24th May, 2010
Went into the village to buy the Sunday papers. It was absolutely crawling with tourists. We couldnt understand why. They were mainly Greek tourists because they were in cars, causing mayhem. At that moment, Stavros walked by and told us that these people had come from Crete for two days. They were going back today on the new service from the Cretan-based shipping firm, Anek Lines, on Kriti 1. The picture below shows Kriti 1 in the harbour as cars queue to board. This is about as big a ship as our harbour will cope with. It isnt a normal inter-island boat. It is the sort that we normally catch to sail down the Adriatic between Italy and Greece. Still, if it keeps coming to Sifnos, we might use it to visit Crete. We promise not to spoil Ruths holiday there in September though.
25th May, 2010
Warm and sunny today but not too hot. Reading the Sunday papers (still) while listening to the Today programme on Radio 4 from the internet via wireless speakers in the lounge. It still feels incredibly decadent. After tea and toast in the lounge between 7.00 9.00 am with the radio speakers behind us, the Television News on mute in front of us and the Sunday papers in our hands we can indulge in this rich orgy of news media. It is absolute heaven. The Sundays Times and Telegraph cost about 10.00 (£8.60)beween them. Today the new Times & Sunday Times sites are launched which will charge £2.00 per week for access but give more news coverage than before. They are free for the first month so we can try them. You can be sure we will be doing.
At 10.00 am we move outside on to the patio with our coffee and papers for another hour and then we drive up to Apollonia to arrange for our local Elinoil garage to order a new tyre for us. They say it will only take two days. Fantastic! Home for a lunch of salad, ham and blue cheese and then something we should have done long ago. We measure up the kitchen for tiles. When we go to Athens, we will order them and have them delivered to the island while we are away. We take photographs and measurements so we are sure of our colours and dimensions.
26th May, 2010
We are just building up to the first heatwave of the season. It has been 26°C today; predicted to be 29°C tomorrow, 33°C over the weekend and rising by Monday. We leave temporarily on Monday so it will be a hot couple of days in Athens.
27th May, 2010
Before embracing the day outside, I had to address the problem of my internet contract. I have bought a dongle through which I can get reasonably quick (2-4 Mbps) broadband feed. I pay 30.00 per month for 5Gb of use. This is perfectly adequate even for an addict like me. Unfortunately, I have to do business through Germanos run by Eleni who speaks very little English. When I go on the web, I can do my business monitoring usage, paying bill, etc online. However, everything is in Greek and, although I pride myself on being able to read quite a bit of Greek, contract and technical language is important and difficult. Fortunately, Google have a fantastic translate-on-the-fly for webpages. Unfortunately, as with all translation software, it often makes absolute howlers.Today, I had to concede defeat and phone OTEnet to ask how to proceed. The operator immediately sorted me out in perfect English which he apologised for the poor quality of.
Seriously hot today. We spent the morning planting out lettuce plugs that I had grown from seed and making sure that the automatic watering systems will work well while we are away. I have four timers each on an external tap with a hosepipe attached. Two have sprinkler systems attached to completely cover the vegetable patch and two control leaky pipe systems that drip around the bushes and trees.
After octopus salad for lunch, we spent an hour or so measuring the patio which goes all around our house so that we can buy tiles from Athens when we go.
It is about 2002m so the tiles alone will cost at least 4000.00. Still, its got to be done.
28th May, 2010
Our Internet company sent us a bill but we didnt receive it. We went to the Post Office to ask why. They said that they didnt know who we were so they sent it back. I could pay on the internet but it will take them another month to sort that out. Everything takes so long here. Now I have had to drive up to Germanos shop to pay the bill manually Can you believe it? Manually!
Co-incidence can be a wonderful thing at times. Sometimes not. I never cease to be surprised. I commented before that Pauline and I are inveterate planners, particularly when we are travelling. We have planned out trip back to England:
- Speedrunner – Sifnos to Piraeus (Monday 31st at 14.10)
- Tube to Athens – Ermou St, Hotel Electra
- Tube to Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (Wednesday 11.30 am)
- Fly Easyjet to Manchester (Wednesday 1.45 pm)
- Land Manchester 15.00 and met by taxi
- Picked up by Enterprise Car Rental (9.30 am Thursday)
All sorted – well, actually, no. Suddenly, as I say to Eleni at Germanos that we are leaving on Monday, she says that all Greek sea men are going on strike on Monday. We tear down to the Booking Office of Aegean Thesaurus and manage to change our tickets for the day before – Sunday – although we have to pay 50.00 more and go VIP. I joke with the girl that we will be VIPs for the day. She looks at me blankly and takes my money.
We rush home again and phone the Electra Hotel to book a third night on the Sunday. Because of the strike, I want another night at £180.00 and because of the strike, the tourists are deserting Athens in droves so I get my room easily. However, this is another example of how Greece bites you on the bum when you think you have everything sorted.
29th May, 2010
Incredibly hot today. We spent it preparing for our departure. After that, we went out for dinner and drank too much wine – well it is the weekend.