Sunday, 31st May, 2020
May 2020 leaves us on a high. Outside at 7.00 am we measured 17C and 28C/82F by early afternoon. This morning, I raked, fed and watered the lawns. After a morning in the sun, we dipped into the cool shade of our wooded walk to get some exercise.
Back home, we cooked Sea Bass on the griddle using our new, non-stick sheeting. It worked perfectly. Sea Bass on the bone is absolutely delicious. We ate it with home grown mixed salad leaves and squeezes of fresh lemon.
We have almost come to a conclusion about a building in the back garden. It will be a three part structure which has a ‘garden shed’ at one end to store the mower, lawnraker and strimmer out of the garage. The middle section will be a cooking area with cupboards and work surface carrying griddle, deep fat fryer, hob + barbecue and/or/ pizza oven. The last section will house gym equipment – Treadmill, Lumbar Bike, Weights + Television. With hard standing and lawn repair, we reckon it will cost us about £25,00o.00/€28,000.00 but, over 10 years of life, that will be peanuts. We’d pay around £20,000.00/€22,300.00 just for Gym membership.
Monday, 1st June, 2020
The Summer just continues. We are 17C/63F over night and 26C/79F by mid day and 28C/82F by 3.00 pm. It genuinely feels Mediterranean. It feels like we are permanently on holiday. We have to push ourselves to do jobs. Just the mundanity of everyday life feels like it is intruding into Utopia.
I had to put the bins out this morning – all three of them. I unstacked the dishwasher while the sun blazed in to the kitchen. I was told I had to have my haircut and was pinned in a chair and covered by a barber’s cape while my wife performed the honours. These things have to be done but are resented as the sun beats down.
I’ve been staking my pepper plants this morning I’ve got about 10. – and inspecting the tomatoes – I’ve got about a dozen. – all of which I’ve grown from seed because I wasn’t sure the garden centres would re-open in time. We have allowed ourselves an hour or so sitting outside in the sunshine and now we will set off for our walk. Got to keep up standards whatever the weather.
About 18 months ago, I damaged my foot in Tenerife. We were in a villa in Adeje and I wanted to see the international space station go overhead. I turned all the lights off outside including those round the pool. I looked up in the sky, spotted the space station and turned and shouted to Pauline…. and fell into the pool, dragging my foot over the tiled edge. The pool cover was on and I hit it with a crash which sounded like the space station had fallen to earth. As I fell, I dragged my foot heavily down the edge of the pool. It swelled up like a balloon and then went a fiery purple. I still feel some pain from it 18 months later.
This morning I found a similar foot on Facebook. This one belongs to my sister, Catherine. I believe she got blind drunk in the garden and threw herself to the ground from a seated position. It resulted in damaged fingers and a damaged foot. Not as beautiful as mine but still has the unmistakable Sanders nobility about it.
When we were young – I mean late 20s. – Pauline & I would walk miles on Greek islands in the hot sun. We would be wearing very few clothes in the hope that we would get a good tan on our fortnight away. It was sweaty work and I usually ended up having too much sun. Fortunately, I tan very easily although I find the heat not as easy to cope with as I get older.
Our walk today reminded me of our earlier days. A blazing sun, 28C/ of heat with not a hint of breeze. An hour’s walking was enough and, instead of a bottle of Fix beer or a Sprite lemonade, we had a huge cup of Yorkshire Tea.
Pauline’s got to go back out in to the sun now to pick salad leaves and griddle swordfish steaks. It’ll be nice to spend an evening in the cool of the Lounge. I’m still enjoying the historically based, neo-noir drama series set in Berlin of the late 1920s – early 1930s during the Weimar Republic. I’ve really got in to it and I’m on the third series. Should keep me going until Sport returns.
Tuesday, 2nd June, 2020
We’ve certainly got in to a pattern of shopping and exercise which has been facilitated by the great weather. Tuesday is Sainsbury’s. It opens at 8.00 am. We leave home at 7.50 am. I drop Pauline at the door suited up with face mask and surgical gloves. I park the car and set off for a walk to the nearby town of Rustington. Before the pandemic, I wouldn’t have even considered doing anything but driving there. Now, I am still amazed each week that it only takes me 15 mins each way.
The walk at the moment, is quite delightful. Some of the gardens and social areas that I pass are absolutely beautiful. I’ve never really noticed them before. Trees are wonderful and so varied. Some I’ve never seen before and cannot put a name to. Others, old favourites, have transitioned through their seasonal development while this period has developed. From buds opening to unfold vibrant, green leaves and the flowers which are setting with ‘fruit’ much of which is already swelling. I can’t say I’ve ever really looked at the early stages of a conker but I did today.
After getting home and having coffee, we walked down to the village to deliver an item for posting. It’s a lovely walk and we both enjoyed it but I noticed, I think for the first time, that Angmering village has a symbol of a tree as its feature. As we worked in the garden this afternoon, the temperature this afternoon reached 28C/82F for the third, consecutive day. Who needs Greece or Tenerife? Well, I’ll tell you later this week as the weather dips.
Wednesday, 3rd June, 2020
Up early on a slightly grey but very warm morning. Quick drink, masks and gloves at the ready and we drive the three minutes round the corner, just past the PYO farm to the new, Honda establishment. We can hardly believe it is time for our first, annual service. In fact, we were alerted to it by Honda themselves. We had almost forgotten that we had a car. Our mileage in the first 12 months has been 5085 miles/8,183 km. Compared with 12,000 miles/19,312 km a year that we used to do this is meagre although the Garage said it was quite substantial.
Fortunately, we got 5 years ‘free’ service in our purchase agreement and everything, even the renewables like oil are in the price. The service took about 50 mins and would have cost £150.84/€170.00.
In that time we walked across the road to Asda and bought some of their wonderful ‘Extra Special Fillet Steak’. We so rarely eat red meat but this is an absolute joy. It flies off the shelves so quickly that it is really difficult to find. Because we were there early, there were six steaks left and we grabbed all of them. We went for a short walk down the side of Asda and over to a small Garden Centre which was poorly stocked and clearly suffering because of the enforced closure.
Honda rang surprisingly quickly to say that the car was ready. Walking back to the garage, we passed this huge field of bright green, thin stalked plants flowering with a small, white flower at the tip. It had obviously been deliberately sown but why? I could only think it was for ploughing in as a green manure but I don’t know.
Strange feeling of being a little lost today. The sunshine, as we so often found in Greece, seems to link otherwise inconsequential sections of the day together. Nothing special to do for half an hour? Let’s just sit out in the sunshine for a while. Just like the aural wallpaper that is muzak, sunshine justifies doing nothing. It is a reason in itself. Not today. Actually, we have had about 10 mins of light rain this afternoon. The lawn is demanding more.
Thursday, 4th June, 2020
Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner …
Thursday is Tesco day. Up at 6.00 am and at the store by 7.00 am. Pauline queues up – usually at second place and I go off for my walk. No 1 in the queue has been the same man for 8 weeks running. This morning, he wasn’t there. Hope the virus hasn’t got him. Probably, he’s just gone back to work. Today, Pauline was No 1. Winner!
I did a 90 mins walk around the West Durrington vicinity which is largely residential but also includes an ambulance station, an ancient religious centre and a huge park. It also had this which I noticed for the first time today.
Actually, I felt really tired when I got back to the car at 8.30 am. Pauline hadn’t finished shopping by then. We were home for 9.00 am and the day could start.
Today, we are going to drive down the coast to Brighton. It is about 15 miles away and means going through Shoreham Harbour which I find interesting. The sun came out but it felt a little cool – just 19C/66F with a sea breeze which made it feel fresh. Back home, we appreciated the micro climate of our back garden where the tomatoes are flowering profusely.
Friday, 5th June, 2020
A surprisingly bright start to the day and really quite warm although we never got above 22C/70F today. We did half our walk down to the Post Office in the village. The roads were still very quiet at 9.30 am. After walking back and having coffee, we thought we would go out for a short drive. Today, we chose Pagham Beach. Never been there before and it is beautiful. Only about 20 mins drive from home and an easy drive at that.
Actually, the tide was coming in and the surface of small, loose pebbles was incredibly difficult and tiring to walk on. We just had a casual saunter to look around, smell the air and revel in the blues of sky and sea.
We drove home to have more coffee and do some more mundane jobs like watering pots and sowing some more salad leaves for the next succession. Now we are back on our diet, we are eating lettuce by the ton so we’re really getting through it.
Saturday, 6th June, 2020
Quite a cool and breezy start to the day with high clouds and some sunshine. We have decided to go down to the beach for a blow in a while. It is Saturday though so we need time to spend with our newspapers and emails. Heard from my friend, Brian, in Royton this morning. He’s been avoiding boredom in Lock-Down by making things to sell in his local Garden Centre. They wouldn’t be my choice but I’m sure they will appeal to many.
Although kitsch doesn’t really appeal to me, I have to admire the skill shown in producing such things from scrap materials. Certainly I couldn’t. The other thing I’m impressed by is Brian’s ability to take a digital photo, down load it to his computer, attach it to an email and send it to me successfully. When he fist came to me on interview, he had never touched a computer and was terrified of them. I remember his first lesson on using a mouse. He was so scared, he moved it as if it would burn him.
I have no room to talk. I am well aware of so many weaknesses in my abilities. In spite of having a reasonable grasp of the English Language and some ability in reading/writing foreign languages, my ability and confidence in speaking another language is almost absent. Today, something arrived in my inbox that I’ve been waiting for but now could change everything.
I love gadgets a new processes. I love digital and tend to be an ‘early adopter’ for new products. For years in Greece and particularly when we were marketing our house, I was employing Google Translate to help me. Often it was laughably mis-translated particularly because Greek expression is so a flowery in its sentiment.
Certainly, although no where near perfect, Google Translate is much more accurate. I use it to translate whole websites as well as a few sentences. I have no way of knowing if the software behind this system sold by Touch of Modern – a company which sources and showcases innovatory products – is any good but I think I might have to try it out on a Greek TV programme and then on a Spanish one. What fun!
Our trip to the beach was short and blowy. The wind off the sea reduced the temperature to a quite chilly 14C/57F. We only stayed 20 minutes then came back for hot coffee and the warmth of our kitchen.