Week 36

23rd August 2009

There is nothing else to say but – Yes, yes, yes. We won The Ashes. Fantastic!


Ruth kept me up to speed. The BBC were hopeless. They are the British Broadcasting Company. They told us more about Camel Racing in Sudan than cricket in England. They forget we finance them! CNN were better but what would we do without Ruth?

24th August 2009

Painting day today. Warm (only about 30⁰C) and fairly still. We painted the lower half of the house and rails round the patio. The house looks crisp and smart now – in our view.

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Today is Monday and Pauline has declared Monday the new Sunday because we get the Sunday papers and I am quiet for six hours.

Just driving down for our customary hour in the sea at about 4.30 pm when an animal hopped across our path. It had long, translucent pink ears and red eyes. Other than that, it was pure white. It was, we think, an albino hare/rabbit. The long ears made us unsure. Strangely, we drove right up to it on the mountain road, stopped and lowered our window and proceeded to talk to it for ten minutes without it being at all phased. We half wondered if it was someone’s escaped pet but the Greeks don’t have pets they can eat.

Watched Liverpool lose to Aston Villa. Who said Liverpool were going to win the League this year?

25th August 2009

Every year since 2000, we have started our trip home on this day. We would get a ferry to Piraeus and drive across Athens, across the Corinth Canal, on to the Peloponnese and round to the University port of Patras where we would have a couple of days in a 5* Hotel
re-acclimatising ourselves with the real world before boarding our ferry for Italy. Not today! We will do all that but not for another six weeks.

26th August 2009

Thankfully we got out in time. The spotlight is just about to fall on Public Sector pensions. Already, in teaching, new entrants have to make larger contributions and their retirement age rises to 65 but that is not enough, it seems. Now the attack will be on existing workers who will lose their current pension entitlement and will be switched to a ‘career average’ which will greatly reduce their pension. I find it hard to believe that one can enter a profession under certain, contractual conditions and have them arbitrarily swept away and have new contractual conditions imposed. It seems that can and will happen. It makes me feel desperately guilty for all my friends in their early 50s who will lose out at this late stage in their careers. Pauline & I really are the lucky ones. A year’s salary each plus final salary pensions at 58. You won’t see many like that in years to come in Public Sector employment.

27th August 2009

This time last year we were driving to ‘Sortir 40’ or, as Pauline calls it, ‘sorty forty’. This takes us off the motorway to an excellent supermarket in the town of Thionville. We fill up with 100 – 200 bottles of red wine and then belt down the motorway to Zeebrugge. Not this year.

By the way, I didn’t tell you about being caught speeding. It was at the last French toll stop before the Pyrenees and the Swiss border. We had just paid our toll when a delightful French police woman popped up and told us to park at the side. They had been timing cars between toll stops and she informed me that the speed limit was 120 kph and I was timed at an average 170 kph. I could have told her I was doing a lot more than that but this was a money-making exercise not a policing one. I paid my €70.00 fine and sped off down the road.

Pauline’s Mum’s birthday today. She is 95. Born in 1914 at the outset of World War 1, she has led a bitterly hard life for most of her 95 years but she has an amazingly indomitable spirit which is irrepressible. Pauline & I have spent the past 25 years away for both our Mothers’ Birthdays. And so it still is.

28th August 2009

This has been the most idyllic, day of the past couple of months. Still, clear, warm and brilliantly sunny. Our swim was wonderful. I spent two hours watering the fruit trees.

Tonight I took a few shots over the valley towards Kamares harbour as the sun went down.

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29th August 2009

Another glorious day. Up at 7.00 am as usual. After tea and BBC News we cleaned the car before the sun came up. If you don’t, the heat of the sun dries it too quickly and you might as well have not bothered. It’s covered in water stains. After that, we measured up the patios in preparation for ordering the tiles. The tile shop closes for the whole of August but reopens on September 1st so we want to be ready. The total area of patio around the house is 1502m which at €35.00 per 2m will cost us just over €5000.00 which will be about £4500.00. Still it is a permanent improvement. Went for a wonderful swim today. Weighed myself afterwards and found I had lost 3lbs this week. I have lost exactly 10kg so far. My courgettes are just about to flower. The salad leaves will be eaten for the first time tomorrow and the basil is almost ready to pick. I am perfectly satisfied with this first attempt.

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