Week 705

Sunday, 26th June, 2022

A lovely, warm and sunny day. I went out walking early on my own. Pauline is suffering from shin splints which is leaving her in real pain with a swollen foot and ankle. It is my fault. I am driving her too hard. I am averaging 11 miles a day but she must be doing 6 – 7 miles a day as well. 

There’s going to be an early harvest.

This is constantly one of my favourite views on my walk in the Summer. I’m sure you will be heartily sick of seeing it but I can’t resist capturing the season’s advance.

Back home, I’m preparing for two events The first is cleaning the patio flags prior to the new lawn being laid and the second is researching places to go for our French trip.

Market Square – Arras

We are going to revisit Arras to have Lunch on one of our days. My old, grammar school friend, John, has lived there since 1970 when he spent a University exchange year in the town, fell in love with a nurse and just stayed.

St Omer

We will also revisit the town of St Omer which is famous for its Brewing Industry just like my home town of Burton-upon-Trent.

Monday, 27th June, 2022

Lovely warm and sunny morning. Mind you, it’s not quite as warm as the one I recorded 10 years ago today when we were in our Greek house and drove up to Apollonia to pay our taxes. The tax we owed was for a new pergola. We were rather unusual in that, however arcane the tax, we paid it whereas Greeks really didn’t. It was only €408 but it was only for a pergola.

As we drove home, we passed the ‘Garden Centre’ and bought an oregano plant for our garden. This morning our raised bed of Mediterranean herbs – Thyme, Oregano, Sage, Rosemary and Tarragon is looking quite productive.

The patios have been completely refreshed and the developers are arriving early tomorrow. They will be with us until the end of the week. The weather is set fair so all should be well. Famous last words!

Pauline is from Oldham. She used to live in Holly Lane, Hollins as a child. She follows a site which features photos of old Oldham. This morning a picture was posted that featured a group of bomb disposal soldiers and she is convinced the one on the lorry holding the bomb is her father who died when she was 10 years old.

Pauline’s Dad in Hollins after the war?

I have contacted the lady who posted it to see if I can follow the lead up. It would be a nice thing to confirm her perception.

Tuesday, 28th June, 2022

Not so much left of June 2022. Still have targets to achieve …. and I will. This morning opened spectacularly over the South Downs:

but, ultimately, settled in to a lovely, warm and sunny day. We were supposed to be having garden developers here this morning but they called to cancel which was very frustrating. We had worked hard to complete all the preparations for their arrival but … these things happen.

We are going full out to arrange flights to Tampa, Florida for the start of November and returning at the end of January. We are allowed 90 days at any one stay so intend to make the most of the flight costs. We have to factor in hiring a car for 3 months but that will be an enjoyable challenge.

The first of many batches of homemade pesto was produced today. I went out for my 10 mile walk which takes about 2.5 hours. Pauline, still suffering with swollen ankles, stayed at home and harvested Basil to make the first batch of Pesto for the year. There is not much better than fresh Pesto to an old man!

Wednesday, 29th June, 2022

The day started with a phone call this morning from garden developers to say their Manager had Covid which meant they wouldn’t be with us until next Monday. There is a large, new swathe of infections running through the country and is forecast to get much worse over the Autumn/early Winter. We are still wearing masks when we are in closed, public spaces. Very few others are.

Got an early contact via Whatsapp from Kevin. He’s got a worrying NHS Bowel Cancer recall. We know exactly what that’s like, don’t we? I phoned him and we talked it over for a while. I advised him to short-cut the agony and seek a quick, private colonoscopy to put an end to the mental torture. He has a good Nuffield Centre not far from his home. I think he will do as I did – give the NHS a couple of weeks and then plunge in to payment.

Tampa Revisited

This morning, we bought British Airways flights to Tampa, Florida for a 3 month stay. We are going to be away for November – February. It means changing our house insurance to cover that extended period. The flight tickets are incredibly cheap. Two Return, Premium Economy flights are just over £2100.00. Business Class would have been 3 times that amount. The difference of £4000.00 will pay for car hire for the 3 months.

So, now we will spend a week in France in July. A week in Athens in late August. Another week in France in early September. A week in Yorkshire/Lancashire in October and 3 months in Florida covering November-February. Searching, searching, constantly searching ….

On my walk this afternoon, I was suddenly confronted by this sight. I am so old and gaga that it took me so long to realise what I was seeing.

Google Maps camera car was recording the new streets that have been created on our Development. I was right in front of it, fumbling to get my phone camera on. I just hope that I haven’t been immortalised on the internet as a gaga old man with his mouth open, looking vacant.

Thursday, 30th June, 2022

Up early on the last day of June. A lovely, warm and sunny day. The garden is looking delightful and everything is enjoying this growing weather. Over night we had rain which is how it ought to be organised. The colours of the garden are beautiful.

Colours of early Summer.

Out valeting the car and then a walk before setting off for Surrey. We are going to see M&K + P&C + D&B for a couple of hours. Great drive and the M25 was almost empty. We were there in just over an hour. It was lovely to see them all again for the first time since we were together in Florida. They go back soon and we are off to France so now was the only time.

M&K’s garden has the canal running at the end and it is a delightfully restful place to be away from the Surrey traffic. We had a lovely lunch together. I set P’s iPad up for her. The next time we see them again will be back in Florida.

The drive home was just as quiet. Goodness knows where all the traffic is. I sent Kevin some encouraging words about his prospective bowel cancer screening and Julie a brief letter because she is temporarily housebound. I have to contact Ruth & Kevin tomorrow to congratulate them on their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

I bought my first ever 3-piece suit from Montague-Burton in Ripon to attend their wedding. It cost me £95.00. I had to borrow Nigel’s bike to catch an early train from Harrogate at 5.30 am before the bus connection ran. I was shattered but I caught the train and made the wedding.

Friday, 1st July, 2022

Another new month to embrace. Travel is going to be the main focus of the rest of the year. Looking forward to it. Got a week at home first as the garden is redeveloped. Beautiful, warm and sunny morning will make my walk more enjoyable.

I’ve started the new month by learning a new skill. I have never used a washing machine. I am generally terrible with machines and I tend to encourage them with brute force. When I lived alone in Oldham for a year or so, I did go up to a Laundrette with a bag of mixed-coloured clothes to wash. I never really did any washing because the women saw me dithering and took pity on me. They told me to leave the bag and come back later in the day.

When I got the washed clothes home, they needed ironing which I also couldn’t do. I bought an iron but just managed collars and cuffs really and relied on suits to cover up the creases. I took suits to the cleaners so most bases were covered. Today, I’ve had a lesson in how to make the machine do another ‘full spin’. I might learn another program next month.

You’re never too old to learn washing machine skills!

I remember this day for lots of reasons but mainly because I was leaving Ripon College for the ceremony. I would soon be leaving for the real world.

July 1st, 1972

Hurts to think I can clearly remember the experiences surrounding this event. It was 50 years ago! I am old enough to have been at an event 50 years ago! Terrifying!

Saturday, 2nd July, 2022

Lovely warm day. Everything in the garden is under control and awaiting the Developers on Monday. Went to Tesco Superstore early. We were wearing masks. Only a handful of others – mainly elderly – were doing the same. Our region is seeing a resurgence in infection. Infection rates across the country increased 30% in the past week. Although it is mainly the elderly and vulnerable who suffer extreme and life-threatening symptoms, it is not exclusively so and just being unwell is keeping younger ones off work – impacting Healthcare, Travel, etc..

Like a naive child, I spend my time moving forward while looking wistfully back to the past. Just like that child, I am always in danger of walking into things and tripping up. It is my nature. I have a longing to just return and touch my past and then return to the future. All the Greek islands I have visited are candidates for that treatment. Went to Andros and to Nyssiros in the 1990s. they were not favourites at all but I’d like to set foot on them again just for a day.

July 2012 – Full Power Electricity Arrives!

In this week 10 years ago, Δημόσια Επιχείρηση Ηλεκτρισμού, the Greek Power Company, finally delivered a full and legal power supply to our house. Until then – for some 10 years – we had been using half price, ‘Construction’ electricity tariff. Now we were ‘legal’.

St Peter’s Precinct, Oldham – 1978

When I first met her, my sister-in-law was working in the Accounts Dept. in Halfords here in ‘windy city’. This photo came up yesterday on a website Blog I follow and it took me back immediately. Wouldn’t you just like to revisit that time for a moment? I would.

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