Sunday, 28th May, 2023
May is drawing to a close. Time is running, running, running out … and, yet the Summer really has arrived. The sky is blue; the sun is shining; the temperatures are warm. All the signs are there. The Continental Quilt – I’m told I must call it Duvet now. – has been banished until October/November. All the vents on the windows are open. The air conditioning will be brought into service soon. I am living in shorts and tee shirts and will do for the 6 months.
Outside, the bedding plants, and seedlings are being left to fend for themselves. The weather covers have been removed from the garden furniture at last. No rain forecast for quite a while. The hosepipes and sprayers are back in action.
I just can’t sit still any more. An hour of writing or reading at a stretch is the absolute maximum I can manage these days. I was interested to find that Kevin is the same. He has to be out in the countryside on his bike. I have to be walking, working in the garden or in the Gym. It is holding my cerebral projects back. Today, of course, the weather is far too nice to spend in the Office. I am cleaning and tidying the patio.
Fortunately, a girl at the end of my road has been badgering me to help her with her lawn for weeks. I’ve been resisting but, when she said, You’ve got all the equipment., my resistance fell. I’ve agreed to stripe her lawn. What can I say. No self-respecting gentleman could refuse. While my gardener takes care of our garden, I will be tending to another woman’s.
Monday, 29th May, 2023
Lovely, sunny morning with a bit of sea breeze. JohnR has just sent a photo of his latest Lunch venue. The closest thing I’ll get to a restaurant in South Korea. I’m not planning on visiting any time soon.
Kevin is packed and ready to fly to Benidorm where the weather is rather uncertain. I’ve given him a link to a live WebCam overlooking the beach which looks very regimented – rather like an Italian one – and prepared for large numbers of people. I must admit, I prefer the anarchy of a Greek beach and the peace & quiet of an isolated cove.
Julie’s going to Flamborough lighthouse – I went there once. – with her Camera Club to photograph seals …
… and I’m going to … um … um … clean the patio. Still, only a couple of weeks and we are driving to France so must accept the situation. I hate Bank Holidays now that I’m not working. People on the roads, at the beach, in the shops that are open. They should all be at work!
Tuesday, 30th May, 2023
At 6.30 am, on this beautiful morning, I wished Kevin ‘safe flight’ as he set off for Leeds airport and his Jet2 flight to Alicante. John R wished me Good Morning from Hanok Village, Jeonju City, South Korea which I, admittedly childishly, find quite thrilling. Just getting out of bed at 6.30 am and talking to Jeonju City actually fascinates me. The distance and communication really grips me, means something to me. I love it. Someone even suggested it was sunny in Wales which is stretching it a but we can all fantasise.
I have long enjoyed reading the work of Dr Anthony Seldon, alumni of London School of Economics, currently, biographer of Boris Johnson, educator … Yesterday was Celebration Day and you would have found me in the Office, weeping softly, (Yes, again!) as I read an article by him in the Guardian: A simple truth: when love ones die, they never really go away. In it he argues, just as I have, that those who are gone, live on in the memory. I have long known that as I expand it to anyone who is far away, dead or alive. I don’t take well to desertion or rejection any more than I do to bereavement.
It is a strange thing and others don’t understand it but I have always felt a responsibility for them, their happiness and safety. I have never been able to explain it fully to myself but it is a strong thread running through my life. Maybe, it is my sentimentality. I make no apology for that. Certainly, Anthony Seldon isn’t so soft. He is writing about the death of his wife and subsequent remarriage but he concludes:
Life is not like anything I was led to believe it was when I was young. It does not start at birth, I have realised, and it does not end at death. So today, Celebration Day, is a day not for sadness but for renewal and, indeed, celebration.
It has made my need to visit my friend, Brian, in Royton all the more urgent. He wasn’t well last time and we have only talked once since then. It is my fault and I must address it. I’ve just got to fit it in around medical dates.
Big trip of the day: out to Lidl to buy 2 12 pks of Almond Milk. There’s is so much nicer than anyone elses’s I have tried. It means going past the beach and the sea was looking lovely with a green-blue colour. I just love the warmth.
In the warmth of the afternoon, after a long walk in the sunshine and a couple of hours cleaning up and planting out seedlings around our neighbours’ trees, we sat in the garden and griddled Sea Bream which we ate with a green salad and a broad bean salad. Accompanied by a white Rioja, the meal was fit for a City restaurant. Absolutely delicious.
Wednesday, 31st May, 2023
Didn’t sleep last night. Put the radio on at 3.30 am. The first BBC World Service news item was about evacuation sirens sounding across South Korea’s capital city, Seoul. It was caused by the launch of a rocket by North Korea although it, ultimately, crashed and burned. I immediately thought of JohnR who is visiting his son in Jeonju City. I don’t think he heard the sirens but he was visiting a Laundry. I don’t know if the two events were connected.
From a JohnR’s South Korean Laundry to Rattan Direct. The great fun of the day is trying to get the biggest possible discount on the order of replacement covers for our garden furniture.
We found that two people – me & my Housekeeper – logged on using two separate email addresses each – we could reduce the total cost of £200.00 by £80.00 by using a voucher code. Felt a little bit grubby but my Housekeeper loves the chase. It doesn’t get much more exciting than this!
Most of my friends are reliable and we talk regularly. I try to talk most days and at least 3 or 4 times a week. It makes us feel that we are part of each other’s lives even if at a remote level for a lot of the time. Sharing a life – particularly when you know how limited it could be – is a lovely thing to do. At least I get to see them once or twice a year.
Thursday, 1st June, 2023
If I could hold back time …. but it’s June already. My 72nd June although I don’t remember most of them. At least my computer’s Memory Box does that for me. Anyway, I’ve celebrated the new month by waking at 4.00 am, talking to JohnR about the false crisis in Seoul (He knew nothing about it because he is 100 kms away from it.) and then …. going to Sainsburys. That’s how exciting my life is at the moment.
You know how the start of a supermarket is almost always dominated by fresh produce. Our shopping almost starts and finishes there. I’m not meaning to boast. It is just the way our diet is now structured. The trolley is piled high with salad things and green beans, shallots, mushrooms, peppers, beetroot.
Most meals for Dinner start with a simple combination of a herb – Basil, Tarragon, Dill, Oregano or Parsley, tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. The protein is fish, shellfish, chicken and/or pulses. I love Cannellini Beans and Broad Beans.
Today, we are going to break out! My chef is making Chicken Kiev (Kyiv) which is wicked but lovely. It will be cooked and eaten outside in the sunshine. I will have to do so much more exercise to merit such indulgence. I am really struggling to control my weight at the moment and that really upsets me.
Kevin is enjoying lovely weather in Benidorm – quite contrary to earlier forecasts. Who would bother putting their trust in BBC forecasting when it changes so swiftly? Here it is only 20C/68F today but lovely and sunny. I’m having to water every day at the moment. There is no rain in sight and that suggests hosepipe controls in the near future.
I am incredibly loyal … to the point of embarrassment. For the past 40 years, I have bought and driven Honda cars. For the past 40 years, I have used IHG hotel group in UK & Europe. For the past 40 years, I have used the Greek, Electra Hotels group.
All of these organisations reward me with forms of privileged membership. No request is too much for Honda to satisfy free of charge. After all, we have had some 20 new vehicles from them. IHG Hotels have given me a Gold Elite membership which entitles me to quite a few things including free nights stay in hotels. Today, Electra Group have given me Gold card status which entitles me to 12% off all bookings, automatic use of an executive car transport between the hotel and the airport, free upgrades, Late checkouts, ect.. Sometimes Loyalty pays off. Sometimes, of course, it is abused.
Friday, 2nd June, 2023
Strange start to the day. Where is the sun? So used to it now that an overcast sky is a shock. At 8.00 am it is 12C/54F – very similar to yesterday but there is a distinctly chilly breeze. My plants don’t like it. At least we haven’t got Welsh rain!
My friend, Julie, in North Yorkshire has been a bit down for a few days after an operation. To cheer her up, I told her a joke although I think I could have made it worse.
Give it to me! Give it to me! she yelled.
I’m so wet, give it to me now!
She could scream all she wanted, but I was keeping the umbrella.
We were driving down to the Fishmonger for a 3kg joint of sushi-quality, fresh Tuna which will be cut into steaks and griddled. A 3kg piece of Tuna is £85.00 now. It’s one of the few things that hasn’t gone up much recently.
We are entertaining during the week and Tuna will be the centre of the meal. Let’s hope we can eat outside in the garden.
The day has rapidly developed into a hot and sunny one. I’ve spent the morning, like some itinerant Road Sweeper/Gardener, mowing, edging, feeding and watering all the grass verges for my neighbours. The local Estate Agencies sell houses in our street describing them in Millionaires’ Road. None of us complain because it adds to the cachet when we want to sell.
Even so, it gives us something to live up to and I contribute by maintaining the external appearance. After all, I’ve got the time & money to do it so, why not? The only problem is that people walk past and say, How are you doing that? I can’t get ours to look like that. Can you come up to No. 10 to advise me and, like the softie I am, I go and find myself taking over.
I have just invited Julia – a Rebecca Jane substitute – to join us down here on the coast in the sunshine instead of trekking all the way to St Ives where she is spending Half Term.
Saturday, 3rd June, 2023
And yet another sunny day. When will it end? The forecast says it will continue for another fortnight at least. It is 22C/70F and lovely but people we lived with on our Greek island always said they longed for more defined seasons and rain in the Summer.
Well, my friend, Filoktitis, a news agency photographer, took delight in publishing these photos of last night in Kamares as it RAINED. We built our house up above Kamares Port. Rain is not completely unusual by any means but I’ve asked him to send some to the South of England where we desperately need it.
I am constantly watering my own garden and everyone else’s. Yesterday, D&J asked what they could do to repay me. Of course, I told them I would be embarrassed by anything like that. This afternoon, a lovely card came through the door from M&C thanking me for the effort in making things look good and asking if there was anything they could do for us. It is a wonderful to be able to say that I am in need of absolutely nothing.
In the meantime, we are enjoying a bottle of Champagne in the sunshine of our garden after a long, hot walk. Cheers to absent friends!
Kevin sent me a video at 2.00 am (UK) / 3.00 am (Sp) today of a terrible Beatles tribute act somewhere in some bar in Benidorm. He was drinking Pernod & Lemonade. He must really believe he’s back in the 1960s. The only reason I read it was because I was awake too.