Week 720

Sunday, 9th October, 2022

I think I get more pathetic by the day. I have always been emotional. I have always been unbelievably stubborn. I have never known such fluctuations since I was a young man. I have tried to construct a safety blanket of calm and to live inside my head. I think age is challenging that. I feel more vulnerable.

I was reflecting on these changes last night as I ignored the football and watched a film with my wife. The film was a Danish Romantic Comedy which, of course, ended wonderfully and romantically with the two protagonists resolving to live together in a beautiful villa in the gorgeous, Italian coastal town of Sorrento. What’s not to like.  I suddenly realised I was actually enjoying the plot of a woman and cancer survivor leaving her cheating husband to live with bereaved man. I’ll be reading Mills & Boon next!

This all started in Covid Lockdown and leaving the Health Club to establish our own Gym. I opened Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts and have been avidly consuming fiction ever since. Weird! When I’m on my own in the Gym, I watch Political Thrillers, Fact-based Spy Thrillers, Films set in specific, historical times, Foreign Language films with subtitles, things that challenge my thinking and make me work quite hard to enjoy.

At the moment, I am watching a political thriller called Nothing but the Truth which is set in Washington DC and based on true events of 2005 when an investigative journalist was jailed for failing to reveal her sources as she exposed political wrong doing.

Glorious, sunny and warm day for mid October. Walking in the park was wonderful. Blue sky and sunshine seem to lift most things.

Just a walk in the park …

Actually, we desperately need rain. The new grass seed is crying out for it. We are forecast rain next Friday at the earliest so the hosepipe and sprinkler system will be out tomorrow. We should have moved to Wales instead. Now, that’s a thought …

Monday, 10th October, 2022

Incredibly warm night which, unfortunately, I experienced too much of. Didn’t sleep well … again. The morning radio programme had an article about Northern towns establishing Warm Zones for people – particularly older people – to go for company, food and to keep warm. How impoverished and sad a picture that paints. We were discussing the fact that we haven’t used our central heating since we came back from Florida at the end of March. We don’t expect to use it now until we return from Florida in February next year so that will be a calendar year without the heating on. Quite amazing really.

Far from worrying about Warm Zones, my concern is keeping the Gym comfortable. It is a ‘single-skin’ Garage after all. The roof insulation has made an enormous difference – certainly far more than I would have predicted. Pauline is the practical one there. My job is to regulate and control the conditions. After quite a few false starts, I have now established a Wi-Fi temperature gauge which alerts me on my smartphone when the temperature gets too cold for the sensitive exercise equipment and too hot for the wine store. I can then switch on a radiator for heating or a blower for cooling by Wi-Fi with my smartphone as well.

There are things that a man has to do at times that he doesn’t even admit to unless it is in his Blog. I have been clothes shopping … in an actual shop! Fortunately, the trousers didn’t suit me (Who could blame them?) but it all made me very nervous. I actually tried them on in the shop. I don’t remember going in to a shop changing room since being a very young man. I won’t be doing it again in a hurry.


When we went out to town, the light was soft, warm but grey. M&S is across from the pier and we walked on the beach for a few minutes to get over the shock of shopping. By the time we had been round Waitrose, the sky was blue and the sun was out.


My walk in the afternoon was hot and sunny. This is the sort of October weather I like.

Tuesday, 11th October, 2022

The sun is up, the sky is blue
It’s beautiful and so are you …

Well the sun is is up at least…again. Last night was star-spangled and moonlit all night and the morning has opened on pure, azure blue skies. Of course that is almost standard for the Florida contingent.

This is Dinner Florida-style last night. We will be shopping in Publix soon and cooking dinner in the Sanders Outdoor Kitchen.

In part of my preparation for three months away, I’ve had to sort out medication, covid passes, insurance, etc.. Everything has been done on-line. That is the beauty of the post-Covid Health Service for me. I use NHS Login + records, Patents Know Best login + records and my local Surgery login + records.

Patients Know Best + NHS

It is possible to access our medical records since the start of our lives on these sites. I found my inoculation records back in 1951 as a baby are recorded here. It’s fascinating.

I am happy doing all the stuff which we normally had to book and queue for on-line. It is quick, clean and easy.

Wednesday, 12th October, 2022

Early walk in lovely, warm sunshine this morning. We leave for our annual, royal visit to the barbaric lands in the North of England on Sunday and are not expecting such benign conditions there.

We will split our time between Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. Some visits will be set and some spontaneous drop-ins. Today I fixed specific days and times for meeting Kevin & Christine in Yorkshire. There are lots of others to see around our old home there and we will set that out soon.

Holmfirth Vineyard

We also arranged to meet Brian & Val in Royton and Margaret & Viv for lunch at Holmfirth Vineyard. Although it is only a mile or two above where we lived for years, we have never been there before and it will be interesting to see.

Highdown Vineyard, West Sussex

Actually, West Sussex has lots of vineyards. The climate down here is perfect for grape growing/wine making. Highdown is only two miles away from us but I’ve never been.

We have to visit Hollinwood Crematorium to acknowledge the memory of my Mother-in-Law on one morning and then we can roam Greater Manchester as if we lived there.

Thursday, 13th October, 2022

Rejoice, we have rain – lots of warm, wet rain. It is a great relief. The groundsman on our Development was complaining how quickly the grass areas were growing but saying they badly needed rain. They have it now. We are beginning to see signs of Autumn now.

Autumn leaves beginning to fall in the wood yesterday.

Looking back in my records, this time in 2008 we were in Huddersfield/Oldham and were blanketed in heavy snow. To add to the joy, we had just heard about another impending Ofsted inspection. So, you see, old age can bring some improvements.

West Yorkshire – 2008

Those same records gave me another piece of information which I found hard to believe. I had recorded the dual fuel bill that we were paying for Gas & Electricity in our house in Yorkshire 14 years ago . It was costing us £500.00 per year more than we are paying in this house down on the South Coast all these years later. It was certainly colder in Yorkshire and the house was built in 1990 so the insulation standards were much lower but the price of energy comparison still astounds me.

Symphony Kitchen

When we bought our current house, we paid for an upgraded Kitchen. It wasn’t cheap. It is lovely and Pauline is pleased with it but, recently, she found a couple of bubbles in the paintwork on two drawer fronts. We had a 5-year warranty with the build of the house and all the fittings and fixtures including white goods and kitchen units, etc.. We have been here just over 6 years so Pauline contacted Symphony Kitchens who almost have the monopoly on new-build kitchens currently. They are based in Barnsley. They didn’t quibble. Someone will be round to fit replacement drawer fronts for free in a couple of weeks.

I’m sure you’re enjoying the political turmoil, Dear Reader. I am. It is almost impossible to believe the student politics being conducted by our government at the moment. If it wasn’t so serious, it would be funny. At least, we will have a Labour government shortly.

Friday, 14th October, 2022

A grey, warm day. I have been out for a couple of hours walking while Pauline makes bread, prepares for our trip to the North next week and does the ironing.

Of course, the whole day is dominated by the chaos in the government. It was predictable but incredible. Extreme in the extreme, Truss and Kwarteng are one the edge of weird and were almost bound to fail. Their disastrous effects on public life in UK is the consequence.

This is almost certainly the end of a list of lunatics who have masqueraded as British Prime Ministers. It is time for a boringly serious and sensible operator like Keir Starmer. The Tories are finished for quite a while. Only time will tell how long. Those that send out each day for copies of the Daily Mail/Daily Express will soon be cut adrift and assigned to the loony bin for some time to come.

Saturday, 15th October, 2022

The middle of October already. Our lives are hurtling backwards or we are rushing forwards. It puts the ruinous comedy going on before our eyes, currently, in to perspective.

When people can be so cold?
They’ll hurt you, yes, and desert you
And take your soul if you let them
Oh, but don’t you let them

We are going to see Our Friends in the North before that time runs out. We’ve got a 5 hr drive tomorrow. I will extend that a bit by making a detour to Repton to pay a visit to Mum & Dad’s grave as usual. So it will be nearer 6 hrs by the time we get to Brighouse. I will be up at a ridiculous hour to get my exercise done before we set off. So think of me at 4.30 am as I spring out of bed and either set off on a walk or go into the gym for a couple of hours.

This morning has started beautifully with blue sky and sunshine. A friend on the North Yorkshire coast contacted me early to say she had windy, cold and wet weather. Pauline & I celebrated the day at 7.30 am by sticking a huge spike in our fingers and squeezing out a whole test tube of blood. After that, we have to whizz it down to a Priority Posting box to be sent off to the Office for National Statistics survey hub. We will get our result in just over a week by email.

Our anti bodies are already high and, on top of that, we have recently had our Booster so we should be off the scale. Actually, Pauline hasn’t felt well since the Booster so she is currently a little concerned. Headaches, Nausea, Tiredness – these are only some of the symptoms I provoke in her.

Autumn is becoming more obvious down here. Today, the scratchy sound of leaves drifting across the road is very apparent. Many trees are still in full leaf but some are showing the in-between signs of colour change. What is very obvious is the bumper fruit harvest. Apples and pears are in abundance. Our locality is a former fruit farm area and even the park land is covered in windfalls.

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