I wanted to take a little time to ponder the implications of last Thursday's referendum vote in the UK before rushing into print One thing is abundantly clear; notwithstanding the fact that two and a half million people have signed a petition demanding a rerun, the terms of the referendum were validly determined by the Government and the voting was correctly carried out. Many people may not like the result - and I am one of them - but it is the result and we must live with it. I wrote a post back in February when it was announced that there would be a referendum to decide our future in relation to the EU. among other things, I said that our lives would be on hold for the four months between the announcement and the event.So, now what? On Friday the British Ambassador to Spain posted a video clip on social media, setting out the immediate future. Briefly, nothing happens until Britain has a new prime minister somewhere between now and October. Then negotiations begin to determine the manner of our leaving and the nature of the new relationship, a process which he assured us could take up to two years, during which time everything carries on as normal. now I don't want to sound picky but for we expatas 'normal' means another two years of life on hold. Well in November I will be seventy six years old. I don't have sufficient years left to me to waste two of them on waiting to know what happens next. In fact the situation is more pressing and the questions more immediate than that. I have had two serious health scares in the past three years; I wrote of them here at the time. In 2013 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer which was treated successfully with radiotherapy, but for which I have a long-acting injection every six months, one effect of which is to leave me with reduced levels of stamina. Then I suffered a small mini-stroke from which I recovered almost completely, but which left me with slightly impaired balance. I live with these consequences in a village built up the side of a mountain. It is a warren of uneven, cobbled streets, steep slopes and stepped streets. Not a good place to be as I also grow older. So we decided reluctantly that the sensible course of action would be to return to live in the UK and our home is presently on the market. So these are the questions to which I urgently need answers; answers which are not yet available. 1. What now will be the attitude of people in the UK (our natural market) to the question of buying property in Spain? 2. What will now happen to the prices obtainable on our properties here? 3. At what level will the £/€ exchange rate settle? 4. Will we actually be able to sell up at a price which will allow us to make the move to live in a more expensive place than where we are, or will we be trapped here? It looks awfully like the dream is over.
Well, I spent five days in the University Hospital in Dresden where a plate and screws were used to stick my humerus back together, then two more days in the hotel before being flown back here by my insurance company (megaplug for MAPFRE who were amazing), and now it's a matter of waiting impatiently for healing to be complete.
What I've discovered though, is that breaking bones is for young men, not old buggers like me. I feel drained, lethargic, sorry for myself and a variety of other things that don't exactly bring a smile to your face. So I'm not going to be back till I'm back on top of things.
I said that I would tell you about Berlin this time.
OK, we saw the Reichstag building, the Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust Memorial in the morning of Day 1, and in the afternoon walked through the Tiergarten Park to the Berlin Zoo.The Holocaust Memorial was a moving experience, but the zoo was appalling; it was like stepping back fifty years when a token patch of stony, dusty enclosure was thought to be appropriate for African elephants which are in the habit of covering several miles during the course of a day. Here they just had to plod miserably round and round with not a leaf or a blade of grass for them to graze.
Day 2 we want to Potsdam to the two palaces and in the evening ate together as a group in the hotel restaurant.
Sunday morning saw us on the train again, to Dresden, a couple of hours away. A quick visit to our room, a brief snack, and then it was time for a walking tour of the heart of the old city. It's called the old city but Bomber Command left virtually nothing standing with carpet bombing raids. After the war the rubble was cleared and the reusable stone was catalogued and stored. In subsequent years, with the help of old photos, drawings and paintings, the city was reconstructed - literally from the ground up.
The result is both impressive and convincing, and I thoroughly enjoyed that couple of hours.
We completed our walk in the main market square in front of the famous Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). Some of us went into the church which is well worth the visit, then as a service was due to start, we were herded out through a side exit, down some steps. Suddenly, I was tripped and was propelled headlong down the steps, hitting the ground very heavily. I knew immediately that something was very wrong with my left arm. Two girls rolled jumpers and put them under my head for a pillow, a man gently, but firmly put me into the recovery position, an ambulance was called -
- and there ended my third attempt to take my wife to Prague.
Technical detail: proximal spiral fracture of left humerus. Now fixed with a metal plate and a load of screws. Thank you and good night!