Week 535

Sunday, 24th March, 2019

Talk about Spring. Feels as if Summer has sprung today. No Gym today so spent the day in the back garden in warm (almost hot) sunshine. delicious!

Lady of the Manor

We unpacked the new furniture and enjoyed a relaxing time. Nice to find that the wireless net reaches out to the garden so we could follow twitter outside.

Nice to see the will of the British People is still speaking loud and clear while the Tory government is still floundering and falling apart. Fascinating week ahead.

Monday, 25th March, 2019

Gorgeous, gorgeous day. It was a bit unusual for us because we had the ‘snaggers’ in to retile the floor of an en suite bathroom. For that reason, we were up a little earlier and it was a good job we were. At 8.00 am, we received a phone call from someone who we had not seen for two or three years. It was an ex-colleague who was telling us of the death of his wife who was also a former, professional colleague.

I’m afraid I don’t have a photo to commemorate her here but Pat Wild, who was the matchmaker between my wife & I more than 40 years ago, has died of bowel cancer. She had fought it off twice before but finally succumbed last night. She had taught in the Arts & Technology building of our school and delivered courses in Fabrics & Weaving for many years. Her husband, Derek, who phoned us, had been Head of Chemistry for equally many years. They have lived in Uppermill, Saddleworth for 47 years.

These events are immediately evocative of life past. Hearing of Pat this morning and we are back in those buildings, those offices, those corridors – places Pat had not graced for 20 years and we have not seen for a decade. Pat’s death is a symbol of the passing of the lives of all who met in that place.

Because the builders were in and will be for three days, I had to go to the gym on my own. Pauline was making endless cups of tea for plumbers and tilers. She also took the chance to bake loaves of bread and make her favourite ginger biscuits. I have been captivated by the Prime ministerial statement concerning her total failure to cobble together support for her ‘deal’. The best way forward is to revoke Article 50 and the petition is already over 5.5 million signatures and increasing by almost 300 per minute. Ultimately, the Commons must take notice.

Bakaliaros, Skordalia & Banzari blending freedom & union

Today in Greece they celebrate Independence Day under the shelter of the European Union. Britain should remember that. The Greeks certainly don’t want to leave the EU but they are proud to be independent. The two are not incompatible. They blend beautifully like Bakaliaros, Skordalia & Banzari – salt cod (hake), garlic sauce & beetroot which are traditional fare on this day.

Tuesday, 26th March, 2019

Snaggers arrive for Day2/3

Another beautiful morning and we have the tilers in for the second of three days of ‘snagging’. I’ve written how lucky we are to have a 5-year warranty because we are now just into year 4. Our next door neighbours signed for their property a few weeks after us and only received a 3-year warranty because our builders had downgraded their offer in that time. Incredibly unfair to them but fortunate for us.

Wednesday, 27th March, 2019

The tiler and plumber came back for a couple of hours this morning to replace the sink and toilet and grout around them. Two, lovely, hardworking and gentle men. Polite, dedicated and delightful, they have highly sympathetic and pleasant. We have found so many skilled men of genuine kindness in the process of purchasing and configuring our home. It is constantly uplifting to meet them.

Our Healtrh Club

The workmen finished and left by mid-day which freed us to go to the health Club together. I was doing the 12th routine in the past 14 days but felt good and really enjoyed it. The swimming at the end was just wonderful. The water was warm as was the air temperature at 16C/61F even though we had no sun by afternoon.

Couldn’t wait for parliamentary proceedings as we drove home around 4.00 pm. Today, the House of Commons took control of the order paper and held indicative votes. A second referendum came with 27 votes of being approved and will go forward to the second round on Monday. The Prime minister has offered to resign to buy votes for her ‘deal’ but the DUP have pledged not top support he so it looks as if she’s thrown herself under a bus prematurely and unnecessarily.

Thursday, 28th March, 2019

Jane + insignificant other.

Sister, Jane, comes of age today with her 65th birthday. Quite unbelievable. To think it is 50 years since we shared a bus together as I got off at the Boys Grammar School and she went on to the Girls High School. We haven’t seen much of each other since then but, now, we are both playing out in retirement. I wish her a very happy birthday.

A warm day and lovely and sunny after a grey start. We did our round of supermarkets for the week’s shopping and then home to do jobs. The back garden was bathed in sunshine and quite delightful. The re-seeded lawn is lush, thick and healthily green. In a secluded, warm spot behind the garage, the fig trees are loving their situation. they are covered in baby figlets ready for the summer harvest. The coming nights are forecast to be cold so we have covered the trees in nets to protect them. We are looking forward to making fig jam again after five years without it.

Figlets abound.

The potted herbs – Tarragon, Oregano and  Laurel Bay are doing well. I will replace the Thyme, Basil, Dill and Sage in a couple of weeks. We use so herb in our cooking now and so little salt that it is good to have large stocks of frozen, fresh chopped herbs in our freezers.

Another, full Health club exercise routine again today. it is my  19th out of 20 days. The swimming today was quite delightful. Warm sunshine, warm water, tuneful birds singing optimistically all around us.

Friday, 29th March, 2019

Happy Independence Day and what a day! Blue sky, strong sun, warm temperature which reached 20C/68F by mid afternoon. Although we went to the gym to do our exercise routine, the day was dominated by Brexit proceedings in the House of Commons. Our house had the Parliament Channel in Quadrophenia throughout the morning.

Wrap around Parliament

Televisions were on in two rooms upstairs as Pauline ironed and put things in the wardrobes and in two rooms downstairs as I moved between the Office and the Kitchen. I have to admit that although I believed, intellectually, that the Government was going to lose, emotionally, I had grave doubts. Something could go seriously wrong. My real concern was that Labour rebels would turn fright at the last minute and back the Withdrawal Agreement.

As the debate continued, we drove to the gym and spent 90 minutes watching the Parliamentary proceedings as we exercised. We finished just as the speeches wound up and the Commons moved to vote. Today we didn’t swim for the first time this week and I went off for 30 mins in the jacuzzi and water massage area. As I shared and changed, I realised that I was thinking about the vote and the result. I was actually quite nervous. I left the changing room to meet Pauline in the Lobby where she had been watching the proceedings on television as she waited for me. She immediately greeted me with thumbs up. The motion had been defeated by 58 votes which was more than I expected and enough to deter the Government from bringing it back. What joy!

It’s going to be a good weekend. Maybe a good few years. Anyway, chicken griddled in the garden with tomato and rocket salad and a bottle of delicious Bordeaux rouge. Life could be a lot worse. I’m raising a glass to the Skiathan.

Saturday, 30th March, 2019

Ribes is back in fashion.

This is the day that leads to BST. It is a beautiful day of warm sunshine. 16C/61F by mid morning. Tomorrow marks the start of British Summer Time although our village is looking incredibly summery already. One minute everything was dead as a dead thing and then everything was a riot of colour. Particularly, now, our village is seeing the last of the daffodils fade, the magnolia blooms still at peak fullness and now the Ribes – Flowering Currant everywhere alight. The crimson of Ribes set in front of the blushed white flowers of magnolia is inspired planting in gardens around here.

White flowering Blackthorn

Driving around the West Sussex roads, the hedges are vibrant with the white flowers of the inappropriately named Blackthorn hedging which is abundant down here and stands out starkly in the sunshine. Nothing is standing still, however. Trees, hedges are suddenly green without any real warning. The grass is growing lusciously as the frolicking cattle outside with sun on their backs gorge and graze. This is such a time to be alive and feel optimistic. It is a time to be grateful for being alive and feel able to be optimistic.

I cannot sit still any more. I have to be active. This morning, under a strong, warm sun, I spent 2 hours fully valeting the car. Then we went to the Health Club for the 20th day in the last 22. Actually, we will have tomorrow off which will be strange but allow us to adjust to the loss of an hour.

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