Sunday, 5 May 2019

Two Islands ...

A somewhat belated post, from our now regular trips to the sun during the first few months of the year, to escape the cold and miserable weather of north-east England.

This year, we split our time away across two islands, with a three-week gap at home between.  One of the reasons for this was that last year we returned home from an extended break only to find we hadn't actually missed the worst of the cold weather, which was still to come in mid March.

So this year, we went first to Fuerteventura and then made another trip to Tenerife.

Feurteventura was quite cool at the start of the year, although there were several days of warm weather during the trip.  There were also strong north-easterly winds blowing continuously, which is supposedly one of the reasons for the name of the island.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Living with Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation

Today's an anniversary of sorts.

In April 2013 I woke up in the early hours of a Saturday morning with my heart beating wildly and very fast, thumping hard in my chest and clearly out of rhythm.  Given the history of heart disease in the family, I thought my time was up ...

I called the ambulance service on 999 but they weren't as concerned as I was (!) when I said I had no chest pain, and they told me to make my own way to the nearest hospital with an A&E department.

Once there, I was seen quite quickly, given aspirin & beta-blockers, lain on a bed and hooked up to an ECG machine.  Soon afterwards, the symptoms subsided somewhat and I left the hospital late on the same morning with some further medication and an appointment at the hospital's regular Chest Pain Clinic on the next Monday, although I hadn't actually experienced any pain at all.

Another ECG at this next appointment, and then booked in for an ultrasound scan of my heart, the results of which were that my heart seemed structurally sound but I had suffered an attack of atrial fibrillation (AF or A-Fib in the medical jargon), where the chambers of the heart beat out of synch with each other.  They said it could either be the start of a longer-term problem or it might never happen again.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Financial Planning - 2019 Annual Review

We've just clocked up six full years into the 'Grand Plan', so here are the usual two graphs :-

SIPP POT to Mar-19

Monday, 8 April 2019

Plum crazy ....

When we did the major landscaping works on our garden extension six years ago, one of the trees we planted at that time was a young Victoria plum tree.

It's grown into quite a substantial tree with a trunk around 125 mm (5") diameter.  

However, it has never produced a single blossom in all the time it's been in the garden.   Given that it was probably three years old when it was planted, it's likely now heading into its tenth year and again doesn't look as if it will blossom this spring.

the old 'Victoria' plum tree

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Saturday, 30 March 2019

The new Climbing Roses .... Six on Saturday

Following on from building the pergolas and summerhouse late last year (see posts passim), over the winter and early spring we've sourced and planted the new climbing roses.

And since there just happens to be six of them, I thought I'd use the opportunity to join in with the Six on Saturday brigade for the first time, a theme hosted every week by The Propagator and which is one of the gardening blogs I read regularly. The SoS links are the source of much inspiration around the garden.

However, since I'm not a particularly prolific blogger, I'll likely only be a very occasional contributor to this community.

But, on with the chosen roses.

At the base of both trellis panels on the pergola at the rear of the house, we've used 2x Climbing Icebergs to provide an all-white display over this structure, which frames the view from the kitchen window.  These are pot-grown specimens which were planted in the early autumn of last year, so they're the most established of all the new roses.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Cost of Car Ownership over 9 years ...

We've just replaced our 15-year old car, which we've owned for the last 9 years.   It was just about on its last legs, was going to cost a fortune to keep on the road for another year, and it effectively had zero residual value when we got rid of it.  

Still, it's been a good workhorse for us, had carried tonnes of stuff and taken us many times on very long journeys both in the UK and across mainland Europe.

Anyway, I thought I'd take a look at what this car had actually cost us during the time we owned it, and so here's the summary spreadsheet (click on it for a larger image) :-