Week 710

Sunday, 31st July, 2022

Up early after a really warm night with air-con on. The sky was clear and starry but gave way to a hot, humid, overcast start to Sunday. Yes, I know what day it is …. mainly because I’ve read the Sunday papers.

The morning starts with a really romantic tryst. Going to the Sussex Love Island otherwise known as the Wick Waste Disposal site. We have to book slots there now so we’ve booked 9.30 on a Sunday morning like the good heathens we are.

I had to move junk on the garage floor up into the garage roof storage when we converted to a Gym/Wine-store/Kitchen. A lot of it is completely redundant so I am finally getting round to throwing it out.

The Home Gym has become integral to my current way of life. The fact that I park the car outside and that storage has had to be rearranged is regrettable but the Gym facilities far outweigh it. I use it less in the Summer but I lose myself in a film and just keep going on the treadmill or the bike which is a better use of my time. I’ve just finished a fantastic but terrifying and harrowing film about an old man who is descending rapidly and deeply into Dementia.

The old man is played quite brilliantly by Anthony Hopkins. A lot of the narrative is seen through the declining man’s eyes and his disintegrating mind. Like him, the viewer is never really sure what is in the Now and what is imagined from his Past. He escapes into opera and classical music. He is intelligent, articulate and well read. In a sense, that makes his decline feel all the further, deeper, more painful. It ends as he is in an expensive, private Care Home which he thinks is his flat, being cared for by a lovely girl who he thinks is his daughter and then he breaks down, crying like a baby for his mother.

You might understand that my time on the treadmill didn’t end well yesterday but I had to watch it. The odds are that I might leave life in this way. I have had a couple of events in my life when I was unsure what was real and what was imagined. Particularly, I had head trauma in my road accident all those years ago which left me slipping in and out of reality for some weeks. I know how scary that can be when the real world only impinges on one’s consciousness for short periods of time and how one dreads slipping away. I’ve told my wife not to put up with me but to put me in to care rapidly if I go this way.

Monday, 1st August, 2022

Already the hours of light are shortening and now it is August. Here, it has started overcast but incredibly humid-hot. It is perfect growing weather. In fact, it is too perfect. Everything is getting out of control. The only thing that is not growing fast is the new, lawn-carpet which just stays looking perfect whatever the weather.

I bought a couple of Bush Cherry Tomato plants and planted them out in the deep beds in early June. The label said they were perfect for containers on the patio so I thought they would do well and not take up too much room in the beds.

Basil sheltering under the Tomato Trees.

They have romped away and we have had to stop them before they block our neighbour’s light. They are more like trees than bushes and are carrying hundreds of small, cherry tomatoes.

I’ve already walked 8 miles today but I am averaging 11 miles a day for a year now so that is my new bench mark. I’m going to do the final 3 miles on the treadmill while watching my next film which is an Anglo-Bulgarian production about a photographer whose beautiful wife leaves him because he is too demanding. He feels as if he is bereaved and sees his wife in every crowd he walks past. He decides he will drive across Europe to track her down … and that is as far as I’ve got.

Tuesday, 2nd August, 2022

A muggy night opens on another warm and humid morning. Quite dull to start. We are up early because we have an electrician arriving early to put a new socket in the kitchen. He is a really nice lad who we’ve used for a while.


Pauline is harvesting and freezing herbs from the garden. The Basil has been so prolific this year that she has sent the electrician home with a big bag of it. She is preparing Dill for the freezer. I grew them all from seed and they have done well. The kitchen is infused with its delicate aroma. At this rate we are going to have to buy another freezer just to store all this stuff.

I have been looking at car hire in Florida. We are going to need one for three months and I started to worry about a problem that was coming up. Many hire companies not only have a minimum age but also have a maximum age of 70.

I’ve found that Budget don’t have that restriction and will rent me an SUV for the 3 months for around £4,000.00 which is excellent. It is all wheel drive like my current car and has Sat.Nav.. I can pick it up from Tampa International Airport and return it there as we fly back to Gatwick.

Wednesday, 3rd August, 2022

We have been contributing to the Zoe Health Study for almost 2 years now. Every month a tester calls and gives us a kit which includes a PCR test and an Antibody test which involves providing a phial of blood. 

As central funding has been reduced, the army of testers has been disposed of and the whole process is going to be run on-line and by post. This morning we did our first one under the new regime.

The kitchen table is our Surgery and we take mouth & nasal swabs followed by the messy job of extracting a phial of blood and dripping it in to a phial. This part takes quite a while and has to be accurately filled. Everything has to be parcelled up with barcodes matching and then taken down to a Priority Post Box to be despatched on the day of testing.

It is quite nice to contribute to a national study of almost a million people but we gain by having our antibodies regularly tested which is reassuring before our next Covid Booster. We also get paid a little bit so what’s not to like? The only problem we will have will come when we are in Florida for 3 months.

Unfortunately, we have hardly seen any rain for two months and local reservoirs are almost dry. This one, a few miles away has almost given up being a reservoir at all.

West Sussex – August 2022

Our Southern Water supplier has just called a hosepipe ban starting in a couple of weeks. It coincides with the time we will be away so I will have a problem with my automatic watering system. Probably have to set it up to work at 1.00 am every other night while I’m in Athens.

Thursday, 4th August, 2022

Hot, humid and sunny today. This is the time for getting good crops. The figs are wonderful. I gorged on them this morning.

I might regret it tomorrow but I won’t regret these wonderfully sweet and juicy, Italian tomatoes which we ate with basil leaves and olive oil.

Julie’s grand daughter is ending her first year at Oxford University and will be spending the summer staying with a Greek, university friend in Athens. She suggested I might meet up with her while we are there in late August. Wouldn’t that be a bizarre event across the years?

Kevin doesn’t seem to have heard anything from his latest biopsy yet although it is difficult to know if that is a relaxed good sign or just an overloaded service. I must admit I would be agitating loudly by now because it over a week. Still, it has to be left up to him to make his own decision even though my inclination is to help him.

I hate to say I told you so but readers of this Blog will know I told you months ago about the coming inflation tsunami. It is here and will get worse. The Bank of England have warned today that inflation will reach at least 13% and that we will be in recession for more than a year. We know that energy prices are going to stretch everyone but will hit the poor and the elderly most of all. Those living in older properties with inferior insulation will see their bills sky-rocket. I predict that this increasingly difficult economic position will blow the Tory government out of power. Strikes will be a increasing feature of the news and we may even see civil unrest on the streets before things get better. You heard it here first!

Friday, 5th August, 2022

Very hot, sunny but steamy day all day. Made the mistake of setting off for a two hour walk just before mid day. It was hard, sweaty work. It is old boys day today. August 5th seems to be a popular day for a wedding if old friends are anything to go by. Kevin & Christine are celebrating 50 years. Dr John Ridley is on his 44th and John (Tash) Coates has reached 34 today.

Mr & Mrs Ridley
Mr & Mrs Coates

Someone who is older than all of us and on his second marriage, Nigel, popped up this morning being interviewed by Radio Humberside for a piece about local artists.

Good to see he is still optimistic and pushing ahead with new ideas even at his great age.

Saturday, 6th August, 2022

Gloriously hot and sunny day. Lovely shopping, wonderful walking and gorgeous gardening all linked by strong sunshine. A hosepipe ban is exactly one week away. Grass areas all along our walk are brown and dry. The comparison with last year is quite stark.

The walk was very hot and dry today and lawns all around show the difference. The forecast for the next two weeks down here is non stop sunshine and temperatures in the upper 20Cs to lower 30Cs. We fly to Athens two weeks today and just hope for a break in the weather here to give things a bit of respite.

Thought you might like the wonder of the Tory Party that will never cease. This is the Essex MP who thought it would be appropriate to take a photo opportunity leaning over a Brain-Dead boy with a Union Jack and a photo of the Queen just before his life support system was switched off. If you can vote for that, you can vote for anything.

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