Week 526

Sunday, 20th January, 2019

Up early on a gorgeous but quite chilly morning. 2C/36F outside at 7.00 am and it is still only 3C/37F in mid afternoon. Still, no frost and beautiful sun. Our back garden feels almost Mediterranean.

Currently, we are re-waxing the top of our dining table in the kitchen. Having stripped the old coating, and not applied the new, we needed a table cloth temporarily. Out of a drawer of table cloths we drew this hippy-chick cloth from the 1970s.

It was given to us 40 years ago as a wedding present by my hippy-chick, baby sister, Skinny Liz and I have always kept it. It was for another time when penniless, young newly weds could only afford half a table. I have requested a replacement cloth but not received it yet. 

In spite of the cold weather, I ventured out to clean the car ready for visiting Honda tomorrow to discuss changing it. Always beneficial to have a well valeted car valued rather than a filthy one. It is in excellent condition and only 2.5 years old. We’ve done just 20,000 ml/32,000 km and there is little sign of wear & tear. Webuyanycar value it at £20,000/€22,700.00  so I will want at least£21,500.00/€24,400.00 in part exchange. This will leave me finding about £17,000.00/€19,300.00 to replace with the new hybrid. We’ve always tried to pay cash rather than borrow. It sets us up with the discipline of saving for the next one by borrowing from ourselves.

Monday, 21st January, 2019

Chilly but bright and sunny start to the day. 1C/34F at 7.00 am which rocketed to 2C/36F by mid morning. Actually, we did reach a balmy 7C/45F by mid afternoon when we were returning from the Health Club.

Last Wednesday, two days after she spent the day in hospital. Pauline requested an appointment with her doctor to discuss the findings of the investigation and arrange some follow-up medication. This was January 16th. She was told that the first appointment would be February 25th – a wait of nearly 6 weeks. She could have seen a locum earlier but she wanted her regular GP to discuss serious and intimate circumstances. Today, she has been offered a telephone consultation next week as an alternative.

Fighting our way in  for an appointment.

Today, Robert Peston tweeted this:

Just two minutes after my GP surgery opens, I am already caller number 28 in the queue to speak to a receptionist – who will tell me the next appointment will be a month away. The gateway to healthcare here is shut.

We are probably suffering because we have chosen to move to a swiftly expanding community which favours older people because of its climate but makes disproportionate demands on its Health Care services. This is why we major on exercise by regular trips to the Health Club. We are working in the belief that, if we keep moving, we can’t be caught by ill health. Probably nonsense but one has to try.

Tuesday, 22nd January, 2019

Cold, bright start with lots of lovely sunshine all morning. We began to see reports of snow fall in our old haunts around the Pennine ridge from West Yorkshire to Lancashire, from Huddersfield to Oldham. Ex-pupils of ours were posting experiences of their children getting to school and it brought memories flooding back. We don’t really remember many years in the 37 we worked in schools when we didn’t have winter disruption.

A typical drive home on the M62.

Within a week of this 10 years ago, we were closed for 4 days firstly because staff couldn’t get in and, subsequently, because the huge campus environs were incredibly dangerous and it took our 4 man site team all that time to clear the snow and ice. Today, if we had been driving home over the Pennines, we would have been confronted by these conditions – snow, fog and an accident that led police to close two lanes.

It just so happened that our school closure ten years ago coincided with my diagnosis of atrial fibrillation which has condemned me to taking daily doses of rat poison for the rest of my life. Over those ten years, I have tested my INR every fortnight by drawing blood from a finger. I have managed to keep my INR between the levels of INR =2.0 – 3.0 most of the time. Unfortunately, jabbing a needle into your finger every fortnight leaves the tips very sore and piano playing almost impossible. I couldn’t play one anyway.

Wednesday, 23rd January, 2019

Out early on a cool morning without any frost. We were going to Rustington for Pauline to spend an hour at a beauty parlour to have a face lift Facial. I went to have my biennial, ‘free’ eye test at Specsavers and to look for some new glasses. I turned up at Specsavers on ‘spec’ and got an immediate appointment. My test was said to be ‘perfect’ despite being blind in my left eye but it was ‘recommended’ that I buy new glasses. I have no idea why.

These are my currently favoured style.

Actually, I had already decided that I wanted new glasses even though I have three pairs of Distance and three pairs of Reading glasses at the moment. They’ve taken quite a battering over the past two years and are chipped and misshapen. I like very light, delicate and inobtrusive face furniture. When one is as gorgeous as me, one doesn’t want anything to obstruct or detract from one’s gorgeousness. They seem to have gone down in price over the past two years and this price is for two pairs not one so only £84.40/€97.00 per pair.

I have worn glasses since the age of 7 and have been effectively blind in my left eye since soon after birth. My life has been littered with mistakes but my first one in my first days was to drop the use of my good eye and rely on the use of my short sighted one. For most adults, the muscles controlling the focal length slacken with age and worsen their sight. The change in my focal length has improved my sight. I have to wear glasses for driving but I wear them for very little else. Much of my reading is done with glasses but I can manage pretty well without them. I’m beginning to think it’s more habit than need most of the time.

Thursday, 24th January, 2019

Cold this morning at 0C/32F with a bit of frost at 7.00 am although it was soon dispelled by the time we drove out 2 hrs later and we reached the dizzying heights of 8C/46F by mid afternoon. A round trip of Asda, Sainsbury’s, the Post Office Main Depot to collect an undelivered parcel and then Tesco took just 2 hrs. Homemade Turkey soup and the Daily (Brexit) Politics / Politics Live.

As predicted, the David Lloyd Health Club has suddenly got busier. Start of the New Year with fitness resolutions allied to highly advertised short term memberships which can be cancelled after 3 months has brought about this sudden increase. Fortunately, as we know from experience, most resolutions don’t even last the 3 month trial and the newbies drop away quite quickly. This is why the 3 month trial is important. Many clubs expect a 12 month commitment which can be pricey if you stop going after a few weeks.

Pauline & I pay £1825.00/€2110.00 per annum for our joint membership. It might sound a lot but it is quite economical when you consider that we go 5-6 times per week for about 3hrs. Allowing for a couple of months abroad each year, we use the club for around 260 days per year. That is 520 person/days at a cost of just circa £3.50/€4.10 each per day. Our attendance has become part of our life routine as we intended it should. We always said we would use it as a replacement activity for work. I have to say, it’s much more enjoyable and rewarding.

Friday, 25th January, 2019

Friday already. I wish I was working then I could have really enjoyed it. As it is, we woke to a warmish but foggy morning. We think this is the first fog we have seen in three years here – if you don’t count Brexit and, unfortunately, I do.

Specsavers Rustington – Quiet outside but packed inside.

Out to Rustington to visit Specsavers again. I have decided to pick two pairs of distance glasses and two pairs of reading glasses. Having researched on-line, I realise how cheap Specsavers are compared with the limited number of alternative choices. The sorts of frames I want are £390.00/€450.00 per pair at Boots and at least £200.00/€231.00 at VisionExpress. Today, I bought two pairs of long sight and two pairs of reading glasses for £316.00/€365.00 total. Even I can see the value in that.

It was 13C/56F as we drove to the gym this lunchtime. It felt like mid-Summer after the past few days. As we drove home, we went past a couple of BT Openreach vans. That is not unusual because, as new homes become available, so their phone/broadband needs to be connected to the street cabinet. However, Friday evening and BT Openreach are not good combinations. As soon as I got through my front door, I checked my hub and was relieved to find it working.

We ate roast salmon and salads. I wanted to show Pauline a video clip on Twitter and, as she watched it, it froze. My worst fears were confirmed as darkness closed in at 5.00 pm on a Friday evening, my broadband had been unplugged down the road. This has happened before and I spent an impossible weekend without it.

I shot out of the house and sprinted down to where I had seen the engineers. They were still there huddled around a hole in the pavement full of a bird’s nest of wires. They knew before I spoke why I was there. Often at the end of a long week and desperate to get home for a rest, they pull one plug to accommodate the new one knowing they can sort it after the weekend. I’ve learnt the hard way. They quickly re-plugged me in and I came home a happy boy.

Saturday, 26th January, 2019

Pleasant and mild start to the morning – 10C/50F at 7.00 am and the mornings are rapidly becoming lighter. Certainly no heating needed today. Still basking in the enjoyment of Man Utd’s win over Arsenal last night. Off to the gym ourselves this afternoon.

Early post through the door is not post at all but the latest and last copy of Yellow Pages being delivered. I looked it up and found that Yellow Pages originated in Wyoming in 1883 when a printer ran out of white paper and completed his print-run with what he had left which was yellow. The concept caught on and spread across the world. It took another 83 years to reach UK where it was first produced just down the road in Brighton in 1966. We haven’t won the World Cup since and now we won’t be seeing any more copies of the Yellow Pages.

It won’t worry me. They go straight from the Hall floor into the recycle bin. I haven’t felt the need for one for 20 years. BT sold the Yellow Pages for £2.1bn in 2001 which now looks pretty good business. As an early adopter of on-line searching, it quickly became obvious that this would be the way to go. I rather worry nowadays that I have usurped my need for memory by adopting a Google-brain but we can’t go backwards. The problem is that there are still the dinosaurs and the elderly who unable or unwilling to move on and become severely isolated from the society around them. I had the same problem in Education as we rapidly moved curricula on-line when we had a number of households who didn’t even have computers never mind access to the internet. Eventually, of course, everything catches up but I am naturally impatient.