13th September, 2009
Watched Birmingham Aston Villa and Fulham Everton. I dont know why I bothered. These are also-ran teams and I was bored. Booked our tickets for the return journey from the island on October 5th. We get home to England on the 10th. We will spend a couple of nights in our favourite hotel in Patras The Patras Palace. Great buffet breakfasts. We can spend some time exploring the Peloponnese before getting on a Superfast Ferry bound for Ancona in Italy. It may seem early to be booking our tickets but it is just our luck for Karamanlis, the Greek Primeminister, to call a General Election for October the 4th. Everybody registered in Sifnos has to return to the island to vote which will mean the ferries get booked up quickly.
14th September, 2009
The island is showing subtle changes. The temperature has settled at 80F rather than 90F. The sea is, if anything, a little warmer than in August. The beach is almost deserted save for a few, older couples who can come out of peak season.
15th September, 2009
Thought you might like to see some different shots. This is looking down the land to the house.
It is 80F today. The sea is like a mill pond and warm. We swam for an hour and then collected the paper before lunching on garlic pizza made by Pauline with a chilled bottle of Orvieto Classico. Tonight we will post this on the internet at the cafe and then come home to watch some European football. I hope Ruth & Kevan havent drowned. The Times was late today. This is Pauline looking out for it.
17th September, 2009
Big day today. We went to the OTE the Greek equivalent of BT – to apply for a phone line and ADSL connection. My friend from the internet cafe will help me set up a wireless network and a proxy server. This is necessary because the BBC have scrambled the signal from the satellite so we cant get Radio 4 through our TV like we used to do. They have also blocked access to the radio channels across the internet if you are using a non-UK service provider. To get round this, you need a proxy server which makes it look like you are in the UK.
When I got to the OTE building, there were two men sitting at desks doing nothing. I had to fill in a form which included my passport number, my Greek insurance number and my fathers first name. Anything official in Greece demands my fathers first name. I am always John Richard Eric Sanders. Pauline is always Pauline Philip Sanders. I might get my phone line in two weeks or two years depending on the engineers report.
Nearer 90F today. Spent our customary hour swimming across the bay and back and then staggering back to the car. Started to mark out a patch of land 402m which we will develop immediately for vegetable growing next spring. People here grow tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, cucumbers, melons plus onions & garlic, potatoes & broadbeans, etc.
18th September, 2009
Fabulous day today. The temperature was 92F. The sea was crystal clear and warm. The hour we spent swimming was quite magical. Today I worked up a sweat chopping wood for the log burning stove. A couple of years ago I bought two lovely log baskets that I watched a man weave in the carpark in Kamares. They have been standing empty next to the log burning stove which has been waiting for installation. Now thats been done, Im determined that, however hot the evening, we will test drive the stove before we go. We have just over two weeks left before we leave for Italy.
We bought a new desktop computer to add to our laptop and brought it with us. I installed Paulines accounts programme on it. It is an integral part of our lives and may become more so in retirement. Pauline tells me today that our expenditure over these nine weeks averages £192.00. We are both amazed. We thought that prices were quite high this year and, of course, the pound is quite weak. We havent been extravagant but nor have we denied ourselves. £1700.00 over nine weeks is quite extraordinary.
19th September, 2009
One of the things we have tried to do in this Greek house is include things which have a tie-in with our past lives and our houses. For example, for her thirtieth birthday present, I bought Pauline an oak settle or bench which she had been admiring in a Saddleworth Junk/Antique shop we frequented in those days. This settle wasnt just any old item but it had real meaning for and connection with Pauline. She is from Oldham. The settle looking rather like an ecclesiastical object was from the old Town Hall in Oldham which closed at the end of the 1970s. As you can probably see, it has churchy overtones in its design and one of those arched ends was damaged in its removal from the town hall. Pauline was 30 in 1981 and an old woodwork teacher, Wilf Hall, who was just about to retire repaired it with a replacement carved oak piece that is almost perfect. It is nice to have such a connection in Greece. The photos above it are of Slade House and Quarry Court.