Week 581

Sunday, 9th February, 2020

All the talk of the coming storm caused us to expect an uncomfortable night and to decide not to visit the gym today. Although the web is full of reports and pictures from around the country, so far we have escaped. Maybe it is all to come. We have light rain and blustery wind but nothing exceptional. 

Blackpool this morning.

Disappointingly, the Manchester City v West Ham match this afternoon has been called off this morning ‘Due to extreme and escalating weather conditions’. However, I am watching England absolutely slaughter South Africa in the final One Day International from a sunny place. 

Another sunny place in early Summer is southern France and, today, I am booking a few days in Bordeaux  in June.

UNESCO Heritage site – Old Town Bordeaux

We have decided to rent an apartment in the centre of the Old Town and I have found a good one on Rue du Pas-Saint-Georges, an old street liberally scattered with cafes/restaurants spilling out on to the pavements. The old market is within walking distance as is a large supermarket. The train station isn’t far away. 

Monday, 10th February, 2020

We had strong winds last night and quite heavy rain but none of it was really out of the ordinary. However, this morning the Sky dish was out of operation and, when I went out to check on it, I saw this below:

Found below the Sky Dish.

When I looked up at the edge of the roof, I could see where the mortar had fallen from and I realised that we would be phoning more than just a satellite engineer.

Call the Builders … Quick!

Fortunately, the roof is covered by our 5-Year warranty and David Wilson will send someone out today to sort it out. I’ve engaged a same-day-service satellite firm to come and repair or replace the satellite dish. It will cost me £69.00/€82.00 which is fine but I have to be prepared to stay in between 9.00 am – 6.00 pm which is a pain. In the meantime, I am running Sky‘s All Out Politics on one of my iPads.

Well, the original call-out charge soon escalated into a new satellite dish and fitting costing £220.00/€260.35. Believe me, I would have payed double that for normal service to be resumed. The builders will now be out tomorrow to make good the damage. They sounded extremely chastened when we contacted them this morning. They were particularly concerned about the safety of people underneath. They could see huge compensation claims in the pipeline. Fortunately, we got away with a broken satellite dish and a smashed wheelie bin lid. We can’t decide whether to be so petty as to reclaim it from the builders. They’re nice people.

Tuesday, 11th February, 2020

The winds continue. Although not really terrible, they are bringing a cutting edge to the temperature. At 8.00 am, the builders arrived to assess the damage. In itself, it is minor but it damaged our Sky dish and they have agreed to refund of the cost of repair. I discovered last night that our neighbours’ car had been damaged. Fortunately, ours was in the garage.

Happy Birthday to Kevan today. As if coping with Ruth wasn’t enough, now he also has to contend with aging. Life really isn’t fair!

Spending 6 months each year in Greece led me to stockpile drugs because they weren’t really obtainable abroad. In fact, when we were there, the Medical Centre & Pharmacies put out pleas for people to donate their unused/unwanted drugs back to the central stores for other’s use. Repeat prescriptions and a generous doctor made my stockpile fairly easy to build. Unfortunately, as we stopped those half years abroad, I continued to build my store. 

Today, we addressed the drug mountain. We filled two bin bags with out of date drugs. Even so, it felt rather reprehensible.

Wednesday, 12th February, 2020

Worthing Pier in the sunshine this morning.
Medjool Dates

We drove into Worthing early this morning. It was beautiful as we went down the coast road. We were going to the open market for our latest addiction – Medjool Dates. They are absolutely delicious and a great substitute for sweets which we are not allowed. 

On Wednesday, there is a linear open market in a Worthing street parallel to the sea front. We don’t go very often but we found a stall that sells high quality Medjool dates at a price far cheaper than the supermarkets. We bought a kilo for £6.60/€7.90 and they will last in the fridge for up to 6 months theoretically. Actually, they will be gone in 2 weeks in our house.

I am addicted to fruit & vegetables.

My recent diabetic eye check-up has resulted in a follow appointment because a problem was found. This is always concerning for me because I only have sight in one eye. Anything wrong with my good eye terrifies me. The letter told me that I would be invited back within the next 3 months. I phoned immediately and the specialist in charge said, What are you doing on Monday. I could see you around 10.00 am. Fantastic response from a fantastic National Health Service. 

Southlands – state of the art eye hospital, Shoreham on Sea

I also learnt that we have a hospital down the road in Shoreham on Sea – Southlands which is home to a new, state-of-the-art eye care centre and specialises in outpatient services, diagnostics, day surgery and more. If you’re going to go blind, you might as well do it somewhere nice!

Thursday, 13th February, 2020

Well a dark, wet day and not very warm in the stiff breeze. As we drove out to the supermarkets. There was evidence on the roadsides of strong rain from the previous night. While we were in Tesco, the rain roared on the metal roof and the floods were more obvious as we drove home. We drive up Water Lane (Wondered where it got its name.) as we go towards our house. It starts off in the village and this is what it looked like 3 years before we moved in. Fortunately, our Development is much higher than this.

Angmering Village Square – 2013

In Littlehampton, Climping Beach has been hit by falling rain and rising tides to break through the sea defences and flood the roads and surrounding farm land.

Dilapidated Sea Groynes on Climping Beach

The Environment Agency say they cannot afford to replace them at a cost of £100,000.00/€120,000.00 per groyne. This deliberate neglect has been going on for around 10 years we are told and is not exclusive to Sussex. All round the country’s coastline, the sea defences have been allowed to deteriorate and fall. It doesn’t affect us personally but the facility of the shores are a huge advantage and we regret any degradation.

No cooking outside today. As soon as we got back from the gym, the house smelt deliciously of roasted loin of Hake with scallop and prawn topping served with roasted tomatoes. Absolutely wonderful and cosy as the rain bounced down outside. Could have done with a nice bottle of sauvignon blanc but still got 47 more days to go.

Sunny Barcelona

As a direct reaction to the weather here, I have set aside this evening to research a hotel for a week in Barcelona in the summer. We need lights at the end of the tunnel to walk towards.

Friday, 14th February, 2020

We went out early this morning to our local refuse disposal site. To get there, we have to drive over the railway lines and we were held up to wait for a train and held up again on the way back. Strangely, for 9.00 am, the trains were almost empty.

After driving home, we prepared the house for a Sky engineer who is visiting tomorrow. He is going to install a Sky Q 2TB box in our lounge. It will mean moving the sideboard/cupboard on which the tv stands. It is full of all sorts of things we couldn’t decide where to store and is very heavy.

Behind the cupboard is the media panel installed by the house builder and the engineer will need access to it. After we had emptied the cupboard, and moved it out, we realised that it hadn’t been moved since it was delivered 4 years ago. The spiders which had taken up residence were not happy at being exposed to the light and even less happy to find themselves being sucked into our vacuum cleaner. Pauline would have been mortified if the Sky engineer had found out she hadn’t cleaned there for so long. I, on the other hand would have been quite relaxed about it.

This system connects one box – the 2TB box – to the satellite dish via hard link HDMI cable and then up to 4 mini boxes linked to that via wi-fi. One will go in the Kitchen, one in the Study, one in our Bedroom and one in the Ironing Room. The main box allows one to record 6 programmes and watch a 7th at the same time. The mini boxes allow one to watch independently other live programmes or programmes saved to the main box or to pause a program on the main box and pick it up in another room. They also make it much easier to pause live tv and restart it. It just suits the way we use our media as we walk from room to room arguing with politicians and journalists alike.

I’ve just told Pauline that the engineer will need access to 4 additional rooms and she has gone absolutely mad. Fortunately, I will be out of the way watching football tonight so she will be left in peace to clean the 4 rooms.

Saturday, 15th February, 2020

I hate days like this. The Sky engineer is expected between 8.00 am – 5.00 pm. Do not pass Go! Do not leave the house! We are told that the storm will hit us about 11.00 am

It is 11.00 am and the sun has started to trickle out. My Sky account informs me that the Sky engineer will be with us between 3.00 pm – 5.00 pm. We decide to pop down to the beach for a walk in the sea breeze. Signs of the previous storm allied to high tides are still absolutely obvious with shale strewn across the coastal path, across the coast road and up adjoining streets. 

Not sunbathing in Littlehampton harbour.

The sun very quickly gave up the struggle and settled in to a gentle greyness. Although the temperature registered 11C/52/F, it felt much more bracing in the stiff breeze coming off the sea.

Mark the Sky Man.

Over the past 4 years here, we have welcomed so many tradesmen and, almost without exception, they have been delightful, with a pride in their job and keen to provide a good service. Mark from Sky arrived at 3.05 pm. By 3.10 pm, I had learnt that he was born and bred in Littlehampton, went to the local school, lives in a flat near the beach, is 29 years old and engaged to Jenny who works in a Call Centre. They will be married in Worthing in April.

Mark brought with him the Main Q-Box and one mini-box. I asked him to supply me with three additional mini-boxes which I had earlier been told would cost me an extra £300.00/€361.00. I thought it was a reasonable price but Mark told me it would only cost half that. Who was I to argue? He finished by 5.00 pm – just in time for me to watch Liverpool win again. Mark told me that we was rewarded with £3.00/€3.62 for each of the 3 extra boxes he sold me. This is how wonderful workers are exploited. It wasn’t much but I gave him a couple of bottles of wine as he left. I was very grateful for his work.

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