Week 716

Sunday, 11th September, 2022

Glorious morning – warm and sunny with blue skies. Didn’t sleep well but today will be busy so I just need to get on with it. We have insulation installers arriving early tomorrow morning to work on the Gym roof. In preparation, I have to bring down everything stored in the suspended ceiling including lots of empty, plastic storage boxes used for moving, some suitcases, a large fridge for the car, a spare Dining Chair, a box of computer parts (just in case), etc. We all accumulate so much ‘stuff’.

It will be a good occasion to re-address the accumulation of ‘stuff’. I like that sort of thing – throwing away the past and moving on, starting again.

Fortunately, the next week is going to be dry so most of my exercise will be done outside and I can cover all the equipment in sheeting. Yesterday, I was able to watch the cricket from the treadmill which made a refreshing change from all the constitutional whitewash.

Talking of whitewash, just spoken to Kevin who is not looking forward to Monday but has started the process of evacuation and cleansing. I’ve tried to encourage him by pointing out that at least he will lose weight. Not sure it worked.

Lovely walk in Summer sun which reached 24C/75F followed by a meal out in the garden in the perfect evening. Bottle of champagne and fish for our Supper. There are not many things that could improve on life for me. Mandy flies in from Florida tonight and it will be nice to see her but I am preparing to tie up dates for our October trip to the North and even thinking to book Athens for next September. I am looking forward while continuing to enjoy my past.

Monday, 12th September, 2022

Very warm night with clear, moonlit sky. Didn’t drop below 18C/65F overnight and has opened to a gloriously sunny morning. The Gym insulators arrived shortly after 8.00 am and say they should manage it in a day. They seem more interested in my wine collection than the roof.

Pauline booked us in for our Covid Booster jabs in time for travelling to Yorks./Lancs. and meeting lots of people. We are driving 8 miles to sunny Bognor Regis to a concrete box to have our protection boosted for another 6 months or so. We have also booked our ‘Flu’ jabs. It will take us through our Florida trip and give us more confidence in crowded spaces like airports, shopping malls, etc..

Had some banter with Kevin this morning because it is his big day. I ‘m sure everything will go well. It carried on as I walked in 27C/81F of Summer. Meanwhile, Dave Weatherley, in Bolton posted this from his morning walk.

I really don’t miss that sort of weather at all. Haven’t seen Northern mists for years. Love walking round lakes though!

Tuesday, 13th September, 2022

Didn’t sleep … again. Up early and out for a blood test at the surgery. I’m probably dying. No, don’t concern yourself, Dear Reader. We all have to in the end. Kevin’s procedure wasn’t completely conclusive which has annoyed/worried him. He was in surgery for over an hour which is a long time and he is sore and discomfited. I still think he will be alright. Hell, we sound old!

Track for the day … Harking back to a time I barely remember …

Property prices down here are ridiculous. This beach hut sold for £30,000.00 yesterday and our modest house price increase has made us nominal millionaires. The whole thing is crazy! Currently, another circa 1000 new homes are proposed within the Angmering area.

Wednesday, 14th September, 2022

A wet start to the day. Going to be in the Gym this morning … after it has been cleaned. The insulation created a huge amount of white dust. Everything was covered in dust sheets but there is still a lot lingering. I’ve sent my cleaner in there. Meanwhile, I am researching happier things like … Death in Service benefits for teachers.

I have spent 40 mins on the Teachers Pensions website and I’m still not very much clearer. The Unions have been so busy fighting for benefits for same-sex partnerships that heterosexual partnerships seem to have suffered and the whole thing has become muddied and unclear. Certainly, it isn’t easy to claim or to know what one is claiming.

I know you will think I’m mad (What am I saying? You already think I’m mad!) but I am preparing a folder for the filing cabinet marked: In Case of Death. It will contain copies of Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Teachers Pension Logins, Proof of Bank Accounts, Savings and Investment Accounts. I can imagine the panic at the death of a partner and the relief at having everything ready to hand.

Today: John Williams – Theme from Schindler’s List:

As I look outside at the curtain of soft, wetting rain greying out the view, my photo memory store brings up two images from 2009.

This week in 2009.

This picture taken up to the top of our field and looking down over the house and on to the port of Kamares. On that day, it was 32C/90F as we climbed the land towards the olive & peach trees to photograph the scene.

England in Greece.

This second photo is a reminder that we were interlopers – however welcome – in a foreign country. The oak settle, in the house built on a remote Greek island, originated in Oldham Town Hall. The log burner was sourced in a shop in Halifax and the standard lamp was bought in Leeds. The photographs on the walls were of other houses we had lived in in UK. The log baskets were bought from itinerant Gypsies who travelled the Cyclades, making and selling their wares. The photos are back on the walls of our Office now but everything else was left behind to continue its life in others’ hands.

We finished the day in 23C/73F of warm sunshine under blue skies in the garden eating Supper. Lovely end to the day having completed my 11 miles, talked to Kevin who is readjusting to his position and recalling running a marathon in Leeds in 1986 with Jimmy Saville. We all review our past constantly as we prepare for the future. Nothing can be erased or whitewashed out. We learn from it and move forward.

Thursday, 15th September, 2022

A very busy day. Awake since 3.00 am, up at 5.00 am on a warm and dry morning. Still dark. Shorts & tee-shirt on and out for a walk. Quiet, still, silent and beautiful, the morning was delightful. Out for 2 hrs and then back for Orange Juice & Tea before another 30 mins in the Gym.

Shower and on the road by 9.00 am. We are driving to Milton Keynes via M25 +M1. It usually takes 2.5 hrs but today is 3hrs. By the time we arrive, I’ve been awake for 9 hrs and moving for 7 of them. We are going to visit Pauline’s old College friend, Christine. She was widowed 5 years ago when her husband died of Bowel cancer which returned 10 yrs after being declared clear. He was only 62. Christine is a lovely girl who I have taken to immediately.

We talk over coffee and then go out for Lunch which is very pleasant at a local pub.. I never go to pubs but it is Christine’s choice and we indulge her. I feel terribly sorry for her. She is obviously very lonely in spite of having 3 grown up sons nearby. After about 5 hours visit, we have to leave. They agree to meet with other friends from their College days but without me next time. I feel terrible deserting her and leaving her alone on the doorstep but we will have a fight through the M25 rush hour traffic.

The traffic is even worse on the M25 homeward bound but we get there. Pauline prepares a snack of prawns & Salad for Supper while I do another hour in the Gym. While I’ve been out, lots of friends and people I know have been contacting me. I usually respond quickly. Tonight, I do it in my own time.

Friday, 16th September, 2022

Up early on a lovely morning for a Sainsburys Click-&-Collect at 8.00 am. On to Tesco and then Asda for petrol. We really live it up! Still, the sun is shining from a lovely blue sky, the day is warm and enjoyable and I’ve got tasks to complete. What more could you want? A few things but ….

Every day, I read the local newspapers from places I have lived. The Derby Evening News is less often now but the Manchester Evening News and the Huddersfield Examiner are regulars as is the Worthing Argus. I even read the Chester Chronicle for old times sake. Today, an item caught my interest. The milky river.

Alkrington Woods Nature Reserve – Milky River

Goodness knows what the local residents have been tipping in there but the result is quite dramatic.

A week ago in the North, Julie said her tomatoes were coming to an end. Ours are still going strong but a couple of cold nights will probably stop them. They have been a real success. Our friends in the North have done well this year and I’m looking forward to seeing them in October.

Saturday, 17th September, 2022

Coldest night of the Summer/Autumn so far. I was sleeping with a girl who wanted a duvet. Can you believe that? I thought I was hot enough!

The times are obviously moving on. Last week we had sparkling skies at night but didn’t fall below 17C/63F. Last night we had sparkling skies and the temperature fell to 6C/43F. Evening darkness is falling quickly now. The sun sets here at 7.15 pm this weekend and rises at 6.45 am. Just 12.5 hrs of daylight and declining. In Florida, the daylight is just about 12hrs and night time doesn’t fall below 25C/77F. I don’t think anyone will need a duvet there unless they set the air-con too low. Day time temperatures are 32C/90F which will do.

Glorious morning. Been busy already. I’ve been sending Phyllis photographs. She has just got her first smartphone at the ripe old age of 180 and now has to get to grips with Whatsapp. It’s a strange quirk of mobile phone texting that you can send as many texts as you like for ‘free’ within your contract but, as soon as you attach a graphic, they charge you a ‘relative’ fortune. If you use Whatsapp on your mobile phone and attach graphics, everything is completely free.

Lovely sunshine on our walk and the recent rains have halted the early signs of Autumn in the trees. Grass everywhere has grown back even more lushly.

Doffcocker Lodge, Bolton

Dave Weatherley in Bolton sent this beautifully Autumnal shot of his local Nature Reserve where he walks most mornings.

Decided that it’s time to prune the Fig trees back. They have grown to an embarrassing height – at least 20 ft – but neither my neighbour behind or the ones at the side had complained. The Brown Turkey Fig fruited well whereas the Versailles Fig didn’t ripen in time. I may have to reconsider them next season.

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