Week 38

6th September, 2009

Hot and humid day – 33⁰C left us feeling lazy and tired. The Greek TV is advertising back-to-school products. They start on Tuesday after finishing in the middle of June. People think British teachers have it easy. Continental Europe is way ahead of us. Anyway, I am starting a campaign to take a fresh look at teachers’ contracts of employment.

  • School holidays should be set at 6 weeks in total per working year.
  • The working day should be from 8.00 am – 6.00 pm (Monday – Saturday)
  • All working teachers should take a 10% cut in salary to help the economic recovery
  • Pensions for all working teachers should cease to be Final Salary with immediate effect.

I think it is ridiculous what these teachers think they can get away with. Let’s give them a dose of reality. The job is so easy compared with sitting in an air conditioned office drinking coffee. Why do teachers think they should be cosseted with special conditions? After all, half of them can’t spell. Some of them can’t even use an apostrophe.

7th September, 2009

The Teachers’ Pension Service is a wonderful organisation. They are giving us money for not working. Not only that, they are giving us much more money for not working than we had when we were working. Admittedly, their lump sum has paid off our huge mortgage and that is why we feel so well off but it also feels totally immoral. For months we have not known what position we would be in and, suddenly, we have all our anxieties removed.

To explain, we went to the internet cafe today and, in doing so, checked our bank account. The TPS had put more money into it and we could, at last, work out what our monthly pension would be. Everything happened so quickly when we finished that these finer details had not been elucidated. Our pensions were only supposed to be paid from August 31st and we were a little unsure how much it would be. Knowing nothing about retirement other than the apocryphal stories of belt-tightening and reduced circumstances, we expected the worst. It has turned out to be the exact opposite. We are 25% better off than when we were working. And we get to swim every day in the sunshine. Lovely people at the TPS. Lovely people in the Oldham LA.

Went out for lunch at a taverna by the beach at a little fishing village called Vathy that has only become accessible by road in recent times, to celebrate our good fortune and then came home to read the Sunday papers and pretend it wasn’t Monday.

8th September, 2009

I was reading the Teachers’ Pension website – as you do when you are retired – and discovered that, in future, teachers retirement age will move to 65, they won’t be able to take a lump sum and their pension will not be based on their best salary in the past ten years as ours is but on a salary average over their career. All of these things would have severely worsened our position. To add to this, the Labour Party’s Works and Pensions guru has proposed a £50,000 cap on all Public Sector and Quango pensions. Soon, you will not be able to afford to grow old under Labour. Soon, you won’t need to!

9th September, 2009

Enough about pensions. We actually got rain in the night and, when we woke up at 7.00 am, the temperature had dropped to a mere 70F. The Greeks were wrapped up for a trip to the Antarctic. The tourists were naked on the beach determined to get a tan. Pauline and I had no idea what to do. We are not Greek and we are not tourists.


10th September, 2009

Where ever we live, my favourite room is the study. In Quarry Court, Pauline and I sit back to back each with a computer on a wireless network sharing colour and mono printers. In Greece, featured in the photo, we have a desktop and a laptop but no wireless network. It is a real frustration to me that we cannot get a telephone line easily installed and so get a broadband, wireless network. I have to do everything off line, save on my stick and go up to the internet cafe in Apollonia to upload everything at €3.00 per hour which is not a bad price but it is inconvenient. This will be one of my targets for next April.


11th September, 2009

Woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of a 1000 marauding monkeys on the roof. I don’t wake easily. A couple of years ago there was an earthquake in Staffordshire which rattled our garage door in Yorkshire. Apparently, Pauline shot out of bed thinking someone had crashed into the house. She ran round the rooms looking for signs of damage and, after half an hour returned to bed. She told me about it the next morning. I was really disappointed to have slept through the experience. I always wanted to know what and earthquake is like. Anyway, on this occasion, it was absolutely torrential rain accompanying a thunder storm. It was wonderful. No fruit tree watering for a while.

We think we’ve solved the mystery fruit. If you saw the photo a week or two ago, we asked if anyone knew its name. A Greek in a restaurant in the port told us its Greek name – Kidoni – and said we had picked it too soon. It should be left on the tree and would turn yellow when ripe. Even then, it would be too sharp to eat. We had to cook it with plenty of sugar. That triggered in my mind the Medlar Pear. I am going to check it out in the internet cafe when I post this. It turns out it is a variety of Quince.

12th September, 2009

The wonderful thing about Greece is that it can rain torrentially for half an hour and then be brilliantly hot and sunny immediately afterwards. In this photo taken the morning after the rain you can see some of the rubbish washed down the mountain on to the road but you can also see what a wonderful morning it is for taking your breakfast outside – if you were allowed to eat breakfast.


Of course, rain and 80F warmth means growth. I thought you might like to see some items from the garden. Courgettes and cultivated wild rocket, for example and the olives swelling nicely.

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This is a rocket, basil and salad leaf salad all home grown and dressed with olive oil, lemon and Dijon mustard.


Then there are the flowering plants we are working on like bougainvillea. We have a white/red mix and a beautiful translucent faded orange colour. We also have a number of Bottle Brush of Callistemon bushes. The name is Greek Kali Stemon (Beautiful Stamon).

bougainvilllea.jpg  bougainvilllea2.jpg  bougainvilllea3.jpg

bougainvilllea4.jpg  callistemon.jpg  yukatan_palm.jpg

We also have this beautiful Yucatan Palm at the edge of the gate.

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