It makes me smile when I hear people say that they would be bored if they had to retire; I have PLENTY to keep me occupied and cannot wait to finish work so I can get on to do the things that enjoy. Whilst my job is certainly not dull or very demanding, working absolutely gets in the way of those things that are preferable!
Actually, I haven’t heard many people say they don’t want to retire, it’s more that to afford to do so would be unviable and then one couldn’t do a number of those things we dream about anyway. Hey ho. So, it’s down to balancing it all out, isn’t it?
On a practical and logistic note, there have also been a catalogue of irritations – and mainly expensive ones recently too. First off there has been the cracked-tooth-looks-like-a-witch scenario- which is now fixed (as of Thursday) at the cost of just under £1000 . Gulp! On top of that, both of our cars had MOTs… and the extra ‘bits’ like windscreen-wipers, tyre treads, balancing-whatchamacallits and a standard service (on my car) costing an additional £500 or thereabouts. And on top of that, last weekend whilst at the supermarket, a car backed into mine…. and then drove off!! Initially it seemed to be a small bump but on getting home and opening the boot it transpired that the latch has been damaged and subsequently doesn’t do its job (i.e. latch). Because the car is quite old the garage cannot source a new lock mechanism and that means we will have to see if there is anything available via ebay or second-hand websites. It’s not a difficult job – says Paul because he will do it, not me! (ha! can you imagine!?) – but it is an irritation. Also, it’s so disappointing that the person just drove off and couldn’t ‘own up’. This is half of the problem with work to be honest, in the past year or so I just don’t want to deal much with ‘other people’…. and that’s not really a very good outlook on life, is it?
Oh – and on top of that, I had a puncture yesterday too…. in a different car-park! You couldn’t make it up could you?
It's a good thing, therefore, after an expensive few weeks that this little household doesn’t particularly focus on having ‘stuff’ (there’s nowhere to put it anyway!) and as we usually lurch from one month to another, we are not overly panicked. It’ll all come out in the wash, as they say.
Who are ‘they’ though?
Also, where have all these references to “back in the day” come from? It appears to be “phrase du jour” - repeated on the radio, TV, social media, general conversations…
Maybe people always said these phrases - or is it that I am only hearing them now that I’m officially middle-aged? It’s all very disconcerting.
It might have been 30 degrees and humid but that wasn't as hot as a neighbour's new pizza-oven that we christened yesterday!
Fun and games as three of us took instruction from a YouTube video on how to prepare the dough ball into a thin pizza base - following four stages entitled: Finger Press, The DJ Deck, The Steering Wheel and The Parachute.
See: Top 10 Tips for the Perfect Pizza Launch Into Your Pizza Oven - Bing video
Lots of toppings - homegrown tomato paste, artichoke hearts, spring onion, bacon, ham, mozzarella, truffle and artichoke condiment-oil (whatever - posh though!), peppers, mushrooms, parmesan,...and more that I cannot recall!
We struggled with getting a very thin and crispy base and were uncertain of the temperature of the oven itself - but for a first attempt the five pizzas created were absolutely YUMMY!!
The move had been happening over a few weeks but the final push was a fairly intensive two days, and then I was involved in a unexpected move at work as well! The new school building was [mainly] finished ahead of time and it was agreed that to get the two new classrooms set up for start of term on Tuesday 5th September – much more beneficial for the new starters in Reception class and the other young year groups (1,2 and 3). So all staff (and family members and friends) turned up over the days prior to the first week of term and moved in and set-up as much as possible. It is an ongoing project (and has been, as you know, since December 2022). My new office is also in the new building and I found out a day or so ago that the electricity will be cut off to my shed this week, so I have to move too! Short notice, naturally, and of course the IT guys are not available for at least another week. I also have to purchase a new desk and various items of furniture… or nothing will be happening! Hmm… not that it isn’t busy and stressful enough at the moment with the hysteria of a new academic year…. But hey!|?
I am trying to convince and remind myself at regular intervals that there is only so much I can do and ultimately, I have limited authority and am employed on a part-time (30 hours per week) contract, and paid accordingly.
The next point: The beginning of the academic year…. well, that is so horrendous that I shan’t say anymore! And the emergency dental treatment involves cast and caps and a couple of appointments over the next month and is costing £900 – but that is much better that the potential £2-3K that was originally mooted. Oh well, it’s only money.
Actually, whilst away, although I did look at the news headline and the weather reports, it was noticeable how the incessant updates create – for me – a real feeling of doom-and-gloom. Whilst it is probably best to have some idea of what is going on in the world, I think I am going to avoid it as much as possible!
On the day we returned from Kefalonia I attended an online ‘counselling’ session run by the NHS. My doctor directed me to the service because the last few months, as you know, have proven to be rather “challenging”. There are various easy-to-use, standard questionnaires / assessments that can be used as a springboard for treatment:
The weekly sessions that I am attending are via Let's Talk 2gether. (click on the link) but funnily enough - there is no talking from the patients whatsoever! The professionals present different topics and practices as well as exercises and homework, and then all other communication is via the bubble-chat [type] options. I just think that it's quite funny to call it 'Let's Talk'.
Hmmm… but food for thought nevertheless!
Anyway, the big tooth at the front on the left (central anterior / incisor) basically started wobbling after I bit into a bread roll! I could feel it crack or 'shear' and, after panicking, immediately made an appointment. It was enough to make me very concerned especially as just two days later I was going to a wedding and really didn't want to look like the Wicked Witch off the West!
So, the dentist
It was suggested that I might have to have:
Update (24/08/23): I have a THIRD 'rescue' appointment tomorrow... and it seems that any proper or permanent treatment cannot even commence until mid-October. This is interesting, is it not, when this is a private i.e. paid for service, and there is still a long waiting game. And there is such hoo-ha about any NHS waiting times?
I tried to update the website whilst on holiday but it proved to be far too frustrating with slow WiFi, using Apps and my general impatience and incompetence. As it was, there wasn't much to report as we literally didn't do anything! It was very hot and therefore even venturing out was to be avoided at certain times of the day - we only made it "up the hill" to the village shop once! So it was a true holiday for reading, dozing, eating and drinking.
Whilst away we realised that it was our twenty-year anniversary of being together as a couple (29th July) and we therefore treated ourselves to a night out at "the posh restaurant" and even to a good bottle of local wine. Fabulous!
Have a look at the website: Kefalonia Restaurants | Lorraines Magic Hill Lourdas Restaurant Kefalonia (lorrainesrestaurant.gr)
Subsequently, I had numerous medica! appointments with both my doctor and Diabetic nurse; both face-to-face and phone slots. Actually, the week that I'm back from holiday I think there are two more appointments already set up. However, I will be able report a steady and controlled set of readings - due to the fact that I have to reduce the daily insulin injection to counter balance, main!y, against any increase in the heat and risk of dehydration. It all seems to be a bit random, in truth, but must be working (by lowering the insulin dosages by between 10 and 12 units over the past month or so) as things appear to be levelled out and I've not suffered that terrible BGL drop since.
I know realise how important it is to ensure at least a small portion of carbohydrates at regular intervals as well as having emergency glucose to hand. Who'd 've thought 'eh?!
We are sitting in the shade of the apartment terrace listening to noisy cicadas, the humming of air conditioning units and the gentle lap of the waves in the distance. It's all terribly hard work when it's already 33 degrees at 10.30am! As the temperatures are very high and I've already read two books in as many days I've given in and fired up the Kindle and this Weebly site (for editing). It's not the best or most intuitive App so I'm not holding my breath. Bear with....
Some may think that I am sadly inept with the various features of my phone (whereas I don't want my life ruled by it) but recently I was suitably impressed to stumble across a 'portrait' feature in the camera which automatically created some nicely differently focussed images. I am sure I will have a better 'play' over the next few weeks. What's not to like?!
Sculptural works are in a range of media, including stone, wood, metal, glass, bronze, resin, ceramic and reclaimed materials. The pieces are exhibited within a 1½ acre garden of a traditional English style, on a domestic scale with ‘interconnecting rooms’.
Prescott Hill Climb is the home of the Bugatti Owners Club and was established in 1938 –“the Bugatti Owner’s Club was already running hill climbs on various dusty loose-surfaced courses in the south of England since 1931. It was about 1936 when it was agreed that the Club really needed to have its own course.” Prescott was the first purpose-built speed event venue to come on stream since the sport on public roads was outlawed some fourteen years before.
Classics at Prescott, Sun, 15 May: Classic Car enthusiasts displayed their vehicles in ”the Orchard” and “Paddocks” and, in addition, there was also the opportunity for these drivers to take part in a “gentle Cavalcade …. up the Hill allowing the public to see the display of Classic Cars in motion”.
That 's Buckingham Palace he is referring to - because one of 'my' governors is Clerk to the Privy Council and is a big-cheese with all of the comings and goings of royalty and parliamentary protocol. He is the person who officially announced, to the world, the new King when Queen Elizabeth passed away - before Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt read the official wording.
Have a look at: Cabinet Office
He is the most unassuming man and must find my questions and enthusiasm quite irritating! However, I did find out that today he has to be part of the proceedings from 7.30am and cannot leave until 1.30pm and "that's a long time to wait if you need to go for a wee". He only has to wear a morning suit and not all the regalia (cloaks and funny hats and suchlike) but does have to wear his gong" (the Order or Medal of CVO - Commander of the Victoria Order).
Suffice to say, I think I was more excited about it than he was!
In real life, the National Motor Museum reports: "Ford’s new Anglia model was overshadowed by the Mini when it was launched at the 1959 Motor Show but went on to be a sales success with over a million of the 105E and more powerful 123E being built before production ended in 1967. In 1963 the production line was moved from Dagenham to a new factory at Halewood on Merseyside.
This Anglia was used during the filming of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It was stolen in 2005 but was later recovered after being dumped by the thieves probably due to the media interest surrounding the car."
Check out the history of Croome and particularly that of the 6th Earl of Coventry; he was a flamboyant and forward-thinking character - "an 18th century trend setter and big spender” - for example, the equivalent of £35 million was spent transforming Croome!
SEE: Overview of Croome | Worcestershire | National Trust
So, in 1751, George William Coventry, the 6th Earl of Coventry, inherited the Croome estate and commissioned Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, to redesign the house and its parkland. Croome was ‘Capability’ Brown’s first large-scale commission and is often described as his 'first and favourite child'.
Brown remodelled Croome Court into the fashionable Palladian style, and the formal gardens were dug up and, in their place, the creation of a natural looking parkland. “Brown created elaborate illusions in his new landscape – the river was designed to appear as if it drifted off into the distance around a corner, but in fact abruptly came to an end behind some cleverly planted trees and shrubs”.
Capability Brown and the Earl became firm friends and there is a memorial to Brown after his death in 1793 which reads: “To the Memory of Lancelot Brown - Who by the powers of his inimitable and creative genius formed this garden scene out of a morass”.