Week 510

Sunday, 30th September, 2018

A milestone achieved!

The end of September already. Pity really because it’s been a really good month. We’ve been Spring-Cleaning. A bit counter-intuitive I know but the windows and doors outside are looking grubby in this lovely sunshine so we did them anyway. We also went to the Health Club. Today was important in my goal achievement.

I started this Garmin App. for my new Garmin smartwatch in the middle of October last year. In spite of that, today, I reached a daily average paces for the past twelve months of 10,008.6 paces from a total of  3,613,156 paces for the year which equates to walking 1,874.2 miles in the year. Obviously, with 2 weeks still to go, I can improve on this and I motivated to do just that. Don’t ask me why.

Pauline’s sister, Phyllis is ill and in hospital. It looks like she is spending at least two nights there so it must be serious. She has a digestive tract problem which seems to run through the family and she is finding it hard to deal with. Let’s hope she is out soon because M&S could collapse without her.

Monday, 1st October, 2018

Welcome to a new month on the Blog as it careers towards the end of its 10th year. Less than three months to go. I won the battle to say White Rabbit first for a change.This morning is the most gorgeous, autumnal morning. Clear, blue sky and strong, uninterrupted sunshine. What could be better? Well a bit more warmth. It is only 9C/48F this morning at 9.00 am. I’m still in shorts and tee-shirt but rather more aware of my skin as we shop for essential supplies.

Of course, the first day of the month is marked with spreadsheets and readings. Gas and Electricity usage is recorded and analysed. You will, probably, all have been doing the same this morning – apart from Ruth. Often water consumption is checked but not this morning because we were feeling disinclined to lie on a cold, slightly damp lawn to read the water meter three feet below a manhole cover. Our water bills are fairly insignificant since we were metered.

We also tested and recorded our blood pressures with very satisfactory results. Tomorrow is INR testing. I have better record keeping than the hospital on that one. My spreadsheet records test results back to January 22nd, 2009. Of course, I married the right girl for my nature. Her financial records started on paper on the day we got married but every single transaction is available digitally from January 22nd, 1993. I’m not sure why January 22nd is significant.

I have written before of my sadness in losing my love of music. It has always been so emotionally and intellectually important to me. I am starting to do something about it. Perhaps maturity is allowing me more control over my emotional response. This morning, as I write, I am going back to basics – to the point of the start of my journey. Playing Handel’s Largo – the opening aria to his opera, Xerxses. I kept my emotions in check and progressed to Chopin’s Nocturnes which have meant so much to me over the years but which I coped with admirably today. Maybe I am on my way back!

Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018

A strangely bitty day. I started by scarifying my largely dead back lawn for the third time in a week and it is virtually ready for reseeding. I have six more bags of ‘lawn’ ready for disposal but our local tip is closed today so they are stored. We were both feeling tired and decided, extraordinarily, not to go to the gym. I have built up lots of little jobs which I have done this morning. We are flying to Tenerife in 4 weeks or so and our Airport Lounge memberships are being changed by our bank which provided them We are going from Priority Pass to Dragon Pass Premier.

If this seems rather superficial, I can assure you it is not. These lounges provide an oasis of calm and comfort allied to technical support – good Wi-Fi and charging points plus unlimited food and drink – both non and alcoholic. For two people, the cost of using an airport lounge each on  both legs of one’s journey would be at least £120.00/€135.00. We have done 4 double trips already this year with at least 2 more airports still to visit. This would have cost us at least £600.00/€675.00 just for this year’s travel. I phoned the bank to hurry them up for our new membership cards.

Some of our investments have matured and lost their ‘bonus’ rates of interest. Today was one for addressing that. Pauline had a doctor’s appointment during the morning and we also did a trip to the garden centre for grass seed and topsoil to start work on re-growing large areas of lawn in the next few days. I want to catch the warmer, autumn days for germination so it regenerates while we are away in November.

Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018

A beautiful day of blue sky, strong sunshine and warm temperatures which reached 22C/70F. It was ideal because we were driving to Dorset after breakfast to spend the day with our friend and ex-colleague, Jill. Actually, two ex-colleagues, one of whom was celebrating his 61st birthday, died last week. Such things bring one up short and evoke serious thought.

We had, fortunately, chosen the perfect day and our journey of just under two hours was delightful. Jill lives in Blanford Forum and has done for the past 20 years. It is a delightful, pastoral setting for an essentially quiet life. She was a good friend of Pauline’s at work and we have only seen her a couple of times since she left our school in 1978. Today was a delightful catch-up over a lovely, sea food lunch. Even the drive home was uneventful although I could feel the tiredness coming out after 4 hours driving. We had met Jill in Poole harbour this time last year but neither of us knew much about Dorset. It is a lovely area and full of interest. Jill’s husband is retiring at the end of this month so we are hoping to invite them to our home soon and to see a lot more of them.

Thursday, 4th October, 2018

Foggy but mild this morning. It is main shopping day and we visited Tesco, Sainsburys, Waitrose and the Post Office. It is Pauline’s birthday tomorrow. I am cooking so had to spend an hour sourcing ingredients in Rustington. We had gone out at 9.00 am and didn’t get home until nearly mid day by which time I had already completed 7500 paces so we decided to give the gym a miss and, after lunch of tomato salad, we went down to the beach to walk and ‘take the air’.

The weather was supposed to change from mist to sun but clearly hadn’t received the memo. Misty, sunless light was the order of the whole day. The beach was almost deserted apart from a couple of dogs with their owners. Dogs are allowed on the beach in the off-season (October – March). I wouldn’t allow them there at any time. I wouldn’t allow dogs in the country at all. This is what Brexit was about: Deport all Dogs!

Shades of Grey on Littlehampton Beach

All the beachside infrastructure was closed up – boating lake, cockles & whelks stall, rock shop, tourist tat shop. Even the lifeguard stations had packed up and gone on holiday. We enjoyed the warm, damp, grey air and walked for about an hour. It felt lovely to be fit, healthy and alive.

Friday, 5th October, 2018

Pauline & her Dad









Happy Birthday, on this gloriously sunny morning, to my darling wife. For our 67th birthdays, I had a self-portrait commissioned. I think you’ll agree we don’t look too bad for our age. We have spent the past 40 years welded together at the hip. We’ve spent just one night apart in those 40 years when Pauline was in hospital and we are looking for at least another 25 years more. I just hope the Skiathan and his family are thinking along those lines as well.

I rarely remember to buy her a card. She usually gets a folded A4 sheet of printer paper with Happy Birthday X scrawled in red ink. At least I don’t sink to typing and printing it out. This year, I managed to get away long enough to buy a real card. I am cooking the meal of Lobster, scallops and langoustines in a roasted tomato and dill sauce with slices of potato and rosemary bread to mop up the juices. Scallops and mopping up juices are her absolute favourites but she will have to work for them. I expect her to spend the morning helping me re-seed the lawn and then we will do a full gym session before I display my dazzling culinary expertise.

Saturday, 6th October, 2018

It is 7.30 pm and my wife is in the lounge watching Come Dancing. I am skulking in the Study watching anything else but, particularly, Man. Utd. staging a miraculous comeback against those Premier League titans, Newcastle.

Earlier, the weather proved us right. Yesterday, we spent it feeding, raking, re-seeding, top-soiling and re-treading the the rear lawn. It took about 5 hrs in total to work the 200 sq. ms.. By the end of it, I was shattered. This morning, I have swept the patio clean and then the rain has arrived to start the germination process.

By the time we set off for the gym, it was absolutely throwing it down. Fortunately, tomorrow will be dry and the week ahead will get progressively warmer. This is the perfect climate for grass seed germination. The grass seed we chose was coated with a water absorbent gel to speed up and maintain the process. It cost about £60.00/€68.00 and left a bit to spare. If you add a 10kg pot of Growmore at £12.00/€13.70 and 4, huge packs of compost at £30.00/€34.00, the whole thing was achieved for under £110.00/€125.00. This evening, it feels good to have done all our jobs and exercise routine as well.

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