Week 749

Sunday, 30th April, 2023

King Kieron – 58 today!

Another lovely morning. Warm and sunny. Young Kieron’s 58th birthday today. At least he’s as old as his wife now and what better place to celebrate it than in his Florida home.

It’s Sunday but, for me, it could be any day. Walking, Gardening, Car Cleaning … trying to avoid anything which mentions Royalty, Coronation, Privilege … I woke up to the announcement that the Establishment want all British subjects to proclaim loyalty (Fealty) to King Charles on his coronation. I cannot think of anything which could be further from my inclination.

I am a Republican / Abolitionist. There is nothing about Monarchy or unelected politicians which I would support. These are the questions, formulated by Tony Benn, we should be posing to people in power.

Dawn – 62 this year.
  • What power have you got?
  • Where did you get it from?
  • In whose interests do you use it?
  • To whom are you accountable?
  • How do we get rid of you?

Our Monarchy, House of Lords, Privileges system all fail this scrutiny. Ultimately, if we are not happy with their performance, we cannot vote them out and that is utterly unacceptable.

But Life isn’t fair, is it. That’s not a question. Last night we learned that Pauline’s niece, Dawn, up in Lancashire, has been diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer. There is no justice! She is just 61, had no time to enjoy retirement and is in a very happy marriage. We can only imagine what they are going through and it puts my problems into a pale insignificance. It does underline, though, the importance of taking every opportunity, not putting things off, Dear Reader. Carpe Diem!

Monday, 1st May, 2023

Happy May … Happy Labour Day. I only ask that I see another 28 of these. Of course, that may be revised when I reach 100.

Very warm night. We didn’t fall below 12C/54F which was nice. Mind you, M&K in Florida were 20C and Kevin in Benidorm had 17C. He did invite me and I declined so he keeps sending me photos of blue sky and sunshine, thinking it will rile me. It just amuses me really. Mind you, I need to be abroad in the sunshine – just not in Benidorm. Only two weeks to go and we will be in Thessaloniki.

M&K + D&B were out at the Steakhouse on Horn Avenue, Brooksville, Florida. Don’t think they ordered Fish but looks like Daniel’s had too much Key Lime Pie.

Actually, they ordered Chateaubriand 20 oz Steaks at $129.00/£103.00 each. Nice to see them all looking happy but, why wouldn’t you when you are young, fit and healthy?

Tuesday, 2nd May, 2023

I’m often asked for recommendations of hotels to stay at, places to visit, and restaurants to eat at in Athens. M in Florida asked me this morning to recommend restaurants for her Golf professional in America because he is coming to a tournament in Athens. A man I met 40 years ago when he was singing in a Simon & Garfunkel tribute act on our Greek island during the summer went on to forge a career with a Blog/Website/Databank of advice for travellers to Greece. He is a Greco-American and is an interesting man to talk to and read. He has made a lucrative career out of his passion.

I obviously missed my way – in so many things – and should have been more adventurous. As a regular traveller to Greece over the same 40 years, I have been a regular reader of Greek Blogs. I started my own Blog. For the past 14+ years, I have been recording my daily life – events and thoughts – and built up a readership of followers. People are interested in other’s lives. It is quite fascinating to see what will happen to others next, to be able to drop in and out without commitment.

Could be me!

My readership on my main Blog site is currently about 1,600 each month as you can see on my phone app. They are mainly UK and Western European with some in America. I have a shadow, backup site which is read by more although not a great number more. That group seem to be mainly in South America and Africa. Goodness knows what they make of it. However, all the seemingly trivial activities of my daily experience are interesting enough to ensure they come back to check.

Decided to have a few days in France in June to walk in the sunshine and change the scenery. Booked the hotel last night and now have to book the Tunnel. I have to be back by the 21st in time for another of these Hormone Injections. I’m really struggling with weight and tiredness at the moment but I’m pleased to report that I’m still completing my exercise program every day without exception.

Back in shorts and tee-shirts now for the rest of the year. I don’t know if it’s because I’m feeling my age but I tend to wear ‘Grandad’ style tee-shirts. Nearest I will get to being a Grandad. I’ve got literally dozens but my Dresser is currently insisting on buying me more. Apparently, I’m ‘heavy on my clothes’ … meaning I spill things down them. I don’t but you have to keep the staff ‘sweet’ so I don’t argue .. much. If I ‘need’ new clothes, I ‘need’ new clothes and that’s an end to it! They are on their way from Jacamo.

Wednesday, 3rd May, 2023

Blue skies all the way today. My French beans are growing away and will need to be planted out soon – then, you didn’t need to know that like so much of the detail in my Blog.

We are going abroad in two weeks and I need these and the Basil plants to be planted out before I go away. Giving them a bath in the sunshine today.

We did some bathing in the sunshine ourselves this morning in Worthing town centre. It was delightful. Lovely weather makes everywhere look better.

Down every avenue the sea sparkles and there is something magical about that. The town is getting ready for an influx of tourists with cleaning and painting. They are attracted by the sea and the beach, by the fish restaurants and the sunshine … and so am I.

Thursday, 4th May, 2023

Didn’t sleep. My mind was tortuously alive to regrets. Turned the radio on – BBC World Service – was presenting a programme from Argentina about the Military Junta who overthrew Peron and ruled between mid 1970s – mid 1980s. Particularly, they rounded up Left Wing activists and tortured and killed them in prison. Those who were taken became known as The Disappeared. The ‘Disappeared’ were floating through my dreams when I woke a few hours later.

Out early to vote at the Community Centre. Voting always feels discouraging when it takes place in these shabby, unattractive places. I took my Drivers’ Licence card with me as photo ID but took the chance to express my strong opposition to the imposition of that extra requirement.

My opinions were expected even though eyes were rolled and buttocks tightened. This card was pushed across the desk to me before I went on to vote. I had to vote for three out of the six candidates. The first three on the list were all Tory. The last three were Green, Lib.Dem. and Labour. I didn’t vote for the Tories.

I forwarded my written response to the government and copied it to my local MP, Andrew Griffith, and to Arun Council. I pointed out the irony of returning it to Levelling Up Department when the attempt of the Tories is pure gerrymandering and a deliberate attempt to exclude sections of the electorate. My email will almost certainly go straight in the government waste bin as it will with my diabolical MP. Hopefully, the Left will, be angered enough to do something about it when we take power.

Friday, 5th May, 2023

Awake at 4.30 am. At least the Radio brought an interesting and pleasing election count review programme. The Tories are dying on their feet. Labour and Lib.Dems are eating them up. Things can only get better – to coin a phrase.

Present from America

A year ago today, a Waitrose delivery arrived at our door. We hadn’t ordered it. Initially, we thought it was for our neighbours or just a mistake. Eventually, we were told that it had been ordered in America and delivered to our door as a lovely gesture. There are nice people in the world!

While I was mowing neighbours’ lawns yesterday, a girl lent out of her bedroom window and called out, “You can come round and do mine now.” Unfortunately, I knew instinctively she was talking about her lawn (and not in the Shakespearian way). Today, I will make her a happy girl by doing her lawn.

This morning I am chauffeuring my Housekeeper to the Hairdresser’s. I don’t pay her for her services but I like to reward her at times. It is important to keep the staff happy. I’m happier because the sun is shining, the sky is blue, the Tories are losing and will continue to lose the General Election now.

My Memory Box threw up a couple of interesting occasions from a decade ago. In 2013, our school was finally being demolished …

… and we were relaxing on the patio of our Greek island home at the start of a 6 month stay. It illustrates how quickly life changes and how many possibilities there are if we are brave and confident enough to risk it.

Our lovely neighbours next door have invited us to a Coronation Party tomorrow. I had to decline because I wouldn’t have been able to get through it without offending their other guests. Nothing would persuade me to celebrate the Coronation. Certainly not the prospect of a ‘Knees-up’ whatever that is. I’ve never been to one in my life and I’m not likely to start now!

Saturday, 6th May, 2023

Lovely, warm morning. Unfortunately, that is about the only good thing to say about it. The media is fixated on Monarchy although, I have to say, hardly anyone around here has put ‘bunting’ up which is heartening. There have been no street parties advertised down here. We are all too ‘select’ for that.

My computer announced a beautiful day.

I had a long discussion with my lovely next door neighbour yesterday as I declined her kind invitation to a Coronation Party. I excused her enthusiasm because she is an Australian/German and we all know immigrants are fanatical Royal watchers.

Not Mine Either!

Great to see two things this morning. Heavy rain in London to dampen down the enthusiasm of the loony royal groupies and the view of sensible dissent on the Coronation route. We must work to make this the last Monarch and it certainly will be across many areas of the Commonwealth. Australia and West Indies are noticeably moving that way. Young British people are already disinterested and will grow into Republicans. I’ve already talked to Kevin who chose to avoid it all by going on a bike ride and to Julie who went out to prune a tree. So much healthier than Coronation Compulsion!

Tom Jones … after Henry Fielding.

I’m going in the Gym to watch ITV-X. I’m watching an adaptation of a novel I had to study for ‘A-Level’ 56 years ago. Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones – published in 1749 and one of the first in the picaresque novel form. I remember, as an impressionable 16 year old, being absolutely transported by the rather bawdy tale of a virile young man and his conquests. It really kickstarted my love of study … amongst other things.

I read avidly read around the topic. I bought and read The Rise of the Novel. It led me to read the works of Daniel Defoe – Robinson CrusoeShamela and Samuel Richardson – ClarissaPamela, etc.. I couldn’t read enough. I wasn’t reading them for escapism, for the enjoyment of Fiction but for their historical content and intellectual/literary import. That approach has stayed with me all my life.

Lovely little ironies as a footnote. Tom Jones’ is adopted by the benevolent, Squire Allworthy. His neighbour, is the dissolute Squire Western, who loves drinking, hunting and plenty of sex. Tom, of course, eventually married his daughter and lives happily ever after.

Squire Western is played in the drama by Alun Armstrong. It was in 1971, 52 years ago, that I was an extra in an ITV drama series which featured a young Alun Armstrong as its main character. I didn’t realise it then but he is only 4 years older than me. King Charles is only 2 years older than me and his coronation took one right back beyond the mid-18th century, it reminded me he wouldn’t have been out of place with the Squires.

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