Week 709

Sunday, 24th July, 2022

A very strange night last night. It was not quite hot enough to justify using the air con all night but a little too warm to sleep comfortably. I woke at 4.am and didn’t really get back to sleep. It is strange how these hours are populated by figures from my past. No matter how hard I try to push them back into the past, they haunt the hinterland of my waking hours. 

In the early hours of this morning, one of those figures walking across my mind was James Joseph Jeremiah Coghlan who died in 1976. My Grandfather. My Mother’s father. In 2009, I was doing some family research and found that my Grandfather, of Irish immigrant stock, was born in this simple courtyard block in 1894. 

Jubilee Street, Brighton

It is Jubilee Street, Brighton – about 10 miles from where I now live. I could find out little more about those early days but went on a Brighton research site and asked if anyone could help.

My memories in the early hours of this morning were of his fantastic skills as a French Polisher, a furniture restorer, a central London Furniture shop manager, an antiques dealer. I also knew he had brothers who had antique shops in Brighton. When he retired and came down from the city to live near us in our small, Midlands village, he opened an antiques shop of his own, toured the country house sales and bought up distressed, classic furniture, had a workshop where he restored it and then sold it on a huge profit.

I placed my request for help on the Brighton research site 13 years ago. This morning, when I got up, I had a reply informing me of a Coghlan who lived up the right hand steps of this photo at No 35 and who was …. a wardrobe dealer. This will almost certainly have been my Great Grandfather. Wonder who I’ll dream about tonight?

It’s been a really hot and humid day reaching 25C/77F with lovely blue skies and strong sunshine. Spent the morning working outside – cutting the hedge and sweeping up, watering the plants and dead heading.

Talked to Kevin who, understandably, is getting a bit twitchy about his biopsy results. I’ve advised him to be proactive and not wait for the system to report. I think he will do that. He is articulate and strong enough to force the issue and relieve his uncertainties. It is wrong, I know, but the educated and middle class have the levers to get better healthcare treatment than the poor and uneducated. Totally wrong but almost inevitable.

Monday, 25th July, 2022

Hot and steamy day in more senses than one. We have strong sunshine and blue skies but 10 minutes of rain that evaporated even quicker. Pauline has been out delivering homemade Pesto and Raspberry Jam to our neighbours. I haven’t. We’ve done our 1o mile walk. Since my hernia operation 74 days ago, I’ve walked 815 miles. I’m shattered and not a spam sandwich in sight!

I have become a fan of Amazon Prime. I’ve even forgotten how much it costs each month but I joined it for the films I could watch in the Gym. Currently, I’m watching a wonderful, Dutch, wartime spy film called ZwartBoek/Black Book.

It plugs straight in to my interests of love and loss, of mystery and suspense and is both historical and tragical at the same time.

But Amazon Prime has real purchasing values of immediacy. Today, I am looking for a new, bean-to-cup coffee maker. Mine is 6 years old and not performing as well as it should. This edition will be delivered to my door tomorrow free of charge on my Prime Account.

I am also purchasing ‘Carry-On’ Bags for our Easyjet flight as well as Dental Flossers to replace ones that have died. We could possibly have found all these things a little bit cheaper and waited a few weeks more for delivery but this is so quick and easy.

Tuesday, 26th July, 2022

Another warm morning on which I woke at 4.30 am. Not sleeping particularly well at the moment. I think it is a combination of hot nights and I am drinking too much. Got to do something about that. I have become a fan of the Shipping Forecast at 5.30 am followed by Farming Today on BBC R4. Sometimes, the music of the coastal weather stations which are used to monitor the data for shipping – Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger, German Bight … send me off to sleep because they push out other thoughts.

Going out for a walk alone this morning because Pauline is needed at home. We have an electrician working here today. He is fitting an automatic light in a downstairs store room. It really appeals to me because it comes on automatically as one opens the door and goes off as one closes it. Love things like that. One of the big regrets about growing old is not living to see major technological improvements to come.

This morning, we acknowledge the victory on this day in the 1945 General Election by Clement Attlee and the Labour Party as they ousted Winston Churchill and the Tories. This led directly to the foundation of the National Health Service – something my Great Grandfather down in Brighton never experienced!

At the same time, we are told that the first element of HS2 will not be completed until 2033 and that is optimistically. I will be 82 by then and the need for a few minutes quicker train travel will have been superseded by rocket-speed internet of everything. Anyone who doesn’t need to travel will work over the internet and that will mean large proportions of the population who commute at the moment. I believe HS2 will be outdated before it arrives.

Wednesday, 27th July, 2022

Very warm day of sun and cloud. Drove down along the beach road and then went out for a 6 mile walk. Got to do the rest in the Gym. Found my Netflix account had been hacked and was being used in South America. The language had been changed to Spanish. Tempted as I was to fly to Peru to sort it out, I contented myself with doing it over the internet.

The net is fantastic but still has its limitations. This morning, I wanted to transfer £40,000 and even my Black Account would not let me move more than £5,000 per day for worry of my falling victim to fraud. Although I understand the Bank’s concern, it is taken too far. I now either have to go to a bank branch, queue for an adviser and then transact my business in full view/earshot of everyone else or take 8 consecutive days to move the money. I have chosen the latter.

Most of our cash has been placed in fixed interest accounts but this is supposed to be ‘easy access’. When I asked them how I withdraw money easily and instantly, they said, We’ll have to get back to you. If they can’t, I will move the lot elsewhere.

No idea why but woke up with this song in my head this morning. All the time I was walking, it played on repeat. It’s driving me mad. Kevin goes for his CT scan tomorrow. Obviously, it is an anxious time. I feel his anxiety. The odds must be on a cancer-free confirmation but I don’t know what I will say if it’s not. This is the lot of those in their 70s.

Thursday, 28th July, 2022

Up at 3.00 am, drinking tea and watching the Sky Newspaper Review. Well, it was either that or Love Island. Went back to bed feeling much better at 4.00 am and slumbered until 5.45 when the radio came on and … I fell asleep. Can’t have been a good night last night because I forgot to do my Homework and had an email of reprimand from Mandy this morning. We communicate every day over the different time zones with our Wordle results and a brief summary of our day’s events. Somehow, I went to bed last night without sending it so I’m in the Dog-ate-my-Homework position this morning.

We have a large bulge of Covid cases in our area at the moment but hardly anyone wearing masks in Sainsburys this morning. Sainsburys! You’d expect a better class of shopper there. After all, many of them are also seen in Waitrose. Our window cleaner is off to Spain today and has to pay £250.00 for each family member to be tested because they refused the vaccinations. Sheer madness! The passion for the month is fresh, local corn on the cob. I am eating it as often as possible dripping in melted butter. Ah!

This afternoon is 25C and sunny. It feels a lot hotter in our south-facing garden. You could not have a better place to fit solar panels than here. We moved in 6 months too early. All the houses that followed automatically had solar panels fitted. We decided that it wasn’t cost effective to do the same but energy prices are making us reconsider.

Around £10,000 would cover our south facing roof in panels and link them to a storage battery. We are told that a combined power bill could rise to £3,300 this Autumn and £4,000 next Spring with the peak expected to be around £500.00 per month. These figures would definitely make Solar installations cost effective quite quickly.

It is 15.25 and Kevin should be sliding down the CT scanner tunnel. He will be feeling very anxious. I am sending him positive thoughts. I know he will be anxious. That is because life is so precious. Seize it while you can. Don’t shut down the openings.

Friday, 29th July, 2022

Absolutely gorgeous day from the start and reaching 26C/79F in the afternoon. Spoke to Kevin who said it was raining and gloomy in Leeds and to Julie who had just been swimming in the sea on the Scarborough coast under sunny skies.

Worthing Pier today.

I can’t see me swimming even on the south coast. I’ll save that for Greece or Florida. Certainly need the water to be warm!

Our neighbour, a beautiful tall and slender blond, German girl came round with the most gorgeous, black-trumpet flowered plant. I had never seen one before. She didn’t know what it was called but I looked it up and it is a Calla-Lily rhizome called Zantedeschia-Memories. It’s a little on the tender side like me so the challenge will be to over-winter while we are in Florida.

Dee came round with the plant to say thank you for gifts of home made Pesto and of Raspberry Jam that Pauline has been delivering to our neighbours. We have absolutely lovely neighbours all around us. At least 3 other homes have a key for our house and the Burglar Alarm codes in case of emergency. It is nice to think we can rely on them in case of emergencies especially if we are away for an extended period.

Saturday, 30th July, 2022

George V

Penultimate day of July and, after a very warm night when temperatures didn’t fall below 17C/63F, the day has opened hot and sunny and in the 70Fs. Did an early walk because we are nipping out to Bognor Regis later to collect a watering system. I need an additional watering system for the garden in this period of drought. I think we’ve had 10 mins of rain in the past 2 months. Ironically, I’m buying it at just the moment that the first hosepipe ban in neighbouring Hampshire has been announced.

The Regis part of Bognor‘s name is, of course, the Royal seal of approval. George V’s last words on his deathbed are famously reported to be, Bugger Bognor.

The shed on stilts that is Bognor’s pier.

He died of smoker’s chest infection which he tried improve by taking the sea air in Bognor Regis. Of course, his illness was far too serious to be cured by the ozone on the beach, hence his dissatisfaction.

Old fashioned grandeur of Bognor Regis town centre.

All the English seaside resorts that I know are dated and rather down-at-heel, even seedy in places. This applies to our current home town of Worthing but even more to Bognor.

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