Week 553

Sunday, 28th July, 2019

A pleasantly warm Sunday morning – 23C/74F. The workers are mowing their lawns. Actually, I cut ours again this morning. Pauline trimmed the hedges and I cleaned the front door. A neighbour walking past was amused at what they saw as our role-reversal. If only they knew. Pauline is so much more practical than I am.

On the front drive, we had a three pieces of cordless equipment. The lawnmower, hedge trimmer and strimmer.

As we both worked away, Pauline dashed indoors to get something, shouting over her shoulder as she went,

Keep your eye on the equipment, John.

I thought about that in some amazement. The idea of someone coming along and pinching it would never even occur to me. Hardly anyone passes by. When a house in our road was recently put up for sale, the Estate Agent described it as in what is locally known as Millionaire’s Road. Although that is a bit of an exaggeration, it does feel extremely quiet, comfortable and safe. Maybe I am just very naïve and Pauline is much more worldly wise. You can take the girl out of Oldham but you can’t take Oldham out of the girl.

Do you remember Dubbin?

My wife is an old-fashioned girl. Today she told me that we had to buy a waterproofing spray to put on our garden furniture covers to increase their protection during the winter. When I questioned her, she said they had always had to do it to tents when she was a child. I have a feeling that synthetic material protection has moved on quite a lot in the past 60 years. I think you’ll find boys don’t rub Dubbin into their football/rugby boots any more like I did excitably in 1965 with my first ‘professional’ pair.

At the end of a beautiful  and really enjoyable day, we walked in the cooler back garden which faces south and where the greying night sky is pierced by the dramatic light of Jupiter. I only know that because my wife was able to tell me. It is all out of my sphere of knowledge.

Monday, 29th July, 2019

Lovely day of sunshine and warm temperatures which reached 24C/75F – a comfortable and relaxing feeling. We did some shopping and a full workout at the gym before eating a meal of griddled swordfish steaks with homegrown salad in the garden.

Our tomatoes are ripening quickly now and the figs are swelling and ripening at an alarming pace. They are the size of small pears. We picked these on the fruit bowl this morning. They are all from one, two year old tree.

Tuesday, 30th July, 2019

Quite a pleasant start to the day – warm (19C/66F), bright but a bit breezy. I went out to the garden centre to buy a sprinkler for the lawns ironically on a day when Southern Water hinted that a hosepipe might be on the way.

As we drove home, it started to rain. The gusts of wind had got stronger as well. Opening the conservatory doors onto the back garden, we found that the fence separating our garden from the neighbours at the side had blown over and hung at a slant. The plant support wires were holding it up but barely. The electrical cables lighting the garden were stretched taut to snapping tension. Our neighbours are away.

To top the day off, as we put the car away in the garage, a wasp decided to fly down the neckline of Pauline’s dress and stung her. She was calm and had the presence of mind to reach in and pick out the wasp along with the sting. She immediately applied vinegar and then sting relief cream. It worked and the sting did not swell up but was restricted to a burning, red rash. It always seems to happen to Pauline. It’s going to be my turn soon!

INR testing & reporting day today. I’ve been doing it since the end of January 2009. For much of that time, I’ve had to test and report at least every 4-6 weeks. In the past 3 years or so, I have been able to keep my INR under much greater equilibrium. For the past couple of years, the testing and reporting intervals have stretched. I tested and reported today with an almost perfect result and was given my new reporting date well forward to the end of September. Must be doing something right.

Wednesday, 31st July, 2019

We went out early to Worthing town centre on a warm but cloudy morning. Wednesday in Worthing is market day and stalls line the streets selling fruit & Vegetables, Artisan Bread, Game & Poultry, Pies & Pasties, Clothes and Shoes plus all sorts of knick-knacks. Our access to the town centre is via Sea Road and the promenade. The recent breeze has produced a choppy sea which explains the seagulls massing and marauding in land.

Worthing Eye

As we drove past the pier, our eyes were drawn to the newly erected Worthing Eye. It went up for a while last year but was taken down in the Autumn. We are not sure if it is permanent this time or not.

Another hard session at the Health Club but at the end of this month, my phone tells me I have walked 2100 miles in the past 12 months. No wonder I’m tired.

Thursday, 1st August, 2019

Happy new August. New months are times to be optimistic, to look forward to future Augusts to come even if the 2019 version will only last 31 days. Actually, I am quite contrary. I recall that 30 years ago this month, a colleague from School threw himself under a train because he just couldn’t cope with the reality of his life any more. He was only 48. Last year, one of Pauline’s former Assistants died of a heart attack at the age of just 61. Pauline’s cousin died this month two years ago after struggling against cancer. It is hard to see the fairness and optimism in these events. 

I think of all the experiences that we have enjoyed since they left the world and of the heartache their leaving has engendered. I know this doesn’t sound optimistic but it does serve to engender a need in me to make the most of the life I have while I have it. It may be mundane but it is real and it is alive.

Bottom Rot in Greece

Warm – 24C/75F – and reasonably bright but not wholly sunny day. We did our weekly shop at Tesco and a full exercise routine at the Health Club. I was reading my Blog from 6 years ago. We had been working in our Greek garden where, amongst other things, we had been growing tomatoes. Like many other islanders that year, we had been hit with bottom rot on our fruit.

No such problem in 2019 Sussex. Our cherry tomatoes are fruiting heavily and ripening nicely. We haven’t picked any yet but it won’t be long. We have yellow and red varieties

You can’t beat home grown.

I’m only growing them for a bit of fun and a sense of achievement but looking after them is keeping me exercised.

Friday, 2nd August, 2019

A busy and tiring day. It’s amazing how social interaction can be so demanding if one’s normal day doesn’t include much of it. We were up early on a day which was warm and largely sunny ultimately reached a humid 24C/75F. I cleaned the car while Pauline steam cleaned the floors.

By 11.30 am, we were on the road to Surrey. It is the most enjoyable and beautiful route. Outside commuter times, the A24/London Road is delightful, tree-lined and quiet. It is a route which mixes 50mph/70mph sections but there is one drawback. We have a 6 mile stretch of the M25 to negotiate and it is so unpredictable. Today, after a dream drive, the M25 was stationary. We thought there must have been an accident but it turned out to be ‘volume of traffic’. It didn’t hold us up too much and all was clear as we drove home around 7.30 pm.

Pinnacles 8 years on.

As we entered West Byfleet, we decided to call in at our ‘old’ property known as The Pinnacles. I say old but it is less than 8 years old. We had a duplex apartment for 4 years and, when we sold it, almost doubling our money. Recently, we have noticed that re-sale properties are struggling to find buyers and ‘asking prices’ are being cut. Today, we felt it hadn’t the clean, crisp management look that we had seen when we moved in.

Pauline insisted on being expunged.

We went on to a ‘family’ BBQ with 3 lads who we have known since they were tiny and are now almost human. They have girlfriends so they must be almost normal. I enjoyed chasing them round the garden and almost catching them. We ate lovely food cooked on the BBQ – salmon, king prawns, chicken, steak and sausages all accompanied by salad. It was delightful.

However, by the time we got home, we were both shattered. Must be our ages!

Saturday, 3rd August, 2019

A warm morning of hazy sunshine. We were so tired this morning that we didn’t get up until 7.00 am. Freshly squeezed,  Valencian orange juice followed by Yorkshire tea and then a large cup of freshly ground, Arabica coffee with the summer warmth wafting through the open doors on to the garden is hard to beat particularly. This is particularly so when I’m looking at things I would never have considered growing outside in Yorkshire.

The peppers are developing well.

We’ve been eating figs for a couple of weeks and there are lots to come. The Brown Turkey Fig tree is just coming to ripeness. We have started to pick the red and yellow cherry tomatoes and the Basil plants have been remarkable this year. Soon we will be picking the peppers which are, helpfully, growing in stacked lines. For some reason the gree ones are well ahead of the red and the yellow. Typical because I prefer the latter colours.

Week 552

Sunday, 21st July, 2019

Lovely morning. We woke at 6.00 am to sun streaming in through the blinds. I was immediately lively and persuaded Pauline to get up straight away. By 6.30 am, we were on our way down to the sea and, a few minutes later, we were walking on the pebble beach with the gulls, dogs and their walkers plus a couple of intrepid swimmers.

Morning becomes Worthing
Mermaid of the Year!

We don’t do this sort of thing anywhere near enough. We forget it is on our doorstep most of the time. We resolve to come down here more often.

Back home for ‘Breakfast’ – actually Pauline has porridge while I have orange juice & tea. Then, on to jobs. Pauline was making the 3rd harvest of basil and  another, large batch of Pesto. My job was to research the replacement for our current dual-fuel energy contract which runs out at the end of next month. After about an hour’s work, I decided to renew with our current supplier at a rate which is marginally below our current cost but with a fixed price until December 2021. And so life continues….

French Figs from a West Sussex garden

My next job is to reinvest a savings account that is maturing soon. This is never easy. There is so little room for manoeuvre and so little difference in the headline gain. Easy on-line deposit and access is essential but earnings do come in to the calculation. I will have to take my time. Meanwhile, our figs continue to bear fruit with sweetness and flavour.

Monday, 22nd July, 2019

The day started off warm (20C/68F) but grey and finished sunny and hot (26C/79F). No time to sit around. Pauline is trimming the hedges while I am raking the lawns. I love my electric lawn rake. If you’ve ever tried raking it manually, you would love it too. A 400 sq.m. lawn can be raked in 10 mins with all the rakings carried away and in the bin. It would have taken me 3-4 hrs by hand and probably killed me.

Two hours later, we are both tired and ready for coffee and Politics Live on BBC. Then, it’s off to the gym for a couple of hours and back to griddle wonderful swordfish steaks in the garden to be eaten with salad leaves and tomato salad. Glorious!

In my spare time, I’m nervously opening a new, on-line savings account and preparing to transfer over a huge amount of money from the old to the new. It is always a fraught action. Fortunately now, the movement is fast and we no longer have to wait 3 days for it to appear in the target account. Fortunately, it was successful. The interest rate is not great but is one of the best on-line accounts at the moment so I won’t be worrying too much.

Tuesday, 23rd July, 2019

All the news today is about the weather. We didn’t fall below 20C over night and reached 34C/93F at peak today. We are forecast to see 36C/97F on Thursday. I have spent the morning watering the plants and the lawns. Our house is designed to conserve energy and is incredibly well insulated. We have had every window and door open today and it was still insufferably hot. It was a delight to go to the air-conditioned gym this afternoon. However, we need to put something in place to keep us cool here at home.

Cool in a hot climate.

We were going to install ceiling fans but think the ceilings are too low to do that safely. We don’t really want to start knocking walls around so the only alternative would be a free-standing air-conditioning unit. I’ve been looking at those today. You can pay somewhere between £350.00 – £750.00 for a good unit which will  really cool our bedroom and lounge down so that is probably the way we will go.

Wednesday, 24th July, 2019

A hot and humid night. We had all the windows open on both sides of the house upstairs. The blinds flapped annoyingly noisily and the temperature in the bedroom didn’t drop below 26C/79F and, exactly as the BBC forecast, a sustained bout of thunder & lightning hit our area. We had a few minutes of strong rain but not so much. The humidity is with us still this morning on a hot and sunny morning that opened on 26C/79F by 9.00 am. Tomorrow is said to be the hot day with temperatures peaking around 36C/97F.

I have suffered with gum disease – what used to be called Gingevitus – since I was a teenager, a condition that was exacerbated by my decision as a newly liberated teenager to never visit a dentist again. This decision on escaping my Mother’s authority lasted 10 years until I came under the purview of my wife’s authority at the age of 28. Even so, 40 years on, my gums were still bleeding when I brushed my teeth and those gums tending towards being red and soft. All that changed just over a year ago – Better late than never. – when my dentist suggested I buy a water pick / waterpower flosser.

I bought the one on the left of the illustration above. It cost me around £70.00/€79.00. Its effect was amazing. I still brushed my teeth twice a day but the water flosser showed how poorly that performed. I hope you are not reading this over Breakfast but the water flosser showed me that, despite brushing my teeth, I was going to bed with a considerable amount of food deposited between them. (Sorry!)  After a month of consistent use, my gums stopped bleeding for the first time since I was 18. They didn’t bleed when I brushed and didn’t stain my pillow at night. I admit to being amazed.

Unfortunately, this morning, my water flosser died completely. I’d had it 13 months. I went back to read reviews of other’s ownership of the machine and everyone had suffered just the same fate earlier or later. I’ve ordered a new, different make for less than half the price. It is on the right of the illustration.  I can’t continue without one now. 

Thursday, 25th July, 2019

Today is all about shopping and weather. Actually, the heat is not so impressive or debilitating as the media would have us believe. I relish it. As we drove out to do shopping the temperature read 26C/79F and peaked at 37C/99F this afternoon. I rather enjoyed it.

Don’t tell Jane BG about this red meat! I have bought a Hybrid!

Funnily enough, I also enjoyed a break from our recent program of fish and white meat. Today, after a hot and rather tiring session at the Health Club, we came home and cooked a mixed griddle out in the garden. This included onions, slices of Oyster Mushroom and a tomato salad but centred on RED MEAT. We griddled Fillet Steak, Welsh Lamb Cutlets and Cumberland Sausages, It was absolutely delightful and I really enjoyed it even though I will not be repeaing this for quite a while.

This evening, we have sat out in the garden and enjoyed a beautiful evening which is still 27C/81F but feels quite delightful with a slight sea breeze cooling the night air. Sometimes, it just feels good to be alive!

Friday, 26th July, 2019

Well, it’s been an interesting and enjoyable week. In spite of the heat, we have done a full session every day at the gym. In fact, the air conditioning there has been delightful. The back of our house is south facing which means it is very hot in the main part of the day but the front, where our Lounge is, feels hot and stuffy in the evening. We sat outside at the back for some time yesterday evening and then opened all windows – front and back – to create a through draft as we went into the Lounge.

This is a lovely place to live particularly in this sort of weather. We even benefit from sea breezes and beautiful views. The coast is delightful especially early in the morning and later in the evening when the crowds of holidaymakers are not there.

Worthing Beach in the early morning.

I don’t know if it is this particular season or the microclimate of our garden generally but the fig trees are growing and fruiting strongly. In Greece, we wouldn’t have expected to pick figs from our garden until mid to later August. In Sussex, we’ve been picking and eating fruit for two weeks already and there is plenty more to come. I have Brown Turkey and Rouge de Bordeaux. It is this latter which is ripening so much earlier with much bigger fruit and lots of them. The only downside is that they will need some frost protection in the winter so a fleece blanket will be required.

Saturday, 27th July, 2019

Today it is warm but wet. Real growing weather. We went out to collect some parcels and buy the most wonderful smoked fish which happens to be sold by ….. Aldi. Old people were surrounding the newspaper stand. It looked like this:

Plunging Pound – the effect of Brexit

I don’t know why they put the papers on the floor. Most of the buyers couldn’t get down there. I haven’t bought a physical newspaper for so long.

Funnily enough, I wrote in my Blog on this day exactly 10 years ago these words:

Monday is my favourite day of the week in Greece. I get the Sunday papers. Mind you, they are not cheap. ‘The Sunday Times’ & ‘The Telegraph’ cost £9.10/€10.15 but they are well worth it.

A copy of The Times today would cost you £1.50/€1.70 although I think the Sunday would cost £2.50/€2.80. On my digital account, I pay £26.00/€29.00 per month for unlimited downloads.

Who would read a grubby, physical newspaper?

I cannot imagine going back to the grubby, ink-stained hands after reading paper newspapers. Remember how they stained arms of sofas and chairs? The digital platform is the only way. Imagine being so old that you cannot adjust. Imagine going back 10 years and having to pay a fortune to queue up for day old newspapers. Life is so much better now, isn’t it?

Week 551

Sunday, 14th July, 2019

Can you believe that I’ve been writing this drivel for 551 weeks? More than 10½ years which I could never have imagined when I started. The world was a very different place in December 2008. I seriously can’t believe in the rise of the Right Wing Populism that abounds at the moment. In 2008, all those Brextremists were derided in popular culture as ‘swivel-eyed loons’. Now the fringe is becoming main stream and almost accepted as normal. This is something we need to fight against constantly until they are driven back to the fringes.

Sundays are usually quiet days of Politics & Papers but, today in addition to our usual Health Club workout, there is the Men’s Wimbledon Final (for Pauline), the British Grand Prix (for me) and the Cricket World Cup (for both of us). Of course, we could lounge in the Lounge and just watch everything but it feels so much better to watch while we are exercising. Our Jogging Machines each have their own TVs with all the Sky Sports channels available and so do the exercise bikes. I was able to watch the cricket while Pauline watched the tennis as we worked out. There are even Screens on in the Changing Rooms. The only place where I couldn’t follow the match was in the Spa – Steam Room, Sauna & Jacuzzis/Water Massage.

The Spa was deserted today.

We are in our 4th year of membership of the David Lloyd Health Club down here. Currently, we have a joint membership which cost £152.00/€170.00 per month/£1824.00/€2034.00 per year. It increases a bit at the start of every new financial year. Suddenly, this week we received a letter demanding …. £250.00/€280.00 per year less for our annual contract. We have noticed that they have been desperately advertising for new members with 3-month contracts (Try before you commit.) but hadn’t realised that they were haemorrhaging membership to upstart, cheaper rivals around the area. Competition is a wonderful thing.

Monday, 15th July, 2019

A pleasant day that felt quite hot and humid although only reached 23C/74F in reality. Pauline’s new iPad Air was delivered this morning and I spent most of the time installing it by copying across the (3 years) old one and then decommissioning it by returning it to factory-default conditions. It is easy to forget how to achieve all these processes because one only does it every few years. Fortunately, I went through it on my own new iPad Pro only days ago so this was fairly straight forward.

My iPad Pro has face recognition as an entry method that supersedes password entry. Even with my face, it works really well. Pauline’s iPad Air has fingerprint recognition which I was rather sceptical about but she has taken to it immediately so we are both happy. We have both chosen 64Gb editions because we save everything to the Cloud and don’t need huge amounts of data on our instruments. Even so, 64Gb is massive in itself compared with earlier

About 3 weeks ago, I posted on my Blog about the tree I had taken a pod of seeds from in Tenerife last November. I had sowed them after soaking in boiling water for 24hrs. They sprouted remarkably quickly and this is the photograph I posted:

Delonix Regia – The Flamboyant Tree

Just 3 weeks later, I have 5 trees growing quite quickly. I put 3 outside and kept a couple indoors. These two are taller but less sturdy having struggled towards the light.

Three weeks growth. What about three months/years?

Lovely session at the Health Club today. We’ve signed up for the next 12 months so must stay alive to make full use – and for the sake of the trees.

Tuesday, 16th July, 2019

Gorgeous day with lovely sunshine all day. We have sop much to do today that we decided NOT to go to the Health Club. This was a decision we almost immediately changed but not to exercise. Yesterday we met a friend at the club who said she had been offered even better terms than us to persuade us to stay. We are on a ‘restricted hours’ contract as she was. The club had offered her unrestricted hours and still cut her fees. We went in and collared the Manager this morning and managed to secure the same deal. This will help us to avoid the busiest periods particularly at the weekends and we still save on our fees. They have secured our membership for another year. Don’t tell them but we weren’t going to leave anyway.

We have friends from Dorset visiting tomorrow. Jill taught in our school and left in 1982 (37 years ago!!!) We went to her wedding and reception at Hollingworth Lake in Oldham. Ironically, that is where my sister, Lizzie Dripping, went to live for a while. Jill and her accountant husband, Geoff, went to live and work in Blandford Forum near Poole in Dorset 37 years ago. We have seen her twice since we moved down here.

Hollingworth Lake, Greater Manchester

Tomorrow, we will meet again and we are looking forward to it. Pauline has spent the day cooking. We will eat a cold meal of salad leaves from our garden to accompany cold roast salmon with pesto crust, crab meat on radicchio leaves, slices of chicken breast wrapped in Pancetta, rolled and stuffed with garlic butter and Emmental cheese. Our sweet will be Syllabub & Lemon Drizzle cake. While Pauline was cooking, I was cleaning the car and mowing the lawns.

Interestingly, although I haven’t heard from my letters to the MD & CEO of Hoover-Candy, I did receive a phone call from the CEO’s Office from Dixons Carphone. I am getting somewhere. I may not need to use the Retail Ombudsman but I will if necessary.

Wednesday, 17th July, 2019

Friends from 38 years ago called round to see us. They had driven from Blandford Forum in Dorset to have lunch with us. Jill was a PE teacher in our school in 1981 and left shortly afterwards. Her husband, Geoff was an accountant with a large, City Accountancy firm until a few months ago. They have been together since Primary School so know each other well.

Gill, Pauline & Geoff

We took them for a drive around our area and a walk on our coastline. Then it was back home for a lovely lunch and long chat. Seems genuinely strange to be with someone from our dim and distant past. Makes one feel old.

Thursday, 18th July, 2019

We woke up to light rain. It looked and felt wonderful – warm and refreshing. Everything in the garden will be pleased with this reviver. The lawns are looking splendid, rich and lush. I have spent a lot of time and money on feeds and watered regularly. Ironically, this morning a fencing man came to dig a hole in it to replace a broken fence post. I fixed him with a teacher’s eye and warned him of dire consequences if he ruined my beautiful sward. He took the hint and did a beautifully neat job.

We went to the gym happily. We did our full workout and felt a sense of satisfaction as we drove home. We have almost completed our first 1000 miles in our new car and, although we have acclimatised to most things, we still have to think very carefully before starting off and parking. There is no gear stick or handbrake. Using buttons/switches is still not second nature.

Using buttons/switches for gearing and breaking is still not second nature.

There are also 3 driving settings – EV Electric Vehicle, Econ the most economical combination and Sport which provides more combative acceleration. I still haven’t used the Sport setting yet and, yesterday, I parked the car and left the engine on for an hour because it is so quiet I hadn’t realised it was still on. All of that said, we are really enjoying it and fight for who is to drive. It is particularly pleasurable to fill the tank with petrol. The previous model would hold about 350 miles worth at best. This model holds 650 miles worth which is a real shock and means visiting the petrol station about once a month.

Friday, 19th July, 2019

Today is the end of the School Academic Year and, for many years, we would have left at lunchtime, driven home and then quickly on to St George’s Dock, Hull for a Hull – Zeebrugge overnight trip and then a drive on to Ancona, Piraeus and to Sifnos. It is easy to forget the feeling of those days. Just as one loses the Friday night feeling so the first day of a 6 week holiday rather melts into the mists of time. A young man who worked for me as an IT Assistant back in the early 2000s and who I helped train on the job to become an IT teacher, posted on Facebook this morning:

Do you remember that feeling?

This was the view that confronted us on this day 10 years ago.

A gloomy Hull Docks

Hull in general and the docks in particular are horribly gloomy but their promise of an exciting journey to come invested it with magical properties. As we sat in the queue with our car laden up to the gunnels and waiting interminably to drive on, we dreamed of cabin, a Buffet meal and a fitful sleep in bunk beds before driving off around 8.30 am on Saturday morning and setting out on the road for the next 14/15 hrs driving.

Saturday, 20th July, 2019

Heavy rain overnight and some thunder & lightning. Athens went much further and had a major earthquake (5.1 Richter) yesterday. Hope the aftershocks are over by the time we fly in. This morning, the sun is out and I am peering through the mists of time. I see Sunday, July 20th, 1969 quite clearly. At 7.00 am, I set off to walk up the village to get a lift to Burton on Trent. There were no buses on a Sunday. I was going to work at the Pirelli factory.

The disused and (now) demolished Pirelli tyre & slipper factory, Burton on Trent

Exactly 50 years ago today, I had left Grammar School and was waiting for my A Level results which were about a month away. I had a holiday job 5 miles away in Burton at the Pirelli Tyre & Slipper factory. Who knew that Pirelli made slippers? Women packed the slippers into boxes which then weighed around 35kgs. Men’s jobs were to hump these heavy boxes around on to hand trucks in sets of 3 which made them so high we couldn’t see where we were pushing them and on to the storage stacks where we had to stack them 4 high. Even for a fit rugby player like me, it was exhausting but it paid and that was why I was there.

For 2 months, I worked 7 days a week for around 10 hrs per day. That summer, I earned £450.00 which may seem a trifling sum of around £1.20 per hour but, to me, it was massive and, in many respects, it was. My first College grant a few months later was only £470.00. The average, weekly wage for an adult worker was around £30.00 for a 40 hr week. Pirelli were offering me unsocial hours on unsocial days and paying extra. I was tired most of the time and I can still smell the factory, a smell of vulcanized rubber and engine oil but I was rich!

As these memories come flooding back, I’m told that it was on this day 50 years ago that man first landed on the moon. I remember very little about that.

Week 550

Sunday, 7th July, 2019

Today marks 5 years since we sold our Greek property. Hard to believe but the time and the experiences have flown past. It is almost 20 years since the inception of our Greek building project. Today, the Greeks go to the polls and will turn back to New Democracy.

The build is underway.
The day we moved in – Easter 2005.
The front page of the sales brochure – 2014.

I woke this morning as I do every morning and have done over the past 50 years to BBC Radio4. While I was working and before the iPad was invented, I would get up on a Sunday morning even earlier than I would on a workday. By 6.30 am, I would be out walking or driving to the Newsagent to buy The Sunday Times and The Observer. The entire morning – sometimes the entire day – would be given over to reading them from front to back. Sunday really was a day of physical rest and a retreat into the world of politics if that is not an oxymoron.

My favourite Sundays
Know the Opposition

These two newspapers give a degree of balance to reporting and following public life but, in recent years, I have added my parents’ choice of newspaper, The Telegraph, to my reading – not because my politics has changed but I have matured enough to accept that it is important to know one’s enemy.

It is fascinating and often mind boggling to read the right wing beliefs, aspirations and subsequent policies. It is a metric against which to measure my own. I also have to admit that The Sunday Telegraph is good for financial investment information and advice although the internet is rather obviating that these days.

At least, these days, I don’t have to go out early as I did often in Yorkshire through thick fog or heavy snow to buy my papers. The cost of The Sunday Times is £2.90/€3.25 and The Observer is £3.20/€3.60 in hard copy. I download mine onto my iPad and Pauline’s, onto my smartphone and Pauline’s and we both access it on our laptops and desktop computers. It means we can access it wherever we are in the world at any time. The Times is behind a paywall access to which cost me just £26.00/€29.01 per month. Just one hard copy of the main two Sundays for a month would be more expensive. The global availability of digital services is the biggest achievement over time.

Monday, 8th July, 2019

Lovely, warm and sunny day. We both just pottered this morning and felt very lazy in doing it. We have done a full work-out this afternoon which restores a bit of self respect but achievement has been low today.

Greek Election Results with the 50 Seat Bonus.

As predicted, Greece’s conservative New Democracy party won Sunday’s snap national election, defeating the ruling Syriza party of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.  The official results gave

The chart above illustrates the seat distribution with and without the 50 bonus seats allocated to the winners. This will stop next time. What will be interesting is how the Centre Right Nea Demokratea can deal with the Greek economy any differently to the Leftist Syriza. It doesn’t seem very likely.

Tuesday, 9th July, 2019

Out early on a warm morning – 22C/70F – to our local PYO farm where we picked 5 Kgs/ 11Lbs of wonderful raspberries in an 30 mins..

Hunting & Gathering Raspberries

We will eat a few with yoghurt and the rest will be turned into jam. Picking them was a delightful activity in itself. The exercise was rewarding and the fruit will be enjoyable.

12.9-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi 64GB – Space Grey

I live with my iPad Pro in my hands for about 12 hrs per day. My current one is over 3 years old. It is starting to show its age and I need to upgrade it. Apple will offer me £250.00/€280.00 trade in price on a old iPad Pro and the new one costs £969.00/€1080.00. I ordered one from Apple today and it will arrive before 12.00 noon tomorrow. I think we will have to upgrade Pauline’s as well.

Wednesday, 10th July, 2019

I ordered my new iPad at mid day yesterday and it was delivered by 11.00 am this morning. Fantastic service. The cost was £976.00/€1086.00 but Apple have offered me a trade in price of £205.00/€228.00 which I will avail myself of as soon as I’ve cleaned it up. One of the problems, nowadays, is that these instruments are intimately insinuated with connections to sensitive accounts – Bank Accounts, Investment Accounts, Private correspondence files, Email Accounts, Social Media Accounts, etc.. Pauline and I share so many of these accounts that are essential to our daily activities. Currently, we access them across 3 x iPad, 2 x Smartphone, 2 x Laptop + a Desktop computer.

The stress of a new iPad!

Even our on-line calendars run across all platforms and we cannot live our lives without them now. Pulling all these services across from one iPad to another is not without stress and glitches even though I maintain a book of identities and accompanying passwords.

It took me the whole of the day to get this sorted out and I even cancelled a trip to the gym to provide enough time. At one point, we had a huge panic when Pauline’s iPad which is on my account appeared to be wiped clean. Fortunately, a few tweaks and everything was back to full order. At another point, my new iPad froze because of a change of password and I couldn’t find how to reset it because the buttons had changed. I had to spend time on the internet researching it before I could free-up the new machine. By about 9.30 pm, everything was sweetness & light but I was too tired to complete my Blog which is why I am doing this on Thursday morning. At least I could sleep peacefully.

Thursday, 11th July, 2019

A warm and muggy night ended as a rather humid morning opens. Up early, we were out on a large round of shopping by 8.30 am. First to Tesco for our main shop. Fresh Salmon fillets were available at half price. We bought 3 fillets plus 4, large Tuna steaks and a couple of Cod Loins (No swordfish available.). Home to unpack and then out again to Sainsburys, for Tomatoes, Samphire, and Chicken, (No swordfish available but lots of Salmon Fillets on display.).  Next door for OW/20 Engine Oil for our new car from Halfords. On to Aldi for Smoked Mackerel Fillets and bottles of Greek Olive Oil. On to Morrisons for Swordfish (No swordfish available but lots of Salmon Fillets on display. there must be a glut of Salmon on the market.). On to Currys to pick up the paperwork for our latest purchase of a new Condenser Dryer. Finally, on to the Fisherman’s Hut on the beach. No swordfish available but they can order a joint for us for Saturday.

By the time we got home, it was 11.30 am. Just time for a cup of coffee and watering the potted plants outside in the sunshine before the Politics Live programme started at 11.45 am. Off to the Gym at 1.00 pm and then home by 4.00 pm. We had hardly sat down since getting up at 6.15 this morning. I was shattered. Goodness knows how Pauline managed to cook our meal. This evening, I have to start totally decommissioning my old iPad so it can be despatched for the trade-in price of £205.00. At the same time, I needed to source and buy a keyboard-case for my new iPad to protect it and turn it into a light laptop. I chose a Logitech case for £120.00/€134.00. It makes such a difference when I’m travelling by air. It fits in my leather shoulder bag and is remarkably light. The keyboard is backlit for poor light use and the whole thing provides a strongly supportive casing.

Friday, 12th July, 2019

A hot and muggy night has given way to a hot and humid day. We reached 27C/81F  by 3.00 pm. Everything is growing well. Even in our ‘pot’ garden, we are generating enough salad leaves and rocket to provide salad every day. We are on our 3rd harvest of herbs for the freezer and tomatoes are appearing all the time although not fully ripe yet. The Bell Peppers are flowering and fruiting at last so we live in hope of a good harvest. Two years ago, I received to fig sticks by post.

May, 2017 – Rouge de Bordeaux & Brown Turkey Figs
Our first ripe and huge fig.

This afternoon and two years on, we picked and ate our first and most enormous ripe fig I have ever seen. It was delivered by the French fig tree which is now over 6ft tall and laden in fruit. The Brown Turkey is also covered in fruit but is more straggly.

Saturday, 13th July, 2019

This week marks 5 years since we left Sifnos. it is fitting that we picked our first, fresh fig from the tree this week since we left Sifnos. Pauline loved being by the sea and an island suited her just right. Unfortunately, small island politics were not suitable at all and she is happy not to have to deal with the goldfish in their bowl led by the Poison Dwarf. Fortunately, she chose just the place to relocate to. Sussex on Sea is perfect for us.

Pauline by Sea

On Wednesday, I received my new Apple iPad Pro 12.9″. This morning, I received my new, Bluetooth Keyboard Case and the delivery driver sincerely apologised for being 15 mins early. Today, we decided Pauline could not be left out and ordered her an new, Apple iPad Air.

3rd Generation iPad Air – £479.00//€535.00

Pauline doesn’t want a keyboard but she does want to use hers for mounting portrait and landscape so she can read books/newspapers plus recipes while she’s cooking. We’ve found an excellent, leather, rotating cover for £16.99/€18.96 which will be exactly right. So, the total outlay will be £495.99/€554.00.

Cheap at half the price. I’ve traded my old iPad in for £200.00 while Pauline is passing hers on to her elderly sister.