Sunday, 14th June, 2020
Glorious, warm, morning of blue sky and strong sunshine. Later it reached a very humid 23C/72F and, because of the humidity, it felt hotter. We watched the political programmes until just after 10.00 am and then set off for the Garden Centre on foot. I was going to buy a new tap connector for my outdoor, garden tap to fit the hosepipe.
When we got to the Garden Centre, there was a queue of about 5 people waiting patiently in the sunshine. The organisation is controlled by an operative who is there to ensure the Centre doesn’t exceed the maximum number of customers it considers safe. His other job is to sanitise the returned trolleys. He combines the two functions by only allowing another customer in when a trolley is returned by an exiting customer. This works very well at the moment but just wait till the weather turns. How many of us will queue in the rain for a tap connector? Even so, I still had to push a huge trolley around a garden centre following the one-way route to get to a tiny tap connector on a display a few feet from where I originally entered.
The shops are allowed to open tomorrow but, one of the few I want to visit, Currys PC World, is still only available for Click & Collect. We’ve built up a number of things we want to look at before we buy – a smart watch for Pauline, a computer for me and a television for the lounge. None of those will I buy without seeing and discussing with the trader. They will wait until I can.
Our walk back takes us through another newish house development about 10 years older than ours. Like so many of the developments around here, space is not at a premium and developers have built in lots of natural areas of grass and parkland planting which relieve the pressures of modern living. We were walking through this area when were heard a little lad – aged 5/6 – screaming with excitement under a conifer tree. His dad had given him a project of finding fir cones to take home. He was so excited that he had found lots under the trees. I’m so sorry they don’t excite me these days.
Cousin Sue posted this from a park in the Dordogne. Don’t the French have such style? No wonder the hooligans wanted Brexit. This is just too sophisticated for them. Heard a racist use that old trope, Britain’s Full yesterday. I don’t know where they drive or walk. Almost everywhere I go I see wide open spaces – lots of room for immigrant NHS workers, for immigrant Hospitality workers, lots of room for immigrant agricultural workers, lots of room for people who will far surpass Brexiteers and racists in life ambitions.
As a footnote to last week’s decision making process: we have finally decided that the Studio garden Room will have a footprint of 22ft/6.7m long x 8ft/2.5 deep. the hard standing flagged area will be that plus 2ft all round. My job now is to get builders to quote for the flagging and an electrician to discuss getting power in to it. Don’t worry, I’ll bore you plenty more before that’s all done.
Monday, 15th June, 2020
The summer is disappearing already and we’ve been nowhere. It is the Longest Day on Sunday and then all down hill from there. Winter draws on. Today is another lovely, bright and sunny morning with 16C/61F at 7.00 am. By mid morning, we are getting up to 70C/22F and everything is enlivened by sunshine.
Pauline has taken her courage in her hands and booked a hair appointment but she can’t get one until mid-July. All the evidence is that parents are not going to be bounced in to sending children back to school before they feel it is safe and shoppers are reluctant to linger in commercial premises. Whatever the government want, people will vote with their feet. It was amusing to read the tweet of a Greek doctor on Crete I follow on Twitter who says July cancellations are at 80% and August cancellations are at 50% so why did the Deputy Mayor of Crete announced yesterday that Island bookings currently stand at 80%? This is so common in Greece.
I have a paving firm coming round this afternoon to quote me for extending the patio and providing the hard standing for the studio garden room. After that, we will walk round to the garden centre where the garden building supplier is based and go through the details of the ordering process.
Tuesday, 16th June, 2020
Another beautiful and warm morning. I am missing being abroad, missing the demands of navigating a different culture with its smells, tastes, sights and sounds. I miss the challenge it brings to my settled routine. I can’t say I’ve missed the weather.
It has been so good here for the past3+ months that we are becoming quite blasé about it in the way a few weeks in Greece would lead us. There, sunshine and heat was the norm. One didn’t have to make the most of it while it was there. More often than not, like most Greeks themselves, we avoided the sun and shrank from the heat. Every afternoon in our house, we would close the shutters for about three hours as the intense sun beat straight into the windows. That way, we could open everything up as soon as the sun had gone down to cool the house for the evening.
Greeks are preparing to tighten their belts this winter. Usually, those involved in tourism expect to earn enough over the frenzied tourist months – really only June-August and mainly August, to get them through the winter. Those low paid ‘hod-carriers’, employed only for the summer months to work in the service industry, would sign on for government support when the tourist leave.
This year, huge swathes of Summer Season workers will not get employment in the first place so this will knock on into island economies as shop keepers and their customers are impoverished. The big question is: will confidence have returned next year? Will there be a second spike? Will travellers feel safe to fly?
Back home today has been one of activity. Up at 6.00 am and out to Sainsbury’s for 7.00am. Pauline joins the queue which rapidly lengthens at this superstore. I set off to run to Rustington. It’s a round trip of only 2.5 miles but I’m shattered when I get back. Time for a drink and then lawn cutting for me and hedge trimming for Pauline. I used a lawn feed and thickener across front and back lawns so had to put the sprinkler on because we have no rain in the immediate forecast. It was hot work as the temperature went over 22C/70F for the umpteenth time recently.
Wednesday, 17th June, 2020
I have been dead for 40 years. On this day in 1980, the ambulance crew took me from my demolished car and put me in an ambulance believing I was dead. The ambulance driver placed an oxygen mask over my face and suddenly I started to fight for my life. I kicked him and he sat on my legs to control me. I did the only thing I could and bit his nipple. He ran out of the ambulance, clutching his breast and screaming in pain. I remember nothing of that at at all and have never met the man who was off work for a week afterwards.
I spent more than a week unconscious in hospital and took nearly a year to recover fully. The compensation I received from the insurance company nowhere near made up for the disruption to our lives. Every year I celebrate how fortunate I was to have such a wonderful wife to nurse me back to health and put up with the aftermath of that accident. We were driving our first, brand new car together – a pageant blue, ‘V’ reg Mini which Richard Butterworth facilitated our purchase of. We were very proud of it for 10 months and then it was gone. Although we have had at least 20 new cars since then, we will never forget that day.
Even so, as we drive round in a 2020 ‘Hybrid’ 4-wheel drive ‘Utility’ vehicle with all the refinements, we don’t even have to open the windows manually. Can you imagine it?
Thursday, 18th June, 2020
Up at 6.00 am. It had rained over night. Joy of joys! Yesterday had been wall-to-wall sunshine. We walked along the shoreline from Littlehampton towards Worthing. There were a few little children in the sea and the Beach Lifeguards were setting up their summer stations on the beach.
This morning we were out to Tesco for a weekly shop. On my walk around the area, trees were still dripping and puddles lingered. It was, however, steamy warm and I was sweating profusely by the time I got back from my walk and Pauline came out of the store.
We drove home and had coffee, did some jobs – Pauline preparing for our meal later and me searching out some new, smart phones for our automatic upgrade as our contract reaches 24 months. We’ve been using EE for quite a few years and been very pleased with the service. For the past two years, we have had Huawei P20 Pro which has been an excellent phone that I chose mainly for the quality of its cameras but has now been undercut by Trump’s war with the Chinese which has seen Google withdraw its apps on the phone. Immediately, Huawei loses all of their attraction for us. It looks like we will go back to Samsung (Galaxy S20 5G) and EE will buy our old, ‘free’ Huawei for £50.00/€55.50 each.
This afternoon, we drove out to Findon Village which is about 4 miles outside Worthing. It is a pleasant but rather a claustrophobic community which appears to be dominated by pubs and restaurants – all closed – attempting to maintain their place by serving take-aways. It features a lot of old properties some up to 450 years old. It feels a bit like a living museum.
Friday, 19th June, 2020
We didn’t have to get up early today. We were up at 7.00 am to find the weather had been perfectly behaved. It had rained over night and was now drying up. After breakfast, we walked to Sainsbury’s – a 5 mile/8 km round trip. We weren’t shopping but collecting a click& collect from Argos. When we got there, a huge 100yd/90mtr queue snaked around the underground carpark. Because we weren’t going to the supermarket Pauline showed her text confirming her order was ready to collect but was denied entry. We had to stand in a queue for 25 mins before she was allowed in. I was quite happy recovering from the first half of the walk.
This is our 4th Garmin watch between us. I have one I am delighted with. Pauline has gone through two already because she will insist on buying cheap ones. Even this is relatively cheap at £74.99/€83.00. One would normally expect to pay 2 or 3 times that amount for a good one. Having said that, this one measures everything one could want and much one doesn’t. Steps, Heart Rate, Pulse, Distance travelled, Calories Burned, Blood Oxygen Levels as well as the weather, News Items, indications of phone calls, texts and emails. The biggest challenge is absorbing all that information whilst walking without falling over. One charge lasts 5 days and the whole thing is slight enough to please a girl while being almost big enough to read without one’s glasses.
Saturday, 20th June, 2020
This rarely happens but we got up this morning not knowing what we intended to do today. I like to have a pre-considered set of targets for my day. I gives me an immediate sense of purpose and allows me the sense of freedom to achieve my targets in my own time and order. Today, beyond drinking my orange juice, tea and coffee, I had nothing lined up at all. It was preparing to be a lovely day with high, fleecy clouds under blue sky and sunshine. The day eventually settled at a pleasant 22C/70F with virtually no breeze.
Being footloose and fancy free, we drove the 10 miles down to Bognor Regis. I have been there twice before – once a couple of years ago just as we were exploring our area and, the first time, 65 years ago with little Bob and Nana & Grandad Coghlan. The only thing I remember of the 1955 visit was a strong wind whipping up the sand on the beach and driving biting sand into our bare legs.
Today’s visit was warmer, sunnier and without even sea breeze. Unfortunately, I don’t think it has seen much interest from royalty for many years. In fact, probably it has not seen much since George V uttered the immortal words, Bugger Bognor on his deathbed in 1936. We did an hour or so walk on the coastal path with a fair few others enjoying the warm air. The Butlins emporium, which had £50 million spent on its upgrade 20 years ago, is lifeless and silent.
We drove home to a ‘normal’ Saturday afternoon football, lots of tea and then thick, roasted loins of code with roasted cherry tomatoes. I’m finding it hard to get back in to the football although the integrated sound-over s helping. I always find the first matches of a new season don’t draw me in and this feels just like that. Anyway, I was looking forward to cricket.