Greg's Occasional News & Views

1 December 2019

What a miserable, miserable week. Depressingly dismal, dreary and drizzly. And miserable. It’s been cloudy and wet all week and then on Friday, when the sun does put in an appearance and the skies turn bright and blue, the temperature plummets through the floor. Oh my goodness, only four or five more months of this!

Penny has decided to reorganise her exercise regime. In particular, she wanted to avoid going out a couple of times a week in the dark on a cold, misty, dreary evening. So, she’s decided to attend sessions which involve leaving the house in the dark on a cold, misty, dreary morning instead.

Tuesday was her first outing at this time of day – she wanted to attend a body pump session which started at 6.30. Yes, that’s 6.30 am! On a dark, cold, misty, dreary morning.

Penny normally has no need of an alarm – she tends to wake at an ungodly hour and often wanders down the corridor to Annabelle’s room to read until a more reasonable hour has been achieved. She also does not wear a watch so generally has no idea of what time she has arisen until she turns on her iPad.

In the early hours of Tuesday, therefore, I was not surprised to be awakened by her rising from bed and beginning the stumbles and scramble around our bedroom to find her gym clothes, swimming costume, and other essential items so that she could attend her early morning body pump session. I could see that it was still dark through the fog of my own slumbers but it would be dark at 5.45 am. I groggily rolled over to glance at my watch which revealed that the time was precisely ten past two! I managed to mumble that she was going to have a bit of a wait for the leisure centre to open if she left then. When I told her what time it was she chuckled and climbed back into bed. Within a few moments she was happily snoring away again.

Until 5.45 am which is when the alarm on her iPad went off. She got up, grabbed the belongings she had gathered together earlier in the night, and went downstairs to fix herself a cup of coffee. Meanwhile, I rolled over and went back to sleep fairly succinctly only to be awakened ten minutes later by the sound of her alarm going off again. She hadn’t turned it off – she had tapped snooze instead! What was worse is that the iPad wasn’t in the bedroom any longer but rather had found its way into my study next door. So, while she was downstairs sipping her morning coffee and going through her morning ritual of working through all the Facebook nonsense, I was upstairs stumbling bleary eyed through to the study following the jingle of her iPad merrily sounding off. Not a great start to the new exercise regime!

Having had a swarm of builders at the end of last week we were somewhat disappointed to come home from the gym on Monday morning to find that the house and new kitchen resembled the Mary Celeste – not a soul on site. So much for my supposition that they were now going to throw everyone at it in order to finish by their target date of the end of this week. Ten months after they started on this “three to four months” job. They have made some cautious progress this week – our patient carpenter had been here most days making patient and cautious progress on the variety of little tasks he is delegated to perform but the rest has been intermittent. So close yet still so far away.

In the meantime, Ms Playchute decided that it was time to hire a floor sander and strip the varnish off the dining room floor. And why not? The floor had suffered a few indignities during the work and, in particular, there were several places where the adhesive tape holding the floor protectors had marked the existing varnish. So, the floor has been sanded and stripped and re-varnished – when Ms Playchute gets going on a project there is no constraining her enthusiasm.

And, it looks great. At least that’s one job that will be finished by the end of this week.

I did enjoy this from my New Yorker calendar.

Lots of love to you all,



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December 2019
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