Week 717

Sunday, 18th September, 2022

Glorious morning and warmer than the start of yesterday. I am setting out on my 129th 11 mile walk since my hernia operation and my 499th consecutive walk minus one recovery week. Can’t stop now. Kevin is setting out on his bike for the first time since his operation although it will be gingerly done because he is full of metal clips. Julie’s invited me to the South of France but I’ve had to decline on this occasion. Time is tight!

Anybody reading this will think I am slightly mad and certainly obsessed. Guilty! But I’m not alone. Fortunately, Kevin is just as obsessed with exercise and targets.

Chris at No3 goes out each morning at around 5.00 am to run before work. Michelle has turned the Garage into a gym. Jason at No2 has turned his garage into a Gym. Derek & Alex behind our house have turned their garage into a Gym but also go out walking at 5.30 am every day before he sets off for the London train. We are all mad or there is something in the water.

My next door neighbour’s lawn is dying in patches. He asked my advice and I offered to repair it for him … because I am nice like that. Been out to the garden centre this morning to buy grass seed and topsoil to do the job while he is at work next week. Bit of a shock to find Christmas had come early. We’re still picking tomatoes in the garden not thinking about buying Christmas cards.

Actually, we are thinking about Christmas cards because we leave for Florida at the beginning of November so this year I will send out Electronic Cards (with a robin on) to those who can receive them. If you don’t have a PC/Smartphone, you will still get a card posted by our neighbour at the right time. We have to buy, write, address and stamp them before we leave.

The Establishment is going full tilt at the Monarch’s death and shoring up the Line of Succession. Like lambs to the slaughter, the royalists are queueing for ever just to say they’ve queued for ever. It is amazing how the poor and underprivileged worship the rich and privileged. 

Monday, 19th September, 2022

Definitely an Autumnal feel in the early morning air – not cold but with a slight edge. The world is peaceful as the workers enjoy a lie-in. We were out before 9.00 am walking. The silence is deafening. As we walked, we came across this poor thing in the lane by the wood.

I don’t know what the lifespan of a pheasant is but this female looks as if she’s been cut off in her prime. Even the girls are beautiful although not a patch on the Cocks, of course. I don’t think she’s been shot so must have been hit by a car and recently because foxes will soon have her.

Edinburgh – 2018

My photo-box brought out one from 4 years ago. A long weekend in a very wet and extremely windy Edinburgh with our old friends Bjorn and Anne-Marie. Pauline holding her new book, Digital Crafts. I was able to get my hands on a 3D -Printer for the first time which was fun. Unfortunately, the castle was closed because of strong winds but the flights from Gatwick and back were unaffected. Unbelievable that it is 4 years ago.

Desperately searching Netflix, Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer for things to watch today. Might be reduced to cleaning the car!

Tuesday, 20th September, 2022

Another lovely day. Warm and sunny. We went out for an early walk because we had Hygienist appointments in the middle of the day.

I absolutely hate visits to the Hygienist and every time I go, I tell him so as I enter his room. It sets the tone for the half hour appointment. He tiptoes around me, cooing supportively, constantly praising how well I am doing and how good my teeth are …. for my age. I know he’s conning me. He knows he’s conning me. Whether he knows I know I’m not sure but I set the tone. Today, I am told that I’m doing very well in my teeth-care and my mouth is that of a much younger man. Which one, he doesn’t say but I’m only there because I am ordered to by my wife who has paid for annual contracts for us both.

We drive home via Sainsburys. I don’t know about you but we always wear masks in shops and our region like so many has seen a rapid rise in infection over the past fortnight. Quite a few masks in the supermarket this morning. We have our Covid Boosters in Bognor Regis next week but have received positive news from the research project we contribute to each month. We both have high resistance through strong anti-bodies measured recently.

We ate in the garden again today. The weather is rather like an Indian Summer, warm, sunny with no breeze. Life in the garden is rather like life in the house but with sunshine. We have superfast internet connection everywhere including in the Gym.

Keeping up with friends. There are so many I find it hard to keep up. Kevin’s idea of humour was sent to me this morning with a Greek sculpture set alongside a copy of Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. My friend, John Morris from College sent a copy of his wedding photo. He married another College girl and the wedding was held in Tong, Bradford. It was in 1973, Tash Coates and Chris Tolley were ushers and John ‘Tash’ Coates can be seen in the background.

Preparing for a Winter when I won’t be at home. Oh, everyone will seem so far away! The Gym needs to be kept frost-free to protect the computer controls of the exercise machines and the TV, the Sky-Q box and the CCTV hub. The wine needs a controlled temperature too. I have taken delivery of a smart socket that will tell me the temperature inside the Gym and turn on & off the oil-filled radiator to prevent cold damage. It arrived yesterday and I kept waking up in the night trying to work out how to connect it up because most people give up and send it back.

I failed last night. I failed first thing this morning. By 10 o’ clock, I suddenly realised that the Bluetooth connection on my phone was connecting with my watch and preventing it connecting with my new socket. Took my watch off and left it in another room for 10 mins and everything went through. I went out to the Dentist in almost a euphoric mood. I’m odd like that!

Wednesday, 21st September, 2022

Gorgeously warm and sunny day all day. Sounds like it was in many areas. Julie, up in North Yorkshire, said it was similar there. We had an early walk and then spent the day doing neighbourly things. Pauline was cutting herbs from the garden and giving them to people nearby. I was mowing their lawns, and we jointly re-seeded our next door neighbour’s lawn while they were out. They have offered to look after our car while we are away for three months so it is the least I could do.

Facebook Memory Bank – Ten Years Ago

Facebook threw up this memory from exactly 10 years ago today. It just shows how much has changed in the past decade. Of course, we were only 61 then, weren’t we? I had only been retired just over 3 years.

By 4.00 pm, I’m absolutely shattered. We are going to eat griddled Tuna Steaks with Greek Salad out in the garden. Wonder how many more times we will do that this year. Just got 20 mins to work in the Gym before that.

Thursday, 22nd September, 2022

Up early and out walking before 6.30 am. Lovely morning. Warm and emerging bright. The sun was rising over the wood.

My walk takes me through three, different parks and I meet totally different people at that time in the morning. On my way back, 2.00 hrs later, I meet the school children walking to their day. On the footpath a group of obviously Year 7 pupils – girls and boys dressed in pristine new school uniforms, perfectly pressed and spotless – were kneeling in a huddle on the footpath. Illicit drug taking before school? No, they had found a MOTH and were excitedly discussing it. They even showed it to me. How wonderful to be still on the crest of innocence like that. It won’t be for long.

By 10.15 am, we were driving up to Surrey. Mandy is over from Florida so we drove up to see her. Lovely journey of just over an hour and enjoyable weather and views. Traffic was light even on the M25.

We were given a lovely Lunch and talked for about 4 hours. It was good to see her again. The next time we meet will be at Tampa Airport, Florida in the beginning of November.

The Autumn hasn’t reached us yet.

We have to collect P&C from Gatwick as soon as we get back from the North of England and that will be my urgent focus now. Basically, we have 3 clear days – 17th/19th/20th October – and we have to make arrangements to meet friends in those days. Not far off now.

Friday, 23rd September, 2022

Lovely sight to greet us this morning – strong, wet rain. Haven’t seen that for so long. The garden was dancing. Drove Pauline to the hairdressers because parking is so difficult. Drove home but she was out before I could get anything done. I had to send my lover away. On to Sainsburys which was crowded with OLD PEOPLE and then home for coffee and the Budget.

It is the Budget that will break the Tory Party apart for a long time to come. It rewards the rich, boosts house prices, and shows that the slogan, Levelling Up, was always just that – a slogan. Borrowing is having to be astronomical to pay for the Magic Money Tree economic policy. This has immediately spooked the markets and the currency has fallen off a cliff just as we are about to spend 3 month in USA. It is a crisis akin to Black Wednesday in 1992 when the UK was forced to leave the ERM.

Interest rates will have to rise sharply, This is good for those of us with cash reserves. Ordinarily, rate rises depress house prices but Kwarteng has chosen to boost an already inflated housing market by cutting stamp duty for First Time Buyers up to £425,000. This will put rocket boosters under the bottom of the market and inevitably float the top end into an even higher stratosphere. Our house has increased its market value by 50% in just over 5 years. Where it will go now is anyone’s guess.

Ten years ago today, we were driving back from our Greek home. Ferry from Sifnos and then a couple of nights indulgence in this delicious place – The Poseidon Palace Hotel in Patras on the Peloponnese. Lovely times!

Saturday, 24th September, 2022

There is a hint of Autumn in the air this morning. It’s not cold but it is different. Still out in shorts and tee shirt walking for a couple of hours. Back at home, I am still having to struggle to configure this Wi-Fi thermostat plug to control the heating in the Gym while I am away for 3 months. I can’t afford the temperature to fall below about 11C/52F or it can damage the equipment’s computerised controller boards. I’m quite enjoying solving the problem and I’m almost there … but not quite.

Many friends are preparing for the change of season. My old room mate, Dr. John Ridley has had his last trip of the season in his boat on Ullswater Lake. He sent a photo of himself looking more like the Retiring Sea Captain than ever. When I think of him, it is as a 20 something, fresh-faced and studious young man. Maybe we’ve all changed a bit.

Poor old John Morris has been looking forward to restoring his mobility with a hip replacement. These are the things of old people or, at least, they used to be. John has been thwarted by the emergence of a serious melanoma near the point of operation and his hip replacement has been put on hold. For someone who loves to travel, it has proved very frustrating.

David Roberts, on the other hand, has been getting as much travelling under his belt as he can before winter – cruise around the Med including time in Athens. Now he’s spent the last few weeks in the south of France and travelling down the Canal du Midi. Today he’s in Carcassonne. I am very jealous!

Even Ziggy the cat has come back home for Winter. He has been missing for 6 months from a house on our Development. There have been frantic requests put out in the hope that a resident might find him. You would have thought they would all have given up after 6 months but he was spotted this week and persuaded to go home. Joy all round.

Julie is full of joy. She tells me that her weight loss program has resulted in a pair of jeans 2 sizes smaller than when I last saw her. She is naturally overjoyed and committed to eating lettuce for the rest of her life. Poor girl! Kevin, on the other hand is still full of metal clips but managed to evade Christine’s ire and get out on his bike. He seemed to enjoy it and got home after 13km – which of course isn’t much – without any mishaps.

We will see them all again soon and then jet off to avoid Winter altogether while we annoy Mandy in our Florida Winter Home. Going to visit my friend in Shaw before that. Haven’t seen each other for ages.

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