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?