Week 6

Just watched a  harrowing play on assisted suicide with Julie Walters in the main role. I cried for an hour and a half. If only I could have got there a couple of hours earlier and said goodbye to Mum. It would have made so much difference to me if not to her. I do miss her so.


January 26th, 2009

Ofsted will finish with us by Lunchtime tomorrow. We who are in the know already know what the verdict will be. On a 4-point scale of Excellent, Good, Satisfactory, Failing, we will be damned with faint praise – Satisfactory. Do I really care? With 535 days to go – not a lot!

January 29th, 2009

Been laid low with a terrible cold in spite of my ‘flu jab. I am a sickly specimen. Even had to have Wednesday off work. Going for a heart scan next week.

January 31st, 2009

Finished the week feeling slightly better. I sound like an old codger. I suppose I am really. Two weeks to go until Half Term.

Week 5

In these dark, dog days of January, it is hard to raise the spirits. My retirement counter says 544 days to go. And yet we will be flying off to Greece in just less than 11 weeks. We are already thinking about booking Hotels in Athens either end of our Easter trip. We fly Olympic on the Saturday night but there is no ferry on Sunday. (See ferry timetable) We have to stay in Athens and get the boat on Monday. We stay at The Electra Hotel in Athens. it is a delightful, 4* Hotel on Ermou Street in the centre.


We have been staying there for quite a few years now. I first read about it in a book written by Austin Kark who was the Head of the BBC’s World Service.


He was married to Nina Bawden the children’s fiction writer. He had been stationed in Greece in the early ’60s and, when they were both rich and famous, they had decided to buy an old property in the ancient coastal capital of Nafplion and to renovate it. Each time they flew out to Greece to check on progress, they had to stay in Athens and they chose the Electra Hotel. Kark’s book started me on the ambition to buld a house in Greece and to stay at the Electra Hotel.


Just as a sad post script to that tale, Austin Kark was killed in the Potters Bar rail crash in July 2006. His wife, Nina Bawden who is in herself 83, was knocked unconscious and broke her pelvis. She has campaigned for victims of the accident ever since.

January 20th, 2009

Dear old Mr Pericles Panagopoulos, owner of Blue Star Ferries & Superfast, has been released by his kidnappers but for the reported ransom of 40 million euros which, at today’s exchange rate is £37,000,000.00. Just a snip!

January 21st, 2009

Just heard this afternoon – Ofsted in on Monday. Can life get any better? Oh to be in Hellas.

Week 4

I have only one observation today: Man. United 3 – Chelsea 0.


January 12th, 2009

It has been wet, windy and dark all day. I long for my house on Sifnos.


January 13, 2009

The founder and chief of Superfast Ferries and Blue Star Ferries, Mr Pericles Panagopoulos, was kidnapped yesterday from a coastal suburb of Athens. The kidnappers subsequently demanded a ransom of 40,000,000 euros.

superfast.jpg       superfast2.jpg

Athens is becoming worryingly lawless – anarchic maybe – and the right wing government of Costas Karamanlis have got to get a grip super fast.

January 15th, 2009

The Greek newspapers or εφημερίδα are beginning to echo my sentiments. Now a young policeman has been shot by an anarchist group call ‘Revolutionary Struggle’. The Greeks, who are highly dependant on tourism, realise they have shot themselves in the foot. Karamanlis has reshuffled his Cabinet and it appears that the Left Wing are still not strong enough to topple him.


At the same time, the Greek economy is being painted as the basket case of Europe and there is a move from within the country to leave the Eurozone. I do hope not!

Week 3

The week has started well. I woke up to find an email from Jonathan Kelly in Boston, Massachusetts. He lives there with his wife, Kathy who he met in Repton nearly 40 years ago and his two dogs. He also has two grown up children. He is well and happy and sends the family his best wishes. What shocked me is that he looks exactly as I remember his father 40 years ago – right down to the jumper and the background of boats.


I also received a lovely photo from Dave Beasley of himself in his garden/small holding. I can’t believe he’s gone grey.


January 5th, 2009

Today is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year across Britain. I can confirm that. I went back to work.

January 6th, 2009

Stavros phoned today. He had arrived back in Sifnos but he was suffering badly with gastric flu. Nikos had been sick at the airport and on the plane and they had stayed at a Piraeus Hotel before getting Agios Georgios back to the island.


January 9th, 2009

Found a lovely little Italian restaurant in the backstreets of our home town. Strangely for an Italian restaurant, it is called Mona Lisa and it is owned and managed by Greek-Iranians but the cooking is wonderful. Like a typically homespun Trattoria, it is small, quaint and in a basement.


It is informal, welcoming and crammed into a small space. See this local review. We had:

Crostini with salad and olives
Deep-fried cheese
Chicken breasts in cream and garlic with seasonal vegetables
Hot chocolate pudding with ice cream
½ Litre House White
½ Litre House Red

The whole meal came to just about £45.00. It’s hard to believe nowadays. No wonder we had to beg for a table.

January 10th, 2009

The week has finished bitterly cold. It is only -3°C today but it has been down to -5°C over the past few drives to work. Greece is about 11°C – day and night at the moment. Still cool but acceptable.