Five lessons - two cancel :)
Wow - four lessons, no cancellations :) Hope they like Tina's car.
And... I got a call to say my car is fixed, so tomorrow will be a lot easier.
The engine management light is on! Or rather, was on, yesterday. The garage can fit me in today, so I drive to Camberley and leave the car with them while I breakfast at a greasy spoon and buy new underwear at the huge M&S. It's tough, leading such a glamorous lifestyle.
They can't fix the car while I wait. I get a train home and it seems I'm lucky, as I walk straight onto a train. All services have been delayed as the rail tracks are "slippery." Who could have seen that coming? (It was cold, frosty and some places got a light covering of snow).
Later in the day I find out that I won't be reunited with my car until Friday: "Can't get the parts." So I spend the day writing this drivel and uploading photos.
Bad news. Dave Brubeck has died. If you have the time, listen to him:
I awake to news that some random woman is pregnant. I don't know how to avoid the press frenzy which will only go on for, say, decades. All together now: "The people's flag is deepest red, It shrouded oft our martyr'd dead..."
I have seven lessons booked for today - two cancel. A third cancels by text message, but he thinks the lesson is today when it is actually tomorrow. I send a message telling him this and receive no reply. Sigh. It wouldn't take much... Much later I receive a reply that he is also unavailable tomorrow. I think I'll add diary skills to my syllabus.
I have a secret admirer - this message was received today, from one Amwring Nospeedos:
Halo my friend - was it you that I saw on the beach on La Gomera? I have been
searching to find you ever since.
I ask because the man I remember looked like you & was well-ripped........but
naked (& a little cold apparently). I am unsure, as you make no mention of
bathing in your natural state in your diary account, & I would feel
embaressed if I were to approarch the wrong gentleman.
If it WAS you dancing in the surf with your 'wife', then please get in touch
as I have lost your number.
Yours (I wish) - Amwring xx
How nice to hear from you. I was rather hoping that I would, after our
You have amazingly good taste, not to say eyesight. I wish we could meet
again, but fear it is not to be. Alas, I am financially embarrassed (note
the spelling. If we have any future together, you will have to learn what
"pedant" means). If you would like to continue our "relationship" please
forward a suitably large sum of euros to my PayPal account. I will then be
able to travel to your island paradise, where we can continue our
Adidas, my dusky one (see how easily I slip into your vernacular).
Hmmmmm... I want to believe it's true, but....
In the evening Tina practises the dark art of Pilates, and I have a good chat with Yvonne at the Jolly Farmer in Cliddesden. Yvonne describes this year as her "travelling" year - she's not joking. New York, Washington DC, Cuba, Cyprus, and Portugal are the places my ravaged memory can retain, there were a few others.
It's also good to see people in the pub on a week day evening, and even better to see a dart board being used.
A telephone engineer is booked between 8:00 and 12:00 as we have been losing our dialing tone. Amazingly, he arrives at 8:00 and fixes the problem. A very nice man, who is gone by 8:15. My day of three lessons is now one, as two people have cancelled. I go for a run, and finish work by 1:00.
Chris and Nigel call round in the morning, and drive us to Durley Street, near Bishop's Waltham, where we meet with Dotty and Tim. The weather is perfect for walking: bright, sunny and cold.
We head for Owslebury, where we lunch at the Ship Inn. On the way, there is much debate about the pronounciation of "Owslebury." Despite this, we forget to ask at the pub, and it remains a mystery. I'm for "Ozbree" - it works for Bicester...
Chris has visited La Gomera on a tall ship, it's interesting to compare notes.
The countryside is very pleasant, up and down enough for pleasant views, and we arrive back at the cars in the dark. There's something quite satisfying about walking until the light has gone, so long as it's possible to avoid getting run over - the last few minutes are along the road. Nigel, Tim and I hold up our phones and devices (gps) to show the drivers where we are, as none of us have reflective clothing.
In the evening Tina and I continue with series two of Breaking Bad. Somehow the plot and interest are maintained, it seems to get even better.
In the morning I run. It's really bright and crisp. It feels so good that I wash the car when I get back. Not my favourite pastime, but it always feels better when it's done.
In the evening Tina attends a Christmas dinner with her colleagues. A good excuse to sit down and play poker, the first time for a while. I choose a single table tournament with nine entrants. The top three places pay. Of course, I lose my chips in fourth place, known as the bubble. Hmmmm....
Tina has to go back to work, I only have two lessons. The first is with Stuart, when I collect him Ken is at home and we have time for a coffee and a chat. In the afternoon, I cycle to see Dad at Old Basing. He is well, but I won't mention his medals until they arrive and I can reunite him with them. I must talk to Dad and clarify what he got up to in the war.
On the way home I take a roundabout route, it's quite cold but bearable. I should get out more on my bike but it's just not the same in the winter months.
Another full day, with no cancellations! Several people ask me if we have put up our Christmas tree yet. Bah, humbug... of course not.
No cancellations today - but I finish at 3:30. Tina heads to London with Chris for a guided tour of Spitalfields on foot. The guide is a friend of Yvonnes, who is going to meet them at the start of the walk.
In the evening, Tina tells me all about her day. A highlight seems to be a scheduled stop a a very authentic bagel shop at the end of Brick Lane.