Week 723

Sunday, 30th October, 2022

What a hot night. I was up at 3.00 am (was 4.00 am) drinking tea, watching Sky News and reading Twitter. Went back to bed around 4.30 am (was 5.30 am) and actually slept a little. 

This morning, with only 6 days to go, I am ticking off jobs from the list. Order currency for the first few days. Gone are the days when I would order £10,000.00+ in Euros to get us through 6 months in Greece. It was very straightforward. I ordered from specialist FX companies and had the notes delivered to our door for a much better price  than anyone else could offer. Now, the pandemic seems to have destroyed the business model of most of those companies as travel collapsed and those remaining only offer the same rates as Tesco bank or the Post Office. I only want £1000.00 starter pack of Dollars and then I will pay everything else with my phone and Direct Debit to avoid transaction charges.

Where has this keenness for Halloween come from? I know it’s American and there seems to be an absorption into our culture of Americanism but I just can’t raise a single shred of enthusiasm for it. Today, on my walk, parents and kids were dressing the outside of their homes with what I assume is cobweb and giant spiders going up the walls, pumpkin heads but plastic ones.

Lovely evening meal of salmon with pesto crust and garlic green beans. Drank a bottle of wine I bought in 2016 for £5.40. Today, if I wanted to buy it on-line, it would cost me 10 x that amount. Anyway, it was delicious and well worth it. In comparison with European wines in UK, European wines in America are incredibly cheap. Looking forward to a few days of that before we go back to our diet.

Monday, 31st October, 2022

The houses around have reached peak insanity. Giant spiders climbing up walls, cobwebs draped over hedges, skeletons climbing in or out of windows. Walked past one house where a skeleton was being hauled up the outside wall to the bedroom window. I asked the blonde leaning out of the window whether it was escaping or invading. She said she hadn’t decided yet. The children were running round excitedly outside.

After all these years, I have forgotten what it was like to anticipate events like this – in my case, bonfire night – but I can guess what it means to parents being prepared to put themselves out for their children. When you’ve got children, I suspect the concept of selfishness doesn’t even arise. Certainly, the parents I saw really went far to please their kids.

Cathy – 2018

Had a lovely day of contact with friends and relatives. I know I’ve changed but I am really enjoying it. Some of them are completely bonkers of course but that’s what makes it so enjoyable. My sister, Cathy, contacted me to ask for a newspaper report which featured her that I had posted in my Blog 4 years ago. Years ago she trained as a teacher and then as a Psychotherapist (what I’ve always called a Psychobabbler). Now, as a result of her Osteoporosis, she is about to set up her own Personal Training business. She doesn’t seem able to sit still.

Tits

I am trying to squeeze as much enjoyment as I can out of the friends in contact with me. I like to think we offer each other something. Julie sent me the photo above from her garden this morning. Nice photo.

Tuesday, 1st November, 2022

Happy November. It certainly started with a bang here. A hell of a night with incredibly strong winds.

A lot of people around here asking for return of Halloween decorations that have blown away in the night. The family across the road are looking for a ‘black & white striped witch’s leg with a red shoe’. Now it’s not just windy but wet. I’m having my hair cut. I find it difficult to sit still all that time but it has to be done. I wonder if you can have general anaesthetics for hair cuts?

Must find some kids!

Pauline filled a bowl with chocolate bars for Trick or Treat kids coming to the door. Now she’s talking about taking the remainder to the kids in the street to make up for their loss of a leg. Seems a bit excessive to me. What an idyllic world children live in!

As we leave for 3 months in USA, I have spent a really enjoyable morning talking to friends and assuring them that they will not escape from photos of hot sun as they battle through the snow that will definitely blanket the North of England and Northern Wales this year according to the forecast. That is the cross-border beauty of digital communication.

Verifly

Smartphones have transformed our lives. This morning, I have been able to complete all the documentation on our smartphones for travel and entry to Florida in about an hour on the Verifly App while talking to Kevin about his upcoming trip to Spain. Actually, I may have accidentally bequeathed all my worldly goods to his lovely daughter, Julia but she’s worth it.

A letter has just come through the door telling Pauline she is to receive a Winter Fuel Payment of £250.00 before January. I don’t know If I am going to get the same but I will be complaining under the Equalities Law if I don’t. I’ll certainly spend it in Florida before Julia gets her hands on it.

Wednesday, 2nd November, 2022

Still very warm but not so sunny today. Anyway, there are lots of jobs to complete. My valet has been preparing, ironing and packing clothes for the trip. Most of it is now complete and I am being dressed each day in things which aren’t going.

Had to do all three hours in the Gym yesterday because of the unpredictable weather. I’m hoping to get a long walk in this morning.

Brighton Yesterday

I’ve got to take Pauline to the hospital this afternoon to have the stitches taken out of her ‘Biopsy’ wounds.

Guide for my Neighbour

One of my last acts has been to prepare a guide for my neighbour to look after our car. I know it will make him cringe/laugh but he needs it.

Thursday, 3rd November, 2022

This house has been far out at sea all night,
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
Winds stampeding the fields under the window
Floundering black astride and blinding wetWind by Ted Hughes

Incredible evening and night with absolutely torrential rain and gale-force winds and yet so warm. Hard to sleep. Won’t need to clean the car or patio before I go away. They’ve both been utterly jet-washed. Bit of a drama up in Surrey yesterday with P&C. For a while, it looked like we would be driving up there. Good job we didn’t try it.

This morning we are reading of impassable roads, overturned vehicles and cars stuck in deeply flooded carriageways.

Car Hire, Brooksville, Florida

In stark contrast, I’ve settled on where I will be going to hire a car next week in Brooksville, Florida. Three months will cost me around £5,000.00 for an SUV which is reasonable.

Took Pauline out to get her hair cut. It has been cut quite short with the intention of lasting 3 months. She seems confident it will.

Friday, 4th November, 2022

Glorious morning. Got my orders for the day.

  1. Strip bed.
  2. Unstack dishwasher
  3. Take rubbish to local tip
  4. Tidy up and secure garden furniture
  5. Mow neighbours’ lawns
  6. Pack technical bag with laptop, iPads, Kindle, etc + leads.
  7. Do 3 hours exercise to keep me out of the way
  8. Sort out automatic lighting/heating schedule
  9. Anything else I’m ordered to do

People can be so nice. A beautiful, youngish girl was about to jog past while I was out on my walk when she stopped and paid me a lovely compliment: I think you’re doing so well. I see you every day pushing yourself to exercise. It’s very impressive. It quite took me back. I’m not used to girls saying nice things. Took a while to compute. Had to tell her she wouldn’t see me for 3 months but I would still be doing the same thing in the Florida sunshine. Have to look out for her in February if she’s still managing the jogging. You know these young ones don’t have the staying power

Lovely weather for Bonfire Night

The Rugby Club grounds are a short walk away and the road was lined with cones in advance of their Bonfire tonight. Perfect weather for it.

Saturday, 5th November, 2022

Up at 5.00 am on a warm and dry morning. Straight into the Gym for a three hour stint. I watched a drama production of Catherine the Great of Russia starring Helen Mirren. At least it held my attention while I worked. It’s not my normal early morning choice but these are special days. It’s amazing how one’s mind can be tricked into ignoring the pain of exercise.

By shortly after 8.00 am, the Gym was over and everything closed down for the winter. My valet had eaten her porridge and finished the final packing. The cases had to be weighed. We are entitled to 3 bags each and each one can contain 23kg (51lb). So, between us, we could put 46kg in the hold and 92kg carry on. I couldn’t lift 92kg never mind carry it on board. Understandably, we won’t use half that amount.

So much has changed and improved over recent years. Our taxi will collect and take us to the Sofitel Hotel at Gatwick around 1.00 pm. We don’t fly until Sunday but I will check-in online at home before we leave. Bag-drop is automatic and self-administered and will be done this evening which leaves us free tomorrow morning to whizz through security and passport control.

View from our Hotel Room

The ‘runway’ view became greyer, mistier and less attractive as the afternoon progressed. It didn’t matter. I was borne along on the warm air of happiness and a bottle of red wine. About 6 hours sleep tonight and then I have to be in the hotel gym to work off the wine.

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