Week 80

Week 80 – When’s retirement age?

27th June, 2010

If the LibDems managed a football team, this is what they would play like:

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I blame the Manager and if it wasn’t the LibDems (and we’ve got plenty on them already) then it must be Capello. Those fantastic players don’t suddenly become rubbish. It is the way they are blended together. They weren’t. They looked and played amateurishly.

28th June, 2010

This has been such a long month. If we had been on Sifnos, it would almost certainly have flown by. Just two nights left in the house and we are off. I cannot wait! This morning we are posting two large parcels to Sifnos. One is the replacement tyre we couldn’t source in Athens and the other is a second and rather unexpected chance to send things rather than wait for next year and carry them in the car. For example, Pauline uses a once-a-day sun tan lotion which she makes us put on immediately after our shower in the morning. It usually cost £12.00 per bottle but in the past couple of weeks has been on special promotion in Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda and Boots at half price. We have been round and cleared the shelves buying up a ten year supply. The consignment cost £110.00 to send but it is worth every penny. It will be on the island on Friday – the day after us.

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Also this morning Pauline is having her hair cut. No time for trips to Sassoons now; she is slumming it in Toni &Guy Huddersfield branch. What a nightmare! I’m sure it will be alright. Actually, it turned out that they had reduced their prices because of the Recession ( Recession? What Recession?) and a Top Stylist (Whatever that means.) cost only £40.00. Pauline’s hair looked lovely.

We are down to eating off paper plates now because everything else has been packed. It’s like camping out in your own home. Although, I suppose I’m not camping and it’s nearly not my home. Bacon & Egg sandwiches for lunch. Football and one-pot Pork, peppers & potatoes for tea. Plenty of rough red wine helps it down.

29th June, 2010

This morning it is raining. I can’t believe it. We are rather kicking our heels, now, waiting for the off. We do all our banking on-line and then Pauline duplicates it on her accountancy program. I was on the pilot team for Nat West On-Line ten years ago. Now it is everywhere. Pauline can verify her accounts and forward plan months ahead. And she does!

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This means that we can control our accounts from our Greek house as well which is great. Now, for example, the pound is as strong against the euro as it has been in the past two years. It is time to move sterling into euros and put it in our Greek Account at the National Bank of Greece. Of course, we don’t want to move too much in case the whole country goes belly up and we lose the lot. New Democracy, the Opposition party is advocating not cooperating with the EU and the IMF and freeing Greece to sort its own way out. That could only mean leaving the Eurozone which really could mean curtains for the country. Of course, this appears quite attractive to all those who are now having their wages and pensions slashed.

One of the lovely things about banking on-line is the ability to start and stop Direct Debits, etc, at the click of a mouse. When you sell your house and leave an area, it is amazing how many DD can be cancelled. Of course, cancelling the mortgage payments when we paid it off was wonderful and you suddenly realise the mortgage insurances can go as well. Now we have cancelled Council Tax, House Insurance, Water DD, Gas & Electricity DD, Broadband and Telephone DD, Sky DD, TV Licence DD. The list goes on.

Two old friends from school have phoned and said they would like to come over and say goodbye to us. Viv & Margaret have been working with us for about 30 of our nearly 40 years and we will miss them. Since we have left, they have both jumped ship as well. Both have a bit of time to work – Viv is 56 so she needs to do another 4 years and Margaret is 54 and intends to do a bit of part time work over her last 5 or 6 years. Certainly, we have turned out to be the lucky generation. Can you imagine teaching when you are 70? As The Times Leader said yesterday, sitting behind you keyboard in Whitehall 70 seems perfectly feasible. In the real world it is bonkers in the head. Well he didn’t exactly use those words.

30th June, 2010

Woke up from our last sleep in our bed. It was a remarkably sound sleep and we didn’t rise until 7.00 am. We went straight into moving mode after a cup of tea. I dismantled and moved the bed while Pauline washed and dried the sheets. I carried out bedside cabinets while Pauline packed the washing basket up to go. We had showers and a cup of coffee and blew kisses to lovely Jean – our next door neighbour – as she drove out to work. Then, at 10.00 am, we went down in to the garage to wait for the removal men. Two lovely young chaps arrived with a huge removal lorry. They took one look at the house and all its steps. It’s a mansion one said. We’re going to be here all day. When I explained that we had sold most of our furniture and that it was staying where it was and that everything that was going was boxed and in the garage already, they were over the moon. The only thing I had left for them to carry from the house was the mattress. They loaded everything in 45 mins and were off to the store.

We locked up, put the alarm on, said goodbye to the house and drove out. Little did we know that our problems were just beginning. The hire car had to go back to Enterprise and we had a taxi booked to pick us up from there. When we handed over the car and sat waiting for the taxi, Pauline phoned the solicitor to let them know of our position. At that point, it started to go pear shaped. The solicitor told her that the expected ‘completion’ had not taken place. There was a problem at our buyers’ buyers offices and it would, hopefully, happen on later today or, possibly on Friday. If not, our buyers were going on holiday until July 21st and couldn’t complete until after that date. We had cancelled everything – including house insurance from midnight – and provided final readings for everything. We were angry as we were driven to the airport hotel. At 6.00 pm, the solicitor had gone home without calling us. The insurance company were closed. We went to bed with dreams of our uninsured house burning down while we slept.

We had to be up at 3.00 am and would be in the air for four hours.

1st July, 2010

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At 10.00 am UK time we were in a crowded and frantically noisy Athens Airport trying to insure a house over our mobile phone. The girl couldn’t find our previous details that only expired a few hours before and was asking horrendous questions like:

  1. How man square metres is the footprint of your house?
  2. What type of stone is it built from?

Fortunately, someone else in the company came to our rescue, found our policy and extended for us. We took a taxi down to Piraeus, bought a ferry ticket and had lunch. There is free Piraeus-wide wireless internet service and I was able to pick up and write emails while we waited for the ferry. It was a slow ferry and we didn’t get in until 10.30 pm. It had been a long day and we still had no knowledge of our house sale. At least it was insured.

2nd July, 2010

This morning we got up early and looked at our vegetable garden in the light. It was doing so well. We picked courgettes as big as marrows, a kilo of french beans, some baby new potatoes and a couple of the dozens of lettuces. Unfortunately, the radishes had gone over.

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We were very tired from the stresses of the past few days and decided just to chill out which wasn’t easy because of the heat. Fortunately, the new air conditioning unit that we ordered from Athens on the way home a month ago had been delivered to Stavros who got Frangiskos, the electrician to install. It is a wonderfully powerful Samsung unit that chills the entire lounge-kitchen-diner in minutes.

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I had a bottle of wine with lunch and then fought to stay awake for Brazil – Holland. I’m glad I did. I was really pleased for the Dutch. I shared a bottle of chilled claret with Pauline & Stavros over dinner and then fought to stay awake for Ghana – Uraguay. I’m glad I did but I felt so sorry for the Ghanians. Both sides made England look pathetic.

3rd July, 2010

Got up early today. Cleaned the car with the power washer before the sun was too strong. Then we went for our first swim. The temperature was 32°C and the sea was crystal clear and warm. We stayed in for an hour. I hurt my back in the move and swimming has done it a power of good. Had an email from our ex-next dor neighbours.

Hope you are both okay and rested after your journey.

Our new neighbours have been moving in all day.  I haven’t seen them yet but there is a little slide in the back garden and a sandpit on the patio.

B&Q have been round today to take photos of the kitchen.  I used your orange pans on the range to give some colour.  They usually feature them in the brochures.  Everywhere we go in and out of the house we will have memories of you.  We are very grateful of all the useful things you have given us and I will look after them and keep busy with them.

Perry has been in meetings today at work and had come home looking quite content with what is expected of him next year.  I hope that is the case when he returns after the holidays.

Anyway hope you enjoyed your swim today.  It will be our turn soon.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Love Jean

P.S. A little boy has just run into our garden.  I don’t think Daisy approved as she was asleep on the table.

As a rider to that, you need to know that Perry is Jean’s husband – Peregrine – a lecturer in Further Education. He is desperate to retire but has just been made Head of Department. His wife Jean is twelve years older than him at 61. We have given her all household items that we didn’t want including some Le Creuset pans. Daisy is the ‘bumless’ cat. (with no tail). She is a stray who adopted Perry & Jean and refused to leave.