Week 525

Sunday, 13th January, 2019

Another lovely snap from Bob

A warmer but still sunless day today. We have been around 11C/52F all day. The additional warmth was just as well because we’ve had the patio doors open most of the day to stop us suffocating. We have been sanding the large, reclaimed wood table top prior to re-waxing. I bought a flat bed sander recently especially to do this job but I proved useless at doing it just as I am useless at every practical job known to woman.

I got the sander out of its case the other day to get to know it and how to fit the parts together.… but I couldn’t for the life of me find out how to put it back in its case afterwards. My wife stood over it for a couple of minutes, slotted everything back into its custom made case and snapped it closed. I just carried it to the garage.

Obviously politics and newspapers were my main feature today. We are all preparing for a big week of debate and cliff hanging. Certainly not going to book any trips or even flights until everything is clearer. Europe could be missing quite a few UK tourists if the uncertainty persists not to mention the agony of ex-pats over their legal status and healthcare arrangements and the effect of a plummeting pound on their pensions, etc..

This morning, I decided to get the job done. I got out the sander (but took photos on my phone so I could remember how it should go back) and fitted a sandpaper sleeve on it, switched on and panicked. I immediately saw me destroying the table. I did a little strip and seemed to get nowhere in making a difference. I tried a piece of sandpaper on a sanding block which had some effect but I looked at the size of the table and thought I couldn’t do all that. I called my wife. She picked up the sander and started. I watched for a couple of minutes and then wandered off to read the paper. Two hours later, Pauline had finished and was emptying the dust bag which was bulging. I cooked – our usual role reversal.

Monday, 14th January, 2019

Antique Pine?

After 8.00 am Dentist/Hygenist appointments, the morning has involved small, house jobs. A plumber called on ‘snagging’ duty and we turned our minds to finding a wood satin to finish off our reclaimed timber table top. We went through all the main retailers and found nothing appropriate. I spent some time on the web researching it and found the best solution on Ebay of all places.

We bought this table, which is made from reclaimed wood, in Manchester although it was imported from Lithuania. It is 2.2 metres x 1.2 metres and very heavy. It looks like Antique Pine is the colour we need to bring it back to original although Light Oak is another possibility. I’ve ordered a couple of Test Pots to try out before we buy enough to do the whole thing.

Tomorrow we face the next big test when I take Pauline to hospital for the third time in a week. We have to be there for 7.30 am so it will be an early start out at 6.30 am for Chichester. We don’t know what time the morning rush hour starts around here. We can’t afford to be late although her operation could be any time during the day.

Tuesday, 15th January, 2019

Up at 5.30 am on a fairly chilly morning. Out by 6.15 am and off to Chichester Hospital. It is a very pleasant place under other circumstances. At least driving in at 7.00 am is very good for parking. I am going, with Pauline, up to the ominously named Treatment Centre where we have to report to the Pagham Suite for 7.30 am. Pauline is nil by mouth since midnight and already thirsty. She is being operated on by a Consultant Surgeon who is renowned for packing lots of operations in to her 2 days per week at the hospital and for setting a patient order but changing it many times paper day as she sees fit. Initially, we have been led to believe that Pauline will be seen in the morning.

Waiting for Ever

To say I am geographically challenged is a massive understatement. I could lose my way in a cul-de-sac. Hospital corridors are the height of nightmare to me. Pauline is far more concerned that I will get lost and never find her again than she is with her operation. This will be the fifth time I have walked from the carpark to Reception to the Treatment Centre to the Pagham Suite and, although I know all the names, I am no clearer how the places are linked than I was the first time. I take pictures on my phone as we walk to serve as aides memoire for my return.

Up at the Pagham Suite, we learn that Pauline is 5th of 8 and will probably be dealt with in mid-afternoon. Spirits fall a bit because she is not allowed even a sip of water. At around 9.00 am, Pauline meets the consultant who says that, having read all the notes and reviewed the scans, she doesn’t think she needs to operate at all. Spirits soar. The consultant says, however, she will need to undertake further investigation to be sure and that will mean a General Anaesthetic. Spirits sink a bit although it could be much worse. Pauline is put in hospital gown and slippers and I make a discrete retreat, following my original ball of string from the Pagham Suite to the Reception where there is a large Costa Coffee and a table for my iPad.

The Pagham Suite – perhaps overstates it a bit.

Today is a big day all round. The Politics is all. By 12.15 pm, I am fully ensconced in the Daily Politics programme on BBC2. All thoughts of PAULINE are gone. The excitement is almost unbearable. Who knows what will happen? I decide to write my Blog to fill in time. By 2.30 pm, I get a text to say she is in Recovery but has to give a urine sample before she can leave. I happen to be in the toilet at the time and text back offering to give one for her. She texts back to say she doesn’t think it is feasible. I go up to the Recovery area to wait for information and instructions.  

Pauline comes out, looking very white and shaky, at about 4.30 pm to tell me that nothing untoward has been found and she is completely healthy. We embrace. The relief is incredible. She then says, to cope with the invasive procedure she has undergone, she has been prescribed some medication which the hospital pharmacy is providing. It has been ordered from the ward but it will take 1 – 1.5 hrs to arrive because they are so stretched. At this stage, we have been there for over 9 hrs and are both rather tired. Eventually, Pauline tells them that she will cope tonight at home but return tomorrow to collect it. That is how we leave it.

Drive home on a crest of relief. Normally, we would open a bottle of champagne and toast the future. We are not drinking alcohol until July and Pauline can’t drink for 48 hrs anyway so a cup of tea is ordered. We settle down to watch the speeches prior to the Meaningful Vote in Parliament and the vote. The Government, in general and the Prime Minister, in particular, suffers a defeat by 230 vote – the most crushing defeat in modern, British history. The government is in total disarray. The opposition has put down a Vote of No Confidence which they will lose because the Tories know they will be slaughtered in an election so the next Referendum gets closer.

Wednesday, 16th January, 2019

Recuperation Day. Pauline is feeling sore, uncomfortable and still rather tired after her experiences of yesterday. She still looks very pale and drawn. It isn’t too surprising considering the effects of a general anaesthetic. We decided to stay at home. I didn’t go to the gym but followed politics instead.

Skinny Whippet – Milos, 1982

I have continued my task of digitising our photograph library. It runs to many hundreds of fairly dreadful snaps which would mean little to anyone other than us. However, it is evoking many, sentimental memories because those times are gone and will never be reclaimed. I thought I would cheer Pauline up by showing her how slim and young she once was but she didn’t appear very enamoured. I don’t know why.

Thursday, 17th January, 2019

To distract from the flailing around of the political classes over a failed Brexit, right wing news organs are trailing an environmental/public health issue. The Planetary Health Diet is something they have dug up from a Swedish University research project. It suggests that humankind which, for as long as one can find in research, has lived on a meat and dairy products diet integrated with plant food, should become mainly vegan. Suddenly, the exhalations of animals is unacceptable and threatens our planet’s climate. I can barely contain my incredulity.

Climate change enthusiasts told us that we would have to stop driving, flying and conducting our life as we prefer. Energy generation was said to be to poisonous so we should find ways of depriving ourselves of that facility by grossly reducing our consumption. We should deprive ourselves of the facilities that modernity affords us. I always thought that this was putting the problem the wrong way around. If the combustion engine or the jet engine was the problem than science would have to react and come up with something else. If coal fired or gas fired  power stations are bad for our environment then science must offer something else not deprive humanity of energy.

And so it has been. Now renewable energy solutions abound. Although no one could sensibly argue mankind should go backward by rationing heat and light or road and air transport, scientist are well on the way to solving the problem. Wind and  solar generation are already making a considerable contribution. I would happily have bought a new house with its entire roof covering made out of solar panel/tiles. Why wouldn’t one vote for ‘free’ energy. In just the same way, the scientists must come up with solutions to the downsides of meat & dairy diets not the consumers.

The view from Sainsbury’s window.

As it happens, Pauline & I have made great strides towards such a diet anyway. We never and I mean never buy ready made food. Everything is cooked freshly by us. Our daily consumption consists of mainly fish and shell fish, some chicken and the occasional game – pheasant and rabbit. We eat at least 10 portions of fruit and vegetables per day and our shopping trolley is full right from the outset at the supermarket which starts with fruit and veg.. This hasn’t happened for any, principled reason other than we fell into the pattern and find it hard to break away. A couple of months ago, we had some red meat out of curiosity and both agreed we had moved on from that and wouldn’t return.

We feel incredibly lucky to afford our diet. Today, we bought two cod loins, 2kg of fantail prawns, four sea bass, two smoked salmon fillets and two packs of chicken fillets. These are incredibly healthy items but they are not cheap. We put in our trolley a cauliflower, a head of broccoli, a large bag of rocket, onions, celery, eight, large peppers, eight packs of cherry tomatoes, a pack of pears, four packs of black grapes, two packs of button mushrooms, a fennel and sixteen, large, sweet oranges. We will almost certainly shop again for veg before next Thursday.

This sort of diet would get formal approval but is just not available to the poor who find themselves falling back on cheap, salt-heavy and sugar-rich, ready-made meals, starchy fillers with little, quality protein. Then, we wonder why whole swathes of the population suffer more illness and die earlier than they should.

Friday, 18th January, 2019

A chilly morning at 3C/37F which eventually rocketed to 4C/39F although we had no frost at all. Off early to Worthing to take Pauline to have her hair cut. She is feeling much better and we are trying to boost her. She has done two, light gym routines in the past couple of days and we will book her in for a beauty treatment soon. I enjoyed a quiet hour in Starbucks with my iPad. The wi-fi provision is so much better nowadays. I was able to multi-task as if I was at home.

Wind Power where it should be – out at sea.

Pauline met me at the coffee shop by 10.00 am and the sun had started to shine across the sea. It felt so cold that even the dog walkers and joggers had stayed at home. There is something serenely beautiful about a deserted seashore. In the breeze, however, it felt so raw that I didn’t stick around long enough to explore that concept this morning.

Saturday, 19th January, 2019 

As the week closes on a grey, damp and rather depressing morning with the temperature hovering around 4C/39F, it is important to have optimistic things to hang on to. I’m at the point of ordering my new car and that is always enjoyable. Because the new car is a brand new model, I am doing some research about it. It comes in four model levels from the basic S to SE, SR & EX. We have driven EX models from the outset in about 1998. The new one will be about the 5th version and about our 13th new CRV. We have always driven Automatic Petrol models and this will be our first Hybrid.

The new hybrid uses petrol and electric intelligently. The battery isn’t a plug-in but is recharged by driving the petrol engine. It also draws charge from braking. The result is that the engine is said to be very quiet and starts off in electric mode. As speed builds up, the petrol engine kicks in and works in tandem with the electric drive which, eventually is dropped altogether as one hits cruising speeds. The result is greatly increased fuel economy. Currently, I only get 23 mph on short run driving and 32 mph on long drives. The hybrid tested by motoring journalists have obtained 53 mph particularly in short run driving because the electric drive is mainly used.

The new CRV features CVT or Continuous Variable Transmission which means there is no gear shift sound. Currently, my automatic tells me it is shifting up and down albeit quietly. The new car has no gear lever but just a row of buttons. That will take a little bit of getting used to. It can be driven in Economy, Electric Drive & Sport. Currently, I have Economy selected permanently and really see no difference in performance. The new CR-V seamlessly selects the appropriate drive mode.

Why does a 2019 car need wood trim?

Apparently, they are available for pre-order only at the moment so there is no rush. With such a new model, I am unlikely to be able to negotiate much of a discount even though the car market is very subdued at the moment.

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