The Trip — 2016: Part 10 — Shopping and Books

Villa Andonis – Center-Left

July 7 — Well, today was the big shopping day. Di still wanted me to come along; she’d buy me dinner. Let’s see: long taxi ride, a couple of hours of watching Di and her sister shop, dinner, a long taxi ride . . . hmmm. No, I’m still staying at the villa.

Most days . . .

Showed Trish how to fold and unfold Di’s Tzora battery-powered scooter. She and I did it together several times. This to enable Trish to unfold the scooter after leaving the taxi and how to fold it when they got back in.

The taxi arrived around 5 pm, and we loaded Di and the scooter without any problems. The girls were off and a glass of wine for me.

I went for a swim in the pool and read for a couple of hours. Feeling hungry I finished the bread and hard cheese and another glass of wine or two.

At around ten the girls returned, the same taxi having brought them back from Corfu city. Surprise — they hadn’t had dinner but had spent the entire time shopping. It turns out that my staying at the villa was the correct decision — I avoided four hours of following around two women shopping. Of course, they had to show me what they had purchased . . .

They had also stopped at a market on their return, so, fresh food.

Cruise ship sailing between Corfu and Albania
. . . we see a cruise ship . . .

Today, Dora came in to do some cleaning and replace a couple of burnt out light bulbs (she only had one spare of the right size here and will get another replacement next week).

Di and Trish also picked up a HDMI cable on their excursion, and we connected it to Trish’s computer and the LG TV this morning. Excellent picture from the PC but we were unable to get live free Wimbledon for Di to watch. Now, however, I can log into Netflix at any time for her to watch movies and videos as well as our iTunes movies on my Mac PowerBook. And, of course, there is always YouTube on either computer.

Cruise ship sailing between Corfu and Albania
. . . or two or three . . .

I finished another book on my computer today (Gust Front by John Ringo) and started Agent of Change by Miller and Lee both of which I’d read previously. I’m reading free on-line stories from Baen Books’ Free Library as I only have one more unread book remaining in my suitcase and Di’s remaining books do not appeal to me.

The book I finished reading yesterday, A Study in Sable by Mercedes Lackey, was quite good. Di loves Mercedes Lackey stories and this one showed up on our doorstep the day it came out — she saved, wonder of wonders, it for the trip rather than devouring it immediately.

It’s a fantasy “Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson” story with Holmes and Watson as minor characters. But part of the story occurs in the village/town of Sevenoaks in Kent southeast England. Di was raised in that area and we were married there. When I first visited England (December 1987- January 1988), her parents were living just a block and up a hill from the Sevenoaks train station. I spent many hours walking Sevenoaks’ streets and the grounds of Knole House during the three weeks I was there (wet and rainy as it was).

. . . ply the strait between Corfu and Albania/mainland Greece.
. . . ply the strait between Corfu and Albania/mainland Greece.

As an aside, I was teaching in Orange at the time and had two weeks off at Christmas. We needed an extra week. I requested an unpaid week off specifically so I could get married in England. The district refused. I took the week off. When I returned, I was informed that I was going to be docked a week’s pay because I took an unauthorized leave. Duhhhhhh . . . I mean get real folks . . .

(to be continued)

Construction is Finished — Almost — Sunroom 3

Construction Finished – Almost

Ahh . . . the continuing saga of construction: remodeling, replacing, upgrading and building is nearing completion. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or, at least, we think we can — Bathroom, Heating, AC and Sunroom (patio enclosure) — and, of course, a depleted bank account. The work should last for several years (decades?) and enhance our retired lives, especially, Di’s.

I think it’s better to spend for retirement early (if you can) and enjoy the results for years, rather than delay things until they are absolutely necessary and having to rush getting them done.

Today saw most of the construction of Di’s sunroom completed and the backyard cleaned. The work on the “patio enclosure” is being done by Patios by B & B a local Orange County company. Its workers have been both neat and hardworking. Between the de-construction and construction at least seven different workers (plus the production manage and owner) have been involved. Questions are answered quickly and phone calls returned promptly.

The roof was finished and the rain gutters installed. Caulking was done and the room seals well. The room is usable and the cats won’t get outside.

On Monday the crew will be back to finish the electrical work — this includes adding lighting to the ceiling. The city inspector will come and check the construction. Finish work and the installation of the flooring can then begin.

Also, on Tuesday our Heating/AC folks (Cool Air Technologies) are coming out to see about extending our system to the new room. We may get some sort of blinds for the windows so the sun does not shine directly into Di’s eyes or make the TV unwatchable — need to have a cable outlet (TWC) installed, too.

The room is usable now — the amenities will follow at their own pace — quickly, if not yesterday, as far as Di is concerned.

Construction Sunroom 8
Sunroom 8
Construction Sunroom 9
Sunroom 9

Sunroom 10
Sunroom 10
Sunroom 11
Sunroom 11

Sunroom 12
Sunroom 12

Sunroom 2 — Deconstruction and Construction

Sunroom – Continued

Well, no work on the sunroom today.

Took Charlie to get her picture taken to renew her British passport today — No, a British passport picture is not the same as an American picture. Both the pose and size are a bit different.

Then, I took her to one of her favorite stores for a “little” shopping. The shop is called “Fleur de Lys” and is located on 17th Street in Costa Mesa — almost, but not quite, in Newport Beach. We got there a little after 1 pm and left about 3 pm — women and shopping . . .

They are supposed to do some work on the sunroom tomorrow, Saturday. Enough to be ready for final inspection on Monday. One thing that needs to be corrected is a wiring error that has an outdoor light switch connected to an indoor dual plug. Hopefully, the roof over the room is completed before any rain comes. We’re supposed to get a bit this weekend — I’ll believe it when I see it.

Also, on Saturday the electrician who installed our new 200 amp box is supposed to return and correct two things the city inspector found wrong. One is that the new copper grounding rod needs to be replaced with a stainless steel one — our local soil corrodes the copper too fast.

At any rate, here are some pictures of the sunroom as it now stands — sans roof.

Sunroom 4
Sunroom 4
Sunroom 5
Sunroom 5

Sunroom 6
Sunroom 6
Sunroom 7
Sunroom 7


The cats already like the new room — they can now follow my wife “outside” and they’re closer to the bird feeders.

On Tuesday the folks who re-did our Heating system, and added AC will be here to look at the new room (patio enclosure) and see about what is needed to connect it to the system. Quite soon, Charlie ought to be able to enjoy an “outside” room to smoke in and watch her TV shows — a room of her own in her back garden, but without the disadvantages of wind, rain and heat that plagued her on the patio.

Books – Currently Reading

After Di’s dental appointment Thursday, we stopped off at Barnes & Noble, Bella Terra. This is always chancy owing to our tendency to buy “too many” books. Luck was with us as I found an open Handicapped Parking space so she wouldn’t have to walk too far (or drop her off at the B&N and use the parking structure).

We spent a good hour+ in the store, mostly in the science-fiction/fantasy section. We filled one basket, a bit over-filled actually. I got three books: Steadfast (Jack Campbell), Shadow of Freedom (David Weber) and The Wright Brothers (David McCullough).

I know this is a bit ridiculous as I’m already in the midst of reading three other books. But what the heck, I’ve also re-read all but one of the Liaden books–in the last ten weeks–in preparation for getting my copy of Dragon in Exile (in the next week or so, I hope). She also received a package from Amazon UK this week. This brings Di’s current backlog of unread books to about two dozen. She’s saving some of them for our vacation trip this summer.

The Wright Brothers was selling for 40% off, and we combined it with one of our two 20% off cards–a $30.00 book for only the wright brothers$12.00. I just finished Chapter #3 and am finding it to be a good read. Well written with plenty of the details we never learned in school–pitch a tent on the sand, dig your own well, heat and mosquitoes–“in the form of mighty cloud, almost darkening the sun.” (p. 58)

It is not a quick read, and I’ll probably finish one or two of the others before I finish The Wright Brothers.

I’ve got the “boob tube” on in the background with the Indy 500 and the Angel-Red Sox game. I find I really don’t care who wins the race, but, hey, it’s the Indy 500. The Angels are trailing 3 to 1 in the 6th inning–Go Angels! Mist is sleeping in my lap, and I hear the Sunday LA Times crossword puzzle calling my name.

Memorial Day

Remember the real what, who and why for this holiday weekend. To my Uncles Andy, Billy and Charlie (US Army and Air Corps), to my cousin Christian (US Navy), to my brother John (US Air Force), to my mother Gladys (US Navy Waves), to my father-in-law Ferrier (RAF) and to all of the rest of you who have served and are serving, thank you.

Be safe, drive safe.


Saturday Morning

Di got me up about 5 am to help her outside for a smoke and to read a bit. I lay down on the couch to sleep and she was back in in less than an hour. Put her back in bed and soon got up to feed the cats. At 8 she got up to stay for pills, tea and breakfast. I for my coffee and papers (LA Times and OC Register). Breakfast was leftover Kung Pao chicken (Eggroll King) and rice, heated in the zapper, yum.

Saturday Afternoon

Wrote another thousand words for the book after reading the papers, with the TV (muted) on in the background and began reading The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower.

Grocery shopping for us (Trader Joe’s) and the cats (Pet Supply) and to the pharmacy. Di was shorted some pills in her one of her prescriptions last time, quickly rectified today (thanks Scott) at Sav-on.

Saturday Evening

Dinner was a pair of Sprouts twice baked potatoes and some peas and corn (with orange-honey butter). During and after which we watched Animal Planet’s Christmas episode of Too Cute (recorded and fast forwarded through the commercials, of course). Di worked on her lesson plans a bit and is now reading Tanya Huff’s The Future Falls (having re-read The Enchantment Emporium and The Wild Ways this last week).

I’ve got my Powerbook on my lap, a Dewar’s to my right and some nameless football game (muted) on in the background. I’ll quickly finish this update, put away the computer, re-fill my glass and re-open my book.

Another beautiful day in paradise.

Happy New Year.



By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
1850 – 1919

Saturday by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Now with the almost finished task make haste.
So near the night thou hast no time to waste.
Post up accounts, and let thy Soul’s eyes look
For flaws and errors in Life’s ledger-book
When labours cease,
How sweet the sense of peace!