Week 619

Sunday, 1st November, 2020

Our life is moving at two, conflicting paces along two, tectonic plates. Time moves rapidly on. The Summer is over. The Autumn is arriving. November already …. and yet life is closing down as travel is stopped, human interaction is minimalised, life’s experiences are put on hold.

It is hard to see a viable resolution to this hinterland of living. It is as if the pause button is being pressed, released and then pressed again. We should be in Tenerife today. We should have been lunching in the sunshine. This is where we were exactly a year ago on day 1 of 28.

Lunch on this day last year

As we move in to a 4 week Lock Down – although it remains to be seen how well it will be observed or how much it will be extended – Pauline’s haircut is in jeopardy and out garden landscaping is questionable as well. Neither would be fatal if we had to wait but these things all add up to stasis.

Flying Freely ….

We nipped down to the beach this morning after watching slimy-toad Gove running rings round a complaisant Andrew Marr. Around 11.00 am, the high tide was just beginning to turn back towards France. Oh, how we wished to be on it!

Monday, 2nd November, 2020

Out early on a mercy mission. At 8.30 am, Pauline was on the phone and 15 mins later, we drove to Worthing town centre so that Pauline could bring her hair appointment forward by 3 weeks because of the impending lockdown. Apparently, it is a life and death situation. I was free to walk on the promenade and take photos. Incredibly warm, I was sauntering in short sleeved tee shirt and shorts.

Worthing Pier

I had to remind myself that it was November and I was walking into the sea with barely any clothes on. I admit, there were fishermen, dressed for a storm in oilskins, casting their rods over the side of the pier and old men on benches huddled over a cigarette fully garbed against potential winter but it was all unnecessary.

End of the Pier Show

We drove home for coffee and then went out for a walk around our Development in wonderful sunshine. I only needed a short spell in the gym today but, once again, we have been justified in ploughing our own furrow. David Lloyd is closing down again on Wednesday and reopening …. they don’t know when. We have decided that we must keep going out and enjoying fresh air, sunshine and exercise as well as using our gym. If we can stay healthy, we will.

Tuesday, 3rd November, 2020

Heavy rain over night and strong winds but all is calm this morning although only 9C/48F and it hasn’t got above 12C/54F all day. The sun is out. The sky is blue. I’m in my shorts but also wearing a fleece outside. Up at 6.00 am and out to Sainsbury’s by 7.00 am.. Home for coffee, greet the window cleaners and make some contacts with contractors who are working for us over the next couple of weeks and then out to another beach for some sunshine on our faces and legs – free Vitamin D.

Waves breaching the sea defences – Elmer Beach

We did the 15 mins drive to Elmer Beach which is half way down the coast road to Bognor Regis. We have been there before when the tide was out and it looked more like a lunar landscape. Today, with the sea advancing, a beach walk was not possible.

Back home, I did an hour or so in the gym which is the joy of having it readily available for these cooler, less certain Autumn days. Instead of just sitting around watching the Politics Live debate, I was able to exercise both mind and body simultaneously.

Wednesday, 4th November, 2020

Beautiful morning although there was a hint of frost on the roofs and the temperature was only 4C/39F at 7.00 am. Half an hour later, it was double that as the sun began to take effect. We are not using the central heating and the kitchen was 19C/66F as we got up but had reached 22C/70F an hour later as the sun beat through the conservatory glass.

Last night, it felt a bit on the edge in the evening so the heating went on. After less than an hour, the house was suffocatingly hot and we had to turn it off. This is one of the benefits of a new, up to date house. It is incredibly well insulated. It is also well ventilated which ought to be a good thing and, generally, is but we have come up against a problem. We have 5 powered extractor fans- 3 in bathrooms, one in the laundry and one in the Kitchen. They are vented through the walls. We are finding that venting pipe in the attic is suffering blow back in very strong winds.

Air Extractor in our Roof

It is making a noisy, creaking sound over our bed which is really annoying. With only 5 months left on our building warranty, we need to get it sorted quickly. This morning, we have had to supply the ‘snagging’ team with photographs prior to their visit. It looks like the lockdown won’t affect them nor will it prevent our landscapers coming next week which is pleasing.

Rustington Gardens

We drove in to Rustington, an attractive but rather sedate village/town with a largely older, conservative demographic. The hint of frost over night had triggered the municipal gardeners to start the process of stripping the Summer flower beds of Begonias. Rustington is proud of its status as an award winner of European Villages in Bloom.

Rusting in Bloom

Actually, we had gone there for the excellent Butcher’s Shop. We wanted to buy Rabbit to make a terrine for Xmas Lunch. We will return tomorrow to pick it up. Apparently, someone has to go out shooting this afternoon. 

Lovely shops in Rustington

Certainly, we are very lucky to have so many delightful facilities within easy reach. Nothing is further than 10 -15 mins away. It makes lockdown so much easier to bear.

Thursday, 5th November, 2020

Beautiful morning with gorgeous, backlit sky rising as we rose at 6.00 am.. As we drove to Tesco, the car reported a temperature of just 4C/39F. It had been a very clear sky over night with a bright moon and such strong stars. Pauline went in to shop and I set off in shorts and tee-shirt to do my walk. I soon generated enough heat to shrug off the cold although I was shocked to find myself walking through quite severe frost pockets on my route. Pauline reported a very quiet but fully stocked supermarket.

We drove home on unusually quiet roads to unpack at home and have coffee. I’ve been trying to find out what stage our legal team is at in claiming our Tenerife villa rental back through their Spanish legal arm. It’s been 7 weeks since we set them on that task and we should have some idea of progress. Of course, the latest lockdown will hamper it but can’t let them settle too much.

Dancing on the Beach

Later, we drove over to the Rustington Butcher to collect our rabbit and then on to Goring Beach because it is such a wonderful day.

Goring Beach

It was absolutely delightful as our eyes drank in the strong sunlight, our nostrils feasted on the smell of the sea and our ears relaxed to the lapping waves. The strong colours of pebbles, sea and sky graduated by white beach huts all combine to provide an atmosphere of well being.

Friday, 6th November, 2020

Lovely morning with sunshine and blue sky and not too cold. We were expecting a cloudy day so this is a bonus. Didn’t hear or see a single firework last night. Sign of the times. We received our 4th negative Covid test result this morning for which we have received £200.00/€222.00. My octogenarian neighbour across the road plays golf on Monday and Friday. They are the only days he gets his Mercedes open top out at 7.00 in the morning to drive down to the seaside links to meet his friends. Because of the lockdown and closure of golf courses, he went Monday and Wednesday this week. He said they struggled to get into the carpark and struggled even more to get on one of the two full courses.

Even though the groundworkers come next week, I have mowed the lawns this morning. Some swathes of it will disappear in a few days but you have to keep up standards. Six years ago today, we first identified the plot for our still-to-be-built new house in Angmering. November has recently become a traditional month in Tenerife. Five years ago, we were spending four weeks in this room in Los Gigantes, south west Tenerife.

We would love to be there or somewhere near this week but it is not to be. Thank goodness we are fortunate enough to have some beautiful surroundings to fall back on. This week, we have been majoring on walks on the beach to soften the blow. 

Early Evening on Littlehampton Beach

Today we went down to the Littlehampton Marina and to walk on the beach. Although it wasn’t cold, there was a breeze which reduced the temperature and whipped up the sea into a froth.

The promenade was as quiet as we’ve seen it and that must because of the pandemic lockdown but we would still rather have a steady 25C/77F to oil our joints.

Drove home to do an hour in the gym before we eat our meal and settle down for the evening.

Saturday, 7th November, 2020

Got up without a plan for the day. I hate that. I spoke to Pauline to tell her I felt aimless and, therefore, listless. I was surprised to find she felt exactly the same way. On the list for today is a quip trip to the Pharmacy to collect a prescription, having my haircut, tidying up the last bits of the garden in readiness for the developers coming in on Tuesday, watching football. Hard to get too excited. Life seems to be in stasis.

Eleven years ago, we were preparing to put our Yorkshire house up for sale. I was recording scenes for the memory banks.

View over Colne Valley from our Yorkshire home – November 2009

We were busy de-cluttering, repainting, clearing the front garden and generally giving it instant curb-appeal. It took another 6 months to sell and it was 10 years ago that we moved in to a temporarily rented, 2 bedroom apartment a bit further up the road.

The Shoebox rented apartment – November 2010

A year later and after 6 months in Greece, we were moving in to our Duplex Apartment in Surrey and unpacking stuff that had been in storage for the best part of 12 months.

The Duplex Apartment in Surrey – November 2011

Five years later, we were settling in to our Sussex home and accustoming ourselves to all the facilities of the area. By April 2021, we will be celebrating 5 years here but champing at the bit to go travelling. This stasis is engendering lethargy and that can be deadly.

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