Week 613

Sunday, 20th September, 2020

We are two thirds of the way through September and the temperature is 26C/79F with plenty of delicious sunshine. This has been a strange six months. We drove down to Shoreham-on-Sea this morning to have a walk and check out the luxurious emporium that we gave £2,500.00/ to a couple of months ago to forward purchase our first two pieces of gym equipment. The X-Trainer is arriving on Thursday. 

The shop is opposite Shoreham Harbour.

It didn’t look terribly inspiring but it was Sunday and they have been closed to the public for six months and mostly working from home. Basically, it is warehouse storage and deserted Reception in a unit on an Industrial Estate. At least Pauline improved the scene.

The shop is opposite Shoreham Harbour.

After being here for more than 4 years, it  still never ceases to amaze us that almost everywhere we go we are next to the sea. Pauline absolutely loves that. For her, it is a dream come true and that makes me very happy

We drove home and spent an hour lounging in the hot sun in the back garden before getting back to work. We have spent a lot of hours searching out evidence, writing up and linking it, proof reading the final document which ran to some 20 pages, printing, proof reading again and repeating this cycle a couple more times before despatching it to the Legal Firm who are acting for us.

I really don’t think it would be cost effective if we were financing this case ourselves. It involves English Legal experts in European Contract Law and, ultimately, Spanish lawyers that they employ. £4,500.00/€4,900.00 is worth fighting for but could easily be eaten up totally and more in costs. Still, we’ve paid in to this insurance scheme for 40 years so we are justified in using it.

Monday, 21st September, 2020

Another lovely day although I didn’t get up until 7.00 am. I was quite tired. It’s funny, though, because, as soon as I’m up, the tiredness falls away. Who could stay tired with this lovely weather? The sun is up. The sky is blue and life is wonderful in spite of this pandemic. At 11.00 am it is already 22C/70F and delicious in the back garden. It bodes well for our walk this afternoon. Strangely, but predictably for Autumn, Greece has a had tornado conditions accompanied by torrential rain with flooding and loss of life. Even if you can get there safely, Greece is not a reliable destination in the Autumn.

Sifnos steps waterfall two days ago

All the noise of the virus second wave in UK and across the rest of Europe is worrying if totally predictable. The government tells everyone to go back to school and to work not for their own health but for the health of the economy. Poor quality ministers are sent out to proselytise with messages of Schools, Offices and public transport are ‘Covid safe’. Anyone who believed them is as bonkers as they are. We then have equally stupid but better paid leaders reporting that ‘nobody predicted this resurgence of the infection rate’ when all the evidence pointed to exactly this conclusion from the start and many of us predicted it. Now we are following the circle back to square one.

Our gym equipment is on its way.

We ordered another piece of kit for our Home Gym this morning. A Lumbar Support Bike has been added to the Treadmill and Cross Trainer. We already have a Digital Skipping Rope and Dumbells. We need an exercise mat as well. I think our Gym fees came to about £1850.00/€2,020 per year. We have spent about £3,500/€3,820.00 on equipment so it seems a reasonable response. Of course, there have been lots of other, developmental costs but they will add to the properties overall value so won’t be in vain …… when we die.

Before our apparatus arrives, we are relying on outdoor exercise. Thank goodness today is so wonderful. We’ve had a 90 mins brisk walk in 26C/79F.  It makes life so much more enjoyable. We haven’t used the central heating since the beginning of Lock Down in the middle of March and I haven’t worn anything except tee shirt and shorts since then either. When I do have to dress properly, I’m going to feel very uncomfortable.

Tuesday, 22nd September, 2020

The Autumn Equinox 2020. How many more will we see? I’ve found that the changing Seasons do that to me these days particularly as the Summer goes. We’ve loved this summer in spite of Lock Down and cancellation of our travel plans and we regret its passing. The end of our 69th summer. Today is officially the first day of Autumn. It is still lovely and warm but we are warned that the week will deteriorate. 

Did my full walk by 9.30 am today. The weather was warm – almost oppressive – and the sun was shining although increasingly weakly. Pauline did her Sainsbury‘s shop and we then went on to Asda. Later, we drove out to Wickes to collect some Loppers for pruning our Fig trees which are already reaching 15ft/4.6 mtrs and then back down the beach side to the Garden Centre for a tub of Growmore. I can’t decide what to do with my Canarian tree which I’ve been nurturing for over two years.

Immigrant from Tenerife.

This week it started flowering. For something which could grow into a 40ft/12mtrs tree with red flowers, I’m not sure how these beautiful, white pompoms fit in. I was going to let it die this Winter but it has become a real friend and I can’t be so cruel. It will get one more Winter in the conservatory window

Crane Fly & Larvae

We have found that our region is particularly susceptible to Leather Jacket problems. If you’ve never heard of them, Leather Jackets are the larvae of Crane Flies. About this time, Crane Fly lay their eggs on the lawn and, within 2 weeks, the larvae known as Leather Jackets will have hatched and begin eating in to the roots of the grass. Soon, whole patches of lawn turn brown as it dies.


The chemical that treated this pest was banned from public sale some time ago. For the past few days, our house inside and out has been invaded by Crane Flies. In the past couple of days, our lawn has been invaded by dozens of Crane Flies. You can be sure that they’ve laid their eggs in it. At the same time, a beautiful Pied Wagtail has taken up residence. It just patiently walks the lawn eating crane flies as it goes. Unfortunately, there are so many that he cannot cope alone so my next action will be to rake the entire lawn before applying a natural predator called Nematodes. These microscopic worms which are applied through the medium of water happily munch their way through the leather Jackets.

Wednesday, 23rd September, 2020

A warm but intermittently damp day with some sunshine. We were out fairly early to Worthing. Pauline had to collect an order from M&S. The 7-level, multi storey carpark only had a few cars on the first 3 levels and nothing beyond. We went up to Level 7 as usual. We’re not keen on crowds. The town was very quiet although the outdoor market which runs down the centre of the main, pedestrianisation was open. People are definitely staying at home.

View from Isolation on top of the Multi-Storey Carpark

Mission accomplished, we drove back via the garden centre in the search for Nematodes. They used to sell them but found it too difficult keeping them alive long enough during this difficult period. I will have to have them sent by delivery …. from Amazon. Jane BG would certainly approve of me using natural killers rather than chemicals. Personally, I’m not bothered as long as my lawns looks good.

The emigrants are preparing to leave.

We’ve been toying with a quick shopping trip to France before Christmas. In fact, we’d chosen next Monday. We mulled over Quarantine restrictions and thought it didn’t really inconvenience us much apart from shopping. I was about to book it but then had second thoughts about the inconvenience that we would come back to and decided it wasn’t worth the bother. So that is the end of that at the moment … until we emigrate.

We were told how easy Brexit would be and that we would have the exact same advantages. We were told that talk of blockages at the ports and food shortages because of import/export problems were all Project Fear. Well, the Tory government are perpetrating their own Project Fear now as they begin to panic themselves. Covid meets Brexit will make a brilliant epitaph on this government’s grave.

Thursday, 24th September, 2020

Strong winds and heavy rain overnight gave way to blue sky and sunshine this morning as we nipped out to Sainsbury‘s for Argos. Our 6mnth old, £150.00/€165.00 Blender had packed up. After replacing the fuse with two separate new ones without improvement, we stuck it a bag and asked Argos for a new one. They offered us our money back but we liked the Blender and a new one will be available tomorrow morning. We will collect it then.

No excuse to rest.

At Lunchtime, a Logistics company called Panther are delivering gym equipment – purely through happenstance – from two, separate companies. A Bike from John Lewis and a Cross Trainer JTX are both on the same wagon on the same day and arriving at the same time. It was not co-ordinated. It was a two man delivery because of the size and weight of the packages.

Put the iPad through the WiFi

We managed to open just one box. The bike chassis came out in one piece. Everything else from stabiliser feet to the seat plus adjuster, the display plus column and the pedals had to be assembled. The electrics had to be installed and the computerised screen with Wi-Fi connectivity set up. It took at least 2.5 hours and we were exhausted but elated at the end of it.

However, it is an excellent piece of equipment which will be used by both of us a lot. I have found that I do a period of exercise each day and then a lot of my time subsequently is sedentary. I read my iPad, use my computer to write and Blog, watch television or listen to music. I have thought for a while that I can do many of those things while exercising. I am going to try to cycle while I watch football matches and work on the treadmill while I watch political programmes. I will try to do twice as much exercise without compromising my interests.

Thursday, 24th September, 2020

At 7.00 am and under leaden skies, Pauline went in to Tesco and I did my walk. The fish counter doesn’t open until (.00 am and we need sides of salmon so we already we will go back later. On to Sainsbury‘s (for Argos) via Asda for bananas. Each time Pauline enters a shop, I go for a walk. It’s a good system. We were home by 9.30 am and I was tired but not allowed to rest.

Today we are constructing our new, Cross Trainer which arrived yesterday. The company told us that it was a 2-person job and should take about 45 mins. this is modern life. You pay out £1000.00/€1100.00 and then build it yourself.

Four hours later, we were just finishing. We did it and glowed with pride but we could never have achieved that in 45 mins. Just hooking up the electrics to 45 mins. In fact, after we had finished, I found a video of how to construct the machine by a man who did the same thing every day and he said it took him 90 mins so we felt better about it. Actually, we could have paid an extra £150.00/€165.00 to have it constructed but the sense of achievement makes our efforts well worth it.

We are delighted with the machine which is as good as the one we used in David Lloyd. The Treadmill will arrive in the next couple of weeks and that will be constructed by experts. All the equipment has 3 years warranty and home service so we should be set up for a while. At least we are almost ready for wet weather when we don’t want to exercise outside.

Saturday, 26th September, 2020

Beautiful clear sky last night with huge and bright stars on show and a half moon. I think we went down to 9C/48F over night and only reached 16C/61F at best today. It is also breezy which makes the feel-factor even lower. This evening, we’ve taken the momentous decision to turn the central heating on for the first time since March.

The 6 month gap has made it necessary to reacquaint myself with the app. Because we haven’t been abroad in that 6 month period either, I haven’t needed the app to control the lights but Hive is not difficult and we are soon back on track. I’ve even closed some of the window vents so it must be bad.

Having spent the past two days building gym equipment, the gym was full of packaging – cardboard, polystyrene, BubbleWrap and tape. I was so tired at the end of yesterday and the gym was scattered with tools that I couldn’t be bothered clearing up. That was today’s job. The car has been filled with all the packaging. The tools are all away in the toolbox and Pauline has been in and vacuumed and mopped the floor. It looks good and felt good when we finally got started on our exercise routines. We have a third, major piece of equipment to be delivered and assembled (by experts, thankfully) in the next couple of weeks and then ….. the builders move in to do the hard landscaping on our garden.

No wonder people are complaining about closure of pubs and restaurants at 10.00 pm.. They’ll have to move to Greece where emergency measures have meant a ban on alcohol sales after midnight. Brits can only dream of that.

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