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Showing posts from October, 2019

Neighbours Part Two

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Our neighbours are moving out, exactly one year after they moved in. Apparently, the landlord is intending to sell the flat. But that's what we heard last time when the previous occupants moved out. Who knows. We'll find out soon. This isn't the first time I've mentioned the neighbours. I previously wrote about their unholy rows and the possibility of domestic violence. However, since I published that post, I don't think we've heard a single argument of note. Although two months ago somebody pinned up a poster on the communal noticeboard, titled 'Are you afraid of your partner?', with instructions on what to do if your answer is 'yes'. Perhaps someone else heard them screaming when we were out, and took indirect action. I do not know. I do know that I use it to jokingly threaten Mrs P if she carries on as she sometimes does. 
This isn't to say that they haven't caused any disturbances since. One afternoon in the summer, on a hot day whe…

The Automotive Upgrade

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Nearly five years ago, I passed my driving test. A month later, Mrs P and I went to buy our first car in the UK, from a dealer in east London. It was a four year old, low mileage red Mazda 3, and it served us very well. Reliable, easy to drive, comfortable and generally cheap to run. Nothing ever went wrong with it, beyond your normal wear and tear issues. And rust. Chronic, terminal rust. It is, I have since learned, a common problem with Mazda 3's from around that time and a problem that became noticeable on our motor about a year ago. It scraped through the last MOT. It would have needed substantial welding and other work to get it through the next one in April. That's expense that I'm not willing to invest in a twelve year old car. It was a shame, because were it not for that, I'd have kept it for a few years more.
I'd been looking at used cars since last April. The budget? I don't like taking on debt, but the choice was between borrowing big or bagging a …

St Malo

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Would you like me just for once to write a positive Brexit story? Well, I shall then. In June, Mrs P and I paid a quick visit to Malta on a Brexit-busting getaway, days before the UK was due to leave the EU. The grand departure from the union did not, of course, happen. It was postponed until the end of October. So we plotted another last minute Brexit-busting getaway to the EU. This time aboard the Bretagne, a Brittany ferry that crosses from Portsmouth to St Malo in France. It's a large ferry with plenty to do, see and buy on board. Although we'd highly recommend bringing your own food for lunch or dinner. The restaurants are neither cheap nor likely to feature in a Michelin guide.
We returned only to discover, much to our surprise*, that once again the UK's departure from the EU would be postponed. This time until, potentially, the end of January. We will need to plot another Brexit-busting trip before then. Although, as this extension is actually a flextension, the UK…

Seasons

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Summer is over for another year.  It is as far as I'm concerned anyway. Different people in different places have different methods to determine when seasons begin and end. I like simplicity. December, January and February constitute winter. March, April and May make up spring. June, July and August are the summer months. September, October and November are reserved for autumn. In Mexico I used different seasonal standards. There was dry season, rainy season and Jacaranda season.

Summer and autumn are my favourite seasons. I like the first month of winter too, thanks to the Christmas lights and festive atmosphere. From January onwards, life is just bleak. Rural landscapes are grey and lifeless. Towns and cities are grey and wet. But the New Forest, just a few minutes drive from home, offers some respite from the misery of winter. It's a pine tree dominated part of the UK. If the skies are blue and you can overlook the brown mass of dead ferns and ignore the cold, then you can…