Packing Up

Wednesday 17th October

Interesting to see how in Cuba the government is allowing people to travel more widely. However, people in useful professions, like doctors, will face restrictions on their travel. So the ZAs (zero assets) are allowed to travel but probably can’t afford to, while the SAs (Societal Assets) are firmly controlled. Familiar?

I have to say something about this. Planet hunters have discovered a world in a system where four suns are in orbit about each other. A presenter, talking to some ‘expert’ involved said something about it being like science fiction, whereupon the ‘expert’ replied, ‘This is stranger than science fiction.’ Well fuck you matey. I might not have used four suns, but only two weeks ago I was writing about a system with a white dwarf and black dwarf orbiting each other and in turn orbited by a red dwarf, the whole system acting like some giant stellar food processor to mince up asteroids and worlds and shepherd them into an immense gas and dust ring. Go read some science fiction Mr Expert. Dickhead.

Thursday 18th October
I have suffered from acne rosacea for years but whether that is what I have now I have no idea. It’s changed, headed off to from around my nose towards my ears and on my chin, the spots are less like pimples and more like eczema. I’ve taken the various drugs to keep this under control and, as is usual, they stop working properly after I’ve been taking them for a while. I’ve tried all sorts of topical skin treatments, some of which have helped and some of which have aggravated the problem. One of the best topical treatments I use I didn’t learn from a doctor, and that is sticking baby powder on my face (the talc has to be fine). The powder sticks to the spots themselves and remains there when I wipe the bulk of it off. It conceals them and dries them out, and they’re much reduced when it drops off later. However, best of all for this condition is getting my face into sea water. The spots heal and fade. Now I’m not swimming just about every day the spots are flaring up again so I’m trying an experiment. I’ve made strong brine from local sea salt and intend to put that on my face every morning. It stings like a bastard. I hope it works.

Friday 19th October
It’s slightly cooler today than it has been over the last week, at 20C inside and 23C outside at 9.45AM, but I’m still sitting here in shorts and T-shirt as I get on with my work. After my efforts revamping our stove it looks like we won’t be using it this year (though I’ll have to fire it up at least once to cure the heat paint) because we are only here for another six days. Meanwhile it seems the Greeks know we’re heading away so are having their kazanis earlier just to ensure I struggle with my latest attempt at temperance. There was also a general strike yesterday which I’m hoping will not be protracted and won’t be occurring on the day we head back, which could screw things up a bit.

Things to do: I have to put netting over the citrus trees to protect them from winter winds that tend to frazzle them and kill off young fruit. I need to get some varnish on shutters that are peeling. I need to seal some cracks around a step in our roof, which I wanted sorted this year but wasn’t done because our builder went AWOL. I need to plant out some of the pot plants and shift the rest to the front garden where it’s quite damp. I need to stop my regular currency transfers because I don’t want any more than the minimum to cover bills sitting in a Greek bank. I must decant my large amount of chilli sauce into plastic bottles for transport back to England. Then I have to remember what other bits and pieces have to go back and pack them, knock off the power and the water, and go. It’s sad.

But then, back in England there are things to enjoy: always something to watch on TV, Chinese and Indian food either a short drive away or delivered to our door, Brussels sprouts with a Sunday roast, fish and chips in Hastings or Brighton, cheaper shopping with a lot more variety, comfy carpets and gas central heating coming on automatically every morning and, of course, constant fast Internet I will be pigging out on for months on end.

Tuesday 23rd October
I’ve just started on the packing. That’s two securely-wrapped 1.5L bottles of chilli sauce sitting in the case I used for my hand luggage on the way out here which in turns sits inside my suitcase. This time I won’t pack our various rechargers and other electrical items around them, because last time customs felt the need to examine a large bottle of liquid surrounded by wiring in the middle of a suitcase. I wonder if they thought the pomegranates in there too were fragmentation grenades.

I’ve been watching the BBC World’s take on the US election campaign. The presentation has been thoroughly partisan – obviously in BBC terms Obama is Luke Skywalker while Romney is Darth Vader. Next the presenters went into shock when Obama got a spanking in the first presidential debate and thereafter were struggling to hide their bias. I wonder if they had received complaints. In their cloistered group-think world it must be difficult to comprehend that an awful lot of people out here in the real world don’t agree with them. In some of their ‘reasoned debates’, however, they’re not so careful. You get wall-to-wall lefty liberals who still think Keynesian economics, high government spending, state control and high taxes all pave the way to socialist utopia, and who attack anyone who says, ‘Hang on, maybe spending more than their tax take is why governments are in debt?’

It absolutely hammered down with rain here yesterday and last night and I put the stove on for the first time. Shortly after that I put on the bathroom and kitchen fans and opened the window to get rid of the fumes from the curing paint. Today we have what is about standard for an English summer: cloud and sun, wet and the temperature struggling to get past 20C. Now for that English winter…

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