Thursday 13 April 2023

The last month has been significant in that I sold my house in UK on 13 March, celebrated Easter and enjoyed 4 days off!

But my last blog was 28 January so something else must have happened. You will recall that in mid January I was visited by two of my brothers, Chris and Pete. I neglected to tell you that we shared a ‘near death’ experience! Driving down towards Anna Maria Island you have to take the Skyway Bridge. This is an amazing engineering achievement spanning a wide expanse of water. On this occasion there were warnings of high winds as we ventured onto the bridge. Just as we reached the highest point a truck sped past us with a trailer carrying what appeared to be an open tunnel-like structure probably destined for the Carnival festivities in the south. It was immediately caught by the wind and jack-knifed into a SUV in front of us. Fortunately I was able to slow down in time but the SUV was totalled. Drivers seemed to be OK and were able to call for help so feeling that the top of the Skyway was not the safest place to remain we drove on to the other side!

Two months ago I took delivery of an L-shaped desk. A few years ago I had decided to free up one of my spare bedrooms and relocate my ‘office’ to part of my bedroom. My bedroom is in fact two bedrooms knocked through to one so it is not as though I would miss some of the space there. As you might guess, assembly of the desk was not easy. At stage one of assembly I realized that some parts were missing but over the next few days they duly arrived on request. I had done my measurements correctly but even I was amazed at the way everything turned out. There then began the daunting task of filing away papers that had been building up elsewhere. Even as I type this task is not complete!

Almost 30 years ago I received a new and prolonged treatment for keloid scarring but after 9 months of this treatment I had received the maximum exposure. The consultant advised that I ensure that I holiday in a hot place every year. This began my love affair with Goa, India which I visited for one month every year for twenty years. In 2014 when I left UK I knew that it would be too long a journey to India and that I would not receive enough vacation days to make the trip worthwhile, but the hand of God was in my migration to Florida where every day I could receive the sun exposure I needed to suppress the pain from the keloids as they grew. I’m mentioning all this because with all the sun exposure I was expecting to get some skin damage and was afraid of melanoma. I went to a specialist and received a clean bill of health. Weeks later a colonoscopy revealed no cancers and a clean bill of health with no return appointment for 10 years. I was a little annoyed to find that my labs had revealed a spike for no apparent reason. My doctor advised giving up alcohol temporarily so I did this for a month and the situation improved. Yes!

Last May I visited UK to spend time with my mum and to prepare for the sale of my house to the tenant of the last 8 years.We agreed a sale price and hoped to finalise things in a few weeks. Unfortunately my tenant hit problems with obtaining a mortgage and was subjected to extremely enhanced financial scrutiny. At the start of March the investigations seemed to be coming to a close and I was delighted to sell the property on 13 March. The exchange rate was in my favour so I began the process of moving the proceeds. this took a while as one can only move 25k per day. Immediately I began paying off debts which accrued interest: Wyndham time share, solar panels and finally the mortgage on my Tampa residence. Being debt-free feels great! I even bought a Nissan Rogue 2023! Now I just have to sort the Capital Gains Tax!

In the 6-week run up to Easter I got ahead with composing more psalms to the Abbey texts. I was delighted that my setting of the Alleluia Psalm for Easter Vigil was easily adaptable to the Psalm for Easter Sunday. This meant less work for me but also less work for my wonderful army of Cantors. Triduum is a challenging time but each year I have set a target to get all the preparation work done well in advance. I planned a choir ‘boot camp’ for the Saturday immediately before Palm Sunday in which I was able to introduce all the music for Holy Week and this went very well indeed. The pizza helped!

Holy Week was a triumph on many counts but I was exhausted. I’d found a hotel on the east coast where I hoped to rest for 4 days. It was such a deal at $58 per night and it was a Wyndham hotel so all augured well! as soon as I played the last notes of Langlais’ Incantation on Easter Sunday I hit the road. As soon as I reached the hotel I became concerned that several of the advertised amenities were not available. There was not even a promised restaurant so I adjourned to a Beef O’Brady’s to consider my next move. I read some more recent reviews and decided that I would not sleep there. I complained to the online agency and was amazed to receive a full reimbursement plus 10%. I was able to eat and quaff a couple of beers before checking out and into another Wyndham down the road. This was much better but there were news reports that the beaches had been closed due to the high winds so I knew I would stay for one night only. I decided to open a bottle of wine to drown my sorrows. The pen-knife corkscrew I had brought with me ruined the cork so reception found me a screwdriver and I was able to push in the cork and spill only a little over my shirt! Back in my room I watched NASCAR and quaffed until sleep came upon me.

By 9am on the Monday morning I was back home in Tampa enjoying the better weather. Wednesday was pretty miserable but in Florida it rarely remains so for long. Back to work and more weddings on Friday!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s