Week 633

Sunday, 7th February, 2021

We went down to 3C/37F and this morning had started with some sunshine. I wanted to show you what happened last Friday after we had been to walk in the sea mist. Almost as soon as we left, the sun came out and a phenomenon apparently called a fogbow appeared. Had to rely on someone else’s photo for this.

A Fogbow on Littlehampton Beach

This was the scene yesterday evening on the same beach. I missed this too and have stolen someone else’s photo. We’ve said for a long time that we must make the effort to get down to the beach for sundown. We’re going to have to stop being lazy.

Sunset last night on Littlehampton Beach

This morning, I’ve been watching the Test match from India where the temperature was a delicious 30C/86F and then Tottenham v West Brom. where the temperatures were sub-zero and they had light snow falling. It is now 2.00 pm and we have had a bit of sleet and the temperature has fallen from 3C to 2C/36F. I’m going to brave walking across the patio to the gym to do my exercise while watching Wolves v Leicester. I will be well and truly footballed out by the end of the day after Liverpool v Man. City and then Sheffield v Chelsea. Need to get a life!

Monday, 8th February, 2021

We woke up to find an embroidery of snow on the pavements. We were making an early walk down to the Post Office in the village with a clothing ‘return’. We seem to do this a lot. 

The walk took us about 70 mins round trip and was bitterly cold. The temperature was -1C/30F with a biting breeze. The sky looks rather forbidding. If we were in Yorkshire, we would be predicting heavy snow. We walked past a children’s playground where Mothers and toddlers were desperately trying to scrape up something approximating snow to make their first ever snowball.

As we walked, we reflected on that. Years of annual snowfalls, roads closed, schools closed, etc. have made us fairly blasé about the concept of snow – even anti. To think, for these young children on the south coast, this is the first ever experience of snow. It makes us feel, suddenly, very old. We go on through our days feeling the same as we have for years and then something like this pulls us up short. I am old. There are very few things that I will experience for the first time in my life. Well, there is death but then it will be all too late. I will never experience the wonder of my first snow ever again.

At least the cricket is going well. It’s even kicked politics off the early morning screens. I’m really enjoying watching a hot, Indian day being decorated by some excellent Test teams.

Tuesday, 9th February, 2021

Up at 6.00 am. Still -1C/30F outside but we’ve managed to avoid the snow we were fearing. Sainsbury’s delivery by 7.00 am. Before that, Pauline books the next one. New slots are released at midnight but 6.00 am is early enough to get a ‘free’ early delivery slot. We don’t pay anything for our deliveries in this way.

What a wonderful time of day 6.00 am is! Especially when you are watching the cricket while enjoying a huge cup of Yorkshire tea.

Fantastic Anderson Performance!

India are the No.1 team in the world at the moment and England have beaten them comprehensively on their home soil in the first Test Match. It was a joy to watch.

In spite of the cold, we are going out for a walk. It’s good to see the daylight and feel the fresh air in our faces. I was noticing the uncertain messages in Greek newspapers this week. They report that

Amid fears of new variants of the coronavirus, new restrictions on movement have hit just as people were starting to look ahead to what is usually a busy time of year for travel.

Kathimerini – 8/2/2021
Ermou Street with facemasks – just not a holiday.

Already, face masks are mandatory in the street. Can you imagine hot sun and face masks? Greece has increased its restrictions on travellers this week including enforced vaccinations and quarantine which adds to this climate of difficulty. The Greek Hotel industry is badly suffering and is central to the economy. They are demanding government support to just survive. 

Wednesday, 10th February, 2021

Up at a reasonable time – 7.00 am – and, although the outside temperature is 0C/32F, their was no ice or frost to be seen. By mid day, the temperature outside has soared to 2C/36F and the sun is shining. We were up early because we had an Asda Click & Collect at 8.00 am.

A week ago, I wrote that our neighbours across the road had put their property up for sale. Exactly a week later, a sold sign has gone up. The speed of sale is both surprising and encouraging. The price is even more encouraging. When we bought and sold in Surrey, our property almost doubled its value in 5 years. Down here, even in the midst of a pandemic, our neighbours’ house has provided a profit of £125,000 in just 5 years and, like ours, it is a new-build which are notorious for normally losing some value in the early stages.

I have been highly amused and infuriated in equal measures by an interview Kate Hoey did with Sky News where she bemoaned the Brexit Agreement for punishing Northern Ireland’s trade. Imagine having the chutzpah of having created this situation, promoted it, ignored the Remain vote of Northern Ireland, and then making this statement. She also blames Southern Ireland for colluding with the EU – completely ignoring the fact that Southern Ireland is the EU. Brexit chickens are really coming home to roost!

I’m off out to the gym now to suffer in every way. The exercise still hurts but I watch television to distract me a bit. Unfortunately, I am currently watching a film called The Photographer of Mauthausen which is based on real events; a photographer tries to save evidence of the horrors committed inside the walls of a Nazi concentration camp in Mauthausen.

It is horrifying and fascinating but it is not easy watching. Sometimes, I am willing myself to get to the end of my exercise just to have a rest from the misery. It is so hard to believe that humans can do such things to humans but then we must remember that this Tory government is still prepared to trade on with a Chinese nation who are persecuting the Uighur people with an inhumanity that closely parallels the Holocaust. 

Thursday, 11th February, 2021

We were up so late this morning that it felt like tomorrow. To get up at 8.00 am is almost unheard of but we weren’t in bed until 1.00 am so feel almost feel justified. The temperature went down to -2/28F last night but has heated up massively to 1C/34F and we are going out for a walk on the beach or, probably a swim because it is High Tide at 11.00 am today.

Down-lit Goring Beach

Actually, we didn’t stay long on the beach. Within a few minutes of getting there, we couldn’t feel our faces. Even so, there were quite a few people around, walking on the beach and along the shoreline path. They would do well in the North.

A former fellow student who now lives on the Cumbrian coast posted this photo of his garden this morning after a night at -15C/5F. Why would you want to live there? Think of the heating bills.

After 40 years living on the Pennines with all the wet, cold and difficult weather that brings, I was genuinely concerned about leaving. I longed to see dry stone walls and heather-covered moors after those views being the daily wallpaper of our working lives. I noticed my brother, Bob – former Antarctic Explorer – longs for snow in sunny Berkshire. He really needs to move to Yorkshire. His skills would really come in to action.

Bolster Moor, Kirklees yesterday

We experienced these conditions just getting to work most winters. We took our lives into our hands just going out to school. In fact, Britain has not experienced such a cold spell for 11 years which is when we last lived in the North of England. There are better ways to spend one’s time than being dragged out of snow drifts by tractors. Now I’m going to brave the 2C/36F in the back garden to go out to the gym which is snugly heated by a radiator. While I’m working out, I’ll be watching a barely credible film of Jews suffering sub zero temperatures with little clothing and even less food in the prison camp of Mauthausen.

Friday, 12th February, 2021

Up at 6.00 am and -1C/30F to welcome the Sainsbury‘s delivery man. Major problem this morning – No Medjool dates!

Along with bananas, Medjool dates are our go-to snack for quick calories. They are healthy but provide a quick hit of energy. If you haven’t tried them, you should. They are like, soft, gooey toffees but are full of nutrients and antioxidants. There are lots of dates but best are Medjool.

Turned in to a lovely, sunny morning but feels raw at just 1C/34F. Pauline’s cooking but we might find space to walk on the beach later.

More bracing than sunbathing but always ‘chic’.

This was yesterday. It might be a little more inviting today. At least there is still no snow. Five years ago, we were living in P&C’s attic and preparing to make the move down to West Sussex. Only 5 years but it all seems so far away.

I have to apologise for missing Albert, Kevan’s birthday yesterday. It was very remiss of me. My calendar should have reminded me but failed to do so. Yesterday, my brother-in-law, A.K. Butcher was 78 and it should be marked. I hope he had a happy day. I certainly hope I get to that great age.

Saturday, 13th February, 2021

It has been cold again overnight at -2/28F. What it has meant is that the gym has had to be heated all day and all night for the best part of a week.

Keeping the Gym comfortable.

The gym equipment is controlled by sensitive computer circuits which don’t respond well to low temperatures. Along with the television and Sky-Q box, they amount to about £6,000.00/€6,900.00 worth of equipment and then add to that about £5,000.00/€5,800 of wine to keep in reasonable condition and heating was the only, sensible answer. We installed from the outset a vertical, ‘ladder’, oil-filled radiator which isn’t too expensive to run but can be left on continuously and provides a background heat. Of course, the garage isn’t as well insulated as the house and we may well address that this summer. A small outlay then could pay off in the long run.

Trafalgar Square this week.

This is the coldest Winter for a decade apparently so this may not be a continual problem. Certainly, we haven’t had it as bad down here on the South Coast as many other places. No snow, little frost and moderate temperatures all help.

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