No workmen here today so we could relax a bit. It is very hot and there is no breeze. We have to do the shopping today because the lorry strike is over for the moment and the supermarket will have fresh supplies. The petrol tanker strike has been the most dangerous so far for the government but they have to break the monopoly, closed-shops and making the tanker drivers back down – however temporarily – is a major success. Unfortunately, many tourists have been inconvenienced – many who drive from the Balkans have cancelled all together. For a country which relies on tourist income, this is disastrous. Apparently, tourist traffic is down by 20%.
2nd August, 2010
A day of banging cement mixers Greek tradesmen shouting at Albanian skivvies, bricks and barrow loads of cement being moved. And all in incredible heat. We felt quite tired at the end of it. We were up at 6.30 am and the workers arrived at 7.00 am. They worked through until 3.00 pm. Breaks were at 10.00 am when we served iced coffee and Pauline’s magical substitute for the traditional cheese pies. She made twenty huge raspberry buns and they disappeared in minutes. I am thinking of shipping these raspberry buns to Athens because I’m sure they would make a winning contribution to breaking the strikes.
3rd August, 2010
A temperature of 36°C is forecast for today and 38°C tomorrow. It is only 7.20 am now and the workers have been here an hour already. You readers in England are still snoring (particularly you, Ruth) because it is only 5.20 am.
After leaving iced coffees for the workers and the latest batch of raspberry buns, we drove up to Apollonia to the Medical Testing Centre. I was going for my INR test and had to wait for ten minutes while a young mother had her test done. Fortunately, she left her little baby in the waiting room in its push chair. The baby was probably about 6 months old so I set about teaching it English. Unfortunately we didn’t get very far before mother took it away (I didn’t like to ask if it was a boy or a girl).
My blood was tested and we left at about 10.30 am. We were told to phone after 1.00 pm for the result. I went swimming and forgot. This evening, we drove up to the supermarket and there was the baker/bloood tester. He upbraided me for not phoning and said he was concerned because my reading was still too high. (This is all at the cheese counter.) I must contact Huddersfield Hospital tomorrow.
4th August, 2010
The temperature did not fall below 28°C last night. The air conditioning was on all last night. We were woken this morning at 6.30 am by the sound of tiles being cut and laid. The tilers found the full sun of 2.00 pm just too much and will start and finish early. By 8.00 this morning we were supplying them with iced water and a bowl of fresh figs. By 9.00 am, we were giving them iced coffee and biscuits. This is tradition. They walk off the job if you don’t observe it. You can see how these things – on a national scale – have brought Greek commercial life to its knees. The workers’ expectations are enormous. They are costing me a fortune in biscuits.
Our favourite local restaurant, – known to us by the names of its owners – Panos & Rania’s, usually make their own pesto from Basil grown in their own garden. This year they have had a disaster and their plants have failed. I, on the other hand, have had a major success and today we are going to supply them with a bag of Basil leaves to make their pesto.
5th August, 2010
Screamingly hot and humid today. The tiling across the front of the house is virtually finished although it still has to be grouted. It is looking great and we are excited that the surrounds of the house will soon be completed. We have had virtually no wind this year – something which can be quite a feature of Greek island August. Last year the meltemi blew for two long months. Because there is no wind, the sea is so hot. If it was a bath, you would put cold water in to it.
6th August, 2010
Almost pinned in the house for the morning because the doorsteps were being tiled. Spent quite a bit of time on the internet as a result. We planned our journey ‘home’ and confirmed hotel bookings:
- 3/10 – Patras Palace Hotel
- 4/10 – Patras Palace Hotel
- 5/10 – Anek Lines (Olympic Spirit) up the Adriatic to Ancona
- 6/10 – Holiday Inn Lugano Centre
- 7/10 – Metz Technopole Hotel
Photos in order from left to right:
7th August, 2010
The Tilers have done a half day today because it is so hot it is barely possible to stay outside for longer than half an hour with drinking litres of water. We are going to have an early swim and then come home and make bread. The patio is really starting to look good: