave of the year with temperatures approaching 35C/95F in places. We threw caution to the wind and decided to miss our gym routine.

We drove 10 miles down the coast to Bognor Regis made famous by George Vth with his renowned, Bugger Bognor, remark as he recuperated from a chest infection. Actually, it is more Cyril Regis than George Vth. Like so many English seaside resorts, it is fairly tawdry and depressing without its teaming throngs of tourists. Even with them, it is hard to feel affectionate for its charms. It compares poorly with Littlehampton, Worthing and Brighton. We parked up and walked the promenade, down the scruffy pier and back to the car.

Saturday, 9th June, 2018

Another hot and humid day but a little more overcast this morning. Woken by a phonecall from British Gas reminding me that an engineer would be round by 8.00 am to reset my smart metre which had stopped transmitting to them although I could see everything reported fine in my Office. Rushed orange juice and tea and then let in a lovely chap from BG. He was with us for about 20 mins to do something I could have done for them if someone had told me. He said not many of his customers know how to read their smart meter never mind reset it. By 8.30 am, I was making fresh coffee and downloading my paper.

Little time to read the paper though. By 9.30 am I had cut, edged and fed the lawns – front and back – swept the patio and tidied up the garage. Another cup of coffee and I was on to vacuuming the house from top to bottom. A man’s work … Actually, I want to get my ‘step’ ratio up. We are going to the gym at 2.00 pm so I would like to have a reasonable start recorded on my watch. I’m averaging 12,000 paces per day over the past two months so I have a reputation to keep up. An athlete’s work …

Regular readers will know that I love gadgets as well as being target driven. Cordless lawnmowers and vacuum cleaners give me incentive enough to do what I would rarely have done before. Last Thursday, I went to the Dentist. It was just a 6 monthly checkup on my dental plan. Older readers will know that older teeth can be a nightmare when eating. As teeth separate and gaps appear, they are (not to put too finer point on it) food traps. It is impossible for me to travel anywhere without tooth picks.

The dentist asked me if I used dental floss but I find it so hard to get my fat fingers into my mouth and particularly to reach back teeth. He told me I should buy a water jet tooth flosser. I think I had seen one before but never really focussed on it. However, he immediately hit my gadgeteer’s sweet spot and I looked them up on-line as soon as I got home. I’ve got to have one. In fact, Pauline immediately ordered one for me. At a cost of £55.00/€62.70, I will have a gadget which will jet water or air into the crevices of my back teeth without having to swallow my own hand. It will also help eradicate the gingivitis that I have suffered with since my teenage years. Could life get any better?

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