Week 697

Sunday, 1st May, 2022

May already! Happy New Month. I apologise in advance if I write more than usual this month but I am going to be less physically active for a week or two and will have time on my hands.

My operation is a week on Monday. Before that, I have to follow an adapted medication regime plus blood tests, Covid testing and isolation. My anti-coagulation drug has to be stopped so I don’t bleed to death.

Nice to see the Tories imploding in advance of the Local Elections. It seems to have been a long time coming but they are being hit by the perfect storm which has been reflected in the character of Boris Johnson throughout. Lovely election notice posted:

Had to go out for an early walk today because the ONS Covid Tester was arriving. We are so experienced in this now, having done it every month for nearly two years, that we are more practiced than the testers themselves. It is our only paid form of employment and produces £50.00 per month. We may be able to afford retirement soon!

Tall-Trees, Angmering – £9,000,000

We are living in a property hothouse down here at the moment not only with hundreds of new houses being built but lots being marketed and sold in quick time. Our neighbour’s house went on the market this week for a cool £9 million. Mind you, it is a little bigger than ours.

It was once owned by the entertainment impresario, Lord Bernard Delfont – a Ukranian by birth and Grandfather of Michael Grade. Its style doesn’t appeal to me but its pool & sauna do. Even so, the place, which was only refurbished 8 years ago, looks very old fashioned. The purchaser will need to spend plenty on bringing it up to scratch.

Monday, 2nd May, 2022

I’m not keen on Bank Holidays when normal services are curtailed. It is particularly emphasised when there is no gain in retirement. Went out early for a walk while it was still rather overcast. As the day’s developed, the sun has come out and warmth turned to real heat.

12Spent a few hours just in my shorts in the garden cleaning over the cooking table with a heavy duty belt sander which almost pulled my arms out of their sockets. Had to clean all the seed trays and pots for seed sowing after storing over Winter. 

As a reasonably recent convert to salad, I absolutely love baby leaf lettuce and grow the cut-and-come-again varieties in the garden. Three different types were sown this afternoon and should supply us right through the Summer (or as long as we are here..) with really fresh leaves. Sainsbury’s on Friday was almost bereft of fresh produce. I smile at the memory of my Dad’s big garden where he and his employees cultivated almost every vegetable and soft fruit that you could want. I smile because I can hear myself rejecting his entreaties to get involved because gardening was for ‘old people’ and I was more interested in modern life. 

That was back in the 1950s when chicken was a Sunday roast luxury. It was akin to Beef and Lamb and largely restricted to middle class families. Of course, only our generation remember this. Chicken has become the cheap, go-to choice for healthy, low-fat protein. And now, the 1950s are returning. The cost of feed, is going to make chicken a luxury again. The poor will be forced to return to filling carbohydrates which offer them no protein but lots of cheaper comfort. At least it will satisfy the Brexiteer’s and UKIPer’s desire to return to the 1950s.

Tuesday, 3rd May, 2022

 In 1968, I cracked a front tooth playing rugby. I had a girlfriend called Marilyn and wasn’t impressed with the plastic brace I had cemented across my front set of teeth to stabilise the crack. I wore it for over 6 months and it rather cramped my style. Fortunately, it worked for my teeth if not for my love life and I had no further problems with that tooth for almost exactly 40 years.

In 2008, I woke up one morning to find that tooth waggling around in virtual free-fall. I sought out a local implant specialist – something that was not as easy to find as now. I couldn’t believe the cost of a single tooth but couldn’t live with a huge gap in my mouth. I hate dentists at the best of times and the thought of having my bone drilled and metalwork installed appalled me. Of course, I was very brave …. until it came to paying the bill which felt like a huge sum at £850.00.

Actually, the work was less frightening in reality than anticipated and the result was very pleasing. The dentist guaranteed it for 5 years which worried me a bit but I had no other choice. Now, 14 years on, that implant is still going strong. At a recent dental inspection, the dentist listed it as just a ‘crown’ until I pointed out otherwise and they said it was still excellent which is good because a replacement would cost me more than double the original now.

Why am I writing about my teeth? I am having a general anaesthetic for the first time in over 60 years and I have been warned that it could represent a slight risk to my teeth. Apparrently, aggressive, little people like me have a tendency to grind and clash their teeth and gums while going in and out of consciousness. The implant would be the most fragile. Be a pity to lose an old friend. We’ve seen some quite interesting sights together.

Got home from our walk to find a case of wine had been delivered. We thought it was for our neighbour at first but my name was on it. Strange really because I don’t drink but had a look inside and it was all lovely bottles of exciting Malbec. Now who would know I like Malbec? Mmmm, curious!

Wednesday, 4th May, 2022

Never one to blow my own trumpet, I am going to break the habit of a lifetime. Since my 70th birthday on 6th April, 2021, I have averaged 10 miles walking each day. Some days I did more than that which is why I say ‘averaged’. Yesterday, I completed 365 consecutive days of 10+ miles each day. There have been tricky times particularly when we were doing transatlantic flights and crossing time zones. It meant getting up at the most ridiculous times of the morning but I am nothing if not persistent. Some people see that as a plus and it drives others mad – my wife!

I can be very disciplined but competition and data targets are real drivers for me. Sad, I know but it helps to know yourself. I will still continue today and for the rest of the week. My problem will come on Monday when I am operated on. I will do my routine in the morning of the operation but can’t guarantee managing it the next day. How I will react to that, I wait to see!

This morning, we’ve got garden developers in to start work on our back garden. A trailer load of planed sleeper logs have arrived and we expect at least two day’s work will start under quite grey skies. While they are working, I’ve been out to complete Day 366 (in case they sneak in a Leap Year).

Thursday, 5th May, 2022

Couldn’t have picked a better week to have the garden developed. A beautiful start to the morning. The work is coming on and should be finished this week. I’ve got blood tests and Covid test at the hospital tomorrow then operation on Monday. I’m beginning to get suspicious that, every time I have a ‘procedure’ that might threaten life, I receive mail from funeral services. Can’t be that coincidental! This morning they are offering me 57% saving on being incinerated. Nice!

I’m certainly envious of David Roberts from Rochdale who is enjoying the delights of Sorrento at the moment. I’d give anything to be in the Bay of Naples now rather than Worthing Hospital. Mind you, it doesn’t look over warm in the evenings. I want sun and warmth.

As people go to the Local Elections, we don’t here. Our area is not involved this time which is a pity but I rather enjoyed this cartoon doing the rounds:

Pauline was updating the accounts this morning. The digital ones go back to January 1993. At that time we were eating out once a week in our local Italian Trattoria, O Sole Mio.

It was the most wonderful food and we would rush there from work on a Friday evening. The atmosphere was as good as the food. The owners, Mario & Nino, made it work for 30 years. Our average bill for two in the early 1990s – £37.00.

Friday, 6th May, 2022

We were out before the garden developers arrived on this beautiful, sunny and warm morning. Driving down the coast road to Southlands Hospital in Shoreham-on-Sea, the sky and sea look positively Mediterranean.

Southlands Hospital

Bizarre experience going to hospital at the moment. I had to have a blood test and a Covid test prior to operation on Monday. I managed to arrange them both for 9.00 & 10.00 this morning. Arriving, the carpark was virtually empty, the corridors were empty and there was only one other patient in the three waiting rooms. My 9.00 am appointment was finished by 8.50 am and my 10.00 am appointment was finished by 9.15 am. It is almost as if hospitals have largely refined patients out of the equation. Who am I to complain?

Something strange is happening. We keep getting parcels delivered that we didn’t order. On Tuesday, it was a case of wine. Yesterday ANOTHER case of wine arrived from Amazon of all people …. and then there was a knock on the door and a Waitrose Delivery man said, ‘Parcel for our address’.

Pauline initially turned him away until he revealed that it was 8 packs of asparagus and 10 packs of protein bars. I knew immediately where they came from …. and she’s very bad. I’ve told her to stop sending wine because all I do is drink it!

Saturday, 7th May, 2022

Warm and sunny day. Out for an early walk because lots of jobs to do. After the garden work last week, everything needs pressure washing clean – road, drive, car, patio. Quite a job and I’m shattered after it.

K has introduced me to a Financial Adviser. He contacted me a couple of days ago to set up a discussion. I checked him out on Linkedin to find he was previously Managing Director of Morgan Stanley. Felt a bit intimidating and a bit out of my depth. Anyway, a megalomaniac like me can cope with that! I’ve written him a potted résumée and arranged to speak next week. Nothing to lose …. apart from all my money.


All our meals currently centre around one item. M sent us 8 packs of asparagus. They have a shelf life of 3 days. Fortunately, I absolutely love asparagus. We are eating 2 packs a day for 4 days. Day 1 – Griddled Tuna + Asparagus. Day 2 – Griddled Chicken + Asparagus. Day 3 – Griddled Sea Bas with prawns + Asparagus. What will tomorrow bring?

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