Week 738

Sunday, 12th February, 2023

Early start this morning. Rather gloomy and overcast outside and not warm either but I wanted to do a walk. Before we left the house, Little John the robot was started off on his tour of duty. He only cleans downstairs which has 7 rooms but he’s not allowed in the Utility Room.

Only one of those rooms is carpeted so the dust container shows how dirty our hard floors get as he goes out three times a week.

He takes about 45 mins to do downstairs. In each room, he does the bulk of the floor and then goes back and cleans along the walls. In order to go right out to the edge, a circulating brush protrudes and brings any dirt out and underneath his suction area. All the dust is pushed through a slatted filter with such force that it produces a matted material.

As soon as he’s finished, he returns to his base under the stairs, mounts the connectors and starts to recharge. At the same time, he alerts me to the fact that he has finished and reports any problems he encountered. He also tells me how much charge he has left in case I want to send him out again soon.

Upstairs, Little John’s Mate does the same thing. There are 6 rooms plus landing to cover up there and all but two are carpeted. He has less objects to negotiate upstairs than his friend downstairs so he completes rather more quickly.

We tend to set them off as we go out so we/they don’t get in the way. The one downside is, we can’t set the house alarm because it would be immediately triggered by these little bodies zooming round the floors.

While I was walking, Kevin contacted me to say that he’d read the Prostate Cancer article from The Times and everything would be alright. After all, as he pointed out, he is a doctor. Julie sent me photos of her allotment which, after a week, has been transformed from a rough, grassed area into a beautifully dug plot ready to plant. Of course, she didn’t do it herself. She sweet talked two old guys to do it for her. Well, she would, wouldn’t she?

Monday, 13th February, 2023

Lovely morning of sunshine but a much bigger one tomorrow. Can’t wait to see if I get a Valentine’s card. Preparing for it already. My exercise reached 8 miles yesterday so I am nearly back to full madness. Jobs today include trying to work out how to transfer Sat. Nav. data from the current car to the new one.

I can’t find a way to do it although it should be possible. Particularly, we want to save the European destination list but I am tearing my hair out trying to find a way.

I’m told that the new car will have an improved infotainment unit which will allow me to connect Google Maps through the car screen. I would like to be able to do that particularly abroad.

This old lady appeared on my computer yesterday. She is Margarita from Sifnos and she is the same age as me but I bet you she won’t be using a computer. Island life can be a hard life. Religion is still all pervasive particularly in her age group. I could never accept that.

Out walking, Kevin contacted me. He had only just got up at 11.00 am. When I chastised him, he told me he had been up half the night watching the American Superbowl. I had considered it myself but was too tired. Later, another very old lady phoned asking for help because her email had stopped working on her iPad.

As we explored the remedies over the phone, it became apparent that it had stopped working on her iPhone as well. As we gradually inched towards a resolution, I learned that she had changed her password on her BT account yesterday. All that was left to do was to talk a partially sighted old lady through the multi-layered and quite tricky process of changing her password on the machines. She managed it though.

Tuesday, 14th February, 2023

The start of a special day. Happy Valentine’s Day dear reader. The sun is up. The sky is blue … all the rest is up to you. Actually, it’s quite cold here – only 1C/34F – but lovely. Apparently, the North is going to be carpeted in Saharan Dust today. Don’t want that down here because ….

Why is it a special day? Because we pick up the new car this afternoon which is always an enjoyable experience. Love the smell and tight feel of a new car. This morning, I have to clear all our personal possessions out and clean off the sat.nav. All the paperwork was signed digitally last night and the cherished numberplate has been put on the new car. The transfer will be completely painless. It will include a full tank of petrol for me and a bouquet of flowers for Pauline. Actually, it should be the other way round.

Wimereux Plage

The tradition is that we pick up a new car and drive to France to start its life. Unfortunately, I’ve got the hangman’s noose over me at the moment and, until that’s settled, I’m not going anywhere. A week today is my biopsy but I will have a couple of weeks to wait for the results. What will I do then?

It is strange how different people react. If the verdict is good, I will probably open a bottle of wine and book a trip. If, as I expect, the verdict is not good, my instinct is not, like some people, to start fulfilling a ‘bucket list’ of ambitions. Mine will be to hunker down, retreat into myself and prepare for the inevitable. Being optimistic, we could be walking on Wimereux Beach in March/April time. Being pessimistic, I could be organising my finances.

On the more important side, we took delivery this morning of our 3rd digital kettle in 3 weeks. Consider it a Valentine’s present for a 72 yr old. Each one has been a ‘variable temperature kettle’. The first one stopped working after a couple of weeks. The second one worked fine until it reached 100C when it just continued to boil and turned the kitchen into a Turkish Bath …. I imagine. We have gradually moved up the price range from £50.00 through £80.00 to this 3rd one at £130.00.

The old saying that you get what you pay for is definitely borne out in kettle purchase, dear reader, if you’re thinking of it. This latest one is German made by Carrera – a company I’ve never heard of. You can tell immediately the quality of construction and operation. Reassuringly, it offers a 3 yr warranty. I’ll be 75 before I buy a new kettle. Look forward to it.

We were at Honda at 3.30 pm to collect our new car. It was outside gleaming in its new metal coat. I got my bouquet of flowers and Pauline got a tank of petrol which said it would do 625 miles before refilling. Probably not the way I drive but I am trying to be gentler. Its first trip wasn’t to the beaches of France but to Sainsburys for some milk. Story of my life!

Wednesday, 15th February, 2023

Didn’t sleep well last night. Went to bed late and woke at 4.00 am when my leg went absolutely rigid with the pain of extreme cramp. It is one of the effects of getting back to my full exercise routine and makes me feel old. Leaping (struggling) out of bed at 7.00 am, I opened the blinds and said, It’s very foggy this morning. and then I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and realised it was clear, bright and sunny outside. Do you ever feel old, Dear Reader?

Driving up to Surrey this morning to help a very, very old lady sort her iPad out to do Facetime video calling. Yes, some very, very old people do try to keep up with new technology. I’m sure it helps to ward off dementia and keeps the brain more alert. What day is it? I am beset by old ladies!

Anyway, before we drive off into the sunshine, I have to set the car up. We have to fix two, different seating positions for driving. These are tied to each of our keys and sets the seats as we open the door. It is also set on the door with buttons. The Owner’s Guide runs to 450 pages and nothing is easy to find.

Just 16 miles on the clock and 650 miles in the tank. Always a moment to savour!

I have to redo the preset stations for the DAB Radio. The mechanics seem obsessed with Radio Sussex and 1BTN. I had to look it up. It is a specialist ‘Indie’ radio station from Brighton. I want Radio 4. I have to set the steering wheel tilt and the reversing method on the rear camera. I have to set our home position on the sat.nav and P&C’s home postcode we’re driving to. I’ve also got to do part of my exercise routine before we go. The obsessive has to be satisfied.

… well, at least that’s one old lady’s problems sorted out. Lovely drive up to Surrey in the new car. C&P’s iPad and iPhone Facetime problems sorted out. The weather has been beautiful – 16C/61F – and Springlike. The birds think so anyway. The road from Sussex into Surrey is really lovely and especially so in the sunshine. (Am I sounding old?)

I came home thinking about the fact that I would be in hospital next Tuesday and I have to stop taking Warfarin tomorrow until they cut me open in case I bleed to death on the table. As if by a process of osmosis, this charity knew I had a problem and decided to warn me of my fate. They are right to draw attention to it. Makes it even more important to achieve my goals. We are going out for another walk and then I am going to cook Linguine Marinara for Dinner. I’ll enjoy doing that.

Thursday, 16th February, 2023

A grim, grey morning of that horrible soft, wetting rain. It started even worse for me. Nobody’s day should start with insults but mine did.

My iPad and phone are extensions of me.

Not only was the weather hurling insults down but the IT Gods were also. I plug my iPad in every night and just start using it over breakfast in the morning. I had a little accident yesterday. Trying not to drink wine, I had a glass of disgusting, non-alcoholic grape juice. I hate it normally and I hate it even more now. I knocked it over my iPad – it is a large iPad Pro with keyboard case – and, although my maid wiped it clean, this morning I found it had failed to charge over night.

I plugged it in but there was clearly something wrong with the charging point. So I researched the net for answers. I tried everything they suggested but without success so I’ve got to seek help. Found a shop called Laptop Workshop some 5 miles away and took it out to them. I thought it would be a simple, while-you-wait solution. Sorry, Sir. These things are very difficult and often impossible to fix. It could be up to two weeks before we know. I asked if they couldn’t speed it up and do it in the next 10 mins but their faces were stony.

What am I going to do? I am in despair! A new one will cost me £1600.00 so I will claim on the insurance. That will teach me. I should have been drinking red wine after all.

Friday, 17th February, 2023

Must have been very tired. Something very unusual happened this morning. I didn’t get up until 7.50 am!! Immediately felt lazy. According to my Blog, the last time I did that was this day exactly 2 years ago. Spooky. Once every two years is just about acceptable, I suppose. In the Gym at the moment I’m watching a Drama called The Devil’s Hour in which the central character wakes up every night at exactly 3.33 am which is also known as the devil’s hour. Still, it is helping me through 9 miles a day now. I’m not obsessive!

While I was there, my Blog informed me that two years ago tomorrow is a very significant occasion. Amongst other things, we had our first Covid vaccination and we still haven’t been infected … yet.

Ladybower Reservoir, Derbyshire

Opened my computer to this photo this morning. Was last there about 60 years ago. It was one of our family Sunday afternoons out in the countryside. At the time I really didn’t appreciate it but now …. I think it’s beautiful.

It’s a bit like gardening. Dad had the Dig for Victory enthusiasm although he got his employees to do much of the hard labour for him. He tried to get me interested in growing lots of different vegetables. I hated it. Now, 58 years after he died, I love it. Julie keeps sending me photos of seed potatoes and broad bean plants for her allotment and I’m actually quite jealous.

Kevin contacted me with warm words this afternoon. He is constantly trying to reassure me about the potential of cancer in the prostate. He knows no more than me but it is nice to hear his encouragement.

The MEN this morning announced an incredible statistic. Apparently, 70% of all homes in Bolton and Rochdale are Band A & B for council tax. Band B there is about £1,200 a year. We are in Band F for quite an ordinary house. We are going to be paying £3,100 a year. Think we’ll just have to move back North! The trouble is it’s so cold up there.

Saturday, 18th February, 2023

Another bad night. Woke up at 4.00 am and had to get up. I had a cup of tea and wrote for a while.

Starting the countdown to the death sentence on Tuesday by taking this drug which has interesting side effects. Apparently, they can include extended erections for up to 4 hours. As Pauline says, You probably won’t notice any difference then.

We have another Estate Agent’s flyer through our door imploring us to have a valuation and extolling the virtue of a sale in this buoyant market. Values seem to be holding up extremely well in spite of increased interest rates. This is an expensive area to purchase property. Just an ordinary house is out of the ambit of many people.

Oxfordshire – £4,000,000

I was reading that Boris Johnson had just agreed to pay £4 million for the above property with tennis court and 5 acres. Just across the road from our house is the property below with less grounds and less bedrooms although it does have an indoor pool. It is on the market for £9 million.

Angmering – £9,000,000

We are often tempted to sell, trade down and take a big profit but who wants to downsize really? I certainly wouldn’t live in either of these two properties even if I could afford them. I like modern, preferably new-build properties with all mod-cons not draughty, old places with centuries old insulation and archaic heating systems.

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