Day 219 of retirement

Hi All

Sunday12th September

Today Guy’s Mahjong day and my expat catch up day.

But before we headed into Gasan I did some landscaping at the cottage. Have built a rock ramp up to the front door so you don’t fall off the veranda when exiting round the screen door. Had to carry all the big rocks by hand (one at a time) and then the smaller ones were shoveled into two buckets from the beach and then carried by hand back to the ramp (50m up hill).

No wheelbarrow or rake here. All I had was a shovel and buckets.  But I took my time and got it all done. Sweated like a pig though and the cool shower after was soooo good.

Dropped Guy at the gambling den and caught up with the usual gang of expats who spent the afternoon solving the problems of the world.

Back home and a one-hour walk up the beach was in order to finish up the day. And for dinner, yep corn again……

Only one more day of corn to go and that will be 42 cobs of corn eaten in 4 days (10.5 cobs per day between the two of us).

Monday 13th September:

Another public holiday today on Marinduque. This one is for the celebration of the battle between the Spaniards and the locals, which the locals won (back in the 1800s).

We had a bit of a late night last night (12:30am to bed) as I watched the movie “Patton” and Guy was playing on the Nintendo. At 8:00am this morning we were awaken by a knock at the door. It was Ron (the yank) and his wife Vicki (Guy’s Mahjong buddy). They had a Lobster for us so didn’t mind being woken up for that.

Quick trip into Gasan town and then the market for some supplies for the next few days. Then a quick siesta before lunch after our “late one” last night.

For lunch today we made Pasta (our first one since leaving AUS). Cooked up some pasta and mixed in some sauce that we brought with us from Manila and topped it off with some Parmesan Cheese from Australia (that we also found and bought from Manila). Must say it tasted a bit weird, especially the cheese after not having any for 5 months. But went down pretty good I must say.

I made a trip to the block to do some slashing with the Bolo and burning up some of the piles of vegetation cleared by the boys some time ago. Bolo worked a treat as I slashed my way through the jungle, well the re-growth anyway. With the wet and the sunshine things are growing out of control at the moment.

It is actually quite hard to get a fire going. The piles are dry on top but wet underneath. I did manage to get two fires going at each end of the house block and then spent 1.5 hours dragging the dried / damp vegetation to each fire. Got about half of the piles done before I had it in the heat (from the fires and sun) and humidity. I don’t normally sweat much but man I was swimming by the time I called it quits. Did have a couple of drink stops in the shade of the Nipa Hut. Love our Nipa Hut.

Back home to a nice cold Coke and cool shower. All completed just before tonight’s brownout (3 hours long). Feels dam good to be tired from working on our block for us.

Dinner by Petzl headlight was Lobster marinated in coconut vinegar with salt and sugar. Eaten with crackers and cream cheese (Philippines cream cheese which is a bit like soft chunky cheddar cheese). Very very nice.

And of course followed by more, you guessed it, CORN….. All gone after tonight so a few corn free days are in order thanks.

Tuesday 14th September:

Off to Ron (Yank) and Vicki’s (Guy’s Mahjong partner) for lunch. These are a great couple that have been here on Marinduque for the last 14 years and are now “locals”. Ron is about to turn 75 but is fit as a mallee bull. They have taken Guy and I under their wings and are helping us to also become “locals” with some fantastic advice and willing to help out with talking to the locals about any issues we might have.

Ron is actually what I would call a Yank-Aussie. He has a real sense of adventure and mischief about him but in an aussie kind of way.

Into Boac this afternoon, looking at a house on the way. Nice house but in the wrong suburb. Building on our block is looking better and better (despite the trials and tribulations we will go through) as we can get exactly what we want.

The main reason for the Boac trip was to get cashed up. And wouldn’t you know it. Two of the three ATMs were “Offline”. And the third had about an hour-long line up (ATMs and brownouts, the 2 biggest joys of Marinduque….). We weren’t that desperate for cash so gave it a miss and headed home to beat the afternoon rain (started 5 minutes after we got home).

Wednesday 15th September:

Cherry here today to do the washing. She has been a bit crook this last week so once the washing was all done (just after midday) we sent her home.

Guy also has picked up a bit of a head cold. Actually watching it very closely as Dengue Fever is affecting a number of folks on the island. The Dengue symptoms are flu like (headache, fever, joint & muscle pain, rash and strange taste sensations) and you know it is Dengue if a rash appears. So far so good as it appears to be flu only.

Laura’s (woman we bought the block off) son had it a few weeks ago and finished up in hospital on the mainland for a few days.

There are no vaccinations for it and nothing to treat it if you get it. Rest and lots of fluids is the cure.

At lunch time I walked down to the local fresh food vendors 1.5 km down the road. Got some snake beans & pumpkin cooked in coconut milk to go with our other bits and pieces. Lots of big cheery hello’s and “hey Joes”. I think the locals now know that I’m living here and not passing through.

Did a few more hours of my landscaping at the cottage as well. Carting rocks and pebbles from down by the beach to landscape round the front door and to the front gate. Everything gets carted in two buckets (no wheelbarrows here) so lots of trips back and forth. One more day’s work and should be done.

I find it quite hard in the heat and humidity. Moving very slowly and taking my time. About 2 hours a days is enough for me……….

Thursday 16th September:

Five years ago today I met this amazing lady, Guy, in a coffee shop in Chastwood, Sydney.

Who would have thought that 5 years on we are married, retired and living in a cottage on the beach on a remote island in the Philippines and loving it.

You never know what destiny holds for you just round the corner.

We were going to celebrate at Barbarossa with their special sausage platter for two but with Guy’s cold now in full swing we decided to wait till she feels better and can enjoy the taste of the Barbarossa special.

But she did go into Gasan and have a hair wash, colour and blow dry, just to pamper her self a little. I took advantage of free Wi-Fi. Back late afternoon and I finished the day with some more landscaping working round the cottage.

Still keeping an eye on Guy’s cold but so far (touch wood) it is just a cold. The next few days will tell.

Friday 17th September:

Off to see John (the pom) this morning to take some pics of his Labrador puppies. John and Yolanda breed them and he wants some pics of the 8 puppies for his Christmas cards. All good as I got some pics but man trying to follow 8 puppies and get pics of them was a challenge. What is it they say about working with kids and animals……..

Then followed John on a bit of ride to explore behind the airport. John had seen this big new house going up from the plane so wanted to see whose it was. Found the house and discovered it belonged to an American guy. He is away at the moment so spoke to the caretaker. Then a short cut back through the airport (riding across the main runway – looked left then right for planes…) to the main road.

Into Gasan for our Sausage Platter (to celebrate 5 years together) at Barbarossa as Guy was feeling at little better today. Very nice indeed and all washed down with a nice cold Coke.

Just down the road from us is a sign that points to a school some 8km inland. So we decided to explore this track on the way home. Followed it up the side of this mountain and then down the other side to the school. Checked with the locals and this was the end of the road. It doesn’t link up with any other roads just stops at the river.

Was some fantastic scenery and great fun riding over this steep, rough, washed out narrow track (in places) (reminded me of Macquarie Pass but all in dirt, for the Sydney folk). But the Thunder Monster handled it all in its stride.

Got back to the cottage mid afternoon before the storms and by this time Guy was exhausted from her flu so a hot cup of tea and a lay down were in order.

Went to download my pics of the puppies and the ride and the card kept crashing. All the pics were visible on the camera and in Finder on the MacBook. After some very nervous moments I tracked it down to one image file that was corrupt. So managed downloading all the pics other than that one.

Then formatted the card in the camera, took some pics, downloaded them, formatted again, more pics and downloaded. All good. I have had this happen before on another card where I only ever deleted the pics and never formatted it. The card in question hasn’t been formatted since new some 12 months ago so lesson learnt, again.

Finished up the day with a walk up the beach on sunset. Another glorious one, as expected…

Saturday 18th September:

Rest day today so Guy can recover from her flu. She has this nasty chesty cough so broke out the antibiotics (a 3 day course) this morning. The everyday flu drugs are helping but the cough is not good.

I went for a walk down the road and got some fresh hot food for lunch (Pinakbet which is snake beans, bitter apple, pumpkin, egg plant and herbs & spices). Eaten with rice and very nice once again.

I ducked into Gasan (Barbarossa) for Wi-Fi this afternoon to post the blog pics ready for tomorrow. Back home after the afternoon storm to find Guy snoozing which was good. She needs all the rest she can get right now as we head back to Manila next Saturday for 2 weeks as Jordan (her son) arrives for a two week visit (School holidays back in AUS).

We will be doing the family thing with Jordan (some of his cousins from AUS will also be here) plus shopping plus going to the Tamarraw Beach Resort on Mindoro with his cousins for a few days.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

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