Week 740

Sunday, 26th February, 2023

Didn’t sleep much but woke to a beautiful morning and my first thought was …. I’ve got cancer. Will it colour the rest of my life? Had lovely messages from friends.

Went out early for a walk in the park. Quite cold in the breeze but warm on our backs when the sun shone. My half hearted attempt at a photograph pales into insignificance when set against my brother, Bob’s recent efforts.

This is just beautiful and moving. The world is such a wonderful place full of views to explore and to share. I can’t be doing with my little brother beating me at something.

I’m going in the Gym. It feels safe in there. I am going to exercise and escape with a British Spy film.

Monday, 27th February, 2023

Another cold morning. I think we are forecast to wake up to these for most of the next week. We have workmen arriving this morning. After 7 years here and 2 years out of warranty, we have our builders returning to address an insulation problem free of charge.

After investigation, it turns out that an air-conditioning unit installation resulted in the loft insulation not being properly replaced and a couple of additional wiring installations for ceiling spotlights and a Sky TV dish led to wall insulation being compromised. Although they are not strictly responsible, David Wilson Homes have sent out people to sort it all out. As usual, they are lovely people. One comes from Catterick in North Yorkshire where John Ridley lives.

Gave the car its first clean since buying it. It was so highly waxed when we bought it that it instantly repelled all water this morning when I pressure washed it. Cleaning a new car is so lovely and quick.

I’ve retreated to the security of the Gym and a film. Something about exercise frees up the mind and that’s exactly what I need right now.

I’ve just been told that my iPad is ready for collection. Thank goodness. I’ve been absolutely lost without it. First thing tomorrow I’ll be going to the Laptop Workshop.

Tuesday, 28th February, 2023

Up early on a sunny morning and out to collect my iPad. It looked shiny and clean as if it was new. Worth £200.00 just for that. I’m sure it’s working better than before but it’s just lovely to have the mobile internet with a large screen but without being tied to the Office desk.

I clicked the iPad into its keyboard and cover and sat at the kitchen table revelling in the freedom. Today, Pauline is making Strawberry Jam and I am trying to escape reality.

Turks & Caicos

Feeling a bit down today. I have a sadness that I’m finding hard to dispel. I’m just waiting, waiting to see a consultant, waiting to know what the next stage is, waiting to find out if there is a future and, if there is, waiting to view it.

I’ve escaped to the Gym and, in there, I’ve escaped to the Turks & Caicos Islands in the second film of a spy trilogy written by David Hare and featuring Bill Nighy. It’s almost working. Unfortunately, reality and fantasy are so far removed that it just points up the truth.

Wednesday, 1st March, 2023

Happy new month to all readers. Let’s hope it really is. Struggled to sleep again but at least I sorted out the world. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a white rabbit in real life. Ours around here are big, fat and brown. They all look very healthy.

I remember the talk of Myxomatosis in my home village in the 1950s. It all but wiped out the rabbit population. As boys, we regularly found dead or dying animals in the fields around the village. It wasn’t a pretty or painless death for rabbits. I had a pet rabbit at home and, when she died, I locked myself in the downstairs toilet and cried for hours, refusing to come out. … So not much has changed.

Because I am a data nerd, regular readers will know that I record all sorts of statistics on spreadsheets. The first day of the month is peak record-keeping time. Our power usage is recorded and compared with the previous month and the same time back over the years.

Of course, smart meters are a real help. You should see where our actual gas meter is sited – in a flower bed at the front of the house. I’m not grovelling down there every month but it is fascinating comparing usage in different properties across different lifestyles. Our heating system had to be extended into the Gym both for comfort and to protect the machinery. We thought that would greatly increase our costs but, in fact, we’ve used less this year than last.

We eat lots of fish and regularly order from our beach-side suppliers. This morning we will be ordering two, full sides of Salmon, locally caught Plaice, 2kg bag of Prawns and their special choice of the month, Sunshine (Florida) Bass. All sounds such healthy food. Let’s hope it’s worth it.

It must be a man thing but Kevin is very keen on data and statistics. He sends me copies of his cycling achievements, So here are mine:

Since starting to record my exercise on my Garmin App in 2019, I have walked 13,350 miles or 26 million steps. Even though I was only playing at it in the early days, I have walked an average of 6.5 miles every day for the past 4 years.

Something for Kevin to ponder on as he luxuriates on his pedal cycle.

Thursday, 2nd March, 2023

Touch of frost in the sunshine this morning. Outdoor walking is still quite cold and I’m rather retreating into myself at the moment so Gym-work is the order of the day. Time in the Gym means I am voraciously consuming drama, films, series. Yesterday, I completed a trilogy of British Spy Thrillers based around the laconic English spy played by Bill Nighy. In order to watch it, I needed to subscribe to Britbox. It costs £5.99 per month.

The trouble is that I have subscriptions to so many other providers in order to download something I have found worth watching. I was led to the spy thriller because it was based loosely around Tony Blair’s government and it was well worth it. Well, I say well worth it but adding the monthly subscriptions up comes to about £35.00. I like to start and stop many of these as and when I need them. I’ve just started watching a series set in Barcelona on Alibi which I may not use again for months when I’ve finished it so I will stop it. Most of the stuff on Britbox is rubbish so I pick that up and drop it. Netflix is a keeper and Amazon Prime is invaluable for free, next-day deliveries never mind films.

The research for today is preparing for a Summer that I will see. We have already booked quite a lot of time away already. Climate change is bringing hotter, drier summers and the garden will need to be watered automatically. Now the lawn has been replaced, I don’t need to use a wide-sweep sprayer. I’m going to install drip feed piping in the raised beds and connect the system up to an automatic timer fitted to the garden tap. This can be timed to water during the hours of darkness which should mean less water is needed and less is lost to evaporation.

Friday, 3rd March, 2023

Didn’t sleep last night. One of the first things I heard this morning on BBC R4 was someone singing, Help me make it through the night. Life is strange!

It is a beautiful morning of clear, blue sky and sunshine. Quite cold – just 6C/43F – and awakening.

Had to report my first INR since the Biopsy and it was back to normal at 2.3 which is pleasing. Still haven’t seen the consultant yet. It will be two weeks on Monday so I will be proactive from then. Can’t stand the waiting much longer.

This is what Oblivion looks like ….

Went down to the beach for some air this morning but left it a bit too late and the best of the sunshine had gone. That’s life!

Article in The Times today.

A report of this piece of research appeared in The Times this morning. Don’t you just love the irony of it? Here I am doing over 20,000 steps a day and yet …

Saturday, 4th March, 2023

Heavy cloud cover this morning. I will be in the Gym while my Social Secretary will be in the kitchen. We have Lunch guests and cooking is the order of the day. Homemade Pea & Mint Soup is being prepared followed by Salad, Salmon & Dill Pâté, cheese and biscuits and the pièce de résistance, Fresh Strawberry Sponge Cake. Salivating already!

Kevin and I had a falling out recently. Some home truths spoken. They needed to be. You can’t maintain a relationship on pretence. I fully cleared the air and we are back on terms this afternoon. Feels better to be straight. After 50 years of individual development, we can’t expect things to have remained the same. It feels good that we understand each other. Had a lovely message from Christine as well. It’s good to have friends who care enough to understand.

I never really wanted to be a teacher. Barrister was what I aimed for. I went to Newcastle University in 1969 to interview. The girls there were amazing. I was desperate. I failed. I was rejected. My offer was 2 As + B at A Level which at that time almost amounted to rejection. Very few people achieved such grades in the 1960s. I am horrendously ashamed that I didn’t make it. I really thought I would make a world beating barrister. I became a teacher.

Tonight, I am watching David Tennant playing an invincible barrister – which, of course, I would have been – defending the indefensible and winning.

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