18th July, 2010
Interesting day. In the morning, Pauline repainted (touched up) the pergola before the tiles are laid. She is going to hang a considerable number of floor to ceiling curtains in a tent effect which will cut down on sun glare and overall heat. While she was doing that, I was doing a bit of gardening. I dug up one root of Maris Piper 7 or 8 huge, white fleshed potatoes; one root of King Edwards 6 small new potatoes with characteristic blush. They will be ready in about a month; similarly with Anya salad potatoes. I cut another four courgettes. We cant cope with them at the moment. I picked a huge mound of broad beans which took me about an hour to pod. I thinned out the carrots and I took 8 or so baby carrots and I pulled one white and one red onion.
It is a hot one today – 37⁰C and we went swimming by 2.00 pm. We go swimming every day. The water was crystal clear and wonderful. We swam across the bay and back as we try to do each day. After swimming we got home and showered and then I scrubbed and boiled 8 or so of the smallest new potatoes and we ate them covered in butter from a bowl. We ate all the other vegetables for dinner along with griddled, spatchcocked chicken which had been marinaded in herbs, yoghurt, mustard and garlic.
19th July, 2010
My back has come out of spasm and my chest infection, although not gone, is being controlled enough to let me sleep. Received a couple of lovely, supportive and encouraging emails from Ruth over the past two or three days. Had some fantastic experiences today. Fulfilled every mans dream when I met a Swedish model. Mind you, she was about 70 and in a petrol station but it was fun. At Elinoil we drove in to fill up with petrol. It cost 69.00 – £58.50 – although it was the first fill up in three weeks. The garage is run by a wonderful family Father and Mother with 16 year old son and Mothers sister. They tried to get a new tyre for us but couldnt. We sent one from England. They thought that wed be straight up to get it fitted but weve decided to make do with the temporary repair until we are ready to travel. Explaining that to them was not going well until, suddenly, this statuesque lady intervened. It turned out shed been living on Sifnos since 1971 and was married to a Sifniot. She spoke fluent Greek and English as well as Swedish. I told her the tale and she related it in Greek. Problem solved.
I had gone up to the Medical Testing Centre to have my monthly blood test INR at a cost of 16.00. It is done by the Baker and he was much less of a Butcher this month. Before he started I said, I would like use my arm tomorrow if possible. My reading was too high at 3.9 but it may have been affected by paracetamol which I needed for my bad back. We walked next door to the Bank. Pauline went in and took out some money. Monday morning and there was a big queue. I sat on the stone seat outside in the sunshine. I was there for ten minutes and must have said good morning to twenty people in that time. Some of them I wasnt even sure who they were but they knew me. It was a nice feeling to think we had made so many friends and acquaintances on the island.
20th July, 2010
Got up feeling very optimistic after a reasonable sleep but still with some unpleasant dreams. After doing a few jobs around the house, we went for a swim. Once again, the water was absolutely wonderful – warm, tranquil, crystal clear, studded with little fish. I more than 25 years of coming here, we can’t remember it being more wonderful.
Phoned the lab at Huddersfield Royal. I told them my figures and said it was too high. I said I had been using paracetamol which might have affected it. “No”, said the technician “but like my last caller from Spain, you’ve probably upped your alcohol intake.” So that was me told.
21st July, 2010
Wonderful day today. We have about a fortnight until the tiler comes so we thought we would get stuck in and freshen up the white paint on the outside of the house first. Pauline has re-painted the pergola and between us we have re-painted one end of the house. We were supposed to go out to eat tonight but, after another magical swim, we made a quick tea at home and prepared for an early night.
22nd July, 2010
Wonderful day again today. After working hard yesterday, we decided to have a rest day. We drove up to the supermarkets to do a bit of shopping. Pauline had to make bread and biscuits. Had lots of banter with the wife of the owner of the supermarket. She tries so hard to communicate and we have good fun. Then we drive down to Kamares port. As we walk back to the store, we stop to talk to Rania at the restaurant we enjoy. We drive back and are waved to or tooted at by so many people on our route. I am left consider the simple and unvarnished friendship and respect these people offer up instinctively and to compare it with those who are connected to me by accident of birth.
23rd July, 2010
A painting day to day. We did one third of the front of the house and were shattered at the end of it. Half way through the morning, Stavros brought the tiler, Dimitris, and his mate up to the house to measure up in preparation for tiling the patio and kitchen. I’m expecting a bill of about 10,000.00 for all the work we need. After painting we had another wonderful swim and then Pauline cooked Apostolis’ beef in a bottle of French Rosé wine with our own potatoes and broad beans. It was a meal to remember.
24th July, 2010
Went up to the DIY shop in Apollonia early this morning while it was quiet and cool. We bought two more huge tubs of Dulux exterior maisonary paint at 76.00 per tub. We also got a spool of wire to encourage the bougainvilleas to climb the pergola. We went on to the electrical shop to buy two lights for the pergola and eight moor to go around the outside of the property. Frangiskus, the electrician will be back shortly to do the electrical work.When we got home, we worked on retraining the bougainvilleas but they are stubborn, dry and full of spikes. We have two and neither are really typical of the island. These are the ones we have: